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SHOWDOWN IN JOHANNESBURG Nigeria vs Burkina Faso Keshi: Emenike, Moses ready to play Playing in ‘dream’ final delights Pitroipa D’banj to perform at closing ceremony Mali beat Ghana for AFCON bronze

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Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Vol.07, No. 2398



FEBRUARY 10, 2013


L-R: President Boni Yayi of Benin Republic; former President Olusegun Obasanjo; his wife Bola; First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan; President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and President Goodluck Jonathan, cutting the cake at the launch of Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation in London on Friday night. Photo: NAN

PDP Crisis: Govs, ministers in plot to checkmate Amaechi Tukur in surprise visit to Rivers, says governor is the best

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Anarchy looms, eminent Yar’Adua group backs Nigerians warn Jonathan opposition parties’ merger Say SNC must precede 2015 polls

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POLITICAL careerthreatening plot is building up against Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State ahead of the 2015 presidential race. At least two of his counterparts in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some ministers are coordinating the plot aimed at checking what a party source yesterday called his “excesses and political rascality.” The governor is widely believed to have been pencilled down as the running mate to Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State in the 2015 race. Amaechi and the Minister of the Niger Delta, Elder Godsday Orubebe, were recently locked in a dirty war of words over the governor’s perceived ambition and the threat it portends for the second term bid of President Goodluck Jonathan. Orubebe lashed out at Amaechi for allegedly spending the resources of the people of Rivers State on extraneous things and at the expense of those who elected him into office. He also said that in the USA, once a serving President indicates his interest in seeking a second term in office, the whole of his party members throw their weight behind him. The current plot, according to sources, was provoked by Amaechi’s alleged insubordination and disrespect for President Jonathan, cold war with the President on boundary demarcation and oil wells between Rivers and Bayelsa States, undermining the South-South agenda to retain the presidency in 2015, and instigating the Nigerian Governors Forum, of which he is Chairman, against the presidency on the Excess Crude Account and Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) which has not taken-off effectively, and sponsoring of crisis within the National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP


PDP Crisis: Govs, ministers in plot to checkmate Amaechi • Tukur in surprise visit to Rivers, says governor is the best From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

with a view to hijacking the party’s structure ahead of 2015. Sources said a four-dimensional strategy has been put in place by some PDP hawks to deal with Amaechi including demystifying him through impeachment by the House of Assembly; sponsoring of revolt within the NGF; suspension of the governor from PDP for alleged antiparty activities; and outright distraction of his administration through internal crisis within the Rivers State Executive Council. It was gathered that the

recent verbal assault on state governors by the Ijaw leader , Chief Edwin Clark was ‘tactically’ directed at Amaechi. A source, who spoke in confidence said: “The moves against Amaechi are real. The plotters are alleging that the governor has shown disrespect to the President four times including his open confrontation with the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan in Okrika. “Another sin committed by Amaechi is alleged meddling in Bayelsa State politics in 2012 when he backed ex-Governor Timpreye Sylva against Governor Seriake Dickson, the

•L-R: Chief Philip Asiodu , Alhaji Maitama Sule, of Project Nigeria in Lagos, yesterday.

anointed candidate of the President. “While fence-mending was being done, he accused presidency of ceding some oil wells belonging to Rivers to Bayelsa State. Jonathan and his strategists felt bad that the image of the presidency was dragged into it. “The President was personally touched by the press war such that he had to issue a statement absolving himself of any complicity in the Soku Oil wells. But Amaechi appeared to have had an upper hand in the media.” Another source cited the recent crisis of confidence between the National

Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) as an issue why some forces in the party and the presidency are after Amaechi. The source said: “As a matter of fact, the Deputy National Chairman of PDP, who was installed by Amaechi led the revolt against Tukur. That was seen as an affront against the President, who is the Leader of the party.” But in a curious move, Tukur on Friday arrived in Port Harcourt for a visit during which he inspected projects executed by the Amaechi administration and commended him for his

Prof Ben Nwabueze, and Otunba Bola Kuforiji-Olubi during the meeting Photo: MUYIWA HASSAN

Anarchy looms, eminent Nigerians warn Jonathan


GROUP of eminent Nigerians yesterday warned that the country is heading towards failure. The group, Project Nigeria, which has former Nigeria’s permanent representative to the United Nations (UN), Alhaji Maitama Sule and leading constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, as cochairmen, at a meeting in Lagos, urged immediate action by the Federal Government to arrest the degeneration of things in the country and ensure the delivery of the requirements of good governance. It warned President Goodluck Jonathan against proceeding with the 2015 elections without first convoking a sovereign


• Say SNC must precede 2015 polls By Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor

national conference to address the many imbalances in the 1999 constitution. The group affirmed its faith in and commitment to one indivisible, strong and prosperous Nigeria, but appealed to the political class to share in this commitment so that the country can exist forever. “We are not a group of people who want to break up the country contrary to whatever you might have heard or read out there. Rather we are committed to the unity of this country and we want all Nigerians, especially the political class, to share this commit-

ment,” the group said in a communiqué at the end of the meeting on the state of the nation. It emphasised the need for good governance along with its basic requirements in our country, saying: “These basic requirements include justice to all, equal treatment for all, freedom of the individual, transparency and accountability, free, fair and credible elections as well as the security and safety of the people and state. “The security of the social and economic rights of the people as established in Chapter 2 of our constitution is also one of such requirements.”

Explaining its call for the convocation of a national conference before the 2015 general election, the group said it is to “enable Nigerians as members of ethnic groups, civil society organizations and even as individuals, to be able to deliberate and agree on how and on what terms they intend to co-exist.” “It is for the people to deliberate on and adopt a constitution that can serve as the supreme laws of the land. This is to be done through a referendum so as to endure justice, peace and progress of this country. “In other to achieve these, we will make sure

the conference is truly representative of the populace. It will take into consideration all interests and it will not ignore any section of the polity,” the group said. The eminent citizens present at the meeting however said avoidable disaster and anarchy will be the lot of the country should the President ignore the call for the convocation of the conference before the general election. Among other members of the group present at the meeting were Olorogun Felix Ibru, Gen. Alani Akinrinade, Chief Phillip Asiodu, Chief (Mrs.) Bola Kuforiji-Olubi, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Prince Bola Ajibola, Prof. Pat Utomi, Mrs. Ganiat Fawehinmi and Mike Ozekhome.

‘performances.’ However, a party source said:”In spite of Tukur’s surprise visit to Rivers State, there is still a gulf between the presidency and Amaechi. “Although the visit may be a rapprochement by Tukur, some loyalists of Jonathan are not ready to forgive Amaechi. “In fact, the rumoured presidential aspiration of Governor Lamido-Amaechi ticket has made the presidency to be permanently suspicious of the Rivers State governor. They know Amaechi to be a long-distance runner. “The face-off between the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs over the East-West Road has earned Amaechi enemy’s tag. The President was allegedly portrayed as not doing anything for his people.” It was gathered that anti-Amaechi forces are trying to woo those rated as politically powerful in Rivers State but abandoned or sidelined to fight the governor. Speaking to reporters in Port Harcourt yesterday Tukur described Amaechi as the best for him, and hailed his achievements as excellent and fantastic. Tukur inspected the new Kesley Harrison Hospital, the ultra- modern Maxillo-Facial Dental Hospital, the Port HarcourtOwerri road, a 42 kilometre federal road done by the Amaechi administration, the new model primary and secondary schools, one of the over 120 new Health Centres, Songhai Farm in Tai, Afam Power project, Obiri-Ikwerre Interchange on the East –West road, and the over 38,000-seater new stadium being constructed in the Greater Port Harcourt city. He said with the level of social and economic transformation in the state, Port Harcourt now ranks among developed cities of the world. Speaking at a dinner party held in his honour at Government House on friday Tukur declared that, PDP will never lose to any party, if transformational leaders like Amaechi are boldly behind the party. On his part, Amaechi assured Tukur that PDP Governors will support and remain loyal to the party at all times, urging him to always lead the party to victory. “We assure you that Governors will support and remain loyal to the party, we need each other at such a challenging moment,” he said.



Intellectual Slavery and the Colonial Subject



nooping around With

Tatalo Alamu

•Slaves in chains


FOOL and his intellectual capital are soonest parted. As it was in the beginning, so it it is proving to be at this late and probably closing phase of western domination of the universe. As the Black month unfolds, it is appropriate to dwell on the issue of intellectual slavery and the mental constitution of the colonial subject. The greatest wars take place in the territory of the human mind, and it is the unchallenged domination of this vital front by the western imagination that is responsible for its six-century domination over the rest of the world.. There is a consensus among anthropologists that slavery has always existed in human society. It is an offshoot of warfare. Old Britain, for example, was a colony of the Roman Empire. People have always colonised and enslaved each other. But intellectual slavery, that is the mental colonisation or the deliberate and systematic inferiorisation of the other, has achieved its most potent form and formula with western imperialism and its variant of modernity. Physical enslavement and actual colonisation can be savage and abusive of human dignity, but intellectual slavery, because it works insidiously at the level of the mind, is even more cruel and exacting. Once a people’s mind is conquered and enslaved, the dominion and domination naturally extend to other domains such as the political, the economic and even the spiritual. The mentally enslaved is thus comprehensively de-humanized, that is stripped of their humanity— which makes the work of the conqueror easier. So it is, then, that today, the Black person, unlike the Chinese and Indians, has no viable religion of his own, no economic system, no political institution, no traditional epic genre as Isidore Okpewho has spent a life time refuting, no literature as they impishly and impudently told Wole Soyinka as a Knight’s fellow in Cambridge, no culture as they taught Chinua Achebe, and of course no history but a barbaric void as Lord Hugh Trevor-Roper grandly claimed. Having been a combatant in the global theatre of mental decolonisation for over three decades, snooper is not often amused by the antics of the mentally colonised. But one must not fail to notice when some delicious ironies appear in the horizon to lift the universal gloom about the unhappy fate of the Black person. Just as the Black month of February was unfolding, there on television was a group of retired Nigerian rulers together with the incumbent stoutly defending the government decision to spend billions of naira to commemorate the centenary of the amalgamation of the protectorates of Nigeria. There is a lot to celebrate about the amalgamation, they all chorused as if on cue and without any sense of irony. It was a most beguiling and historic snapshot, particularly with the most combatively unenlightened

among the lot railing and thundering with the usual combustible gusto. There may be a lot to celebrate about Nigeria despite everything. But the amalgamation was not a Nigerian event. The “Dual Mandate” of Lord Lugard is a famous piece of fiction and a pious fraud since there is no evidence to show that the overrun nationalities ever gave their consent. It is a consecration of empire and imperial might, a testimony to its awesome power of colonial coercion and ability to territorialise and reterritorialise Africa at will. If this singular feat of human supremacy should be celebrated at all, it should be by relics of empire glorifying the might and power of their ancestors and not the descendants of those who were herded in like human cattle. The celebration and commemoration of one’s own enslavement is a classic instance of mental colonisation and the most depressing example of Afro-Saxony in recent political history. By the same token, the Japanese ought to commemorate the arrival of Commodore Perry on their shores, and the Chinese the seizure of Hong Kong. Yet as we have hinted, a lack of self-awareness and its ironic possibilities is a logical corollary of mental slavery. The Secretary to the Federal Government was widely quoted to have repeated Lord Lugard’s words with warm approval that Nigeria was “the product of a long and mature consideration”. Snooper will like to ask the burly and amiable Anyim Pius Anyim if any of his ancestors was present at the deliberation. If the Nigerian officials had wanted to be fair to themselves and to history they ought to have gone a bit farther in time to the Berlin Conference which began in 1884 and effectively saw to the colonial partitioning of old Africa. It was in 1884 that Henry Morton Stanley, the footloose Welsh explorer who managed to fight on both sides of the American Civil War, arrived in Berlin clutching a raft of treaties with traditional African chiefs who had willingly signed away their possession in exchange for meretricious trash.


AIR is fair. Even a government at bay deserves a lucky break, so it is understandable if Goodluck Jonathan decides to milk the goodwill redounding from the Eagles’ spectacular resurrection in South Africa. By an amazing and profound coincidence, the old eagles died in South Africa about two and a half years ago. Now, they are being reborn in the Country of Good Hope. It has been a moveable feast of fluid and flowing football. Messi beaucoup, boys!!! Nobody ever gave them a chance. Snooper for one did not. After physically witnessing the epic fiasco in South Africa, yours sincerely vowed never to watch the miserable rogues again this life time. Sometimes last week, snooper was fumbling with the remote control wondering what time

Next year, it will be 130 years since 1884, even though the Berlin Conference actually concluded in 1885. Since this tradition of frittering away immense natural resources has continued in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, we must not be afraid of celebrating and lionizing our worthy ancestors. Where it comes to a celebration of selfdispossession, the Nigerian government must accord this date a priority over mere amalgamation. But there may be more mundane matters hiding under this grandiose nonsense. The goat eats where it is tethered, says a famous Cameroonian proverb. Even if one cannot discount an element of deliberate mischief in all this, it is noteworthy that virtually all the newspapers reporting on the centenary extravaganza published a curious picture of Anyim with his mouth apparently salivating with intent. It could not have been at the prospects of the giant Ohaozara yam or rice from his native Ishiagwu. What will Equaino, Du Bois, Blyden, Martin Luther King, Cheikh Anta Diop, Azikiwe, Nkrumah, Macaulay, Senghor, Sapara Williams and all the avatars of the great project of mental decolonisation say about this desecration of history by the ruling elite in Nigeria? How will Frantz Fanon, the great psychiatrist of cultural deracination and political schizophrenia, describe the ruling class that presides over the current post-colonial anomie of Nigeria? It should be noted that while this capitulation to neo-colonial slavery is going on in Nigeria, two great sons of the Third World, one a Nigerian, the other an India and both Nobel laureates in different fields, are engaged in stellar decolonising projects. Soyinka and Sen are two of a different kind, but both are united in their passion and affection for their respective countries and continent. While in a new book, Wole Soyinka is deepening and refining his time-honoured quest and engagement with the recovery and recuperation of a noble and heroic African past as a weapon for confronting the neo-colonial devastation of the continent, Amartya Sen is chair-

ing a committee in India to revive Nalanda, the world’s oldest university, after an 800 year recess. Soyinka surely has his Marxist and neo-Marxist critics who accuse him of romanticizing Africa’s feudal and unedifying past. The debate and the fundamental flaw in this argument are beyond the purview of this column. But suffice it to note that the decolonizing project is more than a matter of life and death for its heroic protagonists. Exile, humiliation, torture and death have been their lot. The question is: why has it proved so costly proving to the rest of the world that all people are equal and that even if Africa is no longer at the cutting edge of civilisation, it was at least the cradle of current civilization as evolved? The reason is the size, scope and scale of ambition of western modernity. For the first time in the history of the world, we have a vision of modernisation which can only expand and grow by denying or suppressing everything that came before it and by obliterating all that is parallel and contemporaneous to it. Hence the costly struggle to reestablish the Egyptian foundation of western modernity and the momentous inspiration it derived from classical Islam. Once the link and the trail of human achievement are re-established, the myth of the primitive Africa savage is very hard to sustain indeed. And so by the same taken is the project of mental colonisation.. In 1809, more than half a century before the outbreak of the American civil war, the Abbe Henri-Baptiste Gregoire, sent a manuscript of a new work to Thomas Jefferson, a founding father and the third president of the United States. The book was a celebration and commemoration of essayists, writers and scientists of African extraction who had found their way to the west. It was titled, De La Litterature des Negress. As we have had cause to note in this column, despite his principled opposition to slavery, Jefferson’s view of the intellectual capacities of black people was notoriously truculent and characterised by savage dismissals. In an infamous passage from his Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson noted thus of the African American: “It appears to me that in memory they are equal to whites: in reason much inferior, as I think one could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid; and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.” This remarkable diatribe was coming on the heels of the literary exploits of the trio Equaino, Cuguano and Sancho, former slaves of African

Eagles on Iroko later that evening Stephen Kessi’s jaded journeymen would be dismissed by the dreaded Ivorians. But the match was actually on. After watching for only a few minutes, snooper concluded that this was a new breed of Eagles. The boys have succeeded in unlocking the secret of their great ancestors. This was classy football at its sublime summit. After the brilliant dismissal of the Ivorians, the eagles went on to surpass themselves in a superlative shellacking of the Malians. Last Wednesday as the eagles were putting the Malians through the grinder, the entire country went still. Not a pin drop was heard. All the major streets of Lagos were deserted.

Nigerians have gone to worship the only god they worship in unison: the god of soccer. Even armed robbers and kidnappers suspended operations. After the “service,” the streets erupted in jubilation and wild celebrations. Thanks again, boys for rekindling our hopes in a battered and beleaguered nation. Perhaps in the end, nothing can beat the description of the Malian goalkeeper who said that his team played Brazil and not Nigeria. To be compared to the greatest footballing nation in the world shortly after being dismissed as lax and laggard lame ducks is a tad short of the miraculous. so whatever happens this afternoon is a splendid bonus. Well done boys.

descent, who seized late eighteenth century literary London by the scruff of the neck and were feted in all the leading saloons of England’s capital for their astounding feats of imagination. Being very well-connected to the metropolitan circuits of the old world, Jefferson could not have been unaware of the literary triumphs of these exemplars. Perhaps it was a case of prejudice compounded by deliberate ignorance. Gregoire’s treatise could have been a well-aimed and profoundly clandestine attempt to help Jefferson modify or moderate his unhelpful worldview. But it was an uphill task. The same views resonate in the works of European intellectuals and philosophers such as David Hume, Emmanuel Kant, Friedrich Hegel and even Karl Marx. As far as Marx was concerned, India and the African continent lost nothing in the wanton destruction of their old culture by the European conquerors as it was a culture shot through with idiotic superstitions and morbid myths. Nowhere else in human history had there been such a systematic and concerted attempt to cast a whole race as inferior. It was a pan-Western project of mental colonisation in which conservative, liberal, reactionary and radical intellectuals shared a unified vision of the world based on collective mental conditioning and the assumption of the “natural” superiority of western modernity. The consequences of mental colonisation are still very much with us, despite the cessation of physical colonisation,. They can be seen in nationstates that are inferior and poor copies of the original, political institutions that are not up to scratch, political elites that are a miscegenated breed of thieving nuisance, economic systems that are uncritically and uncreatively borrowed without any thought for the local conditions and in borrowed religions that lack racespecific nutrients. It will take a new intellectual elite with a new dream of Africa and a new visionary conception of human redemption to free the Black race from the clutches of mental colonisation. Before this mental revolution, all political revolutions are null and void..

And Okon puts his boot in


S soon as the eagles romped over Mali and the whole street exploded like a dormant volcano, Okon barged in with insane excitement written all over his face. Snooper thought the crazy one wanted to cotton in on the celebratory atmosphere, but it turned out that he had more sinister motives for his unwarranted disruption. “Oga, kai, kai abi you no see say dem Nigeria dey play better football now after dem come chase dem yeye Yoruba boys from dem team? Na Yoruba people dey spoil football as dem dey spoil everything for obodo,” the crazy boy sneered. “Shut up, you fool. And who are these Yoruba boys?” snooper screamed at him. “Ah dem Taiye, Kehinde, dem Obafemi Awolowo, dem Yakubu Aiyefele, dem Oyobo and dem Oyinbo Bini brother with all dem babalawo and agadagodo football” “Get lost:” snooper shouted at the mad boy.




Yar’Adua group backs opposition parties’ merger


HE newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday found a fresh supporter in the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), the platform of the late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua. The PDM expressed its readiness to open discussions with organisations of like mind to save Nigeria from imminent collapse. The APC is an amalgam of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). There are indications that the PDM may team up with the new party if it comes out with a peopleoriented manifesto. The Movement, in a communique at the end of a meeting at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, hailed the coming of APC as the resolve of the opposition to give Nigerians an ‘alternative political platform.’ In the communiqué signed by Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim, Prince Tonye Princewill and Murtala Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua, the PDM asked all opposition parties and organisations across the country to “close ranks in order to provide Nigerians with a clear choice between conservative and progressive ideologies,” adding: “While we are gladdened by the development, we implore the opposition to define its own identity based on progressive ideology, with clear and contrasting policies and programs capable of pulling Nigeria out of the current state of despoliation, despair and debasement. “Telling Nigerians how bad things are simply won’t suffice. Clear and practical solutions are what Nigerians need. PDM is developing a clear roadmap for the entrenchment of profound national, social, political and economic reforms which will lead to creating jobs, steady power supply, improved security, transparent and credible elections and bring corruption in all its manifestations to an end.” It added that “The Movement resolved to open discussions with the organisations of like mind, with a view to finding common grounds on issues of principle, policy and strategy in order to move the Nigerian project to the next level. These discussions must be open, transparent and above all, in the best interest of the peace, unity, stability and economic progress of Nigeria and Nigerians as a whole. The era of Business As Usual should be dead and gone.” The Movement faulted the two-year sentence given to a pension thief who was involved in N33billion fraud. “The light sentence handed down for this crime against Nigerians and, especially, against the mil-

• Says Nigeria must be saved from collapse FROM: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation/ Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

lions of retirees who sacrificed their lives at their prime age, does not inspire confidence in the purported war against corruption in particular and in the nation’s judiciary as a whole,” it said. It also announced some leadership changes as part of its repositioning. Its new National Management Committee of eight officers to replace the National Steering Committee, comprises Senator Abubakar Mahdi (National Chairman); Chief Bode

Ajewole (Deputy National Chairman);Chief Dubem Onyia (National Secretary); Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim (Director of Research & Planning); Prince Tonye Princewill (Director of Organization); Dame Titi Ajanaku (Director of Women Affairs); Alh. Murtala Shehu Yar’Adua (Director of Youth Affairs) and Abdullahi Shuaibu Yeman (Director of Finance). The leadership of the ruling PDP said yesterday, in reaction to media reports, that none of the party’s Governors will join the APC. In a statement , the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa

Metuh described the Governors’ defection report as false and intended to deceive Nigerians. Metuh said all PDP governors are working with the party leadership and the President. He added that there was no cause for any one of the Governors to contemplate leaving the ruling party for the APC that is yet to have any structure. The party spokesman said “Nobody leaves a moving train to join an inoperable one. That the PDP took the high moral ground of decency that we are known for, to congratulate the opposition parties on

the formation of their new party does not cover its inherent inadequacies.” He added:”So there is no PDP Governor that will leave a stable and national party to join the APC. All our Governors are working with the National Chairman, the National Working Committee and the President. There is no reason for anyone of them to contemplate leaving.” The PDP also dismissed claims of disunity in its ranks saying, instead, the PDP Governors have been paying courtesy calls on the leadership of the party and have been making public statements that they are with the party leadership and the President in his transformation agenda.

• R-L National Chairman, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Bisi Akande; former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Mantu; former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Senator John Akpan-Udoedehe; former Governor of Akwa Ibom, Obong Victor Attah and former Senate President, Senator Adolphus Wabara during the funeral service for Mrs Grace AkpanUdoedehe at Afaha Offot Uyo,Akwa Ibom State, yesterday Photo: IBEABUCHI ABARIKWU

Minister commends Jonathan’s appointment on global health summit


HE Minister of State for Health, Dr Muhammad Pate, has commended the appointment of President Goodluck Jonathan as founding chairman of the UN Commission on Lifesaving Commodities for Women and Children. Pate, who attended the Global Education and Technology Health Summit 2013, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that President Jonathan’s appointment was the force behind the summit. Jonathan and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway were appointed in March 2012 to serve as cochairs of the commission. “Making sure that women and children have the medicines and other supplies they need is critical for our push to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “The commission will tackle an overlooked but vital aspect of health systems.

“It will ensure that women and children are protected from preventable causes of death and disease,” the UN SecretaryGeneral, Ban Ki-moon, had said while launching the commission. Pate noted that the president had in October, launched an initiative in Nigeria to save millions of mothers and children from preventive causes of mobility and mortality. He said: “Now as part of our efforts to save those one million lives in Nigeria, the use of technology is the key as we transform health system so that we reach more of our population. “We are deploying thousands of additional community health workers, midwives and village health workers within the context of our country. “We need to explore how to use technology to empower those health workers so that they deliver better quality services. “The summit holding

today is about the role of technology in empowering human resources for health, training, checklist and other applications that can help the health workers deliver quality services to their clients.’’ Pate stated that technology in empowering human resources for health was relevant to a large country like Nigeria. On impact of social media in health sector in Nigeria, Pate said the country had a middle free service scheme. He said the scheme deployed 4,000 midwives and 1,000 community health workers to 1,000 rural health facilities. He said the scheme won the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management award for innovative government service delivery. Pate explained that one of the elements within the scheme was the use of mobile technology for every

one of the primary healthcare centres. “There is a mobile phone with what we call mobile application data exchange. “Through it, on a monthly basis, the clinic will be able to report the utilisation, death, birth and state of their supplies. “That helps to monitor the programme. “We have had 42 per cent increase in antenatal care attendance and a reduction in institutional mortality rate for mothers and new born in the facilities that we deployed midwives. “Technology has helped us on how we manage that programme and how we are able to actually touch the lives of hundreds and thousands of women in our country.’’ On Nigeria-Turkey affairs, the minister said both countries had long standing relationship that was positive in health, education sector and numerous exchange programmes.

AFCON 2013: FRSC warns soccer fans against reckless driving


HE Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) in Bauchi has warned road users against reckless driving if Nigeria emerges victorious in the Africa Cup of Nations today. The commission’s Public Relations Officer in Bauchi State, Ibrahim Gaidam, urged football fans to “celebrate and remain alive” by adhering to traffic rules even in times of joy. “Like we always emphasise, only the living can celebrate. “It will not make any sense for anybody to lose his life or be confined to hospital bed, simply because he or she threw caution to the wind while celebrating victory,” he advised. According to him, the practice of driving cars or riding motorcycles dangerously on highways any time a major victory is achieved in sports, should be discouraged. “We all wish the Super Eagles good luck but it will be a tragedy for lives to be lost in the name of rejoicing a well deserved victory,” he added.

Rivers plans water project for five communities


IVERS Government has concluded plans to establish a “small town” water project to serve five communities in Eleme Local Government Area. The Commissioner for Water Resources, Ms Patricia Simon-Hart, made the remark during the sensitisation meeting with the communities in Eleme. Simon-Hart said that government was committed to achieving the project due to the importance of potable water in health care delivery. She said by the time the project was realised, it would go a long way to solve the communities’ problems in accessing potable water. Simon-Hart urged the communities to set up water consumers association to educate and sensitise them to ways of maintaining government facilities. The Eleme council Chairman, Mr. Orji Ngofa, thanked the government for considering communities in his area for the water scheme. He pledged that the people of the area would cooperate with government to realise the project.



Minister condemns killing of health workers

NAICOM advises retirees to take life annuity



HE National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) yesterday advised prospective retirees to take up life annuity as pension option to ensure peace of mind in retirement. The Assistant Director, Inspectorate Directorate of NAICOM, Mr. Sam Onyeka, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Lagos. The NAICOM official encouraged retirees to go for annuity instead of the popular programme withdrawal option because of its benefits. He said that annuity guaranteed payment of a fixed amount of pension to a retiree or his family for not less than 10 years, even if the retiree died. NAN reports that Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2004 allows a retiree to utilise Retirement Savings Account (RSA) balance for programme withdrawal through Pension Fund Administrator (PFA), or annuity for life from a life insurance company. According to Onyeka, the retiree needs proper information to be able to make an informed decision as to buy programme withdrawal annuity or both. He said that annuity contract would be available over a guaranteed period. “Guaranteed period is when the retiree or policy holder is sure that he will receive payment. It could be for five or six years. “This means if the person dies in the course of payment, the family will continue receiving the payment until about 10 years,” he said. Onyeka said that the retiree should understand that he could not be compelled to choose between life annuity and programme withdrawal. “The law gives retiree option to buy either of the two. Once the annuity contract is signed, the retiree cannot change from it to programme withdrawal. “The retiree however has the freedom to change from one insurance firm to another after two years,” the NAICOM assistant director said.


•Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; his wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi and friends dancing with students of Government Special School for the Blind, Ikere-Ekiti during a special session with the students as part of activities marking the governor's 48th birthday yesterday

HE Minister of State for Health, Dr Muhammad Pate, yesterday condemned the killing of nine health workers in Kano in separate attacks. A statement by the Special Assistant on Media to the minister, Mr. Tashikalmah Hallah, recalled that the workers were killed during the just concluded national immunisation. The statement said the attack was part of a long standing cycle of violence that had engulfed some states in the northern part of the country. “On of Feb. 8, we received the shocking news of the fatal shooting of nine health workers during separate attacks in Nassarawa and Taraunil local government areas of Kano State. “We are invariably left dumbfounded by this dastardly act of cowardice that has not spared the very people who have paid the ultimate price because of their commitment to humanity and the love of their profession,’’ it said.

2015: Northern leaders, governors, T others to meet on APC HE All Progressives Congress (APC) may be on the cards as prominent Northern elite and politicians continue consultations on the best platform for the actualisation of the region’s presidential bid in 2015. The Nation can authoritatively confirm that already a northern stakeholders meeting has been scheduled for later this week to discuss the issue. Leaders of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Northern Union (NU) are already making moves to discuss the emergence of the new party and its implication for the region’s bid to produce the next president of the country. Investigations further showed that the groups have reached out to some of the governors in the region on the need to examine the possibility of carrying the leadership of the new party along in the north’s 2015 political agenda. The new party was formed by the merger of the Action Congress of Nigeria, All Nigeria Peoples Party, All Progressive Grand Alliance and Congress for Progressive Change.

By Dare Odufowokan

It was gathered that some other minor political parties have also discussed with the newly formed party. Sources said a good number of the northern elders are already showing interest in the APC as the party through which the region should seek to actualize its presidential bid. A member of the Executive Committee of the ACF who does not want his name in print said the leadership of the group has already discussed with some governors and lawmakers on the emergence of the new party. He said:”Look, I must tell you that our leaders are talking about the new party. Asides from the fact that most of us see the development as very healthy for our democracy, it is also a thing of joy for us that the opposition is closing ranks ahead of the 2015 election. “Don’t forget that the North is determined to pro-

duce the next president of this country. Given the prevalent fear that the incumbent president may muscle his way into getting the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential ticket in 2015, there is great agitation among our people on the need for a reliable alternative. “We are also conscious of the current spate of crises within the ruling party. We are not closing our doors to options. The project for us is not about a particular party or person. It is the aspiration of a people, an entire region to get what is due to them. “So, if anyone is telling you that we are discussing with the new party, well I can say there is nothing wrong with that. Though I can tell you there is no discussion yet, I will want to add that it is a possibility. “We have called a stakeholders’ forum to discuss the formation of the party. It is taking place soon. Those expected include gov-

ernors, lawmakers, politicians, groups like the ACF, NU and even Middle Belt Forum (MBF). We have all agreed on the need to be proactive,” he said. The Nation also learnt that some House of Representatives members from the northwest and northeast met in Abuja on Friday to discuss the emergence of the new party. Our source also added that the lawmakers resolved to find out the disposition of the people of their various zones to the new party with a view to taking a decision on how to approach the development. He said :”We cannot pretend that the region is not affected by the emergence of a new party, even we elected representatives had to meet hurriedly yesterday on the matter. Our people have been reaching us from home to find out more about the development. “It is not about party. I

can tell you that majority of those at the meeting are elected on the platform of the PDP. The main issue is how to avoid a divided region as we approach 2015. Unless we are united, it will be difficult to achieve our aim of producing the president in 2015,” a lawmaker from Katsina State said on Saturday. When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of the CPC, Rotimi Fashakin, said the APC is the preferred alternative of majority of Nigerians today. He said the party is prepared to receive more people into its fold from all over the country. “As I said, APC is a success story that has come to stay. Nigerians want an alternative to PDP and that is why everybody is talking about us. People are talking to us from all over the country, across party and ethnic divides. “Likewise, we are ready and willing to receive more people and groups into our fold. So, to all those who want to come, they are welcome. APC is alternative we have all being waiting for,” he said.

South West EXPO 2013: Don optimistic over regional integration agenda


N expert in agriculture, Professor Tomi Adekanye, is confident that the planned Southwest regional integration agenda will re-enact the legacies of the old Western region under the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Professor Adekanye who was the chairperson at the last session of the South West Grassroots Business Forum EXPO 2013, in Osogbo at the weekend, was also optimistic that the agenda would achieve greater things for the region than could ever be imagined because of the advantage of the economy of scale inherent in it. She highlighted the difference between concepts of growth and development as canvassed by the political lead-

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

ership to explain the results of the activities, policies and programmes. Adekanye, who described development as a sustained growth evenly spread and experienced by all and not just for a few people, noted that challenges in development are attributable to irresponsible leadership, social and food insecurity and other self- imposed environmental problems. The university don challenged the governments to invest more in agriculture because of its central position to economy of any society that wants to make an advancement. She said:”We all agree that 70 percent of the country’s

population is agrarian. So, we must pay a serious attention to this sector, invest in it to get more money. We should not be concerned about taxation alone and not fund food production to avoid re-occurrence of the Agbekoya uprising. “We should also ask ourselves how effective are our agricultural extension services. Agriculture is capital intensive. All our rural areas should be opened up and made attractive to our people, particularly the youths, by making infrastructure available.”At the Friday session all the participating state Commissioners of Agriculture made contributions to the theme of the EXPO tagged “Actualising Economic Development for Regional Growth.” Last Friday was the Ogun State Day at the EXPO where

Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s representative, Mrs. Ronke Sokefun, said government has recognised that agriculture is not only a source of raw materials but a veritable way of driving the state economy. The government, she said, has provided one million cocoa seedlings to be distributed to farmers in the state as part of the effort to create employment opportunities for the people. She also said that the state government is collaborating with the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta and Olabisi Onabanjo Universtity, AgoIwoye to actualise their researches for the benefit of farmers and the people. The Oyo State Commissioner for Agriculture, Peter Odetomi, lamented that the at-

titude of many youths who are not ready to go to the farm in spite of the government’s effort to make agriculture attractive to them. The Osun State Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Prince Wale Adedoyin, said the state has ensured that enough allocation is made in the budget for agriculture, disclosing in the 2013 budget over N3 billion was allocated to the sector. In his own contribution, the Ekiti State Commissioner for Agriculture, Abegunde Oludare, said the Fayemi government is ready to apply the economy of comparative advantage in the regional integration to develop more the agriculture sector for the benefit of the state and South West. The Lagos State Commis-

sioner for Agriculture, Mr. Akeem Adeniji, acknowleged the strength of the state in marketing the agricultural produce and products because of the size of its population. Representing the Osun State governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, the Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties in the state, Ajibola Basiru, in his closing remarks, said that without the progressive and forward looking governments in the South West there would not have been hope for a good result on the regional integration agenda. He said that it is crucial that “we have a progressive and visionary central government to play a key role in improving people’s quality of lives and eradicating poverty.”




2014: Opposition will lose, says ACN chief From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti


HE 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State will not be subjected to the antics and intrigues of opposition politicians, a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Babatunde Odetola, has declared. Odetola said the “evidence of meaningful and responsible governance in the State shall be the singular means to determine who returns as governor of the state after the 2014 election.” He spoke with reporters in Ado-Ekiti, capital of Ekiti state. According to him: “Politics has got to be linked with history and the history of responsible and accountable governance as being defined by the state governor, Kayode Fayemi, today is what will certify his return against the lying lips of expired opposition politicians.” The former chairman of Ekiti State Electricity Board noted that while the ACN as a party would do its preparations towards the election when it was time, the “performance of Dr. Fayemi is the best and strongest campaign strategy never before used by anyone in Ekiti. “The roads, schools and hospitals reconstructed/refurbished would be there in all the communities to expose PDP’s past of profligacy, irresponsibility and crass acquisitiveness. “The batalion of elderly individuals who receive free health treatments and monthly free money of N5000, the pregnant women, children under five years, the specially challenged indigent residents of the state who have continued to benefit from the state’s free health programmes would jeer at and deride the liars who used their times to deceive posterity,” Odetola stated.


Yero seeks improved IGR From Tony Akowe, Kaduna


ADUNA State governor, Muhktar Yero, has expressed disappointment with the current level of the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). He vowed government will hence reinforce the revenue drive of the state. Speaking, while playing host to partners of C2G Consulting and SAP Africa led by Onyekachi Uzukane, the governor said that the state will partner with all stakeholders to improve its revenue. The Director General, Media and Publicity to the governor, Ahmed Maiyaki, quoted the governor as saying that instead of the state IGR improving annually, it has been on the decline though the state has all the potential to raise the IGR. Yero, who said he would like to know the cause of the decline and the challenges, stated government is going to fully concentrate on revenue generation through prompt and regular payment of tax as well as other revenues due to the state.

Police repel attack, arrest T two inx Kano WO gunmen were arrested at the weekend during a gun duel with security men while attempting to burn a police station in Minjibir local government area of Kano State.During the exchange of fireworks which lasted for about an hour, the police on duty were able to repel the attack.

From Kolade Adeyemi Kano Two of the gunmen were subdued by the police men and arrested after the duel. Others, who sustained gunshot wounds,

escaped into the bush. The command disclosed that the gunmen arrived the police division at about 8.30pm on Friday. Though there was no casualty on the police side, the command said vehicles be-

longing to the division were destroyed. Kano Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, appealed to people to continue supporting the security agencies in their effort to fish out criminals in the state. He assured that police will not relent in their effort to ensure security of lives and properties.

•R-L: Delta state governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan; His Special Adviser on Foreign Relations, Hon Oma Djebah and Director of African Studies, Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC, USA, Prof Peter Lewis discussing areas of collaboration and partnerships at the weekend shortly before Uduaghan delivered a lecture on ‘’Using the Delta Beyond Oil model to transform Delta State” in the US

Chime not likely to resume duty immediately


NUGU State governor, Sullivan Chime, who returned last Friday after a 4- month stay overseas may not resume duty immediately. Chime, according to government sources, would have at least a week’s rest before going back to work.His return was marked by pomp and ceremony from the

From Chris Oji, Enugu Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu to the Government House. His arrival almost shut businesses in Enugu as the residents erupted into jubilation as soon as the news of his arrival hit town.But the governor has decided to keep mum since his arrival.

He is billed to worship today at the Holy Ghost Cathedral, Enugu with his family after which he would go to his kindred at his hometown, Udi.The celebration of his return, which continued till yesterday is likely to shift to Udi today. Chime, whose father was the immediate past tradi-

tional ruler of Udi town, a former settlement for colonial masters, was asked to come home by the traditional ruler, Igwe Chris Ogakwu. VIP visitors have continued to throng the Government House in Enugu since his arrival. Canopies still adorn the Lodge with people feasting and drinking.

RUN reviews expulsion of 20 students


HE Vice Chancellor of Redeemers University in Ogun State, Prof. Debo Adeyewa, has stated a committee considering the appeals by parents of some expelled students would submit its report by February. The university last week expelled 20 students allegedly found wanting for drug offences after investigation on 41 of them students. The expelled students were sent packing after testing positive to drugs.

Adeyewa said the team, which comprised psychologists, doctors and other experts, was given three weeks to reconsider the cases of some affected students and report back. He said some parents had given various reasons for possible review and asked for reconsideration. “Some 41 students alleged to be taking hard drugs were asked by our medical team to go for confirmation drug test. “After due investigations, 20 were found positive,” he

said. According to him, the penalty for use of hard drugs, cult membership, examination malpractice and other vices in the school regulation is expulsion. “We must protect the image of the university as a religious institution,” Adeyewa said. He added that the institution had decided to respond to the plea of the parents in setting up the review committee. Adeyewa said that 13 let-

‘Ajimobi has performed more than Ladoja, Alao-Akala’


HE Speaker of the Oyo House of Assembly, Alhaja Monsurat Sunmonu, has declared Governor Abiola Ajimobi has performed better than his immediate predecessors, Senator Rasheed Ladoja and Adebayo Alao-Akala. The Speaker spoke at the official opening of a 500 meter Isabatudeen/General Gas Road constructed by a member of the Oyo Assembly representing Lagelu state constituency, Hon. Temitope

From: Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan Olatoye. Sunmonu maintained Ajimobi has successfully executed series of developmental projects across the state in the last 20 months. She added members of the state Assembly and local government chairmen have also followed the footpath of the governor in embarking on projects that will make life more meaningful for the people of the respective com-

munities. While commending Olatoye for embarking on the project, Sunmonu promised the current administration will continue to make life more meaningful to the people of the state. The Oyo Speaker maintained that the brilliant performance of Ajimobi and members of his administration has continued to provoke leaders of the opposition political parties in the state.

ters of appeal were received with some asking for another test, some apologising for violating the school regulations and others asking for a second chance. He said three of the expelled students, who were caught red-handed, absconded and did not wait to be investigated further or tested. Adeyewa appealed to the stakeholders to look into the foundation of their children to prevent them from getting into such situations. The Chaplain, Catholic Youth Organisation of Nigeria, Lagos Archdiocese, Rev. Fr. Andrew Ogidan, said the expulsion of the students was just and good. Ogidan told NAN that students had no business with drugs. “What are they doing with hard drugs in school, hard drugs are found among criminals and not with good students,” he said. He noted that a missionary school should be a model for other institutions. “The school should not allow or permit such illicit act among them, it would corrupt the rest,” Ogidan said.

‘Airforce will fight bandits in Kaduna’ From Tony Akowe Kaduna


HE Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh, has promised the military will do everything possible to protect Kaduna State. He spoke during a visit to Governor Mukthar Yero at the weekend. The Airforce Chief described Kaduna as a mini Nigeria that is a home to all ethnic, religious and political groups. He reiterated his resolve to utilise the Air Force Institute of Technology Kaduna to precipitate innovations that would turn things around for the nation. Badeh urged the state to take advantage of the institute by sending more students there for training as well as intervene in the Air Force- Barakalahu crises. Yero pledged the full cooperation of his administration to the Air Force. He said the issue of Birnin Gwari is very dear to him and has been discussing with all security chiefs to map out strategies. The governor assured that he will get in touch with the Air Force for the collaboration to dislodge the bandits.

Construction begins on Ogun 100km road


ONSTRUCTION work has begun on the 100km Ilara-Oja Odan road in Imeko Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State. Governor Ibikunle Amosun yesterday commended the pace of work during an inspection visit to the site. He promised to construct an additional 1km road linking the Ilara town to the neighbouring Republic of Benin as requested by the community during the inspection. He reiterated the commitment of his administration to open up the rural areas through massive road construction. Amosun said access road was crucial to economic empowerment. His words: “You need good roads to get your farm produce to the markets within and outside your local council and state. “Everybody needs excellent road network to save productive time, reduce stress, accident and other losses associated with bad or lack of access roads,” Amosun said. The road, according to the governor, will be of Ogun standard, complete with median, drainage, among others. The people of Ilara in the neighbouring Benin Republic, who trooped out in large numbers to receive the governor, expressed gratitude to the Senator Amosun-led government for ending their distress.


No fear over emergence of APC - Abia PDP By Ugochukwu Ugoji-Eke, Umuahia CHIEFTAIN of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] in Abia State, Chukwudi Apugo, has called on the members of the party in the state and the zone not to entertain any fear over the emergence of All Progressives Congress [APC], saying that the PDP will deal with it accordingly. Speaking with The Nation in Umuahia on the coming together of the opposition parties to fight the PDP, Apugo said it will be easier to handle them as one entity, than when they were in different political parties. Apugo said that PDP is the largest party in Africa with nothing to fear, ‘The ganging together of the opposition parties against our party is one of the beauties of democracy, as it will only strengthen it and give it more and better meaning. We are not afraid of them in any way.’ He said the fear of the PDP should be where their governors have not done well, as the party will lose such states. ‘We have to ask our governors to do well, as it is the only way to ensure that we maintain our strong hold in this game called politics.’



Pirates seize three foreign sailors


IRATES have attacked a Britishflagged cargo ship off Nigeria and kidnapped one Romanian and two Russian crew members in the latest such incident to hit the region, a statement at the weekend. “ C a r i s b r o o k e Shipping Ltd. regrets to report that their 2008 built, UK flag, ... general cargo

ship ‘MV Esther C’ was boarded by pirates on the evening of February 7 whilst in international waters south in the Gulf of Guinea,” a statement issued by MTI Network on behalf of the operators said. “Having stolen personal possessions, the pirates departed the vessel taking three crew members as hostage,” it added.

MTI later specified that those kidnapped included two Russians and a Romanian while the nine other crew members were Filipino. The attack occurred off Nigeria’s coast in line with the Cameroon border, some 85 miles (135 kilometres) offshore, it said. “The safety and wellbeing of these seafarers is

the company’s absolute priority and all possible steps to secure their return are being taken,” it said. “The nine crew members remaining on board the vessel are reported to be safe and well.” A spokesman for Nigeria’s navy said he could not immediately comment on the attack.


IFE of the Anambra State Governor, Mrs Margaret Peter-Obi, has announced that the Anambra State Government has concluded plans to start a monthly welfare package for non pensionbale elderly people in the state. She said beneficiaries would be elders from age 75 and above. Mrs Obi, who announced this during the celebration of the elderly at the Women Development Centre, Awka, organised by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, gave grants of N10,000 each to two elderly people from each of the 21 Local Government Areas of the state. The state First Lady was assisted by the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr Henrietta Agabata, among other aides of the state governor to present awards to most aged woman, Mrs. Theresa Osita Debo, aged 102, from Umukwa village, Awka in Awka South Local Government Area as well as to Chief Simon Okedo, aged 99, from Abubuo Nnewichi village, Nnewi North Local Government Area. The governor’s wife who was represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Social Re-orientation, Mrs Mitchelle Onugbolu, said the event was a day set aside to celebrate the old people in the state and noted that Governor Peter Obi’s administration is geared towards improving the life of the aged.

Stop arresting by proxy: Abia CP warns officers From: Sunny Nwankwo, Aba HE Abia State commissioner of police, Mr. Ambrose Aisabor, has warned policemen under his command against arrest of the public by proxy, saying it was unlawful to arrest an innocent person in lieu of a suspect. Aisabor, who gave the warning at the headquarters of the Mobile Police (MOPOL) 55 Squadron, Osisioma, near Aba, in continuation of his familiarisation tour of police formations in Abia, said it was against the law of natural justice for a wife for instance to be arrested when the husband, who committed an offence,could not be found during arrest. “Policemen should stop arresting people by proxy. A situation whereby policemen did not see a person that committed an offence and instead went to arrest a relation of the suspect should stop because this is unlawful; it is against the law of natural justice.” Wilson Dankwano, commander of the squadron, told the commissioner of police that the base was established at the height of the kidnap saga in Aba in 2008 and said they were able to fight the hoodlums to a standstill.


Board raids FCT hawkers, burns wares

Welfare package for Anambra non pensionable old people From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi


•Leader of Nigerian delegation, Senate President David Mark (rite) with members of the delegation from left Minister of State for Works, Mr. Bashir Yuguda; Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olabolade; Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri and Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State before their departure in Abuja to cheer the Super Eagles to Africa Cup of Nations victory in South Africa… yesterday

Community threatens to shut down Oben flow station


HE Orhionmwon Youths Congress in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo South have called on the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, to as a matter of national interest, order the Reynolds Construction Company, RCC, to return to site and complete the abandoned 25km BeninAbraka Road, threatening to shut down Oben flow station if nothing is done immediately. Mr. Michael Eghaghe, the chairman of the OYC, who addressed newsmen at the site of the abandoned road project at Ukhiri village, said the stoppage of work on the road which cuts across many oil and gas producing communities, including Oben, Abe and Igomokhuae, was in bad taste. “We demand that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs remobilise,” the RCC to go back to site with immediate effect, else we will shut down the Oben flow station immediately:” adding, “we have earlier threatened to shut down the Gas Project,” due to undue marginalisation of oil and gas communities

From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin City

in Orhionmwon locality by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.’

Eghaghe said Orhionmwon that has the largest gas reserves in Nigeria suffers from visible absence of the federal government, the ministry and its activities

in the locality and blamed the ministry for seeking to exclude Orhionmwon from the nation’s oil and gas family.

Use tax payers money judiciously, says lawmaker


HAIRMAN, Committee on Public Account (State) of the Lagos

State House of Assembly, Hon. Bolaji Ayinla Yusuf, has stressed the need to ensure that tax payers’ money is put to judicious use. He stated this yesterday when he led members of the committee on a visit to Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education in Ijanikin for on-the-spot assessment of some ongoing projects in the institution to ensure accountability and financial probity. Ayinla, who represents Mushin 1 constituency, said the visit was not meant to witch-hunt but rather to ascertain and confirm some on –going projects in the institution. After cross checking documents related to the projects, the team took physical inspection of some of the projects which include the institution’s library, administrative complex, the school vocational and technical centre, among others.

By Oziegbe Okoeki During the inspection, the chairman advised on the need to maintain improved hygiene and general cleanliness around the school environment and urged members of staff to dedicate themselves to duty and justify their pay. In his remark, the Provost of the College, Mr. Wasiu Olalekan Bashorun, said the institution learnt a lot from

the visit of the committee and promised that machinery would be put in place to address some issues raised by the committee. Bashorun further said that the institution is mindful of the shift of attention to vocational education and is committed to same, which informed why the school is poised to produce individuals that would galvanize the nation’s economy.


HE Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) yesterday raided illegal hawkers in the FCT, burning articles worth millions of naira. According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), items that were burnt included second-hand clothes, shoes and other products, seized from hawkers in different parts of the FCT. Speaking on the development, the Director of the AEPB, Alhaji Isa Shuaibu, said the action was to serve as deterrence to other illegal hawkers. Shuaibu explained that the burning of the articles was to prevent likely allegation that workers in the board had converted the items to their personal use. While decrying the hawking of sachet water, Shuaibu said the board would soon clamp down on the hawkers to avoid indiscriminate littering of the streets with cellophanes.

Okotie-Eboh Grammar School old boys plan 60th jubilee


LD boys of OkotieEboh Grammar School, Sapele, Sapele Local Government Area of Delta State are putting in place all machineries to celebrate her 60th jubilee. During the weekend, the national executive of the old boys association set up various sub-committees to ensure that the celebration, which will come up very soon, attracts old students from all parts of the world. One of the old boys, Delta State Commissioner for Housing, Chief Paulinus Akpeki,

From Polycarp Orosevwotu, Warri who chaired the inaugural meeting of the old boys for the 60th diamond jubilee held at the school premises, said the essence of the celebration is to ensure that all old boys within and outside the country attend so as to ensure that the school is brought to her former glory. Akpeki explained that the Okotie-Eboh Grammar School Old Boys Association (OGSOBA) has a lot of her students that have distinguished themselves in various fields of discipline with others holding

various positions in government circle and said he has confidence that the celebration will be a colourful one. Earlier, the chairman of the planning committee, Chief Victor Ewere, said nine months ago a diamond jubilee celebration committee was constituted by the national executive of OGSOBA to articulate and execute a jubilee celebration for their school after having attained sixty years by 20th of October, 2012 and charged all old boys to identify with this noble course.



2015: Don’t join opposition, Omo-Agege advises Urhobo From Polycarp Orosevwotu, Warri


ORMER Secretary to the Delta State Government and one- time gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Ovie Omo-Agege, has advised Urhobo ethnic nationality against opposition to any ruling party. Omo-Agege, who gave this advice during a rousing welcome party from an overseas trip in his country home in Orogun Ughelli North Local Government, said no region or ethnic nationality can operate in the opposition camps and enjoy democratic dividends. While commending Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan for the courage to reconcile all factions within the state, he called on all Urhobo sons and daughters to support Uduaghan’s three-point agenda. Omo-Agege, who appealed to all aggrieved persons to put their differences behind them, said the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is big enough to accommodate all. He explained: “I want to tell of us that at one time or the other we were all in PDP and in politics there are bound to be disagreements, even in the same family. Omo-Agege appealed to all Urhobo sons and daughters to close ranks and mobilise for greater impact come 2015.

Group condemns swearing in of Oyo NURTW chairmen From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan


social cultural group, The Front Line for Justice, has condemned the recent swearing- in of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) branch chairmen by the illegal 14man Caretaker Committee led by Alhaji Taofeek Oyerinde aka (Fele). A statement by its Oyo State coordinator, Mr. Hammid Yussuf, yesterday described the swearing- in as a ploy to give a false impression that the committee is on ground. The committee, the group alleged, will utilise the opportunity to collect N300, 000 from the installed chairmen. It commended the roles played by the Oyo State Police Command, adding that the step taken by the ‘illegal’ Caretaker Committee is another judicial suicide.

Group honours Fashola, Akpabio, Kuku, others From Sanni Onogu, Abuja


HE board of Transparency and Leadership Initiative (TLI) has honoured Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola for his commendable management of Lagos State. It also named Akwa Ibom State governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, as its Icon of good governance for 2012. TLI also listed the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs, Hon. Kingsley Kuku, as recipient of its 2012 Icon of Public Service award.

THE NATION ON SUNDAY FEBRUARY 10 , 2013 Disabled lauds Senate, seeks speedy passage of bill

Ezu River: We are no longer safe in Nigeria, says Akunyuli T •Seeks FG intervention N

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

IGERIANS are living precariously if security agencies fail to unravel the mystery behind the Ezu River incident in Anambra State, former Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, declared yesterday. She spoke during a sympathetic visit to Amansea community following the discovery of bodies floating in the Ezu River at the border of Anambra and Enugu

By Nwanosike Onu, Awka

States. Akunyili, who gave out over 7,000 bags of sachet water, 1,000 bottled water and about four tankers of water to the community, described the incident as a shame and calamity to the country. In tears, she said: “If security agencies cannot tell us where the corpses came from, it means our security

in this country is not safe. “Everybody will be interested to know who they are, who killed them? Were they drowned? There are many questions that need answers. She also expressed displeasure over the quick burial of the dead bodies, stating that “it is not right though they have been exhumed.” Akunyuli also blamed

the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) for not shouting out early over the mystery bodies. She said: “If MASSOB believes that their people are missing, why did they not go to identify them when the bodies were evacuated? “Why are they talking now? I am not holding brief for anybody but I am saying that our security agencies should be up and doing.”

•L-R: Provost, College of Medicine, Lagos State University (LASU) Professor Olumuyiwa Odusanya, Chief Launcher, Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer, Eagle Paint, Chief Akin Disu, Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Professor Sam Ademuluyi, Editor-in-Chief of the book, Professor Julius Esho, Commissioner for Health Lagos State, Dr. Jide Idris, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Femi Olugbile, and former Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Dr. Leke Pitan, during a presentation of a book titled Illustrated Clinical Surgery, recently in Lagos.

Cleric seeks special status for Lagos


HE Methodist Bishop of The Trinity Church Council, Rt. Rev. Sunday Ogunlere, has called on the federal government and the National Assembly to heed calls for the declaration of a special status for Lagos State. He spoke at the opening ceremony of the 25th annual synod of the Trinity Church Council at the Methodist Church of The Trinity,

Tinubu in Lagos at the weekend. Giving Lagos a special status, he said, will speed up developments in the country. In a release made available by the Media and Public Relations Officer of the Church, Rev. Oladapo Daramola, Ogunlere said the Federal Government and Lagos state ought to be partners in progress considering the economic and political

relevance of Lagos State in the Nigeria project. He added: “Lagos State is no doubt the economic capital of Nigeria with over 65% of the nation’s commercial activities being carried out in Lagos. “It has become more expedient than ever for the federal government to collaborate with the state and see the state as partners in progress than an opposition.”

The cleric applauded President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s recent declaration that Lagos State would be given a special status. Ogunlere reasoned the on-going row over the rehabilitation of the road from Ketu leading into Ikorodu town should not have been if there is collaboration between the federal government and the government of Lagos State.

Ansar-ud-deen leader lauds Aregbesola


HE National Chief Missioner, Ansar-UdDeen Society of Nigeria, Sheikh Abdurrahman Hamad, has applauded Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s demonstration of justice in the handling of public affairs. Hammad said all policies of the current administration go a long way to show how equitable distribution of

wealth, justice and fairplay in all matters are solutions to the many crises bedevilling Nigeria. These were the kernels of the Friday sermon delivered by Hammad at the Ansar-ud-Deen Central Mosque, Osogbo. Sheikh Hamad said justice is the foundation upon which the heaven and earth were created and as such Allah commanded Muslims to do justice

and be equitable in the process of giving people their rights. The cleric observed that justice has two wings, comprising one who is to do justice and one to whom justice is to be done. He noted that justice is so important among mankind that Allah has prohibited his creatures to refrain from injustice in all its forms. Stating that leaders like Aregbesola are rare, the

Man shoots wife to death in Ondo


middle- aged man believed to be a local hunter has reportedly killed his 40- year old wife at Ibule Area of Akure, the Ondo State capital. It was gathered that the ac-

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

cused, Ojo Toki, had a minor disagreement with his wife before embarking on hunting expedition.

Lagos ready for questions on land bills


AGOS State is prepared to respond to enquiries on Land Use charges, assessments and bills. A statement by the Ministry of Finance, Land Use Charge arm, called on land owners and residents in the state to register their complaints through any of its

customer service channels. Head of the arm, Barrister Omodele Ibrahim, said “the cost of assessment is free to all property owners,” adding “all claims of non receipts of First Demand Notice will be checked against our proof of delivery of all bills.”

On his return, he was said to have gone to his wife, who was living with her younger brother and allegedly shot her to death on the neck. Police spokesman, Wole Odogo, who confirmed the incident, said the man has been arrested by the police. Odogo said the corpse of the deceased has been deposited at the State Specialist Hospital Akure. He added that the case has been transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the State Police Command for further investigation.

missioner said the governor should be commended and supported in what whatever programmes and polices of his administration. He averred that good governance, like Aregbesola is doing, means giving various people and groups what rightly belong to them. According to him: “The people of Osun State are lucky to have the kind of government they now have. “You must therefore thank Allah for His mercy on you; be steadfast and grateful to Aregbesola’s government and what he is doing.” He thanked the governor for declaring the Hijra holiday, which he said is part of the constitutional rights of every Muslim in the country. He said Islam is a religion of peace and Muslims must be the best example of peace- lovers and peace-makers. Aregbesola said Islam permits Muslims to uphold justice even if it is against them and enjoins them to be equitable in distribution of collective wealth.

HE Oyo State branch of the Association of People Living with Disability has commended the Senate for allowing the bill for an Act to integrate people living with disability into the society to scale through second reading. The association, in a statement in Ibadan yesterday, lauded Senate President David Mark for his positive comments on the bill. It said the comment and consideration of the bill came at the right time when issues affecting its members require drastic measures in order to give them a sense of belonging in the Nigerian society. The statement, signed by its chairman, Yusuf Afeez, appreciated Mark for his comments and urged the Federal Government to find the will to pass it into law before the end of the current tenure. It explained People Living with Disability are facing untold hardship in the country due to various discriminations they suffer in public places. The Bill seeks establishment of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities and vests it with the responsibility for their education, healthcare, civil rights and other related matters. The association insisted that local, state and the Federal Government are currently not doing enough to integrate its members into the society. With the exception of Lagos and few others, the association said other states have failed to enact laws to integrate them into the society. With the scaling of the bill for second reading, the association called on the Senate to speed up work on the Bill and also called on the Federal Government to pass it into law without delay. It lamented that the Bill was passed twice by the National Assembly in 2007 and 2011 but that it was not assented to by Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Umaru Yar’Adua.

Council boss hails Uduaghan’s support on immunisation From Polycarp Orosevwotu, Warri


HE Caretaker Committee Chairman of Ethiope East, Onoriode Eromedoghene, yesterday commended the Delta State governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, for supporting the immunisation exercise across the state. The council boss gave the commendation at Isiokolo, headquarters of Ethiope East, while monitoring the on-going immunisation exercise against polio diseases. He stated that Uduaghan’s passion for good health has led to the establishment of the Delta State Teaching Hospital, Oghara in Ethiope West and Eku General Hospital in Ethiope East local government area respectively. While reaffirming his promise to key into the state’s health programme, Onoriode advised parents to bring their wards for immunisation and be health -conscious by improving on sanitary conditions.




•Royal Oldham Hospital: just a mile and a half from the child's home


midwife who caused a four-week-old baby to bleed to death in a botched home circumcision operation walked free from court yesterday. Grace Adeleye, 67, carried out the procedure on Goodluck Caubergs without anaesthetic, using only a pair of scissors, forceps and olive oil. The nurse, originally from Nigeria, had been paid £100 to perform the operation at the home in Chadderton, Greater Manchester, using a traditional African method known as 'clamp and cut'. But it went drastically wrong leaving the child with a serious wound and causing him to bleed to death despite the efforts of doctors at Royal Oldham hospital to save him. Adeleye was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence after a trial at Manchester Crown Court and was given a 21 month suspended jail term yesterday. Justice Keith Lindblom said the boy's death had been 'wholly unneccesary'. 'It was a tragedy, he was a perfectly healthy baby, he was not ill he had no need of medical care and he would not have died if you had acted with their care expected of you as a nurse,' he said. 'No sentence would bring him back or ease the grief his family must ensure, the pain of losing him will stay with them what the rest of their lives.'His mother said it was a tragic accident but says she can't find


UK-based Nigerian nurse quits after deadly circumcision Grace Adeleye, 67, receives 21-month suspended jail term after botched home circumcision caused baby boy to bleed to death. it in herself to wish you any ill feeling or that you be sent to prison. I accept that you showed genuine remorse for his death.' The court heard how Adeleye had set herself up as a mobile circumcision 'clinic' for Christian parents - many who had no idea the simple procedure is available on the NHS. She had previously carried out 1,000 similar procedures in Nigeria and in the UK earned £100 a time for her legal 'home ops' during which she would say traditional prayers. It emerged during the trial that up to three children a month are admitted to the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital due to bleeding after home-based circumcisions. The case has led for calls for mobile circumcision clinics to be made illegal.

Police investigated after it emerged Adeleye ignored risks involved in the operation and experts said her standard of care was 'woefully inadequate'. The tragedy occurred shortly after Goodluck was born in March 2010 and the family moved to Chadderton, near Oldham. Adeleye carried out the operation after being introduced to the family through a friend as she had performed many circumcisions over the years and offered her 'experience and skill'. When she arrived at the family home at 5pm on April 16 2010, Goodluck was sleeping in his cot in the living room but was transferred onto a low table in the living room. Adeleye brought her 'instruments' out of her handbag and dipped a pair of

scissors into the water in a kidney dish - then carried out the procedure without any pain relief for Goodluck while his mother Sylvia Attiko closed her eyes. Adeleye then cleaned the wound with cotton wool and applied a bandage but it was still bleeding when she left 40 minutes later. Goodluck's parents, who had no medical training, called Adeleye later when the bleeding continued but was told it was 'normal' and 'not a problem'. When the bleeding still hadn't stopped the following morning, the baby was rushed to Royal Oldham Hospital just a mile from the family's home where he died. Post-mortem tests found Goodluck died from blood loss.

Mrs Attiko burst into tears as she relived the operation and told the jury: 'She said I could close my eyes if I could not bear to look but Goodluck was upset. He was crying.' 'I was feeling the pain he was going through. She just said it was a normal thing he would calm down. She said I should breastfeed him to calm him down.' Adeleye, of Sarnia Court, Salford, denied wrongdoing. The mother-of-six said she had had no such problems before and had performed circumcisions on her two grandsons. In mitigation defence counsel Mr Peter Wright QC said Adeleye had not performed any similar operations since the tragedy and had retired from nursing. He added: 'Home circumcisions are not illegal or unlawfully criminal and on this particular and isolated occasion has been characterised as circumstances of the most tragic sort. 'The harm here is plainly of the highest but it appears to be a wholly isolated incident. There is an inability upon her to comprehend how a procedure undertook so many times that went so badly wrong.' Most circumcisions in the UK are done for religious reasons but currently no formal qualifications are required to perform the operation. Courtesy:Daily Mail •Contd. on page 12



News Review/World

Hundreds attend South Africa rape victim's funeral


UNDREDS of mourners have gathered in South Africa for the funeral of a 17year-old girl whose brutal rape has sparked national outrage. The funeral took place yesterday in Bredasdorp, a Western Cape town. It is there where the girl was raped and her body was carved open from her stomach to her genitals by her attackers. She lived long enough to identify one of her killers. Mourners carried her white coffin, adorned with flowers, to be buried. Family members openly wept during the funeral service, attended by government leaders and activists. Three men, including her former ex-boyfriend, have been arrested over her death and are scheduled to appear in court Monday. The attack has sparked calls from South Africa's president to stop the high incidence of rapes in the nation.

Egypt court orders YouTube blocked for a month A Cairo court yesterday ordered the government to block access to the videosharing website YouTube for 30 days for carrying an anti-Islam film that caused deadly riots across the world. Judge Hassouna Tawfiq ordered YouTube blocked for carrying the film, which he described as "offensive to Islam and the Prophet (Muhammad)." He made the ruling in the Egyptian capital where the first protests against the film

erupted last September before spreading to more than 20 countries, killing more than 50 people. The ruling, however, can be appealed and, based on precedent, might not be enforced. The 14-minute trailer for the movie "Innocence of Muslims" portrays the Muslim Prophet

Muhammad, a central figure to Islam, as a religious fraud, womanizer and paedophile. It was produced in the United States by an Egyptian-born Christian who's now a U.S. citizen. Egypt's new constitution includes a ban on insulting "religious messengers and prophets." Broadly worded,

Five dead in Belgiumairport plane crash small passenger plane crashed at Belgium's Charleroi airport yesterday, killing five people and closing the international hub used by Ryanair and other low-cost carriers. The aircraft, a Cessna, had problems on takeoff and tried to return to Charleroi to make an emergency landing but crashed on the side of the runway, airport officials said. "There was a problem on takeoff and they tried to come back, but unfortunately the plane crashed," said Melissa Milioto, an airport spokeswoman. "Five people were killed." Firefighters sprayed water on the plane that was reduced to a wreck of twisted metal, with only the tail still visible, TV images showed. The Belgian news agency Belga said the five killed were three young children, their mother and grandfather, and were all Belgian nationals. The airport was closed immediately after the crash which happened just before 0900 GMT.


Russian opposition leader placed on house arrest top Russian opposition figure has been placed under house arrest for two months, a move that also bans him from using most forms of communication, including the Internet, telephone and mail. A Moscow court imposed the restrictions yesterday on Sergei Udaltsov after prosecutors complained he had violated a previous agreement not to leave Moscow. Udaltsov, one of the most prominent figures of the wave of protests that arose in late 2011, is facing charges in connection with a protest in May that ended in clashes with police and for allegedly plotting to conduct mass disorder aimed at overthrowing the government. Opposition and rights activists have denounced the case against Udaltsov and other activists as a throwback to the times of Soviet-era repression. Since Putin returned to the Kremlin after a four-year sojourn as prime minister due to term limits, the Kremlin-dominated parliament has passed a series of laws cracking down on dissent. One law increases the fine for taking part in unsanctioned protests 150 fold to 300,000 rubles (nearly $9,000), close to the average annual salary.


•Activist of banned charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa burn the Indian flag during a protest against the execution of Kashmiri separatist Mohammed Afzal Guru in the Indian capital New Delhi, in Lahore yesterday. AFP Photo

India hangs man for 2001 attack on Parliament


Kashmiri man convicted in a 2001 attack on India's Parliament that left 14 people dead was hanged yesterday after a final mercy plea was rejected, a senior Indian Home Ministry official said. Home Secretary R.K. Singh told reporters that Mohammed Afzal Guru was executed early yesterday morning at New Delhi's Tihar prison. "It was the law taking its course," Singh said. Guru was given a Muslim burial in the prison compound, Press Trust of India news agency reported. His family in the India's Jammu-Kashmir state has demanded that his body be handed over, but that seems unlikely given the highly sensitive nature of the execution. Guru had been on death row since first being convicted in 2002. Subsequent appeals in higher courts were also rejected, and India's Supreme Court set an execution date for October 2006. But his execution was delayed after his wife filed a mercy petition with India's president. That petition, the last step in the judicial process, was turned down earlier this week. Several rights groups across India and political groups in Indian Kashmir have said that Guru did not get a fair trial. "Serious questions have been raised about the fairness of Afzal Guru's trial," Shashikumar Velath, Amnesty International India's programs director, said in

a statement. "He did not receive legal representation of his choice or a lawyer with adequate experience at the trial stage. These concerns were not addressed." Protests broke out yesterday in at least four parts of Indian Kashmir, including the northwestern town of Sopore, which was Guru's home. Scores of protesters chanting slogans including "We want freedom" and "Down with India" defied a curfew and clashed with police and paramilitary troops, who opened fire. Four protesters sustained bullet wounds and one of them was in critical condition, a senior police officer said on customary condition of anonymity. Thousands of police and paramilitary troops fanned out across the state preparing for more protests and violence following the announcement of the execution. A curfew was also imposed in most parts of Indian Kashmir, and cable television channels were cut off in the region. About 30 Kashmiri students and anti-death penalty activists clashed with Indian police and right-wing Hindu groups in New Delhi. Most of the protesters were detained by the police. Police in Indian Kashmir yesterday also detained several leaders of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an umbrella organization of separatist political and religious groups, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to reporters.

The group called for four days mourning in the disputed region and called Guru's hanging "an attack on the collective conscience of the Kashmiri people." The statement said that Indian Kashmir's chief cleric, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who also heads the separatist alliance, was detained in New Delhi and not allowed to travel to Srinagar, the main city of Indian Kashmir. Another top separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani, was also detained in the Indian capital, according to news reports.

blasphemy laws were also in effect under former President Hosni Mubarak prior to his ouster in a popular revolt two years ago. Human rights lawyer Gamal Eid said the decision to ban YouTube stems in large part from a lack of knowledge among judges about how the Internet works. Activists say this has led to a lack of courtroom discussion on technical aspects of digital technology, leaving cases based solely on threats to national security and defamation of religion. "This verdict shows that judges' understanding of technology is weak," Eid said. "The judges do not realize that one wrong post on a website does not mean you have to block the entire website." Eid, who is executive director at The Arabic Network for Human Right Information, said the government should file an appeal and make it clear to judges that, at most, only specific pages on websites should be blocked. His group released a statement saying that the decision to block YouTube is counterproductive, citing thousands of videos that seek to promote a better understanding of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad on the website. YouTube's parent company, Google, declined requests to remove the video from the website last year, but restricted access to it in certain countries, including Egypt, Libya and Indonesia, because it said the video broke laws in those countries. At the height of the protests in September, YouTube was ordered blocked in several countries, including Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah issued an order blocking all websites with access to the anti-Islam film in the conservative kingdom. Lawyer Mohammed Hamid Salim, who filed the case against the Egyptian government, alleged the film constitutes a threat to Egypt's security, adding that YouTube refused to remove the film despite its offensive content. Protesters in Cairo scaled the U.S. Embassy's walls and brought down the U.S. flag in the first demonstration against the film last year. Two other cases filed against the government and Google are pending in Egyptian courts. One lawsuit calls for a complete ban on Google's search engine and demands the company pay a $2 billion fine.

Mali soldiers arrest 2 men with explosives


WO men with explosives were arrested trying to enter the city of Gao yesterday, the Malian military said, a day after a suicide bomber blew himself up in an attack that has fuelled fears of a militant insurgency in northern Mali. The two suspected jihadists were in Malian military custody after being arrested at 7 a.m. on a road that leads into northern Mali's largest city, said military spokesman Modibo Traore. "The men were stopped at a checkpoint on the road from Bourem," Traore said of a village that is northwest of Gao. While Friday's attack killed only the bomber, it has raised concerns about the future strategy of the militants, who initially appeared to put up little resistance to the French and Malian military advance. Malian defense minister Yamoussa Camara told The Associated Press Saturday that the military was continuing to hunt extremists from their hiding places. "We call on the population of Gao

to not give in to panic and above all to cooperate with defense and security forces to drive out the terrorists who are trying to infiltrate among civilians," said Camara when reached by phone in Bamako. The young man who blew himself up on Friday had been living at a house in Gao that was a known jihadist hideout. A guard at the home said that it had been visited three months ago by the one-eyed terror leader Moktar Belmoktar, who claimed responsibility for the attack in Algeria on the BP-operated natural gas plant in which more than 37 people died. Other jihadist leaders from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa - known as MUJAO - also had stayed in the luxurious two-story home with a verdant courtyard, which the militants took over when they captured Gao last year, the guard said. Fears of suicide bombing attacks have been high since the discovery of industrial-strength explosives in Gao earlier this week.


News Review/Worldview •Water from the ocean crashes over the sea wall along Winthrop Shore Drive yesterday in Winthrop, Massachusetts. The powerful storm has knocked out power to 650,000 and dumped more than two feet of snow in parts of New England. PHOTOS: AFP

• Tunisian Ennahda party supporters take part in a rally to show support for the ruling Islamist party, in which the Ennahdadominated coalition holds a majority, yesterday, in the capital Tunis, three days after the assassination of Chokri Belaid, an outspoken critic of the Islamists.

•P o l i c e o f f i c e r s w o r k a t t h e s i t e o f a b u s accident in Tome, in Biobio province, some 500 km south of Santiago, yesterday. At least 15 people were killed and 19 others were injured when the bus full of passengers fell into a ravine in central Chile, a local official said.

ives •A riverboat along partially submerged banks of the river Seine is pictured yesterday in front of the Eiffel Tower (R) in Paris, as the river Seine's level rose in Paris. Roads along the river are closed to motorists since February 6 after the level of the water was reported at 3,79 meters high instead of the usual 2 meters

•Sybrina Fulton (2nd from L) and Tracy Martin (3rd from L) walk with supporters during the "March for Peace" at Ives Estate Park in honor of their late son, Trayvon Martin, yesterday in Miami, Florida. Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012 while Zimmerman was on neighborhood watch patrol in the gated community of The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida.



News Review/World


URING his inauguration, President Obama spoke of an America of open roads and bright vistas. His words sculpted the figure of a government of equity and enlightenment, one that promoted moral strength through law and fairness not one that found its way through naked might. Barely three weeks later, this comely figurine was shattered, its halo replaced by the spiked helmet and mailed fist of realpolitik. Once again, the President proved to be master of the cynical art of acting in direct contradiction to ideals publicly stated. The man is often steered by a strange countergauge where the more passionately he espouses an idea, the more latitude he takes in breaching it. This past week saw the purported leak of a Justice Department memorandum justifying the extrajudicial killing of suspected American-citizen terrorists. The alleged leak occurred as his nominee for CIA Director, John Brennan, a prime advocate of the drone bombing program, appeared for Congressional confirmation hearings. Releasing the salacious document beforehand, the leak was an Administration stratagem to minimize the drama that might come if the news was first unveiled at the unscripted public hearings. This way, everyone would expect Brennan's hearing testimony to accord with the memo; thus, his position would be more anti-climatic than shocking. The preview afforded by the memo would have significantly dulled the public conscience. The foibles of human nature being as they are, people might have gotten irritated, even angered, by first hearing the discomfiting views from the curmudgeon Brennan. However, it is more difficult for people to be aroused by an impersonal, anonymous document. We are more apt to erupt at another person but not at a piece of paper despite the inescapable fact that the writing came from a human hand and that the views therein are as egregious as they come. If the American constitution were a walled city, this memo would represent the Mongols, Vandals and Huns combined for one protracted, merciless siege. Never in post-Civil War America has the Justice Department taken the axe to the constitution as have Obama's attorneys. That this unmitigated assault on civil liberties is presided over by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, two men of color, is a black day in Black History. After the large injustices our race has suffered at the hands of arrogant power gone mad, it travesties our peculiar story that two Black men would stand as henchmen for an attack on the precious liberties that have offered their people partial solace from inequity through the years. It seems power not only intoxicates, it deadens the memory of those who come to wield it without due preparation. While the memo shall live to serve the national security complex's short-term interests, it will be recorded in the pages of American history as a blatant retrogression in the face of a millennium of Anglo-American jurisprudence limiting the arbitrary powers of the king and executive. The paper shall not endure as an important contribution to the republic. It shall go down as a permanent blot on the names of these two lawyers. The slipshod memo allows the government can kill an American citizen without resort to criminal charge or trial if that person is in Al Qaeda or an "affiliated force." This is first of several loopholes. Notorious Al Qaeda membership reasonably places a person on notice that he skates on thin ice with sharks and piranha lurking in the water below. However, the phrase "affiliated force" casts a broad and vague shadow. Eluding clear definition, the phrase can be used to encompass many activities, groups and persons a layman would consider legitimate. An organization engaged in nonviolent opposition to American policy can be such a force since it lends moral support to Al Qaeda. A humanitarian organization providing essential social services in a neighbor-


Droning out of democracy •A ruler's lust for power is the people's loss of liberty.




hood where some Al Qaeda operatives dwelt might fall into this category. One cannot expect the national security agencies of the present Administration to define the term with prudent narrowness. These agencies are no more improved than they were under the Bush government. These same agencies encouraged war against another sovereign nation based on false information from a mercenary intelligence source. The byproduct was the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq. The agencies are still unrepentant about this mortal folly. If the agencies could help author an unnecessary and harsh war placing an entire nation in the manacles of grief, what reticence would they harbor at the destruction of a life here or there? There would be no reticence. Remember, the Obama's Administration's Pentagon and FBI quickly labeled the pacifist, neo-beatnik Occupy Wall Street movement as potential domestic terrorists simply because people erected tents in public parks and made a nuisance of themselves to the moneyed elite by sitting before the front doors of New York's biggest financial houses. In a prior generation, these acts would have been deemed rather staid manifestations of civil disobedience. Today, the activity is viewed by authorities as a national security threat. Whatever those in power dislike can now be called terrorism and the innocent actors may well be susceptible to a terrorist's curt fate. Beyond this nebulous language, there is no attempt to define and thus apprise people of what type of behavior may place them in grave danger of being deemed a member of an affiliated force. The memo further holds that an American citizen must present an imminent threat before being summarily killed. This sounds rational. Sadly, the missive then treats the word "imminent" with the acme of sophistry. The memo slyly mentions the government uses "a broader conception of imminence" than what is commonplace. In this loophole, one can bury a multitude of abuses. Whoso-

ever penned the phrase "a broader conception" should win the maiden Nobel Prize for Best Understatement in Pursuit of Unnecessary War. The standard dictionary and definitions of "imminent" are cast out the window like litter sudden caught aflame in a moving car. The government says imminent does not require evidence of an attack in the immediate future. The person does not have to be actively engaged in planning or executing a plot. Once he is deemed a terrorist, the imminence of an attack is assumed. The person can be executed without any connection to any activity. Thus, the requirement of an imminent attack is a figment. It is an illusory condition because the memo so redefines "imminent" as to mean its opposite. The memo then gives "an informed, high-level US official" the power to determine which Americans can be executed. The government is bold enough to take a life but too secretive to tell us in whose hands such power has been vested. Presumably, the official is the president but the memo provides leeway for him to delegate such grave decisions to anonymous bureaucrats who work the shadows and thus believe they can act with impunity because the multiple layers of an increasingly secretive bureaucracy shields their actions from public glare. This is not the menu of democracy. It is fare of the incipient beginnings of a police state. That President Obama and his Attorney General countenance such a memo tells much about the steep diminution of American democracy. The memo's doublespeak is not written in the spirit of democracy. Not since slavery has such tortured language been employed to give official imprimatur to the immoral taking and abuse of human life. Back then, slavery was deemed the "necessary evil." Today, the unconstitutional taking of a life is sanitized as being an exercise in protection of the "greater good." But this is not the way of modern America. Its yeast is of foreign origins. Stalin or Mussolini would understand and approve this memo; its

•Brennan stilted words trace the crooked paths their minds worked. No Department that truly believes in Justice would have written this lewd assignment. This memo reads as if from the archives of the KGB or East Germany's dreaded Stasi not from the halls of democracy. Despite the legal embroidery, the memo is an instrument of constitutional infringement without modern peer. In violation of the constitution's Fifth Amendment, it claims government has the right to execute a citizen minus involvement in a crime. By giving the executive arm the power to decide who is a terrorist and how to punish the person, the presidency arrogates to itself the powers of the judiciary, again breaching the constitution's requirement of due process. The implied theme of the memo is that since government is intent on killing terrorists, anyone killed must be a terrorist. This Jesuitical reasoning is of the same inimical leaven that haughty governments have used down the centuries: since they always do the right thing, to question their actions is unpatriotic, if not outright felonious. This was the way of the Star Chamber and the Inquisition. The legacies of both are mired in poison and innocent blood. Here, we reach the crux of the matter. Mankind has struggled for centuries against the wiles and whims of absolute power. Should war now be apt, it is not war against terrorism that should be called forth. It is a war against the excess of government upon the liberty of the individual. It is a sad tale indeed that the American government now leads the assault against the very freedoms it once held dear. It is obvious that no government should be allowed to take life without an impartial judge scrutinizing the fatal action. When government kills someone, people should hope the executed was a genuine terrorist; but they ought not to accept the government's word on it. They must put government to the test of verification lest their lives become endangered by government run amok for government without restraint is government run amok. If government is so sure about the accuracy of its conclusions, it has no reason to fear scrutiny from a neutral judge. A republic cannot long endure when the people are told government's judgments are infallible and beyond reproach. People know the assertion to be false. If they acquiesce, it is not due to the validity of the claim but due to the timidity of the populace. This topic may seem far afield for Africa and Nigeria. Yet it is closer than you would like. Last month, America announced the establishment of a drone base in Niger. The drones are

purportedly for surveillance; it is but a slight operation change to move from aerial surveillance to airstrikes. If the American government can assume such a cavalier attitude to executing American citizens, imagine the lack of care that will be given the decimation of distant Africans. Second, African nations seem enamored with America. But the America you now see is not America the great or the beautiful. It is American the arrogant, a spoiled, inconsiderate child of those previous generations that forged a fine republic on the western shores of the North Atlantic. To mimic the ways and manner of the current America is to echo the faltering of democracy not it blossoming. Never in American history has a president supported the proposition that, outside the tides of hot combat, the government can kill a citizen an American without prior resort to judicial process. President Obama has assumed powers characteristic of an authoritarian despot on the defensive due to a serious civil insurrection. Like his predecessor, Obama claims America is at war against terrorism. At the mention of "war" and "terrorism" patriots are expected to stand erect, salute fall in line and proffer no questions. The so called war against terrorism is a misnomer just as is the war against drugs. I dare not think what may be the new remedy in the war again poverty. Given the morose logic of the drone memo, they perhaps will conclude the best way to fight poverty is to do away with poor people! Despite the horrific tragedy of September 11, Al Qaeda never presented an existential threat to American national security. The terrorists cannot bring America to her knees. Weighed against the vast history of warfare, the contest of America against terrorism is at most a skirmish. The most serious threat to America is not Al Qaeda or other terrorists but America's overreaction to them. America has been willing to peel apart is democracy and forfeit its trove of civil liberties in pursuit of an enemy that offers no mortal threat. This is akin to using a shotgun to fell a gnat buzzing at your ear. You may well get the insect but you will blow away a precious portion of your anatomy in the dumb process. America can be effective against terrorism without shedding the civil liberties that made it special. To do so, its political leaders must summon the courage to withstand the pressure applied by the military and national security industry to turn the nation and the larger part of the globe into an armed and fenced encampment. In the end, the process envisioned by the bestial memo will be used and terrorists will be killed as a result. Many innocent people will be done in as well. Never in the history of mankind has the executive assumed such broad powers without severely abusing them. President Obama is not so exceptional that he can cheat history on this point. He has and will continue to kill innocent people in the exaggerated expression of a war that does not exist in the form and to the extent that his generals and security advisors counsel him. Because the monsters they fight are more imaginary than real, their behavior in combating these inflated foes risks detaching Obama and his advisors from reality. They have entered a self-righteous cocoon where they believe only they have the requisite knowledge, information and wisdom to render the sensitive decision. The more the people ask for openness, the more these leaders resent the democratic urgings. They will become more secretive and become more aggressive in their execution of would be terrorists to prove the rightness of their ways and means. They believe they will be protecting the beloved republic. In actuality, they will do more damage than any terrorist could ever mount. America will gradually cease being a nation of law and rights. It will become one of might and the expedient. At that point, the august bald eagle will fly from the nest because it has fallen and been given over to the wolves and jackals of the age. 08060340825 (sms only)



‘Messi’ and the opposition hordes

Lekan Otufodunrin

Festus Eriye 08023000621 (SMS only)

Time to be like Awo



T was billed as mission impossible by cynics who have seen past attempts at mergers and alliances by political parties fizzle at the altar of outsize egos and gargantuan ambitions. And, the speed with which four major opposition parties announced the formation of the All Peoples Congress (APC) was, to say the least, dizzying. Of all the reactions to the event, the one I found most entertaining was that by the national chairman of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Bamanga Tukur. At a time when Nigeria’s football team, the Super Eagles, decided to shock a jaded nation with its exploits in South Africa, it was not surprising that Tukur would succumb to a sporting metaphor to respond to an equally unscripted political development. “If they have the strength why do they come together?” he wondered. “If you go for a contest you have the striker, you know Lionel Messi, PDP is Messi in the contest. They (opposition) are not a threat at all, it is better; it will inspire PDP to action. For the uninitiated, Lionel Messi is the pint-sized Argentinean dynamo who plays for the top Spanish La Liga side, Barcelona. He is quick, consistent and skilful beyond belief. Those are not words that you would ordinarily use to describe the PDP – a lumbering, bumbling, unwieldy assemblage of disparate interests welded together for so long, by the sole fact that in 13 years it has remained the surest path to power at the center. I didn’t expect Tukur to react to the news by saying he and his party men were shaking in their boots. Although, PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Olisah Metuh, did issue a statesmanlike statement welcoming the merger, some leading members of his party have been to quickly dismissive. On the face of it they have grounds to be so cavalier. In 2011, Muhammadu Buhari’s infant Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) went into a late-hour mating dance. The alliance effort was half-hearted, but more critically, it was grievously ill-timed coming as it did just a few weeks before polling day. Many will also recollect another chaotic attempt at electoral collaboration in 1999. By the time of elections, leaders of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) who had dashed in and out of the nascent PDP and All Peoples Party (APP) for all manner of reasons, found themselves boxed into the SouthWest. The only way to power at federal level was to cooperate with the then APP which appeared to enjoy some popularity across the northern states. It turned out the APP’s supposed strength was exaggerated. Some of its leading lights like Umaru Shinkafi whom the AD-APP alliance was depending upon were roundly trounced. More than incompatibility, the 1999 failure was more because the collaboration was rushed – leaving no time for adequate mobilisation of the people and familiarisation with the political platform. Again, one of the reasons why such mergers and alliances had failed in the past was down to the presence of larger-than-life figures who led the potential partners, and whose ambitions stood in the way of genuine cooperation. When they were alive the ambitions of



the likes of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, were considerable cogs that made any talk of cooperation between the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and Nigeria Peoples Party (NPP) little more than a pipe dream. Many will see in the APC that same challenge given that Buhari still dreams of reaching the presidency. Some in the new partnership believe he remains a hard sell in other parts of the country, and prefer he anoints a younger individual around whom the new party can rally. But there’s no sense that the general has decided to sacrifice his aspiration. The only light at the end of the tunnel might be that the other parties have decided to live with the reality that the general will run one final time. Of course, many PDP strategists believe Buhari can never win an election in Nigeria. That much has been said by Dr. Doyin Okupe, Public Affairs Adviser to the President. Since we are still throwing football metaphors and analogies around, I might just add that in politics as in sport anything is possible. The current Super Eagles team at the African Cup of Nations went there unheralded. Many expected them to be humiliated by Cote d’Ivoire. Today, they will be playing in the finals against another underrated and unheralded bunch of no-hoppers – Burkina Faso! I suggest that rather than laugh and think that it will be business as usual, the PDP should be worried for all manner of reasons. Even if the opposition does nothing else, they have managed something major with the creation of the APC given their differences and the personalities who have agreed to subsume parties where they were once lords and masters, and join a bigger team where they will just be one

of the major players. In Nigerian politics that is not something to sneer at. Will there be disagreements? Of course, there will be. Will someone people suddenly make an about-turn when they fail to get what they hoped for? Depend on it! Will some people starting carping about a lack of ideological purity? Of course, they will. But like the pragmatic former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, once told his nitpicking colleagues in the then opposition Labour Party: even if you have the best ideas you can never do anything about them for as long as you remain in opposition. His message was clear: Labour had to downplay the ideological grandstanding and find ways to make themselves electable. In the very existence of the APC today, Nigerian opposition politicians are finally waking up to the reality that PDP could govern for 60 years, as they have threatened to, unless they find a way to make themselves electable. Another reason the PDP should worry is that the key pillars in the new party have strength in two zones with the greatest haul of electoral votes: North-West and South-West. With that as foundation and with pick-ups in other zones, they can easily make the constitutional requirement of winning one-third of votes cast in two-thirds of the states of the federation. Believe it or not, there is a clear path way to Aso Rock for the APC. Lying like a time-bomb in the belly of the PDP is the President Goodluck Jonathan factor. Will he run or will he not? After the bitter zoning battles of 2011, and the unwritten understanding that he will govern for just one term, another bid by the incumbent is bound to fracture the party – to the benefit of a new, credible platform with a realistic chance of going all the way. Another factor the ruling party has to be concerned about is PDP-fatigue. Across the world the electorate often gets to a point where they just become bloody-minded, tired of the same old faces, and would gladly throw them overboard if there is a credible alternative in sight. Margaret Thatcher was kicked out by voters after 13 years in power for similar reasons. Come 2015 the PDP would have been in power 16 years nonstop. As a kid growing up in the 70s, I became familiar with a particular brand of analgesic called APC. The new opposition party can turn out to be Nigeria’s pain killer if its leading lights can show that their desire to get into power in order to implement their ideas is far greater than all their egos put together. That is the real challenge: forming the new party was the easy part.

“But like the pragmatic former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, once told his nitpicking colleagues in the then opposition Labour Party: even if you have the best ideas you can never do anything about them for as long as you remain in opposition. His message was clear: Labour had to downplay the ideological grandstanding and find ways to make themselves electable”

HOSE who speak of the good old days in Nigeria, especially the pre-military regime years sure know what they are talking about. Former Governor Omololu Olunloyo of Oyo State must have shocked many participants at the just concluded South-West Expo held in Osogbo, Osun State when he disclosed that he got two scholarships from the Western region government headed by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and in his own words, was granted the indulgence of using the two to study Mathematics and Engineering abroad. Using his case illustrate the benefits of regional integration which was the theme of the trade exhibition and seminar organised by Vintage Press Limited, Chief Olunloyo noted that the major source of income for the old western region was Cocoa which was not grown in Ibadan, the region’s capital but in Idanre, Akoko and part of the present Osun State. Like other speakers including Former Attorney General of the Federation, Prince Bola Ajibola, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun and Senator Abiola Ajimobi also acknowledged, that there are abundant resources in various parts of the South-West which has to be harnessed through coordinated efforts by State governments irrespective of political affiliations now or in the future. It is unfortunate that the discovery of oil has made successive governments in the country not to give agriculture the deserved priority which would have earned us additional revenue and reduced our present over- dependence on oil proceeds. Rather than being an additional blessing, the discovery of oil has become a curse of a sort with not only the constantly fluctuating price in the international market but uncertainty of how long we would continue to earn enough from its sale. One of the things the South-West Expo succeeded in doing is that it served as yet another timely reminder for not only the South West but all regions and the federal government to cooperate on how to develop our agriculture sector and fully maximise the benefits of the resources our nation has been blessed with. Instead of engaging in duplication of efforts, there is an urgent need backed by necessary government policies and willingness to identify the competitive advantages of each state and focus on them. The South-West States already have the benefit of the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) which the Director General of the Director General of the Western Nigeria Integration Commission, Mr Dipo Famakinwa spoke on during the programme. As he advised, South-West leaders should leverage on shared historical affiliations of states in the zone, to build synergies and economies of scale, whereby the region and its people will experience enhanced human and social development outcomes across all spheres of existence. Famakinwa was right as he stated in his presentation. “The world is looking in the direction of Africa for agriculture and nutrition, and for other commercial possibilities that the fast-urbanising Africa presents. There is a compelling necessity to prepare the Region for global competitiveness. It is a crisis situation and Yorubaland ( and indeed other regions in the country) cannot wait,”. We have to stop remembering how well the late Chief Awolowo in developing the western region. Our leaders who claim to be his disciples should do better than he did years ago.


Ogochukwu Ikeje 08084235961 (SMS only)



Comment & Analysis

N Thursday, Enugu State Governor Sullivan Chime flew back to the country as quietly as he jetted out last September. His return brought relief on the one hand, and profound grief on the other. I explain. Chime's departure was on medical grounds, as everyone later came to know; so his return is good news. In fact, as this piece shaped up, part of the story was that he was eager to pick up from where he left off. I rejoice in the governor's recovery, knowing that life, even for the rich and privileged, is in the hands of God. But I am deeply troubled by the fact that Chime and his managers failed to use the opportunity of his return to correct the grave mistakes surrounding his departure over four months ago. One reason for this is that neither the governor nor his handlers realised they were in error in the first place. Leaving Enugu in the third week of September, the governor divulged little information beyond the fact that he was proceeding on his annual leave and that his deputy would govern the state in his absence. There was no indication of where he was headed. There was no word on how long he would be away. Neither was anything said about his real mission, his health. That was wrong and it brought Enugu people no joy, neither did it do Chime himself any good whether as governor or politician. Such executive silence was in utter disregard and disrespect of the people who voted him into power. Enugu people and the entire country were clueless as to the state of their governor's well-being, just as they had no idea when

Chime's hide and seek Our leaders' health secrecies damage our collective well-being he would be back home. Such behaviour of leaders suggests that the people they lead count for little and are not qualified to know their leaders' health status. This is in spite of the fact that those neglected people provide the money with which the leaders feed and fund their privileges. It smacks of downright disregard. Chime's silence created a vacuum filled only by rumours and speculation, both unhealthy for the people, their governor and their state. It was a grave error his administration failed to correct upon his return. The blunder of silence at departure would have been corrected on his return with full disclosure and a heart-felt apology. Such humility would have appeased the people and rallied them behind him with prayers and thanksgiving. Also, such humble dispositions have a way of not just winning the people over but also helping the leader to realise his immortality. For sometimes, leaders fall into error thinking they may possess some superhuman qualities. They imagine they cannot fall ill, but when they

do, they think it best not to let lesser mortals know. This is erroneous and harmful, for we all have a headache or flu now and then. Our economic strengths may vary, as may also our options of where to seek remedy, but ailment is no respecter of persons or status. The sooner our leaders came to grips with this fact, the less secretive they would be about their state of well-being. "I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease... At the moment I feel just fine. I intend to live the remainder of the years God gives me on this earth doing the things I have always done...I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead. Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you." President Ronald Reagan wrote those words in August 1994 as doctors diagnosed a disease without cure. Goodwill messages flooded his California home. He was aged 83 then, but lived for 10 more

“Chime's blunder of silence at departure would have been corrected on his return with full disclosure and a heart-felt apology. Such humility would have appeased the people and rallied them behind him with prayers and thanksgiving. Also, such humble dispositions have a way of not just winning the people over but also helping the leader to realise his immortality�

years before succumbing to pneumonia. Were Reagan a Nigerian, perhaps only his wife Nancy and one or two other people would have known what ailed one of America's most memorable commandersin-chief. All over the world, the health status of national leaders is not such top secret, except in old Communist and totalitarian regimes. Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's health challenges are public knowledge. She has spoken of her concussion and blood clot near her brain. Chelsea, her daughter, has not held anything back. Neither has her father, President Bill Clinton who, himself, has well-known health issues of his own. On these shores, things are remarkably different but Chime's health secrets are nothing new. They only conform to an ugly standard set by even more powerful forces. On November 23, 2009, then President Umaru Yar'Adua was flown out of the country and did not return until February 24, 2010. In the period, everything that should not happen to a country, happened to Nigeria. Amid concerns over his wellbeing, there were agitations as to the direction of the country, considering that no handover instructions were left. In fact, Yar'Adua's aides made such capital of the fact that the ailing president could run the country from anywhere in the world. When his condition was very bad, his minders said it was splendid. Late last year, the whole country was enveloped in a cloud of needless controversies surrounding the health and whereabouts of First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan. When will our leaders demystify themselves and learn to value the people they lead?


Comment & Analysis


Centenary celebration What we need is sober reflection, not festivity


PPARENTLY, the decision of the Federal Government to celebrate the centenary of the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria was arrived at, without rigour. The amalgamation was a unilateral decision of Lord Lugard, representing the British colonialists, without any consultation with the indigenes at the time. The driving consideration was the economic and administrative conveniences of the colonial enterprise that he championed. Now, it is that subjugation of our people, their culture and humanity, fought against by our forbearers up to the 1960 Independence that we want to celebrate. No doubt, 1914 is a landmark in our colonial history. But at its centenary anniversary, what is required is a somber reflection, instead of a celebration of our subjugation by a foreign power. The share absurdity of this enterprise is a manifestation of the neo-colonialist instincts of the Nigerian leadership. Regrettably, this instinct runs deep, as majority of our past Presidents and Heads of State were at the formal launch of the year-long celebration. Unfortunately, the current President presents the anniversary as a manifestation of our common desire to stay together. Using a strange hyperbole, he likens the celebration to a centenary of a marriage, forgetting that a forced marriage is an absurdity and a nullity in law. The President and his compatriots, in their misplaced patriotic fervour, seek to substitute symbol for content. Yes, we agree that 1914 was the year two British protectorates were joined to form Nigeria as a nation, but will it not be fairer to ask, for whose benefit? It is even more unfair to our distinct humanity, to celebrate an act forced on us by a foreign power, despite the misgivings at the time. Or, is it possible that our leadership is not aware of the illustrious


Y the time Chief Timipre Sylva was one year old in office as Governor of Bayelsa State in 2008, he had struck a chord that gave clear clues about where he was heading. He proved he had adequately prepared for the onerous task of governance in a state that had seen probably the worst bashing in the hands of ecological degradation and militants fighting a brutal and merciless war against the government, society and oil companies. He had no illusion what he had set upon himself. Sylva knew the war was one that must be won on behalf of the people who voted him into power. He had to battle the militants while tackling the issue of statecraft in a relatively new state like Bayelsa. The burden he shouldered was akin to what the Greek mythological Atlas did when he carried the sky on his shoulders as a punishment for offending the erratic god Zeus. Because the militants had also resorted to hostage-taking in addition to their war in the creeks, Sylva inherited quite a handful of abductees. It was a scary situation that could discourage any administrator from serious business. An ordinary person would have used it as an excuse not to deliver on his election promises. But not Sylva! He moved into action to deal with the host of monsters he had inherited. In his first year in office,

history of our various ethnic nationalities, conquered and subdued by the British military might, which culminated in the marriage that the President referred to? As a people, 1914 does not signpost any valour, heroism or might exhibited by our people that deserve to be celebrated. On the contrary, what we seem to be rolling out our drums for, is the culmination of the British conquest of the culture and peoples stretching from Sokoto to Eko, Ijaw to Kanuri, and several other nationalities that the conqueror eventually named Nigeria. That is why as a people we should rather be examining the intrinsic terms, conditions, liabilities and other nuances of the marriage – if we may use the presidential hyperbole - that has been foisted on us, when we were not in a position to resist. Such a reflection, in our view, will be no less patriotic, particularly considering the current challenges of our nationhood. This lack of reflection is also evidenced by the bogus programmes earmarked for the anniversary. Ranging from the mundane to the impossible, the organisers are promising to use the anniversary to solve major infrastructure and millennium development goal deficits that have challenged the country. While claiming that private capital will be used to actualise the TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

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

•Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Kunle Fagbemi

programmes, the planners have promised to deliver a new city gate, a new town, hospitals, roads, scholarships, lottery and several other promises, to entice Nigerians. The range of promises and programmes have left many Nigerians wondering how a government that has failed to deliver on its promises with the humongous public funds at its disposal over the years, will now within a year, aggregate private capital to solve these deficits. Experience shows that what will likely happen is that this anniversary programme will be turned into a bazaar for our government officials and their collaborators. Even the tale of using private funds will not stick, as Nigerians are aware that through official policies our conniving businessmen are fraudulently enriched in order to fund programmes of their benefactor governments. Nigerians had also been disappointed in the past by policy somersaults and shenanigans by their leaders and will not be surprised if there exist subterranean budgets for some of the programmes that they claim will be privately funded. Even our National Assembly cannot be trusted not to change its mind midway, about not being ready to fund the anniversary programmes. To restore our national honour and self worth, we urge those presently in government to use the anniversary to galvanise a fresh start for our country. Considering our current enormous challenges as a nation, there is a need for a renegotiated Nigeria, based on our freewill and mutually agreed tenets for peaceful co-existence. If we must celebrate our nationhood, the 1960 Independence is the only worthy anniversary closest to the restoration of our dignity and agreement to live together. The hallmarks of the colonial period should be left for the colonialists to celebrate.


Bayelsa: One year after Timipre Sylva he adopted what he and his team called the “Triple E” Strategy: Engagement, Education, and Enforcement. By which he meant his administration would first engage the militants in a dialogue to convince them to drop their arms. Thereafter, he would offer education to those willing and malleable for academic work. For those averse to the classroom, he would empower them for artisanship and lastly through a series of multi departmental policies enforce


HERE is inevitably something comic about this political enterprise of ours, something decidedly beyond reason. Does it not seem the people are falsely imprisoned, though it appears it can only happen here, N23.3billion stolen admittedly by one Mr. John Yakubu Yusuf, a former Assistant Director in the Police Pension Office, in inordinate vanity and a dreadful humiliation of the country’s national character in another classic now known as the Police Pension Scam, and after months of back and forth, he gets two years imprisonment with an option of N750, 000 fine only.

the execution of the strategy. The plan succeeded and became the forerunner to what we now celebrate as the Amnesty Programme of the Federal Government . He went on to record great achievements in the following years after winning peace as a basis for development. Indeed by October 2008, a group, Security Watch Africa, which is respected for its integrity in monitoring security concerns in Nigeria and across Africa, had recognised the work of

Sylva and rolled out honours for him. He was awarded two prizes for his “dogged efforts to install stability and peace in a terrain said to have been rendered a no-go area by heavily armed militants.” The two awards Sylva got were Best Governor on Security Matters and 2008 Best Governor on Conflict Resolution. He beat other formidable contenders such as Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Bukola Saraki (Kwara) and Ibrahim Shekarau ( Kano), among oth-

ers, who were shortlisted. Later, Bayelsa under Sylva, after peace had been won, was to witness a steady improvement in education, power generation and supply. The trend was to continue until last year when in the typical Nigerian spirit that kills the goose that lays the golden eggs, the sledgehammer fell on Bayelsa and stopped the music and dance of progressive governance. One year of the Henry Seriake Dickson government in Bayelsa has not

Crime and punishment in Nigeria What does the country get? Nothing, but a disgraceful applause. What do the people get? Shock, perhaps mild disbelief, pain and destroyed hopes. Can I ask, did our government not spend more than N750,000 to prosecute that man? Maybe am just wondering. Gleefully, the matter is reported as plea bargain, and even though am a lawyer, being familiar with that word, yet my mind begins to extrapolate the things of the deep, and somehow this epiphany that can only be occasioned by logic leads me to perhaps what plea bar-

gain indeed means here; another word for the arrest of justice and its subsequent trial on the altar of bargain, and by the time bargain is closed, the highest bidder is throwing a party. Sounds to me more like justice auctioned to the highest bidder. I thought there is something referred to as the Mischief rule in the Canons of Interpretation, a rule which I suspect solemnly calls on today’s actors in the theatre of law and justice to reach out to the original intention of the Parliament, to help them unearth the mind of the then

makers of the Law, to order their steps in doing justice. In the same vein, I would suppose that the makers of our criminal cum penal sanctions must have had the likes of Mr. John Yakubu Yusuf in mind while drafting our laws, but was it the intention of those same lawmakers that a man guilty of stealing N23.3billion be handed a two year sentence that can simply be exchanged for a paltry sum of N750, 000? Certainly, I think not. By Olusola Adegbite, Abuja.

been as portentous of a promising future as that of Sylva Whereas in one year of Sylva as I have shown above, you could point to a road map that indicated serious and purposeful governance, you have no such thing in the past twelve months of Governor Dickson . He has spent the period in a futile chase of the ghost of Sylva, who, mercifully, has refused to join issues with him but has rather allowed his achievements to speak for him . Dickson has remained stagnant and clay – footed, rooted in one spot of unfounded and sometimes ridiculous claims about his predecessor. The governor hasn’t posted any strategic performance to offer an inkling that he is poised for great achievements for the rest of his term. The first move a leader makes marks him out. It is true some leaders are slow, hesitant starters. But even in such stuttering steps, you would discern an element of certainty and knowledgeability of governance. We have not seen this in Dickson. And this is making us Bayelsans nostalgic about the past era of Sylva . Dickson should stop weeping about a phantom legacy of debts and empty treasury and give us what Sylva gave us : Hope ! By James Wanimighe Sagbama, Bayelsa State.




Comment & Analysis

As we celebrate our country’s colonisation Ropo Sekoni ropo.sekoni

This article appeared on this page in 2012, when President Jonathan first mentioned his plan to celebrate what he calls Nigeria’s centenary. The formal kick-off in Kaduna of the commemoration of Lugard’s amalgamation of northern and southern protectorates in 1914 calls for re-presentation of this piece


I is now common knowledge that the presidency is ready to celebrate the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 by Frederick Lugard. Such celebration is not just an attempt to recognise the amalgamation as a positive milestone in the history of Nigeria. It is, simply put, a bold attempt by the federal government to commemorate the country’s colonization. The question of the minute is whether observing the amalgamation can enhance the country’s unity or whether it is

Femi Orebe femi.orebe 08056504626 (sms only)


ICROSOFT Encarta defines the word resurgent as: ‘rising or becoming stronger again’. One reason the Yoruba will never forget Chief Obafemi Awolowo, apart from his trail-blazing policies which were far ahead of his time was that people were the focal point, the very epicentre, of all his government’s policies. Rich or poor, but especially those at the lower rungs of the social ladder, were the primary focus of all the programmes and policies of the Action Group. For that reason, and never for propaganda purposes, literally every household in Yoruba land had the redifusion box through which the entire citizenry was kept abreast of every government action. While it is understandable why the military had no use for such people friendly policies, the absence of such policies in the sterile four years of PDP ascendancy in the region must reckon as the primary reason the party was never loved by the Yoruba people as evidenced by the fact that their leading lights were routinely losing elections right within their homestead. Commenting recently on ekitipanupo, Wale Adeoye, a brilliant journalist, activist and Senior Special Assistant to governor Fayemi of Ekiti wrote as follows: ‘The new bridge commissioned recently in Ogun State, the about-to be-ready Mokola bridge, the Ikogosi warm water project, the Ire Burnt Brick industry, the new Ijebu-Igbo-Lagos highway being dualised by the Osun State government, the Lagos tram project (first of its kind in Nigeria), the complete rebuilding of Benin city …’ are all tar-

The Archbishop of Canterbury should be asked to celebrate a high mass here in Abuja or in London likely to incense citizens struggling for restoration of federalism as another attempt to justify the current unitary governance of the country. Given the history of several resistances against Britain’s colonisation of Nigeria in general and against Lugard in particular, as well as the huge sacrifices made by nationalist leaders that fought against colonialism and struggled for self-government in the regions and for independence for the entire country, many patriots are likely to be saddened by any effort by a civilian president that is craving, over fifty years after independence, to celebrate the raw act of colonisation of the country. It is not out of place for such patriots to ask why the federal government is not ready to leave the celebration of the country’s most challenged and challenging colonial decision to the United Kingdom’s government. Certainly, the British should have more reasons than Nigeria to commemorate the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914. It enabled Britain to have the most populous country in Africa today. Lugard’s courage and insensitivity to join the two protectorates made (and still does) today’s Nigeria one country that has more people than all the colonies of France,

Britain’s competitor in the Scramble for and Partition of Africa. It must be a thing of joy to the British that the huge country it created out of many in 1914 is still almost as dependent on it as it was in the days of Lugard. For example, instead of generating electricity like other former British colonies, Lugard’s Nigeria relies on generators manufactured in England and clones from such places as China and India. The United Kingdom has reasons to beat its chest for the continuation of the tradition of organising census and elections it bequeathed to Nigeria. Britain should also feel good that its compromise on moving from Lugard’s amalgamation (unitary governance) to federalism in the 50s and at independence has subtly been annulled by Nigerian military dictators and surrogate civilian rulers that came in the post-colonial era. But if the current federal government believes that it is better positioned to lead the celebration of the amalgamation of Nigeria, it should not fail to do it in style, in consonance with the country’s flair for conducting outlandish festivals or carnivals. It should invite any of Lugard’s living relatives to give a keynote speech or serve as father or mother of the day. It should open

a special register in Worcester, England, where Lugard was raised, with the aim of thanking the town for producing the father of Nigeria. There should be space in the ceremony for a London celebration, to which Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Cameron are invited to represent, respectively, King George V and Herbert Asquith, the prime minister in charge of the colonial government in 1914. If possible, these two should be invited to Abuja to serve as grandmother and grandfather of the day. If not, we should organize a London version of the commemoration to make it easy for the two to serve as co-celebrators. President Museveni of Uganda should be invited to assist its sister-country to celebrate the accomplishments of a man that served both countries as the icon of British colonialism in Africa. The Archbishop of Canterbury should be asked to celebrate a high mass here in Abuja or in London. One thing that must not be missed in the celebration— whether representatives of the family of Lugard or the British royalty and government agree to participate in the ceremony—is making copies of Lugard’s books available as items to be included in the gift bags to be distributed at the ceremony. If this is going

A resurgent Southwest Most reviews of development in the geo-political zone have concentrated on infrastructural development geted at making the various communities more conducive to the peoples’ various occupations as a way of enhancing their well-being. Factor in then the great strides being made by the First Ladies as in Erelu Bisi Fayemi’s multi-sectoral programmes geared towards youth and women empowerment, the Ogun State First Lady’s highly imaginative ‘UPLIFTing the aged’ project by which thousands of very old people are being provided succor and Mrs Ajumobi’s ‘Ajumose Food Bank’ initiative targeted at drastically reducing hunger amongst widows and the elderly. Add to these programmes, Fayemi’s first in Nigeria social security monthly payments to the elderly as well as Aregbesola’s equally heart-warming monthly payment to the same category of people and what you see are leaders who are determined, as Mrs Ajumobi succinctly put it, ‘to ensure the complete restoration of pristine Yoruba values long bastardised by the activities of some unfeeling, past governments. For the current governors the agenda is one of compassion, probity and accountability. If in doubt, then mentally go back some light years and recall, not just the killer gangs habitually over running the entire region; an octogenarian putting the entire Ibadan to the sword with the city emerging the dirtiest and most dangerous city in the country as rival motor park gangs, allegedly under some police protection, spilled blood at will. Interestingly today, the same Ibadan, which Sam Omatseye once dubbed ‘the city of grime and crime’, that city of Baba Adedibu, Tokyo, Auxiliary etc, is being tastefully restored and renewed by the Ajumobi government thereby enhancing the city’s environmental health status.

All over the South-West, the people had to rise to put their traducers to shame, and flight, but nowhere in the geo-political zone would this people power equal what happened in Ekiti, an odyssey which has been brilliantly captured in THE LONG WALK – a book authored by some Aides of the Chief Protagonist, Dr Kayode Fayemi. All these put together, in the words of Wale Adeoye, is the testimony of our history and as if it required legitimisation, the clear electoral supremacy of the progressives reaffirmed that during the 2011 general elections when the people doused the vapours of hate and the afflictions induced by our yesterday men . That soul-renching defeat of the oppressor party has given the entire Southwest a new lease of life made distinct throughout the country by an unprecedented, pan-regional peace except, occasionally, when the rump of their hatchet men attempt to re-enact a recrudescence of their old mayhem. Most reviews of development in the geo-political zone have concentrated on infrastructural development: roads built to last decades and giant strides in healthcare delivery as exemplified by Lagos, Ekiti , Osun and Ogun States, complete overhaul and revival of dead industries as in Ekiti, giant strides in agriculture as in Osun State; the urban renewal projects that are unerringly transforming Ibadan, Osogbo and Ado-Ekiti, and the single-minded determination of each of these state governments to revive the decrepit educational infrastructure left behind by the departing PDP governments among others. Important as all these are, with Lagos state emerging as the incomparable lodestar even in the entire country, our governors are acutely aware that

development is not all about brick and mortar. They know that peace, is a sine qua non for development and the overall well-being of the citizenry which should be the raison d’être of any good government. Although the federal government has failed dismally in the task of ensuring the safety of lives and properties in the country, governments in the Southwest do put considerable premium on securing the lives and properties of the citizenry. For the respective governors, therefore, kidnapping, armed robbery and other criminalities like those being daily spewed by the Boko Haram can certainly not be an option though, it must be acknowledged that armed robbery, mostly transborder, is still around and about albeit, on a diminishing scale since the states give maximum support to their police commands which remain curiously underfunded by the federal government as Nigerians saw recently in our decrepit Police Training Colleges. But it must be said that peace has not come cheap as it has been the result of deep thinking and appropriate, proactive actions on the part of these state governments as a means of driving their commitment to securing the citizenry. This is in the knowledge that only a peaceful atmosphere can guarantee their developmental efforts, even governance itself. A clear example is what we currently see in some states up North where it has been alleged that some governors now run the affairs of government from outside the state capitals though the suggestion has been strenuously denied.. The overwhelming peace in the Southwest owed its genesis to Lagos State governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola

to be too expensive, Lugard’s favourite description of the typical African should be printed on the Programme of Events. It should not be too expensive for petroleum-rich Nigeria to include the following lines of Lugard’s favourite quote: “The typical African…is happy, thriftless, excitable person, lacking in self-control, discipline and foresight, naturally courageous, and naturally courteous and polite, full of personal vanity, with little sense of veracity… in brief, the virtues and defects of this racetype are those of attractive children.” Furthermore, any Nigerian that is opposed to the celebration of Nigeria’s glorious beginning with amalgamation should be declared personal non-grata and a mortal enemy of Nigerian unity. Any Nigerian that chooses to demonstrate or protest against the grand celebration of Nigeria’s Lugardian origin should be charged with treason or treasonable felony. The federal government should leave no stone unturned in its effort to convince critics of the proposed mother of celebrations that its decision is infallible. It should encourage critics to read Michael S. Roth’s The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty, especially on the thesis about how our brains convince us that our lies are true. Those charged to mould the consciousness of citizens should not fail to say that there is nothing too absurd to do on account of the unity of Nigeria, manufactured by Lugard in 1914. who, in 2007 established a Lagos State Security Trust Fund which was passed into Law by the state House of Assembly. This was the outcome of a highpowered committee he set up under the chairmanship of Alhaji Musiliu Smith, about the only Inspector-General of Police to have come out of service with his integrity intact, in recent times. The committee identified logistics, mobility, communications, kitting, and appropriate hardware, in sufficient quantities, as the major challenges inhibiting the police in its determined effort to checkmate violent crimes. To successfully navigate these challenges, it was discovered that huge sums of money would be needed on a recurring basis. The state government therefore rightly decided on a Public/Private partnership which has since generated billions of naira to the great fortune of the Lagos state police command and the state’s overall security. The Lagos example has since gone viral in the entire Southwest and each of the states has poured huge sums of money, in materiel and logistics, into their respective police commands with Osun state actually launching its own security trust fund. The result is that even transborder gangs, whether from neighbouring countries or from other geo-political zones for which the Southwest was at a time a regular hunting ground have learnt the hard way and had since migrated back to where they came from. The resultant peace has gelled rather flawlessly with the traditional peaceful nature of the people which has in turn been helped significantly by the fact that no matter in which state you are in the region, you have a government that is earnestly putting its all into the service of the people. The synergy between the state governors in their determined effort to ensure peace and security in the region is a clear evidence of regional integration whose fundamental objective, in the words of the Ogbeni is ‘to harness, effectively and efficiently, the abundant resources of the region and to unleash its collective enterprise towards promoting the well being and quality of lives of the people living in the region’. .

Comment & Analysis



Adegboyega 08054503906 (sms only)


HOSE who said Nigerians are the ‘happiest people on earth’ obviously knew what they were talking about. This is one country where you find the e go better expression on everyone’s lips, no matter how bad things are. No one is willing to confess negative. And that has its basis in religion, the opium of our people. That, I guess, is the source of our perpetual ‘happiness’. The only snag is that I have not found any link between that ‘happiness’ and life expectancy because it is also a fact that people who are happy tend to live longer than those who have sadness all around them. If our happiness is genuine, then we should be among the people with high life expectancy. At 47- 48, the lowest in the West African sub-region, we cannot say we are doing well. Yet, we are ‘happy’. That ‘happiness’ is apparently behind the Federal Government’s decision to celebrate the centenary of the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates to form what is now known as Nigeria, by Sir Frederick Lugard (known simply as Lord Lugard), in 1914. Although Nigeria as a country will be 100 years old next January, the commemoration of the amalgamation began on Monday, with the centenary anniversary dinner held at the State House in Abuja. We knew this was what the government would do when, sometime ago they started flying kites as to the importance of the amalgamation. As a matter of

Postscript, Unlimited! By

Oyinkan Medubi 07057012862 (SMS only)


HERE is something definitely in the air; all you need do is to take a sniff. Well, first you’ll breathe in a mouthful of dust, but that’s just the leftover of the harmattan season. To get rid of that, simply imagine yourself all kitted out – suit, shoes, jeep and all – drawing up in front of the seat of government in the capital territory. A very foul odour might rudely accost the very delicate hairs in your nostrils but don’t panic, its only the government doing its talk, talk, talk as usual. It is shouting to Nigerians that it wants to celebrate the centenary of Nigeria’s amalgamation. Ha! As if there’s anything to celebrate there, but that’s a topic for another day. Anyway, because the government is shouting so much, the air is a little frothy. Again, don’t panic and keep sniffing. Behind all the dusts, odours and noxious gasses of political ill-talk, you can sniff the February perfumed gas of love. It is Valentine time again. I was privileged to read Elizabeth Browning’s poem in which she tried to count the many ways she could love her husband. I don’t quite think she succeeded, but the fact that she tried is a surprise to me. But then, I am no poet, just a simple country lass who marvels at the way the grasses gently bow their lovely heads to the softly passing breeze. Ah! Poetry is hard. Anyway, as I was saying, I

The lost century Nigeria has missed the first; we can only look forward to the next fact, what would have come as a surprise was if the government had decided otherwise. Anything that involves spending is welcome by our public officials for obvious reasons; there is always money to make, whether the country is mourning or celebrating. Forget about whether, as the government said, the events would be funded solely by the private sector. The fact is that we know how to waste money. Indeed, this is another laurel that is waiting for us to clinch. With the government’s decision to go ahead with the celebration, the people who do not see any cause for celebration have been told they have no point. Yet, I guess if we were to subject the issue to a referendum, most Nigerians would have rejected the idea of celebration because there is no way it is going to affect their lives or meet them at the very point of their needs. But here we are, the nays have had it again; again on our behalf. However, now that those who should take the decision have decided that we must celebrate, the cost should be borne by the government. Obviously, the government quickly came out to say the celebration would be funded by the private sector to disabuse the minds of Nigerians that the celebration is meant to

make some few Nigerians richer from the public till. This shows the level of distrust among the people, of the government. But I prefer the government sponsoring the celebration not just because that is the right thing to do since it (government), is the one that sees the sense in celebrating the anniversary. Secondly, from experience, when our private sector bears such cost, it is the average Nigerian that they ultimately transfer it to. The private sector is no Father Christmas. Moreover, it has its own problems, many of which the government has not been able to solve. Also, we know the price we paid (and we are still paying) since the 2011 elections. Such private sector ‘assistance’ rubbed on us economically, it also cost us a lot in terms of moral rectitude; it has blurred our vision as we have not been able to think straight since then, acting as a corrupting influence on virtually all areas of our lives. This apart, if the private sector bears the cost of the celebrations at the centre, what of the states? What would the states do with the Unity Square that each of them is expected to build in their capital which would be unveiled during the nationwide ‘unity rally’? Is it the private sector

“We knew this was what the government would do when, sometime ago they started flying kites as to the importance of the amalgamation... Anything that involves spending is welcome by our public officials for obvious reasons; there is always money to make, whether the country is mourning or celebrating”

that would bear that cost too, and other programmes that the states might want to do? Yet, many of these states are having cash crunch. Yet, they would have to look for ways to fund these projects that have no direct bearing on their people. What do we need unity square for? How does that engender unity? As a matter of fact, when we say we are organising ‘unity rally’, it is an admission of the fact that there is disunity in the country. Yet, General Yakubu Gowon introduced the National Youth Service Corps Scheme in 1973 to enhance national unity, among other objectives. If that and other programmes have not succeeded in uniting us, then we should not kid ourselves that ‘unity rally’ would. It is unfortunate that Nigeria’s case is like that of a hunchback who is carrying a load and people say the load is bent. Is it the load that is bent or the person carrying it? Many people believe Nigeria’s problems started since the 1914 amalgamation. I would not know whether to agree with them or not; and my point is informed by the fact that the country once worked within the framework of the amalgamation. But, whether we accept it or not, the country is no longer working. Without necessarily looking for an alibi for why the Goodluck Jonathan administration has not done well, I agree that most of the problems predate the present government. But we cannot divorce the government completely from the sorry pass in the country since the return to democratic rule in 1999, some 13 years plus, when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been in power. That is why I find it comical when the president or some of his aides make allusion to the same statement that the country’s problems predate the


present government. They conveniently forget that the present government is also a PDP government and, ipso facto, an offshoot of the Olusegun Obasanjo administration that begot the Umaru Yar’Adua government in which the present president was the Number Two Citizen. So, if they say we should not blame President Jonathan for our country’s problems, they should be honest enough to admit that the PDP has not been of much use to Nigerians since 1999. That is the import of what they too are chorusing. Even former President, General Ibrahim Babangida, also said that the mistakes of past administrations are putting pressure on the country today. He did not say what the mistakes were or the past administrations that made them. Will we say those mistakes were those of the heart or the head? Again, the self-styled president did not tell us. Even then, we know. He was also quoted as saying that even Lord Lugard who did the amalgamation gave it a life-span of 100 years. Apparently, Lugard did not envisage that crude oil would be found in commercial quantity in the country then. If there is anything that is still holding this country together, it is not because the country’s leaders by and large worked towards its unity; rather, it is because of oil. We need to see the oil dry up first to see whether Lord Lugard was right or wrong. All said, Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka once said his generation was a ‘wasted generation’. In the same vein, this century appears irretrievably lost, so, let’s look forward to the next. And, in order not to have the same verdict when that century ends, we have a lot to do. And this is not talking politics; it is not just about governance or winning (or fixing) elections; it’s about good governance which is as easy to identify (as obscenity), when we see one.

If love is a many-splendoured thing, just how many splendours can it have? Behind all the dusts, odours and noxious gasses of political ill-talk, you can sniff the February perfumed gas of love. It is Valentine time again had no idea one could count love or the ways of loving. I know I can count the gifts I get from people who hopefully have given out of the love of their hearts. I can also count the different motives for the gifts. For instance, when someone suddenly ups and gives you a car for no reason, then you better become suspicious. You might think he wants your love when all the time he is calculating how he can have access to your liver because a babalawo says he must bring one liver still bubbling and jumping with life in order to become rich. Or the motive might simply be that he is tired of the car. Once, one man was so irritated by the antics of his aircraft while in the air that when he landed, the first person he saw was his mechanic. Good, he thought. ‘How much can you give me for this thing?’, he asked, pointing at his innocent-looking aircraft. ‘Twenty dollars’, stammered the surprised mechanic. ‘Fine, it’s yours’, said the owner as he walked away, tossing him the particulars. Really, there is no end to the things we can give to others out of love. There is also no end to the things we can receive, out of love. A woman took her child to see his father from whom they both had been separated for a long time. ‘How much do you want for him?’ asked the father. Now, that is love, the kind Jacob would willingly have elected to demonstrate if he had been privileged. Where am I going with this?

Not very far, just be patient. You see, valentine is here again, and everyone knows it is the period when love is bought and sold. No? Just take a trip to the stores and when you’re done, take a trip into the heart of every woman around you, and when you’re done there too, then we’ll talk. Right now, the shops are calculating how much profit they can accumulate this season from their outlay of investments into people’s desire to impress other people in their lives. For instance, I know many florists have invested heavily in fields of roses – red, yellow, purple and even blue – for those who will give out roses. No, of course, they do not have Nigerians in mind. They’re not stupid. One Nigerian confessed that his hostess in a foreign land welcomed him into their home with a bunch of flowers which he promptly flung on the floor and forgot all about as he made himself comfortable in their sitting-room, waiting for the food to arrive. I do not need to tell you how the hostess felt. Meanwhile, every woman’s heart is permanently prepared to receive a gift, in or out of gift-giving season. I know mine is; so God help those around me, including you my reader, if I do not receive a gift on Valentine’s Day. I assure you that you will be joking with next week’s edition of Postscript Unlimited, which you may be dismayed to find, can suddenly become highly limited. So, be sure that the woman in your life is already counting her

chickens. ‘He’d better not give me another pair of earrings again this year. Why will men never learn? Why won’t they just ask us for what we want?’ Meanwhile, the men, clever things that they are, know exactly what they are doing. They know how not to look for trouble. They know that to ask a woman what she wants as a gift is to ask for trouble. There is nothing like getting her something less with an explanation: ‘I know you said you wanted a private jet for a gift but since I cannot afford one, I thought this Honda Big for Nothing will do. I hope you’ll manage it’. Uhn uhn, it cannot work that way because the reply will be prompt: ‘If you knew you would not be able to afford whatever I ask, why then did you ask me?’ That of course is the beginning of a long conversation that starts with ‘But how could I know that you would soar into the sky with your imagination...?’ Reader, you don’t want to know how that would end, neither would St. Valentine. Listen here, people, are we not holding this stick of love by the wrong end? When the poor saint conceived of ways of showing love, it was not for the purpose of bringing it to its knees. What is done today in remembrance of St. Valentine is no more than self-gratification and making the word love common. Those of us who only think of the physical end of the valentine celebration obviously do not know what that day stands for.

Valentine’s day is the day we should all take a pause and ask ourselves this important question: what are the many splendours of love? The answer will surprise you. It will lead you to discover that the splendours you have been dealing with as a Nigerian have shown only the basest and the most wrong kind of love. For, it is the basest love that leads us to cheat other Nigerians: at our jobs, in our trade, on the road, even in our relationships. It leads us to embezzle right on our jobs; it leads us to proclaim to be very religious, not missing any church or mosque activity, yet denying other people their dues; it fills the world with hatred. This base love carries no reward, only punishment. Valentine’s day is for giving our hearts, not necessarily for gratification but for its own sake. That is the kind of divine love the poor saint demonstrated. Doing likewise will help us discover, like Francis Thompson, that love’s many splendours are magnificent, beautiful and endless. We will find its splendours when we give items to those who do not have, give helping hands to those in need and sacrifice our own needs for others. In short, love is many-splendoured when we feed others; hatred is equally manysplendoured when we feed only ourselves. From this valentine, therefore, I have resolved to demonstrate the many splendours of love whenever I can. What about you? Remember, what goes around comes around.



Comment & Analysis

The delusions of today’s men I

READ Dr. Reuben Abati’s article titled ‘The Hypocrisy Of Yesterday’s Men’’ (3rd Feb.2013) which was published in virtually every newspaper in the country with amusement. He sought to ridicule and demean those of us that s e r v e d P r e s i d e n t Olusegun Obasanjo’s government and that are not very impressed with the performance of his boss. The fact that we asked President Goodluck Jonathan to account for the 67 billion USD that he squandered from our foreign reserves has clearly upset him. We dared to ask about the money and so we were singled out and targetted for a tonguelashing and a long lecture from the Presidency. Yet we remain undeterred. This is how weak governments that have nothing to offer and something to hide always behave. They come after their perceived enemies with full force and they are petty and oversensitive. This is all the more so when they lack experienced hands and when they do not have anyone with deep insight or wisdom about the art of governance or politics within their ranks. In his response instead of answering our questions, addressing the issues or making any pertinent and sensible points about the numerous allegations against his principal, Abati chose to go on a delusional and self-serving joy ride. He simply refused to address any of our numerous concerns but instead indulged vainly in what can only be described as an utterly vulgar and distasteful form o f i n t e l l e c t u a l , spiritual and psychological masturbation by telling us that he and his master were ‘’today’s men’’ who needed no lessons from the ‘’men of yesterday’’. The essay was nothing but the usual smear campaign and a crude attempt to intimidate which has been the hallmark of this Government whenever they are faced with even the mildest form of criticism. I will not dignify most of the insulting and childish submissions that Abati indulged in with a response other than to say that he told a shameless and pernicious lie when he wrote that as Minister of Aviation I ’’shut down Port Harcourt Airport for two years’’ and ‘’allowed grass to grow all over it’’. This is false. It is a classic case of disinformation coming from a man that is obviously suffering from a very low self-esteem. It is clear that Abati, who is a journalist, has forgotten the most important tenet of his profession which is that ‘’facts are sacred and opinion is cheap’’. Ordinarily one would have ignored his bitter rant but it is important that I set the record straight for the sake of posterity. The facts are as follows. Port Harcourt International Airport was closed on Dec.10 2005 after the Sossolisso Air crash in which 100 people were killed. The crash affected the runway of the airport very badly and consequently the then Minister of Aviation, Professor Babalola Borishade closed it. I was redeployed from the

•Jonathan By Femi Fani-Kayode

Ministry of Culture and Tourism to the Ministry of Aviation in November 2006. This was 11 months after the Sossolisso crash took place and that Port Harcourt Airport had been closed. It is clear from the foregoing that I was not the one that shut down Port Harcourt Airport. When I took over at Aviation my priority was to carry out all the necessary repairs at Port Harcourt Airport and to open it as quickly as possible. I was saddened to discover that in the previous 11 months before I got there nothing had been done and the contract to repair the runway had not even been awarded. Consequently within a month of my being appointed Minister of Aviation we set to work and awarded the contract to Julius Berger at the cost of 3 billion naira. 50 per cent of the money was paid up front and Julius Berger set to work immediately. The runway was fully completed and the airport in pristine condition before I left office on May 29th 2007 just 6 months after I awarded the contract. However despite this the airport could not be opened before we left because the runway lighting system was still in the process of being installed. The Yar’adua government went ahead and opened the airport a few months after we left office even though the runway lights had still not been installed. The record shows that from the day that I was appointed Minister of Aviation and the time that our mandate ran out 7 months later my staff at the Ministry and Julius Berger worked night and day on the runway project at Port Harcourt International Airport in order to ensure that we finished it in record time. And this we managed to do. It was my project. I sourced the money for it, I paid for it, I forced the contractor to move fast on it and I finished it. The fact that the Yar’adua administration did not complete the


lighting system and open the airport for another few months after we left office, even though the runway was ready, is for them to explain and not for me. Even though nothing was done at that airport for 11 months before I got to Aviation, once I was appointed we swung into action immediately. I repeat that it was under my watch that work commenced, that it was rebuilt, that it was completed and that it was fully restored and after that the airport was ready to be fully utilised. Given these facts how Abati can peddle the lie that I was the one that not only closed the airport but that I also kept it shut for two years, did nothing there, caused it to remain idle and allowed ‘’grass to grow all over it’’ honestly baffles me. I was Minister of Aviation for only 7 months and not 2 years and within those seven months, from scratch, I did all the work that needed to be done in order to make the airport functional again. I am proud of the fact that we succeeded in meeting our target and completing the job. Abati also so asserted that I closed down ‘’other major airports’’ whilst I was Minister of Aviation ‘’for the purposes of renovation’’. Again this is not true. Not one of the four major airports in the country were closed down for renovation works or any other reason whilst I was Minister of Aviation. And neither, to the best of my recollection, did I close or suspend the operations of any of the smaller airports except perhaps for safety reasons. As a matter of fact the opposite was the case. I actually installed and completed the sophisticated Safe Tower Project in three of the four major airports in the country, resurrected and funded the Tracon Radar System which is operational in our country today and which gives us full radar coverage in our airspace, upgraded the facilities in many of the old smaller airports and granted permission for the establishment of new airports in places like Gombe.

Quite apart from that we not only stopped the terrible cycle of plane crashes that was prevalent at that time but there was not one aircraft that crashed under my watch and no loss of life from the air under my tenure. I am the only Minister of Aviation in the last 10 years of our country that can boast of that and yet Abati seeks to tarnish my name, stain my record and rubbish my efforts with his lies. All this and far more and Abati accuses me of ‘’running the aviation sector down to a state of near collapse’’. For that I commit him to God’s judgment. It is obvious that he is just being malicious and dishonest. I take strong objection to his specious lies, his brazen falsehood and his distortions of fact. The suggestion that I closed Port Harcourt Airport and neglected it for two years, that I closed other airports for renovations and that I ran the aviation sector down to the ground is what I would refer to as a figment of his malicious, overactive and fertile imagination. It is a glaring mendacity, a brutal assault on truth and an affront to my sensibilities. I find it utterly reprehensible and repugnant that a man that is entrusted to speak for the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can indulge in such petty lies. Let me end this contribution by pointing out the fact that being ‘’yesterday’s men’’ does not mean that some of us cannot be ‘’tomorrows men’’ as well. Only God knows what lies ahead for each and everyone of us. So when Abati glibly writes people off as if they will never be in power again it is a sad reflection of his lack of experience and naivety. It is God that determines our tomorrow. It is He that lifts men up, that pulls them down and, sometimes if it be His will, lifts them up again. There are countless examples of that in our history. Finally I have a few questions for President Jonathan and his ’’todays men’’. When will they take President Obasanjo’s advice and finally do something concrete about Boko Haram

and our security situation? Does the fact that at least 4000 Nigerians have been killed by these terrorists in the last two years under their watch not bother them? How can they sleep well at night with all that innocent blood that has flowed and precious lives cut short whilst they were at the helm of affairs of our nation? More innocent souls have been killed in the last 2 years by terrorists than at any time in the history of Nigeria outside the civil war. How does President Jonathan and his ‘’today’s men’’ feel about winning such a dubious and dishonorable title? Does he still regard Boko Haram as ‘’his siblings’’ who he ‘’cannot hurt’’? Why has the President refused to visit the good people of the north east despite the fact that dozens of people are still being slaughtered there by Boko Haram every day? Moving to the issue of corruption and the economy when will our President and ’’today’s men’’ answer the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron’s question and tell him what they did with the 100 billion USD that they made from oil sales in the last two years? When will they answer Obi Ezekwsile’s question about how they squandered 67 billion USD of our foreign reserves? When will they answer the question that Nasir El Rufai asked sometime back about how they spent over 350 billion naira on security vote in one year alone? When will they answer the many questions that Dr. Pat Utomi and many other distinguished and courageous leaders and ’’yesterday’s men’’ have raised about the trillions of naira that have been supposedly spent on oil subsidy payments in the last two years? When will they implement the findings and recommendations of the Nuhu Ribadu report on the thivery that has gone on in the oil sector? When will they cultivate the guts and find the courage to respond to a call for a public debate to defend their abysmal record? When will these ‘’today’s men’’ stop being so reckless with our money? Why would our ‘’today’s man’’ FCT Minister budget 5 billion for the ‘’rehabilitatioin of prostitues in the Abuja’’? Why would he budget 7.5 billion naira for a new ‘’FCT city gate’’? Why would he budget 4 billion naira for a house for the First Lady? Why would the Federal Government of ‘’todays men’’ budget 1 billion naira for food in the Villa? Are these the priorities of ‘’today’s men and women’’? And all this when Nigeria is back in foreign debt to the tune of 9 billion USD and is still borrowing, when local debt has hit almost 50 billion USD, when graduate unemployment has hit 80 per cent, when 40 per cent of Nigerians do not have access to good food and ‘’are hungry’’ and when 70 per cent of Nigerians are living below the poverty line? Is this the vision of ‘’today’s men and women’’? If so may God deliver Nigeria. •Fani-Kayode is a former Minister of Aviation

Kalu and Abia politics O

F recent, the media has been inundated with the infantile vituperation of some journalists of Lagos based media trying to defend their benefactor, former Governor Orji Kalu, who likes to seek attention where none exists. I have read the accounts presented variously by the media and I am able to decipher that they are all headed in one direction, to create noise in abundance. But it is not his fault, he wants to divert attention by mocking at our collective and corporate intelligence. Are those


noise makers not aware that their benefactor is now gallivanting in a political valley and wilderness, and therefore seeking desperately to gain undue attention by telling them to attempt a comparison between him and Governor Theodore Orji? No amount of money can purchase integrity because it is not a commodity. What I find difficult to understand is why Kalu thinks he can always fool all the people all the time. He is angry because he has failed to supplant the incumbent governor of the state with his former deputy; he was beaten flat in his own

game. In as much as we want to set records straight, I will try to avoid replying him and his workers word for word because doing so will give him undue attention and comfort since his motive is mainly to be seen as someone who is in popularity contest with a sitting governor. The rejection of Kalu both in PDP and Abia is not the fault of Governor Orji but his own fault and everybody knows why. Today, he is saying he left PDP because of Obasanjo, tomorrow he will say Jonathan is a bad man and the next time he will abuse PDP and Orji, all to no avail.

Governor Orji was a civil servant and was later redeployed to Government House where he played the role of an administrative and intellectual back bone of Kalu’s government to the extent that he was considered good enough to become governor, at a time the EFCC and Obasanjo were at the heels of Kalu. This led to his incarceration since Kalu was under immunity while Ochendo (Orji) was presumed to have had prior knowledge of the financial recklessness of Kalu. Everybody knew Ochendo’s incarceration was a blessing in disguise because

without it he could have failed in that election. The massive support he received was as a result of protest vote in Abia State and not because of Kalu. Governance is soldier go, soldier come, and not a private estate of any man, who is trying by all means to reckon with the elites of Abia State, who have, in conjunction with the people of Abia, said with one loud voice, 'enough” of politics of brigandage in Abia'. •Onyechere is Special Adviser, Public Communication to Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji


As the two houses of the National Assembly put finishing touches to the committee reports on constitution review efforts, Assistant Editor, DARE ODUFOWOKAN, takes a look at the issues stalling the process




Intrigues threaten constitution review project A

SUBTLE but deep struggle is currently going on at the National Assembly. Sources close to the hallowed chambers say the rumpus, which has to do with the ongoing constitutional review process, may soon blow into the open as a very serious political crisis that will cut across party, regional and even ideological divides. Though the reports of the nationwide referendum on the constitution review conducted by both the House of Representatives and the senate are yet to be made public, there are already indications that the lawmakers may find it difficult to speak with one voice on the matter. While the House of Representatives took the survey on the review to the 360 Federal Constituencies in the country, members of the senate conducted similar surveys in the six geo-political zones of the country all in a bid to make the planned amendment as reflective of the desires of Nigerians as possible. But there are now fear that the outcome of the said surveys may have torn the National Assembly apart ahead of the public presentation of a report on the ongoing constitutional review process. Already, there is a failed attempt by the Constitution Review Committee of the House of Representatives to present its result on the review. The Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who rose from a marathon meeting of principal officers that lasted over three hours, announced the cancellation of the event. He based the cancellation on the need to put certain things right by doing more consultations on the issue.

Later, the leadership of the lower House said the presentation was stalled because there “were hitches here and there.” “As leadership, we have reviewed the process so far and realised that we cannot go ahead with this programme today. Just like any other things associated with humans, there are hitches here and there- that is normal,” Tambuwal said. But findings by The Nation suggest that the cancellation may not be unconnected with the wrangling among the lawmakers over certain portions of the report. According to inside sources, the legislators are yet to agree on a number of issues as at the time the committee attempted to push its final report into public domain. The Speaker and some other principal officers, excluding the deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, who is the chairman of the committee, are said to have strongly disagreed with the Constitution Review Committee over certain provisions suggested in the report. And after several efforts to reach a compromise failed, Tambuwal and his men chose to stop the unfavourable report from becoming a public document as they feared that such presentation may further complicate the already fragile situation amongst lawmakers. Tambuwal, according to sources, is uncomfortable with the position of the Ihedioha-led committee on issues like state creation and immunity. It is believed that the Speaker and his deputy disagreed on several occasions when attempts were made to reach a compromise on the grey areas. “The Speaker is not hiding the fact that he is not comfortable with the content of the report. The problem however is that his deputy is the chairman of the same committee. The leadership of the house is currently

divided into two halves with each supporting Tambuwal or Ihedioha on the matter. The point the Speaker is making is that should the committee go ahead to present the document, the House could suffer more serious embarrassment because lawmakers, including the house leadership, could publicly contradict themselves over the content of the report. The Spokesman of the House, Zakari Mohammed, at a press briefing, admitted that Tambuwal had to cancel the public presentation because most lawmakers had complained that they were yet to scrutinise the final document. “But because of the short time we have and the fact that a number of our colleagues have not been able to go through the reports from their various states we had to postpone the presentation ,” Muhammed said while explaining why the event was abruptly cancelled. The House of Representatives is not the only chamber heated up by the rumpus generated by the constitution review process. According to sources, the arguments for and against the need for new states has caused a sharp division among the principal officers of the senate. While Senate President David Mark and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, are for new states; a number of other principal officers, especially those from the north, are opposed to the creation of more states. On the floor of the senate, it is difficult to determine what the result would be should the lawmakers decide to vote on the contentious issue of state creation. This is because while a good number of senators from the south and north central support state creation, most lawmakers from •Continued on Page 20







Rage over First Ladies’ house Joe Agbro Jr. in this report captures the rage that has trailed plans to build a N4 billion Africa First Ladies' Peace Mission headquarters in Abuja


LANS to build a N4 billion Africa First Ladies’ Peace Mission headquarters in Abuja is the subject of a raging controversy allegedly rooted in an age- long political battle. Already, many rights groups have wondered if the scheme would not constitute profligacy on the part of President Goodluck Jonathan's administration. All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), in its reaction to the proposed scheme, said in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Emma Eneukwu, that the move to build the Africa First Ladies Peace Mission House with public funds is illegal. 'ANPP believes that the matter is a non-issue as the budget for the complex is inherently illegal and should not waste the time of the distinguished senators in their work. 'The fact on ground is that the Federal Government has already declared that the African First Ladies, Peace Mission is a non-governmental organisation and could not be funded with the taxpayers’ money. The N4bn proposal was contained in the FCT’s N253bn budget for the 2013 fiscal year currently before the National Assembly. The ANPP statement further said, “our party finds it puzzling,

• Patience Jonathan

absurd and incongruous that another project of the AFLPM could now be smuggled into the budget of the FCT, an undeniable burden to the already burdened citizens of our great nation.” The party wondered why the FCTA decided to fund the AFLPM building project to the detriment of Nigerians in need of different people-oriented projects. It also charged the members of the Senate to reject the budget provision. On its part, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) de-

scribed it as 'outrageous imprudence.' The CPC National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, declared that the budget in itself was a demonstration of the present administration’s profligacy. 'It is appalling to see budgetary allocation as much as N4bn for the office of the First Lady that is not recognised by the nation’s constitution,' CPC said, adding: “At a time when many Nigerians have been rendered homeless by the anti-people stance of the PDP-led FCT ad-

ministration, it is ludicrous to imagine that, rather than embarking on projects in alleviating the afflictions, this clueless regime has again shown its undisguised selfcentredness.” Also speaking on the issue, Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre, Mallam Awual Musa-Rafsanjani, said, 'the allocation was an insult to Nigerian taxpayers.' However, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has come out to defend the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) N4bn funding of the Africa’s First Ladies, Peace Mission building. A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, condemned CPC and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) for criticising the N4 billion for the First Ladies, Mission, explaining that the building was not for Nigeria's First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan. As Metuh argues, the complex, on completion, is to host the AFLPM which has the backing of the African Union as an instrument for championing women and youth development. “The Peace Mission House is a public institution, a building in the likes of the Women Development Centre (WDC), Nigerian Cultural Centre, among others, which the law empowers the FCTA to build and operate in provision of facilities for the advancement of its development efforts. Defending its position, a statement from the office of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister reiterated PDP's arguments and absolved the office of the Nigerian First Lady from the alleged profligacy. 'As part of its efficiency measure,' the statement said, 'the FCT Administration saw in the proposed headquarters of the African

First Ladies’ Peace Mission building an opportunity to save cost by using the AFLPM building to serve multiple roles in providing office accommodation as well as housing not just African First Ladies’ Peace Mission but other international bodies as well.' It added, 'the FCT administration has statutory duty to build for the good of the public edifices such as the Women Centre, National Hospital for Women and Children (now National Hospital) and the current Nigeria Cultural Centre and Millennium Tower that is being built at the cost of 62 billion naira by the FCT Administration.' Most Nigerians are yet to be convinced. Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, simply said, 'It’s just a proposal. The National Assembly has not passed it, and I am sure the senate has already handled it (the proposal) well. It’s not going to pass through. And if it passes through, it is going to be challenged because it is illegal.' Political watchers and insiders at the corridor of power in Abuja, who responded on the condition of anonymity however told The Nation that the controversy is further fuelled by the political power between Dame Patience Jonathan and the former First Lady, Alhaja Turai Umaru Yar'Adua over the land. Some of them alleged that Turai and her supporters have not let go and are behind criticism. It would be recalled also that in July 2012, the African First Ladies Summit was enmeshed in a controversy following reports that the federal government bought 200 new super cars for the summit. Then, the AFLPM had refuted government’s involvement. As the controversy rages, Patience Jonathan and Turai Umaru Yar'Adua are carefully keeping mute over the matter.

Intrigues threaten constitution review •Continued from Page 19 the north are strongly opposed to the idea. “The fear that the process is aimed at creating just one more state for the southeast to balance the number of state per zone is ripe in the minds of northern lawmakers. For this, they are opposed to the idea while most senators from the south will support the call for more state should a public debate arise,” our source said. It is believed that it is this inability of the lawmakers to reach a common ground on some of the contentious issues contained in the reports that is stalling the public presentation. “Most members of the House of Representatives from the North are not in support of the creation of an additional state for the southeast. The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, wants a new a state in the Southeast. Speaker Tambuwal is not favourably disposed to the idea. Right now, the leadership of the National Assembly is in a dilemma over how to manage the situation, not only concerning state creation but other issues like state police, immunity, local government autonomy among others. The truth is that principal officers and members are divided on a number of these issues. For in-

stance, President of the Senate, David Mark, his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu and Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, are in support of new states. Many of the other principal officers hold contrasting views on state creation. There is currently a stalemate on the reports,” a lawmaker from Kogi state told The Nation. Given the current scenario, analyst are of the opinion that unless care is taken, issues like the proposal for state creation, immunity and local government autonomy might derail the ongoing constitution amendment process “There is need for us to stop and take a closer look at the whole process. There are many other burning issues Nigerians are hoping will be addressed by the ongoing constitution review effort. But as things are now, the lawmakers may allow their selfish interests in a few issues to thwart the entire process. Already, there is a cold war in the House. The Senate will soon follow suit as disagreement are also rife among its members on some issues. And if care is not taken, it will become a north versus south situation. ‘Once that happens, we should all bid constitution review farewell once again. This is why we feel the public should be let into what is going on within the hallowed

chambers concerning the review process. Continued silence will not be to anybody’s advantage,” Barrister Modupe Oduguwa of the Citizens’ Right Project (CRiP) cautioned. Recently, while reacting to a statement credited to Senator David Mark, a senator from the core north has said northerners will oppose the plan to create more states in the south with all their might. “We are ready for whatever will happen on this state creation issue. The rumour is that the presidency is behind this agenda. For us, it is an agenda against the core north, especially Hausa-Fulani. We will north allow it to go unchallenged. Already, it is causing serious rumpus here at the National Assembly,” the Senator said. Mark was reported to have said: “The argument of those opposing state creation is based on whether existing states are viable or not. But they forget that a state might be unviable just because the administrator is not ingenious with internal revenue generation or the people are not united and the administrator has to spend the available resources on achieving peace. “I am for the creation of Apa state and any other state that may fit the conditions. I have never shied from my agitation for creation of additional states just as I

have always called for the creation of roles for traditional rulers in the Constitution.” To further complicate the matter for the lawmakers, Governor Rotimi Ameachi, in his capacity as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) said his colleagues would resist any attempt by the National Assembly to grant autonomy to local governments. “There is no country in the world that there are three federating units; there are only two all over the world. Why should you then say that there must be a third federating unit in Nigeria? Of course yes, let a state governor or let the states create as many local governments as they want to create. Don’t put it there as a constitutional issue,” Amaechi said. But Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Zakari Mohammed, stated that the governors do not support the amendment because it will put a stop to their siphoning of resources meant for the development of local government areas. “Local government autonomy as far as Nigerians are concerned is long overdue. As true representatives of the people, our constituents do not agree with the current status where local government funds are being pilfered by governors at the expense of the people and chairmen who are seen as mere boys for the job. We would certainly

not accept a situation where governors turn themselves to demi gods in the name of joint accounts. But if Mohammed thinks it would be easy to ignore the governors, he may have to beat a retreat because, determined to have their ways, the governors are said to have recruited some national lawmakers to ensure that the autonomy clause never make it into the constitution. “The current rumpus at the National Assembly is not without some external prompting. For example, state governors are now cajoling and threatening elected national lawmakers from their states into rejecting the autonomy clause. They are using their hold on party machineries as a bait to lure the lawmakers to their sides. ‘We are already hearing tales of how governors vow to stop any lawmaker who supports the clause from getting re-elected in 2015. This explains why some of our colleagues are now singing new tunes. But I can assure you that we will not jettison the demand of the majority of Nigerians because of a few selfish governors,’ a principal officer of the Senate said. Given this confusing scenario, the question on the lips of most observers of the ongoing brouhaha over the constitution review process is whether the much awaited reports will survive the rumpus in the National Assembly.





• Gbonigi,



• Falae

Assembly unveils southern agenda W

HEN some elders of Southern Nigeria, took a retreat to Nike Lake Resort Hotel in Enugu on Tuesday, January 29, 2013, the aim was not just to savour the serene environment of the resort, but to take a stand on some of the major socio- political and economic issues of the day. The 2nd General Conference of the Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly, attended by leaders and elders from the 17 southern states, was chaired by former Vice President of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ekwueme (South-East), and co-chaired by Sen. Chief Edwin K. Clark, (South-South) and Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi (South-West). At the gathering, the leaders deliberated on issues like corruption, national security, infrastructure development, ecological disaster and the ongoing efforts at the National Assembly to review the 1999 Constitution. In a communique signed by Ekwueme, Clark and Gbonigi and released after the exhaustive deliberations, the Assembly note among others, that: 'While we recognise the powers of the National Assembly to amend provisions of the Constitution, the right and power to review and give to Nigerians a Constitution is vested in the people of Nigeria, who remain the sovereign authority to do so. The constitutional right to amend the Constitution bestowed on the National Assembly by the 1999 Constitution of 'the Federal Republic does not amount to and confer on it the right and authority to review wholesomely the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. The present exercise by the National Assembly amounts to usurping the sovereign power and authority of the people to give to themselves a truly peoples consti-

Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly recently held a retreat in Enugu where the members articulated the position of the south on some important issues like constitution review, stating that only a national conference can give Nigerians an acceptable people's constitution, reports Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu tution. 'That the challenges of inequitable states distribution, skewed federalism which has continually exposed the structural imbalance of our country, the basis of the federating units for our federation and the place of local governments in a truly federal state are critical issues that Nigerians must and can only truly and genuinely address in a National Conference.' On this issue, the Assembly therefore resolves: '(a) That the process of producing a constitution that truly reflects the aspirations of Nigerians cannot be the sole responsibility of members of the National Assembly. For there to be legitimacy in the process of defining a constitution for Nigeria, and as the basis for the resolution of most of the challenges that tend to tear the country apart, it is a fundamental imperative that a National Conference that would afford genuine platform for Nigerians to dialogue should be convoked to permit the emergence of a "truly peoples constitution". The sovereign right of the people to give to themselves a constitution can neither be negotiated nor usurped. '( b) That a National conference is imperative to correcting the present national structural imbalance which has foisted inequity, marginalization and giving undue advantage to the north. c) That to bring parity between the north and south there should be created two additional states one of which must come from the South-East. d) That accordingly the Conference supports the demand of the South-East zone for one extra

state based on equity, justice and fairness. e) That without prejudice to the issues aforesaid, the recognition of the present six zonal arrangements by the Constitution as the federating units of Nigeria is fundamental to the sustenance of the corporate existence and survival of our country. Accordingly, thereafter, the creation of states and local governments should be the responsibility of the zonal federating units. f) That Local Governments in Nigeria should be autonomous in terms of management, funding and administration. Founded in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on July 12, 2012, Southern Nigeria Assembly's primary aim is to serve as a socio-political and economic forum for all the people of southern Nigeria. It is designed to be the southern voice on national issues. The chairman, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, confirmed this in his welcome address when he said his involvement in the convening of a Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly was the second time he would be involved in promoting a pan-Southern Nigeria organisation. The first was during the late General Sani Abacha's regime after the north held a similar meeting on June 25, 1994, the eve of the commencement of the one year National Constitutional Conference. In that meeting, the northern delegates caucus had reached an agreement to ensure maintenance of the status quo, that is to ensure that political power remains in the north.

It would be recalled that it was the counter meeting of southern delegates caucus, initiated by Ekwueme, that led to the agitation for power shift. Commenting on the effect of the initiative on his political fortunes, Ekwueme told the Enugu assembly, 'It was suggested to me that my so-called "hard-line posture" in successfully securing power shift and 13 percent minimum for derivation were contributory factors to my inability to obtain the presidential nomination of a party I founded and nurtured to success. Be that as it may, I have no regrets as long as my guiding principles were a search for justice, equity and fair play.' He added immediately, 'I believe I have said enough to show the advantage to be gained by Southern Nigeria speaking with one voice, not for Souther Nigeria alone but for Nigeria as a whole.' Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, in his contribution, used the opportunity to charge leaders in authority, especially fellow governors, to rule with the fear of God by shunning sycophancy. “Please help us build a better Nigeria of equitable justice and fair play of balanced desirability with human and material resources, devoid of cheats, neglect and a persistent rulership and domination by a certain section of the society and the nation,' he told Nigerians, people in authority and members of Southern Nigeria People Assembly. In their speech at the Enugu meeting, the South-West del-

egates said their vision of the role of the assembly is to help build a better Nigerian nation, adding that the assembly has what it takes to lead the country towards the attainment of that goal. 'The American founding fathers did not have our education or our exposure; what they had was a resolve to build a nation and with that resolve, they built what has become the world's leading nation, with a constitution that has endured, with appropriate amendments, for almost two and a half centuries. We too can show a similar resolve. We would like to mention at this juncture that since our last meeting at Uyo, we have played host to the leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum. While understandably having different perspectives on the appropriate remedies for the challenges confronting our nation, we nevertheless agreed that these problems are all traceable to bad leadership, that a national dialogue has become imperative and that such meetings between various sections of the country should be encouraged,' said the delegates. A release signed by Are (Dr) Kunle Olajide, for the Publicity, confirmed that the next meeting of the assembly has been fixed for Ibadan, Oyo State, on Tuesday 21st May, 2013 tentatively or Akure, Ondo State, as an alternative. Among distinguished members that attended the retreat were Senator Femi Okurounmu, Senator Anthony Adefuye, Chief Olu Falae, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Are (Dr.) Kunle Olajide, Prof. Oladapo the immediate Retired Head of Service of the Federation, Senator Kofoworola Akerele – Bucknar the Former Lagos State Deputy Governor and Prof. Adenike Grange.




Senator Abu Ibrahim is the senator representing Katsina South Senatorial District on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). A close associate of former head of state and presidential candidate of CPC in the April 2011 presidential election, Major General Mohammadu Buhari, he was the links man in the aborted merger plan between the CPC and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) ahead of the 2011 elections. He spoke with Tony Akowe on a number of issues. Excerpts

Why lawmakers are weak in oversight functions - Ibrahim


015 is around the corner and there is the clamour for a northern presidency. What is your take on this? I think 2015 is not around the corner because we have only spent one and half years in four year tenure; with two and half years to go. What is in front of me now is to have the opposition parties merge into one; ACN, CPC and probably ANPP, to form a formidable opposition party. One thing Nigerians do not know is that the moment we succeed in the merger plan, even the PDP must step up because they know there is somebody who can take over from them. But because most parties are not united and have strength in certain areas, that is why they do things with arrogance because they know there is no single party that can take over from them. But the moment we come together, even though we are taking over power, they too will stand up and make sure they do the right thing. Of course, every region has the right to clamour for the presidency. But I always think the right moment will bring the right president which will be acceptable by the people, maybe a northern person or anybody from any part of the country. But when you look at the way we are passing power from zone to zone, it should be the right time for the north to have the president. But it is not a constitutional issue. It was a suitable arrangement by the political parties. But like I said, my main concern now is the merger of the political parties. Before the last general elections, there was a move by opposition parties to form an alliance but it collapsed. How sure are we that there won’t be a repeat of that scenario? You are wrong. I can claim, without contradiction, that I was the principal link between ACN and CPC. I can claim that I was the principal connector between Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu and General Muhammadu Buhari and I know what transpired. It is the correct story I am telling you. There was no problem then except for lack of time. The issue became very serious six months to election. So as far as I am concerned, what was against us then was time. A name was agreed upon at that time for the two parties. The name agreed upon was Action Congress for Progressive Change (ACPC). It was also agreed that General Buhari will be the presidential candidate while ACN was to produce the Vice- President. But due to lack of time, we couldn’t do that. Every party then has done its conventions and had their candidates. There was no way we could go and start another convention. At least, we have basic understandings and CPC have a basic understanding on the parameter of merger. Then Buhari was agreed to be the presidential candidate and so, I don’t think there was a problem on that. But the timing was just too short because of the election. But we all knew that there were external forces that wanted to bring a setback. What do we expect from the National


Assembly with regards to the Petroleum Industry Bill? What we agreed regarding the PIB was that we need technical briefing on it before considering the bill. But till now, the minister has not come to give us the briefing. Before we make a law, we need to ask a lot of questions. There are issues that need to be discussed technically and if we don’t understand the technicalities, we may pass something we don’t know anything about. After the minister and experts have briefed us, then we will understand the reasons behind the 10 percent to be given to the oil communities. It sounds nice, but how did you arrive at the 10 percent? How much is the investor making before you start talking about the 10 percent profit. So, we are still waiting for the Minister’s briefing. Many Nigerians believe that legislators are not performing their oversight functions well and that their laxity in doing so is responsible for the decay in most sectors of the economy. What is your reaction to this? I agree with you and that is the truth. But Nigerians should understand that the legislature is the weakest part of government and this is occasioned by the fact that during military interventions, when army take over, the presidency and the judiciary still exist while the National Assembly is closed down. In some countries, you will find out that some Senators have been there for over 30 years and such a senator knows virtually everything and have everything at his fingertips. Only 25 percent of members of the current Nigerian Senate are third termers and what this means is that a lot of members have a lot to learn. That makes the National Assembly the weakest in terms of ca-

pacity building, infrastructures, training and lots more. So, I agree that we are weak in that area. But we have been discussing these issues on how we can enhance our oversight functions and Nigerians must know that all these things cost money. People should not shout or cry that large sums of money are going to National Assembly. There is a complete budget office where budget is being prepared by the executive. They will study it item by item and can cost it for you and say look this project cost is high. So our oversight functions may be weak, but we are conscious of that because I am a member of the leadership. Honestly, every time we meet, we lament over our weaknesses. Like the issue of the state of our police colleges, I am a member of the Police Affairs Committee. Since I found myself in the Assembly, I have not gone to any police college. It is only now that we are preparing to visit the police colleges to see things for ourselves. We are even thinking of visiting zonal commands and places like that. Some people believe that lawmakers don’t actually carry out oversight function when they go out, but they go there to collect money from the agencies? I cannot accept that because I have been to many places and nothing of such happened. I think the issue is beyond giving or receiving brown envelopes; it is the issue of capability. If you look at the number of staff an American Senator has and you look at what we have here, you will laugh. A Senator in America has over 70 staff, while I have just five staff. Every committee should have operational vehicles, but our committee has only one. So, if we want to visit for example Police College and our members are ten in

the committee with only one vehicle, the car will not be able to take us all and we will end up looking for assistance from the ministry for a bus which could compromise the process. So, all I am trying to say is that we need to do our oversight functions well, but the National Assembly is not founded properly to have the capacity to do the job well. Every year, a lot is said about constituency projects for members of the National Assembly and people have always come up with this idea that money budgeted are diverted to personal use by members. How much was actually budgeted for constituency projects last year? There was negotiation between the federal government and the National Assembly on that and at the end of the day, I think about a hundred billion will be provided for constituency projects. However, let us not misunderstand constituency projects as if the money is given to members of the National Assembly. Each Senator is allocated some of the money and you decide which of the projects is more important to your area. You will go then and put it under the ministry concerned. The ministry will receive the money and execute the projects. This was how this issue of constituency projects came in and nobody is given a Kobo out of the money. What is important is to make it clear that money is not taken from federal treasury and given to me for example to go and implement projects in the name of constituency projects. Don’t you think that getting involved in project execution and monitoring is taking you away from your legislative duties? Approval of the budget is one of our primary functions and the budget covers

THE NATION ON SUNDAY FEBRUARY 10, 2013 project. If we approve, why can’t we have the right to say my constituency should have this and that? I am more of a representative than a minister because I am elected. I am supposed to have a constituency office. I am supposed to be with my people always to know their needs and report back and make sure their needs are attended to. It is easier for people of my constituency to come and see me than to see the Minister even though the budget is prepared by the Ministers. So, approval, which is the Appropriation Bill, is the function of the National Assembly. The President prepares it and brings it to the National Assembly who appropriates. That is why this issue of project is not taking our time. An oversight function again is to make sure that the projects that are contained in the budget are carried out. When you look at the constitution, you will see that it is part of our primary function. In fact, it’s our biggest function to make sure that the budgets are implemented. That is why we have committees for each sector. For instance education is attached to education ministry. They can go to the minister at any time to say look, we appropriated a hundred million to build a schools in so and so places; we want to go and see the place. Appropriation and monitoring of oversight function is the most powerful tool in the National Assembly and they can indict the government if they so wish. They can go and see project and with that we can expose corruption. What do you think should be done to tackle insecurity in Nigeria, particularly in the north? I was watching Al jazeera recently and I saw the president of Somalia saying there was this link between Alshabab and Boko Haram, which means that these things are now having a global network. So, I think the Federal government has to act fast in terms of diplomatic relations with those countries that they think Al’shabab and Alqa’ida have roots. This fight in Mali is so important to Nigeria because definitely the alqa’ida Almagrib have link here. It may have started as a local issue, but international terrorist groups are looking for local groups so as to start coming in. The federal government has to step up and cooperate with other nations for a lasting solution for this insecurity issue. Coming back to your state, Katsina,


Political Politics turf

with Bolade Omonijo

Are the progressives back?

T •Ibrahim

what is your take on the activities of the PDP-controlled government in the state? How will you rate the performance? I am disappointed with the attitude of the Katsina State Government. There were two issues of concern to me. There are power projects, transmission lines which were awarded by late Yar’adua and funded for two years. One of the projects was in Katsina South and three are in Katsina North. Suddenly, in last year’s budget, they were removed and these were projects that were signed and construction was going on; but they were removed from the budget. Along with my colleagues, we were fighting to ensure that they were restored in the budget. I tried to get Katsina State government involved but somehow they were not forthcoming. Another issue is that of water. We have Jibiya dam and the Safka dam which will involve foreign loan and because of our involvement in the approval process, we said Katsina has been omitted. But we have no right to sign loan on behalf of Katsina and so it requires the governor to come but he didn’t come. Honestly, Katsina state government have failed completely in addressing the suffering of Katsina people, especially in the area of water and electricity when they can come and use their position as PDP government to do so. We members of the opposition got

some listening ear and all that was required was for them to come and participate in the fight; but they didn’t come. I cannot say right now whether the issue of Power has been restored in the budget. So, I cannot give the Katsina State government pass mark. They claimed to have built 600 tube wells in the 34 local government areas of Katsina State while we have built 1100 of such wells in Funtua zone with eleven local government areas. Some of the roads we are doing belong to Katsina state government. I don’t know what they are doing, but I can see buildings with no relevance being built. Class rooms without teachers; you can see buildings but no teachers. I am bringing ICT schools, but we need security. We are going to put computers in the class rooms but we need security. If the schools are not capable of securing them, we will try to involve the state government. I will take the project there and let them secure them. I may be in this position maybe for four years but if a state government or local government is involved, there will be a permanent security so that it will last longer. I am sorry to say that Katsina State government is not doing what it is expected to do.


ripples Chime and the Enugu groups


T is no longer news that the Governor of Enugu State, Mr. Sullivan Chime, returned to Nigeria on Thursday after 140 days sojourn abroad where he reportedly attended to his failing health. It is also public knowledge the governor who came into the country through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, from London, was received by a mammoth crowd of well-wishers. The interest here is that while his supporters and associates have been having field days talking about his re-appearance, those who championed the agitation generated by his disappearance have also expressed joy at his return, blaming his associates, who they said caused the whole confusion by hiding the truth from the people and engaging in unnecessary cover up. Groups like Save Enugu Group (SEG), Enugu Mandate Forum (EMF) and the


likes, are now part of the jubilating crowd. The message we can all learn is that handlers of our leaders can save us unnecessary antagonism if they are more open and truthful over the affairs of our leaders. Chime left the shores of the country since September 19, 2012, ostensibly on holidays but his prolonged stay abroad had attracted public angst even as many believed the governor’s health had failed.



Aregbesola’s new chieftaincy title


HEN next you are chanced to meet Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, governor of Osun State, please don't forget to congratulate him on the conferment of the title of 'Omoluabi of Oodualand' on him. The governor got this latest honour when former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Bola Ajibola, took time out to commend him for giving preference to capital expenditure in the 2012 and 2013 budgets. Ajibola did not act alone when he crowned Aregbesola as the Omoluabi. He was ably supported by ex-Governor of the old Oyo State, Dr. Omololu Olunloyo, who said it was not an accident that the governor is performing well. The two statesmen also said for his efforts so far on the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) and his struggle to make agriculture the biggest industry in the Southwest, Aregbesola deserves the new title. Well, this is to congratulate the Ogbeni in advance, while awaiting invitation to the conferment ceremony.

HE past week was loaded with political activities. It was the week of celebration of the centenary of Nigerian nationhood. While the President and the government he heads insisted that the drums would be out for a full year to commemorate the January 1914 celebration, a number of scholars and opposition parties’ leaders thought that it was a misplaced action as the event itself was not borne out of altruism on the part of the colonial masters. Others argued that what we should take into consideration at this point is what we have made of the nation in all of a hundred years. The debate continues and I do not intend to join at this point. What interests me this week is not much of the past, but the present. And the future. Where do we stand today? In the comity of nations, where is Nigeria? What have we made of this potentially beautiful country? Today, the debate is whether Nigeria is failing or has failed. The Americans have warned that it could disintegrate within the next two years. Some have dismissed the suggestion as far-fetched, but events of the past giddy years suggest that we need to think out of the box to salvage whatever we can of the federation. It is obvious that Nigeria is not working. We have not got the political structure right. We are yet to have a government of the people as each attempt at an election throws up the worst candidate. The economy is consequently in shambles. For how long shall we be in the wilderness? It is in this context that I received with a gladdened heart the news that four political parties had decided to merge into a mega party that could actually confront the behemoth Peoples Democratic by 2015. The four- the Action Congress of Nigeria, All Nigeria Peoples Party, Congress for Progressive Change and All Progressives Grand Alliance had been holding talks for months. Each had set up a merger committee to negotiate terms with others. It was clear to them that the only way to stand a chance against the PDP was combine efforts and present a genuine alternative to the electorate. The new party unveiled on Wednesday in Abuja says it is progressive. How? We may get to know in the course of the next set of activities. We need to see a manifesto that sets out progressive ideals in bold relief. We want to see how the allies intend to run Nigeria. The new party should not deceive itself into believing that merely announcing its birth and even registration by the electoral commission would win the next general election. The current statistics still suggests that the PDP has the upper hand. It is in control of 23 of the 36 states. Labour Party that also has a handful of members in government and controls a state is not on board. Accord, too, has not indicated how it intends to move. The people need assurance that the word progressive is not a misnomer in the All Peoples Congress. The first hurdle to scale is INEC’s. It is true that this is not the Second Republic when the electoral commission proved to be an arm of the ruling National Party of Nigeria. Under that arrangement, the “progressive parties attempted to fuse into a Progressive Peoples Party (PDP). It was frustrated within and without. It is unlikely that the Jega commission would do that. In any case, the merging parties took a good strategic decision in coming up with the new parties well ahead of the next elections. All the issues could be straightened within the time left. The tallest hurdle standing in the way now is managing the egos of the leaders. The legal requirement may be the least obstacle. What about the political? It is good that the allies have settled for a name. Agreeing on logo, objectives and motto may pose no problem either. But, setting up an executive council could be tricky. Whichever of the merging parties that produces the national chairman knows that it might have been knocked off the presidential race. This could be a bone of contention as sectarianism continues to threaten corporate existence. The current president is from the South South. The South East knows that allowing him another term could ensure its ineligibility in 2019. The North has not hidden its desire to bounce back on the national plane in 2015. What it lost through the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua, it wants to reclaim in 3015. It is a power game; a game of numbers. So, who gets the first chance to fly the APC’s presidential flag? Then we saw what became of the CPC especially in the period leading to the 2011 elections in the states, especially in the North. How would the parties in the North be harmonized to produce state executive committees? What happens when it is time to decide who picks the governorship ticket in each of the states of the North? The euphoria of the moment may make these simple questions. But the days ahead could prove very tricky. Anyone who thinks that the PDP is sleeping should perish the thought. The leaders realise that this is the clearest danger to the dream of running the country for 60 years. They also have tacticians who know what to do to make things more difficult for the allies. This is just the beginning of a chain of events. We shall continue with this next week.




‘Boko Haram is all about Sharia’

Fred Agbeyegbe is a renowned lawyer, human rights activist and a foremost member of the defunct National Democratic Coalition (NADECO). He is also a playwright. In this interview with Edozie Udeze, he tackles many national issues bordering on the corporate existence of Nigeria and why religion and oil will continue to dominate national focus in the country.

There is no more (Gen. Sani) Abacha and so on. But I don’t think things are much different from what we had before now. The situation, to me, has not changed much, and that is why we feel we would have done much more thereafter.

word amnesty. Amnesty has a specific meaning either in English or in the dictionary or in law or in whatever. What the Niger Delta people were doing does not need amnesty. The fact that they have accepted it like that is just to make peace. So, for you the amnesty thing is not right? Of course, it was never right. What has it achieved? Have the people of Niger Delta got what they wanted? Have they? I ask you. What they set out to get with the struggle has it ended? Don’t you read what Asari Dokubo says every day? Does he not make sense to you? So, often, you ask yourself, what has the government done? Jonathan is in Aso Rock, so what? Is that what the people were fighting for? But the amnesty is said to be one of the reasons we have Boko Haram today? (Laughing) Ah, ah, well, they have to say something. They have to! Did Niger Delta people talk about religion? Do you do this because of what? What is the real reason for what Boko Haram is doing compared to the reason Niger Delta began what they did? How are the people being oppressed, that will bring about Boko Haram? What sort of injustice has been meted out in this country to the Northerners that will bring Boko Haram? How do you compare the two situations that will make them to do what they are doing? Nothing. So, what sort of political rubbish is that? Didn’t you hear what the Sultan of Sokoto said recently concerning the Boko Haram menace? That all the problems of the North came from the North and created by Northerners! Don’t listen to any excuse because I say don’t come and pollute my backyard. Don’t come and cause me health problems. Don’t come and take our God-given resource under the soil. And then Boko Haram people are annoyed. Why should they? In fact, as far as I am concerned all of us are misreading what the Boko Haram people are asking for. They are saying that they are the sovereign people and owners of their land where they stay. And they want to practice Sharia laws and nobody in this world can stop them. It doesn’t matter how many constitutions you make; they want a Sharia state for themselves and probably for the nation. And they have been practising Sharia laws a long time ago. The Northern states had Sharia laws, cutting off people’s limbs for offending their laws. Nobody has stopped them from doing it. Keep your Sharia laws to yourself because I am not a Muslim. Don’t come and operate it in my area. In fairness to them, they are not even saying they want to come and operate it in my area. They are saying leave my area alone for me. I want to have it alone and I want to practise Sharia Law. Then shouldn’t we say also say leave my Niger Delta to me? Don’t touch my oil or pollute my air or inflict health problem on me? These are the issues and we have to get them right. What is your stand on the 1999 Constitution? In the first place, we have no constitution. As long as what we have as a constitution was concocted by the military, it will not serve the desired purpose for a democratic society. The constitution we have today is far from being a perfect document to govern the nation well. It is a military docu•Continued on Page 25 ment. And with that, you

The people who go into politics in Nigeria are not the elites. The elites are in fact far removed from government administration. They are the people who have been frustrated out of their minds because all the thinking they have to better the lives of Nigerians are not allowed. This is due to the usurpation of the political space by those who call themselves politicians.


T 78, and in retrospect, would you say that most of the social ills you attacked in your plays such as The King Must Dance Naked have been solved? Of course not. They’ve not been achieved. To achieve those things, we need a change of mind on the part of the leaders of Nigeria. The people who rule us in this country – they are called all sorts of names, the elites and so on and so forth. For me, elitism in Nigeria is fake. The people who go into politics in Nigeria are not the elites. The elites are in fact far removed from government administration. They are the people who have been frustrated out of their minds because all the thinking they have to better the lives of Nigerians are not allowed. This is due to the usurpation of the political space by those who call themselves politicians. You mentioned NADECO and then paused. You played a major role in that group; how do you think the coalition fared in achieving democracy for Nigeria? Well, maybe I should put the question back to you. I was part of it. Do you think NADECO did the right thing to achieve democracy for us or to remove the military from government? I will say they did. NADECO did well. Ah, maybe NADECO did not do the right thing. The only thing we’ve been accused of most of the time now is that we brought out the modalities to ensure that we have a good country. But when it comes to actually taking over government, we either shied away or ran away. Maybe we cannot now complain from what we are seeing because of that, people feel we should have stayed to put the real government in place. Well, it depends on how you look at it. We were not canvassing to become governors and presidents or whatever. We were just simply saying you cannot have the country the way it was, and we are still thinking even now that you cannot have a country as it is now. Yes, the military is gone. There is no more (Gen. Sani) Abacha and so on. But I don’t think things are much different from what we had before now. The situation, to me has not changed much and that is why we feel we would have done much more thereafter. You are from the Niger Delta. How do you assess the situation there where thugs and kidnappers hold sway in a democratic environment? Well, I don’t know if you are correct by suggesting that that is what the youths are doing – the thugs, the kidnappers, the hoodlums of this country, all come from the Niger Delta. Far from it, in fact, the issue of insecurity you are talking about never started from the Niger Delta. No. The truth about the Niger Delta is that we were being oppressed. And even now, we are still being oppressed. Never mind that somebody from the Niger Delta is the head of the Nigerian government. The rules Jonathan is operating – the constitution he swore to uphold was not written by Niger Deltans. And nobody consulted any member of this society before the rules were put in place, not to talk of the Niger Delta. So, he is not doing what the Niger Delta people asked him to do. He is doing his own. What the Niger Delta people are saying is that you came to our backyard, you dug the place, pollute the air, give us ill-health, and then take the thing and go share it somewhere else… Now you come back to give us crump from the table. And we say that is not acceptable to us. Then they came with what they called amnesty. Maybe they don’t know the meaning of the






cannot genuinely practice democracy. They did it in an attempt to continue to lord it over all Nigerians. Well, we are a long way from perfection. What is the nature of the judiciary? It is not everything that happens in the judiciary that you can call the dispensing of justice. So, what is the constitution when people’s rights cannot be adequately protected or guaranteed? No matter the nature of the constitution you give to this country, so long as the Nigerian factor is there, we’ll never make progress. If you like bring a Togolese or Ghanaian to come over here to rule. As it is now, the National Assembly itself has no power to make the constitution. They have not been given the power to do so. All aspects of that 1999 Constitution are not only concocted, but a forgery. And any document that tells lies about itself does not stand. It is a forgery. At least from the little law that I know, that is the true situation. So then, the nation itself is run on the basis of forgery. Even the power to review the constitution doesn’t belong to the National Assembly. They cannot even be given the power to review it by anybody. That is the much I can say about that. Now, the federal government has decided to send troops to Mali to help quell the insurgency there. What is your take on this? That is international politics as far as I am concerned. You might argue and say they have not been able to take care of insecurity under their nose, then why are they going to save other people? But there are some valid points in saying that these things have a domino effect. If one place is likely to carry on as they do in Mali now and no one intervenes, more will come up sooner or later. The issue of contiguity are also involved in this matter. So, the policy of the federal government is that they want to contain it before it gets to our shores. I cannot

fault them that. Now, let’s go to your artistic involvements. When you started Ajo Productions in 1983, what did you really have in mind? Ajo Productions is my theatre ensemble. It was established in 1983 to put up plays written by me on stage. And that is what we have been doing ever since. We also have what we call Lagos Theatre Associates. It is a collaboration outfit with Ajo Productions to do a lot of things. While Ajo Productions is a theatre group meant to put up plays by professional theatre actors and practitioners, Lagos Theatre Associates is an attempt to ensure that plays are always on stage. And you can immediately know the implications of that. Being always on stage means that there should continually be entertainment for the working people of Nigeria, who, after their tired

Amnesty has a specific meaning either in English or in the dictionary or in law or in whatever. What the Niger Delta people were doing does not need amnesty. The fact that they have accepted it like that is just to make peace.

•Continued from Page 24

week can relax. It means that the opportunity will be provided for the theatre or the actors to comment continuously on what is going on in the society. It means that there will always be employment for actors and actresses. So, it means that there will be attention all the time to art education. So, when you put all that together, it is a social service that Lagos Theatre Associates are rendering. How do you combine theatre and your law practice? (Laughs) Well, the theatre thing; I never went to any formal school to train as an artiste or as a playwright. So you have to ask the good Lord where that gift came from. The prowess with which I have been endowed, I am not the one to determine it and so I am carrying on with it. But I have been writing ever since I can remember and I enjoy every bit of it. So far, I have over eight plays to my credit. On the law side, it is my profession and I am still there. And I so believe in it that my children – two of them, are also lawyers. I have a grandchild who is equally a lawyer. So, I think that is enough commitment. What level in life has theatre taken you to? Well, I am sitting on top of the world. My plays are being distributed all over the world. It is on Amazon and so on and so forth. And I am sure you know that at the last Olympics, The King Must Dance Naked was one of the official plays staged in England. So far, I can never stop writing plays. At least I have six in the works now. And we just pray for long life so we can continue to write more plays. Do you hope to put them into movies someday? You see, that is the problem with this country. I shouldn’t be the one to do that. People should be interested in what other people do. But who knows, maybe when I find the money, I can do that. There is no theatre in Nigeria because the government who should be providing the infrastructure does not care. The government is not prepared to invest in theatre.





INCE the good governance team visited your state, Abia, why has no government official spoken about the visit? The good governance team’s visit to our state was to our advantage as our governor is a silent achiever who has been doing things that are for the benefit of all. The governor does not believe in blowing his trumpet as the people of the state saw something in him and asked him to serve them. It is like the good governance team which came with renowned journalists and saw things for themselves was designed to allow us show case things we have done which some have doubted. The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, and the NUJ president, Garuba Mohammed, gave resounding testimonies of things they saw. What can you frankly identify as Governor Theodore Orji’s achievements? The governor has been called legacy governor and has also been building projects that past administrations should have put there before now. The new twin state secretariat is almost completed and will house all the ministries, parastatals and other government agencies. It will save the government some funds which are being paid as rent to house owners. These funds would be channeled into other areas. This government has commenced massive road construction and reconstruction across the entire state and the people of the state especially Aba people are happy about it. Where do we start; is it agriculture, where we have made the people to become self dependent and reduced crime rate in the state as the youths are fully engaged. When you said there is peace in the state, why are there altercations in the PDP? The PDP in the state is a one happy family. Before now, some of us moved to PPA, while others moved to APGA. But now, we are together under one happy umbrella, the PDP, and we were able to win all the elective positions in the state and at the national level

‘We are not retiring Orji Kalu from politics’ In this interview, Cosmos Ndukwe, the Chief of Staff [COS] to Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State, speaks about the benefits of the visit of the good governance team to Abia State and the controversy over the return of former governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, to the PDP, alleging that the state government is not retiring Kalu from politics, but only wants him to leave PDP alone. Our correspondent, Ugochukwu Ugoji-Eke, was there. Excerpts because we are united. In fact, we have 100% in the last election and have decided to unite to fight at common front. But now, an enemy in the form of former governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, has been making moves to come in and destroy what Governor Orji has built over the years. Now this man is parading a fake card, which he got in his house instead of at the party ward office. This is a man who had said that he has nothing to do with politics again and moved to form what he calls Njiko-Igbo. He should go and face that project of his or his party the PPA and leave us alone. This is a man who said he gave the sum of N500 million at the time PDP was being formed, yet no one has ever seen the stub of the cheque. Governor Orji is aware of his antics having worked with him for eight years. We are now in a new era and we do not need him in our party. Kalu has accused the state government of plans to print his presidential poster and to paste same in the South-East as a strategy to embarrass him. What have you to say about such allegation? Abia State Government has no plans to either print or paste the presidential campaign posters of the former governor of the state, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, with the intention to bring him at logger heads with the federal government. It is

• Ndukwe

too early for political campaigns.I have known Kalu for many years and I know there is noting he cannot do. I want to assure you that the printing of his poster is what he wants to do, and he is only testing the ground to know the reaction of the people. My advice to the former governor is to face his political party, the PPA. He is only playing his usual antics of causing confusion. He will not succeed. Is it out of place as a former governor for him to be registered in a party he was a pioneer member?

You people are wrong and have failed to get it right, Orji Kalu has not been registered in the PDP in either his ward at Igbere Ward A or in any other part of the state. His name is not in our party register and the card he is carrying is a fake card. As a stakeholder in the party, from the same local government with him, I want to tell you that Orji Kalu has not entered PDP; if he had, I should know. Is Abia government or PDP worried that Kalu is entering the party?

Ebonyi lawmaker's suspension stirs controversy Ogbonnaya Obinna in Abakaliki reports that supporters of suspended female member of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Mrs. Lilian Igwe, are threatening state wide protests if she is not re-instated immediately


HE leadership of Ishiagu Community Development Union (ICDU) and other political stakeholders of Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State have declared a seven days praying and fasting aimed at seeking the face of God to intervene in the continued suspension of its female lawmaker, Hon Mrs. Lilian Igwe, who was suspended nine months ago by the State House of Assembly over alleged act of drunkenness, an act considered



embarrassing to the House of Assembly. In a release signed by the President of the union, Mr. David Ajah, and the Secretary, Mr. Sunday Chukwu, and made available to newsmen at the end of its emer-

gency meeting held at the community, the town union regretted that for nine months running, the state constituency has not had representation at the State House of Assembly, describing it as undue marginalisation of the people.

According to the release; “The union expressed surprise at what it described as current conspiracy of silence over the unjust and mischievous suspension of the lawmaker, Hon Igwe from the House of Assembly. Similarly, a Human Right group based in the state, Center for Peace and Defence of Human Right Abuses, said it would soon mobilise all civil society groups in the state, all women groups and other groups to protest the continued suspension of the lawmaker without recourse to the constituency she represents. Speaking with newsmen in Abakaliki, the State Chairman of the right group, Comrade Chigbo Nwaeze, noted that the suspension of the female lawmaker has denied the constituency any representation for a period of nine months describing the allegation against the lawmaker by the State House of Assembly as baseless and unfounded. “They said she was found drunk, that she drank her self to stupor, fell inside a gutter and some student came and carried her put her inside a tricycle and brought

No, we, as a government are not worried. The party is also not worried that he wants to come into the party. The people know that he has nothing to offer and they are worried that he will come in and destroy what we have built over the years. Abia State has never had it so good since we joined PDP . We are not retiring him from politics but he should remain at his party, the PPA and leave us alone. Why are you afraid of Kalu? The people know his antecedents and they do not want fear within the polity as it was before now. People want politics to be played the way it is supposed to be played, not by creating fear in politicians and the people. The people do not want to mortgage their conscience before getting any political position. We do not want to go back to Egypt; we want to remain in Canaan. Are all these geared towards 2015? Yes and they are mere propaganda and more will still come. The people should not worry, at the right time, we are going to give them direction on how to vote. Are you not denying him entry into the party? Kalu has not approached us that he wants to enter our party, the PDP, so until he does that, we will know how or what to do, whether to celebrate him or not. her to the House of Assembly. Did PDP know she was a drunk and gave her ticket? We have urged the House to present any prove to the allegation. None of them is yet to do that. Our investigation reveals that she was suspended because she did not support the impeachment of the former speaker, Mr. Ikechukwu Nwankwo,' the group said. Meanwhile, the leadership of the House is reportedly insisting that the suspended lawmaker must come to the floor of the House and tender an apology before the House will consider her case. But the rights group found this unacceptable. 'This is a happily married woman with grown up children, apologizing means acceptance. What becomes of her happy family? They are bent on tarnishing the image of the woman and we must stand up against that,' the group said. Also some concerned groups have petitioned the President, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the wife of the President, who is championing 35 percent affirmative. When contacted, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chukwuma Nwazunku, said that no amount of petition or protest would force the House of Assembly to recall the suspended female lawmaker without any formal apology letter from her.


The many face-offs I had with my father —Alex Okoroji –PAGES 34 & 39




Make up tips for Val day

Let your

•Kate Henshaw-Nuttall


O look good on Valentine's Day means to be the centre of attraction and here are some of the beauty products to make sure you look your best on this romantic day!\

•A great eyeliner liquid liner, which makes your eyes look dramatic, is perfect for a date. Use it on your upper lash line to make it look thicker.

•Toke Makinwa

•A flirty lip-gloss - Revlon colour stay mineral lip glaze has the gleam and wearability of a gloss plus strong, pigmented colour. •A sparkling smile makes sure your teeth are sparkling white for all that smiling you will be doing! Go for whitening toothpaste. •Dramatic mascara that will thicken the lashes while also making them look longer; you can also put the glitter over your eye-lid making the Valentine's Day appearance more romantic and exciting. •Another touchy makeup tips for Valentine's Day is to have powder blush. This will make your cheeks rosy and more stunning. •Lastly, envelope yourself in the perfume your man likes, the good fragrance can play a big part on his senses.

•Osas Ighodaro. Miss Black Connecticut USA 2010




Let your




Nollywood actress Belinda Effah reveals her favourite tthings to Kehinde Olueye Favourite shoe Prada Favourite bag Gucci Favourite wrist-watch Rolex Favourite ear-rings Studs Favourite car Rolls Royce Favourite perfume Gucci Favourite underwear Victoria Secret

Favourite Fashion designer Zizi Cardow Favourite Eyewear Cartier Favourite dinner wear Zizi Cardow Dinner wear







AYNOR, 63, couldn't be happier about the longevity of her song, which recently passed its 30th anniversary. "It's great to know that I'm having this positive impact on people of all ages," she says. "It's a wonderful privilege.” In fact, she's even using the hit's fame to support the Miami Children's Hospital Foundation's Bald, Brave, Beautiful pediatric cancer project. Gaynor rewrote the lyrics , transforming the song into an anthem for kids with cancer. P l u s , w i t h a contemporary Christian album in the works, research for a book underway, and several tour dates planned for this year, Gaynor isn't retiring any time soon. "I definitely have slowed down and do a lot less than I used to, but actually quitting? I don't see that happening," she says. The legendary singer talked to about her favorite (and least favorite) covers of her song, what it feels like to win a


r o n y a G a i r Glo on Beyonce, retirement, l a v i v r u s d an

The disco era may be over, but its queenand her biggest hitcertainly aren't. Today, Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" boasts nearly 25 million hits on YouTube and has inspired scores of other artists, from Diana Ross to Cake, to record their own versions of the song. Grammy, and the biggest hardships in life that she has survived. On her favorite and least favorite covers of "I Will Survive.” "The cover by Chantay

Savage is my favorite, because she really made it very different. I think that's what you ought to do when you're covering someone else's song. My least favorite is the Cake

version, only because they use profanity, and that's something that I would never do, in light of the fact that there are all these young people who want to emulate artists. I feel very strongly about that." On why she still loves performing "I Will Survive.” "I love it every time that I perform that song. It's my favorite song to perform because of the response from the audience and the stories that I've heard from fans over the years. I've noticed that the song is inspiring, empowering, uplifting, and because of that, I'm doing a book of stories from fans and friends. I'm looking forward to hearing from lots of people about how 'I Will Survive' has had a positive impact on their lives." On the biggest hardships she's survived. "When I recorded this song, I was overcoming surgery on my spine from having had an accident on stage and waking up the next morning paralyzed from the waist down. I was overcoming the death of my mother, and since then, I've had to survive the deaths of five of my six siblings and my divorce. 'I Will Survive' has helped me through a lot.” On what it's like to win a Grammy. "One of the high points of my career was winning the Grammy for 'I Will Survive.' It's awesome, because you know that this is an accolade that's coming to you from your peerspeople who know what it's like to be in show business and know what it takes to accomplish what they feel you've accomplished. It's quite an honor.”

On her favorite recording artists today. "I'm listening to rhythm and blues, some dance music, and lots of gospel music. I still love a variety of kinds of music. I like Beyonce. I think my alltime favorite song of hers is 'Single Ladies.' I also love Alicia Keys, Norah Jones, and Adele.” On finding the energy to continue touring. “When I'm on stage, all is

right with the world. I think the energy comes from the audience. The better your audience, the more energy you have, and the more energy you have, the better show you do. The better show you do, the more they love it, and the more energy they give back to you. So it's like a back and forth exchange between you and your audience, and I think that's where my stamina comes from.”






Soul-E retraces W y k n a B steps with Message pres ents The Grand A Love Concert FTER years of trying to revive his dwindling career which nosedived after he separated from his erstwhile wife, Queen Ure, onetime-rave, Emmanuel Okose, fondly called Soul-E, has finally gone back to his roots. After gaining relative fame through his short stint with secular music, the music star is back to where he started doing gospel music. The amiable artiste, who is still much remembered for his hit song titled 'Soul-E Baba', confirmed this latest development in a recent chat. “It is true that I'm back to my roots; my calling. I'm now closer to my God and I'm now a gospel singer.” To mark his dramatic return into the world of gospel music, the dynamic musician is out with an album entitled Message. The 8-tracker album which was officially released this month is being marketed nationwide by Chuksbiri Enterprise, Alaba Int'l Market, Lagos. Apart from his normal soul lifting style, music enthusiasts are also poised to enjoy in the album other genres of music such as reggae, R&B, techno, dancehall and world music. Speaking further about the album, the famous musician who now prefers to be called Prophet of Praise, says the album is inspired by his true life story.




Tel: 07029013958


OR hip-hop sensation, Banky W, it is time for another Lagos party, and this time, it is for the release of his he anticipated album, R&BW. He says that k wor of body new his ent pres to is ready an to millions of fans around the world via e. ntin Vale this ert conc ate intim Announcing plans for The Grand Love Concert, Empire Mates Entertainment (EME), the artiste's record label, says that tre the concert will hold at The Civic Cen d, Islan oria Vict in diwe Mba mba Ozu on Lagos on Friday, February 15, 2013. Banky is joined by some of R&B's biggest names, including Wande Coal, Faze. Darey, Tiwa Savage, Bez, Blacky and , Other star performers, according to EME ya, Iyan n, Sulta d Soun include Lynxxx, D, Praiz, Omawumi, Waje, J Martins, May be to e mor y man and a Chidinm announced. EME homeboys, Wizkid, Skales, DJ Xclusive, and Shaydee are also with on the bill, as well as first lady Niyola y special guests appearance by Don Jazz and Yvonne Nelson as well as other special surprises. Powered by Samsung Mobile, Spinlet s and Hennessy, the red carpet event hold , Base with support from TheBeatFM, MTV p, Grou rbird Silve , dcity Soun O, nnel Cha eTV. Wings, Cool FM, RhythmFM and Trac

•Banky W

Chico Ejiro plans show for lovers

Toolz stars in The Island


OLLYWOOD filmmaker, Chico Ejiro, has rounded up plans for a show tagged Love Fiesta; a dream valentine. Slated for February 14th, the event is to be hosted by Lawrence Lurrenz Onuzulike and Benita Nzeribe at the Oriental Hotel, Lekki, Lagos. According to reports, the producer plans to bring in Ashley Stephanie, a top Spanish singer, who will be supported by Tiwa Savage, Baba Dee and a host of other entertainers. Actor, singer and past AGN president, Segun Arinze, is also expected to mount the stage. According to the filmmaker, “the game show which will involve couples will be very hilarious and entertaining and winners will take home numerous prizes including flat screen televisions and other gift items.”


OR on-air personality, Tolu 'Toolz' Oniru, a new journey begins as she is said to be starring alongside Demola Adedoyin, Seun O, Eku Edewor , Derin 'DJ Caise' Philips, Somkele Iyamah and others in a new TV series titled The Island. Set to make its debut soon, the soap is described as a highly captivating tale of power, betrayal, deception, and vengeance. The Island portrays the web of intrigue and machination that characterises Nigerian high society, as seen through the loves, lives, and exploits of a group of young, attractive, highflying Island dwellers in the city of Lagos. Directed by Bobby Boulders on various exotic locations across Africa, The Island features an exciting ensemble of cast as they come together to portray a lifestyle where love and loyalty comes with a price-tag and power is only a game of changing seasons. The TV series is still in production. Other casts in the sitcom include Rotimi 'DJ Xclusive' Alakija, Zainab Balogun, Venita Akpofure, Jimmie, Stephanie and Tracy Nwapa. The Island is directed by Bobby Boulders, created by Tola Odunsi and written by Bayo Lambo, with Tola Odunsi and Akins Akinkugbe as Executive Producers.



•Darey •Toolz


For valentine, Darey Presents Love like a Movie

T is the season of love and soul music sensation, Darey Art-Alade, has promised lovers an unforgettable evening of music, dance and theatre in a concert tagged Darey Presents Love like a Movie. Darey Presents itself, he explains, is a series which will be kicking off with this concept called Love like a Movie. “It is a series that will change with the seasons. This season is valentine, a season of love. The next season could be Easter or Christmas. It is a concert series and for the first time in a long while, probably in the history of Nigerian entertainment, we are doing something that is a bit different from our regular concert.” On the rationale behind the show, Darey says that in Nigeria, we

don't really get our money's worth as far as entertainment is concerned. The concert, he says, comes with a different level, combining what he termed Broadway or Vegas style showmanship, promising live acrobatic maneuvres, drama, all together with music. It is the season of endearment so guests will be hearing their favourite love songs as well, he promised. “We have our partners from Italy who have started arriving. Also, we have a few special guests who will be joining us from outside the country. There will be a surprise guest. What I can tell you for now is that it will be a female,” he said. The event, which is slated for February 17, at the Eko Hotel, starts at 5pm with a red carpet that will be as glamorous as the Oscars, the artiste revealed.




Nollywood actress and television darling, Alex Okoriji, is an interesting character on and off the screen. The daughter of Chief Tony Okoroji, one-time president of Practitioners of Music Association of Nigeria (PMAN) and the current Chairman of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), is looking forward to her debut on the big screen later in the year. In this interview with MERCY MICHAEL, the mother of one reveals what marriage and motherhood has changed about her. She also talks about the pressure of being the daughter of Tony Okoriji and other things.Excerpts:


HAT have you been doing with your acting career?

Basically, what have I been doing? Raising myself; I've been working. I've been doing a lot more television soap operas and writing. Yes, I've been writing. It appears movie is secondary for you, right? Well, the whole of last year I think I did two or three movies that are yet to come out. And so I'm looking forward to them coming out because they are going to be big. And I'm still on television; I'm still doing Spider. I'm still doing Tales of Eve, which are all running. But again, we are also working on something. I'm working with my colleagues on a radio show. People are watching, I don't want to give too many info, but that's going to be premiering, it's going to be launched soon. It's going to be very big. And what's the show about? The little I can say, it's called The Nollywood Play House. Is it a play on radio? It's not a play on radio. It's a live interactive pop radio. It's going to be about the goings on in our industry and the entertainment industry in general. It's a lot of reviews and it's going to be fun and very chatty. How many of you are working on this project? There are three of us, consisting of myself, Femi Brainard and Kalu Ikeagwu. It seems you have a preference for soaps? Really, to be honest with you, a lot of our movie stars started their career from television. And television can be very draining, especially because I did Tinsel for about two seasons. And it's an everyday job. You find it very difficult to run away and do movies. And then, you have the same character all over, and no matter what happens to you, even if you put to bed, you still have to get back there. So it's very draining. But at the same time, it doesn't mean I don't want to do movies. I've decided that if I'm going to do movies, I'm going to do big screen movies, cinema movies, and not the home video. I already have a certain taste and standard that I want to meet up with at all times. So, when are you going to do your first cinema? As I said, I shot some movies that will be coming out this year. We are waiting for the producers to release them so that people can see what we've been working on. I have a movie entitled Hero's Pride, people are going to be wowed by the time it is released. It's going to come out soon. And after that, I'm still hoping I'm going to do more stuff. I'm hoping to concentrate on doing movies because I've done a lot of television. What movie or soap, as the case maybe, would you say has helped to announce your arrival on the scene? The thing about television is that people see you regularly. They see you all the time. And sometimes, they even see you on the street and call you by your character. I work on the street sometimes and hear people call me Tessy. And for a second, I wonder who Tessy is, and suddenly I realise that they actually got it from Spider. Also, there is Tale of Eve. Now, Tinsel is showing on terrestrial TV and even though I'm not on season five, they can still watch and say, oh Alex was on Tinsel. There was Wives and Concubine; it was on Africa Magic for so long. So I can't really say which in particular announced me. I can't really say which one, but it's probably Tinsel. What made it stand out for you and what character did you play? I played Susan, a lawyer. She's Amaka's best friend. Susan travelled mostly because I had some issues. I got pregnant. I was having a baby, so we couldn't shoot with my pregnancy and all. Are you likely to come back on Tinsel? I do not know. I don't know that for now because the thing about television is sometime, when you think something is happening to someone, they can bring the person back. I mean it's up to the writer. They keep scripting every day. They had to give me time to have and take care of my baby because Tinsel is very draining. We never know. Something may happen. You don't look like you've had one… Cuts in…But you know the funny thing, those who don't know me always go like, 'oh you don't look like you've had one.' But those who know me always tease me about my fat. My mother doesn't let me drink water because she thinks I'm too fat. Even my father doesn't let me drink water. But I'm trying. I'm hoping that I can lose some weight because with television, your body is your tool. I like food a lot, but I have to sometimes remember, 'oh that's my tool'. And I'm not going to get any job because the cameras kind of add 10 pounds to your weight. So it



makes you look bigger. You've played several characters. Which would you say you find most fascinating? I played a character in a yet to be released movie. The movie is called Hero's Bride. I played a singer. So I had to sing in the musical and I played alongside Yemi Blaq and Femi Brainard. I was the lead road character, and it was challenging because I had to sing. We had to do a lot of live recordings. We recorded a lot of soulful songs and it was very emotional. It's a simple story about a singer whose husband was a military man who went to war, while the wife missed him. Struggling to have to build her career and the home was a big challenge. And then of course, in Tales of Eve, I had to play the role of a Muslim. Prior to that time, I didn't know what it was to be a Muslim. It almost didn't look like me. If you watch it, you almost wouldn't recognise me because I had to wear the Jalabia and all the covering. And that's the kind of stuffs I like. And I had to add some hausa inflections, something I had to learn. I couldn't wear the kinds of clothes Alex would like to wear on set. I had to cover up a lot, cover my face. Even the makeup was boring. But yes, watching it, I can't even recognise myself and that's good when you can't see yourself and you are seeing the character. What's your dream role? Bond Girl (laughs). Hmmm, my dream role? I can't think of a dream role. I would just say that I want something very challenging. I'm looking forward to more challenging roles, something that's going to challenge me, both physically and mentally. Even as a writer, I would like to do something really catchy. You write scripts? Yes, I write screens plays and editorials. And I'm signing up for

The many face-offs I had with my father

blog too. It's really just my thought; Alexandra and her naked thoughts. It's just my thought that I'm going to be baring open, not sugarcoating it, not hiding it, just the thing that I'm thinking, very silly things, but things that can inspire people. Some people will think it's very naughty, but it's not the naughtiness, it's the message under the naughtiness that counts. Because when you say to someone 'Oh, don't worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself', they won't accept the message that way. But if you coin it in a sexual way, they will be like 'oh what did she just say?' They will want to listen to your message. A lot of people actually think you are naughty… Hmm, I can be mischievous, but you know sometimes it is very easy to be easily misunderstood. And again, some people who know me very well will say I'm too serious. And people who don't ...He felt like he know me will say I'm not knew a lot of serious. The thing is, I have moments when I'm like, let's things that went not be too serious. down in the I also have moments when I need to wear the hat industry and he of seriousness. You know was concerned you have to wear several hats. I cannot be a daughter about whether I when I need to be a mother. Things like that. have the What's the naughtiest backbone to deal thing you have ever done? with those things, I can't think of anything really. Do you know the and whether I funniest thing; I'm very, very careful, something that was prepared is strange. I'm not as carefree as people assume. I and ready. It was think I have the exterior of a major fight. looking like I'm carefree, but And just other I'm very careful. Usually, when people ask me those several personal kinds of questions, I can't think of something that I've decisions, like done that is so naughty. The when I wanted to only thing I can say is that in my thought, usually in have my baby conversations, I can be naughty, depending on how comfortable I am with the person who wants to see that part of me. Most times, I'm very calm. Does being the daughter of Tony Okoriji put pressure on you? A whole lot of times, yes. Sometimes, I really don't want people to know. He has great expectations of you. He puts that pressure on you. You can't make mistake. You are not allowed to make mistakes because he's a perfectionist and he expects that whatever thing you are going to do, especially creative wise, it has to be…and even in your personal life, you are worried that you may sometimes make mistakes as a human being, and you are worried about his opinion and what he's going to think, because, again, it will rub off on his own personality. Then people just assume your life is perfect because you are his child. So with that, I've been very careful. To this

—Alex Okoroji point, I think I've earned my place. Because at first, it used to be 'you are Tony Okoroji's daughter', but now they say that's Alex Okoroji's father. Yes, it's not very easy, but you know, I'm trying to keep a level head. You two must have had several face-offs. Tell us about them. Oh, always. Okay, maybe not always, but we have. I think the first time I wanted to act was a major one because I think he felt like he knew a lot of things that went down in the industry and he was concerned about whether I have the backbone to deal with those things, and whether I was prepared and ready. It was a major fight. And just other several personal decisions, like when I wanted to have my baby. I think that was a concern too because he felt, you career is picking up, now you are on every television station, in fact you are confused, you have like three jobs and they are all clashing at the same time. So why do you choose now to want to go ahead and have a baby? He said: 'I'm not against you getting pregnant, but you can do this later. Why do you want to do this now?' And I'm like, 'look, it's happening now. I want to do this now. I think I can combine work and family.' So a lot of that happened. But he's happy now. What is it like to be married and what was the attraction about him? I really don't like to talk about personal stuffs. It's so funny; I'm such a home girl. I have some friends who call me home girl because every time they call me, and I'm not working, then I must be at home. So they call me home girl and I will be like 'people wey go hear you now no go believe say na true'. By my nature, I like confinement; I like to keep to myself. I don't so much love attention. I wanted to have kids even much earlier. I wish I had like a ten-year child now. I will be so much happy. So it wasn't really a big deal because I'm the first child. I have five younger

ones and it was my responsibility to take care of them. So it's never an area that I feel it's a problem or is going to be a problem. But I guess dad thought I had ambition and he wanted me to achieve those ambitions without any distraction. I'm still learning. I'm still trying to find myself. I'm still work in progress. But it's happening, especially with the radio programme coming on board, and I'm thinking where am I going to put other things? I can barely find time for myself. But what attracted you to him? I don't know (laughs). I think it was more of somebody wanting what you wanted at a time. It's not perfect. I don't want to give anybody the impression that it's perfect, anything can happen tomorrow. But just the fact that at the time you wanted to go through this journey, that person wanted to go through that same journey with you. What has motherhood changed about you? To put other people first. You know that you are responsible for someone else. You also know that someone else is dependent on you for practically everything, including living. You also know that you need to put their welfare before your own. And then you are running a household you know you can't just walk away from. You have to make sure that everybody is fine and take care of everybody. Even when you are at work, you have to call in many times to make sure everybody is fine. Yes, it kind of makes you a whole lot more selfless and not selfish. Yes, that's what has changed. One would have expected you to go into music like your dad. Hmm, everyone has that expectation of me. It's funny because I used to have a girl band when I was in high school. There is still music in the future. I just don't want to rush it. I don't want to confuse people. I just want to make sure it's one step at a time. You don't want to appear like people who don't know what they want to do in terms of career. But music is part of my foundation because I grew up listening to music. But you see, I'm mixing it up. I just did a movie and I sang in it, that's it. Name one screen play you've written? I've written a lot. One was nominated at the AMAA's 2009. State of the Heart. It was produced by RMD How would you describe yourself? Animated, passionate, that's all.

Constellation of stars at Shift Celebrity Prayse 3


UBBED one place, one heart, one God, the atmosphere last Sunday, February 3, 2013 at the Lagoon Restaurant was one that could best be described as heavenly as the entire entertainment industry, movie and music stars with their fans, stormed the just concluded Shift Celebrity Prayse 3. Organised by Pastor Paul Emmanuel for the entertainment industry, the event remains the first major event of 2013. To say it was a constellation of stars is an understatement, the crème-de-lacrème of the society led by the First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Abimbola Fashola thronged the venue. Some of the notable faces in the entertainment industry include: Ibinabo Fiberesima, Genevieve Nnaji, Monalisa Chinda, Segun Arinze, Susan Peters, Lilian Bach, Aisha Abimbola, Toyin Alausa, Grace Amah, Midnight Crew, Sabina Umoren, MC Abbey Pencil, Senator, Elenu, Funny Bone, Akpororo, Tim Godfery, DJ Gosporella, Xpilcit, Xtreme Crew, Charles Granville, among others. Topnotch comedians Okey Bakassi and Julius Agwu were anchors for the evening. With their spontaneous jokes, the duo held the guests spellbound for the rest of the evening while comedy acts like Funny bone, Elenu and MC Abbey got a stellar grade as they got the guests laughing out loud all through. From the music industry, Midnight Crew put up an unrivalled spectacular performance. They took the bar really high but popular Choreography group, Xplicit came and dazzles the crowd. It was a night of glitz and fun in an atmosphere of praise. The convener of Shift Celebrity Prayse, Pastor Paul Emmanuel, reveals the vision behind the event. “SCP is its third edition and the purpose is for celebrity to come together and praise and pray to God for the opportunity he's given them. It was an emotional moment as Pastor Paul began to mention names of some entertainers who were instrumental to the success of the event.

FAB Magazine out with ‘Twilight Issue’


•Alex Okoroji

RBAN trend readers and followers are in for a treat as FAB Magazine is out with a much 'darker' issue. This edition tagged 'The Twilight Issue' is out on Apple, Android and other web platforms. Inspired by the end of a season and the beginning of a new one, 'Twilight Issue' will hit newsstands in print form, on 8 February 2013. The current issue sees FAB Magazine go back to fashion covers with two exciting avant-garde shoots while there is plenty more fashion inside with whopping 45 pages of editorials and 24 pages of trends from African and international runways. And in line with the theme of the current issue, a FAB fashion icon will be remembered. Remi Oshalake of Remi Lagos, who passed away in late 2012, will be celebrated for her contribution to the development of the fashion industry. On the FAB Spotlight, fresh talent and Abujabased designer, Stephanie Okeke, who is behind the label, Sally Intiego, and who, at the age of 17, has already showcased her works across the globe, will be further projected through the platform. Entertainment impresario, Ben Murray-Bruce, will also be on the spotlight as the inspirational Nigerian media mogul talks business, politics and life.




Moses, Emenike

living the dreams Super Eagles battle Burkina Faso today

IDEYE wants AFCON trophy for adoring children


I will strip naked if...




I'll strip naked if... T

here is no doubt that all eyes and cameras will be on Nigeria's 'Rock of Gibraltar' in goal, Vincent Enyeama, this evening when the Super Eagles file out against Burkina Faso in the final of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) at the Soccer City in Soweto, Johannesburg. For one, Enyeama is expected to be a key player in the Nigerian side, as the reliable hands between the posts, but more importantly for daring to go half-naked should Nigeria win the coveted trophy. The scenario could be like this: with victory secured for Super Eagles and final whistle blown, all cameras will zero in on Enyeama as he strips down to his under pant and linger on him for a considerable long time for millions of viewers all over the world to savour. "It will be a dream come true and I am certain I will strip to my shorts. Yes, let everyone hear it that I will strip to my shorts if we are champions,” said the usually reserved Enyeama who said he's not the Special One despite some agility and daring saves that kept the Super Eagles alive at this tournament. This much Enyeama disclosed during a press conference in South Africa, shortly before their group opening game against same opponent today: Burkina Faso. Known for his simplicity and Godly inclination, not a few would be surprised to see Super Eagles stand-in captain and safe-hand, Vincent Enyeama, drop his shirt and pant for his under wearjust like he had promised at the beginning of the championship. This is because the World Cup goalkeeper, who hit the headlines with Enyimba FC of Aba, Nigeria, before moving to Europe, is not known for showmanship and grandstanding. A bit on the shy side, Enyeama is quiet and unassuming and has not allowed his outstanding success in the national team and club level to get into his head. Enyeama has been consistent since he became Nigeria's undisputed first choice goalkeeper just after the 2002 World Cup in Japan/South Korea. He was in the teams that played at the 2004 to 2010 tournaments where the country got to the semi finals in all but the 2008 tournament where, incidentally, Austin Ejide was Berti Vogts' first choice. Enyeama regained his place after Vogts' departure and was arguably Nigeria's best player at the 2010 World Cup. So it would come as a big surprise to see the Israel-based slip to his under pant to celebrate Eagles' victory. . "I aim to keep playing until I am 40. If possible into my 42nd year even. I work hard, I am focused and if I do as little as I did against Rotterdam (Nigeria's opponent in a recent friendly match before the Africa Nations Cup in South Africa) in more matches then I can easily play that long," he added when

By Taiwo Alimi

prodded about retirement plans having been Super Eagles' top choice keeper for over a decade. In a recent interview with The Nation Sport & Style, Enyeama's Godly approach to life and style was candidly captured when he noted that material possession does not mean much to him. Given his successful career in Europe, Enyeama without a doubt must have made some megabucks, but he dropped a shocker when he revealed that he has no car to his name in Nigeria but drives N5m worth Subaru B9 in Israel. For 'Saint Enyeama' it would be tantamount to wasting hardearned resources and mere show off to drive around town, where he seldom lives, in top of the range cars. In spite of the fact that he loves good cars, he says he prefers to spend his money on more realistic venture. “I would say l'm a car lover because everybody likes cars. Every human being on the earth likes car but l would prefer to use my money on something else than getting involved in buying cars.” Enyeama, however, drives a dream car in Europe and it is not just some car but a rare specimen that may have sunk a hole in his pocket. “In Israel l have a club's car, a B9 Subaru because mu club is being sponsored by Subaru Automobile Company so I ride a B9 Subaru,” he revealed. The Subaru B9 Tribeca is worth about N5million. It is also a mid-size crossover SUV assembled in Lafayette, Indiana, United States in 2006. It was only Subaru's third production vehicle to forgo frameless side windows- the first vehicle being the Subaru SVX and the second being the GE/GH/GR series Subaru Impreza. A strong believer in God, Enyeama cannot utter three sentences without referring to 'The Almighty' and attributing his success to Him too. “First, l have to thank God because He has been wonderful to me. I have had great experience, great time and great moment, even bad moments too, but all the same it's been wonderful, really it's been wonderful. God has always been on my side and l thank Him for it. For sure the pillar behind my success is God. I cannot mince words about this fact because it is all about Him, the three letter word; God. He is the one behind my path to success. I have no one, no godfather, nothing! He is the motivator of my life. He is my inspiration, my energy and my strength. He is just everything to me. “My wife, my children, my mother and my father are part of me but God has packaged us as one indivisible unit and as a bond. I won't give it to my wife or any of my family but to Almighty God,” Enyeama intoned.

Contd from page 36

IDEYE: I want to win for my sons

Everybody now wants to know the secret, they are happy because we are getting results. I think we should always encourage continuity like this in the team for us to keep getting results. He always gives us the courage that we can do it, he always lets us realise that we are playing for the nation and not him. He told us that if we win the trophy, our names will be written in gold. So that was why we decided to raise our games and were focused. Are you satisfied with your contributions to the team? I am very happy with what we have done as a team. I don't like speaking about myself when a team is involved. We are here as a team, and everyone is putting in his effort to ensure success for the country and for our careers. I am doing my best and I will keep doing that. Your combination with Emenike upfront seems to be gelling. How will you access this? Emenike is a world-class striker; he has remained calm to give to his best at the AFCON. We both understand ourselves and we always talk about it. What matters is the ability to communicate. We have good rapport, and that has also helped a great deal. He moves well with the ball and uses his physical strength to edge the defenders and that is what African football is all about. Ability to move well with speed and stamina. Do you see him claiming the top scorer's award? He is a good candidate for the award, not only that, he deserves best player of the tournament award if you will agree with me. But I don't think Emenike is keen on individual award. He wants Eagles' glory first. He is determined about the success of the team like every other player and we are on course to claim the big honour. How special will it be for you to lift the trophy on Sunday? Wow! We all know what it takes to win an AFCON trophy. It will be a special day in my career. And I can't wait to do that. On the assumption that Nigeria have lifted the trophy. How will you celebrate?

I don't like being faster than my shadow. I love to be sincere with myself. So let me wait till Sunday and put in my best for the team again. You have been away from your wife and children. Do you think going back home with AFCON gold medal will be enough for them? I 'm looking at that and it seems you are reading my mind. My family are eagerly waiting for me to return with the cup and their prayers matter. I want to win the AFCON trophy for my children. They have always been praying for me and my whole family have also been doing that but I will like to give my best and make their dreams come true for me. What role has your wife played in ensuring success for you? She has been wonderful, she always makes me understand that I am on top of the world and winning this cup will seal it for me. Her prayer is surely working because she is everything I wanted. You have donned this hairstyle even in your club. Does it have anything to do with your game? It's just my own style. It does not stop me from giving my best. We players always like to live in our own world and that is Brown Ideye for you. But my wife and my kids love it... So it brings success for me anyway (laugher).




Ejike Asiegwu, Kate Henshaw, storm movie screening

ELD recently at the Silverbird Galleria, in Victoria Island Lagos, former president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Ejike Asiegbu, and screen diva, Kate Henshaw, top the list of celebrities in attendance at the press screening of the movie Assassin's Practice. The movie press screening was organised to allow the media and a few selected movie producers to appraise it ahead of the cinema release on February 22, 2013. Assassin's Practice that stars Nollywood award-winning actress Kate Henshaw as Sandra, also boasts of Nollywood icon, Chief Justus Esiri, upcoming actor David Nnaji, Uche Monye, Daphne Akatugba and Britishborn actresses Sarah Akokhia and Eve Pearson. Assassin's Practice tells the story of a failed stock investor Eviano (Chief Justus Esiri), who hires an assassin (Eve Pearson) to stage his suicide and make it look like a botched robbery so his wife

•Mimmy Tea

Yobemoh gears up for triple hit combo



IP hop-idealist, Paul “Yobemoh” Akhimie, CEO of Illific Solutions, who was recently celebrated at maiden edition of the Icons Night (a premium entertainment lifestyle brand that celebrates entertainment professionals such as performers, managers, producers, promoters) for his strides on the entertainment scene and his latest career transition as a performing artist, is set to release a triple hit collaboration. The new single titled 'Elenu' (one with clout) will consist of three versions featuring Mallam Spicy, Lord of Ajasa and Mimmy Tea respectively. The song is a forerunner to Yobemoh's forthcoming debut album which is already in the works. 'Elenu' is also a follow up to Yobemoh's last single titled 'Wait There' featuring Isolate. Yobemoh started rapping in high school in 1987 while performing in local hip hop events and talent platforms within that period of time. He was also a principalexecutive member (Sec. Gen) of Nigeria's premiere hip hop association, the Afro hip hop Society. He is also a representative of the official Lyricist Lounge franchise in Africa. His evolution also took roots when he started off as one part of the duo, Internash Fam, alongside MiFliss (Best Myspace Artiste Nominee 2009). The duo jointly engaged various international collaborations with foreign hip hop artistes in Canada, Germany, USA and Romania.

(Kate Henshaw) and daughter (Sarah Akokhia) would live off his life insurance; only to discover that the assassin who is delusional will not spare anyone and he must do everything to undo what he started. The storyline is short but engaging, with the capacity to keep the viewers glued to the big screen for as long as the movie last. It's a movie with few cast who delivered their lines with such dexterity and professionalism that would captivate and arrest attention of the viewers in any clime. The movie, co-produced by Andrew Ukoko and Dele Ajakaiye, is from the stable of Trinity FilmWorks, and was shot in the United Kingdom and Nigeria respectively. It was written and directed by one of the co-producers, Mario Andrew Ukoko, whose directing skills were proven by the fittingly arranged

scenarios. Mario Andrew Ukoko, is a Nigeriaborn UK-based director, who had stints with Adamawa Television, Nigeria (Youth Panorama and Kaleidoscope) and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Benin (In the Mood). Predominantly writing screenplays, his credits include: 7 Days After, Clash of Altars, The Will and Enough is Enough. In 2000, he co-produced and doubled as an assistant director in the film Infidelity.

He made his directorial debut with the British film, Lust Control, in 2006. He has since directed a short film, FEAR, and written several feature film scripts, some of which are currently in pre-production, such as Reverse Shot and The Last Day. Andrew has a Producer's Diploma and an Independent Filmmaker's Certificate from the Hollywood Film Institute.

SISTAZ: Mo Abudu's reality beams Lagos to the world


ORRIED about the negative image portrayed of Africa by the western media, notable TV presenter Mo Abudu is set to thrill the world with the beautiful sceneries, social life, modern structure and every other potential that could underscore the continent as a tourist destination. “We want to showcase the best of Lagos; that many would watch globally and ask: is that really Lagos? Is that really Nigeria? Is that really Africa? And we will say, yes it is! We want to reveal an Africa never portrayed by most mainstream western media channels,” says the TV icon who is championing the course through a reality show called SISTAZ. According to Abudu, Chief Executive officer of EbonyLife TV, who will be joining forces with executive director, Stephanie Cooker, a UK-born Nigerian woman and the two sisters of GreekNigerian descent known as STARVO to produce the programme, SISTAZ will showcase the best of Lagos in a way that would leave a lasting memory in the minds of people in Nigeria and beyond. The project which she says will make a debut soon is woven round three segments: the cast, made up of Stephanie Cooker (a presenter on MTV Base) and Jojo and Eleni Starvo; the spine story

By Akinola Ajibade

which is a foundation upon which the programme is built, and this season which speaks about the bond of love between the two sisters, their adventure, fame and discovery of the beauty of Lagos and Africa. Through SISTAZ, Abudu says the picture of the black race with attain a balance. “What we see from them (western media) are the pictures of women in villages carrying firewood on their heads. Of course these societies and realities exist, but so do the modern African cities with all the trimmings of glamour; with beautiful and chic women.

The village setting imagery portrayed by western media channels continues to undermine the progress made in Africa by African brands,” she stated. Cooker said of the project at a press conference in Lagos recently: “The programme is going to be aired on major television stations in Nigeria and beyond. People have formed a negative mindset about Africa. They attribute robbery, corruption; killing of innocent people, among other vices, to the continent. The situation can be remedied. What we are saying is that the time has come to redefine the image of Africa through TV reality shows.”

•L-R: Sistaz! Director, Heidi Uys; Lead casts, Jojo Stavro and Stephanie E. Coker; Director, Reality Programming, EbonyLife TV, Pamela Ofoegbu; Lead cast, Eleni Stavro; Producer, Pris Nzimiro; Asst Sales & Marketing Manager, Eko Hotel & Suites, Roland Eze; at the press conference.

Solid Star, Yemi Alade, others for Exclusive Couples’ night out


special valentine event dedicated to couples will be staged on Saturday, the th 16 of February, 2013. The event which is put together by C2RU in collaboration with FLAMING HYPERMEDIA is meant for couples of all kinds; married, engaged or seriously dating. It is geared towards empowering relationships. Set to be staged at “Our-Place” event centre in Ikeja, Lagos, the occasion will help couples unwind, relax and also learn about relationships in a conducive atmosphere with live music featuring Solid Star (Omotena, Skibo), Yemi Alade (Ghen Ghen love), Oshadipe twins, Saeon, Maytronomy, 2sec, Eyo (Project fame). There will also be comedy by; Baba de Baba, MC Headmastar, MC Icewater, Xtreme, L4J and several other acts. Also on the lineup are couple games which will help couples to learn more about one another. During the event, couples will also have the opportunity to interact with celebrity couples who are doing well with their relationships. This will also serve as a good atmosphere for business networking, where the industry meets the market. •Yemi Alade




Entertainment Flower Girl to hit cinemas Valentine's Day


LOWER Girl is a romantic comedy that involves the life of a shy florist (Kemi) who is desperate to tie the knot with her long-time boyfriend (Umar). In a desperate bid to make him jealous, she teams up with a most unlikely ally (Tunde), a famous Nollywood star. The romantic-comedy is set to premiere on February 13 with a red-carpet event at the Silverbird Cinemas on Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island. The movie is due for release in the cinemas on February 14. Under the direction of Michelle Bello (Small Boy), co-produced by Michelle Dede (Big Brother Nigeria), Art Director Bola Bello (AMAA award winner for Directing: Small Boy), award-winning screenwriter Jigi Bello (Shooter, The Waiting Room) and Director of Photography James Costello (2011 African & Nigerian Critics Award winner for Cinematography: Inale, and DP of Last Flight to Abuja and Black November), this romantic comedy is a story on love, life, its travails and everything in between. Flower Girl has an amazing cast of the freshest faces in the movie industry. The cast includes; Damilola Adegbite (Tinsel), Chris Attoh(Sinking Sands, Tinsel), Eku Edewor (Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll) Blossom Chukwujekwu(Tinsel), Bikiya Graham Douglas (Iya Ile) and many more.

Taiwo Oladoye dazzles with debut album


Okiki splashes N17m on Toyin Aimakhu's autism film film marketing ULTIPLE award-winning d Music Production, company, Okiki Films anbudget production for ge hu a on has embarked The actress is happy at the a Toyin Aimakhu film. e film, Oritoke, which focuses Th . said to moment, sources say y of an autistic child, is on the ability in disabilitd ready for distribution. have been completed an iye, the new movie is said to Directed by Bayo Alaw out N17 million. ab have cost the financiers rld, I am happy that we have “I am on top of the woYou can see all over me that I am finally finished the job.part of a girl with autism. My very tired. I played thea hereditary problem. I inherited father has autism, it is ne was a worse case. My father it from my father but mi ther married him for his money. was very rich and my moleft us. It was just my father and Things got bad and she o happened to be an imbecile. I. I had a best friend whhas a talent, she can drum very However, my character child, she has the brain of a sixwell. She thinks like ais about 30 years. The film is year-old although she d highly didactic.” loaded, so educative an Films for the financing, she On the choice of Okiki come a household name in g outfit said, the company has be s done by the marketinle and Nigeria and all the filmral sib sen y ver s and are are films that teach mo interesting. t Okiki Films emerged the It would be recalled thag film company in the year 2012 fastest growing marketin s in its kitty. with 11 different award


OSPEL music fans may not have heard of the name Taiwo Oladoye,

but her track, No Be Me, released in December, is already receiving rave reviews by those who have listened to the sonorous voice of Taiwo. The hit track is already enjoying massive airplay at different TV and radio stations. The video was released recently and it has received warm attention by music lovers as the singer who hails from Abeokuta passionately delivers a soulful rendition. Taiwo, a contemporary gospel artiste and song writer, says she is delighted about her new work and gives glory to God. “The promo video for the fourth track, No be me, na God, and the album are currently enjoying airplay across TV & radio stations in Nigeria and on some

Penelope Cruz graces Campari 2013 calendar


ET to take the audience on a stunning visual voyage, the 2013 calendar showcases Campari's latest female protagonist, the Oscarwinning actress, Penelope Cruz, in 13 vivid shots, as she engages with intriguing and mystical superstitions, such as black cats, broken mirrors, walking under ladders as well as walking on cracks. Dressed in a variety of gorgeous red-themed dresses and shoes from top fashion houses including Monique Lhuillier and Salvatore Ferragamo, as well as jewellery by Chopard, Penelope dazzles in every shot. Campari is taking this opportunity to instill confidence in people across the world on the basis that self-belief enables any superstition to be overcome, enabling us to enjoy the pleasurable moments in life. On starring in the Campari 2013 calendar, Penelope Cruz comments: “I have really enjoyed starring in the Campari calendar 2013, I found the superstitious theme extremely intriguing and stimulating. It's been a pleasure to work with such a talented and professional team, particularly Kristian Schuller, the calendar photographer, since I really admire his work. As an actress I am often challenged to portray the 'unexplainable' and this shoot was no different.” Internationally celebrated fashion photographer Kristian Schuller shot the Campari calendar for its 14th edition. Renowned for telling curious stories through his work, and with his love of surreal imagery, Kristian perfectly captured the theme of the calendar through his cutting-edge photography style.

satellite stations including Dove Media. Na God,” she said. Shake Up The Heaven Album, launched recently at Western Hotel, Ikeja, is a 6-track contemporary gospel music, produced by Tosin Paul of ROTE Entertainment and mastered by Kayode Ojo Noah (aka K-strings). Another feat for the anointed singer was that all the six tracks of the album were approved to be used as a ringtone on Telecommunication giant, Glo mobile, last Thursday. Married to Deacon David Oladoye, Taiwo Oladoye, the delectable singer, is one of the music ministers at the historic 50,000-sitter Faith Tabernacle, popularly called Winner's Chapel.




Artistes from 12 countries make 2013 Cape Town Jazz Festival


•Jill Scott


ITH 12 countries providing the line-up for this year's edition of Cape Town International Jazz Festival, the concert is set for a breathtaking experience, if what the organisers say is anything to go by. Known as Africa's Grandest Gathering, the festival which will be in its fourteenth year when it takes place on Friday 5 April and Saturday 6 April 2013 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre will thrill loyal and new fans with world class music Rashid Lombard, festival director and CEO of espAfrika, organisers of the show announces that three-time Grammy Award-winning singersongwriter, New York Times best-selling poet and critically acclaimed actress, Jill Scott (USA), will join the bill for this year's annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) as one of the headline acts. Scott, who had to withdraw from the festival last year due to filming commitments, joins •Norman Brown nearly 40 other world-class acts from 12 countries for a line-up of diverse live-music from traditional jazz to funk, pop, soul and more. According to Lombard, “Jazz and popular music luminaries from every continent will be represented at this year's event in keeping with the CTIJF's evergrowing standing as one of the world's major music gatherings, and Africa's premier lifestyle event.” He disclosed that for this year, half of the line-up acts are Africa. He said the festival promises to be an impressive convergence of the best in jazz and other genres. The pack includes top quality selection of US greats, including Grammy Awardwinning jazz guitarist Norman Brown, Grammy Award-winning jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum and renowned jazz trumpeter Rick Braun, who together will perform as BWB, an act that has been described as astounding. In addition, Kirk Whalum Romance Language, Whalum's modern day recreation of a collection of duets recorded in 1963 by iconic jazz saxophonist John Coltrane and vocalist Johnny Hartman, is also on the bill, as well as undisputed master of jazz and rock violin Jean-Luc Ponty (France), a graduate of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris who has performed across the globe to great acclaim, and Steve Turre, one of the world's preeminent jazz innovators, trombonist and

CINEMA GUIDE LAGOS Django Featured Actors Kevin James, Salma Hayek and Henry Winkler Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 105min Wreck It Ralph Featured Actors John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch Genre Comedy and Sequel Running Time 101min A Thousand Words Featured Actors Eddie Murphy, Cliff Curtis and Kerry Washington Genre Comedy Running Time 91min Hotel Transylvania Featured Actors Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Andy Samberg Genre Comedy ARGO Featured Actors Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston and John Goodman Genre Drama Running Time 120 min Twilight Saga 2 Featured Actors Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 115min Skyfall •Thandiswa Mazwai

seashellist who has worked with Ray Charles, Stephen Scott, Woody Shaw and Blakey. Adding some hip hop flavour to this year's line-up is Brother Ali (USA) whose 2007 release, The Undisputed Truth, was a springboard for his headlining tours in the US, Canada and Australia. Also from the host country, South Africa, are five incredible women Sonti, Thandiswa Mazwai, Auriol Hays, Claire Phillips and Pu2ma who have all been confirmed for the festival. Sonti has fast become a top name in South Africa. While living in exile, she met Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba and is blessed with the rare experience of working with two of SA's great legends. Her incredible voice has seen her take the limelight with international music icons like Peter Gabriel, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Ritchie, Elton John, Sade, Paul Simon and Donna Summer. Thandiswa Mazwai was recently described by the Guardian as South Africa's finest female contemporary singer. Combining traditional Xhosa rhythms, mbaqanga, reggae, kwaito, funk and jazz, Thandiswa believes that through music she can have meaningful conversations about African identity. Auriol Hays' debut album Behind Closed Doors earned her a 2009 SAMA nomination and was selected by the Sunday Times as one of the Top 20 albums. SAMA winner, singer, songwriter and musician Claire Phillips has an instantly recognisable voice and her album Say My Name hit the top of the local music charts. Phillips has performed alongside Sasha-Lee David's, Brandon October, Jimmy Dludlu and Joe Mc Bride, to name but a few. Few words can describe the vocal prowess of Pu2ma who shared the stage with Hugh Masekela at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz in 2011 and has performed internationally at the infamous jazz club in Shanghai, China (the JZ Club). Other South African jazz greats taking centre stage at the CTIJF include Louis Moholo who presents 4 Blokes and 1 Girl, Ibrahim Khalil Shihab, Afrika Mkhize, Jonathan Rubain and Don Vino, and Ben Sharpa and Pure Solid.

Featured Actors Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and Naomie Harris Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 143 The Meeting Featured Actors Rita Dominic, Femi Jacobs, Linda Ejiofor, Jide Kosoko, Kate Henshaw & Nse Ikpe Etim Genre Drama Running Time 120Min Dr . Bello Genre Action/Adventure Hotel Transylvania Featured Actors Adam


A Thousand Words Featured Actors Eddie Murphy, Cliff Curtis and Kerry Washington Genre Comedy Running Time 91min Hotel Transylvania Featured Actors Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Andy Samberg Genre Comedy ARGO Featured Actors Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston and John Goodman

Genre Drama Running Time 120 min Twilight Saga 2 Featured Actors Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 115min Skyfall Featured Actors Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and Naomie Harris Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 143 The Meeting Featured Actors Rita Dominic, Femi Jacobs, Linda Ejiofor, Jide Kosoko, Kate Henshaw & Nse Ikpe Etim Genre Drama Running Time 120Min Featured Actors: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans Genre: Action/Adventure Married but Living Single Featured Actors: Funke Akindele, Joke Silva, Joseph Benjamin, Tina Mba, Femi Brainard, Kiki Omeili, Yemi Remi Genre: Action/Adventure

ABUJA Street Of Calabar Genre Action/Adventure Arinzo Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 124min Inside Story Featured Actors Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukerji Genre Action/Adventure A Wish Featured Actors Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse and Bingbing Fan Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 131min Here comes a boom Featured Actors Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Andy Samberg Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 91min Premium Rush Featured Actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon and Dania Ramirez Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 91 min Argo Featured Actors Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston and John Goodman Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 120 min

Sparkle Featured Actors Jordin Sparks, Carmen Ejogo and Whitney Houston Genre Drama Running Time 116 min Skyfall Genre Action/Adventure The Meeting Genre Drama Taken 2 Featured Actors Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace. Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 91 min




e r a s t n a e g a p y t u a Why be a g u n a n O i m o Y g now borin W

HAT have you been up to after you left the management of Miss Nigeria? I started my own pageant. It is called Miss Environment. We did two editions of it and we had to stop. But because of my passion for the environment, I also started a company that deals with environmental services.

Why Miss Environment? From time immemorial, I have been passionate about the environment. I love green things, I love gardening and culture. I also realised that the environment was threatened. So I saw it as a good opportunity instead of doing a general pageant. Why the break after the two editions? It is as a result of sponsorship, as I said. Sponsorship is a bit difficult. I stand to be corrected, most people would rather sponsor things that government are already doing. Things that government don't need their money to do, which will probably not get down to the root where an organisation that is passionate about the issue will get to. I know how long it took the desert warrior, Newton Jibunoh, before he started getting support. We did a lot of work with him too and he supported us. But he is also

limited. You sent letters to sponsors for support, they tell you go ahead, we are behind you. And then you go to press, when it is time for them to deliver, they tell you we are sorry, the budget has been truncated. So they stood a chance of giving us a bad name and we just said to ourselves, let us go commercial with our environmental services; when our business is up and running, we will start Miss Environment again. That time, we will not have to wait for sponsorship; we will buy a car that we can afford; we give figure of the salary we want to pay and we don't want a queen that is after money, you have to have passion for the environment. What did you miss about Miss Nigeria? Miss Nigeria was quite stressful for me; I have to be frank with you. Sponsorship, as I said earlier, was the problem. But because Daily Times was behind me, it made it easier. People were willing to partner. I miss the training for the girls, the rapport and the bonding time. If you meet any Miss Nigeria that was in my camp, she will say to you that I was very strict. I miss that because they were like my younger sisters. Some of them have different motives for wanting to be Miss Nigeria, and I knew all the tricks. Which o f t h e queens is y o u r favourite? Oh my G o d . I r e a l l y shouldn't. Even those that didn't become queens, I had favourite, but I don't think any of them k n e w . They are special to me in their own way. Rumou rs are rife that these girls are 'arrange' for rich men. How true is this? I think why I didn't get a lot of sponsorship is because I wasn't able to play ball, so I can not tell you it is not true. I experienced it. I remember a particular show we were to have outside Lagos, I won't tell you where. And one of our sponsors said to me: why are you hiding the questions you want to ask these girls? I said because the questions are for me and nobody else, not even the compere. I cut the questions

Yomi Onanuga is the former Pageant Manager, Miss Nigeria. The Mass Communication graduate of the Ogun State University speaks with ADETUTU AUDU on her days at Miss Nigeria, her passion for the environment, which led her to organise Miss Environment Beauty Pageant, and why beauty pageants have lost their steam.

and I jumbled them together; I didn't even know the question for a particular contestant but I knew all the questions in total. He insisted that if he did not see questions, we were not going to do the segment. So I said no problem, we cancelled the segment. I later heard he had a girl among the contestants that they wanted to win. I won't say they won't do it. Miss Nigeria is back. How do you feel? I feel happy for those who are behind it. Good luck to them. Did they try to invite you? In a cunning way, I would say yes. The website was developed by me. Someone called me from the organisation and said do you know Miss Nigeria is coming back? I was wondering if you will be able to help us with the website. Not exactly inviting me on board but trying to tap from the experience that I have. I am happy for them because it should be one and only Miss Nigeria, it should be up there. If they are sincere and work hard, they will get to where they are supposed to be. What is your view on proliferation of beauty pageants? It's the way Nigeria is, when somebody does something and people see it as successful, they think it is all rosy and everybody jumps on board because they know one or two people who can help them financially. I think it stems from the fact that Agbani became Miss World and everybody felt they could breed girls that could achieve the feat. It is sad that some people don't know what pageant is; it is a lot of hard work and there are lives involved. Those young girls see it as opportunity to become celebrities and be in the limelight. Whatever are their motives, some people just messed them up, and it is a three-sided coin, really. If you compare pageants now to the good old days, do you think they are getting it right? Somehow some people are getting it right. Some people had been tenacious, they made mistakes at the beginning and they corrected them and they kept on and on while others don't know their left from right. But that is the way the industry works. These days you discover that beauty queens can't even speak good English. What does it entail to be a beauty queen? I am not going to give you my secret, because that is my secret. There are things I do to sieve those who can speak good English. If you are not articulate, you have no business being a beauty queen. I don't care who you are. Why will you be a queen and you are asked where you came from, and you said 'I come from'. I am not saying give me phonetics, but I am saying give me good sentences; no grammatical errors. Beauty pageants now have also lost their glamour; people argue that they have become boring. What is your view? You know in those days it was not about too much skin off. The reason it is boring is that people are exposing too much skin. The organisers believe that when you show skin, that is the interesting thing. I run a no-bikini, no-swim suit pageant. Before you come to the camp, we look at your costume - if they are not decent, and you don't come into camp. People respect a woman that is elegant, intelligent and glamorous without showing off the skin. The event doesn't even have to be in the night for it to be glamorous.





ADETUTU AUDU (E-mail:, Tel: 08023849036)

Dapo Olumide returns with a bang

Titi Masha delivers baby girl


OPULAR lace merchant, Titi Masha, who is in a love tango with Fuji musician, Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, popularly known as K1, has added to the household of the funloving musician. Titi delivered a baby girl last weekend at a Chicago hospital in the US. With the latest addition from Titi, the number of the children of the popular musician has risen to over 30. Controversy sparked last year October when K1 married Titi Masha, who happens to be his ex-wife, Salewa's, niece. Titi was also earlier involved with Lagos socialite and popular hangout owner, Gbenga Akinbobola, aka Gbenga Islander, before her amorous relationship with the musician.


Mor Okonkwo hooks Fred Amata


ELTA State-born actor, Fred Amata, may have put the sordid tale of his romance with actress and current president Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, Ibinabo Fiberesima, behind him and is forging ahead. Fred Amata, we learnt, has found love again. This time, his belle, sources said, is Mor Okonkwo, a single mother of two in her early 30s. Fred and Mor, informed sources say, met about a year ago in the United States, but started dating a few months ago. Mor is a Soul/Jazz artiste who used to live in the United Kingdom. She is currently a management consultant and also runs a catering company.

Tunde Soleye’s double loss


HESE are definitely not the best of times for Dr.Tunde Soleye, estranged hubby of society lady and beauty queen, Nike Oshinowo. Apart from the fact that his six-year marriage to the beauty queen has hit the rocks, the court has ordered that he should pay his ex-wife, Dr Mrs. Funmilayo Soleye, 100, 000 pounds and N20million as divorce settlement. In addition, he is also to relinquish their London home to her. Dr. Funmi Soleye had filed for divorce after her husband of 28 years and father of her three children married the former beauty queen, Nike Oshinowo, traditionally. The court did not only grant Dr. Soleye's divorce request, it also asked Nike Oshinowo to compensate her by paying her N5million for wrecking her marriage and causing her pain. Nike and Dr. Tunde Soleye have since parted ways. Few weeks ago, the estranged couple broke their silence over allegations that all may not be well with their six-year old marriage and have requested for their privacy to be respected during the difficult time. It was a union fraught with several controversies from the start. This recent development comes amid claims that the couple had been living apart since mid 2012. And in order to stop the speculations surrounding the status of their marriage last year, they went to several lengths to debunk the stories making the rounds that the marriage had broken down irretrievably. While Oshinowo now lives in Victoria Island, we gathered that Dr. Soleye settled for Park View Estate in Ikoyi, Lagos.

HAT Dapo Olumide, the erstwhile managing director of Virgin Nigeria Airways, came to the scene with a lot of energy, zeal and ideas and that he had an unambiguous idea of how to turn around the fortunes of the airline, is stating the obvious. Two years after, the fairskinned dude disappeared into the thin air. Though some sources said he relocated abroad to re-strategise. Indeed, the aviation professional has doubled up. Now, Olumide has returned with Ropeways Transport, owners of the first cable car mass urban transit system to provide stress-free mode of transportation. Dapo Olumide was a formidable force and a change manager who transformed the debt-ridden airline (accumulated by Virgin Group) into a force to be reckoned with. Sources say he does not do things in half measure.




Olamiposi Akala's new focus


LAMIPOSI, the daughter of the embattled former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Christopher AlaoAkala, has definitely put the unsavoury experience of her marriage to one of Ibadan big boys, Lanre Aboderin, behind her. The mother of one, we gathered, now focuses more on her salon, Hair World, located around Awolowo Road, Bodija area, in the ancient city. Olamiposi had been a victim of spousal abuse in her marriage and her father had ordered her to quit her matrimonial home alongside her four-month old daughter then.

Day Aguleri stood still for Obiogbolu


HE sleepy town of Aguleri in the Anambra East Local Government of the state got rumbled last weekend when political heavy weights, business Moguls, Captains of industries, students, and traders gathered together for the flag off of the Dr. Alex Obiogbolu campaign for the governorship election. The venue of the epochmaking occasion is the multipurpose hall of the Tourist Garden Hotel, Aguleri in what appeared to be a social mix. The highlight of the occasion was when the Igwe Chukwuemeka Eri, Eze Akajufor Igbo led other traditional rulers to give a royal blessing to the aspiration of the medical doctor turned politician fondly called Oganiru Anambra exponent.

Dapo Adelegan relocates S

HOWBIZ impresario turned boardroom guru, Prince Adedapo Adelegan, is set to turn his back on the Lagos Mainland after a romance of over two decades. It was gathered that the Owo, Ondo State-born businessman has completed a magnificent palace that dwarfs his Omole Estate residence in style and opulence on the island where he intends taking up residence soon. According to sources close to the suave corporate player, the need to relocate to the island arose because Adelegan now has all his daily business activities on the Island and the desire to avoid the daily traffic jam that has become the lot of businessmen who live on the mainland. Though the double prince (as close pals call him) is turning his back on the mainland, he still intends to maintain a relationship by moving the headquarters of his Celltron Group (which used to be housed in one of his properties near his home in Omole Estate) to the Maryland area of Lagos. Adelegan hugged stardom as the first person to pioneer beach concerts in the country with his annual Reggae Sun Splash beach concerts in the 90s.

Another Bolajoko feather in Victor Kadiri falls Umeh’s cap on hard times


N her hey days, she used to hold sway in the Cargo consolidation business. Alhaja Bolajoko Kadiri used to have strings of businesses ranging from travel agency, textile merchandising, to hospitality at the old domestic airport, Ikeja. The Yeye Meso of Ijeshaland wielded so much influence that sent shivers down the spines of her competitors, given her closeness to the powers-that-be then. Not only this, she was noted for her charity. But everything about her seems to have been forgotten as most of her money-spinning ventures have gone down. She is now elusive and scarce on the social scene where she used to rock. While some attribute it to hard financial times, others say it is not unconnected with her ill-health.


T was a great joy for National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, few weeks ago, as he joined other inductees of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers at the Civic Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos. Umeh, who was inducted into the highest professional level as a fellow, literally stole the show as he stepped into the hall. Special Guest-of Honour at the event was Governor Rochas Okorocha. Among other inductees were the Rivers State Commissioner for Employment Generation and Empowerment, Dr. Ipalibo Harry, Mr. Chima Nwogu, Chief Biodun Olapade, Mr. Peter Chi Ngobar and Mr. Anthony Emegere.





OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL (08033572821)

Pat Utomi’s NGO delivers 10th year lecture The Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL), a not-for-profit organisation founded by Prof. Pat Utomi, recently held its 10th annual lecture with the theme, Leadership and Values: The challenge for the next generation of leaders at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos. Among prominent personalities that graced the event were the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammad Sa'ad Abubakar; Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi and others. By: Muyiwa Hassan

L-R: The founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL), Prof. Pat Utomi and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar

L-R: Goddy Uwazuruike and Dr. Ausbeth Ajagu

L-R: Anambra State governor, Peter Obi and Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.

L-R: Former governor of Cross Rivers State, Donald Duke and Speaker at the occasion, Rev. Father George Ehusani

Chairman of the occasion, Felix Ohiwerei

Former SecretaryGeneral of the Commonwealth of Nations, Chief Emeka Anyaoku



AGAIN…Outdoor Advertising & Clients’ Indebtedness A

BOUT three weeks back, we looked the way of outdoor advertising as an industry in this economy, focusing on its potentials from nearly all its ramifications. That effort was a huge investment of emotion, driven by concern for people who have been confined to lack and suffering due to no fault of theirs. For the first time, we did down-play the beauty of outdoor profession (at least we at MC&A DIGEST have written four articles on outdoor advertising practice in Nigeria). For the most times we have had to look at outdoor advertising in this economy, our concern have been its contribution to advertising practice, its efficiency as a marketing communication or advertising platform and some considerations of its practice rules and ethics. After the story we did on clients’ indebtedness to outdoor service providers, word reached us to the effect that arguably the biggest debtor to outdoor advertising service providers sent word to her creditors, inviting them to negotiation meetings. According to the information we got, this debtor alone, owe outdoor companies servicing her business well over a billion Naira. The age of these debts stretch far back three years. On a second thought, we decided not to bother following up on the outcome of the proposed meeting between the client and the various outdoor companies invited to the “debt management” meeting (our categorization). However, the invitation from the client to her outdoor agencies clearly stated the issues for discussion as (a) to discuss the debts with specific reference to the dates they fall due, in small parts (b) the client-designed payment pattern and (3) the brief for 2013. One can take it, that the agenda, the terms of reference and the focus of presentation for the meeting had been determined. Fair enough, for as it is, those owed really have no option. In fact, the debtor client here could be said to have demonstrated some level of magnanimity in calling for this debt management meeting. In fact, the invitation also bore a latent intent or promise to make some payment at the conclusion of the said meeting. Beside this BIG CLIENT that is ironically so financially strong to carry a debt of about N1.2 billion Naira (owed a very small fraction of her service providers/suppliers – compared to its size of operation, business associates and vendors) there are many other smaller clients scattered around various market segment, owing outdoor advertising agencies. A lot of them are posturing as not being financially healthy

enough to even negotiate their debt. Yet, as we have profiled in one of our past article on outdoor advertising practice in Nigeria, corporate and individual outdoor advertising service providers must keep on practicing. Consequent upon their debt burden, some of these service providers have closed shop. Over 70% of them today are so heavily indebted they cannot run their offices. At the close of business year 2012, some of them simply disengaged their staff and opted for one-man show pending when situation improves. Ordinarily, one would consider business-to-business indebtedness as expected in every business relationship. Based on inter business relationship, debt payment or servicing terms can be left to individual determination. The over-riding consideration at such levels of corporate interaction will definitely be determined, to a large extent by corporate policies, permitted concession, extent of ‘friendship’ and such considerations

that should not jeopardize the financial health or corporate existence of either party. Among big corporate bodies, policies are renegotiated at periods of exigency to accommodate hitherto difficult concessionary changes, where the elements of ‘friendship’ listed above are at play. Above the table, however, there are industry-wide policies guiding most businesses across markets, by which defined sector players operate. Such rules or policies are borne out the need to protect given industry players against likely default in business agreements, especially financial obligations in form of payment for services rendered or goods delivered. So, we find that among legal practitioners, a client is not likely to owe his or her law firm for services rendered and move on to take same brief (or any other brief for that matter) to another firm without settling the debt owed the former law firm. This is almost like a practice rule.

Even among ‘Okada Riders’ their association will not permit such irresponsibility on the part of passengers. It is all about cohesion. From our observation, outdoor advertising practitioners may begin to look inward, in order to address this debt issue. Out immediate advice is for the sector’s association to build cohesion for and among its members. In India, the Indian Outdoor Advertising Association is so strong; it clearly states its membership is well over 78% of outdoor corporate service providers in the country. For a country almost the size of a continent, such achievement is highly commendable. Its size enables the association so much power to establish and enforce practice rules, code and ethics. The members are sure to be protected against system abuse. It is not unlikely that clients do owe outdoor agencies in India, but for a scenario such as prevalent in our local market to play out there, is certainly not permissible. Practitioners in developed economies such as South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States of America (to mention a few), the challenging issues are not indebtedness and member business shut down due to clients’ indebtedness. Practitioners in those economies are now focused on innovative creativity. They are rather challenged by issues such as technological advancement in outdoor advertising practice, research and strategic planning and global innovativeness (not begging to be paid for job done three years back. And we think, perhaps, the debt situation with practitioners in this market is a call to-duty for industry leaders in this market. Outdoor Advertising Agencies Association of Nigeria supported by Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria must begin to build cohesion necessary to properly represent and protect outdoor advertising practitioners from the irresponsible financial behavior of some clients who do not respect financial or monitory agreements. In fact, some of these businesses were not guided by any clear-cut industry-wide terms. Clients who engage services of outdoor companies must begin to learn to respect business terms and agreements. It is even more disturbing when such debtors are doing good business. Take the case of the GSM company owing so much over such a long term (three years old debt); the same service provider who offers service pre-paid, pays her staff members handsomely, posts huge corporate personality profile…what could be her reason for not paying her outdoor advertising agencies?




AVING met many couples through your line of work, why do you think marriages break up? Number one is marital illiteracy. Meaning, we do not do enough research before getting into marriage. In fact, I think we do more home-work when buying properties than marriage. Marriage is a school where you will never graduate. Even before you take lectures, you get a certificate and this is something you hope to be in for the next 50 years of your life. If you have not studied for that kind of venture, how do you intend to pass? Another thing is that a good amount of people ignore the danger signs during their courtship. He could have been beating you before then or he may be cheating and you keep making excuses for him, and you get married and break up later. Even people who are not married are not mentoring the younger ones. My grandmother, before she passed on years ago, was married for fifty-one years and I wonder how many couples will have that kind of testimony. What are the little things a lady can do to spice up her relationship? Somebody says that there is no romance without finance. This is true but I also think that making someone feel special must come from the bottom of your heart. It is about unlocking your spouse's soul. It just works around the five love languages; from physical touch to giving your time or acts of service, words of affirmation and then to the gifts. So I think you should just study your lover and give them what they will appreciate. There are so many things from room decor, to lights, to lunch delivery at work and other surprises, but no matter what you do, it is important that you remember that it is your spouse's love language you should reach out to. If he loves words, write him a lovely poem. If he likes touch, you can g e t a professio n a l masseu r t o g i v e him a massa g e a n d that c a n even be done in

‘There is no romance without finance’

Oyinkansola Oluwanifemi Alabi, popularly known as Merchant Of Romance, is the brain behind the surprise gift delivery company called Konnectors. The business which kicked off officially in 2009 was birthed after she realised she could earn a sizeable income by selling the idea of a 'happyever-after'. Twenty-nine years old and ready to walk down the aisle later this year, Oyinkan serves as a youth pastor at The Fountain of Life Church. With valentine barely a few days away, she speaks with Rita Ohai on teenage dating, love langua ges and more.

your home. There are private dining chefs that can come a n d c o o k f o r y o u o n your spec i a l nigh t and many more. How can a woman

make herself attractive enough to be approached by her dream man? First, she has to be comfortable and confident in who she is. She needs to be herself. A lot of us actually think that trying to impersonate someone else will attract a man. I do not want to be a Beyonce or Shakira. I am comfortable in my own space. Ensure that beyond your beauty, you have got brains. There are so many beautiful idiots walking up and down, wearing all the designers and are disasters to womanhood. Be pretty, we like it but let us be able to engage each other intellectually. And then men really want a woman that can be loyal to them, supportive, as well as friendly. I and my fiancĂŠe have been friends for years and I found out that I wanted to just marry my friend because I already know him in and out. There is no perfect man or knight in shining armour anywhere. As a woman in her twenties, do you ever get intimidated at meetings with much older people? When I have the privilege of talking to people, I just let them know that I appreciate the fact that I am young, but 29 years on planet earth looks like a century to me. So I just express myself the way I want to. I am still learning. I am about getting married and I do not yet have one-tenth of the things I should have in my brain but I am taking it step by step and I am not intimidated. More teenagers are dating and indulging in premarital sex, how can this issue be check-mated? When I was growing up, you had to bribe someone to give you porn movies and then when you get home, you hid it. Now, these children even have gadgets

that are bigger and they see anything they want to. This is because parents are not at home any more. Mothers and fathers now run 8am to 5pm schedules and then you include the time spent in traffic. By the time they get home, they are tired A research shows that the average time a father spends talking to his child in a week is 7 minutes. You cannot invest seven minutes in a week and think that you will have a healthy child. We need a balance. The parents are striving to provide for their families but they need to realise that the kids need mentoring. These days, children are being raised by drivers, house-helps, teachers in school, friends and most especially the social media. At the end of the day, you have a rich kid who is smoking, drinking and doing all sorts. What propelled the formation of your organisation? I like to see couples who stay together and are married for years and I wonder why some others end up in divorce or separation. It used to be a burden for me, but co-incidentally I worked with the late Bimbo Odukoya as her protocol assistant. With her, I learnt firsthand some things about marriage and I saw her have a good family. I then thought to myself that if I can sustain families, in my own way, I would have done a lot of good. Business for me is not a passion, it is a calling. If I do not do it, I would not be normal. My fulfilment and joy comes when I see the couples smile and are satisfied. Sometimes we cry while working because we love it when they show that they love each other. What makes running a love-based business in Nigeria difficult? I actually think that everyone believing they are already romantic makes it difficult. We live in a country where there are too many unpredictable factors. Valentine is around the corner and people are trying to schedule their money so that they do not over-spend. They have to plan six months ahead because of school fees and other needs but they are trying. Maybe we would have had about four or five branches in London or other parts of the world where romance is a love language, but Nigerians are trying to pick up and we are responding to them.






What is your recipe for love?


Should ‘bride price’ be abolished? I

T is usually a thing of joy when a man decides to commit to a life-long relationship with his spouse. Standing at the altar, saying 'I do' serves as the foundation for many childhood least for the women. However, the tale could turn sour when the groom is presented a mandatory list as long as his arm with a small monetary token attached to it. This token, the bride price, some say, is evidence of the worth of a woman to her family. Others insist that it portrays her as a commodity at her husband's beck and call and should be eradicated. Sharing his opinion, Hogan Emma says nothing ever gotten for free is treated with respect, “Whatever comes with a price is usually cherished as invaluable. Not paying bride price will be like getting the woman for free and may lead to the man not according her the respect she deserves. “Besides payment of bride price dates back to the days of the Old Testament so why should anyone want to change a Godly tradition. However, it should not be seen as an opportunity for parents to make a living out of their daughters.” he said. Airing a slightly similar view on abolishing the practice, Precious Nwanganga expressed, “I do not think [the bride price] should be stopped. What I think should be scrapped are the other costs the man pays to her relatives and almost the entire village. I feel this is the reason why a lot of folks take the short cut, co-habit for a while before doing a marriage blessing or some never have any 'formal' marriage ceremony at all, talk less of traditional or court.” Surprisingly, while the men see nothing wrong in paying the price, women like Nneka Agina, an insurance broker, think it demeaning. She said, “Frankly speaking, whether

By Rita Ohai a bride price is paid or not, it has become status symbol which has become meaningless. “The percentage of failed marriages in Nigeria shows that this money can be returned at will and sometimes it is not

Female secretary crowned queen in Ghana


HEN Peggielene Bartels went to bed on a summer night in 2008, she was an ordinary administrative assistant living in a modest one-bedroom condo just outside Washington D.C. But a few hours later, when a persistent ringing phone woke her up in the dead of the August night, the 55year-old found out she was much more than simply a secretary. At the other end of the line was Bartels's cousin, from Otuam, a small fishing village on the coast of Ghana. Excited and humble, he congratulated her on being the new king of Otuam. "I said, 'listen, it's 4 o'clock in the morning in the U.S., I am very tired, let me sleep,'" remembers Bartels. "I thought he was trying to really play games with me." The previous king of Otuam, who was Bartels's uncle, had just died. The village elders, who remembered Bartels from the times she'd visited with her mother, had decided to anoint her as their new ruler. After the initial shock, Bartels decided to accept the kingship. Over the course of a few days, she went from being plain old Peggielene Bartels, who had worked for nearly three decades at

Lady commentator makes TV history


even returned. I am yet to see any man saying that he respects his wife because he paid a bride price for her. Marriage should be about two people loving each other, coming before God to get married and not having money exchange hands as if you are buying a goat,” she insisted.

ERMAN football fans heard an 27-year-old Graf told the dpa news unfamiliar voice Sunday when agency before the game. a woman gave a running Graf beat out around 1,200 applicants commentary on a men's football game to win a casting show for her new job on national TV for the first time. with broadcaster Sky. Christina Graf became the ''It's a huge opportunity'' country's first female she said. ''But I'm not the commentator at a men's very extroverted type and professional football game won't go ballistic.'' when she covered Hertha Claudia Neumann was Berlin's 5-1 win at Jahn the first female to Regensburg in the second commentate live on a division. football game for German ''I'm happy that I can TV in 2011 when the start slowly with the country hosted the Women's second division at first,'' the World Cup.

the Ghanaian Embassy in the United States, to becoming King Peggy -- the first female king of Otuam, reigning over approximately 7,000 people. "It never ever occurred to me [that I'd be Otuam's king]," says Bartels, who's been living in the United States since her early 20s. "I realised that on this earth, we all have a calling. We have to be ready to accept it because helping my people has really helped me a lot to know that I can really touch their lives," she adds. "I would have really regretted it if I hadn't really accept this calling." King Peggy was born in Takoradi, southern Ghana, in 1953. She studied in England before moving to the United States, where she became an American citizen in 1997. In Washington, her secretarial duties include typing letters, answering phone calls and booking appointments. In her little apartment her life is far removed from the luxuries of her royal roots. But back in Ghana, she stands out as a gold crown-wearing, scepter-holding king who lives in a refurbished palace. Otuam residents usually address her as "Nana" -- an honorary title given to royalty but also to women with grandchildren -- and bow when they see her. "When I am back home they see me as their king and they want to pamper me, sometimes I say 'please don't bow' but they do!" she says.

HE euphoria is already in the air and you could smell the love aura all over. A season to paint the town red and of course show off with the one you have 'captured' by hook or crook. A peep into their emotional crystal ball and you would find lovebirds cooking their love dreams and searching for recipes to mesmerise people they admire. Home-made recipes like love, experts say, are usually the best. Nature is the number one accomplice here and everything must be added in the right quantity to get the desired outcome. For a lot of people it is a time to dine out and have some fun. The colour of both food and tableware affects our enjoyment of meals more than we can imagine. Vibrant colours would definitely set your taste buds tingling while the meal and date remain memorable. It also feels good and exciting if you have a love 'buddie' to share these emotional moments with. One of the excitements naturally would be dressing to kill and eating out with your sweetheart. A memorable outing, therefore, begins with the venue, the people and the menu list. Naturally the menu brings to mind a list of dishes available for order. It matters because variety is the spice of life. You have to give you partner a variety of choices and make the relationship interesting from time to time. You either find it exciting or not. If it is exciting then a great foundation has been laid and it's bon apetit. The presentation of the food, its content as well as the environment all go a long way to give your relationship the desired transformation. Lighting plays a key role in creating the right atmosphere for lovers. In the evening, candles give a soft and flattering effect that creates an easy ambience in which people seem to flourish. Good food in an atmosphere of warmth and comfort can be romantic, cumulating in memories that linger. You need to season it well to make it attractive and exciting to your partner. In love, the best approach would be to have a 'menu-driven interface'. Here the interface would link the available menus with specific options for the user to select from. So we would need to understand the type that is acceptable for us, the one that would make us feel on top of the world and something we would find exciting and willing to 'demolish.' Presentation also reminds you of the package like a 4course meal. It has been broken to parts to make it more interesting and attractive. You need to bring some aesthetics to your romance. Like Jordin's Spark's song, love like life is about 'One step at a time', there is no need to rush. Learning to fly and falling in love is definitely not an easy task. At every turn you are likely to make mistakes, frown or cry a little bit. But this, interestingly, is part of the process; you actually get better this way. You get stronger and matured, you learn from your mistakes. If everything was lumped together, then you are likely to get confused and do the first things last and vice versa. Interestingly, most commitment is actually non-verbal; it is done through body language. So you must make sure that your gesticulations are right. It is the hidden language, the subtle exchanges and requests for connection that actually makes a difference. Most times, you may just discover that you are going through certain emotional frustrations and you just cannot figure out what's wrong. You must be equipped with the right skills to master the game. For instance, as a good swimmer it would be easy to take a plunge and swim with the love of your life. However, you must have a swimsuit and be in the right 'waters'. If you aren't, then you may just get drowned emotionally. In that case, you would need an emotional life jacket so that you do not go under with 'your love'. Apart from this, it is also very important for you to understand the terrain of this emotional swimming pool or river before getting 'deep'. You also need to understand how far you can go. This would be determined by the type of emotional tide that you are swimming in or swimming against. If your communication skill is faulty, then you may just be going round in circles. A lot of times, people do not understand why their relationship is not working the way they would have loved it to be. In addition, to finding answers to your communication problems, you may also need to do a self appraisal to understand where you both stand in the relationship. You need to ask questions about where you are and where you are heading to. You also need to be sure that this is the right man or woman for you. And just before you blink or close you emotional eyes, you must be sure that this lovebird is ready for a relationship. You must be sure that it is a tango that is going give you joy and not one that would ultimately shatter your heart into emotional pieces - pieces that may never be glued together again.






By Olubanwo Fagbemi

POLITICKLE 08060343214 (SMS only)

The country between



THE GReggs

Fact or fiction; myth or reality; the physical or virtual: determining which better describes the government’s performance in service delivery here occupies the writer. It’s an attempt, in regular fashion, to home in on a few truths, and the reader is invited to share a reflection more sober than usual with the expectation that all things considered, the day when the take home pay finally takes him home is conceivable. Virtual: 4, 000 megawatts plus rising to 6, 000 mw daily by December. Actual: Plus or minus 3, 000 megawatts, as corroborated by consumers. Hardly ever less on paper, 6, 000mw is government’s everlasting wish for a power-starved population that is scarcely backed by sincerity of purpose and efficiency of methods. It’s a primitive target compared to South Africa which at about a third of Nigeria’s population generates roughly 10 times more electricity. Yet, deficiency comes at a high price. ‘Crazy bill’, crooked metering and indiscriminate disconnection define services while outage and outcry describe consumption. Prescription: N97 per litre of petrol. Abuse: Usually N97; now and then anything from N120 to N250 from Akure to Abakaliki and from Yola to Yenagoa. The matter remains intractable, regardless of official explanation. For every damaged oil pipeline, gas turbine explosion and delayed importation read rampant bunkering and smuggling, official sabotage and fuel subsidy scam. Immaterial: Inflation rate below 12% and falling. Material: Probably approaching triple digit, fuelled by hard economics. Until the Central Bank’s formula of high interest rates to discourage investment borrowing and encourage savings (really?) succeeds, consumers are locked in a vicious financial circle. Propaganda: ‘The Police is your friend’. Information: Which is more dreadful: ‘the masked marauder’ or ‘the man in black’? Hard to tell, away from the public, in conveniently dark corners or at notorious police stations where the innocent or accused instantly attracts the ‘condemned criminal’ treatment and the luckless criminal meets swift and crude judgment. What’s that you say? The Police is your fiend? You are forgiven. Sin some more. Fable: ‘Security is under control’ or ‘We’re on top of the situation’. Verity: These days alarmingly trite, the government’s rallying cry in the face of overwhelming crime hardly reassures. Try ‘Terrorists rule!’ or what else better describes the campaign of terror waged across the land by armed robbers, kidnappers, assassins, fundamentalists cum terrorists and, it bears telling, archaic and inept policing sustained by clueless leadership? Really, it often seems that the government is in wonderland and the citizen in noman’s-land. Model: Federal character; quota system; zoning. Reality: Forget the posturing of party officials in power or the civil service, none of the unifying ideals truly exists. At best practiced in some bastardised form, all three concepts are shockingly abandoned when they are most relevant. Consider the oft-criticised composition of the executive arm of government and recent recruitment into ministries and the armed forces, for instance. Imagination: Vision 20: 2020. Evidence: Illusion 20: 2020. Eradication of poverty? Health for all? Basic Education for all? Not with health tourism in vogue and the annual S.S.C.E. exam pass rate hovering around 30 per cent. And not when the average Nigerian grapples with poverty described by a standard of living below $1 dollar a day and he may just not last beyond 48 years according to international standards. Yet, politicians are preoccupied with creating more states instead of wealth. Saga: 18, 000 naira minimum wage. Obtainable: Outside government Ministries, Departments and Agencies and some states, anything from less than 10, 000 naira for teachers in private primary and secondary schools to less than 20, 000 naira for casual positions in hazardous factories essentially run by foreigners. Fallacy: Nigeria: Giant of Africa. Truth: Nothing could be farther from the truth. Despite warnings of socioeconomic and climatic catastrophe, Africa’s most endowed country in human and material terms continues to squander wealth and play catchup. Dread the predictable in the event of political collapse; Nigeria: Albatross of Africa, nay, the world.

Jokes Humour The Cup of Tea ONE DAY, Mother was out and Father was in charge of the two year-old daughter who had just recovered from an accident. Someone had given her a little ‘tea set’ as a get-well gift and she loved it. Daddy was in the living room engrossed in the evening news when she brought him a little cup of “tea,” which was really water. After several cups of tea and lots of praise for such yummy tea, Mother came home. Daddy made her wait in the living room to watch their daughter bring him a cup of tea, because it was “just the sweetest thing!” Mother waited, and sure enough, little daughter came with a cup of tea for Daddy and she watched him drink it up. Then she says, as only a mother would know, “Did it ever occur to you that the only place she can reach to get water is the toilet?” No Good “IT’S no good, sir,” said the hopeless pupil to his English Language teacher, “I try to learn, but everything you say goes in both ears and out the other.” “Goes in both ears and out the other?”

asked the puzzled teacher. “But you only have two ears, boy.” “Guess I’m no good at Mathematics, either!” Siege A HISTORIC town was under siege from a ruthless army. The only hope was to send one of the great warriors to get help, but the problem was that all of the horses had been killed in the battle. “We must get help,” said the king. “I know,” replied the leader of his army, “but we have no horses. If a warrior goes on foot, he will be slain at once.” “Is there not another animal he can ride?” demanded the king. “What about that mighty battle dog? It could surely bear the weight of a man.” “No, no,” said the army leader. “The great dog is too dangerous. Look at its snarling teeth. I wouldn’t send a warrior out on a dog like this.”

QUOTE We must try not to sink beneath our anguish ... but battle on. —J.K. Rowling •Adapted from the Internet


AINTAINING Writer ’s Fountain narrative An even neater way to break up a long dash of pace: One value of the Exposition or Description plus Action and/or Dialogue plus dialogue is to have the characters walk as they talk. Reflection formula is that, if you get into the All the little things they encounter in their ramble rhythm, you can tell by instinct when a story is can introduce action, exposition or reflection. And losing form. For example, you might find yourself those little things can also reflect back in some subtle sinking deeply into a patch of dialogue and think: way upon the story line. The formula also helps to describe a setting as “I need to break this up with action, exposition or you go, painlessly building up a scene one reflection.” So if your characters must sit chatting around a impression at a time. This is important as readers restaurant table for two hours to exchange vital will forget the details or skip them entirely if you hit information, you know you should introduce a little them with too much scenery at once. You can slide scenic descriptions into an episode sub-plot. Perhaps an inept waiter muddles the food order. You can have the customers respond to his of dialogue/action or reflection. For instance: It was the kind of town where rats crawled to clumsiness (action) and comment on it (reflection). How they respond and comment will further die. “I’m darn glad I’m wearing trail boots,” John characterise them beside the trivial incident breaking up the episode. The story thus takes on texture and said under his breath. Broken glass crunched beneath his feet as he stepped into the street. He variety. kicked a discarded beer can into a pool of vomit. Certain definitions: Needles glittered in it like tinsel. •A Sphygmomanometer measures blood Even a rookie cop was some comfort in a hellpressure. hole like this, he thought. He looked behind him •A bathometer is an instrument for indicating the for his pal. The man was gone. depth of the sea beneath a moving vessel. The reader’s imagination will fill in the •A capon is a castrated rooster. picture succinctly – shops closed down, the •Alekthophilia is the love of chickens. drunken destitute, and a poor lady poking in a •“Duff” is the decaying organic matter trash bin.




‘Prostitution is big business in Belgium’ Chika Unigwe is a Nigerian writer resident in Belgium. Last year, she won the NLNG Prize for Literature with her book, On Black Sisters’ Street. In this encounter with Edozie Udeze, Unigwe, who was in Nigeria to receive her award, spoke about her life, her style and the thematic thrust of her works



HAT does writing mean to you? Oh, writing is my career. It is the only profession that I know. It is my passion. It is the only thing I have always wanted to do. I wrote as a kid and I am very happy that I’ve managed to make a career out of my passion and hobby. How do you get your inspiration to write? Ha! That’s a difficult one. My inspiration comes from everywhere. If it comes while I am on the road, I jot a few things down. However, I eavesdrop a lot into conversations. Sometimes just one thing they say lodges in my head. Then a story idea will begin to form around that line. But I always carry a note book with me. With it, I can take notes. Whatever strikes me while on the way, I write it down. And when I sit down to write, I look through my note book to get the ideas right and correct. When you wrote your winning novel On Black Sisters’ Street, did you go out looking for those issues you raised in it? I don’t think human trafficking is purely a women affair or problem. I think it is the problem of humanity generally and it has to be seen and taken from that perspective. This is so, because all of us suffer a lot and women are just a part of that suffering. While looking for the story… In fact it is one story that struck me a lot, and I fancied I’d make it come out good. There are indeed Nigerian women in Antwerp, Belgium, working as prostitutes. There are lots and lots of them. For me, that is a story waiting to be written, waiting to be attended to. It was a story I knew I’d explore and the only way to explore it was for one to write about it. The core issues raised in that novel are all part of what we live with every day. Did you really have one– on–one encounter with any of the prostitutes? No! But because I didn’t know anything about them, I had to go into research to do it. Their world is such a closed world and you can’t penetrate it. That was why I had to go into that research and to give a lot of respect to my readers. That was why I was able too, to create characters that were authentic. I came home to Nigeria to talk to a lot of people concerning the issues of prostitution and other social vices. But why Antwerp? Is that the only place where such problems exist? Oh, it is just because I live there. I have been living in Antwerp for a long time and I am used to them; to the kind of life people live there – both white and black. So, I talk about it because that is what

I am familiar with. It is my work and it is what I know. That’s why I talk about it a lot. If these issues had taken place in Nigeria, would you still have followed the same sequence in your story? Oh no, I supposed in Nigeria, prostitution works differently. For starters in Belgium, it is legal; it a legal profession over there. But it is not here. But some of the Nigerians I spoke with were working as illegal prostitutes over there in Antwerp. So if anything happens to them there, they are on their own. But basically the profession exists and it is a booming one at that. So, that is the way it is. How do you see the NLNG Prize for Literature? I think it has done a lot for Nigerian Literature. Don’t forget it is the most prestigious Literature Prize in Africa today. It has come to bring Nigerian Literature to the forefront and people love to identify with what is good. The prize for me, is basically to promote literature and keep it alive not only in the minds of those who love it, but also for writers who toil every day to create their work. It has brought literature not only closer to the people, but also to the attention of the public. Now, when they are talking about literature and the prize, people listen; people are aware and they respond. Now, you are not mentioning only

There are indeed Nigerian women in Antwerp, Belgium, working as prostitutes. There are lots and lots of them. For me, that is a story waiting to be written, waiting to be attended to. It was a story I knew I’d explore and the only way to explore it was for one to write about it. The core issues raised in that novel are all part of what we live with every day

my book, but two other books that made the shortlist. Even the judges who go through the works, the books build in their consciousness. These are people who otherwise wouldn’t have had time for your works. I think also that the prize itself is encouraging because it motivates other people to write. I was at Nsukka for the award and one guy came up to me and said, oh, I want to win this award someday. That is one good area we have achieved much and again the judges say they look at the quality of the print, the editing and so on. These will help to elevate Nigerian literature to a greater height. It is a very good thing because it will motivate publishers as well, to do proper work. It will also tell on the quality of the editing and the quality of stories we write. The quality of publishing and the quality of editing in Nigeria is so poor, that with this standard now, NLNG has tasked them to do better. Most times you won’t be able to read works published in Nigeria. Because of the poor quality, you are put off by reading it. These are some of the areas the Literature Prize has come to open new ways for our literature all over the world. How did your undergraduate days at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, shape your writing career? Well, we had a very vibrant creative writing department. It was well structured with good teachers who had time to teach us to write. The English Department was a good place then to develop talents. Those creative writing classes really helped me a lot and I am very grateful for that opportunity to be there when I did. What of the natural environment; the hilly encampments of the campus and so on. How did all that influence you? I think, for me, what made Nsukka very inspirational was the professor I had. That was Professor Enekwe. It wasn’t the hills or the highlands and all that. Enekwe was there for us; he taught us how to look at issues from the creative point of view. For him, it was proper for us to be well-educated in the field of creative writing. And when you have such a teacher, all you need do is look at those issues that would help you to become yourself in the future. That was all that we needed and I promptly grabbed the opportunity it offered me. Well, as for the natural issues you mentioned, they were there; they have always been there. They make the campus beautiful and cool most parts of the year. But for me, that was relative compared to what I got from my professor.





NE of the plays that featured in the just concluded Festival of Nigerian Plays (FESTINA) Call For Me My Osheni, made deep impressions on theatre enthusiasts. It was one play that drew on the emotions of people, opening both old and new wounds on the seriousness of the HIV/AIDS scourge and how it has eaten deep into psyche of the society. A three-man play, Call For Me My Osheni, told the story of a young lady who was in love with Osheni. Osheni himself did not know where his woman caught the disease from. In-between the time, however, her mind was tilting between still being in love with Osheni or going it alone with her sister, who was always there for her. All her relations had abandoned her in the hospital where it was her faith in her Creator that could lead her somewhere. But Osheni did not want to disappoint or abandon her. Played by Chukwu Mary, the HIV/ AIDS patient showed in totality the trauma of a society where love is often a scarce commodity. The patient needed to be shown unconditional love by those who were in the position to do so. This was why the play was limited to three characters. So from time to time, she would ask her sister to go fetch Osheni for her. His presence was all she needed to be comforted while she waited for her departure from this earth. And so with sweet and well-coded poetic words from Osheni, laced with total assurance of his love, she was able to cope. While on her sick bed, not even a medical doctor was seen on stage attending to her. Whether that was deliberate or not, not too many people were comfortable with that obvi-

•A scene in Call For Me My Osheni.


Play of emotions As the play Call For Me My Osheni hit the stage last week in Lagos, the emotions it emitted drove home the real dangers in the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the society. Edozie Udeze who watched the play writes on the essence of this three-man play that epitomises hope and simultaneously passes across a great warning to all ous and serious omission in the play. This was somewhat absurd. But the truth of the matter is that the Nigerian society is yet to come to terms with the depth of HIV/AIDS and how to properly cater for carriers when the going become too unbearable. The play was good in engaging the issue from a very emotive perspective. Done in

couched language, and laced with the subtlety of inferred thoughts and deductions, the playwright equally employed the technique of a physician to hack into the psyche of the people. Being a medical doctor, Seyi Adigun, the playwright, used the play to challenge and address the society on their indifference towards the scourge. “This is a

trialogue that epitomises hope and simultaneously passes across a great warning and flag of caution. It is to show us that love should be at the heart of the society and it has to be shown where it is most desired,” Adigun explained. The hospital environment was real and the medical terms employed were apt. Except however, that the

drip which was perpetually attached to the patient, was never changed or checked by any medical personnel. Nonetheless, the message was apparently clear: The role of relations in a situation as precarious as it was in the play needed to be looked into by those in the position to do so. A person with the scourge shouldn’t be neglected or abandoned to

Foundation to announce winners at public presentation

Warm Bodies: Book of many colours


HE zombie romance “Warm Bodies” is cute and amusing enough to catch on cable one day, where its starcrossed, blood-drenched lovers will eventually present sweet relief from the apocalyptic freakout that is the AMC series “The Walking Dead.” If “The Walking Dead” is “Lost” with zombies and a high kill rate, “Warm Bodies” is effectively a riff on every teenage romance ever told, from Ovid’s Pyramus and Thisbe on. Boy or, in this case, zombie meets girl. Zombie loses girl. Zombie — well, you know the rest, though here the familiar balance comes with human tartare, screams and the unsettling image of John Malkovich as the leader of the seemingly last people on Earth. Written and directed by Jonathan Levine (“50/50”), “Warm Bodies” is an improbable romance sweetened with appealing performances and buoyed by one of the better cute meets in recent romantic comedy, when the zombie boy, R (Nicholas Hoult), decides not to eat a live girl, Julie (Teresa Palmer). And she looks so tasty too, a Kristen Stewart type with less fidgeting and a sense of self-preservation. (She’s out scouting, looking for something nonhuman to eat.)

By Gabe Johnson

Smitten or stricken, R drops everything — in this case, a half-gnawed corpse — and stares into her eyes, where intelligence battles fear. He then smears blood on her face to fool his zombie brethren (Rob Corddry included) into thinking that she’s dead, grunts a few sweet nothings and shuffles off, taking her to his lair. Freud described the oral stage of early psychosexual development as “cannibalistic pregenital sexual organization.” In this stage, he elaborated, “sexual activity has not yet been separated from the ingestion of food.” In order for there to be a story R must learn to keep his monstrous appetite in check so that he can be with Julie and not just consume her. He learns, in other words, to separate sexual activity from gobbling brains. (Real Freudians should feel free to parse how this zombie boy handles the other stages.) In story terms that means R hangs out with Julie inside the jet that he has turned into his dead-man cave and in which they listen to his vinyl records. They sound, he explains, alive. “Warm Bodies” began as a short story, “I Am a Zombie Filled With Love,” that its author, Isaac Marion, expanded into a novel, also titled “Warm Bodies,” which earned praise from

Stephenie Meyer (the author of the “Twilight” books) and led, inevitably, to a movie deal. Given that Summit Entertainment, the company releasing “Warm Bodies,” also turned Ms. Meyer’s “Twilight” books into a global screen phenomenon, it seems it has decided that romances between sort of dead boys and living girls is a niche it can fill. The resurrection of the vampire as the ultimate suave lover has its understandable appeal. A boy-man like Edward in the “Twilight” series may be dead, but he has old-fashioned manners and, unlike his flesh-and-blood contemporaries, is in control of his hunger. R is less obviously appealing than Edward, both less worldly and courtly, yet also more recognizable. R keeps his hunger in check without much struggle, a process that’s personalized through his voice-over and in talky passages that show Mr. Levine’s ability to sustain interest with just two people in a room. (Dave Franco and Analeigh Tipton help round out the cast.) The off-the-shelf action scenes mostly involve someone, dead or alive, chasing someone

his/her fate. The Arojah Royal Theatre group that presented the play is based in Abuja. As members of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), the outfit has been at the forefront of the promotion and projection of stage plays, dances and dramas since 2007. The group also teaches young artistes the rudiments of the art and how to grow up making money from the profession. Arojah has been committed to the ideals of theatre in Abuja and this was why the founders chose to present a drama that dwelt on the soul of the nation. As the issue of HIV/AIDS rages on, it is the responsibility of those who really care to make it known to the people.


else, who’s dead or alive, including armies of cheaplooking digital ghouls. Like the story, these scenes are familiar if not deadly, despite the nuance-killing music. If the movie surmounts its genericism, it’s largely because of the actors and a love in which the monstrous has been made literal, and violent delights don’t necessarily lead to violent ends. Culled from New York Times

LL is set for the public presentation of the Splendid Literature and Culture Foundation (SL&CF) which was incorporated in January 2012 to produce quality literature that will not only entertain and enlighten children readers but also stimulate their imagination. This event is scheduled for 10:00am on February 21st, 2013, at the Oranmiyan Hall, Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja and will be chaired by the Deputy Governor of Osun State, Otunba (Mrs) Titilayo Laoye Tomori. Also, following a July 2012 call for submission of imaginative children’s literature from young Nigerian writers all over the country for the Splendid Literature and Culture Foundation Series, winning entries would be announced. Stories received were evaluated by a panel of judges consisting of Mr. Toyin Akinoso, Ms. Sola Alamutu and Mr. Dagga Tolla. These stories will be published and distributed by the foundation. In addition, 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 intends to 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. According to statement from the foundation, “Imagination is everything, and is related to how one thinks. At its (SL&CF) workshops, children will be taught HOW to think, because schools mostly teach them WHAT to think.”



Staying on the safe side of fires

—PAGE 54


OMEN all over the world love to look good and a lot of fairy tales paint beautiful women as heroes and personalities many adore. Hence the creation of pageants to discover beautiful women destined to rule their world. Scroll down memory lane and you find the Miss Nigeria, the premier beauty pageant in the country. It was established to showcase the positive attributes of Nigerian women. From Miss Nigeria to Miss Tourism, Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Sisi Oge, Miss Telecom, Miss Bold and Beautiful and many more. Most of them focused primarily on the physical beauty of its contestants but incorporated other criteria like personality, talent, self-esteem and public speaking abilities. Women and girls were targets and promos and advertorials like this was quite familiar: ‘Confident ladies aged 18 and 26 years, 5 feet 7 inches and above, and fluent in English are called to enter for the pageant.’ Gradually, men and boys also caught the bug and promoters filled the vacuum with body-building contests like ‘Mr Macho’. Whither the pageants? It became very lucrative with eye-popping gifts and international trips waiting for potential queens. Unfortunately, things appear to be falling apart in the sector and pageants are vanishing. So the question that needs to be asked is what is happening to pageants? For many, one of the reasons for the decline is that organisers have refused to redeem the pledge of prizes and most times they actually promise things that they cannot deliver. Lisa Oyaka, a former Miss Valentine, is a victim and she tells her story this way: “I heard about the pageant through a friend of mine. Then I was into modelling and we had just come back from a cast for Hip-Hop world. It was organised by NTA Channel 10 and we had rehearsals for two weeks. It was tedious and I had to spend so much on my outfits and accessories.” On the D-day 20 ladies took part and it was a very keen contest. “Initially, I wasn’t so sure that I would win because there were many other girls with potentials. But gradually I began to gain confidence in myself. My skills in cat walking, my regalia and quiz gave me an edge over the other contestants”, Oyaka recalled. She continued her story: “When they finally announced that I was the winner, I cried and I felt really happy. I was later crowned by the former queen, Miss Ebele Chukwulobe.” After basking in the euphoria, she expected the prize to fall on her laps on a platter of gold. Unfortunately, this did not happen. “Just before

Vanishing beauty pageants A few years back beauty pageants were quite popular in Nigeria. Now, the business is no longer booming and the pageants are diminishing. Yetunde Oladeinde takes a look at the problem affecting the industry and how the queens are faring.




the competition, they told us that the winner would travel to America and get some modelling contract over there. Unfortunately, when I won this did not happen. Instead of them doing this, they gave me a Plasma TV and there was no way I could say anything because it was televised.” Obviously disappointed, Oyaka got a lawyer who wrote the head office in Abuja. “They promised to investigate the matter. Shortly afterwards, another edition of the pageant took place and as the outgoing

queen she was not even invited to the event. “I only read about it in the papers. They did not also allow me to hand over to the next queen which was the tradition. I was blanked out. I really felt shocked that they could do such a thing.” One other thing that has affected pageants are scandals and the controversies that trail those who wear the coveted crown. In 1981, Tokunboh Onanuga was demoted after a flaw was discovered on her WAEC certificates. In year 2001, City People magazine revealed that the reigning Miss Nigeria,

Valerie Peterside, 31, had lied about her actual age and forged her university qualifications and NYSC certificate. She was reportedly expelled from Ahmadu Bello University prior to graduation due to examination malpractices. Next you have the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria Pageant which originally began as Miss Universe in 1983 and it was created by Ben Murray Bruce. Last year the pageant recorded a milestone with its twenty fifth anniversary. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding the winner of the

pageant affected the achievements over the years. On Saturday, May 5, 2012, Isabella Ayuk was decorated winner. It, however, turned out to be a very short reign. She was disqualified and subsequently dethroned on the basis of age falsification. Ayuk interestingly is a professional beauty queen who had participated in over five pageants just before this experience. These include Miss Niger, Beauty queen of the South –South and Miss Global Nigeria. Like Ayuk, a number of beauty queens have been in and out of scandals. This has therefore discouraged a lot of other potential queens from participating in pageants. However, we also have queens who continue to be on top in different spheres of life. Sabina Umeh Akamune is one of the pageants ambassador and she says that: “I felt that winning the title would be a great springboard for my career in entertainment. This was the singular reason I did it.” Some of the outstanding queens include Bianca Ojukwu, Regina Askia and Nike Osinowo, who in 2010, after a six year attempt, finally bought the Miss Nigeria franchise from the former organisers, Daily Times of Nigeria and became •Continue on Page 54





HEN there is a fire, don’t panic. And don’t run,” Nicholas Laye quipped to the hall full of teachers, proprietors, and administrators last week while delivering a keynote address at the safety compliance conference organised by Lagos State Safety Commission (LSC) in collaboration with Lagos State ministries of education, women affairs and poverty alleviation, and Schoolrun consult. The event, the first of its kind for private schools, took place in the six educational districts of the state with the theme, ‘Safety culture and compliance.’ Speaking on what he called the Nigerian perspective, Laye, who has worked in Russia, Turkey, and Abuja, dwelled on fire risks, bomb threats, intruder alerts, maintenance, classroom safety, and excursions. And in ‘setting up a safety management system’ Laye advised that such “systems should not be ad-hoc.” While none of the risks are trivial, the potency of bomb threats and fires loom higher in Nigeria. In the North East, bomb threats have lingered for the past three years, but all over the nation, fire incidents occur on a daily basis. Some of the worst fire outbreaks include the fire which killed 30 students at the girls’ hostel of Gindiri Girls School, near Jos, Plateau State in 2001. There was also the fire incident in 2002 at Ikorodu, Lagos where 25 workers died in a Chinese plastic factory. Investigations had revealed that the plastic factory was an illegal construction. And last year, according to figures from the Federal Fire Service, Lagos recorded 188 fire incidents. In Abuja, 69 people died in fire incidents in 2012 while the Abuja Fire Service received 486 fire calls. In Rivers State, 223 people died in fire incidents between January and November 2012 while properties worth N1.26bn were destroyed. In Oyo State, 38 people died in fire incidents in 2012 while properties worth about N1b were lost. And in Osun State, 31 people died in fire incidents while property worth N227m were lost. In 2013, fires have started devouring lives and properties already. In Oyo State, about 300 shops went up in flames at Agbowo market, Ibadan. Also, a section of the palace of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III was also gutted on January 8. In Lagos, Makoko in Yaba, the Oko Oba Timber Market and Igando road, Ikotun-Igando Local Council Development Area, (LCDA), have also experienced fire incidents. In Ogun State, a pipeline explosion occurred at Arepo village, Owode, killing over 50 suspected vandals. According to the Rivers State Director of Fire Service, Oshogharhe Powa, most of the fires in the state oc-

Staying on the safe side of fires Fire, usually deployed for human use has often been the source of calamities. Joe Agbro Jr. in this report touches on preparations to contain this risk

•Fire caused by explosion at a Lagos Island warehouse storing fireworks

curred in residential buildings, especially houses built with woods and zinc, from electrical spark caused by illegal connection. “Some residents also caused the fire by refilling kerosene in their cooking stove and lanterns while they were on and some used candle light without holding it with the right stand,’’ he said. Also, the use of sub-standard electrical equipment was responsible for most of the fires in Osun State, according to the Director of the Osun State Fire Service, Timothy Ogunje.

Striving for safety According to the Director General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Mrs. Dominga Odebunmi, “what we realise is that people either deliberately or out of ignorance actually do not consider accepting any risks around them at all. We had to start re-orientating everyone.” Currently, the commission is concentrating efforts on public spaces such as work places, events centres, and schools. But, believing in the mantra of prevention, it is also beaming the

safety light on construction sites. The commission also works in the area of building control and permit. Working with stakeholders, and in line with the building code, it has come out with a construction safety guideline. “In there,” Mrs. Odebunmi said, “we have input from the building control agencies and input from the planning.” “Right now, we are working with building agencies to go out and do onthe-spot checks. We have also sent out agents to go into various buildings, ongoing construction sites across the

Safety tips •How many people can be allowed to be in that building? •Are there fire extinguishers provided? •Are the fire extinguishers working? •Are the staff there aware, and trained on how to use the fire extinguishers? •Are there fire escape routes to get out of the building? •Do we have enough escape routes? •Are the escape routes clear? •Are there fire and smoke detectors that would give first warning? •Are the smoke detectors working? •Are there smoke or fire detectors in toilets because there might be people in the toilets when fires start?

Use of Fire Extinguishers There are different types of fire extinguishers. The main types are Water (H2O) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2). All modern fire extinguishers have a red casing plus a contrasting coloured band that indicates the contents. Thus a modern Carbon Dioxide extinguisher will be red with a black band. The contents will also be written on the extinguisher e.g. a modern water extinguisher will have white writing on its red casing. Look closely at the extinguishers around where you work and identify what type they are.

state to inspect. As I speak, we have covered over a 1, 000 (construction) sites. And we have sanctioned some of them and their cases are being treated by the legal department of the safety commission – the ones that have showed outright negligence to the guidelines that we have given them.” Prevention Relating an incident he witnessed about likely causes of fires in nightclubs, Taiwo said, “what people do now is that when you purchase a bottle of champagne, they bring it to your table with flares. You need to look at the flares to make sure they are not external flares because these things can cause a fire. Also, smoking is allowed in nightclubs and that can start a fire. And then, they sell spirits which can help fire to burn.” Sounding a note of warning, Taiwo said;.“When there is a need to be evacuated in an emergency, it is not the cause of fire or the reason for evacuation of people that will kill people, but the fact that people would try and get out as quickly as possible and the access way for them to get out is too small for the number of people in there. And so, you have an issue of stampede. These are some of the things the building code looks at but some people won’t follow it.” Recently a Brazilian nightclub fire killed over 234 people, most aged between 16 and 20. Commenting on the incident, she said, “that is worse than plane crash.” The buildings According to Odebunmi “if you look into that incident, the capacity of the nightclub was 1, 000 and they had a population of over 2, 000 which means 1, 000 persons in excess.” Speaking on the requirement for extinguishers, Taiwo said, “waiting for firemen to put off the fires should be the last resort.” According to Mrs. BC Akin Alabi, lead consultant of the Lagos State School Safety Compliance Initiative and principal consultant for Schoolrun consult, the conference which was targeted at school teachers, administrators, and proprietors was timely because of recurring safety hazards in schools. Speaking on the building codes, Taiwo said that while government cannot carry out risk assessment for all buildings, “there are common things that we can look at.” While adhering to the building code, there is need for caution. Already, the Comptroller General of Nigeria Fire Service, Olusegun Okebiorun, has warned Nigerians to be more safety conscious even as the service intends to enforce the National Fire Safety Code (NFC) on all public buildings. The arrival of harmatan has made this crucial and necessary for all to watch how they handle fire.

Vanishing beauty pageants •Continue from Page 53

the executive and creative director of the pageant. Last year, however, the franchise for the pageant was given to another person. Osinowo was mentored by former Miss Nigeria, Helen Prest Ajayi and she represented Rivers at the MBGN pageant where she emerged as the first Yoruba winner of the pageant in December 1990. Bianca Ojukwu inspires the younger generation of beauties in so many ways. In December 1988, Ojukwu, who had previously won Miss Martini but turned down the prize - a modelling contract in Tokyo - to continue with her education, was crowned Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, and she reigned for most of 1989. She also won Miss Africa 1989 which was held in The Gambia, then represented her country in Miss World and Miss Universe, but achieved greater success at Miss Intercontinental 1989 and was named Miss Congeniality at the now defunct Miss Charm International in Russia where she was also a semi-finalist. On the international scene, pageants are also having some hard times. The Miss World pageant is the oldest surviving

major international pageant. It was created in the United Kingdom by Eric Morley in 1951. Interestingly, it has also had so many controversies like the pageants in other parts of the world. In 1974, winner Helen Morgan representing the United Kingdom was forced to resign four days later when it was discovered that she was an unmarried mother. Six years after, Gabriella Brum of Germany resigned claiming that her boyfriend disapproved of her participation. A few days after, it emerged that she was forced to resign after it was discovered that she posed naked for a magazine. A black chapter in the history of the pageant opened in 2002 when it was to hold in Abuja. Unfortunately, the controversies over the case of Amina Lawal, who was condemned to death by stoning, and a newspaper publication which was termed offensive by a section of the country caused a boycott and other controversies and it was moved urgently to London. Reflecting on the waning fortunes of beauty pageants, Yinka Adewunmi, chief executive officer of Catwalk studios, a modelling, grooming and events said, “At a point things literarily fell apart in the industry and a lot of us who were

professionals actually saw it coming. It became an all-comers thing and we had a lot of mediocres parading themselves as professionals in the industry. There were lots of sharp practices and they crowned all kinds of people which led to scandals and controversies. For a number of these people the motive was money and once they discovered that it wasn’t a goldmine they just moved on.” Adewunmi, who had been on the panel of judges for different pageants, added: “That was why I had to take a break on my pageant Miss Catwalk and moved on to other areas like ushering and protocol services.” It was the beginning of the exodus of professionals from the runway especially as scores of scandals rolled in further tarnishing the credibility of the pageants.” For Yomi Onanuga, a former manager of Miss Nigeria and organiser of ‘Miss Environment’ many of the pageants were built on a faulty foundation. “First, you have lack of fulfilment of promises on the part of sponsors. Then you also find that most of the pageants lack glamour and can also be traced to sponsorship. Sometimes, you would have gone to press to announce

sponsors, only for the date to draw near and you find sponsors giving excuses that their budget cannot carry what you have proposed. In that case what do you do? You can’t cancel the event at this point and you would be forced to go ahead with your plan.” Some others agreed with Onanuga that the withdrawal of sponsors from the pageants dealt a death blow on the event. However, a few others who don’t want their names in print pointed at the scores of scandals that have dogged some of the competition. For instance, a respondent pointed to a particular pageant where a winner was discovered to have been a consort to some of the judges on the panel. To this the respondent asked, “If you are a sponsor will you be encouraged to sponsor such an event that has been tarnished? I don’t think so.” However, efforts to speak with some of the past sponsors were rebuffed as they preferred to stay away from the controversy. But just as the the as the fortune of beauty pageants are fading, rising on its ashes are talk and reality shows. It is the new bride in the showbiz world as sponsors are falling over each other to be part of the new game in town.





with cancer


ANCER, also known as malignant neoplasm and the most feared word and disease in the world, is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body . It can also affect nearby parts of the body and more distant parts through the lymphatic system or the blood stream. There are over 200 different types of cancer that affect humans. The disease has been around as long as mankind but only in the second half of the 20th century did the number of cancer cases explode. In 2007, cancer caused about 13 percent of all human deaths worldwide (7.9million). This disease that can affect people of all ages does not just appear out of nowhere, it has definite causes that can be corrected if the body has enough time, and if actions are taken to change the body's internal environment to one that creates health while at the same time attacking cancerous cells and tumour by exploiting their weaknesses. Essentially, cancers occur as a result of excessive amount of toxin and pollutants people are exposed to, obesity, tobacco use, lack of physical activity, high stress lifestyles that zap the immune system, poor quality junk food that are full of pesticides, irradiated and genetically modified. Other causes include electromagnetic lights and everything we were not exposed to 200 years ago. All these weaken the immune system and change the body's internal environment to one that promotes cancer growth .While cancer can affect people of all ages, and a few types of cancer are more common in children, the risk of developing cancer generally increases with age. Malignant neoplasm or cancer is a group of different diseases involving irregulated cell growth which often made

By Bilikis Bakare

it to imitate other diseases. Often times, cancer patients have been treated for other diseases for so long leading to the metastases of the disease which eventually kill the patient. An example that readily comes to mind is the case of the late radical lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehimi, who was diagnosed with pneumonia and eventually died of lung cancer. Cancer can affect all the organs of the body. If it affects the lungs, it manifests in form of cough or pneumonia. For oesophageal cancer, it narrows the oesophagus causing painful swallowing anaemia or rectal bleeding. But perhaps the most predominant forms of cancer in Nigeria are those affecting the breast and the cervix also known as cervical cancer. The incidence of breast cancer in Nigeria is increasing just like in other developing countries and those advanced countries that used to have a low incidence. Several factors are responsible for this increasing incidence, but the most important is the empowerment of women which is increasing their ability to make independent decisions about their health care, such as the ability to choose when to start having children and the number to have and westernisation of diet. It has been observed that women with later age at onset of first pregnancies and a higher mean number of children have short term risks of developing cancer due to the stimulatory effects of pregnancy on the epithelial tissues of the breast. The protective effect of pregnancy is seen decades after the pregnancy , that is often after the age of forty years and in a country with low life expectancy , the women

would have developed the disease before the pro- carcinogenic effect of pregnancy can be felt. On the other hand, cervical cancer which is the third most common type of cancer starts in the cells on the surface of the cervix usually very slowly. There are two types of cells on the cervix's surface called the squamous and columnar cells , but usually most cervical cancers are from squamous cells. It starts as a precancerous condition called dysplasia which can only be detected through a diagnostic process called Pap smear. It usually takes years for cancerous changes to turn into cervical cancer. Most women diagnosed with this condition have not had regular pap smears or they have not followed up on abnormal test results. Dysplasia is most often seen in women ages 25-35, although it can develop at any age. Cervical dysplasia is caused by the human papilloma virus [HPV], spread through sexual intercourse and those at the risk of developing the condition include; women having sex before the age of 18, giving birth before age 16, having multiple sexual partners, smokers and using medication that suppresses the immune system. Determined to stamp out cervical cancer, the Federal Government through the Director of Hospital Services in the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Patience Osinubi, during a press briefing to mark this year's World's Cancer Day, rolled out plans to eliminate the disease. These will be in form of deployment of cancer treatment trucks in hospitals nationwide, upgrading of six federal tertiary hospitals for the treatment of cancer as

comprehensive centres with one for each geo-political zone. Generally, initial swelling in cancer is usually painless although localised pain may occur in advanced cancer. Other symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, unexplained anaemia, fever of unknown origin. In diagnosing cancer, a biopsy i.e. taking a specimen of the lump or swelling for examination is considered essential for the proper identification of the disease. Occasionally, a metastatic lump or pathological lymph node is found (in the neck) for which primary tumour cannot be found. Cancer is a curable disease that should not be allowed to terminate life, but it should be detected on time. Chemotherapy (drugs) and radiotherapy are used as a first line radical therapy in a number of malignancies where disease is clearly incurable aiming at improving the quality of and prolonging life. Surgeries are used to remove tumours entirely in situations where there are some degrees of certainties that the tumors can in fact be removed. Chemotherapy works by killing all cells throughout the body that multiply and divide rapidly which include cancer cells and other rapidly multiplying and dividing cells that the body needs. These include bone marrow which produces blood, digestive and reproductive system, and hair follicles etc. leading to anemia, loss of weight and hair loss. Therefore, as the world observes "The World Cancer Day" on February 4, 2013 everyone has to be involved in the campaign for the reduction of the cancer epidemic all over the world. The attention should shift towards exploring alternative means of tackling the disease. Herbal remedies should be used to combat the disease. In Nigeria, researchers have found out that herbal remedies can be used to combat the disease. These plant species include : African Pepper (xylopia aethopical), bitter kola (Garcinca kola), Sausage tree (kigelia Africana), Anthocleista dialonensis (sapo in Yoruba, Kwara in Hausa, Okpokolo in Igbo), Citrus Species (orange, grapefruit, tangerine, lime and lemon), Allium Species (garlic, onion, shallot). In essence, cancer patients do not have to avoid chemotherapy or radiotherapy to benefit from natural products and supplements. Nutritional supplements are quite useful when used in conjunction with chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. The supplements work to support the body so that radiation and chemotherapy will actually work better resulting in stronger immune system which will better able to keep cancer from developing again. Since early detection is antidote to curing the disease, government at all levels should provide adequate equipments for diagnosing cancer, provide enlightenment and funds necessary for this purpose. When the right actions are taken, even aggressive, tough cancer can be defeated.




Unhappy childhood linked to heart risk in later life


MOTIONAL behaviour in childhood may be linked with heart disease in middle age, especially in women, research suggests. A study found being prone to distress at the age of seven was associated with a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease in later life. Conversely, children who were better at paying attention and staying focused had reduced heart risk when older. Study leader Dr Allison Appleton said more research would now be needed to work out the biological mechanism that may underpin the finding. "We know that persistent distress can cause dysregulation of the stress response and that is something we want to look at." Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said it was

Spread of hepatitis C pinpointed


P to 180 million people are infected with hepatitis C. Scientists say they have, for the first time, worked out the pattern of spread of hepatitis C, showing early diagnosis is key to preventing epidemics. The researchers said their results would help tackle the disease's spread. Globally, up to 180 million people live with the virus, most are unaware that they have it. Those infected do not develop symptoms for up to 20 years and spread it to others without realising. Study leader Dr Gkikas Magiorkinis, from Oxford University, said when people were infected with something such as flu it was very easy to work out where it had come from, because people knew they were infected within days. But with hepatitis C, no-one has been able to pin down how the virus spreads, because cases occur months or years apart. To overcome this problem, the researchers looked at four hepatitis C epidemics in Greece, using data from 943 patients collected between 1995 and 2000. The researchers said that people were more infectious at in the early days of catching hepatitis C because they had higher levels of virus. The evidence they have produced suggests programmes targeting the diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C in high-risk groups as early as possible would prevent many new infections and associated health care costs many years down the line. About 20% of those infected will develop cancer or liver scarring after 20 years of infection, at which point the only treatment is liver transplantation, which costs about N25 million. Dr Magiorkinis, who did the work in collaboration with the University of Athens and Imperial College London, said the model had helped build a "solid argument" to improve early diagnosis and antiviral treatment in drug users.

already known that a child's health could often have a bearing on their future wellbeing. But she added that more research was needed before it could be clear that any possible

link existed between emotions in childhood and the risk of cardiovascular disease in later life. "There are positive steps parents can take to protect their child's future heart health.

"What we learn when we're young can often set the tone for our habits later in life, so teaching children about physical activity and a balanced diet is a great place to start.”

•Teaching your children to exercise at an early age can help them live healthier

and longer.

PHOTO: Google

‘Smoking will kill 1 billion people this century’


new study finds smokers who quit before the age of 40 can live almost as long as people who never smoked. Researchers at the University of Toronto report quitting smoking before turning 40 gives back almost all of the 10 years that smoking generally cuts off a person's life span. But that does not mean smoking is safe up until age 40.

The study's lead researcher Prabhat Jha, a University of Toronto professor and head of the Centre for Global Health Research at St. Michael's Hospital - said former smokers still have a greater risk of dying sooner than lifetime nonsmokers. "Now it's not true that the best thing to do is to smoke until 40 and quit. Because if you do that, you still have at least 20

One in four men has erectile dysfunction


BOUT one in five men over age 40 reports moderate or severe erectile dysfunction, and according to a recent Australian study, these men could also have an increased risk of heart disease and early death. The study isn't the first to make the link between erectile dysfunction and heart disease, but it's first to find the link among men with even mild erection problems. “These results tell us that every man who is suffering from any degree of erectile dysfunction should be seeking medical assistance as early as possible and also insisting on a heart health check by their doctor at the same time,” said Dr. Rob Grenfell, director of the Heart Foundation, Australia's heart disease organisation, in a statement. An erection requires a steady flow of blood to the penis, while heart disease occurs when vessels feeding the heart are blocked by plaques and ruptured clots. “The reason why erectile

dysfunction can serve as an early marker of silent cardiovascular riskit has been termed “the canary in the trousers”is not known exactly. Possibilities include the fact that the arteries of the penis are smaller and more sensitive to problems with the lining of the blood vessels than those of the heart, brain and limbs, so may show problems before a man experiences symptoms of overt cardiovascular disease,” says Banks, who is scientific director of the 45 and Up Study. Whatever the mechanism, Banks says men shouldn't simply ignore erection problems and continue to treat them with medications such as Viagra or Cialis. “Erectile dysfunction is extremely common in men with heart failure, and since a large proportion of heart failure is undiagnosed, particularly at its early stages, erectile dysfunction may serve as an early marker of acute heart failure that subsequently manifests itself and necessitates treatment in hospital.”

percent higher risk of dying if you have quit smoking by age 40," said Jha. "Now that's much lower than the risk of continuing to smoke, but it's still quite significant. In contrast, those that quit by age 30 basically are close to neversmoker rates, meaning they get almost all of that full decade of life back. So the key message is not that it's safe to smoke until age 40 and quit. The key message is: Don't smoke, and if you do smoke, quit as early as possible." The researchers also found that women's risks of dying from smoking-related causes were 50 percent higher than what studies in the 1980s found. This most recent study looked at health and death records in the United States, but Jha said the findings can be applied worldwide. "What smoking does is multiply the background rates of disease in any population upward. What this study adds, along with actually about three more recent studies, is that, that upward multiplication, if you will, of the risks is about threefold," Jha said. "So this suggests worldwide the risks are probably going to be as extreme. Basically, what we found is if women smoke like men, they die like men. And similarly if Indians smoke like Americans, they are going to die like Americans. If Chinese smoke like Americans, they are going to die like Americans." Jha said just five countries Brazil, China, Russia, Indonesia and India - are home to about half of the world's estimated 1.3 billion smokers. If the current trends continue, his report said smoking will kill about 1 billion people in the 21st century, a dramatic increase from 100 million in the 20th century.

HEALTH Five things you should know about chicken pox and shingles


HERE are questions raised on how likely adults are to get chicken pox and how chicken pox is related shingles. So here are some quick facts about the infections; If you never had chicken pox as a child, can you still get the infection as an adult? Yes. Although most cases of chicken pox occur before age 10, adults who have never contracted the infection are still at risk. Can chicken pox be more severe in adults? Most people get chicken pox when they are young, but the symptoms can be more severe among people who catch the infection in an older age. They include loss of appetite, fever, headache, tiredness and rashes, all of which can be more taxing on the health of elderly adults. What is shingles, and how is it different from chicken pox? Shingles, also known as zoster or herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash caused by the same virus responsible for chicken pox: the Varicella Zoster virus. Even if you had chicken pox in the past, you can still contract shingles. That's because the chicken-pox virus remains in the body, lying dormant in the roots of nerves, and can reactivate many years later. It's not clear why the virus reawakens, in some people it never does, but researchers believe that the virus is triggered as the immune system weakens with age or in conditions of stress. Shingles is less contagious than chicken pox and cannot be passed from person to person. However, the Varicella Zoster virus can be spread from a person with shingles to someone who has never had chicken pox. The unfortunate recipient might develop chicken pox, but not shingles. How long is a person contagious with the chicken pox or shingles? The infection can take anywhere from 10 to 21 days to develop after exposure to someone with chicken pox or shingles. People with chicken pox are contagious a couple of days before their rash appears and remain so until all of their blisters have scabbed. A person with shingles, on the other hand, can only spread their infection while their skin rash is still blistering. They're not contagious before the blisters occur, and are no longer contagious once the rash starts to scab. What's the best way to prevent chicken pox and shingles? To avoid chicken pox, medical practitioners recommend two doses of the chicken-pox vaccine which is 98% effective, for kids, adolescents and adults who have not had chicken pox. Adults who have not had the disease and may be in close contact with young children who are likely to be infected should consider getting vaccinated. Children should receive the first dose when they are between 12 months old and 15 months old, and a second dose when they are 4 years old to 6 years old.

‘Induce older mums early to cut stillbirth risk’


REGNANT women aged over 40 should be given the option of being induced early to reduce the risks of losing their baby, says a Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists paper. Inducing these women at 39 weeks instead of the normal 41 would not lead to increased numbers of caesarean sections. Dr Anna Kenyon, from University College London Hospital, says that “The offer of induction at term for older mums could save many families from the indescribable devastation of losing a precious child.” The data showed that at 39-40 weeks pregnant, women over 40 double their risk of stillbirth compared with women under 35. As a result, Dr Kenyon said, there was a good case for inducing labour early. "It is justifiable for experts to conclude that inducing labour at an earlier stage of in older mothers could prevent late stillbirth and any maternal risks of an ongoing pregnancy, without increasing the number of operative vaginal deliveries or emergency caesarean sections." She added that further research was required to find out how induction affects pregnant women "of advanced maternal age.” Statistics show that between 1997 and 2008 the proportion of pregnant women that are aged 35 and over increased from 8% to 20%, and that of women aged 40 and over rose from 1.2% to 3.6%.




‘Equipping young people is exciting’ Y

OUR church is full of young people. What are you doing with them? Well, the basic thing that we are doing is empowering them to do all that God designed for them to be. Of course, that starts with their spiritual lives but it stretches into so many other things than that. We are teaching them to dream, have a focus and a goal as well as how to achieve them without stress. You have been at it for how many years now? It’s been nine years. So, how has it been working with young people? It’s been productive, you know. We have had a lot of people come in great; some of them came in not so great. But by the time they stay around, hear the word of God and get exposed to culture, you start seeing changes. We have seen dramatic changes. Their families are surprised; their husbands are surprised and their siblings are saying ‘see what my sister, my brother has turned out to be.’ Many say working with young upwardly mobile people can be unnerving and tough considering they are obstinate and difficult to change. How then are you able to record these changes? I always disagree with that notion. I believe it is easier to mould and influence them now that they are young. Once they grow older, they become formed and difficult to change. They do not have firm attachments to the things of the world now and can be corrected.

The Senior Pastor of Harvesters International Christian Centre, Bolaji Idowu, is a youth development expert. He spoke with Sunday Oguntola on the church, youth empowerment and sundry issues. Excerpts: So, what is the magic wand? First of all, the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ remains capable to change just about anybody. Then, we give them attention a whole lot here. We answer their questions and I can confirm many of them are tough ones. Then, we are real with them; we don’t pretend. They ask real life questions and we offer practical answers. Did you know you were going to come this far when you started? Well, everybody just start out convinced of God’s call. Thank God we yielded because it is getting better and better every day. You started immediately after graduation from the university... Yes, I did. I just started the ministry. What gave you the courage to start out at a time when many of your contemporaries were picking up plum jobs? There was nothing that gave me that courage than the certainty that God has called me. And I knew that one can only experience fullness, peace and joy when you are able to fulfil divine call upon your life. So, knowing that God has called me gave me so much courage. I am sure there were fears and oppositions in many quarters. You want to recall some of them? Of course, there were. My parents of blessed memory held several meet-

•Bolaji Idowu ings to persuade and discourage me. My siblings were also surprised and stunned. But we just give God the glory I yielded. So, how far have you come? It’s been wonderful. We have two centres in Lagos; one in Gbagada and the other in Lekki, and we run multiple services in both. If you were given a young life to mould, what

would you do with him or her? Well, the first thing is to put him on a solid ground in which he would know God on his own. Then, you help him to discover destiny and purpose in life. Then, there must be focus so that he sticks to what he is sure God wants him to be. Then, you let him know that this life is a passage so he has to make the best of it

now. What would people find in your church that may be difficult to find elsewhere? Whao! One of the things people say make them come is because the word of God is taught in a real, practical way that demystifies life and applies to them. So, they leave church with hope, knowing exactly what to do. We are very contemporary and our music is one of the best anywhere in the world. The whole service is designed to make people have an encounter with God and register the impression that Christianity is not boring. Anybody that comes here will be amazed by our quest to aptly deploy technology towards ensuring our members have an enriching service experience. We have different groups in the church addressing different issues such as marriage, business, addiction and so on. It’s like churchat-a-go. So, young, upwardly mobile people are the ones running these shows? Sure, you know the trend is changing. Check the world. The people making waves and running things are young, upwardly mobile people. And they are doing that without supervision. We now have governors in their 40s; presidents in their 50s. The world belongs to young people now. But you are media shy. Is that deliberate or something?

Well, we are coming out of that. How do you feel when you look at young people in Nigeria? Well, I think that we need clear guidance, more role models and more encouragements. Youths need people to believe and invest in them. Are you telling the young people around to go for it? Yes, we are. But sometimes when you look at the evolution of powers in Nigeria, you find the system is designed to make it rotate within a certain perimeter and class. But they must go for it. Power must change hands. The people that used to be there are retiring and there is a generation coming to bring the changes that we all desire. What would you say to pastors and churches that are holding back their young people from manifesting? I will simply tell them “you are losing a lot. Your best resources are not being used. You are just shortchanging yourself and God’s kingdom.” Young people can always inject fresh, dynamic ideas that will take institutions to unimaginable heights. In the next five years, what should we look forward to from the church? People will see many social projects across the city initiated by the church. We shall have feeding programmes, educational support programmes, a business school and training centre to harness untapped potentials. We are also going to be starting more churches as the Lord enables us.


Adeboye to bankers, accountants: fight corruption


HE General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has tasked Christian bankers, accountants and allied financial experts to take a stand against corruption in the public and private sectors. He said God has placed them in strategic positions to ensure graft does not become the norm in the society. Adeboye spoke last week at the special prayer and thanksgiving service of RCCG, Throne of Grace headquarters Parish, Ebutte-Metta, Lagos. The programme tagged Divine Treasurer attracted hundreds of bankers, accountants, auditors, and finance practitioners. He said God was seeking for treasurers who can be trusted with public funds.

By Adeola Ogunlade Adeboye lamented that many promising professionals have had their careers truncated and integrity shattered owing to dishonest acts and lack of contentment. He said: “Nigeria has been a victim of corrupt individuals who have continued to milk the country dry by greed and unfaithfulness; a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of our nation.” The Managing Director, First Bank Registrar, Mr. Bayo Olugbemi, who lauded the efforts of the church in praying for those in accounting profession, said: “ It is a wonderful thing that bankers are coming out to be prayed for and I hope that it makes a lot of difference in the attitude of bankers and accountants.” He added: “Nobody is above

•Parish Accountant, Mr. Festus Eretan; Head International Operations, Diamond Bank Plc, Mr. Oluwasegun Olatona; Executive Director, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr. Wole Adeniyi; Pastorin- Charge of RCCG Headquarters Province 1, Pastor Johnson Odesola; Managing Director, First Bank Registrars, Mr. Bayo Olugbemi; Pastor Shola Adeyeye and Mr. Akinloye Akande of Stanbic IBTC Bank after the service.

temptation. We are human being with our own personal challenges, thus we need prayers and constant reinforcement of moral values that is imperative for national development.” He called on the Central

Bank of Nigeria and other regulatory bodies in the finance sector to put structures in place that would help check the excesses of bank officials through the integrity test and mentoring of young ones.


HE Seal: God’s Endtime Chronicle”, a book written by Emmanuel Aina was launched in Lagos recently. According to the author, the book is borne out of divine instructions by the Holy Spirit after deep, intimate fellowship. He said: “In 2003, the Lord said to me, ‘Emmanuel, cry greatly for genuine revival that will bring the power of God down to the Church as of old, for it is the revival that can separate the wheat from the chaff because there are many satanic agents in the church.’ “The prophesies the Lord gave me is a seal because it contains messages for Nigeria and the events that will take place over the years.” The author also reflects

Warning for the sleeping Church By Yetunde Oladeinde

on the state of the present day Church and refers to it in one of the chapters as the ‘Sleeping Church.’ “It is time we revolutionised every area that is incongruous to conform to the Lord’s desires,” he charged. The foreword was written by Dr Panam Percy Paul and is divided into two parts with a preceding overview.



Worship NEWS

to Catholics: Cleanse yourself of quacks, CAN let’s dialogue Akpabio charges PFN T •As Omobude takes over from Oritsejafor HE Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) South West region has appealed to the Catholic Church to rescind its decision to suspend relations with the apex body at the national level. It said the decision will not allow the body to resolve the reservations and grievances of the Catholic Church. This was the consensus after the first quarterly meeting of the CAN South West region last week in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State. The meeting also coincided with the inauguration of the Ogun State chapter of the body. Chairman of CAN South West region, Archbishop Magnus Atilade, said: “CAN must remain one indivisible body. Our Catholic brothers

•Oritsejafor receiving Pastor Enoch Adeboye at the Uyo Stadium, venue of the conference.

•L-R: Ukpai, Adeboye, Omobude and Oritsejafor at the conference.


ing in the Western world would surface in Nigeria except church leaders purge themselves of undesirable elements. “Just imagine what is currently happening in the Western world where persons who brought Christianity are now homosexuals with some peo-

KWA Ibom State governor, Obong Godswill Akpabio, has challenged Christian leaders in the country to eliminate quacks among their ranks. He stated that some pastors have brought the church into disrepute. Akpabio spoke last week at a Gala Night he organised in honour of leaders of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) who were in Uyo for their 12th biennial conference. Akpabio called on the PFN leaders to redeem the image of the church by identifying the quacks among them and deal with them accordingly. He warned doing otherwise will further expose the church to ridicule. The governor said: “They take advantage of the ignorance of local parents and extort huge sums of money to conduct exorcism on children, some of whom do not even

know the meaning of witch craft. “They collect up to N300,000 from their parents in the name of deliverance to children and if the parents fail to part with such amount the pastors let loose the children on the streets.” He said what is happen-

L-R: New PFN president, Rev. Felix Omobude; outgoing PFN president, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor; Akwa Ibom state governor, Obong Godswill Akpabio and his wife at the opening ceremony

ple now marrying animals,” he lamented. He praised PFN for choosing to hold the conference in the state capital, noting that the state will continue to partner the Church in social engineering. The new PFN president, Rev. Felix Omobude, commended the governor for identifying some of the pitfalls plaguing the Church. He assured PFN will not relent in its efforts to cleanse the body of bad eggs. Omobude, the founder of New Covenant Bible Church Benin Edo State, became the National President of the body.He was the National Vice President of the PFN in the South South until then. Flamboyant senior pastor of House on The Rock Lagos, Paul Adefarasin, became the new Deputy National President.Rev Emmanuel Kure emerged the National Secretary of the body.

NEWS HOUSANDS of wor‘God unhappy with proliferation of churches’ shippers are expected at


HE proliferation of churches negates the will of God, the general overseer of Peculiar People’s Ministry, Lagos, Pastor Taiwo Ishola, has declared. The cleric said the development has affected Christianity negatively. He alleged most of the churches established lately are fuelled by the inordinate ambitions of some pastors who disguise as real men of God. According to him: “The proliferation of churches here and there is not the will of God. As a matter of fact, it is a clear sign that we are living in the last days. “God tells us clearly in the Bible that in the last days many fake prophets and pastors will arise.” He reasoned churches are springing up everywhere because there is no regulatory body to check them. “If we had a body charged with that responsibility, there will be fewer churches and that will also reduce the number of fake pastors masquerading as men of God,” Isola stated. The Engineer-turnedpreacher argued that so

By Vincent Nzemeke


‘If we had a body charged with that responsibility, there will be fewer churches and that will also reduce the number of fake pastors masquerading as men of God’

many people have transformed into pastors and church owners today because of the harsh economic conditions in the country. He added: “Most of these people are not pastors. They probably ventured into the gospel because of the harsh economic condition of the country or a failed career. “If you have the genuine call of God on your life, you do not necessarily have to establish a church to fulfil it. There are several other ways of doing what God has called you to do. “I am an engineer and I am still in active practice. Even in the course of doing my job, I still preach the gospel because the Bible says by their fruit you shall know them.” While calling on Christian bodies and leaders to check proliferation of churches in order to curtail the embarrassments it has brought to the Christian fold, Ishola urged Christians to always remember that the church of Christ is one. He added that being a member of a particular Church is not as important as living by the dictates of the scriptures.


the annual Kingdom Life Summit of the New Estate Baptist Church (NEBC), Surulere Lagos. The conference, which brings together all churches that came out of NEBC within and outside the country, holds from February 14-16. The chairman, Central Working Committee of the conference, Rev. Julius Omomola, told newsmen that the reunion is designed for edification, education, empowerment, fellowship and networking among members and families of the church. This year’s edition, he stated, will seek to encourage participants to build vibrant

By Sunday Oguntola and sisters must change the suspension order and allow dialogue to take place.” He said whatever will jeopardise unity among Christians must be jettisoned and sorted out. Atilade also called on Christians to participate in politics, lamenting the increasing marginalisation of Christians in mainstream politics, especially in the South West. All the paramount traditional rulers in Ogun State attended the inauguration ceremony. The body later paid courtesy visits to the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo and the Osile Oke-Ona Egba, Oba Dapo Tejuoso.

•Atilade sharing a thought with Tejuoso during the courtesy visit

What and where? Annual convention


HE 2013 annual National Convention of the Christ Healing Evangelical Church (CHEC) Ketu Lagos holds from February 13-17. Venue is the camp ground, Km 45, Lagos / Ibadan Express way, Loburo, Mowe, Ogun State. Seminars and workshops

on marriage, legal issues and quality walk with God will be the highlights of the event that will be presided by the general overseer, Pastor Samuel Ogunfowokan and other anointed men of God. There will also be sessions on business development, leadership meetings, deliverance and others.

New Estate Baptist reunites members, churches By Sunday Oguntola relationship with the Holy Spirit, build loving families, develop cordial parent-child relationship and re-enact the power of God. He said: “We want to empower people to be all that God wants them to be through the word and sound worship in an atmosphere of divine love and power.” Omomola assured that logistics and other details have

been concluded to host a smooth, fruitful conference. The theme of the conference is “unforgettable touch”. Ministers expected include Evangelist Gboyega Shitta, Evangelist Job Alabi, Rev Mike Babatunde and Pastor Philip Adika, among others. The conference commences next Thursday with a valentine get-together meant to rekindle the fire of love among couples.

•Pastors from churches established by New Estate Baptist Church at the parley PHOTO: Abiodun Williams





Archbishop Sam Amaga

Family Heritage


HE purpose of this series of protecting your family heritage by breaking the hidden curses is to bring every family into the joy and bliss of God’s original plan and purpose for a family life. God made His intention about families known in Isaiah 14:24 The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: I speak to you that the original purpose of God for your life and family shall come to pass. By reason of the understanding you will gain, and the scriptural actions you will take; every curse of the devil against your life, your destiny and your family shall be nullified in Jesus name. God’s original purpose for family is a people who will live in close intimacy with Him on earth. They are a people who are in charge in every sphere of life. They are not broke, sick or oppressed by the devil. They are a people who represent God’s splendor, power, abundance, dominion and fruitfulness in every sphere of life. This is why

Protecting your family heritage (3) you are here on earth as a believer in Christ. It is to bring God’s flavours and colours to your dying and stinking world. Just exactly as Jesus said in Matthew 15:13-13 (Message Translation) Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the Godflavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. They are a people who are so blessed that everything around them is blessed as well. That was the experience of the first family on earth. They were flowing in such a blessing, breakthrough, health, fruitfulness and so forth until the devil tricked them into sin. This was the beginning of curses. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou

hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: Genesis 3:14 § The serpent after tricking the first family to commit sin lost its legs and beauty and a curse pronounced upon it to crawl all through its life time. So curses bring crawling and delays in peoples lives and destinies. Every curse of delays are destroyed in your life and family. You shall no longer labour in vain from today in Jesus name. Isaiah 65:21-23 (NIV) says; They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands. They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. It was sin that brought enmity between man and the devil as we see in Genesis 3:15-16. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. Contact: Archbishop Sam Amaga @ Salem Mission House, Mabushi Abuja. Phone: 08023018836, 08074450763

What and where?


NTERNATIONAL Growth Ministry has c o n c l u d e d arrangements for the difference-making church/ministers conference from Feb 18-21.


Church growth meeting The conference expected to attract hundreds of participants takes place at Decross

Missionary conference

HE annual church missionary conference organised by the World Hope Ministries holds from Feb18-21. Prof. Duro Adegboye, Evangelist Dejo Akande and Rev. Idowu Animasahun (host) will be ministering at the conference. It takes places at World Hope Ministries, Badeku Oyo State. Highpoint of the confer-

ence will be a medical outreach for participants and the 140 neigbouring communities in the Ona-Ara Local Government Area of Ibadan.

Church holds valentine fiesta

OVE the essence of life” is the theme of a special valentine fiesta of the Agape Worship Centre, Ojodu-Berger, Lagos. It holds on Feb 14 by 5pm. The chief host, Dr David


Christianity around the globe


MERICAN preacher’s picture with stepdaughter sparks outcry Bishop Larry Trotter, senior pastor of the Sweet Holy Spirit Church in Chicago sent tongues wagging recently when he shared a photo of himself and his 4-year-old granddaughter in a bathtub on his Instagram page. Most of those who reacted to the photo believe it is inappropriate interactions with a minor as the pastor and the baby are topless in the photo. One of those who do not like the “act” said: “No man

Gospel Mission Agege from 7.30 am to 3pm daily. Some of the core issues for discussion include 25 pillars of differencemaking churches, 10 factors hindering churches from winning communities, church cultures that hinder progress, among others.

By Vincent Nzemeke with agency reports should ever ever take a bath with a female be it his family or friends. That’s only for a man and his wife! This is totally inappro-

Odi, said it is a social re-engineering platform targeted at re-orientating the youths on true essence of love. There will be comedy, dance, barbecue, lots of fun and raffle draws at the event.


Judah.......Thus said Lord God, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass......If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established’. It was here that the prediction concerning the extinction of the nation of Israel was made. Verse 8 says ‘....As for Israel, within sixty-five years it will be crushed and completely destroyed – NLT version. Meanwhile, God asked Ahaz to request for a sign to affirm that His Words would come to pass but the king declined saying ‘...I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord’- verses 10-12. It was after he has declined to tempt God that the prophesy concerning the birth of the Saviour was revealed to him. Verse 13-14 then say ‘And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, And shall call his name Immanuel’. Let’s now look at the underlined statements one after the other: Brothers (Israel) have colluded with outsiders to wage war against their brethren (Judah). It was the disobedience of King Solomon that made God to divide the twelve tribes of Israel into Southern and Northern Kingdoms. But how on earth could brothers collude with outsiders to destroy their own blood brothers? Is it because of wealth, position, inheritance or lack of management of anger? Or what on earth would make a man to wanting to join forces with strangers to destroy his father’s house? Syria and her capital city Damascus had been consistent in antagonising the children of God including the divided nation of northern Israel, but yet that same Israel found it ‘convenient’ to align with such people against God’s anointed nation of Judah. It goes further to affirm that the mind of man is full of evil. In anyway, it was prophesied that the rebellious nation would be crushed within sixty-five years, and it came to pass. Thus said Lord God, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass....If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established. One might not be sure of every other thing but promises and assurances from God will always stand. In spite of the ranting of those foolish kings, God told king Ahaz and his people that those

threats would not come to pass. This is very important for Christians and every other persons that believe in Him to always seek the face of God whenever they are confronted with evils of men. You cannot afford to panic because of ordinary mortal whom God created. Is there anyone God cannot discipline and punish? Remember how he destroyed Goliath in the presence of David! How He made the people of Egypt to suffer for waging wars against Israel! How Sennacherib king of Assyria was killed by his own children as a punishment for confronting King Hezekiah! All these pointed to one unquestionable fact that, with God, you should not be afraid of them. But most importantly, you must believe He can do it, for you to be established. Lack of believe angers God just as the people of Israel suffered in the wilderness from planned forty days to forty years due to lack of beliefs in the ability to overpower the Canaanites. I will not ask, neither will I tempt Lord King Ahaz was wise in declining to tempt God for any iota of us trying to tempt Him will depict we do not believe He can save us. Zechariah the father of John the Baptist demanded for sign that he would become a father, and he became deaf and dumb. Luke 1:18-20 say ‘And Zachariah said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering and said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believed not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season’ KJV. In II Kings 7, one of the king’s chief did not believe the word of prophet Elisha assuring the Samarians of good things ahead of them the following morning and he paid with his life, but the prophesy came to pass.

Churches step in to fill affordable housing gap

which could benefit people in desperate need of housing. “It will also help churches free up land or space they don’t use and enable them to invest more in the community.” Tracey Bessant, Project Coordinator for Faith in Affordable housing, said, “The new officer will work with churches to look imaginatively at how land and buildings could be used for the future and facilitate partnership working between the church and charitable sector to deliver much needed affordable housing.”

Superintendent Israel Akinadewo



N the immediate past message on this column, we talked on the calling of Prophet Isaiah which was the year that king Uzziah died. The great prophet had volunteered to make himself available as a prophet to warn the people of God on their wrong doings. Today, we will continue on chapter 7.Chapter seven This chapter could be referred to most importantly as that where the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus was prophesied. Prior to that prophesy, God had sent the prophet to king Ahaz who was the grandson of king Uzziah, and son of Jotham not to be afraid of king Rezin of Syria and Pekah the king of Israel that had tried to besiege and attack Jerusalem the capital city of Judah, but have found it difficult to achieve their plans . As a reminder, Israel is the northern section of the divided Israel, meaning brothers (Israel) have colluded with outsiders to wage war against their brethren (Judah). It was in this state that God instructed prophet Isaiah to deliver messages to the king of Judah. In addition and for our knowledge, successive kings of Judah are from King David whom God had promised concerning his descendants having a hold on the kingdom forever (II Samuel 7:8-17). Verses 3-9 of Isaiah 7 say ‘The said the Lord unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field; And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah. Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying, Let us go up against

To be continued. Prayer point Pray that God should give you the power and mind to be able to believe His Words. For comments enquiries, contact: 2348060572904;


priate behavior!” But the popular pastor defended himself by saying that while taking a bubble bath, his granddaughter, who was visiting with her parents for the weekend, came in the bathroom and asked him if she could get in the tub.

Alabama lawmakers support religious freedom bill OME Alabama lawmakers in Alabama are pushing a bill to make it legal to display the Ten Commandments in any public building in the state. WAFF-TV reports that a prefiled bill sponsored by state Sen. Gerald Dial is supported by two

The Prophetic ministry of Isaiah (6)

other Republican senators. Dial says the bill - titled the Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment - could act as a safeguard for constituents who have expressed concerns over being sued for displaying the Ten Commandments in public places.


HE Church in Wales is supporting a project aimed at making spare church space available for housing. The Faith in Affordable Housing project aims to address the nation’s housing crisis by converting unused church property or land into homes. The project is run by Christian charity Housing Justice and is looking to appoint its first project officer to work with Welsh churches. The project officer will be

responsible for identifying suitable space in rural as well as urban areas, with the aim of bridging the gap between churches and housing associations. The project will provide support in the selling or leasing of closed churches and glebe land, as well as church halls and vicarages which are no longer used. Alex Glanville, head of property services at the Church in Wales and a member of the project’s steering group, said, “This is an exciting project




Wrong diagnoses, poor documentation F

ROM CHILDHOOD, Miss Jemima (surname withheld) had been suffering excruciating stomach pains, as the mother narrated to The Nation reporter at their residence in Lagos. "We have been treating her stomach pains since she was a little child. I have taken her to both private and public hospitals. We have done series of tests. At some point, we were told in a private hospital (name withheld) that she had appendicitis. At that time, we were told to wait till she's eleven because she was then too young to be operated on. But by eleven, the appendicitis seemed to have disappeared. Then, as she drew to her late teens, the stomach issue resurfaced again. We then went to LUTH where the claim of appendix was debunked. However, some medications were prescribed to douse the pains; we bought them and life continued. But the health situation has been an on-and-off situation. "Last December, her health became problematic. A family friend, who is a pharmacist, referred us to a medical laboratory in Ipaja area of Lagos. The laboratory, housed in a one-storey building, looked quite okay to us. After the necessary registration, we were given a 9am appointment for the next day. My daughter was told not to eat any food but to consume as many bottles of table water as possible prior to the test. She had to feel pressed to pass urine as that would bloat up her belly for the Ultra Scan to pick the actual cause of her pains. We followed the instructions to the letter. In fact, my daughter took about eight bottles before she could feel pressed. After hours of waiting, she was ushered in while I waited at the reception. We were eventually told to return for the result in another three days. "We went and the diagnosis, among other things, was that her liver, though is within the limit of 156mm in its widest diameter has 'moderate enlargement' ... Gall bladder is noted with wall thickness of 7.6mm ... Pancreas is ill-defined poor ducts with a pseudocyst at the head of the pancreas ... Hepatobiliary trees/tracts are not dilated etc. At the shocking news, we couldn't make sense of everything in the report. So, we met the pharmacist who then referred us to one health specialist around Akowonjo area of Lagos. The specialist, on reading the report, announced that my daughter's case is so critical and required urgent surgical operation. My heart skipped and I requested him to be more explicit. He said the report indicated that my daughter has enlarged pancreas, gall bladder, liver and that one of the images shown on the report revealed that she has a peculiar type of hernia which affects about one-in-a-hundred women. He then urged that quick operation was our best bet to avert losing my daughter. Then, he prescribed some

Concern over alleged wrong diagnosis from medical laboratories and diagnostic centres is growing, but these are not documented. Assistant Editor (Investigations), JOKE KUJENYA, visited a number of such centres and reports. medications which we spent about N14, 000 to purchase because we were gravely afraid. "However, each time my daughter took the drug, she would weep in anguish saying that the drugs turned her stomach. The development forced me to seek a second opinion, so we went to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). LUTH then gave us referral to a private health care centre in Oshodi, Lagos, for a CT-Scan. Again, she went through gruelling effects of the CT-Scan. The report read that my daughter's pancreas, gall bladder, liver and every organ of her body was "normal". We then went back to the initial laboratory and the explanation was that 'machines often give wrong or inadequate results...' This is why I decided to speak because if I had gone with the initial suggestion for operation, perhaps, my daughter may no longer be alive today..." In the case of Bamidele, (last name withheld), a journalist with a magazine based in Lagos, he narrated his ordeal saying, "For about four years, my health gave me so much concern. I have been in and out of the hospital, taken many different medications, consumed lots of herbal remedies, all to no avail. Eventually, I was asked to do test to know what the problem was. So, I went to a wellknown medical laboratory around my office in Ikeja, Lagos. A few days later, the report read that my kidney was failing; you know, the usual kidney problem. From there, the story of my life changed. I fell sick more often, got weak easily and I just couldn't explain the whole situation. In order to stem the bad effect of my situation, I was told that I needed to do kidney transplant as fast as possible. That was how we began the process. I got in contact with a kidney transplant hospital in India. I was counselled to get a kidney donor before I could make any travel plans. I consulted a hospital in India and also started looking for a donor. On the long run, one of my close friends decided to help. My wife and I took him to the same laboratory and he was confirmed to be a perfect match for me. "Within weeks, we embarked on the journey

to India. At the hospital, my friend and I were taken through another set of tests and the Indian doctors said he was in no way a match for me. I became worried and asked what could be done. The doctors then tested my wife and she turned out to be a perfect match for me. And that was after I had spent hundreds of thousands taking my friend to India. And I can't ask him for refunds because he meant to save my life. After the successful operation, we returned to Nigeria. Then, I went to the laboratory. All they could do was to apologise and blamed it on the 'machine'." "In many ways, the most important phase of treatment is diagnosis," a scientist, who does not want his name in print, said. He added: "Without an accurate diagnosis it is impossible to make informed decisions about the appropriate course of treatment...and despite training and experience, physicians frequently arrive at the wrong diagnosis and patients may pay a steep price for these medical mistakes. Beyond the direct medical implications of these failures, an incorrect diagnosis can permanently compromise a patient's fate in the healthcare system and can cause him or her to avoid necessary care in the future, resulting in additional adverse health effects." In search of assistance At Cheers Medical Diagnostic Services along Thomas Salako Street, Ogba, Lagos, Mr. Godwin Uduma, a BSc holder in Business Administration, who co-owns the laboratory with his partner, a BSc holder in Microbiology with an Associate from the MLSCN, said that "wrong or inadequate diagnosis becomes a feature in a situation where old UltraScan machines are used instead of modern up-todate ones." A visit to the medical centre shows the office sited on first floor of a cream-coloured building. Uduma, however, declined the reporter's request to see the laboratory where tests are conducted. To him, the government needs to subsidise the laboratory business like other countries of the world. He said: "Health facilities and equipments outside

Nigeria are subsidised. They are very expensive to acquire and import, government needs to step up the health sector and give zero per cent duty on importation of health equipments." On inquiry about the professionalism of medical laboratory staff, he said, "all staff of many operators of laboratories cannot be full professionals because they are expensive to maintain. Here we have one micro-biologist and qualified medical laboratory scientist with other support staff. Director, Lifehelp Diagnostic and Research Medical Laboratory, Mr. Damilola Arewa, a microbiologist and certified medical laboratory scientist, said, "various factors which are patients, equipments and personnel-based, contribute to wrong or inadequate diagnosis. First, submission of wrong samples - urine or faeces - by patients lead to faulty test results. That is why we now ask strictly for blood or more concentrated urine to get a particular 'hormone marker' which we may not find in less concentrated urine." Arewa, who is completing a Phd in Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), noted that provision of equipment "is a major snag because we are looking at all the key equipments like lights, reagents and other specialised gadgets, among others. To do culture alone, we need about 12 to 18 hours for organisms to grow into full clinical sample. And with Nigeria's epileptic power supply, there is no way the re-agents, for instance, can be wellpreserved. And where this cannot be well-preserved, they will depreciate and deteriorate and you cannot achieve good result. Without regular supply of electricity, a kit that ought to have a two-year lifespan will lapse in six months because there is no light to sustain it. So, where you're talking about measuring up to international standard of medical laboratory operations in Nigeria, it is not possible where light is the major issue we contend with. " On the issue of laboratory personnel, he said: "For us in Nigeria, our workload determines our staff strength. Every true laboratory needs, in the least, one qualified medical laboratory scientist, a licensed laboratory technician and medical laboratory assistants. These are the three major cadres that must be present in any laboratory worth being called one because we must place the life of our patients above money. However, fund is still a major problem. I tell people that if I hadn't gone into this profession eleven years ago, there is no way I could venture into it at this time. As things stand today, we operate at a loss more than to realise profits. We can't charge patients as we ought to." Another medical laboratory scientist said: "Go Continued on page 61

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2013 From page 60

to those laboratories that hide under hospitals. The rot you are looking for is more pronounced there than the independent medical laboratories. Those ones employ non-qualified personnel indiscriminately because they, like us, cannot pay the actual salaries we ought to pay our workers. That is the truth. Even the MLSCN cannot do anything about that. There have been many cases of people who studied Science Laboratory Technology, which is not the same as Medical Laboratory Science, doing the same job. Such will automatically contribute to interpreting test results wrongly because it is not their job to do so. "It is important for you to know that Science Laboratory Technologists are not licensed or trained by appropriate regulating bodies to do the jobs for which labs under hospitals employ them to do. This is a major problem that needs to be tackled. These are some of the loopholes by the government that allow quackery to be thriving in our country. And I dare say that hospital laboratories need harmonised regulation and supervision than we, the private ones. This is a very issue that must not be swept under the carpet!" Of the sixty-seven medical centres identified in Lagos State alone, none of the few visited was willing to disclose the pay-packet of both their qualified and non-qualified staff while some are yet to kickoff full operations. A medical doctor at the entrance of Wellpoint Medical Centre, sited on a dilapidated off-white building with barely visible signpost by Pero Bus Stop in Agege area of Lagos, said "the signpost is only placed there for now. We have not taken off. Equipments for operations are still a major problem for us." At Ilupeju Medical Laboratory Services, a woman who declined to give her name said: "I am not competent or authorised to speak with the media but I am a laboratory technologist. We test only blood, urine, stool and semen. But we don't do X-ray examination and scan because the machine is expensive and same for the manpower such as radiographer and radiologist which are expensive to employ on full-time basis. We are also hindered by the safety protocol due to the radioactive emissions. So, people only come to us sometimes hoping to get X-rayed and scanned but we tell them these are not part of the services we can render. However, there are other services we provide." She, however, blamed some of the wrong or inadequate diagnosis on impatient patients who want everything done quickly. According to her, in their centre they don't allow themselves to be rushed to give test results. "Some tests actually require more time to get a definite result. Also, some patients are fat. And it might take time to locate their veins during blood sample collection. But these patients too also get impatient with us. Then, there are the cases of girls who wish to "hook" their boyfriends with negative pregnancy test." In Port Harcourt, Rivers State, at D-Line Diagnostic Centre, a hospital-based laboratory, an arm of the Providence Maternity and Clinic, along Railway Close, behind NITEL, is located in the storey building of the hospital within the estate. Among others, the hospital provides National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which was indicated by the NHIS sticker conspicuously posted on its reception door. It runs a 24 hour service with a fully certified and MLSCN-accredited centre with both radiology and laboratory units that are separately located in the building and manned by duly qualified staff with two of them holding a BSc respectively in medical laboratory science while the third person is a graduate of School of Health and serves as laboratory assistant. On the quality of equipment, he said the laboratory has quality tools for its tests and diagnosis. While he admitted the often emergence of better equipment in the market, he lamented the high cost of acquiring them. A few other diagnostic centres visited in Port Harcourt are either decrepit or out of business. A consultant at LUTH told our reporter that not only is receiving the news of wrong diagnosis frightening, but the emotional impact on patients can be devastating and destructive to their lives. He said that among physicians, they share their diagnostic errors in confidence to highlight some of the problems and reduce the potential for misdiagnoses; medical errors can occur at any point during patient testing. "Sadly, there is no survey in the Nigerian situation. But it cannot be denied that such could happen. It occurs more often in the testing phase usually followed by clinician assessment errors, history taking, physical examination as well as referral or consultation errors and delays, among others. "Also, one of the most serious and frequent reasons for misdiagnoses has to do with physician bias. But when doctors make a mistake, it is something they remember and want to fix most of the time. There are surveys in other countries, but definitely not in Nigeria. However, it happens. And while medical errors, poor judgment and wrong diagnosis can lead to improper treatment and even death, medical mistakes should be prevented



Wrong diagnoses, poor documentation

•M & P Lab, Iyana-Ipaja


because the problem is serious enough for people to be vigilant on many levels. It must be avoided as much as possible." At the HealthPoint Diagnostic Centre, Ogba, Lagos, Head of Department, Mr. Olusola Dele, admitted that wrong diagnosis could occur due to either kit errors from the manufacturers or patient sample mistake. He said: "A few inaccurate diagnoses do happen. However, such results must be scrutinised and subjected to further tests to find out what actually went wrong and at what point. In order to redress such, however, patients' complaints must be listened to and errant laboratories must take steps to redress the error. I won't say that wrong diagnoses are not a frequent thing in most laboratories. However, we barely have any of such here." At the M & P, Iyana-Ipaja, Lagos, the owner, Mr. Ajayi Michael Olusegun, is of the opinion that "Nigeria is not a place where people bother about location or necessarily, quality. They don't look for standard. They just want something affordable. Until emphasis is laid on degrees, the acceptable qualification for operating a medical laboratory in Nigeria was an Associate, the professional qualification, issued by the MLSCN. And it is still being accepted. It is just that people must now have degrees attached to it." He noted that it is capital intensive to run a standard medical laboratory. "If one does not have sufficient funds, it is hard to get things right. Yet to

forestall fraudulent practice, it is essential that one acquires the basic equipments as health of the people matters more than the money. Also, the MLSCN should seriously monitor the locations these socalled medical laboratories are sited. Some of the things we close eyes to and take for granted are important." Personnel in charge of some of the centres visited within Abuja declined to speak on their accreditation certificates, qualifications of their staff and the genuineness of their equipments. On visits to laboratory and diagnostic centres within Abuja and Niger State, our correspondent was referred to the various medical councils that issued them the accreditation certificates, stressing that they have the full information the paper needed at their disposal. Managing Director, Haaflo Medical Laboratories, Maraba Hospital premises on Suleiman Barau Road, Suleja, Dr. Issa Mohammed Yabagi, said: "I cannot answer these questions because I do not know you or why you need them. It is only the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria that can ask me such questions." In the same vein, the Managing Director of Unis Medical Laboratory Diagnostic Centre Limited, Suleja, Mr. U. Nwokedi, said: "You have to go to MLCSN to get all these details." On whether he can speak on the qualification of the staff and the quality of equipment being used at the lab, he said: "The Council has all the details

about this centre. They come here frequently to inspect to make sure we are meeting up with the standard. Even before issuing the certificate, they came here to inspect everything here," he stated. Speaking on the activities of medical laboratory operators as it relates to wrong diagnoses in Nigeria, Professor Anthony Emeribe, Registrar/CEO, MLSCN, noted: "It is obvious there are many cases of this nature. The sad thing is that most of such issues are never reported to us to document. I would say that the awareness of such incidence still remains low among the populace as they are often never reported or followed up due to little or no documentation about such incidences. There is, therefore, a compelling need for inter-professional collaboration, cooperation and harmony to have a repository of information about wrong diagnosis, whether laboratory-based or otherwise. If such cases that are laboratory-related are brought to the knowledge of the MLSCN, they will be investigated and adequate measures taken. But I assure you that the Council is actually working hard to engage in related researches to address these areas." It is clear that the world standard that medical issues should be open to patients and all is still a far cry here. Additional reports from: Austine Ehikioya, Abuja, Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt, Damilola Owoyele, Lagos

'Awareness of wrong diagnosis still low' Professor Anthony Emeribe, Registrar/CEO, Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), in an an email interview with JOKE KUJENYA, speaks on the activities of medical laboratory and diagnostic centres operators in the country



HAT are the official roles of MLSCN in the setting up and regulation of medical laboratories and diagnostic centres in

Nigeria? To start with, MLSCN is a Federal Government agency under the Federal Ministry of Health. It was established by Act 11 of 2003 to, among other things, regulate medical laboratory services and practice in Nigeria. Hence, regulation of medical laboratories is one of the statutory functions. In addition, the MLSCN is also empowered to make rules according to Section 19 (d) of the same Act to ensure the maintenance of good standard of medical laboratory practice and services with respect to regulation and control, including inspection, approval and monitoring of all medical laboratories including those adjoined to clinics, private and public health institutions. However, it is important at this juncture to make the distinction between medical laboratories and diagnostic centres which is a broad term used to describe facilities where medical diagnostic investigations like medical laboratory tests, x-rays and ultrasound, among others, are carried out. It

should be noted that about 70per cent of data required for effective management of a patient comes from the medical laboratories. However, not all diagnostic centres have medical laboratory components. So, only medical laboratories or medical laboratory component of diagnostic centres are within MLSCN jurisdiction to regulate. In the way each of them operates in the country as we have it, how will you describe the rate of compliance to the regulations by operators of medical laboratories and diagnostic centres in the country? Let me put it this way, prior to the enactment of Act 11 of 2003, the regulation and enforcement for the operators of medical laboratories were weak. But since 2005 when MLSCN took over, we started by taking the bull by the horns and commenced mandatory inspection of all laboratories. So, I can tell you that things have started changing for the better. So far, over 2000 medical laboratories have been inspected out of which over 1000 were sealed for not meeting the minimum standards for the rendering of medical laboratory services. This Continued on page 68



OR a long time, almost every purchase made in the country revolved around cash. But not too long ago, the Central Bank came up with a cashless policy. For a while, many wondered if it was going to work. Those in authority gave a number of explanations. More ATM outlets were opened. And there was hope for a great transition to a cashless society. However, a visit to a number of ATM points show that things are not really working as they should. One hapless customer lamented to The Nation: “I had visited four places recently and I found it difficult to cash money. It is so frustrating especially at weekends when you need cash for an emergency.” At some ATM cash points visited in Lagos, The Nation observed a huge crowd of customers. Sometimes, at some of the branches of banks visited, the ATM were not working. A visit to one bank in Lagos recently showed that despite the upgrading undertaken by the regulators and management of banks, it was business as usual. Majority of ATMs, according to findings, are either out of cash or temporarily out of service because of the absence of bank officials to attend to these problems. Many bank ATM cash points run out of cash by the weekend, causing cash crisis. A customer, Omolola Adeyemi, at one of the ATM points, said: “I came around to use ATM. It showed ‘out of service’ for over one hour and I am seriously in need of cash. They asked me to go into the banking hall to use POS with my ATM and even the POS was not working.” The policy, which kicked off in Lagos last year as a pilot scheme, was aimed at encouraging electronic-based payments and reducing the amount of physical cash in circulation. The Central Bank of Nigeria stipulates a handling charge on daily cash withdrawals or deposits that exceed N500, 000 for individuals and N3m for




HE hunt for yield driven by low returns on many western sovereign bonds, as well as those of the more established emerging markets, has led to a growing appetite by foreign investors for African debt. However, many fear that the wave of international bond sales by African countries and other poorer developing states might be a signal that some of these countries are returning to a period of what economists call “the original sin,” characterized by excessive borrowing in foreign currencies. The phrase was developed to describe situations in which a country borrows in another nation’s currency, which can contribute to and worsen financial crises. When faced with a crisis, a country’s local currency falls and the cost of servicing and repaying the international debt becomes higher – leading to default and possibly a deeper crisis. This was none more so the case than in Zambia in the early 2000s, which re-

Frustrating transition to cashless society

•An ATM at Yaba, Lagos.


Bukola Afolabi reports on the hiccups standing in the way of the government’s cashless policy corporate bodies under the cash-less initiative. The charges for cash withdrawal above the limits are three per cent and five per cent for individuals and corporate bodies respectively, while charges for deposits above the limit are two per cent and three per

cent for individuals and corporate bodies respectively. A number of deposit money banks in partnership with the CBN tried to key into the process by updating their technology and imputing systems such as point of sale terminals and increasing the number of

ATM outlets within and outside the banking halls. Deposit-taking ATMs were also introduced in the process as a means of reducing the stress of customers having to queue for hours in the banking hall to make cash deposits. Deputy Governor, CBN,

Mr. Tunde Lemo, said deposit taking ATM was part of the strategies aimed at strengthening available modes of e-payment as well as boosting the cash-less initiative, adding that efforts were being made by the regulators to encourage more of such into the country. According to him, about 60,000 Nigerians currently depend on one ATM, whereas the ideal situation should be 15,000 people to one ATM. He added that this was one of the reasons why the banks were trying to inject 75,000 ATMs, including deposit- taking ATMs, into the system between now and 2015. Presently, First Bank of Nigeria Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc seem to be leading some other deposit money banks in the deployment of cash deposit ATMs. For instance, First Bank said it had deployed deposit-taking ATMs in key locations and would continue to add new locations by the day, adding that the focus was to embark on massive roll-out of deposit-taking ATMs in commercial centers across the country. The bank said deposittaking ATMs were expected to leapfrog and possibly compete with the basic cash withdrawal ATMs in the country, explaining that the deposit-taking ATMs it had deployed recognised the Nigerian currency and accepted all denominations ranging from N100, N200, N500 and N1,000 notes. Also, GTB, in conjunction with Interswitch, said it had also given its custom-

ers an edge with its deposit enhanced ATMs. Despite these steps however, queues are still noticed in banking halls as customers still grapple with the same challenges they used to encounter before in their daily transactions. Perhaps, it is still too early to indict those that are in charge. However, we need to assess the performance of the gateway providers. It seems they have not thought through our unique environment. There is also the issue of the average customer understanding the essence of the PIN number. It is incongruous that someone that wants to credit your account would ask for your ATM PIN number when the number is only used when you want to take out money or make payments from the account. The banks and the payment gateway providers have a lot of work to do to make the ATM card transaction more secure. There is an embarrassing high level of ATM card frauds in Nigeria. Almost all the present risks and loopholes can be better managed, mitigated and even eliminated if every single entity involved takes responsibility of its actions and do what is not only safe to do but what makes the most economic sense. According to some observers, some banks may be reluctant to re-load ATM cash point because of incessant network failures among banks and fear of possible attacks by street urchins who parade all nooks and crannies of commercial nerve centers for possible prey.

The trouble with African countries’ bond rush By Moran Zhang

sulted in the World Bank having to cancel up to $3 billion in external debt in 2006. While the concern that African governments may again be overstretching themselves is understandable, Shilan Shah, Africa economist for Capital Economics, believes these fears appear to be premature — for the time being at least. “External debt levels are far lower now than they were 10 years ago,” Shah wrote in a note to clients. “What’s more, there is evidence that borrowing is now being used to invest in infrastructure, which can help to boost long-run growth and in turn support higher levels of debt.” Following Zambia’s wildly successful launch of its debut 10-year eurobond in September 2012, which saw 24 times more demand than government sought to raise, now others want in. Zambia Railways Ltd.,

the state-owned operator, said this month it plans to sell a $500 million-dollar bond, according to Bloomberg, joining at least three other government companies and municipalities (the Roads Development Agency, Zesco Ltd. and the Lusaka City Council) issuing more than $4 billion in debt this year. Nigeria, Angola and Ghana plan to sell as much as $3.75 billion in international bonds this year, the most from the continent ever. Nigeria is looking at issuing a eurobond worth up to $1 billion to fund its power and gas sector reforms, while Angola is seeking $2 billion of debt. Ghana, which issued the first eurobonds in sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa in 2007, may sell a further $750 million. The World Bank estimates that sub-Saharan Africa needs $93 billion a year to overcome poor road net-

works and shortages of power and water. According to a Moody’s report, only 13 out of 54 countries in Africa have issued foreign currency-denominated instruments on the international markets. Ten of these are in sub-Saharan Africa. Moody’s identified six countries in sub-Saharan Africa “that we believe will issue inaugural bonds on the international markets within the next few years.” (Those six nations are indicated on the map below in green.) Shah of Capital Economics pointed to a number of reasons why countries are planning to issue foreign-currency debt. At the moment, the biggest source of finance for African countries is from multilateral institutions (such as the IMF) or aid flows. But these forms of funding tend to have conditions attached, which limit the ability of a country to act independently. By contrast, bond issu-

ances come with few conditions attached, allowing governments to channel funds into areas that it sees as priorities. In addition to this, borrowing in a foreign currency is attractive as yields tend to be far lower than on a local currency. For instance, Ghana’s 10-year international bond is currently yielding around 4.5 percent, while a five-year local bond yields more 20 percent. While some analysts fear that the temptation of recordlow borrowing costs could eventually lead to new debt crises, Shah thinks the fears are overblown. The overall level of external debt is far lower now than was the case in the run-up to the World Bank’s debt cancellation program. In the early 2000s, Zambian external debt was hit 180 percent of gross domestic product. But even after accounting for its $750 million eurobond issue last year, external debt is now

only around 25 percent of GDP. This is roughly the same level as 2006 when the debt cancellation program was completed. More importantly, what matters is how borrowed funds are being used. “Previously, funds have been used to plug a gap in current spending,” Shah said. “But now, they are primarily being used to finance investment in infrastructure … investment levels across the region are rising, and are higher now than they were in 2000.” On Wednesday, Fitch Ratings said growth in SubSaharan Africa through this year is expected to remain above 5 percent, supported by infrastructure spending, development of mineral resources and growing consumption. This will make it the second fastest growing emerging market region after Asia. Courtesy: International Business Times




Osun 2013 Budget: Capital expenditure holds sway As various states unveil their budgets, the thrust of the direction the governors’desire for their states is also revealed. For Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has opted for a plan that will position the state as an agro-allied driven, with no abandoned projects, reports Simeon Ebulu, Deputy Business Editor HE beauty of operating a fedBUDGET eral system is that the units “Part of the goal of are allowed, or should be alANALYSIS lowed to develop at their own pace. the budget is to In the advanced democracies, this is penditure and 35 per cent, Recurrent. encourage the almost given, but Nigeria is still on Besides, infrastructure and agriculthe learning curve in this regard. ture are being recognised as sectors growth of agroThat’s why many of the observed that need adequate funding, as they deficiencies at the federal level, have have the capacity to drive the state’s allied industries. robbed-off on the states, most of them economy. that is. And one area in which this is As the governor put it in his budget These industries prominent is on budgeting. presentation, “our ultimate goal for It’s been the yearning of governthe 2013 Budget is to ensure a great are expected to ments, be it federal or at the states’ improvement in the welfare and levels, to develop and improve the standard of living of our people. process the large standard of living of their people. Thus, the 2013 budget has been careDoing this will require putting in expected output fully packaged to ensure the effecplace, clear and concise policies tive realisation of our vision as enaimed at providing the needed inand provide emcapsulated in our Six-Point Integral frastructure as well as the creation Action Plan.” of jobs for the citizenry. ployment. He said the budget is to ensure a Usually, governments employ the complete turnaround of agriculture, budget-the financial outlay for the Aregbesola said make it attractive and profitable, fiscal period (usually one year), to with a view to improving the welthe government is outline how it would meet the varfare of the people and the economy ied needs of the people. of the state; provide the state with leveraging on the Much as the states yearn to satisfy the necessary and durable infrastructhe needs of the people, their actions, ture like road, electricity and Inforagrarian nature of especially as it relates to budgetary mation Communication Technolprovisions, most times, never tally. ogy, and as well ensure development the state in estabThe challenge has always been how of the economy of the state. to balance the recurrent arm of the The Governor also listed the lishing the agrobudget with the capital quotient, in creation of a job-friendly economic such a way that will ensure growth related industries” environment to ensure empowerand development.


At the federal level, the heavily skewed 72 per cent recurrent budget in 2013, is being celebrated as an improvement, as against previous higher margins. It may be that difficult at the federal level, but not so with Osun State.

Budget of Freedom One unique feature of the Osun State’s budget, which the Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, tagged ‘Budget of Freedom,’ is its reversal of the age-long practice of padding the Recurrent tranche to the detriment of the Capital quotient. The N183.105billion package, is about 65 per cent in favour of Capital ex-

ment of youths, women, cooperative movements, artisans; development of public service that is result-oriented, efficient, effective and responsible as some of the goals of the budget. Others are the provision of effective health care delivery for all with special attention to the needs of children and women; provision of effective waste management and beautification schemes to rid the communities of filth; development of diverse economic potentials and reactivation of commercial activities and reactivation and speedy completion of abandoned water schemes.

Agro-Allied Industries

He said part of the goal of the

• Aregbesola

budget is to encourage the growth of agro-allied industries. These industries are expected to process the large expected agricultural output and provide employment. Aregbesola said the government is leveraging on the agrarian nature of the state in establishing the agro-related industries. “Osun, being an agrarian economy, with arable fertile soil, can only move forward positively by revolutionising its agriculture. Agriculture will not only provide employment for our teeming masses, it will also encourage rapid agro-allied industrialisation of the state, generate income and improve welfare of the citizenry. “Our intention is to make agriculture profitable, attractive as a good venture, as well as making food available in the state with spill-over effects to other states of the Federation, the Governor, said. He said the O’REAP Youth Academy, as conceptualized, is aimed at producing modern day farmers equipped with modern technologies in agriculture thereby ensuring food

supply on a sustainable basis. The programme recruited 610 O-YES cadets at 20 per LGA and 10 from Ife East Area Office to kick-start the programme in the state. The participants of the programme are currently receiving intensive training in the nine training centres. He said a total of 97 ha of land were put into cultivation of maize and cassava by the participants of the programme. Efforts are in the top gear to form the participants of the academy into registered cooperative groups with assistance from the Government as part of their exit strategy in January/February 2013. In order to inculcate the virtue of dignity of labour in our young school leavers as well as make a career in agriculture in the face of non-existing jobs in our society, Aregbesola, said 47 Secondary Schools across the State of Osun were assisted with inputs of piglets and cockerels under the Agriculture in-Schools-Programme.

Excess Crude Account

Although a windfall from the cen-

tre, the Governor has opted to warehouse the Excess Crude Account (ECA) and invest it in long-term projects, saying the money is not just for the present crop of Osun citizen, but for future generation and posterity. The governor said there must be value for money. He has taken steps to check excesses and systemic profligacy, saving money for critical sectors in the state. “That is how he has been able to contain the bloated recurrent expenditure,” an official, who asked that his identity be veiled, told The Nation. He said, Aregbesola’s style is to tie every allocation to given projects, to foreclose any likelihood of abandoned projects, adding that the profound effects of the government’s policies, including the establishment of the agro-allied industries, will begin to manifest in about three-four years from now. It is with this in mind that the Governor has devoted a huge chunk of the budget-30 per cent to Works and Transport, and 25 per cent to Agriculture, the official stated.




Cross River: Driving tourism Beyond through infrastructural devt Talent

By Adetayo Okusanya


Stop “Monkey-ing” around: My top ten netiquette rules (2)


•The upgraded Mary Slessor roundabout in Calabar

•The Eleven-Eleven Roundabout at night


and the width 3.6 metres making it deep and wide enough to drain water for several decades. He disclosed that in the event of damage to any section of the channel, the area would be fixed without any obstruction to the water flow. Commissioner for Works, Mr Legor Idagbo, had also disclosed that the popular IBB Way in Calabar, which connects the Margaret Ekpo International Airport to the city, would be expanded at the sum of N596,390,220.33 naira. Idagbo said that the state government thought it wise to enhance the aesthetics of the road to give it a more befitting and attractive look in line with current realities as the state strives to retain its status as Nigeria’s preferred tourists’ destination. According to him, the improvement works on IBB Way will include expansion of the existing road, construction of path ways, pedestrian walk ways and expansion of the roundabout. He said the contractor has already been mobilised to site. Mr. Idagbo said that the monitoring team from the ministry will not rest on its oars to ensure regular supervision of all ongoing construction projects across the state in line with specified standard. The government is also constructing a 6km dual by pass from the Margaret Ekpo International airport in Calabar for N3.7billion. The by-pass, Idagbo said, is expected help decongest Calabar metropolis and develop new areas

ROSS RIVER State has over the years earned the reputation of being a tourist destination. Besides its numerous tourist attractions, clean, calm and serene atmosphere, and hospitable disposition of its people, is a deliberate will of the government to sustain it tourism thrust and maintain its prime position as a preferred destination. As part of efforts to sustain this initiative is the provision of infrastructure and improvement on existing ones. Although Governor Liyel Imoke had promised his administration would be mainly aimed at aggressive rural development, he has always expressed his desire to sustain on the tourism blueprint already established by the previous administration. Hence, besides several roads opening up the hinterlands, numerous electricity and water projects and provision of education and healthcare in the various communities, a drive for instance through Calabar city would immediately highlight efforts at upgrading the aesthetics of the city. On-going work at the Mary Slessor Roundabout with a more befitting statue of the late Scottish missionary, the upgraded Eleven-Eleven roundabout with fountains that light up even more beautifully at night and for the first time street lights working in Calabar-South. The state government has also commenced the construction of its N9 billion Calabar International

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

Conference Centre which is expected to have a 200room 4 star hotel, 5,000 sitting capacity conference centre, 100-bed multipurpose hospital, 284 housing units, 18-hole golf course, parking space for 800 cars and many other facilities. Special Adviser, Event Management, Mr. Nzan Ogbe, said of the centre: “What we are trying to do is to ensure that we have steady flow of traffic all year round to boost tourism. The thinking is that it guarantees steady traffic all year round which will ultimately impact on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state.” Again, to tackle the problem of flooding in the capital city, the state government is currently constructing a N2 billion underground water channel in Calabar, the state capital, that would empty into the Calabar River. An engineer with the state Ministry of Works, Robert Etu, said the 1.45km Channel Two drainage would drain water from residential areas including Parliamentary Village, Ikot Ishie, State Housing and Old Odukpani Road into the Calabar River. Etu said the design was in segments, to allow for regular entry of engineers into the channels to clean debris that would accumulate in the channel to allow for flow of water all year round, particularly during peak periods of rainfall. He said the depth of the channel was 3.6 metres

for the expansion of the city to tackle acute accommodation problem faced by residents. This is besides the recent ratification of a contract worth N1.3 billion for the construction of five urban roads across the three senatorial districts, according to Idagbo. The commissioner said following the successful implementation of Phase One of the urban development programme, which received accolades from well-meaning Cross Riverians, the government saw the need to commence a Second Phase of the programme. “Phase One of our Urban renewal programme in Ikom, Obudu, Ugep, Calabar and Ogoja was highly successful, we got a lot of commendations for that, and there was clamour for us to begin Phase Two of the programme and expand it to other fast growing cities and towns.” Idagbo enthused that they were committed to ensuring that all the 18 local government headquarters are covered in the urban renewal programme in the future. On how the state is able to deal with all of this simultaneously along with others in spite of its financial constraints, Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Christian Ita, said, “it takes careful planning and spending.” According to Ita, “we have to ensure that Cross River maintains its prime position as tourism hub, by providing first class facilities and infrastructure in the state.

ERE are seven netiquette rules outstanding from last week. 4. Always err on the side of formality and courtesy when addressing recipients. Don’t be over familiar. Address recipients in the same manner you would in verbal communication. If they are unfamiliar to you, then use titles or formal address. Never write an email without starting with a courteous greeting such as Good Morning, Dear, Hello, etc. As someone prone to diving straight into my request or message when sending or responding to emails, I have learnt to always take the time to infuse genuine courtesy into my emails before pressing the send button. Be very generous with your “Please” and “Thank you” and leave the recipient with a memorable ending that is more than just your name. 5. Use the Subject: field to introduce the content and purpose of your email. The subject of your email should accurately capture the core message you wish to convey. It is the title of your email and it should be clear, compelling and announce the intent of your message. Always have an email subject. If you are unsure of what the subject should be, consider waiting until you have crafted your message to determine its focal point or central theme. Stick to one subject per message and and when a new or tangential topic arises out of an email thread, it is okay to change the Subject: Field to reflect the new topic. 6. Keep your email clear and concise. Email is not designed to be a reporting tool. Your messages should be brief and to the point. When necessary include relevant background information to provide your reader with sufficent context. If your message is lengthy, consider calling instead. People generally suffer from email overload and can get frustrated by long emails. Consequently, they tend to procrastinate or postpone reading such emails to the end of the day or the next morning or never. If necessity demands a long email, give your reader a “headsup”. Capture your readers attenion by starting with the main thrust or crux of your message and provide details in the latter part of your email. Divide long messages into titles, subtitles and paragraphs to make reading easy. 7. Never put in an e-mail message anything that you would not want to see on the front page of a tabloid magazine. Emails are not private and as such are not appropriate for venting or flaming, complaining about a colleague, sharing sensitive or private information or resolving conflict. Emails can be forwarded to anyone, so keep your message professional at all times. Limit the use of your business email for personal purposes. Using email to send messages that are defamatory, discriminatory, child or violent erotica, copyright infringements or illegal will get you in trouble. I once heard of an employee who was fired for using his business mail to provide help to a friend in how to get an american visa “outside” normal consulate channels. 8. Avoid setting the wrong tone by improperly using font formats such as “UPPERCASE” (capital letters) and oversized fonts. Writing your entire email, sentences or subject line in all capital letters is like shouting in verbal communication. It magnifies the impact of your words in a negative way. Conversely, writing in all “lower case” gives the impression that you are either lazy or uneducated. Use “Sentence case” and keep to a font size of 12. If you must emphasize, then use asterisks or bold formatting and use them sparingly. 9. Check your email for correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, flow and structure before sending it out. Just because it is electronic mail does not mean you should forget standard writing protocol. Proof read your email. Use the Spelling and Grammar Checker, as well as the Thesaurus. Use acronyms and abbreviations in moderation and only if they are familiar to your reader or you have previously defined them in your email. Don’t end your sentences with multiple exclamation or question marks (!!! or ???) it may be construed as rude. How you communicate electronically is a reflection of who you are and people often form positive or negative opinions about you based on the emails you send to them. 10. Don’t be a Spammer. Help your colleagues, manager, customers and other stakeholders be more efficient and productive by reducing the clutter in their mailboxes. Using the “Reply All” command in some instances can be tantamount to spamming. The “Reply All” button was created to save you time. Don’t abuse it and don’t waste other people’s time with it. Apply the N2K rule i.e. Need To Know. Only reply to all when your response (message) is useful to every recipient. Otherwise, take a few minutes to select the right recipients. Lastly, don’t send or perpetuate chain letters.

• Okusanya is CEO of ReadinessEdge



O Nigerian could ever forget Augustus Tai Solarin: The gaunt-looking, tough, khakiwearing disciplinarian, author, educator, humanist, social critic and principal of Mayflower School, Ikenne as well as the inaugural chairman of The People’s Bank of Nigeria. Tai Solarin was eccentric, blunt and an intellectual. When he died on July 27, 1994, he left a legacy of not only critical ideas about the Nigerian state and the prospects for its development, he also left a huge repository of practical dynamics for transforming those ideas into a framework and trajectory for national development and progress. This alone qualifies him as an intellectual-hero, like others we have celebrated, whose unique contributions constitute a rich storehouse from which we can begin the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Nigeria project. Solarin’s entry to being a social critic was from the philosophical perspective offered by secular humanism. This philosophy holds a belief in man and his ability to give to himself the meaning of his own life as well as what s/he can do for others, the nation and humanity. It is this philosophy, paradoxically, that constitutes the essence of his countless encounters with the Nigerian state. People have made much capital about the atheistic implication of Solarin’s secular humanism. Of course, he achieved notoriety for his railings against many religions and their many negative manifestations. However, the dotted lines have not adequately been connected on the implication of his social criticism on the progress of the national project. Dr. Tai Solarin took up the severe cudgel of a critic in order to be able to be his true self as a nationalist. There are two significant issues that constitute the fundamental dimensions inimical to the progression of the Nigeria project which Solarin consistently fought against. The first is the extroversion of our circumstances and responsibilities to fate and superstition. The second is the difficulty Nigeria faces in mobilising its enormous human capital towards a selfreliant development process that would bring the nation to its desired national objective. For him, these two problems are critically connected. One of the major recurring challenges of Nigeria’s development experience to date is the relatively poor economic performance for over three decades that is currently manifesting in mass unemployment and poverty. These are twin social phenomena that are related in terms of cause and effect as well as the impacts they inflict on the psyche and material wellbeing of those on their negative sides. As Solarin perceived, the urgent imperative is to undermine this challenge through an active mobilisation of the workforce for a sustained self-reliant economic development. Most nations of the world today have woken up to the significance of human resource management as a sine qua non for economic progress. Bill Clinton puts critical words


Skill factor in Nigeria’s unemployment crisis

•Job seekers

to this assertion of the relevance of human resources: “In the emerging global economy, everything is mobile: capital, factories, even entire industries. The only resource that’s really rooted in a nation—and the ultimate source of all its wealth—is its people.” The challenge, therefore, which Solarin dedicated a whole lifetime to, is that of bridging the policy and educational chasm that produces unemployed and unemployable graduates and thereby build an enviable human capital profile which will serve as the fulcrum for socioeconomic transformation. This policy and development option has the advantage of not only backstopping the manifestation of economic progress, it also most significantly empowers Nigerians with the virtue of what has been called positive freedom, the freedom to become whatever an individual desires to be within the ambience of opportunities and possibilities made possible by the Nigerian state. When people are employed, they are delivered from the scourge of an incomplete, hand-to-mouth existence. Luisa Valenzuela, the Argentinian writer, thus queries: “How good can freedom be if you’re alone and broke, with just a few coins in the bottom of your purse, hidden in the lining, the forgotten coins nobody cares about?” Government, therefore, according to Anthony Giddens, “has an essential role to play in investing in the human resources and infrastructure needed to develop an entrepreneurial culture.” And we all need to be reminded constantly about the imperative of the urgency in doing the job and doing it right. Tai Solarin constitutes a national gadfly in this regard to sting the nation into awareness and sustainable activities. His strategy was both theoretical and practical:

ByTunji Olaopa

first to provide the intellectual foundation of the entrepreneurial culture he was advocating, and second to demonstrate the particulars of the theory and how they would integrate into the national dynamics of education, employment and wellbeing. Solarin’s philosophical framework combines the idea of secular humanism with the economic dynamics of selfreliance. Secular humanism considers the human person as the beginning and end of human motivation and human fulfillment outside any divine supervision. “I believe in man,” Tai Solarin never ceases to announce, “I believe that my duty to man is total service....outside man I owe none else any duties.” According to him, we neglect a great deal of human possibilities when we hide behind fate, superstition and religion. Superstition has taught many Africans to fear many things—witches, devil, deities, and all manner of beings. And, for Dr Solarin, the fear of these things is the loss of initiatives to launch into enterprising ventures. Rather, we chronically depend on divine beings for direction and thereby undermine or extrovert what is in fact possible for us as humans. What is needed, however, is proper education that would empower humans, Nigerians, to be able to stand on their own feet rather than leaning on deities. The self is the seat of latent possibilities and motivations which can take the human person to the zenith of personal and collective achievements. Therefore, self-reliance as a philosophy effortlessly evolves from man’s awareness of his own possibilities. Solarin would definitely agree with Gandhi that “To a people famishing and idle, the only acceptable form in which God can dare

to appear is work and promise of food and wages.” Selfreliance, as espoused by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American philosopher, is an idea deriving from the need to motivate the individual to harness and unleash his/her potentials. Central to this idea is the profound principle that self-knowledge is the key to self-improvement and selfrealisation. And the objective of education is, therefore, to help a person achieve this selfrealisation. Emerson proposed quite specific methods of introspective learning, all of them aimed at discovering what is strong and valuable in one’s own mind. Like Goethe, Emerson believed that “All that is outside is also inside.” The unique contribution of Solarin to this Emersonian idea is the transposition of an entirely individualistic idea into a collective national imperative. In other words, for Solarin, there is a logical movement from liberating an individual’s potentials to liberating a nation’s development. After all, the nation is an amalgam of individual patriots bound together by national necessities. To make this transition, self-reliance requires the imperative of skill acquisition and the deployment of that skill for national growth. It is therefore very easy to follow Dr Tai Solarin from secular humanism through the idea of self-reliance to the imperative of education as the fulcrum that translates thought into action. And we are inexorably led to the uniqueness of the Mayflower educational experiment in Nigeria’s education history. When Tai Solarin left Molusi College in 1955, it was over a fundamental disagreement over an educational principle. The establishment of Mayflower School in 1956 was thus the culmination of a long philosophical and edu-

cational journey since he returned to Nigeria from England and became the Principal of Molusi College. Mayflower is named after the historical Mayflower ship that brought the first batch of pilgrims to the present United States in 1620. Like the pilgrims, Solarin founded the school in personal rebellion against educational orthodoxy. The school was founded on a very strong educational philosophy grounded in self-reliance, selfsacrifice, public service and technical vocation. The objective of Mayflower is aptly captured in Johann Pestalozzi, the Swiss educational reformer’s, words: “Not art, not books, but life itself is the true basis of teaching and education.” The self-reliance principle, erected on the philosophy of secular humanism, demands the negation of the intrinsic dependence inherent in orthodox education which necessarily leads to the search for “white collar” employment. If education is essentially a problem-solving vocation, then it must enable the students to dirty their hands through technical skills, practical crafts and agricultural pursuits in preparation for the complexities of life and the imperative of national development. Today, as a form of late realisation of Solarin’s advocacy for technical education, there is an increasing emphasis on the imperative of what we now call technical and vocational education and training (TVET). This dimension of education prepares the individual for gainful employment through the acquisition of attitudes, understanding and knowledge in addition to practical skills relating to occupations in various sectors of economic and social life. TVET is especially significant because of its capacity to be integrated into the formal educational curriculum at all lev-

els. A serious consideration and implementation of the promises and possibilities of TVET will not only signal a right attempt to think outside of the box of the educational curriculum in Nigeria, it will also signify a progressive policy of transforming the economic base of Nigeria’s development profile. Within this educational imperative demanded by Nigeria’s industrial need, it is easy, as Solarin foresaw, to harness not only the required technical skills that could be deployed to arresting our national inertia, but more critical to rally all sectarian and ethnic energies around the vision of one nation capacitated enough to respond to our collective yearning for a good life. At Mayflower, the students are not only raised on the principle of self-reliance, they are taught to direct their self-motivated energies towards the betterment of Nigeria. Tai Solarin’s educational experiment constitutes one of its kinds not only within the educational sector, but specifically in Nigeria and with reference to the connection between education and national development. It is not surprising, but a national imperative, for Solarin to hand over to the government in 1976. Dr Tai Solarin is a hero not only because he deployed his beliefs and ideals towards the revival of the Nigerian dream, but essentially because, beyond the mere criticism of the Nigerian project and its weaknesses, in the words of Romain Rolland, the French writer, he did what he can. That is all that is needed, within the Nigerian context, to make anyone heroic…and a patriot. It is a shame that we lost the prime opportunity to deploy the value of the 6-3-3-4 education policy to turn around the fortune of the nation because of the national craze for quantity rather than quality of degrees that has chronically undercut the value of skills-based training and the vocations. On that account alone, national service delivery performance trajectory is undermined by chronic skills gaps of artisans making the nation a celebrated importer of middle-level skills in the midst of unemployment at crisis level. Artisans, that is, people employed in one trade or another, have been regarded in any society as the mainstay of the economy. Indeed, Plato established, in the Republic, that if society must have peace, its ruling class, led by the Philosopher King, must ensure that artisans find right vocation, trained according to their callings and be fitted to do it. Besides the numerous initiatives to resolve structural issue that will unlock the national economy for full employment is, therefore, the lesson from Solarin’s Mayflower concept and the need for fundamental restructuring of the school curriculum and the overall education, national qualification framework, employment and wage policies to re-profile skills-based training, certification and regulation to incorporate Emerson’s ideals and philosophy of selfreliance and skills acquisition. •Dr. Olaopa is a Federal Permanent Secretary in Abuja.



Mark 666 and Nigeria’s malevolent economy


WORDSWORTH T 08055001948

Eagles sail, not scale, through


HISDAY of February 2 almost sentenced the English language to death: “He was giving them scorpion when they demanded for fish.” An appeal: delete ‘for’ “The need for the participation of extracurricular activities such as after school (after-school) tutoring is at par with….” “…House Committee on Judiciary has been involved in the day to day (day-to-day) activities of the House.” Lastly from The Saturday Newspaper: “Uduaghan cries out to FG for N10bn to reconstruct flood damaged (flood-damaged) facilities” National Mirror Views of February 7 contained some diseased lines: “Coming on the heel (heels) of this embarrassment was the sentence by….” “It is a big paradox and acquiescence to (in) the thesis of….” “This is classical case (a classical case) discrimination that is….” “Prof. Isaac Adewole, Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan (UI), Nigeria, is (was) formerly a provost of the College of Medicine of the institution.” “…to call for assistance and receive same (the same) in record time.” “Previous (Prior) to this, women had been deemed not sensible enough to vote.…” “Rather, the mobilization of sophisticated naval vessels and armed-tothe teeth military men to the Niger Delta by the JTF are (is) being worked out in the name of protecting oil installations and oil workers.” “Now, as human beings, we live in either of two tents: content or discontent.” Simply either of tents (never ‘either of two,’ which is indicative of illiteracy). “This will assist in ensuring that only candidates with the zeal for grassroot (grassroots) development eventually make it.” “Indeed, this formed one of the major plank (planks) of achievements rolled out during their first year anniversary.” “Whatever you find out about him Everyday Woman wishes you the very best in your decisions”. “Our managers quarrel about the quality of their offices, furniture,

air-condition cars.…” Get it right: air-conditioned cars. “…one difficult reading in the annals of Nigerian political history is the number of attempted republics.” Deleting ‘annals of’ from the excerpt shows word economy (management) and class. “The saying that ‘many cooks spoil the soup’ is very apt here.” Basic knowledge: many cooks spoil the broth (not the soup!). “Though no incidence of violence or hooliganism was reported at the Kano launch.…” Correct report: no incident of violence. “Indigenous contractors face the problem of acquiring sophisticated construction machineries (machinery) which usually had to be imported.” “Well, to be sure, one thinks we have taken so much for granted in this country, so much so that, without knowing it, we acquiesce to the degradation.…” I do not acquiesce in the degradation…. “Thirteen (13 professionally) cops arrested in Ogun over (for) extortion” “The less-thanwholesome attitude of referees to matches have (has) also contributed to fans’ loss of interest in these tournaments.” “…even series (a series) of losses punctuated by occasional flashes of wins….” “The police said yesterday that no court of law could stop it (them).” “So, the formation of all manners (manner) of parties is neither here nor there.” “Lets get spicy with pepper soup” A la carte: Let’s get spicy…. “Sometimes (Sometime) last year, a foreign organisation declared Nigeria the most corrupt country in the world.” “To these category of senators….” Not an opinion, but a fact: this category or these categories, depending on context. “…he is presenting himself to them for matured (mature) leadership.” “The last but not the least….” Still on fixed expressions: the last but not least (no second ‘the’). “APC: The alignments necessary for the survival of a political association has (why?) started.” “He also stated his grouse against (about) Jonathan.” “…these crises and ef-

forts for its (their) resolution.” “Finally, Weah comes to Eagles judgment” AFCON 2013: Eagles’ judgment. My own prediction: our Super Eagles will carry the cup today! “Obama’s administration at loggerhead (loggerheads) with California over electricity costs.” “…technocrats on (in) the corridors of power who are better known by their ever-readiness to concur must have concocted this.” “The findings of the work of the committee has (what’s the meaning of that?) given birth to the zonal presentations currently in vogue….” How does ‘currently in vogue’ sound, please? Collocation demands sound cerebral processes; not carelessness and loose thinking. ‘Vogue’ implies, deductively and by inherence, currency. Shall we continue with this illiteracy? “…the South-East geopolitical zone will have its own presentation on April 30 at Enugu while the North-East zone will hold hers (why the gender insensitivity?) in Bauchi on May 3.” “…the North-Central zone will round up (off) the presentations at (in) Abuja on May 29.” This reminds one of Onitsha literature series of yore! “Here are some of the faces at (on) the occasion.” “The government, he said, is (was) putting everything into the soil to boost its fecundity ….” “Zambians must congratulate themselves for (on/upon) this turn of events, but they….” FEEDBACK “Super Eagles scale (sail) through to AFCON 2013 semi-finals.” (AIT News Scroll, February 3) Thanks to Oga Kola/ 08055216398 for this contribution. “THANKS for educating Nigerians through your column. It is amazing how careless many Nigerians have become in the use of the English language. There is no excuse for journalists since most computers have electronic dictionaries which can be consulted for spelling and correct word usage. Please keep up the effort.” (Prof. S. O. Afolami/ 08068060864/Abeokuta) “THANKS for your column. To my friends, colleagues, family and club members, it is a mustread. We take off our hats to you for this rare ingenuity.” (08062925996)

HE subject of this paper is the psychological and moral determination of Nigerian economy. The determination is based on one of the principal metaphors of active human evil consciousness in Judeo-Christian worldview which is presented in the bible as number 666. In the course of this write-up, insight into the 666 metaphor derives from the Ifa metaphysical concept of Ori (consciousness) and its inherent multiple evolutionary incarnations of Iwa (character and natural being) in space and time of the universe. It is written, in the book of revelations chapter 13 verse 16 to 18, that “the beast causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand and on the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark; that is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.” At this juncture, recourse must necessarily be made to numerology—the science of divination by numbers—to gain understanding of that man (in a figurative essence) which the JudeoChristian scripture refers to in relation to the problems that he poses for the organized society. However, it is important to note that the reference to man in relation to the number combination may neither strictly nor necessarily mean a specific individual, but an ideological object of reliance set off wrongly. In its most progressive socio-political utility, it is better viewed as Iwa Ori Inu, i.e., a peculiar state of mind or peculiar mental character. From the perspective of details of the scripture in reference, the ideology referred to is economic. Economics is defined by the Oxford dictionary as the study of how a society organizes its money, trade and industry while Economy is defined as the relationship between production, trade and the supply of money in a particular region or country. The central point of focus here is money, and this object of economic essence is central to the essence of the activity of the 666 as it is summarily written that “he causes all to receive the mark, and without it, there is no capacity to buy or sell”. The image projected here is of a forceful subjection by authority to a system or peculiar culture of economic practice. How do we now derive a meaning of the 666-Human-Ideology in an economy? The calculation of 666 will be 6+6+6=18, further reducible by the rule of digit summing in numerology to 9; i.e., 1+8= 9. Figure 9 is the primary substance derived as a threefold procreation of 6. Therefore, in following the calculative lead, the quality of the substance is determined by possible procreative categories of arithmetical distinction found in the necessary use of the primary addition (+) sign from which the figure substance was derived from number 666 and other possible procreative signs, principally the multiplicative sign (x). In this case, we view the outcome of organization of figure 9 with other numbers on both scopes. 9+1=10. 9+2=11, 9+3=12, 9+4=13, 9+5=14, 9+6=15, 9+7=16, 9+8=17, 9+9=18. In these calculations, figure 9 adds value

• Okonjo-Iweala By Olumide Okunmakinde

to the other numbers without visibly retaining images of itself or reducing the value of the other numbers. 10: 1+0=1. 11: 1+1=2. 12: 1+2=3. 13: 1+3=4. 14;1+4=5. 15; 1+5=6. 16; 1+6=7. 17; 1+7=8. 18; 1+8=9. On the multiplicative bent, the outcome of the organization of 9 is as follows: 9 x 1=9, 9 x 2=18, 9 x 3=27, 9 x 4=36, 9 x 5=45, 9 x 6=54, 9 x 7= 63, 9 x 8 =72, 9 x 9 = 81. All answers derived are revertible to figure 9. 9 is 9, 18 is 1+8=9. 2 + 7 =9, 3+6=9, 4+5=9, 5+4=9, 6+3=9, 7+2=9, 8+1=9. In both complex evolutions of figure 9, the additive bent is benevolent while the multiplicative bent is malevolent. The core ethical inspiration arising from the former is the magnificent effect of sharing on the whole body of numbers, while the ethical problem of the latter evolution is centered on greed, selfishness, and deprivation. In relating these categories of figure 9 in psychological terms to the Nigerian economy, side by side with economies of the developed nations, Nigeria’s economy is a social metaphor of the multiplicative bent of organization that is notoriously bedeviled by chronic greed and selfishness. The economy of the developed countries are social metaphors of the additive bent where government, through functional socio-economic policies, add as much value as possible to the lives of citizens in fulfillment of a functional social contract and never place economics above indigene-oriented humanist considerations but diligently execute both as parallel correspondents to achieve socio-economic balance. In economies operating on the additive culture of figure 9, benevolence manifests in functional social security systems by which the welfare of citizens as human beings is as principal as the security of State and defense of territorial sovereignty. Here, Capitalism takes some socialist essence with discrimination, and manifests in responsible governance through economic policy to determine a system best referred to as ‘Humanist Capitalism’. In practice, such governments are masters of how to use money to purchase a good standard of living for citizens. In issues relating to the encouragement of private enterprise, the State is disciplined to control or checkmate the excessive drive for gain, and is kept safe from dangerous specs of organized monopoly that may deny State power to protect citizens from rabid avaricious instinct of ‘debased’ man. A remarkable hallmark of such advance societies is the condition of the elderly

citizens who are a welfare priority of the State. On the other hand, in an ideologically opposing economy of the Nigerian character, malevolence manifests in social insecurity arising from the dysfunctional or non-existent social security system where the welfare of citizens is of no concern to the State. Citizens are defenseless and open to all sorts of evils, chief of which are hardship and poverty on a platter of filth and stench magnetism. Here, government is deemed to merely exist without the slightest inkling to the idea of a social contract; hence, Capitalism is harsh in essence with indiscrimination, and manifests in unloving and rabidly irresponsible governance through rash economic policies to determine a system best referred to as ‘Dehumanist Capitalism’. In practice, such governments are empty of wisdom of direction as to how best money can be used to purchase a good standard of living for citizens. Instead, money will be a problem. Strategic subsidies aimed at securing the least fair standard of living for citizens will be impossible! A hallmark of such debased and primitive economic cultures—clearly evident in the Nigerian society—is the condition of the elderly citizens— some of whom, in their 70’s and above, still engage in manual hard labor in order to get their daily bread. What is more, citizens are no beneficiaries of the wealth of Nigeria, and the economics founded on such wealth and resources from which monies are derived become, as it is in modern day Nigeria, a colossal albatross and horrific ‘Draculaen’ shadow of national economic death. With respect to the subjection of Nigerian economic leadership to the malevolent psychology of figure 9, at the root of this problem is intellectual insufficiency and bankruptcy of reasonableness. The sufficiency referred to is derivable from both ‘right thinking’ and ‘original thinking’. In arcane science— with regard to numbers in sequence—666 is a symbolism of mental imbalance due to excessive and irrational focus on the material world. It is deemed to be a stage in human psychological evolution where man is advised on the unprofitability of his future if it is determined by thoughtlessness, which—in the interpretations of mythic origins of human degeneration according to ‘Ifa Code 192 of the World’ and the ‘Fall of Man’ in the biblical book of genesis, is the Original Sin. •Okunmakinde is of the Institute of Cultural Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Okunmakinde @




News Extra


Seek God’s help, COCIN urges leaders


HE President, Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN), Rev. Soja Bewarang, has enjoined government officials to draw closer to God in the must- win battle against insurgence in Plateau State. Bewarang, who spoke with newsmen yesterday in his office, said God holds

•Condemns killing of polio workers in Kano From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

the key to the rising wave of insurgency in Plateau State and Nigeria. According to him: “Plateau State had its fair share of terrorists’ activities last

year which posed serious challenges to government. “In this New Year, there is need for politicians to put God first in all they do to defeat these terrorists in our land. “So, I think it is never too

late. Plateau State government and local government officials need to draw closer to God this year and that is the only way to win the battle against terrorism.” The cleric commended the efforts of the govern-

ment over the gradual return to peace in Plateau but warned government the battle is not yet won. “If security people think they have won the battle, they will defeat themselves. Let our security agencies, governors, lawmakers, political appointees come closer to God in this New Year. Only then we will experience the work of God in

this battle against agents of darkness,” he stressed. He also condemned the recent attack on the Emir of Kano and the killing of polio health workers in Kano last week. Bewarang said: “As we can see, no one is safe in this country. Governors are not safe, traditional rulers are not safe. Even the security agencies are not safe. It is time to turn to God for help.”

EFCC: Edo no longer safe for internet fraudsters


•R-L: Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Ltd. Prince Ajibola Afonja; an observer - Baba Lala; President Olivet National Old Students Association - Mr. Olusegun K. Ahmadu and the Principal Olivet Baptist High School Oyo, Mrs. Mobola Oladeji at the official handing over ceremony of the 30-seater coaster bus recently.

Akwa Ibom sends delegation to Poland


KWA IBOM has mapped out plans to send a trade delegation to Poland to understudy and learn the business ideas of the country’s investors. Governor Godswill Akpabio, who gave the hint during an interactive meeting between Polish investors and

Akwa Ibom business community at Government House Banquet Hall, Uyo, said the delegation would meaningfully replicate the investment ideas in the state on arrival. Akpabio assured the Polish delegates of government support and co-operation and called on business people in the

state to take active part in any viable business venture coming to the state. The Polish Ambassador to Nigeria, Prezemyslaw Niesiolowski, said their visit was to organise a trade mission in the country with Akwa Ibom as one of the business communities for the mission.

HE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday told internet fraudsters Edo State is no longer habitable for them. Its head of media, Wilson Uwujaren, said the anti-graft commission has placed them on tight watch. Uwujaren spoke when the commission arraigned nine of the 20 suspected internet fraudsters arrested and handed over to the commission by the Joint Task Force of the 4 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Benin. The suspects, according to him, were arrested following series of intelligence reports on the activities of fraudsters in a concealed cyber office tucked in an old building located at Siloko road, Benin City. Over 45 laptops of different

From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin

brands, 28 telephones, internet mobile modems and one Nissan car with registration number USL 375 AG were recovered from the suspects. The fraudsters, mostly in their twenties include: Idehen Obabueki, Adesa Lucky, Usuagu Uche, Eloghosa Olikiabor, Larry Edomwonyi, Amowie Maike, Francis Ezegbede, Itua Samuel and Endurance John Egbeifo. Others are Amego Ovenseri, Iyen Isghdaro, Philip Agbodori, Lucky Robinson, Nnadi Obinna, Osabuohien Osahon, Chinenu Eze, Peter Sunday, Solomon Ogu, Niyi Femi and Osaigie Aghedo. They confessed to having different pseudo names and faces to deceive prospective victims.

Don bags MIT Fellowship award


LECTURER in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences, Western Delta University, Oghara Delta State, Dr Jackson Akpojaro, has won the Massachusettes Institute of Technology Fellowship Award. Akpojaro bagged the award through his research on ‘Quantization of sparse and

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

dense mode protocols in ring topology networks’ which was adjudged the best from 12 other candidates that competed from Nigeria.A statement signed by the university’s Registrar, Godwin Egbri, said Akpojaro will work with other experts

from other countries at MIT to address the challenging problems of congestion control in communication networks.It added the MIT Fellowship Award was part of an initiative to empower African lecturers with proven track records of teaching, research and development in African universities.

'Awareness of diagnosis low' •Continued from page 61

means that about one out of every two, that is, 50per cent of medical laboratories and diagnostic centres are grossly deficient in infrastructure, equipment, personnel or processes in the country. We have also embarked on awareness campaign to enlighten the public on the need to access only MLSCN registered facilities for quality laboratory services. Yet, many medical laboratories and practitioners of medical laboratory science still adhere to the MLSCN protocol for laboratory registration. This is made possible by the increasing activities of our zonal offices across the country that help in monitoring activities of these laboratories in their various zones. However, there is a lot of room for improvement. One dream of our council is to have offices in every state of the federation for this purpose in order to enhance further compliance, enlightenment on the established policies and guidelines is ongoing. With this said, how would you describe your awareness of the incidences of wrong or inaccurate diagnosis in the

country? It is obvious there are many cases of this nature. The sad thing is that most of such issues are never reported to us to document. I would say that the awareness of such incidence still remain low among the populace as they are often never reported or followed up due to little or no documentation about such incidences. There is, therefore, a compelling need for interprofessional collaboration, cooperation and harmony to have a repository of information about wrong diagnosis whether laboratory-based or otherwise. If such cases that are laboratory related are brought to the knowledge of the MLSCN, they will be investigated and adequate measures taken. But I assure you that the Council is actually working hard to engage in related researches to address these areas. I am sure you are aware that many of them employ nonqualified staff. What is the stipulated qualification for an average medical laboratory/ diagnostic centre operator or worker in the country? The basic recognised and approved qualifications to practise as medical laboratory

practitioners in Nigeria are: Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLS), Associate of Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (AMLSCN) for Medical Laboratory Scientists after obtaining five-years of university degree, plus one year mandatory internship in a registered medical laboratory and one year of NYSC. Also, those with the National Certificate for Medical Laboratory Technicians (NCMLT) after three years of training and National Certificate for Medical Laboratory Assistants (NCMLA) after twoyears training for Medical Laboratory Technicians and Assistants respectively are permitted to work in medical laboratories. However, it is the scientists that must register and operate medical laboratories in line with the Council guidelines while technicians and assistants serve as support staff. Also, foreign graduates with recognised qualifications are also registered subject to meeting registration requirements. However, every practitioner must obtain a current license or work permit as applicable annually to practice legally. Anyone that does not meet these

requirements is in automatic violation and will be considered criminal. Is there any law or regulations stating that before one can set up a medical lab or diagnostic centre, certain kinds of equipment must be in place or cited? Yes. There are guidelines for establishing and running a medical laboratory which are made available to intending applicants stating all the requirements for laboratory including requirements for infrastructure, personnel, equipment, processes etc. If operators are found culpable either for not meeting stipulated requirements in terms of qualification or to set up their labs, what is or are the penalties for such? If a medical laboratory is found deficient, it is sealed. And besides remedying the observed deficiencies, a fine of N100, 000 is imposed in addition to enforcing compliance with other recommendations. A culprit can also be prosecuted if found wanting, e.g. by breaking Council Seal. Furthermore, licenses of practitioners may also be suspended, withdrawn or delisted if found culpable of

professional misconduct. In the event of a medical lab and diagnostic centre diagnosing a person wrongly or inaccurately, what are the


measures to seek redress by the affected person? Such a person can channel his or her complaints to MLSCN with relevant documents to seek redress.



JILL OKEKE, 07069429757


Subscribers groan under poor cable TV services


T the various offices of television service providers, the story is the same: Long queues of sullenfaced customers waiting to be attended to. They are waiting to see the customer relations officers, service engineers or officers in charge of swopping their decoders. At the Star Times office, few customers on the queue are clutching decoders, but at the DStv office, a majority of the customers have their decoders firmly in their hands with some holding more than one decoder. All of them have one thing in common: they are not satisfied with services being rendered by the television service providers. Their complaints range from the service providers selling inferior decoders; not being able to abide by the warranty guidelines stated by the manufacturers of decoders, to treating customers' complaints with disrespect. A majority of the customers complain of breaks in transmission, especially MultiChoice-owned DStv patrons who complain of no reception when it is raining or windy, and wonder why they should be paying for services not rendered. Few of the customers complain about the high tariffs as many of them have resigned to fate, but many complain about the time lost in reconnecting subscribers who are yanked off by the service providers on expiration of their subscription and also the credit time lost by subscribers who require attention from the customer care unit. But what is really irking most DStv subscribers right now is the latest single view and extra view decoder from the company which cost N45,000 and N17,500 respectively. Customers are saying they are inferior in quality and that the television service provider has refused to change them despite the fact that both the decoder and extra view boxes have one year warranty each. One such customer, Mr. Demilade Adebanjo, at the DStv Ikeja office at Adeyemo Alakija Street recently disclosed he bought the two decoders from a DStv super dealer at No 48 Diya Street, Ifako Church Bus Stop, Gbagada, early January. According to him, after two weeks the two decoders packed up. Though he was surprised, he was not worried as the two decoders have one year warranty each. “However, upon getting to MultiChoice headquarters at plot 1391, Tiamiyu Salvage Street, Victoria Island, I was surprised by how I was dismissed; that they could not change it for me as they had no extras and directed me to their Ikeja branch,” lamented Adebanjo. Continuing, he said: “At Ikeja, I was given a similar unprofessional treatment and asked to go to their Surulere branch as they could not help me, despite the fact that I made my purchases this month and both have one year guarantee each,” thundered a furious Adebanjo. Displaying the decoder box which has serial number V10419 2250 x 4 and model no DSD 3U, and the extra view box with DSD 1132MCM, Adebanjo said he regretted he has three months' monthly subscription of N11,800 running despite the fact that he was not receiving any services from DStv due to the poor

equipments they sold to him. Another subscriber, Mrs. Chinelo Orlu, who bought the same model of decoder from a DStv dealer at Ikeja, said her decoder packed up after three weeks of usage. Fuming with anger, Orlu said she has been going from one DStv office to another to see if the decoder can be swopped or get a refund but all they keep telling her is that it is a new product and as such they have no extra decoders to give her. “Why are they selling it if DStv knows it has not got any to swop or cannot abide by the warranty guidelines?” she queried. DStv has a range of decoders manufactured by Altech UEC and Pace. The latest decoders allow subscribers to use Xtra view. This allows a subscriber to link two decoders under a single subscription at extra cost to increase the viewing environment. The attitude of some staff of the television service providers which Adebanjo complained about was reenacted by a manager at one of the DStv offices who flatly refused to disclose her name when approached by this reporter. Regarding customers' complaints, she dismissed them by stating that “customers will always complain no matter how they are treated.” Directing the reporter to the company's website, she also advised her to go to their Victoria Island office if not satisfied.

But the customer relations officer responded to the reporter by admitting that heavy rain and wind always affect the reception of their services. About suspending deductions from subscription when services are not being rendered, she said it was almost impossible. Some customers, though living with it, have expressed disgust over the tariffs charged by the service providers, especially DStv whose premium bouquet is as high as N10,000 monthly. The tariff for compact plus is N6,750 while DStv Compact is 4,500. DStv Family goes for N2,700, with the lowest one, DStv Access, N1,350. However DStv offers more channels than most other TV service providers. What subscribers seem to complain most about StarTimes is the distortion in reception and their subscriptions running even when services are not being offered. Customers are not really complaining about the cost of their various bouquets as the monthly payment for the highest (classic bouquet & unique bouquet) is N4,900. This price also includes the price of decoder plus one month subscription. Unique bouquet which offers 53 channels costs N4,000 monthly while the lowest with 32 channels is N1,000 monthly. Customers are not also complaining about their receiver dish and antenna as the StarTimes decoder is equipped with an indoor antenna which enables

subscribers receive from the powerful NTA transmitters which StarTimes is hooked on. However, some subscribers express dismay that with the indoor antenna, they do not have clear reception and most times they cannot enjoy programmes due to distortions and breaks in service. Such subscribers, explained Mr. Solaru Kola, the Administration Manager of StarTimes, must be living in low density area or in the middle of high towers. Advising them, he said they may need an external antenna, preferably the StarTimes antenna which has been built and programmed to detect “our own frequency directly.” At the StarTimes headquarters at Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Mushin, the StarTimes antenna sells for N1,500. Speaking further, Mr. Solaru said, “the major problem of our customers is wrong installation which can also trigger off poor reception.” However, he explained that the company has over 300 Afterservice agents whom he said attend to customers with only a token fee to cover their transportation. The telephone numbers of the service agents he said are in the StarTimes leaflets, emphasising that they could get to a customer's house under an hour as they are located all over Lagos. Reacting to the high cost of subscription for pay TV in the country, Olufemi Olumide, the Zonal Director of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), said that since deregulation of TV stations, every customer was free to sign in to any operator. Though he added that NBC has not received any complaint from subscribers on high subscription rate, “the NBC will investigate if there is such complaint from customers,” he concluded. But a top management staff of multichoice blamed the cost of content, among other things, as the greatest challenge facing television service providers. Customers are, however, insisting that service providers in the country should not make subscribers pay for the disruption of services during weatherinduced interference and when subscribers require attention from the customer care units. A majority of the subscribers also said they prefer less channels and lower charges as they hardly have the opportunity to watch half of the channels offered by the pay Tv operators. In March 2004, Frontage Satellite Television, FSTV, an extinct brand, became the first indigenous company to operate pay TV in Nigeria. The company which started with about 20,000 subscriber base may have been rested as a result of poor market share that greeted its operation. Some years after, Multichoice Nigeria first made its grand entry. About six other indigenous companies followed, but due to the operating environment and competition only few are still on ground.

Stop press


AVE you ever received exceptional customer service or you are aggrieved by services rendered to you. Please, we will like to share your experience with our readers. If you are an aggrieved consumer, we may be able to help you resolve the problem with the other party involved. Do contact us through our email address and telephone number above.





Innocent Amomoh


SOUTH AFRICA Mali beat Ghana to AFCON bronze


HANA'S Black Stars once again fall to find an answer for the more resilient Eagles of Mali, who defeated them 3-1 to win the AFCON third place yesterday in South Africa. Ghana and Mali met for the fourth time in the last two Africa Cup of Nations having being drawn in the same group and ending up in the third place playoff at both tournaments. The Black Stars won this year's Group B meeting, as they did in the 2012 edition, but Mali prevailed to finish third in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. The same story was played out yesterday evening when Mali shot into 2-0 lead before the half time with goals from Mamadou Samassa and Seydou Keita in the 21 and 48 minutes respectively. Mubarak Wakaso's penalty gave the Black Stars the edge in a tight 10 victory over the Eagles in Port Elizabeth but the left footer failed to net another penalty in the second half for Ghana. Kwadwo Asamaoh however pulled one back for the Black Stars before Sigamary Diarra sealed all hopes for their familiar foe, when he netted Mali's third goal in extra time. Elated Mali coach Patrice Carteron said he is happy to go home with a medal. “It's an important game for us because it's really hard to finish in third place. Most of the big nations Cote d' Ivoire Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia couldn't manage it. So we have to appreciate winning it”.

D'banj to perform at AFCON closing ceremony From Taofeek Babalola, Rustenburg


HE Soccer City Stadium venue of today's Afcon final match is set to host Nigeria and Burkina Faso for the ultimate crown, even as Nigeria's biggest Hip-hop star, D'Banj, will be performing his awardwinning Oliver Twist number to millions of live and TV audiences in the closing ceremony prior to the final kick off. When Nation Sport visited the 'African Calabash' stadium yesterday, grounds men and volunteers were seen putting finishing touches to the playing turf . Also, the South African Air Force personnel were busy testing their fighter jets in preparation for the closing ceremony.

Keshi: Emenike, Moses 'II be ready


UPER Eagles boss, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, says he has not given up on the duo of Emmanuel Emenike and Victor Moses featuring in Sunday's AFC after consulting with his medical team. Speaking ahead of the team's last training session at the Soccer City in Soweto, Keshi was quoted by team's Media Officer, Ben Alaiya, as saying, “I will wait till the last minute and by Sunday we will know whether the boys will play or not, Any other opinion is unacceptable.” He, however, assured Nigerians not to panic over the two players as the medics are working round the clock to ensure that they are fit for the final, even as he said that in the case of the unexpected he has capable replacements to fit into the shoes of the duo. “I can understand the apprehension of the public over the two players but we must be a little patient, because I know that the two of them want to play in the final and the medical team is working round the clock.’’ Meanwhile, Keshi has expressed shock over the death of top Nigerian sports journalist, Joseph Ighile, who until his death was the Sports Manager of wavemaking Channels Television . Ighile reportedly slumped and died while presenting a live programme on Friday night in Lagos. He was in South Africa at the start of the Afcon championship and even interviewed Keshi among other officials in Nelspruit before dashing home on official assignment. On Friday night he even called the Super Eagles Media Officer to await his call for an interview on the popular 'Sports @ 9' on Channels TV. Alas, it was while presenting the programme that he suddenly called for a break and reportedly slumped and died before help could come. “It's really sad to lose such a fantastic journalist and we hope we can do well in the final to make his family happy. But we send our heartfelt condolences to his family, Channels Television and the generality of Nigerian people. May God, Himself, keep his sporting soul,” Keshi declared.


Yobo attributes Eagles’ good form to unity


UPER Eagles non-playing captain, Joseph Yobo, has said that what the Eagles have going for them is the strong bond that exists between the players unlike the previous teams. Responding to questions from the media yesterday at the prematch briefing, Yobo said the unity stems from the fact that most people didn't expect the team to perform this well. "As you rightly said, this is my sixth Nations Cup appearance. I like to give credits to those that deserve it. I have played with some great players in the past, but the unity that existed can not be compared with what we have now. We had problems because we came from different aspects of the country. We are stronger now, and what made the unity strong is that people did not believe in us," he said. Yobo said as a group, the team is poised to win the trophy as they

From Innocent Amomoh, Jo'burg, South Africa have worked hard for it, adding that he will be disappointed if the reverse happens. "We want to win the trophy. We've come this far and we want to win it. I will be very disappointed if we don't win it. I really want to win it.


URKINA Faso international Jonathan Pitroipa is delighted his red card picked up in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final has been overturned. The Stade Rennes forward picked up a second yellow card for simulation and the red card meant

Eagles progressing beyond the group stage which had defending champions Zambia, Burkina Faso and Mali, Guinness never relented in their support for the Steven Keshi-led team. According to Mr. Seni Adetu, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Guinness Nigeria Plc., the Super Eagles have shown the winning mentality, the never-say-die spirit of Nigerians because they are made of more. "The team is definitely made of more than the eleven players on the pitch.’’

that he would have missed the final against Nigeria. Referee Slim Jedidi admitted he got the decision wrong after the match and the Confederation of African Football upheld the appeal. "I'm glad because for me to participate in this final was the goal," Pitroipa told France Football. "I was disappointed to receive the red card because it would mean I could not fulfil my dream to play in the final. "To participate in a final of the Africa Cup of Nations is the dream of every kid who loves African football. I am very happy to participate. "I was told that the referee had acknowledged his error and normally it would be good for me but at the time it was not official. "After the red card, at the time, I was shocked. Even if the score was 1-1 in my head I thought we were going to qualify for the final and I was not going to participate." Pitroipa was also happy to receive the support of his teammates and the wider football

"The mood in camp is very good, we are looking forward to the game. It's been long we got to the finals and we just want to go in there and do it," Yobo stated. Nigeria engages the Stallions of Burkina Faso in the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations taking place at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa today.

Kanu tips Eagles for greatness


IGERIA'S football great, Nwankwo Kanu, is thrilled at the progress of the Super Eagles in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, as the team prepares to battle the Stallions of Burkina Faso today at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa. In a chat with NationSport at the Garden Court Hotel of the Eagles yesterday, the former captain

Playing in ´dream´ final delights Pitroipa

Go for goals, Guinness tells Super Eagles uper Eagles No. 1 supporter, Guinness Nigeria Plc , has congratulated the team on their achievement so far and charged them to win the trophy for Nigerians when they play in Sunday's final game with Burkina Faso. It would be recalled that Guinness launched the Fly with the Eagles Campaign on the eve of the tournament in order to galvanise support to the team. The Super Eagles won their semi final clash in a grand style by defeating the Malians 4-1in a thrilling game in Durban, South Africa. Although many have doubted the chances of the Super

•Nigeria's head coach Stephen Keshi (C) celebrates at the end of the Africa Cup of Nation 2013 quarter-final match between Ivory Coast and Nigeria on February 3, 2013 in Rustenburg. Nigeria won 2-1. AFP PHOTO

community. "I thank all those who supported me, from Burkina Faso and from the outside, my team-mates at Rennes and even former teammates like Vincent Kompany who sent a message on Twitter," he said. Meanwhile, A Burkina Faso victory in today's final against Nigeria would prove a second straight Africa Cup of Nations fairytale - but Belgian coach Paul Put simply hopes it can mark his redemption back home.


From Innocent Amomoh, Jo'burg, South Africa

said he believes the team is poised to further bring joy to millions of Nigerians today as they have done with the past matches by lifting the trophy. Papillo, as he is fondly called, is one of the two Nigerian players who featured in six Nations Cup, along with current skipper Joseph Yobo. "The Nigerian culture and football is back and credit must go to Stephen Keshi. Maybe it is because he is a local coach and he understands our football culture as the players have responded well to the way he wants the game to be played," he said. Kanu's excitement and confidence stems from the fact that coach Stephen Keshi is getting it right from the basis. "We had an excellent team that was built on unity and the undying love for our country and what I have seen so far with this team, the boys are following in our footsteps. Playing for Nigeria is another thing, hence the players and the coaches are aware that a good displayed will see us reaching the final," he said. Praying that Nigeria wins the coveted trophy today, he said if the boys played the way they did against Cote d'Ivoire, they stand a good chance of winning the competition.




Pinnick lauds Ikoyi members at Captain's Day By Taiwo Alimi


UTGOING captain of Ikoyi Club 1938 (Golf Section), Ebiyemi Pinnick, has eulogised members of the section for making his one-year tenure an enjoyable one. Speaking, while delivering his key note address at the Gala/Presentation Ceremony signalling the end of a twoday Captain's Day Tournament at the Ikoyi Golf Section, yesterday, the former Exxon Mobil manager said he owes his success story to members of his executive committee , ex-Captains of the section and all members. He said: “Let me start by expressing my profound gratitude to the members of the Golf Section for giving me the opportunity to serve as captain, for their support and encouragement through the duration of our tenure. For me, it has been a huge learning experience that I thoroughly enjoyed.... let me also express our profound gratitude to the members of the 2012-2013 Executive Committee of the Golf Section for their leadership, diligence and commitment. Working as a team, we introduced many positive changes and delivered on several key goals.” While enumerating the sterling achievements of his committee from effective course drainage, online tee time booking to kitchen refurbishment and conversion of the Upper Terrace to a fully air-conditioned Banqueting/Lounging facility, Pinnick said he regrets the inability of his committee to renovate and upgrade the clubhouse bathroom facilities.

NFF, Warri Wolves mourn Joe Ighile


HE Nigeria camp at the 29th Africa Cup of Nations in Johannesburg, South Africa was badly jolted on Saturday morning when news filtered in that ace broadcast journalist Joseph Ighile had died in Lagos. Ighile, a member of the NFF Media and Publicity Committee, was in South Africa for the group stage campaign of the Super Eagles. He was presenting his sports programme on CHANNELS television on Friday evening when he reportedly slumped and died before anxious colleagues could get him to hospital. NFF President Aminu Maigari was taken aback when the sad news was broken to him. “Oh, my God! What happened to him? How did it happen? “Joe (Ighile) interviewed me and I saw him doing his work quietly but diligently during the group stage in Nelspruit. A good man has gone. May his gentle soul rest in peace.” in same vein, The Management of Warri Wolves Football Club has joined the entire sports family in mourning the untimely death of Igbile.

Oba Mekunnu Soccer tournament sets Lagos aglow


OOTBALL lovers in Lagos State are in for a new experience as the maiden edition of the annual Oba Mekunnu of Africa Soccer competition kicks off on Friday, February 15, 2013. The competition, which is being sponsored by Chief Barry Owolabi Salis Fakos (aka Oba Mekunnu of Africa ), will be managed by The Nationwide Grassroots Soccer. According to Afeez Murtala, Public Relations Officer (PRO), The Nationwide Grassroots Soccer, the competition, tagged 'First Owolabi Salis Football Competition', aims to discover talents and promote them to stardom. “The sponsor of this competition is not new to things like this. As a matter of fact, it was for his philanthropic efforts that the people call him Oba Mekunnu. Therefore, we hope to use the competition to discover those kids who are there seeking ways to discover themselves. The competition will give those kids the opportunity to make a better future.”

Mark fires up Eagles against Stallions


ENATE President, Senator David Mark, was the surprise guest at the Super Eagles last training session at the Soccer City in Soweto, South Africa, ostensibly to assure the team that the people and government of Nigeria were solidly behind the team in its quest to win the Africa Cup of Nations for the third time. In the delegation of the Senate President, which stood in for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan because of current diplomatic forays in Europe, were Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State and the Minister of State (Foreign Affairs) Prof. Viola Onwuliri, the Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade and the Minister of State (Works), Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, Nigerian Ambassador to South Africa, Ambassador S.S Yusuf, Senator Abdul Ningi and several top government functionaries. The team was led to the Eagles training session by Sports Minister, Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi and NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari. Speaking at the occasion, Senator Mark said the Nigerian government and people were thrilled by the outing of the team so far but, like 'Oliver Twist, are asking for more. “Yes, the job has been well done, but like we say in local parlance the snake is dead and it's time to cut its head,” he admonished the team. Mark said he was sure that the team will win the trophy on Sunday (today) but cautioned against complacency. Responding on behalf of Head Coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, team skipper, Joseph Tambarin Yobo, assured the government delegation that the team will not let the nation down having come this far. He thanked President Jonathan and the Senate President for always standing behind the team and assured that there is no negotiation in the team's determination to winning its third Nations Cup trophy.

• Senate President David Mark at the head of the federal government delegation addressing Super Eagles players on Saturday evening at the Soccer City in Soweto

Cross River charges Super Eagles to win

... As Golden Eaglets pray for senior national team


HE Cross River State Government has charged the Super Eagles to go all out and beat their Burkinabe counterparts in today's Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final in South Africa. Calabar, the Cross River State capital, hosted the Super Eagles during the qualification for the tournament and everyone is now in huge expectation as Nigerians seek their third AFCON trophy. Speaking during a whistlestop at the Golden Eaglets' Princeville Hotel Camp in Calabar on Friday, Hon. Patrick

PDP asks Super Eagles to bring the nation Goodluck


HE leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has charged the Super Eagles to use today's match with Burkina Faso to restore the dignity and pride of the nation by firing up the Nigerian spirit to win the African nation's cup. In a statement yesterday, the party's National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh the party strongly believes that the Nigerian players have what it takes to overwhelm their Burkina Faso counterparts in the finals but charged them not to leave anything to chance. Metuh expressed optimism that the Senate President, David Mark who is leading Nigeria's official delegation to the match will bring the nation Goodluck. “We charge the Super Eagles to go out there and make the nation proud. We believe that they have all it takes to beat their opponents and come back with the cup. "At the same time, they must not leave anything to chance. They must understand that millions of

Nigerians are counting on them to bring back the trophy. “Also, we are optimistic that the Senate President, Senator David Mark who is leading Nigeria's official delegation to South Africa to join in cheering the players to victory, will bring us Goodluck", the party said.

Ugbe, the state's Commissioner for sports and youth development, said that the Executive Governor of the state, Senator Liyel Imoke, who is currently holidaying in the USA as well as Acting Governor, Barrister Efiok Cobham are expecting the Super Eagles back in Calabar with the trophy. “We are expecting the Super Eagles as well as you to bring the African trophy here to Calabar for huge celebration and that is the message from Senator Imoke and Barrister Cobham," said Ugbe, a seasoned broadcaster before his foray into public service, “The Super Eagles have done so well in South Africa and we are expecting them to win the trophy. “Of course, we want you (Golden Eaglets) to be focused on your assignment too and emulate the Super Eagles' impressive performance at the AFCON, “added Ugbe. Ugbe further quoted the governor and his deputy as saying that they expect the Golden Eaglets also to go all the

way and bring the trophy home for the first time since 2007, adding that the success of the Super Eagles at the 2013 AFCON has justified the huge support of the state to the national teams. “We are very happy to have you back in Calabar and I'm happier to convey to you the best wishes of Senator Imoke and Barrister Cobham,” he said." We have so much faith in you and Nigerian football in general; and that is why we have spared nothing towards your welfare and that of the Super Eagles since you started camping in Calabar." Meanwhile, Golden Eaglets have intensified prayers for the recuperating duo of Abubakar and Njengo as well as the success of the Super Eagles as they square up against Burkina Faso on Sunday (today) in the final match of the 2013 AFCON.

Super Eagles: Dangote's N130m only for AFCON victory


resident/Chief Executive of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has pledged the sum of N130 million to the Nigerian national team, Super Eagles, if they eventually make the country proud by winning the 29thAfrica Cup of Nations (AFCON) in South Africa. The national team, Super Eagles, reached the finals of AFCON 2013 by thrashing the Malian national team 4-1. A statement from Dangote Group explained that the gesture is part of Dangote Group's corporate social

responsibility ( CSR ) to promote and encourage sports development in Nigeria. The pledge is to acknowledge the exploits of the national team at the AFCON and stimulate them to bring home the coveted trophy. Sports Minister Mallam Bolaji Abudllahi speaking on the pledge said: "Dangote has always demonstrated commitment to the government and people of Nigeria. We are happy over the gesture shown to the players and the coaching crew. It is an

example for other wellmeaning Nigerians to follow." Football enthusiasts are commending Aliko Dangote on the gesture describing it as a necessary tonic that would inspire the Super Eagles to win the final match on Sunday against the Stallions of Burkina Faso. Starting from this edition, the tournament was switched to being held in oddnumbered years instead of even-numbered years so that it does not clash with the FIFA World Cup.

QUOTABLE "Where is President Jonathan's performance credential? Has he solved any of the problems that constitute the negative state of the country? Has he solved the problem of insecurity? Has he solved the problem of poverty, corruption, hunger, unemployment…"


— Former governor of old Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa, on the merger of four frontline parties to form opposition to PDP in 2015


DO not envy the All Progressives Congress (APC) at all. Founded, as it were, a few days ago, and full of secret hopes for a future it is certain to approach with utmost trepidation, it is likely to need the daring, speed and subtlety of a David to confront the electoral rapacity, executive brutism and general apathy of the ageing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Goliath. All patriots, irrespective of political leanings, will yearn for the new party to acquit itself well, make a huge mark politically, and possibly win the mandate to remake and redirect the country. The ultimate indicator of these possibilities will be when the four political parties, which have merged to form the APC, bury their individual structures and differences under the ultimate goal of a party determined to win the presidency and offer the Black man the leadership he has craved for since W.E. B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey inspired Pan-Africanism. The APC is a four-in-one political party, at least for now. Among that desperate quartet – Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) – there will be some elements who cherish isolation, even if it means risking being destroyed separately. So the new party must not have any illusion it is a tightknit party with a single-mindedness that generally conduces to instant electoral victory. Nor should the party ever assume that by merely announcing a merger there would be no teething problems, no ego posturing, no ideological conflicts, and no struggle for general relevance and dominance within the party. The party will be tested to its very core with such severity that it will be forced to decide what things motivate it: the mere acquisition of power, such as is propelling the PDP into increasing mediocrity and ruin, or the beneficial uses of power, such as often inspire leading political parties in developed democracies to boundless patriotism, excellence and innovations. A merger of political parties was always required to take on the monolithic PDP. But for about 14 years, the opposition simply could not find the good sense and courage to unite against a common and implacable foe. In retrospect, if a makeshift unity had been procured for the 2011 poll, the opportunity to resolve the contradictions that naturally restrict or even stymie the progress of a new party would have been glossed over or lost irretrievably. The APC must therefore anticipate and welcome the initial struggles and confusions that are certain to dot its difficult beginnings, and not trifle with the indispensability of building consensus and compromises. These processes are required to stabilise the party, give it a hard inner core, and make it a force to be reckoned with. It will not be enough that the party has seemed to inspire the public with its quaint and philosophical rationalisation for merger. Chief Tom Ikimi, chairman of the merger committee of the ACN, puts it succinctly: “At no time in our national life has radical change become more urgent. And to meet the challenge, we the following political parties namely ACN, ANPP, APGA and CPC have resolved to merge forthwith and become All Progressives Congress and offer to our beleaguered people a recipe for peace and prosperity. We resolve to form a political party committed to the principles of internal democracy, focused on serious issues of concern to our people, determined to bring corruption and insecurity to an end, determined to grow our economy and create jobs in their millions through education, housing, agriculture, industrial growth etc., and stop the increasing mood of despair and hopelessness among our people. The resolution of these issues, the restoration of hope, and the enthronement of true democratic values for peace, democracy and justice are those concerns which propel us. We believe that by these measures only shall we restore our dignity and position of pre-eminence in the comity of nations. This is our pledge.” Inspiring a people, a party, and an electorate, however, goes beyond fair words. Many other elements are involved. Much more than the big and financially well-endowed PDP, the APC can be trusted to draw on a huge reserve of intellectuals, for the new party seems to set great store by intellec-

All Progressives Congress and the battles to come



tualism, and real intellectuals, by training and experience, can instinctively tell where their expertise is needed. Nigerian political parties often draw a line between their parties’ guiding documents and party activities and policies. So it is one thing for the new party to write a beautiful manifesto and constitution, which I think they will manage to concoct even admirably; and it is another thing to anchor its programmes and party administration on those documents. For a party anxious to minimise differences and disagreements, would it not be tempted to indulge in the idiosyncratic pragmatism that has made Nigerian political parties both weak and colourless? If the new party is to resonate with the electorate, and is to stand a chance of doing spectacularly well in the next set of elections, it must be different in more ways than one. Indeed it must be truly remarkable. But does it have the stamina to be different? Would its leaders not feel the urgency and desperation of embracing expediency over principles, especially because in the crassly monetised politics of Nigeria, principles may sometimes appear like an abstraction and an expensive and annoying excursion into rarified environments? I do not know whether the main reason for the merger of the four parties is to snatch power from the hands of the PDP. If it is, the agglomeration will adopt fierce short-term tactics designed to deliver the most impact in the shortest possible time. The risk, however, is that if they fail, the disemboweling logic of shorttermism and the contradictions of merchandising politics will undermine future prospects of growth and success, and possibly even fragment the party. A better approach will be to structure, run and inspire the new party for the long term. That approach, as cautious and exploratory as it may seem, is not antagonistic to short term electoral gains, and it even predisposes the APC to

greater stability, purposefulness and enduring exceptionalism. The PDP is united not by ideas or vision but by a sickening affection for power acquisition. The APC must strive to be different. It must make it clear that the country would profit from the noble principles that should drive a serious political party, and that nothing is too small or too big to be sacrificed for those principles. Here, alas, is a difficult dilemma. The PDP’s lengthy stay in office has brought nothing but unremitting poverty and social dislocations; and to allow the party another four years in office after 2015 would be suicidal for the country. Yet the APC would appear indistinguishable from the PDP if it should appear to be desperate and in indecent haste to acquire power. It is too early in the day for any analyst to accurately weigh the new party’s chances. We must, therefore, concentrate on those factors the party must pay attention to in order to be a credible opposition to the ruling behemoth. The first task is for the APC to cobble together a common ideological platform from the suspect ideologies of its four constituent parts. The CPC, as everyone knows, is more pragmatic than ideological. It depends for its lifeblood on the honesty and enigmatic disposition of its main inspirer, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, who is not any more ideological now than he was in 1984 when he was military head of state. The ANPP on its own is even openly less ideological. If it has any progressive hue at all, it is to the extent that the PDP has seemed to crowd out any other serious party from Nigeria’s conservative habitat. To avoid a fate worse than ostracism, the ANPP needed to exude anything else other than conservatism; hence the merger. By embracing a very mild form of progressivism, no matter how insignificant, the party is merely being

“The first task is for the APC to cobble together a common ideological platform from the suspect ideologies of its four constituent parts. The CPC, as everyone knows, is more pragmatic than ideological. It depends for its lifeblood on the honesty and enigmatic disposition of its main inspirer, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, who is not any more ideological now than he was in 1984 when he was military head of state. The ANPP on its own is even openly less ideological. If it has any progressive hue at all, it is to the extent that the PDP has seemed to crowd out any other serious party from Nigeria’s conservative habitat. To avoid a fate worse than ostracism, the ANPP needed to exude anything else other than conservatism; hence the merger. By embracing a very mild form of progressivism, no matter how insignificant, the party is merely being practical and adaptable”

practical and adaptable. If APGA holds any progressive credential + worth considering, it is the word ‘progressives’ in its original name. There is entirely nothing else binding the party to the ideology. It has in fact neither proclaimed progressivism at any time, even feebly, nor does it care to defend or define it, carefully or casually. The party reminds one of a road interchange: every road leads to it and out of it. Either by design or by accident, the ACN aggressively proclaimed its ideological tigritude to the point that its theoretical inconsistencies and suspect democratic credentials simply faded into thin air. The party is thus rightly or wrongly considered as the only truly ideological party, almost as if progressivism is intrinsically and conceptually more virtuous than conservatism. In fact the disagreement between the party and its Southwest opponents centres on its claim to be the only progressive party in Nigeria. But a disaggregation of ACN’s progressivism will reveal its cultural roots, entitling just about any political journeyman in the zone to claim progressivism, and the signal importance of the actions, words and dispositions of its officials, particularly its governors. Since the four constituent parties in the APC are actually clustered not too far apart on the ideological spectrum, they stand a better chance of arriving at workable and harmless compromises. They are likely to agree on external relations, even though Nigeria’s foreign policy is symptomatic of the anti-intellectual, reactive and lazy approach of Nigerian leaders to the external world. They are also likely to fashion an agreeable economic plan that is pragmatic, gently progressive, and far superior to the PDP’s, of course, on account of both the grinding poverty 14 years of the ruling party have sentenced the country and the justifiable impatience of the suffering majority praying for the application of radical anodynes. No other issue, not even religion, nor Boko Haram, will be capable of threatening the anticipated consensus. If the PDP is united by greed and intolerance, and is paranoid about holding on to power, the APC should be unified by its common detestation of the PDP, and be fanatically committed to unhorsing the clumsy giant. Though it is at the moment preoccupied with putting down the rebellion in its fold, the PDP is not unaware of the dangers constituted by what some writers have exaggeratedly described as the APC mega party. The ruling party will very likely respond with disgruntled alliances of its own to further bloat its bigness. It will lure grumpy fence sitters in the ACN, make offers to the Labour Party which the small and ideologically unresponsive party can’t resist, and adopt measures hostile to the opposition, including abuse of judicial and legislative processes. It will also attempt to promote discord among the leading lights of the APC in order to prevent peaceful selection of candidates. The ruling party’s success in these unwholesome enterprises will depend on the unpreparedness of the APC leaders to bury their differences and recognise that the spoils of war are almost limitless beyond the plum jobs and positions of the presidency and other top posts. The PDP is inured to the danger of fragmentation facing the country. But if the APC recognises that 2015 is probably the last chance for this generation to save the union, and to comprehensively restructure the polity and free the energies of industrious Nigerians bottled up for decades by incompetent leadership, it will sacrifice anything to win power at the centre. As this newspaper’s Hardball column said on Friday, “The country is ready for APC; what no one is sure of, but which only the party can answer, is whether the party is ready for the country.” For without doubt, except the earth shifts from its orbit, it is inconceivable that the unprecedentedly marginalised Southwest would vote for the PDP; nor would most parts of the North vote for the ruling party at the presidential level at least. And in a few parts of the Southeast and South-South, it’s a tossup; for the voters in those eroded lands and mangrove swamps are not anybody’s fools. Indeed, given the heavy feeling of change in the air, the APC will have to be extraordinarily imprudent and pigheaded to lose the 2015 battle.

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ISSN: 115-5302 E-mail: Editor: FESTUS ERIYE

The Nation February 10, 2013  
The Nation February 10, 2013  

The Nation February 10, 2013