2015: National confab may hold next year N200
September 8, 2012 * *Vol.9 No.506
•Jonathan in secret meetings with political leaders •1st or 2nd quarter of 2013 considered –PAGES 13
OJUKWU’S WILL SAGA •His brothers want to take all property –Bianca
Cynthia: Burial holds without corpse
•Police refuse to release body over autopsy, lab test results •Family goes ahead with Church service
INSIDE: UNN ADMISSION LIST
–PAGES 31 - 42
–PAGES 15 16 & 57
September 8, 2012 **Vol.9 No.506
Man buried 6 years ago resurfaces –PAGES 5
ACF angry over oil search in North –PAGES 10
•Accuses FG of non-challant attitude
NATIONAL CONFAB HOLDS NEXT YEAR •Jonathan in secret meetings with political leaders •1st or 2nd quarter of 2013 considered –PAGES 13
INSIDE: UNN ADMISSION LIST
–PAGES 34 - 55
Ojukwu’s will saga –PAGES 15-16 & 57
•His brothers want to take all property –Bianca
September 8, 2012 **Vol.9 No.506
OJUKWU’S WILL SAGA
•His brothers want to take all property –Bianca
–PAGES 15-16 & 57
Mourners at Cynthia’s burial, in Delta State, yesterday
Cynthia: Burial holds without corpse INSIDE: UNN ADMISSION LIST –PAGES 31 - 42
•Police refuse to release body over autopsy, lab test results •Family goes ahead with Church service –PAGES 12
MIMIKO BOASTS ON JOB CREATION N200
September 8, 2012 **Vol.9 No.506
•How we gave youths employment –PAGES 10
National confab holds next year •Jonathan in secret meetings with political leaders •1st or 2nd quarter of 2013 considered –PAGES 13
CYNTHIA: BURIAL HOLDS WITHOUT CORPSE •Police refuse to release body over autopsy, lab test results •Family goes ahead with Church service –PAGES 12
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State (centre) inspecting the burnt Ogunpa Market in Ibadan yesterday. With him are Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mrs. Monsurat Sunmonu (right) and the Chairman of Ibadan South-West Local Government, Hon. Taoheed Adeleke (left).
INSIDE: UNN ADMISSION LIST –PAGES 31 - 42
September 8, 2012
September 8, 2012
Police community rejects call for State Police From GODWIN TSA, Abuja
he clamour for the creation of state police by the southern state governors has continued to receive knocks from members of the public, as the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) said its creation would brew dictatorship, as state governors would use it to witch-hunt their political opponents. The forum called on the Federal Government to revive the federal police, through enhanced funding and provision of operational gadgets, manpower and welfare package, to make it more effective. Only recently, President Goodluck Jonathan and Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, at the General Annual Conference of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) kicked against the introduction of state police, saying Nigeria was not ripe for its creation. Proponents of state police argue that if the current national challenge of securing life and property in the country is taken seriously, there may eventually, be no alternative to allowing the states to own and control their security apparatus. Speaking in Abuja, members of the Zone 7 Police Community Relations Committee, vehemently condemned the call for state police, saying it would encourage state governors to muzzle any opposition within their states and make them demi-gods in their respective states. Chairman of the forum, Dr. Tony Okpara, called on state governors, who are chief security officers of their states, to cooperate with the federal police by supplying them necessary information about criminal activities in their domain. “You see this issue of creating state police, which is dividing the governors, is democracy at work. My opinion is that Nigeria is not ripe for state police. Our attitudes, as leaders, are such that we don’t have such minds to do those things. Most leaders, most governors, most people who have opportunity today want that state police to oppress other people; they don’t want it for the unity of this country. State police is not in place yet and you will see some people using wrongly the federal police that is in their states to deal with people for political reasons. I distance myself from state police as we are not yet matured for such,” he said. His position was shared by the Secretary of the Kaduna State chapter of PCRC, Haruna Usman Umar, who represented the state chairman of the forum. Meanwhile, the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Zone 7, Sulieman Abba, has charged the forum to partner the police in the fight against crime. The AIG, who was a guest at the stakeholders meeting of the forum, called on members to be dedicated in the daunting task of combating crime. He said: “As the linkmen between the community and the police, you should feel free to share information about crime in your community, so that together, we shall achieve our collective dream of making our country a crime-free society.” Earlier, Chairman of the forum, Dr. Okpara, had warned members against using the name of the committee to commit crime, as any member involved in fraudulent and criminal acts would be exposed and handed over to the relevant security agencies.
Alek Wek, international super model, on Glo/CNN African Voices
nternational super model, Alek Wek, will be the guest in this weekend’s edition of African Voices, CNN International’s weekly half-hour magazine programme sponsored by Globacom. A former South Sudanese refugee, Wek, has become one of the fashion world’s most celebrated and in-demand supermodels. Born into the southern Sudanese Dinka tribe in 1977, she was raised in a large but close-knit family in the small village of Wau. Along with millions of other Sudanese, her life was turned upside down by the outbreak of civil war in 1982. After their house came under fire from an unknown group, the Wek family fled. She later relocated to the UK from where she launched her modelling career. She has graced countless international catwalks in a groundbreaking career spanning 17 years. But she has not forgotten her home country and her African roots. In July, Wek returned to South Sudan with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for humanitarian work. In the programme, the super model talks to CNN’s Isha Sesay about her experience and advocacy during her journey home, as well as her personal life story. Outside her modelling commitments, Alek talks about how she draws upon her own experiences as a refugee to help highlight the plight of the world’s dispossessed and also how she, as a member of the US Committee For Refugees’Advisory Council, campaigns to raise the profile of the humanitarian disaster in the Sudan.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you consider yourself stunning enough to grace our Page 3? If yes, sign our consent/release form, send your pix/bio-data to 2, Coscharis Street, Kirikiri Industrial Estate, Apapa, Lagos.
Name: Quadri Ifeoluwa Phone: 08032512335
September 8, 2012
September 8, 2012
•Romance •Society •Life more
RETURN FROM THE DEAD • Man declared dead and buried, found alive two years after in Lagos prison covered him in prison. On how this happened, he said: “It happened that a friend of mine residing in Cotonou came back on a visit to the village and visited my family house. My mother told him that I was dead. My friend had come to Lagos. As fate would have it, he came with a group of Christians to visit Kirikiri Prisons and ran into me. He could not believe it. Seven days after the visit, Friday returned with members of my family.” This, indeed, marked the beginning of Ude’s struggle for freedom. One of his brothers-inlaw, Barrister Jude Ezeamaechi, spearheaded the battle for his release, which lasted to 2006. Reaveling how he got Ude out of prison, Barrister Ezeamaechi said: “The court ordered that he be released on bail. We had gone to the court he was earlier arraigned and filed the necessary applications.” The lawyer said that there were a lot of drama, in the quest for Ude’s release. According to him, after Ude was granted bail and his family was arranging for a surety, the court was gutted by fire and all documents relating to the case and others got burnt. Luckily for Ude, the magistrate was understanding and willing to help.
Ude By VERA WISDOM-BASSEY (email@example.com)
he story of Evans Nzube Ude is one that provokes sadness. He’s now blind and lives a life of sorrow. He had figuratively passed through the valley of the shadow of death, but he survived. In his years of travail, he was declared dead and buried by his family when they could not find him. Incidentally, Ude did not just get missing. He was arrested by the police and taken to court on trumped up charges. His crime? He could not pay a bribe of N1, 000 demanded by the police. Trouble began for Ude on February 17, 2000, when he left his Okokomaiko, Lagos home to visit his cousin in FESTAC Town, Lagos. For a visit scheduled to last for just two hours, Ude only returned home six years after, which makes it one of the longest visits in history. Narrating his ordeal, Ude said he was arrested, in 2000, by two policemen attached to the Area E Police Command, FESTAC, who he identified as Inspector Balogun and Sergeant Akin. He said: “I was going to visit my cousin in FESTAC, on February 17, 2000 at about 9.40 am. I boarded a Coaster bus from Okokomaiko to Mile 2. At First Gate bus-stop, I alighted, crossed to the other side of the road, to board a vehicle going inside FESTAC Town. Suddenly, I heard sporadic gunshots. As a result, everybody started running. I had to run too. We ran in different directions. Some people, who ran into the swamp, by the road side, got drowned. One of such persons was a staffer of the Young Shall Grow Motors, called Oberedu. In the melee , seven people died.
“The police arrested anyboby they could lay their hands on, around the area. I was one of those arrested. We were taken to Area E police station, FESTAC Town, without being told what our offence was. The two police officers, who arrested me, were Inspector Balogun and Sergeant Akin. We were detained. At the station, we made statements. On February 21, 2000, some of those arrested were transferred to Mile 2 police station, while about 12 of us were taken to Magistrate’s Court 1, Apapa, Lagos. “It was in court that I got to know that we were accused of raping a woman and robbing her of N4,000. We were later remanded in Kirikiri Maximum Prisons.” Ude said his remand at Kirikiri Maximum Prisons marked the beginning of a traumatic six-year experience behind bars. In prison, he lost his sight. He was also declared dead by his family and buried. “A lot of maltreatment was meted out to us and that is why, today, I cannot see. I have been to several opticians, but no respite. The pains are there. The last time I visited the clinic, the doctor declared that I cannot see again. I have faith in God that I will see with these eyes of mine,” he said. On how his family performed his burial ceremony, without his copse, he said: “While in the prison, I didn’t know how the news got to my family in Aba that I was dead. My mother was in mourning for six months. My family members converged on my family compound in Aba to perform the funeral rites and burial. Everything that will make them remember me, including my clothes, were burnt. Funny enough, I wrote several letters to them from prison, but none got to them.” Years after Ude was “buried,” his friend dis-
•Ude’s obituary in 2002
“The magistrate then ordered that I must bring the original certified copy of her ruling. She thereafter gave an order that the prison should produce Nzube the following day, which they did. By then, he was already blind. Eventually, he was released on that day.” On who bore the legal fee, the lawyer said: “I did it pro-bono, that is doing a job without charging any fee. I used my money to do those things for him, since he had none, and nobody to help him.” Ezeamaechi lamented how an innocent man would be imprisoned, through the connivance of the police. “They charged him for armed robbery. He said he was coming into FESTAC and the police were raiding, and people were running helter shelter. He decided to stay in a place and could not run again. It was there that the police arrested him. They were over 100 persons arrested. At the police station, they were asked to pay N1,000 each, but he had no money to give. Those who gave N1,000 were released, but those who could not were charged for armed robbery.” He revealed that nemesis caught up with the IPO, who took Ude and others to court, as he had an accident and died.
September 8, 2012
Water everywhere... N
igeria’s population has remained steadily on the increase in the last 40 years or more, a development, which, no doubt, has become a huge concern to economic planners in the country. Large population has brought about undue pressure on the available infrastructure, many of which have been stretched to the very limit across the country. The situation is worsened by the fact that no significant attempt has been made in the past couple of years to either provide new basic infrastructure or upgrade existing ones, leaving many people wondering when the situation would ever improve. Indeed, all the sectors of the economy are literally begging for urgent intervention to lift the situation and enhance the people’s lives. One critical sector, however, which appeared to be very seriously affected by the rapidly increasing population is water. The development of infrastructure in this key sector has become not only inevitable, but also compelling due to rapid urbanisation and the quest for decent living, in addition to the population high population growth. As a country, we have had severe water and infrastructure crisis over the years which had taken its toll on the populace, resulting in avoidable deaths and debilitating illnesses. Not surprising, therefore, at a meeting with the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ryuichi Shoji, during the signing of agreement for a N2.42 billion grant to increase water supply coverage in five states of the federation, namely: Kebbi, Niger, Taraba, Ondo and Enugu a couple of months ago, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, was full of lamentation. She expressed disappointment that about 70 million Nigerians lacked access to potable water. Said she on the occasion: “The current water supply service coverage in the country is 58 per cent, which is about 87 million people. This translates to lack of potable water for about 70 million people. In the rural areas, only 42 per cent have access to potable water supply. Many of our children are also dying of diseases associated with water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, diarrhoea and river blindness. This is unacceptable to the current administration and is, therefore, focusing more attention on the water sector.” Corroborating this statement at the 11th session of Development Partners Coordination Meeting, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Dr. Godknows Igali, expressed regret that Nigeria ranks third on the list of countries with inadequate water supply and sanitation coverage globally, describing the situation as heartbreaking. “Nigeria has obtained third position as one of the world’s poorest countries in gaining access to water and sanitation,” adding: “The World Health Organisation and UNICEF report for 2012 ranked Nigeria third behind China and India, as countries with the largest population without adequate water and sanitation. The challenge is critical as women and children trek long distances to fetch water from streams and ponds which are most times contaminated.” In the 1960s, 70s and even early 80s, our leaders at the two key tiers of government were able to provide treated drinking water to the people. They realised that water is the most basic of human needs. Unfortunately, all that changed with time, no thanks to rapid population growth, corruption, poor planning and insensitivity of our leaders. The relevance of water to national development cannot be over-empahasised. It is required for human consumption and basic survival, irrigation for the much-needed agriculture and food production, hydro-power for the generation of electricity, fisheries, recreation, environment protection and industrial production among many others. Lack of water in every human habitation and environment, therefore, has grave consequences particularly on the quality of life of the people.
• As FG records success in water resources sector
Jonathan However, there is something to cheer about. Ochekpe, the water resources minister said the low access to potable water by Nigerians was unacceptable to the current administration, promising the Federal Government would collaborate with stakeholders to increase access to water supply in the country. This, no doubt, must have informed the rebirth of the water sector reform of the Jonathan administration. The transformation agenda in this sector is geared towards increasing national water supply access from 58 per cent to 75 per cent, national sanitation access, available reservoir capacity, total irrigable land, drained farmland, job creation as well as enhancing rural development programmes in agriculture. To the credit of the present administration, Nigeria’s story in the water sector is changing. Taking into congnisance the well coordinated current policies and projects, the country no doubt would soon be singing a different tune in the sector. In any given area of human endeavour, it is the commitment and dedication of the leaders that makes the difference. What the country requires is the injection of more funds into the sector to bring about a complete transformation. Reviewing achievements and challenges in the sector in the last one year recently, Ochekpe pointed to tremendous success in the implementation of the programmes and initiatives and overall improvement in water infrastructure across the country. From available records, there is a tendency to believe that a lot has and is still being done to bring about improved water supply in the country. Let us look at the various projects in different parts of the country in the water sector. In the water supply department of the water resources ministry, the following projects have been completed: Northern Ishan water supply project in Edo State. This project completed at a cost of N2.5 billion has a plant capacity of nine million litres per day and comprises raw water intake, a treatment plant complex, transmission mains and distribution network,
ground level and overhead reservoirs. It serves Uromi, Ubiaja, Ugengu, Ugboha and Igueben communities. Also, Mangu water treatment plant in Plateau State has been done. This project was executed at a cost of N1 billion and has a capacity of 10 million litres per day. It serves immediate communities of Gindiri and Mangu townships. There is also the greater Makurdi water supply scheme. This project executed in collaboration with Benue State government cost the Federal Government N2.2 billion and has a capacity of 50 million litres per day. There are such ongoing projects across the country as Okirika water supply scheme in Rivers State (N830 million), Ojirami water supply project in Edo State (N966 million), Takum water supply rehabilitation scheme in Taraba State (N263 million), central Ogbia regional water scheme in Bayelsa State (N4. 7 billion), Biu water supply reactivation in Borno State (N8.5 billion) and Usman Danfodio water supply improvement in Sokoto State (N40 million). Determined to ensure increased water supply in the country, the Ministry of Water Resources, in addition, undertook the revision of estimated costs of long abandoned projects in some parts of the country. These projects, which have already been cleared for execution, include the Zungeru/Wushishi water supply project in Niger State (N2.1 billion), Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi in Benue State (N180 million), completion of Okpilla water supply scheme in Edo State (N800 million), rehabilitation of ABU Zaria water supply in Kaduna State (N465 million) and FikaGadaka water supply in Yobe State (N300 million). Again, the ministry has reactivated the abandoned federal rural water supply programme with the injection of about N1 billion in the onerous task of ensuring greater access to water supply. Not only has it completed a total of 545 hand pump schemes and 836 motorised
boreholes across the country, it has also rehabilitated an estimated 1,000 dysfunctional hand pump boreholes in 18 states spread across the six geo-political zones of the country. The minister disclosed that the ministry had equally partnered state governments and the private sector, including international organisations in the provision of water supply across the country. Many rural settlements, semiurban and urban communities in the federation have benefited from the ministry’s demanddriven initiatives. In the same vain, its department of dams and reservoir has, through conscious efforts, constructed and rehabilitated some 33 major dams and 28 earth dams scattered across the country. And in line with government’s policy directive to increase energy supply to meet the country’s energy demand, the ministry has since commenced the integration of small hydropower schemes into some dam projects in collaboration with the Ministry of Power. It carried out studies on some of the completed and ongoing dam projects for the purpose of hydropower generation. Nineteen of these dams are said to have the potential to generate a total capacity of 3,557 megawatts of electricity. Some of the dams are Gurara, Oyan, Ikere Gorge, Bakolori, Dadin Kowa, Tiga, Kiri, Jibiya, Challawa Gorge, Owena, Doma, Waya, Mgowo, Zobe, Kampe, Kashimbilla, Ogwashiku, Zungeru and Mambilla. Also, in the last one year, the ministry completed a total of 15 irrigation projects covering the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, with irrigation potential of 316, 000 hectares for the production of assorted crops which automatically created about two million jobs in the agriculture sector. It is currently pursuing the development of more irrigable land to boost food production across the country. The country, as at today, has advanced in water quality control and sanitation. At present, Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach is being practised in 32 of the 36 states of the federation. The relevant department in the ministry is also engaged in the monitoring and verification of Open Defecation Free (ODF) communities in seven donor states and eight non-donor states. This is all in an attempt to ensure healthy living in the country. According to Ochekpe, government, as a policy, does not just provide water. It ensures that water so provided is of good quality and therefore, safe for human consumption. In this regard, the ministry has established six water quality laboratories in Minna, Enugu, Gombe, Lagos, Kano and Akure for monitoring the quality of different sources of water nationwide, while the construction of another set of six new laboratories is ongoing in Sokoto, Makurdi, Port Harcourt, Asaba, Maiduguri and Umuahia, respectively. Government, she said, plans to have additional 12 water quality laboratories in the country by the year 2013. Again, water quality surveillance safe storage and household treatment project is being undertaken in six pilot states of Ebonyi, Oyo, Cross River, Taraba, Zamfara and Niger and would be scaled up to 12 more states, namely Gombe, Adamawa, Kebbi, Kaduna, Plateau, Kogi, Ogun, Lagos, Enugu, Imo, Bayelsa and Rivers. Given such challenges, as the budget implementation cycles, releases, closure and return of unused fund to the treasury, which do not favour the water sector because most of the projects are executed during the dry season and have longer gestation period than one budget cycle; the poor funding and inadequate and untimely releases of funds to the projects, leading to project abandonment and cost escalation arising from review of project costs as well as the dwindling budget provision to the ministry over the years, one can say with certainty that some progress has been made in the sector.
September 8 , 2012
‘Why Mbaise people celebrate new yam’ I
What was the impression of the invitees, especially those who are not of Igbo origin? It was wonderfully because they saw the unveiling of the yam, the Iwa ji Can you tell us more about the Mbaise proper. annual new yam festival? Mbaise is made up of three big local governWas there any ments. Actually, it ought to have been more low point during than three. But that was what the military felt the ceremony, as like given to the most populous community in occasions like this the whole world. Every year, on August 15, always has its low Mbaise people, at home and in the Diaspora, point? usually come together at one centre, at home or No, there was where they choose to be in the Diaspora land, to actually none. I celebrate the kings of all crops, the yam. The can’t remember yam, in individual term, represents the econo- anything called low my of the man, and by implication the economy point during the cerof the nation. In modern times, we know the emony. In fact, yam as the king of all the crops and as our fore- there were highfathers celebrated it, so we celebrate it and it is points. First, the no order day than every August 15, every year. deputy speaker of Preparation for the celebration is usually the House of undertaken by the Ndi-ezeji, the crowned per- Representatives, Amadi and Birmah at the event sons of yam. They have been crowned as seri- Hon Emeka ous yam farmers, and they are kings in their Ihedioha, is a son of own rights, by the fact that they committed their Mbaise. He was the first to do the Iwaji ceremo- ernor was represented by his deputy. The lives to the production of the king of all crops, ny, and of course, as the sixth holder of power deputy speaker had left before the deputy govthen the real royal father, who are in charge of in the country the Mbaise people did acknowl- ernor came in. So the governor honoured the the people and then the local governance, edge his presence and that of his friends. Next invitation through his deputy. which called the ezuruezu Mbaise. These are was myself, and there was ovation. And most the three arms that usually come together, plan importantly there was no rain that particular Finally, who is Chief Felix Amadi? and execute the annual new yam festival. This day. You know my traditional title is Ihekubi, year festival was headed by (Eze) His Royal meaning when something bigger than farm Majesty Eze C Okoro, chairman of Mbaise traMany of you that were honoured came arrive. In fact, I am the only person who has the ditional rulers’ council. And these people in from different political background. Was there title all over the world. Anyway, the title is not their wisdom choose 12 sons of Mbaise to pre- any political undertone in choosing the 12 as important as the man, who Enyioguogu peopare themselves for the Iwa-ji (cutting of yam), people? ple have chosen for honour. Over time I devotwhich is the highlights of the ceremony, and by We are not divided along party lines. We ate ed my entire life in serving humanity, and I the grace of God I was among the 12 people the same yam, drank the same water. Some have done that safely. I didn’t do those things chosen to perform that ceremony. Everybody people spoke about the development of Mbaise because I wanted to be honoured. Honestly, it chosen in this respect must have been observed and somebody in politics spoke about the is more of a distraction now than before, but for a number of years and seen to be a man of development of his town; then he must have you cannot reject your people when they say character, industry, achievements and who has been talking of what he will do for whichever come let’s call everybody to tell them what you contributed, in one way or the other in the party he belongs if given power by his people. have done. Last year, they invited me to developments and uplift of the local environ- I don’t think anybody came there to canvass the Houston, in United States of America for Felix ments. Other than the invitees of the tradition- position of one political party or other. The gov- Amadi day in Houston. All Enyioguogu people, al rulers, the invitees of Ndi-ezeji and the genboth young old, spent the whole day and night eral invitees of Mbaise people, those selected for the Iwa-ji are specifically ask to bring their friends, so that the culture is shared, because it is no longer the culture of Mbaise people alone, but the culture that should be celebrated with other people to see, appreciate and if possible to were not allowed talk to outsiders. From AIDOGHIE PAULINUS, Abuja emulate. It would be recalled that following the I must tell you that I was one of the people he terror attack on the Abuja building of the upsurge of terrorism in the country occasioned selected for the 2012 Mbaise Iwa-ji ceremony United Nations (UN), by the Jam’atu Ahlis by the grievances of Boko Haram towards the and that means that my big friends were invitSunnah Ldda’awatih wal-Jihad, known as Federal Government, the group launched attack ed, but if I had invited all my friends managing the situation would have been difficult for me; Boko Haram, seems to be one that would not be on government-owned institutions and churchso I chose those who were less busy during the erase from the minds of the UN staff and other es. The group claimed that it attacked the UN building because the United States (US) and the period and Alhaji Dauda Birmah happened to workers within the vicinity in a hurry. The Federal Government of Nigeria had UN are supporting the Federal Government to be one of the people I invited. And on that particular day, people of Mbaise trooped to Itu donated N2.6 billion for the reconstruction of persecute Muslims in Nigeria. The UN attack became the most prominent, square, in Ezinihite Local Government, from the building and N600 million for the renting of the three local governments, in carnival colours alternative offices, totaling N3.2 billion. The as it recorded both local and international attento cheer their sons, who had come for the Iwa- Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), tion. That singular act by the sect, soon folji. It’s a ritual, an annual ritual. And so there was Senator Bala Mohammed, who revealed the lowed a reawakening of security awareness in dancing, and cultural display of all colours, In figures at the Tafawa Balewa House, Abuja, virtually all public institutions in the country, fact, this year event was a beauty to behold and during the first anniversary of the bomb blast most importantly, the diplomatic community. Sequel to the attack, a Boko Haram the memory will continue to linger for a long which claimed 23 lives and 120 injured, said the reconstruction was put on hold due to the spokesman, Abu Kakah, had told local journaltime to come. absence of indigenous experts to conduct ists in a statement: “We are responsible for the bomb attack carried out on the UN building in integrity test on the building. But generally, what is the attraction? Even though the building is undergoing Abuja.” The attraction is that the yam, king of all the Kaka said the sect considered the US, the UN crops, is unveiled for every other person to eat. reconstruction, following the unexpected attack Before then, if yam is eaten it could create by the Islamist sect on August 26, 2011, the and the Nigerian government as common enehealth problem, until it is formally unveiled for impact of the attack is still being felt within the mies and would continue to attack them because they are infringing on the rights of people to eat. However, you could say that is environs. A visit by Saturday Sun to the Diplomatic Muslims. the old fetish belief. The new belief is that it is The bomb, according to UN officials, as one ceremony that brings all Mbaise people Zone housing the UN building with Zambia, together. It is one ceremony that brings most of North Korea, Palestine and other embassies reported by Reuters in its Monday, August 29, 2011 publication, “gutted a lower floor, their friends together, and also it is one ceremo- clustering round the building, revealed it all. Efforts by our correspondent to speak with smashed almost all of the building’s windows ny that helps to determine their sons who have come of age and has the capacity to represent staff of the embassies proved abortive. Casual and wounded 76 people.” After the UN attack, series of attacks had Mbaise people at one forum or another. It is a workers around the vicinity were not left out in time for the Ezes to know their key subjects. In the self-effacing attitude, including a security also followed, the most prominent being the fact, some of us were not known by some Ezes, official at the UN gate, who declined comment December 25, 2011, Christmas Day bombing particularly, from our own autonomous com- on his one year experience, saying that the soci- of the St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, ety is very hard now. He pointedly said they Niger State. To end the killings and wanton munities. t was pomp and ceremony recently when Mbaise people, in Imo State, celebrated this year’s new yam festival. In this interview, Chief Felix Amadi, managing director of Crown Insurance Brokers Limited, who was among 12 people honoured at the event, talked about what transpired at the event.
in my honour. Now three days after the new yam festival ceremony, the entire Catholic archdioceses of Ahiara called me and made me ambassador of Mary. In 2009, I led a group of youths and we built a police station, which we donated to the Nigeria police. Before then, I had spearheaded the electrification of my own community. However, after sponsoring so many people into politics, I decided to participate myself to help my people. In 2011, I contested as a senator under the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). I came fourth with 7, 000 votes, but I know I scored much more than that. Last December, I had a landmark entry into People Democratic People (PDP). All the national officers came from Abuja; so the ward handed me over to the zone; the zone handed me over to the state and the state handed me over to the geo-political zone, and the geo-political handed me over to the national level and country.
One year down the line, shock still envelops UN building
destruction of property, which have led to the economic downturn and exodus from the north eastern part of the country, different groups have repeatedly called on the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the crisis. It was, therefore, not out of place to say that Nigerians may have heaved a sigh of relief when, recently, the issue of dialogue between the sect and the Federal Government gained prominence in the media. Even though the group later denied any dialogue with the government, the one-year memorial of the UN attack brings to the fore the willingness and capability of the Federal Government to tackle not only insecurity, but poverty and other social vices in the country. However, a consultant with the UN, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “To be sincere, it has not been too bad, but the feeling has been traumatic,” adding: “We lost a lot of colleagues and I am just thinking about it. One year down the line, it is still traumatic.” He further said: “For me, maybe my situation is a little different because I am very much of an optimist, but I know a lot of colleagues that have had a very hard time coping.” While saying that in that case, the UN staff can only be grateful to God for survival, he added that there were families that have been destroyed and would be destroyed for life, in terms of the trauma they suffered, stating: “For me, at this point, it is them that my thoughts would go to and I will encourage not only the Nigerian government, but all the development partners not to forget them in ensuring that they get the support that they need to recover.”
SATURDAY SUN September 8, 2012
Demands for regional autonomy
here has been a harvest of agitations in recent times by different ethnic groups in the country. Each group has made various demands. Some of these demands are manifestly genuine, and might be a true reflection of the wishes of their people, an indication that Nigeria, as currently constituted, is not acceptable to them. Only last week, the Yoruba Elders under the aegis of Yoruba General Assembly called for regional autonomy for the South West geopolitical zone. Such autonomy, the group said in its communiqué at the end of its meeting in Ibadan, Oyo State, should be realized through true federalism. The group also allayed fears that the autonomy it is seeking will undermine or subvert national unity. On the list of demands made by the Yoruba include the adoption of parliamentary system of government, regional and state police, Yoruba anthem and flag, special provision in the constitution for traditional rulers, regional and a Constitutional court with jurisdiction over inter-governmental cases and petitions from election to the National Assembly. The Yoruba General Assembly also resolved to set up what it called the South West constitutional commission “for the purpose of coordinating memoranda from citizens and groups in the region towards a federal constitution for the country and of producing a constitutional framework for the region as a unit of the Nigerian federation”. The agitation by the Yoruba has brought more tellingly to the fore the seriousness of similar streams of regional autonomy from groups from other parts of the country. The message is simple: a hard look at our current existence, against the backdrop of recent developments in the country has become expedient. To continue to shy away from these clear and present issues and treat them as if they do not really matter amounts to playing the ostrich. It has therefore become urgent to organise a National Conference or whatever name
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suitable, to address some of these compelling national issues in our collective existence. What the Yoruba General Assembly is agitating for is not totally new. It predates its latest meeting on regional autonomy. Indeed, over the years, there has been a convergence of interests in virtually all the geopolitical zones, particularly in South East, South South and South West, all in agreement that Nigeria, though a contract based on the existing constitution, the contract seems not to be working any more, and therefore needs an urgent review. In this regard, we maintain that a national conference has became imperative to address the practice of true federalism. Such a conference will provide the much needed opportunity for people in the different geo-political zones to bare their minds on the vexed issues that have created dangerous faultlines in the country. We do not believe that the platform a national conference will provide will lead to instability. Rather, it can strengthen the unity of the country if well handled. It is, however, not hard to fathom government’s apprehension to accede to these agitations. Such fear could be misplaced since a national conference does not amount to dissolution of a country. Official rejection of confab as the present administration has done is tantamount to pre-empting what Nigerians want to say. Government, it seems, is afraid of the possible outcome, of a national conference. We recall that President Jonathan had early this year rejected demands for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference to discuss the issues canvassed by the agitators. Instead, the President stated that the Committee on Outstanding Constitutional Issues, headed by Justice Alfa Belgore (rtd.) would bring up all issues pertaining to national consensus from the 2005 National Political Reform Conference and other previous national conferences, for the consideration of the National Assembly. Besides, he hinted that a larger body would meet on any controversial matter, which will be reflected in the ongoing constitutional amendments. The President is not playing straight on these vexed issues. Constitutional amendments which fall within the mandate of the National Assembly is not the same thing as a national conference which may eventuate in restructuring of the polity. Restructuring is a much bigger issue. It has become expedient now more than ever before.
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September 8, 2012
Jonathan and the power game By KEN UGBECHIE
n the last two months, President Goodluck Jonathan’s public rating has nosed up. It has all to do with the marginal but very noticeable increase in the supply of electricity to homes and offices across the nation. It has never been this good in the last two decades. Some attribute this to former Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji. It may well be, but it owes more to the foresight of President Jonathan in appointing the right man for the job. Nnaji was clearly the right man for the job. He has walked that path both at home and overseas. Those who argue that the improvement in the power sector was as a result of the rainy season should simply shut up. We have been having rainy seasons these past years and we never got this far. But it is also instructive that those who trot out such insipid argument are the same PHCN workers and their unionists, who celebrated the exit of Nnaji in a manner so despicable and for reasons so disgusting. I will not dignify the vile army of PHCN workers who thronged the streets to celebrate the exit of a man who for once stood his ground and insisted that things should be done the right way with as much as a paragraph. They are the reason Nigeria is backward. Television footage showed PHCN staff celebrating the resignation of Nnaji. My
mouth dropped in amazement; my heart skipped a beat in utter outrage. How can any normal person(s) be happy that the man, who has generated a historical 4,400 MW of electricity from a paltry 2, 800 MW at his ascension to office barely a year ago, has quit his job? Nnaji, a doctorate degree holder in industrial and systems engineering and rated as one of the very best in the world at the twilight of his resignation said he would push the power throughput to 5400 MW before the end of this year with a promise to hit over 9000 MW before 2015. The circumstance that led to his resignation did not only portray him as a man of integrity, it also bolstered his image in the perception of all rational minds. He chose to adopt international best practice rather than apply the typical Nigerian formula in which case he would simply have stayed glued to his seat. Resigning on principle is a rarity in Nigeria and this is why Nnaji would ever remain a hero. Besides, he acquitted himself as a bastion of professional integrity and true catalyst for the new Nigeria, which President Jonathan is so passionately committed to. Nnaji’s sin, in the eyes of PHCN workers, was his insistence on the privatisation of the power behemoth and his fervency in the pursuit of the general reforms in the power sector. No matter how naked they genuflect in the sun, everybody knows that PHCN is a hatchery of corruption, a breeding mill for graft and everything that is wrong with the Nigerian project. They
are in tandem with the diesel and generator cartel. It is a network of the powerful and the rich. Anybody coming to change the status quo must be ready to take the scar. Nnaji has got his. The next power minister must be prepared to get his or her scar of war. This is where President Jonathan must be discreet and decisive. He is so far the only Nigerian president to have generated 4, 400 MW of electricity with the least budget. If he gets power right before or by 2015, history would remember him kindly. If by 2013/2014, Nigerians see a semblance of steady power supply, they are more likely to give him another mandate. So far, Jonathan has done well with his power roadmap. The challenge is for him to sustain and up his game. The matter is so critical that it does not give any room for degression and digression. The president has lifted the hammer on the anvil of reforms in the power sector, he must not drop it. He must carry through the privatisation of PHCN as fast as possible. In case the president does not know this, people are already excited with this little appreciation in electricity supply. Nigerians are a grateful people. They do not require a sacrifice of the sun and moon to appreciate leadership. They appreciate Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for putting a phone in their hand. There are many aspects of him that they do not appreciate, but they do not deny him cred-
it for putting phones in their hands. They will deeply appreciate Jonathan much more if he can guarantee them regular power supply. The president is already on the right track, he should stay the course. The artisans, the common people, the middle class and a handsome percentage of Nigerians are happy with the improvement in power delivery. They hope it gets better. The only sad people are the few Nigerians and their unscrupulous overseas partners, who are profiting from our generator economy. Not even Jonathan’s fiercest critics, the opposition parties, can deny that there has not been significant improvement in power supply. President Jonathan stands on the precipice of history. If he delivers power, he would have surpassed all the former presidents put together, because out of steady power supply would issue forth an industrial revolution, agricultural transformation, tourism renaissance and a reformation in education, all of which will concretise into job creation, enhanced quality of life and socio-economic emancipation of the average Nigerian in a manner never before seen. The president must stand up to this. He must block his ears to any advice to the contrary. He must deliver power. This will be his most enduring legacy and he sure looks good to doing justice to public expectation. •Ugbechie is the Editor-in Chief of Political Economist magazine
Mark: Service or opportunism? respects. On national security matters, the Senate President has, at best, paid lipservice to the desperate need for a lasting he wave of insecurity across solution. In fact, Mark, from what is obviNigeria has today reached a level ous, has been playing the ostrich. where the nation is not only wobWhenever and wherever he gets the bly but its image in the internaopportunity, he climbs the hill and either tional community is fast nose-diving. hectors all of us on what we’re not doing Locally, the dangers of insecurity have right, or singles out a scapegoat for his driven the preponderant population in punches. David Mark���s (in)famous Uyo the country into despair. A foreboding that the whole country may disintegrate Declaration last June 25 is still reverberating in the polity. is looming and the governing clique Perhaps, tactfully promoting his 2015 appears ill-prepared with solutions. The deadly Boko Haram attacks, which were political agenda, Mark made the indefinable “northern elders” his victims for that expected to subside during the Muslim period of fasting, instead increased due period. “If the elders in the North cannot speak out and stop this menace, let them largely to the failure of the country’s tell us. Let them come out and say so leadership to respond appropriately to boldly, because the belief out there is that the new security challenge. Thus, Boko some elders know about these people and Haram not only sustained its deadly decide to keep quiet. If care is not taken, attacks in its traditional enclave of the way things are going, if the Boko Borno, Yobe, Kano, Gombe, and to a Haram menace is not halted, it can lead to lesser extent Kaduna, it also opened break-up of Nigeria. Because there is an new front lines – Sokoto and Kogi extent to which the people can take it,” states. And while the lethal campaign of Mark stated. To his greatest disappointthe Boko Haram sect is yet to peter out, ment, however, it was quite obvious to the insecurity situation in the country is even his admirers that he merely sought to taking a much more frightening dimension, with the high spate of kidnappings in make a huge political capital out of the Delta State as well as the gradual return of whole show of the gathering. Beyond giving him the opportunity to refer to the militants to the creeks in the Niger Delta Sultan of Sokoto as “my fellow comrade region. Going by President Jonathan’s in arms,” it is safe to say the retreat has admission, crude oil theft has today reached an unprecedented and embarrass- not achieved anything. Beyond the issue of insecurity, there are ing level. other critical matters on which the current What is most surprising about the current developments in our country, howev- Senate, under Mark, has not lived up to expectations. These include the concerns er, is the manner in which most keen over poor implementation of the 2012 observers have heaped the blame for the budget, the national pension crisis and the glaring failure to address the country’s resultant scandal dogging the Senate leadnumerous challenges only on President ership, the fuel subsidy saga, etc. The Goodluck Jonathan. The National Senate leadership, perhaps, in a spirited Assembly, in any society governed under democratic rules, is the fortress of democ- attempt to counter the popular belief today that the House of Representatives is the racy, and is expected to light the way for the two other arms of government as well conscience of the nation, set up a probe into the poor implementation of the budgas the populace to follow. However, the current National Assembly, under the lead- et. At the opening of that budget probe, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu ership of David Alechenu Bonaventure Mark, is not leading by example, in many made a heroic show of courage on the part By BABATUNDE AJIBADE
of the Senate leadership to confront the executive over the obvious failure to faithfully implement the 2012 budget. But all of Ekweremadu’s show ended for what it was – a mere pretence – when Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, appeared at the hearing. And thus, the hopes he (Ekweremadu) had raised that the Senate would join the House of Reps to confront the executive over the budget implementation riddle were swiftly dashed. Similarly, the Senate probe of the huge fraud in the management of the nation’s pension funds lost steam shortly after a scandal broke about an alleged N2 billion bribery involving the leadership of the Senate. Today, it will appear, the entire probe of the pensions fraud has been swept under the carpet. One would, therefore, be excused to conclude here that with the monumental fraud that has been going on in the petroleum sector, the rudderless state of our economy and the inefficient power supply in the country all under the supervision of the ministers that were confirmed by the Senate, the upper chamber did not do a good job of clearing the right people for the jobs. The Senate President was also quick to take credit, on behalf of his colleagues, for the resolution of the dispute, at the beginning of the year, between Labour and the presidency over the fuel price increase when it was clear the Senate only seized the initiative from the House of Representatives. We all recall that it was members of the House who cut short their recess and convened an emergency session where they took sides with hapless Nigerians, who took to the streets in protest by demanding the immediate reversal of the obnoxious increase. But for the efforts of Labour, civil society groups and ordinary Nigerians, with the support of the House of Reps, the Senate would have conveniently let the Presidency have its way. Nigerians will recall that even after the reduction of the fuel price, Mark, using his cohorts in the Senate, sponsored
a bill under the “contract act” to curtail the powers of labour unions by amending the Trade Union Act. The Act, which was passed in 2005, guaranteed the rights of workers to form unions to protect their interests. That bill was only jettisoned after it became clear that it would not get the required support. This sort of opportunism by the Senate under Mark’s leadership was also at play during the succession crisis that ensued over the ill-health of the late President Umar Yar’Adua. The Senate took credit for its resolution when, in fact, it was the northern state governors who met in Kaduna and resolved that the “doctrine of necessity” be invoked, which the Senate President seized upon, to pave the way for then Vice President Jonathan to take over as acting president. Again in tackling the security challenges facing the nation, the House of Representatives has taken the lead by going beyond the routine condemnations that the Senate leadership is known for and summoned President Jonathan to explain what actions he is taking to secure the lives of Nigerians and their property. Like the Presidency, the Senate has yet to articulate a workable plan of action to help surmount this challenge that seriously threatens our existence as a nation. A closer look at how Mark has been piloting the affairs of the upper chamber puts things in proper perspective. The shrewd manner, for example, he constituted standing committees has not gone unnoticed to discerning Nigerians. It is not in doubt that the Senate President turned it into a political tool with which he rewarded his cronies and loyalists. That Mark was willing to sacrifice merit to the detriment of good governance in pursuit of his self-serving interests says a great deal about his capability to lead a complex and diverse nation as Nigeria. He may not be aware of it yet –but surely his very poor quality of leadership is without doubt telling on not only the Senate but on Nigeria as a whole. • Babatunde writes from Lagos.
September 8, 2012
National news Okada riders to get electronic data of members …Beg FG to lift ban From MOLLY KILETE, Abuja
m a l g a m a t e d C o m m e rc i a l Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria((ACOMORAN), has frowned at the decision of some state government for banning commercial motorcycles in their states. It has, therefore, called on Federal Government to as a matter of urgency prevail on state governments to lift the ban, saying the excuses given by some of the governors •Chief Executive Officer, Jetset Aviation Consultants, Mr. Clement Alabi; Managing Director/Chief Executive were not acceptable. Officer, SAHCOL, Mr. Oluropo Owolabi and President, Association of Foreign Airline Representative in Nigeria, Recalled that following the Mr. Kingsely Nwokoma, during the end of the safety week of SAHCOL in Lagos, yesterday. current security situation in From NOAH EBIJE, Kaduna
he Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has accused the Federal Government of nonchalant attitude towards oil exploration in the North. Rising from its National Executive Council and Board of Trustees meeting at the weekend, ACF said if the Federal Government should show commitment to exploring the oil found in the region, every part of the country would boast of enough oil, particularly, for domestic purposes. In a communiqué issued and signed at the end of the meeting by the publicity secretary of the forum, Anthony Sani, the group also asked the Federal
ACF slams FG for slow search for oil in North Government to allow public debate on constitution review to accommodate all shades of opinion. The communiqué read in parts: “The meetings regretted that oil exploration proceeds at snail speed in northern Nigeria. In view of recent discoveries of crude oil in areas of similar geological character with northern Nigeria, the meeting reiterates its call on Federal Government to expedite action on oil exploration and let the oil flow from all corners of the
federation “The meetings went over the debates brought about by the efforts to review the constitution, to amend some Acts of the National Assembly and the revenue sharing formula. The meetings also noted the concern expressed by the presidency that further discussions of certain issues should stop. It was the considered view of the meetings that, given the fact that progress comes from change through robust debates, and the fact that democracy is a
contest of ideas and reasons, the debates should continue, provided it is conducted with decorum and sense of patriotism. “The meetings considered the festering security challenges posed by the untoward activities of Boko Haram and ethno-religious crises in some states of the North. It also discussed the insecurity caused by the spate of kidnappings and communal clashes across the South-East, those posed by widespread armed robberies in
How we created employment for youths –Mimiko ndo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, has revealed his government’s strategy, which has made possible mass employment for the youths in the state. Speaking to newsmen in Akure on how his government has been able to reduce unemployment since assuming power, Mimiko said there was an embargo on unemployment in the state for six years before he assumed office. Owing to this, he said, government thought it wise to creatively engage the youths by leveraging on areas where the state has relative advantage. He said: “Because we have fertile land and incredible range of vegetation here, we thought agriculture was one primary area, where we can engage the youth massively, not in the routine or conventional salaried employment. “We want to encourage our
youth to get engaged in productive agriculture and that is what we have done. We have put in place three agro business cities, which is essentially patterned, though modified a bit, after the old farm settlement scheme in the old western region.” The first of the farm cities, he said, is in Ore, adding that the farms were designed to make farming attractive, acceptable and comfortable for graduates. According to Mimiko, “we provide them with modern accommodation and the machines that will drive mechanised farming. Under a participant owner scheme, we give all the inputs: land preparation, seedlings, chemicals, and all of that to them and whatever profit they make in the scheme will ultimately be their own. And we amortise our investments over time so that they can start getting good
results.” Saying that the agro business cities have been operating at full capacity, Mimiko also added that over 3,000 youths have been engaged through the provision. The governor said: “We also know that ICT and renewable energy are two other areas where we can get a lot of youth gainfully employed. And under our Tech View Project, we have trained a set of young men and women in renewable energy: how to assemble inverter and do solar power audit, among others and all of them are gainfully engaged now. “We’ve also tried to renew our capacity in the civil service because for more than six years before we came in, there was a sort of embargo on employment. So, when you look at our structure in the civil service, it is an inverted pyramid. We have a lot of people
National Assembly lacks exclusive power to produce another constitution –Clark From EMMANUEL OGOIGBE, Warri
ormer Information Minister and South South leader, Chief Edwin Clark, has declared that the National Assembly has no exclusive power to produce another constitution for the country. He said that Nigerians should decide their fate on
how they should rule the country, via the national conference. Clark, who made his point known at a general meeting of the South-South Peoples Assembly held in Warri, Delta State, said another constitution for the country, via the National Assembly, would be catastrophic. He, therefore, advised the Federal Government not to go for sov-
ereign national conference because it will produce result that we never expected. “All we are asking for is a national conference, so that we can decide the future of this country. The National Assembly should not be allowed to produce any other constitution alone for the country again, as it will lead us to nowhere,” said Clark.
up there and at the base of the pyramid, so we are deliberately bringing in young people, especially in the areas of critical need. We have engaged new engineers, quantity surveyors, architects, doctors, lawyers and some administrators into the system. At the last count, we have engaged well over a thousand and we are still engaging, depending on the availability of funds and our perception of the areas of need. Our intention is to be able to create the top management force that will drive the economy that we are building.” Mimiko said his government also launched a volunteer scheme to further get the youths engaged. The scheme, he said, is over three years old now and the whole idea, he stressed, “is to get a lot of our young men and women away from the streets, from desperation and the precipice. We get them gainfully engaged. When we got them on board, we did not just bring them in and give them hoes and cutlasses; we trained them. Those people you see directing our traffic are part of our volunteer scheme. They were trained in the Police College and then gainfully engaged. We trained some of them in ICT and community engagement and they are the people we call community change agents that we deploy under our integrated community development programme we called the three I’s initiative.”
South-West as well as militant activism and oil bunkering in South-South. “The meetings also considered the efforts of the federal and state governments that are directed at addressing the security challenges. The meetings agreed that the endorsement of dialogues by the Federal Government was praiseworthy. Also appreciated were the efforts of northern state governors in setting up the panel to help find lasting solution to the prevailing security challenges and enjoined the people to support the government’s action. The meetings urged members of the Boko Haram to embrace the offer of dialogue by laying down their arms. Enough is enough. “However, the meetings deplored the tendency of some Nigerians to call into question the settled issue of our co-existence as one united country. The meetings considered expressions of ethnic nationalism as manifested by recent declaration of autonomy and hoisting of flags and anthems by some groups as unhelpful. This is because actions, which promote cleavages along ethnic and religious lines, are unlikely to inspire national solidarity that must go with our relative pluralism. “It is against such backdrop that the meetings praised the actions of some religious leaders who took it upon themselves to promote tolerance and accommodation between faiths through interdenominational breaking of fast, as hosted by Archbishop John Onaiyekan at Abuja, Archbishop Kaigama in Jos and many others, who stood guard at places of worship while members of opposite religion prayed. The meetings, therefore, called on all religious, political as well as community leaders to follow suit for collective good. “The meetings expressed concern with the current state of affairs in the New Nigerian Development Company, NNDC, and urged Northern state governments to look into it.
the country, some state governments banned commercial motorcycles in their states, as some criminals were said to have resorted to using motorcycles to perpetrate evil acts. ACOMORAN said if that was the case, then such state governors should also go ahead to ban the use of jeeps and other kinds of vehicles that have been used by suicide bombers and other criminals to carry out their brutal acts in their states. National president of ACOMORAN, Alhaji Muhd Sani Hassan, who made this known at a media briefing in Abuja, lamented that those of them that are into the okada riding business were not happy doing the job as they were forced into it because of bad leadership, said the ban has negatively affected their members as some of their children have dropped out of school. Alhaji Hassan, while noting that the union was ready to work and cooperate with security agencies to fight terrorism and other violent crimes in the country, announced that the association has concluded arrangement to get comprehensive electronic data of all its members in the country as a way of checking criminals and people with dubious characters who may want to use the association as a shield to perpetrate evil acts. The ACOMORAN president said government was being unfair to its members by banning them from going about their legitimate business, while those who are actually guilty of the crime are allowed to move about freely. He said: “It is not only okada that these criminals use to carry out their deadly acts, they also use jeeps, Sienna and other brands of vehicles, but we have not heard government come out to ban the use of such vehicles.
Church holds memorial service
aint Martin’s Catholic Church, Igbo Ukwu, will today hold a memorial church service, by 9am, to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of Mr. Linus Osunmuo Madumelu. Reception would hold at his Etiti Village (Igbo Ukwu) compound after the church service. According to the church, guests are expected to assemble at Madumelu village compound, after the service.
•The late Madumelu
September 8, 2012
Fuel scarcity won’t occur again –Oil marketers From ISAAC ANUMIHE, Abuja
ajor oil marketers yesterday assured the F e d e r a l Government that fuel scarcity would not occur again, promising constant supply. They also pledged to work with government to successfully complete the ongoing subsidy payment audit of some marketers. In his remarks at the meeting with the Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy and the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in Abuja, Chief Executive Officer of Folawiyo Energy, Mr. Dipo Makanjuola, said that the audit was necessary and that the marketers were in support of
the Federal Government’s team on the matter of verification. He said: “There is a verification exercise that is ongoing by a firm of auditors and we expect that it will be concluded by the end of next week. Subsequently, payments will be made. We are basically on the same page (with the Federal Government). So, we hope that subsequently, we can move from there and continue to support government in this regard. We would like to assure Nigerians that there is no need for panic-buying. There is adequate products in the country.” Makanjuola said that the impression that the nation was running short of petroleum products, which has created panic, was unfounded. “Unfortunately, in situations like this, people tend to peddle information, so to speak. But
it is not real. And I am sure in the next few days the situation would be normal around the country,” he said. Chief Executive Officer of Oando Plc, Mr. Yomi Awobokun, described the verification exercise as necessary in the interest of all genuine marketers and the Nigerian public. He acknowledged that the auditors had finished work in his company and that the mandate of those undertaking the verification was very clear. “The auditors were in our company last week. We were
clear about their mandate. Against the backdrop of what has transpired in the industry, we fully support the requirement to ensure that there is a thorough exercise and there is adequate understanding, in clear terms before subsidy payments are made. The process is ongoing. It is a necessary process that the industry needs and I am sure that Nigerians will be happy when that process is concluded. The minister has also given us the comfort that the government is not broke. As it has been written in a lot of
newspapers, to ensure that only companies that supplied fuel that money is given to and we appreciate that. The marketers are prepared to ensure that the exercise is thorough and completed. We are doing everything we can to ensure that the distribution continues. We will continue to distribute the products. The NNPC has agreed to support us. As I speak to you, there is a lot of oil in Apapa. Right now, the NNPC has ensured that there are three cargoes in Apapa, discharging to ensure that there is fuel in all
parts of the country. And I expect that the efforts will continue,” he assured. In her remarks, the minister said that both the marketers and the Federal Government had agreed to work together for a transparent process in the subsidy administration. According to her, the marketers continue to ensure adequate products supply across the country, adding that President Goodluck Jonathan had insisted on the consultations to ensure a smooth supply chain in the downstream sub-sector of the economy.
Emilinks, others join SON to fight substandard products By BLAISE UDUNZE
he Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has raised the alarm over influx of substandard goods into the country, saying that over 85per cent of products in Nigeria are substandard. In a lecture delivered at the monthly meeting of the Obafemi Awolowo University Alumni Association, DirectorGeneral of SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, expressed worry about this, saying that with such rating the country is among the most affected in the world. He said that over 80per cent of the substandard products are manufactured in China and imported into Nigeria. The SON DG blamed importers for the influx of substandard products, alleging that those involved tell overseas manufacturers to reduce quality so that they would make maximum gain. He said that over 20 per cent of accidents, either in road or fire, are caused by use of substandard products used in homes and offices, while warning that patronage of such products could lead to further domestic and industrial accidents. On effort to arrest the trend, Odumodu said SON was
determined to reduce the presence of substandard products to 40 per cent for starters. He said that the agency, in collaboration with concerned stakeholders, is embarking on a viable campaign against substandard products. Speaking on effort in this regard, Director, Emilinks Limited, Mr. Solomon Nwadiogbu, said he has invested over N10billion in the campaign. According to him, the campaign entitled, Kick against Waste, is aimed at eliminating low quality of furniture. Emilinks director, whose company is a leader in the design, construction and sale of wooden doors, windows, wardrobes, office furniture and fully fitted kitchens, says that his company’s products have international certifications. “We have doors for villas, which are pure armoured certified doors, which is pure solid oaks. The thickness of these doors is up to 100cm, which are thick and strong. Each door weighs up to 250kg. So, when you talk of area of passion, concerning these security furniture, my primary motive of moving into this business is about distributing super quality, for people to have value for their money,” Nwadiogbu explained.
UTME, direct entry: UNN gives 3, 264 candidates admission
he University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) has offered provisional admission to 3, 264 candidates who sat for the last Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and its post-JAMB test conducted last month. The result released by the Registrar of the university, A.I. Okonta, showed that those offered admission are candidates who made the UNN their first and second choice, as well as those who applied through the direct entry for the 2012\2013 academic session. Okonta, who disclosed that
the primary admission is for the various first degree programmes of the university, advised successful candidates to visit the institution’s website, www.unn.edu.ng, to find details on how to regularise their admission. He advised those who have not been offered admission, but had a UTME score of 200 or above and UNN P-UTME score of 180 or above to apply for the university advertised courses by visiting its website. The list of the UNN 2012/2013 primary admission is published today in Saturday Sun.
•President Goodluck Jonathan (left) exchanging pleasantries with the Governor Seriake Dickson (right) during the send-off ceremony organised for beneficiaries of Bayelsa State Secondary School Scholarship Scheme, in Yenagoa, yesterday.
Rep hails FRCN for Enugu medium wave transmitter
hairman, House of Representatives Committee on Information and National Orientation, Hon Umar Buba Jubrin, has urged Radio Nigeria to introduce and package informative, and educative programmes that would correctly assuage the feelings of restive youths and adults in the society. In a goodwill message delivered at the commissioning of new Medium Wave Transmitter at Enugu Ngwo on Thursday evening, on his behalf by Ambassador Kingsley S. Ebenyi, member of the House committee, Radio Nigeria was advised to champion a good cause by galvanising the youths and listeners in general to be well behaved, responsible, disciplined and ever prepared to contribute to nation building without any coercion. The new Medium Wave, a collaborative effort of the FRCN and Japanese Government Agency for International Cooperation JICA, according to the Committee Chairman, could not have come at a more auspicious time than now, when the nation is beset with spate of killings and kidnap scourge. “No area seems safe. Not the streets, homes and even sacred places of worship are spared of this orgy of bloodshed. So, your new Medium Wave, to be coming on stream now, speaks volume of the foresight of the management of FRCN,” he explained. He further advised that since
the new station would centre on educational programmes, it should evolve modern educational tools to educate its listeners, especially pupils, students and their teachers in order to avert the series of poor results recorded in the last two years in the WAEC/NECO examinations in the country. He pledged that his committee would be disposed to making a case for increased budgetary allocation to the FRCN, in order to assist it contribute to nation building. In his own speech, the Director General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria FRCN, Barrister Yusuf Nuhu, gave assurance that the organisation would use the potential of the new facility for national integration, moderation of divergent opinions and the
determination of national purpose. The FRCN DG emphasised that the facility would be a driving force for attainment of literacy, prosperity, democracy and freedom of choice including assertion of individual rights and liberties of every Nigerian. The Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Mr. Ryuichi Shoji, recalled that Japan had been actively engaged in economic and social development of African countries including Nigeria dating as far back as the 60s. Ambassador Shoji said since the radio broadcasting network project was structured to boost the capacity of the medium wave radio broadcasting network in Nigeria, and the coming of the Medium Wave in Kaduna and Enugu, radio listeners could be increased from
12 million to 86 million listeners in Nigeria. “I would also like to emphasise the significance of this project, in terms of education, as it would go a long way in contributing to creating a better educational opportunities through well conceived programmes,” the Japanese ambassador said. The commissioning of the transmitter, located at Ngwo Hill Top, on the outskirts of Enugu, was attended by officials of the Japanese Embassy, including First Secretary, Economic Cooperation, Yudai Maeda; Coordinator of JICA and also the JICA Project Foundation Advisor, Akiko Kawamoto, popular television dramatist, Chief Chika Okpala (Zebrudaya of the New Masquerade fame), renowned broadcasters and others.
Don’t derail Igbo ethnic nationality, Ezeigbo urges govt From EMMANUEL OGOIGBE, Warri
gbo sons and daughters holding various positions in government have been advised to always portray the good image of the Igbo ethnic nationality through their conduct. Speaking when he hosted Controller of Immigration, Mr. Joakim Onyebuchi, visited him at his palace in Warri, Onyeisi Ndigbo in Delta South/Central Senatorial District, Eze (SIR) Peter Chukwu, said this has become necessary in order to maintain the dignity of Igbo race.
Eze Chukwu, who was a two-time President, OhanaezeNdigbo in the District, also lauded the untiring effort of the controller of prisons, Warri, Mr. Amaliri Ifeanyi, who had earlier paid a courtesy visit to him. He noted that Igbo were known for their resourcefulness and unity of purpose and enjoined them not to derail from this noble path. The Igbo leader described the visit as historic, judging from the fact that the two officers did not only recognise the tradition stool, but also deemed it fit to associate with their people in Diaspora. “Igbo are the most industri-
ous and hardworking ethnic group in the country because you find them everywhere. Not only that, they are a peace loving people, hence they can live in harmony with their neighbours wherever they find themselves,” he said. According to him, the duo, on assumption of duty, deemed it necessary to come and receive prayers from the palace, adding that the prayers facilitated their promotion to the next rank. While eulogising their selflessness and foresight, Eze Chukwu, however, urged all Igbo to continue to support President Goodluck Jonathan, in order for him to succeed.
September 8, 2012
National news Salami: Appeal Court’s strikes out application From GODWIN Abuja
Cynthia’s mum flanked by Cynthia’s elder brothers during mass, as part of her burial rites, in Delta State, yesterday
Autopsy, lab test results stall Cynthia’s burial From PAUL OSUYI, Asaba
he remains of the slain beauty queen, Miss Cynthia Osokogu, could not be buried as scheduled yesterday, following the inability of the police and medical personnel to come up with results of the autopsy and laboratory tests conducted on the corpse and the drugged juice drink given to the deceased by her assailants. Four persons’s Okwumo Echezona Nwabufo (33), Ejike Ilechukwu Olisaeloka (23), Orji Osita (32) and Maduakor Chukwunonso (25) have been accused by the police of being responsible for Cynthia’s death, in a hotel room in FESTAC Town area of Lagos on July 22. Saturday Sun gathered that after the initial arraignment of the four suspected killers on August 27, at a Yaba Magistrate’s Court, on an eight-count charge of felony, conspiracy, murder, robbery and rape, legal advice pointed out to some loopholes in the case file. As a result, investigating police officers (IPOs) and medical personnel had to take the deceased’s corpse for autopsy and the drugged drink for laboratory tests on Thursday. A top source at the state police command headquarters revealed that besides the two major medical examinations just conducted on Thursday, parents of the deceased, General Frank Osokogu and his wife, Rose, were still being expected to make written statements to the IPOs on the incident. The burial rites for
Cynthia had begun on Wednesday in Jos, Plateau State, where friends and family members gathered for a service of songs in her memory, with the expectation that she would be buried in her parents’ home state, Delta yesterday. As such, mourners in their numbers had gathered at the Osokogu’s family residence on Owa Ekei road, Boji-Boji Owa, Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State to pay their last respect yesterday. They were, however, disappointed and later dispersed, following information that the corpse was not released for burial by the technical team, comprising the police and medical personnel investigating the murder case. Indications that the remains of Cynthia would not be committed to mother earth had emerged when the undertakers preparing the final resting place suddenly stopped work. Father of the deceased, General Osokogu, told an army of journalists that there was nothing strange in the
development, adding that the corpse would be released at a later date for the final burial rite. “We have a little postponement, on the advice of the professionals, that is the police and the medical people, who are handling the case. They have to handle the documentation, looking at the profile and circumstances of the case and the documentation must be done without mistakes because the matter is going to court. “So, it is on their advice that we have decided to postpone the interment, but since we have gone very far with the arrangement before this time, there was no need to postpone everything; we were advised that we can go ahead with the programme as scheduled. “When the technical team finishes its job and releases the body to the family, the inner family and friends who are still disposed to be around will come and participate in the burial.” General Osokogu said information about the nonrelease of the corpse for inter-
ment came yesterday morning and that doctors were performing the autopsy, adding: “This is not strange; it has happened.” Meanwhile, it was a sombre atmosphere at the St. Dominic Catholic Church, Boji-Boji Owa, where the funeral mass in honour of Cynthia went on as scheduled. Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan had earlier paid a condolence visit to the family, but was not present at the mass. Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, representing Delta North Senatorial District led the pack of dignitaries present at the mass. Uduaghan’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Festus Okubo and Commissioner for Commerce, Kingsley Emu, also paid their condolences. The trio hail from the same council area, as the late Miss Osokogu. Officiating Priest, Rev. Fr. Eugene Nweke, described the killers of Cynthia as cowards, who were too afraid to approach her for a relationship but hid under the cover of facebook to perpetrate the heinous crime.
NSPM moves to strengthen confidence in N5,000 bill By OBIDIKE JERRY
gainst the backdrop of current objection by majority of Nigerians to the CBN’s proposed N5,000 note, the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc (NSPM), has moved to create more awareness in the economy. Speaking at a press briefing recently, its Managing
Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ehi Okoyomon, said the forthcoming 17th edition of the Association of African Banknotes and Security Documents Printers (AABSDP) Conference which starts on Monday, will be used to create more awareness on the proposed currency restructuring by Central Bank of Nigeria. According to him, the AABSDP conference promis-
es the largest exhibition in high level security print in Africa, where stakeholders and industry players meet to interact and discuss issues in the industry. “Following the Federal Government’s endorsement of N5,000, which has created a lot of controversy, the conference is an opportunity for exchange of knowledge and awareness creation”, said Mr. Okoyomon.
ttempts by the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, to quash his suspension suffered a major setback yesterday, as the appellate court struck out his application for incompetence. In the said application, Justice Salami asked the Court of Appeal to direct the Federal High Court in Abuja to adjudicate on his suit before it and not to remit it to National Industrial Court. Salami had approached a Federal High Court on August 18, 2011 to upturn the decision of the National Judicial Council (NJC) that recommended his suspension to President Goodluck Jonathan. The decision followed his refusal to apologise to the council and former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, after an NJC panel said he breached the code of conduct by lying against the council. Salami went to the Court of Appeal after the NJC’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozokhome (SAN) told the Federal High Court that the matter brought by Salami was relating to or connected with labour, employment, trade unions, industrial relations and that only the
National Industrial Court has exclusive jurisdiction by virtue of section 254c (1) of the 1999 Constitution. A five-man panel of the Court of Appeal headed by Justice Husseini Muktar, yesterday struck out the suit on the grounds that it was incompetent, since the Federal High Court is yet to transmit the needed documents to it, as provided by Order 5, Rules I & II of the Court of Appeal. Earlier, counsel to Salami, Olumide Olujinmi, had told the court that they had written a letter to the registrar of the Federal High Court seeking for the transmission of the documents, but they are surprised that the court is yet to do so. He further argued that it was the duty of the lower court to transmit the documents and not the plaintiff. The lawyer prayed the court for an adjournment so as to further liaise with the lower court for the transmission of the documents, submitting that the plaintiff should not be made to suffer for the wrong of another party who had failed to carry out its duties. All the counsel to all the respondents opposed the application for adjournment on the grounds that there was no competent suit before the court. They urged the court to strike out the case.
Newswatch editors regroup, float Verbatim magazine
n Monday, September 10, a new magazine, called Verbatim, spearheaded by some editors of the recently rested Newswatch magazine, will make its debut on the newsstand. According to publishers of Verbatim, the magazine is “product of the ingenuity and enterprise of an assembly of many former editors, reporters and managers of Newswatch magazine.” According to Verbatim News Network Limited, whose headquarters is in Abuja, the publication is an investigative news magazine to be published every fortnight. The publishers said the magazine has Mr. Tobs Agbaegbu, former Senior Associate Editor and Newswatch Bureau Chief in Abuja, as Editor-in-Chief. Mr. Anza Phillips, a former Assistant Editor who covered the Presidency for Newswatch, as Verbatim’s Executive Editor. Speaking on the new magazine, Agbaegbu said the publication would always provide detailed, well-investigated, insightful reports on contemporary national and global
issues. He promised that the magazine would live up to its name. “We shall live up to our name. We shall report verbatim, and present news as it is. We shall also give our readers a high dose of exclusives, as will be obtained from our investigative prowess. We will give the real stuff, as obtained from our source. Collectively, we have it in our veins, our blood and bone marrow,” Agbaegbu said.
Cover Story SATURDAY SUN
September 8 2012, PAGE 13
Jonathan Clark By ADE ALADE and DURO ADESEKO
t a time when many Nigerians believe that the best way to resolve some of the country’s challenges is for all segments and elements to hold a meeting, there are indications that President Goodluck Jonathan is secretly preparing the ground for the convocation of a national conference. Towards this end, he has started holding discreet meetings with selected opinion leaders across the country. Findings by Saturday Sun reveal that Jonathan has made up his mind to convene a conference in the first or second quarter of this year or in first quarter of next year. It was gathered that the thinking is that the conference would pave way for him to contest the 2015 presidential election. To ensure a suitable outcome of the conference and that it is not hijacked to achieve northern or opposition groups’ agenda, it was further gathered that the president has been holding discussions with opinion leaders, especially from southern part of the country, who would not betray him. Top on the list of those Jonathan met recently on the national conference, include prominent Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark and Lagos-based lawyer and political activist, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite. Braithwaite, founder of the defunct Nigeria Advance Party (NAP), confirmed that President Jonathan came on a private visit to his Victoria Island, Lagos residence last month, but declined to disclose the details of their meeting. Towards achieving the president’s set goal, Clark has begun moves to resuscitate and reconcile factions of the South South Peoples Assembly (SSPA), which disintegrated in the run-up to the 2011 elections, with a faction led by Clark and another by Daar Communications chairman, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi. The reconciliation meeting of the group, which will serve as an umbrella body for the South South region and champion the zone’s demands at the conference, was scheduled for Asaba, Delta State capital and partly financed by the Delta State government. In the same vein, some eminent Nigerians from the South met last month to form an association known as Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly (SNPA), to serve as a counter voice to the pro-North Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF. Identified leaders of the new association include Chief (Mrs.) HID Awolowo, who is leader of the Yoruba
JONATHAN MAY CONVENE NATIONAL CONFAB NEXT YEAR • Holds secret meetings with political leaders • Ekwueme, Awolowo, Clark, others meet to counter North
Unity Forum; Chief Clark, as the leader of the South South and former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, as the leader of the South East. So far, members of the association have met twice. The first meeting was held at Ikenne, Ogun State, while the second meeting was held at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital on July 12. At the last meeting of the association in Uyo, hosted by Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, the South West delegation was led by Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi, who represented HID Awolowo. Chief Clark led the South South, while Ekwueme was represented by Mbazulike Amaechi, a First Republic aviation minister. According to one of the leaders of the association, Dr. Femi Okunrounmu: “The aim of the meeting is to create a new platform for unity and development for the people of the southern Nigeria. This has already been achieved in the North by the Arewa meeting,
under which platform the North always speak with one voice.” He said after a lengthy discussion at the meeting, moderated by Chief Clark, it was noted: “The continued escalation of threats to life and property in parts of the country, especially as represented by the activities of the Boko Haram sect, has resulted in the increasing loss of innocent lives, especially of Christians and southerners and that the state of the insecurity has caused Nigerians of southern origin to express their deep concern over the posting of their children to undergo the compulsory National Youth service in volatile areas of the North.” The association also pointed out that the 1999 constitution of Nigeria, as amended, is standing on a faulty foundation and does not guarantee true federalism which is required for stability and development. It reaffirmed its commitment to cooperate and work with President Jonathan in building a new
Nigerian nation. Those from the South South at the meeting include, Chief Clark, Alabo Tonye GrahamDouglas and Otuedong (Air Commodore) Idongesit Nkanga. Those from the South West are Bishop Gbonigi, Chief Olu Falae, Most Rev. Ayo Ladigbolu and Senator Kofoworola Bucknor Akerele. From the East were Chief Amaechi, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife and Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu. When told that the North may regard the formation of the association as a gang-up, secretary of the Yoruba Unity Forum, Senator Anthony Ogungbemi Adefuye said: “When they (North) met, did we regard it as gangup? How can the North now regard the meeting of southerners as gang-up? There is no gang-up there. In reality, it makes peace achievable because very soon, the North and the South are going to meet. We are not meeting because of the North. Neither is the North meeting because of the South. We are meeting to be able to unify the whole country. Outside politics, we can still discuss and be united.” On the suspicion that 2015 is around the corner and that the association was formed to boost the chances of President Jonathan, the secretary of the forum said: “ Look, what we are doing has nothing to do with 2015 at all. We don’t care who becomes president tomorrow. We are apolitical. We only care about the interest of the Yoruba people. Whoever you are, you must recognise the fact that the Yoruba do exist and they must have their equal share of the nation’s wealth.”
September 8, 2012
September 8, 2012
SaturdayInterview From PETRUS OBI, Enugu
ianca Ojukwu, widow of the late Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu, recently traditionally ended her six months mourning. In an exclusive chat with our reporter in Enugu, Mrs. Ojukwu who was recently appointed Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain, opened up on her marriage to the late Ikemba Nnewi. She recalled memorable moments with her late husband. She also recalled Dim’s encounters with armed robbers on two occasions. Bianca, who was speaking for the first time since the burial of Ojukwu, also talked about disturbing family issues that have arisen since the death of the Igbo leader as well as the APGA crisis. Excerpts: Who is Bianca Ojukwu? I am the sixth child of His Excellency, Christian Chukwuma Onoh, former governor of the old Anambra State and Mrs. Caroline Onoh who was a principal. I am from EnuguNgwo (that is originally) in the present Udi Local Government. I started off my education at the All Saints School, from where I went to the Queens School, Enugu briefly before going to the Ackworth School for my secondary education. The Ackworth School is actually a Quaker school in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England. From there I went to St. Andrew’s College in Cambridge where I started my Advanced Level, after which I went to the Cambridge Tutorial College where I concluded my A-levels. From there I went to the University of Buckingham; I wanted to do a combined honours degree in Politics, Economics and Law; I really wanted a mix of subjects so I was at the University of Buckingham pursuing that degree in Politics, Economics and Law. My father, of course, would prefer that I studied straight Law. I come from a family of seven lawyers and my father made no bones about the fact that he wanted all his children, if possible, to study law. Of course, I granted his wish; I came back to the University of Nigeria, at the Enugu Campus, and that was where I obtained my law degree after which, of course, I went to the Nigeria Law School.
How was it growing up; did you spend any time in the village or was it an all-abroad thing? We all actually grew up in the village because my father wasn’t very keen on having us live in town; in Enugu of course. He had a huge estate and he had multiple houses so we could have lived in a variety of the locations, but it was important for him that we lived in the village. Even when we were transferred to the United Kingdom, because most of my brothers and sisters, after primary School, left to pursue their education oversees. When we come back for the summer, he would send us to the interior part of the village where his uncles and his aunts and so forth lived; where there was no electricity; and he would make us go and spend some days with them. We would go to the stream, we would go with them to farm, we would fetch firewood, and we would learn to cook with the firewood. He said it was important to him, that it was important we got some grounding and got an idea of the basis of life, which would help mold character. We would come back to our own home and he would want to know how many people in the village we were able to meet, to talk with and to familiarize ourselves with. It was important to him that we were well grounded in the village and their way of life; he would insist that you know the village barber, the butchers, the women selling tobacco, the akara sellers, by name essentially. He said, this is your future, because if you don’t have some kind of relationship; if you don’t identify with the life from the cocoon, as he would put it, it’s going to be hard for you to cope in a society that is fast changing. He said, you all are going abroad at an early age and that is a disadvantage because you are going to be studying two different cultures. But what is the most important thing in all these is that there is a balance and if there is a
My life with Ojukwu — Bianca •I’ll never stop mourning him
Bianca and Ojukwu
tilt in the skill, it must always tilt towards your society and your way of life. So, I thank him essentially for the grounding I have today because when I go down to my village, I feel like I never left and I can identify families, I can identify the local folklore, I know the taboos, I know the evil forests, I know the streams that only the locals can go to and the ones that people who have come to live in the community can go to. The good thing of being in Enugu is that it offers me the opportunity to go home for funerals and for various cultural festivals and a lot of other things that we do at home and it is only later in life that you realize how important that type of upbringing is because the strength we have is in our people. When something happens to you, when there is some kind of tragedy or catastrophe, it is these people who rally round and offer you some
kind of a cushion; some kind of solace, and you never really feel alone in such circumstances. And I have tried to do same with my children and that’s the reason my children, apart from my daughter who is abroad, my sons are here and I have tried to give them the sort of upbringing that I had. I take them down to my village, which is nearer; I also take them down to Nnewi from time to time. I take them to the farms, to the yam barns; places just to identify those basic things that children of nowadays are not familiar with because they don’t have opportunity to go to the village. I take them to normal village square with a lot of sand; when they were younger they used to go and play with the other children and come home all dirty; though it’s still a challenge they are doing better than they would have done had I not put in that effort to ensure that they are not purely
urban children raised in the town with no concept of village life and knowledge. Having qualified as a lawyer did you have time to practise? My father had chambers called Rockonoh Law Chambers; as I told you, I come from a family of lawyers; mostly he was involved in land cases, land disputes. What he wanted essentially was for everybody to graduate and join his law firm and he knew I didn’t really have that passion but I was glad that in order to please him it was a profession that I went into and I don’t regret it today because it has taught me a lot of skills; most importantly negotiating skills. I realized very early that it was something I wasn’t really caught out to do.
Continues on Page 16
September 8, 2012
SaturdayInterview Continued from Page 15 I wanted to go into business; franchising. What I had wanted to do was to set up my own brand of beauty care product so that I would start running company of personal care products. Right now I am the Managing Director of Bianca Blends Incorporated; we have over 25 different products essentially beauty products under our stable. They are mostly geared to skin care issues and we are doing very well. How did you get involved in beauty pageants? I remember when I was in class four at the Ackworth School and every year we would watch the Miss World contest and you will see girls representing every country in the world and I used to watch the contest. We would all hurdle in front of the TV in the common room and watch the contest and I used to say to my dorm-mates “one day when I go back to my country I am going to contest and I am going to go to Miss World.” It wasn’t essentially a project but it was something I had in my to-do list. Before then…when I went to Cambridge for my A-levels I had taken part in the Miss Martini Contest organised by the Beverage Coy Martini Rossi. I went into the contest; they were looking for the Martini girl as it was called in those days. To my shock, I won the contest. The prize was a year’s modelling contract in Tokyo. When I won, I was petrified because there was no way, during my A-levels, I could leave and go to Tokyo and take up the modelling contract. At the time, my uncle was the Deputy High Commissioner in Scotland when Nigeria had a mission then. He called me and said “are you mad; do you not know how much your father pays for your school fees and you think you are going to get up and go to Tokyo all in the name of modelling? Go right back to you studies.” So, I had to give up and declined the offer and went back to school. So, after that, with the new-found confidence, I said whenever I got back to Nigeria, I was going to take the next step and that was how I took part in the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria pageant in 1988. My aim was essentially to just get the opportunity to get to an international pageant and I must say I was very lucky because, for some reason during my year, it was almost like winner-takes-all arrangement. There was just one beauty queen and you were that iconic figure that would go to various countries to represent your own country in beauty pageants and you are treated literarily like royalty and I had the opportunity of visiting so many countries from Mexico to Russia to places that I never ever would have just woken up and decided that I would go to Singapore, Taipei, Peoples Republic of China, Hong Kong, Japan. It was just amazing. So, it was a very tedious period for me. I got the opportunity to…right after winning the most beautiful girl pageant, I left to go to the Miss Africa Pageant, which took place in Gambia the same year 1989 and to my shock and horror I won that pageant. I said then, there is hope. I came back home for Christmas. By the time I had won the Miss Africa Pageant, my father, who was not very keen on my participating in the pageant, was a little bit more agreeable so that by the time I now went for the Miss Charm in Russia, he was so accommodating and he was so proud. One day he came back and said to me, “do you know I was at the airport, my staff brought me my ticket and somebody walked up to me and said ‘Onoh, are you Bianca’s father?’ You know that is one thing your father prays for; you pray that there will always be a light in front of you.” He was particularly proud; he was always in a position where people say are you the former governor of Anambra State? But this time, it was ‘are you Binaca’s father?’ So, he came back and called some of his friends and said ‘can you believe, look at this little girl, somebody had the nerve to come and ask if I was her father. But I knew really that it was a proud moment for him; he supported me. When I went to Russia for Miss Charm, he gave me money, he gave me the moral support and also when I went to Singapore, so that by the time the Miss Intercontinental Pageant came up, he was the one providing funding for my wardrobe and other accessories that I required. He would say, “whatever you want, just let me know” and by the time I won the Miss Intercontinental,
Ojukwu and his twins
‘Family fights over property’ then the sky was the limit and I got the opportunity of going for Miss Universe which I found tremendously enjoyable and from there I was able to get some modelling investments for fragrance, for holiday villa’s, for some beauty care products. And your marriage to Ojukwu? I think that I made the…in fact, I consider myself the luckiest women in the world. I made very good choice of a husband. He was a very charismatic figure, he was a very enigmatic figure, but most of all, he was a very kind man and so many things endeared me to him. When I met him, he wasn’t particularly wealthy, but he was very proud to always tell you ‘you know my father was a very rich man, I did not follow in his footsteps, I chose to be a revolutionary.’ But he would always make it clear; ‘you know I did not invent my circumstances; they fell on me and the life that I leave today is a function of what I have had to inherit from the burden of history.” There were too many things about him but most of all his empathy; he was a man that you could only really predict in one thing and which was his total lack of tolerance for injustice and so many incidents would come to mind. One day, I would say that really I was so touched; I was in a car with him and his driver was taking us somewhere, by then we were not married. We got to a junction, there was a woman crossing over. She clearly had gone to the market, she was carrying quite a lot and there was a little child that she was holding unto trying to cross the road and the driver just blared the horn as the woman was rushing out to the road he blared the horn and was not ready to give a kind of accommodation for the woman to cross over. Ah! My husband was so incensed and it was a miracle we didn’t have an accident that day; he tugged the man from the back seat and said park. So, the driver had to park the car. He said, “step down from the car; go to that woman, apologize, take what she is holding across the road and then come back.” So, the woman looked bewildered and as the driver started walking towards her, she almost started running away but the driver called to her to stop and walked to her, took her bag. There was a moment struggle and then he explained to her and took her and the bags across the road. He came back to the car and my husband said to me: “Nne, do you have any money in your
bag?” because, of course, he hardly ever carried money. So, at that time I looked I had some notes, not very much and he said, “please let me have it” I tease him and said, “you are always borrowing money and you never paid me back.” So, I gave it to him, he said to the driver “go back to that woman and give her this money and I hope you have apologized.” He said, yes. The driver went back, gave the woman money and then came back. When he came back, my husband said to the driver, “hand me the keys”; which I thought was very strange because I had never seen him drive. He said to the man: “You are sacked.” I tried to intervene, to beg him…I said, “who is going to drive us? I’m certainly not going to drive.” He said “I will drive.” I said, “you haven’t driven in so long, why do you have to do this? I know you are upset, I know you are angry?” He said, “well this man will not drive me.” He took the keys from the man, got into the car because the man must have believed he was joking; he got into the car and started driving. When I tried to approach the subject, I was a little bit afraid because I did not want to distract him. So, we drove to our location in silence. Yes, he was driving a little slower but at least we got there; so I could establish that he could drive quite well. When we got there, I said to him, don’t you think you were a little bit severe in your response, particularly as you have made him go do this, offer some kind of restitution. He said to me, you know if he had done that to another man of his size or another man slightly bigger than he is it’s easier to forgive. But what kind of man would see this pathetic-looking woman with her child struggling just to cross the road and want to intimidate her by shooing her off the road in panic? He said there are certain things that are reprehensible and this is one of those things. He should pick on somebody his own size; and he must have a reason to go home and reflect on why he lost his job. Once he is able to establish that, the next time, he would have more empathy towards anybody in that sort of situation. Much as I didn’t understand it at that time, when I look back, I say yes he was right. He was a man who hated any kind of injustice and he would never sit still, he must react. I am sure his friends always have a lot of stories to tell about him. There was a similar incident where a policeman was kicking a teenager on the floor
on a side street and people had gathered but nobody was saying anything. He just jumped out of the car, I have never seen…you know for his age you don’t expect that level of agility, but he was really able to get there, disarmed the policeman and said to him, “what gives you the right to exhibit this sort of brutality?” Took him by the collar, and everybody there started hailing him. He was so upset and he said to the people, “how can you all stand back and watch this sort of thing happening; what did this boy do? If he is guilty of a crime take him to the police station but I will report you to your superiors.’ For me, those were the aspects of him that I find intriguing; he never for a moment thought about the danger to himself in coming to the defence of others; and surprisingly, I don’t think that he placed much value on his own life and that’s why, a lot of the time I told people that he wasn’t difficult to be married to because he never really would want to give you much trouble because everything around him…I mean there were lots of challenges that he had to grapple with. But him as a person, you’d have to force him to eat; he will never say to you I’m hungry. If he is sick, he will be in so much discomfort; so much pain but he will never say it. You will basically have to drag it out of him, if he’s got a headache. Lots of time, he would say to you: “Don’t worry about me, it would come and it would go.” So many times, pain was his companion and he took it quite well. I used to say to him, “look, I need to know how you feel at any given time so that one can gauge on days you don’t feel too well so that you take things a lot slower.” But he always believed that…he would say, “what is this life? When your time comes, there is not very much that you can do.” He was very philosophical about life. Ojukwu’s encounters with armed robbers On two occasions he had been unfortunate enough to be stopped by armed robbers. The first encounter, there was a blockade and they made them clear to the side of the road and with their heavy weapons approached the vehicle. There was a policeman that was in front of the vehicle who, by this time, had disrobed himself. Had removed his uniform and was only wearing his singlet. One of the robbers, a very thickset man as my husband described him, approached and said everybody step down from this vehicle. Everybody stepped down from the car, including the driver and my husband’s friend and the policeman. But my husband refused to step down from the vehicle. So, the leader of the gang was so incensed, knocked, opened the door and said: “Step down! Why are you still sitting in that vehicle, do you want to die?” My husband said in a calm tone, “I will not.” The man said, “eh, I will show you; who do you think you are?” He made to activate his weapon and my husband replied him, “I am Ojukwu.” The man brought a torch, shown the torch on his face and started screaming “Ah, na Ojukwu, na Ojukwu; na our oga, na oga!” His accomplices rushed out from the bush, about eight of them; they all rushed out and they came to the car. By this time he had opened the door but he was still seated in the car and they all took turns in shaking his hands. And they said to him: “Oga, what are doing on the road by this time and you know some of our group members are operating further up; what are we going to do now?” They immediately ordered a pick-up van that drove out from the bush, about three of them jumped unto the back of the pickup van and they said “ok we will accompany you; we will take you all the way to Enugu.” And they accompanied him; they were shooting in the air until they got to the tollgate in Enugu. They came out again shook his hands turned and went their way. That was how my husband came home. The driver had to be admitted in hospital for shock; the policeman had to offer thanksgiving mass; my husband’s friend tells the story up till this day he said it was amazing. So, in the course of our marriage, each time he upsets me, I would say to him “oga ndi ori” (oga of thieves) which he found very amusing. A similar incident also happened because he used to travel often very late at night. They had a similar encounter. They just stopped but once they realised it was him, they were so excited; they came, shook his hands and waved him off. So, I think it was just a measure of how comfortable he was around people; even men of the
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Saturday People SEPTEMBER 8, 2012
PROF PITA EJIOFOR
How I became professor without PhD •Turn to pg 18
September 8, 2012
‘Poverty prevented me from going to secondary school’ •Continued from Page 17
What legacy did you leave at Nnamdi Azikiwe University. What were your major achievements there? A good number of things give me joy about my stay at Nnamdi Azikiwe University. They include making the university a residential institution, building of administration block, which is the first upstairs in the university, stopping of incessant strikes and building of students’ hostels.
From DOM EKPUNOBI, Onitsha
rofessor Pita Ejiofor, former Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, is, no doubt, one of the most renowned academics in Nigeria. He is today recognised for his brilliance, which he brought to bear, not only in his days as student in various institutions but also as a lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, where he eventually administered as vice chancellor before he retired. He is currently a full-time lecturer at Anambra Sate University. Also, he’s a part-time lecturer at Nnamdi Azikiwe University. What people may not know about this astute academic, who, by all standards, is now comfortable, is that poverty dealt with him in his childhood and nearly prevented him from attaining his targeted academic height of today. His life is, to say the least, inspiring. Below is an excerpt of an interview with him.
Is there any regret about what you did there and what was your saddest experience? One thing, which I failed to achieve was conferring doctorate degree on the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu before he died. Due process was followed in the arrangement and he had accepted the offer when somebody wrote a petition that Prof. Pita Ejiofor was doing it without reference to appropriate authorities. It was then stalled. Who was your model when you were growing up? My uncle from my mother’s side, Mr. B.U. Ilozumba, was my model. He was the younger brother to my mother and father of the Anambra State Commissioner for Works. He was educated, by the standard of those days and was teaching in one of the schools. He was the leader of the town union.
Could you tell about your background? I came from a poor but enlightened parents. My father did not attain any formal education. He was a farmer and my mother combined farming and petty trading. My parents had eight children – seven boys and one girl – and paying their school fees was very difficult. That poor financial status nearly cost me my education, but my father loved education so much and wanted his children to be educated. How did you attend primary and postprimary school? In those days, primary school was done in eight years. I attended St. Paul’s Primary School, Obeledu in the first six years, and went to St. Mary’s Practising School, Nwagu Agulu, to complete the remaining two years. I was trekking about three kilometres distance, between Obeledu and Nwagu Agulu, to and fro, five days a week, to go to school and that was for two years. Poverty prevented me from going to secondary school; so I was selected to go to Teachers Training College, Nimo, by the Reverend Father in charge. It was for one year and when I came out, I taught for about one year before I went into St. Anthony’s Teachers’ College, Agulu for Higher Elementary, which lasted for four years. What was your saddest experience in school as a child? At St. Anthony’s Teachers College Agulu, I carried faeces. We were using bucket toilet system and when the man who was carrying it away took ill, which lasted for a long time, the students were compelled to regularly empty the bucket. When it got to my turn, I had to do it. I carried the bucket of faeces to about 400 metres, where we emptied it into pits. In the midst of poverty, how were you able to attend university? I first gained admission into the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1963, to study History, but I could not raise enough money to enter; so I could not go. After
•Ejiofor missing the first admission, I began to teach, until 1964 and saved some money, which enabled me to go in. In my second year in the university, I gained scholarship from the Federal Government. My first year school fees were even refunded. I began to have enough fund. I read Business Administration at UNN and graduated with First Class Honours. When did you become a lecturer? I was first offered appointment as a lecturer at UNN in 1967, but six days after, the civil war started. I later joined the Biafran Army as a Second Lieutenant and was later promoted a Lieutenant. After the war, I got one small employment at Awka and at a stage, I was living alone in one of the Prison rooms at Amawbia. Later, I was employed as a lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. From there, I gained scholarship to do aMaster’s degree at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. I was on the verge of travelling to New York, to do my PhD under Ahmadu Bello University scholarship when I resigned and went to Nnamdi Azikiwe University to lecture. Why did you join UNIZIK? I was begged to take up appointment at
Nnamdi Azikiwe University. I was persuaded to do so and I saw an opportunity there for me. You became a professor without first having a doctorate degree. How did you do it? Those days, it was possible to become a professor without first being a PhD holder. There was no law against that. It was also part of the opportunities I saw at Nnamdi Azikiwe University that made me to abandon a scholarship offered to me by Ahmadu Bello University to do PhD in New York. Would you want that law to forbid non-PhD holders from being made professors? No, it is the policy all over the world. I would, however, support exceptions to that policy. It is a fact that most of the famous professors in Nigeria do not have Ph.D. If you did not take to academics, what trade would you have gone into? If I did not go to school, I would have gone into business, as a trader. It is also possible that I could have gone into farming and combining it with wine tapping.
There was a time it was widely rumoured that you would contest the governorship of Anambra State. Why did you renege? It is true that I nearly contested governorship election that time. What happened was that I was in the final year of my tenure as vice chancellor and the political party that I was to contest on its platform wanted me to resign before I would be given the ticket and I refused. Do you support the extension of retirement age of lecturers to 70 years? No, I do not support it, but it has been established. I think the ideal thing would have been for lecturers to retire at 65 years so that the younger ones can have opportunity. People should bow out at 65 years of age. What led you to campaign for Igbo language? I saw doom threatening Igbo race if the language is allowed to die and I decided to raise an alarm and prevent that doom. Any ethnic group that allows its language to die would be inviting its death. Israel scattered for about 1,000 years and was able to regroup because they did not allow their language to die. I still call on the Igbo not to allow Igbo language to die. Are you succeeding in the Igbo language revival project? We are succeeding, even though our governments are not giving enough support. In 1999, before we started the project, no university was offering Igbo language. This year, about seven universities offer Igbo language. Now, Igbo language is being offered as a General Studies in many universities, including Nnamdi Azikiwe University and Anambra State University.
September 8, 2012
Saturday People When I was young, women bathed me with their eyes closed –Prince Ayoade By GBENGA ADESUYI
n 2003 and 2007, Prince Ademola Ayoade aspired to be governor of Oyo State. He first contested on the platform of the United Nigeria’s People Party (UNPP), in 2003 and later, in 2007, on the platform of the National Democratic Party (NDP). An acolyte of former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, Ayoade, prince of Idere town, in the Ibarapa Central Local Government Area of Oyo State, in this interview, talks about his life as a prince and experience in a polygamous family, which he described as unpalatable. Excerpts: Could you tell us about yourself? I am the first child in my family. My father had 22 children. My mother was my father’s first wife. I started school very early because of my father’s social life and position. Most of the senior civil servants at that time, in our town, were my father’s friends. I started my primary school at Pembo Methodist Primary School, Igbo-Ora. I later came to Ibadan in 1963 and stayed with my cousin, who had convinced me to stay with him. I was enrolled at IDC Primary School, now IMG Apata in Ibadan. In 1962, I was promoted from primary four to five, but when I got to IDC School, an examination was conducted for me. They had to tell me to go back to primary two. I then told my brother I was not staying in Ibadan again, but he convinced me to stay. After spending first and second terms in primary two, I was promoted to primary three. My brother was fortunately given a scholarship to go to Japan and as a result I had to go to back to Igbo-Ora because he was not married. I went back to Igbo-Ora to continue my education from primary five. When I got to Igbo-Ora, many of my friends that we were supposed to be in secondary schools together were, by then, in either form one or form two or modern school, while I had to be in primary school. I was not comfortable, but I adjusted after some time and faced the reality. My short stay in Ibadan influenced my life. My academic and social life and attitude changed, to the extent that my friends then saw me as a role model and somebody who had arrived. I later entered Igbo-Ora High school. I worked with the Office of Statistics after my secondary education. After about three months of working, the job became too tedious for me. I taught for a while. I later went to Baptist Academy, Lagos for my HSC. I tried my hand in taking a career in the military. Could you tell us about your business experiences? I had tried my hands at many businesses. I bought Africana Brewery from Oyo State government and changed the name to Ultimate Brewery. We were able to operate for about 10 months, after which we folded up, because there was no financial back-up and that is one of the problems in Nigeria. If you don’t have any strong person behind you, you may not get financial assistance from banks. I ran from pillar to post to raise funds for the business, but failed. I also had poultry and fishery farms. I also had a battery factory in Igbo-Ora. One of the problems with the battery business was that there was no electricity supply. It has not taken off properly. I had to travel to the United States of America later. What was your experience growing up in a polygamous family? Polygamy is not good. My father had 11 wives with 22 children. Two out of the 11 wives did not have children for him and they didn’t spend more than three years with my father. You see most of the people who are in polygamy believe it’s going to work before they enter, but entering it becomes another story. It also depends on the head of the family. If the head is sound and bold enough, it will
•Ayoade work. If the head also has the fear of God, it will work. If he’s able to distribute his resources and love among the wives and children, there would be no problem. Another angle to that is from the wives. If the man is unfortunate to have one, among the wives, that has an unfamiliar spirit, that is another problem, because she has “four eyes.” She will be seeing every child’s future and what they are likely to become. Such women could change the future of children and that would be problem. I had about four siblings after me before my father married his second wife. When she entered our house, she showed love, to the extent that we even loved her more than our mother. If there was any misunderstanding between her and my mother, we always supported her. We thought our mother was jealous. My father gave the woman every support, but we didn’t know the woman was pretending. She caused a lot of disaffection between our father and us. Before our father could discover what was happening, it was too late. He had to send her away; she had four children for him. Another woman came in. The bad experience I had was with an Ibadan woman my father married, who spread rumour about me. She told my father to stop sending me to school, that I always came home with girls and also contracted a disease, which made me to become lean. My father was staying in Ibadan, while we stayed in Igbo-Ora. The truth was that these girls washed my clothes, while I ironed theirs. I was taken to many hospitals for medical check-up. She was able to persuade my father to stop my education and because the man didn’t know what he was doing, he stopped me in form three, but my mother and cousin assisted me and I was able to complete my education. It was after I got promoted from form three to form four that my father came back and started sponsoring me again.
should bring the ram for him; but after some hours, the husband of the woman who owned the ram came to tell Baba that the ram belonged to his wife. Baba told his servant to switch the rope on the neck of the ram and put it on the neck of the man and tie him to a tree. After a serious appeal, he told the relations to go and bring palm wine, pepper, palm oil and all other ingredients to cook; he then ordered the man to slaughter the ram and cook; he gave him the leg and arm and later released him. That was the kind of life my grandfather lived, because his father was a king. The man was even thanking God that he did not kill him. His full name was Gbadamosi Adimo Emilofo.There was another story I was told about my grandfather. He was said to have come to visit his mother, but when he was going back and got to a place called Odo-Agogo, in Igbo-Ora, some of his enemies attacked. The man was tough. He was given a serious beating. They thought he had died. The place was beside a river. These people dug a hole, put him there, in the hope that his people would not see him. The man survived. He did certain things and went to the house of those people who attacked him. They were seven in number. He was able to go to the house of three among the seven people, before he was persuaded and stopped by the then baale of Igbo-Ora. Those three people died within five days.
Could you tell us about your life as a prince? You see because of my grandfather, we enjoyed life of abundance. As a young boy, women used to bathe me and when they did, they were expected to close their eyes. I don’t know the reason behind that, but that was what grandmother told me. She said my grandfather usually stayed with women whenever I was taking my bath. I was a spoilt child. My great grandfather was a king, in Idere. My grandfather was never a king, but as I said, he enjoyed the life of a king, including his children and great grand children. He came to Igbo-Ora with all royal status. A place was carved for him in the town, called Isale-Oba; our compound was Ile-Oba. My grandfather believed in African tradition and power; we the great grand children were feared by the people. I was told that my father was asked to bring four bamboo trees in the school he attend at that time. He was not the only one asked to bring bamboo tree to school, but my father did not take the bamboo tree to school and he was then beaten by a teacher. Baba Gbadamosi then asked that the teacher and the principal be brought to his house by his servant and he ensured that they were beaten. He then told my father to stop going to school, since he had We hear that you were fond of your grand- beaten his teachers. I enjoyed my childhood to the fullest; if the present Oba in Idere should father. Could you tell us about him? When grandfather was alive, he lived like a die, I will be entitled to become a king. king; he was so powerful and people respectYou were close to some military officers. ed and feared him. He had many servants; we were treated as direct sons of a king. Could you assess the military? Military men were committed individuals in Remember I said my great-grandfather was a king. I can remember one day when I was cry- the olden days. They are people, who have the ing; a very big ram ran across our house and heart of lions, not the heart of pig, but it’s not my grandfather said it was the ram that was like that any longer; they are now very selfish making me to cry and ordered that his servants and are interested more in political power.
Towards a Peaceful Living (Vol. 3) By Josiah Bonire 07055822097 firstname.lastname@example.org
Critical thoughts on Behaviour (Section Five):
Chapter Three Requirements For Success 2235. To be a successful leader, you’ll have to reason within and beyond the scope of the people being led. 2236. A leader that won’t want to offend won’t progress, but a wise leader seeks to sooth and heal the wounds he had to inflict in carving out directions as soon as the wounds are inflicted. 2237. Choose wise men to lead, for the ideas of the leaders decide the welfare of the lead. 2238. It is a parent of a man that can lead. He has the experience, vision and the required resilience. 2239. Let only the kind-hearted be the watchman, if all approaching evils are to be announced. 2240. Don’t make two equals head of a project, unless their functions differ. Equals quarrel more over getting the attention of the led, than set a pattern for the project. 2241. Often, only force can rouse a man in comfort. 2242. Let the lawmaker be wise. Laws and customs decide how the people behave. Approaches 2243. A wise country does not think of just one trade, so as not to be grounded if the trade is stopped by obstacles. 2244. Criticisms wound, but praises sooth. So, criticism to correct and then praise to sooth the mind. 2245. Wound an opposing mind to get a good point through than spare the mind and let in failure. A man that opposes a good point is either foolish or ignorant, and some failures can be irredeemable. 2246. Teach a child the difficult way before showing him what is easy, lest he fails to learn what is difficult though he knows not what the future will demand. 2247. Don’t refuse the advise of a subordinate if it is the wise way out, but strive to also do what he cannot do in some other field, if you are to keep his respect. 2248. Teach rather than stand and expect. He might be ignorant for no fault of his. TODAY IN HISTORY:
September 8, 1974: Watergate Scandal: US President Gerald Ford pardons former President Richard Nixon for any crimes Nixon may have committed while in office.
September 8, 2012
with Omoniyi Ayedun 08027537357
Mr Kehinde Olowu and his twin sister, Mrs Taiwo Adeyemi, celebrated their 60th birthday in Lagos last week. Photo by FESTUS ODOFIN shows:
Mr Olowu and family members
The Olowu family The ‘birthday twins,’ Mr Kehinde Olowu and Mrs Taiwo Adeyemi From left, Mrs Temitope Sodipo (Banker), Mr Kehinde Olowu. celebrant, and Mrs Grace Asemokha (Banker)
Sir Tunde Olowu (left) and Gen Tajudeen Olanrewaju (retd)
Mr Kehinde Olowu and Mr Kanmi Atiba
From left, ACN Chairman Abuja, Mr Frank Osuma, Mr Olowu and Mr Clement Robin
(L-R): Mrs Dorcas Olowu (wife of the celebrant), Miss Bolanle Olowu, Dimeji Olowu, the celebrants, Miss Yetunde Adeyemi, Akin Olowu and Omotayo Adekoya
From left, Alhaja Sariu Olowu, Alhaja Abiodun Coker, Engr Saliu Akintunde and Alhaji Karimu Babalola Olowu
From left, Mrs Nimota Asuni (nee Olowu), Alhaja Sherifat Aduke Alao and Mrs Taiwo Johnson (nee Olowu)
September 8, 2012
People took me to be truly possessed of evil spirit because of how well I played a role in a movie
â€”Oge Nwuba, Actress
FASHION POLITICS ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY &LIFESTYLE
By OGUBUNKA CHISOM
here is no better way to describe herself than a young girl that loves God, striving to achieve her dreams, humble, simple and puts on a smile as a favourite accessory. Oge Nwuba is one of the notable Nollywood actresses. Born into a family of four at Enugu, her love for acting inspired her to go into acting which she combines with her Law profession. She had her secondary education at
Continued on page 22
September 8, 2012
‘I dread to see children hawk on the street’ How many movies have you starred in so far? So far, I have featured in about 30 movies. Which would you say is the most challenging? I can’t pinpoint any one in particular, because all my roles are really challenging to me. I get to play a character that isn’t me and I try to play every character as real as possible because I am a critic myself. Would you describe any as your best? No. I love all my roles. I learn from each role I play. What has acting brought you? Acting has brought me fulfillment. The fulfillment one gets when living one’s dream. Any other thing, like the fame, is a bonus I am grateful for.
Continued from Page 21 Federal Government College and University of Nigeria Nsukka where she obtained a degree in Law. A woman of many parts, Oge is also a model, which she described as a strange combination instinct. In a chat with Saturday Sun, she talked about her profession as an actress and a lawyer. When actually did you start acting? I started acting since 1999 but returned fully in 2011. Why acting and not something else? Acting to me, is a talent and a passion. I didn’t study Theatre Arts, I actually studied Law but I still returned to my first love which is acting, That doesn’t mean I have abandoned my legal profession. What was the first movie you starred in? My first movie was in 1999. It is entitled After School Hour, but when I returned recently, I started with Hopeless Tomorrow. How was it like acting for the very first time? The first time I appeared in front of a camera to act, I was a child, and as a child I was scared coupled with the fact that I was playing the role of a possessed kid, it was really challenging for me.
saw potentials in me in 2011 and set me in motion, Uche Nancy, Amaechi Ukaeje and many others. In fact, I have had extraordinary favour that surpasses human understanding. Did you ever think you were going to get to this level soon? Yes, I know I will get to this level and even much above this level but as I said earlier, the pace is surprising to me. All glory goes back to Jesus. What was it like acting alongside those stars you’ve always admired? That is really thrilling. When I am on set with them, I try to learn from them. I listen to what they have to say. I try to get the secrets to their success and I try to apply it. I am really honoured having the opportunity to work with those wonderful people.
How do you manage your fans? As an upcoming actress, my fans mean a lot to me, they make me realize that I am appreciated and recognized. I love them. Have you ever experienced a situation that you wished you were not an actress? No, I have never regretted being an actress. Who are your role models? My mum is my pillar, my rock. Each time I look at her, I am inspired to be like herstrong, independent, kind and humble. Mercy Johnson is my role model in the industry. She has taught me a lot, I admire her perfections. I admire the depth she gives her roles. In fact, I admire Mercy Johnson. She is good. If you have opportunity to change anything in Nollywood, what would it be? Honestly, the movie soundtracks. I am not saying this to offend anyone; and with due respect, soundtrack needs to be improved on. What is your next major work? I am working on setting up an non governmental organisation (NGO), which will be just for women and young children. I will inform you when that one is set.
If you are not acting, how is your typical day like? Apart from acting, I do other things. l am a legal practitioner, so I attend to my clients. I write or I sleep the whole day or I dedicate my day to seeing movies. Is there anything you hate about yourself? Hate? Never!! I’m in love with me, could never have wished for a better me. What challenges did you encounter when you started? As I earlier stated, I have been really favoured in my career. God has been really faithful. What else in life are you passionate about? Apart from acting, I ‘m passionate about little children, I enjoy catering for the underprivileged kids. I dread to see them hawking on roads and streets. Is sexual harassment a myth or reality? Sexual harassment, in general, arises when someone appears to be desperate. I am very sure that if someone comports herself properly, there won’t be any room for harassment. How would you attribute playing the role of love-making on the screen? There is nothing wrong with that at all. I mean, it is make-believe, none of those stuffs are real, and we are just trying to pass a message to our viewers. Are you married? No, I am not married. What do you look for in an ideal man? An ideal man is a man that fears God. If a man fears God, he will have the heart of Christ and that is all I need in a man. Do you believe in love? Yes, I believe in love. Have you had a bitter experience? Yes, I have had my own share of bitter experiences but I am glad, they didn’t kill me, they made me stronger. What do you like about celebrity? Being a celebrity gives you a voice loud enough to make impact on the lives of people.
How would you describe the role you played? As I said earlier, the role was a daring one, had to act as a possessed little girl, killing teachers and initiating her mates with biscuits and all sorts of things.
Have you ever been insulted for acting a bad role? Yes, of course. Back then, people said I was possessed because I played a possessed girl. Recently, a little girl came to me to tell me that I am a spoilt girl because she saw me kissing on the screen, but I find it all so fun. I mean, anyhow, I am recognized.
Do you think that happens in real life? Of course, those things happen in real life. I mean a lot of weird things happen in the spiritual world. Life is a mystery. The kingdom of darkness hasn’t ceased in their operations in winning the souls of mankind. Your rise in the industry is quite fast, what would you attribute this to? Truthfully, I don’t think I have risen yet, I am still on my way. But I appreciate the pace by which I am attaining success. I attribute it to God Almighty, my mum’s support, Nollywood producers like Solo Amaco who
How do you relax? I relax with a good movie or music. I also enjoy reading inspirational books.
What’s your advice to those aspiring to be like you? My advice is, keep your head up, with prayers, hard work and humility, you will make it. Don’t try to be like me, I am not perfect, I have flaws; I am trying to be like someone else, so why don’t you aspire to be like the great one I am trying to be like, that is Jesus. And to my fans I say thank you very much for having me. I love you all.
September 8, 2012
Natural medicine: My experience By PAUL TORTY
am so grateful to God for His mercies and love. His inspiration for the things we do cannot be quantified. At the beginning of last year, we decided that we were going to advance by installing medical laboratory testing machines. Recently, we have just opened a medical laboratory office in Ikeja, Lagos State, which has started operations. We will carry out full medical diagnosis and treatment of health disorders. It was not an easy task considering our limited financial strength, but God helped us, when in April last year we started by opening the same medical diagnosis centre at Idimu, Ikotun area of Lagos State.Our vision is speaking and coming to pass daily to the glory of God. We decided to go into diagnosis as this is helping us in our work. And today, we have started our journey, a giant stride in our practice of natural medicine to the glory of God. Early this year, we started by informing our readers and patients that we are going to re-define natural medicine practice by installing standard acceptable laboratory testing machines so that we can practise natural medicine like the way it is done in developed world like the U.S, England, and Canada and I am happy that we are achieving that feat. Natural medicine is not a practice for mediocrities. It is a practice where nature meets science. Today, I am happy to say to the glory of God that we have installed in our Lagos office, an E.C.G machine for investigation of heart conditions, we have installed ultrasound machines for investigation of the state of the womb whether there is fibroid, ovarian masss or cysts. Ultrasound also helps us to check if a woman is fertilile and ovulating properly. Ultrasound also helps us to check the state of the prostate, kidney, liver, spleen, bladder, etc. Ultrasound machine is very essensial to know how the baby is developing in the womb. Ultrasound machine is therefore essesential and useful for the man and woman. Other laboratory machines now available in our medical laboratory are Microscope, spectrophotoemeter, laboratory incubator machines, Genotype machines, etc. These machines help us to investigate whether a patient is suffering from any STDs, such as staphylococcus, streptecoccus, ecoli and other bacteria which may later lead to infertility.The spectrophotometer machine also helps us to check for the kidney and liver functions. We have set a pace in natural medicine. To the glory of God, we have these machines in our branches at Idimu Ikotun and Ikeja in Lagos. And hope to introduce same in Port Harcourt, Abuja and Enugu branches very soon by the grace of God. But for now one can access our herbal remedies for diverse diseases and infections from any of our branches in Port Harcourt, Abuja, Enugu and Lagos. But if you are outside Lagos and have already conducted these tests, then you can
place order for our herbal remedies as well. I have always said in this column that we have documented herbs that give you the result you need. Our major mission is to ensure a healthy society irrespective of class and status. Everybody can benefit and enjoy health to the fullest. Cases of ravaging diabetes, and hypertension can be remedied with our herbs. Cases of asthma, ulcer, hepatitis, kidney and bladder problems can be addressed with our herbs. Of course, we have had several testimonies of men and women having long term fertility problems who took our herbs and eventually had children. In the recent time men battling with prostate problems, inability to urinate, excess urination in the night hours are signs of prostate problems among men. In the U.S, research by Prostate Society of the United States of America says prostate is the second cancer killer problem. We have had tremendous result in prostate treatment. I advocate that men in their 40s and above should come for prostate scan. Prostate condition which is not discovered on time can eventually lead to prostate cancer. We have a foundation called the The Saints Medical Foundation which is presently advancing a course for healthy prostate because all over the world, men in their 40s and above are dying from this problem. This should not be so. Come for P.S.A tests and prostate scan today. If you already have the problem, you can place order for our herbal remedy which can be delivered to you. We have documented testimonies. Prostate problem is rampant. This is the most common health problems suffered by men all over the world. A survey carried out by American Prostate and Cancer Society says in every six men, two will have prostate problems. We have other herbs for weight loss, tummy blasting, wrinkle and stretchmarks treatment, diabetes, hypertension, kidney infections, hepatitis, keloloids, weight gain herbs, ulcer, asthma, ovulation and sperm boosting herbs. Call Dr Torty on 08037140368, 08051625888, 08083860575. Dr. Torty is the publisher of Maximum Health Link magazine in Lagos and the CEO of The Saints Herbals and The Saints Medical Foundation, Lagos. Website: www.drpaultorty.com and www.thesaintsmedical.com, Email: email@example.com.
Our offices are: Lagos office: Ariket Plaza , Alake Bus Stop, Suite 12, last floor, Idimu; Aishetu Emeowa Plaza, off Lonlo Bus Stop, Iju; 41, Awolowo Way by Ecobank, Opp. Ipodo Market, Ikeja. Abuja: 268, Ado Bayero Block, Garki 2, Ultramodern New Market, Abuja. Enugu: Shop B2, Ifesinachi Plaza, by Ogbete Main Market, close to Holy Ghost, Enugu. Port Harcourt: 2 Awkwuzu Street, off Ikwere Street, Mile 1, Diobu, Port Harcourt.
Sex: Frequently asked questions, answers and testimonies (160) I love her, but she is HIV positive. Should I still MDearentor marry her? Thanks – Greg Greg, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. It all depends on you and what you can deal with. I can’t tell you not to marry her simply because she is HIV positive. That will be discrimination on the basis of one’s health condition and it is cruel to those who are HIV positive. Besides, being HIV positive is no longer a death sentence because of the drugs available today. Who knows, there could even be a cure tomorrow. This woman may also turn out to be the love of your life and the best thing that ever happened to you. But there are also consequences to this marriage that you must be able to deal with before you can go ahead. For instance, each time you have sex with her, you will be worrying about contacting this virus even when using a condom because condoms do break sometimes. Each time you kiss her, you panic a little. HIV can also be contacted through kissing where one or more partners have bleeding gums. Can you handle all this pressure? Marrying her will also mean going for hospital tests every three to six months to ensure you have not contacted the virus. And what if you eventually contact the virus from her after being so careful? Will you be okay with that? Are you still going to love her no matter what? These are just some of the questions you have to answer before making such a big decision. If you can handle the consequences, then you can marry her. I wish you the best of luck – Uche Dear Mr Uche, how are you? I am 39 years old and I am on anti-depressants drugs. At times during sex, my erection just goes soft, which makes penetration difficult. It also takes me up to 2 hours to get a second erection. I have learned that drugs such as Sex Voltz and Libigrow are good for people with erection problems. I also hear Cockrings like Purrfect Pet and Dual Studded Cockring are helpful. What do you suggest? Mike Dear Mike, I am fine, thank you. It is true that some prescription drugs like anti-depressants do affect a man’s erection. Erection supplements such as Sex Voltz, Libigrow and Xzen 1200 can help strengthen your erections and enable you have second and third rounds within minutes of ejaculating. But you must confirm from your doctor that they wouldn’t clash with your medication. Alternatively, you can use a Penis Pump and a Cock Ring to strengthen and maintain your erections – Uche Please I have small balls that go between my thighs and it is
uncomfortable when I am walking. I also have low sperm count – Bolaji Bolaji avoid tight fitting underwear and wear boxer shorts instead. That will get rid of the tightness and discomfort. For low sperm count, start taking Repro Aid for Men. It will boost your fertility and help with conception – Uche I am recently divorced, overworked and lonely. I need a vibrator that can make me happy and forget my problems. What do you recommend? Linda Linda I will recommend a nice toy for you but you need to start dating again. No sex toy can replace a human being and humans need that contact with one another. Go for the Euphoria G Spot Rabbit Vibrator. It is new and gives a lot of pleasure. Use it with the 69 Slick Licks Nipple and Clit Gel for maximum enjoyment. If you like movies, I recommend watching 30 Rock XXX Parody. The story line is silly like your typical adult film but it will make you laugh. Take care and find time to make new friends. It helps drive away the loneliness - Uche Please I need recommendation on lubricating gels that can enhance both male and female sexual enjoyment and climax – Oguchi For men, I recommend Stay Hard Delay Cream. Delay Creams help prevent premature ejaculation. For women I recommend a vaginal tighten cream for more enjoyable sex such as Tighten It UP V-Gel, and an orgasm gel such as Clit Sensitizer Gel to help her Climax – Uche Sir please what does a man of above 22 years who is still virgin need to know and do to satisfy his girl? Edwin Edwin, for your sex education, I recommend the film More of What Women Want and the book Sex Secrets. Proper love making cannot be learnt in a day. But these materials will teach you a lot – Uche Thank you sir for Mega Me Organ Enlarger. My penis is long and fat and I last long during sex – Kunle You are welcome Kunle. That’s it for today. The names of the people featured here have been changed for their privacy. Adults in need of these treatments/novelties can call 08027901621 or 08051924159 or any other number here to order or they can order online at www.zeevirtualmedia.com. Zee Virtual Media delivers to you wherever you are in Nigeria. For enquiries, send your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org — Uche Edochie, MD, Zee Virtual Media.
E Break them up in patterns
olid brights can be overwhelming, but a pattern that includes one or more extremely bold shades is generally easier on the eyes. Go for a bright-inclusive pattern that will break up those intense hues.
By VIVIAN ONYEBUKWA email@example.com
ig, bold brights are in vogue. Here are some tips on ways to wear fabulously bright shades without looking out of place
September 8, 2012
Calm them down with neutrals
hoose browns, grays, ivories, and other neutrals to create a mix that will calm down your brights.
Manage them with other garments
rame your brights with nonbright colours and patterns to keep them tame and manageable.
Magic of bright colours
Tamp them down with darks
f you love to wear bright colours, one of the best ways to look smashy in it is to paired it with dark colours, which turns that blaring brightness down considerably. Utilize dark jewel tones, deep blues and navies, or really any deep shade to tamp down your brights.
Wear them in accessories
f course, the simplest way to add some brightness to your life is to go for boldly-coloured accessories. Belts, scarves, shoes, and jewellery in shocking shades feel less risky than
pants, skirts, dresses and blazers. If bright colours just feel overwhelming to you but youâ€™re interested in experimentation, try wrangling them in accessories.
25 SATURDAY SUN September 8, 2012
Editor: SHOLA OSHUNKEYE
YOUR SATURDAY MAGAZINE
TED IWERE Former Managing Director, Independent Newspapers
Trust can’t be substitute for performance
September 8, 2012
Former Managing Director, Independent Newspapers
How to be the best in business...any business By OLUWASANMI FALOBI “I don’t know how it is to be a doctor,but I know how it is to be a journalist,”he announces with a flourish.And anybody who knows Mr.Ted Iwere would not help but agree totally.He has traversed the entire rung of the professional ladder.Iwere who graduated from the University of Lagos as a National Merit Award student in Mass Communication,has gone through the ranks of journalism as a reporter,editor and then publisher.He had combined journalism and entrepreneurship to pioneer the publication of Business Magazine in Nigeria in 1988.He became the managing director of Daily Independent newspaper in 2003. With a disposition for results,he had been able to achieve for himself,all the good things he wanted for his life such that he says he is a fulfilled man.He shares parts of his attributes in this interview. Excerpts: How did you start life as a young man? Talking about the good old days… My first job after university was at the Nigerian Observer, where I was a reporter, feature writer and editorial writer all rolled in one. This was in 1978, and from there I went to Daily Times in 1979 as a senior sub-editor. Then while I was in Daily Times, I also moved into Times International as a senior writer. I left Daily Times in 1981 and went for my Master’s in the graduate school of journalism at Columbia University, New York. After Master’s, I worked briefly in New York and from there I was hired by The Guardian newspaper to be the pioneer features editor. What year was that? I think that was in February 1983. What was it like being a journalist at that time, when compared to others in notable professions such as doctors, lawyers and engineers? I don’t know how it is to be a doctor, but I know how it is to be a journalist. I had a job to do. You are a writer, a reporter, and editor and these where the things you did as a journalist. You produce a newspaper or magazine. The same old things that journalism have been over the ages. I don’t think it has changed so much. Though the technology is changing, the core of the business remains the same; old-fashioned reporting, old-fashioned writing and old-fashioned editing. While I was at The Guardian, from features editor, I acted as the editor of The Guardian on Sunday and then later moved to start The African Guardian, the weekly magazine they had at that time. I left The Guardian at the end of 1987 and in 1988 started one publication called Business Magazine, which was targeted at the business community. I published that for a long while and also ran a printing press. In-between that, I went to school and took a degree in Law. From which school? Law was my second degree from the University of Lagos. I went to the Nigerian Law School and was called to the bar in 1993. In 2001, I was called to serve as project manager of Independent Newspapers. There was a substantive chief operating officer and two years down the line, I became executive editor of Daily Independent. At that point, I could not combine publishing of Business Magazine and so I had to rest it to go and run Independent full time. I was at the Independent from that period till October 2009. How was growing up? I grew up in Delta State up till secondary school. I finished secondary school at St. Malachy’s College, Sapele where I had my O’levels. Then, my higher school at Loyola College, Ibadan and first degree in Mass Communication at the University of Lagos in 1977. What was your family like? Where you the first-born? No. I am number three and we were up to eight.
How many wives had your dad? He had two wives but from my mother’s line, we were eight. So, how was it growing up in that kind of setting? Nothing extraordinary. There was no problem. It was just okay. When you started Daily Independent newspaper, what were the challenges? Starting a new publication is starting on a new slate. First, you have to define the object of your mission and then bring it to life. That wasn’t my first time of creating a new publication. When we started the Business Magazine, it was the same thing. You create it from nothing and give it life
and build it as a business. So, it was essentially the same challenge and same fundamentals. So, what skill does one need in starting a business? What skills assisted you in starting? My training and experience were in journalism and what I needed was a transition to publishing, and, of course, there is a difference between the two. Just because you know how to do the technical work of a job doesn’t mean you also know how to run it as a business. There are two sides to it. You have the editorial side, which is the technical side and the publishing side, which is the business side. Apart from being technically competent as a journalist, you must also be competent as a businessperson and the challenges are some-
what different. As a businessperson, what are the competencies you need to manage an organisation successfully? If you are talking of publishing, you must have a vision of what you are publishing, those you are publishing for and how to deliver that service or that product. Like a normal business, you are dealing with the same things. You are dealing with the management side of the business, the operational side of the business, the people side of the business, the marketing side of the business and it is a complete bag of what you need to run a normal business. A business is a business whether you are selling groundnut or running a newspaper. If it is a business, there are certain fundamentals you have to deal with. Like what, sir? You have to deal with the people issue. You have to deal with the financial issue. You have to deal with the marketing issue and also the operational issues. It is a whole basket of issues you have to deal with. A media house has different sections with reporters, editors, etc. What does it take to be the man at the helm of affairs and manage things successfully? If you have your system and structures in place, it is no big deal. There’s very little you can do as a single person but you have to replicate yourself. Every business should have an organisational chart and at the head of the chart is the CEO, the MD, the chairman or whatever name you want to call that person. After that, you have different lines of people. You have the operations people, the financial people, the marketing people and under these people you have lesser officers. So, what is important is that once you have your organisational structure very clear, you know who does what and the system assumes a life of its own. So, all you need to do is to keep monitoring. You provide leadership, the vision and the direction the organisation should go and you keep telling yourself whether you are within that direction or not. So, at the end of the day, it is very simple if you understand what you are doing. As the head, you must structure your organisation in such a way that it is run by a system. If there is no system, then you don’t have an organisation. The thing that will run your organisation is the structures and systems you have in place. Without those, it is chaos. You must also structure your organisation in such a way that the organisation can run without you. How do you build trust in replicating yourself in others as the head of an organisation? You build trust by trusting people. It starts from the kind of people you recruit. When recruiting your team, you have to size them up if they are people you can trust. But having done that, after selecting the people, you cannot let trust run the
‘A business is a business whether you are selling groundnut or running a newspaper. Iwere
If it is a business, there are certain fundamentals you have to deal with’
September 8, 2012
Interview organisation. For example, having trusted somebody, you must monitor the person to make sure that the person is performing as agreed. You focus on results, not on work. The person may be doing all the work, but it must meet the expected result. If the person is not giving the result expected, then it is not working. So you focus on result and not on work and the only way you can measure the trust is if the person is delivering the result he has promised to deliver as per the position the person is occupying. If the person does not deliver, he is not working! You cannot substitute trust for performance. If you are employed as a reporter to bring in four stories a week and you are not doing so, then you are not working. The expected results must be met. How do you take it when people say you are too hard in making them get result? The question of saying I am too hard is a nonquestion. You can only say I am too hard if I am asking for the results we did not agree on. You saw what the government recently did with the ministers by asking them to sign a performance contract. That is basically what a normal organisation should do. Any employee is supposed to have a position contract which says, “Mr. A, you are employed to do so and so work. And in delivering this so and so work, you are supposed to achieve A, B, C within a certain time frame”. Both sides sign and so at the end of the day if we are evaluating you, we are not using some measures from the sky. It is all there on paper and signed. This is not a letter of employment but a performance contract. That defines the deliverables between that employee and the company or organisation or whatever it is. You cannot substitute that for trust. Trust is intangible but its result is something you can put a hand on. So, how do you deal with people you think are not performing? If you are not performing, you go. You do not run an organisation as if you are Father Christmas. Even an NGO still has to be run based on results not to talk of a profit-making organisation. If people are not performing, how does the organisation grow? So, as the head of an organisation, if you are keeping somebody who is not performing, then it is not the person’s problem but yours because the person will not be held accountable. It is you that are the head that will be held accountable. You have taken many decisions over many years of working. Can you recollect one decision that was difficult for you to take? There are no difficult decisions. All decisions are easy to take if you understand the decision you are trying to make. If you have a problem, or an issue to decide, it is like you have a blank sheet of paper and you put on one side, “this is why I should take this decision and on the other side, this is why I should not take this decision”. Then, it is like a scale and you see where it tilts. If the side that says you should take the decision tilts higher than the side that says you should not take the decision, then you will be stupid not to take the decision. So, there is no decision that is difficult to take. Once you know what the problem is, what you do is to analyse the problem and do the advantages and disadvantages, then the answer will pop up. So, there is no struggle in taking any decision, especially in a business environment. In your managerial life, there hadn’t been any issue that was tough to take a decision on? I don’t have difficult decisions to take, because for me, the issue is so clear that if I have a problem, I look at the problem in the face and deal with it. So, what are the life values that have taken you this far? It is to take every day as it comes and keep your eyes on the ball. Know where you are going. Once you know where you are going and are focused, it helps you. When you know what you want to do, then you know what you shouldn’t do and what you should do. It is when you don’t know where you are going that you have problems. If you have ten things to do, you take them one by one and do them. If you are clear about what you want to do in life, life is easy. All things will not happen the way you want but at least, you know what you are looking for and the direction you are heading. So, life is simple. What were the issues that made you leave Daily Independent? … I am still in Daily Independent. Do you see the paper and my name is not there? Your name is there as a board member, but not in the managerial position. If my name is still there, that means I am still there. Let’s leave it at that. So, what are you doing now? Now, I have a new project I am midwifing since I left the day-to-day management of Daily Independent. I have devoted my energy to digital
Iwere publishing and online publishing on two websites. There is Business Dispatch, which is an online business publication targeted at the business reader, while the other is SME online which provides “know-how” for people who want to start and grow their businesses. What do you think is the challenge of running small businesses in Nigeria? If you ask the typical operator of a small business, he will tell you it is capital. He will tell you he doesn’t have good partners or that the economy is very challenging. This is true, speaking generally. But more specifically, from my experience, the most challenging thing that small business owners face is that they don’t know how to start a business. Just because you know how to do the technical work of something doesn’t mean you can do it as business that offers that technical work as a service or product. So, what does one need to be able to run a business? You may have the technical skills to produce a product but when it comes to managing the company, you need skills over and beyond technical skills. You need accounting skills, financing skills, human resources and marketing skills. It does not mean you have to possess these skills but you need to recognise that you need them and go out to get those skills in place and make them run as an organisation. For example, just because a mechanic can fix a car does not mean he can run an auto mechanic workshop. The skills he needs to fix a car are different from the skills he needs to run a business outfit that fixes cars. Is there something like a 1, 2, 3 or A, B, C guideline on how to run a successful business? It is not like something you can put in a tablet and swallow. You learn it or you get somebody who already knows it. … Like mentoring? Mentoring can help but the basic point you have to know is that those skills are essential to your success and then knowing how to get them in place. So, the question is, what is your vision for the business and what do you need to move the business from the point you are now to what it will be? You can’t start big, because if you do, the room for growth is small, but if you start small, the room for growth is big. So, recognise the skills you need and get them, and you don’t have to hire all of the people that have those skills but get them based on need at a particular time. Getting a little personal now, in all your life, what day would you consider as your happiest? I don’t have any day as the happiest day. In all your life, through your career? I don’t have. I am not that excitable. I know the things I want to do and go and do them. I then move to the next thing. My life is like a series of goals. I set a goal, achieve it and then go to the next and I move on. Whatever I am today is as a result of all the things I have done. So, which one is the high point? They all add up. Is it the day I
was born? The day I entered the university or the day I got married? They all add up and life is continuous. What influences you to set for yourself goals and then achieve? Maybe because I got to understand life very early. Life is not complex. Life is simple unless you want to make it complex. What gave you that understanding early in life that life is not complex? My understanding about life is that you can get those things you want. Life is so generous and very kind because most of the things you want in life, you can get, except that those things you want are unreasonable or unattainable things. It is a question of deciding what you want and taking certain decisions to get those things. If you know the things you want in life and what you need to do to get them, what is left is to start doing those things and you will get them. How did you come to get this ideology about life? I don’t know, but that is how I grew up. Is it about something you learnt from your parents? You see, everything adds up. My parents, my education, my experience in life… How would you describe your father? Easy-going. What about your mum? Easy-going. They did all they could do for their children. They sent us to school. That was all. So are you saying you didn’t have external influences? I can’t say I didn’t have external influence. How can one go to school and say there is no external influence? I went to school and lived life as it should be lived. The point I am trying to make is that I think life is simple. But some people think otherwise, that life is … That life is what? That some people are favoured in life…
‘If there is no system, then you don’t have an organisation. The thing that will run your organisation is the structures and systems you have in place. Without those, it is chaos’
Well, when you say someone is favoured, maybe. Some people may be favoured but I don’t see it that way, because even if you are favoured and you don’t have the wherewithal to manage that favour, things remain the same. Don’t people inherit property yet they waste it? So, what is the value of favour if you have opportunities you are not prepared for or cannot manage? You are a man of one wife? Yes. With one or two children? Four children. Are they in Nigeria? They are in Nigeria, at least for now. How do you relate with your family in view of the schedule of your work that engages you outdoor? They know that when I am not home, I am at work or at play. Sir, what do you do at play? I play golf at least twice a week. You still do? Of course, yes. They know that if I am not at home or at work, then I am at the golf club or golf course. It has always been like that. Do you consider yourself a silver spoon? I won’t consider myself one. Silver spoon means things fall on your laps and things didn’t always fall on my laps, but I have not truly lacked anything. Maybe it is a measure of self-satisfaction. So, what makes you tick or strong? I am very focused and not easily distracted, especially once I have set a direction I want to go. I also read a lot and try to be very well informed. There is really nothing that I want to do that I have not schooled myself in. Once you are driven from the position of knowledge, it gives you some level of self-confidence to reach where you are going. So, you know where you are going and when you are getting there. Once you attain that level, it imbues you with a certain level of self-confidence. It is possible maybe I don’t want too many things in life. Maybe that is why I feel very calm and contented. I can take care of my basics. I have food on my table, have a good car to drive, can pay my children through school, I have my personal house. What else again do I want in life? So, why should I feel worried? Is there anything you wished to achieve that you haven’t? Well, as I said, there are things I am working on now and I am sure they would come to life–talking about the two online publications I am working on. The sites are running and what we are doing now is beefing them up. I think they are on track. We don’t have any problem. Do you consider yourself a fulfilled man? I think so. I don’t have any problem. I don’t feel any sense of lack and there is no vacuum in my life. I don’t want to own the whole of Lekki, so what more am I looking for? Does this have to do with your faith or religious views? I don’t know, maybe a combination… You are a Christian? Yes. I am a Catholic. I go to church every Sunday but as I said, life is simple. You only get challenges and have difficulties when you make it complex. What are the things people do to make life complex? I don’t know. That is their wahala. I don’t concern myself with what other people do. I am only concerned with my own life. I don’t have any complaint. If other people want to own the world, they can. Goodluck to them. I am trying to guess your age, sir. I am very close to 60. So you are retiring soon, say by 65? I should before then. So when you retire, what will you be doing? Just playing golf. I am now, but will do more when I retire. What does your wife do? She runs an NGO by the name Community Life Project. She is here in Lagos and they are doing very well. She is having fun. And you are also having fun, too. I am having fun. Talking about governance in Nigeria, how do you think President Jonathan is doing? He is doing it as much as he can. What do you think he could have done better? He has advisers. I am not one of them and he has not hired me as one. If you were to advise him? He has to pay for my advice. At least he pays his advisers. I am not in the business of giving free advice and if he wants my advice, he has to pay for it.
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L-R: Philip Asiodu, Gov. Babatunde Fashola, Bishop Okonkwo with his wife and Prof. Anya O. Anya cutting the anniversary cake
Anya o. Anya dazzles as Lagos stands still for Bishop Okonkwo By BEIFOH OSEWELE and ADAEZE ATUEYI-OJUKWU Only very few persons outside government could afford a programme for 9 o’clock on a Wednesday morning and expect such a mammoth turn out. That was exactly what Bishop Mike Okonkwo, founder of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission, TREM, did that sunny morning. An hour to the commencement of the event, the entire premises was already a beehive. The turn-out at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos, was such that if you cast the proverbial grain of sand in the sky, it would not find its way to the ground. The attendance was that huge. This was hardly a surprise to a lot of people. The outspoken Okonkwo is not an ordinary person. He is a General in God’s Army with a large troop. It was the eve of his 67th birthday, and the troop came out enmasse to celebrate with the own. General, as Bishop Okonkwo is fondly called by his flock, is one of Africa’s renowned ministers of the word, widely aclaimed for their dedication and selfless service to the work of God. To many, he is, indeed, a man of integrity who believes so much in the word of God and the power of the cross. Over the years, Okonkwo has become a role model as people look up to him for the apostolic covering. He believes in integrity as a man of God and has lived an impeccable life before the multitude that he shepherds. He is a man easily touched by the feeling of the
people and thus has become a man of prayer. He believes that the only way to get answers is to spend time on your knees, praying. As has been the custom in the last 13 years, he had put together an annual lecture to be delivered by no less a personage than the erudite Professor Anya O. Anya. The event, the 13th in the series, coupled with the presentation of gifts to winners of Mike Okonkwo Essay Competition for secondary schools was chaired by Chief Philip Asiodu, the legendary former ‘super’ permanent. Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, governor of Lagos State, presented the star prize, a cheque of N200,000 to Master Fego Ahia, an SSS3 student of the Brilliant Child College, Lagos. He had also won it last year. Planners of the 13th Bishop Okonkwo Annual Lecture couldn’t have made a better choice as Anya, 75, a national merit award winner, and former Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, hit the bull’s eye with his incisive diagnosis of the current economic travail militating against Nigeria. He said the “descent of the nation into the psychological wildernesss defined by anomie, stagnation and hopelessness did not start today but is the cumulative aftermath of years of misgovernance, prebendal acquisition of national resources by a privileged elite as well as the years of military occupation of the political space along with a general lack of vision and commitment on the part of the leadership elite whether mili-
tary or civilian. All these have come to a head against the high expectations fostered by the return to civilian democratic governance.” But it was not lamentations all the way, as Anya, a native of Abriba, Abia State, and a professor of zoology, said he saw a powerful beam of light in the horizon.“Despite the present atmosphere of incipient rebellion,” he declared,“ the basis for a prosperous future exists but
the necessary effort is understandably monumental.” Born on September 6, 1945, to the family of Pa and Ma Okonkwo of Ogbunike in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State, Okonkwo was consecrated the Bishop of TREM on May 7, 1988. Since then, he has never looked back, moving from one level of accomplishment to another. Which was why many in the hall, last Wednesday, strongly felt that
the annual lecture is a worth testimonial to a man whose life is an embodiment of service to God and humanity. The TREM Bishop is married to Dr. Peace Okonkwo, also a pastor, and their union is blessed with a daughter, Uche. Please, enjoy Professor Anya O. Anya’s lecture, titled: Dependence, resource curse and the challenge of building a prosperous economy in a global world-Nigeria’s option.
By PROFESSSOR ANYA O.ANYA
tral conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself”. Are Moynihan’s two truths conceivably applicable to the Nigerian experience? How far then can the ‘national’ experience of Nigeria as well as cultural factors be held accountable for our lack of progress and development in the midst of the profligate endowments that nature has conferred on Nigeria? How far can we blame our politics for the inability of our cultural circumstances to change in the direction of progress and socio-economic development? As a corollary, is it possible to envisage mitigating factors that can transform the Nigerian conundrum?
the so-called periphery – the colonies. These centres of capital transferred products and profits from dependent economies to their benefit, whether in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Portugal, or Spain, the most notorious, of course being King Leopold’s Belgium This unequal relationship was characterized especially by South American intellectuals as dependency. To redress this imbalance in the structure of economic relationships a variety of solutions were tried including but not limited to aid. This led to a proliferation of proposed solutions – land reform, community development, planning, poverty eradication, appropriate technology, privatisation etc. as the panacea to underdevelopment. The current buzz word amongst development and international aid experts is sustainable development. The failure of these initiatives underlines the paradigm shift that has characterised economic development in the post-world war world. The observation that resource rich countries often performed sub-optimally in the management of their economic affairs in contrast to resource poor countries like Japan has often been illustrated by the phenomenon of the Dutch disease in which the avalanche of new found wealth and resources depressed rather than increased value and wealth in a society. Specifically it was first used by the
It is pertinent at the outset to remind ourselves that the problems of socio-economic development that have afflicted Nigeria can be understood within a particular historical and cultural context. Nigeria along with many nations of Sub Saharan Africa suffered the social dislocation of slavery and later of colonialism and imperialism. These have left their imprint on the ‘national’ psyche and have induced a certain mindset which has constrained initiative and the necessary assertiveness and values that enhance the entrepreneurial spirit. In addition, it has become obvious in the last twenty years that cultural factors can predispose or constrain societies in their push towards overall progress and socio-economic development. The situation has not been helped by the plural constellation of cultures and religions that is part of the Nigerian heritage. Progress in this context encompasses material well-being, social economic equity and political democracy while culture would include the values, attitudes, beliefs, general orientation and assumptions that drive the life of the society. As the eminent Harvard professor and Senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan a notable public intellectual observed in relation to the American experience “the cen-
DEPENDENCE,RESOURCE CURSE AND THE DUTCH DISEASE Three explanatory premisses have been used to explain the gap in economic development as between the developing and the developed world. In the aftermath of the demise of colonialism and empire, it was convenient to attempt an explanation of the disparity in the levels of development between the erstwhile colonies (particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia and South America) and the developed world given the unequal socio-economic relationship between the metropolitan centres and
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Discourse Economist of London to describe the situation in Holland in the 1970s when the discovery of abundant gas reserves led to the depression of the manufacturing sector of the Dutch economy. It is in most respects analogous to the Nigerian situation where the monoculture of oil and gas depressed not only manufacturing but also agriculture. Hence in resource – rich countries the easy access to wealth and resources depressed productivity, undermined production and ultimately reduced overall wealth of the society thus constituting a curse rather than the boom it was expected to be. Nigeria has shown evidence of all three debilitating and disabling factors in her economy. THE DOMINANCE OF CRUDE OIL IN THE NIGERIAN ECONOMY. Petroleum production and export has played a dominant role in Nigeria’s economy since 1970 and accounts for about 90% of her gross earnings. This dominant role has pushed agriculture, the traditional mainstay of the economy, from the early fifties and sixties, to the background. The over-dependence on oil has created volatility given the vagaries of the international oil market. The oil boom of the 1970s led Nigeria to neglect its predominantly agricultural and light manufacturing bases in favour of an unhealthy dependence on crude oil. In 2000 oil and gas exports accounted for more than 98 % of export earnings and about 83 % of Federal Government revenue. New oil wealth, the concurrent decline of other economic sectors, and a lurch toward a static economic model fueled massive migration to the cities and led to increasingly widespread poverty, especially in rural areas which rose from less than 40% in the 1970s to more than 70% in the 1990s. A collapse of basic infrastructure and social services since the early 1980s amplified this trend. By 2000 Nigeria’s per capita income had plunged to about onequarter of its value in the mid-1970s, below the level at independence. Along with the endemic malaise of Nigeria’s non-oil sectors, the economy continues to witness massive growth of “informal sector” economic activities, estimated by some to be as high as 75 % of the total economy, typified by the clearly illegal oil bunkering and crude oil theft, now rampant from all the reports. Oil dependency, and the allure especially of great wealth with minimal effort that it generated through government contracts, triggered other economic distortions. The country’s high propensity to import means that roughly 80% of government expenditures is recycled into foreign exchange which increases the pressure on the local currency. Cheap consumer imports, resulting from a chronically overvalued Naira, coupled with excessively high domestic production costs due in part to erratic electricity and unreliable fuel supply, have pushed down industrial capacity utilization to less than 30% from about 70% in the early 1980s. Many more Nigerian factories would have closed except for the relatively low labour costs. Domestic manufactures, especially pharmaceuticals and textiles, have lost their ability to compete in traditional regional markets. Furthermore, while the discovery of oil in the eastern and mid-western regions of the Niger Delta thrilled hopeful Nigerians, giving them an early indication soon after independence that economic development was within reach. It signaled at the same time a danger of grave consequenceoil revenues fueled already existing ethnic and political tension and actually set the putative nation ablaze. This tension reached its peak with the civil war that lasted from 1967 to 1970 and whose echoes still reverberate in the ongoing debate on resource control. Nigeria survived the war, and was
‘The undergirding ethos for transforming economic development must start from the acceptance of the fact that prosperity issues from increased productivity rather than from the control of resources, discriminatory dispensation of government favours or control of military power’ able to recover mainly as a result of the huge revenues from oil in the 1970s. For some three years an oil boom followed, and the country was awash with money. This was the period that a clearly euphoric General Gowon opined that money was not Nigeria’s problem but how to spend it even in the midst of our evident infrastructural and educational deficiencies! Indeed, there was money provided by his government for virtually all the items in the 1975 developmental plan. The literature of the postwar years shifted to the analysis of the world oil boom and bust, figuratively known as the “oil shock”. Starting in 1973 the world experienced an oil shock that rippled through Nigeria until the mid 1980s. This oil shock was initially positive for the country, but with mismanagement and military rule, it became an economic disaster which led to the greater tragedy of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP). The large developing middle class produced by the oil boom of the
1970s gradually atrophied in the 1980s, and has since graduated into latent rebellion in the 1990s till dateas demonstrated dramatically by the January 2012 national strike which grounded Nigeria. CLASSICAL AND NEOCLASSICAL PARADIGMS OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. Concepts and paradigms of economic development in the 20th century have their roots in competing intellectual traditions of western societies. The dominant economic ideologies of socialism and capitalism are thus two sides of the same coin. Socialism as propounded by Karl Marx was a critique of capitalism and its contradictions – while capitalism could generate great wealth it also created poverty, social inequalities and political crises. Hence socialism emphasised relationships in the production process utilizing as a tool of analysis what Karl Marx termed historical materialism which saw capitalism as a phase in history in which relationships
revolve around the exchange of things which can be bought or sold. Thus, society was organised into two classes – those who own factories and tools to produce goods (capitalists or the bourgeoisie) and those who must sell their labour in order to purchase goods they need to survive (the proletariat). Underlying the Marxist analysis of society was the constant struggle between the classes which was expected ultimately to lead according to the proponents of Marxism to the collapse of the capitalist system. This did not happen, rather the bastion of communism, Soviet Russia, collapsed with its satellites in Eastern Europe. Thus, western capitalism triumphed. Max Weber on the other hand was concerned with how the social hierarchies represented by the Church, the Crown and the landed gentry were being undermined by new relationships, beliefs and attitudes driven by the protestant ethic – which preached man’s duty to obey God’s will through hard work, industry, honesty and thrift as well as the inherent sinfulness of the unproductive accumulation of wealth, which was regarded as evidence of a lack of grace in the individual life. Thus the pursuit of vocation (specialization according to one’s calling) was a virtue and a religious obligation which encouraged the judicious re-investment of capital accumulated through hard work, honesty, efficiency and asceticism – the elements of a puritan lifestyle. The change of attitude and behaviour fostered by this new ethos which encouraged the acquisition and accumulation of wisely invested wealth demonstrated a state of grace. In Weber’s formulation power flows not merely from relations of production (capital) but also from other factors such as access to information, cultural identities, and organisational aptitude anchored in institutions. These constitute the fulcrum of the capitalist system. Emile Durkheim was to build on the Weberian foundation by elaborating on the inherent division of labour and specialization which drives efficiency in capitalist systems while Talcott Parsons borrowing from biological evolution sketched out the process of social change from the traditional to the modern in the evolution of capitalism through bureaucratic organisation and institutions including finance, markets and legal systems. It was on the basis of these ideas that Walt Rostow could build his concept of the five stages of economic development, namely, pre-conditions for take-off, takeoff, maturity, mass consumption and beyond consumption. In his formulation, technology, savings, entrepreneurship and governance systems were critical. All these various ideas and their proponents constitute elements in the subsisting classical paradigms of economic development. In this classical paradigm not only capital and labour are important factors but the resource endowments of a nation along with the comparative advantage that the resources confer in the given society determines the trajectory of its economic development. In summary, these ideas constitute not only the classical paradigm of economic progress but provide the foundations and grund-norm of western capitalism. In the post-world war environment and particularly since the 1970s comparative studies of economic development in different countries in different regions of the world have underlined the fact that the process does not yield to easy categorization as if one prescription can fit all. Indeed, the development experience of each nation can be considered a unique phenomenon hence the experience is not always transferable from one nation to another but we can learn from each other’s experience as to what works and what may not work given specific national circum-
stances. Consequently, there have been a proliferation of new ideas and analysis of the process. Worthy of note are those who have seen it as a process of modernisation in which industrialization is a key driver. Consequently the poorer countries such as Nigeria were assumed to have been held back by the lack of large industrial corporations or conglomerates, lack of capital as well as institutional and cultural constraints. To overcome these, the prescription was to borrow, import, imitate and/or rationalise both capital and technology. These proved inadequate. There were those also who try to explain the declining terms of trade as between the rich countries of Europe and North America and the poorer countries of the developing world who had to sell more of their primary commodities from agriculture or mines for less year after year who propounded the dependency theory. According to this formulation, the world was seen in two compartments with the wealthy countries constituting the centre and the poorer countries constituting the periphery which provides cheap labour, cheap minerals and other commodities. The inequality was enforced through unequal exchanges, exploitative and coercive regimes based on active and subtle repression. It was built on a cascading stream of inequalities from the centre to the periphery and within the periphery countries from the urban to the rural hinterland. Capitalism by this view is not only a global phenomenon but inherently hierarchical at the international and national levels. The emergence of the phenomenon of globalization has altered our views on these matters: this development has been further entrenched by the experience and success of the nations of South East Asia or the Asian tigers. The experience of these nations has shown that nations can be transformed in their developmental experience within a historically short period as in China which transformed in eleven short years. Their experience has also demonstrated that the expertise, skills and knowledge of a nation which confers competitive advantage on them is more important than the reservoir of natural resources which it had been assumed conferred comparative advantage. Thus, there has been since the 1970s a paradigm shift in our conceptualization of the process of economic development. Suffice it to say that in the new global world, economic power is increasingly dependent on access to and control over information, technology and the global financial institutions. It has also been evident that the world is a lot more interdependent and more integrated such that the rules of successful economic transformation seem applicable everywhere given the appropriate incentives and environment. As Phillip McMichael has noted, there is now “a qualitative shift in the mode of social organization that marks a historic transition in the capitalist world order…” Along with this shift, there seems to be an emergent global ruling class made up of bureaucrats and politicians, owners and executives of transnational corporations and international banks and the mandarins of the multilateral agencies – IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organization. It is a new world. We will explore later other features of the paradigm shift particularly as applicable to Nigeria. To be continued tomorrow • Professsor Anya O.Anya,D.Sc (Hon), FAS,OFR,NNOM,Chairman,The Alpha Institute for Research in Science, Economics and Development (AIRSED) delivered the paper at the 13th Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture in Lagos on September 5,2012
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Traveller POETRY IN MOTION By ABUMERE EASTER 07056031011
Kalabari King of the ancien
TRANSITION By In the state of future ERIC perfection, DUMO To which men and women aspire, There’ll be pleasure without danger Security without restrain Those who take the piercing darts, For these gains the morrow brings, Though in necropolises,charred, Shall break forth with singing Even the tenants of catacombs, Who now sleep,ghost upon ghost, Shall duplicate,body from soul To take that eternal repose To look for what is timeless In a world of time is time waste. Those who make the choice of life, End up sometimes neglecting to live Marriage is full of unknown pains Yet,celibacy has no pleasure While we wait in queues to repose, Let every conscience search his soul. Abymere Easter is a student of the Ambrose Alli University,Ekpoma, Studying Business Administration. Great Nigerian students,great!
Standing as one of the oldest settlements in Africa, the Kalabari Kingdom in Rivers State, South-south Nigeria, has a long and rich history behind it. But in spite playing key roles in commerce and cultural connections to the outside world over the years, the area still begs for transformation. Eric Dumo on a recent visit to some of the towns and villages that make up this vast kingdom writes on the state of development and the many resources lying untapped in this ancient community The lush green fauna seduced by a thick sea of mangroves tickles your fancy as you drive through the narrow and long path leading into the heart of the Kalabari Kingdom. The roads, not the best you would have expected to see in an area that contributes massively to Nigeria’s oil wealth, helps make your journey faster, even though in an unpleasant manner, no thanks to the large potholes scattered across almost every bend and corner. And as you edge further into the kingdom, breezing past several other communities like Choba and Emohua in the process, that is if you are coming from Port Harcourt, the state capital, you are captivated even more by the sights of some of nature’s finest gifts before you. Apart from the river flowing seamlessly with local fishermen casting their nets into it with total mastery and dedication, the picture of women – old and young – ferrying loads and farm produce on bicycles, equally grabs your attention. It is nothing peculiar to the area but then if you live in the big cities like Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna and Onitsha, it might be a rare sight for you. Gradually, steadily, your journey into this beautiful land progresses even as scores of questions run through your mind and almost chokes your curiosity. After almost one hour on the road, Kalabari Kingdom beckons – a huge community of about 33 towns and several villages. It is a vast land stretching across tens of square miles, serenaded by free-flowing waters from every side. Before motorable roads were constructed a few years back and access into this area improved, the Kalabari people had to connect their towns and villages by water. Those early days presented plenty of risks and worries for the inhabitants. It affected economic activities in the region and also hampered infrastructural development. But all that has since changed, with movement in and out of this old settlement now easier than it used to be. Also, development has crept into the picture, even though in small proportion, further opening up the entire region to the outside world. Though, there are several towns and villages that make up Kalabari land, Buguma, Bakana and Abonnema, are the three largest and most important of all. While the Buguma is tucked in the heart of the kingdom itself and serves as its administrative centre, Bakana and Abonnema function collectively to give the community a solid standing both economically and otherwise. Their location also helps to safeguard the kingdom against outside invasion. Over the years, the area has seen several attacks from riverine neighbours like Okrika and Bonny – the disputes have mostly been about who controls the waterways that serves as trade routes till date. The tussles have been reduced to bloody skirmishes and wars sometimes, with all parties paying heavily with human lives and valuables. But in spite of
Town square in the kingdo
Old structure in the kingdom
these harsh beginnings, the kingdom has risen to become one of the shinning lights in the entire Niger Delta– a region blessed with enormous wealth but languishing in neglect. Early history of the Kalabari people There are different versions of the origin of the Kalabaris but all agree that the natives migrated to their present location from the Old Shipping known as Elem Kalabari long before the 15th century. One account says the Kalabaris moved from Calabar while another claim it was founded by Ijo settlers from Amafo who were later joined by settlers from other localities. The name ‘Kalabari’ is adapted from the last name of the founder and original forebear of the Kalabari people, King Perebo-kalabari. In those early days, the people were said to inhabit dozens of islands along the swampy mangroves of the area. Owing to the nature of the environment, fishing and trading activities thrived among the people. The people of the kingdom are business freaks, bridging cultural links with other nearby territories. In the 15th century, the early European traders noted that they alone of the delta people refused to trade on credit. The establishment of a seaport at Abonnema from where commercial trade passed through the Sombreiro to Orashi, Nun, Niger and Benue rivers, was a huge testament to the economic significance and prowess of the kingdom. The area arranged for adequate security strategies and guaranteed protection to outpost settlements nearby. With more than nine centuries of history, more settlements have been established over the past years to make room for the growing population of the Kalabaris. According to historians, the people of Elem Kalabari initially reverenced the goddess Owemenakaso (or Awamenakaso, Akaso), the mother of all the deities of the Kalabari clan even though individual towns and villages had their own local idols. Akaso resisted wars and sense-
less killings, leaving many to claim she was the sister of the British goddess Brittana, who ruled the seas. While still at the Old Shipping, family groupings began to emigrate as a result of incessant wars and tussles over lands and waterways. One group moved to Bakana in 1881, another followed to establish Abonnema in 1884, before finally Buguma. Despite these migrations, the Kalabari still maintained a solid homogenous front and the Kalabari Kingdom was recognized even in colonial days. Customs and tradition The Kalabari people have a rich way of life – one that has continually made them one of the most hospitable groups in Africa, according to experts and historians. Though, most of the cultural elements emanated from constant romance with other societies, the richness of the traits make them alluring to even a visitor. Some of the major traditional practices include the Owu Arusun, town cleansing, Amatemeso festivals, masquerade displays including Mgbula masquerade. The Ekine Sekiapu society, a sociocultural group, helps to preserve and promote the deepest meanings of the Kalabari way of life. They do this through elaborate and mastery displays of cultural dances and have earned global acclaim in the process. The society is one of the most important institutions in Kalabari kingdom. The language spoken belongs to the Eastern Ijo (Ijaw) group and is similar to those spoken by the Okirikas, Ibanis and Nkoros. Like many Niger Delta groups, the Kalabari way of dressing is a delight to the eyes. The most popular of the men’s attire widely known as the etibo, has been adopted by other nearby and distant communities, even though that was introduced to the Kalabaris by a Portuguese seaman known as A.T Bob. The outfit has helped promote the cultural distinction of the kingdom and its people. The women dress in various fabrics and wrap-
A church in the kingdom
pers known in local parlance as b elegantly with jewelries such as beads) to make a fine blend. Kalabari and slave trade Like many African commun ments, slave trade had its bitter s land. Apart from the hundreds men and women that were chain away into barbaric servitude, the n of strategically positioned can routes, reminds one of those terr The scars of this indignity are still in Kalabari land. Historians say King Owerri D earliest rulers of the kingdom, deadly trade into Kalabari and Bo became a major channel of the trade, linking a waiting market chased from Igboland to be sold o world. Prominent Kings Before modern record keepi several prominent monarchs t Kalabari land. However, some w been noted in details include Ki regarded as the greatest King the till date. He reigned between 166 is said to be the founder of the dy his name. Most of the major
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with Omoniyi Ayedun 08027537357
Dr. George Abaye, maritime guru and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Port Express and wife, Florence celebrated their silver jubilee recently at Apapa.
Couple receiving certificate at Apapa marriage registry
Dr. George Abaye and wife, Florence cutting their anniversary cake
The couple flanked by guests
Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Onokeai 2nd left with other dignitaries
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gdom: A blend nt and modern A primary school in the kingdom
bite, matching it kilali (patterned
nities and settlestint in Kalabari of able-bodied ned and shipped numerous sights nons and slave rible early days. l not fully healed
Daba, one of the introduced the onny. The region e Atlantic slave for slaves purother parts of the
ing, there were that reigned in whose time had ing Amachree I, e Kalabaris have 9 – 1757, and he ynasty that bears trading houses
King Abbi Statue
expanded during his reign. He was succeeded by King Amakoro Tyger Amachree II (1757-1782), King Karibo Amachree III (1782-1863), King Abbi Karibo Amachree IV (1863 – 1900), and King Kieni Charles Amachree V (1900-1917). Others are King W. Princewill Amachree VI (1919-1927), King J.T. Princewill Amachree VII (1927-1960), King F.T.Princewill Amachree VIII (1960-1973), King Cotton Charles Amachree IX (1973 – 1975), King Obaye Abbiye-Suku Amachree X (1977-1998), and King (Prof.) T.J.T. Princewill Amachree XI, the reigning ruler. He took over the saddle in 2002 and has stirred the kingdom under greater heights. Wars and power tussles In the 19th century, the Kalabari Kingdom was at the center of a power struggle in the east of the delta, coming head-on with rivals such as the Nembes, the Okirikas and the Bonny people. The Okirikas, the closest to the Kalabaris in terms of language, threatened to block the major connecting waterway linking the area to the interior. This led to series of invasions and counter-attacks from both sides. The ‘bad-blood’ between the Kalabaris and their neighbours, who were now enemies, went on for several decades with the Nembes and Bonny kingdoms launching assaults of different degrees and magnitudes throughout that period. Not even the intervention of the British consul at
the time could salvage things – several peace deals were signed and broken even before the break of the next dawn. It was a time that brought so much pains and horrible experiences for the kingdom and its people. The scars of those bloody expeditions are still very visible in many communities till date – the reminders are still standing in the several villages the reporter visited recently. Huge underdevelopment despite oil wealth The Kalabari kingdom is among the first few to have contact with the outside world, especially the West – Europe and America. Apart from slave trade, the early trading activities of the people of the area equally exposed them to the more developed and civilized visitors who over many centuries established a firm and flourishing relationship with the Kalabari people. The advent of Christianity and later colonialism signaled the beginning of the road to freedom from ignorance for the people of this ancient community. Education was introduced alongside a new religion, while infrastructural development took off in earnest. More trading routes were opened and the architectural landscape gradually took a different turn. Everything was going well and the prospect grew larger by the day. But with the discovery of oil in the 1950s and the control of such resources out of the control of locals, events have since taken a different turn
across the kingdom. In many of the villages visited, only little evidence of development exists, casting a huge shadow over the enormous oil wealth scattered under the fields across the kingdom. The discovery of the precious liquid have also led to the dearth and gradual collapse of other sectors of the local economy like farming and fishing. The latter have been affected most by constant oil spills witnessed over the years as a result of exploration activities of multinational companies. Many communities have seen their waterways and landmass seriously damaged, forcing locals to turn elsewhere for daily survival. Infrastructure wise, the kingdom is still a long way from where many of its inhabitants expect it to be by now. Several of the few schools in the kingdom, which in itself are largely inadequate to cater for the needs on ground, are in terrible conditions at the moment. Though, the present administration in the state is spreading its tentacles to the area, there is still not much to celebrate in this regard. Dozens of the locals told the reporter they have had to travel all the way to the state capital to attend to basic health issues. This is in contradiction to promises made by successive administrations to address this worry. Though, there are small health centres in many of the towns visited, the demand far rubbishes the capabilities. At Abonnema, the seaport that once aided local and trans-border trade is left wasting away. Only few boats belonging to sand dredgers and fishermen were seen tied to the dock, splashing their bellies rhythmically against the sea. A traditional chief, Daogigo E.P Amachree, told the reporter that if properly renovated and managed,
the port could be a major gateway to develop the local and state economy while also creating jobs for many of the indigenes. There are still some communities inaccessible by road in Kalabari kingdom. Places like Kula, Obonoma and Bakana are only connected by other settlements by water. To a large extent, this has contributed to the slow pace of development in those places – slower than in towns and villages easily linked by road. Apart from small-sized bakeries and water packaging factories, there are no major industries in the whole of the kingdom. The area relies on supplies from other towns especially Port Harcourt and Aba in Abia State for most of its consumables. Majority of young men and women who form a rich dose of human resources here, are without jobs, making them easy targets for desperate politicians and traffickers who exploit them to their advantage. This has become a major source of worry in many of the villages visited with locals flaying the high rate of unemployment in the area. So, besides the hectares of virgin lands wasting away across many parts of Kalabari land, unemployment and social vices like gangsterism and prostitution is also eating deep into the futures of the youthful population. Indeed, the challenges witnessed in many Kalabari towns and villages do not match the type of potentials the land boasts of. For a land that has produced dozens of prominent names and faces including a former Miss World – Agbani Darego, a music maestro - Rex Lawson and ex-international soccer star – Taribo West – the situation on ground betrays where the journey still lies. But in spite this dark spots, there are many wonderful places a first time visitor into Kalabari Kingdom can be treated to. Buguma for example, has some historic scenes that would blow any mind. From the sprawling village square known as the ama ogbo to the Akaso fountain just opposite it, the town houses more than a few of these memorable sites. In Bakana, Degema, Obuama (Harry’s Town) and several other towns, pictures of antiquity reminds you of the importance and significance of the kingdom in the history of the region and Africa at large. Sadly, icons like Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas and Daboikiabo Jack, a respected Kalabari historian, say the situation could be better if relevant authorities with the firm participation of the indigenes team up to restore the lost and or latently wasting glory of this great kingdom. How soon that would happen is not known but for now, the land matches on, radiating in between the past and the present, calling on to a future it has long awaited.
September 8, 2012
An industry under siege
Picture by BIODUN ADEYEWA
Once a bubbling business arena and thriving tourist destination,‘Abule Chair’, a community under the Maryland Bridge, Lagos, where canes are woven into various items, is losing its spark and magic in the face of mounting challenges
A weaver in action By ERIC DUMO You could feel the anguish in his voice as he spoke. His face and body language tell you similar tales. He is sad at the turn of events in recent times. Business has been really bad for him and the hundreds of cane weavers who eke out daily living under the Maryland Bridge in Lagos – Nigeria’s economic mainstay. It was not like this many years back when they moved to the area. Those days brought joy and renewed hope for the future, Dickson Egedegbe, an aged weaver told the reporter last week. He has been in the trade since 1972 and so understands the dynamics well enough. But recent events in this tiny community, troubles his heart. “Before, cane work was not like this, it was very good,” he begins. “Not that it is not good again but it had not turned to a seasonal job like it is now. We have been crying to the government to see how they can help us but no way. This industry employs a lot of people but if it does not exist anymore, where will all those people go? This is a good form of employment for many of us and we have been doing this for several years. “This cane work was started by our people like the late Isaiah and the rest. We were all over this area before we were driven to an end called fourcorner. It was another person’s land and so we were driven out of that place again before we finally moved to under this bridge. But since we have been here, there has been no rest of mind. Individuals and all sorts of officials come here to disturb us. We pay levies to about four local governments. The Federal Government is still there and even some people would still come to harass us for money. This is not fair to us,” he lamented. Yet, those are not all of Egedegbe’s worries – his fears are swelling by the day. “We heard in the news on June 12 that there are some Chinese in the country who have been given approval to make cane products and sell in Nigeria. If this happens, it
means we would become useless. I don’t know what government would do about that. “The little money we get from this business, we use to feed our families. Materials are so expensive and transporting them from the Niger Delta and other states is very difficult. If they now add this new problem to it, how would we survive? We are begging them to consider us and give us the help we need.” Established in the early 1960s, this tiny ‘cane community’ popularly known as ‘Abule chair’ – a local Yoruba slang meaning ‘abode of chairs’ – in reference to the countless chairs weaved out of cane in the area, has endured rough times to remain on the map. Apart from the lack of a permanent and expansive location to dwell, a significant drop in patronage and the deepening economic situation across the country have all combined to reduce this once bubbling business quarters into a shadow of its old vibrant self. In those early and glorious days when products from this market were very popular with many Nigerians and even foreigners, ‘Abule chair’ used to be an entire community of weavers stretching all the way from Oki Lane in Mende to as far as New Garage in Ojota. It was a flourishing tourist destination back then. All week long, the traffic was ceaseless. At the height of that boom, weavers had their lives transformed. The cash gushed endlessly at their heels. Buyers and sellers – everyone was happy. But that time has long passed in ‘Abule chair’it seem. The traffic, the atmosphere, the boom, the cash and smiles – everything has changed. Business is no longer the same for the few dozens of weavers that have remained in the trade. Many fear they could be pushed out of reckoning if things remain the way they are. “I have not sold a single item for almost a week now,” a distraught Helen Agbe who has been on the job for about 10 years said. “This was not how things were before now. The challenges on this job are becoming too much. Our environment is very
Edward bad for this type of work we are doing and financially we are struggling because without money we cannot do this business well. Government is supposed to be proud of us instead of treating us like we are not contributing to the economy. “We are not happy at the news that Chinese people are going to be importing cane products into the country because that means government wants to take food away from our mouth. All we are asking for is for them to give us equipment to do our work. We have been on this job for many years so we need government to come to our aid. We are not happy at all because we are not getting the type of recognition that we need from Nigeria,” she said. Many weavers like Agbe and Egedegbe have to contend with a host of hurdles while doing their work everyday. They have no machines or neces-
sary equipment to help them produce their items, so they rely on their manual skills to do that. This is energy-sapping and resource-consuming. Items such as baskets, chairs, beds, tables, racks, wall units, baby cots and settees are masterfully crafted all by hand. They go through various production stages before finally displayed for sale. But enduring these stages comes with its own pains, too, for many in this line of business. Sometimes injuries are sustained in the process of scraping the canes while blisters could also spring up due to long hours of crafting. This sadly leaves many of the workers’palms smoother than maybe only a sandpaper. The poor level of patronage is also something that troubles many of the weavers at this cane market. Sales are being defined by seasons in recent times. It is another avenue of concern for people here. “It is only during festive times that we witness sales nowadays,” Jeremiah Ifaka, Treasurer of the National Cane Weavers Association of Nigeria, told the paper. “This raining season is also making things difficult for us. If government can help us secure a better place, that would be good for us. On the other hand, if they beautify this place for us, we would be happy. This situation is really giving us concern and we hope that things would improve soon.” The seasonal nature of patronage has also forced many workers to look elsewhere for survival, turning only to “Abule Chair” during festive periods where sales jack up. Ejiro Adoghe used to work full time here four years ago, but since the industry came under “attack” by several “forces”, she only weaves baskets and other gift items during festive seasons, especially Christmas. “I only come to work here during seasons like Christmas when people would want to buy gifts for friends and family members. You can make a lot of money during that time because demand would be high. But if you come here after that period, you are just deceiving yourself because everything would be
September 8, 2012
My recipe for successful brand management – Obabiyi Fagade,Brand Manager (Star),NB By CHRIS IWARAH
Cross-section of cane works dull throughout. For that period, it is wiser to look for something else to do, especially if you have children to feed,” she says. It is really a hard time for cane weavers in this tiny Lagos suburb. Besides the numerous hurdles they are confronted with on a daily basis, the rise of rival markets such as plastic industries, which produce handy household and gift items and the influx of similar stuffs into the country from abroad, is adding to the dilemma of this sector – one that has continued Egedegbe to struggle for due recognition over time. Years of relentless efforts to promote the use of woven furniture among Nigerians by local cane weavers have failed to yield any significant result – the apathy grows larger by the day, it seems. The diminishing level of raw materials amidst lack of funds to procure needed tools, is another angle. These problems show no sign of crumbling in the nearest future. However, in other climes like Asia, America and Europe, the artistic worth of cane is greatly appreciated, but in Nigeria, it is the other way Agbe round. In some of those countries, these products do not come cheap – people dig deep into their pockets to satisfy their lust for items woven with cane. It is a huge favourite among people in such societies. Edward Akpofure, leader of National Cane Weavers Association of Nigeria, is not happy at the twist of events. He is saddened that government is not doing enough to strengthen their industry. If this persists, Akpofure fears, many of the weavers at “Abule Chair” like him and the scores scattered across other locations around Ifaka and beyond Lagos, could be thrown out of job. Says he: “Cane industry has been a very big one in this country. It is serving a lot of purposes to the society. But now there are people who are trying to damage business for us here by producing items like hampers in plastic forms. We are not really bothered about that because there are people who still love what we produce here. “Government is not encouraging us at all. When you look at other countries, you would realise that government and even ordinary organisations support this type of craft business. In some of those places, people are gainfully employed and also the government makes so much money by making it a tourist destination. We have more than 500 workers this industry is employing but if it suddenly collapses, where would these people run to or start from?” He adds: “Our government does not value what they have yet they would say they want to encourage local industries. Look at what happened recently, government went to another country to import hamper, something that we produce here very well. All these things would kill this industry for us. “The major challenges have been in the area of
finance. We need government to assist us with money so that we can develop this industry. Also, if we have machines and other necessary equipment to do this job, things would improve a lot for this industry. Money is very essential in business and government would not give us access with the funds to move us forward. We have applied to the Bank of Industry for funds but they did not answer us. We approached other banks too but they did the same as well. All these are contributing to the problems we have here. “Aside that, we also need a land where we can stay and do our business. The place we are now is just temporary; at any time government can ask us to leave. When we moved to this place around the early 1960s, there were no houses here in the forest. But now that the place is a city now, government has refused to allocate land for us to work. If they cannot give us a land, then they can make this under bridge better for us so that it can contain all the people working here. Instead of helping us to improve this industry, everybody in government is interested in oil alone. We are begging them not to allow foreigners kill our industry by importing items that we can produce better here.” Ifaka also believes that if some of the problems facing them are addressed by government and concerned organisations, things could improve for their businesses. “There is no business in this country without its own challenges, our own is not exempted. Our environment is not good for our job, so we need the government to help us to develop this place so that we can work with joy. “For a business to survive, there must be finance. Finance can only come through personal savings or loans. But there is no bank that is ready to give us credit facility that we can use to improve our business,” he notes. Indeed the challenges facing this struggling industry are more than just poor patronage, lack of equipment and access to credit facilities. The temporary nature of their present location is another arm of this struggle. Since the inception of the Babatunde Fashola regime in Lagos State, many slum and shack areas have been demolished and transformed in the mega city drive of the administration. Settlements under bridges that served as dens for criminals and homes for destitutes, have been touched in this regard as well. The Maryland Bridge, although has equally been marked for such purpose, is yet to feel that heat. But there are fears that whenever the train stops by, “Abule Chair” and its hundreds of occupants could be bulldozed off the map. If this happens, Nigeria and in fact Africa will have lost one of its few remaining wonders – a community or village, if you like – that have defied the odds to stay relevant. But for now, the lamentations continue, with the future looking increasingly uncertain for this once thriving industry.
One impression would certainly strike anyone that encounters Obabiyi Fagade for the first time. You come away with the feeling that his youthfulness belies the huge burden he carries as the brand manager (Star) of Nigerian Breweries Plc. That’s even before you are told he is veterinary doctor who has made a challenging switch to branding – and he is doing just great. In this interview, he bares his mind on why companies that ignore competition – however small it may come – pay a huge price. He also talks on why he succeeds managing Star, among other important matters in brand management. Excerpts: When did it occur to you that you were cut out for brand management? Funny enough, I wouldn’t say there was such a starting point in my life where I thought I was cut out for branding. I knew I wanted to work in a very challenging business environment. And I suddenly got the opportunity in Unilever. At that point, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do in Unilever, but Unilever has an arrangement where they get young graduates and take them through their management trainee programme. I had the option of engineering, but I wasn’t an engineer. I said, ‘Okay, I have an option between HR and brand building’; and I had read a lot about marketing, advertising and all of that in books and journals. So, I said, “Since I have read something about this, I think I can go this way.” So, that’s where I started to develop the interest and passion for branding. When you said you read a lot about branding, does that imply you never had any training in that area? Yes. What I had done was to read books like Good to Great and Built to Last. Now, those books are so much about big companies and how they innovated and what they communicated through their advertising. Reading those books drove me to read some other things about advertising, how big brands push their brands, how they communicate, how they want consumers to feel about them. So, that’s how I got a background idea of advertising and brand management. So, when it was time to make a choice, it was quite easy for me to make that kind of choice. My background is veterinary medicine. I even practised as a vet doctor. So, where is the meeting point between branding and vet medicine? That’s quite interesting. If you look at it, you would wonder how medicine and brand management meet. But it’s just about this idea that even as a vet doctor, you’re trained to be a very smart and perceptive person. I’m not trying to blow my trumpet, but as a vet doctor, you’re supposed to look at what is happening to your patients in that sense and be able to administer treatment. Pets, unlike human beings, can’t talk to you. From what you can see, from what you can feel, you should be able to draw some conclusions, and based on your conclusions, diagnoses, you treat. It’s the same thing for marketing. You have to listen, you have to be very perceptive to know what the consumers are thinking, what’s going on in the market. You just have to know what is going on around you, and based on what is going on around you, you’re able to make decisions on how to operate. In terms of the course and what I’m doing now, there is really no correlation. But in terms of how I was trained, I’m able to do the two of them together. But going into branding, what secret fears did you harbour at the time of making the switch? The first fear I had was that I had no idea what I was going to be doing. My first job in Unilever was to handle the re-launch of Omo. I remember how my boss, who was a very wonderful person, just put me through what I needed to do. I benefited from a lot of coaching, but I nursed that fear of, ‘What was I supposed to be doing?’Not until I did the job for about six months did I understood what
exactly I was supposed to be doing – in terms of putting a brand together, advertising, communicating consumers, having brand activities, activations and not just organising events. At what point did Star come into the picture? I was given the chance to be heard. I took that chance, I was heard, I had an interview with the marketing director, and he was impressed. At that point, I can’t even say I had much marketing background, information and experience. But I think what they saw was that willingness to learn, that openness and the desire to progress in the marketing world. I think that was what they saw and just took that risk. With your experience in brand management so far, what would you say are the most important tools of a brand person? I remember when I was getting interviewed in Nigerian Breweries, I was asked whether brand marketing was a science or an art, and I told the marketing director that I thought it was an art, because as a brand manager you just have to be very perceptive. You also need to know about how to make a brand look very nice. He accepted what I said, but he also felt that marketing had some scientific part to it. Now, looking back at those days when I had the interview, I realise that he was actually right, because marketing is now very scientific, because you can measure the impact of every activity that you’re doing. And as a brand person, you must be able to critically analyse the impact of any activity you’re doing – how it’s impacting on your brand, what exactly the consumer needs to begin to think about the brand. So, I think as a brand person, you need to be very open. A lot of times, as a brand manager, we usually get sucked up into our work. You need to be very open to see what other brands are doing, even if they are not in your category. You must be able to know when things are going wrong; even when things are going right. That perception is very key. And you must have an eye for quality. You need to know when to latch on to the very good things that are going on and stop those things that are not going right. That’s one thing I’ve been able to learn from Nigerian Breweries. Never compromise quality in any way. If you’re trying to fold a paper and it’s not properly aligned, it’s something that any other person may just overlook. But as a brand person, you should not overlook it, because that might be the thing the consumer will see and conclude that this brand is not a quality brand.
September 8, 2012
Nigeria, land of infinite possibilities Let's Talk Opportunities
DELE ABEGUNDE firstname.lastname@example.org 0807-788-7880
Back to the topic of today, it was posited by CNN that in all the 10 countries mentioned, including Nigeria, it is easier today and would be in the future to get rich than in Europe and the U.S. It is easier today to get rich in Nigeria by being in government but that will NOT continue for long as those using their brains will have dominion, the way of Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr. From our own peculiar situation, there isn’t much of Research and Development going on because neither the structure nor enabling environment is in place. So, we concede the benefits from that to the Asian Tigers. However, those in the delivery services like big haulages in the Maritime, Aviation and Land sectors that can reduce delivery time, will rule into the future. The world is no more patient and any one that invests in this sector in Nigeria will not likely regret it. The Energy sector is another one where the new multi-millionaires will emerge. Whether PHCN workers like it or not, the private sector rules the world from now on and those taking over from PHCN will be like the MTNs and the Airtels. With good energy supply, the small and medium scale industries
will spring up and a whole lot of semi finished and finished products will emerge and with this, a new set of rich young men and women. The market in Nigeria is unbeatable right now in Africa and it is going to get better. Government jobs will become uninteresting as it was in those days because your brain will define you. An investment in the iron and steel sector, privately driven, will create a new set of “Mittals of India” in Nigeria. Beloved readers, our future is so good if God can help our leaders maintain what the President is trying to do now. He has about the best set of professionals, from Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to Professor Barth Nnaji, to Dr. Segun Aganga, to Mobola Johnson and other egg heads, they are among the best in the world. Despite the endemic corruption in Nigeria, we are still rated among the best TEN of the future because of the foundation these guys are laying. I end my submission of today by saying that this is the best time
‘Government jobs will become uninteresting
as it was in those days because your brain will define you’ to put on the thinking cap and position ourselves to live in dominion as God wants it. Nigeria is the best, you can’t beat that. See you next week by God’s grace. • We apologise for the absence of your favourite Winning Ways column, last week. It was due to production challenges.
Don’t settle for less Touch the Sky
PAAGO ALEELE IMABEL email@example.com, 08023620564
Anyone who has studied mathematical induction knows just how difficult and stressful the course can be. Perhaps its greatest challenge is that unlike other mathematical concepts with fairly straightforward solution, this course requires students to keep applying abstract information to completely new and even “unprovable” contexts. The examination is always a nightmare. But then, it must be written. The failure rate is usually high and students have more than just a healthy fear for this course. The story is told of one lecturer in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) known to really stress the students taking this course. On the “day of reckoning”, the teacher stood before the class of about 75 students and for a minute surveyed each face. The silence of that minute was only broken by the loud heartbeats of the students that could be heard well outside the hall. “I am sure we all know why we are here,” the lecturer started. “Year in year out, students keep returning to re-take this course. I hope this year will be different. I know how you each desperately want to pass this course. I know how hard you have worked and I am about to do something I have never done before…” He surveyed the class again. “Because you have worked so hard, and because I believe you all have understood the concept of this course, I am ready to offer an automatic C to any student here willing to skip this examination…” The hall was a sea of unbelieving faces. Glances travelled to the lecturer’s face and back to other faces in the room. No one was certain they had heard the lecturer right or if he was only joking. “Anyone ready? If you are willing to take a C rather than risk failing the course, please raise your hand.” Half the hands in the hall went up. “Ok. I am not joking and I will raise the bargain. If you want a B in this course for free, please raise your hand.” It was like a wave: the entire hall was filled with lifted hands waving and faces beaming smiles. Students exchanged high fives, not believing their luck. But a few hands stayed down. “I am giving you just one last chance. I will count down from five and if your hand is not up, then you will risk taking this exam and probably scoring an F or maybe a D. 5…….4 ………. 3…………”
Two more hands went up. “2…………… anyone else?.... 1.” There were only three students left who opted to write the examination. So the question papers were shared. On it was not a math question, but a simple remark: CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE JUST SCORED “A” FOR BELIEVING IN YOURSELF. Are you tempted to take the easy way out? Will you “go with the flow” even when you know it’s not right? Why settle for a B when you can get an A? If you were in this class, what would have been your grade? In Exodus 33, I find one of the most intriguing discussions any human ever had with God. The nation in transit had left Egypt and Moses had ascended Mount Horeb to fulfill the purpose of his life. (Yes, a lot of people believe that Moses’ life purpose was to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. If that is the case, then Moses failed. I have found proof in the Bible that Moses’ calling was to write the Bible, bringing Israel out of Egypt was the proof that he would write the Bible. See Exodus 3:12) Moses was on the mountain for forty days, as God revealed to him visions of the creation and all the origin of mankind as recorded in the scriptures. The experience was awesome. But down in the valley, the people led by Aaron, Moses’ elder brother, had created a god to continue the journey assuming that Moses and by inference, God were dead. God sent Moses down to go correct the erring nation and commanded that they move tent immediately and proceed on their journey. This time He would send an angel to lead them. Have you ever desired to have an angelic visitation? I don’t know a Christian who wouldn’t accept one. But Moses turned down the offer. It was a great offer, but was it the best? Moses would not go for a “B”. Hear him, “And he (Moses) said unto Him (God), If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” In order words, “I don’t have an arrangement with angels, God, you are the one that made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob not angels… you are the one that talked with me for forty days, not angels, why then would you give me your second best, when I can have the very best?” Friends, why do you settle for less? You think December is starring you in the face and you haven’t achieved your targets for the year, is that why anything would do? The popular logic is “when the desirable is not available, the available becomes desirable.” Have you accepted that fallacy? If the desirable is not available, then it’s time to create it, search for it, pray for it. Don’t stop, don’t give up. PRESSSSSS! Until you get it. Even after Moses had secured pardon for the erring Israelites he still pushed on. “God, can I see your face…?” He dared to ask for the impossible, even angels don’t see God’s face but Moses would press for the unthinkable. Guess what, God obliged! It has never happened again after then. “Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do super-abundantly, far over and above all that we (dare) ask...than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!” (Eph 3:20 Amplified) You need to read that last paragraph again. Imagine it. Friends, the world has not seen the best God has for you. Dream wild and let God give you wings! I believe. Do you?
September 8, 2012
Winning Ways 1000
business books you must read before you die
Taming the monster The book, How to Fight Corruption in Nigeria, is an expository on how bad the scourge of corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of the Nigerian society. In terse, simple expressions, the writer hammers home his point in a way that helps the reader understand what he is talking about. In the opening chapter, Briggs, a Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons and a Consulstant Obstetrician and Gynecologist, gives various meanings of corruption, highlighting the various forms, which it can take. He points that sycophancy, electoral fraud, financial misappropriation are some form under this category. The author made good use of raw statistics and data to illustrate facts. The various factors causing corruption were analyzed in the next chapter. Briggs identified weak or ineffectual traditional moral values, greed especially the get-rich-quick syndrome, as some of the major contributors in this regard. Extreme poverty, the writer says is also a factor, not forgetting to mention the role of poor remuneration, the discovery of oil and the attractive nature of political offices, as some others. In chapter three, the focus shifted to how corruption affects other institutions and hampers the growth of democracy. Sectors like health, education and infrastructural development suffer as a result of poor budgetary system stemmed by official corruption. Since there is nothing without a history,
‘The decline in educational standard and the escalating level of poverty and maternal mortality are all as a result of corruption’
Dr. Daminabo Sunny Briggs
By ERIC DUMO
Briggs traces the roots of corruption in Nigeria in the next chapter. He highlighted masterfully, how corruption had existed long before the colonialists came and how the British merely gave it a new face and meaning. Like in chapter three, chapter five elaborately looks at the effect of corruption on the entire Nigerian system and how our daily lives are affected by this. The decline in educational standard and the escalating level of poverty and maternal mortality are all as a result of corruption, the author writes. He is sad that in spite the presence of anti graft agencies like the EFCC and ICPC, corruption still persists in large scale.
Why students fail EDUCATION entails a life-long formal and informal process of equipping an individual to be fully aware of his environment and to exploit, manage and dominate same for the benefit of himself and the society at large. Education has been seen as the only thing one can possess which cannot be taken away. Anyone that lack good education is dead though living. One of the ways we can receive education is through schooling. This type of education is referred to as formal education. Both formal and informal educations are evaluated through tests, examinations, practical demonstrations of acquired knowledge and skill. Thus, the issue of examination is a must do for all students. In recent times, the education sector has recorded mass failure in its certificate examinations. Nothing better illustrates the declining quality of the nation’s education system than the growing rate of failure among secondary school students in their final examinations. The trend, no doubt, portends danger to the nation’s development aspirations. Though, the failure rate is alarming, the trend has been consistent in the last few years. Recurring mass failure in the nation’s education sector is with causes. Some of the causative factors are teachers’ factor, students’ factor, parents’ factor, government factor, societal factor, economic factor among others. Teachers’ educational qualification is important factor in teaching-learning process. Qualified teachers are professionally trained, qualified, experienced, knowledgeable and skillful in discharging their duties efficiently and effectively. The quality of teachers dictates the quality of education. Unqualified untrained, unprofessional teachers are danger to education sector. Students themselves contribute greatly to mass failure. Gone are the days when reading and
studying are commonplace among students. Today’s students have thrown serious reading and studying to the wind. Laziness, lack of interest, oversleep, idleness are common among students. Instead of devoting and directing their youthful strength, time and energy to studying, students enjoy browsing, watching television, chatting on the face book, engaging in various home and outdoor games, roaming about looking for boyfriends and girlfriends. Parents have their own share of the blame as regard mass failure in examination. Many parents have no time to see to the welfare of their wards. They rather engage in routine and unending pursuance of business and money to keep the family while neglecting parental care, watch, nurture, control, supervision, mentoring and support. Many parents believe that as long as they enroll a child in a good school, pay necessary fees that guarantee the child’s success. The recurring mass failure in the school examinations has proved them wrong. Government has indeed failed in her effort as a result of misplaced priority. Government prefer allocating huge funds to games, Hollywood, entertainment and other inconsequential projects rather than education sector. Corruption among leaders and other education stakeholders has crippled education industry. Societal factor that value material possession above other things have caused distraction among students. In a situation whereby the criteria for being a success is the amount of money one possesses, materials, cars and other possessions. The ways our leaders are becoming rich overnight, spending and squandering money on non-essentials, funding entertainment sector, living luxuriously have influenced the youths to desire to become politicians so that they too can share from the national cake. This they do at the detriment of pursuing education and training.
Mass failure recorded every year will continue if we fail to address some of the serious factors discussed above. How can we solve this monster of mass failure is the purpose of this piece this week. Government must see education as a social good which must be provided for the citizens. Government cannot afford to shirk her responsibilities in voting enough funds to education. Infact, government should not look back in earmarking 15% of the nation’s budget to education. It is equally imperative that funds allocated to education are properly monitored. Public officials that fiddle with education funds should be promptly prosecuted. Laws need to be strictly applied to stop rising fraud in education industry. Human capital training and development should be made a priority. To this end, only highly qualified teachers should be allowed to teach in schools. Training, retraining and refresher courses should be made compulsory for practicing teachers. I strongly advised that teachers are writing yearly examination to test their competence in their teaching subjects. Performance in this examination should be used as a basis for promotion. There is need to provide adequate learning materials for students both at school and at home. Provision of good learning materials will foster teaching-learning process. Students themselves have to be diligent, studious and focus with their school work. As a result, they should shun distractions like endless browsing in the internet all days, watching movies and premiership matches, loitering and seeking funs when they are supposed to be reading and studying. It is high time anyone caught in the act of examination malpractice be penalized by jail sentence without any option of fine. In the same vein, any school that perpetrate any form of examination fraud be blacklisted and barred for ten years
Chapter six focuses on political corruption and how public office holders have destroyed and stolen our collective wealth through greed and individual aggrandizement. The writer fingered the presidential system of government currently practiced and the high cost of running it as some contributors to corruption in the country. The presence of immunity clause and the prevalence of financial crimes in the banks, are some other factors according to him. The need for effective checks and balances by the legislature and every Nigerian, is the focus of chapter seven while the next looks at how anti-corruption agencies like the EFCC and ICPC have fared over the last few years fighting the scourge. In chapter nine, we are told that the battle to save this country from the claws of corruption is not an individual’s business but our collective duty. Briggs called for ethical studies to be introduced into academic curriculums right from primary school so that orientations about it would change. Serious deterrence and punishment would ease corruption the writer says in chapter ten while in the next – chapter eleven, Briggs played up how corruption affects our daily lives as a people. In the last part – chapter twelve – the author, in spite all the challenges presently faced in the country, gave a ray of hope, insisting that the battle can be won after all. But to win that fight, Briggs say would take a lot of courage and resolve from every Nigerian. The book, How to Fight Corruption in Nigeria, is indeed a must-read for every person interested in understanding the subject and how bad it has reduced Nigeria to a laugh-thing in the eyes of the international community. It is no doubt a worthy 50th year anniversary gift to Nigeria.
DADA Z.I. (The Educator, 08028471149, 07029309472) Dadazi2000@yahoo.com
from participated in the public examination. It is incumbent that parents create and devote quality time to attend to their children needs, physically, spiritually, socially and academically. It is not enough to send a child to good school but parental supervision, attention and training will assist and help good academic achievement. Finally, employer of labour should not employ on the basis of certificate but rather on merit and ability to demonstrate the knowledge and competence through the certificate. If we fail to address this trend of students’ mass failure in public examinations, the nation’s growth and development will be in a serious jeopardy. I wish and pray God to grant our students good success in their examinations. (Amen).
September 8, 2012
Leaders on Leadership CHIEF JOHN ODIGIE-OYEGUN First Civilian Governor,Edo State
Leaders never brood over mistakes By BEIFOH OSEWELE Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, first elected governor of Edo State, is renowned for his bluntness. The retired permanent secretary and erstwhile pro-democracy activist is never one to call a spade by any other name. And if there is one issue that irks him today, it is the crossroads Nigeria has found itself. And he lays the reason for this squarely at the doorstep of inept leadership. He says what Nigerians need at this point in time is quality leadership to take them out of the woods. “The society,” he begins, “has been irredeemably corrupted by the leadership. We are in that situation where we now start talking about the famous messiah. And that’s what Nigeria needs today.” Can you give us your thoughts on leadership? Leadership is the quality of somebody who inspires confidence in other people to make them voluntarily look up to him for direction, which means a person like that must live by ethics that are above the norm around. He must be seen as an example. He must be somebody who lives by what he preaches. Aperson whose deeds and words are seen as being coterminous. I think basically he just inspires confidence in other people. He inspires their loyalty and he’s able to inspire them to excel. How does one acquire these leadership traits? Are they inborn or acquired? I think, one, they (leaders) are born. And secondly, in the process of going through life, they are not diverted. Some leaders are born, but they get diverted. They are still leaders, but they become negative. They become a negative influence. Even though they still command loyalty, they become a negative influence on the people around them and so lose that attribute, that basic God-given gift of the ability to inspire. So, it is both ways (they are either born or made.) But you must have it inherent. It is usually an inherent quality in the person, which is now developed through the process of maturing and growing up. But the very basic thing is that they are usually very principled people and gifted with some degree of charisma. It may be quiet, but it is still charisma. Does the gift of this virtue make a leader superhuman? No, they are human. They are not infallible. At all. But they have the quality of correcting themselves and people would applaud. The ability to err and own up to it publicly is a symbol of strength that they are able to have around them people who are able to speak up. And they too have the courage to say, “Yes, what you have said makes sense and that is what it should be. He inspires people to speak out. And the people generally know that even if their opinions are not accepted by the leader, their views are still valued as contributions. They give that kind of confidence to people to speak up and they lead the process of decision-making. And the decision doesn’t have to be what the leader has preconceived. Anybody worthy of being called a leader must never be afraid to make mistakes. In fact, you cannot be a leader if you don’t make mistakes and you don’t have
Oyegun the ability to correct those mistakes and smile over them. You should never brood over your mistakes. In fact, a good leader must be willing to publicly compliment the person who brought that mistake to your knowledge. You hold him up and say, “But for this man, we would have been on the wrong track.” It is a very courageous and principled thing to do. Leaders are so confident that they are not ashamed. They have the courage to accept their mistakes. And that is a mark of strength, courage and principle. A lot of people look up to you as a leader. But who are those people you look up to? I am so old now that there are not too many people around (who are much older than me). So, that is a basic issue. Quite frankly, the one thing we don’t have in this country today is principled leadership. And we don’t have people who have set themselves above the fray and we all as Nigerians look up to. There are a few though, but a lot of them are not in politics and won’t get near politics. So, their frame and circle is limited. There are still a lot of people like that, but they are not in public life, unfortunately. As a young person, who were those people that influenced and inspired you? We had people like the Azikiwes and the Enahoros, Aja Wachukwu whom I respected a lot because as a student even in Ibadan, when-
ever they were going to speak in parliament, I entered the next available vehicle and came to parliament at the Race Course to listen to him. And then, there are persons of very rare intelligence–Eni Njoku was one of them. Chike Edozien, present Asagba of Asaba, very intelligent man; and you had principled people like Chike Obi who from very early on when we didn’t know anything about revolutionary leadership–not revolution in terms of blood, guns and the rest–but revolution in terms of radical ideas... There were all these people around then. But do we have people like that today? I really don’t know. I want to mention people alive, but when you look at what they do today and what they do for money, people who can now go about singing praises just to get handout, you would agree that things have watered down a bit. Yes, there are still strong characters, there are people who are fighting for change, but I think they have made too many compromises with the realities on the ground. They’ve made too many compromises. Those we call leaders now are people of means. Is leadership synonymous with material wealth? Not all. Definitely not. As a matter of fact, wealth tends to ….In fact, for you to get stupendously rich, you must take short cuts and you must have taken short cuts. And that is not a
good preparation for leadership. You obviously have taken short cut. To be stupendously rich, you must have added other people’s wealth to your own. But there are people who are rich, who are comfortable but who are very principled in business circle. They are very much there. But they are not stupendously rich. If you are stupendously rich, some of that money came out of the pockets of other people–either the state or individuals. Maybe there are people who have that unique ability, when they have made so much, they can then turn round and be benefactors of society. There are people like that. But in the process of accumulating that wealth, there is no question at all that a lot of short cuts were made. Can you recall when you had to subordinate your idea to that of others, whether as a civil servant or during your stint as governor? Like eating the humble pie, so to speak. Well, I cannot give you a specific instance now. But it is not an usual thing for a leader to do? That happens all the time. In fact, the culture in which I was brought up was to say everything according to your honest opinion. Say it out. And when a decision is made, it is made and which necessarily does not really meet what you think is ideal. But that is the compromise. Everything in life, really, is a compromise. The ideal is hardly ever attained. And once the compromise would lead to the greatest good and would be workable, you go along with it. There are times when you get your opinion through. But there are many more times when you don’t, because other people’s perception of the greatest good may be different from yours; and you should be ready to bury your ego and accept it. Must a leader please everyone? Must he be afraid to step on toes? You must not. But the good thing is this: again, it depends on your definition of leadership. The good thing is that when you’re a principled leader, not because you’re there because of the position you hold or whatever, people always respect your views. They may not agree necessarily with them, but they know that you’re sincere. They know that you’re honest. And they know that you mean well. So, even if there is disagreement, they know it is a disagreement in good faith and they accept it and move on. But it’s necessary for the leader to also be above board. Not a leader during the day, and at night, he’s doing everything he has been preaching against, because when people get to know, they lose respect for you. And once they lose respect for you, you cease to be an effective and honest leader. They say people get the kind of leaders they deserve. How true is this assertion in relation to Nigeria? There’s no question about that. But the leadership can remodel the people and society. But the society has been irredeemably corrupted by the leadership. We are in that situation where we now start talking about the famous messiah. And that’s what Nigeria needs today. We need nothing short of a messiah, because the people themselves have been so corrupted now that somehow, they managed to enthrone the kind of leadership they truly deserve.
SATURDAY SUN September 8, 2012
POLITICS ThisWeek Anambra’s oil won’t be curse, but blessing –Obinna Uzoh It will not be a curse because we have learnt from other people’s experiences. We have learnt from what has happened in other climes and, therefore, would ensure that there are no issues of environmental degradation. Also, we are in a better position to ensure that the revenue that will be generated, as a result of the operations of Orient Petroleum will be properly utilized, particularly, for the benefits of the whole of Anambra State. You are a prominent politician in Anambra. Now that the governorship election of Anambra is coming close, what do you expect? I expect that the best of the candidates would emerge as governor. I want to believe that our current governor would want a successor who will work for the uplift of the state.
Uzoh By JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE
legal luminary and a well-grounded private sector person, Dr. Obinna Uzoh, has said that enough lessons have been learnt from other states to prevent Orient Petroleum, one of the projects commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan, during his recent one-day state visit to Anambra State, to turn into a curse for the people of the state. He also said the persistent erosion problem of the state was too enormous financially for the state government, hence the need for Federal Government to play a more critical control in its prevention. He said that Governor Peter Obi has demonstrated that those with private sector background were better positioned to move the state forward and is only proper that he hands over to another private sector person in 2014. He spoke during President Jonathan’s visit to Anambra State. Excerpts… What is the significance of President Goodluck Jonathan’s visit to Anambra State? Well, he is the President of Nigeria and it’s important that he moves around to everybody he is governing. It’s important that he comes to see us. The most important thing in this visit, is the commissioning of Orient Petroleum. It’s very important to the people of
Anambra that one of the mineral resources within the state, is officially being harnessed. That brings joy to the people of Anambra State, as it’s going to help us. It will give us more government attention, employment opportunities to our youths. Indeed, a lot of benefits will accrue as a result of the commissioning of Orient Petroleum. Don’t forget that many Igbo indigenes, Anambra indigenes and Nigerians have industries and factories in Onitsha and other parts of Anambra State. The President commissioned some of them. So, there are a lot of benefits accruing to us, particularly, in the area of employment for the youths. Therefore, his visit is also important to us because it affords us the opportunity to interact with our President, to let him know how happy we are with what he has done for Nigeria, for South East and Anambra people. Anambra State is the hub of Igbo land; so we will let him know how we feel, and how he can help us address things, like security, in terms of kidnapping, the second River Niger Bridge and others. So, it’s a good thing when your father visits. It’s always an opportunity to ask for more, though not as Oliver Twist. Many communities in oil is exploited are crying. Don’t you think that the Orient Petroleum project may be a curse, with like environmental degradation rather than a blessing?
Do you consider yourself as that candidate? This is left for the people to decide if I eventually contests. When he presented myself for the position of governor in 2003, I contested with Governor Peter Obi. At that time, we believed we were the most qualified. As for me, academically, I am a lawyer, with several degrees. Business wise, I have done. On the philanthropic side, I have also done so very well for my people, giving scholarships to lot of people, building a church singlehandedly, building school facilities, donation of text books and other infrastructure. I have also been involved in human capital development. So, I believe what I have done for my people will count. Recently, Anambra youths came together and endorsed me and asked me to contest for the post. Some elders have also asked me to contest based on my antecedent. I am consulting; we have not declared formally. When this is over, I will declare my stand. I believe that I am eminently qualified to occupy any position. It is difficult for me to blow my trumpet, but I would tell you that if you look at my resume, in terms of education, in terms of achievements as an individual, in terms of philanthropic activities across the country, in terms of integrity in business and relationship with people all over Anambra and the nation at large, it will be difficult to get any person who will surpass my track records. But as I said, we are consulting, talking to our people, talking to all the stakeholders.
classical example, where the stakeholders sat down and said there is zoning, but the masses said no. They looked at individuals and their antecedents. That’s what I expect in Anambra. I am from the South. The only governor that has gone for four years is Chinwoke Mbadinuju. He’s the only governor denied a second term and people are saying that somebody from the zone should finish it off. These people are saying that since I’m a good person, with good track record I should go and finish off my brother’s second tenure because he is the only person in the country denied a second term. Granted that some people make argument that Opadike Chukwuemeka Ezeife was governor from Anambra South, but he didn’t stay long and we couldn’t count that as one. Others making any other arguments are not sincere. What matters, in any case, is the track records and antecedents of those presenting themselves. What visitors notice, as they enter Anambra State, are bad roads. Will fixing roads be one of your priority areas should you decide to run and win? The South East, as a whole, is a busy place. The traffic is always high. Our people travel, in their endless search for business. Other people come to our land for business. This puts the road under pressure. As hardworking and entrepreneurial people, it’s obvious that we need more basic infrastructure. Road is one of them and very important too. If I’m privileged to contest, I will assure you that road fixing will be among the top priorities. Of course, I will also do much on water, electricity, education, agriculture and creating wealth for our people. When government does these, many people will set up industries, factories, workshops and others, which will boost the economy.
Another thing that make visitors to be curious is the large number of people that express interest in contesting for governorship. Why is it difficult to get a consensus candidate, like is done in other parts of the country, particularly the North? I am not sure there is anywhere in the world one person aspires to any position. There is always a contest. In Igbo land, we call it Ndro Ndro ochichi, which means the struggle for political power. Contest is what you do to get power. However, the contest must be healthy. It’s believed that those who have so far In our place, we want to contest so that the governed Anambra State are either from best will emerge. I’m sure is the same in the Anambra South or Anambra Central and North. you are from the South. How will you navigate this major hurdle if you want to contest? What’s your relationship with Governor I don’t think it’s a major hurdle. You know Obi? Anambra people have not sat down to say we We have cordial relationship. He’s the govare zoning. If we sit to say we are zoning, I am ernor of my state and I accord him that somebody who respects majority opinion. I respect. I also respect the office he occupies. am somebody who respects constitution and He is the father of the state, by virtue of the due process. We have never had an informal office he occupies. He is my brother, a friend. or formal meeting of Anambra indigenes to He has always interracted with me, just as I discuss zoning. And Anambra people are not also do. When the church I built for my comlooking at zoning. What the elders and the munity was dedicated, he was present. At the youths particularly, told me is that for the past solemn assembly, he told people how close 40 years, after the civil war, we have not had we were during our election campaigns in the best of democracy. Those urging me to 2003. As I said earlier, when I ran with him in contest found in me somebody who can give 2003, we saw the contest as seeking opportuthem the best of democracy, who can improve nity to help our people. During the campaigns, on what the previous governors have done in the governor popped into my rallies. I also did Anambra State. And I want to believe that my the same. Sometimes, at that time, we had antecedents, my track records are enough evi- lunch together in my car or his car. We did that dence that I can get the state moving forward all through the campaign. Our relationship is if I present myself. cordial. Zoning was attempted in Imo State, but voters reversed it. I started with Orlu zone. The mantra of this administration is pubAfter Orlu, Okigwe zone took over. Last year, voters gave Orlu the mandate. So, that is a Continued on Page 50
September 8, 2012
Jonathan has enemies within his govt –Ahamba acy? There is no smoke without fire. The NJC killed the opportunity to find out what happened. I called it judicial fraud. It is judicial fraud for the court to conceal apparent evidence on record and declare something else. The NJC, without giving me a chance to be heard, said it was unmeritorious. But what was unmeritorious? I don’t know. Whether the people I accused answered or not, I don’t know. I didn’t just write the petition. My petition was on oath. When you swear to an oath and you are challenging that level of people, you know what you are doing with the possible consequences. When a man at my level threw in my heart into an arena like that and all they could say was that my petition was not meritorious, without giving me a chance to prove its merit, it was appalling. I shouted, but nobody came to my aid. The whole thing emerged from somewhere. I told them that the problem of the NJC was going to come out openly and it really did and the event did not involve me.
egal icon, Chief Mike Ahamba has always identified with General Muhammadu Buhari, ex-presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), in his political project. He was Buhari’s legal adviser and also got involved in his presidential quest. In this interview, Ahamba reveals why he quits partisan politics, his experience in the Buhari presidential project and other sundry issues affecting Nigeria’s democracy. What have you been doing since you quit your job as legal adviser to the Buhari? I returned to my law chamber. I am trying, as much as possible now, to remain in my main profession, which is legal practice and do what I had allowed to almost crumble. When I veered into politics, I made it clear that I was not abandoning the profession. I only went to express my views on contemporary political matters that affected the nation, but not to be partisan. Even when I was a member of a party, I was substantially not partisan because I was always issue-directed and not personality-directed. That has been my position and I must tell you that I enjoyed every bit of it, and the happiest person about it is my wife. I remember members of my family and community who came dancing when I quit politics. So, I think God wanted it that way. Has it got anything to do with disappointments with the way politics is practised in this country? Partially so. I believe that things should be done properly. I think political matters should be handled carefully and maturely. A lot of intrigues, disappointments and chaos that we find here are not necessary if we really want to move forward. Unfortunately for me, God created me with a defect, and that defect is that I am not selfish. But people are taking advantage of it in my political life. If I discus with you, I consider it sealed. But I found out that after I discus with people, they go out and say something else that they would never tell you. So, I had to withdraw because the environment has become such that subjects one to disappointment after disappointment from unexpected quarters, even those I had rested on absolutely in pursuit of my political goals. And nobody has ever told me why they had to change at any point. The only thing I know I lack is money. I have enough to take care of my family. I am contented. But when the chips are down, it appears I am judged by the fact that I had no money to turn things around. Can we say the highpoint of it was what happened in the CPC? I don’t know. But if there was anything I lacked to bring into the fold, it was cash. I had enough popularity to be valued more than I was valued at that crucial point and my withdrawal shows it all. But that could make one think that politics is about money. Unfortunately, it is so in Nigeria, and I keep saying that until people remove that emphasis, they would never get things right here. When I blame the polity about it, people say I am supporting corruption. No. If you get somebody to spend millions or billions of naira to get into office, it is unreasonable for you to expect that the person will come home, writing off that money. He will have to recover it. In normal places, those who are elected owe the electorate, but in Nigeria, it is the other way round. So, this confusion must be resolved, and by the people. The people must take a stand and ensure a good result. For the people to think that it is politics and there must be money-sharing, everything monetised and
Ahamba best candidates is determined by the volume of cash flow, it becomes stupid. I feel embarrassed each time I hear that type of statement. Some people sacrifice their own sources of income, their personal comfort and pay their own dues to the public to help the man on the lower end of the ladder. But most times, they betray you because of five or two thousand naira, as the case may be. This attitude must change. Otherwise, our first 11 would not come out to contest election. Do you think this cash-and-carry politics be the reason the PDP is always having an upper hand in elections? It is actually so. In 2003 and 2007, the ANPP had no chance at all because there was no election. It was a total carry-go. One wouldn’t know how the elections were won. But we ought to know. I saw all the efforts all over the country. It’s unfortunate that in 2007, the Court of Appeal said the ANPP candidate brought evidence from four states. It is ridiculous. That was blatant falsehood. The same court, with their own hands, recorded documents from 33 states and gave them exhibit numbers. It was the same court that said that oral evidence was not necessary. We fought over it, but they insisted that since we were coming with certified documents, there was no need to call evidence. I called witnesses, but Ogede, the presiding judge, disallowed it. But at the end, what was the judgment? It was that we failed to call oral evidence to support documentary evidence. Section 76 of the Evidence Act says that oral evidence will be given, sealed as the content of document. So, how can a court refuse to look at our documents because we did not call oral evidence, which is prohibited by the Evidence Act? That is even by the way. The important thing is that they said we brought evidence from only four states when we had the results from 33 states: wards, local governments and in some places, units of the states and there were results from 23 states that were inconsistent with the final result before the court. Yet, the court said we
brought evidence from four states. Assuming we brought only the states’ results, they would be results from 33 states. They could never even have translated into four states. Now, if I brought evidence from only four states, what about the final result? Did it cover only four states? The same court made the finding that after looking at the hundreds of ballot papers receipt forms, it was satisfied that electoral materials were distributed all over the country. Did those hundreds come from four states? They used hundreds of ballot receipt forms tendered by the petitioner to hold that there was distribution of ballot papers all over the country and conclude that the same petitioner brought evidence from only four states. It was a terrible situation. And when you look at those documents, they are talking about, they are receipts. A receipt is signed by the receiver, not the giver. They found the names of the electoral officers and concluded that it was delivered to the men. Meanwhile, those forms showed that no presiding officer signed them. If no presiding officer signed them, how did they find out that they were received? The name of the document, for God’s sake, is receipt. So, what I am trying to say is that you can’t talk about financing, because there was no election. But generally speaking, aspects of finance in Nigeria are a serious handicap. Can we relate the analyses you have given now with the last election? Well, during the last election, I was not a politician. So, I restricted myself to my work. I did not monitor it. But from the information I got, there were no complaints like before. In my area, we did not observe ballot box snatching, as it happened in the previous elections. So, I can conclude, on my own perspective, that there was substantial compliance with the electoral laws. What do you think really happened to the petition before the court over the 2007 elections? Do you suspect any sense of conspir-
It did? It has happened now. Didn’t the President of the Court of Appeal and the Chief Justice of Nigeria slug it out over the NJC? Everybody now knows that something is wrong with the NJC. I complained that they should have set up a panel for me to prove my case because Justice Kutigi, the then CJN, was the presiding justice when the presiding judge wrote the judgment. And having Justice Kutigi concur, showed that he was part of it. If I complained that there was fraud in that judgment, Justice Kutigi was not in the best position to, considering the rules of fair hearing, preside over it, whether it was meritorious or not. So, it became necessary for us to discuss with the NJC when a panel ought to be set up or not. And for them to discuss it in their meeting, to throw out a very serious petition and bury it, it is not good for the administration of justice. When a man at the highest level of judicial portfolio sits down and acquiesces in such a terrible decision, then something is wrong. Is there nothing else you can do about the petition? Nothing else. I went to court and the court refused to hear me. Great funny things happen. What could I do? I was fighting a oneman battle. Even the press didn’t follow up the matter well to help me tell the world, because I don’t have the kind of money required to buy pages. So, I went home, believing that the matter would arise again and it would not involve me. And when it arose again, it did not involve me. I spent my little resources over what nobody was interested in. I prayed that God should expose what was happening there and it has been exposed. Apparently, you are not the only person in Nigeria that perceives the existence of the judicial fraud. What should be done to curb the ugly development? The present Minister of Justice is embarking on a judicial reform. Do you think that can go a long way to correct the lapses? A reform in the proper direction will go a long way. Well, I am not a member of that committee. Until I see the report, I wouldn’t say much. But I had expected that he will invite me, in view of the fact that I have a lot of complaints and having been at the centre of the matter on ground. That would have been a very good forum for me to bring out things that ought to be discussed. But I was not invited. However, that’s ok. All the people invited were eminent personalities. We shall look at what they have brought out and make our
Continued on Page 51
September 8, 2012
‘Electoral officers have mastered techniques of cheating’ of Appeal; they got it wrong. There is no absolute situation in anything. You don’t assume perfection. That is left for God. The comments. When I see it, I would make my only thing a man can achieve is aspiring for own input because there is a dispute there perfection. The problem is with the tribunals. now. If three past presidents of the Nigerian Are you saying that the tribunals are Bar Association refused to sign the document, then there must be a reason for it. We want to doing a lot of havoc to the democratic find out the reason and the nation should process? A lot. Look, laws were made so that elecknow that reason. tion petitions can be considered. But there are You have been involved in politics at the spurious decisions here and there, which are highest level. What is your candid view of the being reversed every day. They have now made it counter-productive. Somebody has 80 roles of INEC in our democratic process? INEC is the umpire of our democracy, days to present petition and they sit on the file, while we are the players. Unfortunately, peo- for no reason. He goes to the Court of Appeal ple always focus their satellites on the players and the Court of Appeal tells him to go back and they don’t think about the umpires. But to the tribunal. When he comes back, the trithe umpires have better role to play than the bunal says his file has expired. What are we players. If a good umpire goes into the field doing to ourselves? We have to know why and flashes a yellow card on a bad player, it’s these things happen. I am not prepared to a good omen. If, on the other hand, the umpire harass any of them, but one day, we shall condones it, he will spoil the game. Also, know why these things are happening. So when an umpire sees a man who has been long as we do not mirror against what we hacked down in the penalty box and flashes a understand as the elements of the judicial red card at the victim, the crowd may rush to oaths, we will continue in the mess. the field to do their own justice. That is how riot starts in football matches. It always results Don’t you think Jega is handicapped. Or from sentiment. The same thing happens in politics. Their performance so far, with all does it mean that he does not have the abilisense of responsibility, has not been good. But ty to address the issues? He doesn’t. The presently serving electoral that is at the elections. Possibly, Jega does not end until after everything pertaining it is con- officers in all the local government areas of cluded. What his men and women did at the this country are public officers. Must they die local areas since these election petitions start- in electoral commission? Why don’t they do a ed particularly, at the time of filling petitions, mass transfer of all of them into other units removed a large percentage from the perform- and let new ones come with adequate training? Otherwise, it is difficult, because most of ance at the elections. them have techniques of cheating. They have spent many years in that place learning that What did they do? We were aware of fresh results being pre- and regardless of whatever you do, they will pared. The law says they should surrender the still do that. So, Jega can’t stay in Abuja and results, but they didn’t surrender anything. monitor 774 local governments with at least Jega gave absolute instruction that we take 10 wards each, which also have at least, six whatever we wanted to take, but they didn’t units each. He can only depend on the feedgive in some areas. We are aware today that back by certain elements, who feed on the there were two results from the same places. negative side of election petitions. That’s why they are all trying to use evidential From your observation of the April 2011 objections to stop the hearing from taking place. I am happy that the Supreme Court and elections, can we say that President the Court of Appeal have made their best per- Goodluck emerged from an election that can formance for a long time in the election peti- be seen as the best so far? My candid answer is yes. Not so perfect, tions. I am in the position to tell you because I have always been in the field. I give them but better than all previous elections. kudos for improving in their performances. Then how do you see his performance so But the tribunals are yet to improve. May be the tribunals thought it was going to be busi- far? How do you see his responses to ness as usual at the Supreme Court and Court Nigeria’s problems?
This is because the public is restive. The little thing can ignite the anger of the Nigerian public now.
Continued from Page 50
What if the majority happens to be wrong? That is the beauty and ugliness of democracy. You go with the majority, even if it is wrong. When minority begins to control the majority, we call it dictatorship and not democracy.
President Jonathan completed an existing tenure. Now, this is his first tenure. It is this budget and how he handles it that will determine who he is. I advise you to consider the situations bugging him down, as you try to weigh his performances. He is being fought by those he thinks are his friends in his fold. He has enemies within his fold: it is a war within. Those who are advising him to go contrary to what the masses are saying are trying to create an insurgency. I don’t think their purpose is for Jonathan to last. He should be very How do you see his attitude in fighting careful of them. corruption in this country? We have sectors in this country but we look Like the case of fuel subsidy removal? at the president and the governors. These peoExactly. That is number one. Even if the ple are part of these problems. The problem in majority is on the wrong lane, the fact that Nigeria is institutional collapse: failure of they are the majority gives their line of institutions to do their jobs. Has the president thought credence. He can’t pretend not to ordered them to withdraw anybody who is know where the majority is. So, before taking being tried? I don’t think so. Who is supposed such a step, he should listen to good advice, to initiate trials? Is it President Jonathan? I consider timing and other relevant factors. don’t think the law says so. We must leave responsibility at the doorsteps of those who have the responsibility to perform. Unless our institutions perform their functions, there is nothing any president or governor can do in this country. Our institutions should stand up, Government’s assistance. What do you think even if against the president or governors; let can be done? the world hear that such an incumbent is disThe state governor is trying on that issue. turbing somebody because he was doing his It’s obvious that it’s something beyond the duty. To stay back and fail to do your duty, state. It will be difficult for the state to muster because you believe an incumbent will not enormous resources to tackle erosion. Go to like it, is your responsibility. The offence is old Aguata area and you see what is happen- failure to do your work. Do it and let him ing there. Go to all parts of the state and the come after you and see if the country will just havoc erosion has wreaked. It’s beyond the look on. But if you fail to do your work, you state government. The support of the Federal have failed, not the government. Government is needed. However, I think there Let us look at the countdown to 2015. should be a proactive measure in handling this While Jonathan contends that he has the issue. Erosion starts a little before expanding. Government should be proactive. Wherever, right to contest again, the North and other the little erosion occurs, effort must be make zones are warming up to produce a president. Where do you stand on this and how do to arrest it. you view the zoning formula of the PDP? Good leadership has got nothing with ethYour and Andy Uba are in the same party. nic inclination, as our people are thinking. We It’s believed that he is still nursing the ambi- must simply put heads together to elect a tion of being governor. How will you tackle leader that can move the country forward. that? About the zoning formula, when did it ever Remember, I said I am still consulting. I am work? not aware that my brother, Andy Uba, has Uzoh declared to run for governorship. In any case, • Culled from Verbatim Magazine, pubI don’t think there is restriction on who can lished by editors of recently rested Erosion is a major challenge in Anambra contest. I expect many aspirants to declare Newswatch, which is making its debut on State. We are aware that the incumbent gov- interest in the post. However, the people will Monday. ernor has always asked for the Federal eventually decide who they want.
‘I’ve done much to help govt’ Continued from Page 49 lic-private partnership, which informed Mr. President’s visit to Anambra. In event that you contest and eventually win, how will you utilise this tool to develop the state? It’s obvious that the government cannot do everything alone. Therefore, it needs the support of the private sector. Now that I am not in government, I have done things, in my personal capacity, to help government. My company is involved in rural electrification. This is to support government. If therefore, I have the opportunity to be in government, I will bring my private sector experience to bear. In my course of doing business, I have made friends. I have worked with companies. As governor, therefore, it will be easy for me to bring such friends and companies to invest, one way or another, in Anambra. Government must work with the private sector. I am sure this is why Governor Obi is working with the individuals and companies, which opened factories. I am sure that is why former governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju, initiated the Orient Petroleum project, which has been commissioned now.
Some Nigerians have accused him of not being decisive about a number of issues, especially in handling security problems in the country. What do you think? Is he a security officer? Have the security men not complained that they were never trained for this kind of situation? Has he always been the president of Nigeria? The truth is that the man has suddenly found that what we have are not good enough to combat this kind of situation and we did not anticipate it. That is the reality on the ground. So, he has to prepare a team to do it. He has to move gradually, so that he doesn’t infringe on human rights in the process of solving the problem. Because once he moves in and some people who are involved are hurt, the whole world will start shouting about human rights. However, one thing that must not happen is to cover up anybody who is identified. He must show the courage to bring the person to book. Nobody is above the law. Let him not be afraid of the arrest and prosecution of anybody against who there is evidence that he participated in the crime. If he shows courage, the heavens will not fall. But I believe that as security sector of this country embarks on massive training, they will combat the menace of crime, including Boko Haram, kidnapping. Our people made the mistake of not anticipating these crimes when they were happening all over the world. Whatever the president has to do now should be very fast. If any name has been submitted to him, he should look at the evidence and call some legal minds on who he can trust, to look at the information he has.
September 8, 2012
...with Emeka Friendship, Dating Relationships counselling, love/sex tips &more
Relationship advice: Someone is going to love you only because he/she chooses to do so from their heart.
‘Although I’m still ‘My boyfriend in school, I want to refused to forgive marry her’ me’ Dear Love Doctor,
y name is Francis, a final year student. There is a girl I love so much and wish to marry and she also wants to marry me. But now her former lover, who travelled outside the country is back and is ready to marry her. The girl is telling me that I should pray for her because she is getting confused and her parents are in support of her getting married to the guy. Please, what do I do now? Francis, 07031512527. Love Doctor’s Advice: Dear Francis, There is really nothing you can do because the decision is for the girl alone to make. She has to listen to her heart and make her choice. By the way, you are only a final year student and in no position to marry right now. So, why torture yourself? If the girl chooses to wait for you, there is nothing wrong with that. However, if she feels she can’t wait for you and decides to marry her former lover, you can’t blame her for taking such a decision. Don’t you know that women are like flowers that bloom today and wither tomorrow? I think you should face reality and concentrate on your studies now instead of thinking of marriage. That is an unnecessary distraction, which you don’t need at the moment. Since your parents sent you to school to study, in the first place, your priority for now should be to graduate with a good result and do your parents proud. Stop dabbling into matters of marriage when you are yet to graduate and get a job to earn a living. Face reality. However, if you still want to marry her, you can discuss it with your parents and see their reaction. If the girl chooses you, you may ask your parents to see her parents on your behalf and see if they can work out an arrangement. In the end, however, it is not you, but the girl, who has the decision to take and the choice to make.
I’m Joy from Enugu. Please, I want you to tell me what to do. I have problem with my boyfriend and I am the cause of everything that happened. And since then, I have been begging him to forgive me and he refused. Tell me what to do, because I don’t want to lose him. I love him so much. – Joy, 08036863046. Dear Joy, If you have tried everything humanly possible to win your love back and it’s simply not working, you just need to face reality and let go. You didn’t say what you did that caused your man to turn his back on you. But one thing is certain: What you did must have hurt him very deeply and also destroyed the trust he had in you. If you truly love him, you wouldn’t have done something that hurt him so deeply. You need to realise that every individual has an emotional limit or breaking point. There are boundaries in every relationship and when one party brutally crosses those boundaries, his/her partner might be so deeply hurt or emotionally/psychologically scarred that resentment becomes permanent and reconciliation becomes impossible. In the end, however, your man alone has the decision to take on whether to reconcile with you or not. Final Thought: The two of you seeking advice this week find yourselves in situations in which you can do nothing about. It is a perfectly helpless situation, in which your partners have the power to decide whether to be with you or not. And that is exactly what true love is all about. Someone is going to love you simply because he or she alone has taken the decision from the bottom of his or her heart, not because you did anything to deserve it. Download or listen to the song: “Find a way to my heart” by Phil Collins. As much as the two of you want to find a way back to the hearts of the people you love, you must realise that the only lasting way to another person’s heart is if that person’s heart yearns for you and wants to be with you out of his/her own free will. People fall in love with saints or sinners not because they are good or bad, but because they choose to love them the way they are. A person’s love is a free gift; it is not a reward you get for loving him/her very much, or a debt owed to you for doing something significant for him/her.
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Muson Centre partners FredomHall for Independence concert
Muri Thunder gets new management deal
SEPTEMBER 8, 2012
ENTERTAINER Edited by Tosin Ajirire 08056008696 (sms only)
No man can break my heart -Angela Phillips By SAM ANOKAM
nfluenced by a character known as Efe in the defunct soap opera, Behind the Clouds, actress, Angela Phillips realised her dream a few years later when she starred in the blockbuster, Osofiason that also heralded an era of comedy in the movie industry.
Though in her teens then, Angela acted in other movies that made her face a regular feature on the screen till she decided to step aside due to the lull in the industry. Beautiful and blunt, Angela whose father is a Lagosian and mother from Imo State has returned with a bang and has since shot many movies and produced some soap operas. In this interview with The Entertainer, the busty role interpreter, who is more concerned about her relationship with God, opens up on her career, love life, and other issues. Excerpts: Childhood memories I am from Lagos State while my mother is from Imo State. I speak Yoruba and I have done a couple of Yoruba movies like Igbako, Adun, and Irapada among others. I grew up in Lagos. I had so many wonderful childhood memories. I could be very naughty in the sense that I made noise a lot, and played with kids. Going into acting It was Efe, a character in the rested soap opera, Behind the Clouds that
SEPTEMBER 8, 2012
ENTERTAINER influenced me. At a very tender age, each time I watched her, I wished I could act like her. And as providence would have it, I found myself in the industry. I was supposed to be working with one Mr. Clement and we went to Enugu with Emma Oguguo and others for a job. When we got there, they asked me if I could speak Owerri dialect, I said ‘yes’. Then I acted as the younger sister to a lady. That was the first time. The late Sam Loco and Mr. Ibu encouraged me. When I came back, I felt like doing it again but the industry was very hot. It was not a place that I can really fit in. I left and came back again. Then I shot Acceptance, Presidential Pardon, and Pure Love among others. Why I left movies I left not because I was sexually harassed. I am a blunt person. I am not the type that somebody would just come and say he wants to sleep with me. No. I am not desperate for movie roles. Acting is something I want to do. It is not a do or die affair for me. Back then I was naïve. I felt since I was not out-going, not too social and was shy; I should stay off for a while. Still working It is not possible to abandon acting. I did some jobs last year and early this year. I have done about six films, soap operas and some home videos. They would soon be out. Before then, I went back to school and there was a point in time when the industry was going through a phase. It affected everybody so I occupied myself with other things like buying and selling, going to school and working more for God. I studied Public Administration in Lagos State University and not Theatre Arts because acting is my passion. It is something I love doing. If it comes, I act, if it doesn’t, I do some other things. Looking for fame Then I was quite young, I was not thinking of many things. I was looking for fame. I wanted my face to be registered, so I took every job that came my way just for me to be known. The more work you do, the more you are recognized. First movie My first movie was Osofiason, an Igbo film produced by Nkem Owoh. I have many contemporaries? The fact is that when they come into the industry and find out that it is not easy as they think, they leave. I cannot really say so and so are the people still in the industry with me. Oluchi Phillips is the only person I can think of now. There was a time I spent a lot of time shooting a soap opera, Domino. Once you are on a soap opera, the home video people would not give you jobs. Most challenging movie All of the movies I did were challenging. Take Domino where I played the part of a woman above 40 or Pure Love where I acted as a blind person or e v e n
Peacemaker where I acted as a wicked married woman. Or is it Imabong in which I acted a demonic princess. Each one comes with its own challenges. How I met Pastor Fireman I read books by my daddy, Rev. Dr. Sign Fireman. I read The Greatest Revelation. I love the book because it has a lot of information about life and how to reach out to God after becoming a born again Christian. How did I meet Pastor Fireman? I came to church like every other person. Before then, I was at home. I decided not to go to church because of some personal reasons. I usually see Fireman when he does his rally and I knew that one day, I would attend his church. I was at home one day and suddenly decided to be closer to God. Not too long after this sudden feeling, I went to his church and everything changed. I got interested in the way he preaches, and handles life issues among others and since then, I have been there. Becoming born again All the while, I have been a Christian and I have given my life to Christ. The only thing is that I was just floating not until I came here. I now know the difference between being saved, being born again and what follows. Every church I go to would always say if you want to give your life to Christ, come out. Then I was still in relationships and all that. But when I came here, it was a different ball game. You cannot be fooling yourself and the same time say you are a born again Christian. I have to give up a lot of things for the sake of my destiny. On dating Pastor Fireman It is a very big lie! Please, I wouldn’t want to talk about that. There is no atom of truth in it at all. It is just a fatherdaughter relationship. He is my spiritual father. People do not understand this thing we call father figure. A father figure is somebody who corrects you. A father is who you listen to, who impacts good things into your life. There are some rubbish things you may want to do but because of that person, you just have to stop it. It is not all about age. Most churches make Christianity very boring but my reason for being here is that I am enjoying the Bible very much. I know more about God and my destiny, and Dr. Fireman is grounded in the word. You cannot come to his church for one to two months and remain the same. I am a minister now. In as much as you preach the word, you encourage people, you are a minister. I am an assistant pastor but I am still under somebody as a trainee. Love life If any good man comes to marry me and I like the person, why not? Maybe the ones coming are the wrong ones. I would want a God fearing man, a trustworthy person, a friend who will be like my brother, father and husband. Everything rolled in one. How I see life I see life as give and take. Try to be yourself. Live and let live. I have no regrets; it’s been good all the way. Chico Ejiro and I There is nothing like romance between Chico Ejiro and I. I was close to many people. I shot a film with him last year whree I played a lead role. It is a big lie, I am not dating Chico Ejiro. So, I have also dated Fidelis Duker in whose movies I had featured a lot. I prefer men being my friends than ladies because they don’t have problems. Ladies gossip a lot. Men tell you how it is. On Nollywood A lot has been happening in Nollywood. It is not what it used to be. I started in the mid-90s. Then, it used to be fun. Now a lot has changed about the quality of films we used to do then. When you were leaving a set, some people would be crying just because you’re done and traveling back to your station. But these days, you just come, do your stuff and leave. Nobody cares. I am not impressed with the industry. Then, you
don’t just start acting; you first of all go for training. On sexual harassment Not at all! The main reason I have not been sexually harassed is because I have never been desperate for jobs. When girls say they are sexually harassed, you look at them first, then you ask yourself if you have done anything that would want a man to sexually harass you. Sometimes, you see some girls half naked. What do you expect? Heartbreaks I love the way I am. My problem is that I trust people easily and I get hurt when I find out that people are not what they say they really are. Some people are so fake that it would be oozing out of them. I will never allow my heart to be broken. When I was dating, I knew when to cut off a relationship when it was not going my way. Sometimes people come into your life for one reason or the other and when they fulfill it, they leave. That is the way I see relationship, whether platonic or not. Hobbies I like any good gospel music. Secular music has no impact on me. My favourite artistes are Iben and Cee Cee Winnas. I also like reading, having quiet time, and cooking.
SEPTEMBER 8, 2012
Muson Centre partners FredomHall for Independence concert
t will be double dose entertainment for fun seekers looking for quality and undiluted entertainment as all roads lead to the Muson Centre, Lagos, as the second edition of Hallway of Freedom 2012 Concert kicks-off on September 30, 2012. According to Olajumoke Alawode James, one of the coordinators of the event which had its maiden edition last year: “We are excited about the FreedomHall Independence concert which holds at the MUSON Centre on Sunday, September 30th, 2012. This year’s edition will for the first time include a two-hour-drama presentation tagged: For The Love of Country,’ a play which will x-ray the state of the nation. It is a compelling revolutionary fusion of dynamic theatrical expressions by some of Nigeria’s most extra ordinary actors incorporating vocals from our ever green and
new generation artistes aside a three hour music concert tagged: The Hallway of Freedom Concert which will feature the likes of Ade Bantu, Sound Sultan and Bezz to mention a few. It’s going to be a wow event for fun seekers!” According to her, acts billed to perform include Sound Sultan, Ade Bantu, Ruby, Thread Stone & The Muson Orchestra, DNMT and a whole lot of FreedomHall artiste. “Expect to be entertained in a true Nigerian way, expect an atmosphere where you can interact and network with people. It’s a two in one as it would also feature a drama presentation which will last for two hours before the concert proper which will feature the likes of Sound Sultan and Ade Bantu.” Red carpet for the play starts at 2pm. The concert will kick off at 7pm and last till 10 pm.”
Muri Thunder gets new management deal
APPOEMN holds Inaugural launch and dinner
ssociation of Party Professionals and Event Managers of Nigeria (APPOEMN), last Wednesday, held its inaugural launch at the Lagos City Hall, Lagos Island. Delivering her speech, the association’s president, Mrs. Omolara AkinloshoAkande stated that the objective of the association is to educate, advance and promote the events industry. According to her, the association will assure that among others there is sanity in the industry by assuring that event planners are certified, monitored and accredited by the association. “Events have always been a part of our culture but in the recent past it has received a great boost. Consequently there is a need to fuse international trends with the existent tradition here in Nigeria.
The need for events planners cannot be over emphasized hence the need for an association that will enhance and promote professionalism,” she added. She stated that APPOEMN will bolster client confidence and described the association as an umbrella body where people can come together to share information, ideas, experience and challenges. She added that among others it will serve as a pressure group which will advise and influence government decisions that would impact the industry. The event was graced by dignitaries including representative of the commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Aduke Gomez. Other members of the association include Funke Bucknor Obruthe, Tolu Ogunmokun, Kemi Remi-Dairo, Gbemisola Adenekan, , Ufoma Awodeha among a host of others.
uji star, Muri Thunder, has just inked a mouth-watering management deal with Papa Sly Entertainment, an entertainment/events/artiste management outfit based in Lagos. During the unveiling ceremony held in Lagos last week, the CEO of Papa Sly entertainment, Sylvester Okade Ihenyen disclosed that his three year old outfit decided to sign on the Fuji star because of his musical prowess and the mission statement of his outfit which is to export home grown music. “At Papa Sly Entertainment, our vision is to promote and revive Nigerian sounds especially in this age when Hip hop seems to be the rave and many of our artistes who play Highlife, Afro beat and Fuji are not getting mention despite their talent. “Muri Thunder is a Fuji artiste in a class of his own and that’s the reason we decided to sign him on. Our vision is to take his music across the globe. In the nearest future we plan to sign more Fuji artistes including Remi Aluko but right now we are starting with Muri,” said Sly who has logged over 10 years as an industry stakeholder. “We shall bring the best out of our Muri and transform his career. We manage artiste and we are into events and talents search. You may not know it but there is a big hunger for African indigenous sound in the
•Sly West and we want to fill that vacuum. “Currently we have arranged a couple of tours for him which should take him to the UK very soon. We are also planning an American tour,” he added. Commenting on the development, an excited Muri who just returned from Umra in Mecca Saudi Arabia said: “I am glad to hook up with Papa Sly Entertainment. They strongly believe in my talent and are willing to push my music to the next level. This is a big one for me.” On what the deal was worth Sly said: “For now we cannot reveal details but we can assure you that we are taking his career to the next level. His message must be heard across the world.”
Charles Okocha poised to take Nollywood by storm
ast rising actor, Charles Okocha aka Jigga is poised to storm Nollywood in grand style. Fans should watch out as potential block buster movies in which he played lead role alongside actress, Mercy Johnson and Mike Ezuronye hit shelves across the country. Just back from Abuja where he recently finished shooting another movie, The
Entertainer recently caught up with the thespian at popular artistes’ hang out, O’Jez and he took time out of his busy schedule to speak to The Entertainer about his career. “It’s been really hectic for me this past couple of weeks. I am up to the hilt in work. I just returned from Abuja where I just finished shooting a movie and any time soon I will be headed for Asaba, the Delta State capital as cameras roll for my next assignment,” the light complexioned actor said.
Okocha who has spent close to a decade in the industry has also featured on wale Adenuga’s Super Story series entitled Sister Sister where he played the role of Maja. Currently he has acted in a dozen yet to be released movies including tittles from the Amoco Brothers like Igwe 2pac, Royal Time Bomb, world of Mind, World of Prince and Nneka My Queen He is also an artiste and is currently working on his debut album.
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ENTERTAINER Abuja International Film Festival unveils nomination list rrangements for the 9th edition of Abuja International Film Festival which runs from September 25 through 28 at the Silverbird Cinemas, Abuja, have been wrapped up as the festival’s College of Screeners has released the list of nominees. Winners will be announced on September 27 at a glamorous award ceremony where eminent Nigerians, organizations and stakeholders will be honored. On the list of honourees are the Governors of Kano, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Akwa Ibom’s Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio and Ondo State’s, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko. Others are Africa Magic Channel, Olu Jacob, Kate Henshaw, Adebayo Salami and Okechukwu Ogunjiofor. Director of the festival, Fidelis Duker, expressed joy because unlike previous editions, there were more entries from Nigeria.
…As Igbo Premier Film Festival holds October
eanwhile, in its bid to mobilize support for the revitalization of Igbo language film and television, the second edition of Igbo Premier Film Festival would hold from October 31 to November 4 at Duban International Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos. National president, Igbo Film Forum, Harris Chuma added that the event would also provide a programme of industry events including public fora, lectures, master’s classes and questions and answers sessions with film-makers and stakeholders. The high point of the festival will be the crowning of the Next Face of IgbonollyIhu-Ndigbo, a talent search. The Awards Gala will kick off with a red carpet and champagne session, The festival which is popularly known as Igbonolly Cultural week is expected to attract dozens of national and international reporters and delegates from all the states of the federation including embassies. Also expected are Senator Chris Ngige, Senator, Mrs Okadigbo, scholars, top politicians, traditional rulers and other prominent sons and daughters of Ndigbo from all walks of life. •Chuma
•Charles Inogie presenting an award to Jasper Nduagwuike
Okonkwo Tchidiogo emerges Face of Magic Lens
igeria Union of Journalists Press Centre, Enugu, came alive penultimate Saturday night as entertainers, military personnel, captains of industry and entrepreneurs besieged the centre to witness the ground breaking ceremony of Magic Lens Pictures Academy Talent Hunt &Award Presentation ceremony. The event, which kicked-off with a fiveday talent hunt programme came to a climax with the emergence of Okonkwo Tchidiogo, a student as Face of Magic Lens. Deserving Nigerians who have excelled in their various fields of endeavor were also honoured and three governors, Rochas Okorocha of Imo state, Theodore Orji of Abia state, Sullivan Chime of Enugu state and many other illustrious personalities from different sectors all went home with an award of excellence. Others who receibed awards are Major General Oluwaseun Oshinowo, AIG, Aloysius Okorie, Rtd, Elechi Nnania Elechi, Chief Fan Ndubuoke, KSC, Jasper Osita Nduagwuike, Air Vice Marshall Christian Ndubuisi Chukwu, Captain Ibrahim Kadafir Mshelia, Chief Chukwudi Ofoha, among others. Magic Lens Pictures Limited also used the opportunity to unveil its brain child, a film academy. According to Charles Awurum the CEO of Magic Lens, Magic Lens Pictures as an
Donman drops Ikasodike
espite the tragedy that befell him in 2003 when he lost his father and grandmother, Chibuzo Ogunike remained resolute and continued to pursue his music career. And today, against all odds, Ogunike popularly known as Donman has released his latest album, entitled, Ikasodike. The act who sings hip hop explained why his songs are unique. “My songs are different from the normal songs most of my colleagues in the industry sing
because my kind of hip hop would only be better appreciated when you listen. “It took me so long to come out with my kind of brand because there was nobody to help back then and as we all know, music business is serious business but I thank God that today I am a success in my chosen career. My songs are on various radio stations, internet and on Nigeria music selections.” The musician who is inspired by the late Michael Jackson and Fela Kuti had a first album he titled, Mama
active player in Nollywood is commitment to developing the industry through capacity building and creation of opportunities for up and coming artistes. According to him, “We need your advice,
encouragement and assistance to enable us move forward. Nollywood is our collective business, and so, let us collectively support and build it. Your assistance will go a long way in making a difference,” he said.
•Baby Dragons performing at the event
Azuh Amatus honoured
ditor of Entertainment Express, Azuh Amatus, has added another feather to his cap. Amatus was honoured for his invaluable contributions to the growth and development of Nollywood in an event tagged Honour’s Path. Describing him as a dogged and consummate journalist whose contributions to the cinematic world is immeasurable, Fidelis Duker, convener of the Abuja Film Festival noted that Azuh had over the years proved his journalistic mettle and dedicated his life to objective and balanced reporting of events around and outside the industry. Also commenting, ex AGN president, Ejike Asiegbu, urged Azuh to continue with his good work. The graduate of Mass Communication has covered several iconic global movie events including the highly revered Venice Film Festival, in Italy and was recently the only Nigerian print journalist to cover the Paris, France, wedding of star actress/filmmaker, Stephanie Okereke-
Idahosa. In his remarks, an overwhelmed Azuh, who was accompanied to the event by his pretty wife, Mary, thanked the organizers for deeming it fit to honour him with the maiden edition of the award.
September 8, 2012
‘Ojukwu’ll be crying in his grave over APGA’ Continued from Page 16 underworld appreciated how selfless he was; his service to the people and how anything that involved injustice, especially to Ndigbo really was a great cause of concern. He was never tired of telling people about the sleepless nights, about the many phone calls he made regarding the Apo Six and it was a cause of regret for him until the day he died. How has life been without Ojukwu? It will be contradictory to say that one has ‘finished mourning.’ You can never finish mourning such a man because he is irreplaceable. Yes, the external, the mourning attire can go, but it’s still a very raw pain and it’s a wound that will take quite some time to heal. Because it’s not just a function of missing him, there were so many aspects that he dominated. He was like glue; he was like a stabilizing factor. He had an answer to anything. Any challenge that you are faced with, he could almost dissect and give you a sensible way forward and he was very accommodating of other people’s views; he didn’t believe he had a monopoly of wisdom. These are the qualities that very few people possess; these are the qualities that he will be remembered for a long time. He was a wonderful father to our children and did most things that a lot of fathers didn’t have time to do. Even days when he didn’t feel too well and I am going to their school to visit them, he would always want to go, and personally buy gifts for them on their birthdays. He would sit with them, tell them stories, teach them songs; he would come down to their level and he was always worried about their welfare. He was a gentle giant; he was good with the kids and they miss him, I’m sure, even more. We learnt that there are some family issues trailing the death of your husband; would you like to talk about them? It’s something that has been there for a while. The only sad aspect is that my husband and his brothers are directors in their company and they have a management ration in the management of their companies. The eldest brother manages all the properties about nine of them here in the East; they also manage 12 of the properties in Lagos; my husband manages five of the properties. So, they all had their agents managing these properties; each person had his individual agents managing the properties on his behalf. Of course, with the demise of my husband, I have found that without consultation with me, one of the sons of my husband’s elder brother just turns up, decides that he has become a director of the company, which we are not aware of and has decided that he wants to take over the properties being managed by my husband in addition to the properties being managed by his own father. This, I find strange because I have been in Ojukwu family for 23 years and I have never met him. The time I met him was when my husband died, during the funeral, and after the funeral when he came up to me asking about my husband’s will and of course, I informed him that he has no right to ask about my husband’s will. My husband has children and has brothers, he only just happens to be a son to one of the brothers. So, he has absolutely no locus in what he is doing and I think it’s nothing but a plan to cause mischief. I have told them severally that their actions are very premature. In Igbo custom, you wait at least six months before you start broaching issue like that and then my husband’s will is yet to be read. When the will is read, then hopefully, the will should be able to provide a pointer as to who replaces his interest in the company. But in the absence of all that, they are too keen to jump into the fray and annex the properties he was managing. I think it’s very wrong that they chose to do so through the backdoor. In any case, I have refused to join
we could chart a course and that’s really the genesis of the problem that we had because our chairman was not keen about enlarged gathering for party members to discuss these issues. I also felt that the governor himself was too involved in the business of governance that he didn’t make sufficient efforts to be acquainted with the only functional organ of the party being the National Working Committee. Certainly, no other member of the party appointed members into the NWC, if you have 29 members and all of them are appointed by one person, it’s certainly not going to be a democratic arrangement. Ezeigbo himself has no appointee in the National Working Committee and it’s a situation that is regrettable and the governor himself was not well acquainted with the members. He was too busy with administration and the chairman was totally in control of the party. That type of recipe is what gives rise to the problem that we are facing today. Yes, we are undergoing a crisis, but I am hoping that it is a crisis that will strengthen the party. Can one describe your appointment as Nigeria’s ambassador to Spain as a step into politics? I was born into politics, as you well know and the position is not essentially a political position. It’s a diplomatic assignment; I am going to be representing the interest of Nigeria and the interest of Nigerians in the host country. There are feelers that you have political ambition and may contest election in 2015. Are you thinking in that direction? Well, I certainly haven’t got those feelers you talk about.
Bianca and Ojukwu during their wedding issues with them. I have informed them that as his widow, I have rights as his children also have rights. So, they cannot plan on negating those rights. But it would be prudent for them to wait until his will is read and at least give some grace. We had had an ugly incident when he was in the hospital early in 2011, when a rumour filtered in that he had passed on in London. His younger brother invaded our residence in Lagos with thugs ostensibly to take it over. It took the intervention of Chief Ralph Uwazuruike to restore some kind of order. He had to ask him: “Why do you have to rely on rumours? You hear that your brother is dead, your brother who is in London, who you have never gone to see for one day in hospital and then you decide to invade his house.” He told him that it was an abomination in Igbo culture and that such an incident should never repeat itself. So, these are things that are part and parcel of certain family situations. But I am hoping that these are things that will be resolved amicably, because these properties, when the time comes, you leave them and go. In all honesty, the Ikemba himself was a very fair man and he didn’t try to lord it over his brothers; he was always very accommodating. I see no reason they should try and take advantage of the situation just because he is no longer there. Yes, he is their brother, but they have no right to inherit what is his; he has children and they should wait for the will to be read. What is your view on the ongoing crisis in APGA; don’t you think the internal wrangling could destroy the party your husband nurtured while he lived? The APGA crisis is a testament to the fatherly role that Ezeigbo played in making sure that, as the national leader of the party in all that time, we didn’t have trouble brewing; he was a unifying factor. As I said, he was a stabilizing factor and he was a very patient man and more than anything, he was tolerant. If it were not so, this party could not have survived; he was not in any way a godfather, he gave everybody their own independence to run the party, and he accommodated every view; more than anything he was willing to sacrifice, subjugate his own interest for the survival of the party. It’s sad, I think he will be quaking in his grave, to realize that these people he left the party in their hands,
have not done well to nurture the party. And, of course, the blame should be evenly distributed. I think that he more than anything, tried to ensure that the party should be run in the way any national party should be run. He was desirous of making the party a formidable force in the South East reminiscent of the old NPP days. He was also not happy about the fact that in the Board of Trustees, you know major organs of the party were not peopled; he was anxious about the fact that the Board of Trustees has only two members himself as the chairman Board of Trustees and Dr. Tim Menakaya. Till the time he became sick, he would always ask that the party be expanded, that more people be allowed into the party and that organs of the party needed to be functional. And that he was very concerned about the concentration on Anambra State. He wanted the party to diversify and he wanted the party leadership to essentially make in-roads into other states, especially in the South East. So, the restructuring of the party has always been a major issue, which was not undertaken…as a matter of fact, we found that as the days run by, party offices across the federation, were being closed down and there seemed to be a concentration of party activities especially around Anambra State. He was also very apprehensive that the party was losing a lot of goodwill at the grassroots. So, it became imperative, after his death, that this situation had to be looked at once again because we were losing our members, we were losing elections, I mean we were fast running out of time. Of course, he was the party’s lucky mascot, we lost him and we could find that a lot of things the party could hide under were now brought to the fore. That’s why we have been asking stakeholders for a little more internal democracy, a little more transparency in the ways things are done and an inclusion of foundation party members and other members at the grassroots because we had a situation where the interest of our party members were being subjugated in favour of people who recently arrived from other parties, that would just use the party for the elections but in soul, they were of the parties they left to come and join us. Members of our party were not happy and we felt that these issues were discussed within a larger congregation of party members so that
Ok then, let’s put it this way: do you have political ambition? Everybody has certain ambitions, but essentially, I believe that those ambitions are realisable if your people want you. If they don’t, well it’s a pipe-dream. But most importantly, anybody who has any intention really of running for political office, has to bear in mind that they must fulfill the interest of their people in such a way that they trust them enough to put their future in their hands. I thank Nigerians for their support during the burial. I want to thank Ndi-Igbo for the tremendous support they offered our family, not only just during the illness of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, we had so many goodwill messages, so many get-well messages from Nigerians from all over the world. If there was ever any doubt that Ndi-Igbo love him, that was the period that they chose to show it. And, of course, during his funeral, they were absolutely magnificent. All the traders, in the northern, western and eastern states that shut their shops in solidarity, especially on the day of his burial; all the various communities; I mention the communities because he spent a lot of his life on mediating between communities, brokering peace in various communal crisis; he really spent time in pursuit of peace and a lot of those communities had the opportunity to mourn with us when he passed on. I give the credit to our people; they were magnificent. They really showed the deep love they have for him in the ceremonies leading up to the burial proper. It was like a full month of funeral ceremonies and everyday they turned out in very large numbers to mourn with us; they staged one event or another and I must thank them. I must thank so many people that identified with us; so many people that provided succor, that provided aid. Of course, I can never thank enough the President and the first lady; once they got wind of the fact that he had suffered a stroke, as you know, the president himself came down to see him; sat with him, prayed with him and throughout our stay in hospital when we were in the United Kingdom, he would send people from Nigeria to come and see how he was doing. He would always call to find out; the first lady also offered a lot of support. Also, what happened during the burial, he ensured that Dim Ojukwu was given burial unprecedented in this part of the world. So, I thank the president and his wife, I thank the governors of the South East, South-South, Niger State, Rivers State, Akwa Ibom, FCT, all the governors who contributed immensely towards the burial and Nigerians were amazing. Ndi-Igbo were absolutely amazing. So, I would like to use this opportunity to thank them all.
September 8, 2012
September 8, 2012
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September 8, 2012
Why presidency will continue to elude North—Brimah By IHEANACHO NWOSU and FRED ITUAH, Abuja
lhaji Dauda Brimah is a former Minister of Education. He contested the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) presidential primary in 2011 but lost. In this interview, the politician, who decamped to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last year examined a wide range of issues, including the insecurity in the North, growing poverty in the country and North’s quest to reclaim power in 2015. Excerpts. You’ve been out of the limelight since you contested and lost the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) presidential primaries last year. Should that be taken that you are yet to come out of the shock of the loss? You are aware of the fact that I left the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) last year after the presidential convention and declared for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). I don’t think it is a responsible thing to do to leave one party for another and still maintain the same profile you were known for before. In whatever you do, if you move from one place to another, there is a period to stay, watch and listen and then keep to yourself until you think you know enough. There are still some people in the PDP who do not know that I am a member of the party. Particularly those within my immediate enclave, which is Adamawa State. I think one has to start radiating out from his state, his geo-political zone and then finally, his country. I am satisfied that in my state they know that I am in the PDP. In the geo-political zone, people are beginning to realise that I am in the PDP. At the national level, I am not very sure. I am being very cautious. I don’t want to do things, which are not in accordance with the culture of the party. Many are still surprised that you abandoned the ANPP, which you helped in building. Why did you leave the party? If you go over the history of the ANPP carefully, you will see that from the day it started, till now, it has suffered very serious erosion. It was a party that was formed with a tremendous amount of optimism. People thought that they were coming together to form a party, which initially, had the chances of forming the Federal Government. But the military government that handed over in 1999 had a mindset on the individual they will hand over to and that individual belonged to a particular party. Therefore, as bright as the prospects of the ANPP were, it didn’t clinch the much-expected victory. It went to the PDP. From that time on, PDP went about consolidating itself. Therefore, by the day, the ANPP lost out. You will recall that the party started with nine governors. Today, it has only three, meaning it has lost six. The behaviour of the key actors made people feel despondent about the future of the ANPP. Today, only an incurable optimist will tell you that there is a future for ANPP. When I looked at that and the interaction of the people at the top, I thought that I didn’t have much stomach for participating in it. Since I have no desire of quitting politics completely, all I could do was to change the vehicle I had boarded on this my political journey. I, therefore, decided to quit the ANPP and went to the PDP. Even at the beginning, I had a large number of friends, who were asking me why I didn’t go to the PDP instead of the ANPP. Looking at the new leadership of the ANPP, do you still think that the problem of the party is incurable? ANPP is terminally sick and when you describe a patient as terminally sick, you may go to a doctor just to keep the family happy, but you are advised to go for the undertaker. The PDP doesn’t enjoy good reputation among Nigerians. Did you consider that before making up your mind? You don’t necessarily have to go into a party because it is a sparkling success. You go to a party when you feel you’ve something to contribute and there is a degree of interaction that is called for. If you say that you are looking for a sparkling white political party, a party of angels and people completely transparent, then that party doesn’t exist in Nigeria. Since you are operating in Nigeria, it is a question of relativity. If you look at the various political parties, you will know where to belong. No matter what you say about the PDP, I believe it has the potentialities of improving itself. When you say anything negative about the PDP, you have to look at the country itself, at the level of economics, politics and security. You will see there is a lot missing in Nigeria. Therefore, you don’t seek out an institution and say this is institution is this or that. As we apply appropriate remedy to the Nigeria sin, then, we also should apply certain remedies to a particular institution. If you say PDP is bad, tell me which political party is good? With the planned merger of two major opposition parties, would you say PDP does not feel reasonably threatened? It is the nature of humanity to struggle to achieve. The
moment you have a set of human beings, who have given up on struggles, then the society is dead. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) are trying to come together. But we know, from history, that they tried it before and it didn’t work. They will continue to do it and I wish them good luck. I think there is a lot that is missing in the chemical nature mix that will eventually get together to form a party that can stand. Let us look at what happened in the year 2011. Various parties came in. The CPC made inroad and didn’t succeed. The ACN nominated a candidate they couldn’t support, even during the election because there were sentiments in Nigeria, which were not found in other environments. I don’t want to mention names, but you just go back to the presidential candidate of the ACN and the posture of the party during election. Therefore, I have no reason to believe that the coming together of these political parties will translate to anything the PDP should fear. Considering the ample time they’ve to work on the merger, you still don’t believe it will work? I was in the ANPP leading up to the last general elections. I was in the committee of the ANPP that was to have met the ACN and other opposition parties to form an alliance. People go to the negotiation table with set minds that are already falsified. Now, these are not the ingredients for negotiation. You go to negotiation with an open mind, determined to bring everything to the table. I can assure you that from my knowledge of the dramatis personae that are now jostling in the three opposition parties, they will keep going in a circle with everyone trying to outsmart the other and the result will be a futile attempt that doesn’t meet up to the promise that has been hyped. Some political leaders from the North are insisting that power must shift back to the region in 2015. Others are saying President Jonathan should be allowed to re-contest. Do you see this as a potential threat to the unity and cohesion of the PDP in 2015? The PDP is a political party, which has so many states and you don’t assume that PDP Sokoto and PDPAkwa Ibom will be saying the same thing. We are in a federation of 36 states, mark you; we are not in a unitary state. It is a federal system and the states are sovereign. They derive their sovereignty from these various people and these various people are motivated by their interest. They have the right to demand for whatever they want. Today, northerners have said they want this for the region. But Jonathan, as an incumbent President, who has not bridged any constitutional or legal matter, has the right to contest also. I personally think the issue of zoning has already become outdated.
It was introduced to accommodate some people. The same people for who it has been done are now abusing it. They regard it as a weakness on the part of the people, who entrenched it. In that case, we should jettison this zoning completely and say these shouldn’t be any institutional framework for depriving people from contesting. I am therefore, of the opinion that those calling for a northern candidate have the right to do so. Those asking Jonathan to continue have the right to do so. Asking him to continue doesn’t bridge any law. In a free-for-all democratic situation, you don’t tell people they have no right to say this or that. People have the right to express their view. Democracy is all about manoeuvering, winning friends and forming alliances, making promises and finally coming together to work. Even in states, there are contradictions, which people are to sort out, much less in Nigeria that has 160 million people. So, you don’t preclude any of these things, which you see. As a matter of fact, if you marshal them properly for the future, they will be attestation for our greatness in the future. For us now to be intolerant in a scotchearth policy, it doesn’t solve the problem of the development of a cohesive Nigeria.
In the case that these two divide decide to take extreme positions and refuse to compromise, won’t it affect… There is no need to soften. If you take your argument to the market and your voice is drowned, those in the market have heard it. There is no need for confrontation. There will be nomination. The last time people said a northerner and nothing else, more than one northerner contested and none won. If the North wants to make sure that a northerner becomes the president, then they should put their house in order and ensure they don’t have proliferation of candidates. They should come together and have one candidate who will stand against the president. But I can tell you I see no reason anybody should tell the president not to contest. At the same time, I see no reason why anybody should tell the northerners that they have no reason to contest. This is our country. Any country who wants to do anything, as long as it is within the law, can do so. In politics, there is sprintmaship. You move to the brink, but you don’t jump over. When somebody has emerged, come together and plan ways on moving the country forward. The last time, the North settled for Atiku and it didn’t work. Why will it work now? Let me tell you. The North has responsibility to set its house in order. At the moment, the northern house isn’t in order. We have three divisions in the North. We have the ethnic division between the Hausa-Fulani and the non-Hausa-Fulani. We have the division between the Christians and the Muslims, which is probably getting out of hand. The third division is the one between the have and the have-not. Poverty is getting deep in the North. Those who don’t have see those who have as their enemies. Therefore, those who have must now consciously cultivate and create opportunity for those who have not. Once you have these three contradictions facing the North, you have to come together and solve them. These contradictions will move from being contradictions to being timed-bombs which if not diffused in time will blow up the North. So, we have to deal with poverty, vis-à-vis the affluence that they see. We have to deal with the religious harmony because people are not getting into their respective camps. The insecurity element that has now come into the aspect of religion is not helping matters. Every group in the North must find a way of working together, as they did before, so they become brothers. It’s very easy. A large percentage of northerners have one language. People may have individual languages, but you can boldly say that 70% of the North can speak one form of Hausa or the other. That is the basis to start from. It is now up to the Hausa-Fulani to regard the non-Hausa-Fulani as their brothers. We should see religion as a binding factor. Both religions preach the same thing which is love. Where then have you found the difference to go about killing and maiming each other? Given the picture you’ve painted now, some people actually believe that the governors are part of the problems of the region. They accuse them of not doing enough, in terms using resources that come to their states to address poverty and other needs of the people, do you share such argument? To condemn governors out of hand will be very unfair. If here are five governors who are good and 10 who are not good, the five good ones will feel hurt if you condemn them and say they are not doing enough. We are moving. There is a process of moving forward. Instead of condemning them, we should encourage those that are underperforming to look at those performing and move up. There are certain areas where I think
Continues on Page 62
September 8, 2012
SaturdayInterview Continued from Page 61 governors are achieving. If I tell you governors are not performing, people will ask you if Fashola and Akpabio are not governors. In the last dispensation, Governor Ibrahim Shekarau was a shining star. He did his best. Now, I mention three people. Today, if you look at Borno in spite of the circumstances, Governor Shettima is doing very well. If you say governors are not doing well, he will feel hurt. Go to Jigawa and see how it has been transformed. So, I wouldn’t subscribe to that blanket condemnation the performance of governors. Those underperforming governors should encouraged to perform. As an elder, I should encourage and not condemn them.
‘North in disarray’ militancy. These are clear cases, which you could go into a surgical situation and deal with them. The issue in the North goes very far. As one of the elders, I should be very careful with what I say. Saying too much about the situation will jeopardize efforts that are being made.
Some elders from the North have also been accused of shying away from confronting insecurity ravaging the region. Do you think such accusation is fair? I think people are making these allegations without knowing the structure and the manner of the security situation we find ourselves. Don’t believe that the insecurity in the North is homegrown. It has extra-territorial contest and there are things elders should rather not talk about. Sometimes, talking about a situation causes polarisation. The elders are doing a large amount of work to solve the problem. Anything that has to do with the region is something we handle very carefully. If you are not very careful, it blows up at your face. Let us leave it at that. Do you subscribe to fears that the peace committee set up by the Northern Governors’ Forum to solve the insecurity challenges in the zone may not succeed? Let us give them the opportunity to work; let us not pre-judge them. You don’t go into a battle believing that they will come back with their corps. You go into a battle believing that you will win. If what they have done has not succeeded, we try again. That is why God has given us the faculty of intellect to come to grips with our environment. Let us not believe they will fail.
As an elder, what do you think the actors involved should focus on? What we must focus on is to ensure the elite empower the poor, so that poverty doesn’t become the order of the day. We have elected representatives, governors and others. We have a forum where we sit and talk about these issues. When you keep emphasising the need to something, it sinks down with the listeners. For instance, the North has neglected education. We are saying that neglecting education is will compound the issue. If you look at it, attempts that are being made to remedy the situation are beyond attempts that were made before. Go to Adamawa and see what the government has invested in primary education. There are more schools now built in Adamawa within the last five years than the public schools built in the whole of the East. That is because the government has taken the resources and has focused on this area. I have travelled to every nook and cranny of this country. I have seen what is happening. I have a clear picture of what is happening in the North. There is a new awakening. We must emphasis that government must invest money in social services like education and health so people can have a sense of belonging.
You said something about extra-territorial dimension in the insecurity situation of the region. Can you substantiate this claim vis-àvis submissions in some quarters that is more political than other reasons? Let me tell you. There is a great of ignorance in Nigeria about what people from other regions are doing. Today, if something is happening in the South, somebody from the North can claim an authority over it. What is happening in the North is slightly different from what As former Minister of Education, what did is happening in the South. In the South-West, you do in your own capacity to address these OPC was a factor. In the Niger Delta, there was problems?
N200 SEPTEMBER 9, 2012
•VOL. 6 NO. 487
Why I dumped PDP for ACN –Ihonvbere
Everything I am telling you today is what I have appreciated long ago. I was Minister of Education for seven months. You know that the take-off period of incumbency is not seven months. Soon after I was made minister, General Sani Abacha died and the cabinet was dissolved. There are salient things for which I was remembered. I was the first person who canvassed the introduction of French language into school curriculums. I was the first minister who said if the government didn’t invest 26 per cent of its resources into the development of education we weren’t serious. At that time, we went about telling every single governor to raise the allocation to education to 26 per cent. Not long after that, I was out of the cabinet. Do you feel the country is progressing or retrogressing? Let me tell you. In a democracy, a political party has to form a government. I don’t see any alternative to PDP that is going to deliver beyond what the PDP is doing. All we need to do now is to encourage the PDP to partner with the public and improve on its performance. I am not telling you that if you are rating the PDP, they will be given an A or a B. None of the political parties can do anything better than what the PDP is doing. All we need to do is to encourage the PDP, set it house in order and reinvest in the future of this country. What is your take on the controversy as whether or not Nigeria should have state police? My stand is that for now, state police isn’t the answer. What we need to do is to reorganise the Nigeria Police and re-equip it. Make it sufficiently attractive for young men to come into it. We should talk about state police at the moment. We should try and encourage it to move up.
15-year-old Lagos scavenger’s story •My father’s also a scavenger •Area boys, policemen harrass me •I save N500 daily • Togolese hawker offered me money for sex
Nigerian who played for the Queen of England IT’S ANOTHER EXCITING PACKAGE
September 8, 2012
September 8, 2012
Kastina 2015: Between Shema and Tata F BY AHMED ALIYU
or some time now, the political activities of one Umar Abdullahi Tsauri, known in Katsina political circle as Tata, has prominently featured in a section of the media. The climax of his political propaganda was a publication in Sunday Trust of August 26, 2012, which gave the impression that he and Governor Ibrahim Shema are engaged in a hide-and-seek, ahead of 2015 governorship election. This is misleading. The question is: On what grounds will Tata and Governor Shema be having a running battle for 2015 governorship election? It is on record that by 2015, Governor Shema would have completed his constitutionally approved two-term limit as a governor of Katsina State. What is now the yardstick for competing for the governorship seat with Tata? It is worthy of note that since Tata started his political propaganda, no official response has emanated from Katsina State government because he does not deserve any. This is simply because doing so will dignify him. It should be recalled that on January 6, 2012 edition of Daily Trust, Tata said, in an interview, that that he spent N80 million from his personal income to mobilise voters for President Goodluck Jonathan in Dutsin-Ma Local Government Area during the last year presidential election. According to him, “Jonathan/Sambo campaign committee, in my local government,
was only given N2.5 million to mobilise to vote for the President. I don’t know how you could win election in Katsina State, where Buhari was standing against Jonathan, with that amount of money. I am telling you, I spent over N80 million on that day in my local government; nobody gave me a penny.” The propaganda in which Tata is involved is not about name-calling, or being an apostle of change in Katsina State, as it was claimed. The question is for Tata and those who are defending him to come out publicly and tell the people the source of his riches. What the public knows about him is that he is a civil servant, a Level 14 officer, an Assistant Director currently serving in the Ministry of Defence. Where he got millions of naira, which he claims to be spending needs to be explained. Anybody is free to defend him, but what the public needs is the source of his wealth. We have heard the number of mosques Tsauri has built. However, it must be said that nobody will be allowed again to use religion, either as a Muslim or Christian, to woo people. If he’s interested in being governor, his ability would be the thing for consideration. If he’s criticising Shema, he should always back his claim with facts. I must say that his criticisms are laughable. Tsauri, in a previous publication, said: “I don’t know anything that Ibrahim Shema did for Katsina before he became the governor. What qualifies him to be the governor of the state? If Shema,
who contributed nothing to the development of the state, can aspire for the seat, I think I also have a legitimate right to contest. I know I am capable of performing better than Shema and that is why I think it is a right for me to aspire for the seat in 2015.” Definitely Tsauri is better than Shema in several ways. Shema does not buy votes with money. Before becoming Katsina State governor, Shema was a successful international lawyer, an illustrious son of Katsina State, without any blemish in his career of service, which alone qualified him to be a governor of the state. And since he became the governor in 2007, he has lived up to expectation. For instance, the records of Katsina State development, from 1987, when it was created, to 2007 (20 years) when Barrister Shema become the governor, indicate that there were 255 secondary schools in the state, Twentyeight roads totaling 543.3 km were constructed by all the administrations during the period. Also, the total numbers of housing units built during the period were 632. Similarly, 58 buses were purchased over a period of 20 years for Katsina State Transport Authority (KTSTA). However, within four years (2007-2010) that represent Governor Shema first term in office, 142 additional secondary schools were established; 30 new roads, totalling 519.04km were constructed; 1,772 houses were built, 84 new buses were purchased for KSTA, with insurance for passengers; there’s free education at all levels, payment of enhanced teachers’ salary struc-
ture; and free medical care for dialysis patients, malaria treatment, pregnant mothers, delivery and caesarean section among other laudable people-oriented projects. Also, it is interesting to note that Katsina State government, under the leadership of Governor Shema, has been running a transparent and prudent administration. While other states, with lesser achievements, are weighed down with debts, both internal and external, the reverse is the case with Governor Shema’s administration. He has transformed Katsina beyond imagination, with quantum of development projects without any debt overhang. There is a need for the relevant government agencies to investigate Tsauri and his claims. It is only in Nigeria that a civil servant on the payroll of the Federal Government engages in frivolous spending without anyone questioning the source of his wealth. It is only in this nation that a government worker will embark on political campaign, three years to the electioneering period, yet nothing is being done about it. However, Tsauri needs to know that Katsina is a citadel of learning. The citizens are knowledgeable and are not ready to mortgage their future for money. When the time comes to decide who will succeed Shema, as governor in 2015, they would choose another illustrious son. • Aliyu wrote in from Katsina Local Government Area, Katsina.
Post-mortem of Osun Osogbo cultrual festival By STELLA CHIGOZIE ALAO
he 2012 annual international Osun Osogbo cultural festival, which had just been concluded, might have come and gone, but the socioeconomic traits it has left behind would continue to be a subject of discussion or better still a reference point for a long time to come. One may choose to x-ray the holistic historical perspective via culture and tradition of the entire good people of Osogbo and wrap it up with the social activities embedded in the actual festival. While much had been written about the cultural import of the festival, it is imperative to assert the fact that it goes beyond the exodus of people amid the arrowhead of the festival – the symbolic votary maid from the palace to the ancestral foot path to the grove which harbours the covenant between the first monarch – Larooye and the river goddess – Osun, the legendary wife of Sango Olukoso. The covenant, which has been upheld, dates back to the 12th - 14th century. However, it would be necessary to highlight at a glance some of the historical events, which precede the grand finale of the festival. From Iwopopo – clearing of the foot path – Olojumerindinlogun, Iboriade, Arugba Barch, Ayo olopon sponsored by Seaman and Eagle Schnapps to the grand finale, no day passes without accompanying social activities, which in turn culminate into socio-economic business relation and invariably impact on the small scale entrepreneurs through brisk business. This special area shall form the premise of this discourse, which has become a yearly icing on the cake for the people of Osogbo and its environs in terms of business. Two key issues must be unveiled here; first- there are primary stakeholders in the festival – the Osun core devotees, Ifa devotees - the babalawos, the Alagbas those in charge of masquerades, the Ogboni confraternity, Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), the Obatalas, the Osayins, the Oros. The aforementioned
sets of people are classified as Aborisas they hang their faith in actual worship of Olodumare in a very different perspective. To these people, Osun festival is their Christmas Day. On the other hand, there are those who by virtue of their birth, find themselves as true sons and daughters (descendants) of Larooye and Olutimehinthe two prominent personalities that form the nucleus of the celebration. They believe that Osun celebration is a reminder of their ancestry and roots. The first set of people, do not toy with Osun festival. They hold it in esteem; hence they celebrate it with pomp and ceremony. From Aso-Ebi to different delicious local delicacies, their mood is more of joy and happiness. At this juncture, it is convenient to mirror the socio-economic activities that accompany each historical event, as we walk through the festival. For instance, at the Ile-Osun within the palace complex, which houses Osun and her devotees, Yeye Osun in council, it has always been a beehive of commercial activities, with special pointer to beads of different shapes and sizes for the special audience. It is worthy to mention that the maxim, different strokes for different folks, holds true here. Beads for Olosun devotee, for instance, are by far, different from beads for Sango, Obatala or Ifa devotees. The euphoria of the celebration also manifests in different promos by different sponsors of the festival. They include the glamour by MTN with its annual selling of credit cards and lines for raffle draws on annual basis to the Shine Shine Bobo Night by Star larger beer. The list is indeed, inexhaustible. Lest I forget, the commercial activities within Ile-Osun attract both foreign and local audience by way of patronage. Proudly speaking, it would not be out of place to assert that the festival has gone beyond the immediate environment in Osogbo, as an evolving city and has gained strength and popularity outside Osogbo, which qualifies it as an international cultural celebration. For instance, with the Oodua Peoples Congress members, who have formed the indispensable
nucleus in the celebration of the festival, the commercial import they have brought to bear on the festival cannot be undermined. It goes without saying, therefore, that these sets of people have always turned Osogbo into a Mecca of sorts on a yearly basis. Not only that the OPC members add style and panache to the festival, they remain ubiquitous at every corner you turn during the festival. From Asubiaro to Oritajamegbo and Aromole upwards to the palace area down to Isale-Osun, they are always visible. The OPC members, who have been adjudged the Yoruba soldiers, are usually handy in buying such products as akara (fried bean cakes), hot and delicious rice, eba and amala. Correspondingly, such restaurants in Osogbo, like Yetty Mama, De-place Embassy, Abe-Igi Aanu and lots more, play host to the OPC members and others. Some of the five-star hotels in Osogbo, such as Leisure Spring Hotel, Royal Spring, De-celebrity, Zarah and Brymoh hotels also feel the positive impact of tourists in terms of accommodation and other ranges of services. Remarkably, Osogbo has often been noted for and remains a force to be reckoned with when it comes to tie-and-dye fabrics dating to the prime time of MbariMbayo workshops, spearheaded by the late Professor Ulli Bier, which produced the like of Chief Muraino Oyelami, Chief Jimoh Braimoh and Chief Nike Okundaye Nikky gallery. This, perhaps, provides the template for the confirmed boom of Adireeleko, Aso-Ofi/Oke, both in Abeti-Aja caps and popular Buba and Soro during Osun- Osogbo cultural festival each passing year. As in the past episodes, there were ample sales of weave-on, lots of perm, manicure and pedicure, during the last celebration. It would thus be apt to state that the professional hair-dressers have always had a field day during the festivities. Similar boom is enjoyed by dealers in necklaces, bangles, for Sango worshippers, Aja, which belongs to Osun devotees and Edan, for the Ogboni confraternity. There has been a steady market for these
during Osun festival. Even the local gin – ogogoro – does record appreciable patronage, while the events last. More importantly, one of the noticeable objects, which have shot up the economic activities in Osogbo, particularly on the grand finale, is the rapacity for the sales of white kegs with red lid by the Osun devotees and faithful. This they use in fetching the popular Seleru Agbo from the shrine. This very Agbo (Osun water) is widely believed to cure many illnesses, especially bareness; this is where Osun goddess derives her name as Osun Olomoyoyo meaning Osun with lots of children. This social interaction has helped, in no small measure, in heightening the money in circulation for the people of Osogbo; thus increasing their source of income at that material time. Who says OsunOsogbo has not paid off? This post-analysis of Osun festival would be incomplete if we do not address two issues here: crowd control and car park along side African restaurant, known as Museum kitchen. The yearly onslaught by the huge crowd, especially in the period of paying homage to His Royal Majesty should be curtailed. More so, when the old pavilion would be reconstructed, there would be more space for cultural activities. The car park is paramount in order to contain the usual logjam of vehicles. If this is achieved, orderliness and reduction in security risks will be achieved. On the whole, one must give credit to whom it is due. Osun State, under the leadership of Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, is really committed to the growth and development of tourism in the state. Kudos to him and his cabinet. However, the Museum Kitchen could be built around the buffer zone of the groove, where local delicacies are prepared and served. It would go a long way in generating huge revenue for both the state and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments. •Stella Chigozie Alao, writes from Osogbo
SATURDAY SUN September 8, 2012
CAF U-17 Qualifier
Eaglets attack Junior Menas in Niamey By EMMA NJOKU
igeria's Golden Eaglets will, this afternoon, begin the hunt for a ticket to next year's Africa Under-17 Championship billed for Morocco when they confront the Junior Menas of Niger Republic in Niamey. The encounter will be the first real competitive test for the Garba Manu-tutored team after months of intensive training and impressive tune-up matches. The squad jetted out of the country on Thursday en route to Niamey brimming with confidence after its recent two-legged friendly match against Rwanda's Under-17 side. “We have prepared enough for this assignment. We played many matches against soccer academies and amateur teams, but the way the players responded against Rwanda in the first and second games when we won 5-0 and 3-0 respectively, gave us the confidence that they are ready for (today's) match,” Head Coach, Manu enthused. “As a team, we respect our opponents, but the players are ready for the game against Niger and Insha Allah, it shall be well with us,” he added. Meanwhile, the immediate past Super Eagles' captain, Nwankwo Kanu's look alike, Alhassan Ibrahim, and Kelechi Iheanacho, have vowed to wreck the Junior Menas in today's encounter. Both players jointly accounted for about 25 goals in the team's tune-up matches including the recent international
friendly encounter against the Junior Wasps in Rwanda last weekend. “All the goals I scored in the previous matches we played were irrelevant because they did not qualify us for any tournament; that is why we must go for goals against Niger in Niamey,” said Ibrahim, who was voted the Most Valuable Player when the Golden Eaglets won the SUPA COPA NEROS at the official opening of NEROS Sports Stadium in Nanka, Anambra State in May. “It is a privilege to be here to play for the national Under-17 team and since I'm here, I'll do my best. I'm ready to work hard for the team and I'm confident that I'll be among the goal scorers for Nigeria against Niger in Niamey,” Iheanacho corroborated. Nigeria failed to qualify for the last edition of the Africa Under-17 Championship after the Alphonsus Dike-tutored squad bowed to a lowly rated Benin Republic side. Nigeria boasts of a strong pedigree in the cadet championship having won the FIFA Under-17 World Cup twice. The Nduka Ugbade-led Golden Eaglets won the maiden edition of the tournament in China in 1985, while Wilson Oruma captained Nigeria to her second triumph at the championship in 1993 in Japan. Nigeria has also finished as runner-up twice at the tournament in Trinidad & Tobago in 2001 and in the 2009 edition that was hosted in the country.
Battle of Monrovia By EMMA NJOKU
kechukwu Uche and Victor Moses hold the ace for Nigeria in today's crucial 2013 Nations Cup first leg of last round qualifying match against Liberia in Monrovia. While Moses is Nigeria's rave of the moment since his recent move to European club champion, Chelsea of England, Ike Uche remains Super Eagles' most consistent striker in the recent time. Both players have shown a lot of promise at training and are expected to lead the assault against Liberia. President Goodluck Jonathan, on Wednesday, underlined the importance of today's encounter when he paid a surprised visit to the Super Eagles at training, the first time in more than 30 years by any Nigerian president or head of state. Accompanied by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi and Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdullahi among others,
Shoot down Lone Star!
President Jonathan ordered the Stephen Keshi-tutored Super Eagles to beat the Liberian Lone Star at all costs on its home soil to prove that Nigeria is the giant of Africa indeed. “I want to come to the Nations Cup, but I know that I cannot do that if the Super Eagles did not qualify for the championship. That is why I'm here to ginger the team to qualify for the tournament. “You must be good ambassadors of Nigeria by beating Liberia on her home soil to prove that we are the giant of Africa. I am committed to the development of the youths of this great country, so we will continue to give them all the necessary support,” the president said. Fillers from Monrovia also indicated that the Liberians were
…Keshi orders Super Eagles pulling all stunts to shock Nigeria, with President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson said to have personally launched the campaign to mobilise Liberians to turn out en masse to cheer the Lone Star to victory today. And while Keshi invited 11 foreign-based players for the battle in Monrovia, his Lone Star's counterpart invited 14 to confront the Eagles. The Liberian side has played several friendly matches in its build-up for today's match. Keshi is, however, confident that his charges will rise to the occasion in Monrovia giving the players' impressive display during training sessions ahead of today's clash.
“I'm getting what I want and the body language is good. We hope to sustain it to achieve our aim in the Nations Cup qualifier,” Keshi declared, adding that the players would do the talking on the pitch, even as the skipper had assured that they would excel. Eagles' captain, Joseph Yobo, corroborated his coach while responding to President Jonathan's speech. “We won't disappoint the nation as we know the importance of the game. We are going to make the country proud by winning the match (today),” Yobo said, adding that the president's visit was a greater tonic for the players than monetary reward.
Meanwhile, Keshi has charged Chelsea of England's new signing, Moses, to lead Nigeria to the Promised Land by justifying his rating and pre-match comments. “I read what you said about Nigeria winning next year's Nations Cup and for you to also lead our attack to do well at the World Cup in Brazil. You must start to prove that in Monrovia when we tackle Liberia by showing them that you are Africa's best,” Keshi told Moses early in the week. Nigeria and Liberia had met 10 times in all competitions with Nigeria winning seven times, while Liberia triumphed three times. The last encounter between both nations was on
January 28 this year, when Warri Wolves' striker, Sunday Mba's brace gave the Nigerian team largely dominated by players in the domestic league 2-0 victory against the Lone Star in an international friendly encounter. But Keshi has cautioned his charges not to be carried away by Nigeria's dominance over the fellow West African country in previous matches. He stressed on the need for the players to approach today's match with all the seriousness it deserves. “A country that produced the like of George Weah, former World Best Footballer, cannot be said to be weak in talents, but we must show that we are stronger. I expect a tough bruising game against Liberia, but I believe that all of us will rise to the occasion,” Keshi admonished the players.
September 8, 2012
LEAGUEUNLIMITED ...with EMMA NJOKU 08059423225
2011/12 League season
Ogbe thumbs up for NPL, referees T
echnical Adviser of Gombe United, Bernard Ogbe, has applauded the Chief Victor Rumson Baribote-led management board of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) for what he described as a successful 2011/12 League season. “I must sincerely commend the referees for a job well done in this league season. We had a lot of improvement in the officiating and that's why we had a photo finish in the race for the title unlike in the past when we would all know the league champion even with about four matches to go,” Ogbe noted in a telephone chat with League Unlimited. “I believe that the referees did a good job because they were put in constant checks by the current NPL board. I must also commend the NPL for a job well done,” he added. Ogbe, however, regretted that the season dragged for too long, as a result of repeated postponement of matches involving clubs participating in continental competitions. He recommended that teams playing on the continent should be allowed to register up to 40 players in a season to avoid postponement of matches on flimsy excuses by such clubs. “Clubs involved in continental competitions should be allowed to register up to 40 players or even more in the season to enable them have enough players to honour their fixtures in all the competitions they have on the schedule. I believe that this would end the issue of having outstanding matches, which drag the season for too long,” he reasoned. On why Gombe United could not sustain its impressive performance early in the season, the veteran tactician explained that it was largely due to injuries that sidelined his twin strikers,
Mustapha Babandidi and Sani Sanusi for most of the season. “We started the season very well, but along the line, injuries put obstacles on our impressive run. Our top striker, Mustapha Babandidi, had an injury barely after nine matches into the season. The problem was compounded when our second striker, Sanusi Sani, also was injured and unfortunately, we could not find replacements for the two key point men. That was what seriously affected our campaign in the season,” the coach lamented.
“NPLmust put its feet down to ensure that clubs honour their fixtures to avoid having the cases of outstanding matches, which usually prolong the season. “Meanwhile, I suggest that the NPL should try and resolve the title sponsorship crisis that is rocking our league before next season kicks off. “Most importantly, the league board should make a deliberate effort to address the issue of unpaid sign-on fees and allowances of coaches and players before the beginning of next season.
Dolphins 'll reclaim league title next season - Rotimi
unday Rotimi, captain of the dethroned league champion, Dolphins FC of Port Harcourt, has admitted that his team had a bad season this time around, but he has assured that it would reclaim the league title it won last term in the coming season. The Stanley Eguma-tutored side crashed out in the second round of this year's CAF Champions League and got knocked out early in this year's Federation Cup, a tournament in which it boasts of a robust pedigree. Worse still, the team laboured very hard during the Premier League season that ended yesterday to retain its slot in the elite league. “I must confess that it was a bad season for us (Dolphins) because of some circumstances we had to cope with. But I'm happy that we were able to retain our slot in the Premier League at
the end of the day,” the experienced goalkeeper said in a telephone chat with League Unlimited. “There is no point crying over spilt milk. As professionals, we are already looking forward to the new season. Our plan is to return to where we belong by working very hard to reclaim our title next season,” he stated. The former Sunshine Stars of Akure safe hands disclosed that he has offers from some other teams in the domestic league ahead of the new season although his mind has remained on playing abroad. “I'm hoping to secure a professional contract outside the country next season. However, I have offers from some clubs in the domestic league. If I fail to secure a foreign deal in the coming days, I shall weigh my options on the domestic scene and settle for the best,” he hinted.
Hotshot, Gwar, set to dump Nigerian League
ibi Gwar may have played his last game in the Nigerian League yesterday as he dreams to join the legion of foreign-based players in the coming season. The Niger Tornadoes ace striker, before yesterday's final fixtures for the 2011/12 league season, led the scorers' chart with 16 goals, a far cry from the 20 goals record, which Jude Aneke set last season. The former Lobi Stars and Enyimba International forward, who netted a total of 12 goals last season, expressed satisfaction with his effort this season, even as he looks to export his scoring talent outside the domestic football scene next season. “I could have scored more goals, but I missed some league matches while I was at the national team's camp. I hope to score in the last game of the season if I am still around. All the same, I believe that I had a successful season,” the player told League Unlimited early in the week.
“I pray that this would be my last season in the Nigerian League. I'm hoping that my
dream of playing outside the country will pull through in the coming days,” he prayed.
Rangers qualify for CAF champions league •As fans threaten to drag NPL to court over league title By CHIMAOBI UCHENDU, Enugu
angers football Club of Enugu booked the ticket for next year money spinning CAF champions league yesterday after beating Sharks of Port Harcourt 3- 0 in their last league game of the Nigeria Premier League season. Ifanyin Ede got the curtain raiser for the Flying Antelopes by netting the first goal in the 3rd minute of the tie.After the goal, Sharks fought back to level up score,but their efforts could not yield any result as Oghogho Oduokpe netted the second goal for the Enugu- based out fit in the 15th minute .
However, Chinedu Sunday sealed the game for his side as he scored the last goal in exactly 87th minute. However, the Enugu Rangers fans expressed their disappointment in the manner the Nigeria Premier League handled the Ocean Boys case, which eventually gave Kano Pillars their league title this season. The fans are actually spoiling for showdown with the NPL authorities threatening to institute a legal action against the body. Meanwhile, Coach of Rangers FC Okey Emodi was delighted that his team qualified for the CAF champions league.Hee declined making comments over the league title.
Kano PIllars players hoisting the trophy they won yesterday, after falling to Sunshine Stars 1 - 2 in the last match of the Nigerian league. Pilllars had the highest points of 61.
Emeteole's thanksgiving service holds tomorrow
ootball aficionados and indeed, the Nigerian sports fraternity will converge in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, to celebrate Coach Kelechi Emeteole's success in the recently concluded National League season. Emeteole, popularly known as Caterpillar in his heyday as
a footballer, guided El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri back to the Premier League after the club had spent more than five seasons in the lower professional league cadre. His family, friends and well wishers will roll out the drums, especially when the feat is viewed against the backdrop of the security challenges posed by the notorious religious sect, Boko
Haram, with its strong presence in Maiduguri. According to Emeteole, the celebration would be heralded with a church thanksgiving service at Owerri Model School, opposite Owerri Boys School by World Bank, as from 10am, while a lavish reception would follow at his private residence in Owerri as from 2pm.
Gabros begins screening Sept 17
ewly promoted National League side, Gabros International of Nnewi, will commence screening of new players on September 17, General Manager of the club, J. J. Igwe has revealed. The Nnewi side returns to the Professional League after negotiating its way in the tough Nationwide League in the 2011/12 season, which was concluded recently. The screening exercise, which will last for two weeks, will take place at the Gabros Stadium in Nnewi under the supervision of Coach Uche Okagbue, an ex-Golden Eaglet and Flying Eagles striker and graduate of Nigeria Institute for Sports (NIS), Lagos. Meanwhile, organisers of the first edition of the Talitacum Senior Football Tournament have disclosed that 20 teams have registered for the competition this year. According to the Chairman of the Organising Committee for the competition, Igwe, the competition would kick off on September 15 at the Beverly Hills Hotel Stadium in Nnewi. He stated that the teams have been divided into four groups with the two top ones from each group after the round robin league games progressing to the quarterfinals. Being sponsored by Rev. Dan Ileka, the competition is aimed at keeping the youths in
…As 20 teams jostle for Link Ken soccer tourney the area away from social vices, while as well helping them to horn their skills for a decent living. Igwe further disclosed that the Under-15 Link Ken Water Football Tournament in the area would also kick off on September 15. “The Under-15 competition
is sponsored by Chief Ken Maduakor. It would be decided on league format, with two teams expected to qualify from each group for the semi-finals.” He added that the winner, runner-up and third placed teams would be rewarded with cash prizes and trophies at the end of the competitions.
Pillars, Rangers for CAF Champions League …As Lobi, Heartland get Confederation Cup tickets
s the curtain was finally drawn on the Nigeria Premier League yesterday, Kano Pillars FC emerged as the league winner, despite losing its last match 2–1 to Sunshine Stars of Akure. The Kano side is automatically qualified to fly Nigeria’s flag on the continent in the lucrative CAF Champions League next year. The Flying Antelope, Rangers of Enugu, beat Lobi Stars of Makurdi to the second position with 57 points and
superior goal difference, after defeating visiting Sharks of Port Harcourt 3–0. It was another disappointment for the Makurdi Stars, who were confined to the third position having lost 3–1 to Kaduna United at home. They ended the league on 57 points with plus six goals difference. With that result, Lobi won a ticket to campaign for honour in the CAF Confederation Cup alongside Heartland of Owerri, which had already won the Federation Cup.
Final Premier League Table TEAMS
Pillars Rangers Lobi
36 36 36
17 17 18
10 7 3
9 12 15
46 45 37
26 27 30
61 57 57
20 18 6
SATURDAY SUN September 8, 2012
Team Nigeria’s Olympics failure inspired us to win medals By GBOLAHAN London
eam Nigeria to the 2012 Olympic Games in London did not win even a single medal at the global event. The contingent saw, but could not conquer. But the nation’s Paralympic squad stormed London to change the record. The squad has won 12 medals (six gold, five silver and one bronze) already in just one event Powerlifting. An assistant coach of the sport, who was a world record holder, Patience Igbiti, revealed how they were able to perform the magic in London to Saturday Sun. “We were in Korea during the Olympic Games fine-tuning our preparations for the Paralympics. We were not happy that Team Nigeria did not win even a medal at the Olympics and we said to ourselves: ‘This won’t happen in our time.’” In fact, it was the Team
Nigeria’s failure that motivated us most. It made us to tell ourselves that we all had a stake in London. So, we doubled our preparations and asked God to grant us our hearts desire. “We looked at every event at the Games as a big mountain, which we truly prepared for. Even though many expected our athletes to perform extraordinarily well in other events, many people hailed our performances. All our lifters are disciplined and focused. We knew what we wanted in London. Our central goal was to win as many gold medals as possible and we thank God for the journey so far. “We started our training for the 2012 Paralympics in 2010. The technical crew fashioned out some modalities that helped in managing the athletes for best result.” Igbiti continued: “It is not easy being a coach. Coaches have more work than athletes. A coach is the athletes’ father, as well as their mother. You
Djokovic reaches semis
have to play all those roles to succeed. You have to encourage them, believe in your objectives and must lead by example without being hypocritical. “To succeed as a coach, you must always keep a positive attitude, set goals and know the best way to admonish the athletes because they are adults.” On when she started as a powerlifter, Igbiti said: “I have been in the sport since 1991. I failed to make the team to Cairo, Egypt that year and many people advised me to change to other sports because powerlifting was not featured at the Games in Cairo. The Nigerian contingent only went there with track and field events. “But I was at the World Championships in England. I am the world record holder in 48kg weight class. I was again in England some time later at another World Championships where I won another gold medal. “I won gold at the National Sports Festival in Bauchi in 2000. In Edo 2002, I won gold also and won another gold at the 8th All Africa Games.
…Powerlifting assistant coach There, I set a new Games record in my category.” On how she was discovered, the athlete said: “I was at the stadium in 1990 to watch football when Jim Robert, who later became my coach, approached me and told me that I would be his potential world champion in powerlifting. I told him that I was not interested in powerlifting. But he encouraged me the more. At times, he would send some people to plead with my mother to allow me become a powerlifter. He was confident that I could make it in the sport. “So, one day, I made up my mind and started to go for training. Today, I am grateful to Jim Robert for his foresight and encouragement. On her past experience with men, she said: “Nigerian men are gold diggers, when they are coming to you, they will pretend as if they cannot live without you. Some would come to have fun with you, just to test the difference between disabled and able-bodied women. The moment they get what they want, you will never see
ovak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro headed for a tiebreaker and produced a 20-stroke masterpiece of a point befitting a pair of past US Open champions. More than a dozen shots in, defending champion, Djokovic, drew del Potro forward with a drop shot, then tossed up a lob. Del Potro, the 2009 champion, sprinted with his back to the court, got to the ball and lofted a lob the other way. Djokovic slammed an overhead. Del Potro somehow kept the ball in play. Djokovic laced a drop shot. Again, del Potro got there, attempting another lob. It landed long. A point from a two-set lead, Djokovic threw his head back, roared “Come on!” and
pumped his arms. Del Potro leaned his elbows atop the net, hunched over and rested his head on his arms. Close and compelling as their quarterfinal was, it might as well have been over right then and there. Djokovic’s down-the-line backhand winner seconds later ended the tiebreaker and gave him a commanding lead on the way to a 6-2, 7-6 (3), 64 victory over del Potro on Thursday night, which put the Serb in his 10th consecutive Grand Slam semi-final.
Students get scholarships for winning medals By OKEY SAMPSON, Aba
wo students of Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, have been rewarded scholarships by the school management for winning gold medals at this year's Nigeria Polytechnic Games (NIPOGA) held in Ede, Osun State. The students were among the 34 from the Polytechnic, who won medals at the Games. Eighteen other students who won silver medals were to enjoy scholarship for one session, while bronze medallists were rewarded with N30,000 cash. The only male among the medal-winning students received N100,000 cash reward in addition to other benefits. Rector of the institution, Elder Allwell Onukaogu, who announced the awards at a reception organised by the institution for the 2012 NIPOGA contingent, said both the scholarship awards and cash rewards were aimed at encouraging other students to be involved in sports activities, which he opined was gradually ruling the world.
He said that the school singled out the only male medal winner for special reward to spite the men folk, who he accused of not showing interest in sports. Elder Onukaogu stated that it was unacceptable to the management that out of 34 students of the institution that won medals at this year's Games, only one was male. He, therefore, challenged the male folk in the Polytechnic to brace up for action in sports. Head of Sports Development in the institution, Mrs. Edith Nwakire, commended the medallists for working hard during the Games to win laurels for the Abia State Polytechnic. She reported that the institution came fifth out of 55 institutions that participated in this year's NIPOGA and expressed optimism that the school would perform better in subsequent outings. Mrs. Nwakire commended the rector for rewarding the student athletes, adding that the gesture would spur the students of the institution to perform well in future Games.
Ogun State insures athletes A Igbiti
USA, Germany in final face off for glory ment's records. For starters, no team has posted more consecutive victories than Germany's 12, while USA boasts the highest number of total wins, their tally of 25 narrowly outstripping Germany's 24. The European side has registered 95 goals against the Stars and Stripes' 80, but it is USA that boasts the strongest record overall down the years. In short, the teams are the twin pillars of women's Under20 football, but both would be viewing the final as a chance to race clear and leave its rival in its wake. The side that lifts the trophy in Tokyo would have earned the right to call itself the greatest team in the history of the competition, at least, until the world's finest sides meet again in two years' time. USA's bid for glory is based upon its supreme organisation
disabled women. I once had such a nasty experience,” she confessed.
FIFA U-20 Women World Cup
total of 16 teams lined up on the starting blocks for the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women World Cup in Japan, but even before a single ball was kicked, Germany and USA stood out as heavy favourites for the title. Since then, results have only vindicated the pre-tournament predictions and the teams. Both, two-time winners, will lock horns today in the final of the showpiece to decide which of the two deserves its billing most. It is the final every neutral person dreamed of, a showdown between the undisputed giants at this level. Not only have Germany and USA won four of the five previous editions of the competition between them, they have also taken a firm grip on the tourna-
them again. “We discuss a lot among ourselves how men deceive
and a midfield equally capable of keeping possession, helping out in defence and making the difference going forward, as demonstrated by the goals recently rattled in by Morgan Brian and Vanessa di Bernardo. The only problem for Steve Swanson's charges is how to exploit the weaknesses of a team that seems to have none, Germany having yet to concede on Japanese soil. In fact, the European hopeful has now gone six games without shipping a goal at this level, a run stretching back to the final in 2010, while it has struck 15 times in five outings thus far, Lena Lotzen alone scoring six. As if the match needed any extra spice, the two teams of course, met during the group stage when Germany put in a commanding performance that yielded a 3-0 win. The Stars and
Stripes will, therefore, be hungry for revenge, as it takes aim at the title. With one goal and a missed penalty against Norway to her name, Dzsenifer Marozsan is unlikely to end the tournament cradling the Adidas Golden Boot as top scorer. Germany Coach, Maren Meinert, will not mind a hoot, though, as the Frankfurt forward is one of her most valuable players and can point to no fewer than six assists so far, including her exquisite through ball in the very first minute of the semi-final against Japan. Despite their rivalry in the women's game and their shared stranglehold on the FIFA Under-20 Women World Cup, this would be the first time that Germany and USA have crossed paths in the final of a FIFA competition.
s part of efforts to encourage its athletes to excel in their various sports, the Ogun State government has insured the state athletes for the next one year starting from this month. According to a release signed by the Press Officer in the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Rotimi Oduniyi, the insurance policy would take care of the athletes, not only when they compete in Nigeria, but also in other parts of the world. The policy, which covers death, permanent disabilities and injuries, Oduniyi explained, was an eloquent way of boosting the morale of the athletes as they go for the zonal elimination in the Ball Games ahead of this year's National Sports Festival tagged Eko 2012. Meanwhile, the Ogun State athletes, otherwise known as Team Ogun, have intensified their training for the festival. Reports from the various camps had it that the athletes were already shaping up for the Ball Games' elimination series billed for this month in Ibadan. Over 800 athletes and officials are currently in camp at the Alake Sports Centre, Ijeja, M.K.O. Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta, and at Dipo Dina Stadium, in Ijebu Ode.
September 8, 2012
September 8, 2012
September 8, 2012
THE KALU LEADERSHIP SERIES
September 8, 2012
OrjiUzorKalu Former governor of Abia State e-mail: email@example.com
Umuahia stands still for Catholic bishops
he Catholic Diocese of Umuahia in Abia State is bubbling with activities, preparatory to the commencement of the biennial Conference of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), which it is playing host to from September 6 to 15, 2012. The diocese is staging the conference on behalf of the entire Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, comprising Archdiocese of Owerri, Dioceses of Aba, Ahiara, Orlu, Okigwe and Umuahia. Already, pre-conference staff have arrived since Thursday, September 6, while the conference proper will begin tomorrow, Sunday, September 9, with the arrival of the bishops from all over Nigeria. This is the first time Umuahia Diocese is playing host to this very important event since the diocese was erected on June 23, 1958. According to records, it could take another 50 years for the diocese to have the privilege to stage the event again. It is for this reason that it has done everything humanly possible not to falter or fail. This resolve has been matched with action, going by the remarkable progress the diocese has made in the past seven months to organise a first-class event. However, it will be proper to trace briefly the history of the diocese in order to guide the reader accordingly. The first mass was celebrated in the diocese in 1921 with the arrival of the first missionary, Rev. Fr. Herbert Whytte, CSSp. The diocese was carved out of the then Diocese of Owerri (now Owerri Archdiocese) with Bishop Anthony Gogo Nwedo, CSSp, as its first bishop. Gogo Nwedo (who came from Oguta, Imo State) was enthroned as bishop on May 17, 1959, and held office until April 12, 1990 when he retired and was succeeded by the current bishop, Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji. Bishop Nwedo joined the Saints Triumphant on February 12, 2000 at the ripe age of 88 years. His missionary life was built around service to the poor and this was reflected in his motto: Evangelizare Pauperibus Misit Me (I am sent to preach to the poor). It was out of Umuahia Diocese that Okigwe Diocese was later carved out on March 29, 1981, with Most Rev. Dr. Anthony Ilonu (who died two months ago) as its first bishop; and Aba Diocese on April 2, 1990 with Most Rev. Dr. Vincent Ezeonyia, CSSp, as the first bishop. Umuahia Diocese has a catholic population of over 200,000 with about 200 priests and 500 junior and senior seminarians. It is important to mention here that the two dioceses of Aba and Okigwe, which were carved out of the former Umuahia Diocese, have witnessed an explosion in catholic population. While Okigwe boasts of over 450,000 Catholics, Aba Diocese has over 300,000. The biennial conference is usually rotated among the Catholic dioceses in Nigeria, and this time it is the turn of the Diocese of Umuahia. Playing host to over 70 bishops, 30 major superiors of various Catholic congregations, secretariat staff, drivers, and a host of other ancillary staff is not a mean task. At the last count over 200 delegates are expected at the conference. For the records: some of the major superiors include those of Missionary Society of St. Paul, Abuja; Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy, Umuahia; Augustinian Fathers, Jos; Marian Brothers of the Schools, Enugu; Brothers of St. Stephen, Onitsha; Holy Ghost Fathers/Brothers, Abuja; Dominicans, Yaba, Lagos; Little Brothers of Jesus, Onitsha; Discalced Carmelites, Nike, Enugu; Society of Jesus, Surulere, Lagos; St. Patrick’s Missionary Society, Maryland, Lagos; Claretian Missionaries, Owerri; Benedictine Monastery, Ewu-Ishan, Edo; Vocational Fathers/Brothers, Ibadan; Servants of Charity, Oguta, Imo State; Society of African Mission, Wuse, Abuja; Missionaries of Africa, Ibadan; Society of St. Paul, Ibadan, and Society of Jesus, Lagos, etc. Other special delegates include staff of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Pontifical Mission Society, National Army Chaplaincy, and Personal Prelature of Opus Dei. So, one could imagine the heavy financial burden placed on the diocese by its designation as a host of the biennial conference. I must confess that I was visibly worried when I was told some time last year about plans to organize the event, because of its magnitude. I am privileged to know what some past hosts went through, especially in terms of sourcing funds and mobilizing for the event, having been a part of them in various unquantifiable ways. Worst still, there was virtually nothing on ground in the diocese to play host to such a monumental occasion. From facts gleaned from the other dioceses that had played host to the conference, Umuahia Diocese would need a standard pastoral centre with inbuilt chapel, a conference centre, a suite for each of the bishops and other key staffers, a refectory, a concierge, etc. before it can hold such an event. The centre is expected also to have a functional borehole, standby generator, round-
Pope Benedict the-clock security and, above all, tranquility to enhance concentration and output by the participants. All these were estimated to cost about N300 million. The question that immediately arose in August last, when the idea to play host to the conference was first mooted was: “From where will the money come?” The situation looked somewhat bleak. Different suggestions were made: some rational, some weird. I am aware that some people even suggested the renting of an accommodation to house the bishops and other persons that would be attending the conference in place of building a new pastoral centre. But one man demonstrated an unusually stoic faith, and that man is Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, Catholic Bishop of Umuahia, on whose shoulders the responsibility to organise the conference rests squarely. I have always known Bishop Ugorji as a focused, outspoken, talented and energetic prelate, but I never knew he had such dye-in-the-wool confidence. He told everybody that cared to listen that the diocese would build a brand new Pastoral Centre in just 200 days - early enough to accommodate the bishops and other delegates. Some dismissed him with a wave of the hand, while some others shared in his optimism. Incidentally, I was among the few that believed in him and what God could do. And we were not disappointed in the end. One thing strengthened my faith in the possibility of realising the project within the period set for it: I saw the project as God’s own project and, therefore, he would not allow it to fail. Is anything impossible for God to do? The transformation of the diocese has been done effortlessly by the bishop with the support of the laity and clergy. His experience in building is amply manifested in the splendour of the new pastoral centre, and many other projects he had realized in the diocese since the death of his predecessor, Bishop Gogo Nwedo. The Cathedral project was started by Bishop Nwedo and completed by Bishop Ugorji. The location and subsequent completion of Seat of Wisdom Major Seminary in Ariam, Ikwuano, was also spearheaded by Bishop Ugorji. So, in every sense, he is an accomplished achiever. This also boosted my confidence that the pastoral centre project was attainable. And so the mobilization began. The parishes, priests, laity, friends of the diocese, and all men and women of good faith, were mobilized to source funds. With the little fund gathered the project was started toward the end of last year. All eyes were fixed on the pastoral centre project as the structure began to rise. Initially, nobody could accurately hazard a guess as to the shape it was going to take or the number of storey. From the substructure, like joke, it moved to the superstructure. Like magic the building began to rise, and people’s confidence began to soar. At this stage nobody was anymore in doubt about the possibility of realising the project in 200 days. The place automatically turned into a pilgrimage centre, as people started trooping into it to see what some of them described as “American Wonder”.
Today, standing toweringly in the skies of Umuahia is a magnificent Pastoral Centre with state-of-the-art facilities! History was made on August 22 (exactly 200 days after the project was started) as His Lordship Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji blessed the centre with the faithful from within and outside Umuahia, including Bishop V.V. Ezeonyia of Aba Catholic Diocese, in attendance. It was a very colourful event during which two books – one on the first Bishop of the Diocese, Bishop Anthony Gogo Nwedo, and the other on the incumbent bishop, Lucius Ugorji – were presented to the public. The new pastoral centre is named after the late Bishop Anthony Gogo Nwedo – the first Bishop of Umuahia and founder of two congregations for the training of priests and religious; namely the Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy (SMMM) and Daughters of Mary Mother of Mercy (DMMM). The humility and selflessness of Bishop Ugorji in naming the centre after Bishop Nwedo, instead of himself, are exemplary. It has affirmed him as an astute, visionary church administrator. The sculptural epithet of the late bishop adorns the front of the centre. A tour round the new pastoral centre would amaze a firsttime visitor. Its architectural ambience, coupled with its imposing size, gives it its beauty, grandeur and majesty. The interior is what the Jamaicans refer to as “something else”. It is better seen than imagined. The whole floors were made of granite tiles, while each suite contains an LCD television, a fridge, a split air-conditioner, a bed, a table and a chair. The refectory is large enough to accommodate all the bishops at a seating, and it is beautifully laid out. The cost-effectiveness of the project has left me wondering what it would cost if it were awarded by government. In my estimation, it would have cost as much as a billion naira with a completion period of over two years, because it is likely the contractor would be calling for variation at different points. But the pastoral centre, from the information I gathered, did not cost as much as N300 million to complete. This is a lesson in contract award and execution. Government should copy the Umuahia Diocese’s model for contract management. I have observed with curiosity that everything in Mater Dei Cathedral – the seat of the Local Ordinary – is imposing. This could be as a result of ecclesiological demands or sheer choice. Whichever one, the truth is that the entire cathedral premises are gradually being turned into another Basilica. I will not be surprised if it is named a Basilica soon? Without argument, it has everything to qualify it as a Basilica. The Marian Shrine situated at the back of the Cathedral is another architectural masterpiece on its own. The centre of the shrine is designed as a chalice, encompassing the people of God during the celebration of the Eucharist. The landscaping and other beautifications add to its elegance. As we admire the physical beauty of the Pastoral centre and its environs, we should not lose sight of the spiritual dimension. The coming of the bishops and other men and women of God should bring blessing and peace to our state and country. We should join our prayers with those of the delegates to the conference to seek God’s face in this trying period. As is traditional, the bishops are expected to issue a communiqué at the end of the conference. They should deliberate on the way forward for our dear nation, which is in dire straits at the moment. They must speak out against corruption, crimes, inept leadership, lopsided distribution of national wealth, poverty, favouritism, and other social problems militating against our democratic development. There is no way our nation will continue this way. The time has come for all Nigerians of all shades to stand up against the forces of oppression and wickedness that want to destroy our nation. This is the time to pray and follow it up with practical actions to entrench justice, fairness and order. The way things are going it looks as if Nigeria has lost focus and is drifting to self-perdition. We cannot watch this happen. If we should allow it to happen then all of us are doomed. We have no other country to call our own, except Nigeria. Therefore, we must do everything feasible to save it from itself. This is why the staging of the biennial conference is timely. It will not only afford the bishops quiet opportunity to pray and meditate on the state of the church and the nation, it will bring Abia State under the klieg-lights. At least, Abia State will be in the front burner of media reports for the next one week. I personally welcome the bishops, many of who are my friends, to God’s won state. Our people are wonderful hosts. They will definitely enjoy their stay for the duration it will last. I wish you successful deliberations and safe journey back to your various destinations after your conference. Nno nu, unu abiala, Kaa! Sanu de zua! Ekaa bo!
KALU LEADERSHIP SERIES
September 8, 2012 Vol.9 No.506
UMUAHIA STANDS STILL FOR CATHOLIC BISHOPS PAGE 71
Sin, tear, Cynthia (Letters) PressClips BY MIKE AWOYINFA firstname.lastname@example.org 08051271177 (SMS only)
oday, it’s the turn of my readers to respond to my last week’s piece on Cynthia Osokogu, the murdered girl titled: Dying in the hands of those you love. Ever since the publication, readers have not stopped responding to the column, expressing deep emotions. Here are some of your letters: *** Tears haven’t stopped flowing since I read your piece. (Dying in the hands of those you love.) Once again some beasts in human skin have dragged my tribe through the dirt. When did we get this wicked? Ugoo Ezenwaka, Aba, 08033405970 After reading your piece on Cynthia, I wept in pains of man’s inhumanity to man. I made sure my 11-year-old daughter read it too. You can perhaps ask the same question I have asked over the years. Can religion save man? Christianity as beautifully organised as it is, has some flaws which I guess is the roots of the evil we face daily here. Forgiveness? Does God really forgive? Preach to the world that every wound leaves a scar. There are laws guiding every mortal activity on this plane of existence. Cause and effect. Mr. Mike, preach to humanity to sow good and reap goodness! Kill and be killed! We all pay, my dear Mike. It’s the only truth worth preaching. Chinyere (email@example.com)
I think the girl Cynthia was daft. I am not speaking evil of the dead but anyone that marries or dates anyone on Facebook is a complete fool. Facebook is fun, for conversation and time wasting! Anything outside that is trouble. A mature girl with her level of academic and business exposure should know that. Unfortunately, she has paid the ultimate price for her stupidity. So sorry for her parents. Iyke, firstname.lastname@example.org I thought your piece on the white goat chasing you while jogging was your best column, but this piece is even better. If your intention was to make people cry, you succeeded. Kriss, 08025006622 I knew Cynthia briefly when I went to see my cousin at Nasarawa State University and I bought things from her boutique. She was friendly and marketable. Indeed, your writeup on this lady is great. She loved and was not loved in return. Indeed Cynthia, my
friend, paid the supreme price. I remember the last call I made to her. Jacob Daniel Why did you draw tears from my eyes this 1st day of September with your piece on Cynthia? Without sounding blasphemous, you are the bible of journalism. May the killers of this beautiful girl Cynthia rest in the bosom of Satan, the Lucifer. Chief JJ Ibeka, Lagos Cynthia’s case is like Nigerian politicians. They solicit for our votes and promise heaven on earth and later turn around to kill us. May the Lord forgive Cynthia and her amorous killers. Idris, Kano Awful and treacherous persons come in form of true friends. With ease, they proclaim the name of God. There is always an invisible arrow with them which they pierce their victim’s heart. This is what happened to Cynthia. Mark, 08033056167 Those evildoers must reap what they sow. May they rot in hell. Cynthia, rest in peace. May God save us all. Katemorphy, Oke Afa, 08065801601
Cynthia was a single, young lady and as such could link up with an single guy deemed to be a potential suitor. Many have married via social networks. It is just unfortunate that the devil always tries to spoil anything good. There is nothing bad in trust, just that the heart of man is wicked. Peter, Minna, 080562442107
Thank you very much for your sermon. As usual, it was thought-provoking and vintage Mike. Just one point of disagreement: It is not true that Nigerians don’t love their neighbours. A handful of bad eggs cannot change our name and perception; and we should not be seen as joining them to spoil our good name. Nigeria is full of loving, kind and great people. Let the world know this. C.S.U. Anyanwu. Sent by email
Justice can only be done if the killers of Cynthia are fed to crocodiles. Erteka Oyo, Port Harcourt
I blame Cynthia for trusting these criminals. It’s a lesson for all girls not to trust these vampires who are on the prowl everywhere, seeking who to devour. Alfa Katamba, Aba
I shed tears because I have daughters like Cynthia. Those boys must rot in hell. Chief IKB, 08033222883
Those that killed Cynthia should die by hanging. They are not supposed to live among men. Cele Abakaliki, 08068442344 I was sad at the demise of the beautiful, innocent girl, Cynthia. I don’t know whether we should continue to trust people again in this wicked world. Adaora Okeke, Aba Our girls should know from this tragedy that all that glitters on facebook is not gold. Prince, Lagos. 08034424840
Cynthia was not too wrong to have responded to these guys. A positive relationship should have been established. But what did you get? I never believed that the devil existed until this Cynthia case. General, 08103639922
The ways of criminals are queer. As a writer in criminology puts it, “they are anthropological throwback from stone age.” Barrister NJ Ogbomor, 08033397362
sin to hang it on her killers’ neck to qualify her for God’s bossom. Lai Ashadele, Lagos I believe Cynthia was a young lady with a good heart and a clear mind. People with clear conscience tend to trust people easily believing everyone else will be like them, but oftentimes they learn the hard way. It was so sad that she was brutally killed. May God give her parents the grace to bear this tragic end of a child they have spent all their time to love and cater for. A.I. Olisadebe Oga Mike, there are three types of love— agape, philos and infatuation. It was agape love that took Jesus to Golgotha. For Cynthia, it was infatuation that took her to her own Golgotha in a hotel room. 08033691236 I follow you to ask God to forgive our dear Cynthia who thought she was in love with the right people only to be killed by them. My prayer is that God will grant her eternal rest. What a wicked world of ours! 08033566878 Thanks sir, for your tribute to Cynthia. May God continue to give you wisdom to know our friends from our enemies. Victor Nwankpa
Let’s just see this as a good adventure gone bad. Patrick, Port Harcourt, 08099251006
How come you narrated the scene of Cynthia’s death so convincingly? Were you there? Uche, Lagos. 08026325875
You said Nigeria is made up of good people. Yet you advised Jesus not to come to Nigeria. Can you hear yourself? 08070804059
What happened to Cynthia should be a lesson to all of us involved in Facebook chatting. Polycarp, Aba, 08063800324
At the point of death, she shed her toga of
Follow me on twitter @mikeawoyinfa. Read my blog: mikeawoyinfa.com
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