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September 22, 2012 **Vol.9 No.508


Igbo presidency possible in 2015 –Kalu –PAGES 63 - 64


•Directs CPs to arrest offenders

Vice President Namadi Sambo (right) and Hon Kingsley Kuku, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, during the public presentation of Remaking of the Niger Delta: Challenges and Opportunities, in Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: WALE OLUFEMI

MILITARY DECLARES WAR ON TERRORISTS •We must defeat them –Defence, army chiefs



September 22, 2012 **Vol.9 No.508


Military declares war on terrorists •We must defeat them –Defence, army chiefs IG SPITS FIRE OVER SIREN USE –PAGE 7

•Directs CPs to arrest offenders –PAGE 3

Vice President Namadi Sambo (right) and Hon Kingsley Kuku, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, during the public presentation of Remaking of the Niger Delta: Challenges and Opportunities, in Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: WALE OLUFEMI

SOYINKA REPLIES JONATHAN •Nigerians have right to gather, protest

–PAGE 10


September 22, 2012 **Vol.9 No.508


Military declares war on terrorists •We must defeat them –Defence, army chiefs IG SPITS FIRE OVER SIREN USE –PAGE 7

•Directs CPs to arrest offenders –PAGE 3

Globacom’s Head of Value Added Services, Samson Isa (right), presenting a cheque of N6 million to Emeka Igwe, a lucky winner in the Glo “Text4millions” promo at a special ceremony held at Globacom’s corporate headquarters in Lagos, yesterday. With them are Head of Regulatory Affairs and Compliance, Yinka Olafimihan (left) and Head, Corporate Sales, Kamal Shonibare.

SOYINKA REPLIES JONATHAN •Nigerians have right to gather, protest

–PAGE 10


September 22, 2012 **Vol.9 No.508

•Nigerians have right to gather, protest –PAGE 10

ACN, LP at war •Mimiko has done enough to get another mandate –Gov’s aide –PAGE S 47 - 50 •No, he’ll be defeated –Akeredolu

IG SPITS FIRE ON SIREN USE •Direct CPs to arrest offenders –PAGE 3

Globacom’s Head of Value Added Services, Samson Isa (right), presenting a cheque of N6 million to Emeka Igwe, a lucky winner in the Glo “Text4millions” promo at a special ceremony held at Globacom’s corporate headquarters in Lagos, yesterday. With them are Head of Regulatory Affairs and Compliance, Yinka Olafimihan (left) and Head, Corporate Sales, Kamal Shonibare.


Military declares war on terrorists

•We must defeat them –Defence, –PAGE 7 •Mode of operations exposed army chiefs



September 22, 2012


September 22, 2012



2013 budget for presentation, October 4 From ISAAC ANUMIHE, Abuja


he Federal Government yesterday promised that President Goodluck Jonathan would present the 2013 budget on October 4. It also said that N710.4 billion on the 2012 budget has so far been released. Presenting the draft copy of 2013 budget to the press, in Abuja, Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, disclosed that the government had cash-backed N553.2 billion for the implementation of 2012 budget, adding that ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have utilised N320.9 billion. According to her, until March ending, the implementation of the 2012 budget could not begin because the MDAs were still implementing the 2011 budget. Against this backdrop, she said, President Goodluck Jonathan insisted that the 2013 budget must be ready by this month so that the budget will be ready before the end of the year. She noted that by the time the draft copy comes back from the National Assembly, it would be fine-tunned and made ready for the president’s speech on October 4.

AMCON takes over Aero By UCHE USIM


t last, the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) has taken over the N32 billion debt of Aero, which has accumulated in many commercial banks as non-performing loans. The airline and its creditor banks have regularly locked horns over the matter, a development that forced AMCON to intervene. The management of the airline, while reacting to the development said: “We can confirm that Aero’s debt has been taken over by AMCON. Currently Aero is going through a restructuring exercise under AMCON, pending final approval by AMCON board, which is expected very soon. However the airline is allowed limited access to funds by the banks through AMCON for its working capital.” AMCON, it was gathered, is also looking at the debts of other local carriers with a view to taking them over.

IG renews anti-siren use rule From MOLLY KILETE, Abuja


orried by the continued unauthorised use of siren in the country, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar, yesterday directed state commissioners of police across the country to embark on arrest of defaulting persons. The IGP, who gave the order in Abuja, specifically warned banks and other companies fond of using siren to stop forthwith or have themselves to blame. The police boss listed the categories of people authorised to use siren to include the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker, their deputies, state governors and service chiefs. Others are the Inspector General of Police, General Officers Commanding (GOCs), Deputy Inspectors General of Police (DIGs), Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs), as well as commissioners of police. An angry Abubakar, said: “Let me use this opportunity to warn that we have noticed a serious abuse of the use of sirens in the country. When you come to Abuja there are certain numbers of people who are allowed use sirens. Therefore, all commissioners of police are hereby directed to check the abuse of sirens on our highways and state roads, so that we can control it and obey the law on the use of sirens. “There are certain categories of people who are supposed to use sirens… Even where the police use siren, it is primarily when they are going for operation. You cannot just start using siren like that. Therefore enforcement is going to take place.”

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SEPTEMBER 22, 2012


September 22, 2012

Everyday Living


•Romance •Society •Life more



n time past, the commercial city of Aba had a pride of place among Igbo. It was a city that depicted the strength of the Igbo man. This explains the legendary song: Nzogbu Nzogbu, Enyimba, Enyi, when residents of Aba are in their elements. Those were the good old days. Today, Aba is a shadow of itself. The roads are in terrible condition. Crime is high and it did come to the climax when kidnappers held the city by the jugular a few years ago. Business is at the lowest ebb. And most of the residents are living in abject poverty owing to a combination of the over-listed problems. It’s owing to the state of Aba roads that lawyers staged a protest. Decked in their professional regalia, the lawyers marched round the city, to show their anger for the sorry state of roads. Investigation revealed that the lawyers’ protest was not unfounded. Roads or what is left of them are impassible. They are full of potholes, craters and gullies. When it rains, the whole city is always in a mess. It was observed that bad roads dot all access points into Aba. From the eastern flank, the Aba-Ikot Ekpene road, which connects the city with Akwa Ibom and Cross River and extends to Cameroon Republic is in terrible condition. The Aba-Port Harcourt road and the Aba portion of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway are also impassible. Just as roads linking Aba with other cities are bad, those within the city are worse. Checks reveal that there’s hardly any stretch of Aba road without a failed part. Such roads, as Ohanku road, which leads to Iheorji, hometown of the Minister for Labour and Productivity, Chief Chukwuemeka Wogu, are inaccessible. On this important road, flood holds sway. Just as Ohanku, all the roads in the Amanmong area of Aba are in terrible condition. Also, the roads in the “town part” of the city are bad. The situation has become so bad that most residents in Aba have had to park their cars at home and resort to trekking or using commercial tricycles. It’s to protest the sorry state of the road that Save Aba Group, a non-governmental organization, has planned a rally for September 24, 2012. Tagged, ‘Weep for Aba,’ the protest was planned to draw attention to the deplorable condition of roads in the city. However, the

• Day lawyers march against neglect of South East commercial city

Protesting lawyers protest had to be brought forward to September 18. The shift of date became necessary because a combined team of armed policemen had stormed the office of Barr. St. Moses Ogbonna, leader of the NGO on September 11 and arrested him. He was only released, three days after, following complaints by the Nigeria in Bar Association, (NBA), Aba branch. To protest their anger, lawyers, on the auspices of NBA, marched on the street. The protest rally, which saw lawyers wearing rain boots, to show how residents dress, started from the Aba High Court, through AbaOwerri Road to Port-Harcourt- Enugu Expressway. As they marched, the lawyers sang antiGov Theodore Orji songs. They also displayed placards. Some of the placards read: “Live in Aba, Live in Hell; Abia State nonsense, T.A Orji nonsense; Government neglect of Aba is gross injustice; if you need ‘excellent awards’ don’t build roads in your state; T.A. Orji don’t take us for fools.”

Others said: “This is Aba, the location of hell on earth; The worst roads in the world are in Aba; Lawyers say no to the negligence of Enyimba City; Good road is equal to right to freedom of movement; Lawyers are asking for good governance; If you don’t know how hell is, come to Aba; Enyimba City must say no to injustice; All we are saying, give us good road; TA Orji: which way for Aba? Addressing newsmen at the rally, Barr. Charles Eduzor, Aba NBA Chairman, observed that economic activities in city had collapsed because of bad roads. He said investors no longer come to Aba, but prefer other neighbouring commercial cities. He therefore, called on the federal and state governments to repair the roads in Aba. Said he: “People from Akwa Ibom and Cross River now by-pass Aba and go to Onitsha to purchase their goods. How would the man living in Aba get the money to pay his infrastructure levy? “Have those of us living in Aba committed any sin? Has there been any sin we committed

Lawyers during the protest

that we should not get dividends of democracy?” He listed Omuma, Ukaegbu, Azikiwe and Ohanku, among other roads in Aba, which are “no go areas.” He lamented that even the road named after Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe had been allowed to deteriorate to a terrible condition. Eduzor blamed the sufferings of commuters on the roads on neglect by federal and state governments. ? He said that Aba has been neglected for long and has lost its business potentials. He declared: “The commercial city with many industries and commercial enterprises is fast losing its potentials. The city has been taken over by infrastructural decay because of long neglect. How can the improvised city dwellers get money to pay for the multiplicity levies if the roads are in bad situation?” As the lawyers marched through the roads, residents and passersby cheered and expressed solidarity. An Aba resident, Mr. Mike Ndubuisi, said: “This is a criminal action. How can government allow the roads in the city to degenerate to this pitiable state? We are suffering here. There are no roads to get into Aba. The expressway has collapsed. I’m a transporter; my vehicle has been in the workshop for two days now owing to the effect of bad roads. Even within the city, you can’t move; yet government collects infrastructure levy, business premises levy and lots of them. This is a disgrace. “We need a responsive government in Abia, which knows the needs of the people and come to their aid. We are not asking government to give us food, but to provide basic amenities and the citizens will be happy.” Meanwhile, a coalition of human rights and pro-democracy organizations, under the umbrella of South East Development Agenda (SDA), has commended the NBA for the protest. In a statement signed by the representative of the coalition, Comrades Godson Ibekwe Umelo and Nelson Nnanna Nwafor, the group commended NBA for what it described as a bold step, adding that the protest was long overdue.



September 22, 2012

EverydayLiving For putting smiles back on Nigerians, Jonathan gives Paralympians more than presidential handshake By JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE


ome of them have been confined to wheelchairs for life. Some move around with the aid of walking-sticks. They are referred to as the disabled. Some prefer to call them the physically challenged. With their physical disability, they are not expected to attempt many of what able-bodied persons will naturally do. But against all peculiar odds, they participated in the London 2012 Paralympics Game and returned with 13 medals –six gold, five silver and two bronze. They also made four world records, came in the third position in Africa and finished in the 22nd position in the world, a feat the able-bodied could not achieve in the Olympics. With this lofty achievement, the nation’s delegation to the Paralympics returned to the shore of the country on September 12, 2012 amidst excitements from all over. They also came back full of expectations. Their expectation was that a nation that was “mourning” because of the shameful outing of its Olympics team, would jump for joy and embrace for making it proud. But all that evaporated before them when they returned into a low profile reception, unbefitting of a team that brought glory to Nigeria. They arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Ikeja, Lagos that sunny Tuesday afternoon with no official of the National Sports Commission on hand to welcome them.The athletes were no doubt disappointed. Some of them expressed displeasure in various press interviews they granted. However, after a presidential reception held in their honour and the U-20 Female Team (Falconets) at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja by President Goodluck Jonathan, many of them admitted they were too quick to speak against the government. The naira rain from Mr. President has forced Grace Anozie Ebere, a gold medalist who was already thinking of retirement, to change her mind. She said the cash gift was a moral booster, enough to send her back to the training ground ahead of 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Four of the Paralympians broke world records, out of which three are women. The women are Esther Oyema who lifted a 135kg weight in the power-lifting competition setting a new world record in the women’s 48kg category; Joy Onaolapo who lifted in the women’s -52 kg Power-lifting as ExCeL. Onaolapo went on to win gold in this category. Oluwafemiayo Folashade also broke the world record twice before setting a new one at 148kg to knock off Chinese Taoying Fu’s 147kg effort in the women’s power-lifting -75kg class. The gold medallists, Esther Onyema, Ivory Nwokorie, Loveline Obiji, Grace Anozie, Joy Onaolapo and Yakubu Adesokan, got N5 million largess from President Jonathan. The silver medallists Ifeanyi Nnajiofor, Lucy Ejike, Anthony Ulonna, Obichukwu Ikechukwu and Folashade Oluwafemi Ayo got N3 million each while Bronze medallists, Victoria Nneji and Eucharia Iyiazi got N2 million each. Their handlers got N2.5 million each, while each member of the Paralympics team that did not register their names on the medal table got N500,000 each because, according to President Jonathan, “we know you will do us proud at the next Olympics”. The athletes were already looking downcast before the announcement as President Jonathan started by saying that the amount to be announced was just a token appreciation for their efforts and not a cash reward or naira rain as has been reported prior to the event. However, the hall erupted with cheers and victory dance at the announcements of cash rewards, which were clearly way beyond their expectations. The icing on the cake was when the Masters of Ceremony for the night, Moji Makanjuola of NTA and Emeka Odikpo of FRCN, announced that each of the gold medallist will be honoured with national honour of Member of the Order of Niger (MON). The Falconets, for making it to the number

four position in the world at the just-concluded FIFA U-20 women championship in Japan, smiled home with N1 million each, while their coaches and handlers got N1.2 million each. Jonathan, in his remarks, reiterated his government’s commitment to sports development. The President disclosed that he had directed that a national sports retreat that would have in attendance stakeholders from federal, state governments as well as the private sector be convened soon to diagnose the problem of that sector and to find a lasting solution to the decaying infrastructure and discovering as well as taking care of Nigeria’s sports men and women. The President therefore asked the private sector and each state of the federation to join in the battle to develop potential medal winners at the next Olympic for Nigeria. The President said he would soon convene a national retreat that will address critical issues in Nigeria sports. He described Nigeria’s paralympics and U-20 female football championship outing as glorious, that lifted the spirit of Nigerians. President Jonathan said he watched with great pride as the athletes competed to bring glory to the nation.?He said the athletes succeeded in putting smiles on the faces of Nigerians. ”You have done well and we are indeed grateful,” he said. While commending sports officials, Jonathan urged them not to rest on their oars. He recalled the various feats achieved by Nigeria’s teams in past sporting events. He said the abysmal performance at the last Olympics was a huge disappointment and that the situation must not be allowed to recur. “We must restore the glorious days of our sports,” he said. The President promised that each state of the federation would start to take sports seriously and learn to prepare for major competitions

early enough. Jonathan said his hope had been rekindled by the performance of the paralympians. “You did not let us down, we also lift you up and honour you,” he said. In his remarks earlier, the Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said the event was the first of its kind at that level to honour athletes who brought glory to the country. He said although the Falconets did not win any medal, they won the hearts of many. The minister said they also fulfilled the purpose of the age-grade which is to discover talents. Abdullahi said although the pains of the 2012 Olympics would remain with Nigerians for life, they were comforted that the Paralympians rose from the confines of their wheelchairs to wipe away the tears of Nigerians. He said the greatest honour that could be done to the athletes was to immediately prepare for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. He identified indiscipline and non-commitment as factors that contributed to the failure of Team Nigeria to Olympics. “The level of commitment and discipline demonstrated by the Paralympians made the difference,” he said. Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, said the athletes have made the nation proud. He said hard work would continue to bring them forward to be honoured by the President. According to him, “what hard work does is to bring you before our president. We are proud of you and we will continue to support you. It should be noted that 10 of the Facolnets players are from Rivers State.” The Rivers Governor kicked against being too hard on Team Nigeria athletes that did not win medal at the games. “We should not be too hard on our athletes. No matter how discipline an athlete is, if he does not prepare on time, he will not win medals. If we continue to prepare only in an Olympic year, we will continue to per-

form poorly. ”Preparation should start this year so that they will win medal in Brazil in 2016,” he said. On polio, he said the situation was becoming an emergency with the number of victims increasing in an alarming rate. He noted that from 58 recorded polio cases, it has arise to 72 as at the last meeting of Governors’ Forum, adding it was time to declare polio an emergency. The Rivers Governor said the country could not continue to spend money on the purchase of wheelchairs but would rather confront the situation head on. Director General, National Sports Commission, Dr. Patrick Ekeji, in his opening remarks, described the event as momentous, unique and historic. Ekeji said this was the first time the government was giving due recognition to Paralympians. He said the message was that the country appreciated the efforts put in by the athletes. He remarks that what the Falconets have done and the reaction of Mr. President “have sent a clear message that once you give your best, you will be honoured.” Ekeji noted that the time Falconets were making the nation proud with their performance in Japan was the time Team Nigeria at the London Olympics were performing poorly. The Falconets later presented a signed jersey from all the players and officials to President Jonathan. Chief Coach of Facolnets, Edwin Okon commenting on the reward said: “We are so happy and you can tell even with the expression on the faces of the girls and me as a coach. We didn’t expect this. So, it is marvelous and we thank our Number One citizen for this gesture. This is a morale booster and it is left for us to work harder so that our next outing we will bring something back to the country. Some of the girls will graduate to the Falcons team and we just have to replace them. Nigeria is very big and as we start early we will get more, there are enough talents and we will get them and start preparation too.” The team’s captain said: “We appreciate Mr. President for tonight’s reception. We are overwhelmed by the show of love showered on the team, even when we failed to lift the cup. As our father, we will always remember you in our prayers as you stir the nation to its promised land”. Esther Oyema, who spoke of the Paralympians said: “We want to thank you for welcoming us back home. It is a sign of your love for us. We are celebrating our medals today because you gave us the luck. We also thank you for approving the long training tour for us; you were the one that prepared us for our today’s success”. Another power-lifter, Chituru Nwosu who did not win anything said: “The government did well because I never believed I will earn anything here today. In my category I was in medal position but due to the fact that the class was joint, I did not come back with any medal. So I’m very happy to get such amount now and may God Almighty bless Mr. President.


September 22, 2012


National news Court upholds appointment of LG transition commitees in Anambra •It’s travesty of justice –Plaintiff By GEOFFREY ANYANWU, Awka


n Anambra State High Court sitting in Awka and presided over by Justice Hope Ozo yesterday held that Governor Peter Obi has not breached any law in the appointment of local governments transition committees. The issue of running local governments in the state with transition committees without conducting local government election has been a recurring •Executive Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Hajiya Zainab Ahmed; one, with many, especially Chairman, National Stakeholders Working Group, Mr. Ledum Mitee; Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, opponents of government, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha; and Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Local Content, Hon. Nasir describing it as unlawful. Ahmed; at a stakeholders forum on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in Lagos, Thursday. Delivering judgment, in suit

We’ll defeat terrorism –CDS BY PHILIP NWOSU


he military authorities yesterday vowed to defeat insurgents operating in the South eastern part of the country, warning that persons plotting aggression against Nigeria will not be

spared by the armed forces. Speaking while commissioning the Nigerian Army Dog Centre in the Ipaja area of Lagos, Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin, Chief of Defence Staff, warned that the military will never allow insurgents to take over Nigeria, urging them to go through the nor-

mal route to assume power. “Anybody or group has the right to have that aspiration to rule Nigeria by a certain set of rules. But the way to do it is to form a political party, contest an election and then the rest of us, even if we did not vote for you, we will subject ourselves to your rule. But for anybody

FG pays 14 marketers N57bn From ISAAC ANUMIHE, Abuja


mid fuel scarcity in some parts of the country, the Federal Government yesterday said it has paid another N57 billion to 14 oil marketers, whose claims have been verified by the presidential task force headed by Mr. Aigboje Imoukhuede. It blamed fuel scarcity expe-

rienced in some parts of the country on the vandalisation of Petroleum Pipelines Marketing Company (PPMC) pipelines, whose workers were also killed by the vandals. Speaking to newsmen on the payment, Coordinating Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, said, however, that the Federal Government needed to deploy security to effect repairs on the damaged pipelines.

2 Glo subscribers win N12m in Text4 millions promo


ational telecom operator, Globacom, has given out cheques of N6 million each to two additional lucky Glo subscribers, who recently emerged winners in the ongoing Season 3 of its popular and highly rewarding Glo Text4millions promo. The winners, Emeka Igwe, a businessman from Abakaliki, Ebonyi State and Shittu Shodeinde Talia, who had earlier won N12 million as the first monthly prize winner in the promo, were highly excited to collect their prizes during the presentation ceremony held yesterday at Globacom’s corporate headquarters in Lagos. Other winners, who collected prizes on the occasion, were Abdulahi Murtala, Okpakpor Victor and Mulikatu Oseni, who went home with cash prizes of N30, 000 each. Other lucky Glo subscribers, who recently won in

the promo, include Justice Ekundayo Kolawole who won N210, 000, Adamu Abubakar and Robert Waiter, who won N60, 000 each, while Helen Onyebuchi, Okali Ogbonnaya, Muritala Sardauna, Paul James, Shittu Fatai, Enobong Umanah, Victor Ifeanyi, Alao Sule, Alice Archibong, and Jelili Olajide won cash prizes of N30, 000 each. Charles Igboka, Rufus Oladiran Ishola and Mohammed Lawal Mustapha also won brand new I-pods each, while Ugwu Chukwudi Justice, Ruth Alayande and Abdullahi Abubakar won brand new Samsung Galaxy tabs. Speaking on the occasion, Globacom’s Head of Value Added Services, Samson Isa, said that the presentation of prizes to the winners demonstrates that Glo remains committed to positive initiatives that will add value, reward and transform the lives of its subscribers for good.

She listed the beneficiary marketers as Bovas & Company Limited, Folawiyo Energy Limited, Forte Oil Plc, Ibafon Oil Limited, Integrated Oil & Gas Limited, MRS Oil Nigeria Plc, NIPCO Plc, Oando Plc, Northwest Petroleum & Gas Limited, Rainoil Limited, Shorlink Oil & Gas Services, Swift Oil Limited, Techno Oil Limited and Total Nigeria Plc. According to her, payment is ongoing, adding that as the presidential task force clears them the Federal Government would make more payments. She said that only the net was paid the companies after necessary deductions were made on their indebtedness. The Minister had earlier disclosed that about N42.66 billion had been paid to marketers, adding that marketers listed by the Imokhuede panel will not be paid until their cases were addressed. She, however, stated her willingness to enter into dialogue with the marketers who have minor infractions with a view to finding a middle course. “Government is willing to talk with those with slight infraction and they may continue to import, but those with serious infractions should forget it. Government will not give in to their blackmail,” the minister noted. According to her, the government is still meeting with some marketers because it’s open and willing to work with marketers. She added, however, that government would not succumb to blackmail.

or group which has not form a political party, has not won an election, to want to impose a type of rule on the country, it will never happen in Nigeria,” he said. The defence chief said that the Nigerian military must defeat terrorism and aggression against the people of the country, especially as Federal Government has shown commitment towards providing essential resources to the Armed Forces. He explained that the establishment of the Dog Centre demonstrates determination of the Armed Forces to fully embrace transformation agenda of the Federal Government. Petinrin, who commended the Nigerian Army for establishing the centre, urged terrorists to form political parties, sell their manifestoes and woo Nigerians to vote for them after which they could begin to make Nigerians see the world in their own ways. The Nigerian Army Military Police unit, Saturday Sun, learnt has trained about 50 dogs to assist the force in the fight against terrorism. The dogs were trained to sniff out and identify any Improvised Explosive Device (IED), narcotics, terrorists and other

security risk items. Several blocks of flats for the officers and men as well as the 50 dogs were also commissioned by the defence chief. Speaking to journalists at the event, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Onyeabo Ihejirika, said the establishment of the dog centre was to enhance the capability of the service to deal with contemporary challenges facing the country. He maintained that introducing dogs to fight terrorism is informed by the sensory capability of the animal species. His words: “The primary motive for this project is to be able to detect explosives, in a more civilized manner. It would be most helpful if serious cordon and searches begin rather than do arbitrary arrests and later apologise.” He said that the force is in the first phase of the programme, adding that at the third phase, the Nigerian Army would support the civil society in the use of dogs to check crimes. He said the dogs would be useful at the entrance of airports, seaports, banks and other public places that is needed to be protected against terrorists and criminals.

No: A/250/2010 between Barrister Jezie Ekejiuba Vs Governor of Anambra State, Anambra State House of Assembly and AttorneyGeneral of Anambra State, in which the plaintiff, Ekejiuba, a human rights activist, asked the court to determine, among other issues, whether it was constitutional to appoint transitional committees to run the local governments in the state, Justice Ozo dismissed the suit for lack of merit. Justice Ozo held that the Anambra State Local Government Law of 2010, as amended, empowers the governor to nominate a five-man transition committee to run the local governments when it is not possible to organise elections. The local government law, he further held, was not in violation of the constitution of the Federal Government of Nigeria, but in pursuant of the provisions of the constitution, which empowers the State House of Assembly to make laws for the good governance of the state. Justice Ozo added that the said law being relied on by the plaintiff was not in the exclusive list. On the issue of whether the governor has the power to dissolve elected local government, the court held that the governor did not dissolve any elected council government, as he did not meet any in place. After the judgment, the plaintiff informed the court that he would appeal, as the court failed to interpret Sections 1 (2) and 7 (1) of the I999 Constitution, which was the main issue in his suit. “I am going to the Court of Appeal to get justice because this is not justice. This is a travesty of justices. There is no way a State Assembly law will override a Federal constitution,” he said. In their own reaction, the state government, through the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Peter Afoba, said that the judgment has put to rest the controversy over the appointment of caretaker committees in the local governments of the state.

Some employers worse than Boko Haram –NLC From NOAH EBIJE, Kaduna


ice President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Issa Aremu, has said that the attitudes of some employers in the country could be equated with the deadly activities of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram. Speaking yesterday in Kaduna, while declaring open the one-day interactive session with industrial unions on the implementation of the employee’s compensation Act 2010, organised by Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Aremu noted: “We don’t only have

Boko Haram in the country, we also have what I will call company Haram, where employers cage the workers in terrible conditions, allowing them to carry chemicals with bare hands, no exit routes in a company in times of accident, and companies are built like prison yards. “Even in Kaduna here, some women who sweep the streets are being crushed to death almost on daily basis by reckless drivers and more others are injured. It is even on record that the Managing Director of the NSITF had an industrial accident, and he had been adequately compensated; he should extend the same treatment to employees

who are in the same condition today. He charged the authority of the NSITF to tell stakeholders how much money deducted from employee’s salary has been pooled into the trust fund over the years. He said that every productive sector in the country is accidentprone. President Goodluck Jonathan had, about two years ago, signed into law Employees Compensation Act 2010 to replace Workmen Compensation Act (WCA), which was considered to be gender imbalance, without meeting the industrial needs of working men and women.


SATURDAY SUN September 22, 2012

Deplorable roads in Aba



he recent protest by lawyers in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of Abia State, over the deplorable condition of Federal and state roads in the city, clearly reflects the failure of all tiers of government to live up to their responsibility in the area of road rehabilitation and maintenance in that part of the country. The dilapidation of the roads, which elicited the demonstration by lawyers under the aegis of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), calls for immediate attention. Over 100 lawyers took part in the protest march, which began at the Aba High Court. They carried placards with inscriptions such as: “Weep for Aba,” “Live in Aba, live in hell,” and Government neglect of Aba is gross injustice.” The State House of Assembly has also called on the Federal Government to declare a State of Emergency on Federal Roads in the State. This followed a motion moved by Mr. Martins Azubike, a member representing Isiala Ngwa North Constituency. We fully appreciate the harrowing experience of commuters in Aba, which is the hub of economic activities in the South-East. Obviously, the deplorable roads in the city cause unprecedented traffic hold ups. These result in huge losses to both economic and social activities, with occasional loss of lives. In that regard, the protest by the lawyers should not be seen as a mark of mischief, but as a peaceful way to draw attention of both the State and Federal governments and their relevant agencies to the urgent need to promptly and properly rehabilitate the abandoned roads in and around the commercial city. Despite the strategic importance of Aba as the life-wire of commerce in the South-East and beyond, its road infrastructure, over the years, has become one of the worst in the country. The residents definitely deserve more than what they are currently getting from both the State and Federal governments. Undoubtedly, governance is a human enterprise and those in authority must constantly be responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people. Indeed, lack of good roads, as many residents of Aba have repeatedly complained, is impacting negatively on their livelihood.

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Government should not turn a blind eye to this demand to put the roads in good condition. Failure to do so will negate Section 20 of the Nigerian Constitution, which places on states the responsibility to protect and improve the environment. This, of course, includes the provision of good roads. The current poor state of roads in Aba is a clear indictment of both the Federal and Abia State governments, and even the two local governments in Aba. Among the Federal roads in terrible disrepair in the town are: Aba – Port Harcourt Road, Aba – Umuahia and Aba – Ikot-Ekpene Roads. Also, many vital roads within the city are in total disrepair, thereby exerting pressure on businesses in the area. Since Aba is a major link between the seaports in the neighbouring states of Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Imo, failure to fix its roads could strangulate economic activities not just in the city, but also other parts of the country. In fact, the roads in Aba would not have been in this terrible state if the concerned tiers of governments had not been negligent in their maintenance. The Abia State government has admitted that, indeed, Aba roads ought to be better than what obtains now. It has assured that rehabilitation of the roads will commence after the rainy season. We urge the government to be sincere and move fast before the total collapse of economic activities in the city. On its part, the Federal Government has been slack on the rehabilitation of Federal roads in many States. Aba is just one of the numerous commercial cities suffering this neglect. To worsen matters, Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, has been reported to have recently written some state governments to hands off the repair of Federal roads in their domains as the cost of such rehabilitation would not be reimbursed by the federal government. This is unfortunate, because not many states are financially buoyant, and only few are passionate about road construction and rehabilitation. There is need for cooperation between the Federal and State governments to ease the burden of bad roads on the people. A good road network should be one of the “dividends of democracy”. Failure to deliver on the promise of motorable roads is an abdication of responsibility on the part of the government. Aba, like many commercial cities in Nigeria, is critical to the economy of the country. Therefore, the deplorable state of its roads should be a major concern to the government. Relevant authorities should respond swiftly to this critical problem.

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September 22, 2012



Arresting incessant jail-breaks in Nigeria By HENRY UDUTCHAY


ecently, the Oko Medium Prison, near Benin City in Edo State, with about 984 inmates, came under attack by suspected hoodlums who blew up a part of the toilet and eight inmates escaped. This is not the first time Nigeria is experiencing jail-break. It has become a common occurrence, especially since the escapades of the Boko Haram sect. Initially, it has been inmates organising and overpowering the often illequipped prison guards and warders. However, the trend now is external help with unnamable arsenals besieging the targeted prison and freeing choice inmates. In some instances in the North, the gunmen went a step further to kill inmates from particular tribes and religion. There is also new dimension to the whole scenario. Gunmen now use bombs and dynamites, with sophisticated guns, among others, to free their colleagues in the infamous world of criminality. Their commando style of operation and the success they often record will give them out as not just common thieves but also well trained or sponsored. Tactically and stylistically, the recent attacks also have similarities. If, for instance, people, rich and connected men and women, sponsor insurgency, bombings and robbery in Nigeria, it is simple to infer that jail breaks, like those experienced at Federal Prison, Koton Karfi, a town in Kogi State and where 119 inmates were freed, similar jailbreaks in Port Harcourt, Bauchi, Awka and recently Edo, are sponsored, well-planned and funded. In the latest jailbreak in Oko, eight out of the 984 inmates escaped. The Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, and indeed the Comptroller General of Prisons, Mr. Zakari Ibrahim, were thoroughly embarrassed, as this was far from what they envisaged, given so many measures they have put in place since the preceding episode in Kogi. At least, it was

a major setback to their contribution to the nation’s security. No wonder, they swung into action, which paid off as four inmates have been rearrested with four still missing. And since then, tongues have been wagging. People have made their observations with some explicitly accusing the prison officials of negligence, breach of trust and even complicity. The minister was not also spared. In fact, for so many Nigerians, these twosome ought to bear arms and stand on guard in all the prisons in Nigeria to forestall future occurrence. However, many critics failed to also look at the problem holistically. Currently in Nigeria, insecurity has climbed the highest stage. The churches, streets and even government houses are not safe, let alone the home of presumed individuals that are architects of insecurity. The question, therefore, is how secured are our prisons? It is no longer news that many of our prisons were built in the colonial days and have not seen any major repairs or maintenance work. Their walls and doors have been weakened by age. Besides the much talked about problem of congestion, some of these prisons have fallen fences and other protective devices obsolete. Hence, a serious force will simply make these to give way for any operation. More still, just as entire Nigeria, these prisons are not well manned. When the Federal Government in 1974 handed over the manning of prisons to the warders, hence arming them, perhaps, jailbreaks of this magnitude was never envisaged. Although the warders have handled this function for decades now, recent events have shown that more needs to be done than merely handling rusty pistols to warders in the belief that they are guarding unarmed men. And like their counterparts in the paramilitary, many of these armed warders are not properly trained to handle the present situation. They are oblivious of how to repel bomb attacks. There has been no mention of training of prison warders on intelligence and bomb detection and disposal. Hence, they

could be as ignorant as larger Nigerians and hence always at the mercy of the more trained insurgents. To worsen the matter, there is no proper documentation of prisoners in such a way as to know who has served in prison, where and when in the country. Those convicted of crimes are often sent to the same prison they must have served years after initial offence, with their knowing the terrain of the prison even more than the warders. Worst still, many prisoners are merely awaiting trial with some remaining in that status for years. Sadly, some have stayed for over 10 years in prison without conviction. Others are in that prison condition for offences as minor as pilfering. Most are victims of Police extortion raids but they are often housed together with murderers and terrorists. This makes the administration of prisons very difficult, as the number is quite enormous for the few warders and facilities available. In civilised world, video monitoring through the close circuit television, among others, are being used to record every minute activities around sensitive areas, like the prison. The recorded activities are analysed and information gathered to further enhance security in the area. Unfortunately, in Nigeria such does not exist. The prisons are just there and often forgotten by the government except when an issue like jailbreak occurs. If occurrences like jailbreaks are to be nipped on the bud, certain measures and not blame game must be taken. First, those awaiting trials have no business being in prisons for months. There is thus a need to actually reform the nation’s judicial system, so as to make judgment delivery faster and less cumbersome. This will help to reduce the crowds in our prison and make the work of the warders easier. Second, given the activities of the insurgents and other criminals in Nigeria today, which have taken another dimension, it has

become obvious that the warders alone can no longer man the prisons. The Federal Government should consider joint monitoring and securing of the prisons, whereby the police, the army and the prison warders will be made to work together to ensure that the prisons are safe, just as we have joint patrols today on many Nigerian highways and cities. This will help them to complement each other in the case of eventuality. But they are not to just lump together, but must be trained for efficiency. Third, since jail breaks of recent have been carried out by those seeking to free their partners in various offences, measures should be taken to ensure convicts do not serve their terms in localities they know or are known. Those arrested in particular areas should be taken to other parts of the country to make it difficult for them or their allies working free on the streets to make major headways in planning jail breaks. Also, those convicted of same offence should not be sent to the same prison but shared among prisons in different parts of the country. Fourth, the prison system in the country should be computerised so as to make the activities therein centralised and more coordinated. Records of inmates should be kept so as to determine how best to place them to serve their punishment. Also, modern security gadgets should be installed to further serve as the monitor of law enforcement agents to stop compromise on their parts, and to checkmate activities around the prisons. These are necessary steps that are to be urgently taken to avoid having a system that makes life for criminals comfortable, whereby they go in and out of jail at will, therefore defeating the two principal aims of prisons which are deterrence and corrective. •Udutchay is a public affairs analyst in Abuja., 08067247484

Importing slave trade to Ondo By GBENGA AKINMOYO


he destiny of Africa was changed centuries ago when the continent became the victim of slave trade and the continent continues to languish as a third world participant on the global stage. A continent otherwise rich in natural resources, relatively peaceful climatic conditions, an abundance of human capital and everything a people could be blessed with, soon became a pawn in the chess game of colonial masters. The slave trade, as we recall, involved the large scale shipment of our forefathers from the shores of Africa to the continents of America, both northern and southern hemisphere, to develop their plantations for economic prosperity. In return, the slaves were sold for a pittance and the proceeds from sale given to the leaders of the various communities in Africa. Simply put, slave trade was an extortionate business of human capital flight from Africa to the Americas. To make matters worse, the colonial masters were trading in a commodity, which they did not own, in the first place, or how can they lay claim of ownership to the slaves they were selling? It is also pertinent to note that the whole operation would have failed if the traders had met with firm resistance of the African leaders, but instead they met a treacherous co-operation wherein the leaders sold their people and their destiny of the continent was shattered forever. Our forefathers were captured, sold and our future mortgaged for centuries. The menace of slave trade seems a reasonable prospect in our modern day society and it doesn’t take a soothsayer to predict what is on the horizon. For months now, some political gladiators have boasted that they are going to capture Ondo State. The dominance of Lagos

State by one political party, since 1999 to date and the incursion into Ogun State, Oyo State, Osun State, Ekiti State and Edo State by the same political party, has intensified the agitation for regional integration. But what does this really mean to the participants? The proponents say that it can only work if all the states are within the control of the same political party, so they are desperate to capture Ondo State, the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle. But, in my view, a sincere intention to develop the infrastructure of the South West region should not be determined by the political party that is in power, if there is true sincerity of purpose. But the creators of this wonderfully contrived concept of regional integration have calculated that if Nigeria breaks up tomorrow and a Yoruba nation is formed, then economic survival is dependent on the units that will form the new nation. As it presently stands, Lagos State will not be able to carry the burden of the Yoruba nation on its own and in any event, it is generally considered that Lagos belongs to everybody, so it may not even be allowed to form part of that new nation. The most likely result is a return to the good old days when Ondo State’s cocoa revenue was used to develop the South West with infrastructural edifices erected in Ibadan, but this time they want to use Ondo State’s oil reserves. Last week, a meeting of governors from the South West states under the control of a political party and representatives from the Yorubaspeaking parts of Kwara, Kogi and Delta states were invited to parley, where a Yoruba Agenda has been generated. Autonomy of the region and state police were dominant topics of discussion, but the whole concept is in preparedness of the forecasted break-up of Nigeria. I question whether the proponents of the Yoruba Agenda have a sincere intention for their people or whether this is a quest for

personal aggrandisement. Former President Obasanjo believes Nigeria will remain a nation while President Goodluck Jonathan has said his antagonists will be surprised in 2013. I wonder whether it will be a surprise for good or for bad. Most worrying is the desperation with which the opponents of sitting governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko have chosen to wage the war. The outburst of violence in the last one month is reported to have already surpassed the outbreaks of violence recorded for the preceding three and a half years (41 months). Even though one can expect tension during election period, the problem is that the violence is being contracted by agents recruited from outside the state, who are no stakeholders in the Sunshine State and really have nothing to lose if the fire ravages Ondo State. Alongside the violence is the report that a staggering sum estimated to be in the region of N20billion has been set aside for the execution of the planned operation under the tag name, “Operation Capture Ondo State. It has also been reported that the 20 local government areas and 37 local council development areas in Lagos State have been levied millions of naira to prosecute the elections of ACN in Ondo State. At least three questions arise from this calculated funding arrangement: 1) why should other states and local councils allow their funds to be deployed to this kind of political adventure; 2) how will those states and councils get their money back, given that it is obviously a loan and not a voluntary donation; 3) which of the leaders in Ondo State are going to be the beneficiaries of this whopping sum of N20billion and what have they promised to give in return. After all, “he who pays the piper, calls the tune”? With less than 40 days to the election, there

is a mischievous unity between Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State, who see the Labour Party (LP) as their common enemy. They appear to have resolved that neither of them can win on their own, but acting together, they may be able to push out the LP administration, saying, “Mimiko must go at all costs.” Both the PDP and the ACN appear to be sponsored, for the purposes of this election, from the same purse. But I ask the question again, who are the sons and daughters of Ondo State extraction, acting the same script of our leaders of centuries ago, who collected pittance from the colonial masters in return for the lives of our forefathers who were then subsequently sold off as slaves to the Americas? Can they be traced to the existing political parties in the state with their agents who hide behind the veil of regional integration and Yoruba Agenda? But they have a singular mission – controlling the treasury of the Ondo State government if they succeed with their evil plot during the October 20, 2012 elections. We are not slaves, beasts or animals to be captured and traded at any price. If N20billion is coming into Ondo State for this election, then some of our political leaders cannot be trusted. They want to collect immediate gain for themselves and trade their followers. If the people of Ondo State cooperate with the colonial masters by selling their voters cards and voting for their stooges, Ondo State may never recover from the re-introduction of this modern form of slave trade, perhaps, for centuries to come. Nothing is more important for the future of this state than for a careful and proper choice to be made in the forthcoming election. • Barrister Akinmoyo, former publicity secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), writes from Akure



September 22, 2012

National news

Soyinka replies Jonathan on fuel subsidy protest


obel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has come hard on President Goodluck Jonathan for labeling the fuel subsidy protest in Lagos as sponsored. In a statement yesterday, Soyinka said Jonathan is cut off from the people and therefore, does not know how they feel. He accused the president of

•Nigerians have right to gather, protest intolerance, which he said, manifested following the deployment of policemen to take over the ground where the fuel subsidy rally was held. He described this as a violation of the right of the people, as provided by the constitution and affirmed by the court. Soyinka insisted that Nigerians have the right to gather and protest, warning

that there should not be any future attempt to stop them. The statement reads: “The most generous response that can be given to President Jonathan’s recent statement on the people’s fuel subsidy protest is that he is suffering from a bad conscience. The worst, which I fear is closer to the truth, is that he is lamentably alienated from the true pulse of the nation, thanks per-

haps, to the poor, eager-toplease quality of his analysts, those who are supposed to provide him an accurate feel of the public mood. Since I have had the opportunity to contest this perception of the protest with him directly, it is clear what kind of interpretative diet he prefers. The nation needs all the luck it can get. “The president sent in the army and shock Police squads

•Gov Rochas Okorocha of Imo State in a handshake with Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, secretary to the Board, Ikemba Ojukwu Centre, at a function in Owerri recently.

Jonathan lists gains of amnesty programme By UCHE USIM and WOLE BALOGUN


resident Goodluck Jonathan has listed peace in the Niger/Delta region, increased oil exploration and revived economy as part of the gains of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. Speaking at the public presentation of a book written by Kingsley Kuku, Special

• As Kuku’s book is unveiled Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and entitled: Remaking of the Niger/Delta: Challenges and Opportunities in Lagos yesterday, the President pledged to sustain the programme till all the militants are fully integrated. Jonathan, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, extolled

Kuku for working assiduously to ensure that Niger Delta wears a new look. He said the militancy in the region crippled the nation’s economy in 2009 by robbing it of over N3 trillion in revenue. “We also had low reserve. Foreign investment was also poor and insecurity in the region was fingered and the

Why I visit schools –Obi


nambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, has said that he will continue to visit schools in the state, even in the face of criticisms. He said that education remains the most potent instrument for advancing civilisation. Speaking yesterday, at Christ the King Secondary School, Onitsha, after he had visited Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha; St Charles College, Onitsha; Girls’ Secondary School, Onitsha, Obi said close contact with the school will afford the government opportunity to know how they are faring. He also used the opportunity to share treated mosquito nets to the schools, which was DFID’s support to the state for the eradication of the scourge of malaria in the State. Obi said that the decision to share the nets in schools , among other places, was part of the efforts to see that the net got to the critical segment of

the state. In speeches presented by the students of those schools, they thanked the governor for his commitment to education, his exemplary life of service and his realisation of the place of education in the hierarchy of man’s needed tools for advancement. In her remarks, the state Commissioner for Education, Dr. Uju Okeke, said she had not seen commitment to growth and development of Anambra State as Obi demon-

strates everyday. Describing the personal supervision of distribution of nets to schools as one of the examples, he said that through Obi, schools in Anambra now boost of boreholes, computers, equipped laboratories, Internet connectivity, generators, school buses and other infrastructure. He urged students to reciprocate by sustaining the increasing good performances returning to state’s school system.

Boundary dispute: FG asked to intervene From AIDOGHIE PAULINUS, Abuja


he Ette Community Development Association, Kogi State, has called on the Federal Government to call to order, what it termed as ‘Enugu element’ over an alleged boundary dispute. The group, while reacting to a publication in Daily Sun of Wednesday, September 5, 2012, entitled ‘Kogi youths take over

Enugu community,’ said the story was misleading. In a statement signed by its president, Mr. Anthony Eko, and made available to Saturday Sun in Abuja, the group stated that the objective of the story was not just to mislead the public, but also to incite the law enforcement agencies, particularly, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), to embark on a crackdown on members of Ette District.

late President Musa Yar’Adua granted the militants amnesty,” he said. Jonathan said about 23,580 ex-agitators enlisted in the amnesty programme, adding that 13, 078 have been trained in various profession and vocation. Also speaking at the event, Senate President, David Mark, represented by Senator Nurudeen Usman, described the book as a noble initiative. He said the perennial environmental degradation the Niger Delta has suffered was most regrettable, stressing that a bill meant to sanction companies that degrade the environment was underway. He said Kuku’s commitment has led to the development of invaluable human resources for the region and the nation as a whole. “The aviation college has not trained more than 250 pilots since inception, but the amnesty programme has, within two years, trained about 200 pilots. But I urge him to continue with the good works as we’ll be the first to criticise him if he goes in the wrong direction,” he said. While commenting on the book, its author, Kuku said his passion to see the Niger Delta region develop propelled him to write it. He described the amnesty programme as a long journey with many casualties. He praised President Jonathan for his courage in visiting the region to initiate peace talks, which eventually made the militants to surrender their arms.

to forcibly seize and occupy grounds from a demonstrating public, a violation of the people’s rights, as entrenched in the constitution, a right – as it happens – that has been further consolidated by a pronouncement of the courts of law. This should be seen as a grave danger to democracy, and a warning. Both the participants, and those who – myself included – even though unable to be present, lent both vocal and moral support to the demonstration, have been maligned and insulted by such reductionist reasoning. The culture of public protest appears to be alien territory to President Jonathan, which is somewhat surprising, considering the fact that he has not only lived in this nation as a citizen but also served in various political offices. He has lived through the terror reign of Sani Abacha whose ruthless misuse of the military and the secret service did not prevent demonstrations against perceived injustice and truncation of people’s rights. “Jonathan’s pronouncements truly boggle the mind. What is this obsession with bottled water, comedians and musical artists? Must demonstrators drink water from the gutter? Is protest no longer viable when sympathisers cater to their needs, supply decent water and food rations? And since when have entertainers been deemed a sign of unseriousness in a protest rally. Static or moving, demonstrators boost their morale in any way they can, including dancing and even mini-carnivals. Sit-down occupation and hunger strikes are also legitimate public weaponry against unacceptable state conduct and policies. “It may interest the president to know that during the SNG protest march on the legislative houses, a march, not for any individual, but for the

sanctity of the constitutional rules of succession, discussions were on for the acquisition of mobile toilets for the next stage, in case the protests attained the momentum of continuous encampment. Presumably, Jonathan would have preferred to march into office over a field of human waste. “What is especially ominous in Jonathan’s distortive re-visit of that campaign is his attitude of self-commendation, from which one deduces a clear intent to repeat the same action if the people choose to exercise their right of assembly in the future. It sounds warning of a state of mind infected by one of his predecessors who was never weaned of his military antecedents, a predisposition to intolerance of dissent that was expressed in mindless muscularity and contempt of judicial decisions. We should not wait for a tragedy to happen before we serve notice that democracy is incompatible with the arbitrary deployment of armed forces against a people gathered or marching peacefully in freedom, articulating their grievances with or without accompaniment of songs, clowns, water sachets or bottled water. The reaction of the public to attempts at military intimidation is always unpredictable - government at the centre should know its limitations, act responsibly, and refrain from incursions that override even the expressed wishes of state governors, and the rights of a people rendered fractious by decades of misgovernment. “Let there be no further attempts at revisionism. The Nigerian people’s right to gather and protest remains inviolate. Gani Fawehinmi Park – and any place of choice for a people’s assembly – is a people’s space. It should never again be invested by menace and attempted coercion.”

Group eulogises Okorocha at 50, urges him to remain trail-blazer By VINCENT KALU


s the governor of Imo State, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha turns 50 this weekend, an Igbo socio political action group, Committee 21 (C21) has called on him to remain persistent in his trailblazing approach to governance in his state. The group stated, “Your attaining 50, just after our ever resilient APGA Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh did, will stand to reassure those you serve that indeed an alert mind from a big heart is driving the peculiar momentum of governance in Imo State. “Providentially too, we hope and wish that this amazing grace upon you will persuade sleepless dissenters of your achievement resolve, to wisely abandon their reverse

motion because, honestly there is no hope of slowing down this unique transformational vehicle. In special release by the president of the group Sen. Annie Okonkwo, through his Media Adviser, Collins Steve Ugwu, he emphasised “your free education at all levels to Ndigbo Imo, unusual in the history of South East zone has become an unbeatable cuisine, the aroma, which we pray should disturb the nostrils of our brother governors to return to their governance kitchen immediately.” As we wish you more energy to your grit, we insist that you must persist to sustain this remarkable first amongst many others, because the taste bud of Ndi Imo have sipped the good wine and should never again be frightened with sour grape, the group concluded.


September 22, 2012


National news Anxiety over health workers’ nationwide strike … Patients resort to fasting and prayer By AZOMA CHIKWE, JOB OSAZUWA and NKIRU EVONGWA

P Vice President Namadi Sambo (3rd left), performing the public presentation of the book, “Remaking the Niger Delta” challenges and opportunities written by the Special Adviser to the Preisdent on Niger Delta and chairman, presidential Amnesty Programme, Hon. Kingsley Kuku in Lagos yesterday. With him are Rilwan Akiolu, Oba of Lagos (1st left) Mr. Timi Alaibe (2ndleft), King Diete-Spiff (2nd right) and others. PHOTO: WALE OLUFADE

Fuel Scarcity: Senate summons Petroleum Minister, NNPC GMD, PPPRA, PPMC, others From ADETUTU FOLASADEKOYI, Abuja

• Maku also over N5, 000 note


Reginald Stanley, as well as major and independent oil marketers have also been summoned. They are scheduled to appear before the Senator Magnus Abe-led Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) next Tuesday. In a signed statement released to newsmen yesterday, Senator Abe said the long queues of vehicles at filling stations seen in Abuja, Lagos and some cities in the country are unacceptable. He said: “We thought that

orried about the perennial fuel scarcity across the country, the Senate has summoned Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and the Mr. Andrew Yakubu, Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Alongside the minister and the NNPC, Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Mr.

the era of Nigerians queuing at filling stations for indeterminate hours to procure PMS and other petroleum products, was indeed, gone forever. It is, indeed, an embarrassment that precious man-hours are wasted in the quest to fulfill a basic need. In another development, the Senate has also summoned Information Minister, Mr. Labaran Maku, to appear before its Committee on Information and Public Affairs next week. The minister was specifi-

Rape: Lagos deputy gov orders fresh virginity test for underaged girls From OLUWOLE FAROTIMI


he Lagos State Deputy Governor, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, has ordered fresh medical tests on the eight children allegedly raped by one man identified simply as Alo, to ascertain the validity of their claims. Our correspondent learnt that Adefulire was not satisfied with the virginity test conduct-

Afe Babalola bags honorary doctorate degree


oday, people from all walks of life will witness an epoch making event at the Kogi State University, Anyigba, as another feather will be added to the golden cap of one of Nigeria best brains and Legal luminary, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN). He will be conferred with Doctor of Letters Award (D. Litt. Honoris Causa) by the university, in view of his numerous contributions not only to the legal practice in Nigeria, but also his outstanding performance at the University of Lagos as the Pro Chancellor. He’s also respected for his immense contributions to the development of quality education in Nigeria through the establishment of his Afe Babalola University.

ed on the children by the Ayobo Primary Health Centre, due to some irregularities and complaints reaching her and ordered fresh tests carried out on the children at the state’s General Hospital to be sure there was no foul play. Adefulire, who is also the Head of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, wants to take charge of the test on the children, which would be carried out any moment from now, even as the case is already in court. Meanwhile, a family court, Court 6, Magistrate Court in Ikeja, has sent Alo to Kirikiri Prisons after he was arraigned on Tuesday for allegedly raping the eight children.

The accused was charged with having carnal knowledge of the under-aged children and thus committed a crime punishable under the laws of Lagos State. Alo, who pleaded not guilty, was granted bail in the sum of N500, 000 and must produce sureties who have houses and landed property in the area where the crime was allegedly committed. The sureties must possess international passports, tax receipts and show evidence of working in Lagos State. When he could not meet the bail conditions, the magistrate ordered him to be sent to Kirikiri Prisons, while the case was adjourned till December 10.

cally invited to appear before the Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe committee over his comments on National Assembly’s resolution on the N5, 000 on Tuesday. Apparently unaware that a decision had been reached age problems they encounter. between the Presidency and By BISI OLALEYE We know that the major probthe National Assembly on the n a bid to avert hair break- lem that women face with the matter, Maku said the resoluage, which has become hair is hair breakage and section was merely advisory and prevalent in the country, ondly the lack of moisture in was not binding on the L’Oreal Central West Africa, the hair.” Federal Government. owners of Dark and Lovely House may order arrest beauty range has unveiled of Agip MD, DPR DG new products. This includes the complete relaxer kit, the ouse Committee on strengthening oil moisturiser, he Assets Management Environment, led by the nourishing hair butter and Corporation of Nigeria the Chairman, Hon the healing treatment. (AMCON) has denied a In a ceremony, in Lagos, (Mrs.) Uche Ekwunife, has report recently published in condemned the attitude of the witnessed by over 3, 500 hair- some dailies to the effect that Managing Director of Agip stylists and dressers, the com- Nest Oil Plc is indebted, and the Director General of pany said the anti-breakage In a statement yesterday, the Department of Petroleum range of products offers 10 AMCON said as far as their Resources (DPR) for their times less breakage to hair. books were concerned, Nest According to the Oil Plc was not indebted to refusal to honour the invitation extended to them by the Marketing Director of the them. “Nestoil Plc is not an obligHouse of Representatives. It company, Mrs. Fadairothreatened to issue a warrant Lemon, “we are here to pres- or in the books of AMCON of arrest if they fail to honour ent Nigeria hairdressers with and has no past due obligaour new Dark and Lovely tions. The corporation therenext invitation. anti-breakage range. It is new The House of range of full product, dedicat- fore, has no objections to Nest Plc accessing new loans Representatives Committee ed to afro-specific hair and to Oil from deposit banks,” AMCON on Environment, as part of its help consumers fight break- declared. investigations into the circumstances surrounding the UI don’s burial rites begin Tuesday Agip Oil pipeline spill, which On the same day, a wakeoccurred sometime in June he University of Ibadan 2012, had invited the and the Olu-Owolabi fam- keep is scheduled to hold at Managing Director of Agip, ily have announced the 5p.m at Oke-Ede Quarters, the DGs of NOSDRA and burial programme for the for- Igbogila, Yewa North, Ogun DPR, to know the status of mer Dean of the Faculty of State. On Friday, September 28, the spill and measures so far Arts, University of Ibadan, the 2012, funeral service for the late Prof. Kola Olu-Owolabi. undertaken. Prof. Owolabi died on Sunday, deceased holds at 10 a.m at the September 16, 2012 at the age First Baptist Church (The Progressive Church), Igbogila, of 51. The funeral programme Yewa North of Ogun State. Interment follows immediatepeddling, human trafficking, begins on Tuesday, September ly at Oke-Ede Quarters, rape, obscenity, ritual killings, 25, 2012 with a ‘Night of Igbogila, after the funeral servassassination, fraudsters, cyber Tributes’ scheduled to hold at ice. crimes, to visas forgery and the Faculty of Arts, U.I. other travel documents being Quadrangle at 4.00 p.m. The perpetrated by individuals or following day, Wednesday groups using hospitality as September 26, 2012 at 4.30 haven to prepare, nurture and p.m., there will be a Service of Songs at the deceased’s resiexecute these ugly crimes. “With a view to minimising dence, 20 Sankore Road, these lapses, we are vigorously University of Ibadan. On Thursday, September going to pursue our statutory functions of registering, moni- 27, there will be a lying-intory and controlling the move- State at the Trenchard Hall of ment and activities of foreign- the university by 9a.m. prompt. ers in our midst. Olu-Owolabi

Beauty firm unveils new product



he Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS) has ordered hotel operators to ensure proper screening of all foreigners before allowing them to lodge in their premises. It warned that any hotel operator who fails to abide by this order would be sanctioned. Controller of Immigration, Lagos Command, Sani Ahmed ,who made this known at the stakeholders meeting

with Hotel and Personnel Services Employers Association (HOPSEA) and Hoteliers Association of Nigeria (HAN), said that NIS is concerned with the safety and security of not only the foreigners but also Nigerians lodged or accommodated in hotels with a view to warding off negative image of the country. “We are equally conversant with lot of security challenges ranging from robbery, kidnapping, gun running, money laundering, drug carrier and

Nestoil is not owing –AMCON


Immigration orders stiffer screening of foreigners By CHIOMA IGBOKWE

atients in all federal health institutions across the country are in for another hard time as nationwide strike embarked upon by nurses and other health workers under the auspices of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) enters day 5. Patients in National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos who were abandoned by nurses and doctors have resolved to fasting and prayer to seek healing from God. Exercising their faith, two patients in accident ward of the hospital partnered together to table their request to God, and prayed thus: “if human beings refuse to treat us, Father be our doctor, nurse and physiotherapist. Even if our government fails

us, we believe you are always there for us….,” the prayer continued. Yesterday at Igbobi, some members of the Unions were on ground monitoring various units of the hospital to ensure that the strike action was fully complied with by all the affected workers. A young lady said to be one of the health workers who was moved out of pity to attend to patients was stopped by the monitoring group. Meanwhile, some of the patients have resolved to remain in the hospital not minding the adverse effect of absence of doctors and nurses may add to their wounds. Their explanation was that they were not convinced of any other hospital in Lagos where orthorpaedic cases could be handled better than Igbobi.





SEPTEMBER 22, 2012


September 22, 2012, PAGE 13


We’re witnessing worst corruption in Nigeria’s history – Udenwa By PETER AGBA KALU


ormer Governor of Imo State, Chief Achike Udenwa, has declared that the country is witnessing the greatest corruption ever in its history at present. Speaking in Abuja, he said that since the country got independence, it has never witnessed such corruption, as being seen today. “I can tell you that from independence till now, we have been corrupt, but the level of corruption today in the country is unprecedented. We have not had it as bad as it is today. In fact, there is corruption every where you go. It is regrettable. At times, I fear for the future of this country,” he said. The former governor, in this interview, spoke about security challenges in the country, elections, the activities of the judiciary and others. What’s is your assessment of the goings-on in South East, especially since people say that the government in the various states are not doing much? I think it is regrettable; regrettable in the sense that one would have thought that our democracy, our governance would have yielded positively. I must agree with you that our own era, between 1999 and 2007, seems to have been a golden era when you compare it to what obtains today and even just after us, that is 2007 till now. It is outstanding to anybody because that means that we are not making progress. I remember when we took over from the military; there were no democratic institutions on ground. We started operating the constitution. We were operating the local government system and also a lot of developments were needed. There was a lot of infrastructural development all over the country. We made mistakes, as pioneers. I will say that we were pioneers because the military had ruled for a long time before that and nobody still remembered democratic princi-

ples; so I will say that we were pioneers. As pioneers, we tried to lay the foundation. We tried to clean the rot of military rule. We tried our best to put the country together. We formed the Governors’ Forum, for example, during our time. All these are things that we achieved. One had hoped that after us, our successors would have pushed democracy further. I would tell you, without mincing words, that corruption in our time seems a child’s play when compared with corruption today. It is regrettable. It is something that does not auger well for the country, even for the unity of the nation. In our time, we worked in unity and hardly had the kind of things that we are having today, such as the Boko Haram, insecurity all over the country. I could remember that during our tenure, there was a time there were crises in Kano and other parts of the North; we, as leaders at that time, irrespective of our different political practice, met and resolved the issue and Nigeria was back on a smooth ground. But look at what is happening today. The Boko Haram issue, the Jos crises and kidnapping in the eastern part of the country. These are some of the regrets one has and the type of corruption we have now. Today, you hear of corruption running into billions of naira, as if you are hearing of N10 in the market; look at the issue of oil subsidy fraud and the high-calibre people involved. I can tell you that from independence till now, we have been corrupt, but the level of corruption today in the country is unprecedented. We have not had it as bad as it is today. In fact, there is corruption every where you go. It is regrettable. At times, I fear for the future of this country. You made mention of Boko Haram and other vices that have overtaken the country. In view of what is happening, there are strong demands for the convention of Sovereign National Conference. What is your stand? Honestly, I have always supported Sovereign National

Conference, though the National Assembly feels that with them as the representative of the people, they could find a way forward for this country. But I don’t think so. I think that there should be a National Sovereign Conference, where all parts of this country should come together and re-examine the federalism, we are practising, reexamine Nigeria from 1914 till date and tell ourselves that truth. Are we really united? Are we really one country? If we are to remain one country and if we are to remain one nation, what are the things we must remove from our body politics? We must be honest to ourselves. It is not a question of deceiving ourselves, Nigeria, our country and one destiny. It is not lipservice. There are many fears in this country. Quite a lot of people think that they are excluded from government. That does not mean that they do not have representatives in the National Assembly. But the way the national resources are shared, a lot of people feel that they are excluded. I keep asking myself, what is it to be a citizen of Nigeria? What do I benefit today as a citizen of Nigeria? The country must offer something to its citizens. We must all believe in one Nigeria. I am in Abuja; am I really accepted as a true Nigerian? Do I have all right and privileges of every Nigerian in Abuja? Does the northerner who lives in the East get all benefits, as a citizen of the country? Does the easterner who lives in the West get that? Does the westerner who lives in the North get it? We must ask and tell ourselves the truth. In other countries, what matters when you are filling a form is the place of birth. Where were you born? You can change your place of origin or your anything anytime you want, by issue of residence. If you reside in Abuja, obviously, you are a citizen of Abuja, with all rights and privileges. How many non-easterners can contest election in the East and win and vice-versa? So, we are just paying lip-service

Continued on Page 14



September 22, 2012

Cover Story Continued from Page 13 that we are Nigerians. What type of Nigerians are we? I give you an example; my children were born in Rivers State. They had their education in Rivers State, at least up to secondary school level; but today can any of them go back to Rivers State and claim any right? How can they? This is the irony of our situation in the country. These are some of the things we must address. Then the imbalance in the country, is an issue. I am happy that there is going to be a constitution review and I do hope some of these imbalances, like local government area, federation account, and all that should be addressed. They should be addressed so that every part of this country gets the benefits of the resources derived from the country. I think that a sovereign national conference is very important. What are the right and privileges of the citizens if we say that we are a federation? In a lecture I gave at Igbinedion University, in either 2005 or 2006, entitled “Federalism,” I made it clear that the states and the Federal Government were the federating units and that is what federalism is all about. The local government is not a federal unit at all. The states have right as federating units. But here, we treat the states as subordinates of the Federal Government. They are not, they are not.

‘Nigeria must offer something to its citizens’

What rights do states have as a federating unit? As a federating unit, they have right over a lot of things, including security and… But is this not technically in our constitution? Well, our constitution, I would say, is silent on some issues, such as state police. But I believe that with the constitution amendment, everybody will see the reason for states to have their own police force. You cannot tell a chief executive of a state that he’s in charge of security, yet the state commissioner of police is not accountable to him. Was there a situation that made you frustrated when you were a governor because of these lapses? Oh yes, there were. There were issues one couldn’t deal with. For instance, if you called state police commissioner to go where there were problems, he has to get the clearance from the inspector general of police before taking any action.

run into billions of naira, is afraid of the level of billions being embezzled in our country? Yes, because in our own time, for example, the last budget I had in 2007 before I left office was about N41billion. Before then, I think my state used to budget about N16billion or N17billion. From there, we progressed till we got to N41billion.

Does the clearance come early and quick? No, not all, partially so, if it is something that the Federal Government has interest or other interests that are not your own state interest, the commissioner of police will never respond positively and there is nothing you can do to him.

Do you think it may get to a point that the people will revolt or cause a revolution? Well, you see, Nigerians have a very elastic sustaining power.

Why then would people blame the governor if things get out of hand? Well, they say he’s the chief security officer of the state. The truth, however, is that you cannot be the Chief Security Officer of the state and you don’t have the security apparatus to face the issues. The army could be there, in your state. The police are definitely there, but they are accountable to somebody else. Ok, look at some other things, such as the federation account. What accrues to the Federal Government alone is about 52 per cent or thereabout. What on earth are they doing with such huge sums of money? This is why corruption at the federal level is the highest in the country or you can think about. That is why you hear that about N100 billion is missing here and there and it means nothing. The pension scam, how much went into it? For how long has it been there? Also, the present oil subsidy fraud and probe, I am sure that if the probe is done thoroughly, Nigerians will be shocked to the marrow on the amount of money that has been lost. There is a problem when billions of money is being stolen. But, it becomes more serious when a former state governor, like you, who’s used to handling budgets that

Do you think there’s no limit to it? We have always felt that we are stressed beyond limit, yet, we continue to manage; but I think there should be a change of heart. I think a lot depends on corruption in our society. It has drawn a vicious circle. We have to know of the background of the person we are electing into an office; what is his background? It is important. A person, who has never worked in an organised place, has never had an organised life. Such a person should not be elected into an office, because if you make him a governor, for instance, he cannot behave beyond his experience. So, how do we elect people? That is why I keep saying that the worst corruption in this Nigeria is corruption in INEC and in the judiciary. These are two referees. These are people who, even if we are all corrupt, can not afford to be corrupt. But you can see our elections. You can see what it throws out. It is not hidden. You can buy your way through INEC to win election, buy your way through the judiciary and your election is stamped. This is the major problem we have in our political system. We are not growing. We cannot grow. Is this not self-indicting. As a former, governor, you must be talking from experience… It is not even from my own experience. It is in the papers everyday. Open your papers,

What would you say about Nigerian’s federalism? Let me tell you, when Lord Lugard united the northern and southern protectorates in 1914, you find out that those two protectorates were operating in very different forms. There were indirect rule in the North and direct rule in the South. There were divergent ethnic groups, divergent cultures, divergent types of political administration and systems. As far as the colonial master was concerned, he was not interested in the future progress of the citizens. He was more interested, at that time, in what economic benefits he would make from Nigeria and take back home. That was how Nigeria was formed. It was for pure economic purpose, without looking at the different cultural differences. It is still what we are suffering up till now. Before you make any policy in Nigeria, you have to look at how the people from other parts of the country will look at it. At the end, you produce a very watery policy that does not work. That is why I still believe that the sovereign national conference is very important. We should not be shy about it. We should tell ourselves the truth. How do we want to federate? How do we control our resources? We are all looking at oil from the Niger Delta. The northern parts of the country feed the nation. Let us be honest. Agriculturally, they are doing very well. They have something to contribute. Everybody has something to contribute. We need to sit down and work out how to co-exist; it is our major problem. There is mutual suspicion, all the time. If I Udenwa am doing something, you can never believe that I am doing it for the interest of the couneven The Sun, open it; everyday, it is there. try. There is mutual suspicion all the time. We all see what is happening. I am talking as So, why shy away? I have also told you that a former governor and also I am talking as a one of the very dangerous issues happening politician and a Nigerian. I am a Nigerian in our country today is the issue of residency. citizen, living in Nigeria. I know what I hate hearing it; that this man is an indigene obtains; you cannot say that you don’t know of this or that place, unless we are not one what obtains. Look at the last tribunal. What country. If we are, you don’t need to be an you hear is that because you have 180 days indigene of anywhere. You should have a to conclude your matter in the court, a judge choice of where to live and there should be will continue throwing the case left, right and no limitations to what you can aspire to be centre, till it is 180 days. In some cases, the there. If we can not do that, then we are not a case is not even opened. Arguments will be country. We should tell ourselves the truth. on technical issues for 180 days. What else do you want to hear or see? Where exactly do you think the country is heading? Are you suggesting that this aspect of the Well, as I said before, Nigeria has always electoral law should be amended? managed to survive. At times, it will seem Well, that aspect of the electoral law that the nation will crash tomorrow, but from should be amended, but it was well intended, there it will get up again. So, we will continin the sense that it is reasonable that within ue to survive, but under very big strain. We 180 days electoral cases should be settled. It will still survive. At the same time, we should is possible it can be settled in 180 days, but not take things for granted. See what is hapwhat we see today is that people have capipening in other parts of the world, such as the talised on it; the judiciary has capitalised on Middle East. There’s crisis in one country it. I am telling you that in some cases within after the other, Morocco, Egypt, Libya, Syria the 180 days the substantive matter is not and other parts of the world. That means that even called at all. They will be looking at all people are becoming more and more aware kinds of technicalities, finding one technicali- of their civil rights, and most of the problems ty after the other. Even if you go to an are economic. The gap between the rich and Appeal Court and it decides in your favour, the poor is too wide. We are not saying that the other party will go back to it again on everybody should be equal, but we must technical matters. By the time you finish keep that gap close enough. These are some going forward and backward, your matter of the things we should not take for granted proper has not been opened and the case dies and believe that nothing will happen. after 180 days. What type of judiciary are we Let us not stretch our luck to the breaking running? Yes, there is a law based on 180 point. Let us ensure social justice, equal days, but you cannot use legal technicalities opportunities for everybody. These are some to kill a case. But relying on the provision of of the things we can do for the country to 180 days, you can. It is not a question of survive. Let us also harness our resources. It indicting the judiciary, the Nigerian society is is not only oil, but also solid minerals. Let us corrupt. We are all corrupt. I don’t want to invest enough in agriculture and manufacturexempt anybody. ing. These are the real sectors of the economy, where we should put in enough Where do we start to fight corruption? resources and develop them. We have been We start with each one of us, by examin- talking of electric power over many decades ing our conscience, by asking ourselves, what are we doing and why?

Continued on Page 15


September 22, 2012


Cover Story From DENNIS MERNYI, Abuja


enue State governor, Dr. Gabriel Suswam, has lamented the devastating flood that has ravaged Makurdi, the state capital and other parts of the state, describing it as another tsunami that needs international concern. He said that with the way the flood increases daily, the state is on the verge of being submerged completely, revealing, however, that the Federal Government had promised to send a team to Makurdi to check it out, with a view to combating it. Suswam, who was among distinguished Nigerians who were conferred with the National Honours Award of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) by President Goodluck Jonathan, said such honour was recognition of his contribution to the development of Benue. He spoke on this and other things, in Abuja, including the forthcoming local government elections in the state. Today you have been honoured with a national award, but back home, flood has almost taken over the state. How do you plan to tackle this phenomenon ravaging Makurdi and other parts of Benue? The flood has devastated the entire Benue State, not only Makurdi. In fact, the destruction is more in the villages. If you go to places, like Logo, Apa and Agatu local governments, there is more destruction than what you see in Makurdi. But what is in Makurdi is quite alarming because it has completely submerged almost one part of Makurdi and the water keeps surging. You know it is not caused by rainfall; so this is where one is more worried. I came to see the President. I wrote a letter to him again. I came and saw him and had briefed him. So far, he has directed the SGF to attend to me. So far, the Federal Government has sent a team to visit Benue. For the urgent response, NEMA has gone to Benue, because I had approached the Director General of NEMA, who has already sent teams to Makurdi to give urgent relief attention to the displaced people. However, the situation is such devastating that efforts at creating water channel may just be a waste, because there is nothing they can do much to salvage the situation. Even the channels already constructed are completely submerged by the flood. The water has even submerged duplexes. It is quite alarming. We

We’re at the mercy of rampaging flood –Gov Suswam

hope that the Federal Government’s team would bring succour. It is a disaster; most particularly, farmlands with crops are flooded. The people of the state are purely farmers. I personally, as a farmer, have over 300 hectares of rice that has completely been washed away by the rampaging flood. Also, many farmers in the state have lost all their crops to the flood. If you go Makurdi, the water keeps surging every moment. I have never seen such water before in my entire life. I think it is more like a tsunami than the ordinary flood. Every day the water increases and we are not seeing an end to it; so I am becoming more worried. I want to further solicit for speedy action on the disaster from the Federal Government. So far, I can applaud President Jonathan for the response, but we want such response implemented. We need urgent steps. For the state government and I, we are overwhelmed because it is beyond us. Your state has released the time schedule for the conduct of the local council elections in November 2012. What assurances are you giving the people of the state for a hitch-free exercise, given the mounting apprehension by the opposition parties in the state? The local government election is going to be conducted in November. Local government elections are very sensitive. If you are a politician, you will understand what I am saying. I think the worst election is the local government elections because people feel that this is their own. In the last one month, I have never had any good sleep and this is only for the primary elections. It is such a very tedious exercise. I am determined that we have transparent local government elections in Benue State. What I am doing in Benue, no governor has done it. We are following due process and people are involved.

was transparent. It has never happened before. It was not the situation where the governor sits in his office and directs commissioners to go pick a particular person as the government candidate. The people actually went to the field and people who have lost this election have agreed. So, I want to replicate that at the main election coming up in November. Once I am able to do that, probably, after Attahiru Jega, I will take up his job, because I would have conducted one of the best and transparent elections.

Suswam The opposition parties are fully involved in what we are doing. That is the reason there has been no complaint from any quarter. I want to be transparent. I want to be as straightforward as humanly possible, so that we can now begin to entrench democracy at the grassroots level. And within the PDP, what I have done is what nobody has ever done in Benue before. People have practically gone to participate in the primaries and those who lost are rather excited because it

What does this National Honour Award of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) mean to you and the entire Benue people? Over time, in the last five years, the people of the state have seen that I am genuine in what I am doing. They have seen that I mean well for Benue and that I am so recognized. I am so excited. For me, the award calls for greeter service to the people of Benue. It places a lot of challenges on my shoulders to do more for the people and to leave legacies and foundations that are solid for other people coming to build on. You can easily build on sand and it will collapse as soon as you leave, but if you build on solid foundation, then you will be able to outlive that and the people will leverage on that. What I want to do as the presiding officer of that state is to build a foundation that will be strong enough that our people can easily build on it and that is the only way we will make progress. This honour, this award to me and the people of Benue, calls for that challenge and our commitment.

‘We can’t run away from sovereign national conference’ Continued from Page 14 and nothing seems to be improving. We cannot develop as long as the real sector is not developing. The real employers of labour cannot employ. The highest employer of labour today is the government. This is very wrong. In the developed economies, the government employs a very small percentage of the work force. Not more than about five per cent. Here the private sector is almost dead. These are some of the issues we must tackle if the country is to be peaceful. What’s happening in Imo State? I have no opinion. I should not have an opinion, either because, quite frankly, I sit back, watch and listen to people. I know that people must criticise government but at the same time, government must work with people’s criticism. You must take them seriously. Look at what they are complaining of and determine whether the complaints are true or not. I still keep telling people that I don’t know. Rochas may be doing well or mean well, but some people may not like his style. Let us give him more time to see what the result will be. That is how I normally take things. I wouldn’t like to compare Rochas’ regime with my regime. I won’t do that. What is your guiding philosophy of life? My guiding philosophy? I will act according to my conscience at all times. Once I consult my conscience whatever it tells me, that is what I do and when I do it, I have no regrets. But once my conscience is not clear on an issue, then I will not try it. I believe that we are all human beings, even when probably, you have been placed in a better position, you must try also to help those who are down there to get up. These are the things that guide me in life. I tried to treat my fellow human beings as human and always regard

whatever position I find myself as a temporary position, because no position is permanent. I believe in it so much. You can be there today and tomorrow you are down, next tomorrow you are on top. But what kills many of us is that when we find ourselves in certain positions, we think that it will last forever. One day you will come down. If you have that at the back of your mind, it will make you to behave well. It will make you to treat others as you will like to be treated. My philosophy of life is for me to act according to my conscience. That is the summary of my philosophy.

also contributed to it. Not that I did not know that they should be done. Another thing I believe I would have done differently is the issue of Imo State University. I thought of establishing two major campuses of the Imo State University, but I could not get them working. There’s the teaching hospital in Orlu and the College of Engineering in Okigwe. I started them, but I could not get them to the level I wanted before I left. These are some of the things I could not achieve, as I desired. Subsequent regimes should be able to continue from where I stopped.

Are there things you could have done differently if given another opportunity? Of course, yes. For everybody, it has to be. You cannot, with hindsight, review what you did for eight years and find all of them quite in order. There must be a few that you believe that, well, given hindsight today, I would have done them differently. There are always.

What did you accomplish during your tenure? What makes me feel happy most, when I remember Imo State, is not the structures on ground, but I was able to build some human capital. To me, that is what makes me feel happy. In my time, I had this poverty alleviation programme and it helped a lot of people. When I go to Imo State today, I see market women I don’t even recognize, who will recount what my poverty alleviation programme helped them to achieve. I have had many of such experiences and they gladden my heart. It is not just the issue of structures. In my time, we did not have so much money, but we were doing some contracts. We made sure that we distributed them well. It was not a question of getting one contractor to build everything. We distributed them and spread them among contractors from the three political zones, so that the idle youths in the villages would find work to do. This made me happy. I remember the state secretariat in Owerri that has 10 large buildings. The buildings were given to 10 individual contractors spread within the three senatorial zones in the state. Anytime I visited the construction site, I felt happy seeing youths who would have been idle in their villages working. These engagements prevented them from taking to crimes. All these made me happy.

Can you give two examples? I mighty not be able to give a lot of examples, but I will say that one of the things that I want to do, which I did not do well, was the issue of technical education. I remember it till today. I had a philosophy that I wanted to do real technical education, which meant establishing artisan schools, craft schools. I think that is what we lack. We can have all the engineers in the world, all the doctors, but we don’t have artisans. That is an aspect of my administration that I think that I did not do quite well. Then secondly, it was my ambition to link up the three cadres of health management; that is the primary, secondary and tertiary health. I did not quite link it up. These are some of these things I failed to do, I think I should have done them, but in any case, lack of resources



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SEPTEMBER 22, 2012

SATURDAY SUN September 22, 2012



2015: I want to reposition South East people –Kalu



ormer governor of Abia State, Orji Uzo Kalu, in this interview talks about the kind of alliance needed to produce an acceptable president for the country in 2015 saying the North and South East must work together to bring about the desired change. There has been a number of activities in lately in the PPA; the party you founded, what are you actually preparing for? Realistically I am not totally back in politics; my duty now is to be among the Igbos, first and foremost. I want to make sure that I arrange a platform to ensure that this time, the Igbos speak with one voice. So it is not a question of PPA, APGA, PDP or anything. I am not a member of any party right away. I am independent for now, but there are activities going on in the PPA, even I can see it. Are you talking about a reorganisation that will look forward to Igbo presidency in 2015? Igbo presidency is the most feasible thing to happen in 2015. It is what every Igbo man dreams of, 47 years after the civil war. We would like to see that the war has ended, and that can only happen when justice is done to the Igbo people; when they are allowed to rule their own country. We have never ruled this country since the 70s, whether in military or civilian times. If you cast your mind back, you will see that we have helped the north to be president; we have helped the west to produce president; now they should make sacrifice and help us to have that slot. What sort of re-alignment are we going to see ahead of 2015? The re-alignment is real and we are going to do it. Many people are dissatisfied with what is going on in the South East; many people are dissatisfied with what is going on politically in Nigeria. So there will be re-alignment not only in Igbo land but everywhere in Nigeria because people are disenchanted; they have no food, they have no roads, they are being harassed and so on. If you go to the South East today, between the Niger Bridge and Aba, you have 200 police check points. The Punch just did an editorial on it; that the Igbos are being extorted about N9 billion every year. This is injustice and that is part of what I have been shouting about and I look like a mad man on the street. This is injustice. Where else will you have police harassment? If you go from Benin to Warri, you drive 24 hours. But you will hardly drive 24 hours between Onitsha and Aba, why? Now I want the Igbos to be given a sense of belonging; give them a sense of urgency and a sense of commitment. We must talk as a tribe; we must be back as a tribe to be able to move as a tribe. So we are looking at alliances that will bring us together with, mostly the north and the south west. We want them to trust us for once; we have to be trusted. You cannot continue telling us that the war has ended but we cannot be president of Nigeria. You cannot continue to tell us that the war has ended but out of the six geo-political zones we are the only ones with five states. Igbos are very successful in this country in terms of contribution to the economy of this country in every corner. If you go to everywhere you find them; yes they are making money but they are contributing to economic

growth. You need a platform to achieve the kind of change you are talking about in 2015, but given the machinations in our politics, the incumbent is hardly dislodged. Are you also considering floating a new political party with your allies? Every card is just possible because our people are disenchanted that after nearly 15 years of the PDP government, they have not got it right. Mind you we formed the PDP so there is possibility that a new big political party will spring up between the Igbos and the northerners. Already the ACN is there in the south west. I think that in the coming election, people of every tribe are going to vote for their own and then they will come to the centre to discuss Nigeria. So don’t even think of any big political party. Between APGA, PPA and other political parties in the South East, we must be able to reach some agreement. We are going to destabilise people this time. PDP might not have a stake in our area because people are not happy with the PDP. Does that mean you have foreclosed your return to the PDP? There is possibility that I will now go back to PDP. I don’t know how it will turn out, but there is a high possibility. One of the most important challenges facing the Ndigbo now is the inability to speak with one voice. And to be able to engage Nigeria, Ndigbo needs an arrow head that can lead the movement; do you seek to play that role? This is why I prefer not to contest election so that I will play that role very well for them. I have gained a lot; I have helped myself a lot as a person; I have been successful in almost everything I do, so I want to be successful in organising Igbo people. As a young man I became the chairman of Borno State water board in the mid eighties; I became chairman of Igbo Marketing Company; I became chairman of Cooperative and Commerce Bank; I became member of the House of Representatives and I became governor of Abia State. So when you take those sequences, you will see that I am in a good position to reposition the people of the South East, and the Nigerian people. You are talking about Igbo presidency and alliance with the north; but the north is also interested in the presidency in 2015. How will you balance the two contending aspirations? Well the Igbos and the north will decide what they want to do on a common ground. It’s not yet time to discuss that. For now, let everybody go and prepare his mother’s kitchen. We as Igbos will go and prepare our mother’s kitchen; Tinubu and co have prepared their own area; and we expect the north to also prepare their own area. We will now come to the centre to discuss how to rule Nigeria. So the north will tell us this is their interest and we will tell them this is our interest; if the two interests can come together, match and produce something, we will do it. It’s give and’s no longer that we are going to support this man or that man, no, it has to be Igbo interest equals to northern interest and northern interest equals to Igbo interest. So the two interests must compare. I cannot see my Igbo brothers continue to play subservient role, going to every zone to belong politically. Given the anger you have expressed with PDP.... (Cuts in) It’s not about anger; it’s about performance. Mind you, I have never been angry with PDP; I have always been angry with the mode of leadership. Ok you have not actually said you have finally closed the door on PDP; what kind of offer will the party make for you to consider returning? The top echelons of PDP are talking to me but the question is whether the Igbos are willing to follow PDP. I am not going to follow because I want to follow PDP; if in the consensus of most Igbo people is that they want to go with PDP so be it...but I don’t think that majority of the Igbos are thinking like that. The thinking of the Igbos today is to use APGA, PPAetc to get their base energised and then they will come out and take part in whatever that will be discussed at the centre. What if Jonathan wants to go for a second term in 2015? If the man wants to have a second chance that is his business. Our business is to produce an Igbo candidate who will run. Is it your position that the country desperately needs a change in 2015? From where the Igbos are now, they need to be president. that is our business. I am not going to say whether the president has done well or not. I have told a newspaper recently, that the President has said give me one more year to judge me, and I am a very good student –a good listener. So I will give him one more year and from the end of this year I will discuss the president. I won’t discuss the president now because I want to discuss him realistically. But in terms of security they have done zero. They way they are pursuing this Boko Harm issue and they way they way you pursue terrorism is not the same. There should be synergy between security agencies, the presidency and the people, but they have not done that. I think they have a lot in their hands so I don’t want to distract them; I want to support them; I want to give them all the good will. Though I am not a member of their government, I am a good citi-

zen. Governance is not only by the president; it is also by us, the citizens. That is why we the citizens continue to create jobs to help the president to manage the country. So I believe that they should make hay while the sun shines. Talking about constitution review, one issue that is being played up across the nation is state creation; what is the justifiable thing to do? The best thing to do is to ensure that every geo political zone has seven states. Those that don’t have seven should go to seven; those that have seven should stop there; those that have six should get one more and the South-East which has five should have two more. If we are reasonable, why do we want to break our country? We have fought a civil war. And a country that fights civil war twice can never be one country; it is there in history. We tested what it means and the Igbos are still suffering from that civil war because people don’t trust the Igbos. Now we are the new face of Igbos; we are washed off from the psychology of the war and we cannot allow anybody to continue to take us for a ride. What we want is a common Nigeria where everybody will live and call his country. Some Nigerians are agitating that we return to the regional structure; what is your view? It is going to be very difficult after people have tested autonomy. What is obtained at the moment is that the institutions that make up the democratic process are very weak, and since these institutions like the police, INEC, and the army are weak, we have to make them very strong. I thought what they should be doing in the constitution amendment process is to work towards stopping the president from appointing the IG of police and Chief of Army Staff. Let this thing be automatic through hierarchy and subsequent confirmation by the National Assembly. If we do that, these officers will owe no allegiance to the president but the people of Nigeria. But now the president can wake up and remove IG, remove Chief of Army Staff, and that becomes a problem because it makes them jittery, they cannot do their job. That is why they can use the police and the army to rig elections. So these institutions have to be strengthened. So the National Assembly should make laws that will benefit the masses so that they will feel the wind of the democratic process. Another issue is that of the term of executive officers; whether it should be single term or be retained as it is, two terms of four years each. What is your take on this? Honestly I advocated a single term when President Obasanjo was there. I called him and advised that we should have one term of five years for governors and the president. Look at the amount of money that we waste through the electoral process. It is not worth it. Look at Ghana, Benin Republic and even Sierra Leone that just came out of war conducting agreeable election. Why not Nigeria? So the areas that I am looking forward to the National Assembly to amend in the constitution, they are not doing it. They should also amend the constitution making sitting at the National Assembly to be a part time affair. I expect every member of the National Assembly to earn like N250, 000 a month as sitting allowance so that we will allow people who are ready to work for Nigeria to be there. These are the thing they should do. In fact Nigerians are not addressing the issues. We are spending 25 percent of our national budget on 400 people (National Assembly members) and nobody cares. Which country survives like that? This is happening while over 160million are out there suffering. We should start to look at this amendment so that the member of the assembly should only take his sitting allowance and go. You spoke about policing and the tendency to use the police to rig elections. As former state governor do you think state police is the proper thing to introduce now? I support state police but the institution that governs it is weak. It is just going to be like the local government. State police is good but because we don’t have strong institutions to check these governors and future governors, state police is necessary where we are today because they will abuse it. look at the local government now; they are not functioning. All the governors amass the funds of the local governments and nobody is saying anything. They can’t even conduct local government elections. When they conduct them, you can be sure there were no elections. So Nigeria needs reorientation and revalidation of our belief in this country. What we are seeing today can push this country...people are thinking it’s not possible to have Arab Spring here. It is possible. It is by our door if we don’t check our expenditure; if we don’t check the way things are done. After 12 years, we don’t have roads; we cannot give standard rail gauge; we are still trying to repair. People should be part of leadership; they should enjoy leadership but in Nigeria, it is the contrary. The leaders are bosses. You make somebody governor today or you appoint him minister, they don’t answer their calls anymore. It shows a corrupt system. If you go to South Africa and you want to see President Zuma, you see him. If you want to see the minister in South Africa, you see him; if you want to see the minister in Egypt, you see him because there is limited corruption. This is the reason I am setting up the Orji Uzo Kalu Anti Corruption Initiative –that



September 22, 2012


We’ll make history as first university whose students earned degrees in three and half years –Babalola By CHARLES ADEGBITE


s a wealthy legal icon and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Afe Babalola, has made use of Nigeria’s constitution in no small measure and therefore knows its weakness, as it were. He said that the shortcoming of the constitution is responsible for some of the crises rocking the country. In this interview, Babalola talked about the regional integration agenda of the South West governors, saying it cannot work unless... You will found out his solution to all these problems and other sundry issues as you read on. Could you tell us your view on the regional integration of the South West as being proposed by the governors? I share their views. I agree with their philosophy on this matter. As a matter of fact, I’ve written articles on this. The reason is that I do not believe in the present constitution, which has disintegrated rather than uniting us. Cast your mind back to pre-independence, 10 years before independence. That period marked the peak of development in the country because the regions had plans, which they executed. And when we became independent and before the coup of 1966 the rate of development continued, to the extent that the World Bank predicted that Brazil, Nigeria and India would catch up with the developing countries within 15 years. The other two countries have since caught up; that is, India and Brazil, but we have since gone down to being about the 15th poorest country in the world. This is the result of the constitution, which made each state a conduit pipe for payment of salaries alone, leaving little or nothing for development, whether at state level or local government level. ? I have advo•Babalola cated for a real Sovereign National Conference to address all these problems. In my own contribution, I have said that zones should be the basis of our federation. You see, because it will be difficult for us Now, as to whether one party or ACN or whatever.....the problem we to ask a state to be abolished, but these states can be component parts have is that those in politics today look at the development of the country from a political angle, from their own idea of politics as of the zones. In the process, there will be fast development.? introduce by their political parties alone. They should look beyond Now that the South West governors have started implementa- their parties, for the growth of the nation. This is why, in the advanced countries, when issue, which transcend political party, tion? You see, under the present constitution it cannot work. Something come up for discussion, people vote not according to their parties but has to be done first. And it cannot be by way of amendment of the according to what is best for the country. I will advice that people present constitution. It can only be a total restructuring of the consti- look at this issue of development, not from political party view only, tution. So there is no legal framework that can work. Whatever they but also that of the country. Take, for instance, when a government prepare can be used during the preliminary meetings of the members takes over, it abandons projects the former government was executof the Assembly. So it is still a useful exercise. But nobody can ing because it was not initiated by them. That is totally intolerable and unacceptable. implement it under the present constitution. Should the implementation of the regional integration programme be an exclusive right of a particular political party or all the stakeholders should be involved? I’m a political animal. A political animal is a human being, who lives among people. Every citizen in this country is a political animal, otherwise they will be living in forest. As Plato rightly said, you must be interested in how you are governed and who governs you. The day you lose that right or the day you decide not to do so then you are not a political animal. So, the fact that I do not belong to any political party does not mean that I do not have interest on how I’m being governed. And how you are governed is politics. That’s all.

If you are to compare the era of regional government with the way Nigeria is being run today, which one will you say is better? Do you compare life with death, or do you compare darkness with light? To me there is a difference between what Nigeria was before the coup and what it is today. Before the coup, for instance, we used rail from the South to the North, with fast moving trains, slow moving trains, good trains; first class, second class, third class. They are not in existence again. We had our own airlines. They are not in existence again. We had our steam ship lines. They are not in existence again. I do not know what you want us to compare. Life was safer then. Now life is not safe again. So what are you comparing?

Looking at the quality of infrastructure and the standard of education, you are putting in place in ABUAD and what it’s available in many universities, what do you have to say about the nine newly established universities by the Federal Government? I will write a whole book on the decadence of education and the way to reform it, having regard to my own experience in the University of Lagos and the reformation I carried out there. And the reason I decided to establish one here is for it to be a model, an example for others to emulate. I’m happy about what the Nigeria University Commission (NUC), the regulatory body for university education in this country, said about our own university. They said it is a model and a reference point for other universities. If it is a model, what I expect the University commission to do and what I expect the government to do is to make sure that others follow that model. And that is why I’m spending my money on this non-profit enterprise here. I’m happy that people from Nigeria and people outside Nigeria do recognise the pacesetting we are doing here. And I would expect that one day the government will recognise it and follow what we are doing in order to reform education. We are not going to stop until this is done. Next year, by the grace of God, we are doing what no university has done here. By the grace of God, we are going to turn out our first graduates in exactly three and a half years after we started. Whereas, ordinarily, it should be four years, but what happens with state and federal universities? Some do the same course for seven to eight years. These are the facts. So we are changing the world. We hope all of you will support us. And we are asking the government and you (the press) to cry out and ask them to go and see what we are doing here. And do the same thing. So if they were going to follow what we are doing here, N1.9 billion is not enough. First to acquire land, to pay compensation, to complete a survey plan and building plan, to construct two good buildings for study alone, not to talk of hostels, staff quarters, library, laboratories and to purchase the most modern equipment we have here, which are not available in older universities, not to talk of new universities. What is your advice to students and parents in Nigeria, looking at the standard of moral education you are giving students in your university and the moral decadence in the country? We have in this institution an anthem, which we sing every day and which everybody is bound to memorise. It embodies the motto; that is the ideal of the founder, which is: Labour, Service and Integrity. And on that I say, “we can only make excellence if we are determined. Now to be excellent, you have to have all these ideal practice, as part of your life. And people who come here see our students put all these into action. You are not the only person to say so. Everybody has been saying that our students are decent; they behave well, they dress well and above all, their maintenance culture is different from what we have all over the places. In fact, one professor once came here and he said when these students graduate, they will be agents of decency and change. And that is what we are. We are changing this world. That is what we are training to be here. You know the teachers we are having here are agents of change. And then we hope God will give us and you will also give us the opportunity and support to accomplish this great goal.

‘Why I disagreed with OBJ’ is worldwide – with the help of the EU, UN, Justice Department. The first conference will be in Johannesburg early next year. There have been calls for the revival of the onshore/offshore dichotomy in the determination of oil revenues. Does it make sense to you? Well I think there is need to discuss these things and that is why we have council of states; that is why we have the economic council. As a nation, it’s not everything we should be putting in the newspaper. It can be discussed and it can also be debated by the National Assembly. That is the way I want it resolved. It makes no sense to open these wounds now because we are in a very delicate period; we are trying to transit. We are a nation trying to resolve so many issues....the Boko Haram is there. But to me Boko Haram is not a terrorist organisation. Even America will not classify the group as such. It is a group borne out of injustice. The fundamental issue in any society is when leaders refuse to give justice to the people. So dichotomy or no dichotomy, what we need is the right leadership. At one time PPA had an alliance with PDP and they brought you into government; do you see any cooperation in future? This is what is going to rule Nigeria. Anybody who thinks it is one party that is going to rule Nigeria is making a mistake. I cannot see an Igbo man voting an Hausa man; and I can’t see an Hausa man voting an Igbo man. The south west people have already voted for themselves. So we are going to vote for ourselves; Hausa people will vote for themselves; the Ijaw people will vote for themselves; and then we will come and discuss on how we are going to rule Nigeria. You see, people are very wise now; people cannot rig election again with police or INEC. People will never take that any longer. You will see the anger and it will be so much that whether it is the minister, president or governor that will be doing that, that

person may not be safe. The people will be prepared to die protecting their mandate. You had a strong disagreement with former president Olusegun Obasanjo which led to your exit from the PDP; now that he has left his position as BOT chairman and does not appear to be wielding any power in the party; don’t you think the PDP is fairly safe for you now? I didn’t leave PDP because I wanted to. I left the PDP because President Obasanjo was not implementing the agenda we agreed upon. First of all we agreed that he would rule for four years. President Babangida is alive; I drove with him to Otta when he (Obasanjo) came out of prison and we agreed that he would rule for four years. But from four years he proceeded for second term; from two terms he wanted to be a life president. This was my disagreement with him. I didn’t quarrel with other members of the PDP. I quarrelled with President Obasanjo and he asked them to deregister me and Atiku because we had become threats. All these issues about touching my businesses and everything was because I became a perceived threat to the president for telling him the truth. Again I told him when we (21 PDP governors) met in House 7 in 2003 that he had not done well therefore he would not win. But later on everyone agreed that we should just support him to win the election when Atiku backed out on the eve of our primaries. He urged us to support his boss. But I paid a price by losing Slok Airline, the banks and some businesses I have. I have been doing business before I became governor and I was very successful. If you would count 10 successful businessmen in Nigeria, I was one of them. But suddenly Obasanjo wanted to cripple me because of politics. I wasn’t quarrelling with him; it was just disagreement on what he was doing wrong or right. He christened me ‘action governor’ because of the number of roads I built and the positive

•Kalu changes I was bringing to Abia State. Why did he do that and why did I suddenly become a thief that he would take me to EFCC. I worked with strong commissioners. My commissioners were not puppets; they were strong hearted people like. I never picked rags. I picked commissioners that disagreed with me instantly and we debated issues. And the quality of a team reflects what the leader wants to do. That is why we succeeded.

•This interview was first publish by Daily Trust within the week


September 22, 2012


How Cross River’ll empower youth through public transportation – Gov’s aide From JUDEX OKORO, Calabar


pecial Adviser to Governor Liyel Imoke on Public Transportation, Bar. Edem Ekong, has revealed the state government’s plan to establish a functional transport system to take care of movements in the state capital and the state in general. He said that through this programme, the state government empower more youths, as it has been doing in the agency. He spoke of this and others. The Department of Public Transportation is a new sector. How far have you gone in reorganising the department to win back public sympathy? Since I came on board in December 2010, we had succeeded in recruiting and training over 500 boys and girls as marshals and vehicle inspection officers. Out of this, about 70 are graduates, over 50 as HND and NCE holders and others certificate holders. So we have enough in the supervisor cadre. We are presently kitting them and to take them unto the roads. This sector, indeed, is empowering the youths of the state. We have six additional vehicles and communication equipment that means we can get our communication gadgets as far as Yakurr, so that we can monitor their activities. We are also aware that there is need for backing legislation. So we have forwarded a Bill to the State House of Assembly for a traffic management agency. When the Bill is passed, the department of traffic management agency and Public transportation will be created. While the traffic management agency will take care of agency to manage traffic and vehicle administration will take care of mass transit corporation. The essence is to reduce congestion and operate a reliable and efficient mass transportation to have a few more cars of the road. We want to be a model state. We want Cross River State to be the premier second hand car market in the next five to seven years. That is to say instead of going o Belgium to buy 18-year-old cars, you would be able to buy second hand cars here in Cross River because our mass transit would be so efficient that people would leave their cars at home and enter the buses that we would provide, thereby giving their vehicles second hand value. The reason we buy those cars from Belgium and other countries is because the owners do not drive them every day. So by the time you buy a car it is still a car. Mass transit is the way forward. How do you intend to source funds for the mass transit project? We are going to liaise with a bank. We tried

to liaise with the Federal Urban Development Bank to get a loan, but their terms were tough. We found that it is easier to get a commercial loan. So, we are working with Diamond Bank and in the process of securing some facilities. We are going to acquire the first 35 coaster buses. We prefer Coaster buses because of their size and our roads instead of the large Benz we had for Metro-Blue. We have identified the Coaster bus that has two doors. We don’t like the middle door because coming in and out can be a problem. So there is a Tata Marco Polo 26-seater and 33-seater two door coasters that we are in the process of acquir- Ekong ing and it would be given to the private sector, which would supervise the mass transit corporation. We intend to run these buses on schedule, as they would be routes and there would be timetables and they would run on schedule. We have retained consultants. We have carried out traffic study. We have an indication of how long it will take, given traffic lights; how long it takes to get, for example, a bus to get from Effio-Ette to Rabana; so based on those studies, we are able to arrive at preliminary timing. And as we do the test run, we would pick and adjust as necessary. However, we want a situation where we would say that a bus would be at the bus stop at 9.15 and it would be there at scheduled. If it is leaving at 9.17, it would leave at 9.17, whether or not everybody is inside. It would be kept clean and they would be run efficiently. However, the search for a private operator has commenced. Government understands that it must succeed in public transportation because once the transportation sector is working; most other sections of the economy would also function a bit more efficiently. Besides, we are working with the police and they give us protection and we hope that with all these we will be more efficient in traffic management and eventually disengage that activity to a traffic

road maintenance agency and the ministry of works should go round the town and identify locations where lay-bys can still be created. We identify such places and do remedial work to widen those places and we create a place for people to stop. A taxi rank is different from the bus stop, because we do not also want taxis clogging up the bus stops. If our buses should run on time, if they enter their bus stops, nothing should obstruct them. So taxi ranks are going to be designated separately from the bus stops. Funding has been a problem, but fortunately, we have a group that has come forward and is going to work with our master plan and construct bus stops at no cost to government. We are still working out the terms, but the idea is that they construct these bus stops, use it to advertise. They give out the space for advert to people and recover their own costs of the bus stops. We will start with at least five or six initial pilot routes, and then identify where the bus stops would be and as much as possible construct those bus stops at no cost to government.

management agency, while we supervise it. The third arm is the commercial transport regulation agency, which is supposed to face taxis and buses, regulate their routes, their identification, and all of that. We intend to work with that agency. We don’t want o bite more than we can chew at a time, so all these traffic management agencies working properly and the bus mass transit has taken off, then we would be able to pay more attention to the commercial transportation sector, and see if it can function more efficiently. There has been a general outcry against unruly attitude of taxi drivers and how they drop and pick passengers. How do you intend to tackle it? We notice that our roads do not have enough provision for people to clear and drop or pick up people. It is something we have addressed with the governor. We can’t repair too much of yesterday roads, but we can make sure nothing happens tomorrow. Our roads, after now, would be designed to cater for taxi ranks and lay-bys. Not just one straight road with pavement and sidewalk. So going forward, we are going to correct that. Also, we have written to the governor and he has approved that in any case, the

‘Sand miners have put Lagos at risk of flood’ Moyeni families, he revealed that the affected By AUSTIN OFOMA and JAMES AGBAK- villages have been badly affected by erosion, WURU. while the sand miners are going on with their activities and making money. he Onisiwo Royal family has called on Also speaking, Prince Oluwatoyin Michael the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Onisiwo, who represented Orefunmi, one of Babatunde Raji Fashola and the Federal the four families that make up the Onisowo’s Government to stop the illegal sand dredging Royal family, said that their efforts to make from Tomaro, Ogogoro, Abagbo and other the traditional ruler to end illegal sand mining related islands, to save the state from eminent failed. danger of being swept away by Tsunami. According to him: “the Oba claimed that According to Chairman of the Onisiwo we were mere intruders. The Police at the end Chieftaincy family, Alhaji Sikiru Oduwole, of their investigation found out that he actualthis illegal sand dredging had been going on ly succeeded my family, Chief Adamo Lawal for almost 20 years on the shores of their vil- Onisiwo and that we are the same family. lages and had caused the family hectares of Tsunami is inevitable, if our brother refuses to land and economic crops through erosion. He call off the sand digging on these lands”. pleaded with the authorities to stop this illegal On what the families have done, he said: digging of sand from their land to avert further “We had reported this problem to the Oba of lose of lives, land and economic crops. Lagos, Oba Akiolu and his efforts to talk Speaking in the presence of representatives sense to our brother failed. since all his efforts of the four Royal families that make up the could not yield fruits, we petitioned the Lagos Onisiwo chieftaincy family, who include State commissioner for special duties, comAlhaji Sikiru A. Oduwole, representing the missioner for water front and infrastructure Opegbuyi; Prince Oluwatoyi in Michael and development, commissioner for physical Onisiwo, representing the Orefunmi; Prince planning and urban development and comAkanni Ayinla, representing the Ogabi and missioner of police, Zone 2. The commissionPrince Olayinka Olusesi, representing


er of Lagos state for special duties has also sent people from his office who visited and saw the sand diggers in their thousands doing what they know how to do best. “Our brother may not see the problems he is subjecting our villages into because he lives and run the affairs of our villages from his Lagos Island mansion, while he appointed non-indigenes as Baales of our villages. Some of his Baales you may be surprised are Ghanaians and Togolese. “The NNPC pipe lines are exposed, as a result of these sand diggers. It is unfortunate to say that the NNPC, which is an arm of the Federal Government, which could have stopped the illegal dredging of sand from shores of these villages, failed to do so. The digging of sand from the shores exposed the pipes, which made it vulnerable to be vandalised. The NNPC brought in security men instead to protect their exposed pipes and that is why you hear about fire disasters that often consumes millions of naira worth of property and even lives.” Alhaji Sikiru Oduwole would therefore, want Lags State governor to intervene and save the island and entire state from flood disaster.

There has been general complaints against the alleged extortion and imposition of some illegal levies by your department. What are you doing in that regard to ensure the image of the unit is not dragged to the mud? Extortion is in the hands of the public. Six thousand taxi drivers in this town have my phone number and I have my number on television, and anytime they complain we have told them do not succumb to blackmail. But people cannot sacrifice five minutes and take it to a conclusion. Instead of taking that matter to the end they part with money. By the time you tell that person to follow you to the office, he will get out of your car. I have offered a reward on television and till today nobody has come to claim it. I said on TV and radio that there is a N5, 000 reward for anybody that gives evidence of corruption. I said even if you are a passer-by and you have a small camera, just video. If you a passenger in a car just do it with your phone come and I will give you N5000. People ask me where are you going to get the N5000, and I say from the person’s salary. The person would lose his job that day. It is not difficult to get money to pay. So I don’t know how to handle that matter. Lagos State has just criminalised their traffic offences through legislation. Would you want to replicate that in Cross River? I don’t want to go into those legal matters, but I still believe that traffic offences should remain traffic offences. A conviction for traffic offence should not mar your future. They are not misdemeanours; some are heavy, but they are not criminal. The sentence only affects your driving history. It may end up removing your driver’s licence. For example, a conviction for traffic offence should not be enough to stop you from going for elective office or something like that. We should simplify this. Why? Because a lot of the problems we see is institutional. There are rules and ethics that you do not know anything about. I think there is gradual breakdown of people’s appreciation of traffic rules and ethics. And it is not for drivers alone. Everybody should know. Government has a lot to do to enlighten the populace rather than applying draconian laws. Let the discomfort of your being prosecuted vindicate you. So just going to court to stand and say not guilty and pay a lawyer or even if you don’t pay, you won’t go to work that day, then maybe it is adjourned till the next day. By the time you are done with that it is something you would not want to do too regularly. That would act as a deterrent to people to conduct themselves. So our law is not draconian. And I think it is okay for our level here in Cross River. Maybe they have more serious problems and need to employ a lot more drastic measures. Definitely we have not reached there yet. To correct some of these wrongs, we have commissioned publication of two textbooks for primary and secondary schools on road signs. This will enable our children to know road signs right from secondary school. They would know all traffic rules too.


September 22 2012



NPL opens sponsorship renewal talks with partners



he third edition of the FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup gets underway today in faraway Azerbaijan, with Africa's reigning champion, Nigeria's Flamingoes, flagging off its campaign against the Canadian team inside the main bowl of the Tofig Bahramov Stadium in Baku City this afternoon, by 1.00pm Nigerian time. The Peter Dedevbo-tutored Nigerian girls are expected to face a stiff opposition from their Canadian counterparts considering the rich pedigree of the later in women football, particularly, in the age grade tournaments. Canada has qualified for eight out of nine FIFA Under-17 and Under-20 Women's World Cups. She went to the CONCACAF qualifying competition as defending champion, but got the ticket to Azerbaijan 2012 as runner-up to champion and number one on FIFA ranking, the United States of America. Both Canada and Nigeria have featured in all the editions of the tournament with quarterfinals records. But if FIFA ranking in women football is anything to go by, then one might be tempted to give it to Canada, which is rated seventh as against Nigeria's distant 27 position in the world. However, today's match promises no less excitement, as both sides, looking to improve on their quarterfinal records in the tournament, would aim at having brilliant start in Azerbaijan. Despite his team's brilliant run on the road to the tournament, Coach of the Canucks (nickname for the Canadian team), Bryan Rosenfeld, admitted that the Nigerian team must not be toyed with. “You look at a little bit of their (Nigeria) history right now with how they've done in Under-17 and Under-20, there seems to be consistency in their play. They are becoming more and more organised in their women football; the talent keeps growing. “They are definitely a squad to be reckoned with, not to be underestimated, and their strengths are definitely something that we are going to deal with,” Rosenfeld said ahead of today's clash. The coach banks on the unity and strength of his team, particularly, the striking duo of Valerie Sanderson and Summer Clarke, who was on fire at the recent CONCACAF Under-17 Championship in Guatemala, accounting for 11 goals between them. “We have a team that is very much a hard-working unit. But at the same time, I believe that we have some special players who can make a difference in a game. With the right supporting cast around those players, I think we can do quite well. Like anyone else, we're going to go for it. We're going to go as far as we can and we're confident in our ability to do so,” he emphasized. Flamingoes' Coach, Dedevbo, who guided the Nigerian team to


As Azerbaijan 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup kick-starts…

Flamingoes swoop on Canada's Canucks the quarterfinals at the tournament two years ago, is no less confident that his current squad is good enough to challenge for the trophy. Although three players, Chidinma Edeji, Victoria Aidelomon and Halimatu Ayinde, scored two goals each in the two-legged final qualifying fixture against Zambia, the coach said he does not want to single out any player for accolades. "I am proud to have a team in which the game is built around each and every individual player," the coach said. The Nigerian team boasts of a strong record in the tournament's qualifying round matches. The Flamingoes had little trouble in the two rounds of on-the-road to Azerbaijan 2012 finals, beating Kenya 2-0 and 3-0 in the first and second legs respectively, and then following it up with 2-1 and 5-0 victories against Zambia, also in their two-legged encounter. "Both teams were strong and even though. We won all the four matches, but it was not that easy," Dedevbo added. Overall, Nigeria has 10 victories out of 12 matches in qualifying for three Under-17 Women's World Cups. The two blemishes

came in 2008, when the country lost to Ghana and drew Cameroon in the preliminaries. The Flamingoes are in Group A alongside Canada, Colombia and host, Azerbaijan. Before Nigeria's match against Canada, host, Azerbaijan and Colombia will set the tune in the opening match, also billed for the Tofig

Bahramov Stadium in Baku. There will be two other matches today in Group B, with France taking on USA in Lankaran, while Africa's other flag bearer, Gambia, will have full hands against defending champion, Korea Democratic Peoples' Republic in the second group match.

egotiations for the renewal of various Nigeria Premier League (NPL) sponsorship rights commenced on Wednesday with the official Sports Drink, GlaxoSmithKline (makers of Lucozade Sports Drink), meeting with the NPL Marketing team at the Abuja office of the league body. Other sponsors in line for the renewal negotiations include Industrial and General Insurance (IGI), the Official Insurers and Patterson Zochonnis, makers of Hot Robb, the Official Hot Balm. Chief Rumson Baribote, the NPL Chairman said the negotiations follow the expression of interest by the sponsors to renew their respective agreement with the NPL. “That we have our sponsors renewing their agreement is a reflection of the confidence they have in the league and also a renewal of their commitment to supporting football in Nigeria through the Premier League”, declared the NPL Chairman. He disclosed that in the coming weeks, the NPL will be meeting with all the existing and prospective sponsors to discuss the way forward for the 2012/2013 league season. “The fact is that before now the Board has been working assiduously to ensure that all areas needing to be resolved are taken care of”, explained Baribote. On the title sponsorship rights dispute, the NPL boss clarified that following earlier meetings brokered by the Sports Minister, the NPL has had informal meetings with fruitful meetings with Globacom and Total Promotion. “We have been in contact with both parties and our understanding of the situation is that there should be a tripartite meeting involving all parties-Globacom, Total Promotions, NPLand NFF

in Lagos to reach a final resolution and we are looking forward to such a meeting in the coming weeks”, disclosed Baribote. He expressed the Board’s appreciation to the Honourable Sports Minister, Alhaji Bolaji Abdullahi for his interest in the league by convening the meeting. In his words, “The Minister’s intervention has brought the crisis very close to resolution as there are just some minor technical areas that need to be mutually streamlined. We are confident that the League will have all issues resolved before the start of the new season and the NPL Board is determined to make sure the clubs benefit better than they have ever done going forward”. EKO 2012

Zamfara wins North-west zonal elimination By EMMA JEMEGAH


amfara State has emerged the overall winner of the National Sports Council (NSC) Northwest zonal elimination for the National Sports Festival slated for Lagos in November. At the end of the week-long event held at Birni Kebbi, Kebbi State, Zamfara State picked the tickets for the football, male basketball as well as female handball while host Kebbi qualified to represent the zone in female basketball, male and female hockey as well as male volleyball. Sokoto State on the other hand qualified for male handball, female volleyball and cricket. NSC Zonal coordinator, Alhaji Shehu Gusau, commended Kebbi State for the excellent organisation and looked forward to the state hosting other events in the zone.

CAN U-20 Qualifier: Flying Eagles hold Amajitas, 1-1


bdujaleel Ajagun’s 54th minute goal from a perfect header ensured that the Flying Eagles shared the spoils with South Africa’s Amajitas last night in the first leg first round of the Africa U20 qualifying match. Thabanni Mthembu had put the South African side in front after 13 minutes with a welltimed header from a cross much against the run of play as the Flying Eagles had dominated played from the blast of the whistle. Before leveling scores, Nigeria had mounted pressure on the host with Ajagun and Alahji Gero tormenting the South African defence ceaselessly till the end of the first half. A substitution in the 53rd

minute which saw Umar Aminu going in for Agboyi paid off almost immediately as Ajagun’s

header caught goalkeeper Lebo Ngubeni napping. Nigeria continued to domi-

nate proceedings but found the Amajita’s defence too strong to break until the final whistle.

Kalbe Int’l splashes N14m …As Extra Joss Football Championship debuts



albe International, makers of Extra Joss energy drink, has doled out the sum of N14million for the maiden edition of Extra Joss Football Championship for Inter-Local Government Areas in Lagos State. The tournament, organised by Kalbe International and Orange Drugs in conjunction with the Lagos State Ministry of Youth, Sports and Social Development, is billed to hold from September 29 to October 27, 2012, at the

Legacy Pitch of the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos. Atotal of 32 teams from Ikeja, Lagos Island, Badagry, Ikorodu, Epe and the Lagos State Sports Festival Team, are expected to trade tackles during the tournament, which its draws would be done on September 26 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos. The Country Manager of Kalbe International, Mr. Didik Novandi, said his company was not new in the Nigerian sports terrain, as it has severally

responded to the yearnings of grassroots sports development with its Procold Table Tennis Tournament. He stressed that Kalbe is coming into football now to compliment the effort of the Lagos State Sports Ministry in fishing out football talents. “Nigeria’s potentialities in football is amazingly enormous and we want to help in bringing out the glory in the youths of the country by having the various local governments in Lagos State engaging themselves in the Extra Joss Football Competition.


September 22, 2012


Limelight BIRTHDAY Nwosu, Steve Chimezie, B.A; journalist and administrator, is 44. He was born on September 5, 1968. He attended UMCA, Bacita (1978-80); Federal Government College, Ilorin, (1980-85), (1985-87); University of Nigeria Nsukka (1987-91); He started his career as Staff Reporter, The Guardian (199396); Correspondent, This Day, Features Editor, Style Editor, Political Editor, Editor, Saturday Sun (2002-2008); Daily Sun, July 2008 till date. Marwa, Mohammed Buba (rtd), OFR; FSS, Mss, Psc, MPA, MIA, FIHM, soldier, diplomat and administrator, is 59. He was born on September 9, 1953. He attended Nigerian Military School, Zaria; Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna; Armoured School, Pakistan; Nigerian Army Signal School, Apapa; Military College of Telecommunication Engineering, India; Advanced Armoured Corps Centre and School, Ahmadnagar, India and Command and Staff College, Jaji, among others. Jinadu, Gbolahan Ajagbe Tijani, a jurist, is 76. He was born on September 13, 1936. He holds LL.B, B.L. He attended Taslim Islamijya Ahmadiyya School, Lagos (1943-51); Dr. Lucas College, Lagos (1954-55); Eko Boys’ High School, Mushin, (1956-58); University Tutorial College, London, 1961. Holborn College of Law, London (196164); Inner Temple London and Nigerian Law School, 1965. Osunkeye, Olusegun Oladipo, a chartered accountant and businessman, is 72. He was born on September 7, 1940. He holds FCCA; FCH, FBIM. He attended St. George’s School, Zaria (1947-50); St. Paul’s Catholic School, Ebute-Metta, Lagos (1951-53); King’s College, Lagos (1954-58); Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Ibadan (1960-62) and College of Commerce, Staffordshire, England (1963-65), among others. Shittu, Abdul Lateef Tayo Olalekan, an economist, banker and administrator, is 57. He was born on September 9, 1955. He holds B.A; MBA. He attended Government Commercial College, Zaria (1968-72); School of Basic Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1973-74); Wittenberg University Springfield, Ohio, USA, 1982; Fin Africa Institute of Banking and Finance Milan, Italy (198687). He started his career as Research Assistant, Jalo Management Consultants Ltd, Lagos, 1975 and Revenue Officer, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Ilorin (1976-78), among others.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION Okpe Union holds bye-election Okpe Union Worldwide, holds by-elections for the President General, Secretary and Assistant spokesman. Mr. Henry Ebireri said the by-elections would hold on Sunday, November 25, 2012 at Okpe Union Headquarters, Obalende, Lagos. To be eligible to stand for the positions, the union said candidates must be indigenes of Okpe, residing anywhere in the world but prepared to attend the union’s general meeting in Lagos. The headquarters appealed to branches outside Lagos to participate actively in the election.

Oluwafeyikemi Osho and Oluwamayowa Adurogbangba during their wedding at First Baptist Church, Area 11, Abuja recently

Burial The burial of Chief Benedict Nwankwo Oyeka (Ugobuife), who died on August 1, 2012 in Lagos, at the age of 77, will take place at his hometown, Orofia, Alor, in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State from tomorrow Sunday, September 30, 2012. According to a release from the Oyeka family, an all-night wakekeep would be observed in his honour today at his residence, 183, Ago Palace Way, Okota, Lagos.

Commissioner of Police, Barr. Okey Aniebonam receiving an award from Rotary Club of Enugu Metropolis District 9140, in recognition of his contribution to humanity and Nigeria. LEKAN WEDS TAIYE IN MINNA Minna-based medical practitioner, Dr. Taiye Akinkoye recently gave his daughter, Taiye Toyin Akinkoye, out in marriage to Olalekan Oladosu.

Newly wed Lekan and Taiye during the ceremony

Anniversary/ Ordination The first anniversary and ordination programme of Divine Truth Ministry (The Land of Triumph) will take place at the Church auditorium, 16, Alagbon Street, off Amusu Street, by Baale bus stop, Sari Iganmu, Lagos on Sunday, October 7, 2012. According to the host and overseer of the ministry, Reverend Charles Onyeberechi, theme of the event is Ember to Remember. Stephen Ejiogu, Nicholas Ogidi, Richard Amuneke and Louisa Diala will be ordained deacons and deaconesses at the programme, while Anayo John Nwabueze and Priscilla Onyeberechi will be ordained pastors. Father of the day will be Apostle (Dr) Paul King. Other annointed men of God will also be in attendance. Ngwa holds Meeting The Ngwa Cultural and Development Union Abuja holds her October 2012 general meeting on October 7 at Junior Secondary School Zone 6 Wuse, Abuja at 3pm This was made public by Egwuibe Obie. Priestly ordination The parish priest and the entire Catholic community of Dimneze in Ihitte-Uboma LGA, Imo State invites the public to the ordination of their son, Rev. Philip Onyedikachi Obasi by His Grace, Most Rev. (Dr.) Augustine Obiora Akubueze, Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Benin City on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at SS Michael, Raphael & Gabriel Catholic Church, Satellite Town, Lagos by 11 am prompt.

The couple looking hopefully into the future

Pastor and Dr. Okoro during a couples’ programme, Enriching your marital sex at Golden Gate, Ikoyi recently.

Nkwerre Country Club president loses brother The family of Nkwerre Country Club President, DND Onyeachor, regrets to announce the passing unto glory of his beloved brother, Tony Onyeachor who died following a protracted illness. He would be buried in his compound at Umukor Village, Nkwerre on September 28, 2012. May his gentle soul rest in peace. Compiled by VERA WISDOM BASSEY, 08025412518 Kindly send information about your events



SEPTEMBER 22, 2012


SEPTEMBER 22, 2012




SEPTEMBER 22, 2012


September 22, 2012




Former governor of Abia State e-mail:

Of society, family values and leadership (2)


here is no way the society (or community) can exist in isolation of the family. And the family, on its part, cannot survive without the society in which it exists. In fact, the family is the sociological basis for society – it affects the life of every individual from infancy to adulthood. This is particularly true with the Chinese who place emphasis on filial piety in accordance with the theorising of Confucius. Family values or ties are the root that holds together those values that are needed later in life for the enhancement of the common good and the development and well being of members of a society or community. Because of the place of the family in the advancement of societies there is a compelling need to ensure that the family is protected from negative external influences that ensnare it and make it vulnerable. In other words, the family is guided by set rules and values, which determine its character and survival in any given society. These rules, which can be referred to as ethics guide behaviour and conduct in such a society. However, where the rules are circumvented or abridged there is a possibility of dislocations occurring, which can lead to the collapse of such a society with considerable negative impact on the family. This is why some societies had failed in the past and others immersed in crises of confidence and identity. For the individuals who inhabit a society to appreciate that society and contribute meaningfully to its growth and development there is the need for them to understand its dynamics and norms. These individuals form micro-societies that give rise to the emergence of larger societies. Therefore, the nature of these micro-societies in the larger societies determines their capacity to contribute positively or negatively to its development. Auguste Comte captured it beautifully thus: “The family is the cell of society.” By ‘cell,’ Comte meant the fine, micro units that give existence to society, just as we have in the cells of animals or plants. The basic instincts of survival are learnt in the family. It is also here that individuals learn how to love and be loved, to trust and be trusted, and to care and be cared for. Any attitude or behaviour learnt by an individual in a family is what he/she brings ultimately to the wider society. This is why there are too many evils ravaging our nation today. Incidentally, these antisocial behaviours take their root in the family. Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of Britain, hit the nail on the head when he said: “There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of societies are created, strengthened and maintained.” Churchill was prophetic in his positing, because it seemed as if he mirrored today’s societies then. Many a today’s family produces individuals that lack strong moral fibres, discipline, and integrity to build egalitarian societies. Rather, what we have had is the dethronement of those values that had held families together to withstand the vagaries of a tempestuous society. In any case, the absence of community life and the destruction of basic family values have given vent to the debasement of the personality of the individuals in a society and the enthronement of culture of impunity and promotion of crass individualism and nihilism. What has happened to those values, such as families eating together, praying together, love of one’s neighbours, hardwork, honesty, faithfulness, empathy, dutifulness, etc? Sadly, in their place we now have greed, corruption, armed robbery, slothfulness, kidnapping, dishonesty, cheating and lying, wickedness, and insurgency. These negative tendencies are the aftermath of a society seeking after self and ruled by sheer egotism. Family principles include the ability of individuals in a society to discover their real purpose in life and pursue it vigorously. Otherwise all its efforts will amount to naught. The truth we have to appreciate is that the way things are going it will not be long before this nation finds itself in a quandary. The transformation agenda of the present administration, to be honest with you, is designed to target the moral life of our youth, which is the fulcrum in the socio-economic development of the nation. It is hoped that through them a strong nation will emerge with a viable reservoir of talented youth that will rule this nation. But if not for undue politicisation, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the transformation agenda. It is a well-timed programme that has the capacity to address some of the intractable social problems confronting our nation. The unfortunate thing is that politicians have hijacked the agenda for selfish gains. I have said this, because of the way some government officials carry themselves. Take for instance, the proposed creation of 3.5 million jobs under the agenda. How many qualified persons will get the jobs at the end of the day? It is very likely that favouritism and other petty

Jonathan considerations will feature prominently in the selection. If the government can religiously create jobs and allocate them to those who deserve them then we will be talking about truly transforming the nation in a very short time. Because 3.5 million jobs, even though it is like a drop of water in the ocean, will go a long way in tackling the endemic problem of youth employment, which is at the centre of most of the social misdemeanours with which our youth are associated. In order words, creating 3.5 million jobs should not be a one-off thing, rather it should be a systematic and well-organised scheme that will even outlive the present regime. Another aspect of the transformation agenda that is quite innovative, but, somewhat, elitist is the YOUWIN programme. It is a package that is geared toward discovering the many talents that abound in our youth and using it to develop such talents. The programme will work optimally if the mentors of the successful candidates are well-groomed and focused to handle this delicate assignment. However, what I expect the government to do, if it expects commensurate results from these beautiful developmental initiatives, is to refocus the family to see areas it can assist parents in the moulding of the character of their children. The administration of Muhammadu Buhari/Tunde Idiagbon attempted this during their reign between December 31, 1983 and August 27, 1985. Though it was a brief tenure, the impact they made can never be forgotten easily. At least, up till today, some Nigerians still live under the influence of that regime. The War Against Indiscipline (WAI) was its most popular and potent programme for moral regeneration. It discovered that nothing much could be achieved without first redirecting the mindset of Nigerians. And it worked. It is the same focus that the present government has; nonetheless it is approaching it with a human face and some level of acquiescence. So, by refocusing the family the government would be facing squarely the monster of our backwardness, because almost all the problems militating against our development take their root in the erosion of family values and traditions. It is not arguable that the family as a social unit plays vital role in the development of any nation. This is why it is seen as a socialization agent for the transmission of cultural heritage from one generation to another. No matter how much government tries to transform the nation it cannot achieve much without carrying the family along. There is, therefore, an urgent need to design programmes that will have direct bearing on the way parents train their children and what impact such training has on the wider society. It is not enough to marshal out outlandish social developmental initiatives, it is imperative to ensure that proper appraisal is carried out to see how much impact they would

have on the mental and cognitive development of the child. It is unfortunate that the planners of our schools’ curricula have continually failed to design models that will address the moral life of the Nigerian child. It is good to come up with advanced models of teaching techniques in schools from time to time. Perhaps, this is the major concern of those that design these curriculums. But commonsense demands that the impact of these models on the development of the child should also be considered to see areas of amendment for improvement. This is where regular evaluation comes to play. I believe if government directs its energy in working out a deliberate programme(s) that will target the child at home, working in synergy with the parents, we will achieve better results. One fact that has been established over time is that the family has lost its values and traditions, and this is responsible for the assault on our collective psyche. It is not deniable that if every family discharges its duties to its children the wider society will be a perfect one. Regrettably, some persons tend to see the family as different from the society in which it exists. This is a big problem - one of perception. The society comprises various family units that exist in it. This is just the fact. Therefore, to deal with the problems that exist in such a society requires the searchlight to be directed on the family. What I would want the government to do is to begin now to focus attention on the family. The Child’s Act and other relevant laws designed to protect the child should be religiously enforced, and where weak strengthened. It is an affront on our legal system for rapists to continue to have a field day, because the law is not working. The law on rape should be amended to make it a capital offence for anybody found guilty. When a child is abused it damages the psyche of such a child and leaves it with perpetual trauma. The result is that such a child develops hatred for the society and becomes deviant. A sizeable number of street urchins, vagabonds and other miscreants who inhabit our society are a product of disjointed and, often, lopsided social system that offers them no protection or defence against exploitation or neglect. But a child that is protected by society is mentally strong, psychologically fit and morally enamoured to confront the challenges of life. This is why there is the need to reorient the Nigerian youth to make them more patriotic, dutiful and challenged to assume leadership roles in future. We have a semblance of sanity today, because our own generation is still here. What will happen in the next twenty to thirty years when the present generation is gone and the new one assumes the saddle of leadership is anybody’s guess? We do a great disservice to this nation by not taking the bull by the horns to do what is right to safeguard the future of the Nigerian youth. Several youth empowerment programmes designed in the past to give direction to the youth and safeguard their future did not produce the desired results. Ironically, government has continued to develop new youth development programmes without making effort to find out what made the previous ones fail. The undeniable truth is that the way we are going will not produce sustained results, especially in the area of succession in leadership. What kind of leaders will come out of a comatose and disjointed system as we currently have? Every day we talk about the youth as future leaders. What foundation have we laid for them to assume this all-important role? Each of us has failed to live up to our responsibility in the development of the youth. Parents are the worst culprits. For our nation to achieve the goals of the new millennium we must begin now to make concrete plans on how to correct the ills plaguing the development of the youth. The bare truth is that it is what one sows, one reaps. In other words, it is what the families that make up our nation produce that forms the kernel of our leadership. After all the leaders a nation has is a product of its families. If our families are well-built, peaceful and God-fearing, definitely our nation will be peaceful, progressive and pleasurable. Were these not the intendments of our forbears that laid down their lives that all of us may live? Government has an enormous duty to ensure that the hardships being experienced by many homes as a result of the dwindling global economy are mitigated. There is no way children will be properly brought up in an atmosphere of rancour, pain and poverty. Poverty, alone, in itself is a disease; let alone when it is exacerbated by insecurity, hunger and other social misdemeanours that have held our nation hostage. •Concluded


OF SOCIETY, FAMILY VALUES AND LEADERSHIP (2) September 22, 2012 Vol.9 No.508


Mike Adenuga and the big dreamers PressClips BY MIKE AWOYINFA 08051271177 (SMS only)


eloved, let me start by apologising for my absence last Saturday. There was no church service because I had to travel to Uyo to attend the Guild of Editors conference that took place in the Akwa Ibom State capital. I had thought of sending my sermon straight from Uyo but sadly, the Internet facility in the hotel had packed up and the engineer was said to be “working at it.” Till when I left, the engineer was still battling with it, as it were. I don’t want to say anything negative about Uyo, because the Uyo I met has transformed into a modern city with good roads in every nook and cranny, such that Governor Godswill Akpabio can beat his chest and audaciously challenge the visiting editors, reporters and dignitaries to “go round the city and if you find a single pothole anywhere, come and report to me and I will fix it immediately.” Akpabio is a dreamer, who is achieving much in his state, just like Governor Fashola’s giant strides are being felt in Lagos and the whole of Nigeria. The last time I visited Uyo, there was no airport. You had to first fly down to the airport in Calabar and from there you took a long tortuous ride to the then backwater Uyo. But things have changed. Thanks to the dreamer called Akpabio. Today, there is an airport in Uyo. A small, cute airport with a room for expansion. (By the way, why was there no public toilet in the departure lounge where people may have to spend hours waiting for their flight?) It can be better. It will get better. I salute the dream and the vision of a governor who came in when the airport project was left off at its preliminary stage and completed it. This is what leadership is all about. It is about achievement. It is about making a mark. It is about leaving your mark and footprints in the sands of time. May God deliver us from leaders who came with nothing and left us with nothing, other than enriching their own pockets and leaving total mess behind as their legacies. At Uyo, my friend and brother, Dimgba Igwe, was inducted into journalism hall of fame as a fellow of the Nigerian Guild of Editors. I was made a fellow of the Guild of Editors some years back. Igwe’s induction is coming many years late, but it is better late than never. In an acceptance speech, on behalf of other Fellows, Pastor Dimgba Igwe dazzled the audience with an Obama-like oration, which celebrated the achievements of the dreamer of Akwa Ibom.

“Where vision is married to action, the result is the excellence in performance we see in demonstration in Akwa Ibom. If nothing at all, the beautiful roads of Uyo will speak for you,” he told the governor and the gathering that included the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, the Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, former Governor Segun Osoba and representatives of many other governors. “The new Uyo airport will speak for you. The power generation plant in Akwa Ibom generating electricity for the people will speak for you. The ultra-modern state house complex will speak for you. Publicity is easy where there are achievements on the ground to back them up,” Igwe declared. I wish Dimgba Igwe’s off-the-cuff homily can be said of governance in Nigeria at the federal and the state levels. Where there are concrete and evident achievements, there is no need to overwork press secretaries or PR people writing copiously and emotionally in defence or in praise of a fumbling government. A man like Fashola needs no publicity. His deeds speak for him. That is what I pray will be the case of our President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, a man who is carrying a cross as “the most criticised president in the world” (his own words). Today’s sermon is about Dreamers and the Power of Dreams. And before I start, I will like to sing not a gospel song but a controversial pop song by John Lennon. It’s a track called Imagine. And it is an invitation for us to stretch our imagination to imagine the unimaginable. “You may say I’m a dreamer,” John Lennon sings, “but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” Beloved, let me start by saying that God made the world and dreamers reshaped it. Dreamers moved—and are still moving—the world forward. Dreamers think the unthinkable and make possible the impossible. Out of impossibilities, they dream possibilities. Dreamers are the visionaries who see into the future, who see into the unknown and muster the courage to take us there. Dreamers are like prophets who dream dreams, who see the vision of a better tomorrow and take us there. It took the dream and the vision of the Wright Brothers to fly us on a jet plane today. It took the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. to produce an Obama in the White House in America. It took the dream of John F. Kennedy to put a man on the moon, the man Neil Armstrong who died recently and returned to the stars. He is gone, but his footprints are still on the moon. Till the end

of time, he would forever remain the first man to step on the moon. Brethren, in every man, God has planted the seed of a dream. Where is your seed? Where is your dream? Where is your talent? Where did you hide your talent? What would you want to be remembered for? Or did you just come into this world as an achiever of nothing? Did you come here to reap the wind? This has been a week of honours and awards in Nigeria. Watching the stream of people bestowed with national honours, like you, I went into soul-searching asking myself: Why am I not among the saints being honoured? Am I a failure? Or did I choose the wrong profession? Should I have gone into politics or law or banking or any other business instead of this troublesome profession called journalism where you make more enemies than friends? What must I do to win a national award? But a voice within told me: “Peace be unto you, my son. If all it can be said is that you and your friend wrote the biography of the great man who was honoured with the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), is that not an achievement to thank God for? The biography of the great man, Mike Adenuga, would be out next year when he will be 60. The challenge of writing on Mike Adenuga is that there is always the temptation to write the next chapter because the man is perpetually in a state of flux —ever moving, ever changing. But then, there will be others to continue where we left off, because the story of Mike Adenuga cannot be told in just one book. What we have done is to raise the bar for others to scale. As his biographers, the President’s words sounded like sweet music in our ears: “Mike Adenuga Jr. has contributed immensely as a businessman and entrepreneur, to the growth and development of our economy. He worked hard to establish Globacom as an international communications company, which provides means of livelihood to over 100,000 Nigerians. Today, across Ghana and Benin Republic, he has built a formidable brand, and is expanding footholds in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal. We will continue to honour our businessmen who do us proud in the world of international business, while creating jobs at home,” Jonathan said. Now, the biggest issue in the world today is

the economy and the creation of jobs. From Nigeria to America, unemployment is staring everybody in the face. People graduate from schools and can’t find job. So, for a man to create jobs for hundreds of thousands of his countrymen, he truly deserves nothing less than the nation’s highest honour. Congrats! But he is not alone. For me, the real hero of the national award is not just Mike Adenuga but also the disabled men and women who won gold medals for Nigeria at the Paralympics. Can they step forward once again for blessings? May God Almighty bless all the disabled citizens of our country. And may God bless the honest Nigerian who “disgraced” money by returning the N6 million mistakenly transferred into his account. That is the true stuff of heroism in today’s Nigeria where money means everything, where money is the root of all the evils afflicting us as a country. May God bless you and your family, Mohammed Tahir Zakari for sticking to the path of integrity and honour. The Lord will reward you, even if man does not reward you financially. You will never lack. You will never beg for bread. Last but not the least, will Jelani Aliyu, the Nigerian car designer from GM Motors, USA come forward for blessing and more anointing. May honour and glory never depart from you. May your dreams never be dashed. May God use you to champion the new electric car revolution that is about to hit Nigeria. Here is a word from Jelani Aliyu to all Nigerian youths yet to find their dreams: “There is opportunity here in Nigeria. I went to the United States not because I wanted to get out of Nigeria. I went to the US because I wanted to learn how to become a car designer. And if there was a school in Nigeria that offers car design, I would have stayed. There is no place that I love more than Nigeria. The biggest reason I went to the United States is going out there so that we can make here better. With the way technology is going now, Nigeria can make a car. Nothing is impossible. When you look at the talents we have in this country, there is hope. It boils down fundamentally to the human talent. You must never underestimate the human imagination. The ability to envision a dramatically positive and dynamic future. When you look around the world, every great city, every monument, every historic feat was once pure imagination until they were brought to reality. I truly believe that to imagine is to dream. To dream is to believe in the yet unreal. And so we are all blessed. There are a lot of people with talents in Nigeria. If that talent is developed, we would go far. We would make not only cars, we can do trains, we can do ship, we can do submarines, there is nothing that we cannot do. If we put the right forces together, nothing is impossible.”

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Sun News - September 22, 2012