Page 1

We'll Revolutionise Housing with 2,000 Units in 6 Months, Says Brains and Hammers Nseobong Okon-Ekong In a major announcement to reaffirm its commitment towards realisation of a landmark housing development, the management of Brains and Hammers Limited, a leading Nigerian real estate and

infrastructure development group, has assured subscribers and interested members of the public of its readiness to deliver 2,000 homes comprising two bedroom and three bedroom apartment, terraces and semi-detached buildings in the next six months at its Life Camp

site in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. Popularly called Brains and Hammers City, the expected construction of the new housing development in a record time of six months will go down as an unprecedented achievement in the history of construction of mass housing

in Nigeria. Speaking with journalists at a meeting in Lagos, the Chairman of the company, Mr. Adebola Sheidu, said he was particularly proud that the feat was being achieved by a team of young Nigerian professionals including architects, quantity surveyors

and engineers who had made marks of distinction in their various disciplines. He allayed fears that the speedy conclusion of the project may jeopardize safety. “We’ve managed to incorporate international building codes and standards with mid-to-high

end features while maintaining a safe community for living and entertaining. This estate will set the tone for every new homeowner to experience an enhanced quality lifestyle as we have the capability to customise any feature for your new Continued on page 6

Lagos Assembly Reintroduces Controversial Bill to Give Speaker, Deputy Life Pension ...Page 9 Sunday 27 November, 2016 Vol 21. No 7892

www.thisdaylive.com  TR

UT H

& RE A S O

N

N400

Global Leaders Hail Castro, Trump Calls Him 'Brutal Dictator' Demola Ojo with agency reports Numerous world leaders yesterday paid tribute to Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary leader who built a communist state on the doorstep

of the United States. The former Cuban president died on Friday aged 90. Castro came to power in 1959 aged 32, and spent 49 years as Cuban president, a record for a non-royal leader. During this period, he reportedly survived 638 assassina-

tion attempts. African leaders especially –and world leaders in general – have eulogized Castro, who is remembered as a friend, ally and, in some places, a saviour. However US President-elect Donald Trump was one of very few influen-

tial figures that called out the former Cuban leader, calling him a brutal dictator. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said he received with profound sadness news of Castro’s death and offered condolences to Cuban President Raul Castro

and the people of Cuba, assuring them of the sympathy and solidarity of all Nigerians. President Buhari hailed “the remarkable leader who against all odds stirred uncommon development in sports, education and health-

care sectors of his nation, to the benefit of other nations.” The Nigerian President said he was delighted that Fidel Castro lived to see improved ties with the United States. Continued on page 16

Akeredolu Takes the Lead, Jegede, a Strong Contender

Oke not yet out Leading parties in counter allegations of malpractice

James Sowole in Akure and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja The candidate of the All Progressives Congress in yesterday’s governorship election in Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, led in five of the seven local government areas whose results were announced eraly this morning by the Independent National Electoral Commission. The Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, won in the other local government councils. But the third leading candidate, Oluwole Oke of the Alliance for Democracy, was yet to win any council area about 4am when INEC released the first set of results in the governorship election in the state. Olu Agunloye, the candidate of the Social Democratic Party, chaired by former finance minister and presidential candiContinued on page 6

A

honour well deserved

R-L: Chairman UBA Plc, and 2015 recipient of the University of Benin Honourary Doctor of Science, Mr Tony Elumelu, and Chancellor, University of Benin and Emir of Kano, His Highness Muhammad Sanusi II, during the university's 42nd convocation in Benin City at the weekend

weekly pull-out

27.11.2016

TOKE MAKINWA

ON BECOMING HER DREAM WOMAN


2

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2016 T H I S D AY


T H I S D AY SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2016

3


4

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2016 T H I S D AY


6

SUNDAY, novemBER 27, 2016 • T H I SD AY T HE SUND AY NE W S PA P ER

page SIX

Anenih Retires from Politics, Seeks Support for Buhari Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja Former Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, has retired from partisan politics. The former PDP BoT Chairman who announced his disengagement from active politics yesterday at the presentation of his autobiography ‘My Life and Nigerian Politics’, also urged Nigerians to drop partisan politics and support efforts by President Muhammadu Buhari to end the current recession. “I am persuaded that I have no more ambition nor any point to prove in politics.

I am, therefore, glad to declare that, from today, I shall be withdrawing from active partisan politics. I shall, however, continue to avail the country of my experience, give suggestions and offer advice, as a statesman,” Anenih told ‎his audience. The former PDP leader said the current recession in the country was a national predicament which must be confronted by all irrespective of political affiliation. “I therefore urge Nigerians to persevere and hope for better tomorrow. We must support and pray that God will give the President the wisdom and vision to steer

the country away from recession to prosperity”, he added. But former President ‎Goodluck Jonathan appealed that he should rescind his decision. Jonathan, who was among distinguished personalities that attended the book presentation, said Anenih’s experience in security and politics would be wasted if he makes good his decision to quit politics at this time. “You may not be in position to attend political meetings but you are our political leader until God decides that you will leave us. The country is passing political stages (and) your experience and

wisdom will be required to direct us and stabilise the nation. We will excuse you from attending night meetings, BoT meetings but you will continue to mentor us, we will continue to consult you,” Jonathan pleaded. The former BoT Chairman who expressed gratitude to God for strength, inspiration and protection, said he decided to write the book to provide lessons and encouragement to future generations. “I am hopeful that the lessons of fortitude, hard work, diligence, loyalty and service, which have been manifest in my life, would give encouragement to all those who are

serving as well as those who aspire to serve our great fatherland. My cardinal focus and objective have always been to be an agent of positive development, unity and brotherhood in Nigeria. “In the course of my political career, I have interacted with all manner of people and institutions. I have seen people at their best and at their worst; I have worked with reliable people as well as fickle people; I have experienced undiluted loyalty and disloyalty from unexpected places. I have always tried to make the best of all situations. I can, therefore, say, with great pride, that I

feel fulfilled in politics,” he declared. ‎Other distinguished personalities that graced the occasion were former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), who chaired the event, two ‎former Vice Presidents, Dr. Alex Ekwueme and Arc. Namadi Sambo. The book presenter, General TY Danjuma (rtd) was represented by Prof. Jerry Gana, who described Anenih - whose political associates call Mr. Fix it - as a courageous man having produced three presidents, governors and members of the legislature.

Jegede also said card readers deployed to some units in Akure South malfunctioned. A major feature of the election was allegations of financial inducement of voters by some candidates. It was gathered that each voter was given as much as N6,000 while about 450,000 was said to have been given to units in some senatorial districts. THISDAY gathered that some governors and a minister had been in the state since four days before the poll to help their party’s candidate. AD alleged that both the APC and PDP had engaged in rigging through intimidation, heavy monetisation and outright manipulation of the ballot materials in a bid to win the election at all costs. Spokesperson of the Olusola Oke campaign organisation, Mr Bisi Kolawole, said in a release that it was unfortunate that the APC had become an instrument of corruption, despite its change slogan.

Kolawole stated, "They have threatened to win this election at all cost and today they have demonstrated their willingness to make their prediction come true. Our leaders were brutalised and hounded out of their homes in order to scare them and their supporters from the polling booths. They have brought in loads and loads of money to buy votes due to the pangs of hunger which they brought unto the people. "Yet, they say they are fighting corruption. Again, the PDP too have been attacking us, including our candidate, Chief Olusola Oke. They are now buying votes in the full glare of all shamelessly to continue pillaging the state. "From all over the state reports have it that cases of electoral manipulations are on-going. The PVC card readers are not functioning properly and appear to have been compromised as they show figures different from what were usually recorded in the accreditation exercise.” Meanwhile, according to the results from some polling units, at Unit 20 Ward 7, where Mimiko voted, the PDP scored 176 votes against 40 and 25 scored by APC and AD, respectively. Also at Unit 021 in the same ward, PDP polled 92 votes as against the 31 and 23 scored by AD and APC, respectively. The PDP candidate, Jegede, won at his Unit 009 located at Sacred Heart School, Akure. The results indicated that PDP polled 184 votes, APC got 77, and AD polled 32. Akeredolu won at his Unit 6 Ward 5 at Oke Ijebu Owo. He polled 413 votes; PDP scored 13 votes, and AD got four votes. He was leading other candidates in the entire local government, which has 83, 639 voters with permanent voter cards. The Secretary to the State Government, Aderotimi Adelola, lost his own unit to APC at Unit 007, Ayesan Ward, located at St Peter’s Primary School, Araromi Obu, Odigbo Local Govern-

ment Area. The APC got 113 votes, AD had 79, and PDP had 73 votes. But PDP alleged that it observed early irregularities in the conduct of the election and poor preparation on the part of the Independent National Electoral Commission and the security agencies. A statement by the party’s spokesman, Dayo Adeyeye, Saturday morning also alleged widespread card reader failure. According to PDP, “Despite the fact that INEC owns more units of card readers, in several locations there are no back up card readers. As such, many voters are already being deprived of the right to cast a vote for the candidate of their choice. "For instance, the polling unit of Governor Olusegun Mimiko suffered card reader failure at Ward 7 Unit 20, Ondo West Local Government Area – that has prevented voters from casting their votes. "In Ward 2 of Akure South Local Government Area, Tunji Light-Ariyo, a known chieftain of the All Progressives Congress was recorded campaigning on behalf of and canvassing for votes for the APC candidate, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu, at PUs 28, 29, and 30, in spite of the prohibition of such actions by the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).” PDP said the police and other security agencies did nothing to stop the alleged breach of the electoral law. "We view these incidents for what they are – violations of the law and evidence of the plots to rig the elections in favour of Chief Rotimi Akeredolu. We reiterate our earlier warnings that we will not stand by and watch anyone tamper with the democratic process and subvert the will of the Ondo people,” PDP stated. As at 2am today, reporters gathered at the INEC headquarters in Akure for the announcement of the official results by the commission, but the exercise was yet to begin at the time of filing this report. Many of the results were still being awaited from the various local government areas.

Akeredolu Takes the Lead, Jegede, a Strong Contender date, Olu Falae, kept a distant fourth. The results of the election in eleven local government areas are still awaited. In Ondo East Local Government area, AD had 2742; APC 4253, PDP 7317, and SDP 48. Ileoluji/ Oke Igbo Local Government Area - AD. 4525, APC 10681, PDP 8306, SDP 144. Akoko North East - AD. . 5867, APC. 13645, PDP 6496, SDP. 2478. Ifedore Local Government Area - AD. 4629 , APC 10958, PDP 6747, SDP 162. Irele Local Government Area - AD. 6710, APC. 11138, PDP. 5907, SDP 68. Ondo West Local Government Area - AD. 7154, APC 10672, PDP 17382, SDP 236. Ose Local Government Area - AD. 4272, APC. 13454, PDP 6520, SDP 158. The election was largely peaceful across the state. There was virtually no major security breach, contrary to fears that the widespread pre-election

tensions might give rise to violence in many areas. Voting started as early as 8am in many polling units and electoral materials got to the polling centres early. However, what looked like an impressive turn-out of voters in many places in the early hours of the day did not translate to massive votes in the results released after the completion of voting in many of the polling units. There were isolated reports of card reader malfunction in some units, including the unit where the state governor, Olusegun Mimiko, voted. The card reader deployed to Unit 20 Ward 7, Ondo West Local Government Area, could not recognise Mimiko’s fingerprint. He was consequently given the incident form, which he completed before he was allowed to cast his vote about 11.30am. The governor lamented the failure of the card reader. Mimiko also alleged

monetary inducement of voters, saying the people of the state would resist any manipulation of the electoral process. In Ondo South, there were reports that the card readers in some communities were not functioning well, particularly in Ilaje Local Government Area. It was gathered that the machine in some instances started counting from 200 or 300, instead of counting from 001, an indication that such numbers of people had voted. This case was said to have occurred mainly at Constituency II in Ilaje Local Government Area. The matter was reported by the candidate of AD, Oke, who quickly called on the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, to intervene. Oke alleged that the card readers were preloaded to give the impression that some people had voted at Alagbon, Idi Ogba Ode Ugbo, and some other places in the constituency.

We'll Revolutionise Housing with 2,000 Units in 6 Months, Says Brains and Hammers home.” He said all the building materials and accessories used in the construction of the homes are manufactured in Nigeria by Nigerian companies. Explaining his company’s decision to patronize made-in-Nigeria products, Sheidu said, “we are going through a very challenging period in the history of our country. However, I believe this is the best time for any enterprising individual or company. There are so many opportunities, particularly in the area of provision of housing and infrastructure. There is no part of the country that does not have a huge need for housing and infrastructure. But the degree and type of housing and infrastructure solutions required are different from one part of the country to another.” Sheidu further spoke on his company’s selfimposed task of delivering 2,000 homes between November, 2016 and May, 2017. “We have it all worked out. Part of what we are set to deliver is a 12 kilometre dual carriage road, leading in and out

of the estate, with complementary street lighting. We have started work on it already. Construction of the road and housing are going on simultaneously. This is in collaboration with the FCT. We have tremendous support from the FCT minister to ensure that this road is completed. The Chairman of Brains and Hammers Limited commended both the Minister of Housing, Works and Power, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, and the FCT Minister Alhaji Mohammed Bello, for their support. “We have enjoyed very good and cordial relations with the honorable minister of Housing and his team. He gives us a listening ear and is always ready to facilitate the processes that will ensure speedy completion of the project.” Mr Sheidu was also full of praises for the minister of the FCT, in whose domain, Brains and Hammers is executing this current project and its previous achievements in provision of housing which has given the company a good reputation. He was commended for creating

an enabling environment for developers in the FCT, by removing bureaucratic bottlenecks that was hitherto a nightmare for developers. "The Honourable Minister has been so kind in taking a special interest to give us all the encouragement we need.” “The Brains and Hammers City will be the ultimate live, eat, work and play environment but more importantly, we want to also provide affordable homes for working Nigerians who hitherto thought owning a home was beyond their reach.” In making homes affordable, Brains and Hammers is offering the opportunity to own a home to every working class Nigerian. It has several home ownership programmes and mortgage routes to ensure the dream of home ownership is realized. The 72-hectare Brains and Hammers City at Life Camp, Abuja consists of one bedroom apartments, two-bedroom flats, three-bedroom flats, fourbedroom terraces, fourbedroom semi-detached and five-bedroom fully de-

tached modern homes. The Brains and Hammers City will feature infrastructure like 24/7 electricity, a water treatment plant, gymnasium, jogging track, schools, hospital, swimming pool, mini-theme park for kids, a spa, restaurants, cinema, parks and gardens, etc. In addition, the commercial area will consist of major branded retail supermarkets, office spaces, schools and clinics. The city will cater to mid and high-level residents at affordable prices. Brains and Hammers has positioned itself as a leader in the real estate and infrastructure industry. It has completed over 1,000 residential homes across Nigeria and work is currently ongoing for over a 1,000 more. By the time the company finishes this 2000 in six months, it would have built 4000 units. Its current development portfolio consists of residential projects within Lagos and Abuja. The sites include Life Camp, Galadimawa, Gwarimpa, Apo I, Apo II, Apo III, Apo IV, Apo V, all in Abuja and along the Lekki corridor in Lagos.


T H I S D AY SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2016

5


6

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2016 • T H I S D AY T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R

PAGE SIX

Anenih Retires from Politics, Seeks Support for Buhari Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja Former Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, has retired from partisan politics. The former PDP BoT Chairman who announced his disengagement from active politics yesterday at the presentation of his autobiography ‘My Life and Nigerian Politics’, also urged Nigerians to drop partisan politics and support efforts by President Muhammadu Buhari to end the current recession. “I am persuaded that I have no more ambition nor any point to prove in politics.

I am, therefore, glad to declare that, from today, I shall be withdrawing from active partisan politics. I shall, however, continue to avail the country of my experience, give suggestions and offer advice, as a statesman,” Anenih told his audience. The former PDP leader said the current recession in the country was a national predicament which must be confronted by all irrespective of political affiliation. “I therefore urge Nigerians to persevere and hope for better tomorrow. We must support and pray that God will give the President the wisdom and vision to steer

the country away from recession to prosperity”, he added. But former President Goodluck Jonathan appealed that he should rescind his decision. Jonathan, who was among distinguished personalities that attended the book presentation, said Anenih’s experience in security and politics would be wasted if he makes good his decision to quit politics at this time. “You may not be in position to attend political meetings but you are our political leader until God decides that you will leave us. The country is passing political stages (and) your experience and

wisdom will be required to direct us and stabilise the nation. We will excuse you from attending night meetings, BoT meetings but you will continue to mentor us, we will continue to consult you,” Jonathan pleaded. The former BoT Chairman who expressed gratitude to God for strength, inspiration and protection, said he decided to write the book to provide lessons and encouragement to future generations. “I am hopeful that the lessons of fortitude, hard work, diligence, loyalty and service, which have been manifest in my life, would give encouragement to all those who are

serving as well as those who aspire to serve our great fatherland. My cardinal focus and objective have always been to be an agent of positive development, unity and brotherhood in Nigeria. “In the course of my political career, I have interacted with all manner of people and institutions. I have seen people at their best and at their worst; I have worked with reliable people as well as fickle people; I have experienced undiluted loyalty and disloyalty from unexpected places. I have always tried to make the best of all situations. I can, therefore, say, with great pride, that I

feel fulfilled in politics,” he declared. Other distinguished personalities that graced the occasion were former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), who chaired the event, two former Vice Presidents, Dr. Alex Ekwueme and Arc. Namadi Sambo. The book presenter, General TY Danjuma (rtd) was represented by Prof. Jerry Gana, who described Anenih - whose political associates call Mr. Fix it - as a courageous man having produced three presidents, governors and members of the legislature.

mainly at Constituency II in Ilaje Local Government Area. The matter was reported by the candidate of AD, Oke, who quickly called on the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, to intervene. Oke alleged that the card readers were preloaded to give the impression that some people had voted at Alagbon, Idi Ogba Ode Ugbo, and some other places in the constituency. Jegede also said card readers deployed to some units in Akure South malfunctioned. A major feature of the election was allegations of financial inducement of voters by some candidates. It was gathered that each voter was given as much as N6,000 while about 450,000 was said to have been given to units in some senatorial districts. THISDAY

gathered that some governors and a minister had been in the state since four days before the poll to help their party’s candidate. AD alleged that both the APC and PDP had engaged in rigging through intimidation, heavy monetisation and outright manipulation of the ballot materials in a bid to win the election at all costs. Spokesperson of the Olusola Oke campaign organisation, Mr Bisi Kolawole, said in a release that it was unfortunate that the APC had become an instrument of corruption, despite its change slogan. Kolawole stated, "They have threatened to win this election at all cost and today they have demonstrated their willingness to make their prediction come true. Our leaders were brutalised and hounded

out of their homes in order to scare them and their supporters from the polling booths. They have brought in loads and loads of money to buy votes due to the pangs of hunger which they brought unto the people. "Yet, they say they are fighting corruption. Again, the PDP too have been attacking us, including our candidate, Chief Olusola Oke. They are now buying votes in the full glare of all shamelessly to continue pillaging the state. "From all over the state reports have it that cases of electoral manipulations are on-going. The PVC card readers are not functioning properly and appear to have been compromised as they show figures different from what were usually recorded in the accreditation exercise.” Meanwhile, according to the results from some polling units, at Unit 20 Ward 7, where Mimiko voted, the PDP scored 176 votes against 40 and 25 scored by APC and AD, respectively. Also at Unit 021 in the same ward, PDP polled 92 votes as against the 31 and 23 scored by AD and APC, respectively. The PDP candidate, Jegede, won at his Unit 009 located at Sacred Heart School, Akure. The results indicated that PDP polled 184 votes, APC got 77, and AD polled 32. Akeredolu won at his Unit 6 Ward 5 at Oke Ijebu Owo. He polled 413 votes; PDP scored 13 votes, and AD got four votes. He was leading other candidates in the entire local government, which has 83, 639 voters with permanent voter cards. The Secretary to the State Government, Aderotimi Adelola, lost his own unit to APC at Unit 007, Ayesan Ward, located at St Peter’s Primary School, Araromi Obu, Odigbo Local Government Area. The APC got 113 votes, AD had 79, and PDP had 73 votes. But PDP alleged that it observed early irregularities in the conduct

of the election and poor preparation on the part of the Independent National Electoral Commission and the security agencies. A statement by the party’s spokesman, Dayo Adeyeye, Saturday morning also alleged widespread card reader failure. According to PDP, “Despite the fact that INEC owns more units of card readers, in several locations there are no back up card readers. As such, many voters are already being deprived of the right to cast a vote for the candidate of their choice. "For instance, the polling unit of Governor Olusegun Mimiko suffered card reader failure at Ward 7 Unit 20, Ondo West Local Government Area – that has prevented voters from casting their votes. "In Ward 2 of Akure South Local Government Area, Tunji LightAriyo, a known chieftain of the All Progressives Congress was recorded campaigning on behalf of and canvassing for votes for the APC candidate, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu, at PUs 28, 29, and 30, in spite of the prohibition of such actions by the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).” PDP said the police and other security agencies did nothing to stop the alleged breach of the electoral law. "We view these incidents for what they are – violations of the law and evidence of the plots to rig the elections in favour of Chief Rotimi Akeredolu. We reiterate our earlier warnings that we will not stand by and watch anyone tamper with the democratic process and subvert the will of the Ondo people,” PDP stated. As at 2am today, reporters gathered at the INEC headquarters in Akure for the announcement of the official results by the commission, but the exercise was yet to begin at the time of filing this report. Many of the results were still being awaited from the various local government areas.

AKEREDOLU, JEGEDE, OKE LEAD IN STRONGHOLDS The election was largely peaceful across the state. There was virtually no major security breach, contrary to fears that the widespread preelection tensions might give rise to violence in many areas. Voting started as early as 8am in many polling units and electoral materials got to the polling centres early. However, what looked like an impressive turn-out of voters in many places in the early hours of the day did not translate to massive votes in the results released after the completion of voting in many of the polling units. There were isolated reports of card reader malfunction in some units, including the unit where the state governor, Olusegun Mimiko, voted. The card reader deployed to Unit 20 Ward 7, Ondo West Local Gov-

ernment Area, could not recognise Mimiko’s fingerprint. He was consequently given the incident form, which he completed before he was allowed to cast his vote about 11.30am. The governor lamented the failure of the card reader. Mimiko also alleged monetary inducement of voters, saying the people of the state would resist any manipulation of the electoral process. In Ondo South, there were reports that the card readers in some communities were not functioning well, particularly in Ilaje Local Government Area. It was gathered that the machine in some instances started counting from 200 or 300, instead of counting from 001, an indication that such numbers of people had voted. This case was said to have occurred

WE'LL REVOLUTIONISE HOUSING WITH 2,000 UNITS IN 6 MONTHS, SAYS BRAINS AND HAMMERS home.” He said all the building materials and accessories used in the construction of the homes are manufactured in Nigeria by Nigerian companies. Explaining his company’s decision to patronize made-in-Nigeria products, Sheidu said, “we are going through a very challenging period in the history of our country. However, I believe this is the best time for any enterprising individual or company. There are so many opportunities, particularly in the area of provision of housing and infrastructure. There is no part of the country that does not have a huge need for housing and infrastructure. But the degree and type of housing and infrastructure solutions required are different from one part of the country to another.” Sheidu further spoke on his company’s selfimposed task of delivering 2,000 homes between November, 2016 and May, 2017. “We have it all worked out. Part of what we are set to deliver is a 12 kilometre dual carriage road, leading in and out

of the estate, with complementary street lighting. We have started work on it already. Construction of the road and housing are going on simultaneously. This is in collaboration with the FCT. We have tremendous support from the FCT minister to ensure that this road is completed. The Chairman of Brains and Hammers Limited commended both the Minister of Housing, Works and Power, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, and the FCT Minister Alhaji Mohammed Bello, for their support. “We have enjoyed very good and cordial relations with the honorable minister of Housing and his team. He gives us a listening ear and is always ready to facilitate the processes that will ensure speedy completion of the project.” Mr Sheidu was also full of praises for the minister of the FCT, in whose domain, Brains and Hammers is executing this current project and its previous achievements in provision of housing which has given the company a good reputation. He was commended for creating

an enabling environment for developers in the FCT, by removing bureaucratic bottlenecks that was hitherto a nightmare for developers. "The Honourable Minister has been so kind in taking a special interest to give us all the encouragement we need.” “The Brains and Hammers City will be the ultimate live, eat, work and play environment but more importantly, we want to also provide affordable homes for working Nigerians who hitherto thought owning a home was beyond their reach.” In making homes affordable, Brains and Hammers is offering the opportunity to own a home to every working class Nigerian. It has several home ownership programmes and mortgage routes to ensure the dream of home ownership is realized. The 72-hectare Brains and Hammers City at Life Camp, Abuja consists of one bedroom apartments, two-bedroom flats, three-bedroom flats, fourbedroom terraces, fourbedroom semi-detached and five-bedroom fully de-

tached modern homes. The Brains and Hammers City will feature infrastructure like 24/7 electricity, a water treatment plant, gymnasium, jogging track, schools, hospital, swimming pool, mini-theme park for kids, a spa, restaurants, cinema, parks and gardens, etc. In addition, the commercial area will consist of major branded retail supermarkets, office spaces, schools and clinics. The city will cater to mid and high-level residents at affordable prices. Brains and Hammers has positioned itself as a leader in the real estate and infrastructure industry. It has completed over 1,000 residential homes across Nigeria and work is currently ongoing for over a 1,000 more. By the time the company finishes this 2000 in six months, it would have built 4000 units. Its current development portfolio consists of residential projects within Lagos and Abuja. The sites include Life Camp, Galadimawa, Gwarimpa, Apo I, Apo II, Apo III, Apo IV, Apo V, all in Abuja and along the Lekki corridor in Lagos.


T H I S D AY SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2016

7


8

NOVEMBER 20, 2016 • T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R

SUNDAY COMMENT

Editor, Editorial Page PETER ISHAKA Email peter.ishaka@thisdaylive.com

THE LAST AUTHENTIC REVOLUTIONARY Fidel Castro, Cuban revolutionary leader, dies at age 90

F

ollowing the death yesterday of the former Cuban leader, Mr Fidel Castro at the age of 90, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described him as “one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century”. It is a sentiment shared by many people across the world. Castro was not just the leader of a revolutionary Cuba; he was also a force for freedom and liberation around the world. It is on record that thousands of Cuban troops fought with the Angolan people to defend the sovereignty of their fatherland. By repelling the powerful apartheid army, the Cubans contributed to the decolonisation of the Southern African region. In his death therefore, humanity has lost a strong advocate. In the area of education and health, many Nigerian doctors and engineers were in the 1960s and ‘70s given scholarship to study in their country even as almost 50 per cent of Afro-Cubans have traced their roots to our country. Castro’s Castro’s campaign for a new international campaign for a new international economic order and debt relief for poor countries economic order eventually led to debt and debt relief for cancellation for highly poor countries indebted countries, eventually including Nigeria. From the first day in led to debt January 1959 when he cancellation for and his band of guerrilla highly indebted fighters completed the countries, overthrow of the regime including Nigeria of Fulgencio Batista until 2006 when he left office on health grounds, Castro presided over the affairs of his country without any personal scandal. And he was, above all, a man who lived by example and led his nation to many firsts - in primary health care delivery as well as in economic self sufficiency under an authentic socialist economy that was even miles ahead of that of the former Soviet Union and which survived long after the latter’s demise and disintegration. On the world stage, Castro repeatedly held the United Nations General Assembly spellbound with his long speeches and provided a window of credible dissent and alternative voice in a world dominated by a few powerful nations. Though autocratic and

Letters to the Editor

I

dictatorial, when viewed from liberal eyes, Castro’s conception of democracy and power relations were rooted in the hearts of the Cuban people many of whom idolised him. That was how he derived legitimacy from a political structure that was derided by liberal thinkers but which secured a form of participation through grassroots mobilisation.

D

S U N DAY N E W S PA P E R EDITOR TOKUNBO ADEDOJA DEPUTY EDITOR VINCENT OBIA MANAGING DIRECTOR ENIOLA BELLO DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR KAYODE KOMOLAFE CHAIRMAN EDITORIAL BOARD OLUSEGUN ADENIYI EDITOR NATION’S CAPITAL IYOBOSA UWUGIAREN

T H I S DAY N E W S PA P E R S L I M I T E D EDITOR-IN-CHIEF/CHAIRMAN NDUKA OBAIGBENA GROUP EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS ENIOLA BELLO, KAYODE KOMOLAFE, ISRAEL IWEGBU, EMMANUEL EFENI, IJEOMA NWOGWUGWU GROUP FINANCE DIRECTOR OLUFEMI ABOROWA DIVISIONAL DIRECTORS PETER IWEGBU, FIDELIS ELEMA, MBAYILAN ANDOAKA, ANTHONY OGEDENGBE DEPUTY DIVISIONAL DIRECTOR OJOGUN VICTOR DANBOYI SNR. ASSOCIATE DIRECTORS ERIC OJEH ASSOCIATE DIRECTORS HENRY NWACHOKOR, SAHEED ADEYEMO CONTROLLERS ABIMBOLA TAIWO, UCHENNA DIBIAGWU, NDUKA MOSERI GENERAL MANAGER PATRICK EIMIUHI GROUP HEAD FEMI TOLUFASHE ART DIRECTOR OCHI OGBUAKU II DIRECTOR, PRINTING PRODUCTION CHUKS ONWUDINJO TO SEND EMAIL: first name.surname@thisdaylive.com

espite the proximity to the United States, Castro’s Cuba stood for an ideological opposite of that country at a time the Cold War divided the world into two opposing and mutually antagonistic blocs sworn to mutual destruction. He did that against strong odds as there were repeated and spirited attempts by the awesome intelligence and security apparatus of the United States to liquidate the Cuban revolution and eliminate Castro himself. But all the machinations against him, including assassination attempts through poisoning, failed resoundingly. Ordinarily, succession does not come easy for autocratic despots. Arguably, Castro was not a despot but his rule was autocratic nonetheless. In fact, he ruled his country with iron hands, was intolerant of opposition and many were jailed for dissent under his leadership. However, when age and nature made it impossible for him to continue to preside effectively over the affairs of state, he voluntarily gave up power, albeit to his blood brother Raol Castro. Yet viewed against the backdrop of the hierarchy of the Cuban revolutionary struggle, Raol was his natural successor, not just as his brother but as an effective ally and comrade in his own right. It is noteworthy that Castro transcended his small nation of 11 million people and that is why his death reverberated across the world. In Latin America for instance, Castro was not only an inspiration to younger revolutionary leaders in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Guatemala and many other nations within the hemisphere, his influence was an effective counterweight to US dominance and less-than-altruistic interest in the region. While Castro therefore shared the credits and pitfalls of some of these revolutions, his influence also inspired respect and recognition of an alternative reality in a hemisphere where many states would have caught the ‘Haiti disease’ of neglect and hopeless dependence. May his soul rest in perfect peace.

TO OUR READERS Letters in response to specific publications in THISDAY should be brief (150-200 words) and straight to the point. Interested readers may send such letters along with their contact details to opinion@thisdaylive.com. We also welcome comments and opinions on topical local, national and international issues provided they are well-written and should also not be longer than (950- 1000 words). They should be sent to opinion@thisdaylive.com along with the email address and phone numbers of the writer.

RELEASE OF CHIBOK GIRLS: MATTERS ARISING

was shocked and disenchanted by the recent report which appeared in some of our dailies on the death by ambush by Boko Haram of a high ranking army officer, Lt. Col. B. U. Umar, in Maiduguri. The above-named army officer was not the first to be killed. Lt. Col. Mohammed Abu-Ali also died recently in the hands of the insurgents who have constituted a continuous security threat to the North-east. The untimely death of the two high-ranked army officers came amidst federal government undisclosed payment of financial ransom to the insurgents as part of the conditions for the exchange of the 21 Chibok girls. The Chibok girls numbering more than

270 were abducted by Boko Haram in their dormitories in April 2014 in their most highprofile assault in a seven-year insurgency to create an Islamic Caliphate. According to UN report, Boko Haram has abducted hundreds of men, women and children, killed 10,000 and displaced more than two million people during its insurgency. But the kidnapping of the Chibok girls in their dormitories prompted outrage worldwide and spurred a Nigerian-led campaign #BringBackOurGirls. Former President Goodluck Jonathan did what was humanly possible for the release of the Chibok girls but did not succeed as expected. His failure

could be said to the determination of the sect to bring down his regime at all costs. In spite of the challenges, Jonathan did what was humanly possible on the issue. To this end, he appealed to the sect to show up for a round table dialogue in Aso Villa on the modality of releasing the Chibok girls but was aborted each time he made the move. In the last election campaign, Buhari made promises to Nigerians, one of which was to release the Chibok girls if he won the general election. The general election was held in the country. Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party was ousted by popular votes. Buhari won under the APC to become President and Com-

mander-in-Chief of the nation’s Armed Forces. He inherited the heavy political pressure regarding the liberation of the Chibok girls. In order to fulfill his electoral promise, government brokered a deal with the group which led to the release of 21 Chibok girls. However, the irony of it all is that the financial reward has provided the opportunity for the insurgents to buy and accumulate sophisticated weapons which the sect now uses to kill our people. It is very sad indeed. The big question is: Who advised Mr. President to do that? Whoever had advised President Buhari to take such a step has committed a blunder which should not be allowed to

repeat itself in the subsequent agreement between the federal government and the sect for the release of the remaining Chibok girls. The next agreement should be an exchange of the Chibok girls with Boko Haram prisoners. That is the best option. The current security challenges faced by the country require collective efforts and not the responsibility of the government alone. Government should be mindful not to turn Chibok girls release into political propaganda or an opportunity aimed at earning international recognition only to arm our enemies with sophisticated weapons to kill our citizens. –Sunday Suleman, Lagos


9

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

SUNDAYNEWS

News Editor Abimbola Akosile E-mail: abimbola.akosile@thisdaylive.com, 08023117639 (sms only)

Ex-Minister Regains Freedom after Six Days in Captivit John Shiklam in Kaduna

COLLATERAL FORUM L-R: Head Research and Development, National Collateral Registry (NCR), Dr. Musa Olasupo; Executive Principal/Heads, Banks & Brokers, Financial Institutions, Standard Chartered Bank, Oloruntimilehin George; Registrar, NCR, Mainasara Muhammad, and Senior Financial Advisor, IFC/World Bank, Ubong Awah at a workshop on the Registry by Bankers Committee’s Sub Committee on Economic Development Sustainability & Gender held in Lagos...recently

Lagos Assembly Reintroduces Controversial Bill to Give Speaker, Deputy Life Pension Abimbola Akosile and Anayo Okolie

Lagos State House of Assembly has re-introduced a bill seeking an amendment to the state’s Pension Law that would give life pension to both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. The latest attempt to give life pension to presiding officers of the Assembly is coming more than a year after a futile bid to amend the state’s Pension Law. The bid was dropped following public outcry. Opinion leaders and residents of the state had condemned the amendment, when it first came up shortly before the end of the Seventh Assembly in 2015. The bill titled: “A Bill for A Law to Amend the Payment of Pensions and Other Fringe Benefits to Public Office Holders in Lagos State and for Connected Purposes”, seeks to amend the state Public Office Holders’ Pension Law (2007) by accommodating the Assembly’s presiding officers. The existing law only provides pensions for former governors and the deputy governors. Unlike the first attempt which was widely criticised by Lagosians, the current bill which had passed first reading was not publicised. THISDAY gathered

that the plan was to ensure that it was passed without attracting public attention. A lawmaker who pleaded not to be named said the Assembly leadership and some lawmakers were working hard to ensure that the law was passed within the coming weeks. A copy of the bill obtained by THISDAY showed the various sections proposed for amendment and the replacement of the Schedule of the Principal law with a new Schedule. The bill which provides that the law will be cited as the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension) (Amendment) Law 2016, proposed an amendment of Section 6 of the Principal Law which defines public office holder. The Principal law defined Public office holder as governor and deputy governor. The amendment bill states as follows: “Section 6 of the Principal Law is amended by deleting the meaning of Public office holder and replacing it with public office holder means the Governor, Deputy Governor, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly.” In part A of the new schedule proposed to replace the schedule in the principal bill, the governor and deputy governor will receive 50 per cent of their annual basic

salary but the allowances and fringe benefits in part B (i) cover the governor, deputy governor, speaker and deputy speaker. These include accommodation - a one residential house for the public office holder at any location of their choice in Lagos State; furniture - payable every five years en bloc; and transport – one car for the speaker and one pilot car, while the deputy speaker will be provided with one car to be provided by the state. According to the proposed amendment, the speaker and the deputy speaker will also get 10 per cent of their annual basic salary as car maintenance allowance, and another 10 per cent of their annual basic salary as entertainment allowance. All the public office holders are entitled to domestic staff, cook, steward and gardener, who shall be pensionable. On medical, the law provides that there shall be free medical treatment for them as well as members of their immediate families. In addition, for security, the bill provided that there shall be one policeman for the Speaker and one policeman for the Deputy Speaker. All these are coming against the background of the current economic recess in the country, and this is eliciting negative reactions from members of the public.

A source within the Assembly said the lawmakers were also weighing the option of including permanent secretaries that have served in the state in the new Pension Law so that they would not be seen as being selfish. Late last year, the issue also came up on the floor of the Assembly after a concerned citizen, Alhaji Kola Oseni, wrote to the House seeking that former governor of Lagos State, Lateef Jakande and two former deputy governors, Rafiu Bakare Jafojo and Sinatu Ojikutu should be accommodated in the law. Segun Olulade, the representative of Epe Constituency 2 in the House, had pleaded with the House to urgently consider the request, noting that during his tenure as Lagos State Governor, Jakande made some positive marks including making it possible for the House to have the first sitting. In his comments then, Lanre Ogunyemi, the representative of Ojo Constituency 2 at the House, had expressed surprise that Jakande was not part of the beneficiaries of the pension law in the state. He had urged the House to act very fast about it, especially considering Jakande’s immense contribution to the state.

Former minister of foreign affairs, Mr. Bagudu Hirse who was abducted by unknown gunmen last Sunday was released yesterday in Kaduna after six days in captivity. Confirming the release in a telephone chat, his daughter, Dr. Nanbam Bupwatda, who spoke with THISDAY, said her father was released by the kidnappers in the early hours of Saturday and expressed gratitude to God. She however declined to say whether a ransom was paid before his release, but a source close to the family said an undisclosed amount of money was paid to the kidnappers. Spokesman of the Kaduna state police command, Aliyu Usman, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), however said no ransom was paid. Ac-

cording to him, Hirse was released due to the pressure mounted by the police in the efforts to rescue him. “No ransom was paid; what is of interest to us is that the former minister has been released. He was released due to pressure mounted by the police and has been reunited with his family members. He did not sustain any physical injury”, Usman said in a telephone interview with THISDAY. Hirse was abducted last Sunday in Kaduna near the residence of Alhaji Mamman Daura. He, in company of a friend were heading to Daura’s residence shortly after paying condolence visit to the Kaduna family home of the late Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki, and were few metres away when unknown gunmen abducted him.

Military Task Force Rescues Six Abducted Persons in Bauchi

Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

The Military Task force keeping peace in Plateau state and part of Bauchi state have rescued six persons abducted on November 19 around Zango-Lere forests in Lere district of Tafawa Balewa local government area of Bauchi State. The families of the six persons rescued from captivity had earlier been asked to pay a ransom of N10 million according to the task force Commander, Major General Rogers Nicholas. He also said the kidnappers had opened fire on personnel when they attempted a rescue operation but later abandoned their victims due to the superior fire power they encountered from men of the task force. One of the parents of the victims, Mallam Saleh Isa said the kidnappers had stormed

Lere village at about 11pm on November 19 and abducted three male and three female residents. The victims, who appeared dazed, gave their names as Adama Yunusa, Hajara Abdulrahman, Yakubu Manga, Musa Adamu, Habiba Mamman and Saleh Gwani. They were handed over to their parents and their family members at the task force headquarters with the Commander of the military Operation Base at Tafawa Balewa, Colonel Adeola Kalejaiye, stressing that his men were committed to ensuring that cattle rustling and kidnapping in the area is brought under control. Another parent of a victim, Adamu Mamman lamented that criminals around Tafawa Balewa axis have now resorted to kidnapping as a way of enriching themselves.

Asiwaju for Igbara-Odo Ekiti

Nigeria Sitting on Unearthed Wealth, Says Fayemi

For more than five decades of meritorious service to his community and state, Elder statesman and current Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Elders Forum in Ekiti State, Chief George Olanrewaju Akosile, is to be conferred with the title of Asiwaju of Igbara-Odo Ekiti by the Arajaka of Igbara-Odo Ekiti, HRM Oba Edward Jaiyeola, on Saturday, December 10; after unanimous approval of his (Akosile) recommendation by the Committee of Igbara-Odo Day celebration, scheduled to hold on the same day. Akosile, former Chairman of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), who was also the Special Adviser on Chieftaincy Matters under the administration of Dr. Kayode Fayemi, was at different times Permanent Secretary in the Ministries of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Works, and Finance in old Ondo State before Ekiti State was created. The seasoned technocrat and octogenarian, who was born on November 17, 1934, was also former State Secretary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Ondo and Ekiti States.

• As ministry partners Australia on mining

Wesley Church Harvest

Kasim Sumaina in Abuja

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has disclosed that Nigeria is sitting on unearthed wealth that should be tapped to contribute feasible solutions for the greater good of the nation and its citizenry. The Minister disclosed this recently while declaring open a two-day capacity building workshop organised by the Australian High Commission in collaboration with the ministry in Abuja, with the theme,

‘Policy and Capacity Building Workshop for a Successful and Sustainable Mining Sector.’ Speaking through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mohammed Abbas, Fayemi noted that Nigeria and Australia have enjoyed a long history of commercial, cultural and diplomatic links built up over the years, adding that not very long ago, in 2012 to be precise, Australia and Nigeria signed an MoU covering political economic, commercial, technical and cultural cooperation. He noted that the workshop

was aimed at reforming and improving the ministry’s administrative and regulatory capacity to govern the sector for growth and increased revenue, economic opportunities and jobs for the teeming youth. According to Fayemi, “We recognise that the imperative of cooperation has never been more urgent as we pursue maximal growth for the sector. The economic fortunes and aspirations of sovereign countries in the world over are now so interconnected and inseparable.” He emphasised that, “In

Nigeria, we consider it imperative to go beyond our borders to engage ever more intensely with the matrix of knowledge, experience and global support. In an interconnected world, no nation can pursue its economic interests as an island. We must make the earth work for us in a sustainable manner.” He stressed that the workshop was an avenue for sharing experiences, ideas and knowledge in the industry between the two countries and a tangible and practical demonstration of what Nigeria and Australia can do together.

The Maiden Professional Harvest of Wesley Church, Araromi is coming up on Sunday November 27 at the Church Sanctuary, 38/ 40 Berkley Street, off King George V, via Race course, Lagos. According to the Chairman of the planning Committee, Sir Oluremi Omotoso, the programme is scheduled to start at 2:00 pm and the theme is ‘Harvest of Bountiful Fruitfulness’. The event will also have in attendance, the Archbishop of Lagos Diocese, Most Rev. Luke Odubanjo and other Ministers while the sermon is to be delivered by Mr. Tunde Lemo (former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank). Wesley Methodist Church Araromi is rapidly growing Church mainly populated by young people situatedintheLafiajiancestralareaoftheLagosIsland.Oneoftheaims of organising this year’s event is to encourage the youths in the church to meet and see successful professionals in the society and also aspire tobesuchinthenearestfuture.Theywouldlikeyoungpeopleintheirassemblytoemulateinvitedeminentpersonsandaspiretobesuccessful in their chosen careers, in a release issued by Bro Aramide Tola Noibi, FNIPR,MNUJ.


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

10

SUNDAYNEWS

STRATEGIC DISCOUNT DUE RECOGNITION L-R: The initiator of The Naija Green Discount Card, Hon Bimbo Daramola with the Chief Executive L-R: Former Ambassador of Gambia to Nigeria, Angela Colley, presenting the African Governance and CorOfficer of Tantalizer PLC, Mrs. Abosede Ayeni, during the strategic partnership that offers card holders 10 per cent discount on Tantalizer’s products, which took place in Lagos...recently

porate Leadership Forum Merit Award Certificate to Managing Director of Contec Power Systems Ltd, Mr. Sriniva Ppilla, at an event in Abuja...recently

Fred Agbaje, Rights Activist, Dies in London • Buhari, Lagos AG, Adegboruwa, Ubani mourn Gboyega Akinsanmi and Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

Dr. Fred Agbaje, a renowned human rights activist and constitutional lawyer, yesterday passed away. Agbaje, popularly called mouthpiece of the masses, died in a London hospital after being in coma for about two weeks, though the cause of his death was not disclosed. His intimate friend and fellow comrade in human rights campaign, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa confirmed his passage last night when THISDAY spoke with him on phone. His demise has elicited shocked reactions from friends, colleagues and the government at all levels. Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday commiserated with the family, friends and professional colleagues of Agbaje, who passed on yesterday. The president said he received the news of Agbaje’s death with shock. Buhari described the constitutional lawyer as “an ardent advocate against corruption and canvasser for internal democracy in political parties, who also believed strongly in the sanctity of the ballot box.” The president commended the fearlessness of the late lawyer

in calling for the cleansing of bad eggs in the judiciary and standing up for his beliefs as he fought for the rights of the less-privileged in the society. He noted that the country had lost a principled man as he enjoined Agbaje’s admirers to keep the flag flying. Agbaje’s passage has also thrown human rights community and legal profession into mourning with Lagos State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem describing his death as shocking. Kazeem said the legal profession and indeed human rights community “has lost a very fearless and courageous comrade, who lived his life to fight the course of common man.” He added that Agbaje “was a true advocate of the masses until his passage. He was forthright and outspoken. He was always willing to take up the course of the masses and fight for them.” He noted that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) had lost a rare member, thereby commiserating with his family members and praying that God would grant them fortitude to bear the loss. While paying tribute to him, Adegboruwa described Agbaje as a unique, courageous

and upright legal practitioner, who lived not only himself and his family, but equally for the common men. He said Agbaje’s loyalty and commitment “was never in doubt. He was a completely detribalised Nigerian. You know which part of the country the man came from. We will surely miss him.” Adegboruwa noted that Agbaje had been pencilled for Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) for more than three times, though was denied for reasons, which he said, were yet to be known. He added that Agbaje himself told him when he was shortlisted for the honour and insisted that he would not do anything “to influence his elevation to the cadre of senior advocate.” He, therefore, called on the NBA to ensure that Agbaje “is awarded SAN posthumously. He is duly qualified. He has been pencilled down for it. The honour should be conferred on him posthumously.” He lamented that the human rights community and legal profession “has lost Agbaje again like we lost Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) and Mr. Bamidele Aturu among others few years ago.” In an interview with The-

Fred Agbaje

Cable, the Vice Chairman of the NBA, Mr. Monday Ubani described Agbaje as “an erudite lawyer and activist. His death is shocking and painful,” Ubani said. Ubani said Agbaje was “a foremost human rights lawyer and the legal profession in Nigeria and beyond will definitely miss him. I condole with his family, and pray for them.” He noted that the human rights lawyer was known for his tough stance against corruption. In a terse message, the Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde said Agbaje’s death came as a shock, noting that the human rights and legal world would miss him greatly. Ayorinde said Agbaje would no doubt be remembered for his courage; his fight against injustice and impunity and all the good courses he led on behalf of the masses in the country.

CBN: National Collateral Registry Established to Aid MSME Financing Abimbola Akosile

Nigeria’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria has reiterated the strategic importance of the National Collateral Registry (NCR) as a catalyst in the growth of the Nigerian economy by assisting Nigerian banks support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). This was stated at recent three-day workshop held in Lagos with the theme ‘The Secured Transaction & National Collateral Registry as a Tool for Deepening Access to Finance MSMEs’ organised by the Bankers’ Committee’s

sub-committee on Economic Development, Sustainability & Gender for MSME desk officers in Nigerian banks in conjunction with the CBN, NCR and the IFC/World Bank. According to the apex bank, MSMEs are the engine room for economic growth, vehicle for job creation, tools for poverty alleviation and wealth creation for any country’s economy. In his opening remarks, the Director, Development Finance Department of the CBN, Dr. Mudashiru Olaitan said the workshop was organised by the Bankers’ Committee to keep the industry operators abreast

of the efforts being put in place to assist in MSME financing through the establishment of the NCR. According to him, “there are about 37 million MSMEs in Nigeria and most of them have no access to financing, this has created a huge gap, and thus the reason for the establishment of NCR to facilitate credit with movable assets”. He enjoined participants to use the opportunity the workshop provides to acquaint themselves with the process and take advantage of the coming on board of NCR to improve their lending to MSMEs.

Chairperson of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Sustainability and Gender (EDSG) of the Bankers’ Committee, Mrs. Bola Adesola, noted that the NCR, which is a form of Modern Secured Collateral Registries, has increased the availability of credit and reduced the cost of credit globally. “These registries provide the basis for free-flowing credit markets, reducing the potential losses lenders face from nonpayment, ultimately resulting in positive dramatic economic impact. Lending against movable assets is not very widespread in banking in Nigeria. “

Property Exchange Begins in Nigeria Haleemat Rahmon

Nigerians and other investors who seek seamless acquisition of properties can now heave a sigh of relief, as what looks like a quasi-regulated institution for the trading of prime properties through mere exchanges of interest and offers has been hoisted and fully approved to begin operation in metropolitan Lagos. The institution, managed by Nigerians in alliance with other experts across the world which is prompted by Reliance S.F. Group Limited, a whole-sale business group that offers expedited services in critical areas of the economy, is managed

by Engr. Segun Folorunso. According to the Group Managing Director, Property Exchange is an umbrella where people from different climes can exchange various range of properties and broker arrangements for the difference to be paid by the transacting parties. It offers a similar guarantee and security close to what obtains in the stock and commodity markets, where very little commissions are paid per transaction as against the huge amount of agency fees that are paid in the conventional property market. According to him, the commission is so small, as little as about 1.5 per cent per transaction.

FoI Act: 200 CSOs to Meet Next Week on Implementation Abimbola Akosile No fewer than two hundred Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are to meet in Abuja and Enugu, respectively, next week on increased use of Nigeria’s Freedom of Information (FoI) Act. The two-day roundtables are being put together by the Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption (MIIVOC), in collaboration with the Freedom of Information Coalition-Nigeria, with support from Justice for All (DfID). It aims at increasing citizens’ usage of the FoI Act. Participants from the Northern part of Nigeria are to meet in Abuja, while those from the Southern part of the country are to meet in Enugu. Chairman, Board of Governors, Freedom of Information Coalition, Nigeria, Dr. Walter Duru gave the hint while addressing newsmen in Calabar, Cross River State on Friday. According to Duru, the events are aimed at engaging Media and Civil Society stakeholders across

the country on issues relating to increased use and implementation of the FoI Act. “Recall that Nigeria’s Freedom of Information (FoI) Act was signed into law on May 28, 2011, after the longest legislative debate in the history of Nigeria. The law was passed to enable the public to access information from government and its institutions, in order to ensure transparency and accountability.” “The FOI Act aims to make public records and information more freely available. It enables citizens to hold the government accountable in the event of the misappropriation of public funds or failure to deliver public services. It also seeks to protect serving public officers against any adverse consequences from the disclosure of certain kinds of official information, and to establish procedures for the achievement of these purposes. Available statistics show that there is an extremely low usage of the Act in Nigeria by the citizens, especially, Media and Civil Society practitioners.”

Fan Milk Donates Materials As part of its Corporate Socially Responsibility (CSR), a leading manufacturer and marketer of frozen and non-frozen dairy food products, Fan Milk PLC, has donated 1,000 safety reflective vests to Lagos State Task Force (LSTF). Speaking at the handing over ceremony at the LSTF office in Alausa yesterday, the Managing Director of Fan Milk PLC, Mr. Hans Pedersen, said his company was pleased to contribute to the development of the state. He also commended the Task Force for “making giant strides in repositioning the state to its enviable status as a mega city.” Chairman of the state Task Force, Olayinka Egbeyemi, said the donation shows the commitment of company to the Task Force, promising that the 1,000 safety reflective vests would be put to judicious use.


11

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

NEWS

SPECIAL MONITOR ROYAL COURTESY L-R: Senior Special Assistant to the President on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Dr. Mariam Masha, L-R: Elegushi of Ikate-land HRM Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi; with representatives of the Oloyotunji of Oyotunji, HRM Oba Adejuyigbe Adefunmi 11; Founder Atlantic Bond Initiative (ATBONDI), Aare Oluwambe Amodu; Aare Apo of Oyotunji Village Sheldon South Carolina, USA, Rotimi Vaughn, and Badagry Chairmanship aspirant, Hon Apata Samson, during a courtesy call at the Elegushi ‘s palace in Lagos...recently

with a JSS 3 Student of NYSC IDPs Camp, Yola, Adamawa State, Miss Hassana Philimon, during Masha’s visit to monitor an Essay Writing competition on the Protecting Education Advocacy Challenge (PEACH) by federal government for school-aged children displaced in the North-east States, of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, in Maiduguri, Borno State...recently

FG Clears UniUyo Vice-Chancellor of Sex Scandal Okon Basssey in Uyo The Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Prof Enefiok Essien has been cleared by the Federal Ministry of Education of sex harassment allegation levelled against him soon on assumption office last year. Anonymous persons under the aegis of Integrity Group had petitioned on the V-C to the federal government seeking his disqualification from the position on the grounds that he had sexually harassed a female law student when he was the dean, faculty of law. The investigative panel

constituted by the federal ministry of education on the issue said in its report that; “there was nothing to show that Prof. Enefiok Essien was charged or joined in any case relating to love overtures. There was no complaint from the university relating to the allegation.” The report also cleared Essien of allegations of forgery, manipulation of the selection to the office of the vice chancellor, as well as that of “tension and uneasy calm in the university.” “Based on the broad-based support for the new vice chancellor, the federal government is advised to accord him all

the necessary support for the development of the university. On the petitioners being faceless, the federal government is strongly advised to discountenance the petitions”, the panel recommended Members of the panel equally urged the federal government to reprimand the former vice chancellor, Prof. Comfort Ekpo for writing malicious and vindictive report concerning the process leading to the selection of the incumbent vice chancellor. According to the Vice Chancellor, since he assumed the mantle of leadership of the institution, there was no inci-

dence of sexual harassment or sex-for-marks in the university as any such infraction would be instantly dealt with by the disciplinary mechanism within the university. “I encourage student s to report any infringement on their rights; so there is no question as to how we manage sex-for-marks because we are not managing it since it doesn’t exist. I want to make the University of Uyo look like a world class university in terms of physical infrastructures and staff composition. It is the foreign staff that improves the rating of any university,” Essien said.

Senate Vows to Expose Diversion of IDPs’ Funds

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The Senate ad-hoc Committee on Humanitarian Crisis in the North-east yesterday vowed to expose massive corruption allegedly perpetrated by public officers managing the Northeast humanitarian crisis. Speaking during a courtesy call on Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima on Friday, the committee chairman, Senator Shehu Sani, said the committee would unravel the mystery behind the diversion of the

resources. The committee had visited Maiduguri to meet with state and local leaders, conduct interviews with local and international stakeholders in the humanitarian community, and as well receive testimony from internally displaced persons (IDPs) in camps. The committee was inaugurated by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in October, following reports of alleged mismanagement of resources meant for internally displaced

persons (IDPs) by those entrusted with the management of the crisis. A statement by the Senate President Media Office yesterday said Saraki commended the determination of the committee to conclude its investigation, saying its recommendations would serve as the benchmark for promotion of accountability and oversight in Nigeria’s efforts to rehabilitate the insurgencyravaged North-east zone of the country. “I have seen firsthand the

work that needs to be done in the region,” Saraki said, “Now, with the institutional backing of the Senate, we can finally conclude on how best to manage the crisis as we partner local and international actors.” Saraki further said he was hopeful that the report of the ad-hoc committee would be submitted before the year ends so that Nigeria could go into 2017 with an oversight strategy to monitor the government’s humanitarian intervention scheme.

Tantalizer Offers 10% Discount to The Naija Green Card Holders Anayo Okolie

As part of the efforts to encourage the Nigerian youths to queue into The Naija Green Card safety net, one of the leading fast food restaurant chains in Nigeria, Tantalizers PLC, has offered to give a 10 per cent discount on any of its products purchased by the card users. The CEO of Tantalizer PLC, Mrs. Abosede Ayeni, who disclosed this during the signing of a strategic partnership between the company and The Naija Green Card, expressed belief that the collaboration between both companies would be mutually beneficial.

According to her, “We are targeting the students, we believe that a lot of students come from largely disadvantaged homes, they don’t have much money. Even when people have money, everybody loves a free gift; the first meeting we had, we were trading jokes about how we feel when we get a good bargain, and I think everybody is like that. “Everybody loves it when something is coming free and that is how we know that this will definitely be mutually beneficial, as an organisation, we are committed to giving 10 per cent off purchase on the presentation of The Naija Green Card, and we believe that as time goes on the

opportunity will be reviewed, as we could move it even further. “We will do 10 per cent and this will be acceptable in all our locations nationwide and we believe that it will also aid the increase in the purchase of our food, because people love something free and of course, the more they come, the more we benefit from it because of the exposure that it will also give to our brand. “So, we are happy to partner The Naija Green Card, and we believe that this is the beginning of greater things that we can do together as two organisations working together towards the progress of Nigeria,” Ayeni added.

Also speaking, the initiator of The Naija Green Card, Hon Bimbo Daramola while commending Tantalizer for honouring the partnership said “We have had a number of partnerships but this is particularly interesting to us because everybody knows that not only is Tantalizer a market leader, but you also have integrity. “You have equity behind that name, and before you can say I want to you can Let me also assure you that all of us pushing The Naija Green Discount Card Agenda for young people will defend and ensure that the integrity of your product is protected”, he added.

Pay Salaries Before Christmas, Ugwuanyi Directs Council Chairs

Kunle Abikoye

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State yesterday directed the 17 Council Chairmen in the state to ensure that they pay the full salaries of their workers before Christmas; in line with the premium his administration places on the welfare of public servants in the state. Speaking at the inauguration of the United Enugu Women for Gburugburu, a socio-political organisation aimed at promoting good governance in Enugu State, Gov. Ugwuanyi said the achievements his administration had recorded so far was by providence and prudent management of the state’s lean resources. The governor thanked the

women of the state for their supportive role and continuous prayers for the success of the administration, describing them as “pathfinders” in the quest for good governance in the state. “In Enugu State, God is in charge of the affairs of the state. I’m just a mere instrument in the hands of God for the development of the state and that’s why in all we do, we acknowledge the God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob and the awesome God of David,” Ugwuanyi said. The governor, who declared that the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the state is “one indivisible family”, equally thanked all the members of the party for their “unprecedented support” to his administration.

Sokoto Okays N77m for Rehabilitation, Construction of Refuse Bunkers MohammedAminuinSokoto Sokoto State Government yesterday approved over N77 million for the rehabilitation and construction of refuse bunkers in the state. The State Commissioner of Environment, Alhaji Bello Sifawa, made the disclosure while addressing newsmen shortly after monitoring the monthly environmental sanitation exercise in Sokoto. He said this include the desilting of drainages in Sokoto metropolis and its environs. The commissioner stated that, out of the amount, N42 million would be spent on the rehabilitation of 18 refuse bunkers and the construction of 20 new ones. According to him, N35 million would be spent on the

desilting of all major drainages in the metropolis. He disclosed that the state government had also purchased 50 branded tricycles for the evacuation of refuse in the hard to reach areas of the city. ‘’This is to complement the array of vehicles and other facilities adequately provided for the ministry and its agencies. All these efforts are geared towards ridding Sokoto city of filth, hence, keep diseases at bay”, he said. Sifawa expressed satisfaction with the active participation of the residents, youth clubs and associations in the exercise. The commissioner therefore commended a businessman, Alhaji Abdullahi Gidan-Kaya, for employing 50 youths monthly to undertake the sanitation exercise.

In Brief Assemblies of God Church Harvest Thanksgiving

Assemblies of God Church Isolo, would on Sunday December 4, 2016 hold her 2016 Annual Harvest/Thanksgiving Services. The event is to take place at N0. 5/7 Risi Laguda Close, Off Metropolitan College road, metro bus stop, Ire-Akari Estate, Isolo-Lagos by 10 am. A statement by elder Eke Nwabuike (JP), and Bro. Chimeziem Anyanwu, chairman and Secretary of the Harvest Committee respectively stated that the programme with the theme: “Celebrating God’s Sustainance” will be conducted by the host pastor Rev. F. C Okeremgbo, the Assistant Lagos District Superintendent.


12

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

NEWS

TACKLING CHALLENGES L-R: Barrister Chimezie Victor C. Ihekweazu Esq; Secretary & Director Legal Dept - NDIC, Mr. Belema

Taribo Esq., and Mr. Ayodele Akintunde SAN at a seminar for NDIC External Solicitors on ‘The Challenges to Deposit Insurance Law and Practice in Nigeria’ held in Lagos...recently

MITIGATION TEAM L-R: Ms Ilemobola Olubukola Ademola-Adelehin of WANEP, a Nigerian; Ms Merethe Nedrebø, a Norwegian;

Ms Stefania Trassari of UNOCHA; Mr. Jorge Andre from Spain and Mr. Darren Conaghan of United Kingdom deployed by IHP to support the all-female United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) Team responding to an earthquake disaster in Northern Tanzania...recently

Suspected Kidnappers Strangle Principal after Collecting Ransom Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

Suspected kidnappers who abducted an ailing 72-year-old retired principal, Chief Sunday Festus, in Bayelsa State, two weeks ago, have strangled him to death after getting a ransom from his relatives, THISDAY has learnt. No member of the victim’s family was willing to divulge how much was paid before the hoodlums agreed to release the septuagenarian as agreed during negotiations. But a source told THISDAY that a N4 million ransom was deposited at an agreed location before the suspects showed the shocked family where their patriarch’s remains were deposited. They reportedly asked those who went to deliver the money to lie with their faces down, and collected

their phones before bolting with the ransom. The old man was seized by a four-man gang in his residence at riverine Bomo clan in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state in the early hours of Monday almost two weeks ago. During the operation, the hoodlums also injured a 13-year-old boy who was staying with the deceased and attempted to resist the kidnap of the pensioner. The late educationist, who was said to be diabetic, was said to be recovering from the ailment when his abductors whisked him away at about 3:26am on the day at the Foinbiri waterside after breaking the door protectors and forcing him into a waiting double 75 horsepower speedboat. When THISDAY visited the Federal Medical Centre where

the body of the deceased was being prepared to be deposited in the morgue, bruises were seen all over the old man. However, a source also said the man could have died given that he had no access to his drugs. The suspected criminals initially demanded N500 million, but eventually reduced the ransom after the man’s death in their custody, it was learnt. A son of the deceased, Pamiebi Festus, said he was contacted in Abuja after many days to pay N500 million naira before his father could be released. “I told them I didn’t have N500 million. I asked them what I did to them. The day before yesterday they came down to something reasonable and because of the love I have for my father, I had to pay the money.

The lawyer added “They directed that my father was somewhere, but when the people we sent there got there, they put a gun to their heads and said they should go and carry his corpse”. In tears, he continued, “ One thing I know is that if this was done because of me, I have not offended anybody to warrant this kind of wickedness. But you can see the lifeless body of my father. They kidnapped him, collected the ransom and murdered him. I am not sure he was shot, but he was probably strangled because if you check, you will see bruises all over him”. The son of the deceased, who said he earlier reported to all the security agencies in the state, said he was leaving them to unravel those who killed the retired civil servant.

Obaseki Flays Billions A’Ibom Inaugurates APC Caucus, Says Buhari Committed Spent by Nigerians to Train Children Overseas to N’Delta Devt Ernest Chinwo and Okon Bassey in Uyo

The people of the Niger Delta region have been urged to remain calm and cooperate with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari towards the development and provision of infrastructures in the region. The Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Nsima Ekere made the call weekend during the inauguration of the Akwa Ibom State Caucus of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC). Ekere lamented that the Niger Delta region had little to show in terms of development for the five years a son of the soil presided over the affairs of the country. He said it was clear that the President had the interest of the region at heart from the steps he has taken so far to solve the problems of the region. The NDDC boss pledged that the commission would work vigorously to bring sustainable development to the region in line

with President Buhari’s vision to develop the region. He urged the people of Akwa Ibom State to support the Buhari administration which, he said, was working tirelessly to address the economic problems of the country. Ekere lauded the quality of the APC Caucus members, particularly the Caucus Chairman, Atuekong Don Etiebet, who he described as an experienced and dogged leader. While commending the hard work and resilience of the party leadership and faithful, he called for a greater synergy between them to enable increased grassroots’ mobilisation. The Managing Director of Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, Mr. Umana Umana, expressed confidence that the caucus would strengthen and reposition the APC, describing Etiebet as an experienced and cerebral leader. He maintained that the APC was robbed of victory in the last elections but urged the party faithful to leave the past and plan for the future which, according to him, was certain.

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, yesterday declared that the billions of naira spent by Nigerians to educate their children in foreign universities do not add value to the country’s economic growth in the short and medium term. He said for the country to attain greatness, Nigerians must embrace change and come up with innovate ideas capable of revolutionising the way they think and work for the country to move out of recession. The governor, who spoke at the 14th convocation ceremony of the Igbinedion University, Okada, stated that recent developments in Nigeria showed that the educational policy has reduced the quality of output of the educational system. According to him, Nigerians cannot continue to work at the level of the current economic challenges and expect solutions that can turn around its fortunes. The Edo governor said his administration would be driven by knowledge, data and estab-

lished base lines. He said his administration was committed to reforming the educational sector of the state with a view to create knowledge driven economy where Edo people can unlock their potentials. His words: “One of the key mid-term strategies to returning Nigeria to the path of inclusive economic growth and sustainable development is to reform our educational sector in such a manner that can unlock the creative and potentials of our youths. “We must embrace change. We must come up with innovate ideas capable of revolutionising the way we think and work. One of the imperatives of my administration is to ensure that governance is driven by knowledge, data and established baselines. “Nigeria as a country cannot afford to continue to import human resources from foreign countries while we spent billions of naira to educate our youths outside the country that do not add value to our economic growth in the short and medium term.”

Ayiri Flays NNPC over Alleged Abandonment of GRIP Project Sylvester Idowu in Warri Niger Delta activist and key stakeholder in the petroleum sector, Chief Ayirimi Emami yesterday accused the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over its alleged abandonment of Gas Revolution Industrial Park (GRIP) and Escravos Environs Power Supply Project in Warri South-west Local Government Area of Delta State. He said the posture of NNPC was fueling the bombings as well as vandalism of crude oil and gas installationsinNigerDeltaregion. The Warri Chief, who alleged that the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru and members of his management team haven’t shown

any interest in the GRIP and Escravos Environs Power Supply Project, expressed displeasure that despite the huge economic and job creation potentials of both projects,theNNPCGMDwasyet to visit the project sites to boost the morale of investors in the projects. According to Emami, the seeming disinterest of Baru towards the GRIP Project in Ogidigben, Warri South-west Local Government Area, “which will accommodate a major industrial gas hub and petrochemical, methanol as well as fertiliser plant with known capacity to create 150,000 direct and indirect jobs at the construction stage leaves much to be desired at a time when the country is experiencing recession including job losses.”

I Will Sustain My Father’s Legacy, Says Muhammed Audu Yekinni Jimoh in Lokoja The son of the Kogi State governorship candidate of All Progressives’ Congress (APC) in last year’s election, Mallam Muhammed Audu yesterday said he will continue the legacy of his father as he flagged off the Prince Abubakar Audu Foundation at Ogboniche, the country home of late Prince AbubakarAudu. Speaking at the one year remembrance of the late Prince Abubakar Audu, two term governor of Kogi State, he noted that the achievement of his late father would be sustained, stressing that Prince Audu brought massive

development to the state when he wasgovernorofthestate. He mentioned that the Prince Abubakar Audu Foundation would cut across all the 21 local government of the state by empowering youth, women, less privileged people and widows, pointing out that the foundation would go a long way in helping the people of the state. Muhammed Audu, who thanked the people of the state for thesupportgiventohisfatherwhen he was alive, stressed that late Prince Audu did his best for the people of the state when he was governor of Kogi State as most of his achievementscanbeseenacrossallthethree senatorialdistrictofthestate.

T.Y Danjuma, Ishaku, 10 Others Bag Jukunland Honours Award Sunday Okobi Taraba State Governor Darius Ishaku; elder statesman, Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd), and 11 other illustrious sons of Jukunland will on December 10, be honoured at an award ceremony organised by the Jukun Development Association of Nigeria (JDAN) in Lagos, its National President, Chief Bako Benjamin has said. The event which is timed to coincide with TY Dan-

juma’s 78th birthday, will take place at the Air Force Officers Mess on Kofo Abayomi Drive, Victoria Island, Lagos. Addressing journalists in Lagos, Bako said the award is meant to encourage and motivate Jukun sons and daughters who have used their exalted positions in the society to improve the lives of their people and address the unacceptable level underdevelopment and marginalisation in Jukunland.


T H I S D AY SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2016

13


14

NOVEMBER 27, 2016 • THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER

OPINION

Buhari, Jonathan and Rebirth of Nostalgia Emmanuel Ojeifo argues the mood of the times are dictated by the state of the economy

T

of short memories.” In the opening chapter of his riveting book, Witness to Justice, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah said: “Nigerians are very forgetful and the result is that this amnesia has contributed to diminishing us as a people.” It is because of our typical Nigerian amnesia that we seem perpetually consigned to repeat the same mistakes of the past. Amnesia is always a precursor to being susceptible to the danger of a new infection. The second is hysteria, which means exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement. Nigerians are a very hysterical people. Instances of regime change often generate a lot of excitement among Nigerians, which end up depriving us of the benefit of critical thinking. Going back to the 2015 presidential election, after the victory of President Buhari at the poll, there was a tangible feeling of excitement in the air, a conviction that with a new government in power, mass happiness can now blend with communal relief to forge a sense of national purpose. Sadly, at the point when some people thought we had found a new messiah, we suddenly realised that it is not yet Uhuru.

he recent occasion of the 59th birthday of former President Goodluck Jonathan has given rise to an outpouring of nostalgia in certain quarters. This rebirth of nostalgia started on November 17, 2016 when Dr Jonathan visited Sokoto State to pay condolences to the family of the late Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki. During the visit, Sokoto indigenes trooped out en masse to give a rousing welcome to the former leader. The same people, who apparently facilitated him being voted out of power on account of being “clueless” as they said at the time, were now calling for his return to power. In the 2015 presidential election, of the total 834, 259 valid votes cast in Sokoto State, the All Progressives Congress got 671,926 votes, while the Peoples Democratic Party got 152,199. So what is the basis of the chants that rented the air with banners and placards in Sokoto, “Come back Baba Jonathan”? With my modest understanding of Nigerian politics, what happened in Sokoto is typical Nigerian nostalgia. The Apple Dictionary defines nostalgia as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past.” In Nigeria, nostalgia is a sickness. After every regime change, Nigerians suddenly often realise that the past seemed better than the present, even though they consciously made their choice. However, there is something more to nostalgia. Most people enjoy it as an exercise in reliving what they often term “the good old days,” but very few of them, in truth, would actually want to live in that make-believe past. In the case of the recent call for the return of Dr Jonathan, the nostalgia is a bye-product of the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to make any meaningful impact on the lives of Nigerians after 18 months in office. I am sure that if Buhari’s promise of Change had translated into concrete, quantifiable, positive change in the lives of Nigerians, the political persona and mixed legacy of Dr Jonathan would have become history. Interestingly, any astute observer of Nigerian politics can easily come to the conclusion that apart from the nostalgia fever, there are three other linguistically esoteric words that seem particularly suited to describe the general mood of Nigerians. These are amnesia, hysteria and euphoria. Amnesia has to do with a partial or total loss of memory. Nigerians suffer a lot from this. It was the Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka who once said that, “We are a nation

In the present circumstances, whether Nigerians will switch over from the newfound nostalgia for Dr Jonathan to the post-2015 euphoria for Buhari remains for President Buhari to determine. If there is evidence of meaningful change in the economic fortunes of Nigerians, the tide will swing in Buhari’s favour

Like hysteria, euphoria has to do with a feeling or state of intense happiness. World over, Nigerians are known to be a very happy people. A study carried in 2003 in more than 65 countries and published in the UK New Scientist magazine reported that Nigerians are the happiest people on earth. However, the World Happiness Report of 2016 has indicated that Nigeria’s place on the happiness table has dropped, explaining that the happiness quotient of any society is intrinsically linked to the absence of misery and the reduction of inequality in the distribution of wellbeing among citizens. People are happier living in societies where there is less inequality and less misery. If Nigerians are no longer happy, it is obvious that the level of misery in the society is telling on us. We now hear that under President Jonathan there was corruption but that things were a lot better. On the contrary, under President Buhari there is the perception that corruption is being fought; yet things are moving from bad to worse. Right now the economic fortunes of Nigerians have dipped, many businesses have folded up, prices of goods and services have hit the roof, and the indices of misery, depression and suicide among the citizens have increased in geometric proportions. All of these, and the failure to create a new era of social prosperity, have turned many people against the Buhari government. Some time ago, a political satire went viral on social media, which called for the reinstatement of corruption – “Bring back corruption.” The logic was that Nigeria was better with corruption. That only goes to show how bad things have become. However, those singing the new song “Come back Baba Jonathan,” must not forget that they convinced themselves that he was a “clueless” president and that was why they willingly sent him packing. If not, how can we explain the emergence of President Buhari? In the present circumstances, whether Nigerians will switch over from the newfound nostalgia for Dr Jonathan to the post-2015 euphoria for Buhari remains for President Buhari to determine. If there is evidence of meaningful change in the economic fortunes of Nigerians, the tide will swing in Buhari’s favour. If things continue to take a sharp fall, President Buhari will go down in history with a reputation of infamy far worse than what was said about his predecessor. Ojeifo is a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Abuja

Stop Jungle Justice!

I

Perpetrators of jungle justice should be severely punished to deter others, writes Adewale Kupoluyi

join others to condemn in strong terms, the barbaric and gruesome murder of a boy that was recently killed in Lagos. I was completely devastated by the report of the killing and I kept wondering why people would be so heartless to the extent that taking the life of another in such a cruel, wicked and an illegal manner would mean nothing to them! The usual problem of getting accurate data on anything in the nation reared its ugly head, once again, going by the various versions and conflicting accounts of what truly transpired in the boy’s case. For instance, a witness said a mob at the Alafia Bus-stop in the Orile area, Lagos had caught the boy, whose name had yet to be ascertained, accusing him of stealing a wallet and after which it was gathered that after the boy was beaten to a pulp, as the mob got a tyre and set him on fire, claiming that he came with other three accomplices, who escaped after the alleged stealing. Another witness claimed that the deceased belonged to a robbery gang, which usually stabbed victims that refused to part with their property while a resident stated that the deceased was not even a seven-year-old boy that was burnt to death, as reported. A completely different narration said the victim and his gang had tried to dispossess a woman of her belongings and that the deceased was a member of a gang of notorious thieves. Still on the same issue, the young boy was said to have met his sad end after his gang allegedly tried dispossessing a woman of her belongings, including a mobile phone and in the process, the woman resisted and held unto her phone and screamed for help. After the attack, the other members of the gang, after appraising the situation, allegedly fled the scene while the fourth member was caught. Hence, he continued to engage in an internecine struggle with the victim for the phone and out of desperation, he allegedly brought out a dagger and stabbed the woman. The boy was said to have been seriously beaten up before being set ablaze. A completely different account had claimed that the boy was killed because he had gone to steal some garri from his neighbour. Meanwhile, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, has disclosed that the said lynching of the boy over garri theft was untrue and that the age of the said suspect should be between 20 and 25 years. The essence

of emphasising the contradictions in the narrations above is to show that discrepancies in evidences could pose a big challenge to the administration of justice in Nigeria, going by the provisions of the Evidence Act, 2011. Within the last few months, similar cases of jungle justice in the country have been worrisome and many of such occurrences may not have been officially reported, going by the nature and circumstances surrounding the criminality. For instance, a naval officer reportedly shot a commercial motorcyclist to death after the latter hit his vehicle at a traffic light stop in Ikeja, Lagos. Similarly, a middle-aged woman, suspected to be a kidnapper, was stripped and badly tortured before she was set ablaze by a mob in Abule Egba, Lagos. Her offence was that she was reportedly seen by residents forcing school pupils into a waiting vehicle and could, therefore, be a kidnapper. We would not also forget so soon, the gruesome murder of four undergraduate students of the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State by a mob at Aluu on the allegation that they were armed robbers, an action that received widespread condemnation. Unfortunately, it was later found out that the slain victims were allegedly innocent of the offence but that their ordeal was simply as a result of the mischievous action of a debtor, who simply wanted to get rid of his creditors. From what the police are saying about the latest case, just like in that of Aluu 4, the police got to know of the attacks before they were carried out but still could not save the victims. The popular Ejigbo jungle justice remains a nightmare to many people, considering the degree of calamity and injustice meted out to the victims all in the name of kangaroo justice. Again, about two months ago, a suspected thief was burnt alive by an angry mob in Port Harcourt while a woman was also widely reported to have been brutally murdered by angry mob in Kano over religious argument. From the various analyses, jungle justice is encouraged by these factors: general lack of faith in the police and the judicial system and in order for the people to get quick remedy from the perceived injustice inflicted on them, they often result to self-help. This should not be. It is not only barbaric to engage in such an act, it is completely illegal,

unlawful and criminal. Such acts are against natural justice, international laws as well as the spirit and letters of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). It is also at variance with the provisions of both the criminal code and the penal code that prohibit illegal and arbitrary killing of persons. Secondly, people rely on jungle justice because it is considered faster. Passing through the process of litigation or adjudication for them is slow, cumbersome and bureaucratic. This thinking is fallacious. Should we then resort to the Dark Age and Hobbesian state of nature to resolve differences? No. Thirdly, the procedure for adjudication in Nigeria could be expensive considering what is involved and having to get the services of counsel. At times, judgments could be controversial and unacceptable to the parties. This is where stakeholders in the business of judicial administration should do all they can to ensure that the integrity and due process of the law is always guaranteed. While I condemn any act of stealing, theft and other social vices, it is instructive to state here that irrespective of the excuses given by the perpetrators of jungle justice, there is no basis, rationale and justification for someone to either revenge a wrong doing or take the life of another under any extra-judicial circumstances. That is the more reason why our law enforcement agents should be above board in preventing future occurrence in any part of the country. The people should have confidence in the institutions of state to protect lives and property. We should also show more concern about cause and effect, just as the issue of garri was raised. Could the boy truly be hungry? It is bad to see others rejoicing and recording the misfortune of others with their camera phones and posting on the social media. Those found abetting, participating and condoning jungle justice should be severely punished to deter others. Perpetrators of such acts are hardly sanctioned. We should realise that it was the turn of the Lagos boy today; anyone could be a victim tomorrow. Concerted efforts should, therefore, be made by all to ensure that jungle justice stops in our society! ––Kupoluyi wrote from Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.


15

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

F

LETTERS

Femi Fani-Kayode’s Outburst

emi Fani-Kayode, the scion of Chief Remi Fani-Kayode QC, SAN, had been around as a politician since 1989 when the September Club he helped midwife metamorphosed into the Nigerian National Council which later became part of the National Republican Convention. He cut his teeth as the Chief Press Secretary to the then National Republican Convention (NRC) National Chairman, Chief Tom Ikimi before becoming an aide to the then presidential aspirant, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi. He was active in the June 12 struggle which saw him go on a five-year self-imposed exile in the United Kingdom where he penned numerous epistles opposing the military rule. He gained national prominence as Special Assistant on Public Affairs to the then President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003. His caustic tongue made him hurl regular abuses at real and perceived enemies of his erstwhile boss. He operated more like a Rottweiler, frequently baring his fangs. He clashed with Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, late Professor Chinua Achebe amongst many prominent citizens by openly insulting them for daring to criticise his boss no matter how constructive such criticism may have been. It was hilarious when he begged every Nigerian he had offended to pardon him

from over. In an article titled ‘Head bloodied but now bowed and the ascent of PresidentElect, Donald Trump’, he revealed that he was transferred to Kuje prisons where he was kept in a cell with terrorist suspects. He went on to reveal that they were not killers or terrorists but were falsely accused of all the charges brought against them. One wonders how he was able to decipher their innocence! Was it on the basis of what they told him? How could a highly educated man like him just believe their stories at face value? His conclusions were rather strange. He then went on

Fani-Kayode

as he was only doing his job when the Senate screened him as a ministerial nominee in 2006. His penchant for going back to his vomit was ironically even understood by Obasanjo when he said that as long as the Cambridge educated lawyer was given food, he could even support a goat for President. He was so confident that he would be part of the then incoming Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s cabinet. Fate had something different for him as he has been battling a myriad of court cases for alleged corrupt practices in the last eight years. After an acquittal, he was so elated that he changed his surname to Olukayode to show his appreciation to God. His troubles were however far

to proudly say that he was guarded by these suspects and praised their intellectual prowess to the high heavens. Was this effusive show really necessary? It is true that the

W

suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty but given the sensitive nature of what they were charged for, was it prudent for him to have passed them off as heroes? The anguish that Nigerians especially in the northern part of the country face from Boko Haram insurgents is heart -wrenching. The number of internally displaced persons is well over a million with millions left in a state of utter hopelessness in their own country. It is the height of mischief to use the people to score some cheap points against Buhari’s administration by subtly trying to portray it as autocratic. There are some things that you don’t joke with. He mentioned his threehour meeting with Nnamdi Kanu and described him as a brilliant man, likening him to Nnamdi Azikiwe and Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu rolled into one. Note that 10

I

surgical operation on a seed like maize or yam or sorghum. I have seen them do it. What they do is this: they open up a seed which naturally has a bad gene and which cannot produce much. Then they open up the cells of another living organism, like a fly or a maggot or even a rat and replace the unproductive gene or cell of the plant with the most productive gene of the housefly, maggot or rat. As soon as they are done, the plant is introduced to the soil. The result is what we often refer to as genetically modified organisms, GMOs. Now, because there is something in the superstructure of the plant which has been altered, scientists and the world at large are not very certain whether or not consumption of these GMOs may have side-effects. Well, yes, there’s been a back and forth on that topic but that’s not our focus right now. What I am interested in is what those scientists have done with the GMOs. Instead of out rightly consuming those GMO, they use about 95% of it for gas and for electricity. How? Local authorities in places like Germany have built special silos with a network of underground pipes crisscrossing their community. They mix these grains, rice, millet, sorghum with cow, goat and pig dung and the effervescence of gas which takes place during the chemical

the voiceless Biafran soldiers who left promising careers in the Nigerian army to join his ragtag army and even wanted to become the nation’s president in 2003 which was a pointer to his belief in a united Nigeria. What was the nexus between what the Biafra that Kanu believes in with what Zik and Ojukwu in their later lives believed in? With more than 95% of Igbo investments outside the South-east, is Biafra even in their best interest? FFK may have surreptitiously shown his contempt for the Igbos as he has once done in the past. He should face his trial and not arouse any needless melodrama as that wouldn’t certainly help his case. The victim psychological warfare he has been waging for some time now would also not help advance his cause as Nigerians are much more discerning. Tony Ademiluyi, Lagos

THE GOVERNORS ARE COMING

ith the Edo, Ondo and Anambra States governorship election unfolding in that order, it promises to be a year - long outing for the showy Nigerian politician especially the breed that pride themselves as belonging to the gubernatorial class. On the heels of the close election that just brought Godwin Obaseki to office in Edo State, the Ondo and Anambra States governorship poll, from various indications,

would generate greater fireworks. The parade has begun in earnest and the governors in waiting have launched their activism with traditional fanfare. In one respect, the politician shares the same fate with the broadcaster. The spell of silence is the broadcaster’s nightmare. And there can be no greater penance for the typical politician than abstinence from rhetoric. The American musician, Tony Wilson sang of him as ‘a man of many words.’ Now, if the politician,

GMO FOR ELECTRICITY AND GAS, NOT FOOD

n my days in secondary school, one of my best subjects was integrated science. That subject had Biology, Physics and Chemistry all fused in one even though we didn’t know it then. I developed an unusual interest on one topic then – Photosynthesis – not just because of the name but because of the story behind the definition of Photosynthesis. We were told that plants ‘manufactured’ their food with the help of the sun. To tell you the truth, I did not understand what that strange story meant but the idea that everything we ate as food came with the help of the sun made the interest in Photosynthesis all the more interesting. But as I grew up, I was to realise that as a matter of fact, that the matter of the Sun collaborating with the green leaves of plants was not as simple as I could ever imagine. But I accepted that indeed without the sun making a significant input, it would be impossible to have breakfast. Over the years, this has been what has been taught in schools. But certain scientists have tested that precept, and have gone ahead to prove that human beings can actually contest the power of the Sun, and influence how we ‘manufacture’ our food. Using a technique known as biosynthesis, and which radically departs from the photosynthetic hypothesis, scientists can actually perform

of the Boko Haram suspects saw him off to the ‘august meeting’ in case the Biafran freedom fighter tried to spring up a surprise. Perhaps he wasn’t entirely trusting of him. This comparison of Kanu with Zik and the Ikemba Nnewi is a classic case of sarcasm. Zik and Ojukwu at some point abandoned their belief in the Biafran cause. Zik defected at some point during the civil war to the Nigerian side and began to preach the one Nigeria message. Ojukwu who had earlier pledged to fight to the last drop of his blood hurriedly commandeered an aircraft meant for the starving children and ferried only himself and his immediate family to a seaside mansion in Cote D’ Ivoire where he spent 12 swanky years in blissful exile. He collected his pension from the Nigerian army without a thought to

reaction from that mishmash is what passes through those pipes to homes, offices and industries. In the past eight months in Benin City, I have relied exclusively on power generators for my energy needs. Businesses along the airport road have nearly all shut down, and most of us cannot sleep in our homes for the heat and the mosquitoes. What you read here is very expensive piece of writing: I go the hog to get very expensive but dirty fuel to fill my power generating set. But the tragedy in all of this is not in the expensive and dirty fuel we are using to power our generators. The tragedy is contained in two documents: one a report by Public Eye - Dirty Diesel: How Swiss Traders Flood Africa with Toxic Fuels and another credited to the World Economic Forum which stated that four of the 20 cities in the world – Onitsha, Aba, Kaduna and Umuahia - with the worst air quality are in Nigeria. World Bank Reports indicate that an estimated 5.5 million lives were lost in 2013 to diseases associated with outdoor and household air pollution, causing human suffering and reducing economic development. We will not be focusing on the fact that certain Swiss companies – Trafigura, Vitol, Glencore, Addax & Oryx and

Mercuria – deliberately produce fuel of a ‘sulphur level of up to 27 times the European standard for gasoline and close to 400 times the European standard for diesel’. We will however focus on two things: one, on getting the people in the Netherlands who allow such poisonous fuels to be produced in their country to be sold for a profit in the West African Sub-region to stop. Our governments in the sub-region have to do something as well, and that is why we hope that the regional meetings being slated by African governments on issues of our environment will at least insist on acceptable fuel quality standards for diesel and gasoline entering the region. The second issue we should be focusing on is the need to channel our energies on developing our GMO technology to produce GMO rice and other cereals like maize, sorghum and millet for power. I am not very interested in the food right now. And this is because we currently spend about $2.4billion importing rice and other allied foodstuff, some of which we are not so sure aren’t genetically modified and probably unsafe for human consumption. What then can be wrong with using biosynthesis for power and using that to mitigate climate change? ––Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku, ANEEJ, Benin City

the Nigerian politician, cannot at other times be separated from his loquacious signature, his conduct in the prelude to election may well be captured in that fascinating, pompous word, tintinnabulation. And the notice – me – bells have not simply started ringing; in some cases they are clanging with an ardour that seeks to drown the siren of economic recession. As turns out to be the case now and then, Anambra State, that land of profound contrasts, that historically unhinged estate with a resilience that reminds of the phoenix’s resurgence, is a major axis of this theatre. Pause for a minute on these stage setting declarations. ‘2017: PRP vows to sack APGA govt in Anambra.’ According to the story in Daily Sun of Monday, November14, 2016, a chieftain of the party assured that the party was battle ready to take over Government House, Awka, to ‘liberate the state from mediocrity in government circles.’ And from the social media came the thunder that the PPA is resolved to ‘unseat Governor Willie Obiano in 2017.’ Not to be outdone, a pioneer member but later disengaged functionary of the Obiano administration recently declared in a syndicated interview in some newspapers that ‘Anambra State has been hijacked and it is presumptuous to believe that we will leapfrog, if we continue on the present course.’ Of course, engagements on public issues are an essential feature of democracy. Debates offer a useful means of exchanges and cross fertilisation of ideas. It is by joining issues on matters of public interest that we achieve definitions, clarifications and fresh insights. With new knowledge, democratic standards are deepened and strengthened and the frontiers of good governance extended. But it must be added that this reward of the system is conditional on the merit of the input made by the actors. To do otherwise would be akin to

planting peanut and expecting to harvest pineapple. Anambra State deserves the best brand of leadership that can be realised in the prevailing circumstances and it would be worthwhile to hear those who offer to satisfy this need. Yet, it would amount to over – indulgence to expect us to form impressions of aspirant – candidates not from their visions but from their ambition! The context and manner in which much of Anambra’s recent gubernatorial journeys were set in motion speak more about private agenda, ego and adventure trips and less about a sense of public service. And the motive of private agenda could easily be to settle perceived political scores. But when the motivation is higher, there is invariably an access of visions. And it is not just an expression of visions but a striving to proffer alternatives to the prevailing order. Indeed, the people expect a display of superior vision to answer the question why they should transit from where they are. You do not leave a better paying job for one that offers less. The canvassers of change were overflowing with grandstanding but miserably lacking in the specifics of transformation. We have not heard a word on how to reduce dependence on federal revenue allocation. We have not heard a word from them on how to finance infrastructural projects in the face of declining oil production and revenue. We have not heard a word on how to handle agitations for wage increase and on reducing cost of governance. There is as yet no word on practical steps to mitigate the unemployment situation. In the face of such conspicuous omissions, the outbursts and prattling on change in the next governorship election would amount to no more than comic relief at a time of national socio – economic distress. Ifeanyi Afuba, Nimo, Anambra State


16

THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

FIDEL CASTRO (1926-2016) Global Leaders Hail Castro, Trump Calls him ‘Brutal Dictator’ Continued from Page 1 “As a great friend to Africa, countries in the Global South and the Non-Aligned Movement, Castro’s place in history is assured, given his sustained successful commitment and towering role in the liberation and anti-colonialism struggles in Africa,” Buhari said. South African President Jacob Zuma had warm words, thanking the Cuban leader for his help and support in the struggle to overthrow apartheid. “President Castro identified with our struggle against apartheid. He inspired the Cuban people to join us in our own struggle against apartheid,” Zuma said in a statement. Veteran Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga, whose son born in 1973 was named Fidel Castro Odhiambo Odinga in honor of the Cuban leader, said, “In many ways, Castro was a great friend and true friend of Africa and other parts of the world that had to fight long and bitter wars to attain freedom from colonialism. “Castro stood very firmly on the side of Africans who were fighting for the continent’s liberation from colonialism especially in Congo (now DRC), Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa. “In the case of Apartheid South Africa, Castro was one of the very few voices to speak against that system that was founded on a false sense of racial superiority with dire economic consequences for black people.” Cuba under Castro fiercely opposed South Africa’s apartheid regime and its western backers, and supported the African National Congress, the most prominent party in the nation’s liberation struggle. Nelson Mandela, the ANC leader and first president of postapartheid South Africa, was a deep admirer. “Comrade Castro’s leadership remains an inspiration to revolutionary movements committed to social justice worldwide,” the ANC said yesterday. However, American President-elect Donald Trump said; “Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights. While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.” His Vice President-elect Mike Pence towed the same line and on Twitter said: “The tyrant Castro is dead. New hope dawns. We will stand with the oppressed Cuban people for a free and democratic Cuba. Viva Cuba Libre!” Trump’s stance, was at variance with the general reaction; some described Castro in glowing terms, while others were more tempered. None though, was as overtly critical as the incoming American President. Mikhail Gorbachev, the final leader of the Soviet Union which had long acted as an economic and political prop for Cuba, said Castro left a lasting mark on his country and on world history. “Fidel held his ground and strengthened his country at the time of the harshest American blockade, at the time of massive pressure on him,” Gorbachev was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying. “Nevertheless he led out his country from the blockade to the path of self-sustained and independent development.” US President Barack Obama offered his condolences to Fidel Castro’s family and added that history would judge Castro’s impact on Cuba and around the world. “At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people,” Obama said. “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.” Russian President, Vladimir Putin said of Castro; “The free and independent Cuba, built by him and his comrades, has become an influential member of international society and served as an inspiring example for many countries and people. Fidel Castro was a frank and tried and true friend of Russia.” Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the Chinese people have lost a close comrade and a sincere friend. Xi hailed Castro for his contribution to the development of communism both in Cuba and around the world. French President Francois Hollande mourned the loss of a major figure on the world stage. “Fidel Castro was a towering figure of the 20th century. He incarnated the Cuban revolution, in both its hopes and subsequent disillusionments,” Hollande said in a statement. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged advances in education, literary and health under Castro, but said he hoped Cuba would “continue to advance on a path of reform, greater prosperity and human rights”. Pope Francis, who met Castro, an atheist, when he visited Cuba in 2015, called his death “sad news”. UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said; “Fidel Castro’s death marks the end of an era for Cuba and the start of a new one for Cuba’s people. Castro’s leadership of the 1959 Cuban Revolution marked him out as an historic if controversial figure. The UK will continue to work with the government of Cuba on a wide range of foreign policy priorities, including on human rights.” Also, in a measured statement, Spain’s foreign ministry said: “A figure of great historic importance has gone, a man who brought about a turning point in the country’s evolution and whose great influence was felt across the region. As the son of Spanish parents, former President Castro always maintained strong links with Spain and was bound by ties of blood and culture.” In Venezuela, a long-time ally of Cuba and staunch opponent of the political stance of the United States, President Nicolas Maduro said Castro had inspired and would continue to inspire his country. “We will keep on winning and keep fighting. Fidel Castro is an example of the fight for all the people of the world. We will go

Castro

forward with his legacy,” Maduro told television station Telesur by telephone. In Bolivia, where Ernesto “Che” Guevara died in 1967 in a failed bid to export Cuba’s revolution, President Evo Morales said in a statement: “Fidel Castro left us a legacy of having fought for the integration of the world’s peoples ... The departure of Comandante Fidel Castro really hurts.” In a statement, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation. While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante.” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said, “Cuba, our friend, managed under his leadership to withstand the strongest sanctions and oppressive campaigns witnessed in our recent history, becoming a beacon of liberation for the people of South America, and the people of the entire world. Fidel Castro’s name will live forever in the minds of generations and will inspire those aspiring to true independence and liberation from the yoke of colonialism and hegemony.” The leaders of Italy, Lebanon, Ecuador, Vietnam and many more also paid tribute to Castro.

Long Reign, Divided Opinions

Born Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz on August 13, 1926, he was the son of a wealthy farmer, Angel María Bautista Castro y Argiz, who had emigrated to Cuba from Spain and Lina Ruz González, a farm servant who became his father’s mistress, and later, after Fidel’s birth, his wife. During his reign which started in 1959, Castro held on to power longer than any other living national leader except Queen Elizabeth II. He became a towering international figure whose importance in the 20th century far exceeded what might have been expected from the head of state of a Caribbean island nation of 11 million people. Castro controlled most aspects of the island’s existence. From atop a Cuban Army tank, he directed his country’s defense at the Bay of Pigs. Countless details fell to him, from selecting the color of uniforms that Cuban soldiers wore in Angola to overseeing a program to produce a superbreed of milk cows. He personally set the goals for sugar harvests. He personally sent countless men to prison. He had both admirers and detractors in Cuba and around the world. Some saw him as a ruthless despot who trampled rights and freedoms; many others hailed him as a revolutionary hero for the ages. His legacy in Cuba and elsewhere has been a mixed record of social progress and abject poverty, of racial equality and political persecution, of medical advances and a degree of misery comparable to the conditions that existed in Cuba when he entered Havana as a victorious guerrilla commander in 1959. But beyond anything else, it was Castro’s obsession with the

United States, and America’s obsession with him, that shaped his rule. After he embraced Communism, Washington portrayed him as a devil and a tyrant and repeatedly tried to remove him from power through an ill-fated invasion at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, an economic embargo that has lasted decades and over 600 assassination plots. Castro’s defiance of American power made him a beacon of resistance in Latin America and elsewhere, and his bushy beard, long Cuban cigar and green fatigues became universal symbols of rebellion. The US cut ties with Cuba in 1961 amid rising Cold War tensions and imposed a strict economic embargo which remains in place more than half a century on. Under Barack Obama, the US-Cuba relationship warmed and diplomatic ties were restored in 2015 after decades of tension. Trump roundly criticised the policy on the campaign trail but made no mention of his pledge to reverse it in his statement. Throughout the Cold War, Fidel Castro was a thorn in Washington’s side. An accomplished tactician on the battlefield, he and his small army of guerrillas overthrew the military leader Fulgencio Batista in 1959 to widespread popular support. Within two years of taking power, he declared the revolution to be Marxist-Leninist in nature and allied the island nation firmly to the Soviet Union. Despite the constant threat of a US invasion as well as the longstanding economic embargo on the island, Castro managed to maintain a communist revolution in a nation just 90 miles (145km) off the coast of Florida. Despised by his critics as much as he was revered by his followers, he maintained his rule through 10 US presidents and survived scores of attempts on his life by the CIA. He has been cremated and a period of official mourning has been declared on the island until December 4, when his ashes will be laid to rest in the south-eastern city of Santiago.

CASTRO FACTS • Born 1926 in the south-eastern Oriente Province of Cuba • Imprisoned in 1953 after leading an unsuccessful rising against Batista’s regime • Released 1955 from prison under an amnesty deal • In 1956 Begins, along with Che Guevara, a guerrilla war against the government • Defeats Batista in 1959, sworn in as prime minister of Cuba • Fights off CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles in 1961 • Sparks Cuban missile crisis by agreeing that USSR can deploy nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962 • Elected president by Cuba’s National Assembly in 1976 • Reaches an agreement with US over Cuban refugees in 1992 • Hands over reins to brother Raul due to health issues in 2006, stands down as president in 2008


17

THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

FIDEL CASTRO 90 yEARS IN pICTuRES

Castro and his forces entered Havana in 1959

Castro as a young scholar

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and Castro during Cuban missile crisis in 1961

Castro with Pope John Paul II in 1998

Castro and Che Guevera in the 1960s

Castro and then-president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez in 2006

Mandela and Castro in 1998

Castro with Putin in 2014

One of the last times Castro was glimpsed was during the visit of the Vietnamese president in November this year


18

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2016 T H I S D AY


19

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

BUSINESS QUICK TAKES Seaports

Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, has promised to work with professionals in the maritime sector to make the ports attractive to business and boost the Nigerian economy. Bala-Usmanstatedthiswhenmembers of the Nigerian Ports Consultative Council(PCC)visitedherofficeinLagos. The NPA boss said she was more determined to close the gaps between the agency and the professionals by engagingtheminmostoftheauthority’s activities to promote port business. Shetoldthegroupthatshewouldneed their input and those of other professionals to move the industry forward. ShesaidtheNPAwouldfindsolutionto theissueofgridlockinApapaandfixthe access road to boost port operations Sheexpressedconcernoverotherchallengesfacingtheportsandassuredthe group of her determination to find a lasting solution to the problems. NPA, she added, would look critically at all the recommendations made by thegroup and promised to implement the good ones to boost the economy.

Financial Literacy

A typical Lagos market

Experts See Bright Economic Outlook, Predict Growth in 2017 Olaseni Durojaiye with agency report

Analysts at both Standard Chartered Bank and Moody’s have predicted a bright economic outlook for 2017 as they predicted that the nation’s economy would rebound from its current recession and record growth in 2017, despite the challenges posed by weaker oil earnings and foreign exchange. The two experts, Managing Director and Chief Economist, Global Research, Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, Razia Khan, and senior analytical adviser at Moody’s, Aurelien Mali, noted so in an advisory note and in an interview with Reuters respectively. While Khan predicted a 2.8 percent growth, Mali predicted 2.5 per cent expansion provided the country can achieve 2.2 million barrels per day production. Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy faces its worst economic crisis in 25 years, which was caused by low oil prices that have eroded both government reserves and spending, and shortage of the greenback in the system. According to Managing Di-

ECONOMY

rector and Chief Economist, Global Research, Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, Razia Khan, “Growth in the non-oil sector, which accounts for c.92 per cent of GDP, was finally positive (but only just, with ‘growth’ of 0.03 per cent y/y), following two consecutive y/y contractions in Q1 and Q2. While the flat non-oil GDP data marks some improvement versus previous quarters, there is little to suggest that it has meaningfully improved economic momentum. With no evidence of improved FX liquidity, and the FX shortage still one of the key constraints on activity in Nigeria, we now expect negative growth to persist in Q4-2016. Consequently, we lower our 2016 GDP forecast to -1.7 per cent y/y (0.4 per cent prior). “We raise our real GDP growth forecast for 2017, but only on a weaker base. Important reforms, not least those centered on Nigeria’s FX market, are required to unlock faster and more sustained economic growth, in our view. Despite the challenge posed by weaker oil earnings, Nigeria’s

record on economic reform to date has disappointed”, she stated. Khan also noted further that oil sector was in deeper contraction. According to her, “The big driver of the contraction in Q3 GDP was the decline in oil-sector growth, which the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics estimated average oil production at only 1.63mn barrels per day (mb/d), far below the 2.2mb/d assumed in the 2016 budget. This poor performance With resumption of oil production and the dollars that should come, we expect that Nigeria would be able to accelerate the implementation of the budget

came despite the resumption in August of amnesty payments to Niger Delta militants, and more optimistic official oil output projections. “Although early Q4 will likely have seen some improvement in oil production, we see little reason for optimism regarding the outlook. Talks between the presidency and community lead-

ers in the Niger Delta in early November failed to produce a conclusive outcome. These discussions were followed shortly by the resumption of attacks on oil installations (claimed by a separate militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers), reducing oil production by c.300,000 barrels per day (b/d). “Countering this are reports that locally owned companies, which contribute sizeably to onshore production in the Delta, are becoming more adept at dealing with pipeline attacks. There is talk of more transportation of oil via barges, allowing exports to continue even as pipelines are repaired, albeit at a higher cost and only in small amounts. However, to date, there has been little evidence of this being sufficient to lift production data. On his part, Mali explained that “With resumption of oil production and the dollars that should come, we expect that Nigeria would be able to accelerate the implementation of the budget,” Mali said. “With acceleration, we expect that (growth) could reach 2.5 percent next year,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema, has restated the exchange’scommitmenttothepromotion of financial literacy, saying NSE has implementedandsupportedanumber ofprogrammesinlinewiththeNational Financial Literacy Framework (NFLF), which contribute to raising the level of financial literacy in Nigeria. Onyema stated this at the 2016 NSE Essay Competition Award ceremony in Lagos, disclosing that, “to date, we have executed over 200 free capacity buildingworkshops,aimedatenhancing investor understanding of the basics of investing.” He said: “The multiplier effect of these workshops is phenomenal as approximately 16,000 retail investors from the grassroots can now make better investment decisions. Improving financial literacy is at the coreofwhatwedoattheNSEbecause we recognise that the ability to make well-informedfinancialdecisionsplays an important part in the capacity of individuals to manage financial matters well, a factor that can have either a negative or positive ripple effect on the economy. I am proud to say that with the NSE Essay Competition, we have established a strong foundation forimprovingthefinancialliteracyand capability of Nigerians.”

Economy

TopofficialsoftheFederalGovernment have met with the Commissioners of Budget and Economic Development and Permanent Secretaries of related departmentsinstatesofthefederation to get their inputs into the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. The gathering was an initiative of the FederalGovernmenttoharvestinputs from all segments of the country to produce an all-inclusive development plan that would pull the economy out of recession and set it on the path to sustainablegrowthanddevelopment. Inthelastthreeweeks,theFederalGovernmenthadconsultedwitheconomic experts,privatesectoroperators,academics and other stakeholders, which generatedveryinsightfulperspectives and ideas on issues to consider in the plan. The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, while addressing the opening session of the State Commissioners’ Roundtable said their inputs were necessary because of the critical role that the statesplayedintheNigerianeconomy.


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

20

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Setting the Economy on the Path of Recovery

The poor outing of the economy in the third quarter has, once again, necessitated the call on the monetary and fiscal authorities to rise to the occasion and stem the rising tide of negativity for better output, writes Kunle Aderinokun

T

he thrust expected in the economy seemed far-fetched as the challenges bedevilling it continued to weigh down outputs. This is evident in the data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on the Quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates last Monday, which showed that in the third quarter, the economy contracted by 2.26 per cent, signifying that it sank deeper than the second quarter when it recorded a negative real gross domestic growth of 2.06 per cent. The current GDP growth was lower by 0.18 percentage points from growth recorded in the preceding quarter and also lower by 5.08 percentage points from growth recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2015. But when assessed quarter on quarter (unadjusted for seasonality), the real GDP increased by 8.99 per cent. Just like in the previous quarter, identified as a major contributing factor to the woes of the economy is the continuous attack by militants on oil resources, its mainstay. According to NBS, the contraction in GDP was largely caused by the militancy in the Niger Delta, which resulted in a drop in oil output during the third quarter to 1.63 million barrels per day (mbpd) and the oil sector’s contribution to GDP, despite the rebound in the agriculture sector. During the quarter, aggregate GDP stood at N26,558,952.83 million (in nominal terms) at basic prices. Compared to the third quarter 2015 value of N24,313,636.94 million. Nominal GDP grew by 9.23 per cent. This growth was higher relative to growth recorded in the third quarter of 2015 by 3.22 percentage points. Specifically, the NBS noted that, “During the period under review, oil production according to NNPC, averaged at 1.63million barrels per day (mbpd), lower from production in second quarter of 2016. Oil production was also lower relative to the corresponding quarter in 2015 by 0.54million barrels per day when output was recorded at 2.17mbpd.” As a result, it pointed out, the real growth of the oil sector slowed by 22.01 per cent (year-on-year) in third quarter of 2016. This represented a decline relative to growth recorded in same quarter of 2015 at 1.06 per cent. Growth declined by 23.07 percentage points and 4.54 percentage points relative to growth in third quarter of 2015 and second quarter of 2016 respectively. Quarter-on-Quarter, growth was 8.07 percentage points. The nation’s statistical agency stated that, as a share of the economy, the oil sector, which contributed 8.19 per cent of total real GDP, went down from the figures recorded in the corresponding period of 2015 and the preceding quarter of 2016 recorded at 10.27 per cent and 8.26 per cent respectively. However, it was not all negative for the economy as a bit of positivity was recorded in the non- sector. According to NBS, growth in the non-oil sector was largely driven by the activities of agriculture (crop production), information & communication and other services. “The non-oil sector grew by 0.03 per cent in real terms in the third quarter of 2016, reversing the last two quarters of negative growth recorded in Q1 and Q2 2016. This was 0.41 per cent points higher from the second quarter of 2016, yet 3.03 percentage points lower from the corresponding quarter in 2015. In real terms, the non -oil sector contributed 91.81 per cent to the nation’s GDP, higher from shares recorded in the second quarter of 2016 (91.74 per cent) and the third quarter of 2015.” Below Expectation As it stands, the economy is deeper in recession, which it officially entered in the second quarter, having contracted for two consecutive quarters. A recession occurs if an economy has contracted for two consecutive quarters or longer but it is not expected to last for more than a year. It is a period of general economic decline characterised by high unemployment, high inflation, fall in retail sales, stagnation, amongst others. In the wake of the recession early September, the federal government had expressed the optimism that the economy would bounce by the second half of the year but aspirations appeared to be unattained with the current scheme of things. Specifically, despite the appalling outing of the economy as indicated by the NBS data in the second quarter, the presidency had contended that the nation’s economic outlook remained bright, irrespective of the contraction in the GDP growth rate recorded. According to a statement issued in Abuja last Wednesday by the Media Aide to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, the Presidency assured Nigerians that the second half of the year would be better. Apparently allaying the fears of Nigerians, the presidency in the statement, which quoted the Special Adviser to the President, Economic Matters, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, noted that the recession would be short-lived, assuring Nigerians that many of the challenges faced in

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun

the first half either no longer existed or had begun to ease. It pointed out that the data released by the NBS on the GDP growth rate, while confirming a temporary decline, also indicated hopeful expectations for the country’s economic trajectory. Besides, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, had the month earlier, while reacting to the projection of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the Nigerian economy would contract by 1.8 per cent this year, stated that even though the economy was ‘technically in recession’, the downturn would be short-lived as she was optimistic that the economy would bounce back by the third quarter of the year. Her optimism that the economy would come out stronger was predicated on the policies and programmes that the government had put in place to address the downturn.

sector of the economy posting growth above 4 per cent. It is now evident that we will close the year in negative territory.” Pointing out that, “This is clearly a man-made recession,” Adebajo lamented that, “the inability of government to finance its budget deficit and revenue shortfall 4 weeks to the end of the year means that the stimulus needed to boost the economy is not going to happen this year.” “To worsen the situation, the CBN has mismanaged the Naira and done nothing to restore confidence to the new flexible exchange rate system,” he added. Also, Executive Director, Corporate Finance, BGL Capital Ltd, Femi Ademola, was of the opinion that, “Since the government did not really do anything to spur growth, the decline in economic growth for the third quarter of 2016 shouldn’t come as surprise.” He lamented that, “While the fiscal authority is having challenges getting liquidity to boost the economy, the monetary authority that should lead the charge in curtailing the recession continues to play the blame game. It is therefore ludicrous to expect a different result.” According to him, “In an economic recession, the monetary authority is expected to help spur growth through a lower interest rate especially in our case where the prolonged monetary tightening was part of the cause of the recession. This is because monetary policies (are) short term and dynamic; hence they are very useful tool to deploy while the fiscal policies take longer term before the impact is felt. In addition, the fact that the current high inflation is cost push should necessarily have made the authority to lower interest rate while using other monetary policy tools to curb excess liquidity. “The fiscal authority also need to do all to reflate the economy. As experienced in the US in 2008/2009 when the country faced economic crisis, there is need to spend more money on critical infrastructure so as to get more people engaged in economic activities and also increase consumption. The fund needed for this may have to be borrowed, again as seen in the US; hence the National Assembly should work with the executive as much as possible to get the borrowing plan sorted. Going forward, Ademola believed the actions stated in the foregoing, “supported by other unconventional monetary policies such as intervention in critical sectors of the economy, would get us out of the economic recession if well-articulated and implemented.” To Chief Executive Officer, Global Analytics Consulting Ltd, Tope Fasua, development is “exasperating.” “Perhaps because of the 4-year tenure of our governments, their views are rather short-term in nature. And so are the panaceas being offered. We have a fundamental problem in Nigeria and these times offer the best opportunity for us to finally do something tangible about them. Adducing these problems to crude oil - whether the fall in prices, or disruption in production - is a tragedy in itself. “Nigerian economy currently bears all the symptoms of a proper depression, and that is usually results from Stagflation. The solutions are beyond the realm of economics, and require very deep thinking and clear-mindedness, plus a healthy dollop of selflessness. I’m afraid, these are rare commodities to find in today’s Nigeria. Things may get worse,” he submitted.

Discouraging Outlook, Way Out Meanwhile, with the turn of event, economic analysts and observers have reacted and expressed their opinions as to the direction the economy would take. Managing Director and Chief Economist, Africa, Global Research, Standard Chartered, Razia Khan, noted that going by the data of the Q3 GDP, Nigeria’s economy would close the 2016 in negative growth. “Our expectation of a more modest decline in Q3 GDP data versus the contraction of 2.1 per cent y/y in Q2-2016 proved to be unfounded.” According to her, “The latest data has revealed a much-larger-than-expected decline in real GDP for Q3-2016, with the Nigerian economy contracting 2.24 per cent y/y. This weakness was largely the result of an outsized fall in the oil sector (down 22 per cent y/y), exceeding the y/y drop in Q2-2016 (17.5 per cent y/y), despite the resumption of amnesty payments to Niger Delta militants in August. “Growth in the non-oil sector, which accounts for c.92 per cent of GDP, was finally positive (but only just, with ‘growth’ of 0.03 per cent y/y), following two consecutive y/y contractions in Q1 and Q2. While the flat non-oil GDP data marks some improvement versus previous quarters, there is little to suggest meaningfully improved economic momentum.” In fact, Khan pointed out that, “With no evidence of improved FX liquidity, and the FX shortage still one of the key constraints on activity in Nigeria, we now expect negative growth to persist in Q4-2016. “Consequently, we lower our 2016 GDP forecast to -1.7 per cent y/y (0.4 per cent prior). We raise our real GDP growth forecast for 2017, but only on a weaker base. Important reforms, not least those centred on Nigeria’s FX market, are required to unlock faster and more sustained economic growth, in our view. Despite the challenge posed by weaker oil earnings, Nigeria’s record on economic reform to date has disappointed.” Painting a gloomy picture for the economy, Chief Executive Officer, The CFG Advisory, Adetilewa Adebajo, feared that, “There is still momentum on the downward growth trajectory for the economy as a whole so recession in going into depression.” Aligning with Khan, he added that, “While the non-oil economy seems to have bottomed out, it’s only agric and a generic “others”


21

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 20, 2016

BUSINESS/MONEY

The Rising Threat to Retail Bank Lending

At a recent workshop on retail banking, participants, notably, banking executives, shared knowledge and identified a growing threat to their operations, reports Olaseni Durojaiye

T

he inaugural Nigerian Retail Banking Workshop has identified the rise in the market share of unorthodox money lending companies as a challenge to the growth of retail banking in the country even as participants identified opportunities in made in Nigeria goods for the growth of retail banking in the country. Retail banking, also known as consumer banking, is the typical mass-market banking in which individual customers use local branches of larger commercial banks for their banking needs. Services offered include savings and checking accounts, mortgages, personal loans, debit/credit cards and certificates of deposit. The workshop, which held in Lagos recently, proved to be a successful interactive session as bank executives shared knowledge on retail banking, common problems as well opportunities that are inherent in the huge population of Nigerians. The workshop also identified agent banking as a strategy to further deepen financial inclusion in the country. However, a major talking point at the session was the gradual incursion into an aspect of retail banking by money lending business concerns. Described as “disruptive financial service providers,” nimble and flexible in their operations, participants identified the preference among banks for a loan seeker’s employer rather than his personality as one of the reasons behind the noticeable rise in their market share. The breakfast workshop organised by Ciuci Consulting, had in attendance executives of 17 banks, who contributed to the robust discussions that addressed several key challenges in the industry. Many of the attendees were drawn from retail banking sections of the various banks that participated at the session. The banks included First Bank Nigeria Limited, United Bank for Africa, Fidelity Bank, Heritage Bank, Ecobank and Unity Bank Plc. Others are Zenith Bank, Sterling Bank, Access Bank among others. Discussion Topics The topics covered at the workshop includes the implication of ‘made in Nigeria’ in retail banking; Digitisation versus Digitalisation; the characteristics of retail lending in Nigeria and the opportunity in the unbanked. The discussants were chief operations and information officer, Fidelity Bank Plc, Gbolahan Joshua; Head, CASA and Bancassurance, Ecobank, Adeola Dare, who stood in for the bank’s Group Head, Personal banking, Korede Demola-Adeniyi; Group Head, Lagos Island, Retail Banking, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Funke Smith and Chief Information Officer, Heritage Bank Plc, Ike Williams. Managing Consultant, Ciuci Consulting, Chukwuka Monye, moderated the session. Funke Smith of Firstbank explained how sole proprietorships can take advantage of the new focus on ‘made in Nigeria’. She stated that they need to be well structured to enable them better position for different forms of funding that are available, while Adeola Dare of Ecobank shared different ways banks could improve on financial inclusion. Slow Response to Loss of Market Share A key concern shared by many of the participants is the slow response of banks to market share loss by disruptive financial service providers. Even though there was no data to back the claim, the gathering agreed that the loan merchants may have taken as much as 15 per cent of the market share of the commercial banks and traced their ability to do so to factors that include: lower interest rate and flexibility as they are given

Customers in a banking hall

to less documentation and the speed. Besides, participants also agreed that they record low default rate even though their low portfolios are far less to that of conventional banks. Speaking at the workshop, one executive with Unity Bank Plc, who gave his name simply as Funwa, noted that, “As we speak, these companies have control of about 15 per cent of the retail banking lending. We don’t seem to know because of absence of data. Soon they’ll go beyond micro lending into SME financing because they are flexible and innovative.” Another executive, who wouldn’t give his name, alerted that, “If we are not careful, these firms will eat our cheese. We must be better organised to better meet the requirements of an effective retail operation. The disruptive financial service providers are nimble and have an effective operational structure, that is the reason why even bank employees go to them for short-term loans”, he stated. However, opinions differ on how to respond to the threat that the disruptive financial service providers pose to retail lending. While some suggested collaboration, others opined that commercial banks could learn one or two things from the way they operate, arguing that many of the promoters of the business were former bankers who know the system and were exploiting it to their advantage. Regulatory Constraint Interestingly, another revelation was the need for the review of banking regulations which some participants claimed has become a constraint on industry competitiveness. Many of the participants shared the frustration of regulatory constraint and highlighted the fact that many of the laws that banks must abide by were written in 1991 adding that the banking landscape has changed dramatically since. Accordingly, banks could only implement risk management solutions that are approved by the regulators; therefore it is crucial that the banks and the regulators collaborate to develop an effective framework that guides

retail-lending activities. However, Chief Operations and Information Officer of Fidelity Bank, Gbolahan Joshua, noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was developing some programmes that will make credit risk requirements more flexible and effective. Besides, he expressed the need for collaboration between telcos and related service providers as critical to deepening retail banking services, sharing insights on some of the successes of mobile credit lending strategies. Misapplication of Intelligence and Analytics Meanwhile, an important aspect of the discussion

However, opinions differ on how to respond to the threat that the disruptive financial service providers pose to retail lending. While some suggested collaboration, others opined that commercial banks could learn one or two things from the way they operate, arguing that many of the promoters of the business were former bankers who know the system and were exploiting it to their advantage

focused on the misapplication of intelligence and analytics amongst bank. These capabilities were expressed as a crucial function and highlighted as an area that needed attention by all the retail banks. Williams, the chief information officer of Heritage Bank, explained how the lack of intelligence and analytics led to the wrong rationalisation of some banks’ branches. “Banks are re-opening some branches they should not have shut down in the first place, they were misinformed.” Profitable Consumer Behaviours In his presentation to round off the session, Monye shared some sample analyses, beneficial to the banks. He focused on how banks could identify profitable customer behaviour, using an illustration that was based on customers’ usage of internet-based banking platforms, which have lower costs to serve customers than branches. The illustration described Profitable Customer Behaviour as “trends and habits of customers that leads to increasing profits for the organization” adding that, “for retail banking, these are customers’ characteristics that directly relates to banking products and services. Accordingly, the illustration listed some profitable consumer behaviours for retail banks to monitor to include: positive customer perception of banks, customer loyalty, customer adoption rate of bank product and services, frequency of use of bank products and customer channel preference for engaging banks and financial activities. Based on this illustration, Diamond Bank, First Bank and Access Bank came first, second and third respectively in the 2015 Most Profitable Customer Behaviour by Internet-based banking platform usage. Sterling Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Skye Bank formed the bottom three in that other. The illustration tagged an analysis of banks’ profitable Customer Behaviours for Retail Banks in 2015 was also presented during the workshop.


22

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

INTERVIEW

Joe-Ezigbo: Implementation of Gas Policies will Drive Demand, Revenue Opportunities for Investors

Mrs. Audrey Joe-Ezigbo is co-founder and executive director of Falcon Corporation Ltd, a wholly indigenous conglomerate with diverse portfolio of investments in oil & gas, energy and infrastructure, amongst others. A recent winner of the ‘Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year West Africa Award’, Joe-Ezigbo speaks to Kunle Aderinokun on economic diversification, its dependency on the power sector, the industry reforms and investment opportunities in the gas sector

F

alcon Corporation Ltd is a 22-year-old company. Now, looking back to its advent; coming from outside of the oil and gas industry, what inspired your entrepreneurial drive and what drove your choice of the industry to invest in?

If you are driven by the spirit of entrepreneurship, you see only opportunities only where there are challenges. Falcon was birthed out of a realisation that the founding partners both shared some very key attributes, which over time, we came to realise, had the potential to create something truly exceptional. Though, we were in different streams of academia, we both had strong entrepreneurial aspirations and had been involved in one form of venture or the other on a small scale in our individual capacities at the time. We were both committed and determined people, who are driven by excellence and creativity. Indeed, the choice of the name Falcon is a reflection of our innate strength, resilience, dexterity and focus; all core characteristics of our Falcon Brand. The name Falcon spoke then and still speaks to the heights to which our company soars, and the much more robust future we are both confident Falcon will achieve. Take-off for us was tough. We had very little resources at hand, and our initial investment was very quickly exhausted. Initially, the company was set up with the intention of producing and marketing an array of lubricants out of petroleum bi-products. However, the circumstances playing out within the industry at that time did not allow that aspiration to be birthed. We built and leveraged goodwill that allowed Falcon initial registrations and small projects within and outside of the petroleum industry that sustained the operations of the company through those early years. Our humble beginnings notwithstanding, we had clarity from the start that Falcon would need to deliver excellent customer service in order to build credibility with any client that gave us an opportunity to be of service. We understood that building a reputation of service excellence from the start was the foundation that would allow us to grow into executing larger projects in and out of the oil and gas sectors.

What was your first breakthrough in the industry?

The beginning was very difficult like I said. Falcon was registered with a few of the IOC’s and we were ready to take the market but it was difficult getting a head-start. Everyone wanted you to have experience, but no one was willing to give you a project that would allow you gain exactly that experience. It was the proverbial chicken-and-egg type of conflict that start-up entrepreneurs face everywhere. Initially, we were not even given the opportunity to tender for any projects, and then eventually we found ourselves tendering for an uncountable number of projects without success. We submitted all manner of proposals and made all sorts of presentations to no avail. Those were really hard days and there were days we couldn’t put food on the table but we survived and continued to look into the future with optimism. We understood that we needed to make personal sacrifices, and make even more of an investment of time, hard work and effort in order to attain that future. The industry at the time was also very much skewed towards giving opportunities to companies that profiled foreign technical partnerships or ownerships, and/or a high quota of expatriate staff, whereas Falcon was a wholly indigenous company very much convinced that we could make significant impact and add value to the industry notwithstanding. As you can see today, this strategy has paid off. With the FGN Local Content drive, the industry has evolved and serious local contenders such as Falcon are more strategically positioned to plug into major industry opportunities that were previously the exclusive preserve of foreign players. Our big break actually began with a very small project. We had done extensive work towards carrying out a gas distribution project in the eastern part of Nigeria years ago. We made several presentations to the authorities and the gas owners, but surprisingly had the rug pulled out from beneath us just when we thought it was all agreed upon. We bounced back very quickly and proactively found a way to remain involved and to support the system by offering our services in pipeline construction, equipment modification, installation

Joe-Ezigbo

and commissioning, and training which we did for several years. We got a small break with an opportunity to construct the gas distribution pipeline for the first company to use Natural Gas in the greater Lagos area as this then paved the way for our constructing at least 80 percent of the internal industrial gas utilisation projects within Lagos and Ogun States today. In retrospect, we must say it was good that things happened the way they did because it gave us time to get more grounded in the system and perfecting our systems and structures. When the Ikorodu project became available we were more than ready and won the bid ahead of other multinationals that also bid for it. There was a lot of pressure as competitors questioned our ability to deliver on the project and the bid exercise was repeated three different times. We did not give up; we continued to put our best foot forward and came up heads each time such that we were finally awarded the franchise in December of 2004. We signed the final sets of agreements with NGC in August 2005, obtained all design approvals and were given the go-ahead to commence construction by February 2006, and we delivered the project in just seven months by November 2006. Today, we have grown the operations in that franchise and currently provide alternate natural gas as fuel to several manufacturing companies in Ikorodu and also bringing about positive impact to the community, families and the environment as a whole.

strictly only in areas of works and on project-related equipment which are otherwise not locally available. In the early days, we were driven more by the conviction that we would be successful at whatever sector we settle for. We actually never understood well enough at the beginning that the oil industry at that point was completely driven by the multi-nationals. It was very unique to see that most of the organisations’ strategic management positions were filled by Nigerians. With our state of naivety then and driven by excellence, we were inspired to deliver quality beyond our clients’ expectations. So for us, local content was originally ingrained in our operations even before it became driven by regulation. Today, we remain a wholly indigenous organisation that strongly believes in and supports the Nigerian Local Content policy thrust. Our employment policy mirrors this as Nigerians with appropriate skill set are offered jobs in preference to foreign nationals. They are developed further through trainings both locally and abroad on a continuous basis. Expatriate engagement in any aspect of our work is solely for knowledge transfer purposes. We take these steps to create deliberate opportunities for indigenous participation in tender exercises involving stiff competition and high capital investment and technology. In so doing, we encourage local companies to invest in equipment and facilities as well as in training to enhance their capabilities, and grow from being agents to local companies that The oil and gas industry has been dominated by multi- are able to provide value-adding technical services in the medium nationals and there has been the Nigerian content. Has it to high technology sectors.

helped you a lot or was it just your own initiative?

From inception, we had maintained a wholly local content in all Falcon participated in the recent Nigeria Gas Association aspects of our operations, drawing on foreign technical expertise conference in Abuja. What was the takeaway for Falcon? And


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

23

INTERVIEW Joe-Ezigbo: Implementation of Gas Policies will Drive Demand, Revenue Opportunities for Investors how are you harnessing the opportunities that emerged from the meetings?

Let me state first of all, that Falcon is not new to the NGA, I have been sitting on the NGA Executive Committee for the last 8 years and I’m currently the 2nd Vice President of the NGA, so our engagement has been robust in terms of being corporate members, in the inner workings of the council, and as a strong player in the industry. The recent conference is very strategic considering the industry today finds itself at a critical tipping point. All our aspirations as a nation in terms of diversification are hinged on one key thing and that is the power sector. While we are working on solutions from other innovative technologies such as solar, renewables and the like; we cannot take away the fact that gas-to-power presents the nearest-term options towards resolving the power conundrum in Nigeria on the scale that is required, and as such there is an urgency that must be employed towards resolving the issues that are pervasive across the gas-to-power value chain. As players in the gas space who appreciate this therefore, it was interesting for us as Falcon to hear and experience the quality of the discourse at the NGA conference, in terms of where we are as an industry and what we need to do to maximise the inherent increasing investment opportunities that exist despite the myriad challenges. The conference served to validate strategies we had adopted to progress some of the opportunities that we had already identified as being viable, and which will aid us in channelling our investments for maximum impact. Prior to now, we have been exploring some opportunities in the LPG sector, which we have positioned to make incursion into. Many of the conference presentations and conversations, and the pronouncements by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, regarding provisions within the draft National Gas Policy for the restructuring of the entire industry to create a segregation of the upstream, midstream and the downstream sectors, served to validate our own objectives and plans in this regard.

Talking about a company, which has existed for more than two decades, Falcon has made its marks in the industry but not without attendant challenges. What have been the challenges?

The challenges that sector participants face are numerous and multi-dimensional. Ours has always been an industry fraught with various issues and risks, but I dare say these have been grossly exacerbated by the current state of the economy and the attendant impact on the general environment of business. Over the years, we have had to deal with the technical and operational constraints attendant to the country not having in-country manufacturing capabilities for certain aspects of requirements on projects, such that there in inadvertently an international market dependency for some critical resources, be it niche technical skillsets or material resources and equipment. Thankfully, the situation has improved over the years, but we are still a long way from attaining the level of resource independence that we have the potential to achieve. The issue of funding constraints cannot be over emphasised. The sector is highly capital intensive and projects are mid to long term in nature, whereas available funding was traditionally short-term, and today is more mid-term than long; and not to mention the high interest rate regimes that we have to contend with. In our early days, we struggled with demonstrating capacity, so funding was a daunting issue then but over the years, as we demonstrated capacity and strength in delivering superior solutions, our operations kept growing and we began to have significant support from the banks and those life lines brought about significant leap in our operations today. Of course, we have, as well backed this by very efficient financial planning and prudent cost management. Our current constraints stem from the exchange rate regimes currently prevalent, which have almost doubled the capex outlays projected for our expansion projects, a situation that is impacting all sectors and which, we are working to resolve through a scaling of our projects. Over the years, human resources have also posed a challenge, both in terms of getting the right skills and competencies, and more so in people who share our values and commitment to doing business in an ethical manner. We have addressed this at Falcon by placing a premium on training to ensure that our people are the best they can be and that they of course remain ahead of the

Joe-Ezigbo

market; and backing this with the imprinting of our core values in the hearts and heads of our people through various robust engagements. We also have a very strong leadership that exemplifies the values we hold, and this has helped us to keep our core teams committed over the years.

Falcon Corporation was appointed into a Lagos State Government Special Committee on Power called Light up Lagos Committee under the leadership of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. Could you let us into how your firm made the committee membership? And, what is Falcon’s role in this committee?

I believe what Governor Ambode tried to do was to look at who are the leading and strategic players in the energy space, who can bring value to the Light up Lagos initiative and process. The Lagos State Government has a huge aspiration in terms of powering up Lagos. This is somewhat an offshoot of what ex-Governor Fashola started and I’m glad to see that consistency and continuity. Falcon Corporation’s positioning as the operator of the Ikorodu Natural Gas franchise is strategic and this was duly recognised by the Lagos State government. Our AGI and pipeline network within the Ikorodu gas franchise has been identified as key infrastructure that is critical to enabling gas supply that will back various power plants envisioned within the initiative. A lot of work has gone in that area, including the robust roadmap that has been developed, as well as the technical validation currently going on. At Falcon, we understand our role as enablers and remain committed to ensuring that the gas requirement is met. The current administration under Kachikwu has separated gas from oil. With the establishment of a gas sector and availability of $51billion worth of investments, how is Falcon taking position to harness the opportunities that are inherent?

As you are aware, Falcon had taken a strong position in the industry long before we got to this point. Thus, we have our investment options and strategies and processes have been laid out well ahead of these policy developments, and as I said earlier, the policy provisions only serve to validate the path we had chosen where the expansion of the frontiers of our business is concerned. Based on detailed research and industry knowledge for instance, it was very clear to us that one of our key expansions would be in the LPG sector. We understood that ultimately the kerosene subsidy would have to go because it was not sustainable in many ways, not to mention the unwarranted environmental and health impacts. We understood that the tapping of opportunities we could foresee would be a question of which investors would be savvy and proactive enough to play leading roles in what will certainly be a huge transformation of the sector going forward. For us there was a clear answer that companies like Falcon, who take the initiative and bear the early mover market risks will also come out more strongly positioned in

the long run. In addition, there is the fact that as an institution, our corporate focus is on viable investment opportunities within Nigeria and across Africa. We are constantly scanning the environment looking for opportunities for us to deepen our footprints in the gas sector, as well as in other sectors that present interesting investment options to us.

Several global reforms are pushing for clean energy. How does that portend for growth in natural gas demand and revenue opportunity from that sub-sector?

With increasing concern over the environmental effects of burning fossil fuels, the call for a more sustainable resource base has never been louder. Both developed and developing nations are currently transitioning to a renewable energy-base, which depends on an assortment of primary energy sources to produce electricity, like natural gas, biomass, oil and other renewables. The consumption of natural gas worldwide is projected to increase to 203 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2040 from the 120 Tcf it was in 2012. Natural gas remains a key fuel in the industrial sector. In the power sector, natural gas is an attractive choice for new generating plants because of its fuel efficiency. Natural gas also burns cleaner than coal or petroleum products, and the more we see governments at both national and regional levels begin to implement gas plans the more the increase in demand and invariably revenue opportunity. As a nation, therefore, we need to start paying more attention to the issue of carbon credits. We must become strategic and deliberate in rewarding and or recognising compliance to clean energy in a manner that operators and industry participants across various sectors of the industry can see the tangible advantages whether in terms of fiscal incentives, or other reward framework that would grossly increase growth. With regulatory frameworks that can drive the translation directly to business bottom line, there would be no doubt a huge embrace that would translate to consistently increased operation and output.

What are the key milestones recorded by Falcon in the last two decades of operation?

We recently marked 22 years of operation in the oil and gas sector and this is quite exciting. It’s remarkable to be in operations for twenty something long years playing in the oil and gas sector through a diverse portfolio of services that cut across engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) as well as natural gas distribution. We, however, remember each day and each year with nostalgia as every aspect of this journey was challenging, remarkable and also inspiring. There have been several milestones as we made the journey to where we are today. The most significant however which we remain very excited about and reference often is our Ikorodu Gas franchise. For two reasons: first, Falcon was a young indigenous company going head-to-head

Cont’d from Pg. 22

with multinationals to bid for a project we knew we were highly capable of and strongly positioned to deliver. Secondly, beyond being able to win the franchise, Falcon has consistently continued to deliver on the projects in a timely manner. Our unwavering commitment to excellence saw us through and today remains a key driver of our business, and we have several industry recognitions and awards that attest to this. If you knew the history and background to this project then you would understand why we are very fulfilled taking it to such great new level. PZ Ikorodu had the first gas delivered by NGC about eight years earlier and everything had thereafter stagnated. By the time Falcon won the franchise in 2005, a few of the industries had actually shutdown and relocated their operations to other franchise areas where natural gas was already being delivered, and there was apathy among the existing industries within Ikorodu who did not believe gas supply to them was still a possibility. But with our record of performance our organisation is known for, we threw all that is required into the project and we delivered and commissioned our first gas in November 2006. For us that was a big break that changed the dynamics of the entire landscape. Another thing that was very notable was a venture capital partnership that we had with the African Capital Alliance Group. For us, it was an attestation of how we had been able to position ourselves internally in terms of established earnings potential, corporate structure, sound policies and effective governance to make ourselves attractive enough for that kind of investment to come in and that helped to up the ante for Falcon. Backed by the ACA investment, we were able to take on bigger projects. As you are aware, banks rarely want to fund long-term projects, but with the partnership with African Capital Alliance Group, we moved to a position of strength and it opened the doors for cheaper longer-term financing, which enabled us execute our projects, purse our growth and expansionist vision as well as deliver value to our stakeholders. The investment in Falcon is still noised within the ACA group as one of the most significant and successful investments in the group’s portfolio over the years. We still ride on that as we take on bigger mandates. Still talking milestones, in line with our value of quality, Falcon attained our certification to the ISO 9001: 2008 Standard 4 years ago. We have maintained that certification all these years which is an endorsement of our passion for quality, international best practice, customer satisfaction, and continual improvement in all facets of our operations. In the beginning, every one asked us the question: “who are your technical partners?” That for us was the biggest hurdle we had to surmount. It was surprising that this budding enterprise had no international affiliations yet delivered projects that were of world class standard. Right from within our Falcon Group, we designed, constructed and commissioned the Ikorodu pipeline system. Our delivery on this not only earned us the seal of quality we needed for our operation, it also earned us trust within the industry. Most importantly, it reinforced our confidence that there is no limit to our potential and growth. So with our demonstrable capabilities and track records, the quality seal and the committed and passionate people on our team, we are indeed positioned for the top.

And what is the future outlook for Falcon?

Falcon’s strategic growth initiatives are robust and we look into the future with so much optimism. We would continuously seek opportunities were they exist. One of our core objectives is to remain the local distribution company of choice, meeting and contributing to the nation’s energy need. Falcon is assiduously forging towards an entry into upstream Gas supply side, while working to deploy other innovative delivery alternatives in downstream and midstream Gas transmission and processing. We are expanding our EPC competencies through the acquisition of additional highly specialised technical equipment and more technical skills training. Our end objective is to become a major player in the upstream sector of Nigeria’s oil, as well as gas industry. As a group, we have evolved into a full business conglomerate with strength and competencies in providing services in not just EPC and gas distribution, but also in the energy and real estate sectors of the economy. We would continuously create value, contributing further to local skills and technological development through strategic partnerships.w


24

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

BUSINESS/ENERGY

As NEITI Expands Resources Accountability Framework…

The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) believes it will be reckless for Nigerians to stop asking more questions about how incomes realised from the nation’s abundant natural resources are spent as the government is yet to account for about N70 trillion it earned from oil and gas production between 1999 and 2014, writes Chineme Okafor

“A

t a time when most resource-intensive countries are in financial turmoil on account of fall in commodity prices, it is tempting to rain on the openness parade, especially with a country that made more than N70 trillion from oil and gas between 1999 and 2014 to slump into economic recession in the second quarter of 2016. By all means, we should ask the N70 trillion question: where did all the money go? “But we should never give up on transparency. At a time like this, we need more openness, not less. NEITI will continue to push the envelope on transparency and accountability. We are already going beyond revenue transparency, we are already on the bandwagon of ownership transparency, and we will do more work on expenditure transparency,”said the Executive Secretary of the NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio. Adio said these in his opening remarks at a recent workshop sponsored by the Natural Resources Governance Institute (NRGI) and Department for International Development (DFID) for stakeholders in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to discuss a new roadmap for disclosing the beneficial owners of all companies that do business in their extractive sectors. Nine EITI-implementing countries within the Anglophone and Lusophone countries (English and Portuguese speaking countries) in Africa – Nigeria which hosted, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Ethiopia, as well as Sao Tome en Principe, were at the workshop in Abuja. By agreeing to host the workshop, Adio said it was part of efforts to buttress Nigeria’s commitment to openness and the principles held by the global EITI, and which its member countries have subscribed to. He noted that the global EITI requires all its implementing countries to publish a roadmap for disclosing the beneficial owners of companies doing businesses in their extractive sectors by January 1, 2017, adding that the mandatory disclosure of beneficial owners of companies in the reports of implementing countries was a new requirement introduced by EITI to push the boundaries of transparency and accountability in the management of oil, gas and mining revenues to reduce poverty and support national development of its member countries. Why More Openness? According to Adio, the NEITI opted to become very active on the beneficial ownership framework of the EITI based on Nigeria’s poor management of her extractive industries revenues, and the tendency that the ‘business as usual’ approach to issues of accountability in the sector could continue. He said there had been instances of shrouded ownership details in the extractive sector, which makes NEITI’s request for thorough accountability quite difficult. The country, he added, had lost revenues to people and operators whose identities had been protected by the lack of such framework as proposed by the EITI, hence the need to embrace the new framework. Adio equally said Nigeria’s full implementation of the beneficial ownership disclosure was among the main features of the London Anti-corruption declaration, which she signed to, and requiring that governments ensure the opening of a public register of beneficial owners of corporate companies that bid for, operate or invest in extractive assets in their countries. “Nigeria, through NEITI, has some experience in capturing beneficial owners in our audit reports on the extractive sector, specifically our 2012 and 2013 reports. We did this as part of an EITI pilot

NEITI, Executive Secretary Waziri Adio (middle), discussing with the facilitator on beneficial ownership disclosure. “With that experience, we could approach the task of developing a roadmap on beneficial ownership disclosure as a walk in the park. But no, we said. “The pilot phase gave experience no doubt, but also exposed us to the challenges of cutting through the tangled web of companies’ownership structure, which in most cases is deliberately constructed to obscure the real beneficiaries of extractive assets, to deny society of due and just benefits from these assets, and sometimes to disguise criminal and dangerous enterprises,” he stated. One of the lessons NEITI got from its pilot on beneficial ownership disclosure, Adio added, was that cutting through the maze of hidden ownership will require actions in different domains and by different actors. He noted in this regard:“There will be need for new regulations, new policies and new legislations. There will be need for collaboration, for harmonisation, for advocacy, for investigations, and for mobilisation. “This is why we have opted for a consultative workshop for the development of this roadmap. We believe that a joined-up approach will help not only to sensitise the different stakeholders but also to allow us to draw from the collective wisdom of all who have stakes in this endeavour.” Further buttressing the need for increased openness in accounting for extractive revenues through the beneficiaries’ownership framework, Adio explained:“It is our considered view that ownership transparency, when pursued effectively, is in the best interest of all. “Investors benefit from a transparent and predictable business environment not rigged in favour of fronts of those in government, the country reaps dividends from improved investment climate and earns additional revenues that would have been lost to tax avoidance and evasion, transfer pricing, over- or under-invoicing, and the citizens profit from

reduced corruption, increase in pool of resources available for human development, and reduction in risks arising from money laundering and drug and terrorism financing.” Government’s Backing Based on Nigeria’s reported reputation of halfcommitment to international protocols or better still, irregular implementation of such transparency frameworks majorly on the accounts of governments’ cronyism, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who also seats as NEITI’s board chair, assured that the government would show its full backing on this to amplify NEITI’s accountability works.

This is why we have opted for a consultative workshop for the development of this roadmap. We believe that a joined-up approach will help not only to sensitise the different stakeholders but also to allow us to draw from the collective wisdom of all who have stakes in this endeavour

Fayemi said the principle of ownership transparency in the extractive sector was consistent with the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to open, transparent and accountable management of the Nigeria’s resources. “This was clearly in evidence at the London Summit in May which the President personally attended and where he signed up to the Open Government Partnership, made definite commitment to full implementation of the Open Contracting Data Standard and also proclaimed full endorsement of the EITI Standard,” said Fayemi. He added that, “All these commitments align with the President’s personal conviction and the anti-corruption thrust of his administration.” He, however, stated that a rounded outcome on sustained extractive revenues transparency may not come from just the enactment of the framework, but more from its implementation and ownership by Nigerians. The minister in this regard underscored the need for Nigerians to continue to ask questions and advocate improved transparency regime in the extractive sector. “Without attempting to pour cold water on your enthusiasm, let me say that having a publicly accessible register of the beneficial owners of extractive companies will be a major achievement, but it won’t be a silver bullet. “The register will offer leads, but it won’t get the job done. We still need different stakeholders to do their parts: citizens, civic groups and the media to search, to probe, to advocate, to ask questions, to mobilise others to action. “The register shouldn’t be an end by itself. It should be another openness tool, which if skillfully deployed, can be used to change both the narrative and the trajectory of our country for the overall benefits of our people,” Fayemi said.


25

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

BUSINESS/ ECONOMY

Imperatives of Market Data for Sound Investment Decisions

Kunle Aderinokun

R

ecognising the important role of data in making sound investment decisions, The Nigerian Stock Exchange recently hosted a thought leadership workshop on market data themed: “Understanding Market Data for Savvy Investing and Wealth Creation”. The conversation was indeed apt for many reasons. As the operating environment becomes more challenging, impacting disposable income of investors, it is important that all investments in the capital market should be informed and cerebral. Added to this, is the introduction of new products beyond equities such as exchange traded funds, forwards and the anticipated launch of derivatives in Nigeria. Evolving technology also makes this imperative in a not-so-distant future, retail investors will have little reliance on the word of mouth of their brokerage firms. More than 500 attendees gathered at the workshop and they included investors, market data aggregators, exchanges and market regulators, government agencies, dealing members, telecommunication operators and other stakeholders from the capital market ecosystem. Trading Engine In 2013, The NSE deployed X-GEN, a next generation trading platform that has contributed to increasing market access, order flow and market transparency. This trading platform has birthed many offerings such as the X- Compliance- a report, which is designed to maintain market integrity by providing compliance related information on all listed companies; X-Qual A tool which enables an analytical investor get better prices before placing an order; X-Web- a top notch website that draws real-time information from the X Gen; X-Whistle- a programme, which enables a whistle blower to report possible violations of the rules and regulations of the Exchange and the securities law; X-Issuer- a portal through which the financials of listed companies can be filed and accessed and X-Boss- a system, which automates the regulatory and oversight functions of the exchange over its dealing members and ultimately simplifies the regulatory experience. The platform also makes it easy to access market data on a real-time basis. For the stock exchange, it was a strategic coincidence to commemorate the third year anniversary of X-Gen with a market data workshop that could stimulate increased trading on the exchange. The Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Oscar N. Onyema, draws this parallel even better when he remarked that, “the delivery of market data to users is highly time-sensitive and requires specialised technologies designed to handle the collection and throughput of the massive data streams. At the NSE, this effort is underpinned by its ‘next generation’ trading engine, X-Gen, which was built in collaboration with NASDAQ in 2013. X-Gen is not only built to trade a wide range of securities, it is extendable to multiple interfaces for the consumption of market data. It is this system that the stock exchange rely on daily to deliver approximately 2.5GB worth of data to its various domestic and global market data consumers.” Data Conversation The session kicked off with a welcome address by Mr Onyema. He set the agenda for discussion with a conceptual clarifica-

Onyema making his remarks at the workshop

tion for market data. In his words: “When we talk about market data, we refer to the pre and post trade-related data for the financial instruments traded on the NSE. The stock exchange market data informs traders, investors, media and others in the market on the quotations, latest price, and historical trends for the equities, fixed-income, and ETF products that are traded on the exchange platform. This information is not only used in real time to make instantaneous buy and sell decisions, but the historical market data is used to make price projections, as well as calculate market risk on investment portfolios.” After encouraging participants to enjoy the array of speakers lined up, he posited that, “In spite of the challenging economic conditions we are experiencing in Nigeria, the capital market still remains one of the main vehicles for economic development and wealth creation. The NSE Premium Board has returned 11.3 per cent YTD 17th October 2016. The level of private sector time deposits has declined by 14.4 per cent to N3.8 trillion over the last one year (Sep ’15 to Aug ’16), while private sector savings deposits have increased by 19.0 per cent to N3.5 trillion. The average interest rate on these savings and time deposits are 3.6 per cent and 5.9 per cent respectively. With an average inflation rate of 12.7 per cent over the last year.” Other speakers were the Statistician General of Nigeria, Dr. Yemi Kale; Executive Director of Market Operations and Technology at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Ade Bajomo, who spoke on Exploiting Market Data for Smart investment Decisions; ETF Product Manager, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Buki Abu, who spoke on Index Data

as a Catalyst for Smart Investing; Head, Market Services, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Ade Ewuosho, who spoke in the Trends and New Developments in the market data offerings of the NSE . The event also featured panel discussions focusing

The stock exchange market data informs traders, investors, media and others in the market on the quotations, latest price, and historical trends for the equities, fixed-income, and ETF products that are traded on the exchange platform. This information is not only used in real time to make instantaneous buy and sell decisions, but the historical market data is used to make price projections, as well as calculate market risk on investment portfolios

on the future of market data and how service providers can increase market data visibility for a robust ecosystem that supports smart investment decisions. Speaking on the relevance of the event, Executive Director, Market Operations and Technology, NSE, Mr. Ade Bajomo, said “the conference brings to fore the critical application of market data in making sound investment decisions whilst highlighting the various data products available in the Nigerian marketplace, thereby allowing investors to maximise their wealth creation opportunities.” The Future There is no doubting the fact that a conference of this nature is of great relevance to investors. If the objectives were to deliver a well-attended event, with leading lights sharing insights then the NSE has done a great job. However, many analysts posited that the data should focus also on retail investors and millennials. According to many, with the rate at which technology is developing and the rise of consumerism, it will be equally beneficial for NSE to use a two-pronged approach to address the imperative of market data to sound investment decisions. To them, the millennials will embrace trading apps more readily and will possibly have more need for data usage in arriving at investment decisions since it is now possible to initiate trades (buy and sell) from mobile phones. This may already be on the plate of NSE as Ade Ewuosho noted that, “The exchange in collaboration with technology driven institutions and stakeholders in Nigeria will continue to provide business solutions that will thrive on market data, technology and innovation, to meet the diverse business needs.”


26

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

BUSINESS/MEDIA

How THISDAY Reporter, Access Bank, Nestoil Shined at SERAS Award Funke Olaode

I

t was the 10th edition of the Social Enterprise Report Awards, otherwise known as SERAS CSR Awards, held at the Muson Centre, Lagos. This year’s edition was important to the organisers for many reasons and so stakeholders expected more from it. Aside marking a decade of promoting social responsibility and sustainability, the award appears to have become the wheels for driving sustainable development in Africa. The initiator of the award, who doubles as the CEO of TruContact CSR Nigeria, Mr. Ken Egbas, set the tone for the night, when he expressed how happy he was to see that the idea conceived in 2005 and commenced two years later now marks the 10th year since the initial rollout. With so much passion and appreciation, he spoke for a while and singled out some individuals and organisations, who he said had consistently supported the idea. Considering the high mortality rate of such events and organisations in Nigeria, not a few guests and winners came out to eulogise Ken and his team for nurturing the award to the height it had reached. African leaders and top players in business and political environments, including the President of Republic of Botswana, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama lan Khama, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Pan-Atlantic University, Dr Christopher Kolade, a former Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke, and many others, sent in their goodwill messages to identify with the ceremony. The panel, which had the founder and director of Chrysalis Family Futures as leader, also paraded six experts, drawn from relevant fields, including a former chairman of Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Mrs. Nkechi Ali-Balogun. At the end of their painstaking work on all entries, 41 individuals and organisations were recognised, either as winners or nominees. Raheem Akingbolu of THISDAY won the Award for CSR Reporting, Print/Online category. He defeated Mr. Gbenga Salau of The Guardian (1st Runner up) and Mr. Adedeji Ademigbuji of The Nation (2nd Runner up).

Audu Mikori, Akingbolu and Vanessa Oghome-Ogida at the award event ... recently

Nigeria’s leading Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning (EPCC) Services Company, Nestoil Limited, also emerged as the ‘Best Company’ in Infrastructural Development’ beating Exxon Mobil, GT Bank, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), OANDO Foundation and MTN Nigeria. Also, Lafarge Africa Plc, a leading construction solutions company in Nigeria clinched the Best Company in Stakeholder Engagement in Nigeria awards, while MultiChoice, the leading Pay TV operator, was awarded the

‘Most Improved Company’. Other winners include; Nigerian Breweries, Access Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Edumark Consult, among others. Reacting to the award, Akingbolu, whose entry; ‘Farmers are Kings Here’ focuses on the British America Tobacco Foundation’s support for farmers, said the story took him to all the nooks and crannies of Oke Ogun part of Oyo State last year to see how farmers are benefiting from BATF initiative. “I dedicate the award to the organisation-

THISDAY Newspapers- that offered me the platform to excel, and to all organisations that still see the need to contribute to the society, despite the current economic hardship. To put together the story that won this award, I travelled to Iseyin, Ogbooro, Otu and other three towns and villages in Oke Ogun, where BAT is assisting farmers to invest in cassava, maize and other food crops outside their main tobacco farming. Having said this, I appreciate the effort of the organisers of SERA Awards.”

Another Look at The Point’s Answer to the Recession Crisis

A

s things are with the economy, the problem is not that experts are not proffering solutions to get out of the crisis. Every day and at different fora, advises are coming on how to get out of economic recession but it is not clear if the drivers of the economy are taking the recommendations serious. Recently, at The Point Newspaper’s Public Presentation and First Annual Conference on Economic Regeneration, the economic crisis was given the treatment it deserved. The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola, all called on policy makers to focus on issues that led Nigeria to economic recession with a view to tackling the problem. They also listed conditions necessary to exit recession and avoid future chaos. Sanusi, who was the special guest of honour, blamed the current economic recession on decades of policy failures, which had become a clog in the wheel of Nigeria’s economic development. He said this just as Saraki and Aregbesola cautioned Nigerians against over-dependence on foreign products at the expense of locally made goods. The Emir noted: “We have had decades of policy failure.

The last decade was Africa’s miracle decade because we moved from a continent that was known for hunger and war to a decade where people were seen as a land of opportunities and investments.” Sanusi, therefore, advised the Federal Government to take a decisive step on the type of economy it would want to run. Aregbesola, in his speech, described the theme of the annual lecture series, “What is the Economics of Change?” as, “a play on word that indirectly put to task the campaign mantra of the ruling All Progressives Congress, which promised Nigerians a change for the better during last year’s election campaign.” He said a decline in the price of crude in the international market had always been the cause of the recession the country had fallen into at different periods. Also speaking on the occasion, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said the time had come for the country to diversify, stressing that it was no longer fashionable to run a monolithic economy. Saraki, who was represented at the event by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking and Finance, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, said his experience at a recent trade exhibition had made it clear that there were potentials wasting away due to over-reliance on oil, which he said had made the economy weak. Lagos fiery Pastor, Tunde Bakare, who chaired the event, was quick to point out

Kolapo

that the cornerstone principles of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration are anti-corruption, security and diversification of the economy, driven by the Strategic

Implementation Plan (SIP). He said he was particularly gladdened by the competence of the discussants converged at the event and confident that actionable solutions would emanate from their interactions. For the Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper, Yemi Kolapo, and his team, the anniversary was another opportunity to tell the world that they were ready for business. Kolapo said they were happy to have made it through the first year with measured but assured steps, despite the enormously challenged economy, where the media industry is also already saturated. “When we ventured into the media business sometime last year, the decision was buoyed by years of aspiration to create a media enterprise with an over-arching objective of practising a completely different brand of journalism, anchored on integrity and good ethics in the pursuit of good governance and a better Nigeria,” Kolapo said her organisation thus set out to lay the foundation with a collection of some of the best hands in the industry, producing distinctive, exclusive and often times, investigative reports that either provided first-hand information on happenings within the society or touched on the ills that continually draw Nigeria back as a nation - corruption, government and regulatory failures or outright abuses of persons or institutional rights.


27

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

TRAVEL Carnival Calabar: Reasons to Get Excited

Edited by Demola Ojo Email demola.ojo@thisdaylive.com

Demola Ojo

L

ast week, the Cross River state governor, Professor Ben Ayade and his wife Dr. Linda Ayade, actively participated in the second Dry Run for this year’s Carnival Calabar in December. The dress rehearsal which ensures the preparedness of the competing bands and test-runs innovations, served to set pulses racing at the prospect of another exciting edition of Africa’s biggest street party. Next month, Nigeria’s first capital city would come to life again. Going by the dry run and last year’s edition, there are a few reasons to consider Calabar as a holiday destination during the year-end festivities. The carnival has grown year-on-year and is now a truly international competition of culture and dance. Foreign groups that participated last year include the Flamingo of Spain, Italian Flag Twirlers, Drumming Wonders of Burundi, Urukereza of Rwanda, Ghana cultural Troupe, Masai Dancers from Kenya, Vai Vai Samba of Brazil and more. Of course this also includes the five Nigerian bands; Passion 4, Masta Blasta, Seagull, Bayside and Freedom. Richly costumed revelers dance the 12-kilometre stretch of the carnival route accompanied by trucks blasting the latest hits. Acrobats and magicians are normal fare. Masquerades, celebrities, notable disc jockeys and creative floats are other attractions. A Bikers Carnival was also recently introduced. Last year there were over 1,000 bikers drawn from Nigeria, China, Canada, Australia, Germany, the US, the Philippines, Togo, Ghana and Benin Republic. They performed different stunts, keeping the ecstatic crowd that lined the carnival

Carnival Calabar revellers route enthralled. Among the many attractions include concerts featuring the Nigeria’s leading entertainers and a fashion show with Nigeria’s top labels. Nollywood stars can also be seen mixing with tourists at the carnival.

It’s advisable to make early arrangements regarding air tickets and hotel accommodation for the period of the carnival to beat the inevitable rush and increased prices. Premium and affordable hotels in Calabar are usually sold-out during the

carnival. A smart way to stay ahead of the pack is to book ahead of time on reputable travel portals. One of them, Jumia Travel, is offering discounts for booking ahead of time. Another reason to prepare early for this year’s carnival.

Committee Inaugurated To Review Tourism Master Plan

New Jumeirah Hotel in Dubai’s Largest Resort Opens

he Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed last Wednesday inaugurated the Technical Committee on the Review of Nigeria’s Tourism Master Plan, with a call on members to articulate realistic policies that will drive tourism from the periphery to the mainstream of the economy. Speaking at the inauguration in Abuja, the Minister said even though the Tourism Master Plan was designed in 2006, a plan of action to implement it was abandoned half way hence the need for members of the committee to review the Plan in consonance with contemporary challenges and realities and the peculiarities of Nigeria. “This team is to review our own Tourism Master Plan and see which aspect of that Master Plan needs to be reviewed in consonance with what has happened both in terms of technology, politics and even in terms of climate change. “We are talking about reasonable and sustainable tourism because what we are offering to the world in terms of cultural and natural resources are also dependent on Mother Nature, and you must make sure that we do not expend it or expose it in a manner that children unborn will not have anything to show for it,” he said. Alhaji Mohammed said part of the drive of this administration to make tourism one of the pillars of the nation’s economy is the resuscitation of the Presidential Council on Tourism (PCT) and the review of the Master Plan. The Minister also disclosed the readiness of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to assist Nigeria in the review of the Master Plan, having contributed immensely to the drafting of the

he Madinat Jumeirah Resort, Dubai’s largest resort, is set to open its third and final hotel on December 1. The Jumeirah Al Naseem will be the complex’s largest hotel with 430 rooms, joining the 294-room Jumeirah Al Qasr and the 292-room Jumeirah Mina A’Salam. Set across a private beach, the hotel will be located 25 minutes from Dubai International airport and feature an adultonly pool and seven “Arabian-inspired” restaurants. Rooms will be divided into four categories from the 51 sqm Resort Deluxe to the 60 sqm Ocean Club Superior, plus four types of suite ranging between 126 sqm and 500 sqm in size. All rooms will be equipped with free wifi, a high-definition LCD TV and DVD player, large open plan bathrooms, a coffee/tea maker and ironing facilities. An additional four restaurants will be managed independently with outposts from New York diner Black Tap and

T

Mohammed initial plan. He underscored the need to develop a synergy among all sectors of government, the private sector and the local community in order to have a multi-sectoral approach towards the development of tourism in Nigeria. “The thing about tourism is that it’s probably the most inclusive of all endeavours in life,’’ Alhaji Mohammed said, noting that in tourism, the Ministries of Agriculture Health, Power, Works and Housing and even Trade and Investment are all important, ‘’and until we take this on board we will not be able to transit from being a country of huge tourism potential to a country’s who’s economy will be driven by tourism and this is the beginning”.

T

Jumeirah Al Naseem Salvatore Ferragamo’s Il Borro Tuscan Bisto. The restaurants will fringe a man-made turtle lagoon built to rehabilitate endangered turtles. Guests will able to use facilities within the rest of the Madinat Jumeirah resort, which include the Club Executive and Premium Leisure Club, a theatre, fitness centre and shopping bazaar.

Inspiration Hotels and Suites Opens in Ekiti

I

nspiration Hotel, a baby of Otunba Sola Adewumi, has finally opened IkereEkiti. The formal opening of the edifice which started with a special red carpet, turned into a glamorous day with notable personalities in attendance. A first of its kind in Ikere-Ekiti, the hotel

comes with well-furnished VIP suites equipped with central air conditioning system, automated cards for the rooms, a swimming pool and a mini events center for meetings and conferences. Other facilities include silent standby generators and ample car parking space.


28

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVERMBER 27, 2016

NIGERIA’S TOP 50 STOCKS BASED ON MARKET FUNDAMENTALS

National Salt Company of Nigeria Plc: Increased activity in West and North of Nigeria boosts revenue

N

ationalSaltCompanyofNigeria Plc(NASCON)engagesinthe refining,processingandmarketing ofvariedsaltproductsused for industrialanddomestic purposes.Thecompanyenjoys thehouseholdbrandnameof Dangoteforitssaltproducts, taggedDangoteSalts.Itrecordedyearsofmisfortune due topoor choiceoflocationsandotheroperational bottlenecks. Dangote IndustriesLimited (DIL)consummateda reverse acquisitionoftheailingsaltcompanyin2007, which ultimatelyled to the voluntaryliquidationof Dangote SaltsLimited followingthetransferofits assets, liabilitiesand other businessundertakingsto NASCON.Inreturn,2.12billionordinaryshareswere issuedas purchase considerationtoDIL,thelargest shareholder withabout62%controllinginterest. Consequently,NASCON becameasubsidiaryofthe Dangote conglomerate. Expectedly,installed capacityinitiallyrampedup to400,000tonnesper annumfor25-50kgbags of salt and 100,000tonnesperannumforsmaller sachets butlater increased to600,000metrictonnes cumulatively.The turnaroundalsoledtoasubstantial gain in marketshare,nowestimatedatover60%, and surpassingthecompany’sagedlongrival,Union Dicon SaltPlcthatboastsof700,000metrictonnes capacity.

GROWTH IN REVENUE ONTHE BACK OF CORE BUSINESSES NASCON’srevenue showsaremarkableincreaseof 25.53% attheend ofthird quarter,September30th 2016 toN12.79billionfrom N10.19billionrecordedin September 2015,after ahalf-yeargrowthof30.03% overthecorresponding figureof2015.Theresultant was due to increaseinthe saleofedible,refined, bulk andindustrialsalt;aswellasseasoning,tomato paste and vegetableoilovertheperiodtoitswide range ofdistributorsand customers,especiallyin the westernand northernNigeriawheresalesrose by66.39%and 17.87%respectively.Salesofitscore productsrose byasubstantial28.56%intheperiod ended, third quarter 2016to N11.21billionfromN8.72 billion reported inthecorrespondingperiod2015. Income from freightservicesincreasedby7.64%to N1.59 billionand covers15.56%oftotalrevenue.The Companyprovidesfreightservicestocustomers bytransportingrefined saltpurchasedtotheir destination. Cost of salesgrewnotablytoN8.56billionfrom N6.95 billionover theperiod;representingagrowth of 23.04%.The incrementrosefromthecombined effect ofrisesinvariouscomponentsofoperational expendituresespecially:directmaterialcost,direct labourcost,manufacturing expenses,external haulage,depreciationand loadingwhichincreased by23.46%,6.39%,25.16%,33.52%,13.09%and 14.26% respectively,whichwebelieveshowspartly the inflationchangescausedbyprevailingmacroeconomicheadwind intheeconomy. Expectedly,due to thehighergrowthingenerated revenue over costofoperation,grossprofitgrew considerablyby30.90%to N4.24billionattheendof third quarter 2016from N3.24billionreportedayear earlier. GROWTH IN OPERATIONAL COSTIMPACTS ON PROFITABILITY

IN LINE WITH OUR REVIEW OF NASCON’S CURRENT OPERATIONS, WE BELIEVE THAT THE COMPANY HAS THE CAPACITY CONTINUE TO BOOST CURRENT PERFORMANCE WITH INCREASED AND WELL PLANNED ACTIVITY WITHIN ITS CORE BUSINESS AREAS IN AN INDUSTRY WITH HIGH GROWTH POTENTIAL

TheCompany’smanagementincreased activities towards incomegenerationbyinvestingitslargeliquid fundsinmoneymarketinstrument–fixed deposit; henceleadingtoanunexpected constantgrowthin investmentincomewhichgrew by4272%inthehalf yearandatcurrentlyata growthof5,115%toN21.8m fromN0.42m inSeptember2015.Nevertheless,other incomeasanticipated reduced by94.64%toN6.11m fromN114.17m inSeptember2015.Thisresulted from reductioninprofitgenerated from assetdisposal aswellastheabsenceofinsuranceclaim and profit exchangedifferencesrecorded a yearago. Managementofexpenditureswasadversely affectedbytheCompany’sextensiverebranding programmeand communicationexpensesas distributionexpensesconsumed N537.35m in thenine-monthended,September2016 from N76.63minthecorrespondingperiod of2015;hence indicatinganmassiveincreaseof601.2%.Increase inadministrativeexpenseswasrecorded at6.09% toN950.35m inSeptember2016 compared to September2015figureofN895.81m. Similarly,netfinancial costincreased toN185.68m whichrepresents100%incrementwhencompared withSeptember2015figureand a riseof825.37% whencompared toDecember2015ofN20.07m. NASCON recorded a growthinprofitbeforetax of8.94% toN2.59 billioninthird quarterended, September2016 overN2.38billionreported inthe correspondingperiod of2015.Nevertheless,despite thesamepercentchangeinincometax whichgrew to N829.69m from September2015figureofN761.61m, profitaftertax recorded similarfeatasitgrew by 8.94%toN1.76 billioninSeptember2016 from N1.62 billionreported inSeptember2015. KEYFINANCIAL RATIOS REFLECTS IMPROVED PERFORMANCE TheCompany’sbalancesheetshowspositivechanges intotalassets,netassetsand total liabilitieswhich grewby50.98%,12.02%and 76.57%respectively

asatthird quarterended,September 2016, when compared tothird quarterended, September 2015. Total assetcurrentlypositions at N25.14 billion from a N19.24billionreported asat half-year 2016; while total liabilitiesstood atN17.74 billion; and N7.39 billion marksshareholders’value. Furthermore,withrespectto returns, thecompany’s returnonaverageequity(ROAE) improved to 24.35%inthethird quarterfrom a record of 18.21% inthesecond quarter2016;whilereturn on average assets(ROAA)stood at8.51% as at September 2016.TheCompany’sliquidity ratio -current ratio –maintainsits1.13x marksincesecond quarter compared to1.03x attheendof September 2015. NASCON’smanagementshows effectiveness in thehandlingofoperationcyclewith an average collectionperiod well belowpayment days to about 199.04days. DESPITETHE OPPORTUNITIES,THEVALUE CHAIN IS YETTO BE FULLYOPTIMISED Findingsreveal thatthecountry spends morethan US$2.3billiononsaltimportation annually despite thecountry’sabundantendowment of thenatural resourcesrequired forsaltproduction. Raw salts canbederived mainlyfrom two sources; thebrine lakesand rocksalt,whichare readily availablein thecountry.Brinelakesarewater containinghigh concentrationofsaltflowsheavily in Imo, Plateau, and Ebonyi stateswhileRock salts also known as crystalized saltsisavailable in Benuestate. In fact, Nigeria isestimated tohavereserves of at least 1.5billiontonnesofrocksaltdeposits. However, giventhattheplayersinthesalt industry act as packagingcompaniesasopposed to producers, thecountryremainsanimporter of raw salts.The industryisyettoadoptbackward integration despitethepresenceofa hugemarket for its outputs.Nigeria isa highconsumer of salts with estimated annual consumption of 600,000 metric tonnes(from household,animal, and industry) while thepercapita consumption (PCC) is between 2.2g and 6.3gdaily.Thereasonsfor thefailureof the industrytotakeadvantageof theopportunities thattheabundanceofraw salt in thecountry presentsareunclear.However they may include inadequatesupportfrom thegovernment and the low capacityoftheoperators. Also, weobservethat regulatoryoversightintheindustry is weak despite theexistenceofa mineral and miningministry and related agencies. AVOIDING ANOTHER ROUND OF SALT SHORTAGE REQUIRES DOMESTIC ACTIONS Withthesuccessofelectricvehicles that will run onbatteriesinstead offuel in Japan and theUS, a global shortageofraw saltappears imminent as saltisused forlithium,a primary raw component for producingbatteries.Furthermore, rapid population growthand industrialisation in theAsian countries aswell asBrazil and Australia is also a threat to sustainablesaltsupply.Thesophistication of the nuclearpowerplantswhicharepersistently being introduced inAsia alsoappears to contaminatesea saltproduction. Itthereforebecomesevenmorevital for thelocal industrytoopenup sinceeven our packaging activitiesareimport-driven. Government needstointervenetogiveactivesupport to the local operatorstopromoteplatforms for real

Valuation Metrics 24-Nov-16 Recommendation

HOLD

Target Price (N)

7.41

Current Price (N)

7.19

Market Cap (N'm)

19,049

Outstanding Shares (m)

2,649

EPS (N)

0.85

PE Ratio

8.47x

Forward EPS (N)

0.88

Forward PE

8.22x Source: NSE Data, BGL Research

Unaudited Third Quarter 2016 Financial Turnover (N’m)

12,795

Profit Before Tax (N'm)

2,593

Profit After Tax (N'm)

1,763

Pre-tax Margin (%)

20.26%

Source: Company’s Data 2016, BGL Research

Audited Year End 2015 Financial Results Turnover (N'm)

16,178

Profit Before Tax (N'm)

3,018

Profit After Tax (N'm)

2,106

Pre-tax Margin (%)

18.65%

Source: Company’s Annual Report 2015, BGL Research

Shareholding Information Shareholders

% Holding

Dangote Industries Limited

62.19%

Public Float

37.81%

Outstanding Shares (m)

2,649

Source: Company’s Data 2016, BGL Research

production.Thebackward integration process comes with multiplebenefits amongst which arejob opportunities, foreign exchangeearnings, FDI, development of local communities and most importantly, GDP growth. WE RECOMMEND A HOLD In linewith our review of NASCON’s current operations, webelievethat theCompany has the capacity continueto boost current performance with increased and well planned activity within its corebusiness areas in an industry with high growth potential.Wethereforemaintain our earnings projection of N19.34 billion for thefull year 2016 and a revised net incomeof N2.12 billion, leadingto a forward EPSof N0.85. Usinga combination of theadjusted priceto earnings multiple(P/E) valuation model, weforecast a weighted 3-month target priceof N7.41, which representsa3.04%upsideonthecurrentstockprice. Weplacea HOLD recommendation on theshares of National Salt Company of Nigeria Plc.


29

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVERMBER 27, 2016

NIGERIA’S TOP 50 STOCKS BASED ON MARKET FUNDAMENTALS

Unity Bank Plc: Operating expenses erodes profitability

U

nity Bank Plc (Unity Bank) commenced operations in January 2006 following the merger of nine financial institutions with competences in investment banking, corporate and retail banking came together in January 2006 to form the Unity Bank Plc. Unity Bank is one of the Nigeria’s leading retail banks with 240 business offices spread across the 36 states and Federal capital territory. Unity Bank is Nigeria’s 7th largest Bank by business locations. Unity Bank is one of the largest employers of labour in Nigeria and a major contributor to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) . Unity Bank Plc released its results for the third quarter for the period ended September 2016 which shows a decline of 35.12% in gross earnings to N21.78 billion from N33.56 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2015. The significant drop in revenue decline is as a result of the decrease in key items that contributes to GrossEarnings. SIGNIFICANT DROP IN GROSS EARNINGS The banks interest and similar income decreased by 39.84% to N21.15 billion in September 2016 from N35.16 billion in September 2015 while interest and similar expense also followed suit with a decrease of 19.43% to N11.53 billion from N14.30 billion over the period. However, due to the a higher decline in interest expense compared to interest income, net interest income during the period under review dropped substantially by 53.84% to N7.56 billion from N14.56 billion. Further analysis into the company financials reveal that net fee and commission dropped by 81.87% to N1.30 billion in September 2016 from N7.17 billion in September 2015. However, Net trading income rose massively by 79.86% to N2.16 billion in September 2016 from N1.20 billion in the corresponding period of 2015; other operating income also followed suit with an increase to N5.09 billion from N4.59 billion; representing a change of 10.72%. In addition, Foreign exchange income increased substantially to N5.47 billion from N1.07 billion during the period under review. TOTAL OPERATING INCOME SOARS For the third quarter period ended September 2016, total operating income stood at N23.65 billion from N34.90 billion; this represents a

WE RECOGNISE THAT THE BANK HAS THE POTENTIAL TO FURTHER BOOST ITS EARNINGS ONCE IT CAN SUSTAIN ITS CURRENT POSITIVE TREND AND CURTAIL THE RECENT SPIKE IN COST OF OPERATION

change of 32.23%. The decline in total operating income is attributable to the decrease of 53.84%and 81.87% in Net Interest Income and Net fee and commission Income respectively. DECLINE IN PROFITABILITY The bank recorded a decrease of 63.22% to N3.81 billion from N10.35 billion over the period, largely driven by a 13.62% spike in total operating expenses to N19.69 billion from N22.08 billion. The spike in total expenses impacted bottom-line earnings as pre-tax profit declined by 63.22% to N3.81 billion in September 2016 from N10.35 billion in the corresponding period of 2015. Net income also followed suit with a similar decrease of 63.22% to N3.43 billion from N9.31 billion over the period. Despite the decline in income tax expense, pre-tax profit and Net Income for the period declined substantially. This decline in net earnings could be as a result of the tight monetary policies embarked on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Furthermore, depreciation of property and equipment fell to N1.30 billion in September 2016 from N1.52 billion in September 2015; reflecting a change 14.22%, while amortization

of intangible assets also declined by 28.26% to N146m from N204m over the period. STRONG ASSETS QUALITY The bank’s balance sheet grew by 7.41% in total assets to N476.15 billion in September 2016 from N443.32 billion as at December 2015. The growth in total assets is attributable to the following: a significant growth of 45.89% in cash and balances with central bank to N40.25 billion in September 2016 from N27.59 billion in December 2015, a 5.04% rise in loans and advances to customers to N264.29 billion from N246.14 billion over the period, coupled with a 61.78% increase in other assets to N10.34 billion in September 2016 from N6.39 billion in December 2015. Further breakdown of the assets shows that the financial investments available for sale grew insignificantly by 0.93% to N43.52 billion from N43.11 billion while financial investments pledged as security increased significantly by 46.51% N25.11 billion from N17.14 billion during the period under review. Total liabilities on the other hand also increased by 8.83% to N392.59 billion in September 2016 from N360.75 billion in December 2015. This growth in total liabilities is attributable to a 14.03% increase in due to customers to N263.91 billion from N231.44 million and a 16.39% increase in debt issued and other borrowed fund to N81.82 billion from N70.29 billion over the period. Therefore, due to the higher increase in total liabilities (8.83%) over total assets (7.41%), total equity grew moderately by 1.20% to N83.56 billion from N82.57 billion over the period.

Valuation Metrics 06-Oct-16 Recommendation

HOLD

Target Price (N)

0.66

Current Price (N)

0.57

Outstanding Shares (m)

11,689

Market Cap (N'm)

6,662

Rolling EPS (N)

0.66

Rolling PE Ratio

0.86x

Forward EPS

0.86

Forward PE Ratio

0.66x Source: BGL Research

Q3 September 2016 Unaudited Results Gross Earnings (N'm)

35,173

Profit Before Tax (N'm)

3,806

Profit After Tax (N'm)

3,425

Pre-tax Margin (%)

10.82 Source: BGL Research

FYE December 2015 Audited Results Gross Earnings (N'm)

78,826

Profit Before Tax (N'm)

2,342

Profit After Tax (N'm)

4,689 Source: BGL Research

Shareholding Information Shareholders

% Holding

Public Float

100.00%

Outstanding Shares (m)

38,446.68

Source: Company Data, BGL Research

PROFITABILITY RATIOS Return on assets (ROA) declined moderately to 0.72% from 2.10% while Return on Equity (ROE) also followed suit with a moderate decrease to 4.10% from 11.28% over the period. BUY RECOMMENDATION MAINTAINED The macro-economic headwinds of 2016 saw inflation rise to 18.30%, MPR at 14% and maintained CRR on all public sector deposits to 22.50% in November 2016, this CBN’s monetary policies have resulted in limited income generation and high cost of fund. However, Unity Bank’s Performance was affected by the harsh business environment. We recognise that the bank has the potential to further boost its earnings

once it can sustain its current positive trend and curtail the recent spike in cost of operation. We valued each unit of Unity Bank Plc’s stock using the Net Assets Valuation Method (NAV) and Price to Earnings (PE) method which resulted in a 3-month target price of N0.66 of each share of Unity Bank Plc, which represents an upside potential of up to 15.30%. We therefore maintain our BUY recommendation on the stock Unity Bank Plc.


30

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • november 27, 2016

MARKET NEWS

FMDQ Launches Debt Capital Market Development Project Goddy Egene As an innovation-driven exchange focused on revolutionising the Nigerian financial markets, FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange (FMDQ) has set up the Debt Capital Market Development (DCMD) Project to ensure the effective implementation of the recommendations drawn from the widely attended Debt capital market (DCM) workshop  in 2015. The DCM workshop, which was organised by FMDQ, in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and with

the support of SEC, was themed “The Nigerian Debt Capital Markets – Towards a Brighter Future.” The sole aim of the workshop was to harness the capacity and potential of the domestic DCM, and facilitate the exchange of ideas for enhancing and deepening the Nigerian financial market. The workshop, which was attended by domestic and international financial market experts and regulators, considered various challenges limiting the growth of the Nigerian DCM and arrived at key decisions that would galvanise

A Mutual fund (Unit Trust) is an investment vehicle managed by a SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) registered Fund Manager. Investors with similar objectives buy units of the Fund so that the Fund Manager can buy securities that willl generate their desired return. An ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) is a type of fund which owns the assets (shares of stock, bonds, oil futures, gold bars, foreign currency, etc.) and divides ownership of those assets into shares. Investors can buy these ‘shares’ on the

the Nigerian DCM to enable it reach desirable heights within the African and global financial markets. According to the exchange, the resolutions from the workshop have been translated into the Nigerian DCM Transformation Roadmap to be executed through the DCMD Project. “The DCMD Project, having received the unrivalled support of the apex regulator, SEC, was officially launched during the Commission’s third Quarter Capital Market Committee Meeting, on November 24, 2016. Its focus on

floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. A REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) is an investment vehicle that allows both small and large investors to part-own real estate ventures (eg. Offices, Houses, Hospitals) in proportion to their investments. The assets are divided into shares that are traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. GUIDE TO DATA: Date: All fund prices are quoted in Naira as at 24-Nov-2016, unless otherwise stated.

identifying and implementing quick-win strategies that would transform the Nigerian DCM into a world-class, properly functioning DCM by 2020 drawing  strongly from SEC’s 10-year Nigerian Capital Market Master Plan (NCMMP), with the DCMD Project seeking to fast-track the realisation of the DCM initiatives in the NCMMP,” FMDQ said. It added that the vision of the DCMD Project is also aligned with the Financial System Strategy (FSS) 2020 initiative, which is aimed at making Nigeria one of the top 20

economies in the world by 2020. The project’s governance structure includes a project implementation team, consisting of three levels of implementation committees Steering, Transformation and Sub-Committees - charged with the responsibility of brainstorming on the initiatives required for stimulating the market’s development and executing the DCM Transformation Roadmap. They will draw from the experience of benchmark jurisdictions (including Malaysia,

Mexico, India, Singapore, South Africa) where their debt capital markets have successfully played the key role of supporting the growth and development of their countries’ economies. “At the end of the DCMD Project, it is expected that the Nigerian DCM will surpass its peers in Africa in terms of diversity of products (including plain vanilla products and derivatives), liquidity, credibility and transparency and indeed position Nigeria as the ultimate investment destination in Africa,” the exchange said.

Offer price: The price at which units of a trust or ETF are bought by investors. Bid Price: The price at which Investors redeem (sell) units of a trust or ETF. Yield/Total Return: Denotes the total return an investor would have earned on his investment. Money Market Funds report Yield while others report Year- to-date Total Return. NAV: Is value per share of the real estate assets held by a REIT on a specific date.

DAILY PRICE LIST FOR MUTUAL FUNDS, REITS and ETFS MUTUAL FUNDS / UNIT TRUSTS AFRINVEST ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web: www.afrinvest.com; Tel: +234 1 270 1680 Fund Name Bid Price Afrinvest Equity Fund 120.01 Nigeria International Debt Fund 219.83 ALTERNATIVE CAPITAL PARTNERS LTD Web: www.acapng.com, Tel: +234 1 291 2406, +234 1 291 2868 Fund Name Bid Price ACAP Canary Growth Fund 0.67 AIICO CAPITAL LTD Web: www.aiicocapital.com, Tel: +234-1-2792974 Fund Name Bid Price AIICO Money Market Fund ARM INVESTMENT MANAGERS LTD Web: www.arm.com.ng; Tel: 0700 CALLARM (0700 225 5276) Fund Name ARM Aggressive Growth Fund ARM Discovery Fund ARM Ethical Fund ARM Money Market Fund AXA MANSARD INVESTMENTS LIMITED Web: www.axamansard.com; Tel: +2341-4488482 Fund Name AXA Mansard Equity Income Fund AXA Mansard Money Market Fund CHAPELHILL DENHAM MANAGEMENT LTD Web: www.chapelhilldenham.com, Tel: +234 461 0691 Fund Name Nigeria Global Investment Fund Paramount Equity Fund Women's Investment Fund FBN CAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web: www.fbnquest.com; Tel: +234-81 0082 0082 Fund Name FBN Fixed Income Fund FBN Heritage Fund FBN Money Market Fund FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) Fund - Institutional FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) Fund - Retail FBN Nigeria Smart Beta Equity Fund FIRST CITY ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web: www.fcamltd.com; Tel: +234 1 462 2596 Fund Name Legacy Equity Fund Legacy Short Maturity (NGN) Fund FSDH ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web: www.fsdhaml.com; Tel: 01-270 4884-5; 01-280 9740-1 Fund Name Coral Growth Fund

100.00

aaml@afrinvest.com Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn 120.88 10.13% 221.00 9.83% info@acapng.com Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn 0.67 8.10% ammf@aiicocapital.com Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

100.00

16.89%

enquiries@arminvestmentcenter.com Bid Price 11.82 278.93 21.90

Offer Price 12.18 287.34 22.56

Yield / T-Rtn -3.00% -0.20% -0.67%

1.00

1.00

16.06%

investmentcare@axamansard.com Bid Price 102.34

Offer Price 102.98

Yield / T-Rtn 2.66%

1.00 1.00 14.31% investmentmanagement@chapelhilldenham.com Bid Price 2.13 9.04 83.11

Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn 2.18 4.61% 9.27 -8.27% 85.24 2.47% invest@fbnquest.com

Bid Price 1,075.13 109.50 100.00 $101.08 $101.29

Offer Price 1,076.29 110.05 100.00 $101.88 $102.09

Yield / T-Rtn 4.92% 3.86% 14.05% 4.92% 5.13%

107.94

7.66%

106.52

fcamhelpdesk@fcmb.com Bid Price 0.91 2.53

Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn 0.92 0.55% 2.53 8.98% coralfunds@fsdhgroup.com

Bid Price 2,158.69

Offer Price 2,183.07

Coral Income Fund 2,076.27 INVESTMENT ONE FUNDS MANAGEMENT LTD Web: www.investment-one.com; Tel: +234 812 992 1045,+234 1 448 8888 Fund Name Bid Price

Yield / T-Rtn -0.77%

2,076.27 9.75% enquiries@investment-one.com Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

Vantage Guaranteed Income Fund

1.00

1.00

15.10%

Vantage Balanced Fund

1.65

1.66

1.02%

LOTUS CAPITAL LTD fincon@lotuscapitallimited.com Web: www.lotuscapitallimited.com; Tel: +234 1-291 4626 / +234 1-291 4624 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Lotus Halal Investment Fund 0.99 1.01 11.50% Lotus Halal Fixed Income Fund 997.61 997.61 -0.24% MERISTEM WEALTH MANAGEMENT LTD info@meristemwealth.com Web: www.meristemwealth.com ; Tel: +234 1-4488260 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Meristem Equity Market Fund 9.20 9.25 -6.07% Meristem Money Market Fund 10.00 10.00 14.36% PAC ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD info@pacassetmanagement.com Web: www.pacassetmanagement.com/mutualfunds; Tel: +234 1 271 8632 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn PACAM Balanced Fund 1.06 1.08 7.65% PACAM Fixed Income Fund 10.36 10.43 3.97% SCM CAPITAL LIMITED info@scmcapitalng.com Web: www.scmcapitalng.com; Tel: +234 1-280 2226,+234 1- 280 2227 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn SCM Capital Frontier Fund 107.24 107.96 5.25% SFS CAPITAL NIGERIA LTD investments@sfsnigeria.com Web: www.sfsnigeria.com, Tel: +234 (01) 2801400 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn SFS Fixed Income Fund 1.23 1.23 9.16% STANBIC IBTC ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD assetmanagement@stanbicibtc.com Web: www.stanbicibtcassetmanagement.com; Tel: +234 1 280 1266; 0700 MUTUALFUNDS Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Stanbic IBTC Balanced Fund 1,786.56 1,796.27 6.37% Stanbic IBTC Bond Fund 151.80 151.80 3.21% Stanbic IBTC Ethical Fund 0.74 0.75 -0.67% Stanbic IBTC Guaranteed Investment Fund 183.60 183.60 8.20% Stanbic IBTC Iman Fund 129.83 131.43 -4.06% Stanbic IBTC Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 16.57% Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund 7,295.67 7,390.69 1.49% UNITED CAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD unitedcapitalplcgroup.com Web: www.unitedcapitalplcgroup.com; Tel: +234 803 306 2887 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn United Capital Balanced Fund 1.14 1.15 8.29% United Capital Bond Fund 1.25 1.25 15.71% United Capital Equity Fund 0.67 0.68 -0.83% United Capital Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 13.00% ZENITH ASSETS MANAGEMENT LTD info@zenith-funds.com Web: www.zenith-funds.com; Tel: +234 1-2784219 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Zenith Equity Fund 9.39 9.55 -1.55% Zenith Ethical Fund 11.02 11.11 -3.81% Zenith Income Fund 16.87 16.87 5.17%

REITS

NAV Per Share

Yield / T-Rtn

11.58 122.93

3.99% 6.11%

Bid Price

Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

8.53 72.68

8.63 74.06

-10.90% -12.67%

Fund Name FSDH UPDC Real Estate Investment Fund SFS Skye Shelter Fund

EXCHANGE TRADED FUNDS

Fund Name Lotus Halal Equity Exchange Traded Fund Stanbic IBTC ETF 30 Fund

VETIVA FUND MANAGERS LTD Web: www.vetiva.com; Tel: +234 1 453 0697

Fund Name Vetiva Banking Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Consumer Goods Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Griffin 30 Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Industrial Goods Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva S&P Nigeria Sovereign Bond Exchange Traded Fund

funds@vetiva.com Bid Price

Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

2.49 7.08 11.69 15.73 127.38

2.53 7.16 11.79 15.83 129.38

9.01% 10.73% -5.63% -18.28% -

The value of investments and the income from them may fall as well as rise. Past performance is a guide and not an indication of future returns. Fund prices published in this edition are also available on each fund manager’s website and FMAN’s website at www.fman.com.ng. Fund prices are supplied by the operator of the relevant fund and are published for information purposes only.


A

WEEKLY PULL-OUT

27.11.2016

TOKE MAKINWA

ON BECOMING HER DREAM WOMAN


32

T H I S DAY, T H E S U N DAY N E W S PA P E R • November 27, 2016

COVER

TOKE MAKINWA

ON BECOMING HER DREAM WOMAN Bouncing back from the dangerous brink of depression and all the negative emotions arising from a marital scandal that threatened the very essence of her being, popular On-Air-Personality, Toke Makinwa, has wrapped her stormy experience into a calming volume. She told Vanessa Obioha that young people will draw many lessons from her life

W

ho is Toke Makinwa? An orphan? A cheated wife? The controversial Vlogger? A fashionista? There are many descriptions of the young, enigmatic lady and these were probably some of the burning questions on the mind of journalists gathered at a minilunch table at the balcony of her PR agent’s office in Ikoyi recently. Their confidence and curiosity could be touched. You could hear it in their voices and see the goose bumps on their skin. At last, they will get the scoop, an exclusive on the lady whose marriage scandal last year involving her fitness trainer and newspaper columnist husband and her subsequent silence made major headlines and is still trending on social and mainstream media. Usually, journalists are tempted to discuss the subject of interview among themselves before the interview. For some reasons, this was different. They talked about everything else but the interviewee. This was one of the rare occasions they resisted that temptation and were protective of their questions, not eager to share whatever they kept

close to their chest. A colleague even stayed glue to her phone and occasionally smiled as an acknowledgement that she was still attentive to the small talks going on around her. It was difficult to say if she was digging up facts about Toke or chatting with a friend. Due to the overwhelming requests by the newshounds for exclusivity, the interview was conducted in turns. It was going to be a long day for Toke. Somewhere in the back of this reporter’s mind, she wondered if the popular OnAir-Personality would not be too worn by the time she encountered her. Each person was attentive to take his turn. Once the PR officer called the next reporter, they sprang to their feet in excitement, ready for the kill. After the first reporter returned with the news of Toke’s uncooperative stance to speak about her personal life, their jolly mien began to wane. What is there to write if she won’t talk about her personal life? They mused. Nevertheless, they went in to try their luck, to see if they could break the camel’s back. Yet, the young author refused to budge. Her reason was simple, the perfidious matter of her husband and all the odium surrounding it do not define her. It was just one chapter of her life. There is a Toke that people do not know. A Toke she wants to unveil on her terms, without skewed colouration from the

ON JUNE 13, 2015, SOCIAL MEDIA AND MAINSTREAM MEDIA WENT AGOG WITH THE NEWS OF TOKE’S HUSBAND, MAJE AYIDA’S INFIDELITY. PIECES OF HER LIFE WERE TURNED INTO A PUBLIC DISPLAY AS JOURNALISTS, CRITICS, BLOGGERS AND EVEN HER FANS TRIED TO UNDERSTAND THE SCANDAL. HOW COULD MAJE CHEAT ON THE MEDIA PERSONALITY WITH HIS EX-GIRLFRIEND, ANITA SOLOMON?... THIS SINGULAR SCANDAL WOULD LATER BE THE INSPIRATION BEHIND HER FIRST SELF-PENNED BOOK. SPECIFICALLY, A MONTH AFTER THE NEWS OF HER HUSBAND’S INFIDELITY SPREAD LIKE A WILDFIRE LAST YEAR. THOSE WERE VERY TRYING PERIODS FOR THE 32 YEAR-OLD LADY WHO COULDN’T FATHOM HOW HER LOVER OF MANY YEARS COULD HURT HER SO MUCH. ALTHOUGH, IT WAS SPECULATED THAT THEY HAD A ROCKY RELATIONSHIP BEFORE THEY FINALLY TIED THE NUPTIAL KNOTS IN 2014, NEWS OF HER HUSBAND IMPREGNATING HIS EX-GIRLFRIEND AND HIS ALLEGED PLANS TO SEND HER ABROAD FOR SAFE DELIVERY OF THE CHILD REALLY SHOOK HER… Cont’d on pg.57


NOVEMBER 27, 2016 • T H I S DAY, T H E S U N DAY N E W S PA P E R

57

COVER media. Her action was a deliberate strategy to keep the anticipation of her audience till the day she unveils her latest achievement at a book launch. A small video clip directed by Kemi Adetiba had been released on her birthday, November 4, to announce the book. The book cover was released a week after. Of course, she was aware of the many questions begging for answers. But like she pointed out severally during the interview, she wanted to tell her story herself. It was very important she told the story many are dying to hear by herself. What is her story? It is contained in the 14 chapters of her debut book titled ‘On Becoming’. Published by Farafina, the narrative is a journey into her soul. “It is Toke like you have never seen her before. It’s honesty, raw, real. It’s trying to take on old practices and traditions that we have to accept as a people that shame people to silence. It is about that shame that society puts on you when things are not going the standard that society wants things to be. People are dying inside. A lot of people don’t talk enough. They are scared of people seeing that all is not perfect with them which is a sign of weakness. But being vulnerable is strength. It’s much stronger to be vulnerable than silent, than trying to hide it. It’s also going to show different sides of me. I’ve learnt a lot and I will like to share that with the world.” Sitting behind the glass desk, Toke who just came out of the confinement of a hospital looked young and determined in her fringe hairstyle and a casual tank top and pants. Leaving the hospital straight to face a session of grilling by journalists was a pointer to her stoic determination. There was no sign of the woman who many have called controversial and all manner of names. Rather, a confident aura oozed out of her like fresh milk. She described the book as one of the biggest projects she has ever done. “A lot of work went into this book. Each chapter is different from the other. It’s a whole new process. I talked to my PR agent who had written a book before. I wanted to find out from him what it takes to write a book. Then just as I was leaving, he suggested we spoke to the big publishers in the country.I was still a bit hesitant. Then he made the call to Farafina, booked a meeting and in just that meeting, they gave me a book deal. “This book put so much pressure on me, from choosing the book cover, taking photographs, the layout design, sitting with Farafina, the back and forth, I pushed myself. I have never pushed myself the way I pushed myself on this project. But I’m excited. Seeing the finish product, it was very emotional for me knowing that I committed myself to it.” Contrary to public opinion that her recent endeavour is an ambitious effort to put the spotlight on herself and perhaps reap cash benefits, Toke revealed that writing a book was never part of her plan. It was reserved for her retirement from the media. “The truth of the matter is that I wish I could say I always knew I was going to write a book. I wish I had it together and say, this year I’m going to write a book. I’m thankful for how everything played out. The Bible says all things work out for good for them that love the Lord. I never knew what that statement meant until I was thrown into confusion.” On June 13, 2015, social media and mainstream media went agog with the news of Toke’s husband, Maje Ayida’s infidelity. Pieces of her life were turned into a public display as journalists, critics, bloggers and even her fans tried to understand the scandal. How could Maje cheat on the media personality with his ex-girlfriend, Anita Solomon? Toke addressed this issue in the ‘On Becoming’ video which started with newspaper clippings on the walls and

ANOTHER INTERESTING TOPIC SHE ADDRESSED IN HER BOOK IS THE LOSS OF HER PARENTS IN A FIRE INCIDENT. IT’S BEEN AN ISSUE SHE NEVER REALLY SPOKE MUCH ABOUT. OUT OF THESE CHALLENGES, TOKE HAS GROWN TO BECOME THE WOMAN SHE IS TODAY. A FEARLESS WOMAN WHO IS READY TO EXPLORE HER DREAMS, SHE SHIED AWAY FROM PROJECTING HERSELF HIGHER THAN HER AGE MATES. SHE IS ONLY TOO HAPPY TO FEEL BLESSED AT HER

voiceovers of reporters breaking the news of her messy marriage scandal. This singular scandal would later be the inspiration behind her first selfpenned book. Specifically, a month after the news of her husband’s infidelity spread like a wildfire last year. Those were very trying periods for the 32 yearold lady who couldn’t fathom how her lover of many years could hurt her so much. Although, it was speculated that they had a rocky relationship before they finally tied the nuptial knots in 2014, news of her husband impregnating his ex-girlfriend and his alleged plans to send her abroad for safe delivery of the child really shook her. Suddenly, her life was a public discourse. Everybody had something to say to her, both good and bad. Her critics were infuriated by her silence but she drew more ire when her first public speech didn’t address the issue but rather appreciated women who wrote to encourage her. During those tumultuous days when her confidence was nearly swayed, she reached into herself. The incident taught her a voice that speaks to her from the inside. These messages became clearer last January. “There is the spiritual side to Toke. As an individual, I do nothing without talking to God. So there’s always this dialogue with my Creator. I do that at the start of the year. Because in the nature of our business, you find yourself doing so much and not having the time to take proper stock of what you have done. That happens to me at the end of the year when I analyse the year in view. I see the weakness and the strength, things I could have done better and things I can work out in the next year. At the beginning of this year, I had asked myself what we were going to do. And the book struck my spirit but I was so sure it was me and not God. I never really thought of writing a book. I saw it as something I would do eventually, maybe when I’m retiring from the media; something to leave for those coming after me. I never saw myself as an author. Then many people started talking to me, to reaffirm what I heard in the place of prayer. ‘Write a book, there’s

a book coming in your life’. I still wasn’t convinced. Then I thought: what am I going to write about? And in all the confusion, pain and shame, and all the things that had happened to me at that point, I started to document how I felt. Some days when I felt good, I will write it down. I will even voice it myself. ‘Today you felt like this, you did this, you felt bad’. I was my own shrink, basically. Eventually, it became a lot of voice notes. In July last year, it came to me again that I told you to write a book and the biggest challenge was what I was going to write. The voice was clearer this time. It said: This happened to you to share. This is your purpose in life, you are meant to live and show some other people. You walk through the door, you don’t close the door behind you, you leave the door open so that people who are coming can look at you and say if she did this, you can do that as well.” Toke’s life was still under scrutiny after the scandal. More controversies trailed her. People abused her, they criticised her Vlog sessions which has a notoriety for controversies because of her topics that many deem inappropriate. Will it be limiting to conclude that the Vlogger courts controversy or is she simply misunderstood? “Everyone at some point in their lives has been or will be misunderstood. I think it is what you do with that information or what you do with that being aware that people might misunderstand you. I find out I’m a person who likes to focus on her goals. I don’t dwell too much on the noise out there or the things that are being said. If you read the book, that’s something I shared in the book and I think it’s a huge part of my story apart from the fact that I’m grounded in my faith and pray about everything. I feel like I’m also focused on where I want to be and it’s important I share that with the world. I have no issues with people misunderstanding me because you can’t take the good alone. It doesn’t put any pressure on me. I’m more pressured by my own goals.” Another interesting topic she addressed in her book is the loss of her parents in a fire incident. It’s been an issue she never really spoke much about. Out of these challenges, Toke has grown to become the woman she is today. A fearless woman who is ready to explore her dreams, she shied away from projecting herself higher than her age mates. She is only too happy to feel blessed at her achievements at a very young age, “I think it’s a wrong perspective to look at someone else’s journey and project that for yourself. I think that’s one of the mistakes young people out there make. That’s why you find a lot of frustrated people and perhaps, that’s why people don’t support each other as they should. Your sister should inspire you. There are people who have done things I have never dreamt of but should that discourage me? No. That is what ‘On Becoming’ is all about. It is inspirational. I want a lot of young people to read the book and learn from it, to make that conscious effort to apply themselves to certain things. Don’t give up on anything. You have to constantly push yourself. Don’t run away from your struggles. Accept what God has given to you. Look for what is in your hands and work with it.” While she was excited about her latest ambition, she admitted that it was a big shoe for her to fill. “I was very nervous. I remembered calling my PR agent to say the cover is coming out tomorrow. Are we really sure we should pull the plugs on this one? But I think developing cold feet at some point is all part of it.” Now that it is all set, she can’t wait to embark on her book tour of South Africa, Kenya, United Kingdom and United States. The book will be available for sale from tomorrow. By the way, she is already planning her second and third book. Such confident projections can only come from an unshakable faith that she is steadily becoming the woman she is meant to be.


58

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • November 27, 2016

ENTERTAINMENT

with NseoboNg okoN-ekoNg 08114495324, nseobong.okonekong@thisdaylive.com

AFRIFF Rounds Up in Grand Style

V

isitors and participants at the just concluded sixth edition of the African International Film Festival (AFRIFF) were privileged to watch over 150 movies and documentaries, as well as take part in workshops and industry sessions. The event came to an end with a starstudded Globe Award which held at the Eko Convention Center, Eko Hotel and Suits, Victoria Island, Lagos. Hosted by the talented Nollywood actress, Kemi Lala Akindoju and TV presenter, Uti Nwachukwu, the event, which was attended by top dignitaries from the business and political terrains also had filmmakers from Africa and beyond, whose films screened at the week-long event. Tagged The Broadway Show, the closing ceremony thrilled guests to breath-taking shows, including duets and a mind-blowing tribute to the late Afro-beat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, led by actor Gideon Okeke. It was also a moment of celebrations for winners, as the festival’s Closing Night Movie, ’76, a movie about events that heralded and succeeded the Military coup d’état which led to the demise of General Murtala Ramat Muhammed, and directed by Izu Ojukwu, won four awards including – Best Screenplay, Best Feature Film, Best Actor, Best Director. Renowned Nollywood actress, Bimbo Akintola, won Best Lead Actress for her role in the movie, 93 Days. ‘Green White Green’ by Abba Makama won the Oronto Douglas Award for Best Nigerian film, while Ghanaian filmmaker and animator, Agorkoli Francis Brown, won Best Animation with a price tag of N200,000. Other recipients include the beneficiaries of AFRIFF/Ford Foundation scholarship to the University of Montana, United States,

Spectacular entertainment at AFRIFF

Chioma Ude (2nd left) with other dignitaries applauding the entertainers

Falz the Bahd Guy connecting with fans DAVID INYANGEDO LIFTS HIS ‘TROPHY’ WIFE Prolific Nigerian-American author and associate mechanical engineer, David Inyangedo recently tied the nuptial knot with his wife, Ukpemeobong who is a computer and electrical technologist at the marriage registry in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. The new husband and wife were married at a solemn but very brief and joyous ceremony couple conducted by a team of marriage registry officials led by Mrs. Abasiama Ime Ituen. Inyangedo whose latest publication, ‘The Love of God’ is also a clergy has an increasing good reputation as a composer of gospel lyrics.

AMERICAN HONEY HOSTS PARTY IN ITS MANSION It wasn’t a house party as usual on Friday, November 11, 2016 when premium whiskey, American Honey opened the doors of Lagoon Crest, Lekki, Lagos to its customers, music fans and fun lovers, treating them to a one of a kind Cold Gold experience. Hosted by Hypeman Shoddy, the American Honey Mansion Party won’t be forgotten in a hurry as guests not only experienced live performances from star acts: Falz, Niniola and Koker, they also enjoyed abundant food and drinks, great music from DJ Consequence, and delightful fireworks display. Speaking on the event, General Manager,

Brian Munro Ltd., Abayomi Ajao commented, “We sincerely appreciate the lovers and consumers of American Honey. Keeping our promise to deliver an unforgettable experience at the Mansion Party, is our own little way of saying thank you.” Top celebrities and entertainers like Tee A, N6, BOJ, Emma Nyra, Gbemi OlateruOlagbegi and Sharon Ojong were some of the notable faces spotted at the American Honey Mansion Party. A major highlight of the event was the moment Falz got everyone at the party to take the Mannequin Challenge and stay still for 30 seconds during his performance. Just when the fans thought they had seen it all, DJ Consequence further made the night memorable as he thrilled guests with great sounds till the break of dawn. CATCHING UP WITH RAPTURE The sensational gospel artist, songwriter and actor, Mr Bigger Ibekwe has surprised gospel music fans with his debut album titled, “Rapture’’. Written against the backdrop of his faith in the notion of rapture, as a means of salvation for mankind, this four-track album was recently launched in Lagos by the artist. With friends and associates swarming the sparsely decorated venue, Ibekwe’s energetic dance steps halted many in their tracks as some just saw him in performance for the first time. Explaining the reason for the immeasurable joy, Ibekwe revealed that he had been writing songs and selling them off to artists. But with Rapture, the game plan for his music career has changed for good. The 46-year old graduate of Theatre Arts

for further training in different aspects of filmmaking. Speaking at the glamorous event, Founder and Executive Director of AFRIFF, Ms. Chioma Ude, noted that the crucial component of the festival is the training it provides to the young minds of Africa. One Hundred and Fifty students were also trained by the best in the industry at the Afrinolly Studios. Some of those lucky students were selected to attend a month of film making course in the US The selected students include, (Acting) - Mena Sodje, Jumoke Aderonmu, Tosin Adeyemi, Joseph Ottoman and Hannah Babatunde; (Scriptwriting)- Jennifer Eneanya, Olubunmi Ajiboye, Lois Burutu, Cynthia Okoroafor and Lani Aisida; (Filmmaking)- Marvellous Michael, Bolaji Adelakun, Moyo Shomade, Chisom Ifeakandu, Richard Ofoe, Vivian Ubochi and Ngozi Emmanuel.

at the University of Benin also informed a handful of journalists who were at the album launch that his hometown in Anambra State is known for acrobatic dance and a variety of artistic productions. For one who speaks fluent Chinese, writing songs in his mother tongue is a significant allegiance to cultural values. Ibekwe also traced his early influences in acting and singing to his childhood. Raised by a mother who is a music composer, Ibekwe knew he couldn’t run away from music. At the university, he wrote his final year thesis on the aesthetics of African music. He tried really hard to produce secular music much later and that didn’t “werk’’. So, he faced his acting career at first, which began with school drama productions. “I acted Idikoko in my first acting,’’ he recounted. “ The character was one man who was pretending to be blind and was begging people for money. I also featured in Ola Rotimi’s Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again. “I was a member of the university choir and we were encouraged to compose traditional songs in our mother tongue. At each point I did something good. It was when I found Christ that I began to pray that I wanted to evangelize through music.’’ While talking about his debut album, he remarked that Rapture is to warn the people about the imminent apocalypse. “Only the people who have prepared themselves will be raptured. The lyrics are warnings. There are four tracks in the album. Rapture itself has two songs,’’ he said. Although he didn’t produce the songs, he personally arranged them in the album.


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • November 27, 2016

59

ENTERTAINMENT NIGERIAN FESTIVALS POP-UP CHANNEL The holiday season is officially here and MultiChoice Africa is getting into the festive spirit with the launch of the Nigerian Festivals pop-up channel which is dedicated to showcasing Nigerian music and worship festivals toDStv and GOtv subscribers from November 21 to January 2, 2017. Viewers will get a front row view of Nigeria’s hottest music festivals from the comfort of their own homes on DStv channel 198 and GOtv Plus channel 29. The festival extravaganza will kick off with coverage of The Experience Music and Worship gospel concert from December 2. Billed as ‘the most awaited gospel music concert in the whole of Africa’, the eleventh edition of The Experience will be yet another grand affair, with some big name ministers due tobring their ministries to the crowd. Viewers will have an opportunity to enjoy the gospel music concert alongside the hundreds of thousands of worshippers expected to attend the concert in Lagos, Nigeria. Then from December 17, the channel will cover of the eighth edition of the Akwa Ibom Christmas Concert. In 2014, viewers watched as the Akwa Ibom State choir break the Guinness world record for the largest number of Christmas carol singers in the world with its 25 272 member-choral group! From December 25, 27 - 29, the pop-up channel will broadcast the 11th anniversary of ‘Africa’s Biggest Street Party’, the Calabar Grand Carnival which takes place on the streets of the Cross River State. Yet again, subscribers will get to enjoy a musical concert featuring top Nigerian artists plus a dazzling parade of colourful costumes, creative dance moves, elaborate floats and imaginative interpretations of this year’s theme Celebration Time. Then, on December 31, Lagos will come alive with One Lagos Fiesta also known as Lagos Countdown, when the masses will be ushering in the New Year, with some of Nigeria’s biggest names in music. BOOBOOSHA FEATURES KING MANZANZA IN AFRICAN FESTIVAL Still basking in the euphoria of her recent successful world music event at Melbourne, Australia, young Nigeria female music sensation on the rise, Juliet Obieh aka Booboosha is again set for another international session. The Melbourne event that saw her performing with super crooner, Bracket and Emmet, is poised again to flaunt Nigeria image as Emete entertainment is set to bring a group of artistes together in Europe. This time Booboosha will be performing with a King Sam Manzanza at the Africa festival show in Wellington. “It was great to be on same stage with Barket and Emet with few others in Melbourne. This event will go down in history. I once sold garri to survive. That I now live abroad singing is the gift of God “It shows that in life if you have confidence in yourself and believe that God has the power to turn your story around, it will happen.” OKOTIE’S CHURCH HONOURS EX-QUEENS COLLEGE PRINCIPAL The Household of God Church will roll out its red carpet on Sunday, December 18, to celebrate this year’s GRACE event; the church’s popular love feast, which holds on the last Sunday beforeChristmas. During the colourful annual event, four charities will receive N1.5 million each from the Oregun, Lagos-based megachurch pastored by Rev Chris Okotie. These organisations are, Little Saints Orphanage, Spinal Cord Injuries Association, Sunshine Foundation and the Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially Sighted. The highlight of the GRACE event is the KARIS award, given each year to a distinguished but unsung Nigerian whose contributions to society is not widely recognised. The church uses the GRACE platform to promote such individuals. Past awards span the broad spectrum of the Nigerian society. They include late Head of state, Gen. Murtala Mohammed, Mallam Aminu Kano, Hajia Gambo Sawaba, Dr. Tai Solarin, DIG Chris Omeben, Oba Funsho Adeola, Chief (Mrs) Magaret Eko, Chief Gani Fawehinmi etc.

David

Gov Ikpeazu and Tayo Sobola

Just Not Married Leads BON with Seven Nominations Organisers of the Best of Nollywod Awards have released the list of nominees for the 2016 edition. The nominees’ list which was unveiled in Lagos to an exclusive audience comprising entertainment editors and select stakeholders in the movie industry has the comedy ‘Not Just Married’ getting the highest number of seven nominations. ‘Not Just Married’ was initially a short film on domestic violence titled, ‘Not Right’. It was upgraded into her first full feature popular Nollywood actress and producer, Judith Audu. The movie got a nomination for Stan Eze in the category of Best Actor in Leading Role (English). Judith herself got a similar nomination in the female category. Rotimi Salami is nominated twice as Best Supporting Actor and Most Promising Actor. The film is also ranked as one of the Best Comedy of the Year, Movie with the Best Screenplay and Movie with the Best Editing. Other movies that are in hot contention in the various categories include ‘Something Wicked’, ‘The First Lady’, ‘Iche Oku’, ‘Woeman’, ‘Akaraaka’, ‘Hire a Man’, ‘Ghana Must Go’ and ‘A Soldier’s Story’. Twenty-two categories have been adjudicated on in the awards which is increasingly known for focusing on appreciation for talented Nigerians in the movie industry. The BON has award

categories for the Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa movie industries. Another commedabel category is that slated for the Movie with Best Social Message. Contenders in this category include ‘Voiceless Scream’, ‘Leyin Ilekun’, ‘For the Wrong Reason’, ‘ATM’ and ‘Woeman’. According to Niran Adedokun, President of the BON jury, the release followed weeks of screening of over 120 entries made up of feature films in English, Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo10 short films, five documentaries and seven television series. While congratulating the nominees, Adedokun, also a popular newspaper columnist, acknowledged the resilience of Nigerian filmmakers for defying the current harsh economic realities to sustain their creative activities. He thanked organisers of the awards for the opportunity to serve while encouraging practitioners to continue to strive for excellence noting that the industry has unlimited prospects. Aimed at recognising and promoting the best of films and filmmakers in Nigeria, the BON Awards, in less than one decade of its existence, has become the most authentic home grown platform honouring the richness and ingenuity of Nigerian cinema. This year’s edition shall be hosted by the executive governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ipkeazu.

L-R Cornel Udofia, Cally Ikpe and Onucheyo Nasir

David Inyangedo lifts his wife in joy

This year, the Karis awardee is a former Principal of the iconic Queens College, Lagos Mrs Iphigenia Efunjoke Coker. She will also receive a cash prize of N1.5 million. CMC ROLLS OUT RED CARPET The burgeoning association of professionals and enthusiasts in the Nigerian entertainment industry under the of Cornel Media Consult, CMC is set to rollout the red carpet today in a grand event at The Planet. Proceedings at the event will be piloted by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN. Tagged ‘CMC All Stars Unveiling/Hall Of Fame’, the event will music, comedy, dance presentation of awards and interactive sessions of intellectual discourse on topical issues in the entertainment industry. Leading to the grand finale, there had been activities like novelty football matches which featured very well known names in the entertainment industry. Convener of CMC, Cornel Udofia has assured guests that they will be in the good company of the likes of DJ Gosperella, Righteousman, Ras Kimono, Eedris Abdulkareem, Kenny Blaq, King Wadada and such heavy weights entertainers. DAVID GOES ON ‘JAIYE JAIYE’ TRIP The ‘jaiye jaiye’ artiste on Jaiye Records label, whose real name is known to be David Abhulimen has set in motion the process for positioning himself on a high pedestal in the Nigerian music industry. He is a very easy going, humble, hard-working, humorous, intelligent, goal-driven and Christian centered young man. Born in Lagos, David hails from Edo state. After his secondary education, he journeyed to America to further his education. He has a double degree in Business Administration and Management Information System, and currently enrolled in a MBA programme at Lee University in Cleveland Tennessee where he earned his Bsc. LINDA IKEJI TURNS DOWN $2M INVESTMENT Linda Ikeji has reportedly turned down the staggering sum of two million dollar ($2m) investment into her recently launched social network site, LindaIkejiSocial (LIS). According to a reliable source inside the Linda Ikeji Media brand, Linda, 36, turned down the deal after telling her team she doesn’t know the value of $2million in LIS as its a new brand. The investors wanted a percentage of the social networking site for the value of $2million after seeing how fast the site is catching on. The money was suggested to be used in massive advertising for the new brand and for technical support but Linda is said to have turned it down. A close confidante of Linda Ikeji revealed that this is not the first time Linda will turn down a major investment into her online business, as few years ago, she also rejected a major seven digit investment into her blog which eventually paid off as Linda currently enjoys the enviable position as Africa’s richest blogger. The Linda Ikeji Social networking site within only three weeks of launch received over 150,000 sign ups and has since continued to grow steadily. According to global tech monitoring site Alexa, the LindaIkejiSocial is currently listed as one of the most visited sites in Nigeria.


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R •NOVEMBER 27, 2016

60

ON THE COUCH

PROF. ERNEST OJUKWU, SAN

Absence of Lawyer in My Village Influenced Me into Law Interviewed by Funke Olaode Does the calmness about you reflect your personality? May be my background played a key role. We were brought up to be simple and humble. You are what you are because others have made you. If others don’t give you a chance, you can’t be made.

to Ife and did my post graduate studies, went back and continued my teaching career at Abia State University. I also combined it with legal practice at a time. So I knew what I wanted. I was in the academic environment for 29 years before switching into legal profession. I was a pioneer deputy director-general in charge of the Nigerian Law School (Enugu Campus) from 2001-2013.

What influenced you to study law? I can’t say I have any serious reason. I was a science student at the time I was finishing my ‘O’ levels. May be providence steered me out of it. Half way into my decision I realized there was no single lawyer from my village, Ahaba Imenyi in Abia State. It became a challenge and in order to break that jinx, I embraced law, went ahead to study at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) from 19791983. I proceeded to Law school in 1984 afterwhich I was called to the Nigerian bar. It was a great feelings and sense of accomplishment becoming the first lawyer from my village. Today, the village has produced several lawyers. In my own family alone, I am a lawyer, my wife is a judge, my younger brother is a lawyer, and my two children are lawyers. How do you cope with a spouse in the same profession? We have been coping well and have never experienced personality clash. Don’t forget two of my children are also lawyers. In our case, the beauty of it is that I am a lawyer and she is a judge. For instance, if I am in the study preparing a material, she will understand and she may not worry if I didn’t pay much attention to her. It is the same way if she has to prepare for her court cases, I would understand and that won’t be a problem if she doesn’t pay attention to me. What vocation were your parents into? My father was a civil servant and my mother was a primary school teacher. I was brought up

Why did you quit the classroom for legal practice? A time will come when you decide how long you stay in a place. I had been in the academic for 29 years. I felt I had contributed my quota and it was time for me to do more exploits. Would you say legal practice is more rewarding than being a teacher? Of course, you make more money as a legal practitioner. But beyond money I think being passionate about what you do is more rewarding. If you identify your passion, you pursue it and you make success out of it money will follow.

by educated parents. And growing up under the tutelage of a mother who was a teacher helped us. I remember families who didn’t have the kind of opportunity we had. We learnt manners quickly: to be well behaved and all that. Also, we learnt to be focused, work hard, being disciplined and operate within your means as you grow. When did you kick off your career? Kicking off my career in those days took a lot of determination because I didn’t have any prepared law library to fall back on. I just knew I was going to succeed

through dint of hard work and by being focused. And even as a young lawyer I didn’t entertain any fear. University of Ife also groomed us as a mini Nigeria where we had different students from different backgrounds. Towards the end of my academic sojourn at Ife I had already formed my career. I knew what I wanted out of life and I pursued it. This actually helped to navigate when I found myself in the larger society trying to find my feet. I knew I was going to be a law teacher. After youth service, I started teaching at the then Imo State University. I then came back

When did you get a breakthrough as a lawyer? Surprisingly, my breakthrough happened during my teaching career. I have taught between 15,000 and 20,000 students. Ability to impact knowledge as a teacher was my breakthrough. Today, some of my former students are judges, many are Senior Advocates of Nigeria and many are professors, successful businessmen and even teachers. I am fulfilled. Would you still like to be a lawyer if there is another world? Yes. Whatever profession I find myself I will still pitch my tent with teaching because it is fulfilling to impart knowledge to others, shape the future of others. We must have got that trait from my mother because two of my siblings teach as well.

EVENT

Da Viva Picks FADAN Award Funke Olaode

K

nown for having an edge over its competitors, Da Viva, the leading brand in African prints was at the just concluded Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN) Runway 2016 where the brand another feather to its kitty. The four day event that started with an awareness walk to support the children in the Internally Displaced Persons Camp, Abuja came to a colorful and stylish end with a fashion

Runway/Gala night. The event which took place at the Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja was proudly sponsored by Da Viva, the manufacturer and distributor of the original Da Viva fabrics. About 20 designers showcased at the Gala night using 80 per cent Da Viva latest prints to create fabulous collections from kiddies wears to adult casual, corporate wears and beautiful evening wears. The highlight of the evening was an award to Da Viva for supporting the growth of the fashion industry in Nigeria.


61

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

EVENT

Celebrities Celebrate with YES

A cross section of front row guests at the YES Lecture

Nseobong Okon-Ekong

D

efying the early morning showers as well as the gridlock that gripped Third Mainland Bridge and Ikorodu Road for hours on that day, some of Nigeria’s best and brightest still converged to celebrate with YES International! Magazine at 5. The high profile event which held at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), on Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, in fact, was packed-full – and with quality guests. Dubbed the 5th Annual YES International! Magazine Lecture/Cocktail Party, heavyweights like Dr. (Mrs.) Nike Akande, CON, former Minister of Industry and President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Dr. Gabriel Ogbechie, MD/CEO, Rainoil Ltd; Barrister Taiwo Adeoluwa, Secretary to the Ogun State Government; Mr. Emeka Oparah, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Airtel Nigeria; Prince Bisi Olatilo, Chairman, Biscon Communications; Bishop Isaac Idahosa, General Overseer, Illumination Assembly; Hon. Tunde Braimoh, Chairman, House Committee on Media, Lagos State House of Assembly; Mr. Habib Aruna, Chief Press Secretary to Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; Mr. Tokunbo Modupe, Chairman, TPT International; Chief Tony Okoroji, Chairman, Coson and Dr. Larry Izamoje, Chairman, Brila FM, were all there. Representing the showbiz sector were ace comedian, Basorge Tariah, Jnr. (who was the compere) and Harrysong, who also entertained. Then, the Ejiro brothers, Chico and Zeb, Tunde and Wunmi Obe,

Ken Calebs Olumese, Ali Baba, Fred Amata, Teco Benson, Obi Osotule, Jennifer Eliogu, Grace Ama, Raw Nwanne, Prince Ifeanyi Dike, Uche Iwuji, Matthias Obahiagbon, Yemi Blaq, Akeem Rahman, Femi Lasode, D’Lectura, De Don, Mike Nliam, Koffi Nuel, Zik Zulu Okafor, Tunji Bamishigbin, Arinze Okonkwo, Linchung and Tony Akposheri. Others were Mrs. Chizor Malize of Brandzone, Dr. (Mrs.) Quincy Ayodele of Quincy Herbals, Deaconess (Mrs.) Bolanle Oginni of Blessed Water, Alhaja Tai Elemesho-Okesanjo of Montai, Mr. Charles Aigbe of UBA, Mr. Toni Kan of nTEL, Mr. Abdul Imoyo of Access Bank, Mr. Michael Effiong of Ovation Magazine, Prince Dayo Asaju of First Weekly, Mr. Loye Amzat of News of the People, Mr. Chris Kehinde Nwandu of CKN News, Hon. Uzama Okpalaeke, Ikenga Azia, Mr. Ingram Osigwe, MD, Full Page Communications, Mr. Azuh Amatus of Daylight.ng, among many others. Kicking off at exactly 12.05pm (due to the rain), the opening prayer was said by Bishop Idahosa, followed by the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of YES International! Magazine, Sir Azuh Arinze’s welcome address; then, the chairperson, Mrs. Nike Akande’s opening remarks. The unveiling of YES Classics!, heralded by a scintillating performance by rapper Dozie Mbata, was next, and then the reason for the gathering – Dr. Ogbechie’s lecture on ‘Running a Successful Business in Nigeria – My Experience’. Brilliantly and eloquently delivered by the billionaire mogul behind Rainoil Ltd, veteran journalist and godfather of entertainment journalism, Mr. Femi Akintunde-Johnson (FAJ),

Ifeanyi Dike with Azuh Arinze

described it as a ‘Master ’s Class’ while multi-talented entertainer, Mrs. Wunmi TundeObe, who has witnessed all the five editions of the annual lecture summed it up as the ‘most interesting one yet!’ Richly endowed with the gift of the garb, Ogbechie, an Engineering graduate of the University of Benin, recounted a riveting story of how he transformed a company set up only years ago with just N300,000 into a multi-billion empire. As the standing ovation that trailed his superb presentation was dying down, Ogun SSG, Barrister Taiwo Adeoluwa, Airtel VP, Mr. Emeka Oparah and President, Directors Guild of Nigeria cum renowned actor, Mr. Fred Amata, quickly mounted the rostrum to give their short remarks. Rave crooner, Harrysong, took over from there, doling out hit track after hit track, but beginning with the monstrously popular Reggae Blues. And instantly, the hall rose to dance with him and also sing

along. Actress and singer, Jennifer Eliogu, wrapped up the event which also witnessed the cutting of the anniversary cake, massive networking, cocktail and so on. Commenting on the 5th Annual Lecture/Cocktail Party of YES International! Magazine, the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of the celebrity journal which prides itself as being more than just a soft-sell, Sir Azuh Arinze, stated that all the glory must go to God. “This is because, without Him, we can do nothing. For 5 years now, He has stood solidly behind us and notwithstanding today’s early morning rain, the hall was still full and we even had an overflow. All our key guests equally turned up. “The greatest thing, however, is that the whole thing went well. We thank all those that attended and even those that could not make it due to one reason or the other. Our prayer is that next year will be better and bigger”, he added.


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

62

FOCUS

A Critical Look at Tiwa Savage’s Roc Nation Deal Ikenna Bede

T

here is no doubt that Tiwa Savage has stamped her name in the annals of entertainment as one of the few female artistes to launch a successful solo career. She stormed the music scene in 2010 with her infectious hit ‘Kele Kele Love,’ and ever since, she has kept the hits coming. Tiwa has managed to creep into the heart of many Nigerians with her eclectic oeuvre of hit songs fashioned for just about anyone. In a male dominated industry, she has managed to clinch major endorsement deals, won major awards and wowed thousands with her sweet melodies; a rare quality she shares with the vocal trinity of the 80s (Onyeka, Christy and Evi). Recently, Tiwa, accompanied by Don Jazzy, embarked on a trip to New York in a bid to conclude talks on signing her to Jay Z’s label; Roc Nation. The label houses stars like J. Cole, T.I, Emeli Sande and Shakira. Following the launch of the rebranded music streaming site Tidal in 2015 (with Jay Z as major shareholder), Jay Z initiated the hunt for an African presence on the platform. Tidal faces strong challenges from giant streaming music sites like Spotify and Apple music; in an effort to increase subscriber base, he at the time commissioned his cousin to carry out the feasibility studies in Nigeria. To this effect, Tidal also pulled the ‘exclusivity’ card; a move that has greatly impaired first week album sales projections of big stars like Rihanna (Roc Nation) and Kanye West (G.O.O.D. Music) – both co-owners. This is the first time a Nigerian act will get such a deal. D’banj enjoyed little to no career advancement after signing to G.O.O.D music. The signing of D’banj to G.O.O.D music followed his not so amicable departure from Mo’hit. In order to avoid law suits as D’banj was a co-founder, Don Jazzy established Mavins Records which absorbed Tiwa as its first lady. Tiwa getting signed on this massive platform sure opens doors for other female acts in the game. It also creates

Tiwa Savage

L-R: Jay Z, Savage and Jazzy

an imaginary line drawn to vividly differentiate her meticulously curated brand from other upcoming and few established local acts and mostly room for up-and-comers to thrive without sensing any immediate pressure. Exposure is one thing Tiwa will experience: Gaining access to be opening acts for the likes of Alicia Keys or perhaps Beyonce would be a huge milestone in her career. As a gifted songwriter, she would have many artistes trying to work with her. Who knows? She might get one of her old songs sampled as in the case of Rita Ora sampling Nneka’s song on her ‘RIP’ track. Also, one can only wonder why Tiwa wants to get signed-off Mavins to Roc Nation. Could it be due to her failed marriage? Avenue to grow as an artiste? Or just for the fame and attention it creates? Following trends, most artistes who formerly were popular seem to be in a limbo after being signed to an international label. Notable acts includes B.O.U.Q.U.I. (Xist Records USA) and Brymo (Tate Music Group USA)

Tiwa is arguably the ‘Beyonce’ of the Nigerian music industry although she faces subtle competition from the likes of Yemi Alade and Seyi Shay; would signing this record deal draw her closer to the Nigerian audience who already identify with her style of music, thus maintaining her relevance? Would it help her to flawlessly fuse Nigerian music genres and Western influences to create a global appeal and put Nigerian music on the map? Or simply put her off as faking her artistry and being overzealous? Many have threaded this path and have failed for the simple fact that once Nigerians identify with one’s first work, they expect you to grow but never to change. Another question to be asked is why Roc Nation really wants Tiwa signed. Scouting so hard to pick our very best, but to what end? The founder of Roc Nation is a major player in Tidal music streaming services and is more than eager to expand his subscriber base. Handpicking Tiwa who we already identify as a music goddess would be ‘perfect avenue’ to lure African subscribers. How does this work, one may ask? If Tiwa releases an album under Roc Nation, it becomes a ‘Tidal exclusive,’ forcing loyal fans to join the Tidal platform, in effect increasing subscriber base. If Tiwa fails to pull the African audience to the tidal platform, will it lead to dropping her? Tiwa is a household name in Nigeria and known in select African countries, so would exclusivity do the trick? It’s more like a limitation to her, from this standpoint. Another problem; how many Nigerians would be willing to subscribe to Tidal in this era of free music downloads? The high rate of piracy may spell doom for Tiwa; physical forms could be bought and then multiplied by a music pirate thus flooding the market with cheap illegal copies. Also, free music sites in a bid to increase traffic to their sites will not hesitate in uploading her entire catalogue for free download, thus

resulting in poor sales for Tiwa in her home country. Her work at Roc Nation might be of critical success (undoubtedly), but when sales figures come in low; that translates into failure. Failure to impress the Roc Nation /Tidal family may lead to termination of Tiwa’s contract. But can she deliver on the global scene based on sales? Could Seyi Shay or Yemi Alade have been a better option? Tiwa had international exposure as backup singer to stars like Whitney Houston but so has Seyi Shay who played lead vocalist to the now defunct British girl group ‘From Above,’ assembled by Mathew Knowles. Yemi might not have adequate international exposure as the former two, but she sure has a stronger presence and mostly accoladed for her depiction of ‘African influences’ in her songs. Did Tidal consider these options? If Tiwa successfully pulls off the release of her first album with Roc Nation, what does the future hold? The struggle by international acts to churn out albums is real. Rihanna under Def Jam Record released seven albums within a very short period of time in order to renew her lopsided contract. Can Tiwa survive this kind of pressure? Time will tell.

assistant editor nseobong okon-ekong senior correspondent funke olaode correspondent vanessa obioha designer ibirogba ibidapo CONTRIBUTORS onoshe nwabuikwu, temilolu okeowo, kelechi nduka THISDAY ON SUNDAY editor adetokunbo adedoja deputy editor vincent obia STUDIO art director ochi ogbuaku jnr THISDAY NEWSPAPERS editor-in-chief & chairman nduka obaigbena managing director eniola bello deputy managing director kayode komolafe


T H I S D AY SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2016

63


64

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2016 T H I S D AY


ARTS & REVIEW A

PUBLICATION

FOREVER LOVING JAZZ! PAGE 69

27.11.2016

DAVID DALE CREEPS INTO HISTWILIGHT YEARS… Dale

EDITOR OKECHUKWU UWAEZUOKE/ okechukwu.uwaezuoke@thisdaylive.com


66

NOVEMBER 20, 2016 • THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER

ARTS & REVIEW\\TRIBUTE

DAVID DALE CREEPS I HISTWILIGHTYEARS

His works may be highly sought-after by local aficionados, but David Dale (who recently turned 69 on Tuesda aside in a tide of mammon-driven frenzy, Okechukwu Uwaezuoke observes

F

inally, someone in the hall got “Children at Play” for the hammer price of N3.7 million! The 2013 glass beads on board painting was only work by David Herbert Dale featured at the November 14 Arthouse Contemporary Limited auction, which held at The Wheatbaker Hotel in the upscale Ikoyi neighbourhood of Lagos. That, at least, was a respectable price for the work. A lone observer in the hall was consoled by this fact, as a wave of relief rippled through him. Of course, he was not unaware of the possibility that the auctioned work belonged to a collector. And that the artist Dale was probably oblivious of this sale. Really, the Anglo-Nigerian artist has earned his seat of honour among the leading lights of the contemporary Nigerian art scene. His stained-glass depiction of religious themes adorns Our Saviour’s Church close to the Tafawa Balewa Square in Onikan, Lagos. Then, his mosaic works for St. Agnes Church in the Lagos Mainland neighbourhood of Maryland, Chief Razak Okoya’s estate along Lekki Expressway and a mural for the MTN Building in Ibadan, in addition to other works at the State House, Marina and the Shell and the Nigerian Stock Exchange buildings. Dale, who turned 69 on Tuesday (November 22), was born in Kano as one of the eight children of an English father – a quintessential “colonial gone native – and a Nigerian mother of the Itsekiri ethnic stock. To these bloodlines, he owes his strong creative influences. He was just two years old, he recalled, when he was sent off to join his aunt Johanna Ernest in Burrswood, England. In this community, founded in 1948 by the Christian healing visionary Dorothy Kerin (1889 -1963), the impressionable mixed-race child developed a predilection for horticulture which has endured till date. But the sudden death of his Englishborn dad in Lagos in 1963 led to his abrupt return to Nigeria to comfort his grieving mum. Back in Nigeria, he completed his secondary education at the St Gregory’s College in the Obalende area of Lagos. It was this school that he studied under the tutelage of the master artist, Bruce Onobrakpeya. He would later enrol at the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria for an undergraduate course in fine and applied arts. On graduating from this university in 1971, he became actively involved in studio practice. During his early post-graduation years, he was among a coterie of Nigerian artists sent by the then Federal Military Government on a six-month tour behind the then Iron Curtain on a visit to a number of Eastern European countries. Besides visiting the former USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), the tour saw them traipsing through the then Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.

Dale, Gbadamosi and wife, Tinu at the Soiree Dale’s standing in the visual arts community earned him a place as the graphic consultant of the second Festival of Black and African Arts and Culture (also known as FESTAC ’77) art exhibition. It was that same year that he would resume at the University of Lagos as a lecturer. He taught architecture students in the university art as it related to their course of study. Of course, taking up this appointment didn’t mean he abandoned his studio practice. Nor did he abandon a concurrent appointment with Akrel Advertising. He would later leave the advertising agency in 1984 and the teaching appointment since 1990. Dale’s sterling career in the visual arts had several luminous spots apart from bead-painting. The University of Nigeria, Nsukka-based art historian Professor Ola Oloidi once extolled the artist for working successfully in 23 different media. His stained-glass paintings as well as his mosaic designs, etchings, charcoal and water colour paintings and metal sculpture remain prized works among aficionados. As age crept in stealthily on him, he also recently suffered from the debilitat-

ing effects of Araldite fumes, which he inevitably inhaled as he worked on his large-sized bead paintings and a mild stroke just as he was creeping into his 60s. Of course, Dale knew the hazards of working with Araldite. Still, he couldn’t help reassuring himself that this was where he earned his living from. And if he turned out later that it would kill him… He shrugged. But he never imagined that the danger lurked closer. Right back from the time he was churning out commissioned bead paintings in his former Surulere-based studio cum residence, he either didn’t see it coming or he simply ignored the damage it could inflict on his health. It struck when he least expected it and he was compelled to abandon the paintings to seek urgent medical attention in the US. Lagos-based Mydrim Gallery had commissioned him to produce 30 works for its auction and he could only complete six. He would return to Nigeria to continue the treatment, relying on the herbal prescriptions of two Finnish doctors. Unlike the orthodox help he had received during his medical evacuation in the US,

the remedies prescribed by these doctors – kelp and eucalyptus oil – had no sideeffects. He owes a debt of gratitude to one of his most enthusiastic collector Omooba Yemisi Shyllon for his help in procuring kelp during one of his visits to the US. While he was in a Lagos hospital, after suffering a stroke that plunged him into a 12-day coma, he recalled the regular visits paid him by his recently-deceased big-time collector Sammy Olagbaju and another collector, Femi Majekodunmi. He also recalled the kindness showed him by Olasehinde Odimayo, who owns the Africa Treasure House Gallery, and Arthouse Contemporary Limited’s Kavita Chellaram and her staff. Virtual inactivity and poor health – Dale now suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes – now cast a pall of gloom on his days. Oh, how he wished he would produce works the way he used to! Another recently-deceased collector of his Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, whose final Islamic burial rites (Fidau) was held on Friday at his Ikorodu-based country home in the outskirts of Lagos, was moved with compassion to organise an art soirée in his


67

THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

INTO S…

ay) seems to have been swept

honour at his office in Southwest Ikoyi. At that event, which was his first outing since he suffered a mild stroke, 21 new works consisting of foil paintings, bead paintings, stained glass and engraving were featured alongside 30 other works culled from the collections of Chief Gbadamosi, Olagbaju and Odimayo. Still, this man who has held over three scores of exhibitions both within and outside Nigeria – in countries like the US, the UK, the former USSR, Cuba, Japan, Sweden, Germany, France, Holland, Spain, Canada and Australia, among others – now languishes in penury. Old age and arthritis are slowing him down and gradually steering him away from strenuous media like etching. Currently, he neither has works of his own he could present for an auction nor works he could sell to a collector. For most, if not all, of his works are in private and public collections. Yet, not even in his current circumstances would he consider soliciting for the help indiscriminately from those who previously mocked him.

ARTS & REVIEW\\TRIBUTE The Inverted Pyramid; Adapted from a novel by Emeka Dike


68

NOVEMBER 27, 2016 • THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER

ARTS & REVIEW\\LITERARY CAFÉ

NEW TRUTHS ON T NATIONALISM

Foundation Rolls out 5 books Nov. 30 he Hope for Better Africa & Diaspora Foundation will present five books to the public on November 30, 2016 at the National Press Centre, Radio House, Abuja by 2 pm. Written by a legal practitioner, Barr Emeka Iwuamadi, the books are: Hope for Love as God Commanded, Hope for Youths as Leaders of Tomorrow, Hope for Relationship as God Intended, Hope for Motherhood as God Intended and Hope for Marriage as God Intended. The Governor of Imo Sate, His Excellency, Owelle Rochas Okorocha will be the Special Guest of Honour at the event while the publisher of The Source magazine, Dame Comfort Obi, OON, FNGE is the Chairperson. The book launch would also be graced by Ezeigbo in the FCT, HRH Eze (Dr.) Sir, Nwosu Ibe, (MON, KSJ, JP) as Royal Father of the Day; Mrs Aboidun Obakin, Mother of the Day; Hon. Greg Egu, Chief Host and Dr. R.J.O. Ekeocha, Co-Host among other dignitaries. A statement from the Foundation explained that the books focus on value reorientation in the family and attuning our life to the abiding principles of God as well as re-echo our traditional values of being our brothers’ keeper.

Stories by Yinka Olatunbosun

A

ll new truths seem provocative. So Jimanze Ego-Alowes argues. His assortment of literary pieces had fast gained a reputation of provoking creative arguments, mostly directed at nation-building. To this end, Ego Alowes pours out what he calls “new truths” that emerge from attempts to seek fundamental answers. The result is his latest book titled, How and Why the Yoruba Fought and Lost the Biafra-Nigeria Civil War. Obviously, Ego-Alowes has a lot of questions to answer with a title that will conveniently breed argument as well as mutual suspicion between the concerned ethnic tribes. In an exclusive interview with this reporter, EgoAlowes gave an insight into how the title was developed along ethnic lines and contributions to national issues. For him, the title is not earthenware for controversies. Instead it reflects the chunk of the writer ’s thesis. “The duty of the historian is to look backwards just as that of the seer is look forward,’’ he began. “And neither prognosis nor history is ever out of season, so there is no better or worse time to be a historian. Our faculty’s call is to keep an eye on the rear-view mirrors even as we accelerate for the future. It is imperative we know where we are coming from. Just as the bourgeois, the masses or the religions, the Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa-Fulani, are major aggregations, categories, classes and or classifications of the Nigerian nation. So they are in that sense tools of both intellectual and practical inquiries and can be utilized for study.” The author of Economists as Assassins: A Nigerian Connection recently made a public presentation of this compelling read while two reviewers were selected from both Igbo and Yoruba ethnic groups to give their varied opinions on the work. According to the first reviewer of the 220-page book, Charles Okoli, his first impression after seeing the book title is that Ego-Alowes is looking for trouble. “Ego-Alowes engages in a duel with those who may think he is babblesome but always comes away with clearest examples of unsettling truth in the spectacle that was the Nigerian civil war and the canvassing of Yoruba supremacy by some of the most notable figures of the Igbo tribe, the role of the British in the saga and the repudiation of the Aburi accord as well as what

Heralding AfriSanta

S

Ego-Alowes describes as the “the greatest evil’ that blights Nigeria today-Boko Haram, resurgent Biafra, Niger Delta Avengers-all, he successfully argued are traceable to General Yakubu Gowan’s singular repudiation of the Aburi round-table and thus civilisation,’’ he observed. The second reviewer, Olakunle Abimbola wondered if the Yorubas could lose a war they never fought. Like the first reviewer, he thought the book title in itself sparks ethnic provocation. He forewarned the author and the audience of his scholarship punches in case anyone present has glass jaws. He dismissed the title of the book as lacking any serious premise. “History shows how a lot of Yorubas fought the Biafra war in pursuit of peace. Yoruba commanders played prominent, even pivotal, roles in the Nigerian Civil War. But they never fought as Yoruba, having any grudge against the Igbo, even if Yoruba and Igbo, the great Nigerian southern majorities, had always

been fierce rivals. “They fought rather as part of the Nigerian Army against a rebel Biafra Army, no more than a Victor Banjo, an ethnic Yoruba colonel, fought for Biafra. Banjo had no quarrel with his ethnic folks in Nigeria any more than Akinrinade had any problem with the Igbo. Both were just fated to fight where destiny froze them; and were condemned to the grim code of warfare: kill or be killed! “That is why one is at a loss as to where the author got his grand premise from -that the Yoruba, as Yoruba, were fighting a war of hatred and revenge against the Igbo, which though they “won” on the battlefield, they lost eventually on the front of power politics to the Hausa-Fulani,’’ he argued. For the author, bringing new perspective to national discourse is essential to knowledge. He gives his interpretation to history while expecting counter-arguments that give rounded view to the issues raised in the book.

anta Claus had been regarded as a major cultural tradition but not much of his identity had been associated with African roots.To this end, a special season programme is set to hit the airwaves. It’s called, “SantaTreat’’. As the name suggests, it is designed as an annual programme that will run throughout the Christmas season while the main character for the show, AfriSanta will be largely featured. Created as a people-oriented show, it was recently launched at the Bespoke Centre, Lekki in a gathering made up of the creative community, brand executives and the media. The event, characterized by jokes around the existing culture of Santa Claus in Nigeria, was a revelation on how young people have found merriment in the expectation of Santa’s special treat each year. One of the producers of the show, Isreal Eboh toldTHISDAY how this idea was conceived and the purpose it will serve. “Before now, we have already been working on this concept,’’ Eboh began. “ We wanted to come up with a concept that was truly Nigerian. We grew up following Santa Claus. In the course of our research, we discovered that all over the world, different societies and cultures have their own way of celebrating Christmas.That was how we came up with AfriSanta. We needed to change how Santa operates. So we decided on the title SantaTreat.’’ For many people, SantaTreat has always been for Santa to sit in one location while people pay him a visit. But for the producers of this Santa Treat, it is a different ball game. “’We want something that showcases our communal way of life as Nigerians.The Santa identifies people who are in need. Santa will have a red ball early December where funds will be raised to help people in need. Santa will be in the streets. He will go to people and give them a treat. People will not have to pay to see the Santa. ‘’We are also looking at the peculiar state of the economy in Nigeria where some families cannot even afford a decent meal. In that goody bag, there will be food items with which to reach out to people during Christmas. This whole thing will also be backed up by a radio programme. In the course of our research, we met people who said that my boyfriend always has a way of picking up quarrels with me just before Christmas or valentine.This idea is conceived by Chuks Johnson. I oversee the technical aspect of the production,’’ he said. Babatunde Obalana, President, NANTAP, who was at the launch of SantaTreat said that this concept is laudable. “It sets the right tone for Christmas. I cannot think of a better idea at this time. I think it is a great concept. I am really delighted that some people are really thinking.This is an African Santa and it is goes to people and not the other way round. I see a win-win situation here both for the sponsors and the people,” he said.


69

THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

ARTS & REVIEW\\ENCOUNTER

FOREVER LOVING JAZZ! Onyema Dike

“Y

es, this is our seventh year running and we are loving every bit of it,” Oti Bazunu tells his interlocutor. Place: his well-appointed residence in Victoria Island. His pet project, Lagos Jazz Series (also called LJS), enters into its sixth year this month as the local aficionados hold their breath in anticipation. “Our effort is to continually try to relax the folks of Lagos through music, alfresco style, at the park or by the poolside – just easing the soul musically.” Of course, holding each edition of the event hadn’t exactly been a walk in the park. This much Bazunu acknowledges before his guest. “Just like most things in life, we too have had our ups and downs but we roll with it,” he waxes. “This year, we have challenges but come Friday, November 25 at the Muri Okunola Park in Victoria Island, we shall come alive again with the soulful sounds of the Cape Verdean world artistes, Lito Coolio, Lizenda Da Cruz as well as eclectic Nigerian newbies like Amaka Amaka and a host of others.” Call it a labour of love. Or, simply a case of passion trumping common sense … One thing is certain: this art aficionado, who speaks with a hint of American accent (a nod from his years in New York), has indelibly engraved this endeavour in the consciousness of the local jazz enthusiasts. “Unlike most other ways of releasing stress, music is unique in the way it makes you feel good – it touches your very soul and makes you human again. We all have to find ways to let it all hang loose – music does that for me.” Talking about music seems to animate this Warri-born businessman, whose love for Jazz peaked while he was in the US. Lagosians now look forward to his street festival, which has annually kept faith at the Muri Okunola Park in Victoria Island. “True, street festivals are not popular in Nigeria – save for the Eyo and Calabar festivals,” he acknowledges. “But it’s a matter of awareness. Once we started using the Muri Okunola Park in 2010, outdoor and open festivities became trendy. The park has become very busy with events – that’s great. Street and park events have a way of making us feel good with ourselves.” His visitor wonders if jazz, deemed elitist if not insular in some quarters, has a strong following in Nigeria. Bazunu acknowledges that the musical genre can be elitist but thinks it “can also be inclusive”. He explains: “What

Bazunu most folks don’t realise is in the roots of all music, including Afrobeat. [The late Afrobeat legend] Fela [Anikulapo-Kuti] first dabbled around with jazz before he found a footing in Afrobeat as we now know it. When you listen to Afrobeat well, you will hear all that jazz in it.” But then, Bazunu’s annual festival has been known to feature non-jazz artistes. Doesn’t this dilute the focus of the event? He doesn’t think so. “Yes indeed, we are The Lagos Jazz Series – not to be confused with any other and as I said earlier, jazz is inclusive – we feature our traditional jazz artists alike however, we also include other genre of musicians simply because they too find relevance in jazz music. For example, at the Montreux and Montreal jazz festivals, you will find neo-soul artists and others not classified as jazz. So, it’s a case of all music considered.” “So, we have had heavy hitters like Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def and M.I,” his guest observes. “Who and who is on the line up this year?” “Heavy hitters indeed,” rejoins Bazunu. The past editions of the event had featured greats like Marcus Miller, who once played with Miles Davies, Bob James, whom they call the originator of smooth jazz, Roy Hargrove and

Yasiin Bey (Mos Def). “We try to engage various artists from around the globe and fuse them on the same stage with our home-grown talents like M.I. Abaga, Seun Kuti and many more some greats grace our Lagos Jazz Series stage from.” This year’s edition will be headlined by Cape Verdeans. He calls them “a musical set of people from a small country made up of ten Islands just off the coast of Senegal. This country is especially known for her musical export the biggest being the late Casaria Evora, a Grammy Award-winner.” No thanks to the current economic downturn, what has usually been a three-day festival has now been scaled down to two days in two venues. “On Friday, November 25 at the Muri Okunola Park in Victoria Island we will hear some Creole-styled reggae from these Cape Verdeans together with some eclectic Nigerian newbies and the next day November 26 at Moorhouse Hotel Ikoyi, we will again hear a different set of these Islanders – this time pelting soulful creole Portuguese music – you have to hear these guys. “We, of course also have The Lagos Jazz Series Quintet featuring Ope on Piano, Tosin on

drums, Johnson Eyo on double bass, Clegg on trumpet and Victor on sax. It’s going to be quite a line-up of artists on this two-day jazz festival. Tickets for the park events are nominal. There would be drinks available at the park with side kiosks – Catuma is readily available… Ah! Finally, a great drink for the ladies!” The LJS has also become a platform through which a handful of local musical acts have burnished their musical credentials. This is usually through imbibing lots of jazz influences. “I remember when Burna Boy came on our stage performing his ‘Like to Party’ in jazz with a full set of horns and M.I. conducting and playing the piano. So, we are happy to be influencing our home grown artists jazz-wise and positively so.” But why would he choose Cape Verdeans to headline this year’s event? his visitor asks. “When one thinks of Cape Verde, the first thought is not music. So, why Cape Verde? Cesaria Evora seems to be your favourite. What about her that caught [your attention] and did you ever see her perform? “Why not Cape Verde? Sometimes the best of a people or country is not easily seen from the outside. however, when you get closer voila! I just got back from Cape Verde and I can tell you that music is very much a part of their lives as well as water and fishing. “I remember the story I read of Casaria Evora going to perform in Paris for the first time years ago. For those who knew her and her beautiful soulful creole songs, she always came on stage bare-footed and there must be a bottle of whisky and cigarettes on a table for her. When she was told to wear shoes, she said simply: ‘You want me to wear shoes? Then I don’t perform – I’ll go back home.’ “Anyhow, she got to perform and the entire royal hall audience was mesmerized – she went on to win a Grammy after that. I did see her perform in New York many years ago. May her soul rest in peace.” Strange enough: just one sponsor – Catuma – has indicated interest in this edition. How does Bazunu hope to cope with this, especially in a recession? “We understand that there seems to be sponsor fatigue, however we have a sponsor in Catuma – the vibrant and refreshing wine that ladies love. (I have seen ladies get down at Catuma parties – hmm! Quite exciting) We will have plenty of it at the festival. We are glad to have Catuma as sponsors and we continue to thank our sponsors from over the years and Keith Richards of Promasidor who has been of help and a big supporter.” -Dike writes from Lagos

THIRTY YEARS AFTER AFRICA’S FIRST NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE… Yinka Olatunbosun

F

or the want of a more encompassing theme for the collage of fresh discourses on literature from Africa, this writer has opted for the headline above to capture the wealth of debates, counter-arguments and concessions reached by the literati who witnessed the 18th edition of the Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) held at Freedom Park, Lagos Island. It is thirty years since the Nobel Prize in Literature was received by the literary colossus, Prof. Wole Soyinka, the first of its kind in Africa, and many concerned Nigerian scholars have asked if this rare honour will ever return to the Nigerian literary space. It is a big question; sometimes bigger than the sphere of discussants that are usually drawn from the literary sector. Some writers have argued that for this coveted prize to be endowed on any Nigerian, the quality of writing has to improve. And for the quality of writing to improve, there must be enabling infrastructure such as good power supply. In sharp contrast to that line of argument, some have held that there are impressive writers in Nigeria and indeed Africa who deserve such

honour at the moment. A case in point being Ngigi Wa Thiong’o, who, through his writings, propagate a return to the use of indigenous African language in African literature. He remains unapologetic in his use of his native language Gikuyu in many of his works spanning several genres of literature. In any case, some in the writing circle thought that giving this desirable prize to the legendary singer-songwriter, Bob Dylan is a slap- on -the –face. Why? Some don’t think songwriting qualifies to be accepted as literature. That was one of the debates touched on at one of the panellists’ sessions at LABAF recently. Fortunately, the playwright and scholar in whose honour this LABAF edition was held, Prof. Femi Osofisan was attentive when this debate started. Too many issues evolved at the debate. One that was prominent was writing with the view to be rewarded with a prize. Some scholars favoured the idea of a prize. For instance, Prof. Hope Eghagha, from the University of Lagos, thought that if not for anything else, the prize money itself helps writers who struggle against economic challenges to make brilliant literary effort. An executive member of the Lagos Chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Olatunbosun Taofeek seemed to be the only voice on the panel that insisted

that serious minded writers should not even target prizes with their writing. Rather, writing should be borne out of the natural inkling to express thoughts and actions creatively, without necessarily looking out for selfish interest. Prof. Osofisan agreed that writers should not be motivated to write only for the sake of winning a literary prize. However, he was impressed by the choice of Bob Dylan for the 2015 Nobel prize in Literature, adding that African oral tradition had been ignored by some elitist literati as not qualifying as literature. But with Dylan’s victory, it is an indication that lyrical poetry, such as promoted by the likes of Akinwunmi Ishola, D.O. Fagunwa and Adebayo Faleti, should be globally acknowledged as literature for these document history, preserve cultural heritage and clamour for social change. Hence, Osofisan believed that Dylan’s honour is a collective honour to the African argument for our documented oral tradition in literature to be accepted as literature globally. Away from that, scholars also pointed to the publishing issue for many Nigerian writers. Apparently, winners of many international prizes in literature have published works by international publishers. More often than not, only works published in the UK, USA or so qualify as entries for many of the prestigious prizes in literature. Sometimes, it is these foreign

publishers who usually apply for the literary prizes on behalf of the writers. But for a Nigerian writer to get a foreign publishing house to accept his manuscript is often as tough as making a camel pass through a needle. Dami Ajayi, a medical practitioner and poet, famed for his anthology of poetry, Clinical Blues also recalled how he was almost disillusioned by the rejection of his manuscript by international publishing houses. Of course, that led him and his team of thinkers to set up Saraba, an online platform for many published and unpublished writers to showcase their creative pieces. No doubt, the Nobel Prize in literature has become more interesting with the Bob Dylan question. The conservative thinking that rejects other well-informed views is the same reason that an American rapper, Marshal Mathers otherwise known as Eminem, didn’t show up at the 2002 ceremony to receive the Academy award for best Original Song for the movie, “8 Mile” with his personal composition, “Lose Yourself’’. The song became the first rap song to win at the Academy Awards and the rapper thought that his rap song wouldn’t be taken so seriously. That’s why art and artistry demand rethinking always; because every artist deserves some respect.


70

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2016 T H I S D AY


71

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

CICERO

Editor Vincent Obia Email vincent.obia@thisdaylive.com, SMS: 08054681757

IN THE ARENA

The Rising Incidence of Mob Violence The law enforcement agencies must be proactive in tackling the growing rate of mob action and bringing culprits to justice, writes Vincent Obia

I

n mid-November, a gory video appeared on the internet showing a child, allegedly, beaten and set ablaze by a mob in Lagos. The lad of about seven years old was said to have stolen. Footage of that savage killing went viral within hours. Never mind that the Lagos State Police Command denied the incident. The short video of the boy’s bruised and bloodied body and the public outrage it caused captured the general concern about a menace that is becoming notoriously widespread. Worried by the growing threat of mob rule, the Senate on Tuesday adopted a motion condemning the act and asking the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, state attorneys general, and the Nigeria Police to take steps to apprehend and prosecute those involved. The upper chamber also urged its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to expedite action on the passage of the Anti-Jungle Justice Bill before it. Mob action, which often leads to death, is a crime under Nigerian laws. Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution says, “Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.” But the media abounds with stories of extrajudicial killings and maiming by mobs that go largely unpunished. In September, there were reports about a man in Uyo whose right hand was chopped off for, allegedly, stealing a television set from a viewing centre. Last month, irate youths in Tudun Wada, in Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State, attacked and killed about four persons suspected to be members of the Shi’a sect. Witnesses said the mob torched the residence of the group’s leader and demolished the Shiite’s Islamic school in the area. A man was, reportedly, murdered in March by an angry mob in Benin City after he was caught in a gay act with his partner, who only narrowly escaped lynching. In the same month in Ondo State, a man accused of being gay died a day after he was beaten by a mob. Gay practice is illegal in Nigeria, but no one has the right to indulge in the extrajudicial killing of an offender. On June 2 in Kano, a 74-year-old trader, Mrs. Bridget Agbahime, was lynched at Kofar Wambai Market by Muslim youths over allegations of blasphemy. Barely one week later, a similar incident occurred in Kaduna, where a carpenter, Mr. Francis Emmanuel, was attacked in the Kakuri area of the metropolis by some Muslim youths for allegedly failing to observe the Ramadan fast. Despite the rising incidence of mob killings and assaults, there are hardly effective efforts by the Nigeria Police and the other law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute

P O L I T I CA L N OT E S

ezeibe.aguwa@thisdaylive.com

perpetrators of the crime. And even when suspects are arrested, they largely get off scot-free due to lack of diligent prosecution. A Kano Magistrates’ Court on November 3 discharged all five suspects in the killing of Agbahime based on the advice of the Kano State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice. The suspects had faced a four-count charge of allegedly inciting disturbance, culpable homicide, joint act, and mischief. But when the matter came up, Principal State Counsel, Rabiu Yusuf, who represented the attorney-general, told the court that after going through the case diary, the state’s chief law officer had given the legal advice “that there is no case to answer as the suspects are all innocent and orders the court to discharge all the suspects.” The Chief Magistrate, Muhammad Jibril, discharged the five suspects and dismissed the case, as advised by the attorney-general of Kano State. Many Nigerians have condemned the action of the Kano State government. That condemnation applies with equal force to all acts of negligence or connivance that have tended to shield perpetrators of mob violence and murders from punishment. Unfortunately, many criminals in the country become brazen

Nigerian Army and the Culture of Denial

A Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman

in their nefarious acts because they do not get punished for what they have done. A dangerous repercussion of this lack of punishment for crime is the resort to self-help and the rise of gangsterism, as individuals and groups seek to protect themselves. This is bound to worsen the security situation in the country. The avoid those ugly repercussions, government at all levels must take deliberate, determined, and sincere steps to tackle the increasing incidence of mob assault. The resolution by the Senate last week, which condemned “mob action under any circumstances” and urged the police and other security agencies to brace up and tackle the problem, is commendable. Interestingly, every inch of the Nigerian territory is under the supervision and protection of a police command. Heads of the police commands should be made to account for mob actions and other security breaches that occur in their areas of jurisdiction. This is more so when some of the mob activities that have resulted in deaths are known to have occurred within the vicinities of police stations whose officers turn a deaf ear to the crimes even when they are alerted by members of the public. Government must be alive to its primary responsibility of guaranteeing the security and welfare of the citizens in any circumstance.

mnesty International released a report on Thursday detailing how extrajudicial execution and torture by Nigerian security forces, especially the Nigerian Army, led to the death of about 150 pro-Biafra activists across the South-east between August 2015 and August 2016. But the Nigerian Army denied the killings and torture, saying the AI report is an attempt to tarnish the image of the army and the security forces. Similarly, when on

December 23 last year Human Rights Watch accused the army of murdering at least 300 Shiites in Zaria in “wholly unjustified” shooting during clashes with the group, the army issued a denial. Such denials are certainly cliché-ridden and too predictable to inspire the good image that the army desires. What will burnish the army’s and, indeed, the security forces’ image is a sincere attempt to address the well-known human rights issues within the country’s security circle. – Vincent Obia


72

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

CICERO/ONTHEWATCH

Buhari

Odigie-Oyegun

Tinubu

Clamour for APC Restructuring May Resume After Ondo Election Onyebuchi Ezigbo looks at the clamour for leadership change in the ruling party

T

he moves to tinker with the current national leadership of the All Progressives Congress may restart immediately after the governorship poll in Ondo State. But analysts have predicted that the restructuring could lead to the deepening of the internal crisis in the ruling party. With the plethora of agitation and general displeasure within the party in recent times, including the scathing criticism and call by the former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on the national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, to resign from office, it is only a matter of time before the issues blow into the open.

Deeper Crisis

But there are already signs that clamour for restructuring of the APC leadership may spark fresh crisis that might further undermine unity and cohesion in the party as far as calculations for the 2019 electoral interests are concerned. It was learnt that the various tendencies within the APC, which are already positioning for available opportunities ahead of the 2019 general election, saw the move to remove the national chairman as having political undertone and part of the scheming by some powerful elements to take control of the party structure. Apart from calls for leadership change from Tinubu, who is the national leader of the APC, there is a similar position pushed by an aggrieved national officer, the deputy national publicity secretary, Mr. Timi Frank, before he was suspended.

The various tendencies within the APC, which are already positioning for available opportunities ahead of the 2019 general election, saw the move to remove the national chairman as having political undertone and part of the scheming by some powerful elements to take control of the party structure

Restructuring

But it was rather the call for restructuring of the party organs canvassed by the Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who is the also chairman of the APC Governors Forum, that is giving credence to the idea of leadership change in the party. Okorocha, who spoke on the need to restructure the party during a meet with the National .Working Committee, however maintained that the Odigie-Oyegun NWC would not be bullied out of office. The governor said, “The restructuring we envisage in the party is not in terms of who comes in or goes out, but in every human organisation, there comes a time when there is need for restructuring. It could be to add more people; it could be strengthen the party at all levels. Of course, you know that these people are duly elected people whose tenure will expire in 2018. “But where there is need for restructuring, we will do so because I have come to reassure them, because sometimes if you have the fear or worry that you are not stable, you will begin to react in a negative form. But if you know that you are comfortable you put in your best.” President Muhammadu Buhari further raised fears about a possible reordering in the leadership of the party, when he told then out-going governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomole, that he would be expected to take up a special assignment at the national level soon. This promise by Buhari has seemed to reinforce the speculation that the former governor was being prepared to take over from his kinsman, OdigieOyegun. But reacting to the anxiety and concern the calls for change in the leadership of APC have generated, a top member of the party told THISDAY at the weekend that the move was not on the cards for now. The party chieftain, who did not want his name mentioned because of the sensitive nature of the issues, said that as far as the leadership of the party was concerned, the issue of restructuring was not popular. He said regarding the calls for leadership change, “I don’t think it is a popular thing. If you call on somebody to resign, you are not asking anybody to remove that person but you are urging the office holder to resign honourably. I do not think that Tinubu is asking that Oyegun be forced out of office, but he may be only advising him to quit having failed in certain critical areas of the management of the affairs of the party. This is probably what obtains in the advanced democracies where if somebody fails as a leader he is expected to just bow out honourably. But in this case I don’t think Tinubu is calling for his removal. “This cry about restructuring the party came from the governors’ forum. Do you think the governors have the power to restructure the party? I think that was merely a way the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, tried to attract attention to himself. How

can he restructure the party, he is not in the NEC and even at that the governors do not constitute a majority in the NEC. So how can they push through the restructuring plan?” On the call for the chairman to resign, the party chieftain said that it was only Tinubu and Frank that had so far made such calls, adding that neither of them constitutes the organ of the party to implement such an action. He also stated that the leadership of the party had always intended to hold the meeting of the National Executive Committee but such plan had clashed with Buhari’s itinerary, leading to its frequent cancellation. According to him, “There has always been plan for a NEC meeting for the party, but because the party wants to fix it at a time the president will be available, as he is member of NEC, we have to keep shifting the dates. When it comes to the issue of defaulting, the party has defaulted jut as the government has been defaulting in some of its responsibilities. But I think in the case of the party, it has not been deliberate. I think it has to do with capacity on the party of the chairman. The chairman is the architect of his plight under the circumstances and he has not helped matters with the manner he carried on.” However, there are signs that the call for OdigieOyegun’s resignation may not be a popular one after all, especially among loyalists of Buhari who see him as useful so far in maintaining stability and securing the party structure for the president ahead of the 2019 general election.

Oshiomhole Issue

So far, only one name has been canvassed as a possible replacement for Odigie-Oyegun and, incidentally, the proposed choice is from the same state as the national chairman. Though no one can doubt his ability to perform in that capacity, the political calculations do not seem to favour his emergence as Odigie-Oyegun’s successor. Just as there were fears at the time the party was to choose between Odigie-Oyegun and his kinsman, Chief Tom Ikimi, the immediate past governor of Edo State is a man with a very strong character. Oshiomhole is also seen as too independent-minded to fit into the political calculations of the Buhari men. The preponderance of opinion among these recent power-brokers in the APC is that rather than rush to replace Odigie-Oyegun with someone whose next moves they are not sure of, it will be better to continue to accommodate his shortcomings, which have little or no serious consequences for the political interests of the president. But those who are hell-bent on effecting changes in the leadership of the party are not daunted. To them, the present leadership has outlived its usefulness and needs to be changed to bring in some new people with fresh zeal and ideas.


73

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

CICERO/ISSUE

Edo: A Bitter Controversy Over Ex-governors’ Pension Scheme Adibe Emenyonu, in Benin City, writes on the clash between some civil society groups in Edo State and the youth wing of All Progressives Congress over a bill amending pension rights for the immediate past governor and his deputy

M

r Godwin Obaseki has basked in the excitement of his new office since his inauguration as governor of Edo Sate, until last Tuesday when members of civil society groups and youths loyal to the ruling All Progressives Congress clashed on the streets of Benin City, the state capital. The incident tended to spoil the fun for the new governor. At the end of the fracas, many were injured, vehicles were smashed, some lost cell phones and other belongings. Property worth millions of naira were destroyed in the pandemonium.

Controversial Bill

Edo State House of Assembly had on November 6 passed a bill approving the construction of a residential building worth N200 million as pension benefit for the immediate past governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole. The Assembly also approved a house worth N100 million for the immediate past deputy governor, Dr Pius Odubu. The bill, titled “A bill for a law to amend the 2007 Pension Rights of the Governor and Deputy Governor Law,” was approved by the lawmakers at the committee of the whole. The amendment to the pension rights of the governor and deputy was for Oshiomhole and his deputy to own residential buildings worth N200 million and N100 million, respectively, in any location of their choice in Nigeria. The bill, which has the subhead title, “provision of a house”, proposes “a house in a location of choice in Nigeria of the governor provided that the total cost of building the house shall not be in excess of 200 million Naira while 100 million Naira is for the deputy governor.” Other benefits to be enjoyed by the governor and his deputy are a pension for life at a rate equivalent to 100 percent of their last annual salaries in addition to an officer not above salary grade level 12 as special assistant, and a personal secretary not below grade level 10 who shall be selected by the former governor from the public service of Edo State. He is also entitled to two cooks, two armed policemen as security, three vehicles to be bought by the state government and liable to be replaced every five years, three drivers who shall be selected by the former governor and paid by the state government as well as free medical treatment for the governor and his immediate family. In a similar vein, the deputy governor would be entitled to 100 percent of his last annual salary as pension, a personal staff not above salary grade level 12 as special assistant, a personal secretary not below grade level 09 who shall be selected by the former deputy governor from the public service of the state, a cook, and two policemen as security. Also approved for him include two vehicles to be bought by the state government and liable to be replaced every five years, two drivers who shall be selected by the former deputy governor and paid by the state government and free medical treatment for him and his immediate family.

Clash

The bill triggered a clash of last Tuesday between the civil society organisations and the APC youths. In the estimation of members of the civil society groups, the still, which is still awaiting Obaseki’s accent, is anti-people. Members of civil society organisations converged on the National Museum complex within the Kings Square, otherwise known as Ring Road, Benin City, in the early hours of Tuesday from where they walked to the House

Civil society groups protesting against the amended pension bill for governor and deputy governor of Assembly to lodge their grievances before the lawmakers. However, shortly after they gathered in front of the Anthony Enahoro Legislative Complex, the APC youths in their hundreds, in a counter protest, swooped on them and chased them out, branding the action of members of the CSOs as anti-government. The youths alleged that the protest by the CSOs was sponsored by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party in the state. Surprisingly, as the confusion lasted, armed policemen deployed to the assembly complex watched helplessly as the two parties engaged themselves in a free-for-all. The fracas lasted for several hours. The situation, however, calmed when the two groups parted ways, with members of the CSOs diverting towards Sakponba road, while the youths of APC stationed themselves in front of the legislative complex chanting songs in solidarity with the state government. But before then, vehicles had been destroyed, banners with bold inscriptions, such as “Edo People Say No To Bogus Pension Package For Ex-Governors and Deputies”, had been torn to shreds, and loud speaker boxes for the public address system had been damaged. Those who tried to take snapshots of the melee were threatened and assaulted by the protesters, with their phones and other personal effects confiscated.

Condemnation

Speaking on behalf the CSOs, some of their leaders, Omobude Agho and Osaze Edigin, condemned the action of the APC youths whom they alleged were unleashed on the peaceful protesters by the state government. They described the incident as an attempt to murder democracy in the state. Omobude said, “These were people protesting without even broom. You saw how they destroyed cars; we just rushed some of our injured members to the hospital. I was beaten mercilessly and many other comrades were beaten mercilessly. We were shocked to see some members of the past government in a blue Mercedes Benz driving giving them (youths) instructions. We saw some people we recognised very clearly. We know them. They are politicians whose wives and children are not in this state. They are not even in this

country. I think our democracy has eventually been murdered. “No matter what they do, we want to send a clear message to members of the state House of Assembly and the governor of Edo State that we will not give up. The fight will continue, we shall employ all means to continue this fight and resist the obnoxious policy of Edo State Government.” On the alleged sponsorship by the opposition PDP, Omobude said, “I am shocked if anybody says we are sponsored by the PDP because you can see that among us are even card carrying members of the APC. It is not about the party that anybody belongs, it is about the policy and how it affects the people of Edo State; whether you are APC or PDP does not matter. I stand to say that I am not a member of any political party and I am not willing to become to one because, for me, the APC and the PDP are the same. Given the opportunity both parties will perpetuate the same.” On his part, Edigin said, “This state belongs to all of us, if we don’t say the truth now our children’s children will suffer it. I don’t expect a responsible government to use thugs on law abiding citizens; it is not done in a democratic setting and we are disappointed with members of the state House of Assembly. This is not the end of this fight, we are going to go ahead and when we come back they will know that power truly belongs to the people.” He urged “Edo youths to wake up now and rescue the state from the hands of rascals and thugs.” The CSOs also demanded a total reversal of what they described as “Obnoxious Pension Bill” and its amendments in the interest of Edo people, demanding that the Assembly should spend time on legislating on matters of improvement and development of the state and its people. “We have in the interest of the people and in consultation with them giving the Edo State House of Assembly a seven-day ultimatum to reverse the ill-motivated and anti-people bill,” the CSOs stated.

Allegation

Speaking also, the leader of the APC youth group, Joseph Amufua, said they were aware that some persons were protesting against the pension benefits to the former governors and

their deputies. He said they decided to come in and make it known to Edo people that those protesting against the bill were being sponsored by the PDP and to say they welcomed the pension benefits for Oshiomhole and Odubu. Amufua stated, “We also want Edo people to know that this issue is not about Oshiomhole, it is about successive governments to come, some of the protesters can even be governors tomorrow, that our APC ex-governor deserves even more considering the giant strides of the Oshiomhole’s administration in the state.”

Reaction

The state government, in its reaction, described the allegations by the CSOs as malicious and one that was devoid of any iota of truth. According to a statement by the acting chief press secretary to the governor, Mr. John Mayaki, “Suffice to say that this government is too decent and responsible to engage in antidemocratic means of sponsoring hoodlums to attack citizens which we swore to protect. This administration is too decent and focused on delivering democratic dividends to the people and will not condescend so low by resorting to violence. “We recognise the rights and freedom of citizens to express their opinions on public issues and would not do anything to infringe on that. We believe in popular participation, engagement and in the tenets of democracy. There is no iota of truth in the report as government will not in any way attempt to gag the people’s freedom of expression, association and movement as enshrined in the constitution.” The government’s reaction notwithstanding, it appears the passage of the Pension Bill by the lawmakers does not go down well with some members of the APC. Speaking during a radio programme, the publicity secretary of APC in Edo State, Godwin Erhahon, condemned the action of the lawmakers, saying the bill will not stand the test of time. Erhahon said the bill was ill-timed because of the current economic recession in the country. According to him, the Assembly should have concentrated their energy on making laws and bringing suggestions that can help the state overcome the present economic challenges rather that promulgating laws to spend scarce resources on just two persons.`


74

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

CICERO/ONTHEWATCH

Explosion at an oil field in the Niger Delta

Niger Delta Bomb Attacks: The Search for Motives

Bisi Daniels

T

he rash of bomb attacks in the Niger Delta is a living book in want of a suitable title because the issues are unclear. It could have been titled Oil War 2, but unlike the First Oil War (if there is a book of that title) waged by the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, the motive for recent attacks of oil facilities is confounding. Even eminent Elder statesman Chief Edwin Clark, an authority in Niger Delta issues and active participant of peace moves over the years, showed his frustration last week when he said Niger Delta elders will revolt against the militants. “Are you telling me now that the Niger Delta region has gone so bad that people no longer have a sense of reasoning?” Clark asked in an interview with the Sun Newspaper.

Oil Production and Conflicts

Oil and gas production would always leave footprints and depending on handling, they often lead to conflicts. The Niger Delta has not been an exception, but protests by the communities had been largely peaceful, and easily resolved. However, over time, conflicts took a violent turn with growing tension between foreign oil companies and minority ethnic groups, championed by community elites who felt exploited. Arms build-up from inter-ethnic clashes and political militias from the 1990s worsened at a fast pace, leading to the militarisation of the entire region. By the early 2000s, widespread violence hit the oil industry. Government’s military solution to it yielded no tangible results. The militants were well-armed and had an advantage of better knowledge of the maze of creeks and the leafy landscape. Eventually, common interest unified the various groups, under an experienced leadership, with the resolve to fight to the finish for justice

The First Oil War

Although there had been protests and sporadic attacks on oil facilities, it was clear to close watchers that the grounds had been prepared for something bigger. The United States, a major importer of Nigeria’s oil, was watching the development closely. Sensitive to any situation that disrupted oil supply and left the country vulnerable, in 2005, it conducted a war gaming exercise called the Oil Shockwave that almost accurately predicted “The First Oil War” in the Niger Delta. The Oil Shockwave 2005 event was a policy war-gaming scenario created by the joint effort of several energy policy think tanks, the National Commission on Energy Policy and Securing America’s Future Energy. It outlined a series of hypothetical international events taking place in December 2005, all related to the world’s supply of and demand for petroleum. Participants in the scenario role-played presidential cabinet officials, who were asked to discuss and respond to the events. The hypothetical events included civil unrest in the OPEC country of Nigeria, and coordinated terrorist attacks on ports in Saudi Arabia and Alaska. In the original simulation, the participants had all previously held jobs closely related to their roles in the exercise. The original event was performed June 23, 2005 and was a simulation of December 2005, six months into the future. In the simulation, a decrease in oil supply and price spikes caused a variety of negative effects on the United States economy. More events followed as the scenario progressed, including a very cold winter in the Northern hemisphere, terrorist attacks on Saudi Arabian and Alaskan oil ports, and Al-Qaeda cells hijacking oil tankers and crashing them into the docking facilities at the ports (which might effectively shut down such port for weeks, if not months).

The scenarios were set up with pre-produced scripted news clips. Participants were also given briefing memos with background information related to their specific cabinet positions. The participants discussed and prepared policy recommendations for an unseen Chief Executive after each part of the scenario. Specifically, the first scenario involved the outbreak of violence in the oil-producing area of Nigeria that would lead to evacuation of expatriates, including US citizens, and hike in oil prices. Nigeria was the eighth largest oil exporter in the world and the fourth largest exporter of crude oil to the US. About six months after the Oil Shockwave exercise, massive bomb explosions at major oil facilities announced the commencement of oil industry violence in Nigeria and resonated around the world.

First Major Bomb Attack

An industry press release to the world read: An explosion has occurred on a crude oil pipeline at the Manifold across the Opobo Channel, some 75 kilometres east of Port Harcourt in River State. This has resulted in a major oil spill and fire. Preliminary investigations reveal that the fire, reported in the early hours, may have been caused by a dynamite attack. To help starve the fire of crude oil, production in the affected areas has been discontinued. Some 190 barrels per day of oil have been deferred. Shortly after that, some oil workers were taken hostage, and more threats and demands were issued. The oil industry was in panic, with oil companies devising best security strategies and withdrawing workers from flash points. Expatriate staff members became endangered species in the fields. The crisis escalated, taking a heavy toll on lives, property, and the environment, which was devastated by oil spills. Over half of the country’s production of oil and gas was shut in, leading to a drastic reduction in government revenue. Resource control became a

popular phrase, and the international oil market was on edge—just as was predicted by the American war-gaming exercise. But somehow the militants drew understanding and sympathy from many quarters. The crisis was seen through the eyes of the militants, who argued that: “Conventional justice did not come about. Peaceful demonstrations were mocked and ignored. We decided it was time to stop begging and to take matters into our own hands. As the old adage goes, ‘If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” Put under pressure, the Federal Government tried to address the developmental imbalance suffered by the Niger Delta with many “we care” gestures. However, like in all conflicts, it all ended at talks, leading to this January 26, 2009 story in the media, “Government Amnesty Declared for Niger Delta Militants: In a live press briefing this morning, Nigerian leader, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has declared a 60-day amnesty for militants involved in anti-government activities in the Niger Delta. The President made the declaration in Abuja after a meeting with the Council of States in which the motion was approved. The Council of States is comprised of the 36 state governors and former heads of state, as well as the Chief Justice of the Federation. Details of the amnesty agreement have not yet been announced. Unconfirmed reports state that the plan will include a presidential pardon and entrance into a rehabilitation programme that provides education and training for those militants willing to accept it. The amnesty proclamation, which has already been signed by the President, will be sent to the Minister of the Interior, who will announce it before it is sent to the National Assembly.” Following this, a federal government amnesty programme was initiated, and it is still running. It involves payment of stipends, vocational training and sponsorship

Continued on Pg.75


75

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

CICERO/ISSUE • ‘Niger Delta BomB attacks: the search for motives ’• Continued from Pg. 74 for higher education. About 17,322 former agitators in the programme have so far received vocational and technical trainings in welding, aviation, computer technology, leadership, marine technology, entrepreneurship and seamanship, among others, both within and outside the country. Chief Clark describes the programme as one of the best things to happen to the Niger Delta. He says, “I can tell you categorically that there is nothing about the Niger Delta question that I do not understand. One good thing the federal government had done for our people is the amnesty program. I can confidently tell you that the program has done a lot for our people. Twenty-three (23) of the boys who went on scholarship to Britain made 2nd Class Upper, 4 of them 1st Class; these were the boys that had nowhere to go but were recently celebrated.” All the arrangements for the development of the Niger Delta were retained during the President Jonathan administration and have been largely kept unchanged by his successor, President Buhari. So with the renewed attacks of vital oil facilities the obvious scientific motive question is, “what variable has changed overnight to make any group want to reduce Nigeria’s crude oil export to zero?” Also, if the “First Oil War,” ended at the peace table, with a clear template to use, why did the new crop of militants reject the recent peace of the President and Niger Delta Stakeholders? What may have changed are the occupants of the Aso Rock Villa, and perhaps the early rhetoric of government, but the latter has since changed to pleas for peace. The federal government acknowledges that, oil caused the country’s push into an economic hole, and it will take oil to climb out. Chief Clark was the person many oil companies ran to in difficult situations during the First World War. (Not all Niger Delta Governors had that much clout). And industry sources say he could pick his phone any time of the day to intervene in such situations, no matter how deep in the creeks. In street parlance, he was called “an oracle” on Niger Delta issues. He is still held in high esteem, as are many Niger Delta elders, by most people, but it doesn’t seem like this crop of militants are in this group. So, it leaves the true motive of the recent attacks as the proverbial needle in the haystack.

The latest stakeholders’ meeting

The fact that the ‘First Oil War” ended at the peace table was a major reason to applaud the recent stakeholders’ meeting with the Federal Government. That kind of meeting is far more difficult to convene than a staff meeting of a company, a community meeting, or even a government house cabinet meeting. Yet, very hopeful of a positive outcome, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources and the Federal Government team worked tirelessly with elders of the Niger Delta to make November 1st a realistic date. After the initial opposition of some militant groups on the composition of the stakeholders’ team, some of them supported it, while others worried about a free and conducive atmosphere for the stakeholders to talk. It is still not clear, who among the prominent chiefs and elders could have been cowed. At the meeting, both sides – FG and the Stakeholders – made clear their concerns and demands. As one oil industry executive put it, “the only demand that was not made

President Buhari, Vice President Osibanjo (middle) and Niger Delta leaders at a meeting in Abuja...recently

across the aisle was perhaps the demand for the head of John the Baptist.” The 16-point demand of the elders centered on: • Implementation of all the components of the presidential Amnesty Programme • Law and Justice issues • The effect of increased military presence in the Niger Delta • Plight of internally displaced persons in the Niger Delta • The Ogoni clean-up and environmental remediation • The Maritime University Issue: a prompt take off of the university • Key regional critical infrastructure: • Security surveillance and protection of oil and gas infrastructure. • Relocation of Administrative and Operational Headquarters of IOCs • Power supply: they advocate a power plan that strongly ties power supply in the region to gas supplies, thereby giving all sides a stake in proved stability. • Economic development and empowerment • Inclusive participation in oil industry and ownership of oil blocs. They want federal government to enunciate policies and actions that will address the lack of participation as well as imbalance in the ownership of oil and gas assets. • Restructuring and funding of the NDDC • Strengthening the Niger Delta Ministry • The Bakassi Question: a comprehensive resettlement plan including development for the host communities and displaced population to reduce the risk of making them into a stateless people. • Fiscal federalism: supports the call for true federalism and urged that federal government should treat the matter expeditiously. But to the shock of many industry and international stakeholders, shortly after the meeting, the militants responded with fresh attacks and threats of more attacks. “Are you telling me now that the Niger Delta region has gone so bad that people no longer have a sense of reasoning? How does one explain that in less than 24 hours after the meeting with Mr. President, these boys had struck again by attacking the Forcados pipeline?” Chief Clark says. “Our boys were still boasting on the social

media that they would carry out more devastating attacks on some critical national assets; threatening that they will do this and they will do that, and you begin to ask; what do the militants want? What really is their problem?”

Effects of Attacks The September attack on the Forcados export facility led to huge production shut-in, a drop in oil exports and a sharp decline in power generation, throwing many homes into prolonged blackout, and turning gas- dependent industries and others to alternative power sources. Estimated loss of revenue was put at $3 billion. Yet, as Vice President Osinbajo told visiting Urhobo Leaders of Thought during the week, the destruction of oil facilities will ultimately destroy livelihoods, aspirations and future of the generality of the Niger Delta people. The attacks and resultant oil spills cause massive pollution of the environment – in the same Niger Delta. But in the end, militants are likely to blame the oil companies for the pollution and demand they clean it up, resulting in another round of conflict. According to Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s Group General Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, as at July 2016 the corporation had recorded 1,447 incidences of pipeline vandalism resulting to the loss of millions of litres of products worth billions of naira in 2016 alone. That is a lot to cause pollution! He added that in 2015, Nigeria lost 643 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit valued at N51.3 billion through pipeline vandalism alone. Like, President Buhari, and like Niger Delta stakeholders, Baru believes a resolution of the crisis will be a win-win situation. “All of the federal government is on the same page with the president,” said a Presidency source. An African problem translates literally that if the child who cries all night does so to keep the mother awake, he also does not sleep. Unknown to the militants or perhaps ignored, their action directly affects the oil revenue of their states. Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, recently, decried the continued attack on oil

Whatever the motive of the attacks is, the Niger Delta region will turn out in the end to be the major victim for a future compromised. Apart from the few militants, all national and international stakeholders see only one option for the development of the Niger Delta – peace at the table, where all major conflicts, including World Wars, end. The First Oil War left a good template for this

and gas installations by militants, expressing regret that the revenue accruing to the state had dropped to below 20 percent of what it used to be two years ago. It is also curious that some militants would mistrust Dr. Kachikwu, who last year disagreed publicly with the Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, over the Maritime University. And to show the urgency of the issue, recently the bill on the institution passed a second reading at the Senate. Sadly, if the militants seek to draw the attention and sympathy of the international community as the case was in the First Oil War, oil has long ceased to be a hot commodity, with producers falling on each other for better market share. As far back as 2014, the Petroleum Ministry acknowledged that Nigeria no longer has any tangible trade in crude oil with the United States of America, following the shale oil boom in the country. The shale oil revolution has turned the long run declining oil production trends in the United States into rises of 73 per cent between 2008 and 2014.

Motives The scary reality of the effects of the attacks makes the search for motives even more difficult. According to Chief Clark, “there are different motives behind some of these actions. One, it is unlikely that these criminals are the youths who are fighting themselves for political relevancy in the region and they are in control of so much money to engage the youths who are involved in these dastardly acts for the purpose of indicting one another. I’ve also mentioned that some people are out there to make money out of it as contractors who would be assigned to carry out the repair works on these damaged oil installations. “We also have some of them that are rascals, unpatriotic fellows who think they can just go and destroy things anyhow. We are going to investigate them one by one and when we finish investigating, we will come out with a position.” Some industry and government sources suspect some past political office holders under probe are the masterminds, but that is for security operatives to determine. But whatever the motive of the attacks is, the Niger Delta region will, in the end, turn out to be the major victim for a future compromised. Apart from the few militants, all national and international stakeholders see only one option for the development of the Niger Delta – peace at the table, where all major conflicts, including World Wars, end. The First Oil War left a good template for this. Clark knows that all too well. “We are not going to sit down and allow our hope to be destroyed by those people who have shown their true identity as enemies of the Niger Delta region,” he says.


76

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

PERSPECTIVE The Blessing of Natural Resource Endowment and Curse of Corrupt Leadership Femi Falana

I

am thankful to the management, staff and students of the Oduduwa University for the invitation extended to me to deliver the 2016 Convocation Lecture. Permit me to congratulate the new graduates, their parents and other well wishers on this historic occasion. In view of the recession to which the economy has been subjected the new graduates are going to be confronted with unemployment upon the completion of the national youth service. However, since this university has placed premium on vocational education I am convinced that its alumni and alumnae are sufficiently equipped to face the challenges and vicissitudes of life with courage and equanimity. Up till 1980, final year students in the tertiary institutions attended job interviews on campuses and in their places of engagement during the national youth service year. Thus, upon the completion of the service every graduate would have been gainfully employed and armed with conditions of service which included the provision of car and housing loans. But due to the gross mismanagement of the economy and lack of vision on the part of the ruling class youth unemployment has assumed a dangerous dimension .The situation is getting worse as thousands of employees are losing their jobs due to economic recession. Having lost the opportunity to channel the enormous revenue realised from the sale of oil the ruling class has turned the natural resource into a curse. Apart from wasting about $500 billion realised from the sale of crude oil the ruling class has engaged in borrowing billions of dollars for development but which were largely diverted to enrich a few public officers with the connivance of the lenders.

Paradox of Plenty

In the framing of the topic of this lecture, the organisers put natural resource as the blessing and corruption as the curse. However, not a few would disagree with the characterisation of oil as a blessing, definitely not the millions of the victims of environmental degradation, underdevelopment and gross injustice in the Niger Delta. And surely oil cannot be said to be a blessing to the millions of illiterate and malnourished children who are condemned to a future of poverty because of the failure of the Nigerian state to plan for development amidst huge revenues from the sale of crude oil. The debate on resource curse is certainly an old one. Some development experts also refer to the phenomenon as “paradox of plenty.” Elsewhere, the debate had begun before the discovery of oil in Oloibiri in Bayelsa State in 1956. The literature on it is indeed a huge one including the influential studies by the American economist, Jeffery Sacchs and others. And talking about how public officers misuse the oil money, recently, about a dozen governors went to the United States to take some lessons on governance in some institution. Just imagine that this is happening in this information age. For our purpose in introducing the topic, we do not need to fly to America or anywhere like our governors for ideas. We simply visit one of the leading American websites for financial information and investments called Investopedia. Investopedia defines resource curse as follows: “A paradoxical situation in which countries with an abundance of non-renewable resources experience stagnant growth or even economic contraction. The resource curse occurs as a country begins to focus all of its energies on a single industry, such as mining, and neglects other major sectors. “As a result, the nation becomes overly dependent on the price of commodities and the overall Gross Domestic Product becomes extremely volatile. Additionally, government corruption often results when proper resource rights and an income distribution framework is not established in the society, resulting in unfair regulation of the industry. The resource curse is most often witnessed in emerging markets following a major natural resource discovery.” In a way, that sums up the position of those who actually see the natural resource as a curse. This school of thought does not share the optimism of the blessing otherwise embodied in the natural resource. Our focus in this lecture is a critical examination of the role of the forces that conspired against our people to turn the exploitation of natural resource into a curse. The forces include politicians, bureaucrats and the oil multinationals. By the way, it should be noted that the American Investopedia doesn’t include the role of the oil multinationals in turning the blessing of natural resource into a curse. If you ask the Ogoni people of Rivers State how oil became a curse to their land, they would tell you the sad story of their interaction with Shell, the giant oil multinational. The role of foreign banks and other institutions in facilitating the looting of the oil money and providing safe havens for the loot ought to be factored into a comprehensive definition of the resource curse. The curse has internal and external dimensions. This is by no means an attempt to shift the blame abroad. Nigerians in the public and private sectors have looted oil revenues and in the process they got willing

Falana helping hands from corrupt individuals and organisations in the metropolis. Even though agriculture was the mainstay of the economy in the first republic the post independence development model was influenced by the former colonial regime. As industrialization was deliberately not promoted Nigeria remained a producer of raw materials to feed the industries in Europe and the United States. Indeed, the crisis of underdevelopment was compounded by successive military regimes which squandered the oil wealth. Thus, in spite of the abundant wealth from crude oil and other raw materials the military rulers could not manage the economy in the national interest. In fact, one of them actually confessed that the problem was not how to make money but how to spend it. No doubt, lack of planning and over reliance on pro imperialist economic prescriptions paved way for the pauperization of the people. With large scale looting of the treasury the ruling class had to resort to borrowing from western multilateral institutions. To repay the loans and fund the budget the military dictators introduced austerity measures. The profligacy of the political class in the second republic led to the promulgation of the Economic Stabilization Act by the Shehu Shagari administration. As the civilian wing of the ruling class could not implement the harsh economic programs of imperialism the military returned to power in December 1983. But as the Buhari/Idiagbon junta resisted the takeover of the economy by imperialism a palace coup led by General Ibrahim Babangida was executed. Three years later, the IMF/WB engineered the imposition of the Structural Adjustment Program on the nation. With the ruination of the economy by SAP the Sani Abacha junta came up with vision 2010 while the Olusegun Obasanjo administration opted for NEEDS. However, each of the economic programmes has enriched a few at the expense of the majority of the people. Having failed to invest the oil wealth in the years of abundance the governments are now broke. The Buhari administration has blamed the economic crisis plaguing the nation on the fall in the price of crude oil and the looting of the treasury by the PDP government. Since these are manifestations of the pseudo capitalist system operated in Nigeria we do not share the baseless optimism of the federal government. In any case economic recession has always been with the poor in Nigeria. The Constitution has not helped matters. Section 162 thereof provides for the sharing of the oil revenue without imposing any duty on the governments to invest such revenue in infrastructural development.

Resource Blessing and Its Perversion

Oil, gas, solid minerals and other natural resource that Nigeria precariously depends upon are non-renewable. This is an indisputable geological fact. Yet it is frightening listening to our economic managers discussing the nation’s economic debacle with oil as the first and last words. Economic management has been reduced to monthly sharing of revenues accruing to the federation account. You then wonder if Nigeria will disappear from the world map if a geological accident happens tomorrow morning and the crude oil deposits vanish. Indeed, all of us have cause to worry about the socio-economic (and by implication the political) future of Nigeria. Yet the bitter truth is that the oil wells would be exhausted one day. Maybe this eventuality will happen in the next three decades. Meanwhile, Nigeria even lacks the capacity to determine precisely how much of the crude stuff is extracted by the oil companies, which exclusively

own the requisite technology of exploration and drilling. Nigeria is also reportedly lacking in even the meters to gauge the oilrigs. So the prognosis for the future is scary given the current trend of killing corruption and abysmal lack of planning. You would even be more disgusted when you compare the giant of Africa, Nigeria, and Mauritius, a small island off the east coast of Africa. Mauritius has no mineral resource. But education is free up to the university level. There is free healthcare for all including free heart surgery. Transportation is free for all children. About 87% of the people own their homes. The nation places a high premium on the social safety net. It is remarkable, that former Chief Economist of the World Bank and Nobel Laureate in Economics, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, has recommended the “ Mauritius Miracle” to other countries including the United States and nations of Europe. About 51 countries have been identified by experts as natural resource –rich. Ironically, some of these resource-endowed countries are among the poorest on earth in which basic needs of the people are not met due to gross economic mismanagement. They are susceptible to the curse of oil, gas, gold, bauxite, copper, uranium etc. Nigeria is prominent in the inglorious list of nations chronically afflicted by the resource curse. But let us look at the highly inspiring exceptions of two small countries in Africa, one is rich in diamonds with other minerals and the other has some oil deposits. Botswana is rich in diamonds, cobalt, copper and other minerals. As a matter of socio-economic planning and law, revenue from the exploitation of natural resource is devoted to capital expenditures. Expenditures on education and health are included in the capital budget because they are regarded as human capital investments. The example of Botswana has proved that natural resources need to be a curse in a country where planning and visionary leadership are in place. The second example is the oil-producing Sao Tome and Principe. The country’s Prime Minister Patrice Emery Trovoada spoke at a forum here in Nigeria last year where he proudly declared that revenues from oil could only be “a bonus” to the budget as the country relies principally on agriculture and tourism. He said he had no cause to lose his sleep because of fall in oil revenues. The focus of the tiny country is on human capital investments. It is tempting to dismiss these exceptions as small countries without the huge economic problems of Nigeria. You must, however, recognise that they are small countries with big ideas about the future. They are small nations on the path of a huge progressive development. In contrast, Nigeria is a big country with a limited vision. Oil has become a negative factor of underdevelopment of Nigeria for some reasons. First, development plans were abandoned because of the cheap source of revenues from oil. Lip service has been paid to agriculture, industrialisation and even technological and scientific advancement. Secondly, the corruption in the Nigerian state could survive on the royalty from oils without revenues from any other source including taxes. Thirdly, investments in human capital –education and health- have declined. The more petrodollars roll into the public treasury, the more poverty exacerbates. This has been the familiar narrative especially in the last 30 years when the ruinous Structural adjustment Programme (SAP) was imposed by the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida and corruption became institutionalised.

Corruption, a Curse Fuelled by Oil

Corruption is doubtless a curse planted on the path of Nigeria to development. The fuel for this menacing curse is provided by another curse that is the curse of the historical mismanagement of the natural resource including oil and other resources. If you take a graphic look at the profile of corruption deriving from the oil revenues in the four decades, you would see a burgeoning problem. In 1980, there was a massive outrage when the matter came up in the National Assembly that N2.8 billion of oil money was missing. About 14 years later, the Okigbo Report said the figure of oil money not accounted for by the regime of General Babangida was over $12 billion. Another dictator, the late General Sani Abacha enriched himself to the tune of $5 million. By 2011, the nation was treated a theatre of the absurd when hundreds of billions of naira were allegedly taken by fuel subsidy merchants without importing fuel. In the latest report of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), about $20 billion remains unremitted to the federation account by the oil companies. No one is being tried for this alleged economic crime. It is interesting that government is not enthusiastic enough about recovering the looted funds. Its focus is on borrowing against which the future oil revenues could be mortgaged. (Being the Text of the Convocation Lecture delivered by Mr. Femi Falana, SAN at Oduduwa University, Ile-Ife, Osun State recently. It was originally titled ‘The Blessing of Natural Resource Endowment and the Curse of Corrupt Leadership: Critical Perspectives on Nigeria’s State Of Underdevelopment) (See concluding part on www.thisdaylive.com)


77

NOVEMBER 27, 2016 • THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER

PERSPECTIVE

The Yoruba’s Precarious Future in Nigeria (II)

Tunji Olaopa

T

o say that the Yorùbá have a precarious future in the national entity called Nigeria is not to say anything that uniquely applies to the Yorùbá alone. Almost all the major ethnic groups have one reason or the other to exercise legitimate fears about their future existence in Nigeria. What is however unique about the assertion is that each nationality would have to find its own unique means, usually internal to its cultural dynamism, to deal with the problem of nation-building and the national project in Nigeria. What is called the Nigerian national project is the attempt by any plural state to deal with the multitude of centrifugal forces that often threaten to overwhelm the objective of nation building. In Nigeria, these forces come in the form of religious fundamentalism and ethnic divisiveness which consistently defeat the centripetal objective of building a civic nationalism that will, all things being equal, give birth to a truly Nigerian nation. Civic nationalism draws on all the ethnic energies channeled toward governments (federal and state) and their capability to deliver on the imperatives of development. In other words, the nation building effort in Nigeria has only a chance to work if the Nigerian government has all the supports and loyalties it requires. There is however a dimension of political economy to all ethnic maneuvering and agitations within the Nigerian national space. Relationship in the Nigerian space is defined around the allocation of scarce national resources, especially the oil revenue. Within Nigeria’s lopsided political system, Nigeria’s oil resources provide one singular reason for the jostling for the status of the president amongst the various politically heavy ethnic nations. The implication of this is that the status quo of a unitary “federalism” provides enough justification not to reform the system. But it is exactly the reform of the Nigeria “federal” system that the Yorùbá have dedicated themselves to for far too long. One aspect of Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s national legacy is built around an ardent advocacy for restructuring Nigeria’s constitutional status to reflect a truly federal framework. Federalism operates on the understanding of the parity of autonomy between the federal and the state or regional governments. It was as if Awolowo knew the enormous structural and political impediments that are arrayed against the Yorùbá’s creative deployment of their heritage and capacities within a unitary national space. Outside of a truly federal system, everything else is a dangerous political game founded on ethnic relevance. Mario Vargas Llosa, the Peruvian writer, understands the essence of this game: “Real politics...has little to do with ideas, values, and imagination...and everything to do with manoeuvres, intrigues, plots, paranoia, betrayals, a great deal of calculation, no little cynicism, and every kind of con game.” Unfortu-

Olaopa nately, even Awolowo was equally caught within the snare of this real politics which he understood very clearly, and which most of his books and ideas were meant to anticipate and undermine. That underlying dynamics of Nigeria’s politics pitted him against his erstwhile associate, Chief Ladoke Akintola. Both are Yorùbá, and that tragic drama between them constitutes one of the high points of Nigerian political history. It is as if Nigeria itself is so rigged to make a terrible example of the Yorùbá nation. Those considered to be in good standing for the Yorùbá leadership seems already compromised by real politics. We are all witnesses to the politics of annulment that turned MKO Abiola’s political victory into tragedy that is still all too fresh. Chief Ernest Shonekan propped, ever so briefly, a lackluster government, and then Chief Olusegun Obasanjo surfaced. Even Obasanjo’s energetic presence was compromised by the powerful rumour of a Northern political endorsement which undermines whatsoever lasting restructure Nigeria could have achieved. The Yorùbá have ventured boldly into the boiling cauldron of the national real politics, and on each occasion, the Yorùbá have been burnt. It seems therefore a very wise move that rather than continuing with a rigged system, a conference of all nationalities becomes the next best thing to rescue a true federal system from being swallowed within the depth of realpolitik. The agitation for the Sovereign National Conference (SNC) has been as vociferous as the Yorùbá have made it. From the MKO Abiola’s June 12 saga through the Abacha dictatorship, there was a gradual convergence of progressives, from NADECO to the Afenifere. At the center of that progressive politics is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, another Yorùbá. But now, within the very sure unfolding of Nigeria’s realpolitik, the present political travails of Tinubu contrasts with his heroic personality some

few months ago before the election of President Buhari. What does the profile of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu imply for a Yorùbá project of self-determination in Nigeria? There is no doubt that Asiwaju Tinubu is phenomenal. You amy not like his politics but, give it to him, to design and implement the strategy that unseated a sit-in government as witnessed in 2015 is simply ingenious and unparalleled. The heroism of the pro-democracy days couples with recent political struggles to put in place a progressive party coalition that brought in the Buhari administration, together gives him a significant and formidable presence in Nigerian politics. In fact, Tinubu’s political charisma envelopes the Southwest robustly in a manner that holds promises for the Yorùbá agenda. However, the very name “Tinubu” throws up different and often contradictory political vibes. There is a disenabling albatross of Machiavellian godfatherism around his political neck that constitutes a severely limiting factor. I am not sure even his supposed influence in the Southwest is overwhelming, just like Awo’s never did - a testament to the republican credentials of the Yoruba. Godfatherism is a very touchy issue when inserted rudely within the political economy of the states in Nigeria. For instance, the recent troubles within the APC which seem to pit Tinubu against the Buhari administration put the former in an embattled position. And furthermore, the possibility of another party emerging that would coalesce around his presence definitely does not bode well for Yorùbá unity. While the Ondo state gubernatorial situation is not a good sign for a region whose sociopolitical existence in Nigeria is already precarious. A credible future for the Yorùbá cannot, as a matter of course, be built around a single individual or even a single issue for that matter. The essence of the Yorùbá political advocacy has been tied around the significance of the sovereign national conference. But that issue faces two serious snags. The first is the growing perception that the SNC is a camouflage for a hidden Yorùbá secession project. The second is the determination of the federal government to reserve Nigeria as is. Nigeria’s has become a “no-go area closed to national discourse. This is one of the things that makes the national question intractable in Nigeria. We want to achieve national integration yet we are unwilling to enter into an open discourse about it. We seal up the very issue that could serve as the opportunity for a robust national conversation. At the heart of the national question in Nigeria is whether or not the union is a viable one; whether we all want to stay together, and if so how. That ought to be the whole essence of the SNC. But if, according to the government, Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable, then the Yorùbá cannot continue barking up the futile tree. Thus, after two doomed national conferences, it seems it is now time for the Yorùbá to change the game plan, except if there is a chance opportunity to deploy force with too many inherent risks it portent. The Yorùbá status in Nigeria is a political issue

Adversity is the Mother of Invention Steve Orajiaku

“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein.

O

n Friday, September 23, on the morning programme of one of the independent television stations, “Recession: Economy faces stagflation”, was the topic of discussion with an economic expert. I tried to define that uncommon economic jargon. Stagflation, in a layman’s view, is a combination of two words, namely, stagnant and inflation. I think, in the light of Nigeria’s prevailing dire economic situation, stagflation will be construed to be an economic situation whereby inflation is blended with stagnant or falling output and employment. If you are at a loss what exactly is happening in Nigeria, especially in our economic sector, reading the above definition will be both enlightening and insightful. But interestingly, an expert recently questioned if, in the true sense of the word, inflation, that truly is what the country is presently undergoing, when we are rather operating an import-based economy and, thus, a consumption prone nation. It is more appropriate and apt for a production run economy to suffer or be blamed for inflation than consumption based one.

But just as the topic of this discussion says, I am not going to be so much concerned and focused on the details of what the economic challenge we are currently confronted with is. The most successful and economically independent and highly industrialised nations in the world are not found among those who can boast of the endowment of natural resources, especially, crude oil identified under the umbrella name, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Nigeria is a member of OPEC. The fascinating thing is that this seemingly economic sleeping giant has every potential and quality requisite to belong if not surpass the privileged few, successful and economically independent nations. The pertinent question becomes, why are we so jinxed to the point that we are used to being likened to the proverbial “eagle with clipped wings that possibly won’t fly?” I hate to resort to the consolatory corner that this economic stagnancy or developmental retrogression is not peculiar to us as a country, and that our fellow natural resources blessed countries, too, suffer same. Balderdash! Who is holding us down from rising out of our self-inflicted complacency? I foresaw that the economic emancipation that will, by implication, extend to other sectors of the nation’s life, shall be predicated on whatever side the previous election pendulum will swing. I foresaw this prevailing and inexorable economic tribulation fast approaching - so unavoidable a circumstance that I reluctantly agreed in a submissive manner that this can only be a disguised blessing for the entire nation. If we fail again this time and this rare opportunity to rise above board proves elusive for us, it is hard for

but its resolution must necessarily go beyond politics. We are all familiar with the political travails of Awolowo, Akintola, Abola and the unfolding troubles of Tinubu. A more significant effort would draw on a pan-Yorùbá spirit to reach far and wide into every aspect of Yorùbá professional endeavour to develop a credible matrix around which the Yorùbá future can be tabled and discoursed. Of course, the matrix would feature such Yorùbá heavyweights like Tinubu and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, as well as all other Yorùbá elders and leaders of thought. And OBJ really might wish to take this as one of his last patriotic duties given the immense social capital that his newfound non-partisan stance has yielded. It will also feature the full spectrum of the Yorùbá elite across Nigeria. And in discoursing the Yorùbá agenda, there is a necessary synonym between the Yorùbá agenda and the socioeconomic fate of the Southwest in Nigeria. The Southwest has always been the locus of commendable achievements. The former Western Region was a singular example of a vision of administrative and good governance (that is, if we look beyond the anomalous political violence). For instance, the Awolowo-Adebo administrative model was responsible for the glorious infrastructural dynamics that was the cynosure of West Africa in the 60s and 70s. The Southwest still retains sufficient capitals, in terms of human, material and administrative resources, to become a positive and pioneering example. But for one major obstacle: the inability of the Yorùbá leadership to coalesce around one pan-Yorùbá ideal of good governance. Empowering the Yorùbá people in the Southwest ought to be a sufficiently pan-Yorùbá platform around which the Obas, Southwest governors, Yorùbá thought leaders, Yorùbá social and economic elites would do well to coalesce. At the end of the day, when posterity is evaluating today’s events, what would matter for the Yorùbá would not be how each Yorùbá leader has survived and achieved political fame. Rather, what would matter is how each generation of Yorùbá leaders deployed their endowments to the furtherance of an agenda that unashamedly led to the empowering of the Yorùbá agenda in Nigeria. That is the sole justification for the existing legacy of Chief Obafemi Awolowo today. He was unstinting in his devotion to the Yorùbá cause without in any way undermining the Nigerian national project. Whether he succeeded or not is a point for historians and social scientists to determine. It is, however, his uncontroversial legacy of good governance that the present crop of Yorùbá leadership should replicate. Their entire reputation and claim to any significant sense of genuine leadership hangs on that. ––Dr. Olaopa is the Executive Vice Chairman, Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP) [tolaopa2003@ gmail.com; tolaopa2003@yahoo.com; tolaopa@isgpp.com.ng

me to say, but we may never recover from the devastating trauma or pick up the residue this recession will ultimately leave behind. A veteran journalist, Thomas Friedman, in his book, “The world is flat”, convincingly explains why the countries devoid of natural resources tend to prosper, thus, “the ideal country in a flat world is the one with no natural resources, because countries with no natural resources tend to dig inside themselves. They try to tap the energy, entrepreneurship, creativity, and intelligence of their own people – men and women – rather than drill on oil well. Taiwan is a barren rock in a typhoon–laden sea, with virtually no natural resources – nothing but the energy, ambition, and talent of its people – and today it has the third largest financial reserves in the world. ‘’The success of Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Coastal China can all be traced to a similar flatness.” A major developmental restraint Nigeria suffers is what the ace economist, Adam Smith, called Creative Destruction in his classical treatise, The Wealth of Nations. This oxymoron cum economic phrase simply means a society’s ability and willingness to pull together and sacrifice for the sake of economic development and the presence in a society of leaders with the vision to see what needs to be done in terms of development and the willingness to use power to push for change rather than to enrich themselves and preserve the status quo. –– Orajiaku writes from Lagos. He can be reached at: steveobum@gmail.com (See concluding part on www.thisdaylive.com)


78

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

PERSPECTIVE

Moving Against Land Robbers in Ogun Banji Ojewale

A

n insurance executive in Lagos, who sought to relocate to Ota, Ogun State, and probably bring along foreign partners for a new firm, was held back by reports of the violent activities of land speculators. He gathered that these land grabbers, otherwise called Omo onile, were a force to reckon with if you wanted to develop your legitimate property either for business or for residential purposes. He told me he had acquired the land and was ready to move to Ota but was scared that heavily armed rival gangs of these indigenous speculators would stall the project and frustrate his expatriate partners. Eventually he spiked the idea. Who lost? A superficial verdict would be that our man lost the opportunity to open new frontiers in business in Ogun. Really? The ultimate loser was the Ogun State government which had left the vandals unchecked. It lost the taxes that the projected insurance firm and its employees would have paid into its treasury; it also blew the chance to depopulate the labour market; it gave the impression Ogun was not habitable nor was it safe for investment, business and tourism, all massive revenue earners and employers of labour. But last week, good news came when Governor Ibikunle Amosun took a firm step to outlaw that perception of his state as the den of the criminal activities of the Omo onile. He signed the anti-land grabbing bill into law with quite stiff penalties for its infringement. Imprisonment for 25 years or death sentence awaits anyone found guilty of the offence of land robbery. The law prohibits “forcible entry and occupation of landed properties, violent and fraudulent conducts in relation to landed properties, armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism and allied matters incidental thereto…” According to the law, death sentence applies when a life or lives are lost in such forceful take-over of land. Kidnappers also risk life sentence. After signing the bill into law, Amosun said the state would not be a “comfort zone for criminals.” He had tough words for them. He declared: “We want to let people know that Ogun State would not be comfort zone for any criminal or so-called Omo onile (land grabbers). They have engaged in maiming, killing and lawlessness. But now the law will go after them. We are now having enabling law to prosecute and anybody that runs foul of this law, of course, will have himself or herself to blame… I want to believe that with

Amosun the operation of this law, criminals will run away from the state.” The Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, said at the signing of the law in Abeokuta: “This is a clarion call to all criminals, armed robbers, kidnappers, cultists and so on that there is no place for them in Ogun State. They should relocate because there is no room for them. We are ready to enforce the law.” The birthing of the new law taming the land grabbers has excited residents, investors and tourists with Ogun, notably Ota, as their destination. Ota, in particular, has been economically and developmentally stagnant for decades due to the reign of terror put in place by the vandals called Omo onile. They sell and re-sell the same land many times over to a thousand and one persons. They encroach upon occupied property and break down perimeter fences to make way for new and exorbitant transactions. They exact outrageous levies when you start to develop your property. And during construction they move in again to demand even more killer sums. They form violent gangs that disturb the peace of the community. They maim and kill when resisted. In a word, they are a law unto themselves, forming parallel govern-

ments where they operate. Their existence has retarded the development of Ogun State. For a state contiguous to Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous boasting the largest economy, Ogun ought to be benefiting immensely from this proximity. But investors do not want to come in, fearing they would be grounded by the land robbers. They are apprehensive about their personal security and safety. They fear for their families and what might happen to the enormous capital they would be pumping into their planned undertakings. The economic weights of their businesses in Ogun would lead to the resurgence of the economy and the empowerment of the citizens. In turn, these would enlarge the purse of the government to enable it attain massive social and economic renaissance. This is what Ogun State needs in this era of economic recession. The activities of the Omo onile are particularly harmful to two of Amosun’s Five Cardinal Programmes, namely Increased Agricultural Production/ Industrialisation and Rural and Infrastructural Development/Employment Generation, respectively the third and fifth objectives. Pray, how do you achieve these strategic programmes when land, the major ingredient for the success of these ventures, is in the killer grasp of criminals? Those who want to heed Amosun’s call to move into the state to reside there or run their businesses are now assured that they have a government that would use the rule of law to shield them from murderous marauders. A good government is known by its ability to protect and secure its citizens as well as save them from the fear of those who would prey on them and their legitimately earned money. Indeed, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states this unequivocally in the early lines Chapter 2 of the document. Providing “security and welfare of the people” is the “primary purpose of government,” according to the sacred scroll. The next step of the Amosun administration is to establish a task force statewide to patrol the inner communities and enforce the law. The presence of members of this task force will check the gathering of the land grabbers as they are wont to do when planning to molest the citizens. The government should also set up active helplines to reach when there is a violation of the new statute. That is how the neighbouring Lagos State is implementing its own anti-land gabbing law it promulgated in August this year. ––Ojewale, a writer, sent in this piece via bmrtbo@yahoo.com.

BugdIT Report: Ugwuanyi at His Peak Louis Amoke

T

he recent report released by BudgIT, a data-simplifying civic organisation, which listed Enugu, Lagos and Rivers as the only three states out of the 36 states of the federation that could fulfil obligations to their workers, was not only a remarkable feat for Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State. it was also a demonstration of his excellent managerial skills to navigate the state through the current economic crunch. The verdict, which is widely adjudged as objective and based on facts and figures, shows the commitment of the governor towards the advancement of good governance and delivery of his campaign promises to the people of the state despite the current economic recession. It has also shown the governor’s philosophy of prudent management of the state’s lean resources for the wellbeing of the people through accountability, transparency, financial discipline and application of the best economic practices that would engender sustainable growth and development. Enugu State is third from the bottom of the federal allocation chart. It is also predominantly a civil service state with high expectations from the people borne out of the long held belief in the expansion of the state’s economic potentials. It would be recalled that Ugwuanyi in his inaugural address promised to govern by example, to lead a lean government to free up resources and channel them to the real development issues, which include the welfare of the workers of the state. He assured the people that every kobo of the state “will be utilised transparently and in a way that adds value to your lives”. A critical review of the intricacies of the present administration in Enugu State shows that the governor has made good his promise

to lead the state on the path of administrative ingenuity and prudent management of its lean resources. It is pertinent to note that among the three states listed by BudgIT that are still able to meet their recurrent needs, Enugu is the least in terms of federal allocation and internally generated revenue. As a civil service state, Enugu is not as economically endowed as Lagos and Rivers states, which generate huge resources from commercial activities. Yet, it was able to make the list alongside the two economic giant states – a feat, which many have described as outstanding. The Ugwuanyi administration, in addition to paying workers’ salaries regularly, has also embarked on massive infrastructural development of the state with some road projects completed for inauguration in December. To alleviate the pains motorists pass through on some federal government roads in the state, the state government recently embarked on rehabilitation of the failed sections of the federal roads along Oji River- UgwuobaAnambra State border (by old road) and 9th Mile – Nsukka – Benue State border. This is despite the huge sums of money the federal government owes the state on past rehabilitated roads. Ugwuanyi says, “This administration cannot sit down and watch road users suffer this much on the roads, hence the need for the rehabilitation.” The road intervention, which has the backing of the State Executive Council, has equally given credence to the governor’s vision to “deploy government services to create fair and equal opportunity for every willing citizen to make a living and create wealth, educate our children, and enjoy life in a peaceful and secure environment”. On the vision to take development to the rural areas as part of the grassroots development initiatives to create new urban centres, boost socio-economic activities, create employment opportunities and reduce the pressure

Ugwuanyi on Enugu metropolis, Ugwuanyi’s administration only recently flagged off 35 development projects spread across the 17 local government areas of the state. Many of the capital projects and other remarkable feats in various strata of the economy are on-going while the state is still able to fulfil obligations to its workers. Reacting to the BudgIT’s report, the state chapters of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria and the Peoples Democratic Party applauded Ugwuanyi for his vision, administrative ingenuity and sheer dexterity in prudent management of the state’s resources. They said the BudgIT’s verdict represented the true position of things in Enugu State regarding the manner in which the governor has been managing the resources of the state for the interest of the people. In a statement jointly signed by the state chairman and secretary of TUC, Comrade Igbokwe Chukwuma Igbokwe and Comrade Ben Asogwa, respectively, the workers said, “it was an exceptional display of quality leadership for the governor to pay salaries regularly and still execute capital projects, despite the current economic crisis in the country.” The labour leaders added, “For Enugu to be listed alongside Lagos and Rivers as the only

states in the federation still able to meet their recurrent needs shows that Governor Ugwuanyi is a visionary leader who is committed to the wellbeing of the people.” On his part, the state chairman of PDP, Hon. Augustine Nnamani, said the party was not surprised by the BudgIT’s report, stressing, “Ugwuanyi had maintained a culture of financial discipline that has helped his administration to save cost and ensure that its lean resources were adequately utilised for priority issues that would add value to the lives of the people of the state.” The party urged the governor to remain focused and steadfast in his vision to advance good governance and deliver on his campaign promises in line with the PDP manifesto. Also commenting on the BudgIt’s report, the Nigerian Labour Congress, during a solidarity rally in commemoration of the 67th anniversary of the slaying of 21 workers who were agitating for better working conditions at the Iva Valley Coal Mine, in Enugu, paid tributes to Ugwuanyi for prioritising the welfare of workers in the state and ensuring that their wages are paid regularly. Describing Ugwuanyi as the man with the magic wand, the NLC’s head of industrial relations and organising department, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboajah, who represented the body’s national president, noted that the accolades Enugu State received as one of three states that are regular in taking care of basic responsibilities to their workers was because the governor was committed to prudent management of resources and welfare of the workers. Ugwuanyi, who had reassured the people of his resolve to ensure even development of the state, had also attributed the feats his administration to the grace of God and prudent management of the state’s lean resources. From all indications, it is obvious that Ugwuanyi is at his peak in providing the dividends of democracy for the people Enugu State. Enugu State is truly in the hands of God. –– Amoke writes from Enugu.


79

THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

PERSPECTIVE

Amaechi, Cain and Rivers Rerun Bruno Emenike

N

igeria’s Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, as a man from the backwaters of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria is expected to be temperate, grateful and shun of the hubris of playing god. Also, as one who came up the rough and hard way, which is no fault of his, Amaechi, so far is finding it infra dig to embrace the virtues of cultured society despite being a Speaker of a State Assembly, Governor and now a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. For anybody that pays close attention, this should not be surprising. Having tasted the elixir of power and the privileges it confers on those who wield or walk in its corridors, Amaechi has become blinded to the consequences of unbridled power and avarice. He is the typical modern Cain. The one who has little or no moral scruples about selling his birth right in a masked quest for survival. The one who forgets the essence and meaning of contentment, integrity and working for community brotherhood. In the build up to the 2015 election in Nigeria, Amaechi simply could not contain himself as he engaged in bellicose activities directed at the person of the then sitting President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Dame Patience. It is instructive that in all of his assaults against the First Family, there was no response from the peace-loving and affable Jonathan. Most Nigerians had expected that it should have served as a lesson for the pugnacious Amaechi to take a cue and retreat. No! His eyes were firmly fixed on expanding his political clout even if it meant severing his soul from all that is godly and dignifying just for a mess of pottage. Fast forward to November 2015, Amaechi got his wish of working for a new government but his avaricious self is not satisfied. His appetite to stoke violence, throw catch phrases and defy law and order seems to grow by the day. Speaking recently, precisely, on November 12, 2016 at a rally in Bera in Gokana Local Government Area of Ogoniland of Rivers State, South South Nigeria, the hometown of APC Rivers South East Senatorial zone candidate, Magnus Abe, Amaechi vowed that the APC must Win At All Cost! Amaechi said: “If there is one place APC shouldn’t campaign, it is in Ogoniland but Wike said he must win here. “It is not as if he is God. Only God can say that but since he is not God, he will fail. Wike can never be God. The battle is not in Ogoniland but in the Ikwerre and Ahoada axis of Rivers State, Nigeria “So he had better forget here (Ogoniland). He said he will deploy everything. Anything he wants to deploy let him deploy, we will deploy our own.” It should be stated that Governor Nyesom Wike is the Chief Law Officer of Rivers State, therefore has the consti-

Amaechi tutional mandate to ensure that all legitimate means are deployed for a successful Rivers Rerun legislative poll. One wonders where Amaechi derives his powers from to “deploy our own.” It is pertinent for Nigerians to ask what Amaechi meant by “we will deploy our own,” and “The past elections, we took security for granted. This time, we will not take security for granted.” As a former governor, Amaechi knows very well that he has no security mandate even as a minister. Except he is confirming to Nigerians that simply because he is a member of the ruling party at the centre, he now has extra-security privileges which he intends to use to out-muscle a duly elected administration in Rivers state. Like a man who the gods want to destroy, he has confirmed that he engaged in subversive activities against the administration of President Jonathan. One sincerely doubts if the regime he belongs to now would have tolerated his manifest intransigence. According to him; “In all the fight I had with the federal government under former President Jonathan, nobody saw me physically battling with anybody.” Perhaps he needs to be reminded how he led street protests even in Abuja to undermine federal authority and got away with it. Part of the incredulous resort to vile language clearly shows that the mark of Cain on him requires an avalanche of men of God and anointing to redeem him as a professed Christian! If Amaechi were not to be under the influence of, perhaps, psychotic powers, he would not have condescend to this: “Wike is indeed a thug, not a

governor. He doesn’t know what it takes to govern.” While it may be subject to debate, the minister’s predilections give credence to allegations that he could be psychologically off balance. If it is not so, why does Amaechi, like a shrew, complain and make lots of drama? Why does he whine and make endless fuss over his inability to galvanise the people constructively rather than stir them up to violence by his constant bitching in the media? Well, he suffers from the victim mentality, with the ultimate end to dominate. But the electorate in his part of the country are wiser. When the Nigerian electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for no cogent reason, decided to deny the people of the state, a constitutional guarantee, representation at the National and State legislatures, Amaechi and his horde in the All Progressives Congress did not as much as bother to sound the alarm to the abuse of the democratic right and privilege of the Rivers people to be represented. Amaechi did not deem it expedient to pull his weight in the regime he belongs to insist that the right thing be done by the people he claims to have their interest. Rather, he went on with business as usual to expand his empire of avarice by positioning his coterie of hangers on in the government while the interest of Rivers State suffers. Just like Cain, it is about self, and not his brother (the people of Rivers state). The international community need not watch idly by while Amaechi engages in political rabble- rousing capable of inspiring violence in the Rivers rerun. The world sat back and allowed people of hate to instigate the Rwanda genocide and not too long ago in Kenya. When a government minister vows to “do whatever it takes to win,” it is a prescription for disaster and violence. What Amaechi, and by extension the APC, is telling the Rivers electorate and Nigerians as a whole is that their votes do not count. What is obvious when he said “we will bring our own security,” is that there are security operatives that are extra-constitutional without any loyalty to the Nigerian State but are directed by him and the APC. Equating the Rivers rerun to the unpreparedness of the Democrats in the just concluded United States election shows a remarkable shallow understanding of the workings of democracy. The democrats campaigned hard and well, they did not threaten to upend the democratic process with their own security or win at all cost as he has espoused. They worked within the ambit of the law and won the popular vote but lost the most important, the Electoral College. That is how democracy works! Let the minister be reminded that in the final analysis, he will be held accountable like Cain. There is no punishment worse than to be considered an outcast by one’s own people and Amaechi’s overly militarised visits to Rivers State should serve as harbinger that the people’s will to freely choose those who will represent their interests cannot be exchanged for a mess of pottage. ––Emenike writes from Port Harcourt

PenCom’sMicroPension, aGuaranteeforFutureoftheSelf-Employed Ezekiel Adebayo

T

he rising populations and the insecure future faced by the self-employed have been a source of continuous and serious concern for development experts, managers of the economy, and political leaders for obvious reasons. For instance, the urgent need to design financial literacy programmes, develop micro pensions, informal markets, and social security implementation took the center stage at the recent third World Pension Summit - Africa Special in Abuja - jointly organised by the World Pension Summit (WPS) and the National Pension Commission (PenCom), the Nigerian pension regulator. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the summit, the third in the series specifically designed to cater for Africa’s special pension cum developmental interests, challenges, and opportunities, the founder of the WPS, Mr. Harry Smorenberg, highlighted a global poverty challenge where more than half of the world’s population (over three billion people) live on less than two dollars a day. According to him, Africa is the second largest continent, and with a rapidly growing middle class, and a population that is expected to reach 2.4 billion by 2050 and 4.1 billion by 2100. He noted the need for financial literacy and inclusion and expressed the view that governments should provide a veritable safety net for the growing middle class because they provide a stable base for the economy. However, it was the Director General of PenCom, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, who first raised the alarm in her opening address. Bringing it home, the populations of Lagos and Kinshasa alone would hit 18.5 million and 14.5 million, respectively, by 2025, according to United Nations. She,

however, explained to the applause of stakeholders and relief of the Nigerian populations, that Nigeria had taken the lead through the Micro Pension Scheme, to be rolled out very soon. This is to ensure financial inclusion and pension savings by majority of the Nigerian working population, which is in the informal sector. Also, the CEO of WPS, Mr. Chris Battaglia, while citing the example of Japan where over 60,000 citizens were more than 100 years old, emphasised the need for Africa, indeed Nigeria, to boost pension savings by promoting pension literacy and micro pension plans. While expressing happiness at the success of the Nigeria’s Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) with over seven million registered contributors and nearly N6 trillion worth of pension assets in just a little over 10 years, former President Olusegun Obasanjo emphasised the need for pension arrangement for the informal sector, given that it constitutes at least 61% of urban employment across the continent and will be on the rise due to population growth. He advocated for micro pension, especially as the proportion of Sub-Saharan Africans in vulnerable employment has attained an alarming rate of 85% for women and 70% men. Renown experts from various global jurisdictions, including Richard Dowen, the Director, Royal African Society, United Kingdom; Mary Delahunty, General Manager, Business Development and Policy, Australia; Modupe Ladipo, Director, Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA), Nigeria; and Sefa Gohoho of the Young Africans Leadership Initiative (YALI) Regional Leadership Centre, Ghana, were of the view that the breakdown of support from extended family at old age due to rising economic challenges have made micro pension and financial inclusion most imperative to enable people in the self-employed to make hay while the sun shines.

Anohu-Amazu Modupe, for instance, explained that a 2014 survey on pensions revealed that only about 5.3% of the adult population had pension accounts. But the good news is that about 70 million adults in the informal sector were willing to make regular contributions, which, therefore, provides huge opportunity for the Micro Pension Scheme to be rolled out


80

THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

PERSPECTIVE

UNIUYO: The Metamorphoses of a Dream Sam Akpe

I

t was more than a stroll in the park. We were out for an intellectual fun. The sweet walk was a little of

sight-seeing and more of answer-seeking. At a time the Academic Staff Union of Universities was getting set for a warning strike, the natural thing was for a typical reporter to take a walk into the nearest university campus to observe the mood and have a feel of the atmosphere regarding the issue at hand. Nigerian students in tertiary institutions are used to strike actions by staff of the universities. Such actions have become more of a constant phenomenon rather than an exception. That a strike was being contemplated made no news to them. The real news would have been if an academic session or two had passed and there was no strike or threats of it. That would mean consistent academic progress; and in Nigeria, that’s pretty utopian. However, our mission in Akwa Ibom State that weekend was not to report strike or no strike action. In fact, it was not really about reporting anything. However, that’s the beauty and one of the several contrasts of journalism. One thing always leads to another. In every assignment, paths cross. Ideas unfold. Doors open. Stories change. Priorities alternate; and a headline emerges. That’s what makes journalism compelling. We were in Akwa Ibom State for the burial of the 90 years old mother of Senator Effiong Bob. The burial itself was a celebration rather than mourning. Politicians across the country, led by state governors and party leaders, almost turned the well-planned event into an avenue for showcasing their mischievous craft. As the serving Pro-Chancellor of the University of Benin, Bob drew attendance from the academic community across the country. Almost stealing the show were his classmates from the University of Lagos and the 1983/84 Class of the Nigerian Law School. From the National Assembly where he served for two terms as senator were out-gone and serving senators and House members who turned up to honour one of their own. That was two weeks ago. Some of the journalists in the team that went for the event were visiting the state for the first time. Others had been there before especially when Godswill Akpabio presided as governor for eight years. For those who had never been there, and even for regular visitors, moving around the city to admire the well-paved roads and bridges was not a bad idea. It was therefore natural to stop over at the University of Uyo as we passed through the age-long Ikot Ekpene Road. Suddenly, one reporter raised the issue: what has changed in this university since it was established in 1991? That lonely but loaded question changed the original thought of merely walking through the old site of the university while observing the preparation for the impending strike action. An old student among us was on hand to explain what was, as compared to what is, in terms of physical structures and human development. The first sign of change noticed by the reporters, was the discovery that the previous main entrance located a few metres from the ever busy Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road has been closed; or rather relocated to the interior of the university. For first time-visitors, the change did not ignite any curiosity or surprise; but for some who schooled there and were used to the old entrance, it was a great surprise. Walking into the main campus of the university itself was a delight spiced with more surprises. A lot has changed. New structures have been erected. A more

Essien serene and better learning environment has been created. Some kind of development revolution has enveloped the once drab academic set-up elevating it to a level of competition even with some of the first generation universities. Beautifully-lined trees that provide shades within the campus could not be ignored. Before proceeding, let’s establish a little background here in terms of when it all started. What is now the University of Uyo started as the University of Cross River State in 1983. In 1987 when Akwa Ibom State was created, some mild argument and confusion ensued as to what the university would be called because you couldn’t locate a Cross River State University in Akwa Ibom State. It was then suggested that it be transformed into Federal University of Technology. It was a good idea that did not see the light of day due to certain policy summersaults by the military junta. Overnight, it was renamed: University of Uyo. That was in 1991. Professor Fola Lasisi presided over the young university from inception till 1999. He laid the foundation, watered maiden ideas and nurtured the institution to overcome its teething problems. A young, eloquent and quintessential economist, Professor Akpan Ekpo, succeeded him in 2000 and was there till 2005. Professor Akaneren Essien who took over from Ekpo later handed over to the first female university Vice Chancellor from Akwa Ibom State, Professor Comfort Ekpo. It was when her tenure ended in 2015 that the current VC, Professor Enefiok Essien, was ushered in. As we move along the well-flowered paths and cleantarred roads within the campus, we came face to face with the mission statement of the university. The same space also houses the university’s vision statement. What is however more striking is the university’s philosophy which in summary emphasises: “....the development of people to recognise human values,” while the programmes of the university “....seek to achieve a balance

• PenCom’s miCro Pension, by PenCom. The experts, however, advised PenCom to ensure that its micro pension guidelines adequately address challenges like flexibility of registration, remittance of contributions, and fears of prospective contributors such as lack of regular inflow of income and frequency of access to their contributions when needed. CPS as backbone of micro pension Stakeholders and experts view the CPS, as success, contrasting the old pension scheme (Defined Benefit Scheme), due to the smooth payment of pension benefits since the inception of the scheme in 2004 following the reforms that came vide the Pension Reform Act 2004 during Obasanjo adminstration. The reform was based on the work of the Fola Adeola Pension Reform Committee, which the present Director-General, Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, was also a member. From a deficit of over N2 trillion inherited from the old pension system, PenCom has grown pension assets to N5.9 trillion through strict regulation and creative administration. The juicy part for the majority of Nigerians

a

between the intellectual values of specialisation and the practical advantages of a broad-based preparation for responsible roles in the society.” Our adventure would have perhaps ended as we emerged from the school library until someone mentioned that a former British-trained journalist who had worked with the good old Nigerian Chronicle newspaper was now the head of the Communication Arts Department of the institution. Instantly, we unanimously agreed that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to rub minds with someone who would still have been in the newsroom today except for the lure of intellectual adventure. A few minutes later, Professor Nkereuwem Udoakah, sporting a well-groomed beard, whitened with huge academic content rather than old age, is delighted to talk to those he still refer to as colleagues. It was a privilege to be addressed by someone who has become an institution in the business of political and development journalism both as a practitioner and a teacher. With a wide smile and obvious joy, he welcomed the wandering reporters to the campus and proceeded to engage them in an informal discussion with the permission to be quoted if necessary. It was from Professor Udoakah that we learnt that the university has five campuses all within the state. Where we were seated however still remains the original campus which had previously housed the State College of Education. As we listened, there was no mistaking the reporter in the old reporter as he tried not to sing praises but couldn’t help stating the truths as he knows them. Udoakah described the university as a solid academic environment that has refused to compromise standards when it comes to quality. He said the situation has been made better by the serving VC, Professor Essien, whom he described as a thoroughbred administrator and profound academic. Essien, a professor of law, was the longest serving dean of faculty at the university having served 2000 to 2009; and again from 2012 to 2015; before he was appointed the VC. The newsroom veteran disclosed that Essien’s decision to prioritise staff welfare has resulted in high staff productivity. The priority, he said, is evident in payment of sustenance allowances to staff, timely staff promotions, redressing of injustices done to many of them in the past; among others. Most gratifying, he said, has been the fact that staff members that died while on active duties have been honoured. He disclosed that recently, what would have resulted in serious face-off between the students and the school authorities was averted when the VC moved to reverse the expulsion of 150 engineering students. This action he said helped in calming the palpable tension in the system and equally endeared the VC to the students. In addition, the teacher said that in the last one year, there has been smooth operation of the academic calendar in the university; and regular meetings of statutory bodies. Such meetings or interactions, according to him, have helped smoothened rough areas and ensured that the running of the academic institution suffers no hitch. It was his belief that with better funding, the university, under the current leadership, would do a lot to at least build upon the existing structures. He pointed at various inherited projects and new ones springing up across the campus. Satisfied with the fruitful interaction with the bespectacled professor, the wandering journalists, after a joyful handshake, took one last look at the academic citadel and leisurely walked back to the city. It was an afternoon well spent. -Akpe is an Abuja –based journalist

Guarantee for future of the self-emPloyed • Continued from Page 79

will now be the micro pension, thanks also to Pension Reform (Amendment) Act 2014. Speaking at a workshop recently organised by PenCom for business correspondents in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, the Head of Micro Pension Department, created to drive the scheme, Polycarp Anyanwu, said PenCom had done adequate work and were putting a few finishing touches preparatory to the release of the scheme guideline and actual takeoff. Anyanwu maintained that the scheme is an offshoot of the Pension industry five-year Strategic Plan to expand the coverage of the CPS to 20 million contributors by 2019 and that the Commission projects 250,000 enrollments into the micro pension scheme in the first six months. He said the scheme would mainly focus on the self-employed in the lower, middle, and upper income. Anyanwu urged hair dressers, commercial motorcyclists, farmers, artisans, traders, and other self-employed to embrace the scheme, which promises to be a huge success when rolled out. He explained that out of a total 58.7 million adults in Nigeria, there are potential

38 million contributors that will come from the informal sector when the micro pension scheme kicks off. He stressed that capturing them into the pension scheme has become necessary because the informal sector constitutes 70 percent of Nigeria’s total’s total workforce and that these are not covered by any form of structured pension scheme. He said it was a success story in many countries. “In Kenya, they work through associations; in India, they use it as a form of social security where government tries to encourage the people”, he said, stressing, however, that Nigeria’s micro pension scheme would be Nigerian in design and implementation. Anyanwu noted that although PenCom reviewed other global and African micro pension models, Nigeria would not adopt or swallow hook, line, and sinker, any foreign model as what works in one clime may not work elsewhere. “Also, in implementing the micro pension scheme, PenCom, will simplify the registration process, make it flexible, and capture the operators through their trade unions and associations”, he added. On benefits accruable from the initiative,

he said, it would avail the contributor access to regular stream of retirement income at old age and improves living standards of the elderly. He said contributors would also benefit from the various incentives that will be offered by Pension Fund Administrators. Anyanwu further assured that the initiative would “deepen financial literacy and inclusion, secure financial autonomy & independence of retirees, passage of wealth to survivors in the event of death, increase national savings and long term funds as well as promote growth development of the capital, mortgage and insurance markets and have positive effects on the national economy as pension assets increases”. Meanwhile, many artisans and traders spoken to are upbeat about the scheme. They commended the current PenCom leadership, regretting that the hardship arising from the recession would have been lighter for the ordinary Nigerian if the scheme had been around for some time to enable them make hay while the sun shone in the years past. But they believe that it is not late to start because they have opportunity to secure their future.


81

THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

INFOGRAPHIC

ADVERTISEMENT

State Of States Quick Factsheet 2016 AVERAGE MONTHLY REVENUE

STATE

MONTHLY AVERAGE RECURRENT EXPENDITURE Based on State's 2016 recurrent expenditure projections

Based on average FAAC allocation (January-June 2016) and IGR estimates using 2015 collections

N30.87bn

N23.24bn

LAGOS N13.35bn

N10.00bn

RIVERS N3.98bn

ENUGU

N2.81bn

KEBBI

N4.36bn

EDO

N3.64bn N2.83bn N4.38bn

N3.08bn

EBONYI

N3.23bn

N3.49bn

KATSINA

N3.65bn

N3.29bn

NIGER

N3.45bn

N3.72bn

ANAMBRA

N4.05bn

N2.97bn

GOMBE

N3.55bn

N2.64bn

ZAMFARA

N3.33bn

N2.64bn

TARABA

N3.56bn

NOTE

DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT

https://goo.gl/evh9Ii

N3.19bn

BORNO

N4.25bn

N3.15bn

SOKOTO

N4.21bn

N2.45bn

EKITI

N4.15bn

KADUNA

N3.85bn

N2.55bn

NASSARAWA

N4.15bn N5.66bn

N3.17bn

IMO

N4.85bn

N3.17bn

KOGI

N4.85bn

N3.5bn

CROSS RIVER

N5.11bn

KANO

STATES WITH RECURRENT DEFICIT (Bad Indicator)

N5.34bn

YOBE

ONDO

STATES WITH RECURRENT SURPLUS (Good Indicator)

N3.58bn

N2.53bn

N4.02bn

ABILITY TO MEET MONTHLY RECURRENT EXPENDITURE COMMITMENTS (Jan - June, 2016)

N5.41bn N6.99bn

N3.13bn

JIGAWA

N5.18bn

N3.31bn

BAUCHI

N5.41bn

N3.34bn

BENUE

N5.54bn

N3.56bn

ABIA

N5.77bn

N2.79bn

ADAMAWA

N5.00bn

N2.77bn

KWARA

N5.06bn

N10.32bn

N12.77bn

DELTA N3.05bn

PLATEAU

N5.23bn

N8.41bn

OGUN

N2.95bn

OSUN

N4.25bn

N6.59bn N8.39bn

OYO

N6.09bn N9.81bn

N6.13bn

N11.05bn

BAYELSA

N15.08bn

AKWA IBOM

Infographics by:

Source: OAGF, BudgIT Research. info@eienigeria

EiEnigeria

@EiEnigeria

info@yourbudgit.com

BudgITng

@BudgITng www.yourbudgit.com


82

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2016 T H I S D AY


83

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

IMAGES

R

ecently, the family of retired Chief Information Officer, Foreign Affairs Ministry, Chief Joshua Babafemi Awe, marked his 80th birthday at Havilan Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. Here are some of the personalities that graced the occasion.

Photographs: Mubo Peters

L-R: Ambassador Chika Oramah; Mrs. Teresa Aduke Sulaiman; Mrs. Christie Ahabue and the celebrant, Chief Joshua Babafemi Awe

L-R: Mr. Dapo Awe and his wife, Bunmi

Mr. Bankole Akande and his wife, Deola

L-R: Mr. Remi Odusanya and Mrs. Bose Adesanya

L-R: Mrs. Taiwo Adebayo and Mrs. Adeola Fatoki

L-R: Mr. Adewale Adebayo and Mr. Gibson Obamedo

L-R: Mrs. Preye Adebayo and Mrs.Odiai Obamedo

L-R: Mrs. Babara Komolafe and Mrs. Ronke Ayuba

L-R: Alhaji Tajudeen Shadiq and Alhaji Aramide Ogbara

L-R: Mrs. Yetunde Olatubosun and Mrs. Adenike Kareem

L-R: Mrs. Sola Obakoya; Mrs. Kadaria Ahmed and Mrs. Safiya Farouk Saidi

L-R: Mrs. Bola Adewunmi; Mrs. Bose Odusanya; Mrs. Kehinde Awe and Mrs. Iyabo Olajie

L-R: Navy Captain C P Okhio and Navy Captain J. Ake


84

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾NOVEMBER 27, 2016

SUNDAYSPORTS

Edited by Demola Ojo Email demola.ojo@thisdaylive.com

Moses Winner Lifts Chelsea over Tottenham

N

igerianwingerVictorMoseswasthe hero, scoring the winner as Chelsea stormed back from behind to end Tottenham Hotspur’s unbeaten Premier League record with a 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge yesterday. The win propelled Antonio Conte’s soaring side back into top spot. “This is my club. The manager gave me the opportunity to express myself and I’m pleased with how I’m doing,” Moses declared after the 2-1 win over Spurs. His goal against Spurs on was his third and all three goals have come at Stamford Bridge. He was man of the match as Chelsea beat Middlesbrough last weekend and he was also picked as the top performer against Spurs. Chelsea managerAntonio Conte has already said he is shocked that despite his talent, the Nigeria star has been shipped out several times on loan by ‘The Blues’. Chelsea had seen Liverpool and Manchester City steal past them earlier in the day and fell behind in the 11th minute when Christian Eriksen became the first player to score past them in seven games. But Pedro Rodriguez’s glorious curler and a Victor Moses tap-in either side of half-time gave Chelsea a seventh successive win -- their longest such run within one season since January to April 2007. Chelsea, who visit City next weekend, restored a one-point advantage over second-place Liverpool and left London rivals Tottenham seven points below them in fifth place. It marked a rotten end to a disappointing week for Spurs, who were knocked out of the Champions League by Monaco in mid-week and have won only one of their last 10 fixtures in all competitions.

Their run of games without victory at Stamford Bridge, where their title challenge last season ended in May, now stands at 30, their last victory there having come in February 1990. Missing Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose, Spurs were patched up at the back, where centreback Kevin Wimmer filled in at left-back and Eric Dier partnered Jan Vertonghen in the centre. But the return to a 4-2-3-1 formation, after dalliances with a back three and a 4-3-2-1 system, helped them get their press in order and they had Chelsea on the back foot in the first half. After a couple of early threats, including a Harry Kane effort that was chalked off for offside, Mauricio Pochettino’s men took the lead with a fine goal. Breaking from midfield, Dele Alli toed the ball to Eriksen and from outside the box the Dane let fly with a vicious left-foot shot that soared past Thibaut Courtois’ outstretched right hand. It was the first goal Chelsea -- unchanged for the sixth game running -- had conceded in 601 minutes of football, since a 3-0 defeat at Arsenal on 24 September. The visitors were playing with an intensity last seen in their impressive 2-0 win over Manchester City in early October and their rediscovered confidence was expressed by their willingness to shoot. Victor Wanyama, Kane, Eriksen and Mousa Dembele all chanced their arm from range, although only Kane worked Courtois. The Chelsea goalkeeper also had to save from Kyle Walker after the England right-back had lifted the ball over Marcos Alonso and tried his luck from an angle. Chelsea’s initial efforts to respond, via a David Luiz free-kick and an Eden Hazard shot, were comfortably held by Hugo Lloris. But on the stroke of half-time Pedro levelled with a magnificent goal, deftly turning and then

Moses (Left) was man≠ of≠ the≠ match for the second consecutive game

wrapping his right foot around the ball to send it curling inside the right-hand upright. N’Golo Kante signalled Chelsea’s second-half intent by ramming a shot at Lloris and within six minutes of the restart, they were in front. Diego Costa was the architect, working his way to the byline on the left and crossing low for Moses, whose shot flicked off Lloris’s right boot, struck Vertonghen’s knee and ricocheted

Ibrahimovic Back for United against West Ham

Z

latan Ibrahimovic is set to return from his ban when Manchester United host struggling West Ham today. The 35-year-old missed the 1-1 draw withArsenal having been booked five times but played in the Red Devils’ 4-0 Europa League win against Feyenoord on Thursday, while thelikesofHenrikhMkhitaryanandWayneRooney may have impressed Jose Mourinho enough to keep their starting roles. West Ham’s struggles have been well documented this season and are currently 17th in the Premier League table after a 3-2 loss to Tottenham. However, a win could send them as high as 11th. The Hammers’ last away win came against Crystal Palace on October 15. Mourinho, who is expected to recall goalkeeper David de Gea but remains without Eric Bailly (knee) and Chris Smalling (toe), must determine whether Michael Carrick can make a third start in nine days. West Ham captain Mark Noble returns from suspension but defender Winston Reid serves a one-match ban. Midfielder Pedro Obiang is expected to be available despite missing training earlier this week due to an ankle injury. Long-term absentee Andy Carroll has resumed training after his ankle injury but Reece Oxford, Sam Byram, Gokhan Tore and Arthur Masuaku are still sidelined. Manchester United have lost just two of their

L

La Liga: Madrid Go Six Points Clear

C

Ibrahimovic

last 23 league games against West Ham at Old Trafford, winning 20 (D1). West Ham haven’t won at Old Trafford since their 1-0 victory in May 2007, in which Carlos Tevez found the net to help the Hammers avoid relegation. They’ve lost eight of their 10 meetings in all competitions since there. Mourinho has won seven of his previous nine

Premier League matches against West Ham (D1 L1), losing 1-2 at Upton Park to Slaven Bilic’s Hammers. In each of his five full Premier League seasons as a manager, Mourinho’s league placing after 12 games has been his final league placing that season. Manchester United are currently sixth in 2016-17 after 12 games.

F1: Hamilton on Pole for Abu Dhabi Title Decider ewis Hamilton took a stunning pole position for the decisive Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but Nico Rosberg remains on course for the title. The German, who needs only to finish in the top three today to win the world championship, qualified second fastest, 0.303 seconds behind Hamilton. Hamilton needs two other cars between himself and Rosberg, but Mercedes’ rivals were off their pace. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was third, but

into the net. Marcos Alonso should have made it 3-1 shortly after, following more byline burrowing by Costa, but from 10 yards out the Spaniard ballooned a shot over the bar with his weaker right foot. Kane created a chance for Eriksen to equalise, but the Spurs number 10 could only volley straight at Courtois as the last unbeaten team in the division finally succumbed to defeat on their 13th outing.

0.834secs slower than Hamilton. Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were fourth and fifth, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen sixth. Hamilton’s performance was one of the most impressive of a season in which he has now taken 12 poles to Rosberg’s eight despite not even being able to compete in qualifying in three races because of reliability problems. Hamilton topped all three sessions of qualifying - and was 1.024secs quicker than Rosberg in

Q1, 0.108secs in Q2 and then the final margin of nearly a third of a second. It was the 61st pole of his career, four behind his hero Ayrton Senna and seven behind all-time record holder Michael Schumacher. Hamilton said: “Wow, 61 poles. I am going to try to catch Ayrton. It has been a strange feeling coming here and realising it was going to be the last session, the last qualifying in such a great car - you never know when you are going to have a car like this again.

ristiano Ronaldo scored twice but Real Madrid rode their luck to beat Sporting Gijon and go six points clear at the top of La Liga overnight. The European champions looked in control when Ronaldo scored twice in the first 18 minutes. His opener was a penalty and his second was a header from Nacho’s cross - his eighth La Liga goal in four games. But Carlos Carmona pulled one back and Duje Cop missed a penalty for the visitors with 13 minutes left. The Croatia international, who appeared to check his pulse just before taking the kick, fired high and wide after Nacho was penalised for fouling Victor Rodriguez. Real went seven points clear briefly, but Sevilla beat Valencia 2-1 on Saturday evening to trim that lead by one point. Champions Barcelona can take it back down to four points today at Real Sociedad. Ronaldo’s double takes him up to 10 La Liga goals for the season, two above Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in the golden boot race.

PREMIER LEAGUE RESULTS & FIXTURES Burnley 1–2 Hull City 1 – 1 Leicester 2–2 Liverpool 2 – 0 Swansea 5–4 Chelsea 2–1 Watford v Arsenal v Man United v Southampton v

Man City West Brom Middlesbrough Sunderland Crystal Palace Tottenham Hotspur Stoke 1pm Bournemouth 3:15pm West Ham 5:30pm Everton 5:30pm


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

High Life

85 with LANRE ALFRED 08076885752

...Amazing lifestyles of Nigeria’s rich and famous

President Buhari’s 21 Year Old Daughter, Zahra, Marries Mohammed Indimi’s Son, Ahmed, this Week

“T

o love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides,” said David Viscott, late American author and media personality, in one of his literary voyages into the realm of love. His enduring words perfectly describe the mood of President Muhammadu Buhari’s beautiful daughter, Zahra, and her fiance, Ahmed, son of billionaire magnate Mohammed Indimi. Both are set to solemnize their relationship soon. In preparation for the marriage, an introduction between both families held at the Aso Villa, Abuja on Friday, Nov 18, 2016.

It was a small but eventful ceremony. Findings revealed that President Buhari and Indimi had always been very good friends with a lot of history between them. Thus they are pleased with the union of their children. Zahra and Ahmed had been friends for quite some time thus it was hardly surprising that their relationship eventually blossomed into love. Both Zahra and her future groom, who serves as the Head of Crude Oil Marketing in his father’s company, are ecstatic about their impending wedlock. The wedding ceremonies will be holding in Abuja and Maiduguri, between November 30 and December 4, 2016.

MAKING SENSE OF THE SILVER SPOON MARRIAGES OF THE CORE NORTH

•NORTHERN ELITE CEMENT SOCIAL AND POLITICAL RELATIONSHIPS BY GETTING THEIR KIDS MARRIED TO EACH OTHER

Again the wedding bells toll in Nigeria’s northern region. Like persistent, soothing draft of the north wind across the Pacific, glad tidings of love and pleasurable wedlock rent the air from the exclusive circuits of Nigeria’s northern elites. Halima, the beautiful daughter of former Borno state governor and factional Chairman of PDP, Ali Modu-Sheriff, is set to wed her fiance, Captain Ronnie Dankabo, who is the son of late business mogul, Mohammed Adamu Dankabo. Their wedding is slated to hold in Maiduguri in December. Expectedly, Modu Sheriff is leaving

Roonie Dankabo

Zahra Buhari

no stone unturned to give his daughter a wondrous wedding. Until their union, they were like jagged pieces of two glass hearts yearning for their missing parts. Then they found each other and fit perfectly in place. The first molded with the second and in the heat of the moment, held from head to toe. A perfect masterpiece, a love so high it despises going low. Predictably, many people are eager to be part of the memorable celebration. The couple’s wedding is one of the several weddings taking place among the wards of superrich northern families. And the northerners have surely mastered the art of partying like the southerners. Over the last few months, silver spoon kids from the region have engaged in high octane society weddings as if wedlock is

Halima

going out of fashion. From Atiku to Buhari, Shagari, Ali Modu Sheriff, Indimi among others, the wedding bells toll delightfully and invitingly. Pundits however, aver that the weddings are mainly strategic. Highly informed sources argue that prominent aristocratic families of the north are deliberately getting their kids married to each other in bid to secure their social, economic and political futures. LIKE A THIEF IN DAYLIGHT... TOYIN AIMAKHU’S EXBOYFRIEND, SEUN EGBEGBE, ARRESTED FOR SHOPLIFTING •HOW NOLLYWOOD ACTRESS’ EXBOYFRIEND LANDED IN HOT SOUP

Every thief suffers the affliction of dishonour. Thus honour hangs loosely about Seun Egbegbe, like a giant’s robe upon a dwarfish thief. The former boyfriend of Toyin Aimakhu, Nollywood actress, was recently arrested for stealing phones at Computer Village in Ikeja, Lagos. According to an eyewitness, Egbegbe stole the phones from Keelcech Innovations, a store in Computer Village, around 9:30am on Tuesday. Egbegbe, who reportedly stole two iPhone 7 and some iPhone 6 plus, attempted to make away with the gadgets before he was apprehended by the sales attendant and other workers in the store. Egbegbe was beaten to a pulp by the traders before he was handed over to the police. He was

Seun Egbegbe

taken to Area F police station in Ikeja for interrogation after his apprehension. It would be recalled that Toyin Aimakhu dated Egbegbe shortly after her separation from Adeniyi Johnson, her ex-husband. BEST FRIENDS FOR LIFE... THE BOND BETWEEN IBRAHIM BABANGIDA AND HALIRU AKILU

•FORTY YEARS ON, THEY REMAIN LOYAL TO EACH OTHER

Friendship has splendors akin to love. It grows stronger when crossed. It resists the ravages of time, which wearies and severs vacuous liaisons. It has heights unknown to love. And very few mortals are capable of its unfaltering features. Men like General Ibrahim Babangida and Brigadier-General Halilu Akilu however, constitute rare exceptions. They have


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

86

HIGHLIFE

From Barracks to the Bar! Former IGP, Solomon Arase, Establishes Law Practice

•Why ex-police boss stays away from public glare

P

ublic service, like bullfighting, is a perilous art in which the public servant faces the danger of ravenousness and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the officer’s honour. In public office, the one thing that does not abide by familiar greed is a person’s conscience and Solomon Arase certainly understands this fact. Unlike his more covetous peers, the former Inspector General of Police (IGP) nurtures no desire to perpetuate himself in public office or politics, that is why he has gone back to his law practice. As you read, the former IGP has established his law firm, Solomon Arase & Associates. Since his retirement from public service in July, Arase has been keeping away from public glare. He is strong enough to keep the lid on his desires, to despise perversions, and become a whole man in himself; put precisely, he is polished and well-rounded. Arase would not be forgotten so easily in the Police Force. His enviable tact, humility, diplomacy and knowledge of statecraft established him as an uncommon cop. The NPF would surely miss him and Law would enjoy him so much.

Halilu Akilu

been together for over 40 years as friends. Haliru, who served as Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Chief of Defence Intelligence, and Director of the Directorate of Military Intelligence under IBB has remained loyal to him since they planted the seed of their friendship. Together, they have watched it germinate into a fruitful relationship that remains the envy of too many of their underlings and peers. So tight is their bond that if you wish to see IBB, you must first get the approval of Hakilu. They remain very close. BANKS SHUN OSTENTATIOUS XMAS DECORATION The month of December is reputed to be a month when most organisations

churn out gifts and awards to their customers for their continuous patronage and loyalty over the year. It is also that period of the year when homes and offices naturally enjoy creative and aesthetical adornments and decors, signaling the arrival of the joyous season of Christmas. But when one looks around, one will begin to wonder if the banking industry, which always leads the pack in corporate beautification during the Yuletide, is aware that Christmas is around the corner. Walk into any bank today, you will hardly perceive any aura of festivity. People in the business of Interior and Exterior Decorations who always looked forward to the season to secure juicy contracts from the banks and smile back with loads of megabucks made from such contracts have been the hardest hit by the lull. No thanks to the government of President Buhari. Not only did he shake the banking industry to its foundation; he ensured that the banks’ books were opened, and tonnes of scandalous activities which had eaten the banks deep were discovered in the process. No banks dare throw money around in the name of elaborate decoration of any banking hall any longer. This new culture of financial abstinence was first observed last year but this year has been worse. As things are, only banks with sound financial record will remember it’s Yuletide.

Solomon Arase

A TYCOON SEEN IN A NEW LIGHT…FRANCIS OGBORO BECOMES SGS CHAIRMAN The hypnotic appeal of watching Alhaji Francis Ogboro, who has just been appointed the new chairman of the SGS Inspection Services Nigeria, enthuse with passion about his heartfelt dreams is both captivating and instructive. It reveals years and studious efforts spent channeling purpose and the pursuit of worth. Nobody forgets the first time they met Ogboro, who was recently appointed the chairman of SGS; everyone wishes for an encore. Often it’s not the first meeting that resonates but the first time he inspired them to look inwards and tap into their innate individuality

Francis Ogboro

and purposeful clarity cum cheerfulness continuum that is the hallmark of his brand. There is a lot about Alhaji Ogboro that really steals under your skin at your first encounter with him: he is self-assured and yet not given to flightiness, unlike other business moguls. A top polo player. Polo has traditionally been the exclusive sport of maharajahs, marquises and millionaires, and the game’s stars still tend to be the rich. Its advent and rapid growth in Nigeria cannot be appreciated far from the input of Francis Ogboro, President of Nigeria Polo Federation (NPF). Ogboro’s contributions have improved the sport considerably and attracted the patronage of corporate sponsors. However, Ogboro’s Midas touch exceeds Polo’s green turf. He has recorded remarkable success across the local and international business sectors thus making him one of the shining stars of Nigeria’s high society. Over the past few years, Alhaji Francis Ogboro began working outside the box to make his peers understand that only their unstoppable people’s power could effect real change. He projects a manic self-confidence in public. He still has his edge: prosperity hasn’t robbed him of his disrespect for conventional wisdom, his spooky ability to see around corners, and his feral determination to make perfect products at all costs. All in all, success becomes him.


T H I S D AY, T H e S u n D AY n e w S pA p e r • NOVEMBER 27, 2016

87

HIGHLIFE

Godswill Akpabio’s Wife, Unoma, Back on her Feet

D

ecay and disease are never beautiful, they bring perfect misery to the fairest of mortals’ imperfect body and soul, like the translucent tear of the shellfish and the hectic glow of high fever. Ask Senator Godswill Akpabio, he knows better now. It almost snuffed life out of his wife, Unoma, and cast his family in the vicious grip of inconsolable grief. The news of Unoma’s debilitating ailment resonated like murderous of a mad mob hounding its prey to sad death. The story caused panic within Nigeria’s socio-economic space. However, like random malevolent news at the end of its spell, news of her sickness dissipated into thin air to make room for the reality of her existence. Unoma evaded the long, cold clasp of death when she slipped into coma after a major surgery in a German hospital. As you read, Unoma is back on her feet

HEAVY RENOVATION IN OGHARA...DELTA COMMUNITY PLANS HERO’S WELCOME FOR JAMES IBORI

•EX-GOVERNOR’S HOMETOWN ECSTATIC ABOUT HIS RELEASE

Many would acquire their heroes and villains from fiction but the people of Oghara, Delta State, have no need for such laborious venture. They have found a hero in their son, James Onanefe Ibori. That is why they are set to give him a hero’s welcome at his arrival from his jail term in the United Kingdom (UK). Few people would understand the natives’ excitement in Oghara but the Delta state community is agog over the imminent return of Ibori. No matter what the world thinks, Ibori has done marvelously in the eyes of his people. A visit to his hometown in Oghara offers interesting experience. A heavy renovation exercise is going on there in preparation for Ibori’s return. It would be recalled that Ibori received a 13-year jail sentence after he was convicted for offences relating to conspiracy to launder funds from the state, substantive counts of money laundering and one count of obtaining money transfer by deception and fraud.

Unoma Akpabio

they were more fortunate and biologically sound, like Okeowo. The Chairman of Gibraltar Construction Company’s towering generosity and affluence, however, incites the envy of his detractors. It scares the wits out of them thus their desperation to malign him and destroy his hard-earned reputation. This is the only plausible explanation for their recent campaign of calumny against Okeowo. Contrary to rumours of tight-fistedness being spread about him, the superrich magnate is in fact a generous

man. His generosity exceeds the bounds and understanding of human reason, according to sources close to him. Beneficiaries of Okeowo’s generosity enthuse about his large heart and capacity for compassion even as you read. That is why he is the darling of peer and underlings across social divides. Interestingly, angels fly because they take themselves lightly. They do not think too much of themselves, so does Okeowo. Like an angel, he takes himself very lightly despite his worth and intimidating

MAGNATE WITH A LARGE HEART •GIBRALTAR BOSS TOWERS ABOVE NEGATIVE RUMOURS ABOUT HIM

If humans could be propagated by cutting, like apple trees, Olu Okeowo’s detractors would opt to be reborn in his image and innate character. Secretly, they wish

Olu Okeowo

stature. He wears his badge of temperance and humility in the shape of a subtly hued bowtie thus affirming that he isn’t what many of his disparagers make him out to be. Contrary to misconceptions about his character, Olu, according to sources close to him, is actually a modest, compassionate, accommodating and understanding man. His only shortcoming if at all it could be considered ‘shortcoming,’ is his lack of tolerance for sycophancy, bribery or any form of corruption. He understands that his wealth and enviable acclaim are rare gifts from God bestowed on only the most deserving of humankind, hence his endless generosity and willingness to help the needy. Recently, Okeowo, a philanthropist per excellence, was honoured with the Exemplary Philanthropist Award by the Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Lagos. This comes at the heel of his construction of a multimillion naira complex, named Sir Olu Okeowo Building, for Physiotherapy inside the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). Apart from this, the shrewd businessman is building a maternity centre in the heart of Lagos Island, with world-class medical equipment that would be solely sponsored by him. Okeowo has donated to churches, choirs, schools to mention a few. His generosity extends to the farthest nook and cranny thus establishing him as a man whose heart truly palpitates in the interest of less privileged. How could anyone dream of maligning such exemplary character?


Sunday November 27, 2016

TR

UT H

& RE A S O

N

Price: N400

MISSILE

House of Reps to Obasanjo

“Lest we forget, the person who introduced corruption to the National Assembly is Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He birthed the 4th Republic National Assembly with corrupt practices from day one; indeed the first day of the Republic.” – House of Representatives reacting to to the statement by former president Olusegun Obasanjo, where he described the National Assembly as ‘a den of corruption by a gang of unarmed robbers.’

SIMONKOLAWOLE SIMONKOLAWOLELIVE!

simon.kolawole@thisdaylive.com, sms: 0805 500 1961

Nigeria: A Community of Contradictions

T

his must be a joke. An armed robber, on realising that his gang’s victim was a born-again Christian, decided to pray for him. “Father,” he said, “everything we are about to take from your dear son, we ask that you replenish a hundredfold in the name of Jesus. We ask you, O Lord, to give him beauty for ashes and oil of joy for mourning.” It has to be a joke. But nothing is impossible in our dearly beloved Nigeria. Our lives are so warped and senses so twisted that we are very comfortable with our contradictions. We don’t even see them as contradictions anymore. It is our way of life. It is who we are. We are incapable of stepping back a little to see any dissonance. It is not uncommon for a gang of armed robbers to include a “pastor” and an “imam” who pray before and after operations. The robbers, of course, will later give tithes and zakat in appreciation of what “God” has done. I once read the story of a pastor who was selling “anointed pants” and “anointed bras” to young ladies travelling to Europe for prostitution. Typically, a political or government meeting starts with Muslim and Christian prayers. Next, they move to the agenda of the day: contract inflation, looting, assassination and other evils. The meeting then closes with Muslim and Christian prayers. Amen. Ameen. And life goes on. On Wednesday, in Abuja, Mr. Sam Afemikhe, a renowned chartered account, launched his book, Hope Rekindled: A Comprehensive Analysis of Nigeria’s Nationhood Challenges and How to Overcome Them (full disclosure: I was the book reviewer). In the 800-page book, he lays bare his diagnoses of the Nigerian condition as well as his prescriptions to treat our chronic underdevelopment. His diagnosis that strikes me the most, and which inspired today’s discussion, is in chapter eleven, with the title: “A nation of contradictions.” In it, he highlights how our actions and behaviour as Nigerians and as a nation “are full of contradictions” — insincerity and self-deceit. Afemikhe illustrates the dissonance this way: we agree that government has no business in business but obstruct privatisation all the same; we agree that subsidy is breeding corruption and benefiting only a cartel but oppose any attempt to remove subsidy; we export jobs to foreign countries by voraciously consuming imported goods but complain that there is unemployment in the land or that the naira is losing value; we say we want accountability in government but demand “stomach infrastructure” when electing our leaders; we say we hate corruption but glorify looters with chieftaincy titles; we believe there is crime but politicise the punishment. Contradictions. These contradictions are manifest everywhere all day long. I will pick on just two today and save the rest for another day. The first is the dissonance in our policies. We want to bring over 100 million unbanked Nigerians into the financial sector. We want financial inclusion. We want a cashless society. But as we gain on the one hand, we lose on the other because of the in-built contradictions. The second is our drive for foreign investment. We claim we need foreign investors to inject their capital and expertise into Nigeria and add value to the economy — but we harass, embarrass, intimidate, denigrate and

Afemikhe scandalise them. Let’s discuss the first sample. A major reason for the bank verification number (BVN) was to create a biometric system to bring unbanked Nigerians into the system. Since most of them are in rural areas and are barely literate, the BVN would allow them to operate accounts without having to sign cheques or passbooks. They would simply use their fingerprint, even at ATMs, to do banking business. As good as this idea is, the central bank jeopardised its own financial inclusion drive by constraining the growth of Mobile Money, most likely because of the influence of the banks who may be jittery that they would lose out. Mobile Money uses mobile phones for financial transactions. If well implemented, it can accelerate financial inclusion, reduce transaction costs, minimise banking dangers and facilitate a cashless society. It allows users to deposit, withdraw and transfer money, as well as easily pay for goods and services with their mobile phones. Nigeria, with 130m active mobile users, should be leading the rest Africa in this department. But less than 20% of Nigerians are using Mobile Money — compared to Kenya, where 60% out of its 29m citizens are on board. Banks unsuccessfully tried to stop it, claiming it breaks financial regulations. Today, the Kenya success story has become a global model. Why is it not pervasive yet in Nigeria? One factor, I understand, is that the CBN, as the financial regulator, would rather allow banks, instead of Mobile Money Operators (MMOs), to run the show. The licensed banks will then deal with the operators. This is a long route, and what has happened is that Mobile Money has become more of an extension of a bank’s services to its customers, rather than a system to bring in the unbanked through mobile telephony. Understandably, banks are worried that if they are not at the centre of things, MMOs may take over the financial system. CBN will naturally side with the banks even if it hurts the financial inclusion drive. We are missing a lot. An awful lot. According

to a recent report by the McKinsey Global Institute, a global research body, delivering digital financial services by Mobile Money could spur inclusive growth that will add $3.7tr to the GDP of emerging economies (Nigeria inclusive) in 10 years. It can create 95m jobs across all sectors within a decade. McKinsey identifies Nigeria as one of the countries with the largest potential — with an additional 10- 12% GDP growth on offer! While we officially say we want to “bank the unbanked” in Nigeria, we have practically slowed it by effectively limiting Mobile Money to bank customers only — to please the banks. That is just one area in which policy pronouncement and practical application are worlds apart. This contradiction is also very evident in the way we treat foreign investors. As a nation, we say we want them. We want their billions of dollars to boost the economy, provide employment, and generally add value to our lives. Yet we make life so difficult for them for no sane reason. Look, for instance, at the way we treat MTN. No, I am not talking about the N1.4 trillion fine. That was, in fairness, a punishment for an infringement in the SIM registration exercise. They walked into our trap and gave us the opportunity to “deal” with them, but at least there was an infraction involved. However, a lot of fuss was made recently about MTN’s repatriation of $13.92bn profits to South Africa from 2006-2016 — as if they stole our money. Foreign companies such as Shell and British Airways repatriate their incomes all the time — as allowed by the relevant laws. But MTN has become a punching bag for us such that virtually anything it does is scandalised and criminalised with relish. We expect Nigerian companies such as Dangote, Oando, Arik and Globacom to bring back their incomes from other countries. We expect them to be treated fairly and justly in any country they do business. But we antagonise foreign businesses in Nigeria. Contradictions. In truth, a company like MTN that has invested over N3.2 trillion in our economy deserves a bit of our respect — as long as they operate within the laws of the land. Since they started operating in 2001, according to official figures, they’ve contributed over N 1.6tr to government coffers through taxes, levies and regulatory payments, providing jobs for over 500,000 Nigerians, directly and indirectly. MTN Foundation has spent over N18bn through CSR in almost every local government in Nigeria. They’ve disbursed over $3.5bn worth of businesses through adverts and sponsorships, and patronage of Nigerian hospitality industry and contractors. Let’s ask ourselves an honest question: why are foreign investors no longer rushing to come to Nigeria? How can NCC auction lucrative frequencies and the big guys would not show interest? My hunch is that they are not impressed with our policy-cum-regulatory environment. Our mixed messages and arrogance are killing us. We behave as if there is no other country in the world where investors can make money. We need all the investments we can get to grow this economy but our behaviour contradicts our desire. Afemikhe, in his book, says our contradictions are a “fundamental hygiene factor” to address in our drive for development. I agree with him. Absolutely.

And Four Other Things... OBASANJO VS BUHARI A Yoruba proverb says that “you help a man to get a job but you don’t help him to do it”. Many people who helped President Buhari win the 2015 election have come under heavy criticism over his performance in office. President Olusegun Obasanjo, who endlessly savaged President Goodluck Jonathan to help pave the way for Buhari, appears to be losing faith: he admonished Buhari to stop whining and get on with the job. Instead of describing this as the usual “corruption is fighting back”, Buhari would do well to reflect on his ways. Even though he evidently inherited a failing economy, blaming Jonathan day and night can never be a recovery plan. Action. FAMINE FALLACY Nigerian grains are being “heartlessly” exported, a presidency official said, and there would be famine very soon. Really? I would think if Nigerian grains are so loved abroad, we should rather develop a strategic programme to increase production. There is apparently a foreign market for our grains, no? Meanwhile, government has been asked to ban the export of grains to save us from an impending famine. Really? I thought government should instead buy the grains from the farmers and store in our strategic reserves. Are these economic principles so difficult to comprehend? Why do we always think the best way to treat headache is to cut off the head? Baffling. DEVIL’S DEAL Many Nigerians were shocked when Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim said, at the Ondo state governorship debate on Monday, that he would abolish personal income tax. In the field of Fiscal Sociology, there is actually a theory called “Devil’s Deal”. Politicians in underdeveloped, resource-dependent countries tend to pay less attention to tax so that the citizens will not become too interested in holding the government accountable. There is a way tax hurts and instigates campaign for accountability. The devil’s deal is to look the other way when it comes to taxing your citizens — so that your citizens too can look the other way when you are mismanaging their resources. Reciprocation. IN MEMORIAM Today makes it exactly 40 years that my father, Mr. Boniface Kolawole Gabriel, died after a motorbike accident in front of Unity Hotel, Ilorin, Kwara state. He was still breathing when he got to the hospital, but help was too late as the hit-and-run driver had left him to his bleeding fate. Only my elder sister (who died last year) and myself had faint recollections of our dad. My three younger siblings did not even know him. The youngest was just six weeks old at the time! Having lost her husband at 31, my mum must be Nigeria’s longest serving widow. She refused to remarry, retorting: “What else do I want? I have boys and girls.” She talks fondly about our dad till this day. Memories.

Printed and Published in Lagos by THISDAY Newspapers Limited. Lagos: 35 Creek Road, Apapa, Lagos. Abuja: Plot 1, Sector Centre B, Jabi Business District, Solomon Lar Way, Jabi North East, Abuja . All Correspondence to POBox 54749, Ikoyi, Lagos. EMAIL: editor@thisdaylive.com, info@thisdaylive.com. TELEPHONE Lagos: 0802 2924721-2, 08022924485. Abuja: Tel: 08155555292, 08155555929 24/7 ADVERTISING HOT LINES: 0811 181 3086, 0811 181 3087, 0811 181 3088, 0811 181 3089, 0811 181 3090. ENQUIRIES & BOOKING: adsbooking@thisdaylive.com

Sunday 27th November 2016  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you