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Britain to Add Naira to List of Accepted Trade Currencies CBN intervenes with Fresh $325.64m

Obinna Chima with agency report Britain’s Export Finance Agency will add the Naira to its list of “pre-approved currencies”, allowing it to provide financing

for transactions with Nigerian businesses denominated in the local currency. The Naira will become one of three West African currencies that UK Export Finance has pre-

approved for its programme of funding transactions that promote trade with Britain, it said. Britain voted to leave the European Union in 2016, which has forced London to

rethink its trade ties with the rest of the world. It has said it would start preliminary talks with India about an eventual bilateral trade deal. The United Kingdom and

the EU struck an agreement in December that opened the way for talks on future trade ties. “This is a clear indication of how much value the UK places on its relationship with Nigeria.

It will provide a firm foundation for a significant increase in trade and investment between both countries,” Reuters quoted the Continued on page 6

Subsidy Fraud: Appeal Court Acquits Ontario Oil MD, Ugo-Ngali… Page 8 Saturday 10 February, 2018 Vol 22. No 83231 TR


& RE A S O



Jega: Do-or-Die Attitude of Politicians,Threat to Democracy Alex Enumah in Abuja The immediate past chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has said that the do-or-die mentality of

most Nigerian politicians was a major threat to the country’s democracy. Jega, who provided further clarification on his position at an event organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in Abuja yesterday, told

THISDAY in a brief telephone interview last night that the door-die attitude undermined the whole essence of democracy, “especially the conduct of free and fair election.” The former INEC boss, who joined others to express growing

frustration at the practise of democratic tenets by politicians in Nigeria, linked the do-or-die attitude to the long years of military rule. While anchoring the panel on, “Three Decades of Democratic Transition in Africa’’ organised

by the CDD, Jega said this negative political attitude was also responsible for the poor state of democracy particularly in Nigeria and Africa generally "The challenges most African countries are faced with is that democratisation in most African

countries are on account of legacies of military rule. “Clearly everybody knows that military rule is an aberration, and if it has done anything in our continent here Cosntinued on page 6

Buhari Retires Justice Ademola, Dismisses Tokode Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja approved the compulsory retirement of Honourable Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court as well as the dismissal of Honourable Justice O.O. Tokode of the Benin Division of the Federal High Court. The approval, according to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, was in line with the recommendations of the National Judicial Council (NJC) and pursuant to Section 292 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). The statement which added that Tokode had consequently been ordered to refund all salaries and allowances he earned illegally from December 2, 2015 when he was sworn-in as a Judge of the Federal High Court till date, also stated that the president urged judicial officers to be alive to their responsibilities and eschew corruption in the

discharge of their duties. It also said Buhari had commenced the process of ensuring that individuals, judges and justices recommended by NJC for appointments into various courts of record in the instant are fit and proper, and are not under any disability to function as judicial officers. "The President’s position is in furtherance oaf the executive powers vested in him under Section 5 of the 1999 Constitution, which allows him as the appointing authority to exercise same reasonably, taking all relevant factors into consideration. Nigerians are assured that President Buhari will issue his approval or otherwise as soon as the process of the background verification is completed," the statement added. What eventually culminated in Ademola's compulsory retirement yesterday first became public knowledge on December 7, 2017, when NJC rejected his notice of retirement as contained in a letter addressed to the council.

DIPLOMATIC RITUAL... President Muhammadu Buhari receives the letter of credence from the new Vietnam Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E Pham Anh Tuan Photo: State House

Cosntinued on page 6 at the State House, Abuja ... yesterday

N400m Fraud: You Have a Case to Answer, Supreme Court Tells Olisa Metuh…Page 55


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Court Orders Arrest of Innoson Motors’ Chairman I'm not scared of arraignment, says Chukwuma

kinwale Akintunde ÓØ ËÑÙÝËØÎ in court. They were to be arraigned on a Christopher Isiguzo ÓØ ØßÑß four-count charge of conspiracy to Justice Mojisola Dada of a Lagos obtain property by false pretenses, High Court sitting in Ikeja has obtaining property by false pretenses, issued an arrest warrant against stealing and forgery. According to the charge sheet, the the Chairman of Innoson Group, defendants committed the offences Innocent Chukwuma. The judge made the order between 2009 and July 2011 in Lagos. The EFCC alleged that defendants following Chukwuma’s failure to appear before the court for the with intent to defraud, conspired to second time for his arraignment on obtain by false pretenses containers criminal charges preferred against of motorcycle, spare parts and raw him by the Economic and Financial materials property of Guaranty Trust Crimes Commission (EFCC) in his Bank (GTB) from Mitsui OSK Lines face-off with the Guaranty Trust Limited, Apapa, Lagos. The defendants are alleged to Bank, GTB. Justice Dada in her short ruling have fraudulently induced staff of ordered that Chukwuma should Mitsui OSK and Maersk Line to be arrested and kept in custody a deliver to them via their clearing day before the next adjourn date, agents the goods which were imported from China in the name March 14, 2018. “A bench warrant is hereby of GTB by falsely pretending that served on Innocent Chukwuma, they were authorised by the bank he will remain in custody till the to clear the goods. The offences according to the next adjourned date. “The case is adjourned till March EFCC, are in contravention of 14 for possible arraignment,” Justice Sections 1(1)(b), 1(3), and 8(a) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Dada said. The EFCC on January 17, 2018 Other Related Offences Act 2016 had attempted to arraign Chukwuma and Sections 309(9), 388, 465 and alongside his company Innoson 467(1)(j) of the Criminal Code of Motors Limited and Charles Lagos State 2003. Counsel to the defendants, Mr. U. Chukwuma but he was absent

Onwukwe, had told the court that his clients were absent because they had not been served but that he only learnt of the proposed arraignment after seeing it on social media. Onwukwe also informed the court that he had filed an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case. Responding, EFCC counsel had also accused Chukwuma of evading being served court processes and Justice ordered that the charge sheet be served on the defence counsel. Meanwhile, earlier during yesterday’s proceedings, a mild drama ensued before the trial judge and counsel to Chukwuma and Innoson Motors Ltd, Professor J.N Mbadugba, who narrowly escaped being slammed with contempt of court over his rude legal approach to the trail judge. Mbadugba, rather than giving cogent reasons for his clients’ absence in court, angrily addressed the court that there were pending applications before her and the Court of Appeal which had to be entertained before further proceedings at the court. Visibly angry, the defence counsel started out by arguing on point of law, demanding the judge disqualify herself from the trial.

He further accused the judge of overriding the Supreme Court’s decision. The judge attempted to calm him down, tactfully reminding him to respect and address the court properly. Mbadugha in his address, shouted: “This proceeding is a clear abuse of court processes; the EFCC is a reckless arbiter. “My Lord has refused to be bound by the rule of law and doesn’t want to be bound by the doctrine of Stare Decisis; my Lord wants to override the decision of the Supreme Court.” Justice Dada, in response, said: “Your whole comportment, conduct, countenance smack of disrespect to the court and rule of law, I will report you to the Nigerian Bar Association. “You are insulting the court, this is clear contempt in the face of the court; you will go to prison from here, if you think the court is defenceless and powerless, you’d be surprised.” Mbadugha, who initially said he was ready to be charged for contempt, later tendered an apology to the court, saying: “I am sorry My Lord, I hope the court gives me a second opportunity. I want

to urge the court to temper justice with mercy; to err is human, but to forgive is divine.” After apologising to the court, he told the court he had withdrawn his earlier statements. I'm not scared of arraignment in Court, Says Chukwuma Meanwhile, Chief Chukwuma yesterday in a press statement declared that he was not afraid of arraignment in the court, insisting however that such arraignment must follow the due process of law. Chukwuma who reacted to the issuance of a bench warrant against him by a High Court in Ikeja, Lagos State said he remained a law abiding citizen of the country. He said the decision of Justice Dada was done in bad faith as his counsel, Prof J.N Mbadugha Esg was not given a fair hearing. "All the submissions of Prof Mbadugha to the judge were not granted, however the judge granted the plea of the counsel to EFCC who prayed the court to issue a bench warrant against Innoson. The issuance of bench warrant led to a wild jubilation by some staff of GTB and their lawyers who were fully seated in the court. "It must be stated that based on

the submission of Prof Mbadugha, counsel to Innoson, the judge erred in law by making an order to issue a bench warrant against Innoson. The court is bound by law to listen and decide the applications submitted rather than making an order to arraign Innoson in a charge that is an abuse of process," the statement noted. Chukwuma had earlier insisted that the EFCC charge was instigated by GTB and as such remained a gross abuse of process. "First, an earlier charge which GTB induced the EFCC to file against Innoson was struck out. Innoson appealed against the order striking the charge out on the ground that it ought to be a dismissal and not striking out. The appeal, with Appeal No: CA/L/1328CM/2017 is, till date, still pending when EFCC filed or re-filed, in December 2017, the same charge that was struck out. "Secondly, the charge is on the same subject matter and the same party as Charge No: FHC/L/565C/2015 that is pending at the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, in Appeal No: CA/E/249C/2016. Both charges are smear campaign by GTB and EFCC to destroy Innoson," he noted.

to the constitutional provisions that judgments should be delivered within a period of 90 days.” However, NJC said even though the petitioners later withdrew their petitions in accordance with Regulation 16 of the NJC Judicial Discipline Regulations of March 9, 2017, it yet observed that Ademola’s failure to deliver judgment within the stipulated time smacked of misconduct, and a sheer violation of Section 292 (1)(b) of the Constitution and Rules 1.3 and 3.7 of the 2016 Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It therefore told the general public to disregard news circulating at the time that Ademola had voluntarily retired, saying the purported voluntary retirement was nothing but an afterthought,

because the council had already sealed his fate. On the other hand, Tokode's recommendation for dismissal was predicated on the findings of NJC over an allegation contained in petitions sent to it by the SocioEconomic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and one Miss Abimbola Awogboro. According to NJC, Tokode was accused of misleading both the Federal Judicial Service Commission and the council by submitting six cases he claimed to have personally conducted when he was practising as a lawyer. The submission, which was a requirement for his application for appointment as a judicial officer, eventually got him the job, but NJC however, said its investigation revealed that the judge only

personally conducted one of the entire six cases he claimed to have conducted. The council therefore said besides the first recommendation showing him the way out of the job, it had equally recommended that he should refund all salaries and allowances that he earned since his appointment as a judge. Hence, ahead of their retirement and dismissal yesterday, NJC said in exercise of its power under Paragraph 21 sub-paragraph (d) of the Third Schedule of the Constitution (as amended), it had suspended Ademola and Tokode from office with immediate effect. It was the suspension which eventually culminated in their compulsory retirement and dismissal respectively yesterday by Buhari.

and impact positively on the wellbeing of citizens. On her part, Director, Centre for Democracy and Development, Idayat Hassan, lamented that successive administration had continued to use democracy to their personal advantage. Hassan said leaders may have assumed power through democratic principles but they are however, autocratic in their conduct. She lamented that freedom of the press in the last two years

across Africa, particularly in South Africa and Nigeria had not been commendable. Hassan was also of the view that real democracy must be inclusive and deliver development to the people, adding that it goes beyond building institutions and economic growth. "I think we are practising a hybrid system. We practise democracy but when it becomes necessary, we become authoritarian because when you look at the level of press

freedom in Nigeria in the past two years, it has not been commendable. "When you also look at social media monitoring request from Google, facebook on accounts of citizens you find that Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt topped the list. In fact, it is a fact to see that we are a hybrid system", she said. She advised the citizenry to learn to hold elected representatives accountable, if they must enjoy the dividends of democracy.

reserves now standing at $42 billion, the CBN had enough in its arsenal to maintain the international value of the Naira as well as guarantee access to forex by those requiring it to meet genuine needs. He also reiterated that the desire of the bank to ensure that all, particularly low end users, had access to foreign exchange to meet genuine needs prompted the Bankers’ Committee, in its first meeting of 2018, to agree to sell United States dollars to those requiring it for invisibles at the rate of N360/$1, without any commission whatsoever.

It will be recalled that the CBN in its last SMIS, in January 2018, injected the sum of $304.4 million in the inter-bank Foreign Exchange Market. From a chaotic foreign exchange system in the first half of 2017, due to the activities of speculators, currency traffickers among others, which saw the naira dropping to as low as N525 to a dollar, the naira has since stabilised at N360 to a dollar across various segments of the forex market. The stability was majorly driven by a raft of forex policies that were introduced by the Central Bank which included

the I & E window. The surge in activities at the window had been attributed to offshore investor interest in treasury bills and the primary market auctions (PMA) by the CBN, with the resulting inflows leading to a convergence between the parallel market exchange rate and the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEX) rate, also known as the I&E Forex window. Most activities now occur on the I&E window, with Fitch Ratings recently acknowledging that the rate on the I&E “should now be considered the relevant exchange rate”.

BUHARI RETIRES JUSTICE ADEMOLA, DISMISSES TOKODE The council, in rejecting Ademola's retirement letter, stated that the embattled justice had initially sent his letter of resignation to NJC on October 10, 2017, pointing out that he was actually billed to retire on April 9, 2018, when he will attain the mandatory retirement age of 65 years. Ademola who was one of the justices whose homes were raided by the Department of State Services (DSS) in early 2016, over allegations of corruption and was consequently charged to court, stated that his decision to throw in the towel was dictated by the court judgment which discharged and acquitted him of corruption allegations. But NJC in rejecting the notice, accused Ademola of pre-empting the council decision which it said

had already recommended him for compulsory retirement following a petition written against him by a group of eight persons under the auspices of Committee of Anambra State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Representatives Members-elect over the following allegations: “That His Lordship heard their Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/177/201 which was adjourned for judgment on March 25, 2015. That on the adjourned date, His Lordship did not deliver the judgment but adjourned the case indefinitely, to await the decision of the Supreme Court on another matter on the same issue on the list of PDP candidates for Anambra State for the general election of 2015. “That His Lordship speedily heard and delivered judgment in

another case in Suit No. FHC/ ABJ/CS/254/2015 filed later on the same issue, with intent to confer undue advantage on the plaintiff who is from a family with which the respondent has a relationship. “That the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgment ultimately given to the petitioners contained a paragraph that was not read in open court by the Hon. Judge and that a phrase was altered, all to address an issue raised in the appeal that had already been filed by the petitioner before the issuance of the CTC. That some of the reasoning and conclusions of the Judge were somersaults. “That the respondent finally delivered judgment in the case on July 8, 2016, five months after the Supreme Court delivered the judgment he was awaiting, contrary

JEGA: DO-OR-DIE ATTITUDE OF POLITICIANS, THREAT TO DEMOCRACY in Africa is that it has created very dangerous legacies. “In Nigeria, we have been talking about militicians; many of the prominent politicians now are people who learnt politics under military rule particularly under the Babangida politics of transition. “Many of them now have a do-or-die mentality of engaging in election and it is a mindset that was imbibed under the military rule", he said. While stating that democracy is in a state of flux in the

African continent, the former electoral umpire wondered whether democracy was actually delivering the dividends to the citizens. "There is growing frustration that democracy is not delivering what is expected of it whether in terms of legitimacy of regimes, in terms of stability, peaceful coexistence and quality of governance. “Most times the electoral process is just a routine because candidates who do not represent the people are imposed on the

people. “So, the lack of integrity of the election coming from a military approach is responsible for undermining democracy in Africa", he said. Jega, joined other speakers to call for a rethink of the practice of democracy in the country, noting that “democracy does not equal good governance.” They submitted that democracy, just like in the developed countries, should be able to drive development

BRITAIN TO ADD NAIRA TO LIST OF ACCEPTED TRADE CURRENCIES British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, to have said in the UK’s credit agency statement. The statement said the UK would provide up to 85 per cent of funding for projects containing a minimum of 20 per cent British content. “The Naira financing will follow the same structure as someone buying in sterling, except that Nigerian firms taking out a loan in local currency can benefit from a UK governmentbacked guarantee. “This can enable businesses to manage foreign exchange risks and, many times, to negotiate better terms with local banks.”

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) once more intervened in the Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) yesterday to the tune of $325.64 million. Figures obtained from the bank indicated that the amount released was for requests in the agricultural, airlines, petroleum products and raw materials and machinery sectors. The figures were confirmed by the bank’s Acting Director in charge of Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, who noted that the continued intervention were in line with the assurances

made by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to sustain market liquidity in order to boost production and trade. According to Okorafor, the feedback from the wholesale and retail segments of the Nigerian Forex markets showed that customers were satisfied with their level of access to foreign exchange. He said the degree of optimism displayed by all players underscored the fact that everyone was happy with the level of transparency in the market. Speaking further, Okorafor assured that, with the recession now over and foreign






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EXPANDING SERVICES... L-R: Chief Executive officer, Humart Stores, Mr. Murat Bektaslar; Member Board of Directors, Mr. Murli Shewakramoni; Executive Director, Corporate Banking, GTBank, Mr. Bolaji Lawal; General Manager, GTBank, Mr, Paul Abiagan; and Vice president Marketing, Humart Stores, Cheng Fuller; at the official opening of Humat Stores Lekki, yesterday in Lagos….. PHOTO: SUNDAY ADIGUN

Subsidy Fraud: Appeal Court Acquits Ontario Oil MD, Ugo-Ngali Davidson Iriekpen

The Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal yesterday upturned the 10-year jail term slammed on the Managing Director of Ontario Oil and Gas, Mrs. Ada Ugo-Ngali, by an Ikeja High Court in Lagos. In a lead judgment delivered by Justice M. L. Garba, the appellate court quashed the conviction of the appellant and accordingly, discharged and acquitted her of the allegations leading to her conviction. Justice Lateefa Okunnu of the Lagos High Court had in January,

2017, convicted and sentenced UgoNgali to 10 years jail term for fuel subsidy fraud of amounting to N754 million, alongside the company’s chairman, Walter Wagbatsoma, who is currently in jail in the United Kingdom. The judge had also ordered the refund of the N754 million to the federal government. Both the company's managing director and chairman were charged and arraigned before Justice Okunnu lon an eight-count charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC had on August 1, 2013 arraigned Ngo-Ngali, Wagbatsoma and their company, accusing them of defrauding the federal government of N1.9billion, which they fraudulently obtained as subsidy sum for purportedly importing petrol into the country. Also charged with them was an official of the Petroleum Products Price and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Mr. Babafemi Fakuade, who was however, discharged and acquitted by the judge on January 13. Dissatisfied with the lower

court, Ugo-Ngali through her lawyer, Chief Uweche (SAN) approached the Court of Appeal to upturn the judgment in an appeal marked CA/L/348C/17 and dated February 9, 2017. The appellant had urged the upper court to discharge her of the conviction on the grounds that she cannot be sentence in the absence of her co-accused. Delivering the lead judgment in the suit, the presiding judge, Justice M. L. Garba, quashed the conviction and discharged and acquitted the appellant.

The judge held that upon reading the record of appeal and respective briefs of argument filed on behalf of both parties, it was clear that the appellant was convicted and sentenced in absentia. The appellate court held: "Upon reading the record of appeal and respective briefs of argument filed on behalf of both parties. "It is ordered that for being a nullity the proceedings by High Court in the Court of Appeal trial of the appellant and others appellants in appeal CA/L/348c/17, and CA/L/389c/17, including the

judgment delivered on January 13, 2017, convicting them of the offences they were tried for and the sentenced passed on them on January 26, 2017, in the absence of appellant in CA/L/348c/17, are hereby set aside. "That in consequence, the conviction and sentenced of the appellant in the said judgment are quashed, and the appellant discharged and acquitted accordingly." Other members of the panel, which include: Justice J. S. Ikjegh and Justice Y. Nimper, agreed with the lead judgment.

Again, Suspected Herdsmen Kill 3 in Renewed NPA Moves to Take over Apapa Road Benue Attack as Suswam Donates to IDPs Construction from Ministry of Works George Okoh in Makurdi Suspected Herdsmen again yesterday night and inspite of the ongoing army operations, attacked Kukwa community in Anyiin, Logo Local Government Area of Benue State leaving three persons dead while three others sustained injuries. This is as the former Governor of the State Dr. Gabriel Suswam and his wife, Yemisi have condemned the wanton destruction of lives and properties in Benue Communities even as they sympathised with the victims of the attack's and urged them to bear their plight with fortitude in the belief that it will soon come to pass. He later distributed relief materials to them. According to an eyewitness, the headsmen came at the early hours of the morning shooting sporadically at anyone in sight. The Chairman of Logo LGA, Richard Nyajo confirmed the report to newsmen even as he said several people were still missing. Nyajo stated that the herdsmen

had laid ambush on the persons, explaining that they hid in a forest opposite the Redeemed Church and opened fire on the unsuspected victims. He disclosed further that the herdsmen had shot down two occupants of a motor bike who died instantly and also shot at another group of four passersby, killing one and injured three others. Among the four passersby that were shot were two Hausa traders, adding that it was one of the survivors that broke the news that their attackers were herdsmen. According to him, one of the victims who lost his life had since been buried according to Muslim rites while the other two bodies had been deposited at the morgue. "The herdsmen had between 7pm-8pm on Thursday, laid ambush in Kukwa near Redeemed Christian church of God located along Anyiin-Ayilamo road, where they shot six passersby, killing three persons, while three others who sustained severe injuries have

been taken to NKST hospital Ugba for treatment", Nyajo stated. Anyiin which is the home town of the former, Benue State governor Gabriel Suswam, has one of the biggest Internally Displaced Persons IDPs camp, and serves as a base for Special Forces sent to the area to maintain peace. A resident of the area, Mr. Joseph Anawa who also spoke with reporter, said the herdsmen came through Tunga in Awe local government area of Nasarawa State to launch the attack. He said the attack caused many people living around the area to flee their homes to the Two IPDs camps located in Anyiin main town. Anawa disclosed that the attackers were at about 9 pm repelled by the security before bodies and injured victims were recovered. "The herdsmen also made another attempt Thursdays on Azege, another community in the area but were repelled by the security forces stationed in the area", Anawah stressed.

Eromosele Abiodun Following the protracted delays by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to construct the Tincan Island port access road and ease the gridlock, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has made a request to the Federal Ministry of Transportation for consideration to have the NPA take over the construction of Tincan Island port access road. The Managing Director of the NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman disclosed this yesterday while speaking at a stakeholders meeting held in Apapa, Lagos. This is just as the NPA boss revealed that BUA Nigeria Limited had made commitment to reconstruct a stretch of the Tincan Island road and was awaiting directives from the ministry of works. She also disclosed that Honeywell Flour Mills Plc had offered to conclude the shoreline protection for the trailer park in Tincan Island, “and we have made it clear to them that the completion will be done as

a corporate social responsibility and it must be available to everybody. If they are unable to agree to our terms, we look for other alternatives.” As part of the efforts to improve traffic on the port access roads, she ordered owners of empty containers to remove them in one week or have them removed by the authority and the owners services withdrawn. Also, she warned terminal operators indebted to the authority to pay up as soon as possible or have their services withdrawn. On the traffic situation in Apapa, she said, “We believe that the Federal Ministry of Works might not have the urgency that we have , if it is proving challenging for them to take action on some of the discussions that we have with them, the NPA through the Ministry of Transportation is willing to take over the construction and rehabilitation of these roads and the funding for that could be considered as part of our contribution to the consolidated revenue fund because indeed we revenue generating agencies contribute to the CRF fund and it is from the CRF fund that projects

are done in the Ministry of Works and the federal government. “We want to take over the construction of the roads because we have been having these dialogs for a long time and also the completion of the trailer transit park. I am struggling to get first certificate out of the Ministry of Works to enable us pay for Warf Road construction. The NPA has set aside N1.8 billion for the road but to get certificate from the ministry for us to pay is a challenge. In fact I even went to procurement and said give us any document to enable us pay or even start processing the payment. We have to think and push ourselves beyond the limits and immediate mandate to see how we can do as much as we can. “We are also looking at other alternatives to evacuate cargo out of the ports including the flag off of export at the Ikorodu Lighter Terminal. I have given instructions to people in charge of certain important offices to give operators whatever they want to ensure efficient operations at the ports".






In Brief DPR Seals Stations in Sokoto, Kebbi

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Sokoto zone, has sealed 14 filling stations in Sokoto and Kebbi states for selling fuel above pump price. This is as DPR, Eastern zone has sealed and fined one filling station appropriatelyinOwerrimetropolis,capitalofImoStateforunderdispensing premium motor spirit (PMS) product, while five others were cautioned for sellingabovegovernmentregulatedpumppriceofN145perlitrewhichwas laterforcedtosellatgovernmentrate.TheSokotoZonalOperationsController, Alhaji Mohammed Makera, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Sokoto on Friday. He said six of the filling stations were located in Sokoto whiletheremainingsevenwereinKebbiState.Hemaintainedthat owners ofthesealedfillingstationswould payafineof N100,000perpump.Makera notedthatthefillingstationthatdivertedfuelwouldremainsealeduntilthey bringbackthecommodity.Heemphasised thatthetwostateshadreceived a total of 40 trucks from last Monday to date.While giving the breakdown ofthesupplies,heexplainedthatSokoto received14truckswhilekebbiand environs received26trucks."Ourprayeristogetmoresuppliesthesecoming days to be able to stabilise the situation. Thank God there is a noticeable improvement for now," he said. He assured the public that the Department would not relent in its efforts in ensuring that all the filling stations in the two states comply with the government approved price of N145 per litre.

HONING FINANCIAL SKILLS ... L-R: Head, Global Markets, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr. Sam Ocheho; Head, Group Research, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, Edward George; Deputy Director, Central Bank of Nigeria, Ola Vincent;and Head, Client Access, Transactional Products & Services, Stanbic IBTC, Temitope Nwarache; at the 2018 West Africa Trade and Export Finance Conference in Lagos recently PHOTO: ETOP UKUTT

'My Life is in Danger, IBB Spokesman, Afegbua, Cries Out Paul Obi in Abuja

The Spokesman to former President Ibrahim Babangida, Mr. Kassim Afegbua yesterday said his life was under threat following a statement he issued and authorised by IBB. This is as human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Mr. Femi Falana said that the Department of Security Services, DSS lacked the power to invite Afegbua since the said statement had not caused any threat to the internal security of the country. Kassim who had earlier submitted himself to the Nigerian Police after the Police declared wanted also honoured the invitation by the Department of State Service (DSS) yesterday in Abuja. According to him, "in the last six days, I have gone through traumatic experience when I was declared

wanted by the Nigeria Police. "By the strength of that unprofessional declaration, I was treated like a common criminal and fugitive until I showed up at the Police Headquarters Abuja to physically present myself. "After what the Police termed a no case issue, they were apologetic and I took my leave. In the evening of that day, Wednesday 7th February, 2018, I got a phone call inviting me to the Headquarters of the Directorate of State Security (DSS). "I honoured the invitation on Thursday and spent seven hours waiting for attention. I left the office at 6.50pm when it became clear nobody was ready to tell me what the invitation was meant for. I was informed to report back on Friday 9th February, 2018 at 11am. On arrival on Friday, having spent 2 hours, I was attended to by the Director of Operations and two others who interrogated me on the said

statement I issued." He said: "My interrogation was recorded electronically and was made to write a statement affirming the issued statement, having collected all my personal details; house address, account number, international passport number and other information. "I find this whole episode quite nauseating and utterly condemnable. I cannot rationalise why just a statement would amount to subjecting me to rigorous interrogation especially when there was no complainant. "The action of the Nigeria Police coupled with that of the State Security Service is at best that of a meddlesome interloper and sheer bullying, leaving serious developmental issues to chasing shadows with a view to intimidate, harass and embarrass me. "Let me state at this point that my life is in danger as we speak. I have been receiving series of unknown

phone calls from people threatening me and my family. "But I am resolute in the true spirit of a free born, that threats, intimidation, harassment and psychological torturing has never and will not stop me from exercising my right of free speech as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; as well as carrying out my professional responsibility. "I will not submit to intimidation, harassment and threats. Certainly not. I have just a life to live and no one under God will live forever. "Let me use this opportunity to thank my principal, General Ibrahim Babangida, GCFR and members of his family who were constantly in touch with me to share in my tribulations. General Ibrahim Babangida's words of encouragement and assurances further bolstered my resolve to soldier on.

Kidnappers Target Igbo Traders 16 Die in Edo, Ogun, Niger in Calabar, 5 Kidnapped Road Crashes BasseyInyanginCalabar

Kidnappers in Cross River State appear to have targeted businessmen of Igbo extraction as no fewer than five of them have been kidnapped within weeks. Those kidnapped within the period include one Ifeanyi, and one Lazarus, both spare parts dealers, and an electrical parts’ dealer and contractor popularly known as “But Why”. While Ifeanyi and Lazarus were kidnapped about two weeks ago, at their shops located at Victor Akan Street, Calabar South, “But Why” was allegedly whisked away from his shop on Monday. According to several sources, the three kidnapped persons were released after they paid ransom of several millions of naira. However, no sooner than the trio were released than a popular dealer in spare parts of Japanese vehicles, Mr. Paulinus Obi, popularly known as “Matata”, and another business man , Emmanuel Ozokwu, a contractor were abducted this week by kidnappers. The kidnap of Matata and

Ozokwu, is causing panic, and confusion among members of the Igbo community in Calabar, and the business community within the Bedwell Street, Target Streets, and Victor Akan Street. While Obi was kidnapped on Wednesday at Bedwell Street, Ozokwu was abducted on Thursday at Target Street. An eye witness account by one Chukwuemeka Okoli has it that Obi was abducted at about 7:00pm on Wednesday, February 7, in front of his shop. “We were sitting out in front of Matata’s shop about 7:00pm having a drink and two young men wearing black all through walked up to Matata and excused him. “As soon as he stood up another stern looking masked man came out from a parked old blue Audi 80 with AK 47 riffled and jerked Matata up and threw him into the car. Immediately the Audi 80 drove off with the three other persons, another Camry car parked down Bedwell by White House Street followed them and they zoomed off to unknown destination.

OkonBasseyinUyo AdibeEmenyonuinBeninCity, LaleyeDipoinMinnaandFemi OgbonnikaninAbeokuta

No fewer than 16 persons have reportedly died in various road accidents across three states at the weekend where others survived with various degrees of injuries. While eight persons reportedly died in a multiple accident involving two utility vehicles and a Honda Civic car which occurred at Izom town of Niger State on Thursday night, eyewitnesses said all the passengers in the Honda Civic car lost their lives while the three others believed to be the motor boys of the utility vehicle trapped in the vehicles also died. The crash in Edo which claimed four lives happened at Agbede, Etsako West Local Government Area when three articulated trucks rammed into some persons while eight others sustained injuries and were hospitalised. In Ogun State, at least, four persons reportedly died while two others were injured in a ghastly auto crash which occurred on the Kara Bridge, a few meters

to Lagos State boundary, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on Friday. The accident involved a Sino truck laden with container and a Faragon commercial bus. Eyewitnesses in the Niger State crash said three of the deceased were burnt beyond recognition while the remains of the other victims were deposited at the Suleija General Hospital mortuary. It could not be confirmed how the accident occurred but it was learnt that due to the poor state of the road, the utility vehicle carrying containers with combustible items overturned on the car and consequently burst into flames. Villagers and workers of a construction company close to the point of the incident were said to have struggled to no avail to save the lives of the victims, they were however able to put off the inferno after about one hour. When contacted the Director General, Niger State Emergency Management Agency, Malam Ahmed Ibrahim Inga confirmed the story on Friday adding that five bodies were deposited at the Suleija General Hospital Mortuary.

Passengers Commend Air Peace Crew

PassengersonLagos-AbujaFlight7138onThursdayeveningcommended thePilotinCommand,Capt.AdesolaArasiandcrewfortakingprecautionary safety measures in the flight when it was noticed that the cargo hold of the aircraftwastamperedwithbyunauthorisedpersons.Eye-witnessaccount said the pilot took immediate action when he saw the cargo compartment lightflashinthecockpit,meaningthatallwasnotwell. Theaircraftwasatthe holdingpointoftherunway18R(A1)oftheMurtalaMuhammedAirport,Lagos at about 7.35pm, waiting for the directive from the traffic control to take off when the cargo hold light in the cockpit flashed for 15 seconds, sending the pilot’s mind racing and he directed the cabin crew to check the cargo hold door. They checked and found out that there was an attempt to open it. So the Pilot decided to delay the flight until further investigations were madetoensurethatthosewhoattemptedtoopenthecargocompartment did not put incendiary device or any other dangerous object in the aircraft. Safetycheckwascarriedoutsafetyandengineeringteamandwhenthepilot wassurethattherewasnothingthatcouldcompromisesafety,hetookoff.

Police Batter Guardian Reporter in Yenagoa

In a seeming show of extreme crudity, some policemen in Igbogene, at the outskirts of Yenagoa, have brutalised a correspondent with the Guardian newspaper,JuliusOsahon. ItwasgatheredthatoneofthePolicesergeants attached to the state security outfit, 'DOO AKPO' , operating around the Bayelsagateway, IdusEmmanuel,withpolicevehiclenumber082, slapped the journalist several times before threatening to shoot and kill him. In a petition copied the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Boma Spero-Jack and the Bayelsa Commissioner of Police, Osahon, who was treated and discharged by a private hospital urged the authorities to make sure the cops atone for their indiscretion. Narrating his ordeal in the letter,thejournalistsaidhewasmolestedandbrutalisdbythepower-drunk policesergeantatabout1:30pm. "IwascomingfromBenincitywhereIhad gonetoseemyfamilywhentheincidenttookplaceanditwasinthefullglare ofpassengers. Hepointedthegunatmeandorderedme toliedown.Itried tofindoutwhyheaskedmetoliedownandheangrilybarkedatmethatIwas refusingalawfulorder.Itwasatthatpointthathestartedgivingmesomeslaps.

Hubmart Unveils Lekki Outlet

An indigenous retail shopping giant, Hubmart Stores Limited yesterday unveiledanewretailoutletinLekki,therebymakingitthirdoutletitwouldopen in Lagos State under three years. At the inauguration, the firm’s Managing Director, Mr. Murat Bekhtaslar said at least 54 persons were employed in its Lekki outlet alone, though over 200 had been employed since the firm began operation three years ago. He said: “We believe we are the ultimate service provider to our customers. Our customers are utmost in our minds in whatever we do’. Murat further communicated that the brand intends to openotheroutletswithintheLekkiaxisandthreemoremallsbeforetheyears runsout. MuratexplainedtheeconomicimportanceofHubmart’sactivities anditscontributiontoeconomicgrowth,notingthateachoutlet“increased thenumberofpeoplegainfullyemployedandthenumberofvendorswithin our system and the number of people who offer support services.

‘Church Leaders Encouraging Illegal Migration’

The Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, has called on church leaders to help discourage illegal migration and trafficking of youths, saying available reports had indicated that some church leaders instead of dicouraging the act, had continued to encourage the crime. Oba Ewuare II while pointing out that his palace would continue to align with government to eradicate the menace in the society, regretted thatinspiteoftheproliferationofchurchesinthecountry,thereseemstobe nofearofGodinthepeople.TheObawhoalsodeploredincreasedcasesof crimeandotheranti-socialvicesinthesociety,statedthiswhentheSpiritual LeaderandGeneralOverseerofSpiritandLifeFamilyBibleChurch,Apostle (Mrs.) Deborah Gordon-Osagiede paid him a courtesy visit in his Palace in Benin City. He commended the Federal Government and International Organisations on migration for their efforts at exposing the illicit trade and rescue Nigerians subjected to inhuman treatment in Libya.

Onu for Africa Science Forum

TheMinisterofScienceandTechnology,Dr.ObgonnayaOnuisinCairoEgypt, to attend the third Edition of African Forum on Science, Technology and InnovationinAfrica.The3-DayConferenceisexpectedtosharpenperspectivesinImprovedKnowledgeonScience.TechnologyandInnovationstatus in Africa, and enhance a high level of public awareness on its performance. TheForumwhichisexpectedtocommenceonSaturday(today)isexpected to trigger robust dialogue among Ministers of African nations in charge of Higher Education, Science and Technology and other development cooperation stakeholders in the science, Technology and Innovation sector in the continent.







Tons of Coronets for Governor Abdullahi Ganduje


or me, the most soothing piece of news so far in 2018 about our beleaguered Nigeria came from Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State. I am so happy seeing a governor from one of the cattle-producing states endorsing ranching as a solution to the unprecedented and mindless killings in our country, resulting from herdsmen and farmers’ clashes. Ganduje made my day last Sunday when he urged Fulani herdsmen to come to his state and make use of the vast gracing land set aside for them and their cattle. This governor is evidently averse to nomadic cattle rearing. He unambiguously called on Fulani herdsmen in Benue and Taraba states to relocate to Kano State immediately and enjoy some form of ranching. Honestly, this is the first time of being aware that herdsmen of Kano State origin hardly move out of the state. I did not know that the state has ranching facilities for herdsmen and their cattle which discourage them from moving to other states in search of grazing land. I was bewildered when I saw some of the pictures of the grazing land and ranches on television. These controlled grazing lands


and ranches are already home to millions of cattle. For me, this is the way to go for Nigeria. Ganduje’s predecessors deserve praises for this milestone and also a special award to this governor for sustaining the

legacy. The Kano governor elucidates: “Fulani herdsmen of Kano origin do not move out of the state to other states because we have enough grazing land, ranches and traditional stock route. They don’t have any reason to move out of the state. We take care of them and we accord them the respect and dignity they deserve.” Indeed, Kano State grazing land in Rogo, Gaya, Kura, Tudun Wada and Ungogo and the facilities provided to accommodate the herdsmen and their cattle are inspiring. The ongoing free vaccination of millions of cattle and other small animals at Kadawa Artificial Insemination Centre in the Garum Malam Local Government Area of the state should convince Fulani herdsmen across our country that Ganduje’s Kano State has the capability to keep more herders in regulated grazing lands in the state. One other project suggested by Ganduje, which I believe would drastically reduce the awkward nomadic rearing of cattle, is the suggestion to convert the Falgore Game Reserve in the state into a modern grazing land. This reserve has the capacity to accommodate millions

of cattle and the herdsmen. I learnt that his administration is already collaborating with the federal government and some foreign agencies to actualise this proposal. “The location has been designed to accommodate schools, human and animal clinics, markets, recreational centres and other social amenities that would provide the herdsmen enough comfort to take care of their animals and transact their business without any hindrance. These killings must stop. We cannot afford to continue to witness these senseless killings in the name of Fulani herdsmen and farmers clash over lack of grazing land when we have a place like the Falgore Game Reserve which is underutilised,” stated Ganduje. This Kano State template must be replicated in other cattle-producing states. We have to encourage herdsmen to embrace ranching as the modern way of cattle rearing. Just as I pointed out last week, cattle-producing states must create an enabling environment for ranching. They should also establish artificial lakes, which will help sustain such ranches. Industrial boreholes, powered by solar energy, will pump uninterrupted water to sustain such artificial lakes all year round. It should be a carrot and stick approach. Herdsmen who refuse to embrace ranching after all these should be compelled to do so.

Cancer Treatment and the Shame of Nigeria The University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria’s premier teaching hospital is looking for a paltry N251 million to purchase the latest cancer treatment machine called Brachytherapy, which will offer succour to people suffering from prostate cancer, breast cancer and other types of cancer without side effects. The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof. Temitope Alonge, made this pathetic disclosure this week during the celebration of World Cancer Day in Ibadan. Alonge said further that all UCH needed to upgrade its equipment and complete its ultra-modern cancer centre is just about N5 billion. I am shocked that many federal tertiary health centres hardly get up to N200 million yearly as capital vote. Just like UCH, all our public health institutions lack this vital Brachytherapy machine that costs a mere N251 million. How can this be happening in a country where billions of Naira is spent yearly

on a pathetic State House Clinic? How can this be happening in a country where some governors spend billions of Naira on jollifications? How can we have vital health equipment in Nigeria when our leaders, including the head of the country, rely on foreign countries for medicals? Another thing that left me so depressed was Alonge’s disclosure that our cancer patients, who lack money for treatment abroad, are subjected to the outdated and hopeless chemotherapy treatment. The CMD explains: “When you do chemotherapy through the blood stream, it goes through the entire body before settling down at the site where it is needed. But we have gone beyond chemotherapy. We now have nanochemotherapy where the drug will go round the body at no harm and break open at the site where it is intended to work. The machine is called Brachytherapy. The Brachytherapy machine is like a radia-

tion, which identifies the location. It will locate the exact cancer and kill the cell. This ‘brachy system’ is targeted treatment that allows for high local concentration of radiation wall which does not affect the other tissues around. A lot of big men in Nigeria with prostate cancer go abroad to receive treatment using this machine. Here, they stand the risk of not having erection after prostatectomy. But with ‘brachy’, technically, the man can still perform.” A paltry N251 million is all that is needed to purchase a Brachytherapy machine and our public hospitals can’t afford it. What a country. In Nigeria, cancer is a death sentence for the poor and working class. This is so because of lack of access to quality care. For how long must we continue like this in a country that earns billions of USD from oil? This is food for thought for all of us this morning.


Real Patriots Must Rise and Salvage Our Drifting Country Yes, Obasanjo and Babangida’s letters to President Buhari were factual. These men were able to hit the nail on the head. However, I am still not a fan of these characters. I don’t regard them as patriots in the real sense of it. The truth that must be told is that Obasanjo and Babangida are on the match again, scheming to impose another misfit on Nigerians. Baba Iyabo’s Coalition for Nigeria is a charade dominated by bread and butter politicians. Let’s put aside 2019 elections for now. Obasanjo and Babangida can continue their scheming. I have been terribly worried about our fragile unity, threatened by religious and ethnic bloodshed. Just on Monday, the Management of Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola had to shut the institution following two days unrest involving Muslim and Christian students which resulted in the death of a student. Former governor Sule Lamido’s remarks about our sagging unity captures it all: “The vision of our founding fathers, like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Aminu Kano, Ahmadu Bello and Tafawa Balewa had been that there should be a Nigeria populated by human beings first, not tribes, regions or zones. We cannot forge ahead if we are governed by culture of hate. We are failing today because we have people who are alien to democracy on board. They are exploiting our differences, manipulating our emotions, dividing us and gradually turning us into a country where we hate one another. “Fulani, Tiv and Hausa are now killing each other, blood flowing all over Nigeria. God is angry with us in Nigeria. What do


we do? The party in power has no political history; it only came to divide us, impose a culture of hate while intimidation and blackmail are the order of the day.” A worried Babangida also remarked: “The festering nature of this crisis (farmersherders’ conflict) was an inelegant testimony to the sharp divisions and polarisation that exist across the country. For example, this is not the first time herdsmen have engaged in pastoral nomadism but the anger in the land is suggestive of the absence of mutual love and togetherness that once defined our nationality. We must collectively rise up to the occasion and do something urgently to arrest this drift. If left unchecked, it portends danger to our collective existence as one

nation bound by a common destiny; and may snowball into another internecine warfare that would not be good for nationbuilding. “I get worried by their colourations. I get perplexed by their gory themes. From Southern Kaduna to Taraba State, from Benue State to Rivers, from Edo State to Zamfara, it has been a theatre of blood with a cake of crimson. In Dansadau, Zamfara State recently, over 200 souls were wasted for no justifiable reason. The pogrom in Benue State has left me wondering if truly this is the same country some of us fought to keep together. Nigeria is now described as a land where blood flows like river; where tears have refused to dry up. Almost on a daily basis, we are both mourning and grieving, and often times left helpless by the sophistication of crimes.” Indeed, we have never been this divided in our 57 years as an independent country. Things have fallen apart in the last 32 months of the Buhari administration. Hatred and bloodshed across ethnic and religious divides have assumed an unprecedented dimension, with our fault lines persistently stoked by this administration. God-fearing people must form a truthful coalition and pull Nigeria from the brinks. Genuine patriots must rise and salvage our drifting country by promoting mutual love and togetherness. The likes of retired Colonel Abubakar Umar, Father Hassan Kuka, Senator Shehu Sani and Senator Baba Kaka Garbai must link up with like

minds across the nation for this task. This country can’t afford to wait till 2019 to check this drift. This administration must be compelled to embrace nation-building immediately. One very important step that must be taken to reduce these killings is to reflect federal character in the leadership of our security agencies. Just as the Pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, said, Buhari “must immediately re-organise the country security architecture to reflect the diversity of the country; the current situation where 16 out of 17 service chiefs in the country are from a section of the county is unhealthy and unacceptable.” Obasanjo also berated the excesses of Buhari in the uneven distribution of public offices, which must be reversed. He said: “The ethos of nation building through even distribution of public offices had been abused. To start with, we seem to have taken nation building for granted. Nation building must be given continued attention to give every citizen a feeling of belonging and a stake in his or her country. For instance, the Federal Character principle, as espoused in our constitution, was to guide the leadership to search for competent holders of major offices to be distributed within the entire nation, and avoid concentration in a few ethnic hands or geographical places, as we currently have in the leadership of our security apparatus. “To avoid such non-integrative situation, we have the National Assembly and the Federal Character Commission, both institutions which must raise the alarm or call for correction of actions by the executive that violates the spirit of our constitution.” This is the only way we can build a country that all Nigerians will be proud of.




A LEADER WE CAN TRUST Junaidu Usman Gombe writes that Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo has what it takes to lead Nigeria


head of the 2019 Presidential poll and the general election as contained in the timetable released by the Independent Electoral Commission INEC, politicians from major political parties and former presidents have commenced wide consultations with the objective of fielding formidable candidates at the elections. Apparently, the 2019 elections may be adjudged to be more open and fare in contest, significantly for the fact that so much awareness is being created to ensure only those who are resourceful and competent are voted in to steer the wheel of Nigeria’s political economy for the next four years. It is not only Nigerians but bewildered foreigners wonder aloud why a country so blessed with human and natural resources is perpetually on the ground. Many excuses have been adduced to explain Nigeria’s relative underdevelopment - ranging from political instability to its heterogeneity. From colonial administration to parliamentary democracy and from military dictatorship to the presidential system of government, Nigeria has been a long-running saga of missed opportunities.The point of convergence among informed commentators, however, is that the missing variable has been quality leadership. Historically, no country had stumbled on development. Societies that have developed faster than others have invariably been principally blessed with vibrant, visionary, selfless leaders, who worked hard to inspire their people to greater heights. As the legendry Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, once told a Nigerian admirer, the secret of his country’s historic transformation from obscurity to the industrial frontline was doing the ordinary things rightly and consistently. As 2019 approaches, the one question on every Nigerian’s lip is: where do we shop for that elusive leader, a leader we can trust, a leader with a track record in transparency, a leader dyed in integrity and self-discipline? Where do we shop for that leader who, based on his antecedents, can lead Nigerians to doing the ordinary things correctly and who can lead us to rewrite the national development storyline? Many Nigerians think we already have such a leader and it is based on his antecedents as Accountant-General of the Federation and two- term Governor of Gombe State. He served three presidents as an accountant general of the federation and served two governors in his state of origin. Ibrahim Dankwambo, Talban Gombe, is a young, vibrant and a professional accountant of international recognition. For seven years, Talban Gombe, Durbin Tangale Matawalle Ikara in Kaduna State - the name his teeming supporters call him to underscore their approval of his humility and political prudence, has governed Gombe State with an exceptional level- headedness and sense of propriety. During his days as the Accountant-General of the Federation, he started by innovating the single treasury account process and the completion of the Treasury House which was under construction to give all public accountants a pride of place. Today the Treasury House stands out in Abuja as one of the most magnificent edifice in the nation’s capital. He brought up-to-date financial statements of the federal government which were in arrears. As at the time he left office, the financial statements of the federal government were up-to-date. All arrears of financial statements had been prepared, audited and published. The revolution in the public sector towards a cashless economy began with Talban Gombe, bringing about the implementation of the


e-payment system which was completely a new innovation in the financial services of the government. The Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is yet another giant stride achieved by Dankwambo. Salaries of staff in the MDAs are now being paid centrally using an automated system. Dankwambo also introduced the new chart of accounts, the Accounting Transactions Recording and Reporting System (ATRRS), which removes the stress of having to prepare and carry hard copies of accounts by MDAs to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation for consolidation. The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) gap analysis is one effort by Dankwambo to upgrade the preparation and reporting of Nigeria’s Financial Statements up to International Standards. He also embarked on the upgrading of the Federal Treasury Academy to university standard for the training of public sector accountants and affiliating it to a highly recognised public sector professional body in the United Kingdom, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). In order to solve the accommodation problem of the Federal Pay Offices, he embarked on the building of 12 Federal Pay Offices in 12 state capitals in Nigeria. Two of the pay offices namely, Gombe and Ilorin, were completed and launched before he left office as the accountant-general of the federation. As a governor, Dankwambo devoted his first four years rewriting the books of accountability and probity in public service. In his inaugural speech on May 29, 2011, Talba announced a policy of zero tolerance toward corruption and as an accountant of repute, he has since laid the institutional framework for transparency and accountability in the state administration. Governor Dankwambo, knowing the importance of water, supplied many communities with the amenity, including Kwami, Gadam, etc. Water was also extended to Baure, Dangar, not forgetting the construction of Earth dam at Boh, Shongom local councils. He has renovated and constructed over 502 classrooms, recruited of over 1,000 graduates apart from training over 5,000 teachers. He also established a School of Basic and Remedial Studies in Kumo, College of Education In Billiri, State Polytechnic in Bajoga, College of Legal and Islamic Studies in Nafada as well as the University of Sciences and Technology and sponsored 25 students in Maritime Studies in India and United Kingdom. Governor Dankwambo upgraded the Urban Maternity to Children and Women Hospital Idi and constructed a dialysis centre, in the Specialist Hospital Gombe, among many others. Because of his friendly disposition to workers, Dankwambo has been recognised as the best labour- friendly governor. He pays workers and pensioners promptly. Talban Gombe is the only governor in recent times that completed all the abandoned projects he inherited from previous administration without any political undertones. The civility with which he treats opponents is disarming. He is highly tolerant, even of opposing views. Talba is accepted across the Nigerian divide. An articulate and consummate public speaker ,Gov. Dankwambo is the toast of academic and intellectual audiences in Nigeria and abroad. Talba Gombe has proved he is the man to lead Nigeria.


Igho Onose’s book explores one man’s efforts to liberate himself from negative forces, writes Sunny Awhefeada


hematically, the story is an exploration of man’s efforts (at the personal, local and global levels) to liberate himself from the influences of negative forces with their trail of destruction and misery in his life. In more concrete terms, it is a simple narrative in simple prose of a young man, Ofuafo by name, who struggled to actualize his potential both academically and in the marital sphere, in his world studded with hurdles. All the travails which dogged his struggles in both spheres of educational and marital actualization were beyond ordinary and required courage and prayers. Raised and nurtured in the Urhobo cultural milieu, Ofuafo took advantage of the Urhobo canons of morality and hard work to weather the storm of unforeseen tragedies and recoup his life. Though the book sets out to unravel the travails in the marital life of the protagonist with the consequent dent on his image and reputation, much more has been done by the author, apparently wandering beyond borders, to delineate the cultures of the Urhobo people and her neighbours. Probably because of the protagonist’s immersed exposition to the Urhobo culture in his rural setting in Urhobo, much of the work is propelled plot-wise by various cultural events which are intrinsic to the maturation of the Urhobo man and, by extension, his ethno-linguistic neighbours. Temporally sandwiched between the colonial and post-colonial periods, but tilting in growth towards the latter, the story draws much substrate from the norms and arts of both periods to propel itself, evaluate and react to situations in order to achieve and sustain verisimilitude. Perhaps we can do worse at this stage than resort to the canons of the Urhobo culture which the work relied on for progression and success. In doing that,

it might be necessary to randomly highlight snippets from the work to substantiate the points that are being made. One, family cohesion: In consonance with the tenets of the Urhobo culture which enjoin love and care for relations, Eyarhoro saw the need without any external prompting to take Onocha, her younger brother, to her matrimonial home for grooming as there was nobody else in the maiden home to care for him. In line with the same culture, Ode, her husband, did not frown at that decision of his wife, even though it would tax him in every way. Both took care of Onocha and watched him grow up in strength and wisdom. They also provided as much as they could for his marriage to Uge. Two, marriage: In the Urhobo culture and, in fact, among the surrounding ethnic neigbours, marriage is necessary when one is of age so as to forestall untoward excesses, especially on the part of the male. In recognition of this, Eyarhoro craved for marriage for her younger brother when he was due. She suggested this to her brother obliquely, feigning a dream as her source of inspiration. Her words : “Onocha, I had a funny dream about you some three nights ago in which I saw you carrying and playing with a young baby. When I asked whose child you were playing with, you merely looked at me and grinned. Are you contemplating having a child before marriage?” On his part, Onocha saw the need for hard work to justify his attainment of adulthood and readiness for marriage. Consequently, in his new farm, Onocha sowed yam, cassava and corn. At the end of the farming season, he reaped enough crops for sale and amassed all the money required for his marriage.” The Urhobo people talk of three major celebrations

in a man’s life. These are the celebrations at birth, marriage and death. The subject is a participant in only one of them; marriage. This is partly why marriage is celebrated with zest and pageantry and the case of Onocha was no exception. On the day that the traditional bride price was to be paid, the spokesperson among the escorts of the bride showered encomiums on the ancestry of the bride and later on the bride, herself. Her voice rang out clearly above the din and clatter of other participants; “It is indeed a family to marry from with pride. Come and admire the bride; a girl from a humble but respectable background; a girl whose family is noted for discipline, hard work and enviable achievements; a girl who has been well groomed in the art of home management; a girl who is an epitome of love, peace, hard work and good manners. We are proud to participate in the marriage of our daughter and sister today because we know she will make a success of her marriage; she will make her husband a happy man.” When the bride finally arrived and stood gracefully before the elders of the family and the in laws-to-be, the family’s spokesman reminded the bride of the reason for the ceremony: “We are gathered here today to receive our young man, Onocha, by name, who said he has a marriage interest in you; for that reason, he has been visiting the family and paying homage to the members of the family. He has today, as our custom demands, come in company of relations, friends and well-wishers, to solemnize a marriage relationship with you. You can see on the table assorted drinks, kola nuts and money; all part of the ceremony. We, as your parents and elders, have not accepted any of these presentations until we have informed you and been assured of your consent.

That, in a nutshell, is the reason we invited you here to hear from you. Do you accept to marry Onocha?” The most important question in the ceremony which wielded the double-barreled potential of dismantling or stoking up the celebration, many would say, was finally put before the bride. Like in the Urhobo culture, which the work is out to mirror, and indeed the cultures of the neighbouring ethnic groups, cooperation is the hallmark of both individual and societal successes in Ofuafo’s world. Examples abound in the text where persons altruistically stretch helping hands to neighbours to salvage a situation: “They beheld Emohwo, Onotu’s first wife running to the next compound with her youngest child strapped to her back. Emohwo desperately looked for help from neighbours to bring the child from a state of coma. That was why she ran to the next compound to seek the help of Etabuko, another housewife and mother, whose experience and skill in such matters was not in doubt.” All over the work, there is ample zeal and eagerness on the part of the people to embrace development and modernization. When the news of a secondary school in Koriko made the round, both men and women braced up joyfully to put up structures for the school to take off. In the same way, it was all excitement and frenzy among his people when the news filtered in that Ofuafo had approached government to establish a primary school in his village. Many of the young men and women quickly opted for the monetary-job offered by the Giraffe Oil Company and in fact, the women soon took to trading in cooked rice and other dishes to be of relevance to the oil company and its many workers in need of food.




When will the agony end?

What Has Female Fashion Turned To?


t does seem that nothing best underscores the raw desperation that has firmly gripped the hearts of countless ladies today than the brutal convention that obscene fashion has rudely assumed in society. A desperate person is always the easiest victim of primitive emotions and thoughtless actions. For a lot of ladies today, when it comes to securing attention, matters can really get out of hand. It would appear that only very few have retained the capacity to resist the temptation to join the current craze to out-bare each other. It first appeared like some harmless craze: If you have it, flaunt it! Then crawled in the next stage of the madness, which, sadly, gradually dismantled the once formidable defences of many ladies and swept them off their feet when it eventually ignited desperation in them. It was packaged in a very simple piece of ruinous reasoning: If for whatever reason you decide to properly cover your “natural assets,” another lady whose “assets” may not even be as luscious as yours would certainly expose hers, grab the “prize” right under your nose and go her way; and you would be the big loser! It was a vacuous logic, but it worked like magic. Why? It was powered by that highly inflammable substance called desperation. And so the mad-rush was flagged off. As one observes countless ladies locked in the mortal combat to out-expose each other, one can only be filled with unqualified disgust and pity, and even anger. In this fierce battle, age does not even seem to matter any more. Spinsters (young and old), mothers (young and old), and even grandmothers are all trapped in the indecent exposure craze. The way these women hop about in public spaces without any bit of shame in skimpy skirts that barely cover their crotches and blouses with necks cut low enough to rudely flaunt at everyone’s face even dilapidated chests decorated in some cases with unsightly stretch-marks is just sickening, if one must say the truth. Why has the world suddenly gone berserk? I have heard such rubbish as today’s woman seeking to assert, reassert and fully realize herself; demonstrate that she is not manacled by any conventions, and prove that her body belongs to her, and so the right to decide which part to cover or expose remains hers, and all such bunkum! We have also heard ad nauseam the unintelligent lie that these ladies dress indecently to suit themselves, and not to attract the lustful attention of emotionally unstable men. What one really finds very irritating are the often long-winded, convoluted, clearly unconvincing and overly infantile sentences usually stringed together by these women to rationalise what is otherwise a simple, straightforward case of desperation. Yes, there is a sudden surge of desperation for attention out there, pure and simple. So, all concerns about decency, dignity and self-esteem can wait for now. The world has truly gone berserk! But, sadly, this kind of bait can only attract the wrong kind of men, with the most unwholesome intentions.

Tribalism As Breaker Of Hearts


s a Muslim lady, I was always taught that marriage completes half of one’s faith. But I often wonder why parents forbid their kids from getting married to people outside their ethnic circle despite their obvious strong affection for each other. It’s quite ridiculous; we claim to be Nigerians and most importantly a united nation, yet we still allow petty stereotypes hinder us from getting married to people from other locality. In recent times, hearts have been shattered, fornication has become a common norm among youths who got attracted to people from outside their locality. Their parents wouldn’t let them go into marriage with those ‘outsiders’ as they would refer to them, so the only option left is fornication. These youths were once ‘dreamy teenagers’ who envisioned a perfect married life with the one they love, but what happened? Sorry, you can’t get married to her, she’s from the North. Sorry you can’t get married to him, he’s from the East. These are the excuses they give, leaving their children with shattered dreams and broken hearts. Aren’t we a united nation with similar passions and interest for the country? Isn’t the word “Nigerian” enough to unite us? It has become rampant amongst northern families not just forbidding their children and guardian from marrying people from other states, but also compelling them to limit their choices to their people from the same ethnic circle as theirs. Just because intermarriage was a tragic issue for some, doesn’t necessarily mean your children will suffer the same fate. “What was meant to hit you couldn’t have missed you and what missed you, couldn’t have hit you”, a popular saying of the Prophet of God, Muhammad (Peace be upon him). It bothers me when I see patriotic parents limiting their children to certain tribes. What actually bothers me the most is seeing the emotional wrecks the youths become, the emotional devastation they experience. No one controls who they fall in love with, Their hearts choose for them by God’s willing. So why will you be an obstacle to something pure and sacred? According to the divine book of the Muslims, it has been said that The Lord has created us from a single pair of male and female and made T H E SAT U R DAY N E W S PA P E R us into nations and tribes so that we may know EDITOR SHAKA MOMODU each other. So then what’s your fear? Why DEPUTY EDITOR YEMI ADEBOWALE wouldn’t we forget these shallow stereotypes MANAGING DIRECTOR ENIOLA BELLO of the Northerners being short-tempered, the DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR KAYODE KOMOLAFE CHAIRMAN EDITORIAL BOARD OLUSEGUN ADENIYI south-westerners being pompous and provide EDITOR NATION’S CAPITAL IYOBOSA UWUGIAREN our future generations with a healthy nation free from temptations and extensive corruption? Parents! Your children are tests to you from the Almighty, hence you are required to make marriage easy and simple for them. As a parent, T H I S DAY N E W S PA P E R S L I M I T E D the moment you forbid your children from EDITOR-IN-CHIEF/CHAIRMAN NDUKA OBAIGBENA getting married to people from other tribal GROUP EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS ENIOLA BELLO, KAYODE KOMOLAFE, background, you have ultimately prioritize these ISRAEL IWEGBU, IJEOMA NWOGWUGWU, EMMANUEL EFENI stereotypes over the love you have for your kids DIVISIONAL DIRECTORS PETER IWEGBU, ANTHONY OGEDENGBE and the love for a united nation. DEPUTY DIVISIONAL DIRECTOR OJOGUN VICTOR DANBOYI So, the choice is yours: SNR. ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR ERIC OJEH ASSOCIATE DIRECTORS PATRICK EIMIUHI, SAHEED ADEYEMO Whih would you prefer, Love for stereotype? CONTROLLERS ABIMBOLA TAIWO, UCHENNA DIBIAGWU, NDUKA MOSERI Or love for your Kids? DIRECTOR, PRINTING PRODUCTION CHUKS ONWUDINJO Maryam Abdulkarim, Dept of Mass ComTO SEND EMAIL: first munication, IBB University Lapai, Niger State

No responsible man falls for very cheap stuff like that. Indeed, any man attracted to a woman because his baser instincts were awakened at the sight of the lady’s exposed delicate parts only goes after her to assuage his lust. Once that is done, he will simply dump her like some disused akra wrappers and move on. It must be admitted that, sometimes, it is difficult to really determine the real problem of women, or what exactly they want from men. One moment they seem to be proclaiming through their actions and appearances: Please, I am too available and cheap! You can have all of me! Just for the asking! Then the next moment, they are on rooftops grumbling that men do not rate them highly, and do not accord them the respect they think they deserve. Please, for goodness sake, what exactly are men expected to do in this circumstance when these women seem all too eager to prove that their only endowments worth showcasing are their bodies? Whatever happened to intelligence, exceptional talents, abilities, sterling virtues, self-esteem and sense of dignity with which women once easily earned the respect, awe and admiration of most men? Why should someone insist on being respected even when she, of her own accord, has gone all out to underline the unmistakable impression that she is undeserving of any honour? Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye, Lagos (





From Dishwasher to General Manager My Park Inn by Raddison Experience Not many men beat the odds the way he did. A firm believer in hard work, creativity, and integrity, life didn’t give him a fair deal. But he beat the odds not only to live but to live life at its best. But for Kayode Aina, there’s no resting on his laurels. Having lost his father to the cold hands of death, he became the family’s breadwinner at a tender age. Unshaken by the vicissitudes of life, he financed his education abroad, in the United States of America where he studied Accounting. To survive in the US, he worked as a steward in the hotel, Holiday Inn – an experience which would later prove pivotal in his business. Now the General Manager of Park Inn by Radisson, Aina discusses with Adedayo Adejobi the travails of his sojourn in the US and how he found fulfillment. As a hospitality guru, he also made a forecast for Nigeria’s hospitality business in 2018 Why I Came to Nigeria and Took Up Job with Park Inn By Radisson


hat was it like growing up? I grew up with my disciplinarian grandmother in a small town called Ikun-Ekiti. My father died, my siblings and I were young, so it was my mother and my late grandmother, uncles, and aunties, who brought me up. Maybe that’s why I gravitate towards the caring side aspect of life. If I wasn’t in the hospitality business, I would have studied Medicine or something that involves caring for people. The major occupations were farming and teaching. We didn’t have much but were happy. We had friends, family, hard work, simple life, communal living and a good values system. We moulded blocks to build our schools. For me, those moments are nostalgic. I have fond memories of my growing up years. Those precious moments shaped who I have become. It helped me thrive outside the country - I went to the United States as a self-sponsored student. The spirit of hard work helped me survive, go to school full-time and still graduate within three years. Through it all, I feel thankful to God that against all odds, I am where I am today.

Kayode Aina

What motivated you to go into hotel industry? When I was in school, I needed a part-time job to get extra income, so I worked in the kitchen of a Holiday Inn in the United States. Back then, they were called dishwashers, but now they are called stewards. I started as a dishwasher; I was trained to be a cook. One white man observed and liked me, and asked if I would love to learn how to cook. After a year as a steward, I was trained to be a breakfast cook. By the time I graduated in Accounting, my intention was to come back home and go back into banking and work at First Bank Marina by Niger House at UAC Building. By the time I graduated, I decided to stay back and do my master’s. I still had the job. By the time I had finished, there was a gradual decline in the economy, and so I waited, sent out my resume and got a job as the Assistant Financial Controller, of a newly open Radisson hotel in California. After working for Radisson, I got promoted to the Financial Controller. I got more involved in operations. Luckily, my background was in the kitchen which is 50% operations of the hotel. The reason why I fell in love with the hospitality business is that there are always activities- it’s never a boring moment, at the management level. It became a natural part of me to work through the kitchen and get involved in the other parts of hotel operations. The owner of Los Angeles Raddison noticed

me every time he came to the hotel. I wasn’t the General Manager at that point, so when the opportunity came to hire a new Manager; unknown to me, he had done his background check, and found me well-liked and respected by all staff, so I was considered Acting General Manager while the search was on from a substantive Manager. From acting, I became permanent. I moved on to Starwood-four point hotels and was on the job for a while until I decided to come back home. On returning, my first gig was in Abuja, I was recruited from the United States by the owner of Hawthorn Suites. I then moved to Transcorp and then Park Inn by Radisson, Abeokuta. With a comfortable job and interesting career in the United States, why did you leave for Nigeria? If anyone had told me I’d come back to Nigeria, I’ll say no way because so many things work there. I was restless. Somehow, can’t really place why I returned to Nigeria. A lot of my friends asked me why I would give up my job for a country where nothing works. Each time I came was during my annual leave, to spend a week or two. I never had the intention to stay back. But over the cause of three years, I battled deciding whether to come back or not. I finally summoned the courage. The opportunity came up, the recruiter found me and I was hired. And I gave it a shot. What has the experience been since returning to Nigeria? I never knew how crucial generators are to a hotel until I came back to Nigeria. We didn’t have a generator in my hotel in the United States, so it never occurred to me. There is always water. Suppliers always delivered. In the hotel business, power, water, infrastructures, are important for its survival. I took those things for granted. I guess what made me stay back in Nigeria after my return was the nostalgia of my growing up in the village. When I was growing up, there was no electricity in my village. In secondary school, we read with lanterns although we had a generator which was turned on and off for a particular study time. I probably raced through nostalgic moments of going to the farm, growing up, working miles to the farm, and then sank into the reality called Nigeria-home in order to make an impact. The hospitality industry in Nigeria is still at its formative stage. The joy for me is that I am able to influence people who aspire to be general managers, financial controllers of international hotels. It’s not been easy dealing without the conveniences that I was used to, but I am driven by a higher calling than more. I am driven by value, meaningfulness, influence, purpose. Thankfully, I’m in a job that



SUPERSATURDAY MY SPIRITUAL CONNECTION WITH GOD MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE CHURCH.... can take care of my family. But there has to be something I can contribute beyond money. There were times I asked myself, ‘Have I made a mistake?’ I have the opportunity to go back to the United States anytime I want. I, however, go back once in a while when the ‘frustration’ sets in. Sometimes I can escape for two weeks, and then when I’m there I’m longing to come back. I am still trying to find what’s tying me down here. Maybe it’s the Yoruba myth of my umbilical cord. I hope there is a scientific proof to that. I tell my friends who ask me how I survive here that- Nigeria is a matter of the mindset. There are issues but sometimes you emphasise what you want to emphasised. Nigeria is a work in progress. There are bright sides of it that can help compensate for its dark sides, and help live with the challenges that you may come across. There are people who are massively successful in Nigeria, even without political connections. It’s a matter of what you find meaningful. As the first internationally branded Hotel in Ogun State, there are expectations. What do you stand for and what are you doing for the community? As the first internationally branded hotel in Ogun State with over 160 employees, there are huge expectations from the community and as a global brand. There are things that are taken for granted, for us it’s a given. We try to live to that promise. We see ourselves as a destination from Lagos for corporate and individual clients. We’ve had a lot of families here. As a hotelier, seeing kids run around the hotel makes me happy. Business is growing and we are lucky we have a very understanding owner. We have a corporate social responsibility initiative ongoing. We are in the first phase of the school debate amongst Secondary schools in Ogun State. The impulse behind it is education. And once they are educated, by and large, they can fend for themselves. You worked for Transcorp briefly. Comparing Transcorp to Park Inn by Radisson Hotel, they have entirely different brand images and possibly different target markets. What prompted you to work for Park Inn? I worked at Transcorp Hotel in Calabar. It was a wonderful experience. Why I came to Park Inn, my very first job after university education was at the newly opened Radisson Hotel in California. When this opportunity was presented to me, it was like a homecoming. I still remember my friends, colleagues who had risen through the ranks and never left, and my bosses at the United States headquarters. The attachment to taking on the job at Park Inn by Radisson was to relieve those memories. I remember I had a memorable experience for the few years I spent there. What do you enjoy most at work that makes you lose track of time? Every single day I lose track of time, but what I enjoy is mentoring. Working with my staff, moulding, shaping the future, and dealing with our guests-I lose track of time. With 173 rooms, and guests almost every day, every guest is different with perspectives, worldviews, and challenges. The boilerplate formula changes and it’s never a boring moment for someone who loves being engaged. If you could relive one day of your life, which day would you choose? Positively, the day I met my spouse. For the environment where I come from, if I don’t have an understanding spouse, it’s nearly impossible to work in the hotel or hospitality business. I am particular about anything that significantly affects the health or safety of my guest, I don’t care what time of the day, you have to call me. I’ll rather you call me if not sure than not call me even when unsure. Meeting a spouse that

workers or peers in the same profession? Everybody has their style. I am approachable, caring about people who work for me. To be successful in this business, you must have a good personality and thorough in paying attention to details. I also watch my numbersthe profit and loss account. What’s the worst part of the job and how do you deal with it? The most challenging part of the job is the business of moving parts in terms of the different touch points from the service continuum. From the greetings to the porter, staff that would check you in, room service. Making clients happy could go wrong with just a staff forgetting to do one thing, and that for me is a big deal. Coordinating the people- part of the business is the most challenging. What’s the most enjoyable part of the job? Taking care of people, looking back and seeing guests and staff happy. Seeing guests give good reviews and making good numbers. What do your customers under/over value? You can’t say they over-value because they are the boss and define value. It’s our job to give them a memorable experience from check-in to check out, ensuring that everything works out perfectly. Value is the experience. For us, we try to understand guest intimacy. We go the extra mile to transcend the expectation of our guests.

Every single day I lose track of time, but what I enjoy is mentoring. Working with my staff, moulding, shaping the future, and dealing with our guests-I lose track of time. With 173 rooms, and guests almost every day, every guest is different with perspectives, worldviews, and challenges.The boilerplate formula changes and it’s never a boring moment for someone who loves being engaged understands and doesn’t hold it against me that we’re not spending time together, is the best thing. We met in school as friends and it graduated into a life partnership. Thank God for technology, when I’m not here, we stay in touch by phone constantly. I also travel to see her and the kids in the United States, while she visits frequently. In the eyes of your employees, what is the single most important quality you should have?

Care -that is hospitality. The business is about caring for staff, guests, and suppliers. What is the single best quality your employees can possess? You have to genuinely care about people to work in this Business. It might sound cliché- hire for attitude, train for skill. If you have the caring attitude, I can teach you how to cook, check in- and check out guests, how to operate the laundry equipment. Ultimately, this business is about caring. What are the things that you do not like to do? I don’t like to sit idle. If I’m not working, I’ll be reading, watching the global or national news. There is time to relax, but relaxation just doesn’t come second nature to me. There has to be something I am doing except I am sleeping. Some people say that a GM is not important to his frontline employees. Do you agree? I don’t agree. The general manager is as good as the people who work for him or her. Nobody was born with the paraphernalia of office. You are as good as they are. What misconceptions do people often have about your job? They rate you as high and mighty. It’s just a title. In practice, it’s all about the people that work for and with you. It’s about the teamwork and the team. It’s good to respect, but there’s a difference between respect and fear. I love my people to respect me. What are your average work hours? If there’s any such thing, I’ll do about 10-12 hours a day. I am creative with my rest. Although my day-off is working around the hotel, making sure things are in place. For me, it’s a form of exercise. I try to get seven hours of sleep every day and wake up refreshed. What do you do differently from your co-

If you must make a choice, would you do the things right or would you do the right things? I would do the right things. The results may be slow, at the end of the day, it’s sustainable. At work, what puts a smile on your face? Going around seeing my staff doing what they need to do, seeing them happy. If they are smiling, that mentally means they are happy with the job, and guests would be happy. What puts a frown on your face? Occasionally, when people don’t do the right things, it puts a frown on my face. If you didn’t know how old you are, how old would you like to be? Age is just a number. I could be any age as long as I’m happy. Happiness entails work-life balance, care of the guest and being able to contribute positively to the society. At any age, I can be happy. What advice would you offer to those who are inspired to become successful in the hotel industry? In any industry, define clearly what happiness is to you and pray for guidance. There is nothing wrong with chasing money, but it’s not necessarily happiness and fulfillment. What trends should we expect in the hospitality business in 2018? The outlook looks positive. The bread and butter of the hotel business are the business travellers because they spend more money and require less maintenance. They are in and out. We make more of our monies from business travellers. The economy is improving and we are going into an election year. As such, there’ll be a flurry of activities. The hotels will make more money and the owners are happy. What’s your philosophy of life? Care for people, work hard and infuse some spirituality into what you do. I don’t go to church every single week, but I make time. Most times, I kneel and pray in my office. The church is important, but my spiritual connection with God is more important.

Nigeria’s Hospitality Industry Still at a Formative Stage




Court Dismisses Ricky Tarfa’s No-case Submission Davidson Iriekpen

A Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere yesterday dismissed the no-case submission made by a senior lawyer, Rickey Tarfa (SAN). Justice Adedayo Akintoye ruled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had substantially proved its case against Tarfa. The judge noted that the justice of the case thus required that the court should demand some explanations from the defendant in respect of the charges. She ordered Tarfa to enter his defence on the next adjourned date – March 13. Justice Akintoye also dismissed Tarfa’s application;

seeking N520 million from the EFCC as damages for alleged malicious prosecution. The judge described the application as unmeritorious. The EFCC arraigned Tarfa on March 10, 2016 on a 27-count charge which was subsequently amended to 26 counts. He was accused of alleged willful obstruction of authorised EFCC officials, refusal to declare assets and giving false information to a public officer by lying about his age. The commission also alleged, among others, that the lawyer offered N5.3million gratification to Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa in order to compromise the judge. Tarfa pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Kogi Donates 15,000 Hectares of Land for Cattle Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja Kogi State has keyed into federal government Cattle Colony programme by offering 15,000 hectares of land for the pilot scheme. The offer was made yesterday by Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello, via a written letter he presented to Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh. Bello said the people of the state had been sensitised and educated about the policy which was a combination of many ranches and a way of stemming strifes between pastoralists and farmers. " I am here today to inform the honorable minister that the people of Kogi State have keyed into this programme 100 per cent. We are willing and ready to pilot the programme and our people are well informed about what it is all about," Bello said. He said consequent upon that, the state had secured and earmarked 15,000 hectares for the take off. The two projected cattle colonies in Kogi are Ajaokuta and Adavi Local Government Areas. About 10,000 hectares is earmarked in Ajaokuta while 5,000 hectares is proposed for Adavi, which adjoins Edo State in the south and the state capital Lokoja in the north. He said the local communities had willingly agreed to offer land for the project. He added that compensation

process was on going as those whose lands were taken over would be adequately compensated. He said he was now awaiting response from the authority having presented the letter of offer to the federal government. He expressed confidence that the creation of cattle colonies in Kogi State would enhance the economic wellbeing of the people of the state and the country at large. The governor also rejected call for the enactment of the anti -open grazing law in the state against the herdsmen, saying that no law was required for any private business. "The common law tackles those that carry arms and not those engaged in lawful business. We don't need any law to ban open grazing. By the time the herders and the farmers see the value chain in it, everyone will be attracted into it. We don't need anybody to stop somebody from moving around as in the long run, roaming about with cattle is not profitable, " Bello said. Ogbeh, who lauded Bello for his courage, insisted that creation of colonies rather than setting up ranches was the solution to the herdsmen crisis. He said with the population of cows in the country estimated at 19.5 million, 1,711 ranches would be required per state if there exist individuals keeping a ranch at average of 300 cows per ranch.

PARTNERSHIP THAT WORKS ... Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma (middle) flanked by a team from OrderPaper Nigeria, led by Oke Epia, Executive Director (immediate left) during an advocacy visit to the Minister on Constituency Projects Tracking (ConsTrack) during the week

Plateau APC Elders Bayelsa Governor Backs Establishment of State Police Endorse Buhari, Lalong Emmanuel Addeh inYenagoa

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State yesterday restated his belief that unless the Federal Government agreed to agitations for the establishment of state police in Nigeria, insecurity throughout the country would not end soon. Dickson said that the prevailing security situation and the need for an effective response to the current crime challenge had made it mandatory for the establishment of a new crop of policemen from the states. The Bayelsa Governor spoke even as the new Assistant Inspector General (AIG), Mr. Rasheed Akintunde, during a visit to the police command in the state, pointed out that under the prevailing system of operation, the police could not operate optimally. He added that of the entire Nigeria Police Force (NPF), only 20 per cent was fit and proper for the job and can efficiently get things done. But Governor Dickson was reacting to the declaration by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo,

that it had become difficult for the Federal Government to provide security for the country from Abuja in view of the fact that Nigeria had failed to meet the United Nation's requirement of a policeman to 400 people. He said that removing the police from the exclusive list and putting its operations under a more effective arrangement at the level of the state would put a stop to the widespread killings and crimes in the country. He explained that state police would be effective as the personnel would be drawn from the various states and would easily access valuable information required to track crime and criminals. The Governor added that the current federally controlled police had become overstretched due to the wide ratio of the police to the rapid increase in population. “It has become very clear that the decision of the Federal Government to establish state police should be supported. I am of the view that the decision can only tame the growing scourge of crime and criminality in our communities.

SerikiAdinoyiinJos Plateau All Progressive Congress (APC) Elders Advisory Council on Friday threw its weight behind the re-election of President Mohammadu Buhari and Governor Simon Lalong in the 2019 elections, noting that the two had done very well to deserve a second tenure. Chairman of the council, Captain Joseph Din (rtd), who led other members to a press conference, disclosed this while addressing journalists in Jos. He said, “We have been following the antecedents of our President Muhammadu Buhari with interests since he came into power in May 2015, especially his vision and mission in the key areas of insecurity, poverty, economic, anti-corruption war, power and agriculture which he promised to tackle. “As far as we are concerned, security is the bedrock of development as one cannot undertake any meaningful development without adequate security, and this government has tried in the area of provision of adequate security, considering that it came into power when insurgents were holding 13 local governments in the North

East as their territory, and even here in Plateau state, we were devastated but our Armed Forces with the support of government have decimated the insurgents and have reclaimed our territory, this is so because Buhari’s government has the Political will to defeat the insurgency, no president can say throughout his tenure that there is no skirmishes so he can not exempt himself, we support Buhari because he has shown us beyond reasonable doubt that he has the will power to curtail any insurgency. “We thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his recent directive to Military and other security operatives to fish out all the perpetrators of wanton killings of innocent Nigerians particularly in the middle belt zone. “Also, President Muhammadu Buhari stands out as the first president of Nigeria to openly take the fight against corruption as his agenda, he has done that well hence the improvement in the economy of the country which only the opposition may not see and appreciate, this attack on corruption has today attracted commendation all over the world to the effect that the African Union has appointed him the first chairman of fight against corruption.

Ambode Targets IAAF Gold Label Award for Lagos 'Planners Asked Me to Partake in Ozubulu Church Attack' Ahead of Saturday’s Lagos City Marathon, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Friday said the State Government had set a target to get the event listed in the annual calendar of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) that would make the Marathon earn a Gold Label award within the next two years. Governor Ambode, who spoke to the press said it was gratifying that the Lagos City Marathon had, within three years, earned a Bronze Label rating, saying that the past two editions had put Lagos on the international map as the hub for sports development in Africa and that efforts were in top gear to make this year’s edition bigger and better. “For Lagos, this is an exciting moment for us. We believe strongly that we are the capital of sports in

Nigeria and we need to showcase all the infrastructure and facilities that we have in Lagos and that’s why we have supported the Access Lagos City Marathon in the last three years and it is getting bigger and we are happy to be the host of this marathon. “For us, three years and we are able to get this bronze medal rating, that’s a remarkable achievement. The main goal is to have the Marathon in the main calendar for the gold award and in the next two years, I believe strongly that with the support of Lagos State and all the sponsors, we’ll get to where we ought to be. This year, we have over 100 elite athletes coming and we have almost over 20,000 people running. So in the next two to three years, I believe with that support, we would get to where we want to be”, Ambode said. Continuing, the Governor said

his administration in the last two years had invested heavily in sports, entertainment and hospitality, adding that this year’s edition of the Marathon was unique as it was the first 10km race that would put Nigerian athletes on the forefront and afford them to showcase their talents. “We are tired of foreigners, most especially Kenyans coming to win this Marathon. So, we need to develop our own part of this sport and allow Nigerians win it and it’s a veritable platform for Nigerians to showcase their talents and that’s why everybody is getting more interested in the Marathon. “In the last two and half years, Lagos has actually progressed in terms of landscape and the aesthetics in the city we believe strongly that sports is part of that social facility that we can bring to bear to let people see what it is that is going on in Lagos."

David-Chyddy ElekeinAwka A witness in the trial of the suspects of the August 6, 2017 Ozubulu church massacre has said that he was contacted by the perpetuators of the massacre to be a part of it but he turned it down. Four suspects, Great Chinedu Akpunonu (44), Vincent Ike (57), Chukwudi Ugwu (30) and Onyebuchi Mbanefo (46), were arraigned Friday on 24 count charge of murder and attempted murder in Charge No: HN/ 36 C/2017, while three others were said to be at large. The trial commenced on Friday at Nnewi High Court 3. One of the witnesses, Chukwujekwu Eze who hails from Ugwuoka in Nkanu East, Enugu State and who was the second prosecution witness told the court presided over by Justice F.I. Aniukwu, that he met the fourth defendant, a.k.a.

Bobby at Okpanka’s place. Okpanka was said to be a suspect in the massacre who was arrested and granted bail but later absconded. Eze who was led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Jay Jay Ezeuko (SAN) said, “I know two of the defendants Bobby and Obrocho. August 6, 2017 was the day there was massacre in Ozubulu church. "There is one guy called Okpanka who called me and told me that there is a job they want me to do in Ozubulu at Bishops place. I asked him the nature of the job, he told me that they were going to Bishop’s place because he was owing some people some money in South Africa about one million dollars or thereabout. That we should go there shoot, scatter and kill anything on sight. “I asked him who owns the job and he told me it was Obrocho. I then asked

him how it will be because I want to go back to South Africa as I was deported from South Africa because of my papers. When I mentioned it, Okpanka said he would assist me. I told him that I will not because I have problem of money to go back. Okpanka invited me to come the next day for him to explain to me better. “When I got there the next day, I met Bobby (4th defendant) and two of them explained to me that if I can do the job, their boss Obrocho will take me back to South Africa and give me job. I told them that I will not do such job. “After the massacre on August 6, I saw Okpanka again and said to him, you have done the job and you have enough money now, can you assist me with any little money and he said no that he gave me job and I refused the job."



pg. 20 pg. 26 pg. 29 pg. 38 pg. 43 pg. 50

Garcia Herera Don’t Amputate Yet, Diabetic Foot is Curable




We Have 95 Per Cent Success Rates Treating Diabetic Foot Ulcer Prior to the presentation of the diabetic foot ulcer drugs, Heberprot-P at Garki Hospital in Abuja, the Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Carlos Trejo Sosa, noted that Nigeria can become a point of reference in West Africa with the application of the novel drugs. The Medical Director of NISA Premier Hospital, Dr. Ibrahim Wada and the Cuban expert, Prof Garcia Herera, speaks with Stanley Nkwazema about diabetes and foot ulcer


Yhe NISA Premier Hospital boss, Dr. Ibrahim Wada, said, “I am Dr. Ibrahim Wada, a gynaecologist in Abuja with NISA Premier Hospital. I am also involved in NISA pharmaceuticals I think to be honest with you, I have gone to Cuba a few times myself. I have seen significant advancement in there, medicine, medical technology, and the expertise are overwhelming. I am very satisfied with the knowledge that combining the Cuban expertise with the Nigerian expertise will go a long way to help solve our healthcare issues.” The Cubans in Abuja and certification of drugs Wada added, “The truth of the medication is like a wonder drug; a magic drug that is undergoing verification at NAFDAC in Abuja. In terms of registration, it is about 90 per cent completed and will become fully registered. The NAFDAC DG is aware of this medication and at the moment we are on the trial phase where we are to use it to see how efficacious it is for reversing the progress of the diabetic foot ulcer and also to such an extent that many people who would have had their foot amputated don’t have to face that consequence anymore. We have the experts here and they will explain in details the progress being made. I am very happy with the association and collaboration with the group and it is good for Nigeria.” The long-awaited medication for the intervention against Diabetic Ulcer Heberprot-P may have been found after all if the demonstration and other measures presented in Nigeria recently by Prof. Aristides Herrera, the Rector of the Matanza Medical Sciences University of Cuba is proved beyond doubt. According to records 16 million people in Africa die of diabetes mellitus. In Nigeria, five million people die of this disease and between 15 and 20 per cent of patients have had an amputation. Prof Herrera, who spoke exclusively to THISDAY in Abuja recently demonstrated to Nigerian doctors and specialists the favourable results obtained in Cuba, from the application of the drug, as well as in European countries such as the United Kingdom, Belarus, Russia, among others. Also, the scientist highlighted the legacy of the Cuban Commander-in-Chief, Fidel Herera

Castro, by referring to one of his phrases: “The future of our country will be of the men of science.” “These ideas prevail today when we see that Heberprot-P has become the leading product of the Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) of Cuba, because this drug has managed to enter the international market, especially in the first world. The CIGB is the largest exporter of goods in Cuba. It is a dynamic development institution that has reached a high level of research, production, and commercialization of biological products obtained from modern biotechnology,” Herrera added. THE CUBAN PROFESSOR/SPECIALIST, DR. ARISTIDES DE GARCIA Why interest in Nigeria “For us to be here in Nigeria is like a dream come true because our Cuban people in the extreme have Nigerian blood also and we try to pay the debt with the history, that is why we came here to Nigeria to help the people to improve the quality of life and reduce the amputation of legs because of diabetic ulcer,” Dr. Garcia stated. The wonder drug and discovery Speaking further, he noted, This drug was discovered in 2001 and the clinical trial and we started the use in Cuba in 2007. The drug had clinical trials phase 1, 2, 3 and 4 still rolling with the postmarketing surveillance. It is the most effective in the most severe diabetic foot ulcer and also the lesser ones. This drug is a replacement therapy because diabetic patients don’t have epidermal growth factor that’s why the whole healing process is strong and now nothing in the patient is inflamed and it will no longer be amputated.” Using the drugs in Cuba and its efficacy The drugs are being used in many countries to good effect as Garcia would explain further. “We have more than forty-six countries including the European Union member countries; we have Turkey, Slovenia, Russia, Slovenia, and Belarus. We are doing some clinical trials in Italy France, Spain and Great Britain. In Russia and Belarus, the two countries have concluded the trials. They have equally registered it. In Slovenia, the process is almost concluded. In Spain, France, Italy they have all started the phase 2 of the process, same for the United Kingdom. “This drug was isolated in the 1970s,



PLUS Bringing Succour from Cuba to Foot Ulcer Patients in Nigeria

We are here in Nigeria for a short while because we are doing the presentation so that we can introduce the drug/product and finish this stage with NAFDAC and we are also going to evaluate some patients in Garki hospital. After that, the Nigerian doctors that were trained in Cuba will still carry on with the clinical process. We are still going to come back as quickly as possible to share our experiences with the Nigerian doctors on the healing process, the treatment of diabetic ulcer and how to avoid amputations

this drug is an epidermal growth factor produced by biotechnology through a DNA technique. It is a replacement therapy for diabetic patients. These diabetic patients suffer wounds because of neuropathy and ischemia because they don’t have the factor to improve for patients who stay with the wound for a very long time. We put it through and the healing process improved and the speed also improved. But the longer the wound stayed open, gangrene comes in and the next stage will be the amputation of the leg. But according to an international expert, if you lose a limb, you lost a life. When we put it through in the clinical trial we noticed that the healing process improved and the patients’ quality of life also improved.” Working in Nigeria “We are here in Nigeria for a short while because we are doing the presentation so that we can introduce the drug/product and finish this stage with NAFDAC and we are also going to evaluate some patients in Garki hospital. After that, the Nigerian doctors that were trained in Cuba will still carry on with the clinical process. We are still going to come back as quickly as possible to share our experiences with the Nigerian doctors on the healing process, the treatment of diabetic ulcer and how to avoid amputations. In the presentations that we made, there were representatives from the Minister of Health, NAFDAC, the two hospitals, NISA and Garki, the University of Abuja and the Teaching hospitals, the representatives of diabetic society, the patients with diabetic foot ulcer and I think the NMA,” he said about their work in Nigeria. Producing the drug in Nigeria “The first step is to bring from Cuba, the second step will be a transfer of technology and thereafter, the product is established in Nigeria, We cannot talk about pricing for now because we must finish the clinical demonstration, registration and after that, we can discuss the price. With the people they can discuss that, our own is to teach the people about the product, how to treat the patient and we don’t know anything about the price,” he pointed out. Experience with diabetic ulcer patients Garcia also talked about the number of patients he had treated. “I have treated more than 5,000 patients treated not only in Cuba but around the world; I have worked in more than eleven countries of high standard therapy like, China, Malaysia, Philippines, Russia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Belarus, Trinidad and Tobago and was also in Colombia, I have treated more than 5,000 patients. We reduced the amputation rates 3.3 times, reduced the time of healing more than four times, It means for us that 78 per cent of diabetic foot ulcer , the most serious and that is reduced the rate of amputation. What this means is that out of 100 patients we have saved up to 80 per cent which is very high. When you compare with any available therapy in the market, it is the highest you can get.We use this drug in the most critical patients. All the other drugs come back saying sorry and end up amputating the legs but we have not recorded it with this drug. Everything works for the patient with this drug. We save the limb and save the life. There are no reoccurrences because sometimes


when you close the foot with a diabetic ulcer, three months later it is open again and starts giving you problems. In most countries that are not using this drug there is almost a 50 per cent reoccurrence but with this drug, there is only five per cent reoccurrence per people per year,” Garica explained. Advice to Nigerians “We hope that this drug will improve the quality of life in Nigeria people specifically the diabetic patients. Nigeria has one of the highest rates of diabetic patients in the West and Sub-Saharan African region. A lot of the diabetic foot ulcer ends up in amputation. That is why we hope that we can make the agreement for this drug to be in the Nigerian market to improve the quality of life of the Nigerian diabetic patients,” he advised. Any severe or critical case What does he have to say about handling complicated cases? “To be honest, we have had serious cases. Here we are starting clinical demonstration. But there are good results; we started a demonstration with two patients, with the assistance of one of the doctors here in Garki hospital. We don’t do injections, we are only doing screening and evaluation of the patients before the treatment starts because we have the Nigerian consultant surgeons trained in Cuban on how to use this medication. We have sent some drugs here for free to test and see the results.

“Our hope is that Nigeria becomes the reference place in the West African region, with the highest standard for treating diabetic foot ulcer. Garki hospital will be the reference hospital for the West African countries to treat diabetic foot ulcers. It is our hope that this will be seriously pursued. We are grateful to Dr. Ibrahim Wada for the invitation the facility for the presentation that we have done and the interest for the workshop. As Cubans, we like to share our experiences and the Cuban health care systems is one of the strongest in the World with statistics that show that things are perfectly done. The infant mortality is almost 4.2, one of the lowest in the world. “In this condition, we came to Sierra Leone with the Cuban brigade during the Ebola epidemic, we saved a lot of people and now we are trying to share another experience that we have. The Cuban Government is supporting us. Our late leader, Fidel Castro, said the future of Cuba will be a future of sensible men. We have sensed the willingness of our government who through the various programmes a lot of poor people became doctors, professors and all. I can proudly tell you that I am one of them. I have 27 years’ experience. I may look so young but I am a 53 years old man. “I exercise and live well and do my best. God lifestyle, exercising, avoiding alcohol, prohibited drugs, no smoke. Started my Primary school in 1969m in Cuba and finished my Secondary education in 1979. I also did what we

call senior High school from 1979 to 1982 and finished University in 1988 qualifying in vascular surgery in 1992 with my MSC in 1995 and Ph.D. in 2007. I became a Senior Professor and Senior Researcher in 2009. I eventually became the Rector of Matanza Medical Sciences University in 2016,” he added. How the drug works Explaining how the drug works, Garcia said, “You keep it stored like other vaccines. Each vial is 75 mg or micrograms; you make the solution of water saline after which you now inject the diabetic foot, after cleaning the wound to remove all the necrotic and infected tissues, when you see that the infection is under control, you then stop the injection. The injection should be 7.5m deep in the wound, this injection target the epidermal growth infection and is done three times per week, only one vial per patient until full granulation or closure of the wound and may use a skin graft if the wound is much. “We have treated more than 150, 000 patients around the world in more than 45 countries. I personally treated around 5000 patients with wonderful results. One thing is very clear, there are scientific proves and once the drug is certified by NAFDAC that means we are good to go here. Already in conjunction with the relevant bodies, the trial is ongoing and before we come back the results will prove.” He also shared his experience about working with Nigerian doctors. “They are very good; well-qualified, I must say. We are focusing on two hospitals, the Garki Hospitals, and NISA Premier. They have highly skilled professionals. And mind you most of the doctors have been trained in Cuba and other countries up to the Ph.D. levels,” Garcia said.



with JOSEPH EDGAR (09095325791)



Olisa Metuh – Strecher and Ambulance Talk Well, you know I can look for trouble and as my mother always reminds me, I really do not have the mind for the trouble when it eventually comes. But that will still not stop me from putting my mouth in a beehive. Last night, I watched my friend being stretchered into the court in a sad state. This stripping of the dignity of a man of that stature is really sad. I am not saying anything o. In fact, I am not the one writing this column. It is my fingers. I caught glimpse of his eyes and for that split second my heart broke. I cried. I swear, I truly cried. Olisa was a young handsome lawyer when I met him in Onikan long time ago. He was brilliant and had a beautiful wife. He was nationalistic and used to educate me on the intricacies of Nigerian politics. When he emerged Vice Chairman for the South East in PDP, he called and talked about his political sagacity. He was excited about his future and that of Nigeria. Today, he is being publicly humiliated in this manner and that has brought tears to my eyes. I do not know if we can comment on this matter being that there is a subsisting case in court. I am just looking at it from the point of human dignity. If a man shows cause that he is not physically fit for an appearance, I think he should be given that leeway to get himself in better shape for his appearance. I watched a documentary on the Boston bomber; at the point of their arrest, despite all the atrocities they had committed and were facing the death sentence, they were given all their rights and the best of medical attention. So na beg, as a small boy and someone who does not understand the intricacies of the law or those he may have offended, I really beg that no Nigerian, talk less of Olisa Metuh, should be publicly humiliated like that again under any circumstances. I am not fighting or shouting o. I am pleading. It is not good. God bless us all. Thank you. I am not in the country as I write. Let me know when it will be safe to return or make I kuku just remain for Uyo untill the coast is clear. Na wa. Ambassador Kingibe – Noodle Brand Ambassador I have seen a picture of my lord on a pack of noodle proclaiming his presidential ambitions. Now I really have to be very careful because things are just flying around the place but that makes for the excitement of Nigerian life. If we all can just see the humour in some of these things, tension will drop. A whole ambassador and almost vice president; remember he was the



IBB: Sorry, I’m Not Interested I received a call very late Sunday night. It was an international recruitment agent and they wanted to know if I would be interested in being our highly respected and influential former Military President’s new spokesperson. I did not think twice before I refused the offer and hung up. To make sure such does not come my way again, I have changed my number. See wahala o, these people are just very wicked and mischievous. Didn’t they see what happened or is still happening to my friend the Prince? This Prince has found himself in the middle of a whirlwind. As I write, (Tuesday morning), I am just seeing a report that his arrest has been ordered. Whether they will arrest him or not is something I cannot say at this juncture. By the time you will be reading this over a cup of coffee if you are Gabriel Ogbechie, or over a plate of Afang and Fufu if you are Chike Ogeah, the whole saga like everything Nigerian would have simmered down and we would have moved

running mate of the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections to now be gracing the cover of the very popular noodle pack as a political brand ambassador! For me, the choice of which noodle to eat will

on to the next issue. But to the actors and people like us who they are trying to drag into the matter will continue to feel the after-effects. But let me ask, will an experienced Spokesman who has been speaking for as long as I can remember, now wake up and issue such a powerful statement on his own without his principal’s knowledge? Now we do not even know which one to believe again with all this information flying around. They have said, IBB himself has come out to confirm the statement, despite another statement denying the first one. Mohammed, IBB’s nice son has also been dragged into the matter and then, stories of arrest or no arrest. You see why this spokesman work is not the best career move for me at this point. But there is a question, I want to ask o, why is arrest even coming up at all, shouldn’t it be IBB in whose name the ‘’fake’’ statement was issued that should be shouting libel or is it slander? Na Edward Koiki say I should ask this question o.

not be affected by the picture of Chief Kingibe without make-up. I would rather go for the one with Genevieve Nnaji if for nothing else, her smile will just be aiding my digestion but the one that has Kingibe will only lead to


constipation as I would just be remembering all the wahala we are facing in this country. But seriously, I would like to advise all consumers to avoid that particular noodle for I do not see the Indian owners of this brand agreeing to be dragged into politics in this brazen manner. What that means is that NAFDAC has to enter this matter because the chances that this particular noodle might not be fit for human consumption may be high. While we are at it, I will like to see some more brand ambassadors: Atiku on a pack of Brazilian hair, Buhari fronting a lipstick range, Tinubu on a pack of Cabin biscuit, OBJ on a pack of A4 photocopying paper. So, he can get free supplies for his letter-writing activities; and Senator Ben Bruce advertising Nokia 3310 since he likes to tweet. Nigeria we hail thee! George Noah: A Consummate Professional Mr. Noah is a respected individual. He was the head of the Lagos State agency in charge of outdoor advertising. A gentleman and consummate professional. I heard he had written a book on advertising and the last elections. I have gone to look for the book to buy and could not find it. In fact, the person who sold the last OBJ letters to me on the Third Mainland Bridge said that Mr. Noah’s book can only be found in Ekiti, Benue, Taraba and other Fulani herdsmen hotspots. Well, the book no important like that, I will look for it on a google. If I can’t find it, no problem. Kenny Ogungbe will soon write his own, I will buy that one. Nigerian Bobsled Team While we are here battling herdsmen and issuing and denying statements, a group of beautiful Nigerian ladies are doing us proud at the Winter Olympics. They are participating for the first time in the Olympics in bobsled. We used to do this bobsled in Shomolu those days. We would get planks from the nearby carpenters and use ’boris’ got from baba Yekini to do the carts with which we would now turn the streets into race tracks. The only thing that was missing was snow. We used to make do with Omo detergent and water on smooth cement surface to do our own bobsled race. So, you see why I am connecting with these ladies as colleagues. They did not wait for any government subvention or asked for any delegation that will fight for estacode. That is the spirit. That is how you make things happen. Congratulations, my ladies. Do you guys by any chance need a trainer?




TONGUES WAG ABOUT AMOSUN’S BROTHER’S INFLUENCE If there is anyone who is almost as powerful as the number one citizen of Ogun State today, it is no other than Alhaji Abidoye Ajani Amosun, elder brother of Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. His influence and connection grew as soon as his brother won his second term governorship bid in 2015. Famously called Alhaji Agba, he is said to be a mediator between the governor and those seeking favour from him. Consequently, his Abeokuta, home has become a Mecca of sorts. Information revealed that he move around with aides and security details. “His 70th birthday was a great testimony of his influence in the state, as many trooped out to pay him homage for his birthday penultimate weeks. They didn’t come empty-handed. They came with loads of gifts. This is a man who was relatively unknown few years ago,’’ our source disclosed. The source further hinted that he had moved out of his former house on the outskirts of Abeokuta to a new architectural masterpiece built for him by his brother. The mansion, it was learnt, is just a replica of the governor’s own and was constructed by the same contractors.

CRACK IN TOPE ADEBUTU’S MARRIAGE If the love life of beautiful Tope Adebutu, daughter of billionaire Adebutu Kessington, owner of Lotto Lottery, were to be documented in black and white, it would make an interesting read, particularly for critics of romance novels. Sadly however, she never bargained for what is happening in her marriage. Spyglass gathered that her marriage with Olujuwon, son of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, is in trouble. Tope and Olujuwon are no longer living together. While the magistrate’s


with BAYO ADEOYE .... 08054680651 court judge is living in her mother’s house in Ikoyi, Lagos, her husband lives in the Hilltop Estate, Abeokuta, Ogun State. ‘’It is a pity that the marriage is in crisis. Many have tried to bring them back, but their efforts have not been successful. I just pray they will reconcile sooner than later”, a source said. It will be recalled that Olujuwon’s mother, Taiwo Obasanjo, had kicked against the relationship from the onset. She had expressed her fears about the marriage based on the spiritual conviction that it was dangerous to do so at that time. However, despite her outcry, the wedding held and was the talk of the town for a long time.

LEO STAN EKEH SOARS HIGHER If there is anything you could say with certainty about Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman of Zinox Technologies Limited, it is the fact that he has his eyes fixed on the future. Without a doubt, Ekeh, who is arguably Africa’s biggest entrepreneur, comes across as a restless spirit. Indeed, if he were a writer or an artist, one would be right to say that his muse has never left him. But more important, he is in constant quest to rule the nation’s e-commerce sector. Interestingly, the billionaire businessman is bent on redefining and lifting the sector with his acquisition of Konga, one of the Nigeria’s biggest e-commerce giants, in line with his abiding desire to revolutionise the industry. Spyglass gathered that since the news broke out last week, the story shook the industry to its very foundation as his influence has risen astronomically. This may not be a surprise to those who have been following his story, especially when you consider that he pioneered e-commerce in Nigeria over 12 years ago with the launch of BuyRight Though the business which seemed ahead of its time, was stunted by the absence of e-payment infrastructure and debit card, his appetite for e-commerce has never waned.

OONI OF IFE EXCITES WITH NEW RESORT Since he ascended the throne, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi’s dream, among others, is to turn the ancient city of Ile- Ife into a place that will attract tourists all over the world. Interestingly, the dream is becoming a reality. Spy Glass gathered that the welltravelled monarch has completed a billion-naira grand resort in the town that can compete with others across the world.


A source revealed that the resort named Ife Grand Resorts and Leisure is built on a 252- hectare of land with a 300-room capacity. The resort, which boasts breathtaking scenery, will be officially launched in March. “There’s nothing like this in the whole of West Africa, not even in Lagos. It is the most lit up place in the whole of sub-Sahara Africa. It is a choice centre for weddings, seminars and conferences”, a source added. We further gathered that the resort also has a mini stadium with sport facilities, children’s theme park, jungle experience park, a floating platform, natural habitat zone for animals, jungle rope climbing, 18-hole golf course, African village and tree houses and 5,000- seater conference hall among others

SEGUN SHOWUNMI CELEBRATES When a man is committed to his job and enjoys divine blessings, he should not be “crucified” if he chooses to spoil himself with the best things that life can offer. So, it was for the affable and unassuming image maker, Segun Showunmi, when he celebrated his birthday. Recently, Showunmi, rolled out the drums to mark his birthday in style. One of the highlights of the memorable event was when friends and associates of the Ogun-State born socialite, rated among the best orators in the state’s political circles, took turns to eulogise him at a surprise dinner in Abuja. During the event, a commemorative but modest birthday cake was cut by the celebrator. Thereafter, a popular happy birthday song was rendered by the select guests. Unknown to many, Showunmi, who was full of gratitude to friends and family members that shared in his joy on the occasion, has become a powerful force in the political scene of Ogun. As the election year approaches, he will sure display his expertise in helping his preferred candidates get into different political offices. Today, he maintains a cordial relationship with power brokers.

FLORENCE OTEDOLA’S HEART OF GOLD Florence Otedola, daughter of billionaire oil mogul, Femi Otedola, is undoubtedly a pride to the Otedolas. Already, it is being said that the beautiful young lady, also known as DJ Cuppy, shares a lot in common with her billionaire father. Indeed, those who have been


FLORENCE OTEDOLA following her story say that the celebrity DJ is beginning to show every imaginable sign of a lady with a heart of gold, just like her father. Recently, she announced, via her Twitter handle @cuppymusic, her plans to award university scholarships to 10 indigent students this year. She tweeted: “I plan to send 10 people to the university this year, and I’m so proud to say I have completed with my first student! Akeem Owolabi is off to Unilag! #Blessed.” Her maiden tour, “Cuppy Takes Africa”, was documented as an eight-episode docu-series, which aired on Fox Life Africa in 2016 and The Africa Channel in 2017. In April 2014, Cuppy was appointed by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation as the tourism ambassador for the country’s “Fascinating Nigeria” campaign. Despite being born into a wealthy home she has never allowed that to get into her head. Her down-to-earth nature marvels many. Unlike other rich kids who parade themselves in disdain and arrogance, DJ Cuppy has embraced humanity with meekness and kindness. Cuppy is passionate about humanity. She has never looked down on the less privileged. ‘’If there is one thing she loathes, it’s the sight of her fellow human in distress; she is ever ready to help. She donates to the needy. I think she is living in the teachings and guidance of her father, Femi who is also a cheerful giver’’, a close source to the Otedolas. Indeed, if the history of billionaires in Africa were to be documented, Otedola’s name would stand out. It is no exaggeration that he is respected by all. He dines and wines with the most powerful across the world. The Epe, Lagos-born business tycoon is a rare gem. He also realised quite early in life that he doesn’t need to be under anybody’s shadow to actualise his beautiful dreams.



T H I S D AY, T H E S AT U R D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾ͯͮ˜ͰͮͯͶ



ady Esther Oparadike and her children, Kelechi and Chioma, led family and friends to mark the One Year Remembrance Thanksgiving ServiceforaformerManagingDirector of the Daily Times and family patriarch, Sir Innocent, atAll SoulsAnglican Church, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos. Guests were hosted to a luncheon at the Lekki residence of the Oparadikes. Photo: Kola Alli

L-R: Son of the deceased, Mr. Kelechi Oparadike; Widow of the deceased, Lady Esther Oparadike and daughter of the deceased, Miss Chioma Oparadike

L-R: Managing Director, THISDAY Newspapers, Mr. Eniola Bello; and Group Managing Director\Editor-in-Chief, Champion Newspapers Limited, Dr. (Mrs.) Nwadiuto Iheakanwa.

L-R: Mrs. Funmi Omohkadion and Mrs. Ada Alfa.

L-R: Sir Chuks Okoronkwo; Mrs. Emilia Emerum; Chief Leo Stanley Eke and Mrs. Ray Okoye

Mrs. Ebele Akwiwu and Sir Chinedu Ebo.

Sir Chuks Okoronkwo and his wife, Patience..

L- R: Mr. Jones Enioha Ebirim; Mr. Chidimma Osunwa and Mr. Ngozi Iwuchukwu

Sir Chinedu Ebo and his wife, Henrientta

L-R: Lady Paullen Onyenwe and Mrs. Gogo Uoeze.


T H I S D AY, T H E S AT U R D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾ͯͮ˜ͰͮͯͶ


L-R: Mrs. Ngozi Mbachu; Mrs. Braithwaite and Mrs Ajose Adeogun.

L-R: Mrs. Henrietta Ebo; Widow of the deceased, Lady Esther Oparadike and Justice Osat Osaghae.

Miss. Ogochukwu Okekeocha and MissTomi Daramola

L-R: Engr. Ejionu Henry and Arc Chijioke Onumajuru

L-R; Mrs. Joyce Onuha; Mrs. Amaka; and Mrs. Golden.

L-R: Chief Jaiye Oyadotun; Mrs. Chidi Ezekwesili; Mrs. Bunmi Isokpan and Mrs. Joe Madugu.

L-R: Mrs. Bisi Oyadotun and Mrs. Lori Ogboni

L-R: Mrs. Onugwukwua and Mrs. Ann Ninis

L-R: Mr. Osaro Isokpan; Mr. Joe Madugu;

Mr. Onyinye Ifeonye and his wife, Onyeka

. L-R: Lolo Ngozi Nkoloenyi and Mrs. Joe Enebe.






nother Dubai Shopping Festival just ended. The annual event that offers amazing discounts and exclusive deals was another opportunity for shoppers the world over to converge on the city that has taken advantage of its geographical location to become a hub connecting the world; east to west, north to South. But much more than shopping, taking advantage of Dubai’s hot tourist spots is a welcome addition. Two for the price of one, you say! Indulge in pure retail therapy With DSF, it’s pure retail therapy in the emirate. Wither Mall of the Emirates, equipped with almost everything under one roof. Be it the cuisine from every part of the world to the numerous brands to shop or the exclusive Dubai Ski, which consists of a fantastic ski set up and a penguin enclosure – all at a temperate of -4 degrees Celsius or Dubai Mall popularly known for its shopping extravaganza. This mall is for the shopaholics who are sure to be spoilt for choices. Dubai Mall provides entry to Burj Khalifa and also houses the famed Dubai Aquarium and is loaded with an array of entertainment options – gaming zone, ice skating rink and multiplex. Culture Connect at Global Village Touted to be the world’s largest tourism, leisure and entertainment project, it is the region’s first cultural, entertainment, family and shopping destination with around six million visitors annually. Just like Dubai, Global Village came from humble beginnings, starting out in the form of a number of kiosks in 1996 located on the Creek Side opposite to Dubai Municipality. It moved to another location before finally settling at its present location in Dubailand. Now, it’s a world famous family entertainment and cultural attraction that offers a variety of dining options from different cuisines, along with thrill rides and children rides. Open from November to March every year, there are iconic images from around the world: replicas of the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, BurjKhalifa and other famous structures. They do well as landmarks for individuals of a group to congregate after splitting up. Global Village is so massiv;, it is easy to get lost. But meeting up at a landmark like the Taj Mahal for example – which is visible from a distance -helps a great deal. Again, because it is outdoors, Global Village opens at four in the evenings till midnight, or 1am on designated days. During this time, the activities include stunts (Jetskis and all), street performances, fireworks shows and cultural shows from around the world. A total of over 12,000 shows would have taken place by the time this season ends in April. A lot of shopping also takes place, with some countries having up to 30 pavilions each. From Far East pavilion representing the countries of Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines to the Eastern Europe pavilion representing Romania, Serbia and others, it’s all about the beauty of diversification of culture. Sight the old in the new...Bastakia District Take a wander around the Bastakia district, and you’ll discover the Dubai of old.

Dubai Charming Global village

with unique views of ‘old’ and ‘new’ Dubai from a 150-metre-high sky glass bridge. Now, visitors can take in 360-degree views from the 25sq m glass panel in the bridge’s center. The frame measures 150 metres high and 93 metres wide. The two towers are connected by a 100-square-metre bridge, which has a 25-square-metre glass panel in the middle offering a great 360 degree view. The location, in Zabeel Park, was especially chosen to give visitors the best view of the city’s older neighbourhoods as well as the sparkly new stuff (such as the Burj Khalifa), while telling the story of Dubai’s transformation from humble fishing village to glittering modern metropolis. The project was launched by Dubai Municipality in 2013, and anticipation has been building for the past five years despite its legal tussle with the designer. The frame is now open daily from 10am until 7pm and is priced at just Dhs50 for adults and Dhs20 for children, while adults over 60 and people of determination can visit for free. Dune bashing, Camel Rides and Belly dancing... Desert Safari Trade in the concrete of the city for the sand dunes on a Dubai desert safari. A Dubai desert safari is the ultimate travel experience, out most comprehensive tours come complete with 4x4 dune bashing, camel rides and a mouth-watering barbeque dinner accompanied by a belly dancing performance. Behold, UAE’s New Jewel... Dubai frame

Bastakiya village is situated along Dubai Creek and Al Fahidi Fort is one of the oldest residential areas in Dubai. Al Bastakiya was constructed back in 1690s. It consists of 60 housing units in its prime time and most of them were owned by rich persian merchants. Traditional narrow lanes and wind towers were used to separate houses. However, All of this changed when oil was discovered in the region and most of families moved to the new and modern city of Dubai. Traditional

Wind Towers were used in Al Bastakiya houses to keep the house interior cooler than outside temperature and heat. A Wind Tower is a traditional Persian architectural element to create natural ventilation and passive cooling in buildings. Conquer your fears,Visit Dubai Frame Dubai’s newest landmark is now open to the public and allows visitors to see the city’s past, present and future in a one-hour tour

Relax and be mesmerized by Dubai Fountain Dubai Fountain is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system set on the 30-acre manmade Burj Khalifa Lake, at the center of the Downtown Dubai development. Illuminated by 6,600 lights and 25 colored projectors, it is 275 m (902 ft) long and shoots water up to 500 ft (152.4 m) into the air accompanied by a range of classical to contemporary Arabic and world music. It is more mesmerizing at night.





People-oriented Governance?



kwa Ibom State people oriented (people-oriented in proper context, by the way) governance…” (DAILY Sun Front Page Bottom Strip, January 31) Touching lives in past 30 months: Would it have been lizards-oriented governance? The next two blunders are from a full-page advertorial signed by Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, Lagos State Governor & Chairman, Southern Governors’ Forum, DAILY SUN, January 31): “…a politician per (par) excellence and a highly revered elder statesman.” “During his lifetime….” Just use ‘life’ or ‘time’—compounding ‘life’ and ‘time’ is overkill! “Reps give Amaechi 72 hours (hours’) ultimatum on Isreali (Israeli) contract” (NATIONAL NEWS, January 31) “This is mark (a mark) of double standards (standard)” (Source: as above) “Oko Poly declares 2 days (days’) holiday for Ekwueme” (SOUTH EAST NEWS, January 31) “Herdsmen (Herdsmen’s) killings with AK47 assault rifles are daily occurrences.” (Voice of The Nation, January 31) “Okowa flags off (inaugurates) widows’ social welfare scheme” (SOUTH SOUTH NEWS, January 31) THISDAY Front Page of February 3 comes next with two errors: “The former president had accused the incumbent of running a government of nepotism and literarily (literally) running the economy aground while….” “…support not only for his government but also for his re-election come (in) 2019….” “Whether you choose a personal or group savings plan, you can now meet your financial goals conveniently on your smart device whereever (sic) you are.” (Full-page advertisement by Diamond Bank, THISDAY, SATURDAY, February 3) Are there still computers without automatic spell-check mechanisms? Or is it the slipshoddiness of the copy handlers? “Kogi senator train (why?), empower (how?) women” (Source: as above)


Still on THISDAY under reference: “Tourism expert sees potentials (potential or potentialities) in Lagos water sports” Can somebody tell RCCG City of David Sanctuary that the spelling of ‘extension’ is not ‘extention’ and ‘Church (not Chuch) Road…? (Full-page advertisement, THISDAY, February 3) This particular solecism also appeared like this last year! Templates can be corrected. The next three infractions are from a full-page advertorial by the All Progressives Congress, Nasarawa State, DAILY SUN, February 5): “ while wishing you a memorable stay in the state (a comma)we are hopeful that your visit will serve as a further impetus to our hardworking Governor (sic) as he continue (continues) with his people oriented (sic)programmes.” No, it should have been ‘tuwo-oriented’ programmes! “We are also confident that your visit will endow more federal presence to (with) the state.” “Herdsmen (Herdsmen’s) attacks: 8 feared dead in Adamawa” “Enugu approves consolidated health workers (workers’) salary scale” “Uyo residents commend gov over (for) 45 new roads” “Communities blame FG over (for) poor handling of Benue killings” “Ekweremadu kicks-off (kicks off) 2018 Ikeoha Youth Sports championship” Phrasal verbs do not admit hyphenation.

Mail from Adelabu

Mr. Ebere Wabara’s column, although not novel, is a good effort to redress the attenuating standard of journalism in our land. But since his goal is to call writers’ attention to their mistakes to avoid recurrence and educate readers generally, mentioning errors’ sources are (sic) absolutely irrelevant and unnecessary. Besides, in his column (January 27) comments such as: “Is The Guardian still the flagship of Nigerian journalism?” “The self-acclaimed Voice of the Nation (referring to Daily Sun), no standard publication dispenses with it (still Daily Sun),” are scandalous, to say the least. Maybe these snides (sic) are also part of the errors by Wabara’s judgment! The gentleman of the press even failed to do enough justice to his own paper’s errors. His sharp and piercing eyes could see only one of the numerous! ‘’A court

ruled (a comma missing) affirming zoning (another comma missing) but paradoxically dismissing Atiku’s suite,’’ the only one seen by Wabara, that is, suit! Mr. Wabara should note that independent clauses or sentences connected by a coordinating conjunction such as ‘an’,’or’,’but’,’nor’,’for’,’yet’ and ‘so’ should admit a comma before the conjunction - in this case - ‘but’ Hope Wabara’s life ambition to work in The Guardian was not dashed by the Flag-bearer, denying him employment, hence the bitterness? Abiodun Adelabu, Lagos

…Dialectal misconceptions galore

I must thank Mr. Adelabu for the incoherent feedback which has been perfunctorily and marginally edited. Ordinarily, I should have dismissed this mail and its combative content that reeks of diatribe. But, there is no doubt that there are other readers with his kind of preposterous disposition to intellectual issues who need to be civilized. This columnist welcomes rejoinders in any form, but let such contributions be in good taste. The media platform is a public space for the exchange of ideas and information. It should not be abused under any disguise, especially when you do not know the background of your audiences. No matter the level of provocation—if that is the right word—we should show maturity and responsibility. The moment you exclude the identities of publications with highlighted blunders, this column loses credibility as far as I am concerned. What it means, going by Mr. Adelabu’s befuddled thinking, is that I could just concoct errors without any attribution (source)! The essence of the identification is for reference purposes and confirmation. I am not a fictional writer. ‘Wordsworth’ is a scholastic column that strives for language purity (not perfection, as there can be none) in the Nigerian media, particularly. It is not a soft-sell platform for journalistic gossip, mischief and celebration of inanities. It should interest one and all to know that I do not have anything against any publication by virtue of my robust media pedigree having worked in three out of four national newspapers, 08055001948

as a full member of the Editorial Board (among other editorial and administrative assignations), edited one of them almost a decade ago and written award-winning articles that cut across multifarious disciplines in the heyday of Daily Times and beyond. So, when I ask whether ‘‘The Guardian’ is still the flagship of Nigerian journalism’? It simply infers, to those who appreciate etymological and morphological registers, which the publication has fallen below my expectation. This is easy to understand by any cerebral mind. It is not derogatory at all. With regard to ‘DAILY Sun’ (one of the places I worked and maintained a racy Back Page column for two years), even the publisher (who is a friend of mine) and the entire directorate know full well that I can never, no matter the circumstance, run the medium down because of my very special relationships with the organization’s management and staff. If I may ask, what is wrong in my questioning institutional self-acclamation? As for having any employment grouse about ‘The Guardian’, I just laugh at the idiocy! If Mr. Adelabu gets to know my profuse career antecedents and job currency, he would be shocked at his imbecilic ignorance. In my part of country, we say that someone who does not know another contemptuously calls him his friend. My not correcting all faulty punctuation marks is not an oversight or incapacity. It is to avoid trivialization of this column. As critical as they are to classical writing, they are too mechanistic for me to dwell on. I am interested only in lexical and structural gaffes, not the totality of the grammar of English. If I address all the media language goofs, this column is likely to become stupendously academic, didactic, boring and unappealing. There is even no space for that. My goal is to make it educative and entertaining for pleasurable reading. I have gone this length to foreclose receipt of shallow, vexatious and baseless rejoinders. I look forward to constructive criticisms, rich contributions, analytical comments and logical observations that culminate in reader enrichment and the columnist’s edification.

2019 Elections and The National Assembly Coup


he gloves are wearing out and the battle for power and political office in 2019 is expected to get fiercer by the day. Since the struggle for re-election by incumbents is one of several key factors that define electoral contests since return to civil rule in 1999, the order of elections often comes under incisive interrogation. In fact, it is often a controversial matter as it is believed to confer certain advantages on some contestants while disempowering others at the same time. Between the presidential, governorship, and legislative elections, the sequence as to which comes first usually produces a bandwagon effect in favour of the winner in the contest conducted first. Experience in the two decades of democratic experiment in the country has shown that to be the case in almost all the general elections. At another level and in terms of measuring the conduct of the polls, the schedule also has a somewhat definitive bearing on whether the exercises are generally assessed to be free, fair and transparent. In addition, the perception and/or reality that one set of elected official(s) possess an advantage over others has contributed greatly to lack of internal democracies in political parties. It has also encouraged unbridled interference in the conduct of the remaining elections by the politician and party that has the advantage. Apart from the influence of money, violence and thuggery, this is one factor that breeds godfatherism and cronyism in the political process. Because of these and other possible consequences, the choice of which set of elections comes first is always a contentious matter. Politicians and their willing collaborators in relevant public institutions would often stop at nothing to ensure that they end up with the longer end of the stick. Expectedly therefore, the order of elections released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2019 polls last month is becoming as controversial if not more, than in previous cases. It is so because the National Assembly has elected to alter the schedule reeled out by the electoral body in a move that has not gone down well with other actors especially the Executive arm of government. By INEC schedule, the Presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on February 16, 2019 while the governorship and state assembly polls will be conducted on March 2, 2019. By the programme, party primaries for these classes of polls will begin on August 18 and will end on October7 2018. But the National Assembly has decided to alter the schedule by placing the conduct of federal legislative elections as first in the series. The legislators invoked their law-making powers activated under the guise of amending the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) to input this substantial alteration which some commentators consider a usurpation of the administrative prerogative of INEC. The House of Representatives introduced this


OKE EPIA Telephone (sms only): 07059850016 Email: Twitter: @resourceme

Yakubu, INEC Chairman

alteration in passing its amendment of the Act late January. By Tuesday this week, the Senate had agreed to the proposal after a conference committee of both chambers met to harmonize the versions of the amendment from both chambers. As contained in clause 25 (1) of the electoral act as amended, the sequence is stated as follows: “Election into the office of the President and Vice-President, Governor and Deputy Governor of a state, Membership of the Senate and the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly of each state of the federation shall be held in the following order: (a) National Assembly elections. (b) State House of Assembly and governorship election (c) Presidential election. “The date of this election shall be as appointed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The

election into the office of the Chairman and Vice Chairman and members of the area council of the FCT shall be held on the dates to be appointed by INEC.” Apparently not unmindful of the reactions that would trail its position, the National Assembly proactively assumed a defensive mood by justifying its actions. Speaking after the adoption of the conference committee report, controversial senator, Dino Melaye from Kogi State, told reporters that although the choice of dates for the elections is the prerogative of INEC, a determination of the sequence is the responsibility of the parliament. This position was re-echoed by Mr. Edward Pwajok, a member of the conference committee from the House of Representatives and Senator Shehu Sani, the cerebral rights activist whose populist postulations on the floor of the senate have lately resonated with millions of Nigerians. According to Sani, “the new sequence will give all political parties an equal opportunity in the electoral process. It is not targeted at anybody. The basic objective is to make sure that Nigerians have the opportunity, without any hindrance or infraction to vote for a candidate of their choice in cognisance of his/her individual qualities. This sequence of elections is aimed at addressing some of the past anomalies, and for the fact that we have concurred unanimously, it’s a clear indication that this is the resolution of all parliamentarians of this 8th National Assembly.” This didactic dialectic is likely to lead to some nights of long knives in the weeks and months ahead as the polity gears up for the contours, contortions and commotions of politicking and electioneering. The Muhammadu Buhari presidency, although currently dogged by self-inflicted missteps and buffeted by knocks from former allies which have together combined to put it in delicate political vulnerability, is not likely to take this master stroke from the National Assembly lying low. Like an injured lion, the hawks in the administration are believed to be oiling their arsenal in readiness for a counter strike. The fact that both arms of government have had a mostly acrimonious run in the close to three years of the incumbent All Progressives Congress (APC) administration can only exacerbate matters. That this is coming at a time when Bukola Saraki, the highly harassed but unyielding President of the Senate is being paraded in court yet again on charges of false assets declaration by the Executive can only cement the resolve of Parliament to go all out. A fight-tofinish scenario is looming and no one can tell on which side the casualty will be more. But it is needs no prophet to say there will certainly be bruises and bloodied noses either or both ways. For me, this is allowable as long as the combatants will be restrained from imperiling the stability of the country, and ultimately endangering the lives and properties of citizens who only crave a decent chance to breathe and carry on with daily hustles of life. ––Epia, Publisher of OrderPaper NG, tweets @resourceme.



 Hyundai , Sonata Recognised for Long-term OwnershipValue


The BMW 5 Series Saloon

Coscharis BMW Offer Valentine Special Packages, As 5 Series Tops Stories by Bennett Oghifo


oscharis Motors Plc, the exclusive representative of the BMW brand in Nigeria, has commenced the celebration of love with its customers through the Valentine Special promo for select BMW variants starting from February 12 to February 19, 2018 nationwide. The Valentine promo is intended to show its love commitment to customers and prospects alike. This is coming at the heels of the success for BMW 5 Series at The What Car? Car of The Year Awards 2018. On the Valentine promo, Coscharis’ officials said, “We are celebrating this love season with a special price package for the BMW 435, BMW 218, BMW 6 Series and some MINI cars.” According to the General Manager, Marketing

and Corporate Communications, Coscharis Group, Abiona Babarinde “In addition to the special price package, we are further offering Free One Year Service Plan, Free Registration and free weekend demo to buyers of any BMW variant within this period.” Similarly, we are willing to convert these fantastic offers to discounts on the cars. Customers will still benefit the existing 2 years warranty or 60,000km whichever comes first and an optional 4 years extended warranty. This is in the continuing quest to offer buyers peace of mind and confidence that they are driving a high-quality product. “Our customers desire the very best love gift that epitomizes style, luxury, prestige, performance and peace of mind, we want to assure them that they can enjoy all these from our BMW variants for their driving pleasure’’. Meanwhile, the BMW 5 Series Saloon and Tour-

ing have both been awarded at the annual What Car? Car of the Year Awards 2018 ceremony held in Grosvenor House Hotel, London on Tuesday 23 January. The BMW 5 Series Saloon took the title of overall ‘Best Luxury Car’, while the BMW 5 Series Touring SE was named ‘Best Estate Car’ in the over N35,000,000 category. It is the second year in a row that the BMW 5 Series Saloon has been crowned as the ‘Best Luxury Car’, which is a testament to the success of this business saloon since its global launch in February 2017 and Nigerian launch in September 2017. It was praised for its ‘plush’ interior and user-friendly BMW iDrive infotainment system. Furthermore, its generous standard specification even on the entrylevel SE model and comfortable rides – particularly with the optional adaptive dampers – helped to secure the accolade for the second time round.

Kia Unveils SP Concept, Showcase 16 Global Models


iahasunveiledthestrikingnewSPConcept, which made its public world premiere at AutoExpo 2018, alongside a showcase of 16 global models. The SP Concept provides a glimpse of what’s in store for motoring enthusiasts once Kia kicks off retail sales in India in the second half of 2019, according to a statement by the automaker. “Inspired by Indian heritage and driven by advanced technology, the SP Concept is proof of the company’s plans to introduce cars that cater to the changing paradigm of the Indian market in the near future.” The futuristic SUV, with its bold style and Kia’s unique design DNA, is geared to satisfy young Indian consumers who seek the perfect combination of sophisticated beauty, breakthrough technology and high functionality. The combination of its wide and stable stance, sporty and long hood profile and futuristic details will no doubt set new standards for compact SUVs in India. The SP Concept’s robust front mask combines a boldformativedesignwithKia’suniqueandhallmark ‘Tiger nose’ grille and many more futuristic details. Be it, the lamp design that meets slim graphics and functionality through a top and bottom headlamp connected to a wide front grille, the Daytime Running lamp in high-tech graphics and positioning lamps leading to the inside of the ‘Tiger Nose’ grille, helps produce differentiated images during the day/night. The sleek interior design of SP Concept marries an advanced sensual style and dynamic sensibility at its core with a differentiated layout that enhances convenience. Eye-catching, high-tech elements and modern and trendy cabin design make the interior of the SP Concept an oasis for young trend-setters. Peter Schreyer, Chief Design Officer of Kia Motors Corporation, commented, “Over the last few years, SUVs have become the vehicle-of-choice among Indian buyers. Combining the comfort and space of a sedan with the ability to tackle all kinds of terrain, we intend to storm the market with an SUV that will set new parameters in motoring. It’s still a concept – so it’s a little bit exaggerated – but the actual production car will be very close to what you see here at AutoExpo 2018.”

Kia Sportage Kookhyun Shim, Managing Director & CEO or Kia Motors India (KMI), said, “Kia Motors is delighted to enter India, which is all set to catapult into the world’s fifth largest economy this year*. We at KMI are thrilled to start operations at such a favorable time, and additional forecasts predict that India will be amongst the world’s largest car markets in a few years. We are here in India to be part of that success story, which has been put into motion by progressive government policies and decision making. And we are here to win trust and hearts of the people, while providing the country with stylish and differentiated motoring options. Kia’s long-term objective being to replicate the success we have come to be associated with the world over and, as we say at Kia, ensure that, ‘The Power to Surprise’ is reflected in everything that

we do in India.” Kia’s line being showcased and displayed at the AutoExpo 2018 includes: Picanto A new standard for city cars, designed for first car buyers. A city car with added convenience for a joyful ride plus safety airbags as standard and unbelievable fuel economy Rio A passenger car designed for sporty looks, practicality and economy. Highly welcomed in the global market based on its global recognition including the bronze medal in transportation at the U.S. IDEA Design Awards, one of the world’s top 3 design awards.

aving already been recognised for its innovative design and leading safety features in recent months, the all new Hyundai Sonata now has been awarded Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own award for the mid-size class. Furthermore, Hyundai was named the top brand overall, highlighting its continued emphasis on not only a great customer experience, but industry-leading ownership value for its customers. Based on Kelley Blue Book’s 5-year Cost to Own data for new cars projected over their initial five-year ownership period, the awards highlight brands that go beyond the initial purchase and provide excellent value for car buyers. Both the Sonata in the mid-size class and Hyundai overall showed significant savings when considering ownership realities such as insurance fees, maintenance and repair costs and expected fuel costs. “The fact that not only the Sonata, but Hyundai overall, is being recognized highlights our focus on making every aspect of vehicle ownership better,” said Scott Margason, director, Product Planning, Hyundai Motor America. “For the Sonata, it’s yet another indication that the redesigned all new model is pushing the boundaries of what can be expected. For Hyundai as a whole, it highlights our view that quality driver experience includes value over time.” Created to help shoppers make more informed car-buying decisions, Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own information takes into consideration depreciation, expected fuel costs, finance and insurance fees, maintenance and repair costs, and state fees for all new models. The 5-Year Cost to Own Awards highlight new vehicles and brands (luxury and non-luxury) with the lowest projected ownership costs over a five-year period, breaking down ownership cost details and naming the brands and models with the lowest projected total.

Former Staff Takes CIG Motors to Arbitration


IG Motors Company Limited has been taken to the National Industrial Court, sitting in Lagos, by its former Sales Manager, Mr.AkeemAdeyemi, who claimed that he was sacked for protesting when the company’s Chinese Chief Executive Officer (name withheld) allegedly made a racial remark against him. Adeyemi also said the company deducted money from his salary for no reason, saying he was employed on April 21, 2017 and on an annual salary of N2.5 million and in July and August 2017, for no justifiable reason, the company deducted the sum of N104,000 from his salaries contrary to the spirit and letters of the Claimant’s employment contract. He alleged that the CEO described his monthly sales report presentation ofAugust 2017 as ‘shabby’ and that “Nigerians are not good for anything” and “that is why most of my workers here are Chinese.” Adeyemi said he protested that it was unfair to make such generalisation about Nigerians, adding that the CEO got angry and sacked him there and then without consideration for the terms of his employment, adding that his disengagement was unfair, unlawful and ought to be declared wrongful. He is consequently praying the court to declare that the purported termination of his employment with the defendant via a letter dated August 31, 2017 based on the protest against certain alleged racial comments of CIG’s CEO. Adeyemi pleaded with the court for “Adeclaration that the deduction of 25 percent from the claimant’s salary for the months of July andAugust amounting to N104,000 is unfair, unlawful, illegal. “A declaration that the defendant breached the claimant’s right to freedom from discrimination as provided for under Section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Cap C23 LFN 2004. “A declaration that the deliberate refusal of the defendant to remit the claimant’s pension contribution from April 2017 to August 2017 is unlawful and a violation of the provisions of the Pension Reforms Act 2014. “A declaration that the deliberate refusal of the defendant to remit the Personal Income Tax monthly deductions made from the Claimant to the Lagos State Internal Revenue Services, is unlawful, and a violation of the provisions of the Personal Income Tax Act Cap P8 LFN 2004. “A declaration that the Claimant is entitled to the sum of N208,000 being his outstanding entitlements. “An order compelling the defendant to remit the claimant’s pension contribution from April 2017 to August 2017 to the Claimant’s Retirement Savings Account. “An order compelling the defendant to remit on behalf of the Claimant her monthly tax deductions from April 2017 to August 2017 to the Lagos state Internal Revenue Service. “An order compelling the Defendant to pay to the claimant the sum of N208,000 being his outstanding entitlements. And “An order awarding N750,000 being the cost of this action to the claimant.”



 Toyota Records Best January Sales in 10 Years


Inside the new Jaguar E-PACE

The new Jaguar E-PACE Launches in SSA Markets January 16 Stories by Bennett Oghifo


he new Jaguar E-PACE is set to arrive in Jaguar’s sub-SaharaAfrica markets from February 16, the automaker has said. The newest member of Jaguar’s PACE family of performance SUVs packs the design and performance of a Jaguar sports car into a spacious and practical all-wheel drive vehicle – appealing to the needs of modern motorists and newcomers to the Jaguar brand. Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar, said:

“We designed the E-PACE to be a Jaguar for active people who need space and practicality but see no reason to compromise on performance. Its proportions, stance and lines express the excitement of driving a car of this calibre. Compact SUVs need to provide intelligent answers to the challenges of everyday life and I believe that Jaguar’s combination of design purity and functional integrity provides the perfect solution. This is a vehicle with unmistakable character – a Jaguar sports car designed for our daily lives in a package that is as rewarding as it is practical.” To balancing sports car design with everyday usability and practicality, Jaguar designers paid

attention to every detail on the E-PACE. Here are six design touches that help set it apart: * Dynamic Body Language Every Jaguar has sports-car DNA, and the EPACE is no different. It boasts the proportions, muscular haunches, and assertive visual attitude that are unmistakably Jaguar, while retaining the space, safety and practicality typically associated with a compact SUV. * Sharp, signature eyes Up front, the E-PACE features Jaguar’s signature J-blade LED daytime running lights, alongside optional LED matrix headlights that provide the ultimate in night time visibility.

arket leader Toyota has opened its 2018 scorecard in emphatic style by achieving its best January sales in a decade, according to official figures released this week. Toyota’s 10-year January high of 15,306 new-vehicle sales included record first-month deliveries of the top-selling HiLux, reinforcing its position as Australia’s best-selling vehicle. Toyota’s tally was the strongest January result for the brand’s local dealers since 2008 - and a gain of 21.9 per cent over the same month last year. HiLux, entering its 50th year in showrooms, has established a commanding sales lead with a January record of 3,860 deliveries. LandCruiser Prado also joined the January record-breaking with 1,169 vehicles sold, up 10 per cent on January 2017, ensuring Prado maintained its leadership of the large SUV segment. Other segment leaders for Toyota were Camry, LandCruiser wagon, HiAce van and HiAce bus. Toyota’s vice-president sales and marketing Sean Hanley said the impressive January result continued the company’s sales momentum. Mr Hanley said Toyota’s efforts to offer outstanding customer service continued to pay dividends and build strength in the brand. “Our SUV sales in January were up more than 40 per cent compared with a year ago, and this remarkable growth was almost matched by our light-commercial vehicles,” Mr Hanley said. “Together with our dealers, we are committed to offering ever-better vehicles and service. With the arrival of new models including the introduction of a trio of daring high-end HiLux models, we hope Toyota’s success will continue strongly this year,” he said.

Elon Musk SendsTesla Car to Mars on SpaceX Rocket


cherry red Tesla car was launched into space on Tuesday, this week, by tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, with David Bowie’s song Life on Mars playing on repeat. According to, “Thousands of people gathered in Florida to watch the launch - the culmination of a plan five years in the making.” Mr Musk used a super rocket – the Falcon Heavy vehicle – to send the car into orbit around Mars, deploying technology with twice the launching power of any existing rocket, and double that of the Saturn V, which launched the Apollo lunar missions. The Spacex CEO had billed the take-off as a risky first attempt, saying the challenges of building the Roadster meant the chances of success might

only be 50-50. However, his fears were not realized with the world’s most powerful rocket successfully taking off from the Kennedy Space Center at 3.45pm local time (8.45pm GMT). About two and a half minutes after the launch, two of the three boosters on the rocket detached and landed upright, at the same time, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Mr Musk later tweeted a picture of his old Tesla car orbiting over Australia. Among the online spectators was British Astronaut Tim Peake, who described the feat as “simply awesome”. Mr Peake tweeted his congratulations the team on “a phenomenal technical achievement”, adding that it marked “the dawn of a new era of space exploration”.

The cherry red Tesla car now in orbit



s I round up the focus on appropriate vehicle registration,let me again shed light on the National Road Traffic Regulations which in Part VI titled, VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER requires motorists to comply thus; Section 36 states that All private and commercial vehicles shall as from the commencement of these Regulations have on them Vehicle Identification Number Plates which shall -Be carried by the motor vehicle on two plates which shall conform to the requirements of these regulations; and the number plate shall be fixed-in such a manner that each is not easily detachable; and in an upright position or within 15 degrees of such position The Regulations states in Section 37- (1) that The Identification Number Plates carried by a motor vehicle or articulated vehicle shall be displayed on two plates for a motor vehicle and three plates for an articulated vehicle and shall conform as to lettering, numbering and otherwise with the provision set out in figures 1-11 of schedule 5 to these regulations. The number plates shall in respect of a motor vehicle be fixed, one on the front of the vehicle and the other at the centre or on the off side of the rear of the vehicle or as may be provided by the manufacturer. In respect of a trailer, be fixed one on the front of the vehicle and two at the rear of the trailer in an upright position. For motorcycle, it states that one plate shall be fixed in front and one at the rear with



amnipr, mcipr,mprsa,arpa (Corps Commander) Corps Public Education Officer Federal Road Safety Corps. + 2348033026491

the plate having white background but blue lettering for private green lettering for the Federal, State or Local Government, black lettering for the Armed Forces, Paramilitary Service and red lettering for commercial, so that every letter or figure on the plate is upright and easily distinguishable in the case of the front plate from behind. In the case of the recovery of a semi-trailer, the operator of the prime mover shall be required to ensure that the entire articulated vehicle carries the same identification number in respect of the prime mover and the semi-trailer. Each Identification Number Plate must be reflective and so made that any letter, numeral or other identifying mark displayed on it are legible at day time and at night in clear weather and must be visible and recognizable at a distance of not less than 60 metres by the driver of the immediate following vehicle and in the case of motorcycle at a distance of 30 metres. Section 38-(1) states that a vehicle shall carry

a Vehicle Tag as specified in Form MVA 25 of schedule 5 to these regulations which shall be issued along with the Vehicle Number Plate and shall carry the same number with the plate and be affixed to the rear windscreen. Except as otherwise provided under these regulations, number plates shall be transferred from one vehicle or trailer to another; Number plates shall be attached to a person and not to a vehicle and that Number Plate shall be returned to the Motor Licensing Authority on sale of a car and the new owner shall obtain new set of number plate; while Proof of Ownership Certificate is mandatory for issuance of new number plates. Having provided what the regulations mandates motorist to do, i will for reasons personal to me provide answers to the issues raised by the second caller who is like an aunty to me and who i respect without reservations. For emphasis, she lost her number plate and did attempt to comply with the regulations in keeping with the laws. Unfortunately she committed the same error most people commit, and fell into the hands of my men and spent hours complaining because according to her, she was convinced she had done all that was necessary. In dealing with her issue, Section 39-(1) provides that in case of a loss or damage to a vehicle number plate or a vehicle identification tag the owner of the vehicle or the driver shall do the following; Report the particulars of loss immediately to the nearest Police Station or a licensing Officer; Prove ownership of the lost plate by swearing to an affidavit stating

the loss; and Pay the prescribed fee to the appropriate authority for a replacement of the lost number plate or identification tag. The owner of the vehicle or the driver may, where the necessary particulars of loss have been reported, construct a temporary number plate in the form of wood which shall conform to colouring, lettering codes, etc. As outlined in the provisions of this regulation. A temporary number plate shall be sufficient as the number plate until a new one is issued by the Authority within 14 days of payment of the replacement fee. Unfortunately, what most people do is to either drive the vehicle with just one number plate or feign ignorance when arrested. Others like my aunt will report to the police, swear an affidavit but would assume that the two stand as replacement or authority to drive the vehicle. In her case, she claimed she had been driving the vehicle for over one year with the plastic number without anyone arresting her for violating the law .I must state here that as contained herein, the two does not confer on you the authority to drive the vehicle with one number plate but requires you to make payment and get a replacement for your vehicle. What motorists who indulge in this don’t know is the security implication of not reporting to the police especially in the event that a criminal minded person picks up the missing number plate and perpetuates any form of crime with it. All vehicles, private and commercial, shall as form the commencement of these regulations; have on them the Vehicle Identification Number Plates referred to in this regulation and it shall be an offence for any vehicle not to have the said Identification Number Plate.





Care for Your Eyes


he human body has a very prominent structure, which is the light of the body. These structures are so important , that if they are absent, defective or normal has a far reaching effect on your whole being. These structures are called the Eyes. The human eye is an organ which reacts to light and pressure. As a sense organ, the mammalian eye allows vision. Human eyes help to provide a three dimensional, moving image, normally coloured in daylight. Your eyes are incredibly complex. They work hard from the minute you wake up to the minute you go back to sleep, constantly taking in information about the world around you. The human eye works just like a camera. In the same way that a camera lens focuses light onto a photosensitive surface, your eyes focus light onto the retina. 20/20 vision just means you have normal eyesight. Contrary to popular belief, having 20/20 vision isn’t anything remarkable. Rather, it means that you can read a chart from 20 feet away in normal lighting conditions. Wider pupils can suggest excitement. Any positive thought can serve to dilate your pupils. For example, when you look at someone you are attracted to, they will expand up to 45%. However, dilating pupils can also mean you are scared. Your eyes become tired when you read or stare at a computer for extended periods of time. This is because you blink less often and you are not relaxing the muscle inside your eye. If this happens to you often, you should make sure that you have an up-to-date prescription. It’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open. Your eyes and nose are connected by cranial nerves, so the stimulation from a sneeze travels up one nerve to the brain, then down another nerve to the eyelids, typically prompting a blink. Smokers have almost double the chance of experiencing dry eye. Tobacco smoke is known to irritate eyes - even second hand exposure to the smoke can worsen dry eye, particularly for contact lens wearers. The sun’s rays have been linked to eye damage. Several eye conditions, such as cataracts and pterygia, have been associated with exposure to UV rays. To protect your eyes from the dangers of the sun, you should wear well fitted sunglasses, preferably a wraparound style. Many eye injuries are surprisingly quick to heal. Our bodies understand that our eyes are

very important to us, and many eye injuries can be recovered from very quickly. For example, with the correct care, a minor corneal scratch will heal in around 2 days. Tears help protect our eyes from infection. Any dirt and dust that has managed to pass the defense of our eyelashes and brows is washed away by tears. They keep our eyes clean and moist and a filled with antibodies that fight infection. Currently, Eye transplants are currently impossible due to the sensitivity of the optic nerve. Surgeons are currently unable to wire the optic nerve to the brain because it contains over 1 million nerve cells. This means a transplanted eye would not transmit signals to the brain and therefore fail to produce sight. Women are advised to throw away your eye makeup after three months. Creamy or liquid eye makeup, such as mascara, is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. This can cause eye infections. You should never share eye makeup with friends. Swapping your eye makeup can lead to nasty infections. This is because makeup applicators can easily carry bacteria and you don’t want to trade germs with others. Diabetes affects the blood vessels of your eyes. If these blood vessels become blocked or leak then the retina, and perhaps your vision, will be harmed. This is called Diabetic Retinopathy and affects 40% of people who suffer from Type 1 diabetes and 20% of people who suffer from Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is usually first detected during an eye test. Sufferers of type 2 diabetes often have no noticeable symptoms. If this is the case, then the condition is often first noticed during eye examinations due to tiny hemorrhages leaking from blood vessels at the back of the eye. You blink on average 4,200,000 times a year. The purpose of blinking is to lubricate the eyes. Adults blink around 15 - 20 times a minute, which researchers say is more than the required amount to keep the eyes moist. Oily fish, vitamin A and vitamin C all help to preserve good eyesight. Studies have found that eating oily fish at least twice a week (such as salmon or mackerel), can help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration - a common cause of blindness in old age. Vitamin A and vitamin C also maintain good eye health. At conception, Your eyes start to develop just two weeks after conception. This is one of the reasons why it is so important for a pregnant woman to take care of her own body so that her, .Cel, ͸΀͸ͽ͝͝Ϳͺ͝ͽ͞ unborn child can develop properly. Certain conditions can cause your eyes to twitch. These include: Eye Strain: In this day and age, eye strain is a major culprit of eye twitches. The reason is Our overexposure to screens—whether it be a computer, smartphone, or tablet. Lack of Sleep: Not only can an insufficient amount of sleep result in grogginess and mood changes, it can also cause eye twitches. It is thought that people between the ages of 26 and 64 should get approximately 7 to 9 hours each night, many individuals are getting much less. Stress: Ah, stress, a foe that many of us are all too familiar with. Not only has it been linked to a variety of serious conditions such as heart disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease, it is also the number one cause of eye twitches. AlcoholandCaeineConsumption:According to Shape, Many experts believe that the stimulants in caffeine and/or the relaxant properties of alcohol can bring on a twitchy eye, especially when used in excess. Dry Eye: Eye twitches can also result from dry eye, a condition that occurs due to “excessive evaporation of the tears or an insufficient flow of tears. Eye Irritation: In some cases, eye twitches may be more severe in nature, causing the eyelid to close completely. According to studies, these types of twitches are often the result of irritation on the surface of the eye (the cornea) or the conjunctiva, which are the “membranes lining the eyelids. Nutritional DeďŹ ciencies: Eye twitches may also be an indication that you’re not getting enough of certain nutrients, most commonly magnesium. Try increasing your intake by consuming more magnesium-rich foods such as spinach, almonds, and oats. Age Related Eye Diseases: As one gets older, there are certain diseases that would come up. Everyone age 50 or older should visit an eye care professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Many eye diseases have no early warning signs or symptoms, but a dilated exam can detect eye diseases in their early stages before vision loss occurs. Early detection and treatment can help you save your sight. Even if you aren’t experiencing any vision problems, visit your eye care professional for a dilated eye exam. He or she will tell you how often you need to have one depending on your specific risk factors. r"HFSFMBUFE.BDVMBS%FHFOFSBUJPO ".%

AMD is a disease associated with aging that gradually destroys sharp, central vision. Central vision is needed for seeing objects clearly and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving. Learn more about AMD. Signs and symptoms of age-related macular degeneration: Blurred vision, Reduction in vision relating to detailed activities such as reading and recognising faces - Colour distortion r$BUBSBDU A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye. Vision with cataract can appear cloudy or blurry, colors may seem faded and you may notice a lot of glare. Signs and symptoms of cataracts: Cloudy vision: Poor night vision Double vision, Glare from bright lights Cloudy ďŹ lm over the natural lens ËžĂ“Ă‹ĂŒĂ?ÞÓĂ?ĂŁĂ?Ă“Ă?Ă?Ă‹Ă?Ă?Ë? Diabetic eye disease is a complication of diabetes and a leading cause of blindness. The most common form is diabetic retinopathy which occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels inside the retina. ˞ÖËĂ&#x;Ă?Ù×ËË?Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. It is usually associated with high pressure in the eye and affects side or peripheral vision. Ă“Ă‘Ă˜Ă?Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ?ã×ÚÞÙ×Ă?Ă™Ă?Ă–Ă‹Ă&#x;Ă?Ù×ËË? Blurred vision Headaches Sickness and vomiting Multi-coloured halos Pain in the eyes r%SZ&ZF Dry eye occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly, or when the tears are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly. Dry eye can make it more difficult to perform some activities, such as using a computer or reading for an extended period of time. r-PX7JTJPO Low vision means that even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, people find everyday tasks difficult to do. Reading the mail, shopping, cooking, seeing the TV, and writing can seem challenging. But, many people with low vision are taking charge. It is important to know , that there are various treatments available for all of the eye ailments, and a quick visit to your eye specialist would do you much good.



he recent endorsement of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State for a second term in office by the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr. Samuel ‘Emeka kanu Uche was quite weighty and inspiring. The supreme head of the Methodist Church in the country, while delivering a sermon at the thanksgiving service for the family of the former President of the Senate and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Ken Nnamani in his country home, Amechi Uwani, Enugu South Local Government Area, which was attended by Gov. Ugwuanyi, among others, declared that the governor’s re-election in 2019 was sacrosanct. He said that the governor deserves a second term because of his outstanding performance and judicious utilization of the lean resources of the state to impact positively on the lives of the people. The Prelate added that Gov. Ugwuanyi has “done very well� in office, stressing that “even those in the graves, if they are allowed to vote, will vote for you�. Describing the governor as a God fearing leader, who “loves and honours God�, the cleric said: “Therefore, whatever you want in the next dispensation you will get it�. Declaring further his stance on the forthcoming elections, Dr. Uche unequivocally stated that any governor or politician who wants to be re-elected in 2019 “must perform� as “that is the best campaign; to give the people the dividends of democracy�. According to him, “I welcome Gburugburu (Gov. Ugwuanyi) the performing governor of Enugu State. This man is using the resources given to him very well to develop the state�. From the foregoing, it is an undisputable fact that the supreme leader’s verdict on Gov. Ugwuanyi

did not come to many as a surprise, especially the people of Enugu State who are at home with the good works of the governor and his strength of leadership which have impacted positively on their lives, as the true heroes of democracy. The avalanche of goodwill, acceptance and tremendous support being enjoyed by the governor from all spheres of the society, have also remained unbeatable in the annals of the state. It would be recalled that Gov. Ugwuanyi enjoyed similar goodwill during the 2015 governorship contest, following his unique demeanor and uncommon style of leadership as a caring, humble, peaceful, visionary and God fearing leader. What is more inspiring is the fact that this is the first time in the history of Enugu State, where a governor, in less than two and half years in office, is receiving such gale of spontaneous commendations and uninfluenced endorsements for re-election from both political leaders and revered institutions. Kudos must, therefore, go to the people’s governor for spearheading an inclusive and result-oriented leadership that has brought to the fore a peaceful, progressive and united Enugu State of the founding fathers’ dreams. Undoubtedly, Ugwuanyi’s passion and disposition to peace, good governance and the well-being of the masses, especially the lowly in the society, in spite of the nation’s daunting economic challenges and political differences, have endeared him to the people. His uncommon leadership style has remained the nexus between him and the people and has also rejuvenated the fabrics of peace, unity and harmony among political leaders in the state, irrespective of their political affiliations, to forge a common force for the development of the state. The above gives credence to the recent statement by the National Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South East region, Hon. Emma Eneukwu that “Gov. Ugwuanyi has created a peaceful atmosphere that has made it possible for everybody to be one when it comes

to issues concerning the state�. The APC Chieftain, who spoke at the reception organised by Enugu State Government for a staunch member of APC in the state and the Nigerian Ambassador to Republic of India, Major Gen. Chris Eze (retd), in respect of his appointment, commended the governor for his bi-partisan approach to governance. Similar pleasant remarks had been made by other chieftains of the APC, such as Senator Ken Nnamani, Senator Jim Nwobodo and the Director General of Voice of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, who had at various fora applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for his political maturity, bi-partisan disposition and respect for everyone irrespective of political leanings. On Ugwuanyi’s re-election in 2019, it is on record that the governor has been receiving chains of endorsements from virtually all spheres of the society, including the religious institution. First to endorse him were the Traders, who shut all the markets in the state and mobilized massively to the popular Michael Okpara Square, Enugu for a solidarity rally in support of his re-election in 2019. They said that they were at home and very happy with Gov. Ugwuanyi for his visionary leadership and the empowerment programme initiated by his administration, where 100 lucky traders win N50,000 each every month to assist them grow their various businesses. His political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at all levels in the state has also endorsed his re-election. The Anglican Communion, through the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma has equally given its endorsement to Gov. Ugwunayi’s re-election come 2019. The Archbishop stressed that the governor deserves a second term because of his commitment to peace, good governance, love for the poor masses and development of the Church. Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, the fiery priest and Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria (AMEN) described Gov. Ugwuanyi as a Godly

leader, who has brought peace to the Ministry in particular and the state in general, declaring that he deserves a second term in office. Workers of the state under the auspices of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), during a oneday symposium passed a vote of confidence in the governor for “his administration’s giant strides in just two years in office� and asked him to “carry go in 2019�. Recently, teachers in the state totaling over 21,000 staged a mass solidarity rally for the governor in appreciation of his good works in the state and the remarkable achievements in the education sector and declared their firm support for him in 2019. Just a few days ago, tricycle operators in the state under the auspices of Association of Tricycle Riders Transport Union unanimously adopted Gov. Ugwuanyi as their gubernatorial candidate for the 2019 governorship election in the state. The jubilant transporters, who came out in their numbers, during an interactive meeting with the governor, held at the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu, stated that they “are fully committed to your second term in office for your good works in Enugu State and commitment to our welfare�. The story was the same, when the governor held a similar meeting with Okada Riders in the state, who equally backed his re-election in office, saying: “we are today celebrating your victory come 2019 elections�. The state chapter of Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), the umbrella organization of all the political parties in the country recently applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for his effective leadership, which it said has engendered peace and good governance in the state “at a time when recession has become a ‘customized excuse’ for elected leaders for non-performance�. The body in a statement by its state chairman and secretary, Barr John Nwobodo and Mr. Ken Onyekaonwu, added that they were highly Cont’d on Pg. 37




Brown Ideye

Eye on Russia 2018






Ideye in training with Malaga teammates

Eye on Russia 2018 Ă‹ĂœĂ?Ă–ĂŁĂ?Ă™Ă&#x;ĂœĂ—Ă™Ă˜ĂžĂ’Ă?ÞÙÞÒĂ?ͺ͸͚΀Ă™ĂœĂ–ĂŽĂ&#x;ĂšĂ“Ă˜Ă&#x;Ă?Ă?Ă“Ă‹ËœĂ?Ă™Ă™ĂžĂŒĂ‹Ă–Ă–Ă?ĂœĂ?Ă‹Ă?ĂœĂ™Ă?Ă?ÞÒĂ?Ă‘Ă–Ă™ĂŒĂ?Ă‹ĂœĂ?ĂœĂ‹ĂœĂ“Ă˜Ă‘ ÞÙÑÙ˛Ă“Ă‘Ă?ĂœĂ“Ă‹Ă˜ÚÖËãĂ?ĂœĂ?Ă‹ĂœĂ?Ă˜Ă™Ă?âĂ?Ă?ĂšĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜Ë›ĂĄĂ™ĂĄĂ?Ă?Ă•Ă?Ă‹Ă‘Ă™ËœĂœĂ™ĂĄĂ˜ ĂŽĂ?ĂŁĂ?Ă—Ă‹ĂŽĂ?Ă‹Ă–Ă™Ă‹Ă˜×Ùà Ă?ÞÙ Ă‹Ă–Ă‹Ă‘Ă‹Ă?ĂœĂ™Ă—Ă’Ă“Ă˜Ă?Ă?Ă?Ă&#x;ĂšĂ?Ăœ Ă?Ă‹Ă‘Ă&#x;Ă?Ă?Ă“ĂŽĂ?ËœĂ“Ă‹Ă˜Ă”Ă“Ă˜Ă?ĂŽĂ‹Ë› Ă˜ÞÒÓĂ?ÚÓĂ?Ă?Ă?ËœKunle Adewale Ă?Ă˘Ă‹Ă—Ă“Ă˜Ă?Ă? ÒÙåÞÒĂ?×ÙàĂ?Ă—Ă‹ĂŁĂœĂ?Ă Ă“Ă Ă?Ă’Ă“Ă?Ă?Ă‹ĂœĂ?Ă?ĂœĂ‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ?Ă‹ĂœĂ˜Ă’Ă“Ă—Ă‹ÚÖËĂ?Ă?Ă“Ă˜ÞÒĂ?Ă&#x;ĂšĂ?ĂœĂ‹Ă‘Ă–Ă?Ă?Ă–Ă“Ă˜Ă?Ě‹Ă&#x;ĂšĂ“Ă˜Ă&#x;Ă?Ă?Ă“Ă‹


uper Eagles striker, Brown Ideye, last Monday completed a loan move from Chinese Super League side, Tianjin Teda, to Spanish LaLiga club Malaga and expressed delight at the move. The 29-year-old forward, who scored four goals in 14 appearances with Tianjin, said on Instagram: “So happy to have signed for Malaga on loan in one of the biggest leagues in the world. “I enjoyed my time at Tianjin Teda and I want to thank the management and fans. Now onto a new chapter in La Liga. Big thanks to everyone who made this possible for me; I’m grateful. I can’t wait to get started!� Speaking after he was certified fit by the club doctors, the former Dynamo Kyiv striker said he was looking forward to settling down at Malaga. “I am happy and looking forward to it. I am looking forward to playing here at Malaga right from the first day I played against the club in a friendly match. I like

it here and I am happy to be here,� Ideye told MalagaTV. Tianjin Teda demoted Ideye to their second team to make way for new recruit Frank Acheampong after the latter joined the Chinese side on loan from Belgium outfit, Anderlecht. “My plan is to execute the World Cup with the players who are playing regularly with their clubs. How do you expect a coach to jet out to Russia with average players who lack playing time? I do take my time to visit various club sides in Europe to beg the coaches to build my players’ mind towards a great competition like the World Cup�, Rohr had said. At the height of Nigerian players moving to China, Rohr had stated that players based in Europe were going to be considered ahead of the Chinese-based ones for major tournaments. “The Chinese League is not as backward as many thought, but has moved forward from what it used to be. However, Europe is still where I feel is best for players as the level is very high. We have to consider the players in competitive

leagues before looking at the players in less competitive leagues, maybe three players from China would be ideal for our squad�, Rohr had said. The German tactician at one time threatened that only three players from the Chinese league would eventually join the World Cup train, which he later rebutted. However, with no players invited from the Chinese League in the back-to-back international friendly matches against Senegal and Burkina Faso and the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa last year lends credence to his threat. Revealing why he dropped Chinabased players for 2019 Nations Cup qualifier against South Africa, Rohr said: “It’s very difficult to monitor the players in China. Also, I was satisfied with the performances of the young players I have been working with for the past two weeks in France. That was why we decided to keep this group.� Former Nigeria international, Waidi Akani, said the move to Malaga by Ideye was a smart idea at reviving his career after a turbulent time in China.

“Yes, to make the World Cup team might be his primary aim for moving to Malaga, but what matters most is that he must be playing regularly and very well for the Spanish team to earn a recall to the national team. No doubt, he would be noticed faster in Spain than in China,� Akani said. He, however, admitted that no matter the league a player plays in if he’s enjoying a regular playing time, he would get the attention of his national team coach. “It’s not a must that everybody should play in Europe. Invitation to the Super Eagles should never be based on where the player is playing, but rather, the current form of the player. That is why a coach should be up and doing. A coach does not necessary have to travel abroad to monitor players. The world is now a global village and coaches can monitor the performance of their players even in the comfort of their homes. “The Chinese Super League is now on live on television for everybody to see. The fact that a player is playing in China should not be a limitation to his national team career. After all, there are a number




CHAN was a Success: Take a Bow Eagles, Salisu I have learnt over time that the expectations of most Nigerian football fans, even analysts, are largely based on wild emotions, even illogic, and the postevent reviews the Super Eagles have received since the recent African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Morocco is no different. Despite reaching the final for the first time ever, the Super Eagles and head coach Salisu Yusuf have been subjected to abuse and ridicule because they lost the final 4-0 to the inspired hosts. For some perspective, it was Nigeria’s third appearance in the competition. Past teams have been coached by the legendary Stephen Keshi and Sunday Oliseh. The best result before now was the third-place finish in South Africa in 2014. I can understand fans being disappointed, but our teams can not only be deserving of praise when the win a trophy


Ideye... looking towards Russia

of players in the main stream European League, yet could not play themselves into the national team,” Akani said. Also reacting to Rohr’s threat to blank out China-based players from the national team, Content Marketing Manager of StarTimes, Qasim Elegbede, urged the coach to have a rethink. He argued that Rohr cannot close his eyes to good Nigerian talents in the Chinese Super League because of the country where the league is holding. “That is a generalised statement that a person like Rohr should not make. The example of Patrick Mboma is apt here. When he came to Nigeria to help Cameroon win the Africa Cup of Nations in 2000, he was playing in the Japanese League, which at that time was nowhere near a top league. “It is not wise for Rohr to say that whoever plays in China is not fit to play for the Super Eagles. I believe that if Rohr sees a good Nigeria talent in the Chinese League, he would not shut him out of the national team. “The truth of the matter is that the Chinese Super League offers the best competition for our players to become better in their trade. What is the use of

staying on the bench of a team in Europe, wasting away, when you can play alongside top stars like Oscar, Lavezzi, Gervinho and Kalcuta”, said Elegbede. Ideye began his career at Bayelsa United in 2006. A year after, he moved to Swiss second tier side Neuchatel Xamax, where he played two seasons before joining French squad Sochaux. He then moved to Dynamo Kyiv in 2011, where his notable performances earned him a transfer to West Bromwich. After scoring only seven goals from 31 matches, Ideye moved to Greek side Olympiakos in 2015. The Nigerian moved to China in February 2017 after an impressive goalscoring run for the Greek side, with 23 goals in 43 matches. Ideye will hope that a bright performance with Los Boquerones will force his name in the Super Eagles World Cup squad. He last featured for the Nigeria national team on November 12, 2016, in a 3-1 World Cup qualifier home victory over Algeria. It, however, remains to be seen if Ideye can get his career back on track in Malaga to earn a national team recall.

Nigeria Marches in Historic Winter Olympic Games Olawale Ajimotokan


igerian contingent savoured the historic moment that characterised the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Ngozi Onwumere was Nigeria's flag bearer as the all-female team, accompanied by the Chef de Mission, Gbenga Elegbeleye, marched onto the venue behind Greece and Ghana. South Africa, Madagascar, Morocco, Eritrea, Kenya and Togo are the other African nations participating. Over 6,000 athletes from 92 countries are attending the Games. The Nigerian ladies were clad in a white overall apparels with green lining and

matched with green head gears. The Korean Cultural Center, Abuja organized a viewing ceremony for the Nigerian public.Director of the centre, Han Sungrae, expressed gladness that the opening ceremony was successful in spite of tension earlier in the Korean Peninsula. "I hope that the Nigerian people enjoy the Pyeonchang Olympics along Team Nigeria, " Han said. Teams from North and South Korea team entered the arena under the unification flag, a blue silhouette of the peninsula and outlying islands. Athletes from both nations took selfies with each other as they waited to walk into the heart of the stadium. As the Koreans emerged, they were greeted to an ovation from 35,000 cheering spectators.

ven the best teams and the best coaches in the world lose by wide margins on a bad day. As recently as the last World Cup, Brazil were crushed 7-1 at home by Germany. In 2014, famed Spanish coach Pep Guardiola had his Bayern Munich team decimated 4-0 at home by Real Madrid in a UEFA Champions League semi-final clash, while respected French coach Arsene Wenger and other have lost by more scandalous margins. So yes, teams lose, the best coaches also lose. Losing a match does not always mean the players are useless or the coach is clueless. We must learn to manage expectations so we can appreciate our teams even more. When France, who are heavyweights in the global game, reached the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup, their coach Didier Deschamps declared their campaign a success. He argued that given the stage of development of the team, they had achieved their limit. It is simple logic, you cannot be the best every day and every time. Salisu has earned a place for himself in our history in the competition as the first coach to lead Nigeria to the final. That’s something. Hopefully, tomorrow, someone comes along and betters the record, but for now the man and his boys deserve nothing but praise. When we also consider that the competition is limited to players in their country’s domestic leagues, there is ground to argue that the Super Eagles overachieved. The poorly-supported and poorly-funded Nigerian Professional Football League is rungs below a number of leagues on the continent, especially the North African leagues. If we want the CHAN Eagles to perform better, then we should contribute our beat to improving the domestic game. CHAN was a fan engagement opportunity missed by the LMC Why was the local league in full session while the CHAN was being played? The Eagles going all the way to the finals would have been a great way to engage local fans and connect them on a deeper emotional level with the NPFL. Continuing the league during the continental tournament communicated negative messages to discerning fans. The most glaring for me being that whatever is at stake in the NPFL is nothing the clubs really care about. How else could the league’s best players be away from their clubs for a national assignment and none of the clubs cared? In South Africa it is tough enough to get players for full internationals, let alone a second tier international tourney. Were the stakes high in the NPFL, the league would have been suspended or clubs would only have released their fringe players. This once again show why our clubs should not be run by government.

Many of these civil servants hardly worry about the stakes. Fans follow sports stars more than they follow sports events, and this accounts for either the success or failure of many sports events. Our league has almost zero celebrity influence on fans. The CHAN should have been a way to highlight the best NPFL players, connect them with fans, and raise interest in their club activities post-CHAN. Stardom just does not happen. In today’s world brand builders carefully and methodically build the more popular stars we know. Stars are the business. The Spanish La Liga, for instance, has just four million plus fans on Twitter, while just one La Liga player, Andre Iniestas has over 20m followers. Another, Cristiano Ronaldo, has about 68m. It is the same trend across all sports events and across all social media platforms. Englishman Wayne Rooney, for instance, has more followers on Twitter than the English Premier League. There should have been a daily focus on these top NPFL players, allowing fans to make the connections with the players and their clubs, and to build on them. There should also have been clear strategies to connect these stars with fans on a daily basis. Technology has not only exploded the popularity of sports, it has brought more fans and celebrity athletes closer together than at any other time in human history. Fans may have been engaged in predict and win games even for modest prizes like recharge cards, or an opportunity to fly to Morocco to watch a few of the games live. Sponsors love such initiatives. As it is, I’m not aware any such was deployed. The players are back in Nigeria and fans remain far from engaged, at least in the numbers sponsors love.








rsenal head to Wembley to face Spurs having not beaten their rivals in the Premier League at White Hart Lane since 2014. The Gunners are four points and one place adrift of their neighbours as they sit sixth heading into the north London derby. But Wenger's men have won their last nine games at the national stadium, including a penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea in this season's Community Shield and the Frenchman is pleased to be back at Wembley. Asked if he preferred the game to be at Wembley, Wenger said: "Yes, because we have a positive history there. "Of course Wembley is a pitch that is quality, a stadium with a big crowd and it is always a special day in your mind so overall, yes. At Wembley you play special games where you are under pressure to perform and we responded well to it every time." Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech is a doubt having been forced off with a calf injury in the win over Everton last week. Tottenham are unbeaten in their last eight league games, and boss Mauricio Pochettino has not given up hope of pipping Manchester United to second place. Defeating Arsenal would help that ambition, while carrying the added bonus of derailing Arsenal. "I believe we can finish second. Of course we're going to fight for that to happen," Pochettino said. "The gap is not massive but it will be tough. It's key on Saturday to win the game, to be in the race for the top four." Pochettino believes former Paris Saint Germain winger Lucas Moura, who arrived last month, is ready to make his debut, possibly as a substitute. "I think he will be ready to be in contention for Saturday," Pochettino said. "He is starting to feel the legs. We need to assess him, but after the last session I hope we can put him in contention." Meanwhile, Wenger has warned his Arsenal stars to keep their cool when they face bitter rivals Tottenham as the heated north London derby returns to Wembley

for the first time in 25 years. Languishing in sixth place in the Premier League, Wenger's side are however just four points behind fifth placed Tottenham. With their hopes of a top four place and qualification for the Champions League hanging in the balance, the Gunners can ill-afford a damaging defeat at the hands of their hated neighbours today, while Tottenham are also a point adrift of the top four and desperate to avoid defeat. Given the high stakes amid the fight for local bragging rights, the crowd of over 80 000 are certain to make it a frenzied occasion. Wenger knows players can lose their composure if they get swept up by the derby atmosphere. And, with new boys Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan making their maiden north London derby appearances and Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli in the midst of a diving storm, the Arsenal manager cautioned his players to stay focused. "There is always huge passion before the game and the emotion at stake that becomes a bit more agitated. It is always a game that is charged emotionally. For us, it is an opportunity to come back closer to the Champions League places, which is a priority," he said. Although Arsenal beat Tottenham 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium in November, they haven't won an away league game against their rivals since 2014. Fortunately, for Wenger's men, with Tottenham playing their home games at Wembley this season while White Hart Lane is rebuilt, it will be the first north London derby at the national stadium since 1993. Meanwhile, Manchester City will attempt to get back to winning ways in the Premier League when welcoming Leicester City to the Etihad Stadium this evening. The Foxes have already tasted defeat in this fixture twice this season, though the most recent of those came via penalties following a hardfought EFL Cup tie in the East Midlands. Man City have since defeated Bristol City over two legs in the EFL Cup to remain on course for silverware on four fronts, but the gruelling nature of the Citizens' non-stop campaign is beginning to take its toll on their players. Key playmaker Kevin De Bruyne admitted after the 1-1 draw with Burnley last weekend in a match the league leaders really should have put

to bed before being pegged back late on - that he and his teammates were "feeling rubbish" and in need of a rest. Pep Guardiola's decision to send his players away for four days this week came at the perfect time, then, in what has been a rare midweek off for City. Where they went did not matter to Guardiola - he simply wanted them to stay away from the club's training base. Even if the two-time Premier winners have stuttered somewhat on their travels of late, failing to win away from the Etihad Stadium in the league since a 1-0 win at Newcastle United at Christmas time, they still have a healthy lead at the top of the division and are fast closing in on another top-flight crown. Thirteen points is the current gap on closest challengers Manchester United, whom they face for a second time in early April, but Guardiola is adamant that the title race is not a formality with so many games still to come. Being held by Burnley was certainly not in the script, coming after defeat to Liverpool and a goalless draw at Crystal Palace in their previous away outings, and City must also face Arsenal and Chelsea in quick succession in three weeks' time. With fatigue creeping in, now may well be the perfect time to face the champions-elect as they also have to prepare for a doubleheader against Basel in the Champions League, a trip to Wigan Athletic in the last 16 of the FA Cup, as well as the small matter of an EFL Cup final date with Arsenal in the space of a month. Defeating Guardiola's men is a mighty ask for Leicester, though, particularly on the Citizens' home patch following an unbeaten league run stretching 25 matches, 20 of which have ended in victory. Not quite invincible, but very, very close. The biggest challenge for Leicester boss Claude Puel in the remaining months of the Premier League campaign may well be motivating his players, with seventh place surely the best the Foxes can hope for. Arsenal in sixth are 10 points better off, meaning that holding off a cluster of teams in hot pursuit and overhauling Burnley is effectively the target for City in the coming weeks. Leicester were disappointingly held to

a 1-1 draw by Swansea City in their most recent match, coming on the back of a 2-1 loss away to Everton as their away-day struggles continued at Goodison Park. After going seven unbeaten on their travels, the Foxes have now claimed just one point from the last 12 on offer, losing to Watford Liverpool and Everton, but holding Chelsea to a goalless draw in a match that they probably should have won. Two wins from nine certainly suggests that momentum is a big issue, yet away from the Premier League the 2015-16 champions are into the last 16 of the FA Cup and have a favourable tie at home to Sheffield United up next. Whether or not Riyad Mahrez will be available for that match next weekend is a different question, as the Algeria international continues to remain AWOL and will definitely sit out this trip to Man City - the team tipped to sign him on deadline day. Without Mahrez in the side Leicester are desperately relying on Jamie Vardy for some inspiration, with the Englishman boasting an impressive record against top-six sides, though all three of his previous league goals against Man City came in one game.

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Harry Kane tries to get the better of Arsenal duo of Nacho Monreal and Per Mertesacker

Harry Kane



Mohamed Salah



Sergio Aguero

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Raheem Sterling

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Romelu Lukaku

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Jamie Verdy



Roberto Fermino



Alvaro Morata



Wayne Rooney



Alex Lacazette



Anthony Martial

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Eden Hazard






Conchita Martinez (right) with Muguruza at last year's Wimbledon

L-R: Ngozi Onwumere; Akuoma Omeoga; Michel Colleau, General Manager KLM Nigeria & Ghana; Chief Solomon Ogba, President of the Bobsled & Skeleton Federation of Nigeria; Philip Akesson, Country Manager of Travelstart Nigeria; Seun Adigun, Team Captain Nigeria Female Bobsled & Skeleton team and Simidele Adeagbo at BSFN press conference and Simidele Adeagbo speaking at the BSFN press conference Simidele Adeagbo, Skeleton racer, Seun Adigun, Team Captain and Team driver Nigeria Bobsled team, , Ngozi Onwumere, Nigeria Bobsled team member, and Akuoma Omeoga, Nigeria Bobsled team member, and Remco Bohre, Commercial Director KLM Nigeria and Ghana

KLM, Travelstart Collaborate with All-female Nigerian Bobsled Team Travelstart and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines have collaborated to fly the historic Nigerian female bobsled and skeleton contingent to South Korea for the Winter Olympics. KLM, oldest airline in the world still operating and major sponsor will see the team fly from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos through Amsterdam to Incheon International Airport in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. Athletes, Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, Akuoma Omeoga and Simidele Adeagbo will represent Nigeria at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. History was made back in November 2017, when the trio of Seun Adigun (Driver), Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga (brakemen) qualified Nigeria, thus becoming the first African team (men or women) to qualify in the Bobsled category.

This is the first time in history that Nigeria will be making an appearance in the exclusive Winter Olympic Games. The Winter Olympics are set to be held from February 9 to 25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Both companies are partnering to show their support for the achievement of the Nigerian team as well as their deep commitment to progress in Africa. "At KLM we are always looking for ways to be innovative, we care about our customers and we are also interested in supporting the countries we fly to. The Nigerian Bobsled and Skeleton team are a group of young ladies who are innovative, dynamic, ambitious, pacesetters, and resilient. "These great qualities set them apart and embodies our company’s ambitions. We are pleased to unveil today a driving partnership with Travelstart to fly the flag carrying team to

South Korea to support their quest for gold. “As Africa’s largest online travel agency, we are excited to use our resources and our partnership with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to get the Nigerian Team to their first Winter Olympics", Michel Colleau, General Manager Air France KLM Nigeria & Ghana, Philip Akesson, Country Manager of Travelstart Nigeria said. Also making a first appearance at the Winter Olympics is Simidele Adeagbo, who became the first African woman to qualify for the Skeleton category. President of BSFN, Solomon Ogba, applauded Travelstart and KLM for identifying with the federation. “We salute Travelstart and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for identifying with Nigeria’s Bobsled Team. It is a novel initiative to partner these history-making Nigerians", Ogba said.

Dosu Joseph Urges Lagos to Wade into Isheri Mini Stadium Closure There may be an impending danger and youth restiveness around Isheri area of Lagos State over the recent decision of the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) to close the Community Sports facility (Isheri Mini Stadium) constructed by the Lagos State government. The lockdown which the commission said was necessary to enable them water the grass has

lasted for more than three weeks. The decision has left many youth in the community who have found a safe haven in the sporting facility frustrated. Speaking on the issue, a member of the Atlanta 96 gold medal winning team, Dosu Joseph said the decision was an attempt to truncate the sporting career of youths in the area.

The Chairman of Westerlo football academy said the reason given by the LSSC was untenable. “To close a stadium for three weeks just because they want to wet its grass is very funny and ridiculous. This is very bad precedence that is being set and which could affect other community sports centre all around Lagos State”, he said.

Captain Okunbo at Sixty Pro-am Golf Tourney Tees-off on Monday Preparation for the long awaited Captain Hosa Okunbo at Sixty Pro-Am invitation golf tournament scheduled for Benin Club course, GRA, Benin City has reached an advanced stage. The money-spinning golf tournament is being organised by Benin Club Golf Section in honour of the strong supporter of the golf section, a philanthropist and patron of the Benin Club will tee-off on February 12th - 17th, at the club and will feature top golfers invited from various golf clubs across the 36 states and Abuja for the six days golfing events. According to the chief host of the tournament, Kingsley Okunbo during a media briefing to herald

the tournament held at the golf section on Tuesday, invitations had been sent to top and active golfers that would be coming from several golf clubs across the country for the event. Okunbo revealed that part of the activities outlined for the weeklong event was a lecture series titled “Youth migration: Present realities and its consequences” University of Benin main auditorium, Ugbowo Campus. Okunbo noted that various categories of events had been outlined for contention as the professional golfers are expected to add glamour for the event. He added that a huge sum, ranging in several millions in the history

of professional golf tournament inNigeria had been set aside as prize money for the professionals to contest for at the tournament. Speaking further, Okunbo, the former captain of the club remarked that day one event would tee-off with the caddy category on Monday through Tuesday while the professionals tournament would take centre stage from Wednesday to Saturday for their final match. Also, on Friday, the men handicap 18-28, men super veterans, men and ladies veterans as well as ladies handicap 29-36 would have their field day that will determine the winners in these categories.

Martinez Rejoins Muguruza's Coaching Team Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza is to rekindle her working partnership with Conchita Martinez. Martinez temporarily stepped into regular coach Sam Sumyk's shoes for 2017's Wimbledon championships. Although she withdrew from the Muguruza camp after the success last summer, Martinez has returned to the team to work alongside Sumyk. The 24-year-old will be aiming to rediscover her form in the upcoming hard-court tournaments in Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami. With Sumyk at home awaiting the birth of his child, the all-Spanish pairing proved a remarkable combination on the grass of the All England Club. Muguruza, 14th seed, swept through the tournament, dropping just one set en route to the final, where she comprehensively beat Venus Williams 7-5, 6-0 to clinch a second grand slam title. In the process, she became only the second Spanish female to be crowned Wimbledon singles champion after Martinez, who beat Martina Navratilova in the 1994 final. Martinez said: "Returning to work next to Garbine is very gratifying. "She is a great professional and hard-working, she demands a lot and her levels of intensity are always high, so it is a great challenge for me to start this new stage with her."

Finalists Emerge in StarTimes FC Bayern Youth Cup Tournament Finalists in the StarTimes FC Bayern Youth Cup tournament have emerged from Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Jos, leaving only Lagos Mainland and Island still in the tournament stages. The competition on January 14 at the Area 3 Astro Turf in Abuja as Sporting Dreams FC defeated Regent All Star 3-1 to win the Finals in Abuja. Eneka FC defeated Urban Strikers 1-0 at Liberation Stadium on January 21st, 2018 to win The Port Harcourt Tournament. Enugu Tournament witnessed a penalty shootout to separate Early Start Academy vs Federal Government College Enugu as both sides played 1-1 in regulation time. Early Start Academy won by 8-7 at the Rangers Camp in Liberty Estate on January 28th 2018. Kings United lost 5 -0 to Derby FC on February 4 at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos. Speaking on this development, Qasim Elegbede, Brand and Marketing Director at StarTimes said that “So far, over 50 games and 150 goals have been recorded with 320 players taking part so far.” He added that StarTimes and VOE Foundation have put in a lot of work to see to a rewarding experience for the boys competing and are pleased with the success of the completion till date. The next stage is for the finalists will be to battle for the top spot and eventually go to Germany to represent Nigeria at the world finals of the tournament at the Allianz Arena in Munich.

North London Derby Heats Up DStv

Action returns to the Premier League this weekend, with many marquee football games on show from today through Monday. The showpiece is the North London Derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal today. All the matches will be live in HD on Supersport, exclusive to DStv. Speaking on the Premier League fixtures and the North London Derby, Mr. Martin Mabutho, General Manager, Marketing and Sales for MultiChoice Nigeria, said: “Millions of people around the world tune in to watch the Premier League and its showpiece games including the North London Derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, a game that has always showcased some of the best footballers in the world. MultiChoice is thrilled to bring all of the excitement of the clash live and in HD to our viewers across Nigeria and we ask our viewers to tune in to find out who wins this time.” Also today, Manchester United will be guests of Newcastle United on Saturday, while Southampton host Liverpool on Sunday. Manchester City will look to maintain their lead when they host Leicester City, while Chelsea will be hoping to recover from the horror of their last two Premier League fixtures when they face West Bromwich Albion on Monday. Speaking further, Mr. Mabutho said: “We remain committed to providing the best sporting content to our customers. Football fans in Nigeria can look forward to mouthwatering football fixtures as SuperSport will be broadcasting the Premier League, La Liga, the FA Cup and the Champions League knockout round all Live and in HD.”


T H I S D AY ˾ ͯͮ˜ͰͮͯͶ




Why Even Good Books are Rejected

BISI DANIELS Blog:, 08050220700

Chinua Achebe’s first novel, Things Fall Apart, was rejected by several London publishers on the argument that books from African writers wouldn’t sell. Heinemann took it on after initial hesitation and the novel has now sold million of copies in over 50 languages


3. John le Carré

very writer finishes a manuscript confident that agents and publishers will jump at it. That is subjective because the manuscript has to be acceptable to others. As Kanishka Gupta, the CEO of the South Asia’s largest literary agency, Writer’s Side shows here, several factors determine the acceptance – or rejection – of a manuscript; and even good books are rejected. While most books are rejected because of poor quality and incompetence (as they should be), there are several other factors that play a role in publishing decisions. And these affect “good” books too.

After Mr. le Carré submitted his first novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, one of the publishers sent it along to a colleague, with this message: You’re welcome to le Carré – he hasn’t got any future.

Anne Frank

A book with no market Good books are often rejected at the acquisitions meetings at publishing companies, where people from sales and marketing factor in the target audience, potential print runs, and profit margins. Rejections are more common in case of fiction (especially genre fiction), poetry and short story collections. Several publishers have revised their minimum print run from 2,000/3,000 copies to 5,000. As a result, books with a dedicated readership and market no larger than 3,000 buyers are being turned down. This partly explains the palpable shift towards publishing books written or at least driven by celebrities, or mass market books like the ones by Savi Sharma and Ajay Pandey.

A book by a writer with no network or marketing abilities Writers are increasingly being asked to be closely involved in promotional activities for their books. While some of them might be open to the idea, others feel that it is their works that should be doing the talking. One question that writers are sometimes asked: how many books can you sell within your existing networks – both professional and personal? Sometimes a writer is also asked about their contacts with the media and with celebrities and influencers who can be roped in for blurbs and high-profile launches. In today’s age of literary festivals, it helps to know some influential festival directors as well. Eminently publishable books are at times rejected in the absence of such contacts or commitments.

A book by a writer with a failure in the past A debut writer is an unknown commodity, but for published writers, the receptivity to their latest work depends a lot on the sales of their previous books. The irony is that this sometimes leads to the rejection of a better and newer work simply because the earlier ones didn’t have significant sales. In publishing, an unknown debut writer is considered more commercially viable than a known published writer with a bad track record of sales.

A book in a genre that a publisher has not succeeded in Many a times, good books have to pay the price for books in the same genre that failed in the past for that publisher. Some publishers refuse to even consider such books, so quality has very little to do with the decision. A publishing house recently rejected an accomplished work of historical fiction I submitted for one of my clients, despite at least five positive reader reports. Their reasoning: “Sales feels that historical fiction in this particular setting hasn’t worked for them in the past.”

The author ended up self-publishing a Kindle edition, and the book is not available in any bookstores. It took me more than seven months to sell a fantasy novel because all publishers felt that Indian fantasy as a genre has just not taken off. Only a handful of editors actually even bothered to read what she had written.

A book with a familiar theme

editor’s sociopolitical ideology. I have had a very difficult time placing a book on the role of the RSS in the BJP’s electoral victory in Assam since quite a few editors didn’t want to have anything to do with a book talking of the abilities of the RSS. At times, editors reject deserving, eminently marketable biographies or memoirs just because they are not admirers of the subjects.

There are only a finite number of ideas that make compelling full length books. At times, a book proposal doesn’t work because an editor may have published something similar in the past, or is on the verge of doing so. It takes just a few minutes for any clued-in commissioning editor to search, say, Amazon, for books on similar themes. I faced this problem while pitching a book on the Indian snackfood chain Haldirams, written by a well-regarded journalist. Just days after our proposal was ready for submission, I learned that a book on the very same subject was already ready for printing. This phenomenon is more common in non-fiction (especially biographies, and current affairs titles) than in fiction, as in the latter the plot and technique can be significantly different despite a common backdrop.

A book too expensive to produce

A book evaluated by the wrong editor

Mr. King received dozens of rejections for his first novel, Carrie; he kept them tidily nailed to a spike under a timber in his bedroom. One of the publishers sent Mr. King’s rejection with these words: We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell. This American author of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy has sold more than 350 million copies of his books, many of which have been adapted into feature films, miniseries, television series, and comic books. King has published 54 novels.

Authors often end up sending their submissions to the wrong editor: a commercial novel may end up in a literary editor’s inbox, or a mind- body-spirit title, in that of the current affairs editor’s. Even when the submission may have reached the right editor, they may not be too familiar with the subject. The more conscientious among the editors will not sign up even an eminently publishable book if they feel they won’t be able to add any value to it. Such misdirected submissions are wasted opportunities, since publishing houses rarely reconsider books, even if they feel they have been read by an unsuitable editor.

A book that fails an editor’s ideology or belief system While this is rare, and one would like to believe that all publishers are objective, a book may still be rejected because of an individual

While we have only a handful of coffee table book publishers in the country, books in several other genres, such as graphic novels or high-priced cookbooks, are routinely rejected because of the prohibitive cost of production. For instance, I was unable to sell Pakistani graphic artist Aziza Ahmad’s illustrated book despite considerable interest from several top publishers. A quirky book about a girl with fluctuating visibility, it is interactive and illustrated, which signifies a high production cost, and, thus, lower margins.

Famous authors whose works were This rejected by publishers compilation by Michelle Kerns and others provides hope to struggling authors.

Stephen King

William Golding

Mr. Golding’s Lord of the Flies was rejected by 20 publishers. One denounced the future classic with these words (which should be inscribed on the hapless publisher’s tomb): an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.

According to one publisher, The Diary of Anne Frank was scarcely worth reading: The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level. 15 publishers (other than this dope) also rejected The Diary of Anne Frank. Ursula K. Le Guin One publisher sent this helpful little missive to Ms. Le Guin regarding her novel, The Left Hand of Darkness: The book is so endlessly complicated by details of reference and information, the interim legends become so much of a nuisance despite their relevance, that the very action of the story seems to be to become hopelessly bogged down and the book, eventually, unreadable. The whole is so dry and airless, so lacking in pace, that whatever drama and excitement the novel might have had is entirely dissipated by what does seem, a great deal of the time, to be extraneous material. My thanks nonetheless for having thought of us. The manuscript of The Left Hand of Darkness is returned herewith. The Left Hand of Darkness went on to win both the Hugo and the Nebula awards.

George Orwell

One publisher rejected Mr. Orwell’s submission, Animal Farm, with these words: It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.

Judy Blume

Ms. Blume received “nothing but rejections” for two years. According to Ms. Blume: I would go to sleep at night feeling that I’d never be published. But I’d wake up in the morning convinced I would be. Each time I sent a story or book off to a publisher, I would sit down and begin something new. I was learning more with each effort. I was determined. Determination and hard work are as important as talent. Determination and hard work certainly did the trick for Ms. Blume, who is now considered to be one of the most influential children’s literature writers of her generation.

Marcel Proust

Mr. Proust’s behemoth Remembrance of Things Past received this delightfully plain-spoken critique from one publisher: My dear fellow, I may be dead from the neck up, but rack my brains as I may I can’t see why a chap should need thirty pages to describe how he turns over in bed before going to sleep.

Tony Hillerman

Mr. Hillerman, now famous for his Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels, was initially told by publishers to Get rid of all that Indian stuff.

John Grisham

Mr. Grisham’s first novel, A Time to Kill, was rejected by a dozen publishers and 16 agents before breaking into print and launching Mr. Grisham’s best-selling career.

Zane Grey

His first experience getting paid for what he scribbled came when he sold a short story for ten dollars in 1902. His first novel, written the following winter, was not aws successful, and when every publisher he submitted to rejected the work, his wife paid to have it published. The book did not turn a profit. If Grey was discouraged by this, he luckily got over the discouragement enough to become a prolific and widely-read author. The sales of his 90 or so books have exceeded 40 million copies.




Mo Abudu Premieres ‘The Royal Hibiscus Hotel’




t will not be wrong to describe Mo Abudu as a blessed woman. It might sound like an exaggeration, especially if you were not at the premiere of her new movie flick, “The Royal Hibiscus Hotel”. Every movie Abudu has produced has turned out to be a blockbuster, earning her the sobriquet, the ‘Iyalode of Nollywood’ day by day. Judging from quality productions, she is becoming an enigma in African entertainment industry. If you are a romantic and live by the ‘Tingily love feelings’ or the ‘Paulina Paulina love vibes’, you will watch this movie over and over again. It reminds you so much of a ‘Mills n Boons’ romance series. Mo Abudu is the CEO of EbonyLife Films, producers of Fifty, The Wedding Party and The Wedding Party 2, and has now debuted its new romantic comedy, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel (RHH), on Sunday 4th February 2018 at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. It was the grand premiere of the film to a large Nigerian audience and was a sophisticated and charming affair. The stars of Nollywood came out to play in their gorgeous, Valentine-inspired outfits. They were joined by other notable individuals in business, the arts and politics, including Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr. Femi Otedola, Mr. Jim Ovia, former Governor Adams Oshiomole, Mr. & Mrs. Jimi Agbaje, Mr. Hebert Wigwe, Ms. Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, Mr. & Mrs. Ernest Ebi, Mrs. Onari Duke, Mrs. Obioma Imoke, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, Mr Nmandi Okonkwo, Mr Kennedy Uzoka, Mr Ayo Subair, Mr. Alex Okosi, Mrs Omolewa Ahmed, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, Hon. Asuquo Ekpenyong, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya, Mrs. BolaAdesola, Dr. Omobola Johnson, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, and Don Jazzy. Stars of the film were all present, including standouts Zainab Balogun, Kenneth Okolie, Rachel Oniga, Jide Kosoko, Deyemi Okanlawon, O.C. Ukeje and Kemi ‘Lala’ Akindoju. The Civic Centre was transformed into a Valentine wonderland, decorated with flowers and giant prints depicting scenes from the film, beautiful photographs of the cast and clever quotes about the pleasures of food and love. Master interior designers DO.II and Interior Specifics created exquisite ‘love lounges’ on all three levels of the venue, allowing guests to relax in both comfort and considerable style. The festivities began with captivating performances by brilliant artistes such as Tolani, Veentage Band, Kaline, Falana and Cobhams Asuquo; and Johnny Drille, Reekado Banks and Tiwa Savage from Mavin Records. Guests browsed through the waterside food court, sampling a range of mouthwatering delights from some of Nigeria’s top chefs and culinary artists, such as Chefs Fregz, Eros and Imoteda, alongside Food Fashion Fusion, Saheeto, The AJ’s and Kots. Upstairs in the Love & Desserts Lounge, SALT Lagos, Hans & René and Loshes Chocolate served beautifully presented sweet treats. Some of the world’s finest wines, spirits and liqueurs were available at five different bars - Johnnie Walker, Ciroc, Baileys, Bollinger and B&G Wines – to accompany the mesmerising food options. Abudu was grateful and elated. “Thank you all so much for showing up tonight, it is an honour to host you. We are very grateful to our partners and sponsors, such as Fidelity Bank, Guinness Nigeria and Indomie, for helping us to put together this amazing occasion. This film has been a special project, we’ve enjoyed making it and we hope Nigerians will enjoy watching it,” she said. Love was in the air throughout the night; from the sound of love songs, to the beautiful, romantic décor. And, of course, the climax of the evening was the screening of The Royal Hibiscus Hotel; punctuated by gales of laughter during the hilarious moments, sighs at the most emotional points and a thunderous round of applause for a very satisfying ending. After the film, delighted guests enjoyed the remaining desserts, wine and cocktails, while discussing their favourite parts of the movie, before disappearing into the night.


Aliko Dangote, Mo Abudu, Femi Otedola and Sam Iwuajoku

Jahman Anikulapo addressing the housemates

Herbert Wigwe

Jimi and Abiola Agbaje

Rachel Oniga

Deyemi Okanlawon

Lala Akindoju

Mo Abudu with Senator Ita Giwa

Aliko Dangote, Mo Abudu, Femi Otedola and Ruth Osime

Ishaya Bako




Tee Mac, Orits Wiliki Drum Support for new PMAN President


ollowing the resignation of former president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, PMAN, Hon. Keston Okoro, the National Working Committee of the artistes’ body activated Rule 12 sub-section 2 and rule 13 sub-section 4 clause of its constitution and the First Vice President, Dr. Gbega Falope Jnr. was sworn in last week as the new national president. At a quality gathering, which preceded the NWC meeting held at the O’jez Chinese restaurant inside National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, Falope Jnr, in his acceptance speech thanked members of PMAN and called for support from all past presidents of the association. “I am being addressed as President today not because I am the wisest, or wealthiest or most knowledgeable among all but it has been appointed that I will oversee the affairs of this noble association beginning from today till the end of my tenure and I assure all that I will do my best to restore the pride, honor and dignity of this body, qualities that have been missing for some time now in PMAN.” The new president praised his predecessor, Hon. Okoro for doing his best before throwing in the towel, even as he assured that he would not make PMAN

his “personal property, but the property of all, that is why I am going to run a joint leadership with all and I appeal for all to join hands with me, especially past leaders present here, to take PMAN to its once enviable heights. Past president know of our challenges, so I appeal that when I run to them for consultations on how to solve any knotty issue, they will open their doors very wide for me.” In response, former president Tee Mac, an internationally acclaimed flutist and jazz musician assured Falope Jnr that he would not only open his doors for him but “I will fully support you (Falope Jnr) with my time, money and energy.” Reggae musician, who ruled the Nigerian music scene in the 90s, Pupa Orits Wiliki, a former First Vice president of PMAN also pledged his support for the new government of the body. He, however, called for vibrancy from the new president in terms of execution of projects that would impact positively on the lives of members. At the NWC meeting earlier, it was agreed that Barrister Dada Owoshika be appointed the new Legal Adviser of PMAN, while a motion was also moved by M. Adex Aiyeloja to move the Second Vice president, Baba Ojonugwa to the position of the First Vice president in line with PMAN constitution. The Falope and Tee Mac motions were all seconded.

Beeta Universal Arts Foundation Julius Agwu Returns with Presents’ Our Son the Minister’ Festival of Love



ometimes history presents an anomaly; like a giant that crawls on its knees instead rather than stands on its feet. When a country destined naturally for greatness wallows in insolvency as a result of greed and self-aggrandizement. When a nation comes to a point of reckoning with its fault-finding as fingers are pointed and blows are exchanged. The stage play “Our Son the Minister” raises a standard. In the mayhem of who is to blame and whose hands are soiled as regards Nigeria’s political eco-system, the play holds up a mirror to the society, and highlights its culpability in making bad leaders. “Our Son the Minister” is the winning play from the maiden edition of Beeta Playwright Competition organised by Beeta Universal Arts Foundation. Written by Paul Ugbede, the play is produced by award winning actress and super talented thespian Bikiya Graham-Douglas, directed by Kenneth Uphopho and starring talented actors to include Diana Yekinni, Patrick Diabuah, Chris Ihuewa, Soibifaa Dokubo, Ikpowonsa Gold, Inna Erizia, Bola Stephen, Omolulu Sodiya, Paul Morgan, Biodun Kassim and Oladapo Gabdamosi .

Bikiya Graham-Douglas

ultiple award winning comedian and actor, Julius D’Genius Agwu will stage the 2018 edition of his annual Festival of Love gig February 11, 2018 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. Billed to perform at this year ’s event are celebrated entertainers, such as Okey Bakassi, Senator, Dan D’Humorous, Nedu Wazobia, Sound Sultan, Harrysong and Romeo. Others are MC Jay, Mimicko, Chuks D’General, Ko Baba, Emma OhMaGod, Mudiaga and Saco. The surprise of the night is famous reggae musician, Blackky who will infuse old school vibes into the evening. Aside from music and comedy, this year ’s Festival of Love will also feature couples games and karaoke. Then, there will be a special moment for all February celebrants, who will later cut the birthday cake together. It is expected to be one of Valentine’s season’s events for couples to re-ignite their love life.

Julius Agwu

As Ugwuanyi Gathers Momentum Ahead of 2019 Cont’d from Pg. 28 impressed with the way the governor has “managed with prudence, integrity, transparency and accountability the state’s lean resources” to pay workers’ salaries and retirees’ pensions, 13th month salary to civil servants as Christmas bonus and execute numerous capital projects across the state, as well as the judicious and transparent utilization of the Paris Club refunds to the state, among others. Recall that members of the Senate Committee on State and Local Government Administration led by its Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Gumel had while in Enugu on an oversight function on the utilization of bailout funds released to states by the Federal Government, rated Gov. Ugwuanyi as the best governor in the country in the utilization of the funds. The committee chairman, who applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administrative ingenuity in the management of the funds, described it as “impressive and in line with the principles of accountability”, adding that the governor was “transparent and prudent in the use of the funds in a way the committee had not experienced anywhere else”. According to him, “we have gone through

the books. And as far as the bailout funds are concerned, everything is in order. In fact, Enugu State has even gone further because we haven’t seen this in any other state. They gave us the list of all the beneficiaries as it was prepared by the banks. This is an innovation and we are reflecting it in our report. We are not doing it because Gov. Ugwuanyi was our colleague; we are doing it because we have seen with our eyes”. All these compliments are no doubt, genuine expressions of the people’s impulse to the governor’s re-election in 2019 to enable him continue with the good works he has started in the state. In further justification of the governor’s passion for the wellbeing of the masses, especially the less privileged, through a redefined democratic governance that takes development to the most neglected areas in the state, the following landmark achievements come to mind. Few weeks ago, the governor was at Amurri, a community in Nkanu West Local Government Area that has never experienced any form of development on

its land in the past 100 years, to inspect the road his administration recently constructed for the people. The visit, which was the second by Gov. Ugwuanyi, stirred wide excitement in the entire “Nkanuland” when the governor directed the contractor handling the project to continue work on the road into the community. Amurri people had complained bitterly of total neglect and marginalization by past administrations. They had alleged that “the oldest signpost on the road was erected in 1919”. Today the people are full of praises to God and thanks to Gov. Ugwuanyi for remembering them after many years of neglect. The people are saying that their community, which was hitherto tagged “the weeping child of Enugu State”, is now baptized by Gov. Ugwuanyi, as the laughing child of Enugu State”. They described the governor as “a Messiah who was sent by God to wipe away the tears of the neglected”. The story was the same in Eha-Amufu, Isi-Uzo Local Government Area, where the governor visited recently to assess the long neglected 22km Nkalagu-Eha Amufu federal road that borders Enugu

and Ebonyi states. The governor to the amazing delight of the dwellers, promised to intervene on the road to ameliorate their sufferings and boost the economic potentials of the area as an agrarian community. It is appalling to note that the said Nkalagu-Eha Amufu federal road was constructed over 35 years ago during the tenure of Chief Jim Nwobodo as Governor of the old Anambra State and has not witnessed any form of rehabilitation since then. Today, Gov. Ugwuanyi didn’t only promise to intervene on the road, he went further to explain that 8km out of the 22km of the road from Nkalagu axis to EhaAmufu College of Education section will be asphalted, while remedial earthwork of grading and compacting will be done on the remaining 14km, in keeping with his rural development initiatives. All these justify the people’s verdict on the governor’s re-election in 2019, which has continued to gather momentum. Enugu State is truly in the hands of God!

Louis Amoke writes Enugu State.




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Will You be My Val?

ove is in the air! Preparations are in top gear for the celebration of world’s ‘most romantic day’ – St. Valentine’s Day. Come Wednesday, February 14, the whole world would be agog with the celebration of love. Hoteliers are rolling over themselves to ensure would-be patrons are treated to the most cozy and romantic ambience imaginable. Ditto for eateries and all other hospitality service providers. Everybody is in a frenzy preparing for this one day. People who have no dates are frantically searching. The whole town will be painted red as almost everyone is expected to be dressed in red and white. Being a weekday (Wednesday), many students would be seen adorning red and white to school instead of their school uniforms. Many workers would ‘go red’ and those who couldn’t wear all red due to strict corporate dress code; would add a touch of red to their attire just to identify with the spirit of the day. Flowers, cakes,

boxes of chocolates, cards and different kinds of gifts will be passed around in a show of ‘love’. While the buzz is on, there are some set of people who are totally ignorant of what the day is about and who are completely indifferent about it. This set of people would stand by, watch the fun train go round. It is for this set of people that I ask this question; please, will you be their Val? The orphans; the indigent, the downtrodden beggars on the streets; the sick and abandoned, the elderly; the motherless the list goes on. If you take a hard look, you are sure to see this same question written on the faces of some people around you. St. Valentine was about love, compassion and bravery not just romantic love. The man, in whose honour Valentine’s Day is being celebrated, was a brave and compassionate Roman Catholic priest under a tyrant emperor called Claudias who persecuted the church at that time and who believed that unmarried soldiers were more adventurous and cared for

nothing unlike their married counterparts. With this belief, he sought to raise an army of unmarried youths to fight for his kingdom, thus, he passed an edict which prohibited the marriages of young people. Bothered by the negative effect the edict would have on marriages within the Christian beliefs; Valentine took it upon himself to secretly marry young lovers albeit at a great risk to his own life. He didn’t just conduct secret marriages; he was full of compassion for the sick and the needy. He reached out to pray for the sick and gave alms to the needy. Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and executed in the year 269 AD, for officiating at weddings young marriages against the edict of the emperor. Even while in prison, he continued to do good and made converts when he reportedly prayed for the blind daughter of one of the Roman Judges presiding over his case; and she began to see. In essence, what we ought to be celebrating is the martyrdom of Valentine and what he stood for – godly love. But,

this very essence is lost on a lot of people. On February 14, many young girls will lose their virginity to boys who are not ready for marriage. Many young people are going to get wild and get drunk – all in the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day, really? Let’s not get it twisted; that is NOT the essence of the day. If anything, such conducts run counter to what the celebrated patron saint of lovers stood for. Love is a good thing and it is worth celebrating. In celebrating with our loved ones, we sho should spare a thought for the less privileged around us and do to them rivilege ged d ar aro what St. S t Valentine would have done were he still e d do ne w alive a al ivve – show them llove! lo ve!

Joan Akwu, 18

Valentine’s Day Special As the world prepares to celebrate Valentine’s Day, TEENS CONNECT went to the street to find out how teenagers intend to spend the day and how much of the man, St. Valentine, they know. Here are some of their responses Adegbolu Dorcas Adedamola, 18

Mayungbe Adebusola, 18

Valentine’s day is just another day for me. Most times, I hang out with my friends and we share gifts regularly amongst ourselves; I believe that’s what valentine is all about. I really don’t know much about the St. Valentine. But, if you ask me, I feel Valentine’s day is overrated. You don’t have to wait for a particular day or moment to show love to another person. Love is timeless and I believe it’s something to be shown every day.

I will spend my valentine resting and watching movies with good food. St. Valentine was imprisoned because he broke a law that banned weddings (I think). He also had a lover and while in prison always sent her a letter every 14th of February. After his death, the day was named Valentine’s day.

I want to spend Valentine’s day at home resting. I really don’t have much to do on that day. St. Valentine married people secretly against the King’s orders and died on the 14th of February.

Peculiar Sule,19 I want to spend my valentine in a cozy environment, with good food and chilling air conditioner. This weather is too hot. St. Valentine loved too much and gave up his life for a woman that stayed alive and ended up with another person.

Marvelous Okechukwu I plan to hang out with my family and loved ones on Valentine’s day. I don’t know much about St. Valentine. All I know is that he died for love.



I don’t think I will do anything on Valentine’s Day because I am single and do not have a Val. I will stay home because I don’t have classes on that day, watch TV, listen to music, and lazy around. What I know about St. Valentine is that he was imprisoned and it had to do with love. I don’t really know much about him.

Nnalugha Cyril Chimdindu, 19 I want to spend Valentine’s Day with the guys at a cozy location, watching the best matches showing that day. Specifically, St. Valentine is the highly recognized third century Roman Catholic saint. Memorialised on the 14th of February.

Sewa Odugbesan, 17 I am not crazy about Valentine’s Day because I have not really experienced it. But, I have a couple of friends who I love but who are not with me right now. If we get together on that day, we could actually go see a movie or watch a match. I don’t really know much about St. Valentine, I only know he was a Catholic and he had much love.

Anwuli Onwochei, 17

Goriola Ibukunoluwa, 19 Marvel Ezechi, 19

I am going to think of someone who needs more than I do this Valentine’s Day; be the person’s hero and give them a special day. Apart from the specifics of St. Valentine being a martyr for love. I realize he was brave and compassionate to think of a way to allow people express their feelings of love.

I would ‘ve loved to spend my valentine going out and just having a good time with my family or with a loved one, but, now I can’t. I will be spending my Valentine’s day in school. I don’t know anything about the man, St. Valentine – I am a Muslim.

Ogunlela Toluwanimi Anthonia, 19

I want to spend my Valentine’s Day at home alone, listening to cool music, with good food and drinks. I know St. Valentine was a priest who wedded people secretly for a reason I can’t remember. He got snitched on, imprisoned and then killed on the 14th of February. By the way, people threw roses to him while he was in prison as a demonstration of their love for him. That’s why Valentine’s Day is all about roses.

Oladele Damilola, 18 The best way I would love to spend my Valentine is to go on a movie marathon. I know he was imprisoned because he officiated at the weddings of young couples in secret defying Claudius the emperor’s decree. He was killed on the 14th of February. It is said he died for love.

Onwochei Emeka, 19 As a young adult, this Valentine’s Day will be a unique and significant one for me, in the sense that though I wouldn’t necessarily have someone to call my Val, I’ll express to the atmosphere that love can still be shared abroad. If you approach me as an individual but still hesitate to be free with yourself, I will make it known to you that there’s what I love to call “endless love” which also means love being shared abroad. It’ s not worldly love; but a godly kind. St. Valentine was a Catholic cleric; a man of generosity, who was imprisoned for expressing love. He had an unimaginable uniqueness in him.

I would honestly like to spend my Valentine’s Day like a normal day in my life. But it would not hurt to throw around a bit of love to synchronize with the spirit of the day. I know St. Valentine was a Catholic cleric who after a certain decree banning holy matrimony or something like that, still secretly officiated at weddings until he was arrested and killed, like they say; for the sake of love.

Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same – with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead – MOTHER TERESA

I would actually love to spend Valentine’s Day at a quiet place, like a garden, away from people’s interference. Have a picnic, eating chocolates and other stuff and discuss crazy things. Then at night, go to the movies. Thank God I am a Catholic! St. Valentine was a Roman Catholic priest. He was murdered on the 14th of February by an emperor – I can’t recall his name now. People see St. Valentine as a patron of love because during his time, he actually wedded young Christian couples.

Usman Oluwaseun, 19

Akinwande Oluwadamilola, 18

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Photo credit: Flower Aura







THE ALTERNATIVE with Reno Omokri How Ortom Got His Groove Back While President Babangida Lost His


must say that I was rather disappointed at the Benue State Governor’s initial response to the killing of 73 residents of Benue State by killer Fulani herdsmen I felt that it was wrong of him to have accepted President Buhari’s summons to go to the Aso Rock Presidential Villa with Benue elders only to be talked down to by the President who had no harsh words for his Fulani herdsmen kinsmen and who condescendingly told Ortom and his elders to “accommodate your countrymen” (never mind that he the President once claimed that killer Fulani herdsmen are foreigners). My disappointment with Ortom stemmed from the fact that he allowed himself to be summoned by a President who did not have the common decency to first of all pay a condolence visit to the state where killers who share affinity with him had just killed his countrymen. I felt that Governor Ortom should have known that the President had no constitutional powers to summon him and that the President, as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, should have sent the army to go after the herdsmen rather than the police who are ill-equipped to deal with the herdsmen crisis. However, whatever disappointment I had in Governor Ortom has transformed into admiration with the way he has acquired himself in the last couple of weeks. He has called out the President and put him on the spot by revealing that he wrote to the President and his vice to warn them of an impending attack but they did nothing even after Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher had written an open letter to the President and given him advanced warnings of the attack that almost seem prophetic after the fact. But my admiration for Governor Ortom jumped to new levels after he refused to go to Lafia in Nasarawa State to receive President Buhari, who was, incredibly, on a tour of Nasarawa to open a ‘special school’, while refusing to pay a condolence visit to Benue which shares a border with Nasarawa. I particularly loved Ortom’s answer when he was asked why he did not go to receive the President in Lafia. In response to queries about his absence, Governor Ortom said: “I was invited by my colleague from Nasarawa State over the visit of the President. As a mark of honour and respect for his office and that of the president, I have sent my deputy to represent me because I cannot leave the state when my people are being killed”With that statement, Ortom earned my respect! And shame on a President who has time to go on tour, but had no time to go on condolence. I would have been so disappointed in Ortom had he honoured the shameless invitation from his colleague in Nasarawa. When Buhari’s son, Yusuf, was in hospital, did Buhari go to a party? No! He went straight to see his son in hospital. Now, Buhari expects Governor Ortom to leave Benue and join him in Lafia to celebrate while Benue people are mourning! As Buhari loves Yusuf, so Ortom loves Benue people! Sadly, it took the recent killer Fulani herdsmen killings in

If the Inspector General of Police declared President Babangida’s spokesman, Kassim Afegbua, wanted for releasing IBB’s statement to the press, shouldn’t he also declare President Olusegun Obasanjo wanted for releasing his own statement to the press by himself without the aid of a spokesman? Incompetent police and government. They can’t declare herdsmen wanted, but can declare spokesmen wanted! Let me sound a note of warning to the drowning President Buhari: We must not hear that killer Fulani herdsmen attacked President Babangida or his family or that EFCC suddenly discovered $10 million in IBB’s bedroom. Listen to his advice and pack your recession with you to Daura!



Benue to reset Ortom’s head to factory setting. His refusal to welcome and receive Buhari in Lafia is commendable! How can Benue be mourning and Ortom will join Buhari to celebrate in Lafia? In all of this, let me say that I commend Governors Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State and Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for showing leadership by visiting the Government and people of Benue to condole with them in their time of need. I urge President Buhari to find time to go learn the art of statesmanship from either Wike or Fayose to his shame! Unfortunately, the reaction of the All Progressives Congress to these visits has been so predictable. The APC released a statement accusing Governor Wike of playing politics with the Benue killings by visiting Benue and donating money to help the victims! If helping victims of mass murder is politics, then that is the type of politics Nigeria needs! We do not need Buhari’s politics of ignoring victims! The actions of the President since the pogrom began in Benue State have been so partisan in support of Fulani herdsmen and he is doing very little to hide his bias. For instance, I strongly condemn the killings of 7 Fulani in Gboko. But is it not telling that President Buhari, who refused to send soldiers to Benue after the killings of 73 Benue indigenes, sent soldiers to Gboko within hours of the killings of the Fulani? President Buhari said the Benue killings are a ‘police matter’ two weeks ago. Now that his kinsmen have been killed in Gboko, police matter has changed to ‘army arrangement’. Should Fulani lives be more important than Benue lives? And the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris Kpotun, has taken his cue from the President and is similarly showing heavy bias in favour of the Fulani to the extent of calling what can only be described as unprovoked attacks by killer Fulani herdsmen ‘communal clashes’! The worst of all, as far as the Nigerian Police Force is concerned, is that President Buhari has so politicized the police that they now have the guts to call a serving Governor “failed and drowning’! Between Ortom and Buhari, who failed? Who is drowning? Has Ortom’s wife, daughter, boss and colleague publicly condemned him like has happened with Buhari? Did Ortom turn the third-fastest growing economy in the world into an economic basket case that led to recession? Did Ortom go to court to protect Abdulrasheed Maina, the biggest thief ever in Nigeria’s civil service? Did Ortom appoint dead people into office? Jimoh Moshood, the useless police spokesman who made that impudent statement should redirect his words to their rightful owner - Muhammadu Buhari! And the Police’s ineptitude does not stop there. Last week, former President Ibrahim Babangida joined ex-President Obasanjo in the letter writing squad and wrote a letter describing President Buhari as a monumental failure and urging him not to seek re-election for the sake of the nation. Now, there was some confusion as a counter statement was released, but this was in turn quickly countered by

the former President who took the unusual step of speaking to THISDAY newspaper to confirm the authenticity of the statement issued by Kassim Afegbua. All well and good, except that the police went ahead to declare Kassim Afegbua wanted. On what grounds? If the Inspector General of Police declared President Babangida’s spokesman, Kassim Afegbua, wanted for releasing IBB’s statement to the press, shouldn’t he also declare President Olusegun Obasanjo wanted for releasing his own statement to the press by himself without the aid of a spokesman? Incompetent police and government. They can’t declare herdsmen wanted, but can declare spokesmen wanted! Let me sound a note of warning to the drowning President Buhari: We must not hear that killer Fulani herdsmen attacked President Babangida or his family or that EFCC suddenly discovered $10 million in IBB’s bedroom. Listen to his advice and pack your recession with you to Daura! Major General Buhari failed as military dictator between 1983-85. Since then he never went back to school. He wrote no book. He did not improve himself in anyway. He spent 30 years nursing a grudge against those, like Dasuki and Babangida, who overthrew him. So how could Nigerians have expected positive change from him? In 2015, Buhari promised to hit the ground running. Instead, he hit the ground blaming. He blamed past governments. He blamed Nigerians. He blamed friends and enemies. When he ran out of human beings to blame, he faced animals, and blamed rats for chasing him out of his office. So, since many of those promoting Buhari’s second term, like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Nasir ElRufai, have young, active wives, do permit me to use an analogy they will understand. If a man could not satisfy his wife when he was young, is it now that he is old that he will satisfy her in the other room? Let me conclude by saying that both Bola Tinubu and Nasir El-Rufai know that Muhammadu Buhari cannot deliver, nor could he ever have been in a position to deliver. Both of them know that he lacks the intellect and temperament of a true leader. Both of them have said as much about Buhari in the past. So why did they support him in 2015? Because they saw him as an easy route to power. But alas, as things stand today, Buhari may end up being their easy route to destruction.

Reno’s Nuggets

Dear men, Learn from nature, instead of wasting time chasing women. A tree doesn’t chase birds. It simply produces fruit and birds become attracted to it. Likewise, if you as a man will just produce the fruit of success, birds will be attracted to you. And do note that nothing affects your life as the wife you marry. Before you marry a woman, put her through the stress test. Create artificial stress by pretending to need money badly and see her response. Only a fool marries an untested woman and vice versa #RenosNuggets.




Tunzen Collection by Yangomangoo

The ‘Yangoo’ Woman is Daring, Elegant, Beautiful



Tunzen Collection


igerian Brand, Yangomangoo, has just j released its first ever collection titled TUNZEN, which means Beautiful. tiful. Yangomangoo is a womenswear wear brand that caters primarily to p plus-sized women: who are bold, classy and nd fashionable. The Creative Director of the brand and is inspired to dress women in ways that makess them feel beautiful regardless of their body type. The brand infuses prints and colours as red ed and purple in tthe spirit of Valentine to depict ict the femininity, confidence and sensual aura these se women possess. Yangoamangoo uses rich fabrics such as mesh, cotton, crepe and silk to accentuate the curves of these women while making them feel very comfortable. ortable. The ‘Yangoo’ Woman is daring, elegant, beautiful and fashion forward – thus creation of the collection, ollection, TUNZEN. Credits Brand - @yangomangoo Photographer - @fifographer Makeup- @tennycoco Hair - @fjesam Models - @u_zee_ & @teefah_hassan Creative Direction - @thestyle.concierge

THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER ˾ FEBRUARY 10, 2018 By Azuka Ogujiu Ogujiuba g j azuka.ogujiuba@thisdaylive.c




L-R: Executive Director / General Counsel,African Finance Corporation (AFC), Dr. Adesegun Akin-Olugbade; President/CEO, AFC, Mr. Andrew Alli; Group Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer, African Reinsurance Corporation, Mr. Corneille Karekezi; and Deputy Managing Director/ Chief Operating Officer, African Reinsurance Corporation, Mr. Ken Aghoghovbia, during the welcoming of African Reinsurance Corporation as member of AFC in Lagos... recently

L-R: District Governor 404B1 Nig,Lion Engr. Oyewole Oyewunmi; International President, Lions Clubs, Lion Dr. Naresh Aggarwal; and Multiple Council Chairperson, Multiple District 404 Nig, Lion Pharmacist Gbolagade Adebisi at the just concluded 23rd All Africa Conference held in Lome, Togo...recently

Zinox/Konga Deal: A Mixed Bag for Consumers The news of the acquisition of Nigeria’s largest mall, Konga by Zinox Group, has been received with mixed feelings from industry watchers who believe that the development though promising, could threaten consumers’ choices and e-commerce business in the country. The deal basically meant good for the sector with the ultimate goal of raising its profile in the country especially now that global sales in the industry are expected to hit $4.5 trillion by 2021. Weighing in on the development, President of Bervidson Retail Group, Mr. Joseph Ebata, who described the move as a smart one and a promising market for consumers noted however that such could just be the arrival of a single retail player powerful enough to be a monopoly. According to him, acquisition could

Valentine: Huawei’s Flagship Device Launches in Red GlobaI Information Communications Technology, solutions provider, Huawei, is identifying with its consumers this Valentine season as it launched its flagship device, Honor 7x in red colour to excite device lovers in the United States of America. The Verge reported that the device which was officially announced late last year came in two colours: black and blue but is adding the red taste this February to give a touch of love symbol, which is red. The red 7x offers same features as its black and blue counterparts except for its tints which gives its more attraction. The device prides itself in latest trending bezelless technology with a 18:9 bezelless display and a 5.93- inch screen. It also has a 4G LTE system and runs on android 7 Nougat operating system. The device is powered by an octacore HiSilicon Kirin 659 processor clocked at 2.36 GHz. It boasts of 8-core chip composed of two clusters of four cortex A53 cores with a 4 GB of RAM coupled with a 3340mAh battery capacity. Reports also say that the firm is planning to fete its USA customers in Valentine’s Day phone giveaway contest about falling in love. The company is yet to release its plan for its Nigerian fans.

be a faster, cheaper, and generally more efficient shortcut to growth for companies of any size and the risk is smaller while the financing is easier. Ebata said, “For Zinox Group, this is a major enhancer even for its other businesses combined with a lot of benefits. It is a win for the consumers. Considering the ownership information technology power and background, you can expect a very robust and stable platform with improved service delivery to customers. “However, without a monopoly policy enforcement, there may be reduced customer choice and price competitiveness in the long run.” He added, “The latest development has caused the IT giant to gain market share immediately and the market influence that comes with it. One key implication is

that the company, now with a formidable market share can more confidently make pricing and other business decisions rather than merely respond to what others are doing. This is also where the challenge lies ahead for the consumers.” Ebata thus encouraged the firm to harness the full value of the acquisition by building a formidable people power and best practice retailing, and experience made possible only by well-skilled professional, and highly motivated employees. “The new ownership must immediately invest in the delivery of the right customer experiences that will guarantee customers’ repeat businesses, loyalty and advocacy. It is also the most potent way to fight customers’ attrition,” he said. Meanwhile, the Head of Corporate Communications at Zinox Group, Gideon

LBS Shines at AMBA Awards The Lagos Business School’s status got elevated at the international level as two of its alumni reached the final for the 2018 Association of MBAs, AMBA Student of the Year and the Entrepreneurial Venture of the Year Award held in London, United Kingdom. The AMBA Student of the Year award sponsored by the Wall Street Journal is an initiative focused on celebrating high-performing MBAs who demonstrate outstanding skills and motivation towards becoming tomorrow’s business leaders while the MBA Entrepreneurial Venture Award celebrates the achievements of successful alumni who are trailblazers in world-class business strategy. The awards are also to showcase the business schools that are nurturing the spirit of enterprise and ambition. AMBA is a global organisation founded in 1967 which focuses primarily on international business school accreditation and membership. The finalists, Glory Enyinnaya and Aidenehi Okosun expressed delight for the achievement which they said had boosted the recognition of their alma mater. Glory Enyinnaya studied Accounting at the University of Nigeria and concluded an Executive MBA from LBS at the Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos in 2017. Currently, she is the Founder and Lead Consultant of Kleos Africa, an online consulting platform which aims to enable value-adding interactions between African SMEs and experienced MBAs and professionals, with the aim of

increasing the rates of successful entrepreneurship in Africa. Aidenehi Okosun possesses about seven years of post graduate experience in various industries including the Energy, Technology and Food & Beverage industries where he has held several leadership roles ensuing his graduation from Management Information System at Covenant University. He presently sits on the board of several start-ups and provides mentorship to a slew of budding entrepreneurs. In her remarks, Okosun said, “LBS is one of the two schools who had nominees in major award categories, and this is worthy of note because it only recently became an AMBA accredited institution, the only school in West Africa with such coveted accreditation.” Eyinnanya also stated that she was proud to be associated with the competition that aims to recognise the highest performing MBAs who have distinguished themselves in leadership, social impact and intellectual achievement. Also speaking, the Dean of the school, Dr. Enase Okonedo said, “I am sure that they will be inspirations to many, including the current MBA students; not only to compete but get involved in things that are impactful as well as contribute to social and economic development. We congratulate Eyinnaya and Okosun on this milestone and wish them success in their future endeavours.”

Ayogu, has confirmed that there would not be any change of name as regards the deal. Konga will maintain its brand name but as subsidiary under the group. On competition with Yudala owned by the son of the group’s chairman, Leo Stan Ekeh, he said, “There are no plans of a merger with Yudala or any other company. It must be stated clearly that the group is clearly different from Yudala. They operate differently,” the spokesman said. He, however, assured shoppers and merchants on the platform of new initiatives which would improve the average customer experience and put more money in their pockets. “Consumers should expect a muchimproved experience in terms of delivery, assortment of products and of course, better customer service,” he said.

Mall For Africa Expands to 11 New Markets Africa’s global e-commerce solutions, Mall For Africa, has spread its tentacles to 11 new markets having strengthened its foothold in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Rwanda. The new markets being explored presently include Angola, Chad, Guinea, Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Sierra Leone. According to the company which deals in connecting consumers in Africa to international online retailers, its app is presently available in the new markets for use. Speaking on this development, Chief Executive Officer of the firm, Chris Folayan, stated that the platform was noted for its remarkable success in existing markets hence, the need to explore new economies for optimal performance. “Current customers in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and Rwanda love our platform which is why we are rolling out in 11 additional countries and will continue to expand our platform to meet the needs of customers worldwide. The app offers billions of items from more than 250 top US and UK retailer stores that would otherwise be inaccessible to many African customers and manages every aspect of the order and return cycle,” Folayan said. With over 1 billion potential customers, coupled with growing middle class customers, the e-commerce sector is set to hit $75 billion in Africa’s leading economies by 2025 according to eshopworld. Mall for Africa is tapping into the huge reward of the sector, global sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021, a 246.15% increase worldwide from 2014. The store presently sells over 8.5 billion items across 20,000 categories from more than 150 stores.



ENCOUNTER Genevieve Mordi

Why Delta State Governor Okowa Is a Miracle Many are the afflictions of the Libyan returnees but many of them returned to Nigeria safely with sordid tales of man’s inhumanity to man; and how they escaped with only their skin as oppressive Libyan warlords turned them into objects of slavery. Some of these returnees are from Delta State. In this interview, Dr. Genevieve Mordi, the Senior Special Assistant on International Affairs to Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, tells Oge Ezeliora about the many ways the state government was giving succor to the hitherto hopeless and helpless Libyan returnees. She also shares some of the things the victims went through. Mordi also shares how she intends to use her expertise and experience in the United States of America to change the fortune of Delta


hy did you return to Nigeria? My compassionate nature and desire for a better Delta State actually made me to come back to Nigeria after two decades in the United States. I am a Nigerian and I love my country. I love Delta State; there is no place like home. When I realised I had reached my comfort zone in the US, I decided to return home to support my people and as time went on I did a medical outreach for the present governor and it touched the lives of several people. The governor invited me to work with him. I was appointed as a Senior Special Assistant on International Relations in Delta State.

of him. He has a vision beyond 2019.

What are your achievements so far? What I want is to replicate in Delta is how I lived in the United States for two decades. My Office is an open office; the journey to Port Harcourt to bring back the Libyan returnees is part of responsibilities. I have an NGO that empower widows, youths and create job opportunities for farmers. Soon, I will embark on a familiarisßation tour to all the embassies in Nigeria. The election year is approaching and my office will support the governor of Delta in all areas. My office hit the ground running when I joined Dr. Okowa’s administration a year ago. I partnered the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for an NDDC-sponsored donation to an orphanage in Asaba. One of What is your background? my NGOs, The Genevieve Mordi Initially, I studied Optometry at the Foundation is youth-focused; takes University of Benin in 1997 and had care of women and the vulnerable in my PhD in Democracy and Good the society. We have so far donated Governance at the Covenant Christian insecticide-treated mosquito nets to University, Houston Texas. After my youths, women and children in my involvement with the historic election constituency –Ward 9. of the first black man, Barrack Obama During the Yuletide season, my as the president of the United States, I office donated food to widows. Early went into politics. I was appointed the last year, we also hosted the First United Nations accredited Representative for Strategic Alliance for like minds Deputy Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Hon. Ugo Nwaokoro, when in November 2014. I began my tour he visited on a meet-and-greet to of duty during the second week of November 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland. acquaint himself with Delta State’s business circle. Presently, my office I was invited alongside other leaders is involved in youth development of repute of the African community programmes which involve the in the Diaspora to the first-ever White training as well as empowerment of House policy briefing for African Diaspora leaders which took place at the youths; monitoring them spiritually, Eisenhower Towers of the White House financially, emotionally and mentally. in Washington in 2015. What is your guiding principle? It is based on this statement by a Do you think Governor Ifeanyi famous American President, John F. Okowa is doing well? Kennedy, ‘Ask not what your country Governor Okowa is a man of his can do for you, but what you can do word. He is a miracle worker. He has for your country.’ I have modified done well for the state. The only state that we are competing with is Lagos. He this on my job to ‘ask not what your has paid salaries to date. He is forward- state can do for you, but what you can do for your state.’ My training looking and hard-working. I am proud

What I want is to replicate in Delta is how I lived in the United States for two decades. My Office is an open office; the journey to Port Harcourt to bring back the Libyan returnees is part of responsibilities. I have an NGO that empower widows, youths and create job opportunities for farmers. Soon, I will embark on a familiarization tour to all the embassies in Nigeria




ENCOUNTER Delta State Government Is Restoring Hope to Libyan Returnees and mentoring programmes give youths a sense of well-being, pride of achievement and self-actualization. This in turn boosts their self-esteem and creates opportunities for them to grow and become useful citizens. We are currently working in collaboration with IEmaxx Farms, under the expert consultation and training of Stanly Moloa. There are 15 youths training presently on his fish farms. When they graduate, they will be given starter packs and financial grants. There are also ladies about to go into make-up and gele training, as well as catering. The training is in batches. I have also been invited to a summit by the Netherlands Ambassador in Nigeria on Trade Investment and Study in the Netherlands. I Intend to create opportunities via the summit to enable students in the state to study abroad especially in Netherlands and also discuss trade opportunities in Europe via the office of the ambassador. What plans does Delta State Government have for Libya returnees? They have to be patient. I want them to know that this state cares for them. They will be properly profiled before integrating them into the job creation scheme. We are urging them to become ambassadors of change and peace in their communities. Where they are right now is to look at their health conditions, as the first approach, have sessions with them and get them enrolled in areas they have the greatest aptitude and interest to learn a trade. They have a second chance to live on and they can achieve this chance in the programme the Federal government has set up for them. Governor Okowa is also prepared to care for them. As they come into the state they will be fed and accommodated; the state also gave each returnee an allowance. They are undergoing counselling prior to rehabilitation. How can youths make it abroad? It is only when they pass through formal education over there and can be gainfully employed. That is when they will get paid, aside from that, life abroad is not rosy. Some of the positive you heard or watch on social media are not real. People pass through lots hassles to get breakthrough oversea not under one year or two. Life abroad is not bed of roses. You must spend exorbitantly for all the facilities you use abroad. I want to warn our young people to steer clear of the abroad fever. They should think of how to make it in Nigeria because our country is blessed and focus on their future. What is the experience of the Libyan returnees like? Many of the victims described their experience in Libya as awful and animalistic. We had the case of a returnee who was a youth leader, named Chuks Odiase, from Ika North East Local Government Area and a relative of the Commissioner of Economic Planning, Kingsley Emu. He has been part of YAGEP and other programmes of the state government. The government spent over N2 million to train him under the state’s youth empowerment programme. After that, they gave him excess of N2.5 million to buy starter packs and poultry cage. He sold all the equipment and took off to the land of the unknown. He squandered all the money and ran to Libya. Today, he was deported to Nigeria


with nothing to show for it. Another returnee named Lucky Oyibo disclosed to us that the amount of money some of them spent on the trip is in excess of N1.5 million. As illegal immigrants, they were forced to pay over N700,000 to cross the sea. The Arabs forced them to call their people in Nigeria to send money. So they kept calling their families and friends for help. A lot of unsavoury things happened to them. Many died in the sea, others in prisons, and many died in the desert because they had no water. They had to drink urine. Lucky told us, ‘They keep hitting us on our head and legs so that we can slowly die and they will remove our organs, especially Kidney and other organs useful to them. Many people come to buy organs from them. Many people were starved to death. We were fed with addictive foods inside the prison. The Arab people killed Nigerians like chickens. They took us as animals because we were looking for greener pastures. Many Nigerians are still in underground prison in Libya.’ He said the Libyans do not allow the Nigerian ambassador there to see them. What can you say about the return of Nigerians who embarked on a journey to Europe or America through Libya and Morocco? The journey was a tough one. Many of them lost their lives. Some of them are paralyzed because of the suffering they passed through in the hands of Libyans. So, it was like a dream come true to many of the returnees who passed through hell in the hands of Libyans. Do you know the European Union paid Libya some amount of money for them to start deporting

people? Presently, we have over 5,500 Nigerians in Libya and the present returnees were among the 5,500 persons rescued by the high-powered delegation of the Federal Government under the auspices of the European Union (EU) in conjunction with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons. I was among those who received the first set of the returnee at the Port Harcourt International Airport. The journey to their return started over a year ago. The federal government sent a highpowered delegation led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema to Libya and the team to negotiate with Libyan authorities to bring back Nigerians who were being used as slaves. Onyema explained that they found Libya to be a failed country and most Nigerians in Libya were trapped by different militant camps and used for slave work. These Nigerians had to be negotiated for. Presently, the FG has been able to successfully negotiate for 5,035 Nigerians. This is the first time the FG is directly involved in evacuation of Nigerians trapped in Libya. Prior to this time, the IOM (International Organization for Migration) and EU had conducted and still conduct evacuations. When it comes to human welfare, it transcends party affiliation, tribe, gender and tongue. I thank God for the Federal Government’s commitment to return all stranded Nigerians in Libya. The Minister and his team made it clear to the Libyan government that they wanted to see all Nigerians in that country. They insisted on searching all the prisons. The (Libyans) are signatories to international conventions and we expected them to have control of those who guard our children.

Lucky told us, ‘They keep hitting us on our head and legs so that we can slowly die and they will remove our organs, especially Kidney and other organs useful to them. Many people come to buy organs from them. Many people were starved to death. We were fed with addictive foods inside the prison. The Arab people killed Nigerians like chickens. They took us as animals because we were looking for greener pastures. Many Nigerians are still in underground prison in Libya.’ He said the Libyans do not allow the Nigerian ambassador there to see them Are you working alone on this mission? No; I am working with the Commissioner for Special Duties, Ernest Ogwezzy, Commissioner for Economic Planning, Kingsley Emu, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Omotshola Williams, the Directorate on Orientation and the Secretary to the State Government, Festus Agas. I am not alone on this mission. What is the state doing to prevent a situation like this from happening in the future? We already have an empowerment programme in the state for all youths. As long as you are a Deltan; it is known as Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) and Youth Agricultural and Entrepreneurship Programme (YAGEP). There are jingles on radio stations and adverts in newspapers for Delta youths to key into this programme. We always advise them to register for the programme. We want the youths to take advantage of Governor Okowa’s administration’s job and wealth creation opportunities to turn their fortunes around for the better. The governor promised that the returnees would be rehabilitated before linking them with their respective families within the communities where they are expected to be ambassadors to discourage international trips through illegal routes.


T H I S D AY ˾ ͯͮ˜ͰͮͯͶ






PVC Collection Campaign: Vindicating ANN’s Ideology of ‘Technoticianism’ Across the country, the campaign for collection of permanent voter cards, PVC, by young Nigerians ahead of 2019 has intensified. But it is actually a vindication of the ideology of one of the newly registered political parties, the Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN, Samuel Ajayi writes


he ferocity with which organisations, individuals, churches and groups are urging Nigerians, especially young professionals, to get their permanent voter cards, PVCs, has shown that the 2019 general elections will be very interesting. It is also an indication that Nigerians are beginning to believe that their votes will now count and the power of the people to do away with any government they deem not performing has been strengthened. Kabir Akingbolu, a Lagos-based lawyer who has handled many election petition cases, said ordinarily, collection of voter cards should have been a continuous exercise since it was part of the statutory obligations of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to carry out voter education from time to time. “It is a continuous exercise,” Akingbolu told THISDAY. “If people have been collecting, we won’t be talking about it the way we are doing now. INEC has kept quiet before ANN protem national chairman, Dr. Jay Osi Samuels, flanked by other leaders now. It does not make sense. People ought to have collected before now. It is your civic of the party, during a media briefing in Lagos duty to vote. Before now, elections have hardly been free and fair. It is thuggery and what have you. People now have renewed to be involved in the political process. The continue to believe these same people will confidence in the electoral system and aim of the party, its promoters said then, was solve our problems for us? Why don’t we therefore, INEC should do more in terms to ensure that Nigerians who operate in the take the gauntlet and try to rescue ourselves? of voter education. It should be continuous corporate environment see politics as not the We are in the political space to say that even exercise. It should not be when elections are exclusive preserve of professional politicians. if politicians have failed, there are some of us close by or when people are talking about In an earlier interview with THISDAY, that care for our country. We must let Nigerichanging the current government they feel ans know we are not hopeless. That is why we the pro tem National Chairman of the party is not doing well. INEC has a duty under the are calling on all right thinking Nigerians to and Harvard-trained health development law to be doing this.” come on board and be part of the action some expert, Dr. Jay Osi Samuels, said the problem But even at that, the campaign, many of us have taken and help to retire and replace is that professionals and technocrats who might not have noticed, is targeted at profesthis class of leaders we currently have.” are comfortable in their private zones have sionals and technocrats who have often not In order to drive this home, the group, behaved as if politics does not affect them. To been involved in both in the political and before its eventual registration by INEC him, nothing could be farther from the truth. electoral processes. And they form the bulk of called itself the ‘technoticians’. It is a hybrid of “We, professionals, have ceded the leaderthose who use the social media and the inter- ship of this country to professional politicians technocrats and politicians where, according net. Going by this, this is where the ideology to Samuels, the 80-20 rule applies. In other for long. Even those of us who claim we are of the Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN, one words, they are 80% technocrats and 20% comfortable, that is relative. Some of the of the newly registered political parties has politicians. Samuels threw more light during things we could afford in the past, we cannot become instructive. From when it was just a the interview: now. We are far behind now in that so-called political group seeking the nod of INEC to be comfortability. We don’t even know what “No matter what, when you are involved registered, the ANN has always hinged its in politics, you have to play a little bit of the we happen in few months time. And it does emergence as a political group on the need game. You cannot be totally immune from not seem we will get the right answers to the to galvanise professionals and technocrats it. That is why we say we are much more of issues we are raining. Why then should we

technocrats than politicians. But since we are involved in politics, we are a hybrid of it but more of professionals and technocrats in the political environment.” John George Itodo, a lawyer and one of the spokespersons of the party, said the problem is that so many Nigerians have chosen to be outside the political process and rather than drive the movement to take the country back, they are more comfortable complaining about the situation of things in the country. Itodo said the aim of the ANN is to change this and work on those Nigerians who have not been really involved in the political process to be involved now and do so through the ANN. ‘The campaign all over the country for people to go and get their PVCs is a clear vindication of the ANN and what we stand for,” Itodo told THISDAY during the week. “We actually started the campaign. All of us cannot mount the rostrum and be campaigning or even contesting for elections. But we can determine the outcome of elections and political contests through our involvement in the process. And that is why the ANN has provided a veritable vehicle for professionals and technocrats through which they can influence the governance of the country. What we started has now assumed a life of its own. But is also shows the foresight of those who conceived the ANN vision.” Insiders within the party said 2019 might come too soon for the party as it sees its drive towards changing the nation’s political history as a marathon. However, sources close to the party told THISDAY that that the party is set to field candidates for the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states later this year. “Yes, you are correct,” Samuels confirmed toTHISDAY. “We will be fielding candidates for both Osun and Ekiti during the governorship elections. We are working assiduously towards this and that is the only way we can tell Nigerians that we mean business and we were not registered to make up the numbers.” As the campaign for people to get their PVCs intensifies, the unintended role played by the ANN cannot be overlooked. And that is how societies get changed. It usually starts innocuously.

Memories of the Coal City... An NYSC Member’s Reminiscences Atonye Alagoa


ven at the best of times, it’s always an anxious moment waiting to know the state to which one has been deployed for the one-year National Youth Service Corps programme. So receiving a posting letter indicating deployment to one of Nigeria’s most peaceful states is often an understandably calming experience. That was exactly how I felt on learning I had been posted to Enugu State - or The Coal City State as it’s also called - for my service year. So it was with enthusiasm that I headed for the NYSC Orientation Camp located at Agwu Local Government Area of Enugu. Arriving at the camp site itself yielded a number of revelations such as a legendary age old stream that flows just to the left of the camp. There were also some bunkers that reputedly offered shelter to the late leader of the shortlived Biafra Republic, Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, and its radio station during the Nigerian civil war. The camp officials were very hospitable but still ensured that everyone obeyed the rules. The stewards too were just as keen, introducing some Igbo delicacies such as okpa, locallymade soy milk, akidi, and other numerous recipes to us during the three-week course. Another remarkable hallmark of the orientation camp days was the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED), a programme made compulsory by the NYSC headquarters. Entrepreneurs from within the

Gov. Ugwuanyi state were engaged to lecture corps members on skills which included book-making, paint manufacturing, catering, fashion design, event management and lots more to enable graduates become self-employed when they leave the NYSC programme. There were activities covering a diverse range of human endeavours from physical drills that starts as early as 5.00am to lectures and a variety of social events such as Mr/

Miss NYSC, carnival parade, bonfire night and others. Of course, the medical team deserves a special compliment for their dedication to duty and round-the-clock commitment to ensure the wellbeing of all campers. It was an ambivalent feeling beholding what was unarguably an amazing passing out parade on the last day. While for most it was a sad feeling leaving the orientation camp, the joy of moving on to a new phase was palpable nonetheless. The stress that would have ordinarily been experienced traveling from the camp to different Places of Primary Assignment (PPA) was eliminated by the then state coordinator, Mrs Nwano Ukagha, and churches such as House on the Rock, the Catholic Church, Winners Chapel and some Muslim associations. A predominantly Catholic state, Enugu indigenes were very welcoming and eager to help corps members locate their various PPAs. Settling down was very easy but somewhat expensive especially for corps members surviving on N19,800 federal government stipend. A modest and dignifying apartment ranges from N180,000 and above. And, of course, shopping for household items mostly at Kenyatta Market and Ogbete Market is not helped by the traders’ presumption that Youth Corps members are fairly comfortable, a misconception often accompanied with the refrain - “na corpers get money pass”. Needless to say, this struggle to make ends meet is often a morale dampener especially for Corps members whose places of primary

assignments do not pay extra allowances to augment the cost spent on transportation and other basic needs, or are generally lukewarm towards their professional development. One unanimous point among Corps members in Enugu borders on the enduring peace and security in the state incomparable to the situation in perhaps the entire southern states. This is not to say there are no crimes, but such unpleasant incidents have been reduced to the barest minimum unlike the experience in some states where corps members are regularly mugged. Another pleasant hallmark and favourite talking point for corpers is the largely remarkable state of roads in Enugu metropolis and many parts of the state. The many link roads help reduce traffic congestion, thus making commuting particularly in Enugu a tolerable experience. Equally worth mentioning is the general aesthetics of the state which reflects in the well-planned and tidy streets kept clean by workers of the Enugu State Waste Management Agency (ESWAMA). Enugu State teems with captivating tourist sites from the waterfalls at Udi and Awhum to Ngwo Cave, Ozalla Lake, Udi Hills and lot more. Of course, the classic grandeur of the Nike Lake Resort still stands it out as a foremost hospitality outfit. It was indeed a memorable experience serving in such beautiful and peaceful state. – Alagoa, a Corps member (En/16b/1853) from Bayelsa State, had her primary assignment at the Press Unit, Enugu State Government House.



POLITY Mission to Ubima

Why Wike Took Pity On ex-Governor Amaechi’s Kinsmen

3D impression of the new school building at Ubima

Emma Okah


he people or communities closest to a governor or president in any Africa country usually rejoice most because they expect their living conditions to improve tremendously for being the governor’s kinsmen. After all, they also suffer more in the event of any disaster affecting their son or daughter. After the term in office of their son, they usually boast of good road network, good water system, electricity, schools, hospitals, etc. They may be regarded as the biblical ‘first partakers’. In another sense, those who produced any national product expect to be the first to enjoy it. For instance, the Oyigbo people of Rivers State got huge sympathy nationwide in those days when they cried out that they were not supplied with electricity despite being the community hosting Afam power plants that provided power to Nigeria. The high tension was not stepped down to enable Oyigbo tap into the national grid. They merely watched overhead as electric wires passed over them to other parts of the country. Such is usually painful. The people of Ubima community seem to pass through the same fate. They are the first Ikwerre community of Rivers State to produce governor of the state. In fact, they are on record for producing two. One was commissioner of education and later governor for about five months. The other was speaker for eight years and later governor for almost eight years. The most painful aspect is that their son, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who not only served as speaker for eight years and governor for another eight years, anchored his agenda on education, but Ubima, the supposed father of education transformation of Rivers State, remained without a college under a son who budgeted an average of N30Bn every year on education. He boasted of building what he called world-class secondary schools at the cost of N4.5Bn each but the only secondary school his people laboured to build was left to ruination. This is Gov Wike mission to Ubima. This twist of fate could easily be seen boldly written on the faces of the people of Ubima when the convoy of Gov Wike stormed the sleep community as they got wind that their plight may be over at least in the area of education. The Community Secondary School, Ubima, in Ikwerre local council area was built in the 1980s through community effort, not by the government at that time. It was the era of self-help for communities that had no strong link to the government of the day which was far from them. Faced with lack of nearby secondary schools to enable more of their sons and daughter embrace the

spreading academic access, the community raised funds to build a community secondary school. They had acquired large expanse of land to accommodate many facilities but could no longer raise more funds to keep up with the pace as expected. So, over the years, the villagers began to encroach on the land. So, when the former governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia, was commissioner of education, some oil companies were invited to support some secondary schools in the state. The school at Ubima received support and that was how it was fenced. It looks like where Omehia stopped was where the secondary school stopped getting attention. Thus, nothing happened anymore until about 2014 when the present governor, Chief Barr Nyesom Wike, was minister of state for education. The Federal Government was renovating some secondary schools. That was how he now nominated Community Secondary School along with St Aquinas Secondary School, Elele and some others. If you go to Elele Town today, you will see the impact Wike made as minister. Unfortunately, When it came to that of Ubima Community Secondary school, the case changed as if it was a curse to produce a governor or two. Ubima’s case could not materialise because the then governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, (who is now minister of transport) vehemently objected to the Federal Government’s good plan in Ubima, his community. He chased the contractors away on ground that it was a state government property. One would expect that a man who took such a drastic action would move in next and show that he had bigger plan for the school. Alas, this government that chased the FG contractors away did not even rebuild the school. Ubima Community Secondary School remained that way to this day. Instead, the surroundings grew so wild that it became the hideout of most of the abductions we read about in the newspapers. The boys would abducted passengers on the highway and run through the farms into the disused buildings under wild grasses of Ubima Community Secondary school. When the governor’s entourage got there last weekend, the place is now like a forest. So, on Saturday, February 3, 2018, the governor and his team were there for flag-off of the project, the project to turn the school to a modern centre of learning, to wipe off the tears of a hapless people. As at this day, there is no external examination centre (GCE) there. The team only managed to see a few students who managed to clear a spot so they could receive lessons. So, they are living in the forest, so to speak. Ubima is very significant in the modern history of Ikwerre land and that is why Gov Wike would not abandon them, no matter

Old building

the political differences between him and the former governor who is an Ubima son. Ubima’s status as the first community to produce a governor let alone two governors, in Ikwerre land is not easy. This legacy must be preserved with modern amenities. Where you would expect a modern city, what you get is a community in scandalous state of disrepair; nothing to show for it. One of the reasons why Mr Amaechi the former governor did not touch the Ubima Community Secondary School is because of his leadership style. He does not believe in completing projects started by others. That is why he never touched the likes of the Port Harcourt Mall which has been vandalized. There is also the Forces Avenue awarded by Omehia. Chippings were poured on that road, near Port Harcourt Club. Those chippings remained there years after until some good Samaritans cleared them out of the road. That is how Forces Avenue remained un-repaired despite it leading to the Government House through the ‘Ceremonial Gate’. Now, because Omehia brought an oil company to fence the school, Amaechi now saw it as Omehia’s school. As a result of this deep animosity, he refused to recognize Omehia, his cousin, as a former governor. It is important to know these facts and use them to interpret the events of today. The situation of the Ubima Community Secondary School was touchy to the present governor, Gov Wike. This is not a school built by any government but by the sweat of the farmers, traders, civil servants, anybody that cared. You can imagine how they feel when they see that school go down the drain. It was therefore memorable to the community when they saw Gov Wike come to rescue the school. God’s time is the best, they say. Gov Wike

was stopped from doing it as Minister, now he is doing it as governor. The people are even lucky that Wike did not do it as minister because he would only have renovated the school but what Gov Wike wants to erect there now would be comparable to any school anywhere in the world, going by the 3D representation we have seen. Knowing the governor and his passion for projects, it would be as we saw in the impression. To him, education is very important because it is what changes the minds of members of the society. In this regard, Gov Wike has done very well. Look at what he is doing in 13 secondary schools including Rumuokoro Girls in Port Harcourt, Yemoni Grammar School, KNC Buguma, BMGS Bodo, and others in Ogu, Ahoada West, Okrika, etc. This one of Ubima is an addition. Clearly, the project will come out much better than other schools. The administration is rebuilding over 168 State Universal Basic Education Committee (SUBEC) schools across the state. Rev Fyneface Aka who chairs SUBEC is doing a fantastic job. Go to tertiary institutions and see how he completed the Faculty of Law in the Rivers State University (former UST), Environmental Sciences Faculty and the Management Sciences Faculty. We are doing the medical school, the first since the establishment of the university. You can see a governor who has a passion for education. This is all what Gov Wike is doing in Ubima. Some may see politicking in it but any man who has been striving since 2014 to bail out a neglected community can no longer be seen as merely politicking, and if that is what is needed to bail out Ubima, why not. – Emma Okah is Commissioner for Information and Communications Rivers State




Occupy Lekki Toll Protest Flops Bennett Oghifo

n attempt to stage a protest yesterday at the Lekki-Epe Expressway toll gate of Lekki Concession Company (LCC) against the toll review failed, as the anti-Lekki toll review protest led by convener, Mr. Dotun Hassan, could not muster enough public support with only a handful of people showing up. The convener, who had been mobilis-

ing residents of Lekki throughout the week to join the protest, arrived at the Lekki Phase 1 gate at about 9.00 a.m. as against the 7.00 a.m. convergence time he advertised to meet few other protesters and a couple of journalists invited to cover the protest. Addressing the journalists, Dotun Hassan told reporters that it was important and constitutional to make their voice heard, while demanding for total cancellation of tolling at the Admiralty

Ab Rollings Clothier’s Shows Love to Clients with 20% Discount Bayo Adeoye

B Rollings Clothier’s, owned by popular fashion entrepreneurAbiodun Adenegan Odukoya, is set to show love to its clients this valentine season with a 20% discount promo, tagged “cloth your emotions�. The sales promo which will see the display of amazing designs and collections for male, female and children as well, will run from Monday 12th February to Wednesday 14th February 2018 at its show room at the Lagos City Mall, Onikan Lagos. This is not the first time AB Rollings Clothier’s would have discount promos, it is a regular occurrences for the brand especially during festive seasons, and this is because the management of the brand has a giving spirit. AB Rollings Clothier’s has been able to make a strong fashion statement in stylish clothings’ as against extravagant clothings’ because the foremost motto of the brand is “You do not have to be extravagant to

be elegant. This is because in matters of grave importance, style, not extravagance, is the vital factor. It is what distinguishes the men from the boys, the pretenders from the pragmatists; it is what differentiates the commoner from the classical.�. With AB Rollings Clothier’s (Image of Love), Love is a choice you make to give to your loved one on a day like valentine. You can be sure of bespoke elegant cuts and seamless finish, irrespective of the fabric, because they work with cotton, silk, wool, damask, lace and cashmere, however they all come out brilliantly made to perfection. AB Rollings Clothier’s is deft at both formal and informal couture designs and caters for all stylish individuals irrespective of class or social status, because for them it’s about the style and the finish. The team, who are well travelled, has a wide knowledge of fabrics from their decade’s experience, and this comes to play in the elegance in their designs as their fabrics are shown by the intertwining of talent, passion and experience.

Circle Plaza and the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge. After the address, the small group of protesters and media moved from the Lekki Phase 1 gate through Admiralty Road within Lekki Phase 1 and dispersed at about 10.30 a.m. after a short protest. Officers of the Lagos State Police Command deployed to maintain law and order ahead of the Lekki toll protest displayed professionalism and control of the situation while keeping the peace and conveying a sense of security to law-abiding citizens going about their normal business. It would be recalled that the Lekki Concession Company had announced

the review in tolls at the Admiralty Circle Plaza at the Lekki Expressway and the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge Plaza with effect from Thursday, February 1, 2018 after extensive consultation with stakeholders in the Lekki-Epe/Eti-Osa Local Government Area. The management of LCC had taken into consideration the advice of Traditional Rulers, Community Development Associations (CDA), Youth Organisations, National Union of Road Transport Workers, Residents Associations and sundry groups in arriving at the toll review necessitated by current economic and business realities that are adversely increasing the cost of operations.

Protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate yesterday


L-R: Governor of Plateau State, Mr. Simon Lalong; his wife, Mrs. Regina Lalong; Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Soja Bewarang; Speaker, Plateau House of Assmbly, Hon. Peter Azi; and Plateau State, acting Chief Judge, Justice Yakubu Dakwak, during the 3rd Annual Plateau State Prayer and Plateau at 42 Handing over of Documents to plateau Chairman Christian Association of Nigeria, held in Plateau State...recently

L-R: Country Head, UK Representative OďŹƒce/ Head of Group Research, Ecobank, Edward George; General Manager, Corporate Bank, UBA, Muyiwa Akinyemi; Deputy Director, Trade and Exchange, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olu Vincent; and Dirk Braun, FrieslandCampina WAMCO, at the Global Trade Review (GTR) West Africa Trade & Export Finance conference in Lagos... recently

L-R: Marketing Coordinator, Pinkberry Nigeria, Timilehin Lajubutu; Managing Director, Eat’N’Go Limited, Antoine Zammarieh; Marketing Director, Pinkberry International, Weny Wu; and Marketing Director, Eat’N’Go Limited, Amalia Sebakunzi, during the oďŹƒcial launch of Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt in Lagos... recently

L- R: Chief Retail OďŹƒcer, NIPCO Plc , Harjeet Tuteja; Managing Director NIPCO, Sanjay Teotia; and Chief Operating OďŹƒcer, Suresh Kumar, at the Long service award ceremony of the company in Lagos... recently




Buhari Support Groups Open Offices in Warri, Yenagoa Bennett Oghifo


he National Committee of Buhari Support Groups (NCBSG) yesterday kicked off the second term bid for President Muhammadu Buhari with the commissioning of offices in Warri, Delta State and Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. The two offices of the NCBSG, which are imposing edifices were inaugurated by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, who assisted by chairman, Board of Trustee (BOT) of the NCBSG, Senator Abu Ibrahim. Addressing thousands of supporters who thronged the venue of the commissioning, Enang reeled out the achievements of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government in the past three years under the Buhari administration. He said President Buhari had succeeded in tackling the hydra-headed problem of corruption as well as turning the economy around with various policies. Noting that his achievement in the area of agriculture is obvious to Nigerians, Enang said government meant well with the introduction of cattle colonies in states. He said that opposition politicians were the ones kicking against the policy to derail the plan and put government in bad light. Chairman of BoT of the NCBSG commended Council of New Nigeria for opening the office in support of the re-election of President Buhari in 2019. He aknowledged that the Council of New Nigeria was the first of over 200 Buhari Sup-

L-R: Former Secretary to Bayelsa State Govt,Chief Gideon Ekeowe; the SSA to President on National Assembly Matters, Ita Enang and the Chairman of the BOT, Senator Abu Ibrahim after the commissioning of the Secretariat of NCBMG in Yenagoa yesterday

port Groups under NCBSG that will open an office for its operations to garner support for President Buhari and commended the leadership of the group led by Chief Emma Aworoh. National Chairman and Secretary of NCBSG, Alhaji Mustapha and Otunba Biodun Ajiboye urged supporters of President Buhari not to be brain- washed by the antics and blackmails from the opposition but instead go all out to enlighten others on achievements of Buhari and the need to

re-elect him. Delta State Coordinator of Council of New Nigeria, Chief Emma Aworoh said the group was established to support President Buhari because of its believe in fighting corruption, good governance and empowerment of the people. He expressed appreciation to the leadership of NCBSG and the Legislative aide to President Buhari noting that their presence at the commissioning of Council of New Nigeria was a manifestation of their support

for the group. In Yenagoa, Bayelsa State the newly commissioned edifice which was used as campaign office for the 2016 Governorship race of Chief Tomiperetu Sylvia and his running mate, Elder Wilberforce Igiri, was commissioned by Senator Ibrahim. Ibrahim expressed joy at the large turnout of supporters for President Buhari and called on those on the fence Buhari re-election to decide and work for a second term. He told the crowd of APC supporters and loyalists of Chief Timipre Sylvia, that the new empowerment programme initiated by the Buhari support group tagged “Women and Youth Empowerment Programme (WOYEP) was targeted at the Nigerian people irrespective of party affiliation. He said the message to Nigerians from the Buhari support group was for Nigerians to allow PMB finish his good works. Also speaking, Enang said though President Buhari had spoken out against the ongoing campaign of calming that the nation is being turned to a Fulani herdsmen colony, “we are here to ask all Bayelsa indigenes to vote for President Buhari. “ The State Coordinator of the NCBSG and Former Acting Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Werinipre Seibarugu also assured that with the newly initiated empowerment programme, “all Bayelsa indigenes irrespective of political affiliation will benefit.” The Port Harcourt office of the NCBSG will be commissioned today (Saturday) after the South East zonal meeting.

HS Media Group Facilitates Rehabilitation of Powerlifting Gymnasium Bennett Oghifo


he Powerlifting Gymnasium, used by physically challenged athletes at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, has been refurbished and equipped with modern facilities by HS Media, which was retained by FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria, makers of Peak Milk. HS Media Group is one of Nigeria’s leading Content, Media, and TV Production companies with expertise in Signals distribution, Corporate Events, Brand Management, Public Relations and Print Media. HS Media is WAMCO’s Television Exploitation Company, which they became after a pitch they won during a competition against other agencies. The transformation of the facility was done by HS Media, which retained a reputable contracting firm with antecedents in the industry, said the Chairman/CEO of HS Media Group, Taye Ige, during a chat with the media at his state-of-the-art facility in Oregun, Lagos, during the week. Ige said as soon as the contracting firm was signed on, they established contact with equipment suppliers and vendors and that they were eventually led to Eleiko, a firm that prides itself as “The Number One Strength Company. At Eleiko, we work to make people stronger so they can perform better in sports and in life.” HS Media obviously got the best. For over 60 years, Eleiko has been a worldwide leader within international weightlifting, powerlifting and strength and conditioning communities. Eleiko is uniquely certified by the IWF, IPF and Para-Powerlifting federations. Their products have been delivered to more than 180 countries and are often seen at the world’s largest championships and in the most respected strength training facilities. More than 1,000 world records have been set with an Eleiko barbell. With quality, innovation and customer service as guiding principles, Eleiko is the leading equipment provider and educator in strength. Nigeria’s victorious Paralympians had a hand in the choice of equipment, said Ige. “We took advice from the athletes, because they use the equipment and they know what it is. We got Eleiko to supply but we were responsible for identifying the logistics of freight, clearing and of ensuring that the equipment were eventually installed. He said a company owned by an Olympics Gold Medalist, Enefiok Udo-Obong did the installation. The Olympian established several gyms in Lagos and in some cities in

The new Powerlifting Gymnasium in Lagos

the country. “He did the installation and the place is sparkling and the hope is that if they could achieve what they achieved, getting many medals- when able-bodied athletes could not get any- if they could do all that when they had nothing, then now that Peak Milk has refurbished and equipped their gym, the haul will be unimaginably high.” Ige said his company was happy and privileged to have had its services retained by FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria, makers of Peak Milk, for this project. He said, “It was their initiative. Some of their bosses saw the place and didn’t like the look and felt that if the place were made better, then Nigeria could do better. They are a very socially responsible company; they pride themselves in making a difference in the environment where they operate. Digitisation… HS Media has come a long way in Nigeria’s economic sector as a reputable television, and as a proactive key player, has positioned itself for the wave that will come with digitisation of broadcasting. “The world of television has been talking about digitisation now for decades and some countries, even in Africa, have digitised long ago. There has been two or three deadlines given to Nigeria by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which Nigeria has missed. “Everybody knew digitisation was coming, and as players in the industry, we knew and have positioned for it.” HS Media facility at Oregun, he said is a

complex of five television studios; five different business units, up from a one-platform/ one-studio environment they were before. Ige said, “In this complex you’re going to have about the biggest television production studio in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. The structure is fully completed and is awaiting the equipment- all of that is because we knew and know what digitisation is. In digitisation, the environment becomes libralised. You have, possibly in a place like Lagos, 200 television stations that are clear, I’m not talking about satellite, not about you buying decoders or pay to view. Just put on your television set and you find 200 clear channels. So, you should then be ready for production, because there would be a lot of programming requirements to fill those stations, and that is why I said we have anticipated and we are in position to be a major player when television eventually gets digitised in Nigeria and it is a matter of time. As you know, it has stated in Jos, gone to Kaduna, done Abuja, Ilorin was done in the last week of December, last year and, of course, Lagos is the big one that everyone is waiting for. Ige said like the cell phone, Nigerians taste for media consumption, especially television has also gone global. “That is why, even in football, foreign leagues are far endearing to our people than ours. The first reason why they are endearing is that they know them; they see matches from these leagues. You can only appreciate what you have seen- you can appreciate it or not but you must see it first, and this is taking place because of technology.” He said the desire of Nigerians for global

content has been increased through what they see and foreign productions like “XFactor; America’s Got Talent, we now have Nigeria’s Got Talent, which is a franchise from the owners of the original idea; Big Brother; The Voice Nigeria, among others.” He said while this taste has grown, “there is a sudden realisation that there is a major shortfall in the facilities around to help bring these programmes to life and that is why my agency, HS Media has decided to do this investment to ensure that there is enough of production facilities.” According to Ige, it would be appropriate to host the Nigerian variants of international shows like Big Brother Naija in Nigeria because of the socio-economic benefits they would have in the country. For instance, if these shows are held outside Nigeria, then it is the host country that would benefit from the money spent by the Nigerian sponsors, who do business in Nigeria. Also, Nigerian vendors of equipment and service providers will not benefit as they should if the shows were held in the country. He said The Voice Nigeria holds in Johannesburg, South Africa and that Coke Studio holds in Kenya even when consumption of Coke is highest in Nigeria. Ige then called on Nigerian investors to key into the revolution coming in the television industry. “There is a revolution coming to television; Nigerians should invest in it.” He compared it with tele-density in Nigeria, which said could be a hundred million Nigerians or more, but wondered how many of the companies that provide services are indigenous and that how many Nigerian engineers or professionals work in the ones that profess to be truly Nigerian. He said the general producer of Big Brother came to his facility when it was under construction and said it could be inspected when completed. Now it has been completed and in “our biggest studio, which is 900sqm, they can actually build that Big Brother house there, we have chalets to ensure that the core members of the crew don’t need to travel. They have chalets they could stay in and world-class studio and facilities and they can just lock themselves in for the three months of the programme,” adding that there was enough space for The Voice Nigeria and other shows. “All the structures are standing and waiting to receive the equipment, our hope is that before the end of the first quarter of the year, we should have all the equipment in place because we are hoping to be of use to the industry immediately before and during the World Cup.”




Time to Unveil Madumere Judith Anyanwu


here was a big rally in Owerri, the capital of Imo State on Wednesday, February 7. The activity seriously affected vehicular and other forms of movement, and made public and private activities to suffer temporary setback as the organisers marched through the major streets of Owerri. The rally was a gathering of Imo sons and daughters drawn from four key local government areas of the state. In attendance were more than 3,000 participants and the aim is one thing – to persuade the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Eze Madumere to contest the governorship of the state come next year. The pro- Madumere protesters drawn from Mbaitoli, Ohaji/Egbema, Nkwerre and Nwangele local government areas of the state not only wanted to register their solidarity for him, they also wanted to impress it on the deputy governor to see himself as the primus inter-pares, the one most qualified in the Rescue Mission camp to step into the shoes of Governor Rochas Okorocha when his tenure expires in May 2019. The protesters displayed different placards that read stuffs like: “For Imo governorship 2019, ask for Mr. Integrity, Mr. Incorruptible,”; “Vision 2019, Madumere all the way,”; “It’s Madumere or…among others.” The leader of the mammoth crowd, Chief Chidi Nwaogu who addressed the media said the solidarity match was planned to urge Madumere to join the governorship race, because “he is the most qualified among all the aspirants.” Nwaogu’s words: “According to the Governor’s criteria, Madumere has the capacity, he is competent, an administrator per excellence; he is humble, loyal, crises resolution expert, man of the people and most importantly, he has got the cognate experience in Nigeria and in the Diaspora. He has been tried and tested and he delivered at all times. “Please Madumere join the race for consolidation. We are urging you to come out and we advise all Imolites, other friends of Madumere and lovers of good things to identify with the vision. “The crowd has come to identify with Mr. Perfect, Mr. Home Boy, who understands the heart beats of the polity and the people of Imo. “Madumere fits into the 12 points criteria released by Governor Rochas Okorocha for aspirants of the exalted position, and with Madumere, APC is assured of victory come 2019 general elections. Nwaogu was not alone. The member representing Mbaitoli in the House of Assembly, Hon. Ifeanyi Nnataraonye described the solidarity march as unique, and that Madumere’s humble, peaceful and loyal dispositions with experiences in both private and public sector are enough qualities to warrant him stepping into Okorocha’s shoes.

Chief Chris Nwaike who commended them for identifying with Madumere with such gesture even while was unavoidably absent. Nwaike reiterated that Madumere is eminently qualified for any political position in the state in particular including governorship, and Nigeria at large, given that, “his contributions to the peace and development of Imo is second to none.” He urged the people to continue their support for Madumere and his vision, because “the state would be in safe hands with him.” When Okorocha announced in October 2017 saying, “I have looked at those with me and I have seen what they can do. I look at their qualities. But I am likely to narrow it down to one person,” not a few Imolites would mistake the person he has in mind to be the man after his heart - Madumere. Okorocha said: “The qualities are: one, I want that person to have vision. You must see what I am doing now and think far how to take this state to the next level better than what I have done. “Another one is the temperament of the person; he must be somebody that will be able to control his anger, so that he will not cause damage in the state. And that person must not be one-sided. He must not be greedy. Finally, he must have the fear of God.” In January 2018 Okorocha clarified that his successor would be a member of his Rescue Mission who would uphold the philosophy and legacies of his administration. Madumere Said he: “The issue of who takes over the mantle of governor of the state in 2019 must The lawmaker said Madumere’s resultcome from the Rescue Mission political family oriented contributions to the development of and not an outsider. This is because the person the state are reasons all Mbaitoli people and already knows the driving philosophy and others from other parts of the state are appealwould sustain the legacies of this government. ing to him to join the race for the governor. “As a politician, I can authoritatively tell To Ekweremba Princewill from Ohaji/Egyou that any politician that gets into any politibema local government, Madumere’s contribu- cal office based on zoning will be a clannish tions to the peace of the Council, particularly in leader, because he will channel all his energy the oil producing communities speak volume. in doing things that would satisfy his people. He said the youths of the area are solidly “But when a politician is elected on popular behind the deputy governor and cannot wait to demand, devoid of zoning, he will see the hear that he will flag the APC flag. entire state as his own and treat every zone “We support Madumere because he is equally in the scheme of things.” humble and humane. Most of those parading Even though Okorocha has left hanging themselves as leaders in the state APC and his choice of successor, but it does not rule out Rescue Mission family were mentored and Madumere who popular commentator and guided by Madumere, including some of them public relations icon, Dr. Chuks Osuji says that are jostling for both governorship and Okorocha trusts after his wife. other political positions. It is important that Okorocha is talking “They seem to have forgotten where they are about a successor who would sustain the coming from and how they started…. We love legacies of his government, and even surpass justice, equity and fair play and we cannot afit. It is also important that such successor must ford to do evil against our brothers from other have been schooled in the Rescue Mission zones. We think it is the turn of Owerri zone to mantra. produce the governor and it is unquestionable. Continuity in government if well thought There is no controversy about that,” was how out will always be in the interest of the public Nwafor Isaac from Nwangele summed up his and the society. Analysts know that whatever solidarity speech. has made Lagos State to be ahead of other The protesters later besieged the Deputy states in the country in terms of planning and Governor’s office where they were addressed development dynamics is nothing other than by his Special Adviser on Political Matters, the idea of Bola Tinubu to institute a succes-

sion plan that is being followed to the letter. Even at that, the Tinubu political family that has transcended the state did not discard the zoning arrangement or rotational structure which main purpose is to give all the zones of the state a sense of belonging in political leadership. Nearly two decades on, Lagos as Nigeria’s commercial hub has seen growth and prosperity because of its clear vision of becoming the centre of excellence and continuity in the quality of leadership running with the vision. Starting from 1999, Tinubu from a different zone kept the dream alive for eight years and handed the baton to Babatunde Fashola, also from a different zone who followed suit for another eight years before the mantle fell on Akinwunmi Ambode, still from another zone. A common denominator in the Lagos model is that every incoming governor strives to surpass the former with development programmes. Regardless of the metamorphosis Lagos had seen in terms of political parties, from Alliance for Democracy (AC) to Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) to All Progressives Congress (APC), the dream of excelling more than other states remains intact. Methinks the Lagos model is what Imo should copy or what Okorocha wants to espouse. However, rather than think that rotational system makes the beneficiaries selfish and clannish in decision taking, Okorocha should see it as a way of helping to entrench healthy political competition and rivalry among the contending zones that make up Imo. If there are cracks in APC, real or imaginary, that could be because of the fear of Okorocha’s insistence on discarding zoning in the governorship or intent to manipulate an existing arrangement that should have rather been the strength of the party. Because political contest suits everybody, both the strong and the weak, an arrangement that engenders sanity like zoning cannot be overemphasized. Many Imolites and outsiders have attested and can vouch for the good nature of Madumere to stir the ship of Imo after Okorocha and deep down the governor’s conscience he knows it as fact. Apart from Okorocha initiating the support for Madumere, Imolites will be at peace with him as their governor and in the fullness of time, the credit will go to the man he refers to as his father, political and otherwise. Therefore, while Okorocha keeps close to his chest his choice of successor, keeping everyone guessing and hanging on to every word that he utters, the news that will gladden the heart of the APC members and none members alike, both from Owerri, Orlu or Okigwe zones will be the naming of Madumere as the party’s flag bearer. By so doing, chances are the APC would have a good outing in 2019 in Imo. –Anyanwu writes from Mbano, Okigwe.

‘Govt Should Employ Diplomacy, Not Law in Tackling Pollution ‘ Abiodun Olaore is a renewable energy expert and the Country Director of Envirofit Nigeria, a subsidiary of U.S.-based Envirofit International that manufactures cooking stove. He Speaks with Omolabake Fasogbon on the challenges of pollution in Nigeria and how it can be tackled by securing the home front


he Nigerian Economy came out of recession in the third quarter of 2017, how do you think the country can consolidate on these gains? I don’t know how they have come to conclude that the country is out of recession when the dividends are yet to reflect in the life of a common man. Yes, reports confirmed so, but can the report be defended if we are to judge by the conditions of the masses? Saying we are out of recession is more or less half theoretical from the banking, monetary policy sides but not in reality. Pollution, especially metropolitan pollution has been a major challenge, consuming a lot of economic resources. How do you think this can be managed? Thanks for using the word ‘Manage’. Yes, pollution can only be managed. A lot of people including the government have been talking about stopping pollution, yet, pollution cannot be stopped, but managed. Definitely, it will be difficult to stop what you have not reduced or managed, at the same time, it is very difficult to stop and it is not easier to manage. Pollution

comes from different sources, including indoor, air out door, the waste, as well as environmental pollution. As a country, we need to decide which one is most important to us and see how we can manage. But the way it is, it is only in cites like Lagos that you see waste being managed and I mean house hold waste. When it comes to air pollution, Lagos is good as not managing at all yet, it contributes heavily to air pollution. From the vehicle we drive, power source and even from cooking. Having to live with these kinds of pollution just in one city could be disastrous. That is why ordinarily in the evening, when the weather is supposed to be cold, it gets a bit hot, because a lot of carbon has been distilled in the air and the mixture is no longer fit for human hence, we manage to survive. However, some sources of pollution are inevitable, for example, the industrial and commercial pollution like the one emanating from trucks. Companies dealing in fast moving consumer goods for instance discharge both industrial and commercial pollution. For any economy, industry is very key, when industries produce, the emit carbon from their machinery and others and when they distribute, they also

emit carbon.This kind of pollution is almost inevitable because it has to do with income generation. But some pollution sources are actually avoidable, these are the ones that come from the home which like lighting and cooking. They are quite avoidable because there are alternatives that can be used to reduce carbon emission from the home.But most often, this area is often neglected.The industrial pollution seems to be getting more attention. For example, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, LASEPA ,which duty is to protect the environment seems to have forgotten that pollution emanates from homes as they focus more on industries.There should be efforts to manage pollution from all sides,if one source can not be reduced, then ,let’s consider other sources that are almost avoidable and can be reduced. For instance, a look into the industrialized countries , industries are allowed to emit carbon because of their activities, but they have to find a means to offset carbon being emitted,in doing so, they look for places where they can trade the carbon by looking for countries and communities that can be encouraged to embrace clean energy to reduce their carbon emission so they don’t keep increasing

from household and industries which is what is causing the problem of climate change. In specifics, how can Nigeria get to balance industrial and house hold pollution? As much as industrial pollution is almost inevitable, concentration should be on the home front most especially through cooking to save the country. You may be thinking how, there are other safe and cheap means we can adopt in doing our cooking ,thus reduce carbon emission. Even at home,we need to consider the implications of carbon emission,a lot of people have died as a result of indoor air pollution,unknown to many because most of such deaths are not recorded. This is why Envirofit has come up with a cooking stove that runs on wood,gas and charcoal. It uses lesser fuel (wood and charcoal) and does not emit smoke.It is such a simple innovation that not only saves money, time , life and forest but reduces carbon emission as well as fuel.The manufacturing companies can invest in this product by way of CSR and buy for their local communities to manage pollution at their ends and by so doing,have been able to offset what they are emitting.



Professor Johnbull Slams Notoriety of Slay Queens

ANOTHER MILESTONE... Dr. Okey Nwuke, Deputy Group Managing Director, Coscharis Group, second left anked by his daughter, Miss Ijeoma Nwuke, left; Mrs. Ifeoma Nwuke, wife, third; Mr Austin Nwuke, brother, right at the graduation ceremony where Dr Okey Nwuke bagged a DBA in Leadership from Walden University, Minnesota, USA‌ recently

You have Case to Answer on Alleged N400m Fraud, Supreme Court Tells Metuh Alex Enumah in Abuja The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the appeal of the former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, insisting the former spokesman must respond to the money laundering charges against him. The apex court in affirming the judgment of the Court of Appeal held that the appeals by the appellants failed to comply with constitutional requirement. The former PDP image maker and his company, Destra Investments Limited are standing trial on allegations of fraudulently receiving N400m from the office of the National Security Adviser. Metuh is also accused of

laundering another $2m. The Court of Appeal had upheld the ruling of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which dismissed Metuh's no-case submissions, on grounds that the appeals were incompetent. This prompted Metuh and his company to proceed to the Supreme Court to seek reversal of the appellate court's decision. However, the apex court in its verdict delivered yesterday on the separate appeals filed by Metuh and his company, affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which had earlier dismissed Metuh's appeal seeking to set aside the decision of the Federal High Courts. According to the Court of Appeal, Metuh and his company failed to first

obtain the leave of either the trial court or the appellate court before filing a notice of appeal as required by the Constitution when filing an appeal against an interlocutory decision, on the grounds of mixed law and facts. The Court of Appeal had held that the appellants having failed in that regard their appeals were incompetent and the court lacked jurisdiction to hear them. Delivering judgment, the Supreme Court held that as much as the Court of Appeal lacked the jurisdiction to hear the appeals, it too could not entertain the appeal arising from the incompetent appeals before the court below. Though, the verdict of the apex court was read by Justice Ejembi Eko, it was however prepared by Justice

Datijo Mohammed, who headed the five-man panel of the apex court. The Supreme Court held that, "By section 233 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), appeals from the Court of Appeal to this court lies only against the decisions of that court. "Such decisions evolve from the Court of Appeal upon the exercise of jurisdiction over appeals from the court below. "Where the Court of Appeal lacks the necessary jurisdiction, in the first place, to hear and determine the appeal before it, such as in the instant case, no decision of the court against the competent appeal lies to this court. "It is for that reason I strike out the incompetent appeal and affirm the judgment of the lower court below."

Popular TV drama series, Professor Johnbull, sponsored by Globacom, will Tuesday, present another episode with focus on the concept of slay queens, a tag given to ladies who go after frivolities instead of substance. The new episode entitled Pepper Dem Gang shows on NTA Network, NTA International on DSV Channel 251 and NTA on StarTimes at 8.30 p.m on Tuesday with a repeat broadcast on Friday at 8.30p.m on the same channels. Veteran TV drama personnel, Chief Chika Okpala, aka, Zebrudayah, makes a cameo appearance in the episode. A statement from Glo said, “Viewers of the satiric drama will find Pepper Dem Gang not only hilarious but equally educating as the lead character of the sitcom, Professor Johnbull, acted by Nollywood legend, Kanayo O. Kanayo (KOK), dissects the concept of slay queen, throwing up issues as to why most ladies adopt more than one birthday dates in a year; why most dressto-kill ladies lack basic idea of the image they portray and why slay queens adopt appellations different from the names given to them at birth. “As Pepper Dem Gang builds to its climax, viewers’ adrenalin pumps up as they try to unravel what Flash (Stephen Odimgbe) does when duty calls for him to defend Jumoke (Bidemi Kosoko) against one of the biggest slay queens acted by Ese Eriata, one of the fake housemates in the last episode of the reality TV show, Big Brother Nigeria (BBN). “Viewers should not miss this week's episode in order to find out why there is unhealthy rivalry among ladies. They will also find out if the concept of slay queen is reflective of the Nigerian culture or not, whether the fake life styles


'Christians Should go for Political Leadership to Save Nigeria' Rising from an emergency meeting, Koinonia Ministerial Network (Komnet) has called on Christians to go for political leadership of the country in order to correct the ills besetting Nigeria. They decried killings of innocent Nigerians, particularly Christians in the north and other parts of the country and charged the federal government to check such waste of human lives. In a communique signed by the its international President, Apostle Tony Olukoyede and its National Secretary, Pastor Simon Okpanachi, the Christian body noted that there were too many ills bedeviling the country and called for prayers. The communique read in parts: “That the leadership and members of KOMNET condemned

the brutal and incessant killings of innocent Nigerians particularly Christians in the North and other parts of Nigeria. “That our hearts go out to the bereaved families of those who lost their lives, and we pray that the Holy Spirit will comfort them all. “The fellowship observed that the too many evils bedeviling our country such as insecurity, kidnapping, killings, fuel scarcity, lack of electricity supply and many more are clear indication of failure of government at all levels in Nigeria. In view of this, therefore, the fellowship advised all Christian leaders to mobilise their followers to take active part in politics by joining any political party of their choice and registering as card carrying members of such

parties. Also, it is important for Christian leaders to encourage their followers who are eighteen (18yrs) old and above to get their INEC voters card particularly now that the 2019 elections are around the corner and INEC is moving from Ward to Ward registering prospective voters. “That all Christians in Nigeria should truly stop forth with eating of cow meat (Beef) for these two reasons: a) This is in protest of the fact that the Fulani herdsmen value the life of a cow than that of a human being which is the reason behind their killing people when they lose one of their cows. 2) This is also in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who were murdered in cold blood by Fulani herdsmen because of cattle in several parts

of Nigeria. “That we reject any attempt by government to Islamise Nigeria but we advise the Federal Government of Nigeria to respect the Nigerian Constitution which recognises Nigeria as a secular state. “That we appeal to the Federal Government to call the killer Fulani herdsmen to order to avoid turning our beloved nation into a battle field. “We the members and leaders of Koinonia Ministerial Network (fellowship of Apostolic Leaders) have decided to boycott the consumption of cow meat in Nigeria till further notice as a solidarity to the good people of Benue State in Nigeria whose sons, daughters and parents were murdered by the herdsmen in the most dehumanizing way ever imagined.

Diamond Bank Partners WARIF in Gender Violence Prevention Diamond Bank Plc, has thrown its weight behind Women at Risk International Foundation’s (WARIF) initiative to prevent gender-based violence and abuse against women in Nigeria. The project which is aimed at educating secondary school girls between the ages of 13-16 years, will use specially designed curriculum that will be offered to students, parents and teachers from selected schools in Lagos. About 200

schoolgirls will participate in the pilot phase of the training programme. In a release made available to media practitioners in Lagos, Chioma Afe, Head, Corporate Communications Division of the Bank, stated that women formed a strong socio-economic force in Nigeria, pointing that stemming the increasing rate of abuse and violence against women would help in building a better and peaceful society.

According to her, Diamond Bank was very passionate about helping women realise their dreams and live better lives, adding that “the partnership with WARIF was an important one, as it was an opportunity to re-orientate and educate women and young students on issues around gender-based violence.� She further stated that “Women's Wealth and Wellbeing form a core part of the bank's approach towards corporate sustainability and WARIF's

efforts provide a good platform through which to empower not only Nigerian women but the younger generation.� “We believe that educating women is a strong economic value addition to the society, this informs our decision to empower them through resultfocused specially designed curriculum that will help equip these young girls with the required knowledge and tools to face the future and prevent gender violence�, she said.

I, formerly known and addressed as UGOCHUKWU VALENTINE ODIMEGWU. now wish to be known and addressed as UGOCHUKWU ODIMEGWU. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as UGOCHUKWU VALENTINE ODIMEGWU. now wish to be known and addressed as UGOCHUKWU ODIMEGWU. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as MISS. OGOCHUKWU MARYROSE EYEKE. now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. OGOCHUKWU MARYROSE OBASI. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as MISS. QUEENETH OBASI. now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. QUEENETH AKINTOMIDE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as MOSES EKPO BASSEY. now wish to be known and addressed as BASSEY MOSES BASSEY. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as FAITH IMUETINYAN OGBEIFUN . now wish to be known and addressed as FAITH IMUETINYAN &>/yÍłK<KEÍ&#x2DC; All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.

of slay queens tally with their intelligence and what the connotative and denotative meanings of slay queens is.â&#x20AC;?


I, formerly known and addressed as ASOLIBE MIRIAN. now wish to be known and addressed as MIRIAN MARCUS ASOLIBE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as MISS AJUONUMA KELECHI GLORIA. now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. CHIDIEBERE KELECHI GLORIA. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as MISS GLORY FAANEE. now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. GLORY MARK. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as DESTINY LETAM NUKA . now wish to be known and addressed as DEEMUA LETAM GODSWILL. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as UKPEBOR EHIS IRENE. now wish to be known and addressed as ERIAGBON FEMI EHISE IRENE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as MISS CHINYERE KELECHUKWU NJOKU. now wish to be known and addressed as MRS CHINYERE KELECHUKWU ALOZIE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as MISS TEMITOPE BARAKAT GIDADO. now wish to be known and addressed as MRS TEMITOPE BARAKAT SHOTOMIWA. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as KEBE ARCHIBONG. now wish to be known and addressed as KEBE ARCHIBONG ABAM. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as ADEOJO JULIANA YETUNDE. now wish to be known and addressed as OJO JULIANA YETUNDE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as AMOS ODINAKA NWAOKORO. now wish to be known and addressed as AMOS ODINAKA OKORO. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as OLUWADAMILOLA TEMIDAYO ALLIU. now wish to be known and addressed as OLUWADAMILOLA TEMIDAYO AKHIGBE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I, formerly known and addressed as MISS ENOCH CHIKAODILI OGOCHUKWU. now wish to be known and addressed as MRS ORJI LUCKY OGOCHUKWU CHIMAMANDA. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.

I, formerly known and addressed as UGO KALU NDUKWO. now wish to be known and addressed as UGO NWOKOCHA DIKE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.

Saturday, February 10, 2018



& RE A S O


Price: N250

MISSILE Babangida to APC “We are still experiencing a huge infrastructure deficit across the country and one had thought the APC-led federal government would behave differently from their counterparts in previous administrations. I am hesitant to ask; where is the promised change?” – Former Military President Ibrahim Babangida chastising the ruling All Progressives Congress-led federal government.


How Labour Party May Rescue The Third Force


ellow Nigerians, please, let’s continue our 2019 Presidential race permutations today. Since those who subscribe to the idea and possibility of a third force to neutralise and replace the former ruling party PDP and the current APC are beginning to swell by the day, I believe that it is apposite to give some kind of direction to the clamour for a third potent Party to challenge the status quo. This is particularly necessary because those championing a third force movement have not told us on which plank or platform they wish to elect and erect their next President. Let me, therefore, volunteer to make a suggestion to them. In doing so, I must confess that I agree that Nigeria cannot easily move forward in the right direction with the current class and category of politicians and the convoluted political system we have. The time has thus come to look and move in a different direction. To this extent I agree with a third force movement. However, it is my view that such a movement must quickly metamorphose into a political Party if it is to be of any relevance in the scheme of things during the 2019 elections. The third force movement seems to be concentrating only on the Presidential elections. However, as we have seen from the way that the Buhari Presidency has to some extent been shackled, even when it has tried to do the right things, this is not enough. Any movement and Donald Duke eventual Party must also aim to provide a significant number of legislators in both a national legislator. In places where it national and state legislators as well as a has not won it has come creditably close good number of governors. It is only in to winning. Significantly, apart from other this way that the progress that we wish to Parties than the main Parties, which are achieve with an alternative to these infested known to be regional Parties, the Party has and infectious political Parties that we now even produced a Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State. have can be crystallised. It is therefore clear to me that, if the For me, this third force movement can turn into a quiet workers revolution and seems Labour Party is properly set up with the to me a vindication of the approach that I right leadership, it is significantly poised sought to bring into the public consciousness to take the fight to present crop of corrupt, in the 2011 Presidential elections. It appears inefficient and selfish politicians who largely from the current ground swell of emotions populate the present two main Parties. I and frenetic activity, that many Nigerians must not forget that another Party exists, are beginning to see what I saw in 2010/11 which has made some waves in the recent when I opted for the Labour Party in my past, the Accord Party, but it is my opinion quest for the Nigerian Presidency. My reasons that the Accord Party lacks the necessary were simple and straightforward. I shall set credentials or wherewithal to mount a major challenge as a national Party. It certainly out some of my reasons. I found Labour Party attractive because does not have the kind of inherent backbone I reasoned and assumed that it was the and force that the Labour Party possesses workers’ Party. However, there was a lot of because of the backing the Labour Party unnecessary politicking and intrigue coupled receives from organised Labour in Nigeria with a sheer lack of understanding of the namely, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). Everybody will accept that the biggest potential of the political platform that the Party represented. This led to those in charge sufferers in Nigeria, apart from the being willing to settle for crumbs from the unemployed, are actually the workers, political landlords, rather than allowing the whether they be in the public or private Party to occupy the political leadership space sector. This may sound oxymoronic, but that it has been so naturally and strategically it is the reality. Despite some half-hearted built. Though the Labour Party turned out legislation which aims to protect workers not to be what I expected, I still believe it is and workers rights, most Nigerian workers, not too late and it is possible to repackage especially those in the public sector remain that Party into a most revolutionary and poorly remunerated and compensated for formidable movement in our long-suffering their services. It is pathetic that, in fact, it is country. The Party has proven that it can the junior workers who suffer most when win elections and that it is not a regional it comes to poor pay and conditions. The or ethnic Party because it has won elections minimum wage remains a paltry N18,000 in the Southern part of Nigeria, including monthly even though it should have been

renegotiated since 2015. In any event, a multitude of our workers don’t even get paid for months despite promises by our political leaders. These workers have never used their power to punish their oppressors by sacking them from office. Yet, they have the power and are in an unenviable position to do so if they harness the might and resources at their disposal to act as a cohesive unit and speak with one voice through the one mega platform that they themselves put together for their advancement, the Labour Party. It has always been my belief that Nigerian workers desperately and urgently need a social welfare system. Only a Party that has their hopes and aspirations at heart can begin to understand their yearnings and make provision for it. These are not highfalutin or inordinate objectives for the Nigerian workers, but necessary and achievable standards that would give a modicum of decency and respectability to the Nigerian workers. I am a fervent believer in social welfarism and I know that it is the generality of the workforce that makes Nigeria the great nation that it is today. There may be entrepreneurs and innovators but ideas are only as good as the people who bring them to fruition, and these are the workers. It is therefore necessary and incumbent on us to ensure that they deserve the commendation and remuneration due to them for their services to the nation. If our political class do not understand this, as it appears to be the case, then it is about time for the workers to muster themselves together and take matters into their own hands. It is elitist to suggest that they do not have the right personnel or temperament for this. These were the reasons that I linked up with the British Labour Party for tutelage in 2010. It was important to me to understand how a Party organised by the workers with their ideals and interests in mind was organised so that we could adapt this to our situation in Nigeria as appropriate. I remain grateful to a British Labour MP, Mr Andy Love, who was kind to offer his time to help us fashion out a new package which would have enabled us to embark on reforms in Education, Health, Agriculture, Transport, Housing and so on. Unfortunately, as I subsequently discovered, the Nigeria Labour Congress which has been a major contributor, was not in charge or control of the Labour Party. Neither was the Trade Union Congress nor the United Labour Congress. Indeed, by some quirk of fate, politicians had hijacked the Party and turned it on its head, making it merely an avenue to negotiate for a pittance instead of appropriating its destiny and owning its own narrative. There was no vision or understanding in the leadership of the great opportunity presented by the labour Party to pull Nigeria from the brink that it has found itself. To me, recent trends and events in Nigeria including restructuring and the agitation for a change in the kind of leadership that Nigeria has been afflicted with, presents a great opportunity for the Labour Party

to come to the fore. The Labour Party is already blessed with a prospective pool of a staggering amount of professionals and technocrats in both the private and public sectors. Most of them are not tainted or tarnished by being in politics. By virtue of their positions, the leadership of organised labour in Nigeria not only know what is wrong with Nigeria, they can fix it. They have suffered the effects of poor political and indolent leadership. They have watched as ineffectual and irrational policies compounded by woeful and inefficient implementation have gradually brought the country to its knees. The result is that the entire nation is almost comatose as it wallows in neglect and abject poverty amidst a blessing of riches, both human and natural. The support of organised labour can put an end to our misery. We do not have to wait for a realignment of political personages and forces that have failed us. The APC experiment has shown that what will simply happen is that the strange bedfellows will inevitably not sleep together and rancour, discord and acrimony will be the order if the day from the outset. The only natural outcome can only be a bitter divorce the like of which we may not have seen before. Indeed, this is what is now playing out before our very eyes. A viable Labour Party can spare us the agony of watching and tolerating this distasteful and indecent split between those who never had our interest at heart. The sheer workforce and humongous spread and reach of the Nigerian workers would readily intimidate and neutralise any of our existing political parties. There is already an uncommon database available to the Labour Party if there is a formal and proper synergy between organised Labour and the Party. We must appreciate that we have a chance to make a difference. Workers and the unemployed make the largest pool of voters. They will also be those to conduct and monitor their interests. They will recognise that they have a vested interest in the outcome of the elections and ensure that those who would like to rig us out of our heritage and future do not succeed. That is why I will advocate that we give our unalloyed support to the veritable third force that the Labour Party represents. Let us not be fooled by political warlords who are desperately trying to reclaim some of the political space for themselves. The Labour Party is the Third Force. It is for us to recognise this and embrace the Party. We need to give it fillip because it seems to me that this is the alternative we have been seeking. As the Yoruba’s will say “nkan ti a n’wa lo Sokoto o wa l’apo Sokoto (what we are going to Sokoto – the city – to look for, is actually resting in our pockets”. Together we can do this. Let us do it and support a natural progressive Party that has been staring us in the face all this while. Let us unify and associate with the Labour Party. God bless Nigeria.

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Saturday 10th February 2018  
Saturday 10th February 2018