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How Buhari Shut Down Dalung over 2019 Enquiry Olawale Olaleye The date was Wednesday, February 7 and the venue was the Federal Executive Council Chamber at the State House, Abuja. Council members had just concluded deliberations on all issues listed for discussion.

Then it was time for AOB Any Other Business. Swiftly, Mr. Solomon Dalung, Minister of Sports, signified his intention to ask a question. He was immediately recognised by President Muhammadu Buhari, who chaired the meeting, to take the floor. With his microphone turned

on, Dalung’s voice resonated across the council chamber. He sought to know if it was true that the president had reappointed the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, as the director-general of his re-election campaign for the 2019 presidential election. Dalung told the president

that “someone” had been going around, claiming to have been appointed the DG of the president’s re-election campaign and that the president would be seeking re-election in 2019. He said that person seemed to be the only one who knew about this. He, therefore, sought to

hear from the president if the claims were true. He added that as his ministers, they all deserved to know and hear such things directly from him because it could give undue advantage to those advancing the cause. Immediately, there was pin-drop silence in the council chamber. All eyes

were locked on the President. But Buhari quickly broke the ice as he turned off Dalung’s microphone and moved on to see if there was anyone that had anything to say under AOB, without as much nodding to Continued on page 8

Abdulsalami: Why Medical Tourism Persists … Page 10 Sunday 11 February, 2018 Vol 23. No 8333 TR


& RE A S O



Boko Haram Frees 10 Policewomen, 3 Unimaid Professors How ICRC facilitated their release

Omololu in Abuja Olugbode

Ogunmade and Michael in Maiduguri

Thirteen persons, including

10 policewomen and three University of Maiduguri professors were yesterday released by Boko Haram to the federal government.

The 10 women police officers were abducted during a raid by the militant group on a military/police convoy on Damboa road,

near Maiduguri, while the three university professors were kidnapped during an oil exploration in Magumeri, Borno

Following their release, President Muhammadu Buhari received a briefing from the Department of State Services (DSS) on the rescued

13 people, who were abducted at different times last year by the Boko Haram sect. Cosntinued on page 8

Northern Leaders Begin Consultation over 2019 Hint at consensus candidate

Seek alliance with South

Paul Obi in Abuja Members of northern Nigeria’s political elite met yesterday in Abuja to deliberate the fate of the region ahead of the 2019 presidential election and what they should do about the spate of insecurity in the North. Held under the aegis of Northern Elders and Stakeholders Conversation, the meeting had in attendance former political office holders from the North, some of who talked about the need for a consensus candidate for the region before the presidential election. The gathering was full of reminiscences of an earlier exercise before the 2011 presidential poll, when former Vice President Atiku Abubakar emerged the North’s anointed aspirant following a selection process by some “17 wise men” led by Mallam Adamu Ciroma. But Atiku was defeated by the immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, a southerner, Cosntinued on page 8

Buhari Loses LAGOS CITY MARATHON... Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Oluranti Adebule; wife of the state governor, Bolanle Ambode; Governor Akinwunmi Ambode; Minister of Sports, Two Relatives L-R: Solomon Dalung; GMD, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe; and winners of 20 and 10 kilometres race, respectively, Miss Damilola and Bimpe Oluwaseyi, Kola Olasupo during the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon...yesterday … Page 12


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͹͹˜ͺ͸͹΀˾T H I S DAY, T H E S U N DAY N E W S PA P E R


Abdulsalami: Why Medical Tourism Persists Olusegun Adeniyi inPortHarcourt Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, has listed inadequate number of qualified medical practitioners and the rising emigration of the well-qualified few as part of the reasons for medical tourism with billions of naira “spent annually in foreign countries to treat ailments which could have been easily treated in Nigeria if there are adequately qualified doctors in the country.” Abdulsalami spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, at his investiture as the pioneer Chancellor of Pamo University of Medical Sciences, the first tertiary institution in Nigeria dedicated solely to the study of

medicine. It is promoted by the former Rivers State Governor, Dr Peter Odili. According to the former Head of State, the “inability of our universities to meet up with the increasing demand for placement is more pronounced in the field of medicine and medical related programmes” while recent reports “have shown that less than five percent of qualified candidates are able to gain admission into medical programmes in all Nigerian universities.” Nigeria, Abdulsalami also said, has been witnessing an increasing out-flow of students seeking tertiary medical education in neighbouring African countries such as Ghana,

Uganda and Sudan and other countries outside the continent with disastrous consequences. “The last medical and dental council of Nigeria examination of foreign trained doctors saw 680 doctors sitting for the examination. The sad aspect of this however is the monumental failure rate of the foreign trained doctors in the medical and dental council professional qualifying examination as witnessed in the last examination,” he said. Praising what he described as a phenomenal growth in the number of private universities due to the increasing number of applicants seeking admission every year, Abdulsalami said the enormous role being played by the private sector cannot be

overemphasized. Besides, he added, “we should encourage more private participation because with our large population and a significant percentage of it being under 25, the demand for higher education is going to increase in the years ahead.” He therefore called on the National Universities Commission to, as a matter of urgency, review the requirements for the establishment of private universities. “Such a review will take cognizance of the nature of mono discipline and city based institutions like PAMO University of Medical Sciences”, he said. In his speech, the founder and pro-Chancellor, attributed the

establishment of the university to “the outcome of two providential occurrences”, the first being a 21 acres land purchased from two families in 1989 for building a ginger processing factory and an infusion manufacturing plant, a project that never took off at a period he was into ginger and cassava farming; and the second, an encounter with a ‘stranger’ in the course of a four-hour delayed flight in Abuja on 19thDecember 2016. The said ‘stranger’, who encouraged Odili to think about giving something back to the profession that made him, by way of a tertiary institution for the training of future doctors, turned out to be the executive sectary of the National University

Commission (NUC), Prof Abubakar Rasheed. In a tone that was emotional, Odili said “Prof Rasheed has shown, through this project and the processes leading to this event, that there are still in this country, true patriots devoid of the primordial, divisive and selfish tendencies that have kept us down as a people over the years”. Aside host Governor Nyesom Wike, his Niger State counterpart, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, former Kano State Governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, and several important personalities from the National Assembly as well as the bar and bench in Nigeria were present at the event.

subcommittee, and restructuring of Nigeria subcommittee. It approved the holding of a Northern Political Submit on March 15 “to commemorate the attainment of self-government of the Northern Region in 1959.” Dr Umar Ardo was chosen as secretary of the NPLF and Commodore Isaac M Mankilik (rtd) was appointed deputy secretary. In his opening address, Bello said, “From what is apparent in the political arena today, it is clear that the major political operators have agreed that in the forthcoming 2019 general elections, it is the turn of the North to produce the president… “But from what we have seen earlier, it has always been zoned to the North but the decision on what to do and who to be has never been a northern decision. “What we observed is that the same trend is starting now. We have seen all kinds of movements coming up. If you look at what is happening now and remember what happened when it was the time of the North to produce president,

President Umaru Yar'Adua of blessed memory was produced but was he really a northern choice? “At the end of the day, Yar'Adua had mishap and lost his life in the process and somebody else was also chosen, his Vice President. We knew the struggle that went on when it was decided that the presidency should leave the North. It wasn't the northerners who decided that the Presidency should leave the North. We had to follow the bandwagon. “The same thing happened in 2015, the North voted for the northern candidate but the decision on who should be the candidate wasn't a northern decision. What we want is that this time around, let us have the opportunity to come together so that whatever is decided for the North, it is the northern leaders who decide it and then we get support from other regions.” Bello added, “There is therefore an urgent need for consultations across all shades of political opinions within the North with the principal aim

of forging a common front to partner with our brothers and sisters in other regions to ensure that, this time around, the leadership that shall emerge is one that can unite and develop our country with equity, justice and peace for all. This is the main objective of this meeting.” Addressing the gathering, Yakasai stated, “Our country is once again in a big problem in which northern Nigeria seems to be passing through its most trying times since 1914. There are issues of insecurity, civil strife, internecine ethnic killings, killer herdsmen, indigene/settler conflict, kidnappings, collapse of civil authority, etc.” He said, “For the people of the North to come out of these challenges, undoubtedly triggered by poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, unemployment, lack of honest and sincere leadership and the huge lifestyle disparity in the society, they must resolve the current leadership failure in the region, and return the region back to its rightful position in Nigeria’s national balance of political power.”

a lot of happiness. "He commended all those who in one way or the other helped in making the release possible. "He then urged the DSS and the Nigerian Army to intensify efforts to bring home the remaining Chibok girls still in the custody of the terrorists. "The Director-General, Malam Lawal Daura, assured the president that they were

working hard to bring home the remaining girls and, as soon as possible, bring the issue of Chibok girls to an end," the statement noted. Meanwhile, ICRC, in a statement yesterday, claimed it facilitated the release of the three professors and ten women police officers. The statement read: “The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today (Saturday) facilitated the handover -- from the armed opposition to the Nigerian military -- of 10 women police officers and three university professors.” “This operation in Northeast Nigeria, with the ICRC acting as a neutral intermediary, was carried out at the request of the parties to the ongoing armed conflict.” The statement quoted its Deputy Regional Director for Africa, Patrick Youssef, as saying: “We are so pleased that these 13 people are free and will be able to see their families again.” The statement claimed that: “The ICRC was not involved in any negotiations that led to the handover of the 13 people. The armed opposition handed the 13 people over to ICRC representatives, who transported them to Nigerian authorities. This action was similar to what the ICRC did in October 2016 and May 2017, when we transported the released “Chibok girls” to Nigerian officials.” “There are many people missing or being held against

their will due to the conflict,” said Youssef. “This creates untold trauma and suffering, including for families across the Lake Chad region, who must live with the daily uncertainty and anguish of not knowing the fate or whereabouts of their loved ones. We hope that these people, too, will get to return to their families soon.” The statement emphasised that: “The ICRC remains ready to provide similar humanitarian services in the future when asked by relevant parties to the conflict.” In a similar development, the military has rescued a woman and her granddaughter from the Sambisa enclave of the insurgents. The military revealed that: “Troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE have continued to record success in Operation DEEP PUNCH II inside Sambisa forest. Just yesterday, Friday 9th February 2018, they have cleared some discovered enclaves and rescued an elderly woman and her granddaughter. The military promised in the statement that: “The ongoing operation will continue until all abducted persons are rescued from the Boko Haram terrorist wherever they might be.” It however asked that: “Consequently, communities must remain vigilant and report strange persons or unusual movements and escapees.”

NORTHERN LEADERS BEGIN CONSULTATION OVER 2019 at the Peoples Democratic Party primary. Judging by the opinions of some attendees of yesterday’s meeting, especially on the question of a compromise candidate, the current consultations may thwart the yet-to-be-announced second term aspiration of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is also a northerner. Members of the northern elite observed during the meeting that getting a consensus presidential candidate had become urgent since the major political actors in the country were disposed to the North retaining the presidential position in 2019. They talked about the need to take ownership of the selection process, because the two presidents the region had produced since the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1999, Buhari and late President Umaru Yar'Adua, were not really nominees of the region, but leaders systematically foisted on the North. The Northern Elders and Stakeholders Conversation was convened by former PDP

national chairman, Dr. Haliru Mohammed Bello, former Deputy Senate President Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu, and Senator Paul Wampana, and chaired by Alhaji Tanko Yakasai. It was attended by former governors of Adamawa State, Boni Haruna, and Niger State, Babaginda Aliyu; and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Ghali Umar Na'Abba. Others were former governor of Bauchi State and ex-PDP national chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, Senator Bala Mande, Senator Solomon Ewuga, Alhaji Ango Abdullahi, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, Alhaji Bala Mohammed, and prominent lawyer, Professor Awwal Yadudu. In a communiqué signed by Mantu on behalf of the forum, the members said their objectives were, among others, “To review the general security situation in the North and proffer viable solution,” and, “To appraise the current state of politics in the North in relation to the unfolding national political dynamics with a view to creating a common

northern position for alliance with our fellow citizen in the southern zones.” The forum regretted the promotion of nepotism, incompetence, and lack of credibility in appointments, especially by state governors in the region. It lamented the “drastically collapsing” security architecture in the North and the country, generally, saying, “There is no attempt to arrest the problem.” However, the communiqué noted that the forum would remain “nonpartisan but political, non-ethic and non-religious.” The members decided to establish the Northern Elders and Stakeholders Conversation as a standing forum for the North, to be called Northern Political Leaders Forum, suggesting an interesting reminiscence of the pre-2011 forum that had produced Atiku. The meeting set up five subcommittees to address the various challenges identified in the North. They were the security subcommittee, political subcommittee, northern unity subcommittee, the 2019 election

BOKO HARAM FREES 10 POLICEWOMEN, 3 UNIMAID PROFESSORS Announcing the release in a statement last night, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Malam Garba Shehu, who said both the release of 10 women and the university dons was a product of negotiations, added that Buhari charged the DSS to also hasten the release of the remaining Chibok girls. According to him, their release was the bye-product of a series of negotiations

directed by Buhari and facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Shehu further said the DSS told Buhari that the 13 rescued individuals were currently in the custody of the agency and were on their way to Abuja with the assistance of the Nigerian Army and the Air Force. “In expectation of their being brought to the DSS

headquarters, a team of doctors and psychologists has been placed on standby. "The rescued persons may be presented to the president and thereafter released to their families, if there are no issues of security or medical concerns. "The president, who got step by step progress reports on the lengthy negotiations while they took place, received the good news with

HOW BUHARI SHUT DOWN DALUNG OVER 2019 INQUIRY the issues raised by Dalung, let alone addressing his concerns. A source present at the FEC meeting, said from his own observation, it was a surprise question and the president must have been disappointed by Dalung’s enquiry, more so that he was one of those ministers, who created the impression that they enjoyed special relationship with the president. The source was of the opinion that Dalung should have discussed such issue with the president on one-on-one basis, considering the current political atmosphere and the fact that one of the cabinet members had expressed her preference for another candidate in next year’s presidential election. “He should have known that there is actually no way Amaechi would have been going around in the name of the president without first having the consent of

the president. But when you now feign not to know these things and go all out to say things that tend to embarrass the president, you won’t expect that he would treat you any differently. Would you?” Another FEC source said the question raised by the sports minister was preceded by a mild drama among some of the ministers, a few days before the last FEC, and that his intention might have been to clear some of the grey areas that were spotted during a different meeting of the ministers. The source said ministers usually hold meetings at the home of one of the ministers from the North-central where they all brainstorm and treat issues at their level as ministers before and after every FEC meeting, He said Amaechi was at the last meeting in the home of that minister where he intimated his colleagues of his appointment and added that the president

might be seeking re-election. Unfortunately, all the ministers at the meeting were said to have been disappointed at the handling of the president’s re-election project so far as they opined that as direct appointees of the president, Amaechi was not the one to break such news to them. Some of the ministers were also said to have faulted Amaechi on how he had been carrying on since the said appointment and warned that such disposition could divide the party ahead of the presidential election. It was, perhaps, the mood at the extra-council meeting that Dalung took to last week's FEC to clear the air with the president but to which he got no answer except a “loud silence”. However, a prominent national officer of the APC and elected official of the party said his own interpretation of the development was either

of two things: that the silence was a confirmation of the letter appointing Amaechi as DG campaign or that the president was actually a reluctant candidate. But a source close to Amaechi has dismissed the misgivings of those against his appointment as unfounded, saying, “The only problem with it is that they never expected that Amaechi would play yet a prominent role in the re-election of the president. That, indeed, is the basis for the conspiracy against him. “If their problem is that the president has not personally told them, being his direct appointees, then, they should wait till he does that. He spoke to Amaechi when he decided it was time. He would speak to them too but at his own time. One thing is that Amaechi is not in any way divisive the way some are going about saying it and he would deliver the president again in 2019.”




FEBRUARY 11, 2018 ˾T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R


Editor, Editorial Page PETER ISHAKA Email

APC’S VOLTE FACE ON RESTRUCTURING APC’s about-turn rekindles hope for the overdue restructuring of the country


lthough the All Progressives Congress (APC) committed itself to restructuring the country and promised to support devolution of powers during the 2015 general elections, the party reneged upon ascending to the presidency. That perhaps explains why not a few Nigerians greeted the recent report of the APC committee, chaired by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, with snide remarks. Some of the populist recommendations in the report include devolution of powers; state control of mineral resources, including oil and gas, except those on offshore; state police and delisting of local government from the 1999 Constitution as amended, among others. Incidentally, most of the proposals by the El-Rufai committee tally with those of the National Conference, which the federal government and its leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, had sworn not to touch with even a long pole. Indeed, last year, APC legislators in the National Assembly The turnaround of stood stoutly against the APC is a welcome the Devolution of development in Powers Amendment the hope that the Bill, killing it durparty would use its ing the passage of hold on the levers of amendments to the power to support all constitution. The bill efforts, including the sought to devolve ongoing amendment some critical powers to the constitution, to the federating to restructure and units by moving some rebalance the country items from the excluin order to make sive to the concurrent it a more efficient legislative list. federation Instructively, in his New Year Day nationwide broadcast less than two months ago, the clamour for restructuring took a drubbing from President Buhari, who dismissed it as a misguided endeavour, contending that the problem with Nigeria was more with the process rather than structure. That was consistent with the position of many APC leaders, including El-Rufai, who chaired the party’s restructuring committee. Indeed, in 2014 when the Goodluck Jonathan administration

Letters to the Editor

instituted the National Conference, in what was then generally seen an election gambit, APC was the only political party in the country that did not attend and its government had insisted that it would not implement the conference recommendations.




hat the foregoing therefore suggests is that those who view the latest position of APC with cynicism, suggesting that it is an opportunistic attempt to curry support from the supporters of restructuring massed in some sections of the country, may not be off the mark. “They rode to power on the back of great promises in 2015 without clearly fulfilling any till date. Now again, as we enter election year, they are coming up with what many of them strongly condemn and oppose”, said Action Democratic Party (ADP) National Chairman, Mr Yusuf Yabaji Sani, whose view tallies with that of many Nigerians. However, notwithstanding the reservations about the sincerity of the APC on the issue of restructuring, Nigerians should give the party the benefit of the doubt. The onus is now on the APC leaders to prove that this is not another deceit designed to win the votes of Nigerians next year. As this newspaper has said severally, the current, and essentially unitary, structure is not working for Nigeria as it continues to stifle its development and growth on all fronts, generating internecine strife all over the federation. A more recent evidence of the endemic failure of our federal structure is the armed challenge to the Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranching Law by herdsmen under their umbrella body, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN). Following incessant fatal clashes between herders and farmers, the state government promulgated a law, prohibiting open grazing by livestock and required their owners to ranch them. The herders opposed the law and vowed not to obey it. Rather than enforce the law, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, advised the state government to suspend it. This speaks eloquently to the challenge of a skewed federal system as Benue would have enforced its law were it to have its own police. The turnaround of the APC is, therefore, a welcome development in the hope that the party would use its hold on the levers of power to support all efforts, including the ongoing amendment to the constitution, to restructure and rebalance the country in order to make it a more efficient federation that would work for every citizen of Nigeria irrespective of their tribe, religion and gender.

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



resident Muhammadu Buhari has assigned a very difficult and challenging job to Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu - to resolve disagreements among party members, party leadership and political office holders in some states and the centre. The job is a challenging one because internal squabble and scrabble for who gets what are normal in political parties especially in a nascent democracy like that of Nigeria. But when such games get messier and personal, the ‘hands’ of a leader is needed to put a stop to it. Though, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a political party that consists of different individuals with diverse ideologies and political backgrounds, harmony amongst members is still possible. Tinubu, love or hate him, is a colossus in the APC and in

Nigerian politics. Tinubu is the right person to head APC reconciliation committee. Tinubu and Buhari are the foundations in the formation and membership drive of the APC, though, the New-PDP and the then three governors also made remarkable impact. Tinubu commands respect in the APC, his mode of operations in politics is unique and ‘pungent’. If the APC is a plc, Tinubu should at least own 40 per cent stake. Apart from Buhari, Tinubu is the most senior individual in the APC, so there is no person in the APC that may not honour Tinubu’s invitation for reconciliation. From 1999 to date, Tinubu has been in the control of the southwest. As it is now, in Nigeria, only Buhari and Tinubu are undisputable regional powers with cult-like followership. As far as 2019 presi-

dential election is concerned, Tinubu holds some sort of ace, taking into cognisance the current permutations in the politics of the presidential candidate in both the APC and the PDP. Both parties may likely have their presidential candidates from the north. Whichever candidate secures the southwest’s nod, will easily win the presidential election. No political party in power can be crisis-free. There are five main problems facing the APC: first, ex-governors who want to control incumbent governors; second, governors in their last terms fighting incumbent senators for senatorial tickets. Third, senators who want to become governors. Fourth, parliamentarians unsure of a return ticket. Fifth, party faithful who feel they have been sidelined by state

or federal government. In fact, the current squabble in the APC revolves around 2019 elections. Most of these issues are surmountable. Some bigwigs just need some ego-massage- a simple apology to them will do the trick, others need an assurance of tickets for their seats while some individuals need government patronage - contracts or appointment. Tinubu will for sure bring revived cohesion within the APC as well as reconcile many aggrieved members of the party. He will face some stringent challenges. The crisis in the APC has, in some cases, turned personal and also it has become the only way for political relevance and a source of ‘income’ for some people. This is where President Buhari’s ‘hand’ is critically needed. Tinubu should painstakingly choose his committee members: people with integrity, ability to keep things confidential, understanding of intrigues of party politics and

good command of respect from members of the party. Tinubu also needs independent intelligent report on each of the cases before meeting parties. Tinubu should also, if possible, avoid a ‘fanfare’ visit to states for reconciliation. A neutral ground should be a good choice, but if visit to states is necessary, it should be covert. Furthermore, some young people should be part of the committee. It will bring dynamisms, colour and send a new message. President Buhari’s choice of Bola Tinubu to head the APC reconciliation efforts is based on a known fact: Tinubu has gone through the mills of politics, he has laboured enough to form the APC, he can do everything possible to keep the party strong, but some of the crises in the party are normal- they are all about 2019 elections. ––Zayyad I. Muhammad, Jimeta, Adamawa State.




T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾EBRUARY 11, 2018


News Editor Abimbola Akosile E-mail:, 08023117639 (sms only)

Why $2.5 Billion Solar Power Projects are Stalled tFG withholding PCOAs on account of opaque, costly negotiated PPAs Chineme Okafor in Abuja

THISDAY has exclusively obtained documents at the weekend, which provide details on why progress has been quite slow on the consummation of outstanding deals and construction of 14 new solar power plants that could generate 1,125 megawatts (MW) of power to the grid. The facts in the documents are, however, at variance with recent claims by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing,

Mr. Babatunde Fashola, that the IPPs had made demands the federal government could not meet, hence their construction delays. Fourteen solar independent power producers (IPPs) signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) in July 2016 for the construction of power projects in mostly northern states at a total cost of $2.5 billion. THISDAY learnt that further developments on them have,

however, stalled for reasons relating to opaque procurement of their PPAs, as well as the expensive tariffs approved therein. In the documents from the ministry of finance, the government through the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had following the signing of the 14 PPAs in July 2016, queried the 11.5 cent cost of power approved for the projects. It also claimed the procurement processes were not clear to it and as such it would hold back approval of

Put Call Option Agreements (PCOAs) for them. It also insisted that the average cost of procuring solar power globally had continued to decline and that on that basis, Nigeria was at the risk of an unhealthy sovereign risk exposure if it went ahead to approve PCOAs on 11.5 cent per kilowatt hour (Kwh) for the projects. The documents, which also included details of what may have transpired in the process suggested that trouble started


L-R: Director General of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), Dr. Michael Spindelegger; Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa; and the Austrian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Werner Senfter, during a courtesy visit to the SSA in Abuja...recently

after a former Managing Director of NBET, Mr. Rumundaka Wonodi, who reportedly advanced the process in the PPAs, but did not agree to a price with the investors was abruptly removed from office in May 2016. Accordingly, Wonodi’s removal paved the way for some officials in the NBET and power ministry to cut deals with the investors, and the 11.5/Kwh price was approved for them. It was also learnt that negotiations on the price were singlehandedly done by a top official of the power ministry and conclusion subsequently handed down to the NBET to act on without interrogating the outcomes. As was described by a credible source close to the development, “it was like a bazaar. Every other week, an email will come informing us that a tariff has been agreed and we should sign PPA. Within two weeks, we had 14 PPAs to sign.” Also, THISDAY gathered from a notice of operational licenses approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) that some of the solar power investors, who got the PPAs were licensed by the NERC few months to their signing of the PPAs. One of the projects to be sited in Nasarawa got its licence in November 2016, some four months after getting a PPA. Notwithstanding, Adeosun, in response to the requests by the power ministry and NBET to approve PCOAs for the projects on this price, refused

to, and in one of the many official letters exchanged on this, pointed out that development costs for solar power had significantly declined in the past few years and that prices for the projects’ Kwh of electricity must be reasonable. She even made references to similar competitive procurements South Africa, Zambia, Egypt and Ethiopia had made within the period Nigeria had hers, and which prices were between five and seven cents per Kwh. She further explained in the letter that considering the risk cover to be provided by the government in the form of Partial Risk Guarantees (PRGs) and PCOAs, the tariff in Nigeria should at least be at par with that of these countries, while project costs should reflect what obtains across the globe. Additionally, Adeosun informed that the government would not approve PCOAs for the projects or any other one unless it was convinced the pricing was fair, competitive, and projects viable and needed by Nigeria. To buttress the government’s stance, Adeosun, in one of her responses to NBET after its current Managing Director, Dr. Marilyn Amobi,was appointed, asked that it renegotiate the tariffs in the PPAs before she would approve the PCOAs. To this end, THISDAY learnt that two investors – Afrinergia Power Limited and CT Cosmos Limited, have reviewed their rates to 7.5 cents per Kwh and also got Adeosun’s approval of their PCOAs in December 2017. (See concluding part on

Without Reconciliation, APC Can’t Win Rivers, Says Saraki Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has warned that unless members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) reconcile their differences, it would be difficult for the party to win any election in Rivers State in the 2019

elections. This came as Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, called on Rivers politicians and political office holders to always place the state first in all their dealings. The duo spoke yesterday during a thanksgiving service in

honour of elected APC National andStateAssemblyMembersin Port Harcourt, the state capital. In his address, Saraki urged the APC in Rivers State to reconcile, pointing out that they would have challenges if their internal conflict persists. The Senate President was

reacting to a situation where APC members loyal to Senator Magnus Abe were holding a thanksgiving service while those loyal to former Governor and Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, were holding a rally in Khana, Abe’s constituency.

NULGE Chairman Assassinated in Bayelsa

Buhari Loses Two Relatives

Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

The extended family of President Muhammadu Buhari was at the weekend in Daura, struck by tragedy, which claimed the lives of its two senior members, who died within intervals of a few hours. Inastatement,SeniorSpecialAssistanttothePresidentonMediaand Publicity,MalamGarbaShehu,said oneofthedeceased,HajiyaHalima Dauda, who had been buried in Daurayesterdaymorningwasthe president’snieceandyoungersister tohiscloseassociateandnephew, Malam MammanDaura. ShehustatedthatHalimadiedat abouttheageof56,leavingbehind 10children,fourofthemmaleand six female ones, including one of Buhari’s personal assistants, MohammedSabi’uTunde. According to Shehu, the burial wasattendedbyafederalgovernment delegation led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Malam AbbaKyari.

The Bayelsa State Police Command yesterday confirmed the killing of the Chairman of the Southern Ijaw Council chapter of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Mr. Okaye Igali, by suspected assassins. The hoodlums who shot and ripped out the intestines of the deceased, aged 53, around the Ayama Ijaw junction in the local council, were said to have taken off after the act. Igali was said to have died a few minutes after being taken to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Yenagoa, Bayelsa state. THISDAY learnt that the deceased was in a tricycle, popularlyknownasKekeNapep and was heading to the Ayama Ijaw jetty to board a speedboat to his council area when he was

attacked by gunmen who allegedly trailed him from Yenagoa. In a reaction, the Deputy State President,NULGE,BayelsaState, Gowon Toruyouye, described the killing as “barbaric and unfortunate”. He called on security agencies to bring the perpetrators to book, insisting that the NULGE chair’s death mustbethoroughlyinvestigated. Spokesman of the state police command, Mr. Asinim Butswata,aDeputySuperintendent of Police, who confirmed the incident, described Igali’s killing as premeditated. “On 9 February, 2018 at about 14.40hrs,oneOkayeIgali`m`age 53, was shot and killed by unknown gunmen, along Ayama Ijaw Road, Southern Ijaw LGA Bayelsa State. “Preliminary investigation revealed the attack was a premeditated murder.

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

Helistedothersinthedelegation to include: Senator Hadi Sirika, MinisterofStateforAviation;Alhaji Isma’ilaIsaandSayyuDantata,both ofthembusinessmen;threesenior special assistants to the President, SarkiAbba,Ya’uDarazoandGarba Shehu;DirectorGeneraloftheNationalIntelligenceAgency,AmbassadorAhmedRufa’iAbubakar;the PermanentSecretary,StateHouse Jalal Arabi, and the State Chief of Protocol,AmbassadorLawalKazaure.Theotherdeceasedperson, whomShehusaidhadearlierbeen buriedbyBuhari’sfamilysinceFriday,wasHajiyaAi’shaMamman, whomhedescribedasthewifeof thepresident’selderbrother,Alhaji Mamman. “Receivingcondolences,Malam Mammanonbehalfofthefamily and the Emir, Alhaji Umar Faruk for the people of Daura Emirate, thanked God for the lives of the deceased and all the visitors for sharing the moment of grief with them.

Saraki said the party ought to have one programme on Saturday, adding that the two programmes at different locations revealed that something was wrong. He said: “Without peace and reconciliation, victory will not be easy. There should be only one APC in Rivers State. What is happeningiswrong.Letushave unity and let us work together.” In his address at the ceremony, Wike said all political office holders should ensure the rapid development of the

state. He said this is the time to cooperate as leaders of Rivers State and build the state for the benefit of her people. The governor said: “The State should be the first to be considered at all times. The interest of the state is paramount. When we come together, all we should preach is how Rivers State should be the number one state in the country.” According to the governor, when the time for election comes, politicians can jostle for positions.

SuspectedFulaniMilitiaAttackMobile PoliceatAzege,BurnPatrolVan George Okoh inMakurdi TheMobilePoliceForcedeployed tomaintainsecurityatAzegecommunityinTombocouncilwardof Gaambe-Tiev Logo LGA, Benue state came under heavy attack yesterday by suspected Fulani Herdsmen militia The well coordinated attack according to eyewitness led to the burning down of the Hilux Patrolvehicleattachedtothepolice operatives. The suspected Fulani terrorists, who came in three different groups, ambushed the security operativesinordertocapturethem but were however not lucky this

timeasthetrainedMobilepersonnelprofessionallytookcoverand defended themselves. Irked by their inability to achieve their mission, the militia herdsmen resorted to property destruction which included the brand new patrol vehicle and several houses Meanwhile, another detachment of Mobile Police Force personnelwereseenheadingtowards the area for a reinforcement. This latest skirmish is coming on the heels of last Thursday’s attack on Anyiin community where two people were killed with many sustaining various degrees of gunshot injuries.





OPINION Norm of The North Nnamdi Ebo argues that the crisis in the middle belt is bound to have devastating effect on the ‘north’


orm of the North is a 2016 American computer-animated film. Norm the polar bear develops the ability to speak to humans. Because of this, he is made an outcast from other animals. During pre- and post-colonial periods leading up to independence and the civil war, Middle Belt constituted the norm of the North, subjugated by core North. Middle Belt was used extensively to lay claims to a monolithic North, albeit to corner political power at the centre with imposing size, population and hegemony. This hegemonist grip started unravelling in April 1990 after Major Gideon Orkar excised six states from the Muslim North in Nigeria’s last failed coup d’état. In 1958, Joseph Tarks’s United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC) entered into an alliance with Obafemi Awolowo’s Action Group. On August 9, 2001, a delegation from Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) visited Jos. Abdullahi Shelleng invited his audience to join ACF. Governor Joshua Dariye was not interested in being marginalised and would rather remain a “Middle-Belter”. In an interview, Jonah Jang put the position simply: “Middle Belters are Middle Belters and we will remain Middle Belters.” In September 2001, Dan Suleiman, ex-governor of Plateau State, said the Middle Belters are grossly marginalised and have become an endangered species on the brink of extinction and cultural annihilation. He was supported by Zamani Lekwot, ex-military governor of Rivers State, who attributed the failure to create a Middle Belt region in 1963 to politicians perceiving the Middle Belt as a threat. In an August 2002 interview following civil unrest in the Middle Belt, Suleiman partially blamed the core North leaders for encouraging the violence. In May 2003, Vice-President Atiku Abubakar met with Middle Belt Forum (MBF) leaders. Atiku described the region as “patriotic, supportive and selfless Nigerians who have sacrificed much more than the people of other regions in holding this country together”. Following another crises in Plateau State, in March 2010, MBF President, Pius Atta, called for North Central Zone to be changed to Middle Belt Zone. In October 2017, ACF leader of Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Dr. Paul Unongo and Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF) were not on the same page with the ACF spokesman, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, who, speaking at a public debate in Kaduna, had said the best option for Nigeria

was a return to the 1914 or 1960 status quo or alternatively, “let us go our separate ways.” I saw the North losing its grip on aberrant power, and Prof. Abdullahi and the Hausa-Fulani oligarchy were going berserk as their “birthright” to rule Nigeria unravelled. In February 2018, Prof. Abdullahi described the Fulani herdsmen killings as a politically-driven agenda to split the North and claimed that killing in the Middle Belt is a plot against the North. It will be recalled that UMBC was a political party during the First Republic; a political platform for the ethnic groups in central Nigeria covering parts of present-day Benue, Kogi, Plateau, Nasarawa, Adamawa and Kwara States. It was a minority voice in the Northern Nigeria Assembly dominated by Ahmadu Bello’s Northern People’s Congress (NPC). The North’s unravelling came to a head with the pathetic Makurdi mass burial of 73 Benue crop farmers/villagers slaughtered by marauding Fulani herdsmen. The remnant “unity of the North” was broken on that day – forever! The hitherto united North started tearing fast at the seams as the Middle Belt became a “conquered territory” where Myetti Allah disregarded/disobeyed a state law (anti-open grazing

In 1963, minorities were excised from the West to create Midwestern region; in 1967 minorities were excised from the East to create Rivers and Southeast states. In 2018, Fulani herdsmen killings excised minorities from the North, reinforcing the Middle Belt

law) and the police chief told the Benue governor to suspend the state’s statute law until cattle colonies were created. Myetti Allah said the law is obnoxious to nomadic lifestyle. For the people of the region (a loosely defined area between the Moslem, Hausa-dominated North, and the predominantly Christian Igbo and Yoruba areas of the Southeast and Southwest) cattle is more important than their people. They have endured enough! Surprisingly, a core North conservative dissented. ACF Secretary General, Mohammed Abdulrahman, warned that any attempt by the North to retain power in 2019 may lead to disaster. In an interview with The Sun, he said: “We must not lose sight of the fact that it was an alliance that brought him in. The North and Buhari must get serious and behave themselves. Nigeria does not belong to the North because if you maintain the position, grandstanding that the North is powerful in Nigeria, you are wasting your time and Nigeria would collapse and crash. Why is the North asking for eight years? It is because of incapability to put in a leader. After Buhari, the best is Buhari. I am telling you now; go and write it down. The best the North can ever offer is Buhari. He failed three times woefully until the South West came and they had an alliance. Why are they trying to abuse that alliance? Four years is enough for the North. Let us respect each other,” Abdulrahman said. He said 2019 is for the Southwest and the ACN which formed the alliance for the 2015 presidency. Will core North oligarchs listen to Abdulrahman? I doubt it. Birthright is a consuming passion. The leadership of Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndi Ìgbò, Middle Belt and South South Forum, stormed Makurdi soon after the Benue mass burial. They urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC to embrace the call for the restructuring of Nigeria. Norm the polar bear was made an “outcast” because of his ability to speak to humans, like Middle Belters, who dared to protect their farmlands and ancestral lands. In 1963, minorities were excised from the West to create Midwestern region; in 1967 minorities were excised from the East to create Rivers and Southeast states. In 2018, Fulani herdsmen killings excised minorities from the North, reinforcing the Middle Belt. This definitive geopolitical structure will ensure checks and balances as the core North cannot lord it over Nigeria with their broken alliance with the Norm of the North. ––Ebo is a political scientist and lawyer

Mainstreaming African Women’s Voices Businesses in Africa need more strong female voices, argues Nkiru Balonwu


here are not enough women occupying board or executive level positions in African business. This is a travesty, because it removes African women’s voices from mainstream conversations, and robs girls across the continent of strong female role models and the inspiration that they can bring. Lack of strong female voices also weakens business and politics generally, because it removes the capacity for wide-reaching, representative debate, and the benefits that this can bring. It is fair to say that lack of mainstream female voices remains a global, rather than specifically an African problem. When Mark Zuckerberg came to Lagos, I asked him if Sheryl Sandberg – one of the few genuinely recognisable exec-level females’ faces in business across the world – would soon be making the same trip? But based on my own experiences, I think it is fair to say that progress has been particularly slow in Nigeria and throughout the rest of Africa. As the former CEO of Spinlet, and now Founder and Managing Partner of organisational strategy and stakeholder engagement consultancy, RDF, I’m invited to speak at many conferences. Often the lone female, I see the other speakers glaze over, when I bring up gender issues. Women still make up an extremely low proportion of board and executive level positions across the continent, and the famous female faces that we are beginning to see in politics and entertainment have so far not translated into the Mark Zuckerbergs’ and Bill Gates’ of this world. And the real problem cuts much deeper than job titles. The very perception of women, and what it means to be a woman, needs to change – both in and around traditional business settings. Having held strong positions in business and worked alongside male peers, I’ve looked on as older men have

treated my male counterparts differently, often with more acclaim. One once markedly told me that the thing he admired most about my skillset was that I listened when he spoke – the true mark of a modest female. More seriously, I’ve experienced instances of both external and intrinsic harassment – a by-product of a culture that promotes extreme masculinity and views the feminine body as something to be objectified and chased. Women are often discouraged from sharing strong opinions in the workplace, as opposed to their male counterparts, for whom it is encouraged. Looking back on the first part of my career I now realise that there were times when I deliberately avoided using lipstick, wore trousers, and subconsciously tried to supress my femininity as much as possible, believing that the way to get ahead as a woman in business was, counterintuitively, to be as ‘unwomanly’ as possible. This approach not only detracts from female advancement, but from business success and political debate at large in an increasingly integrated, egalitarian, tech-focused world. Take the example of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in the UK. The institution recently took the decision to produce an all-female directed 2018 season, the first time in the company’s history. Interestingly Erica Whyman, Deputy Artistic Director for the RSC, says that her version of Romeo and Juliet will be “about a group of grownups who have let their young people down”. In a world of growing social, political, and cultural discord between the older and younger generations, the introduction of female blood into an historically male dominated realm is actually helping to move the conversation on, bring people back together, and facilitate forward debate. FELA and the Kalakuta Queens, which recently

opened at the Terra Kulture in Lagos, offers a more local example. Uniquely, the story focuses on Fela’s many women (he married 27 wives) and the fundamental role they play in the making of Fela, rather than the musician himself. Female Producer, Bolanle Austen Peters - along with the show’s sponsors - have taken a brave decision to tell the story from a new and bold perspective, providing us with an original narrative that moves the story on from the same tired Fela’s perspective. New ideas, new opinions, and new approaches can only be effectively leveraged if they are first given the platform to make themselves known. It is this lesson that the business world needs to learn from some of the more headline sectors we find around us. Making African Women’s voices mainstream is not just about equality for equality’s sakeit’s about the advancements, progress, and success that diversity and new perspectives can bring. Businesses in Africa need more strong female voices if they are to succeed on the playing-fields and in the forums of tomorrow, just as much as more traditionally marginalised groups need to be welcomed into the business core. At RDF, we believe in the power of strategic communication, organisational strategy, and stakeholder and community engagement, to propel businesses into the next level of success. Perspective is key, and unless mainstream businesses begin to reflect the full diversity of modern life, they are in danger of being left behind in an increasingly connected, tech-driven world. ––Dr. Balonwu is Chair of African Women on Board (AWB), and Managing Partner at RDF Strategies, a Strategic Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Consultancy


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾ FEBRUARY 11, 2018




sun Local Government Election Has Come And Gone. Evidently, It Has Been Won And Lost! Winners Have Been Declared, Magnanimous In Victory; And Losers Have Emerged, Graciously Accepting To Lick Their Wounds For Some Time To Come. According To Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC), 318 Councillorship Candidates Were Returned Unopposed While Election Took Place In 71 Wards. In All, Six Political Parties Participated In The Election, Adjudged To Be Free, Fair And Credible By Election Observers. As A People, That We Are Now Far Better Than Having To Move Backward Is No Longer In Doubt. With The Level Of Development That Has Enveloped Osun In The Last Seven Years - In Spite Of The Country’s Overwhelming Economic Bunk, Not By The Aid Of It - Time Is No Longer On Our Hands To Experiment Political Leadership With The Dreamers And The Adventurous Whose Sole Mission Is To Practically Reduce The Masses To Perpetual Slum Dwellers And The Forgotten People. Albert Einstein Describes Politics As A “Pendulum Whose Swings Between Anarchy And Tyranny Are Fuelled By Perpetually Rejuvenated Illusions.”


I Have Argued Elsewhere That Success At The Local Government Poll May Not Result In Victory On September 22, 2018 Unless Purposeful Political Reengineering Is Undertaken Where Necessary. Similarly, That The Ruling Party Somehow Missed It On July 8, 2017 Does Not Translate Into Lost Hopes For Its Adherents. Not Unexpectedly Too, Attempts At Supplying Answers To Some Probing Questions Are Likely To End Up Throwing Up More

Questions. For Instance, What Kind Of Political Leadership Should Osun Expect As From November 27, 2018 And How Can The State Build On The Huge Success Recorded On January 27, 2018, Preparatory To The Bigger Battle, Slated For The Latter Part Of The Year? How Do We Sustain Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s Responsive And Human-Centred Efforts At Making Life Uncommonly Meaningful For The People And Who Do We Run To, In Case

Our Assumptions Fail Us? Stated In Unambiguous Terms, Those Who Are Expecting The Governor To Stand Aloof Or Play The Second Fiddle In A Matter As Important As The Choice Of His Successor Are Only Trying To Insult Our Collective Intelligence. While This Is A Topic For Another Day, I Am Most Convinced That An Insider Who Understands The Internal Workings Of The Government And One Who Can Continue The Aregbesola Tendency Will Be Most Suitable For The Job. But Then, If The Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Step, Then, This Is Where Our Newly-Elected Councillors Have A Lot Of Work To Do. It’s Time They Took Concrete Steps, Aimed At Demonstrating Leadership, Ingenuity, Creativity And Courage In Running The Affairs Of Their Councils. Nigerians Are In A Hurry And Are No Longer Interested In Those Who Create Excuses For Non-Performance. Willingly Or By Happenstance, Nigeria Has Also Joined A ‘Changing World’ Where ‘Greening The Street’ Is Expected To Be Complimented With ‘Greening The Stomach’, Lest An ‘Ungreened’ Stomach Lead The Battle For The ‘Disgreening’ Of The Greened Street. So, Rather Than Surrender To The Vagaries Of Stunted Monthly Allocations From The Federation Purse, Our Council-



nderstandably, a major pre-occupation of the Lagos State Government is environmental regeneration. The government is challenged to invest in the environment because Lagos is exposed to environmental abuse occasioned by intense economic and social activities. Lagos, for instance, generates 10,000 tonnes of waste daily, almost three times higher than what the whole of Ghana generates daily. Justifiably, solid waste management has, therefore, been recognised as decisive to the realisation of the state government’s vision of making Lagos a clean, secure, and more prosperous state with a robust economy built on service, equity and justice. However, current realities in waste management reveal deficiencies that are not only wasteful in terms of resource utilisation but also detrimental to environmental and public health. This existing position evidently does not ally with the state government’s vision of a Smart City. Therefore, there is an urgent need to bring it to the required level of international best practice. It is in order to provide a holistic solution to waste management in the state that the Clean Lagos Initiative (CLI) was conceived. CLI represents a strong resolve and commitment to redefining solid waste management in the state. It is envisioned to deliver a new solid waste

management mechanism that is devoid of the challenges of the old order. Part of the goals is to generate a new financially feasible and technology-driven waste management system to the Lagos economy with the ultimate target of creating new businesses and job opportunities. The components of the initiative include Residential Waste Collection and Processing, Commercial/ Industrial Waste Collection, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Drainage Maintenance, Provision of Engineered/ hazardous Sanitary Landfill and Manual/ Mechanised Street Sweeping. Others are the provision of Transfer Loading Stations (TLS) and Material Recovery Facilities (MRF) and Marine Waste Collection. Through the new initiative, 600 brand new environment friendly compactors and over 900,000 waste bins that are electronically tracked for ease of monitoring are to be provided. Equally, the scheme has offered over 40,000 jobs for residents, including 27, 500 Community Sanitation Workers (CSW) who are to work within their residences in the entire 377 political wards in Lagos State. To sustain the collection operations, refitted old three Transfer Loading Stations/ MRF (Agege, Oshodi, Simpson) and two totally new MRF are to be built (Ogombo and Ojo) while three Waste Depots (Mushin, Ogudu, and Simpson) are being Concessioned

with the main goal of revitalising and modifying the facilities to international standard. Similarly, under the new arrangement, primary, secondary and tertiary drains across the state will be maintained throughout the year to allow for free flow of storm water. Also, engineered sanitary/ engineered hazardous landfills will be constructed under the Built-Finance-Operate and Transfer model in different locations across the state. The target is to guarantee safety of public health and the environment. An instructive aspect of the new plan is that it is set to inculcate in Lagos’ residents a rich culture of appropriate waste disposal. Part of the plan is to ensure that youths in secondary schools and tertiary institutions are brought into the deal. The purpose is to make certain that the future is guaranteed in terms of waste management in the state. Perhaps more importantly, the possibility of turning the huge waste that is generated in the state would be highly heightened through this fresh scheme. The idea is to make the dumpsites become usable resources from which methane will be extracted for electricity generation in Lagos State. Revolving waste into energy is an established technology that could help provide a major amount of domestic energy needs. Presently, the Olusosun dumpsite boasts of a recycling plant that processes waste into various products. A waste-to-

wealth project will, no doubt, transform waste management into wealth creation venture that will help tackle the twin issue of poverty and unemployment. To complement government’s plans and efforts in promoting a cleaner Lagos, Lagos residents need to come to terms with the reality of the necessity for an improved environment. What is required to maintain a sane and friendly environment is not just about what the government is doing but also about the people’s attitude. Lagos residents need to understand that the quality of our lives, as human beings, is considerably a reflection of the quality of the environment which we dwell in. Many still seem not to comprehend that the environment which we inhabit, like the air which we breathe, is life. We need to change our attitude to environmental issues. The earth, for now, is our home. It is where we live, breathe, eat, raise our children, etc. Therefore, we cannot afford to destroy the environment because our whole essence depends on it. Consequently, when we imbibe positive attitudinal change towards the environment, we are sure of living free of any pollutants or hazards. ––Tayo Ogunbiyi, Lagos State Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Lagos (See concluding part on

lors Should Work Towards Shoring Up The State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR),. Wrangling Is Not Alien To Democracy. Curiously, Post-Osun West Bye-Election Has Compelled Some Quarters To Erroneously Conclude That Party Politics Is Dead In The State Chapter Of All Progressives Congress (APC). However, Those Who Are Familiar With The Stories Of David And Shimei (2 Samuel 16; 2 Samuel 19: 16-23; 1 Kings 2: 13-25) And Solomon And Adonijah, His Brother (1 Kings 2: 13-25) Will Admit That Political Sins Are Rarely Overlooked. They Are Seldom Forgiven. But This Is Nigeria! In The Spirit Of Sportsmanship Therefore, Elected Officials And Those Who Wish The Party Well Must Strive To Bring Back Into The APC Fold The Aggrieved, The Disgruntled As Well As The “Internally Displaced Politicians” Who, At One Time Or The Other, Were Either Rumoured, Even Seen To Have Worked Against The Party. Most Importantly, A Party That Wants To Beat The Opposition To Its Silly Tricks Must Take Urgent Steps To Upgrade Its Winning Streaks When Such A Step Still Has Honour. Interestingly, Part Of What Distinguishes Aregbesola’s Social Welfare Politics From, Say, The Late Isiaka Adeleke’s “Stomach Infrastructure” Can Now Be Seen In The Price Per Plot Of Land On ‘Ona Baba Ona’ In Osogbo And ‘Oke Gada’ In Ede, Both In The State Of Osun. Strategy Must Have Continuity! It Can Be Restructured, Repackaged, Even Constantly Reinvented! Again, This Is Where Political Will, Not Politics, Comes Into Play! For Instance,

Had Obafemi Awolowo’s Ship Of Universal Free Education Not Been Forced To Sink Mid-Sea, One Is Not In Doubt Of What Nigerian Youth Would Have Year-After-Year Made Of Its Generosity To Evidently Predict Their Future! Similarly, Had Larry Koinyan’s Directorate Of Food, Roads And Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) Not Been Shot To Extinction Somewhere Along The Line, Its Marked Shift In Focus From Previous Policies As A Result Of Its Unprecedentedly Wide Scope Would Have Taken Nigeria’s Rural Infrastructure Development To The Next Level. Once Upon A Time In This Country, ‘Vision 2010’, And ‘Better Life For Rural Women’, Among Others, Happened To Us Like A Thief In The Night. But, Since The Nigerianness In Us Is One In Which The Image Of Motion Is Always Mistaken With The Idea Of Progress, These Programmes Flew Away Immediately Their Promoters Left Office. Lastly, Is Religion, Which Unfortunately Has Now Become As Natural As The Blinking Of Our Eyelids, Our Bane In Osun? Is It Our Population? Or Zonal Arrangements Which, Curiously, Have Suddenly Become Nigeria’s War Games? Or The Advantage Or Otherwise Of Age On The Part Of Our Political Gladiators? Well, While Religion Deals Primarily With Man’s Relationship With His Creator, Donald Trump And Dimeji Bankole Have Shown That Exploring Age As A Parameter For Gauging Demonstrable Leadership Is Not Only Castrated, It Also Occupies The Backwaters Of The Truth. ––Abiodun Komolafe, Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State



he recent judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja by His Lordship, Justice J.T. Tsoho over confirmation of appointment of the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu by the Senate doesn’t affect the position of ‘acting chairman’. Unfortunately, the Senate amplified the obiter dictum (statement by the way) in the judgment, ignoring the most important part which was dismissal of the suit over locus standi, thus, of no effect. In addition, there was no declaratory order by the court to remove the acting chairman from office. Without a doubt, the Senate has unfettered powers as adumbrated by the court to confirm or reject president’s nominee from becoming a substantive chairman of the commission which gives statutory benefits. However, the Senate cannot dictate to the president who to appoint on acting capacity, and clearly, the duration for acting position is not specified. By implication, the acting chairman of the commission can remain in the position as long as the president desires. Generally, two persons decide the fate on mere ‘acting’ position;

the president and the appointee. The business of the Senate begins and ends with the confirmation or rejection of substantive position. As Magu is rejected for confirmation as substantive head, it implies President Muhammadu Buhari would come up with a new nominee ‘as soon as possible’. As long as the appointee is not bothered about the confirmation which offers statutory securities and benefits, no harm is done. Incidentally, the Senate relied on a report of the State Security Service (SSS) to refuse confirmation but forgot that pursuant to Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, Ibrahim Magu is still presumed not guilty. Funnily enough, a good number of the senators and members of the House of Representatives have been, at one time or the other indicted through similar reports but on account of the presumption of innocence in the constitution, they contested election and were sworn in. The simple direction of the obiter dictum is that the Senate confirms appointment for a substantive chairman. As for acting capacity, no confirmation is required but exclusively sole discretion of the president. ––Carl Umegboro, Abuja



INTERNATIONAL The Disagreement Between the Senate and the Nigeria Customs Service over Protocol and Etiquette


rotocol and etiquette are two important dynamics for interpreting and controlling the attitudinal disposition of state actors and human beings in international relations. One Yoruba proverbial saying has it that ‘it is how you are perceived that you will be related with.’ This saying is valid at the with level of the Yoruba people but not necessarily so in international law and relations for reasons that are not far-fetched: state attitude is well regulated, but most unfortunately, government agents operate on the basis of their own-made laws, and by so doing, make a mockery of the whole people on Telephone : 0807-688-2846 whose behalf they purport to act. e-mail: Protocol, as explained by the Bolytag Centre for International Diplomacy and Strategic Studies (BOCIDASS), Yaba, Lagos ‘is about the regulation of the conduct and management of government activities and relations, while etiquette deals with how the individuals charged with the responsibilities, are required to handle the governmental and inter-governmental affairs.’As the BOCIDASS has also observed, ‘in contemporary Nigeria, public officials, especially governors, commissioners, Ministers, etc, are unnecessarily embarrassed in the public because of little or no regard for official protocol and etiquette.’ In fact, it is misunderstood. The disagreement between the Senate and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is not about not having regard for protocol and etiquette, but about the misunderstanding of it, especially by allowing selfish interest to define when to apply protocol and etiquette in official relationships. Put differently, the principal agents of both the Senate (Dino Melaye) and the NCS (Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd.) have regard for protocol and etiquette and that is why they disagree on it. Their regard for protocol and etiquette is not even little but great to the extent of misinterpretation of its definienda and modalities of application. On Monday, January 29, 2018 the Chairman of the SenateAd Hoc Committee on “Economic Waste in the Nigeria Customs Service,” Senator Dino Melaye, drew attention of the Senate to the manner of reception of the Senate delegation (comprising SamuelAnyanwu (Imo East), Gilbert Nnaji (Enugu East), Hamman Isah Misau (Bauchi Central) and Babajide Omoworare (Osun East) which he led to the national headquarters of the NCS inAbuja, Zone 3. The Comptroller General of the NCS, Colonel HameedAli (retd) did not receive the delegation at the point of entry.As reportedly put, Senator Melaye complained that his delegation was not officially received at the Saraki premises of the NCS. In the words of Melaye, ‘Mr. CG, rather than meeting us here at the conference room by way of courtesy, you In which way is the protocol as established by the NCS different or are supposed to have met us at the ground floor on arrival into the superior to standard, national and international protocolar practice? premises. That has been the practice of statutory bodies headed by Are the issues more about protocol or more about competing Chief Executive Officers like you. ‘ individual ego and institutional self-esteem? More important, Senator Melaye also has it that ‘relevant Senate committees have over the years been accorded this by bosses of TheIssues Immigration Service, Prison Service, and others, making us to The first issue is about how a visitor should be received in a wonder why it is not so here under your leadership.’And perhaps government institution.As noted above, Senator Melaye said most importantly, ‘on account of this observation,’ he wants ‘the his delegation was received at the conference room rather than at Customs management to know that the presence of this committee the ground floor of the premises as it is the practice with the other before it implies that the Senate itself is before it to put things in statutory bodies headed by Chief Executive Officers like Colonel order as regards the economic waste taking place in the Customs Ali. Why is the protocol of the NCS different if the practice in other Service requiring the seriousness it deserves from you and the entire sister agencies is to receive important visitors on the ground floor? management.’ It is important to differentiate between private and official visitors at The reaction of the NCS Comptroller General is also interesting: this juncture. The Visitors to the Customs headquarters are members ‘we have our own protocol as regards receiving visitors like you. I of a Senate Committee set up to investigate some allegations in the don’t need to come downstairs to receive you just as the Senate or Service. The visit was therefore official and institutional. House of Representatives has never come out to receive us anytime In general diplomatic practice, the argument of Senator Melaye is we visit the NationalAssembly.’ Consequently, in the eyes of Colonel therefore correct and valid for various reasons of security and civility. HameedAlli, ‘there is no breach of protocol for not coming down to Plenipotentiaries of developed countries invite guests to their offices welcome you (Melaye committee) since appropriate officers have and residences. They welcome them and also accompany them to been assigned to do so. Our protocol is our protocol and should be the point of their departing vehicles. During national anniversaries, allowed to be. In fact, by way of etiquette, it is the committee that is all ambassadors and other guests are received at the point of arrival supposed to come to my (CG’s) office first on arrival and not just to the venue of ceremonies by their chief hosts. The chief hosts also come straight to the conference room.’ stay until the time of final departure of their guests. Consequently, Several protocolar issues are raised in both the observations of Senator Melaye and ColonelAli. The issues are so critical to the extent the attitude of the NCS boss cannot but raise two other critical issues: seniority of status at the individual and institutional levels, on the one that there is now a very thin line between individual government hand, and quality of relationship between the Senate and the NCS, agency protocol and etiquette, on the one hand, and standard state on the other hand. official protocol, on the other hand. The question of seniority is critical because, in the way a junior Why is there conflict of interest in the state or government protocol, on the one hand, and the special protocol established by its agencies? officer cannot court-martial his superior officer in the military, a junior Foreign Service Officer cannot also talk to his superior but What is protocol and etiquette in international diplomatic practice?


Bola A. Akinterinwa

The NCS does not in any way have the aura of the Senate when considered severally and collectively.His manu militari lifestyle and the NCS self-established protocol does not fit well into any democratic setting.The fact of non-being officially received at the National Assembly cannot be sufficient an argument and does not also make it right to reciprocate.The truth is that the NCS, as an institution, is lacking in the knowledge of standard protocol and etiquette. For instance, if it is true that Colonel Ali left his official guests behind at the NCS premises and drove out of the office, it was, indeed, a serious breach of national and international protocol for which ColonelAli,as a comitted patriot, should apologise. He should not unnecessarily claim seniority over a Senate Committee to which he is not entitled both in person and as an institution

can only talk with him.AThird Secretary cannot find a seat where a Counsellor is seating. Like water always finds its own level, every Foreign Service Officer must always find his or her level in all official meetings. In fact, it is in attempt to deal with the challenges of states’ insistence on sovereign equality that an agreement was reached to have a standard official protocol and etiquette for state behaviour in international relations. For instance, there is a way of writing note verbales in international diplomatic relations because no state wants to accept sub-servience to another state, particularly in terms of states claiming superior culture and development but which other states contest. It should not be a surprise therefore that states have their own reception protocol and etiquette. In several countries, presidents do not often go to the airport to receive a visiting colleague. Senior government officials are sent to receive such guests but the host president will be waiting earnestly to receive his guest at a specially designated and befitting place. In Nigeria, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a befitting waiting lounge where guests with rendez-vous will first be received by the Chief of Protocol and thereafter taken to the Office of the Honourable Minister of ForeignAffairs. If the ultimate destination is the presidency, the Minister will take over the responsibility.At the airport, another befitting waiting lounge is also provided for: protocol lounge, which is still different from the Presidential Lounge. The foregoing is to underscore the importance of official visits in global governance. In this regard, official reception is not simply a function of protocol and etiquette, but largely a resultant of the warmth in a relationship. If the relationship between the visiting guest and the host is good enough, and especially at the level of the bilateral ties between their two countries, reception at the airport can be worth it. Reception of guests is generally taken very seriously in international relations. For instance, in 1982, the official visit of President Shehu Shagari to Paris had to be cancelled because President François Mitterrand decided to send Mrs. Georgina Dufoix, a very junior minister to receive him at the airport. Mrs. Dufoix was not even of the Quai d’Orsay, the Foreign Ministry, but of the sporting, fisheries and women affairs. When Germany learnt about the cancellation of the visit and that President Shagari would be coming to Bonn, the German government quickly planned a red carpet welcome from the tarmac to the reception hall for the Nigerian president. In this regard, what France lost in terms of business contracts thereafter, Germany gained. This partly explains the essence of protocol and the implications of not having the right protocol in place. Protocol is about regulations but the application of any regulation also requires the introduction of jots of common sense. It requires strategic calculations, especially in terms of how not to engage in protocolar miscalculations. This is, however, what appears to have happened in the case of the disagreement between the Senate committee on Wastage of Resources in the NCS and the NCS. In Nigeria’s established Order of Precedence, is the NCS, as a government parastatal, superior to the Senate committee whose members are elected? We believe, and strongly too, the answer is capital NO and the reasons cannot be far-fetched: the Senate always produces the number three citizen of Nigeria. Senators are elected while Comptrollers-General are not. The point about being elected and its importance is that it is universally acknowledged that power resides with the people who delegates the power for purposes of representation. If and when someone is representing another person, it is important to note that it is the person represented that is officially acknowledged and that should be reckoned with.All the courtesies due are given to the person represented through the representative. We therefore agree with Senator Melaye in his argument that the presence of his committee in the Customs headquarters implies that the Senate itself was before the NCS. The Committee is a Senatorial one. More important, the Committee came for official business. The purpose of the visit did not have a private character. It was for official inquiry even if some analysts still look at it as vendetta-oriented. The purpose of the visit does not have any good linkage between the person of ColonelAli and the NCS as individuals but as a subject of instittional enquiry. As reported, Colonel HameedAli said customs officials are servants of the people ‘who believe in Nigeria and (are) working with others to make it great without being railroaded in anyway.’ How do we interpret ‘without being railroaded’? More significantly, ColonelAli also reportedly declared as follows: ‘Personally, I took this job because of my commitment to serve this country selflessly, having earlier done so in the military. So nobody can tell me that I’m not a committed Nigerian.’ All Nigerians ought to commend ColonelAli for his selfless service and commitment to Nigeria like other millions of the ‘bloody civilians’ running into millions have also shown. However, any service and commitment to Nigeria cannot and should not exist outside government’s official regulations and standard protocol and etiquette. In some institutions, while the protocol of reception of private visitors, varies from one department to the other, highlevel official visits take place on the basis of fixed rendez-vous, and therefore, official reception must follow acceptable treatment and logical arguments. For instance, who were the officials sent to the gate to receive the Melaye delegation? What is their level? (See concluding part on


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾FEBRUARY 11, 2018


Business Editor Vincent Obia Tel: 08054681757 Email:

As Investors Reap N330bn by Profit-taking in 4 Days, NSE ALSI Sheds 0.49% LAST WEEK ERGP Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the launch of the Economic and Growth Recovery Plan (ERGP) Focus Laboratoriescouldgenerate$24billionworth of investment for the country.The vice president also said 80 per cent of the figure was expected from the private sector. He said that the laboratory could also generate15millionjobsandaprojected GrossDomesticProduct(GDP)growth of 3.5 per cent this year and seven per centgrowthby2020.AccordingtoOsibanjo, the laboratory is a euphemism that describes a relationship between the public and private sector. SME The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) asked export-oriented small andmediumentrepreneursintheSoutheastandDeltaStatestotakeadvantage of its credit facilities to expand their potentials. The bank said the SMEs in the region could access the N500 billionExportStimulationFacilityandthe N50 billion Export Development Fund it manages to boost their businesses, createmorejobs,andcontributetothe country’s foreign exchange revenue earnings. Thefederalgovernmentmadethecredit facilities available to NEXIM Bank last DecemberforlendingtoSMEsatinterest rate not exceeding 9 per cent. The funds were designed to redress the declining export credit to SMEs and reposition the non-oil sector to boost itscontributiontothecountry’srevenue generationandeconomicdevelopment.

Lagos Trading floor of the Nigeria Stock Exchange

Bamidele Famoofo Profit-taking activities of domestic and foreign investors in the Nigerian equities market, which made them to smile home with about N330billion between Monday and Thursday has reduced market capitalisation to about N15.55trillion. The NSE recorded a fourday straight loss as its All Share Index (ALSI) shed 0.49 per cent and month-to-date and year-to-date returns fell to -2.29 per cent and 13.29 per cent, respectively. According to stock market analysts, sell-offs and profit-taking were recorded in almost all the sectors, but specifically in consumer good and 2nd tier banking stocks on Thursday. Data made available by StanbicIBTC Stockbrokers Limited on Thursday showed that The NSE Consumer Goods Index declined by 198 basis points or 1.98 per cent largely on Nestle stock whose shares declined by 5.0 per cent. Nigerian Breweries, a foremost brewer and the most capitalised in its sector, recorded 3.24 per cent price depreciation on Thursday. In spite of the appreciable loss recorded in the consumer goods sector in the review week, there are some exceptions in blue chip stocks like beverage manufacturer, Cadbury Plc, which recorded


a price gain of 4.38 per cent, while fast-growing International Breweries Plc, also grew its shares by 2.61 percent. The NSE Banking Index was another major contributor to the fall of the NSE ALSI in the week with a 1.1 per cent drop in its sector index. “We saw more profit-taking activities across the tier 2 banking names”, said analysts with StanbicIBTC Stockbrokers. For instance, a big uptake was seen in Sterling Bank Plc, one of the tier-two banks on Thursday as investors crossed around 1.7billion units of its shares, lifting the price from N2.13 per share to N 2.23, representing 4.69 per cent gain in price level on Thursday. “We saw a big cross of around 1.7billion units in Sterling bank today and that alone accounted for 51 percent of the total value traded on the day”, analysts hinted. Accordingly, Sterling Bank led the volume and value charts on Thursday with 1.75billion and N3.83billion, respectively. Activities on the shares of Skye Bank, a tier-two bank was to the detriment of the sellers, who offloaded at a huge discount. The bank lost 8.93 per cent in share price on Thursday as price dropped from N1.12 per share to N1.02 per share, to lead the laggards’

squad. Notwithstanding the profit-taking activities in the Nigerian bourse, performance outlook remains positive as financial experts see the market sustaining the gains it recorded in 2017. Afrinvest, in its markets outlook for 2018, said the Nigerian bourse will deliver a return of at least 32.7 percent in 2018, which he described as a bull case. On a base case (moderate), a return of 19.8 per cent is expected while in The possibility of continued profit taking remains high, but our theme on the market remains positive, on the back of favourable macro economic conditions

the least scenario, 7.7 percent return is visible. Managing Director of Afrinvest Securities Limited, Mr. Ayodele Ebo, noted that, the “Nigerian market traded at a premium to frontier market peers in the last bull market (2013) but currently trades at a discount.” However, Afrinvest pointed out that, the 2018 performance projection for the NSE is largely dependent on three key factors, namely earnings fundamentals of corporate, stability in the FX market and other macro indicators as well

as portfolio flow dynamics. Analysts at SCM Capital believe earnings would be sustained given recent events and favourable economic indicators in the biggest economy in Africa. Head Research, SCM Capital, Mr. Sewa Wusu, in his review of the market performance, attributed the recent rally in the equities market in Nigeria to market sentiments. His words: “The present profit taking in the market is expected as the rally in the first few weeks in January was huge and it is normal for investors to offload at a point to take profit.” Wusu said both the tier-one and tier-two banks are being speculated on by investors as they prepare to announce their financial year ended 2017 earnings. “Investors look forward to getting dividend from these banks towards the end of the first quarter in 2018,” he disclosed. In a recent market review, Cordros Asset Management Limited said the possibility of continued profit taking remains high, but added that, “Our theme on the market remains positive, on the back of favourable macro economic conditions.” The Nigerian Stock Exchange, which ranked second best performing stock market in Africa and 11th best in the world in 2017, offered investors a 42 per cent return on investment in 2017.

NNPC The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said it will take deliveryoftwocargoesofpetrolperday fortherestofFebruarytoboostsupply and eradicate queues. A statement by theNNPCSpokesman,NduUghamadu, stated that two cargoes of 50 million litreseach,makingatotalof100million litres, would be brought in per day in Februarytoreplenishstrategicreserves. Thestatementfollowsmonthofsevere petrol scarcity across the country.The government has failed to resolve the crisis despite repeated promise. “To enhance supply, 45 million litres of petrol was discharged from ships into jetties across the country yesterday. “Prior to the fresh 45 million litres discharged, we have 324 million litres of petrol on land and 432 million litres inmarinestoragemakingatotalof756 millionlitres,”theNNPCspokesmansaid. Eurobond The federal government announced there-appointmentofaconsortiumof banks including Citi Group, Standard Chartered,StanbicIBTC,Whitten-Case and African Practice to implement its $2.5 billion Eurobond scheme. The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, made this known to State House correspondents after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in Abuja.Sheexplainedthatthe$2.5billion was not a new borrowing but Nigerian Treasury bills that would mature and would be refinanced into dollars, adding that it also fell under the external borrowingschemefordebtrefinancing. She revealedthatpotential savingson the proposed $2.5 billion refinancing wasestimatedatN64billionperannum.


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾FEBRUARY 11, 2018


Agrictultural machines and tools at a modern cattle breeding facility owned by Sokoto State Government...agriculture is a key driver of the Buhari government’s economic plan

With Focused Laboratories, FG Works Out Strategies for Economic Plan The federal government has initiated the launch of focused laboratories to design implementation strategies for the country’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, in what is seen as a bold attempt to actualise the administration’s economic plan. Chineme Okafor reports


hen on Tuesday Vice PresidentYemi Osinbajo inaugurated the working groups for the focused laboratories, which the federal government hopes to use in realising its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, he had absolutely no doubt about the weakness that has often made Nigeria’s development efforts fatally vulnerable. “I doubt whether anyone will disagree that Nigerian governments, through the years, have generally laid out reasonably good economic policies and plans,” Osinbajo said in Abuja while inaugurating the contact groups for the laboratories, which will be coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning. “Our Achilles heel has always been implementation. Just getting the policies and projects done timeously and according to the plan. So, the unique point of difference between our fouryear Economic Recovery and Growth Plan is that it comes with an implementation strategy and devise, which has been described as focus laboratories or labs for short.” The initiative is planned to include relevant stakeholders in the public and private sectors, who would sit together for many weeks, intensively working and brainstorming on practical steps to get the ERGP active and working for the good of Nigeria. The laboratories would help identify ways the ERGP can sustain the country’s economic growth and job creation drive. Osinbajo,“This is a policy or project implementation devise; labs operate by bringing together all private and public sector officials necessary to achieve the specific policy or project objectives, in this case, the ERGP, in order to achieve the objective of over seven per cent growth plus exponential job creation by 2020.” Target The government said it had chosen to focus the

efforts of the laboratories on,“The areas of agriculture and transport being in one group, manufacturing and processing in another, power and gas in another group.” The vice president explained that the laboratories were meant to bring together private sector and public sector participants, potential investors, to think through the implementation of these specific areas of focus. “They will be telling us what the problems might be, why it will not work unless we do x.y.z. And working together that way, focusing on our objectives, realising that we cannot work without the private sector, and we have to work together. We believe that we will be able to achieve the very specific objectives that have been set out for us,”he stated. Focus Laboratories According to the national planning ministry, the laboratories will run for about three months in three separate phases of pre-laboratory, laboratory, and post-laboratory. They will also involve about 100 persons drawn from both the public and private sectors. The aim, it explained, would be to get private sector involvement in achieving the objectives of the ERGP by mobilising private sector financing and resources. The key objectives of the laboratories would include identifying relevant key stakeholders from the public and private sectors that are crucial in the delivery and implementation of the various initiatives of the ERGP so as to create ownership; reviewing and re-evaluating the ERGP and sectoral plans against set targets and progress; and identifying gaps in the current eco-system and the key success factors. The laboratories will also be made to deliver detailed three-feet implementation programme line by line and identify entry point projects; they will identify key performance indicators, activities, budgets, timelines, milestones and responsible action parties; break down silos and encourage key players in governments ministries, departments and agencies

to work together in an intensive co-creation manner; in addition to mobilising private sector investment to finance specific capital projects. “This is why I am particularly delighted that we are today inaugurating the core working groups for our ERGP Focus Labs, ahead of the launch of the Labs themselves in March. This is the first stage in the process of launching the labs themselves,”Osinbajo stated. “The ultimate objective of these focus labs is to stimulate new investments, ensure that they succeed and create jobs on the scale needed by the Nigerian economy, to achieve the objectives that we have set for it. I am particularly excited that we are set for the implementation of these labs today.” Key Drivers To demonstrate its commitment to the expected works of the laboratories, the government also announced that key drivers of the focus laboratories would include nine ministers in charge of agriculture; transport; mines and steel; industry, trade, and investment; power, works, and housing; petroleum resources; finance; justice; and budget and national planning. They will be joined by senior public officials who would provide the sector expertise required to successfully run the three labs, as well as key private sector operators. Osinbajo explained that the government in recognising the significant role the private sector could play in getting the ERGP to become a reality, had requested the sector’s deep involvement in the laboratories. He stated regarding the private sector involvement, “They are significant in the achievement of our economic objectives as a government, and in the success of these labs. Our administration fully recognises that the private sector ought to be the driver of the economy, mobilising and deploying the bulk of the capital required to deliver growth and prosperity, and the role of the government should essentially be to create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.

I am pleased to note that these labs have been designed to function on that principle. “We are really committed to this principle and I want those participating in these labs to see it as central, we want to listen to what the private sector and investors are saying, we want to see in what ways we can bend over backwards to accommodate what they are saying so that we can achieve our objectives. This is a partnership not just in a philosophical sense but in a practical sense.” Beyond Spoken Words Osinbajo acknowledged in his remarks that the real trouble with most economic development plans or policies Nigeria has had was not that they lacked content or were not implementable, but that they were badly implemented or hardly implemented at all. To this end, economic experts, who shared their thoughts on the ERGP laboratories with THISDAY, said the initiative was a good start. They, however, said the political will of the government to take tough decisions on recommendations or suggestions that would come from the laboratories was in doubt. Opting not to be quoted in the paper, the experts felt the government had not shown enough commitment to taking real economic decisions. So they said it would be difficult to completely believe the government would take the recommendations of the laboratories seriously. An economic analyst, who did not want to be quoted, said,“The focus labs are a welcome tool that will help set out detailed implementation plans and targets for the ERGP. However, the success of the ERGP will depend on the willingness of the Buhari administration to take some tough decisions that will be identified in the labs. “Some of the tough decisions may include increasing retail power tariffs and releasing control and ownership over some federal roads for PPP investment. It is not yet clear that there is enough appetite from Aso Rock to take those tough decisions.”


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾FEBRUARY 11, 2018


Taking another Shot at JP Morgan’s Index Obinna Chima writes on the move by the federal government to return to the JP Morgan Chase & Co’s Government Bond Index for Emerging Markets and its implications on the economy


etermined to improve investor confidence in the Nigerian economy, the federal government has expressed its desire to return to the JP Morgan Chase & Co’s Government Bond Index for Emerging Markets (GBI-EM). The Director General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Patricia Oniha, who disclosed this, also revealed plans by the federal government to commence talks with JPMorgan Chase & Co. about being reinstated on the GBI-EM. “We would like to get back on the index,” Oniha said. Naira securities were removed in 2015 because of foreign-currency shortages. Daily trading volumes for the naira have risen to about $200 million from as little as $20 million three years ago, according to Standard Chartered Plc. In addition, the introduction of the Investors’and Exporters’(I&E) forex window in April 2017, which allowed for transactions at market-determined rates, has helped to improve forex liquidity in the country. In fact, reflecting strong investor confidence in Nigeria, the forex market has recorded $13 billion since the introduction of the I & E window about nine months ago. These inflows boosted foreign exchange supply and helped stabilise the exchange rate. The market capitalisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has also improved by 22.3 per cent, from N13.21 trillion on November 30, 2017, to about N15.955 trillion as of February 2, 2018, The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast the Nigerian economy will expand by 2.1 per cent this year compared with 0.8 per cent in 2017, driven by the oil sector. Also, the projection from various investment banks and institutions is that the Nigerian economy would grow stronger in 2018 and there are prospects of lower interest rates. There are also anticipation of a more stable naira to support a further slowdown in inflation from the mid-teens to between 11 and 12 per cent at the end of 2018. These, according to Oniha, bode well for discussions on returning to the index. “The securities trading was never the problem, it was always the foreign-currency liquidity,”which has now improved, the DMO boss added. On her part, Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, said the government was focused on improving the economy, saying indexes would “naturally” return to Nigeria when they see adjustments in line with their requirements. “JPMorgan have their own framework of how they evaluate an economy, and when they are ready, when conditions are good, they will list Nigeria again,”Adeosun said in an interview in her office in Abuja She added:“We should just move in our own direction. What we need to do is to re-position this economy. JPMorgan or any other index will come naturally. “My focus really is on the recovery of the economy. They will come when the macro fundamentals are right. They left because the macro fundamentals were not right.” How it Happened Nigeria had entered the GBI-EM series in October 2012 after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) removed the one-year lock-in period for foreign investment in government bonds. Three bond maturities: 10.6 per cent, 18-Mar-14, 16.0 per cent, 29-Jun-19, and 16.39 per cent, 27-Jan-22 were added to the index based on size and liquid as at the time of inclusion. Meanwhile, the 10.6 per cent, 18-Mar-14 maturity was replaced with 12.1493 per cent, 18-Jul-34 in 2014.

Emefiele The GBI-EM indices consist of regularly traded liquid fixed-rate domestic currency government bonds. Nigeria was expected to have a 0.59 per cent weight of the $170 billion of assets under management of the index. At the time Nigerian bonds were offering yields of up to 16 per cent compared to the GBI-EM Index yield of 5.8 per cent. Given the premium and possibility of higher returns, the inclusion brought along with it great prospects of large capital injections into the debt market with some predicting up to $1 billion in the first few months, a report by Financial Derivatives Company Limited (FDC) had explained. However, by 2013 end, Nigeria was struggling to maintain a sufficient level of liquidity – one of the requirements for the inclusion. The currency market especially, had experienced significant blow as the over 50 per cent drop in oil prices led to 11 per cent depreciation of the naira in the last quarter of 2014. This also sparked capital outflow. However, the central bank in December 2014, reduced banks’ net open position (NOP) to zero per cent from one per cent of shareholders’fund, before revising it up to 0.1 per cent in January 2015. Thereafter, Nigeria was placed on the Index Watch Negative for the GBI-EM in January 2015, given what they described as lack of liquidity in the spot FX and local Treasury bond market, which challenges the ability of foreign investors to replicate the benchmark. But in June 2015, the country was given a six-month deadline to restore liquidity, taking into account the arrival of a new administration before finally deciding to exclude Nigerian bonds

The CBN has brought stability in the forex market by making dollars available to genuine forex users especially at the retailend of the market. That has ended volatility in the market and boosted the confidence of foreign investors in the local economy

from the index. The federal government and the CBN had protested the country’s removal from the index. Benefits of Nigeria’s Reinstatement To the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), the move by the federal government would bring about great benefits to the economy. ABCON President, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, explained that it would strengthen the inflow of forex in the country and also boost the CBN’s chances of achieving its $60 billion foreign reserves

target in 2018 in spite of any shock that may arise in the economy. The ABCON boss said such return would also enable Nigeria benefit from the $20 billion overseas investment planned by the US investment bank, which will see it raise wages, hire more, and open new branches in emerging market countries. “I want to use this opportunity to congratulate the CBN and the Federal Government on the good news of JP Morgan renewed interest on Nigerian bond market, which will enhance investor confidence in our economy. “The CBN has brought stability in the forex market by making dollars available to genuine forex users especially at the retail-end of the market. That has ended volatility in the market and boosted the confidence of foreign investors in the local economy,” he added. Gwadabe also praised the CBN for introducing the I&E Forex Window, which has since April 2017 attracted over $27.8 billion in turnover into the economy and brought about transparency as well as stability in the forex market. Gwadabe noted that the country’s return to the index would enable the government access needed funds for infrastructural developments in the economy and urged the CBN to explore the opportunity in reducing the multiple exchange rates and create more confidence for foreign investors. “It will create more opportunity for a genuine and transparent competition among forex operators and boost employment opportunities in the country as well as deepen the forex, naira and the equities markets,” he said.

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾FEBRUARY 11, 2018



DPR Embraces Automation of Downstream Operations The recent introduction of online registration of coastal vessels operating in Nigeria’s territorial waters and fuel retail outlets in the country by the Department of Petroleum Resources will enhance the digitalisation of operations in the downstream sector and improve the country’s position in the global Ease of Doing Business ranking. Ejiofor Alike reports

Tank farm in Nigeria


espite recent improvements, Nigeria ranks poorly in the global Ease of Doing Business report, as enormous environmental challenges still face local and international investors who want to do business in the country. Prospective investors are alarmed that Nigeria’s operating environment is laced with landmines and pitfalls from the stage of business registration to actual operation, which hamper inflow of investments into the country. Actual and potential investors in the oil and gas sector, for instance, are challenged by high level of insecurity, long contracting cycle, lack of respect for the sanctity of contracts, inconsistency of policies, as well as overregulation and bureaucracy. In 2017, the country moved up 24 places in the World Bank’s Doing Business report to the 145th position, through the consistent efforts of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who chaired the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelemah. Despite this improvement in Nigeria’s position, the country-specific risks, especially in the oil and gas sector, have continued to make the country a high-risk environment for investors. DPR’s Digitisation Initiative To reduce the operating risks and improve the ease of doing business in the oil and gas sector, the DPR recently commenced the process of digitalisation of operations in the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry. In line with this initiative, the regulatory authority has terminated the old manual system of application for coastal vessel license. The DPR had been implementing the central electronic license and permit system, which is a repository system for managing the application and processing of all electronic permits and licenses processed and issued by the agency. Now, the Downstream Division of the agency has come up with a strategy for the automation and digitalisation of all approvals, permits and licenses issued in the Division under the name, Automated Downstream System. This is in line with one of the visions of the Director of DPR, Mr. Mordecai Danteni Baba Ladan, to digitalise and automate all paper-based approvals, permits, and licenses. Consequently, a committee was mandated to design, develop

and implement an online application system for processing of coastal vessel license with the vendor, BrandOne Technologies Limited, selected by the DPR. It was learnt that after several presentations and meetings, BrandOne Technologies Limited offered to commence the project with a pilot test for the regulatory agency to use the online coastal vessel license portal for a period of three months. The pilot phase proved to be very effective within the stipulated time and the company was asked to deploy the live system on DPR’s Microsoft Azure Cloud infrastructure. THISDAY gathers that the solution is currently online and can be accessed by the general public anywhere and anytime. The old method had required a cumbersome process before approvals, permits and licenses would be issued to qualified marketers. But the new system being implemented now makes it easy for oil marketers to apply for coastal vessel license. According to the DPR, coastal vessel license portal involves the automation of the application process, payments, inspections, presentations, approvals and inventory of issued permits and licenses. Verification of permits and licenses are done on the coastal vessel license portal to ensure accountability and a work flow that tracks every stage in the approval process on the portal. The approach adopted for the design of Coastal Vessel License Portal is simple, easy to use and user-friendly, as it is also designed to be accessible on any desktop and mobile web browser. The technology used for the design and implementation of the coastal vessel license portal allows for speedy loading of the portal and data submission. The permits and licenses issued by DPR’s Retail Outlet and Marketing unit also form part of the ADS being implemented by the regulatory agency. The committee that was set up in the ROM Unit worked with one of the agency’s vendors to come up with an online solution called “ROMS Portal” for Category A, B, C Licenses, which is an acronym for Retail Outlet Management System Portal. The solution is currently online and can also be accessed by the general public. Application for Category A, B, C Licenses comprises Category A - Petroleum Storage License; Category B - Petroleum Storage and Sales License; and Category C - Kerosene Peddling License.

With the old manual system, the process of the application for Category A, B, C Licenses was cumbersome and involved a time-consuming procedure before approvals, permits and licenses were issued to qualified marketers. But the new system being implemented by ROM Unit makes it easy for marketers to apply for Category A, B, C Licenses. ROMS Portal involves the automation of the application process, payments, inspections, presentations, approvals and inventory of issued approval, permits and licenses. Verification of approvals, permits, and licenses are done on ROMS portal. Expected Benefits DPR’s latest initiative complies with the Executive Order issued last year by Osinbajo, who was then acting president, on ease of doing business. In May last year, Osinbajo had signed three executive orders expected to enhance Nigeria’s position in the ease of doing business ranking. Among other benefits, the executive orders were expected to remove bureaucratic bottlenecks that hampered the growth of businesses in Nigeria.

The system has created a central dashboard that will give a quick report on all the licences and permits issued electronically and improve ease of payment confirmation and reconciliation. It also targets to reduce the cost of printing manual permits/ licences and the cost of courier services from the agency’s 24- field offices to the Lagos headquarters

The three executive orders, according to a statement from the then office of the acting president, had focused on specific instructions on a number of policy issues. The issues included “the promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment designed to facilitate the ease of doing business in the country; timely submission of annual budgetary estimates by all statutory and non-statutory agencies, including companies owned by the federal government; and support for local contents in public procurement by the federal government.” The executive orders were also meant to attract back to Nigeria companies that had relocated to other countries. The government also said it was committed to ensuring that the country moved up 20 places from the 2016 ranking by World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index in the first year and be among the top 100 in the next three years. Before the 2017 ranking, Nigeria was in 2016 ranked 169 out of 189 countries by the World Bank Ease of Doing Business report. The online registration of coastal vessels will improve the turnaround time as well as ease processing of applications for coastal vessel licences. The new system will bring about transparency and eliminate the duplication of document upload and work across the agency’s zonal offices. The system has created a central dashboard that will give a quick report on all the licences and permits issued electronically and improve ease of payment confirmation and reconciliation. It also targets to reduce the cost of printing manual permits/licences and the cost of courier services from the agency’s 24- field offices to the Lagos headquarters. The system will also reduce the influx of staff of companies applying for Coastal Vessel License into the agency’s offices. In the area of retail outlet management, the new digitalisation initiative also complies with the Executive Order issued by the federal government on ease of doing business. It will improve the turnaround time and bring about transparency and ease processing applications for Category A, B, and C licences. The digitalisation of downstream operations in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector will not only enhance ease of doing business in the country but also eliminate malpractices by industry operators.


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾FEBRUARY 11, 2018

BUSINESS INTERVIEW Yumkella: Africa Needs Visionary Leaders, Technocrats to Drive Devt Bamidele Famoofo caught up with Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, the first African Directorgeneral at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and, currently, Sierra Leonean presidential aspirant, at the Centre for Value Leadership in Lagos. He spoke on how Africa could develop and compete effectively in the 21st Century. Yumkella said his vision for Sierra Leone was to diversify the economy, improve corporate governance, and promote accountability. Excerpts:


n roles played at the United Nations

I believe that serving humanity is a privilege and I have the unique privilege of serving humanity under the United Nations for almost two decades in senior positions. There, l had the opportunity of pushing for industrialisation of poor countries, especially in Africa. I was heavily involved in developing the new agenda that will replace the millennium development goals, what we call the post-2015 development agenda or development agenda 2030. I was very active in all of the committees. I had the privilege of serving as secretary-general to principal committees to guide the UN to develop the agenda, but particularly proud that l led the energy issues for the world for quite some time, creating the sustainable energy for all initiative, securing accessible and affordable energy for all. For doing that, I’m grateful for the privileges for serving humanity, especially the poor. On leadership in Africa It is hard to generalise about Africa, giving our complexities, different histories, cultural, ethic, religious experiences. There are those African countries that are evolving very well and you see them advancing, and doing the right things. They are beginning to build the institutions that will help them transform their economies. We’ve seen some good results in Rwanda, and some pockets of that transformation in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Ghana. Of course, there are other countries like Mauritius, Botswana and Tanzania. They are evolving nicely. You begin to see them venturing into the digital economy. We live in the 21st century where knowledge matters, information technology, and so on. So you see these countries establishing I.T hubs. You see them also approaching middle income status; we hope they do not get trapped in what we describe as the middle income trap, where some middle income countries have been stock for two decades now. Yet you have others under the bottom of the heap; which is where you find my country Sierra Leone, and then you want to say, wait a minute, others are moving ahead and we are just retrogressing. There are countries in Africa where democracies are setting nicely but you also see others where democracy is being manipulated to set us back to the sixties. Now you see countries where ethnicity and ethno-regional issues are beginning to re-emerge (tribal issues), and so it’s a mixed bag, others are progressing while others are moving back. On visionary leadership And yet, you can see a country like Nigeria where the young and the middle class are beginning to demand more. I just found out now, l didn’t know, that there could be 70 million Nigerians that are using the social media. I hardly could believe that. So, l was happy and impressed that Nigeria could become one of the digital hubs of the future. It means the young generations are demanding knowledge. Can the government tap into that dynamism of 70 million social media users in Nigeria? Can the government take them up, train them, and make Nigeria an I.T hub, like India? That is why you need a visionary leader, a leader that will say, if this is true that my children are that hungry for technology, l will create my own version of Silicon Valley. That is what they have done in Kenya. They have created what they call the Silicon Savannah. That is why you need a visionary leader to look at how that can be done and capitalise on it. Investing in I.T education and creating support facilities and scholarships, so that these kids can come out and become entrepreneurs. They will create software programming and development for Nigeria. On Africa’s biggest problem Lastly, what l will say is the biggest problem for all of Africa is the youth bulge. We are going to be 1.4 billion in 2030, 2.2 billion by 2050, and that is like adding another 1 billion by 2050, but where are the jobs? Will we benefit from a demographic dividend or suffer for it. It means 30 per cent of people below 30 years of age will be in our continent by 2050. Will the growing population become a basis for manufacturing to create jobs? Can we be the bread basket of the world or could this be a disaster waiting? If we have the youths unskilled and without jobs, what we get in return is civil disorder and this leads to crises. We need visionary leadership to look into 25-30 years to create an inclusive society, not just today. They must give these kids skills to become the big entrepreneurs that our nations need to develop.


On Africa’s competitiveness I guess the indicators we have to go by are the competitiveness ranking forum of the World Economic Forum and the World Bank. We are not doing very well. I can’t see any African country at the top of that ranking. A good number of us are way down at the bottom, so in terms of competitiveness, we are not doing well. Second, if you look at the cost of doing business as well, we are not doing well. That is one big issue governments should look at if we are to attract investments. The cost has to be good. People need to know that they can come here, establish factories and ship goods without hassles. We are doing well on competitiveness, cost of doing business, and l don’t believe we are also doing well in skill formation. It is also identifying those skills that we need at the factories to become productive, and this is beyond the degrees. We need to develop good welders, good fitters that can work in factories, building machines, computers. We need this to become part of the global value chain. You don’t need to produce the whole product, but you can become an expert in producing just a component of it, and you will be known for doing that very well. And, of course, my biggest obsession is energy. To be able to industrialise, we need an affordable, reliable energy services in Africa. On the energy challenge in Nigeria When l worked in Nigeria 15 to 20 years ago, we had issues with energy, and when l saw queues at petrol stations on my visit to the country now, l was surprised that the problems of 20 years ago still persist. But more importantly, l used to take consultants to the factories in Nigeria. Nigeria has cheap labour, but when you begin to look at the other bottlenecks, Nigerian industries were not very competitive because they had to provide their own electricity, clean their sewage, and provide water. So l just gave you some indicators that we are not competitive. This is what we must tackle. That is what they have done in Asia. There in Asia, leaders are becoming

the best friends of captains of industry. Why? They are building infrastructure, providing systemic competiveness. They can clear their goods in the ports quickly; get licenses to do business speedily. There, they are trying to go paperless doing business. Some countries have been clever to use the concept of industrial estates well to their own advantage. On value addition When l worked in Nigeria, l pushed heavily for the use of cassava for the purpose of industrialisation, because l couldn’t believe that a country that is the largest producer of cassava in the world consumes about 90 per cent of the product locally. Whereas in Thailand, they were processing cassava into 15 by-products, and in Brazil, they were doing the same. And l say, why can’t we process the same product into flour in Nigeria, glue and use some of it to produce textile products and so on. In Malaysia, when l took some Nigerian ministers to that country, they were trying to get 30 products out of palm fruit, which they took from Nigeria. Value addition is what we need to transform the economy of Africa. Malaysia now produces high quality chocolate, which they sell to the rich and they are saying they won’t need to cultivate cocoa but source raw materials elsewhere. Malaysia has been able to use money from gas to grow its agricultural sector, which is what is also expected of Nigeria. On factors hindering industrialisation in Nigeria There are many challenges from my experience in Nigeria. Inconsistency of macro-economic policies, lack of industrial policy, and l talk about the development state. One of the characteristics of developed economies was that they all have industrial policies. They have plans for between 20 to 30 years, which they followed consistently and persistently. They may appear to favour some sectors a times, but they do that to achieve a purpose. They supported science and technology, skill formation, finance for at least a period


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾FEBRUARY 11, 2018


The Continent’s Biggest Problem is Youth Bulge

Cont’d from Pg. 21

of 30 years. It does not happen overnight. And even when government changes, the policies do not change, because they wanted to create wealth, jobs. Third, lack of proper financial intermediation that will support the kind of development it desires. In some instances the government of Nigeria means well, they gave out the money to the people to build their businesses, but the beneficiaries never channelled the funds to the original purpose and they divert them into other things –round-tripping. In Korea and other places, the industrialists never sacrificed performance, when they produce a product; it meets the world standard, because quality matters to them. They produce what the market wants, and they have been able to do it consistently over the years. They managed the cost of production. People can then outsource to them to produce for them. I guess those are some factors that have limited production in Nigeria. On what Africa needs to industrialise I believe leaders in Africa need to be consistent. When l was here in Nigeria for years back, l worked with President Obasanjo to industrialise cassava. That should have continued after he left government by the successive leaders. By now Nigeria would have been exporting cassava products. They would have stopped importing wheat flour. They would have had school feeding programme in schools. That was our agenda. We said feed the children and develop your manpower. They should have created an internal market – they would produce alcohol that can be used to support the fuel. That is what the Brazilians did. They produced alcohol from sugarcane. We proposed all of that. You could have used cassava as the basis for transforming your agriculture. Some of the companies here wanted the initiative so that can save foreign exchange spent on importing the raw materials for the production of their goods. So lack of consistency is the problem. Secondly, the energy policy is bad. Nigeria used to charge industries more for energy and that happens in many other countries in Africa. But that did not make sense, because in many other continents, where growth is seen, they are literarily subsidising energy for production. If you want them to be competitive and create jobs, government needs to do that. You need again that mentality of an industrial state that is friendly to development. I want to give the Emir of Kano a credit in this area. When he became the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, he raised the alarm that the banking sector was lending more to real estate rather than the real sector, and he said there could be a bubble. He said we have to lend more to agriculture and manufacturing if we have to create wealth and he did that. That is how Brazil, Korea, Japan and some others do it. Not in Nigeria, you can’t borrow at 20 percent and you say you want to industrialise the country. That is not possible. When l took Nigerian ministers to Malaysia,

producing garments and other things that have taken them where they are. I say l can do it. For me, what drives is what can be done, the possibilities. I believe we can change it. It took some leadership to transform Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Over 70 per cent of the Ghanaian population have access to electricity. It’s one of the things they have done well and no other government has changed it. That’s why my message is Hope, Opportunity and Transformation. I want to give the youth hope. You can’t be creative if you are depressed. I want them to believe that they can build a great Sierra Leone. In terms of opportunities, God gave us solid minerals to industrialise the country. And transformation, that is where the vision comes in. It is to bring to Sierra Leone the best practices l have seen in the world.

Yumkella they still had official loans at between three and six per cent. Nigeria has the muscle to do that but it has never done it. On gas for industrialisation Nigeria has not capitalised on its gas deposits to industrialise its economy, and that bothers me. Cheap gas means cheap energy but they flare it. When l was leading the energy initiative for the UN, one of the last things l did was to get companies in the oil sector to sign an agreement to cut flaring by 25 per cent, and also pushed for zero flaring by 2030. What am l saying? Nigeria probably has more gas than oil. From gas it can make fertiliser and with that agriculture booms. Ah, LPG! I’m obsessed with LPG. Nigeria is losing one of the greatest opportunities in LPG. It could generate at least $5 billion dollars annually from LPG. By flaring gas, Nigeria is killing so many lives per annum, as people get killed from air pollution and agriculture is also dying because of this same issue. Tonnes of firewood come into Lagos and Abuja daily to meet the energy needs for cooking while the LPG lay in waste. You create a new LPG industry and with that you can create so many other things. With that you will supply gas to every home. No home in Nigeria should be using any other source of energy than gas to cook. You should be like Europe where nobody uses the wood. Nigeria can industrialise on gas and cassava, that is my

point. With her gas, Nigeria can become the energy hub for the world, but they keep flaring it. Nigeria can be like Norway where you have more than sufficient energy. You have the sun, gas, biomass and water to your own advantage, yet you lack energy. What’s wrong with us? I asked what is wrong with us because my daughter lives here, she is married here. So, I’m your In-law, and also one of you. On the presidential race in Sierra Leone For 20 years, l have watched my country stay at the bottom of the developmental ladder. It is where you have one of the worst infantile mortality in the world. Six months ago, in 2017, WHO said the worst place to be a youth is Sierra Leone, because we have the highest rate of youth mortality in the world. Two months after that report from WHO, another report from FAO said Sierra Leone was one of the 300 poorest countries in the world. Everything bad is with us. I was fed up with seeing those statistics, because we are seven million, and God gave us everything. One of the largest deposits of iron-ore in the world. One of the largest and purest deposits of Titanium. Then we have the mineral for making phones and software. We have Bauxite, you name it. We have gold, diamond and a lot of agricultural land. So l was angry about that. The second most important thing was that l have seen transformation in Cambodia. I have been there personally. I have seen factories

On the 21st Century Leader We need leaders now that are more knowledgeable. We don’t want those that approach leadership as guess work anymore. No, this is a technocratic world, 21st century leadership means you have to understand the impact of climate change on all the sectors. It means you have to understand macro policy a little bit more. We need leaders that are different now. May be they are corporate leaders, they come into politics. May be they are technologists, that is what you see in Korea now and other places – technocratic leadership. This is because economies have become complex, because we live in a global world. Leaders have to go into leadership because they understand what they want to achieve from the first day in office. But now what do we have, you get into office and for one year, you are still trying to figure out what you are supposed to do. They should be result and performance based. Your minister is supposed to sit in front of you and say, these are my three targets in one year, and if they don’t do it, you change them. That is what we want to see in Nigeria. Nigeria can be our leader and pull all of us along when it is doing well. It was why I was always upset with Nigeria when l worked here. Nigerians are the most generous people that l know. And l say, if this people become an industrialised nation, they will lift all of West Africa. To diversify the economy, push good governance, and then accountability. If you are not accountable, corruption will destroy everything. We have one of the worst kleptocratic governments in the world. I also want to invest in education big time. There is no liberator like education and health. I want to build partnership with Nigeria and Ghana, so that we have exchange of doctors because these guys are more advanced now. I’m very impressed with that. They can come over, teach our people. We have distance learning opportunities with satellite to help our people improve. We will focus on energy and cost for value infrastructure. You don’t build roads that are four times costlier than they should be.

Salary Slash at NIMC May Pit Staff against Management Staff of the National Identity Management Commission are piqued with their management for single-handedly slicing off a huge chunk of their salaries. Nosa James-Igbinadolor reports


rouble appears to be brewing at the National Identity Management Commission over the recent unilateral slash in staff salaries by the management led by Director-General, Engr. Aliyu Aziz. THISDAY learnt that thousands of the commission’s employees across the country were jolted to find out that their January 2018 salaries, which were credited into their various accounts on February 2, 2018 had been slashed by as much as 40 per cent without prior notice. Sources told THISDAY that staff of the commission, which was set up in 2007 to operate the country’s national identity management systems amongst other functions, were neither consulted nor told that their salaries were going to be reduced. “We just got our alerts and saw our salaries almost down by half,” a staff told THISDAY. It was only after the uproar from staff across the country that the commission’s director-general hurriedly sent out a memo to his employees urging calm over what he called “The usual decrease in our January salaries”. He then assured the staff that, “Management will not relent in its efforts towards pursuing an improved remuneration package.” His assurance of pursuing an improved remuneration package for staff however seems to fly against another

memo sent to all staff of the commission on February 5, 2018 by the general manager, operations. In the memo, the general manager assured employees of the commission that, “The approved salary increase by the National Salaries and Wages Commission will be implemented once we are through with the appropriate authorities…” THISDAY investigation revealed that the commission had embarked on a massive promotion exercise late last year and staff were expecting that their January salaries would reflect their new positions and approved salary scale. According to a staff, working at the headquarters’ office in Abuja, “I receive N72,000 monthly, I had expected to be paid a little over that to reflect my recent promotion. You can then imagine my shock to see an alert showing N47,000.” Another staff, who spoke to THISDAY also expressed anger and bitterness over what they saw as bad corporate and unfair labour relations practice by the executive management of NIMC in not engaging with them and seeking their cooperation before unilaterally undertaking a massive cut in their salaries. They said, it was grossly unfair for their management to “cut our salaries in such proportion and then later asked for our understanding and silence”. They also expressed disappointment over what they termed as “our compromised union leaders

who have never fought for us.” They further decried the way and manner the last promotion exercise was conducted which some termed as fraudulent and overly biased. The commission’s director-general seemed to acknowledge the depth of ill-feelings against the outcome of the exercise when he noted in his memo of February 2, 2018 that “the review of staff complaints following the last promotion and placement exercise has been conducted and letters will be issued on or before February 17, 2018.” In addition, the staff complained about unacceptable and noxious working conditions including using their personal monies to carry out official assignments. Some of the staff with the commission’s offices in two Northern states told THISDAY that “many times, we have to contribute monies amongst ourselves or request for financial assistance from enrolment applicants to buy petrol to power our generators so that we can register enrollees”. They added that the commission did not provide funds for internet in their offices outside Lagos and Abuja, but yet expect staff to electronically send in copies of enrolments and other critical information. “At the end of the day, we have to use our own data to do official work and for all these, we are not compensated.

Instead they cut our salaries and continue to owe us our 28 days allowance.” In their response to these accusations, the management of the commission through its Head, Corporate Communications, Mr. Loveday Chika Ogbonna, strongly denied all the allegations. According to him, “NIMC’s Management did not slash staff salaries. Staff were paid their due salaries as provided in the consolidated public service salary scale (CONPSS)”. THISDAY notes that this explanation contradicts the acknowledgement of salary cuts in the memos released to staff by both the commission’s director-general and its general manager operations. The commission’s spokesman further asserted that since there was no salary cut, there was no need for the director-general to consult or meet with staff. He added that the director-general had always consulted widely through staff town hall meetings and internal newsletters. Ogbonna admitted that towards the end of last year, the commission carried out what he called “proper placement and promotion exercise”, but added that the inability of the commission to pay salaries backing up the promotion exercise was due to the non-passage of the 2018 budget. Meanwhile, the staff have vowed to resist the salary cuts and push for improved working conditions.

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T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾ FEBRUARY 11, 2018


Edited by Demola Ojo Email

Why Europe’s Largest Airline Lufthansa Carried out First Rebrand in 30 Years Demola Ojo


ark blue is now the leading brand colour for Europe’s largest airline, Lufthansa, after it overhauled its iconic 100-year-old logo, marking the first major change to the world’s oldest airline logo in decades. The new logo took effect four days ago (February 7) and will be rolled out across the fleet of 330 aircraft over the next eight years. Lufthansa revealed its new, modernized brand image to customers and employees at two major events in Frankfurt and Munich last Wednesday where in front of more than 3,000 guests, Lufthansa officially presented a Boeing 747-8 and an Airbus A321 with the new design. According to Lufthansa, the change was made against the backdrop of digitalization and changing customer requirements, and the recognition that the company needed to modernize the aircraft appearance in order to remain up to date and stay ahead in a market increasingly competitive due to the exploits of Persian Gulf airlines. An important challenge in revising the design was to meet the requirements of today’s and tomorrow’s digital world. In addition to optimizing the crane for new technical requirements, Lufthansa has developed its own typeface, which is particularly easy to read on mobile devices or Smartwatches. Lufthansa was recently awarded the Platinum Award by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for its new digital services and is the first (and only) airline in Europe to be awarded the 5th star by Skytrax. Ont the plane, the redesigned tailfin keeps the flying crane in the circle and features a white logo on a rippling blue background, which replaces the former blue-and-yellow design. The plane’s underbody was originally in grey but is now replaced with white. The brand roll-out at first appeared to remove the well-known yellow tone from Lufthansa’s corporate palette but after testing the waters in “leaked” pictures on social media, Lufthansa clarified that yellow would be put to use in

New livery for Lufthansa other ways. , “The response to the new appearance was predominantly positive, although some people missed the traditional yellow tone; nevertheless, it will receive a specific function to serve as a means of orientation and differentiation,” said Lufthansa in a statement. Yellow will be found in the future on every boarding pass and at every Lufthansa counter at the airport, among other things.” It will also remain as an accent on flight attendant uniforms. “Lufthansa has changed and is more modern and successful than ever. From now on, this will also be visible to the public through a new design”, said Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. “The crane has always been with us and clearly stands for the promising performance from Lufthansa. To this day, it still stands as a symbol of highest quality, excellent service, flying expertise, reliability, innovative spirit; and it stands for trust.”

The crane, designed exactly 100 years ago by graphic artist Otto Firle, a distinctive icon in the sky, remains the airline’s iconic symbol. In the future, it will be slimmer and fit for the digital world. A thinner ring makes the crane look more elegant, bringing it into the foreground and granting it more space. All in all, the trademark will gain lightness and elegance. After 30 years, Lufthansa’s aircraft are gradually being given a new livery. In keeping with the airline’s claim to be premium, the blue colour of the livery should dominate the sky and the world’s airports for the next few decades. In the cabin, guests will encounter the modernized design within the crew’s uniform in the form of new – and often yellow – accessories. On-board articles such as tableware, amenity kits, blankets or pillowcases will carry the new design in future. Around 160 million items will be exchanged over the next two years. The Lufthansa Group’s brand image has also been modernized. The new logo no longer

bears the crane and is written completely in capital letters. This will take into account the great variety of brands in the Group, offering optical neutrality for all companies. The newly developed Lufthansa Corporate typeface is timeless and independent. The use of capitals is a characteristic of the new Group design. The Lufthansa Group is the world’s biggest airline group in turnover terms, and is also the market leader in Europe’s airline sector. The Group strives to be the “First Choice in Aviation” for its customers, employees, shareholders and partners. And safety, quality, reliability and innovation are the prime credentials and priorities of all its business activities. The Lufthansa Group’s airlines currently serve 308 destinations in 103 countries on four continents and offer 11,738 weekly frequencies. The Group’s total fleet comprises some 617 aircraft and in 2016, the Lufthansa Group welcomed 109.7 million passengers aboard its flights.

Envoy Hotel Opens on Abuja’s Diplomatic Drive Demola Ojo

Hilton Royal Room set for Vaentine

Transcorp Hilton’sValentine’s Specials Transcorp Hilton Abuja last week announced a bumper package includes a date night getaway in a Royal Room, complimentary bottle of Champagne with gourmet chocolates, roses for the lady and buffet breakfast for two persons at heavily discounted rates. The accommodation offer is valid from February 13 to 18. “We are set to delight our Guests with a superspecial dining offer on this year’s Valentine’s Day,” said Shola Adeyemo, PR and Marketing Manager. “We know it’s the most romantic time of the year and we are excited to create memories that our Guests will treasure forever.” For the delight of those who enjoy good food with loved ones, the hotel is offering a delectable romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day at the Zuma

Grill, Bukka, Oriental and Fulani Pool restaurants. Dinner includes champagne and roses for the lady. The hotel’s coffee shop, The Pastry Corner, is offering varieties of heart-shaped cakes, including made-to-order types during the Valentine’s week. In addition, the hotel is offering 50% discount off Taittinger Champagne for diners at the Zuma Grill from 13 until 17 February to celebrate the Valentine’s season. The hotel’s lobby and restaurants are already adorned with the insignia of the season – heartshaped buntings and other Valentine’s Day memorabilia. Other activities lined up for the period include comedy show and life musical entertainment at the Congress Hall of the hotel.

In a few days, a top class boutique hotel will open its doors to guests in Abuja. The Envoy Hotel by Mantis promises to embody the spirit of Nigeria’s capital city which hosts diplomats, businessmen and world leaders. While the hotel’s official opening is billed for early March, the Envoy’s doors will be open in a few days from now to a privileged few. Constructed by Hometel Developers, the five-star facility is the only commercial property on Diplomatic Drive, Abuja, where many embassies are located and is adjacent to the US Embassy. The Envoy will be managed by South Africa-based Mantis Collection, which manages an array of properties around the world, including the only hotel in Antarctica. According to Hometel, Mantis was chosen as the hotel’s management company because of its policy

Penthouse Lounge at the soon to be opened Envoy

of allowing individual properties maintain their unique brand identity. The Envoy’s brand identity is very special to it, as it’s a concept rooted in the history of the Silk Road and the envoys deployed to help ease trade. The ancient network of trade routes was for centuries central to cultural interaction, originally through regions of Eurasia connecting the East and West, and later to Africa. The Envoy has 50 Standard Rooms, four Diplomatic Suites, four VIP Suites, and a Presidential Suite. Considering its location, it is understandable that security has been given paramount importance. Chinwe Odife, Development Director at Hometel assured that the hotel is among the most secure on the continent, with a world class security company involved from conceptualization to completion. Apart from expected security mechanisms like baggage scanners, walk through metal detection machine and automatic pop-up bollards at the gates, other features include security enhanced bullet proof doors on theVIP floor, shatterproof windows on all front ground floor windows and more. Modern technology is also a key feature, with a lot of firsts expected to be unveiled. According to the Envoy’s General Manager Keletso Nxumalo, the hotel will create lasting emotions in the guest long after they depart.“We have world class facilities, well trained staff and the best culinary experience in the market,”she said.


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾͹͹˜ͺ͸͹΀


CSCS’s New Strategy Excites Shareholders Shareholders  under the aegis of Independence Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) have said  the  three-year (2018 to 2020) strategy  unveiled by the  Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc last week  will benefit all stakeholders. CSCS, which is   the  financial market infrastructure    for the Nigerian capital market, launched  strategic plan aimed at    leveraging    technology for process optimisation and profitability.   The new strategy    was

presented by   the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of CSCS, Mr.  Haruna Jalo-Waziri  to the    stockbroking community, investors and other stakeholders. Speaking  to THISDAY after the presentation, Alhaja Ayodele Kudaisi of ISAN, said if well implemented, the strategy will be a win-win for all stakeholders. “I listened to the presentation and I can tell you that    if the strategy is    well implemented, the market as  whole will benefit, investors will benefit. In fact every stakeholder will benefit,” she said.

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

Jalo-Waziri   had said  transformative strategy is predicated upon five    pillars: focused on technology; customer satisfaction; processes optimisation; partnership through strategic alliances; and revenue growth.   “Based on our culture of continuous improvement, the technology pillar will focus on necessary technological improvements to ensure that the company delivers on its corporate goals and is proactive in embracing new and disruptive technologies, optimizing the

floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. A REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) is an investment vehicle that allows both small and large investors to part-own real estate ventures (eg. Offices, Houses, Hospitals) in proportion to their investments. The assets are divided into shares that are traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. GUIDE TO DATA: Date: All fund prices are quoted in Naira as at 08-Feb-2018, unless otherwise stated.

use of innovative technology, instituting Straight Through Processes (STP) across all touch points and establishing e-learning platforms,” he said. According to him, the company  will leverage innovative technology in skilling and reskilling human resources for optimum service delivery. He explained that with the customer satisfaction pillar, CSCS will become truly customer-centric and boost commercial excellence by achieving a minimum of 80 per cent  customer satisfaction with 20

per cent  minimum of new and existing customer activities on all touch points, ensuring seamless relationship with all stakeholders and preventing dissatisfaction of customers, as well as setting up Customer Call Centre to attend to the needs of CSCS’ teeming customers. For the strategic pillar of alliances across businesses and regions, CSCS will expand the capital market ecosystem by partnering    policy makers and regulators.   Speaking on the fifth pillar

which is on revenue growth, JaloWaziri said CSCS is not only into clearing and settlement but has developed other products that will bring about more efficiency and a robust capital market. He said CSCS has developed electronic storage system that makes market participants to be more efficient. According to him, other products developed by the company are the Electronic General Meeting (eGEM), Insurance Repository and Pension Contribution Management System amongst others.

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

DAILY PRICE LIST FOR MUTUAL FUNDS, REITS and ETFS MUTUAL FUNDS / UNIT TRUSTS AFRINVEST ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 270 1680 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Afrinvest Equity Fund N/A N/A N/A Nigeria International Debt Fund N/A N/A N/A ALTERNATIVE CAPITAL PARTNERS LTD Web:, Tel: +234 1 291 2406, +234 1 291 2868 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn ACAP Canary Growth Fund 0.86 0.87 4.15% ACAP Income Funds 0.62 0.62 3.49% AIICO CAPITAL LTD Web:, Tel: +234-1-2792974 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn AIICO Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 16.15% ARM INVESTMENT MANAGERS LTD Web:; Tel: 0700 CALLARM (0700 225 5276) Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn ARM Aggressive Growth Fund N/A N/A N/A ARM Discovery Fund N/A N/A N/A ARM Ethical Fund N/A N/A N/A ARM Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 N/A AXA MANSARD INVESTMENTS LIMITED Web:; Tel: +2341-4488482 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn AXA Mansard Equity Income Fund 165.70 166.86 9.23% AXA Mansard Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 15.64% CHAPELHILL DENHAM MANAGEMENT LTD Web:, Tel: +234 461 0691 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Chapelhill Denham Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 N/A Paramount Equity Fund N/A N/A N/A Women's Investment Fund N/A N/A N/A CORDROS ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED Web:, Tel: 019036947 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Cordros Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 15.69% CORONATION ASSEST MANAGEMENT , Tel: 012366215 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Coronation Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 N/A Coronation Balanced Fund N/A N/A N/A Coronation Fixed Income Fund N/A N/A N/A FBN QUEST ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234-81 0082 0082 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn FBN Fixed Income Fund 1,171.61 1,172.78 2.07% FBN Heritage Fund 151.34 152.76 8.59% FBN Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 15.20% FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) Fund - Institutional $114.33 $114.88 1.26% FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) Fund - Retail $114.31 $114.85 1.34% FBN Nigeria Smart Beta Equity Fund 192.58 195.45 12.77% FIRST CITY ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 462 2596 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Legacy Equity Fund 1.42 1.45 8.74% Legacy Debt Fund 2.92 2.92 1.50% FSDH ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: 01-270 4884-5; 01-280 9740-1 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Coral Growth Fund 3,185.14 3,232.89 6.93% Coral Income Fund 2,508.17 2,508.17 2.53% GREENWICH ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED Web: ; Tel: +234 1 4619261-2 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Greenwich Plus Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 15.63% INVESTMENT ONE FUNDS MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 812 992 1045,+234 1 448 8888 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Abacus Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 N/A Vantage Balanced Fund N/A N/A N/A Vantage Guaranteed Income Fund N/A N/A N/A Kedari Investment Fund (KIF) N/A N/A N/A

LOTUS CAPITAL LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1-291 4626 / +234 1-291 4624 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Lotus Halal Investment Fund N/A N/A N/A Lotus Halal Fixed Income Fund N/A N/A N/A MERISTEM WEALTH MANAGEMENT LTD Web: ; Tel: +234 1-4488260 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Meristem Equity Market Fund 16.98 17.14 20.51% Meristem Money Market Fund 10.00 10.00 16.07% PAC ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 271 8632 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn PACAM Balanced Fund 1.29 1.31 8.44% PACAM Fixed Income Fund 11.23 11.32 1.85% PACAM Money Market Fund 10.00 10.00 13.82% SCM CAPITAL LIMITED Web:; Tel: +234 1-280 2226,+234 1- 280 2227 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn SCM Capital Frontier Fund 153.44 156.40 19.24% SFS CAPITAL NIGERIA LTD Web:, Tel: +234 (01) 2801400 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn SFS Fixed Income Fund 1.51 1.51 1.66% STANBIC IBTC ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 280 1266; 0700 MUTUALFUNDS Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Stanbic IBTC Balanced Fund 2,363.33 2,381.85 5.34% Stanbic IBTC Bond Fund 176.98 176.98 0.30% Stanbic IBTC Ethical Fund 1.09 1.10 8.42% Stanbic IBTC Guaranteed Investment Fund 225.39 225.50 2.36% Stanbic IBTC Iman Fund 188.41 190.42 5.17% Stanbic IBTC Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 14.90% Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund 10,430.87 10,573.17 7.87% Stanbic IBTC Dollar Fund (USD) 1.07 1.07 0.94% UNITED CAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 803 306 2887 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn United Capital Balanced Fund 1.42 1.44 18.85% United Capital Bond Fund 1.59 1.59 16.71% United Capital Equity Fund 1.02 1.05 11.55% United Capital Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 14.89% United Capital Eurobond Fund 103.54 103.54 8.26% United Capital Wealth for Women Fund 1.12 1.13 21.59% ZENITH ASSETS MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1-2784219 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Zenith Equity Fund 13.50 13.71 7.90% Zenith Ethical Fund 13.90 14.07 5.48% Zenith Income Fund 19.59 19.59 2.38%


Yield / T-Rtn

10.00 133.35

-11.35% 0.67%

Bid Price

Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

12.63 164.50 123.09

12.73 168.12 125.42

4.19% 15.21% 12.68%

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

EXCHANGE TRADED FUNDS Fund Name Lotus Halal Equity Exchange Traded Fund SIAML Pension ETF 40 Stanbic IBTC ETF 30 Fund

VETIVA FUND MANAGERS LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 453 0697 Fund Name Vetiva Banking Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Consumer Goods Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Griffin 30 Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Industrial Goods Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva S&P Nigeria Sovereign Bond Exchange Traded Fund Bid Price

Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

5.82 9.91 19.83 23.10 152.41

5.86 9.99 19.93 23.30 154.41

22.69% 3.54% 11.62% 17.35% 2.57%

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







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T H I S DAY, T H E S U N DAY N E W S PA P E R ˾ͯͯ,ͰͮͯͶ


HOW SOCIAL MEDIA CHANGED VALENTINE Like all other aspects of life and living, technology has changed the way we communicate, travel and engage in romantic relationships. All those grand gestures that were in vogue to profess love like delivering cards or letters, are gradually giving way to planned methods of making one’s intention known, just by tapping a few buttons on your smart device. Nseobong Okon-Ekong and Vanessa Obioha report


n a few days, it will be Valentine’s Day and the outpour of love and romance will fill the cyberspace. Already brands are keying into the various opportunities this special day of love offers to promote their products and services. Xovar Lounge in Lekki has a Valentine themed menu boasting of different courses. With a theme like ‘Love at First Taste’, it sells its unique ambiance and mouthwatering dishes to couples who prefer to have a candlelit dinner. Musicians are not left out in the melee. Praise, a runner-up of MTN Project Fame Season One, is having a romantic gig too. Alongside his friends, he will be serenading lovers with sweet love songs at the 2018 edition of Ribbons and Roses organised by Eddie Lawani and Associates. And for those who prefer to watch a movie at the cinema, the romantic comedy by EbonyLife, Royal Hibiscus Hotel, is already poised as the best movie for the season of love. Decades ago, it was a different picture. Mostly in vogue in those days was exchange of greeting cards, love notes with the legendary signature ‘From Your Valentine’. Cakes and chocolate candies were part of the give-and-take. But recent development in technology has changed all that, particularly when it comes to gift ideas. The internet has proven to be a better ally in getting the perfect gifts for ones. It is common knowledge that technology has impacted vastly on the way we do things. So much convenience has been created from tasks that were previously achieved by taking many steps. Like all other aspects of life and living, technology has changed the way we communicate, travel and engage in romantic relationships. All of those grand gestures that were in vogue to profess love like delivering cards or letters, are gradually giving way to planned methods of making one’s intention known, just by tapping a few buttons on your smart device. Social Media has changed the way we carry out conversations. Away from the traditional, face-to-face meeting, modern technology allows the privilege of knowing quite a bit about the person before meeting him/her. Many people now openly share personal information like birthday, age, gender, religion, and even family members on their profile on social medial sites like Facebook. Before now, these types of information could only be disclosed in bits in the course of

the relationship. With improvement in digital technologies, smartphones and mobile apps have increased the simplicity and speed with which we communicate with one another. In an article, ‘From Love Letters to Facebook Messages: Has Technology Ruined Romance?’ Leah Perry states: “Where there used to be landline phones and voicemails, there is now Facetime, Snapchat, and direct messaging. So when it comes to the “getting to know you” stage, most of the traditional processes that occur in this moment are avoided entirely with the help of social media. This allows for you to be able to judge a person before actually speaking to them, or meeting them face to face.” For instance, Anita Aiyudu, an employee of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, relies on the internet for ideas on how to mark this special day. She usually visits online sites like the Lekki Gift Company including e-commerce sites like Dealdey for clues on what to give her partner. “The internet has definitely affected how love is celebrated. So many people see what celebrities and other influencers do for Valentine and want to emulate them. These activities gather heavy momentum on social media and make it appealing to followers. On the flip side, the internet has helped a lot of people with various ideas on how to celebrate the day with a loved one within a budget,” she said. In previous years, her partner usually sent flowers, cake, teddy bears to her office during the day and in the evening, they end up at a restaurant for a romantic dinner. This has eventually become the ideal way of spending the day. However for Eby MaryJane, a 24 year old manager at a beverage company, she would rather stay off the internet on Valentine’s Day. “I don’t celebrate Valentine, moreover the kind of love people express on the internet is too superficial,” she wrote in a Whatsapp chat. Single and a Christian, her reason for not marking the day she wrote, does not stem from her religious background. “There shouldn’t be just a day to celebrate love. It should be every day.” Anita also shared same view. She argued that contrary to the perception by many that the day is strictly for lovers, it is a day to show love not just

to your lover but to those closest to you. “In addition there’s a constant neglect for the origin of the celebration which is all about how far you’re willing to go to take care of and give to people around you just like the martyr, St. Valentine was known for,” she added. The provenance of the Valentine’s Day tradition has been a bit murky or as New York Times put it in its 1853 edition, ‘it is one of those mysterious historical or antiquarian problems which are doomed never to be solved’. A Fertility Festival Legendary tales claim that the celebration originated from Ancient Rome. Back then, there was a fertility feast known as Lupercalia dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. The festival involved sacrificing a goat for fertility and a dog for purification by members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests. To complete the ritual, they would strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets where Roman women eagerly waited to be whipped by them. They believed that the touch of the hides will make them bear more children in the coming year. The connection with love came later in the day, when all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage. This barbaric festival was however outlawed in the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. Birds Mating Day Another interesting origin of Valentine’s Day came from Europe during the Middle Ages. This time in England and France. It was believed that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance. Catholic Versions Of all historic accounts, the ones that have stood the test of time are the stories from the Catholic Church. There are at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of

whom were martyred. There was the priest called Valentine who served during the third century in Rome. In those days, Emperor Claudius II was in power. It was said that the Emperor outlawed marriage for young men when he discovered that they made better soldiers than those with wives and families. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius Another account suggested that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten There was also the famous Valentine who was imprisoned and actually sent the first “Valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl – possibly his jailor’s daughter – who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is believed that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. All three accounts of Valentine legends emphasised his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, Valentine had become one of the most popular Saints in England and France. The Evolution of Valentine Day’s Celebration As most regions of the world began to catch up on the February 14 love mania so did its form of expression. Each culture developed its styles of celebrating this unique day with the emphasis still on romance. The earliest forms of Valentine greetings dated back to the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s surfaced after 1400. The oldest known Valentine still in




existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. It is also believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a Valentine note to Catherine of Valois. In Nigeria, the tradition was gradually introduced. Initially, it was perceived as an event for the highbrow of the society who could afford to buy a greeting card, take a loved one out to a dinner or serenade her on the dance floor. But as the tradition caught up with people, it became an opportunity to write a love letter to the subject of one’s desire. It was not uncommon to find love letters tucked in pockets or desk lockers of one’s love interest. The love letters created such a frenzy because of the legendary mystery that comes with the signature ‘From Your Valentine’. Often times, the recipient of the letters was left puzzled as she had no clue who Music was also part of Valentine celebration. Disc Jockeys made it a habit to compile romantic songs that portray the true feelings of the heart. This served as a good gift to a loved one. Gradually, Valentine Day became a celebration for many and its colour red

drove most fashion designers to make dresses of that vibrant colour. Many clamoured for the day to be a public holiday. That wish is yet to come true. But as the fame grew, so did the abuse. The expression of love was given an immoral connotation which drew the ire of religious fanatics. They condemned the celebration and admonished abusers who used the day to engage in sexual immorality. With time, some churches began to tie relationship and marital events to the day in order to save souls. Although, this tradition is as old as time, its relevance is gradually dwindling among millennial. Only a few percentage actually take note of the celebration. Another group actually take part in the celebration not necessarily because they want to but because they are influenced by what they see on social media like Anita pointed out. Again, there are singles like Eby who totally keep to themselves or work tirelessly just to get by the day. And, of course, there are single lonely ladies who torture themselves by keeping tabs on how their friends are celebrating the day with their loved ones. This inadvertently leads to some kind of depression. It is not impossible that they end up singing to themselves, ‘All by Myself’, one of the famous love songs sampled by the French songstress Celine Dion.

Okolie and Balogun, leade characters in ‘Royal Hibiscus’


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˞ͯͯË&#x153;Í°ÍŽÍŻÍś


   Ě&#x201C;  ͎ͯͯ͜ͲͲ͡ͳ͹ͰͲË&#x153;

L-R: Nigerian Jazz Stars Bright Gain, Taiwo Clegg, Darex, Biodun Batik, Kwitee and FemiSlide performing at the tribute to Hugh Masekela in Lagos comp

Othelloâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hosts Nigerian Jazz Musicians in Tribute to Hugh Masekela Nseobong Okon-Ekong


pproaching the venue from any side of the street that evening, there was an unmistakable flurry of activities at a particular address on Akin-Olugbade at Victoria Island-Lagos where Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading jazz musicians joined the world in remembering the legacy of the international jazz icon, music legend and father of South African jazz, Hugh Masekela who passed last January 23. Smartly dressed hostesses were on hand to welcome guests to a reverberating tribute concert at Othelloâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. The blast of sounds from different wind instruments signalled the promising entertainment on offer. The event was powered by a leading marketing and activations company, Inspiro Productions, organisers of the annual Lagos International Jazz Festival. Othelloâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s was aglow with tasteful decorations with images of the music legend dotting the space. Masekela, one of Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s revered sociallycommitted artistes was honoured in an event with the theme â&#x20AC;&#x153;White and Black and Baddestâ&#x20AC;? was a tribute session as part of Othelloâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s monthly hangout event and the performances. The show kicked-off with Rapha the comedian compering the event which turned out as a wonderful collage of performances, speeches and experiences shared by various people who had inadvertently been influenced by Hugh Masekela. The live performances were punctuated with tributes to the great man, his music and legacy. Jazz impresario and CEO, Inspiro Productions, Ayoola Shadare spoke glowingly about his encounter with â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bra Hughâ&#x20AC;? and sustained contact over the years and also announced the dedication of the Lagos International Jazz Festival in April 2018 to Hugh Masekela. On his part, Dede Mabiaku, actormusician and protĂŠgĂŠ of Afrobeat founder Fela Kuti spoke passionately of how over

ADEGBOYEGA CELEBRATES THE AFRICAN WOMAN Following the release of his hit single, Fele, Urban Afro musician, Adegboyega is set to drop the video of the same work. Apart from being a Dee Jaysâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; delight in nightclubs and social events, Fele, which featured Davidoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s protĂŠgĂŠ, Mayorkun has enjoyed massive rotation on radio stations across the nation. Directed by TG Omori, the new video of Fele is a rich portrayal of African fashion and art. It is a deviation from the

R-L: Vice Consul South Africa Mr, Mbedzi congratulating one of the winners of the raďŹ&#x201E;e draw at the tribute to Hugh Masekela comp

the years Hugh Masekela had become a father to him; his connection and many visits to Nigeria. Others like Biodun Batik spoke along the same lines as well-meaning tributes poured. On the band stand that night were jazz Master and Director of The SPAN Academy of Jazz and Contemporary Music, Bright Gain; Top Jazz Trumpeter & Educationist, Biodun Batik, Ace Jazz Trumpeter, Taiwo Clegg, Multi-instrumentalist and performer Seun Olota; Femi Slide the Afrojazz/Highlife Trombonist, a leading jazz trumpeter Kwitee, fast rising saxophonist Darex and a host of others. These musicians gave so much verve to the live sessions; free-styling and delivering impressive solo performance on their various

instruments. Their presentation of Masekelaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Thanayiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; got a standing ovation. But when they did an enactment of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Patapataâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, the team of ladies from the South African High Commission got up to dance and the evening of leisure entered another level of enjoyment. Amongst the many dignitaries and guests at the event included His Excellency the German Consul General Ingo Herbert, a delegation from South Africa led by their Vice Consul Political Mr. Mbedzi and representing Honourable Steve Ayorinde, the Lagos Commissioner of Tourism, Arts & Culture was Mr. Frank Legunsen. Other guests were the President of the Performing Musicians Employersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Association Of Nigeria and his wife Mr. and Mrs Pretty Okafor, Jazzman

pervasive culture of depicting women in skimpy and indecent dresses. According to Adegboyega, the video of Fele is a celebration of the real African woman, naturally beautiful and resplendent in gorgeous African attires. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The African woman is a paragon of beauty. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ebony black, naturally beautiful and well endowed. This is the more reason I have decided to celebrate the African woman in the visuals of Fele. And I can assure you that the video is a visual pleasure, a beauty to behold. It is a must watch for everyone,

most especially, the real African woman. The video is available on all TV and cable stations across the country,â&#x20AC;? Adegboyega explained. Shot at the iconic Nike Art Gallery among other locations, Fele video parades a cameo scene from Big Brother Naija star, Uriel Oputa. Speaking further on the work, Adegboyega said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fele video was released as a solo effort just like the single because Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m still an independent artiste. (See concluding part on

Olofin, son of Highlife legend Bayode Olaiya representing his father Dr. Victor Olaiya, Thisday Glitterati Editor Nseobong Okon-Ekong, Muyiwa Moyela, Contributor for Forbes Africa, Media consultant and former GM, Metro FM, Cordelia Okpei and Meg Doris, leading fashion designer amongst others. The tribute session rounded off with a raffle draw and the prizes were for guests to win Othelloâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Five Days of Valentineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; package of a three-course dinner for a couple during the valentine period. Five lucky winners emerged from the exercise. Othelloâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s later hosted the guests at an after party in its prestigious indoor lounge till the early hours of the morning.



T H I S DAY, T H E S U N DAY N E W S PA P E R ˾ͯͯ˜ͰͮͯͶ


Cata Apartments Presents New Services

L-R: Director, Cata Apartments/Spa and Conference Hall, Mr. Tombe Traore, a guest, Hon. Peter Owoniwu, CEO, Cata Apartments/Spa and Conference Hall, Mrs. Eno Traore and Dr. Lambert Shumbusho at the official opening of Cata Apartments Conference Room and Cata Spa appreciation Day Party held at the apartments premises, Ajao Estate, lsolo, Lagos...last weekend

Funke Olaode


nvited guests walked into a cozy ambience of welcome enhanced by beautiful decoration, music and welltrained and smiling ushers; serving chilled choice drinks and finger foods. The calming effect of the swimming pool made the Sunday afternoon all the more pleasurable. As people continued to mingle, many of them commended the vision of the 80 year-old, Mrs. Eno EdetTraore, CEO of the Nne-Eka Residence, better known as CATA Apartments and Spa in Ajao Estate, Lagos. This soiree was put together to appreciate loyal customers and to introduce its latest facility: a multipurpose hall customized for trainings/ workshops/conferences/seminars, lectures and meetings, get-together, bachelor’s eve, bridal shower and dance dancing all and so on. The purposebuilt tastefully furnished venue caters for up to fifty seated guests. The icing on the cake is the newly refurbished Amigos Lounge which now offers expanded comfortable seating and VIP section for those who cherish privacy. The spa section which boasts

of first class massage, facial, pedicure, manicure, sauna sections has continued to set the pace in Ajao-Estate where it is located. Traore who has been in the hospitality business for close to three decades talked glowingly about the new addition to the apartments which has continued to cater for high and mighty in the society including the expatriates. “High quality is the main attraction of the conference facility; we have equipped the room with modern projectors and lighting equipment.” Speaking on the value of regular exercise and massage, Dr. Babatunde Dabiri encouraged guests to take their health seriously as ageing is a bit of a challenge for people above 50. Dabiri encouraged them to always do massage as it reduces pain, sports injuries, stress and anxieties. He also stressed that massage is useful for executives who sit in offices for long hours. Another guest, Hon. Peter Ononiwu commended Mrs. Traore for maintaining the standard and quality of service over the years. “I just got back from the United States in 1998 and my late father lured me to eat this special vegetable soup and since then I got hooked. Apart from that, the SPA

L-R: Mrs. Ugonna Okoye, Mrs. Grace Egenu and Dr. Babatunde Dabiri

section is awesome,” he concluded. Loyal customers of CATA Apartment were rewarded with amazing prizes. During the lucky dip, Mr. Mark Elias won Cata Spa Gym membership for one month worth N15, 000, Mr. Lanre Olubori won a medicure and penicure worth N5, 000, Mrs. Ebele Nwagbo won full sauna treatment while Mrs. Caroline Okpara won deep cleansing facial worth N5, 500. The most frequent SPA users First Prize got Smoothie Maker and the

Second Prize got SPA Voucher worth N10, 000. The Most Frequent Gym users also went home with blender and a Spa vouchers worth N10,000 while the two Most Frequent Hotel Lodgers were rewarded with two nights bed and breakfast and One Swedish Massage and Spa voucher worth N10,000 Among the dignitaires at the event were Dr. Lambert Shumbusho, Mr. Tony Adedoyin, Mrs. Mary Bassey, and Mrs. Grace Egenu.

NECLive Conference Points Creative Industry to New Thinking


Ayeni Adekunle

he sixth edition of Nigerian Entertainment Conference (NECLive), holding in Lagos on Wednesday April 25, will focus on how the creative industry can study, understand and access opportunities in emerging market segments, how to exploit the tools, trends and possibilities that technology provides, and how to build a totally new world of impact, locally and globally. Nigeria is still focused on solving old problems, while the rest of the world has moved on to using new thinking and ideas to create new ways of getting value. Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, Snapchat, Shazam, Tidal, Deezer, Spotify, and many more are coming forth to innovate creation, distribution

and monetisation, while the concept of venues and tours is taking a wholly different shape from Europe to Asia and America. The music business is transforming from predominantly records sales and concert and tours, to a 360 model that’s giving new life to a hitherto dying industry. Hollywood is seeing some excitement, with the boost in rent-or-buy streaming services and the influence of two key things: technology, and surge in measurable consumption from the EMEA. It’s the same across Fashion, comedy, Sports, and media. Demographics are changing, Silicon Valley is building, and M&As are leading to a new order. ‘With the recent promise displayed by the Nigerian music industry,

Nollywood, Fashion, Media, and Comedy, there is no better time to sit down and discuss what is at stake. Everything that’s transforming the entertainment and creative industries in Europe, Asia and America is potentially available to Nigeria, nay, Africa. Technology is already helping us fix payments, dating, banking, transportation, and even governance. It’s time to take a look at entertainment’, says NEC Founder and Chairman, Ayeni Adekunle. Over 5000 participants will gather at the Landmark Event Centre on Wednesday April 25, for the sixth edition of Nigerian Entertainment Conference, the marketplace for ideas, products, people, and services shaping the entertainment sector.


T H I S DAY, T H E S U N DAY N E W S PA P E R ˾ͯͯ,ͰͮͯͶ


A Passion for Science and Technology With a Fellowship of the Nigerian Society of Engineers in 2017, one of Alfred Okoigun’s focus in 2018 is the resuscitation of the Arco Nigerian Excellence in Science and Technology Award (NEST), which took place in London in 2001. A collaboration with the Nigerian Academy of Engineering backed with a Foundation will help translate engineering innovations into viable Nigerian tailored projects. Nduka Nwosu reports


hen Alfred Okoigun told the gathering of some of Nigeria’s finest brains at the last conference of the Nigerian Society of Engineers that the honour bestowed on him as a fellow of the august body, came as a surprise, many knew it was the humble Okoigun that was speaking. Reason? Both Okoigun and the three other recipients: Elder Nathaniel C. U. Okoro, Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi and James Abiodun Olotu have long distinguished themselves in ways the society has been proud of while they worked tirelessly and quietly to advance the course of the engineering profession in the country. Okoigun’s track record as a patron of the profession has long been documented right from the humble beginnings of Arco Plc when he took the bold step to sponsor the first international seminar on gas re-injection in the country in 1981 just one year after Arco came into existence, down to the sponsorship of young engineering students home and abroad. The 1981 seminar was updated in 1986 when another gas seminar on liquefied natural gas was chaired by Pius Okigbo with a position paper forwarded to the federal government. A few weeks later, the government announced the establishment of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company-NLNG and the eminent economist Okigbo was named its first chairman. While not laying claim to being the catalyst to this development, Okoigun’s altruism has always been for the good and progress of the fatherland. Having travelled widely and conducted business with many multinationals, Okoigun’s advocacy for transparency, due process and academic excellence leading to the acquisition of the right skills, became a signature tune with which he conducted business. Skill acquisition, Okoigun has always advocated, is Nigeria’s next destination and the oil and gas sector must take the lead. Malaysia for him is a huge reference point for the country. In his public discourses he has always cited Malaysia as an oil and gas producing country that has taken a commanding height in the sector as a result of relentless training of personnel in the various


aspects of the operations of the industry. No one should be in doubt that Okoigun has been a worthy ambassador of the engineering profession, which was why the engineering society was too happy to associate its fellowship with him. He for decades remained a shining role model to the students of the Petroleum Training Institute many of whom gained job placements and scholarships for higher studies under his Foundation. He has also sponsored Nigerian technocrats and journalists to different corporate institutions across the globe just to appreciate how these countries were making waves in the oil and gas related businesses Under the auspices of the Petroleum Training Institute Old Boys Association, Arco Petrochemical Engineering Company Limited spearheaded a Workshop in the Institute on Adaptive Research

declared open by the late military Vice President, Vice-Admiral Augustus Aikhomu. In 1981 while Arco was still in the cradle, it sponsored 13 students of the Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun to Italy for training in instrumentation and control at the Nuovo Pignone engineering installations. It also provided training attachment programmes for best graduating engineering students. While along with late Chief Festus Feyide, who served as Secretary-General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC he was made a fellow of the institute, the University of Lagos Engineering Students Association declared him a role model for his unique contributions in the development of young engineering students. The crisis in the Niger Delta interrupted such scholarship programmes but now that peace has returned to the area, Arco he

promises, will revive the scheme to help build a new generation keen on turning around the country with unique engineering skills. The story has been told and re-told on how an excursion to Shell Petroleum Development sites in Warri, undertaken by Form Three students of Government College Ughelli in the 1970s became the turning point in Okoigun’s life. An encounter with young graduate trainees of Yaba College of Technology and Auchi Polytechnic of the oil giant, fired his desire to be a part of them. An entry to the PTI became the turning point and fulfillment to his upward climb. At this point everything looked assured as he was admitted to study engineering. Then Federal Commissioner for Mines and Power, Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno, told them they were indeed a privileged set that should make the utmost use of the opportunities open to in the oil sector. This was the beginning of Okoigun’s journey climbing through the bumpy terrains of the top echelon of the oil sector. Now that he is there more as a player than a spectator, his private pains and deeply inflicted injuries buried in the deep sands of time and space, seem like they did not happen. Nonetheless, they defined the tough skin he acquired as indeed every sailor needs in navigating the wide sea in good and bad seasons. As the saying goes, among the tribesmen of Western Samoa, from the direction of the wind, you can tell a story from the beginning. Okoigun’s dream was not to slip his mooring working for the NNPC even as a good captain of a ship when he arrives at a port with handsome and precious metals. The job was juicy and promising, the dream of any young man at the time. An earlier exposure to Snap Progetti of ENI during an industrial attachment fired him on. So when the NNPC job came in 1978 he was only familiarizing with the environment, manning stores and saw the nitty gritty involved in maintenance engineering and the needed equipment, where to get them and who to partner with. It was a big deal but there were mountains to climb and he was not in the league of the faint hearted to chicken out when the sea became turbulent. (See concluding part on

‘How Sterling Bank Helped My Dream of Visiting Dubai’ Ugo Aliogo


ecently Sterling Bank Plc unveiled a new promo tagged 1dament to reward its existing and new customers. The promo which kicked off in the first week of December 2017, coincided with the Christmas season and the New Year, and will end in March. At the first general draws held in Lagos recently, 139 customers of the bank won various prizes. The customers were selected via an electronic raffle draw system and winners emerged from various parts of the country. The event was witnessed by officials of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB), National Lottery Regulatory Commission and Akintola Williams Deloitte as well as senior officials of the bank. Mr. Okpara Obiora Damian, one of the lucky winners of the all-expense paid trip to an international holiday destination, was full of gratitude to Sterling Bank for making his desire to travel to Dubai a reality. Damian, who currently works in Awka, Anambra State as an audit personnel with Cosmila Suites and Hotels, said, “I did not hear about the promo until I was called by an official


of the bank that I had won an all-expense paid trip to an international holiday destination in the on-going promo. Initially, I was surprised since I did not know that the bank was running a promo until I confirmed it from my account officer. “This is the greatest benefit I have won in

my life and therefore I am grateful to the bank for the prize. I am also grateful to the bank for giving me the opportunity to travel to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirate to spend the Valentine’s Day. It’s something I would have loved to do on my own, but it has made it easier for me for free. I am looking forward to having fun during the trip. I have heard so many people talk about Dubai and I have desired it. I’m happy that Sterling Bank has made my dream a reality.” Damian said he likes the bank’s mobile banking app and the internet banking platform, adding that the services of the bank are also very good. He opened the account while he was still serving as a youth corper in one of the local government areas in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital in 2012 for his NYSC allowance to be paid into it. According to him, “it was my Allawee account.” Explaining how he became a customer of the bank, Damian said some officials of the bank and those of another bank came to market banking activities to them and he decided to go with Sterling Bank. Interestingly, after his national youth service programme, he abandoned the account and it was sometime last year that he went to reactivate it. “See what Sterling Bank has done

for me! It’s been fantastic experience over the years,” he enthused. “I don’t think there will be any more recommendation than this prize that I have won,” he said while responding to a question on whether he would recommend the bank to family members and friends. “This prize is already enough recommendation,” he said. Commenting on the promo, Chief Marketing Officer, Sterling Bank, Henry Bassey, said, “Sterling Bank is in the business of making its loyal customers happy, thus the 1dament promo. It is a season of joy and since we care at Sterling Bank, we have decided to make this season and the first quarter of the New Year memorable for our loyal customers as they come first in the scheme of things.” Some of the prizes of the promo include a grand prize which is a home in Lekki, Lagos; all-expense paid trips for eight customers to watch select World Cup matches in Russia, all-expense paid trips to watch select English Premiere League/ Champions League matches for another eight customers. Also, 20 winners will each win a trip to an international holiday destination while 512 customers will win N100, 000


                       Ëž FEBRUARY 11, 2018


with LEKAN FATODU 08060140882

â&#x20AC;ŚHappenings Around the Diaspora

Change! Nigerian Embassy in US Steps up Operations with 48-hr Visa Service

Apostle Sulemanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mission to Deter Libya-bound Young Nigerians

Lekan Fatodu


he long awaited change may have come the way of Nigerians in the US and investors who wish to visit Nigeria as the Nigerian embassy in the United States of America just announced a 48-hr visa service. Anyone who is familiar with or has had cause to visit the Nigerian embassy in the US for a visa to Nigeria, or other consular matters would tell you how tedious and unprofessional the process is conducted in that embassy. For just a simple enquiry such as on travel certificate for those who require the document to travel to Nigeria, you will not only be subjected to needless bureaucracy but also have to endure unwarranted insolence from the mostly uncouth staff members at the embassy. Because of these regular shameful encounters, a lot of Nigerians usually groan whenever the need for a visit to the embassy arises. As such there have been a lot of complaints and agitations over the unruly attitude of the embassy staff towards fellow Nigerians and prospective visitors to Nigeria. Similarly, questions have been raised on unnecessary delay in visa issuance which usually discourages investors from visiting the country and in that way robs Nigeria of huge foreign investment opportunities.

Apostle Suleman

M Amb. Sylvanus Nsofor, Nigerian Ambassador to US

So as the embassy has deemed it fit to enhance its operations with the 48-hour visa processing, more improvements are also expected in

the areas of customer service, training of staff, organisation of the embassy and cutting of needless bureaucracy amongst other necessities.

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Still War against Nigerians in South Africa


hose who think the senseless xenophobic attacks led by some South Africans against Nigerians living in South Africa (SA) is over should wake up from their slumber. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hightime the South African haters of humanity with their collaborators in the South African police, are made to see the tough position of the law on their wicked acts. There is certainly no justification for the acts of the mob that destroyed shops and properties belonging to Nigerians living at Krugersdorp, near Johannesburg. The mob alleged that a member of the Nigerian community in the area had


abducted and raped a South African lady. Hence they unleashed violence on all Nigerians in sight and damaged properties worth quite a fortune. Many Nigerians have had terrible experiences, some having led to death, in the hands of South Africans who have no love for foreigners despite being fellow Africans. About a week ago, two South African police officers were remanded in prison over the alleged killing of a Nigerian named Ebuka Okori. This is an unfortunate proof that the war is not yet over. The Nigerian government should therefore take a strong position with its South African counterpart to halt these heinous attacks and killings of Nigerians.

ost of the critics of the modern day pastors have premised their concerns on the observations that these faith leaders tend to focus more on self than others. The expectation has been that the faith leaders should use their influence to talk truth to the people in power and deploy their resources to alleviate the conditions of the needy. It is therefore noteworthy that such desire and concern by the people is gradually engendering outcome from the target circle. Obviously, the intervention of Apostle Johnson Suleman, President of the Omega Fire Ministries (OFM), is crucial in the yearnings of the public on the roles of religious leaders in development. After meeting and counseling 14 young Nigerians who were part of the many trapped in Libya on their dangerous sea-journey to Europe and subjected to the worst of human conditions in Libya before being rescued by the Nigerian government, the famous pastor donated N4 million to help reshape the lives of the returnees. And thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not all. The fiery clergyman, sources say, is committing considerable amounts of money into an innovative tool that will serve to deepen awareness of the dangers of emigration through Libya and other treacherous routes among young Nigerians. Suleman, whose church is headquartered in Edo State, a state with many victims of trafficking and dodgy emigration scheme, affirmed that his support plan will deter many young people from taking purposeless and risky journeys; and will continue to challenge the government to build a nation where Nigerians can realise their dreams.

UK-returnee, Ayodeji Karim, Declares Intention for Oyo Governorship


he coming general elections in 2019 would be a different political exercise with the growing political interest from Nigerian professionals, technocrats, entrepreneurs and brilliant and upwardly-mobile young people within and outside of Nigeria. Amongst these accomplished Nigerians who are seeking to bring their wealth of experience and expertise to governance in Nigeria is Ayodeji Karim. Karim, who recently moved to Nigeria from his UK abode, is a consummate professional

and entrepreneur with records of excellent operations in engineering, construction and farming. The businessman-turned-politician had his primary and secondary education in Nigeria before proceeding to South Thames College in London, UK where he obtained a National Diploma in Electro/Mechanical Sciences. He also secured a Bachelorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree in Materials Engineering and Engineering Design/Manufacturing from the University of Wales, UK. Karim, who also had extensive trainings in the military from the British Army, heads

thriving businesses like Fortis Construction and Costain (West Africa) Plc amonsgt others. Meanwhile, in achieving his political goal, the passionate entrepreneur has put the focus of his campaign on vigorous development of human and material resources through youth empowerment, education, training and enduring infrastructures. As many Nigerians have suggested that the emergence of fresh minds and ideas in politics would be a way out of Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s challenges, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hoped that Karim and other newcomers bring with them the necessary solutions to the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s myriad of problems.


T H I S D AY ˾ ͯͯ˜ͰͮͯͶ










RE-EMERGENCE Ben Enwonwu's Tutu 1974 version






A Ben Enwonwu’s portrait of the Ile-Ife royal princess Adetutu Ademiluyi, painted in 1974, will m at Bonhams Africa Now sale in London on February 28. Okechukwu Uwaezuoke reports


utu’s almond-shaped eyes seem glazed over in a reverie. They are riveted on something somewhere in the distance, to the viewer’s left. Could she have been startled? Or, perhaps, flattered by the groundswell of aficionados’ interest swirling around her? Whatever. This is one painting, whose hidden message from the past seems lost on most of its viewers. Painted by Ben Enwonwu – who was once bitten by the Negritude bug after his encounter with its key actors at the first Congress of Black Writers and Artists in Paris, held in 1958 – it savours of a brazen romanticisation of the African womanhood. Even with her back half-turned to the viewer, the coffee-complexioned damsel strikes a regal pose in her traditional Yoruba attire. Perhaps, her straight narrow nose and thin lips – features which are not normally associated with the Negroid race – must have aroused the romantic streak in Enwonwu. But, the maiden, who could easily have passed for a Fulani girl, was none other than Adetutu Ademiluyi, a member of the Ile-Ife royal family. She was, the late Nigeria’s iconic artist would later discover, a granddaughter of the then O'oni of Ife. This encounter took place sometime in 1973. Enwonwu was on a visit to the Yoruba monarch’s palace. His bid to get Adetutu to sit for a portrait were at first not enthusiastically considered by her parents. But the latter’s reluctance soon caved in to Enwonwu’s persistence. Hence, between that year and the following year, three versions of this portrait painting – which became so to speak Nigeria’s equivalent of “Mona Lisa” – were produced. Come Wednesday, February 28, an original version of “Tutu” – painted in 1974 – will lead Bonhams Africa Now sale at its 101 New Bond Street outlet in London. The sale will also be broadcast live to a Bonhams auction event at The Wheatbaker Hotel in Lagos, a pioneering move which will allow bidders participate in real time. This means that the event, which kick off at 5 pm in London, will start broadcasting live from 6 pm in Lagos. There is a good reason why Tutu is generating so much interest. Enwonwu, as the story goes, never sold the original “Tutu”. Indeed, this painting reportedly never left his private collection until his passage in 1994. Even so, signed copies of this 1973 oil on canvas paintings have found their way into many private collections in Nigeria. Consequently, the whereabouts of all the three original paintings remained hitherto officially unknown. This would explain the legendary long search for “Tutu”, especially for the original of this oil on canvas painting done in 1973. Also a mystery are the whereabouts of the third “Tutu”. So, that leaves the version up for sale at Bonhams as the only known original example of the image. Now, the discovery of the current picture for sale stirs up a maelstrom of aficionados’ interest in the paintings. “It amounts to the most significant discovery in contemporary African art in over fifty years,” the Nigerianborn Booker Prize winning novelist Ben Okri enthused in the spring edition of Bonhams Magazine. “It is the only authentic ‘Tutu’, the equivalent of some rare archaeological find. It is a cause for celebration, a potentially transforming moment in the world of art.” “The portrait of Tutu is a national icon in Nigeria, and of huge cultural significance,” Bonhams Director of Modern African Art, Giles Peppiatt corroborated. “It is very exciting to have discovered the only painting of the series that we now know still exists. Its appearance on the market is a momentous

Enwonwu working on Queen Elizabeth II's sculpture

Ben Enwonwu chats with former Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa event and we expect it to generate enormous interest.” That the painting, which was obviously of great personal significance to Enwonwu, would later be seen as a symbol of national reconciliation for a post-conflict Nigeria is not surprising. After the bitterly-fought 30-month Nigeria civil war of the late 1960s, such woundhealing symbolic gestures like an ethnic Igbo

artist romanticising a Yoruba princess in a painting were welcome. There are the obvious traces of Enwonwu’s romance with the Negritude movement on his depiction of the Ile-Ife princess. In a nod to the artist’s adherence to the cultural movement launched in Paris in the 1930s by Francophone African and Caribbean intellectuals, Tutu’s aristocratic

mien proclaims the dignity of African womanhood. In her traditional attire, the dark-skinned beauty celebrates the African ideal, which references with pride. “I will not accept an inferior position in the art world,” Enwonwu was quoted in Financial Times to have told BBC in 1958. “Nor have my art called ‘African’ because I have not correctly and properly given expression to my reality.” Still, the artist managed to straddle two worlds – one representing his pan-African identity and the other, his connections to colonial rule. Was he not, after all, an art adviser to both the British and Nigerian governments in the post-independence era? “European artists like Picasso, Braque and Vlaminck were influenced by African art,” Enwonwu further argued in the chat with BBC. “Everybody sees that and is not opposed to it. But when they see African artists who are influenced by their European training and technique, they expect that African to stick to their traditional forms … I do not copy traditional art...” There is no doubt about the fact that the re-emergence of an original “Tutu” has made a lot waves among aficionados. But, Enwonwu’s renown as the trailblazer of Nigerian Modernism will make a difference on how well it performs at the forthcoming Bonhams sale. The works of the Goldsmiths, the Ruskin and the Slade art schools alumnus are keenly sought after not just in Nigeria, but also among collectors worldwide. Indeed, his works can currently be found at Tate, the Smithsonian, Fisk University Museum and the National Gallery in Lagos, as well as in several private



ʜ ˺˺   



collections including the British Royal Collection. At the Bonhams Africa Now â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Modern & Contemporary Art sale, held on October 5 last year in London, three works by the man, after whom the Enwonwu crater on the planet Mercury is named, led the pack as top-sellers. Two of his works â&#x20AC;&#x201C; â&#x20AC;&#x153;Nigerian Symphonyâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Female Dancerâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; sold for ÂŁ112, 500 each while the third one, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Negritude on Redâ&#x20AC;?, sold for ÂŁ106,250. Meanwhile, the February 28 Bonhams sale also includes a sketch made by Enwonwu for his portrait sculpture of Queen Elizabeth II, which was commissioned to commemorate her visit to Nigeria in 1956, and a Yusuf Grillo painting, titled â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Three Evangelistsâ&#x20AC;?, which was produced in 1964. To produce the bronze statue of the Queen, which was to be installed in the Nigerian House of Representatives as the country prepared itself for independence in 1960, Enwonwu was availed a studio space at Buckingham Palace. This was where he made a number of preliminary sketches in watercolours â&#x20AC;&#x201C; including the work for sale â&#x20AC;&#x201C; capturing Her Majesty from the front and in profile. The Queen was reportedly pleased with the finished bronze work and commissioned Enwonwu to create a likeness of Prince Charles. Curiously, the work, which was first presented at the Tate Gallery in London in 1957, was criticised by the British press for â&#x20AC;&#x153;Africanisingâ&#x20AC;? the Queenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s features.

The Inverted Pyramid; Adapted from a novel by Emeka Dike





Arrives at Lekki

Temitayo Ajiboye


am not surprised at the level of energy coming out of these dancers, Africa is home to unbeatable rhythms. We just need to manipulate these movements into new steps.” That was Beau Hancock speaking on the first day of a workshop organised recently by the Society for the Performing Arts in Nigeria (also called SPAN) for dancers in Lagos. The workshop, dubbed “Art of Choreography”, held at SPAN’s community centre in Lagos Island and was designed to help dancers to grow and hone their skills. Hancock, the workshop’s facilitator, is an American dance instructor and choreographer, who has indeed earned his stripes in the international dance community. Besides holding an MFAin dance from Temple University, where he was a university fellow and Rose Vernick Choreographic Achievement Award recipient, he also holds a Bachelor's in Arts degree from the University of Kansas. In addition, he was a founding member of the Bowerey Dancers, a Lawrence, Kansas-based movement collective. As a dancer, Hannock has choreographed with many world renowned dancers. His work has also featured in several institutes including the Philadelphia International Festival of Arts. The five-day workshop lasted for four hours each day. Two hours were devoted to advanced choreographic classes while the other two hours of intermediate/beginner classes. There was no doubt that for many Lagosbased dancers, the workshop was a platform for deepening their creativity, thus aim for their artistic development as well as for building confidence and being willing to take risks necessary to put their ideas into action. Hence, the Head of Dance Performance at SPAN Ukalina Opuwari, said the workshop was organised to develop the skill of choreography in dancers and aspiring choreographers, to also build the body of the dancers through the body conditioning exercises which were done before each class. Afirst-hand experience review of the workshop segments attested to the fact that it was expansive, insightful and educative. The basics of creativity necessary to spawn a choreography of unique texture and quality particular to a choreographer were without a doubt uncloaked and made easy for everyone present to understand. It was a highly engaging week. Among the insights on understanding choreographic creativity outlined at the workshop were: -Design concepts in dancers' use of space. -Manipulating movements to make them into new steps. -Turning everyday gestures to dance phrases. -How tableaus are made. Tableaus are using body parts to spell words and then manipulating them into dance phrases. In this class, dancers were made to spell their names with body parts, exploring movement with the torso, chin, elbow, nose, toes and head. These movements as described above definitely felt like nothing could be more awkward until the movements were being restructured by making them bigger or smaller, higher or lower(that is either by jumping or crawling or something in between), directions around the space in which the dancer stood. Dancers also

Yinka Olatunbosun


Hancock interacting with dancers at the SPAN workshop got to slow down or hasten movement phrases within a given time frame. These manipulations are movements which may feel awkward when they're first explored, but awkward is always the best locus to begin. It allows your body find and display physicality that may have never been seen (or even felt) before and this prevents a dancer from feeling stuck when creating a choreography. Transitions should be used to make the movements more seamless and aesthetically pleasing. The different dance vocabularies in the phrase created may now be edited or manipulated using direction, different body parts and others to refine the choreography. There should also be a balance of the internal and external; the internal being the level of commitment and intention the dancer moves with, giving every move a meaning and the external being shapes, structures and movements. Dance creators should be brave enough to accept the created structures which seems grotesque in order shape them into beautiful pieces. It is a choreographer's duty to present original, appealing dance pieces that are captivating and galvanise an audience. Every member of an audience wants to leave an event or production ruminating over a choreography and knowing that they got the worth of money and time spent. Whether abstract or narrative, a choreography should leave it's audience with a certain feeling in it's wake and that should most likely be a positive effect. Anniebet Emmanuel, a dancer who attended the workshop, said, "My experience at the workshop was very intriguing. I signed up

for the workshop basically to know the practical sides of 'the art of choreography' and I wasn't disappointed. Beau Hancock broke down the workings of the body. The conditioning, the contracting, the extensions and also balance. I learnt and understood 'tableaus', ways of putting together actions into choreographies and also being able to talk through the choreography for better understanding and relating it to a layman who doesn't know dance practically." Remi Shitta, also a dance trainee at SPAN, disclosed her experience was one she couldn’t express in words. "Every moment, pain, steps, smiles was worth it,” she recalled. “If I had the power, I would keep going back in time just to have them again. Alot was learnt and for me, it was very personal. Even to the words he shared, everything was like a priceless jewel. He said something but I'll summarise in my own words, that I would like everyone to relate with. He said 'Stay committed to whatever dance moment you're in, either in a class, rehearsal, performance etc, till the very end, don't stop halfway or loose interest. Feel, relax, enjoy and listen to the communication between you, your mind and your movements, also your surroundings and audience lastly'." As dance continues to command more professional respect locally, workshops of this kind are delightful as they ensure that this art being performed intentionally and with absolute commitment in order to communicate with and elicit the desired emotion from an audience. –– -Ajiboye writes from Lagos.

new gallery space opened recently in Lekki, Lagos. Called De Arts Place Continuum, this gallery has been in existence for about two decades in the Lagos mainland neighbourhood Magodo. Now, its opening in Lekki gives its residents and art collectors in general have one more gallery to visit. At the recent ceremony to usher in the gallery, the Programme Director, Marshall Nwauwa received scores of guests who showed varying interests in the works. Without missing the opportunity to arrest the attention of a potential buyer, Nwauwa took his listeners on a brief tour of the gallery showing the works of the art masters in the maze of the gallery’s collection. He later explained why the gallery is pushing the physical boundaries to reach out to more art enthusiasts. “Our prices are a bit friendly and many of our clients have asked that we replicate what we have at Magodo here on the island,” explained the artist who is also in the business of promoting arts. “This is called De Art Place Continuum. We are just here to bring together art connoisseurs and friends of the art to see art from our own perspective. Every gallery represents a certain perspective.’’ Art appeals to different kinds of people. The young always seem to be curious about the meaning behind the works. The old study each work hard enough to discern its possible future value that the sound of clinking glasses at the opening cocktail could just be a distraction. Nwauwa knew this; hence his next remarks on individual’s perspective of a piece of art and what the gallery is offering. “We have works that are abstract and others that are very contemporary. We also have traditional art. We want some thing that does not just have aesthetic appeal but can also add value to the collector. We have works of the masters and emerging talents.’’ Sola Olamakinde, the CEO, De Arts Place, was excited at the success story of the gallery and its expansion. “It is a mark of progress and determination to impact on the environment,” he said. “These days, there is so much tension in the land. People who are already paranoid or frustrated need something that will relieve them of such burden. That is my reason for engaging in this business and for bringing it here. The rich are the ones feeling the heat because they like to live large. Now they need something that can psychologically douse the tension art is very therapeutic. That is why many buy art and collect art. They are attracted to anything that appeals to their emotions.” To carve a niche in an expanding market, De Arts Place, asides organising exhibitions, will run summer art classes for children and students at large. “Here, we want to incorporate trainings for art wives and domestic servants, retirees. That will make us really different. We are poised to developing arts. We are looking at collaborating with a number of established galleries on the island,’’ he promised.

Two Nigerian Authors on 9mobile Prize for Literature Shortlist 2018 Yinka Olatunbosun


igeria’s telecommunications company, 9mobile has announced the three shortlisted books for the 2018 edition of its flagship Pan-African literary prize, the 9mobile Prize for Literature. Amongst these are two Nigerian authors. The three shortlisted titles are Stay with Me by Nigeria’s Ayobami Adebayo; What it Means When a Man Falls Down From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah, also a Nigerian; and Asylum by Marcus Low, from South Africa. This shortlist announcement follows the longlist unveiled in December 2017, which featured nine books chosen by the judges: Nigerian academic and poet Harry Garuba

(Chair), Ugandan writer Doreen Baingana, and South African writer Siphiwo Mahala. The winner will be announced during the Grand Finale event to be held this year. The chair of judges, Professor Harry Garuba, observed that the three authors were selected after a thorough, objective and painstaking review of their books, “coming from young African writers – fresh storylines, intriguing plots and characters you would want to meet in real life.” “We are happy to have reached this stage,” he continued. “Knowing the high standards desired by the 9mobile Prize for Literature, we ensured that the adjudication process was objective, while upholding quality and relevance. We congratulate 9mobile and the shortlisted writers, and note that the entire exercise we went through gives us a glimpse of an even

more promising and rewarding literary industry for African writers.” Director, Brand and Experience, 9mobile, Elvis Ogiemwanye, expressed satisfaction that every stage of the 2018 9mobile Prize for Literature has been inspiring. He further commended the judges and patrons for their diligence; while restating the company’s support for African literature. He said: “We at 9mobile have always been amazed by the resilience and commitment of writers on the continent in spite of the huge challenges they face.’’ The winner of the 9mobile Prize will receive £15,000, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen, and a 9mobilesponsored fellowship at the University of East Anglia, where he or she will be mentored by renowned literature teacher Professor Giles Foden, author of The Last

King of Scotland. All three finalists will have copies of their books purchased by 9mobile for distribution to schools, libraries and book clubs across Africa. This is in fulfilment of the company’s goal of making books available across the continent, and developing the publishing industry. 9mobile Prize for Literature is the first pan-African literary Prize that celebrates debut African writers of published fiction. It is open solely to writers from African countries, resident anywhere in the world. Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo won the inaugural edition of the prize in 2013 with We Need New Names, and South African novelist Songeziwe Mahlangu won with Penumbra in 2014. Fiston Mwanza Mujila from the Democratic Republic of Congo won in 2015 with Tram 83, and in 2017 Nigeria’s Jowhor Ilewon for his first book And After Many Days.


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾ FEBRUARY 11, 2018


Editor Olawale Olaleye Email, SMS: 08116759819


…And Now, the IBB Letter The letter written by a former military ruler, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, less than two weeks after former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari, advising that he shelves the idea of a re-election appears to have upped the ante in the lead-up to next year’s general election, writes Olawale Olaleye


ave for THISDAY’s early confirmation of the story, former Military President Ibrahim Babangida’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari had itself landed a controversial intervention with another letter circulating round. Many of Buhari’s die-hard supporters would rather share the other letter, allegedly written by friends and one of his sons, because the content had denied the first one, which was very scathing and called for the emergence of what he described as “digital leadership’ in 2019. About two weeks ago, former President Olusegun Obasanjo had written to Buhari, advising him to dismount from the horse and retire honourably because according to him, the president had failed to live up to billings. Obasanjo, who broke down the basis of his unexpected intervention, argued that a lot was at stake for Nigeria and as a patriot, driven only by one thing – national interest – he was obliged to step in and share his views with “brother Buhari”, he so described. As if inspired by the Obasanjo letter, Babangida, last week, descended into the arena and insisted it was best for Buhari not to seek re-election. In the letter affirmed by the former Nigerian leader and titled: “Towards a National Rebirth,”Babangida emphasised the need for a new breed of leadership to emerge through the electoral process, even though he did not intend to deny Buhari his inalienable right to vote and be voted for in the 2019 elections. Interestingly, the police, who seemed uncomfortable with the letter, had immediately declared the retired general’s spokesperson, Mr. Kassim Afegbua, wanted. The dust raised by that development would later settle when the police reportedly apologised, after Afegbua had visited their headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s capital. Yet, the letter was generally deemed an uncomfortable truth by a majority of the observing public, who could genuinely discern and relate with its content.“It is what everyone already knows,”they seem to agree. Some excerpts would suffice.“In the fullness of our present realities, we need to cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari to complete his term of office on May 29th, 2019 and collectively prepare the way for a new generation leaders to assume the mantle of leadership of the country,”adding that he offered the advice as a stakeholder, former president and concerned Nigerian, who was desirous of seeing “new paradigms in our shared commitment to get this country running”. According to him,“This is the time for us to reinvent the will and tap into the resourcefulness of the younger generation, stimulate their entrepreneurial initiatives and provoke a conduce environment to grow the national economy both at the micro and macro levels. “Contemporary leadership has to be proactive and not reactive. It must factor in citizens’ participation. Its language of discourse must be persuasive not agitated and abusive. It must give room for confidence building. It must build consensus and form aggregate opinions on any issue to reflect the wishes of the people across the country.

Babangida in discussion with Buhari “It must gauge the mood of the country at every point in time in order to send the right message. It must share in their aspirations and give them cause to have confidence in the system. Accountability in leadership should flow from copious examples. It goes beyond mere sloganeering. My support for a new breed of leadership derives from the understanding that it will show a marked departure from recycled leadership to creating new paradigms that will breathe fresh air into our present polluted leadership actuality,”he added. With IBB’s letter, as the former leader is otherwise called delivered, the journey to 2019 appears a more serious concern for stakeholders than the picture presented by the 2015 elections. What this also means, according to observers, is that whilst these leaders and the elite alike are not farther from the truth on the state of the nation and seem to agree that there is need for a more dynamic leadership, they are practically speaking the minds of the populace and the voiceless in the country, thus painting the actual picture of the state of the nation in the best way possible. Whilst it is trite to debate that the government has recorded some progress in the area of governance

however insignificant it might seem, it is evident that this government lacks the capacity to deliver basic and sound leadership that would have helped undo some of the palpable yet avoidable mistakes that are currently marking it negative in practically all boxes. The capacity to make hard choices is the issue here. There is no gainsaying the fact that the idea of Buhari’s re-election has continued to elicit diverse opinions despite the staggering goodwill that ushered in the government in 2015. But whether or not it is able to turn the tide within the short time left or could ride through on the strength of the “let him just do the remaining four years”narrative that is being sold now is a question for time and ever changing indices. Clearly, it isn’t just that all is not well with the nation at this material time, the interesting thing is that the “owners of Nigeria”as Obasanjo, Babangida and others (who had equally contributed to the mess as it were) are called have stepped into the fray with a resolve to “save Nigeria from herself”and when this happens, too many things are at stake including egotripping. Everyone can only hope that this ends well at the end of the day.


T Ganduje...Kwankwaso and I are still very close

Ganduje’s Welcome Call

he Kano State Governor, Abdulahi Ganduje, last week asked all the herdsmen around the country to return to Kano, because the state boasts a vast landmass for grazing. He said this in view of the current attacks by AK-47-wielding herdsmen in different parts of the country, the result of which is a growing national and global discontent. This is a welcome development. However, two issues suffice here. Is Ganduje’s call a solution to the crisis of herdsmen/farmers clashes, which have been ongoing for many years and can his call contain the now growing criminal tendency of some of the elements believed to have infiltrated their ranks?

The other question: Was this call made, because Ganduje thought other parts of the country were somewhat intolerant of the herdsmen and therefore wanted to score some cheap political points, at a time he is also battling for survival? This is a sensitive matter and must be handled with utmost caution and circumspection, especially as elections are fast approaching. He must not allow his call to be misconstrued as suggesting that herdsmen are not wanted in other parts of the country. Any Nigerian can live anywhere and practice his/her trade in compliance with the law. Thus, the herdsmen/farmers controversy should not be used by politicians to further their political nests.

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾ FEBRUARY 11, 2018


BRIEFINGNOTES Challenges for the APC Leader President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent assignment to a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to reconcile feuding members of the party is not as easy as it seems. Oyebuchi Ezigbo writes


resident Muhammadu Buhari recently made a surprise move by beckoning on a former Lagos State governor and leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to help rally support for the party and reconcile aggrieved members. The president’s decision almost took everybody unawares, because for a long time, he had not been conspicuously involved in the affairs of the party at the national level. Therefore, naming Tinubu as the chief reconciliatory officer of the party as political activities towards 2019 polls gather momentum is seen as strategic as it amounts to putting him on the spot and making the support of Southwest for APC in 2019 the ultimate charge. Observers of the intriguing political development in the country today see President Buhari’s action as well thought-out to salvage the party from disintegration. The president must have read the handwriting and felt that it was only by getting Tinubu back on his side that could help to replicate the 2015 feat. Following disenchantment that trailed the style of governance delivered by President Buhari’s administration, which has left the party and most stakeholders of the APC complaining bitterly of being neglected and abandoned, there was nothing the president would have done other than to go back to the roots, many reckoned. In a terse statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, Buhari gave Tinubu’s terms of reference to include leading consultative and reconciliatory moves aimed at rebuilding confidence in the party. He also assigned Tinubu the responsibilities of resolving existing disputes among party men and women as well as between party leadership and political office holders in some states. Given these responsibilities, the job of Tinubu is tasking as the crisis in APC is deep and endemic. As at now, the party is faced with numerous crises both at the national and state levels. First, there are party men and women, who felt betrayed by Buhari for allegedly leaving them ‘in the cold’ after working assiduously for his election. Second, there are others who have had running battles with their benefactors within the party in some states. There were also clash of interests among the political gladiators in the party of which the former Lagos State governor was himself a major actor. In reality, even the president needs to be truly reconciled with his party men, who are in charge of affairs at the National Assembly. For the better part of the three years duration of this administration, there was no love lost between the Executive arm of government and the Legislature. Their relationship has been anything but cordial. Although both parties tried to cover things up, the situation is still less than cordial. Also, Tinubu, himself needs to reconcile with some key players in the party, especially with regard to what transpired during the power tussle for the emergence of the principal officers of the National Assembly. Importantly, he would need to also reconcile with the man

Tinubu and President Buhari in Abuja..recently currently at the helm of affairs of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, whom he had cause to call for his resignation from office at some point. In states like Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi and Kogi, the governors are at loggerheads with some members of the National Assembly. In some of these states, the frosty relationship has gone almost beyond manageable proportions. A good example is the acute face-off between Kano State Governor, Ibrahim Ganduje, and his benefactor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso. Kwankwaso was last week forced to put off his proposed rally in Kano following a stern warning from Ganduje that his security could not be guaranteed in the state that he governed for eight years, with Ganduje as a development partner. Yet, it was Kwankwaso, who unilaterally brought Ganduje and installed him as his successor in the same APC in 2015. A similar situation is playing out in Kogi State, where Governor Yahaya Bello is pitted against Senator Dino Melaye. It is even more complicated, because the governor is also not on the same page with the party leadership in the state. Also in Kaduna State, Governor Nasir El-rufai and the Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, have been engaged in a running battle, which deepened shortly after the conduct of party congress in the state. Similar problems exist in many other states between party executives and some ministers and other appointees of the federal government. However, bearing in mind that Tinubu has at various times clashed with some of the party stakeholders, there are genuine concerns that he might find it difficult to play the unbiased umpire in his judgment.

Yet, his assignment has elicited mixed reactions, particularly that it would keep him busy till the time of the elections. It is, perhaps, the reason some moderate members of the APC however see the move as a welcome development, which is long overdue. National Vice Chairman of the party for South-south, Hilard Eta, described it as a fantastic idea, which will arrest the prevailing disunity in the party and put it back on pre-March 2015 status. Eta, who spoke in an interview said, “Let me tell you, when in 2014, the process of the merger of APC began, the two inspirational leaders that led to the success of the merger were President Buhari and Tinubu. And if one has become the president and calls on the other person to try and take care of some flashpoints in the party, which he could not handle maybe because of his tight schedules, that idea is fantastic”. Eta dismissed insinuation that the president’s move was tantamount to taking over duties of the party’s NWC led by Oyegun, because such reconciliatory efforts fall within the purview of the party’s national leadership. There were others who saw it as a strategy to bring Tinubu to do the dirty job of cleaning up the mess created in the the party as the general election approaches. One of such people was one Dr. Dipo Awojide, who succinctly said: “It is election season. Tinubu is important again.” On its part, the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has mocked the presidency for embarking on what it described as an ill-fated mission to salvage the badly derailed chances of retaining power come 2019 presidential election.

The party criticised the Buhari-APC administration for abandoning its responsibility of governance and now deploying resources meant for the good of the people to push a desperate but ill-fated mission to perpetuate on Nigerians, an obviously unpopular presidential candidate in 2019. National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement on Thursday added that it was ludicrous that after almost three years of failure to deliver on the littlest of its campaign promises, the Buhari presidency is now moving around, cap-in-hands, looking for those to use once again to beguile Nigerians ahead of the 2019 elections. Before the appointment of Tinubu to oversee reconciliatory efforts, the national leadership of the APC had set up reconciliation committees to take charge of the six geographical zones. But in the end, the committees failed to substantially reconcile the warring parties. One of the reasons for the inability of the committee set up by the Oyegun-led NWC to fully reconcile the aggrieved persons were that the conflict had become deep-rooted, as much as the issues that led to it. Another factor is the fact that some of the personalities involved in the intra-party feud wield enormous influence in the party. As Tinubu and his team begin their assignment, one thing is very clear and that is, it would not be easy to handle and time is not on their side to genuinely put right the internal squabbles that have lasted for almost three years in just few months to the commencement of campaigns for the next elections. Though Tinubu is an experienced politician and political strategist, the current assignment is a Herculean task.


CSP Moshood’s Unkind Cut

Jimoh Moshood Police Public Relations Officer

The Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Jimoh Moshood, courted an avoidable controversy last week, when he described the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, as a “drowning man”. He said this on a popular television breakfast programme. “We don’t join issues with a drowning man. Governor Ortom is a drowning man,” he said, when asked to address the governor’s recent statement. And when asked to withdraw the statement, he insisted he would not, saying, “I will not withdraw for the purpose of this discussion, because he called my IGP incompetent”. For the record, Ortom, while reacting to a comment by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, that the killings in Benue were instigated

by the state’s new anti-open grazing law, had asked the police chief to resign over his handling of the killings in his state by suspected herdsmen. He went on to describe Idris as incompetent, and that he had taken side with the killer herdsmen. This regardless, Moshood has failed to realise that as a public servant, security officer, and spokesman of the Nigeria Police, he must avoid swimming in political waters. Calling an elected governor and the chief security officer of a state a “drowning man” is both reckless and incautious. CSP Moshood could have debunked Governor Ortom’s allegation against the IGP Idris by simply clarifying the IGP’s remarks and stating what the force is doing to ensure security of lives

and property in Benue. But he chose to take a despicable path. His tantrums against a governor who is the chief security officer of the state and who chairs the state security council, which has the State Commissioner of Police as member, smacked of professional recklessness and lack of requisite training in the art of communication. A police public relations officer must not be reckless in his remarks or make comments that suggest partisanship in a grave security situation like the prevailing atmosphere in Benue. It is high time CSP Moshood was told that as a police officer and spokesman of the police, he must not only be neutral, he must be seen as neutral in issues like this.


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾ FEBRUARY 11, 2018


Wike (middle) on a visit to governor Ortom of Benue state...recently

Benue after the Gruesome Attacks A month after herdsmen murdered 73 people in Benue State, fear still pervades the environment. George Okoh, who visited the two local governments, reports


uma and Logo local government areas of Benue State, where the mindless killings of people took place on the eve of New Year are beginning to count their losses in an agonising manner. Local leaders and residents have yet to come to terms with why they were attacked. A visit to Guma and Logo showed that the town was still writhing in pains and yet to commence the process of healing. They are still dismayed that the murder of so many people including women and children has failed to stop despite many rapprochements. Dr. Tivlumum Nyiste, a former Permanent Secretary, Government House in Benue State and an indigene of Guma, recounted the ordeal of the people. “The people within these areas, parts of Makurdi, Agatu, Guma and now Logo, have been completely displaced. You cannot do anything meaningful with your life. “It has been from one attack to another, which had led to loss of lives. But as it appears, the killings in the state are beginning to lead to poverty, closure of schools, hunger and starvation. These people are basically farmers. So, their children can’t even go to school aside their localities and the parents cannot afford to pay their school fees. It is a double problem. “These attacks were barbaric. There is no warning, no alarm, then you find your house under siege where children of less than two years are brutally slaughtered like chickens, goats; old men and women killed in cold blood. Women who are pregnant were killed and their tummy were sliced and badly opened and their unborn child slaughtered. “There can be no display of barbarism more than this. I have never seen this kind of thing anywhere. It is pure genocide. Nobody can convince me it is not because it is systematic. If you are killing children, it means you are destroying the future. Even in normal warfare, when you see children and old women, you ignore them. But here is a situation, where you come to a place and kill everything that is alive. “You cannot quantify the cost of life of one human being, but you can quantify the cost of one goat and 10 cows. You can’t quantify the cost of human beings. That is why life is sacrosanct. And these people came in with sophisticated weapons unhindered. How did they come into Benue State? Where did they come from? “If they are coming by routes or by whatever means, there are police and other security agencies on the roads to check them. And when they come and strike from the borderline, where do they run

to? Do they disappear into the water or into the air? They must have somewhere they run to, but where?” The feeling of Nyitse is the same across the length and breadth of the state and this could be felt weeks after the state government organised a burial service for the 73 people murdered by the headsmen. The event, which was attended by who is who in the state and beyond witnessed intense grief and condemnation. In his remark, Governor Samuel Ortom of the state, lamented that the state was looking forward in its aspiration for a better year, when the headsmen invaded. He said the state lost a total of 73 persons to the attacks, with many others sustaining various degrees of injuries. “For several years, these attackers have turned our beautiful and endowed land into their killing fields and the main reasons has been clashes between Fulani headsmen and farmers but these attacks have been intensified with alarming devastation since 2011.” He said since the attacks started in 2011, 13 out of 23 local governments had witnessed the onslaught by the herdsmen. Wantaregh Paul Unongo said if the president has failed in his responsibility of protecting lives and properties of Benue citizens, they would resolve to train their own Army to defend themselves. “Benue people have sacrificed enough blood for the unity of this country and would not allow a section of Fulani terrorists to come kill our people in cold blood. I am begging Nigerians that my people cannot continue to be cannon fodder of this country. If government can’t protect us, we will mobilise and train our people into army to defend us. We are 100% in support of what Governor Ortom has done. I’m the spiritual leader of Tiv nation. Enough is enough!” Unongo, who is the convener and chairman of Northern Elders Forum, stressed that the entire people of the state are watching President Buhari and have joined in the persistence calls by Governor Ortom that the government should take drastic steps to urgently address the killings as well as arrest the leader of Miyetti Allah. “If the federal government cannot stop or arrest those behind the killings in two weeks, we shall raise an army of our own. We cannot allow people to colonise us again. We have all it takes to do that,” Unongo reiterated. Corroborating Unongo’s position, Gen. Lawrence Onoja, who described the killing in the state as ‘genocidal conspiracy’ against the Benue people, warned that the killings must not continue. “Some of us in 1966 fought the Nigerian civil war. Benue has contributed to the unity of this country, therefore, if federal government refused

to address the killings in Benue and if we decide to raise our army as advocated by our elders to defend ourselves, I will not mind to command that army despite my age.” He appealed to the government to replicate operation python dance or Fulani dance in Benue as being done in other states of the federation, even as he urged the sons and daughters of the state to rally round the governor for a successful enforcement of the anti-open grazing law. A former member of the National Assembly, Senator Joseph Waku, maintained that Benue people are known for creating peace, love peace and honour peace. ‘’It is unfortunate that someone would oppose a law that was legally enacted and began to kill and the federal government would refuse to make arrest in a quest to end the carnage. This is enough provocation. Nobody has the monopoly of killing. Therefore, enough is enough”. Speaking on behalf of Benue State House of Assembly, Benjamin Adeniyi expressed sadness that President Muhammadu Buhari came to Benue during the electioneering campaigns but could not visit after the killing. He therefore warned that the killings were enough because nobody has monopoly of violence. Immediate past governor of Benue State, Senator George Akume, lamented that the primary aim of government is to protect lives of- the citizenry and therefore urged the federal government under President Buhari to proscribe a faction of the Miyietti Allah and designate it as a terrorist group, because their actions are treasonable as only terrorists kill in that manner. He appealed to Benue communities not to take the laws into their hands but toe the path of peace and reconciliation as well as continue to pray together as one indivisible family to overcome the situation. Representative of the United Nations, Dr. Mathins Ejibike, consoled with the government and people of the state for the loss of their loved one, saying what is happening in Benue demands international attention. “We want an enlightened approach to this matter. We should continue to pray that these kinds of killings should be the last in Benue State,” he said, saying they have received a report that over 20,000 refugees are already in camp and promised that they would look into their plight. In his speech, the paramount ruler of Tiv nation, His Royal Majesty Alfred Akawe Torkula, alleged that the Tiv people, who are residing in Nasarawa and Taraba States are being murdered by the herdsmen on a daily basis since the Benue killings started. “There is ethnic cleansing agenda going on

in Benue. We must put an end to these killings. This is the 47 times that the Benue people would be attacked and killed mercilessly”, noting that Buhari must arise as a man of integrity to arrest the situation, because the people of Benue voted massively for him. Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Akpe Leva, commended Governor Ortom for his love for the people by passing the anti-open grazing law. He added that the spirit of the departed ones and the God of Benue would arise to torment those who brought tears and sorrow to the state. But since the mass burial, the state has had to face several other challenges, including the displacement of thousands of people, destruction of farm produce, increasing number of children out of school and provision of security in the affected areas. A lot of people have been displaced and are living as refugees in four camps in the state. This has led the governor to call for support from the federal government, public spirited individuals, organisations as well as the international community to tackle the humanitarian challenges associated with the recent attacks. While visiting three camps for the internally displaced persons in Makurdi and Guma local government areas, Ortom said the influx of people into the camps have increased to over 100,000. He said although the state government had responded to the situation by providing relief materials and facilities at the camps, the influx has overwhelmed its capacity especially with those who fled from attacks in neighbouring Nasarawa State. A visit by THISDAY to the camp revealed a situation where most of the displaced persons are going through very difficult situation. The quality of food and shelter leaves much to be desired. Veronica Tule, a mother of five, said it had been a very tough situation coping without the father of the children, who was killed by the herdsmen in Nasarawa, Veronica said she and her children were practically sleeping outside and the children were no longer in school. Her claim was collaborated by the Benue State Universal Education Board (SUBEB), which disclosed that over 10,000 pupils had been forced out of schools in the two councils that came under attack by gunmen on New Year’s Day. SUBEB chairman, Rev Philip Tachin, said several schools were affected as many families fled their homes alongside their children to take refuge in different camps. He lamented that the move had become a serious setback to the board, which recently embarked on massive campaign for increased enrolment of pupils into public primary schools in the state at the commencement of new academic session few months ago.

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾ FEBRUARY 11, 2018



Shittu: Buhari Has Wrestled Corruption to the Ground Clearly one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s main man, having come a long way since their days together in the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, currently Minister of Communications, in this interview with Bolaji Adebiyi and Iyobosa Uwugiaren, argues that the president has done well enough in the last three years to merit a return to office in 2019


ecently you flagged off the campaign for the re-election of President Buhari in Ibadan and said the President had done well in almost three years. Has he really performed well? Let me start by correcting that impression. I did not start the re-election campaign. What I merely did was to commission the office of the Muhammadu Buhari Dynamic Support Group. A few months back, I was made the Chairman, Board of Trustees. I then felt that as the board’s chairman, coming from the Southwest, charity must begin from home. I thought we must have a physical presence of that group in the South-west and you know very well that Ibadan has always been the headquarters of the politics of the region. That was what we did. Secondly, I have been in politics, with all humility, for 40years. I became a lawyer in 1979, even before then, I had been a member of the then Committee of friends of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. I was the only student member of that committee and consequently I had the privilege of being part of those who formulated the four cardinal programmes of what eventually became the Unity Party of Nigeria. I contested the House of Assembly election at that time from the law school and I won. Since then I have never been on sabbatical from politics except during the military intervention in politics. So, I have been known over this years as a serious minded person who never tells lies; who will not deceive people; who would not be intimidated; who has always been principled and would tell you as it is. As a minister of the Federal Republic, therefore, I didn’t become minister because I paid money through anybody, I became a minister because of my antecedent in politics. So when I speak I say only the truth. I stand to be corrected or challenged by anybody, what this government has done, in a number of areas in three years, is more than what PDP has done in 16 years and I give you simple examples. The last road budget of the PDP government before it left office was in the neighbourhood of N2b. Last year alone this government spent N265b on roads alone. On electricity the best that we ever had under a government was less than 5,000 MW, today you have 7,000 MW. We are also on course to deliver 3,500 MW more in Mambilla within the next few years. We knew how much money was invested in electricity during the PDP years, what came out of it. This government has commenced railway building, new railways, not the standard gauge, which has existed from Lagos to Kano to Maiduguri and so on; now we are building new standard gauge railways from Calabar to Lagos, from Lagos to Kano, from Kano to Maiduguri, from Maiduguri to Calabar. These are ongoing projects, which are verifiable. In the Agriculture sector alone, Nigeria used to be a dumping ground for all kinds of rice from everywhere, which consequently killed local rice production; today we have stopped or eliminated the import up to 90% of the rice. Today, consequent upon the revolution that we are doing in agriculture, more than 8 million new jobs have been created. You can go to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to confirm this. Are you not attributing too much to the APC government, because virtually all of these examples that you have given are buildings on the foundation laid by the PDP? Which capacity has been there? If you won’t believe me then you must provide better recorded evidence of what had existed. In fact the new thing we are also doing is the mixture of the sources of electricity. All of these policies were on ground.


Well, it is up to you to believe what you want to believe. I am talking as a member of government who knows how many memos have been brought to government for contracts on all of these things. Go to the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing; go to even Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and find these things out.

for many years Boko Haram persisted? Do you know how many people were killed by Boko Haram alone? Did you care to find out? You should because Boko Haram persisted for more than 10 years and you need to know how many people were being killed on a monthly basis in mosques, churches, markets, garages, and motor parks.

You talked about the number of jobs that has been created but the NBS record does not confirm what you have just said. It said 8 millions of jobs had been lost in the last two and a half years. In which area? I spoke on jobs being created in the Agriculture sector.

Has that changed in the last two and a half years? Let me tell you, on security we did promise that this government will fight insurgency to a halt. Before this government came on board, Boko Haram was in firm control of 14 local governments areas spread across three states.

We are taking about the entire economy. I said in the Agriculture sector alone we have created more than 8 million jobs and the CBN and NBS will tell you. Again for the first time in the history of this country, in one fell swoop the federal government created 200,000 graduate jobs through N-power. In one day another 300,000 are being processed making 500, 000. It has never happened in the history of this country that government will specifically create an avenue for graduates to get jobs and the target is 500,000.

We are told they are still holding positions. The local government chairmen recently said that... That what? At that time we were talking about, there were no policemen in these local government areas, all of them had ran away. There were no local government officials, all of them had all ran away. Even communities have been deserted to IDP camps. Do you still have IDP camps today? Do you still have Boko Haram hoisting its flag anywhere on the Nigerian soil again?

Statistics show that thousands of Nigerians were killed in the last few months by criminal gangs. What is going on? You have to bring your statistics. Do you know

These are generally the claims of your administration. Jonathan’s Chief of Army staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minima, which you inherited, said those councils had been cleared before the elections. That that

was why elections held there and huge returns made for President Buhari. Whatever happened during the PDP government, this government was expected to change it. But the level of insecurity is still high. What is the level of insecurity in Abuja for instance? What is the level of insecurity in Benin? What is the level of insecurity in Lagos and Ibadan where I come from and so on? There are still killings, it is like Nigeria has become a killing field. Have you ever seen any country where there are no killings? In the US, how many killings on a daily basis? I have said one thing which you are free to believe me or not believe me. My identity has been defined by the fact that I say it as it is. I will not tell lies and whatever I should tell Mr President as fact I will tell him. Nobody is perfect, we don’t have perfect situation but if you are talking of killings there is no country where there is no killing. But that is not justifying any killing because as a lawyer I am trained to detest extra judicial killings. So if killings happen I will never be happy. But unfortunately, on the recent killings by herdsmen, people get excited at the current victims more than the previous victims. The herdsmen came from Sokoto to Zamfara in search of fresh grass and they were similarly killing people in Zamfara, in Sokoto and taking away herds of cows. In fact statistics showed that they killed more people in Zamfara than in Benue. So how do you tribalise such a thing?



CICERO/ INTERVIEW tA4)*556#6)"3*)"483&45-&%$033615*0/505)&(306/%t Continued on Pg. 68 Are you saying the AC elements are not having a field day in it? Do you know how many AC elements are in the cabinet of the Buhari government?

Nobody is tribalising it. We are talking about killings generally. If we look at contemporary history you will know that many of these were activist of the Libyan revolution.

Others are saying they have been marginalized by your CPC faction. Let me give you simple statistics. In the South-west, we have six states and we have six ministers too. Of these six, five belong to the former ACN, I am the only CPC there. So, how has ACN been marginalized? In the South-east, of all the ministers, in fact the east has five states, everybody who is a minister there; there is none of them who was in CPC. In the South-south, I think only two were in CPC. So how has anybody been marginalized? If anybody has been marginalized it is the people who gave Buhari the most votes during that election that has been marginalized because in the whole of the South, in the last presidential election, all the votes from 17 states amounted to 3million votes; from the 19 states of the North, it amounted to 12million. Yet if you look at the number of the ministers of state, there are more ministers of state from the North than from the South. So in what way has anybody been marginalized? Nobody has been marginalized by this government.

But the responsibility of the government is to be aware and take appropriate steps to ensure that it deals with the situation. Government was aware and government took steps everywhere they acted. And you should know that criminals will not give notice. Share with us what the government has done to solve this problem? It is a police matter and it is between Mr. President and the police. And he told us in the FEC meeting and we trust and believe him and it is not for me to tell you the details. Maybe you should go to the Nigerian police to know what has been done. I cannot give you details and I would not want to give any detail that would not be exact. Unfortunately along the line sectionalism came in, people who want to take political advantage of it also started inflaming passions. For instance, one of the advice that ought to have been taken was the fact that it didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t help matters to start burying 73 people and make it a ceremony as if you are doing a festival. I mean that was not the best of political decision because that would not bring back those who have been so killed. It would rather create greater disunity in the country and then everybody suffers. You see, you make the best out of a bad situation. It is unfortunate but it is not a matter I think we should just capitalize on.

Are you saying you are satisďŹ ed with the situation of your party as at today? Of course if I am not satisfied. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to blow any trumpet and I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to boast about anything; letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wait for the next election, it is just around the corner. People may make noise; they have the right to make noise. Of course people who criticize objectively are welcomed because nobody is perfect. But to think that because some people feel that they are not getting things to run their way so that means the party has gone into shambles or crumbles, well we leave them to their ignorance.

Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t you think that they did the mass burial because there was a feeling of abandonment? I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know who abandoned them, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t knowâ&#x20AC;Ś if there was that feeling that would be a wrong feeling. The fact would not be known to you and me. The governor actually said he gave a warning, he complained to the federal government. Who in the federal government did he talk to? He said he sent letters to The Presidency and even to the ofďŹ ce of the Vice President. Did the vice president confirm that he was actually informed because he denied it? I want to tell you that the vice president and the Governor of Benue State are friends. So he could not have gotten such information and not act on it. Using the indicators of what good governance is all about, do you think the president has done well, that the government that he belongs to has done well in the last two and a half year? When we were coming in we based our campaign on three major planks. One, we were going to fight insurgency. Two, we were going to fight corruption and three, we were going to repair the economy. On each of these I am convinced as a patriotic Nigerian and a very good Muslim, that government has got more than 60% on each of these three and I will give you some statistics. On the issue of security, today Boko Haram has been terribly degraded; instead of them having a field day in 14 local governments today they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t control any local government. Only yesterday we heard that not only has the Armed Forces taken over Sambisa, they are actually building new roads there, which were never there to open up the place. They have also made a portion of the place a training ground for the armed forces. And today you also know that a lot of the people in the IDP camps have been resettled in their homes. Again you know that police men are not running away from Boko Haram, it is the Boko Haram elements that are running away from the police. You would recall that in the period of the last government Jonathan soldiers were actually running away from Boko Haram. But that was because there were no equipment. Who didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t buy the equipment? Previous administrations; but the Jonathan government placed ordersâ&#x20AC;Ś This man who called himself a president went to the National Assembly with a prayer for $1b approval; it was granted but one ammunition he didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t buy, shamelessly and criminally. So where did the Armed Forces get the equipment they are using now from? We had to buy it because when Buhari came, as a military man,


he said; â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;No, this is not an insurmountable problem.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; He used his goodwill all over the world to get a lot of equipment. You know that the Armed Forces were reinvigorated and they destroyed the headquarters of Boko Haram; they rescued a lot of people who had been taken captive. So, today, normalcy, law and order have been restored in all the local governments in the North-east. How could this government have procured such a magnitude of equipment within two years? We know that military equipment are not bought off the shelves. Are you saying that you are not aware that the 1billion was never used to buy just one gun? They shared the money. That is the money that is being retrieved now from military officers, former GOCs, former chief of army, chief of navy, chief of air staff; it is the money they shared among military men and politicians. You know how much went to the former NSA and how that money was shared. In 2015 your leaders called on former President Olusegun Obasanjo to be the navigator and the captain of the APC, to wrestle power from the PDP. In less than three years the same person came out to say that the president has performed woefully and that he has no business in... Let me tell you, we have a constitution and our party is not a tea party; APC is not a tea party, it is a party guided by rules and regulations. The so called title you ascribed to Gen. Obasanjo is not in any part of that constitution. Tinubu made the statement that he should be the captain and the navigator. Anybody can say anything, if you find somebody who wants to come, would you not encourage him to come in? Your leaders went to Ota. I am aware they went and what does that mean? So if some party leaders come to me, it means the whole party is bound by it? Could Obasanjo have been forced to come into the party if he didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t show signs that he wanted to come. He has the right to come and he has the right to exit, that does not necessarily change the situation of the party. A party is like a market place where people go in and come out. As some people are going out from the party, others are coming in. If you care to know, a lot of Igboâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s are coming in now. In 2015 APC was very formidable in wrestling power from the then ruling party but in less than three years it appears the APC is fragmented along the legacy parties. The CPC which you belonged appears to be holding sway in government.

Today by the grace of God, by the grace of Buhari, before he came in TSA was a mere idea; when he came in, he put flesh, bones, blood and water into it. So today we have TSA which seeks not only to block all leakages in government accounting system but also to ensure that ghost workers no more exist. Secondly with the whistle blower policy of this government, today everybody knows that if you hide money, which does not belong to you, instead of putting it in a bank you put it somewhere and it is recovered, it will be taken away from you; we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have this in the past

You were about to give us an assessment of the performance of your government in relation to corruption. Today by the grace of God, by the grace of Buhari, before he came in TSA was a mere idea; when he came in, he put flesh, bones, blood and water into it. So today we have TSA which seeks not only to block all leakages in government accounting system but also to ensure that ghost workers no more exist. Secondly with the whistle blower policy of this government, today everybody knows that if you hide money, which does not belong to you, instead of putting it in a bank you put it somewhere and it is recovered, it will be taken away from you; we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have this in the past. Thirdly all those who stole money or known to have stolen money, are now at various stages of investigation and or prosecutions. All these were not happening at the scale they are happening now. And today no contracts get given out by any minster or any ministry without it being advertise. The strict procurement procedures must be followed. If you talk of the issue of insurgency it is the easiest to prove. Yesterday we had 14 local governments in 3 states in the hands of Boko Haram but today they are no more. Yesterday you had hundreds of IDP camps all over the place, today there are no more IDPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. What Boko Haram elements have resorted to is targeting soft targets, this happens everywhere. There is no society in the world, where people donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get killed. The rate of killings in the US far exceeds that of any other country on a daily basis. But our duty as a government is to ensure that our security forces do their best. There are some who argue that while corruption was democratised under Jonathan, it has been privatised under Buhari. Tell me one person in this government who has engaged in corruption. There are people who engage in these corrupt practices and the stories are there. Which stories? Let us know. The people surrounding the President. Like who? We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to mention names. Why donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t you want to mention names if you are sure. You should know because you are part of this government. How can I know? I cannot be involved in criminality and I am not an official of EFCC. Quite a number of EFCC investigations on some former PDP politicians, like Nwobodo and Kalu, many of who have crossed to APC, have stalled. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know. Kalu is still being prosecuted; only last week he was in court in Lagos. So how has he been absorbed before the trial concludes? He is my friend. Do you feel comfortable associating with such people in your party? As a lawyer there is presumption of innocence on everybody even suspects. But you also said a while ago that military ofďŹ cers stole money meant for equipment; there are no convictions in any court on this matter? Have they all been absorbed, are they still not in court? But you already said they stole. They were alleged to have stolen and monies were retrieved from them, are you not aware, Amosu and so many others?


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾ FEBRUARY 11, 2018


Oke: We Must Address Issues Raised By Obasanjo Chief Olusola Oke, a former governorship hopeful in Ondo State, spoke to Omotayo Olaleye on trending national issues. Excerpts:


rearers, which is the cattle ranch. People are not totally opposed to cattle ranch, what they are reacting to is the colony, which gives the impression of new colonialism, appropriating the land of some people at their detriment to others. All that is important at the moment is for government to be up and doing, arise to its responsibility by fortifying the area with sufficient security.

hat’s your view on the recent call by former President Olusegun Obasanjo for a third force movement for regime change in 2019 general election? I think we should not isolate the call for a third force from the totality of the three times former President. I appreciate how the media team of Mr. President, the APC and the presidency managed the situation, which otherwise would have been very explosive. The former president, we all know, is gradually acquiring the conscience status of the nation and when he speaks like that, one must be able to take a deep look and consideration to the issue he has raised, which is what the presidency and the media managers of Mr. president has done. They did not just react virtuously without looking at the substance of the letter. As a former President, elder statesman and international figure in Nigeria, one expects him to raise an audit alarm, when things appear not going totally in the direction Nigerians expect. There is no doubt this administration inherited a very bad situation by the time the economy was nose-diving, infrastructure was very bad, security challenges and corruption was at its peak. Therefore, it’s not going to be a tea party; it’s not going to be a one day affair to reverse the trend. From what I can read and hear, the economy is gradually gaining momentum. We are out of recession. But the grassroots people appear not to be feeling the economy recovery. Is the recovery real? Yes, Nigerians at the grassroots might not be feeling the effect of the total recovery, but economy managers are giving us the impression that Nigeria’s economy is becoming healthier than it used to be. Looking at the issue of security challenges, even though it’s raring its face in other dimension, the original challenge was that of Boko Haram and the Crisis in the Niger Delta. The present administration has been able to confront the Boko haram and decimated it substantially. On the issue of farmers and cattle herdsmen, government is reacting to it. So, coming to the call for a third force, I think it was clear in that letter that it was not meant to be a political party. The former president said once it’s acquiring the status of a new party, he would move out of it. I want to regard this as a wakeup call, a challenge to the president to do more, look at some areas highlighted and make amends. That’s why I have commended the managers of the president in the way they handled it. The former President is not being treated as treacherous, not as one raising a false alarm, he wasn’t reacted to as someone who has no reason or made no sense out of the document; they are highlighting the alarms raised in the letter and the president is gradually reacting to those ones he believes are well made and he also reacted by saying the economy is not as bad as the former president would want Nigerian to believe and highlighted the gains. So, I believe the position of Obasanjo wasn’t frivolous and government has reacted correctly.

Oke But the opposition PDP looks at it differently? First, one would wonder whether it lies in the mouth of an opposition party to guide or guard the ruling party as to which candidate they are to sponsor. The letter condemned both the APC and the PDP. Of course, it gave greater condemnation to PDP that brought us to where we are today. So, it must be out of lack of shame for the PDP to seek to create a trauma for APC out of that letter. The former President is an eminent Nigerian, who has right to express his view and concerns about goings in the country. But he has not in any way absorbed the PDP of responsibility for the situation we find ourselves today. So, as to whether the president should contest or not, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is a retired Army General and President Muhammadu Buhari is a retired Army General. Secondly, Obasanjo being a former Head of State and former President of this country and President Buhari being a former Head of State and present president, they understand themselves more than any of us. I believe the decision not to contest ultimately will lie with the president and the decision not to return him will ultimately lie with Nigerians – if he decides to put himself forward.

The sitting governor has been my friend for a long time. We are members of the inner bar and we are related by blood. He does not think himself all alone. He possesses the capacity to confront the monster created by the previous administration that neglected everything good in the state. Having studied him, he appears to me as someone, who also wants to take advice from well-meaning members of the state

It is not available for the PDP to clamour for President Buhari not to run for election. He is not going to be their candidate but of APC. So, if any political party is going to say don’t run, it has to be the APC. I understand PDP are saying we don’t have candidate that can face the president, therefore, he should not come. Give us a weaker candidate that we might be able to manipulate our way. PDP must be very shameless dabbling into the internal affairs of the APC Being a two-time governorship hopeful in Ondo State, what measures would you have taken regarding herdsmen attack if you were a sitting governor? It would have required me being from one of the northern states to be confronted with that challenge. I’m from Ondo State and Ondo State is not facing such challenge at the moment. Yes, injury to one is injury to all, but I believe that the two parties involved are Nigerians. The herdsmen, though we are being made to believe now that some of them migrated from neighbouring countries to Nigeria, they are Nigerians who also advance the frontier of Nigeria economy, whose supply of protein we cannot run away from. Equally, the farmers whose products are being ruined by cattle are also Nigerians. I think the government was a little slow in handling the situation. This battle has always been there; it wasn’t this outlandish. Government should have been foresighted to secure that environment to prevent a total conflagration coming out of it. That being said, the president has hinted that he would fortify the area with adequate security and good ideas are coming out as to permanent solution to it. Cattle rearers cannot be stopped from rearing their cattle. It’s their source of economy in the same way we cannot encourage the farmers to bear the brunt of the occupation of another group of people in Nigeria. What is the way out? The ultimate is to find out what happens in advanced countries that prevent such a clash. That allows the farmers enjoy the full benefit of their occupation and also the cattle

Are you still nurturing the dream of being the governor of Ondo State? For everything, there is a season. God knows the future. My political future is entirely in the hands of God. My mission was to reverse the dwindling fortune of the economy of Ondo State. My intervention was to bring about a new regime of hope in the state. I was pissed off with the level of unemployment, the degradation of the health sector, education and infrastructure. Ondo State has no reason to encounter backwardness because of the abundant natural and human resources in the state. Ondo State has one of the richest forestry, richest mineral and human resources, yet, today in terms of poverty index, it’s one of the most backward states in Nigeria. I thought with my experience with the former governor, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, who laid a very solid foundation for prosperity in the state, I could bring a new era of hope, defeat despair and backwardness in the state. Those were the reason for my aspiration. But God knows why I didn’t make it in the two attempts. As to whether my supporters should still have hope, I believe with God all things are still possible. There is a governor in place, so I am not aspiring to be governor now but he is not going to be governor in perpetuity. He might take the minimum or the maximum, until those things that I have perceived as wrong in Ondo state are corrected. Until Ondo State acquires its maximum prosperity, become an enviable state in Nigeria, fully exploited its potential, coastal and agricultural resources to the benefit of the people of the state, minimum unemployment and maximum of wealth to the people, as a stable, developed and secure state, only then will there be no need for aspiration. For now, I will give the sitting governor the support to succeed. Let’s see how far he takes Ondo State. If he takes Ondo State to the peak, of course, we can then say we have arrived but until then, there cannot be an end to aspiration. But aspiration must be put in the context that there is a good man in place, who is willing to listen, not the previous situation, where somebody arrogates to himself, the monopoly of knowledge, but which turned out to be the peak of foolishness. Now, there is someone saying I cannot do it alone. Even God did not create man alone. He invited the angels to come and together they created man in their image. If God did that, no human should think he knows it all. I see in this governor, the idea of I don’t know it all, come let’s do it together. For now, my aspiration is to see him succeed. What informed your coming back to APC? I came back to APC because I know the gargantuan problem in Ondo State is not what one man, thinking and acting alone, can confront. I believe there must be a swift in our politics, where once you fail election you are on the other side throwing pestle and stones to bring down or distract the incumbent governor. The sitting governor has been my friend for a long time. We are members of the inner bar and we are related by blood. He does not think himself all alone. He possesses the capacity to confront the monster created by the previous administration that neglected everything good in the state. Having studied him, he appears to me as someone, who also wants to take advice from well-meaning members of the state. I have returned to APC to add value, give support, encourage and minimize distraction, which my remaining in another party might have cost him.




Offodile’s Unfair Assessment of Ekweremadu, Anyim Law Mefor


read the piece under reference written by one Godfrey Ekwunife and published in some national dailies of January 24, 2018. In the said piece, Mr. Ekwunife called to question the competencies and genuineness of intentions of political leaders of the South East. He called out Senators Ike Ekweremadu and Anyim Pius Anyim for tongue-lashing. He branded them self-serving politicians, who had only used their positions to feather their nests rather than represent the South East. Ekwunife practically recycled and copiously quoted from a similar opinion earlier expressed by Honourable Chudi Offodile in his book, The Politics of Biafra and the Future of Nigeria. These lines from Offodile’s book are of particular interest: ”His (Ekweremadu’s) politics remain unabashedly self-serving. As a serving senator, he ensured the election of his brother as chairman of their local council and another as a member of the Enugu State House of Assembly. Deploying his huge financial war chest, he was about to disrupt the zoning arrangement in Enugu State to run for governor in the 2015 elections. The firm resistance mounted by the former governor, Sullivan Chime, ensured that the Nsukka zone took their turn. “Anyim and Ekewremadu are from two neighbouring communities, though in different states…. The tragedy is that the crucial EnuguPort Harcourt highway, which connects Aba, Umuahia and Okigwe, remains a death-trap. These gentlemen prioritized roads leading to their village mansions, ancestral shrines and farmlands over the all-important Enugu-Port Harcourt highway. “The Enugu-Onitsha highway with the highest vehicular traffic in the Southeast connects the commercial centres of Onitsha and Nnewi to Enugu International Airport, but the road to the airport is no longer passable. Yet, for eight years, Ekweremadu, as Deputy Senate President, signed off on the national budget before its presentation to the President for assent”. I do not intend to defend Anyim or Ekweremadu. But the premises whence the conclusions of their intended indictment are drawn are not founded, and therefore spurious and misleading. This notion that federal legislators are responsible for the absence of infrastructure in the South East in particular since 1999 runs contrary to the workings of the three arms of government. Before I dissect this, however, let me first address clear misinformation by Offodile recycled by Godfrey against Ekweremadu. At no point did Ekweremadu’s brothers occupy Enugu State House of Assembly seat and Chairmanship of their


local government simultaneously. The same Hon. Mathias Ekweremadu, who served as Chairman of Aninri LGA is the same person that now serves in the House of Assembly. Enugu people, who understand the intrigues of Enugu politics in the days of Sullivan Chime, also understand the political dynamics that threw Matthias up. But Chime’s calculations did not work. Even at that, which law prohibits the relative of an office holder from aspiring to a political office? Also, it is fabrication to say that Ekweremadu wanted to be governor in 2015. He rather disagreed with ex-governor Sullivan Chime’s dictatorial decision to unilaterally retire all serving federal lawmakers. I have also keenly followed Enugu politics well enough to know, and on a very good authority, that Ikeoha turned down overtures by former PDP National Chairman, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, even in the presence of former President Jonathan, to ditch Chime and pick PDP gubernatorial ticket in 2011. Ekweremadu bluntly refused and practically delivered a second term ticket to an ungrateful Chime. So, it is baffling that Offodile regurgitates the ex-governor’s propaganda in his poorly researched narratives. Now, fairly understanding the workings of government and the roles of legislators in budget formulating, passing, funding, and completion of projects, one can easily see that Godfrey and Offodile narrative papered over certain facts, thus making their positions unfeasible, and implausible and fueled by perceived grievances over personal

loss rather than common good. As a former member of the House of Representatives, Offodile understands the limits of the powers of a legislator in Nigeria. It is for them to shout, but up to the executive to act. Last year, the FG took multi-billion dollar China Exim bank loans for railway infrastructure, deliberately excluding the Eastern Railway Corridor despite the fact that the zone would be part of the repayment. Rather than pander to the alarms raised by South East Senators, President Muhammadu Buhari extended the railway master plan to Duara and Niger Republic. You would only blame Ekweremadu if these strategic South East roads were not captured in the budget over the years. Apart from budgeting process, a legislator can only lobby and lobby. And I believe Ekweremadu particularly has done greatly and several federal projects in the South East came through the efforts of a few like him. It is particularly to the credit of Ekweremadu’s sagacious leadership that the South East now boasts of an international airport. It is on record that he led the delegation of the South East Senators to request the long-awaited and politicised international airport from late President Umaru Yar’Adua in November 2007. Yar’Adua instantly directed the former Minister of Transport, Diezani Allison-Madueke, to issue a statement designating the Akanu Ibiam Airport an international aviation facility. Since the FG said it had no funds to immediately capture the upgrade of the facility in the 2008 budget, Ekweremadu mobilised the Enugu State Caucus of the National Assembly to channel all the funds that would have gone into development projects for their constituencies into the project. Yar’Adua, who was touched by this sheer selflessness and determination, then directed that the funds they so-consolidated be augmented to get the project into the 2008 budget. It is easily recalled that the same forces that have ensured that the Onitsha Seaport does not fly and have held the Calabar and Port Harcourt ports down tried to truncate it. For instance, even when contract for the airport upgrade was finally awarded, former Minister of Aviation, Babatunde Omotoba, told a rather baffled South East, while on the inspection of the upgrade project in 2009, that he was not aware Enugu had been designated an international airport. Thus, it was after lobbies that led to the appointment of Mrs. Fidelia Njeze and subsequently Senator Stella Oduah as Ministers of Aviation following the emergence of former President Goodluck Jonathan that real progress was made. Appointment of Senator Hope Uzodimma and Hon. Nkiru Onyeagocha as Chairpersons of Aviation Committees of the Senate and House, respectively, also brought legislative pressure to bear. Apart from additional contracts for the upgrade by Jonathan, I recall Njeze’s first assignment in

collaboration with Ekweremadu in this regard was to ensure the gazette of the facility by the FG as an international air facility so that nobody wakes up tomorrow and try to sing a different tune like Omotoba. Even though the airport deserves much better than what we have today, the real achievement is giving Ndigbo a direct access to the world. Indeed, I ran into a document where Ekweremadu listed hundreds of projects he attracted as a federal legislator extending even beyond the South East. It is difficult to find a legislator, who has achieved so much even as a Senate President. Such projects to his credit included the several federal roads connecting Enugu State and Ebonyi State. I honestly do not see why the likes of Offodile believe Ekweremadu should apologise for developing his constituency. Besides, one would wonder if Enugu and Ebonyi States are no longer part of the South East. Interestingly, there was no way the construction of highways linking Enugu and Ebonyi States could have prevented the construction of the Enugu-Onitsha Road and Enugu Port Harcourt Expressway, since they were all independently captured in national budget over the years. Maybe, it would have been better if the roads were constructed in the north as happened in many instances. The truth is that the reason Jonathan could not construct the East-West Road after six years; the reason Obasanjo could not construct Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in eight years; and the reason Abuja-Minna Road is in bad shape despite producing Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar is the same reason Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, EnuguOnitsha Expressway, and other signature projects were not done - executive laxity. Indeed, I rather duff my hat for Ekweremadu and South East Senators to whom we owe the little attention we are getting, though they lack the powers to award contracts. Meanwhile, he who comes to equity must come with clean hands. Unlike Senator Joy Emodi, who moved many motions that resulted in Senate resolutions calling on the FG to fix the Enugu-Onitsha Road and construct the 2nd Niger Bridge, Offodile, who represented Awka North and South in the House of Representatives, has no records of such legislative activism for the transformation of the South East region. A comparison between his efforts as a legislator and that of Ekweremadu could have removed his unfair assessment from the realms of hypocrisy. –––Mefor is an Abuja-based Forensic/ Social Psychologist and Journalist


To Tithe or Not to Tithe this New Year


ou may have heard the tale of the little boy who had been saving money through the year. It was now Christmas and time to spend the savings. The boy decided to show his appreciation to God for a good year by giving Him some of the money. The smart fellow came up with a plan. He said ‘Lord I will throw the money up to heaven. The amount that stays up is for you and whatever comes down is mine’. The law of gravity brought every penny down. Money is important, period. Whether you are old, young, rich, poor, beautiful, not-sobeautiful, fat, thin, tall, short, man, woman – we all need money. Money is also important to God, which is why Jesus sat and looked over the treasury as people gave their offering (Mark12: 41- 44). Money is so important that God asks us to choose between money and Him: ‘No one can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other, you cannot serve God and mammoth’ (Matthew 6:24). Jesus had previously talked on the relationship between our treasure and our hearts. He said what we focus our life on is an

indication of where our treasure is! Money is that important because it is what we give in exchange for what we need or what we want, beginning with the essentials; food, drink, clothing to other basics such as shelter, transport, health, education and the list goes on and on and on depending on our appetite. Money is so powerful that the love of it is the genesis to revelation of ALL evil (1 Timothy 6:10). The New Year is a time we plan and take important decisions so if we wade into the discourse on tithes that has been trending on social media in the last few months, we are in sync with the season. For those who may not be aware, there has been a raging storm over tithes; how it should be paid, what it should be used for, etc. etc. etc. After all has been said and done, I would like us to go to the heart of the matter because giving is really a matter of the heart. My simple question in this discussion is this – ‘Who owns the 90% that is left after we have paid the almighty 10%?’ Jesus summed up all the commandments this way – ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and all your might and shall love your neighbour as yourself’. Jesus

said ‘if you love me keep my commandments’ (John 14:15). In essence if we are to follow the Lord’s commandments and love Him with ALL then He should be Lord over the 100%. That means the Lord may ask us for 10%, 30%, 60 %, 100% and He may ask us for nothing. If He is Lord over our lives then we should be willing to obey him at all cost. That is the point Jesus drove home to the rich young ruler when he asked him to sell all he had and give the money to the poor. We understand that the man went home sad for he was very wealthy (Luke 18:18-23). So how do we know what God requires of us? We are primarily and generally to be guided by scripture. But in being led by God’s word we should seek to understand the background of the subject and compare scripture with scripture so as to get a wholesome understanding. Again, because relating to the Lord is real and dynamic, we can seek specifics from Him regarding different situations. While His principles do not change, God deals with us as individuals and in context. From experience I can say that if we sincerely and earnestly seek His will, God will make it known to us. But above all, God is more interested in the state of our heart than He is in our substance.

If we are perfect in the paying of our tithes and we neglect the more important issues like ‘justice and mercy and faithfulness’ then our righteousness is fickle (Matthew 23:23). We cannot live a life that does not honour God then dance to the altar with our tithes or a fat offering and expect God to be happy. God does not actually need our money because He created everything and He owns everything. There is nothing we have that we did not receive from Him. Our giving is an act of obedience, worship and a sign that we honour Him. I once heard a pastor say whereas he may accept the tithes a person brings to church, God, who is privy to the innermost secrets of everyone’s heart, may reject it. He said when you give to the work of God or to those God tells you to give to you are storing treasures in heaven. He asked ‘if you don’t plan to go to heaven why send your money there?’ I will add, If giving to God by giving to His servants or to others is such a challenge for us we might just want to imitate the clever little boy and throw the money we want to share with God up to heaven.... Happy New Year! ––Koko Kalango is the author of Colours of Life devotional


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾BRUARY 11, 2018


Leveraging NDPHC’s Power Projects Abubakar Monguno


n reconstituting the board of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration wanted it to conform to international best practices and accomplish the task it is saddled with. Nigeria’s three tiers of government in 2005 established the NDPHC to manage the National Integrated Power Projects, to merge the blessings of Nigeria’s huge natural gas reserves with efficient power plants. NDPHC was mandated to deliver power nationwide through the NIPP massive gas-fired power plants. In its determination to deliver adequate energy to Nigerians, successive federal administrations and, particularly, the Buhari administration have thrown their active backing behind the NDPHC to enable it deliver stable electricity to Nigerians. NDPHC has been involved in spearheading projects that will guarantee stable electricity. A lot has been done of recent in the transmission network. Recently completed projects include the 330kV IkotEkpene Switching Station; 330kV DC Alaoji – IkotEkpene Transmission Line; 330kV DC Calabar – IkotEkpene Transmission Line; 2x150MVA, 330/132kV & 2x60MVA, 132/33kV Gwagwalada SS; 330kV DC Gwagwalada – East Main Transmission Line; 132kV DC East Main – Kukwaba – Apo Transmission Line; 1x60MVA, 132/33kV Lokoja SS; 330kV DC Ajaokuta – Lokoja – GwagwaladaTransmissin Line; 1 x 300MVA, 330/132kV Alagbon SS; 1x300MVA, 330/132kV Lekki SS; 1 x 330kV DC IkotEkpene – Ugwaji Transmission Line (2) Distribution projects totalling 296 have been completed, plus 33/11kV distribution injection substations; 1,712 Km of 33kV Lines ; 4,540 Km of 11kV Lines; 24,996 completely self-protected transformers. A total of 3,970MVA injection substation capacity was added; 1,212MVA CSP transformation capacity was also added The need to strengthen the nation’s distribution assets saw the NDPHC under the Buhari administration intervening to deliver 78 intervention projects. There were added over 544Km of 33kV Lines; over 130Km of 11kV Lines; 199 distribution transformers (100KVA, 200KVA, 300KVA, 500 KVA); 148MVA injection substation capacity; and 108MVA distribution transformers capacity. Other projects were completed in the distribution sector. They include the 1x15MVA, 33/11kV Inj SS, Tambuwal, Sokoto State; 1x15MVA, 33/11kV, 1X7.5MVA Inj SS, Fegge,


Anambra State; 1X7.5MVA, 33/11kV Inj SS, Potiskum, Yobe State; 1X15MVA, 33/11kV Inj SS, Gagi, Sokoto State; 1x7.5MVA, 33/11kV Inj SS. Otta, Ogun State; 1X15MVA, 33/11kV Inj SS, AngwanDosa, Kaduna State; 2x7.5 MVA, 33/11kV Inj SS, Lamingo, Plateau State; 2X15MVA, 33/11KV Inj SS, Zaria Rd, Jos; Construction of 33kV line from OkeAro TS to Mowe SS; 2x15MVA, 33/11kv Injection SS, Asaba, Delta State; 1x7.5 MVA, 33/11kV Injection SS, Saminaka, Kaduna State; 1X7.5kVMVA, 33/11kV Injection SS, Iloko, Osun State; 1X15MVA, 33/11kV Injection SS, Aminkanle, Lagos State; 1x15MVA, 33/11kv Injection SS, Abule Taylor, Lagos State; 1x15MVA, 33/11kv Injection SS, Elemoro, Lagos State; 1x7.5MVA, 33/11kv Injection SS, Bauchi, Bauchi State; 1x15MVA, 33/11kv Injection SS, Farfaru, Sokoto State; 1x7.5MVA, 33/11kv Injection SS, Water Works Gusua, Zamfara; 1x7.5MVA, 33/11kv Injection SS, Otowhodo, Delta State; 1x7.5MVA, 33/11kv Injection SS, Ibusa, Delta State. Based on its commitment to prompt action in the energy sector, the Buhari administration provided the muscle

for speedy success of the following. On the shortage of gas to the NIPP power stations in the Western Delta – Ogorode, Benin (Ihovbor), Omotosho and Olorunsogo, the administration’s intervention and resolution of the Niger Delta crisis led to improvement in gas supply to the power stations in this western flank. On the inadequate transmission capacity to evacuate power from the Eastern Delta plants, there was the quick completion of the 12 circuit 330KV Ikot-Ekpene switching station and the dual circuit 330kV transmission lines from both the Alaoji and Calabar power stations. There was also the completion of the first circuit (line 2) of the Ikot-Ekpene to Ugwuaji four circuit 330KV. On the inadequate gas pipeline infrastructure in the Eastern Delta (Alaoji and Calabar), there was the completion of the NOPL by Total for gas supply to Alaoji Power Station and the completion of the Seven Energy dedicated pipeline from Uquo field to Calabar Power Station, Despite the completion of critical projects in transmission and gas, new challenges still remain to be tackled. The Transmission Company of Nigeria has simulated a wheeling capacity of close to 7GW but the Load absorption capacity of the 11 Distribution Companies in Nigeria is only about 68% of the TCN wheeling capacity, representing some 4.6GW of distribution capacity. There is currently between 2.5GW to 3GW of generation capacity that is stranded. This has led to transmission grid integrity; frequency and load control. There is continual load rejection by distribution companies due to inadequate infrastructure, among other problems of inadequate capitalisation. These issues present new challenges for this administration as well as immediate opportunities for growth. The administration recognises the strong potentials for growth with increasing need for added investments in the power sector to spurn and sustain this potential. Government is aware of the NDPHC’s pivotal role in the current increase in installed capacity of close to 13GW and it will continue to back the NDPHC in its medium-to long-term vision, to play a role in end-to-end infrastructure development in the sector. The next set of intervention projects by the NDPHC will further improve capacity in generation and networks (in collaboration with the state-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria) in continuation of the role of NDPHC as an infrastructure provider in the Nigerian power sector. ––– Monguno, a public affairs analyst, writes from Bauchi.

My Mother, the Queen George Alily

If Roses Grow in Heaven If roses grow in heaven, Lord please pick a bunch for me, Place them in my Mother’s arms and tell her they’re from me. Tell her I love her and miss her, and when she turns to smile, place a kiss upon her cheek and hold her for awhile. Because remembering her is easy, I do it every day, but there’s an ache within my heart that will never go away. By Dolores M. Garcia


or most of my life, I have dreaded this day. Most people do. How do you begin to write a eulogy for one’s Mom. My mother, popularly referred as Queen, passed recently and would her committal on Friday, 19 January 2018. My thoughts are void and my feelings are indescribable. Feelings that make my heart sore and my whole being shut down. This is because Mom meant everything to me. She is my insides. My guts. My confidence. My humanity and my strength. My sensitivity, my compassion, my loyalty and even my laughter. Mom was beautiful, both inside and out. She was elegant and graceful, a lady of style and angelic personality. I adored her. She was, of course, my first love and the love of my life. Not surprising, when I sought a life partner, I tried to replicate her, at least tangibly. Mother was born on 17 August 1925 into the family of Samuel and Diana Nwannediya Iroha Nwaogu of Ogbor-Uvuru in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State. She started her primary education in All Saints Primary School, Ogbor - Uvuru and continued in Banham Memorial

School, Port Harcourt. She also had other formal education in various disciplines. She married Major Felix Ohawady Alily and they wedded in Teshie Accra, Ghana, where her husband was then stationed as an Instructor at the Military Academy. She was raised Anglican, but became Catholic in marriage. In her new faith, he was devout and strong. Being married to a military officer, She traveled extensively within Nigeria, parts of West Africa and the United States of America. She was multilingual, and spoke her native Igbo, English, Hausa, some Yoruba and Twi. Mothers have special bond and place with their children. Being primary care-givers and imbued with maternal instincts, a mother’s love is peace. Peace as a sanctuary and in being. And in the words of Erich Fromm, a mother’s love need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. It is just there, innate. There is an endearing tenderness in the love of a mother that transcends all other affections of the heart. A mother’s touch shapes our persona, our relationships and interactions with others all through our lives. Losing a mother is therefore like losing one’s soul. My first memories of Mom was that of overwhelming warmth, cuddles and love. As a kid, and to still to a large extent today, I am finicky with food. Mom would always cater to disparate needs. Most times, our dining table looked like a buffet of sort. As a parent today, I wonder how she coped. Mom lived for her children. She was fiercely protective and caring. She would sacrifice her own happiness for ours. For her generation, she was strong and assertive. With Dad as a partner, they complemented each other. They were strong role models. While Dad had a tough mien and ran a tight shift, Mom was a soothing balm. Even during the civil war when Dad was away, Mom’s presence shielded us from all the trauma around. She made a very loving and safe home for us. She taught us to be self-reliant, strong but compassionate. Like most Moms, she was a little of everything,

Madam Queen Nwaogu and pretty good at them all but one. She was an awful driver. Anytime she drove us, we literally signed our death warrants. Maybe she relished our anguish as she crisscrossed vehicles and whizzed through junctions. I could swear, I always noticed her chortle. Today, I look back at those moments with nostalgia and deep loss. Mom was not a woman of nuance. You knew it if she disliked something. I must say that she made a bad job of hiding what she did not like. A proper and organised woman, who felt things should be done the right way. I guess we all imbibed this virtue from her. Mom was also a strong women, both physically and mentally, despite her svelte frame. This became evident when

Dad passed and she had to pilot the affairs of the family. However, an incident during the Civil War remained ingrained in my memory, apart from the many air raids attacks when she will shepherd us into bunkers for safety. This was in the course of our relocation as displaced persons as the war approached our village. I was then barely nine years old. As was the situation during the war, we could clearly hear fire-fights as the Federal troops closed in. When it was became apparent that our village would fall, she assembled us all including my grandmother for what seemed like a long long trek to Amaimo, where we remained until the end of the war. I can vividly remember on our trek back, my youngest brother, Buchi, almost drown when we were crossing a fast-flowing river. At this time, the bridge had been blown. A volunteer who was ferrying him across slipped and fell into the river. My eldest brother, Ogbonna, dived and saved him. As we yelled and panicked, Mom remained focused and on top of Buchi’s recovery process. Today, as I reminiscences, my siblings and I remain ever grateful for her example and tutelage. In her twilight, Mom occasionally struggled to remember things, but had this clever way of being rhetorical in the way she phrased her responses or questions to cloak dementia. In the last few weeks, we witnessed how her health deteriorated. A once hyper-active lady was unable to do the things she took for granted, and she was visibly frustrated. But her spirit was always there. We knew that Mom cherished her independence and resented being confined or dependent on others. She resented the idea of aging, especially as it impacts mobility. I do not think Mom was afraid of death, but apprehensive of the unknown. Thank you Mom, for all of your selfless and tireless effort to give us a good life, and the absolutely amazing memories. You were my guiding light and the best inspiration a son could have. You will remain in our hearts forever. I miss you, Mom, and trust me, I will be fine. I love you more than infinity. ––George Alily is a retired Naval officer

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾͹͹˜ͺ͸͹΀


NEWSXTRA FG Takes Major Nigerian Markets off National Grid, Starts with Sabon Gari Chineme Okafor in Abuja The federal government through the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has launched the execution of its Energising Economies Initiative (EEP), a project aimed at taking four big markets and major economic centres in Nigeria off the national grid, and powering their activities with

clean and stable electricity. According to the Managing Director of REA, Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi, who launched the first phase of the EEP at the weekend in Sabon Gari Market, Kano, the initiative will provide efficient, clean and sustainable power to traders and shop owners in each of the four markets namely Sabon Gari – Kano in

Kano State; Ariaria – Aba in Abia State, Somolu Printing Community and Sura Shopping Complex, both in Lagos, to boost their productivity. Joined by the Governor of Kano State, Mr. Abdullahi Ganduje, at the unveiling of the first phase of the project in Sabon Gari, Ogunbiyi told journalists that the market, which had been

disconnected from the national grid and only gets its power from multiple diesel power generation sources, would now gradually shift to using solar power to undertake its activities. She explained that REA conducted an energy audit to discover that the market, which has 12,369 shops, has a load demand of 916 kilowatt (kW).

FOCUS ON SECURITY L-R: Chief of Operations and Training Naval Headquarters, Rear Admiral Fergason Bobasi; GOC, 81 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Enobong Udoh; President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Babatunde Rawase; Comptroller Servicom, Kunle Osisanya; and Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Danladi, during the Security Business Dialogue session organised by the LCCI in Lagos...recently

According to her, 500 shops have been connected in the first phase, with 6,000 expected to be connected in the second phase, while the balance would be done in the third phase. All activities, according to her, including high power demanding activities in the market, would be accommodated in the EEP. She also added that the entire market would be fully connected by the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2018, and that the initiative would be wholly driven by the private sector. “The REA in partnership with Sabon Gari Energy Solutions Ltd, a private sector power company, has successfully connected 500 shops in the market as part of the first phase of deployment,” said Ogunbiyi. She further noted: “These shops will now benefit from stable, affordable and reliable power during market opening hours. The state of the art, decentralised solar system is equipped with remote monitoring capabilities, smart meters as well as durable lithium ion batteries to support night time load. “Convenient payment collection is also being facilitated by partnership with Paga, which will provide presence within the market through its agents as well as its digital platform to enable mobile payments. As a result of this first deployment, a total of 20 skilled jobs have been created and

it is expected that this will increase to 200 as deployment continues throughout the entire market.” She stated that the Kano State government and Sabon Gari Market Association have provided the REA strong supports to go on with project. Ganduje, who was represented by his Commissioner of Commerce, Industry and Cooperative, Mr. Ahmad Rabi’u Bako, said the solar system would help the contain the occasional outbreak of fire that has led to loss of monies and goods. He said: “We thank President Muhammadu Buhari, for recognising that we have had so many fire incidents in our market, that has been caused by using unconventional means of supplying power and every time we have power from the public supply. “Now, we are able to get from solar which is the safest source of power and also done in a way that will benefit us not only against power outage but also the safety of the market. We have seen the facility they have here, what we are expecting is a saner and improved business environment. We expect less hazard because there is no pollution from solar, unlike before when there are so many bits and pieces of generators here. “The company is here not just to supply power and go away, but also to maintain, that is why they have a customer care facility here in the market,” he added.

UN Says $1.05bn Required to Help 6.1m People in North-east Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja The United Nations has revealed that humanitarian partners will require a sum of $1.5 billion to reach 6.1 million people who are in dire need of humanitarian assistance in the North-east ravaged by Boko Haram insurgents. It lamented that the humanitarian crisis in North-east continues as hostilities between Nigerian security forces and nonstate armed groups enter their ninth year, adding that civilians

still bear the brunt of the conflict that has resulted in widespread displacement, lack of protection, destroyed infrastructure and collapsed basic services. United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Edward Kallon disclosed this in a foreward he wrote on the Humanitarian Response Plan, January-December, 2018 posted on the UN website. He said the food and nutrition crisis is of massive proportions, as an estimated 7.7 million people in the three most affected

states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe now depend on humanitarian assistance for their survival. He said though the federal government succeeded in opening new areas in mid-2017 that enabled the humanitarian community to provide muchneeded life-saving assistance, but stressed that despite these achievements, many challenges remain as the conflict and population movements continue. Kallon stated that humanitarian assistance has prevented

people from slipping below emergency thresholds, but it has not addressed underlying vulnerabilities, pointing out that in the absence of a political solution, the crisis would likely continue into 2018. He stated: “In 2016 and 2017, in close cooperation with the Government of Nigeria, the humanitarian community provided life-saving assistance and helped stabilise living conditions for millions of people. Mortality and morbidity were reduced and a further spillover effect prevented.

In 2017, the response was scaled up and, as of October, had reached 5.6 million people. “Some major successes were achieved, including a decrease in the number of food insecure people from 5.1 million to 3.91 million, the rapid containment of the cholera outbreak through the innovative use of an oral cholera vaccine, improved agricultural production through assistance to 1.3 million farmers and access to a higher number of affected people. These results can be attributed to strong coor-

dination, extensive engagement and generous funding. “While a robust humanitarian response will be essential – especially in hardest-hit Borno State – the protracted nature of the crisis creates new needs which require longer-term assistance. For the 1.6 million who are displaced from their homes, and the communities that host them, we need to find durable solutions. This requires longer planning horizons, more strategic interventions and flexible, longer-term funding.”

I Lack Constitutional Powers to Create Cattle Colony, Says Buhari t As Emir Sanusi meets Miyetti Allah, others on crisis President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that under the Land Use Act of 1978, he lacks the constitutional power to create cattle colonies across the country. This is as he said the government is committed to laying foundations upon which and equitable and progressive society can be built, where all citizens can look forward to the opportunities for realising their full potentials without let or hindrance. Buhari made the declaration yesterday while speaking at the South-South Zonal meeting of the National Committee of Buhari Support Groups (NCBSG) in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. The President, who was represented by his Special Adviser

on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, said provisions of the Land Use Act gave powers to state governors and local government chairmen to control land in their domain. Reading the president’s speech, Enang said, “When Nigeria was one region or state, that before Nigeria was formed as a country, we had cattle routes running from Chad, Niger and others down to the Atlantic. When Nigeria became four regions, we had cattle routes in each of the regions. “When Nigeria created states, each of the states made laws to regulate rearing of animals. In 1978, under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as head of state, March 28, I think I am correct, the Land Use Act was

made. Under the Land Use Act, the President of Nigeria has power to control lands in Abuja only. “Under the Land Use Act, each state governor, under Section 2 of the Land Use Act, land in urban areas of each of the state of the Federation shall be vested on the governor. Now, subsection 1(2b) says land in the rural areas shall be vested on the local government chairman of that area.” Buhari also announced the approval of the first phase of an economic empowerment initiative for no fewer than 200 women and children in each of the senatorial districts the SouthSouth geopolitical zone of the country. The president said, “I have

the pleasure to acknowledge, as I announce the first phase of a new Council for New Nigeria (CNN) /NCBSG economic empowerment initiative to support the growth of women and youth-led micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) in the SouthSouth Zone. “The first phase will provide small economic activity grants to 200 women and youths in each senatorial district in this Zone. CNN/NCBSG shall work with stakeholders to identity beneficiaries to be announced in due course.” The President stated that the commitment of his administration to laying the foundations informed its actions in tackling theft, diversion and misappropriation of public funds

but steadily diversifying the economy for sustained growth and tackling the myriads of security challenges bedevilling the land. He said, “As a government, we are committed to laying the foundations upon which an equitable and progressive society can be built, in which all citizens can look forward to the opportunities for realising their full potentials without let or hindrance. “This informed our actions in tackling theft, diversion and misappropriation of public funds, gradually but steadily diversifying the economy for sustained growth and tackling the myriads of security challenges bedevilling the land. “While it is still work in prog-

ress, we are confident that the amount of work done in the first 32 months of this administration points to a new solid foundation for building the Nigeria of our dreams. “Not only did we ease out of an inevitable recession in record time, our revenue profile, our foreign reserves and foreign investments are all on the rise again; and we have paid mobilized contractors back to project sites across the country, including the South-South Zone.” In his welcome address, former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ogbonna Nwuke, said Buhari has proven to the people of South-South and South-East geopolitical zones of the country, that he is a friend and not an enemy.


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R Ëž FEBRUARY 11, 2018



he funeral service for the retired Justice Adebayo Babatunde Adeniji who recently passed away at the age of 80, took place at the Church of the Nativity, Parkview, lkoyi. Reception and entertainmentofguestsfollowedimmediately at the MUSON Centre, Lagos. Here are some of the personalities that graced the occasion. Photos: Abiodun Ajala

Wife of the deceased, Mrs Patience Folashade Adeniji ďŹ&#x201A;anked by her daughters, Mrs Bola Benson (left) and Mrs Yemisi Wada

L-R: Mr. Segun Aganga and his wife, Abiodun

L-R: Alhaji lnua Mohammed and Mr. Dahiru Wada

R-L: Hon. Nduka lrabor and his wife, Ebere

L-R: Dr. Eyimofe Atake (SAN) and his wife, Dorothy

L-R: Adeola Ajala and Funlola Jolaoso

R-L: Eku Abudu and Nike Animasaun

L-R: Mrs. lbidun Lawson and Mrs. Sade Randle

Navy Commander and Mrs. Kennedy Okosun

T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R Ëž FEBRUARY 11, 2018



L-R: Children of the deceased: Mrs Bola Benson and her husband, Mr. Hewitt Benson; Dr. Tayo Adeniji and her husband, Mr. Bayo Adeniji; Mrs Yemisi Wada and her husband, Mr. Dahiru Wada

L-R: Mr. Yomi Soneye and Senator Kola Bajomo

L-R: Mrs. Kemi Abisogun, Mrs. Yemisi Wada and Dr. Risi Alaka

L-R: Mr. Akintunde Sawyer and Otunba Femi Adewunmi

Cross section of the grandchildren

L-R: Mrs. Kofo Olugbesan and Mrs. Ayodele Atte

L-R: Omooba Arinola Afolabi, Prince Adegoke Ademiluyi and Princess Ayodipupo Ademiluyi

L-R: Mr. Towry Coker and Chief Sunny Kuku

L-R: Mrs. Taiwo Mayuku and Mrs. Tolu Fakoya

L-R: Mr. Mutari Wada and Mr. Femi Akinsanya

L-R: Mr. Adesina Adesanya and Mr. Jelil Badri


T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾ FEBRUARY 11, 2018

SUNDAYSPORTS Eagles Set to Impress in Russia with New Kit, Fresh Attitude

Edited by Demola Ojo Email

Demola Ojo


few days ago, Nigeria’s Russia 2018 World Cup kit was unveiled in London to mixed reactions, mostly positive. The home jersey is a daring throwback to the mid-nineties, with lemon green and black making rare appearances. Love it or hate, you can’t ignore the fact it’s a bold statement. The kit is representative of the new wave of optimism surrounding the Super Eagles as the World Cup approaches. The positive vibes result from the ease with which the Eagles breezed through a qualifying group that looked daunting initially. The Eagles swathed aside the challenge of highly rated Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia, qualifying with a game to spare. The current form shouldn’t be taken for granted, coming off the back of the senior national team failing to qualify for two editions of the African Nations Cup since winning in 2013. The Nigeria Football Federation led byAmaju Pinnick must be commended for getting the choice of team manager right. Gernot Rohr has managed to put together a team that isn’t only competitive, but also vibrant and entertaining. For the first ever, the NFF has detailed an early plan for friendly matches and camp sites. A glamour game against England at Wembley on June 2 is the pick of the bunch, with the Eagles to also play Poland (March 23), Serbia (March 27), DR Congo (May 28), Czech Republic (June 6) and possibly, a yetto-be-announced South American side before the team’s opening World Cup match against Croatia in Kaliningrad on June 16. Argentina and Iceland are the other

Nigeria’s trendy collection can be mixed and matched to taste...

Nigeria’s home kit for Russia 2018 has been rated the best out of 19 countries unveiled so far...

teams Nigeria will play at the World Cup in a group already touted as the “Group of Death”. The Super Eagles will head into the World Cup with no fear though, after recently dazing a strong Argentine team 4-2 in a friendly. According to Nike, Nigeria’s new kit draws inspiration from this optimistic spirit of Naija. “The word Naija has many uses. As a descriptor, it defines a certain future-focused optimism — one that has catalyzed a new generation of Nigerians

Akwa Ibom Stadium Wins Nigeria’s Best From Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja The foresight of Akwa Ibom State government towards investing in the iconic Akwa Ibom International Stadium, Uyo has paid off after it received the National Sports Summit Award as the state with the Best Sport Infrastructure in Nigeria. The award was presented in Abuja at a special ceremony endorsed by the Ministry of Youths and Sport. Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung was represented at award by Director Planning and Strategy, Mrs Hauwa Kulu-Akinyemi. The Hon. Commissioner for Information, Charles Udoh, received the award on behalf of Akwa Ibom State government. The award was one of the three plaques scooped by the state. The others were DiamondAwardforthemostcomprehensive sports development programme in support of Nigerian youths and the state with the most patriotic and inspirational

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sports supporters. The technical consultants which organized the award in collaboration Ministry of Sports, Spring Vision International Koncept, linked the successful Super Eagles World Cup for Russia 2018 to the right atmosphere in Uyo. Its chairman, Philips Asiegbu said that the atmosphere generated inside the “Nest of the Champions” by supporters inspired the Super Eagles to record emphatic victories over Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia to book their World Cup ticket. Udoh said the triple awards were clear manifestation of the blueprint by Governor Udom Emmanuel, who places sports in the front burner. “Now everything we have done has yielded results, including our successful hosting of the Super Eagles World Cup campaign as well having two formidable teams inAkwa United and IbomAngels in the Nigerian premier league and women super league,” Udoh said.

to celebrate the nation’s vibrant culture. Use of the word requires attitude, even panache. “It isn’t simply a stand-in for Nigeria; instead, Naija reflects a youthful exuberance, pride and fresh perspective on patriotism. To some, Naija translates directly to ‘the new Nigeria.’ With boundless potential and an undoubtedly infectious palpable charisma, the squad begs fandom from anyone — interest in football notwithstanding,” Nike explained in a piece titled, ‘For Naija’.

At heart it says, the looks are driven by a desire to channel a healthy reserve of exuberance. “With Nigeria, we wanted to tap into the attitude of the nation,” according to Dan Farron, Nike Football Design Director. Along with other members of the Nike Football design group, Farron dug into learning more about Nigeria’s players. “We started to see trends in attitude and energy connecting the athletes to music, fashion and more. They are part of a resoundingly cool culture.” The fashion forward nature of the Nigerian collection doesn’t end with the home kit. The wing-inspired pattern on it extends to Nigeria’s anthem jacket along withpre-matchandtrainingapparel.The latter features taping along the shoulders emblazoned with Super Eagles, while the jacket sleeve reads “Naija.” As a natural contrast to the home kit, the away kit introduces a cool, refined vision of a classic Nigeria full-green strip. “Overall, the two uniforms form the perfect yin/yang of kits. We counterbalanced the energy of the home with a

super-dark deep green away look.” Naija zeal extends further in the off-pitch portion of the collection. Most notably, there’s the travel suit — a tonal green floral affair with significant swagger. Accessories, including bucket hats, add personality, and each piece is designed to be mixed and matched to preference. By the time Nigeria’s opening World CupgameagainstCroatiacomesaround, the Nigerian team would have earned new fans not just because of its exploits on the field, but because of the just unveiled collection. With the kits of more than half of the 32 World Cup teams unveiled to the public, the Nigerian home jersey was ranked the best by the UK Mirror. According to the newspaper, the glorious effort from Nigeria is a deserving No. 1. “It’s incredible, frankly, and is bound to turn us all into Super Eagles in the summer,” the newspaper predicts. A young and daring team that plays with swagger in a refreshing new look means it will be fashionable to be a Super Eagles fan once again.

Kenya, Ethiopia Dominate Lagos Marathon Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode yesterday unveiled plans to invest in training of Nigerian athletes to compete with elite athletes all over the world for the grand prize of the annual Access Bank Lagos City Marathon as Kenyan born French athlete, Kiprotich Abraham breasted the tape in two hours, 13minutes,foursecondstoemergewinner, carting away the grand prize of $50,000. Abraham’s time set a new Lagos Marathonrecord,threeminutesbetterthan the record set by his fellow compatriot, Abraham Kiptum in the second edition of the 42km annual tourney held last year. Kenyan duo of Ronny Kipkoech Kiboss andBenjaminBitokcamesecondandthird finishing in two hours, 13 minutes and 26 seconds and two hours, 13 minutes and 29 seconds, winning $40,000 and $30,000 USD respectively. In the female category, it was a clean sweepbyEthiopiaasthetrioofAlemenesh Herpha Guta, Tigst Girma Getayechew and Ayelu Abebe Hordofa came first, second and third to win $50,000, $40,000 and $30,000 USD respectively. Speaking at this year’s edition of the tournament held at Eko Atlantic City (EAC),VictoriaIsland,GovernorAmbode said he was tired of handing over the star prizes of the marathon to athletes from EastAfrica, assuring that concerted efforts would be made to reverse the trend and prepare Nigerians to compete favourably for the prizes. “MypromisetoNigeriaisthis;I’mtiredof giving this award to the EastAfricans and so Lagos State is going to commit profes-

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), presenting a cheque of $50, 000 and a trophy to the winner of the 2018 Lagos City Marathon, Kenyan born French athlete, Abraham Kiprotich, (left) while the Minister of Youth and Sports, Barr. Solomon Dalung (right), watches during the 2018 Lagos City Marathon at the Eko Atlantic City, yesterday sional coaches and then we will go to Jos and then come back in two years’ time to give them (East Africans) fight for their money,” the Governor said. He commended all the athletes and organizers who contributed to the successful hosting of the third edition of the tournament, assuring that efforts would be made to make the fourth edition which will take place on February 9, 2019 bigger and better. Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalungannouncedadditionalcashreward for Nigerian athletes who finished top in the male and female categories as well as young athletes.

Iliya Pam was the first Nigerian to finish the 42km race in two hours, 40 minutes, 16 seconds to win N3million, while Sharubutu Philbus came second in two hours, 54 minutes and 16 seconds to win N2million and Kefas Williams also got on the medals table finishing third in a time of two hours, 58 minutes, 16 seconds to win the third prize of N1million. The 42km race started at the National Stadium, Surulere by 6:30am and ended at the EkoAtlantic City in Victoria Island, whilea10kmracealsobeganfromOsborne and terminated also at the Eko Atlantic City with over 100,000 athletes battling for the various prize monies.

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High Life

77      ͎͎͜;ʹ͜͜ͳ;ͳͰ


Marital Tragedy! Obasanjoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Marriage to Adebutuâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Daughter in Trouble Ëž Ă&#x;Ă?Ă&#x152;Ă&#x2039;Ă&#x2DC;Ă&#x17D;Ă&#x2039;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x2039;Ă&#x2DC;Ă&#x17D;Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x2DC;Ă?Ă&#x2019;Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x2014;Ă?Ă&#x2122;Ă Ă?Ă&#x153;Ă&#x2039;Ă&#x2013;Ă&#x2013;Ă?Ă&#x2018;Ă?Ă&#x17D;ĂĄĂ&#x201C;Ă?Ă?ËŞĂ?Ă&#x2014;Ă&#x2039;Ă&#x2013;Ă&#x17E;Ă&#x153;Ă?Ă&#x2039;Ă&#x17E;Ă&#x2014;Ă?Ă&#x2DC;Ă&#x17E;


ove comes with a twist. Beneath its syrupy savor lies a bitter, sour tang. Ask Olujuwon Obasanjo. The son of former president Olusegun Obasanjo suffered an abrupt end to his marriage of few months. Bliss deserted their marriage in unexpected hours, like a crushed knight fleeing the gates of a fallen fortress. To Olujuwon, the love that warmed the inner cockles of his heart soon became the thorn that pierced his lungs while he inhaled the fragrance of passion. As the story goes, sometime last year the wife of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mrs Taiwo Obasanjo, filed a suit at an Ikeja High Court, seeking to stop the wedding of her son scheduled for May. She lost the suit. Mrs. Obasanjoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s objection to the timing of the wedding was based on a prophecy that her sonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wedding should be a quiet event. But despite her objection, the wedding went ahead in her absence. In an interview with a national newspaper, she spoke on her sonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s marriage, why he left his matrimonial home and other sundry issues. According to her, she went to Ikoyi, Lagos, to see her son, â&#x20AC;&#x153;She (Her daughter in-law) told me she had not seen my son since November so I started asking people about this. If I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know the whereabouts of my son, should I just fold my arms and watch? Does that make me a responsible mother? I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stay close to them. Moreover, Abeokuta to Lagos is not one-minute drive and since they got married I have never interfered and I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go there. So the young man has gone into hiding and this is not the first time this is happening. He has been running away from this girl, he would disappear and then when they settle the matter he will come back home. Now everybody said they are tired

Olujuwon Obsanjo and wife, Tope

because every time they are always quarrellingâ&#x20AC;Ś. Thank you for asking me that question. I have visited daddy Adebutu and I even went with my family so that they wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s his mother that is causing it all. Like I told you earlier, my son doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t call me, he doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t visit me. The two of them didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t acknowledge me as a mother. She only does that when her husband runs away from the house and she will talk to me as if I am her maid too. Asking me questions like, where is he? When last did you see him? So I went to see daddy Adebutu who is a very good man. The problem of this marriage, which they are trying to heap on me is from that girl, her mother Rosemary Dacosta and daddy OBJ. Tope is like a masquerade she will be crying when you are talking


Funmilola Osunsade

How long can you be cute? For Funlola Osunsade, the answer will probably goâ&#x20AC;Ś â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Eternally!â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Like a Princess of Commerce, Funlola Osunsade spends her days hustling and strategising in the crafty, calm, cold; cozening strife of Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s corporate sector. If she were a cassowary on the plains of Timbuktu, she would flex her wattles like she is the last of the Casuarius breed in the world, literally though. Yes, Funlola added another year to her enchanting life some days ago and the pert, blue flame of joy burns through her pretty frame; brightening her world and burnishing her persona with irrepressible shine. She is beside herself

to her but she insults everybody in the family, even the Obasanjoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family, she rubbishes everybody. He told the boy she wanted hundred thousand naira as allowance. I told her, this boy doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have money. He works for his father, he is a graduate and he studied International Relations. My son is not idiotic he is just a complete gentleman, very respectful and peaceful. But this girl is trying to change him. My son is humble and he keeps to himselfâ&#x20AC;?, she said. Now more than ever, the rhetoric on the lips of many victims, survivors and spectators of silver spoon marriages is: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Is being gorgeous, wealthy, and famous the kiss of death for lasting love?â&#x20AC;? Well, sadly it often is. Why? Because most silver spoon kids and partners in celebrity marriages with joy for being privileged to witness yet another glorious addition to her inspiring days. She exemplifies a totally modern yet timeless construct of femininity that manifests as a blend of dashing individuality and noble pedigree. She worked hard to attain her current status and she is far removed from the contemporary alpha female stereotype that glorifies flamboyance, self-aggrandisement and narcissism above substance. Add that to her capacity to navigate the scandalous terrains of high society without a scandal attached to her name and you have a perfect superwoman. And sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s got great carriage and ĂŠlan. Funlola is the daughter of late Mrs. Esther Olusola Osunsade. Sources say the

donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t really need each other for survival and even for comfort, oftentimes. At least not to the extent that the average Nigerian depends on his or her spouse. Many a party to such marriages has revealed that they had been victims of forced marriages and inconvenient betrothals that never enjoyed their consent. After spending so much money, the farce devastatingly ends oftentimes for the two strange bedfellows forcefully united on the altar of their parentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; vanities and egotism. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s indeed a pitiful world for these scions of the rich. Thus having married young, they keep on marrying, springing from bride to bride or groom to groom like the chamois of the Alps undeniably adept at leaping from crag to crag. fair-skinned woman has every reason to be glad and joyous as she turned 54 days ago. Family, friends and colleagues were all around to celebrate her. As she adds another year, where does she go from here? There is certainly no barrier to her path and ascending the ladder of success.

YEMI IDOWU LANDS SWEET DEAL WITH LAGOS GOVT Ëž      His visions and exertions are laced with sparkles thus emitting a blaze that captivates like colourful neon lights. In Lagos State, Yemi Idowu is definitely the man to beat. Yemi has attained the status of a social and political doll that every politician and public officer seeks to do business with. Interestingly,

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The Preachers’s Wife at 60... Bishop David Oyedepo Fetes Wife, Faith


ike the fabled goddess of the Verges, Faith Oyedepo, the wife of Bishop David Oyedepo, ages with elegance and grace. She clocked 60 some days ago and she is showing no telltale of age. She still looks refreshingly young, with a glowing natural ebony complexion that is the envy of a lot of other women. The founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide, popularly known as Winners’ Chapel, Bishop Oyedepo, wrote, “Happy 60th birthday to my wife, Faith Abiola Oyedepo. You’re more beautiful in every way with every passing day. I’m grateful to God for blessing me with you.” Knowing his social antecedents and deep pockets, one would have expected that the 60th party would shake the roots of high society to its foundations and remain on the lips of guests for eons to come.

However, the respectable man of God did not throw a giddy or gaudy feast; there was no rivers of exotic drinks, or a long line of canapés and gourmet foods. Rather, after the thanksgiving service, there was a light entertainment for few guests. As wives to prominent pastors, no more are they scarcely seen and never heard. Today, they have become more visible, more assertive and fashionable too. The dawn of the 90s no doubt triggered a new awakening for these women in the Lord’s vineyard. Faith is one of them and has a unique style that has not changed for many years. She juggles between skirt suit and traditional wears. Though, she is a bit conservative in dressing, she spares no expense on her love for jewelries. She and her husband are blessed with four children - David Jr. Isaac, Love and Joy.

millions saw the apple fall but it was only Newton who asked ‘why?’ The late scientist, while blessed with incredible genius also betrayed an amazing gift of observation. Late Newton observed the little details that often counted but are habitually discounted in the flurry of things; this led him to the achievement of great exploits and enviable rewards. Yemi Idowu is no Newton but he displays the late genius’ shrewdness and wonderful gift of scrutiny. So adept is he at his vocation that he constantly discovers rare business opportunities often invisible to his peers. Simply put, Yemi has a

reputation for good judgment, fair dealing, exactness, and rectitude - which jointly constitute the essence of his good fortune. Just recently, he landed a hot deal with the Lagos State government to supply all the buses Governor Akinwunmi Ambode intends to use as replacement of the rickety ‘danfos,’ Volkswagen (Paragon) and other commercial bus models in the state. It’s a big and very sweet deal that has attracted untold encomiums to the quiet and easy going dude. Despite his unassuming nature, Yemi is a closet billionaire who shies from unnecessary attention. He owns that humongous, first class estate not too far from Chevron Estate known as the “Northern Foreshore” estate amongst many other estates. Findings revealed that besides his ‘Northern Foreshore’ estate which boasts of over 500 homes of various ranges from 4-bedroom maisonette to bungalows, all totally upscale, Yemi also owns another estate known as the “Friend’s Colony.” There are also the Mayfair Gardens, Cadogan Estate and Bourdillon Court allegedly owned by him. He is a heir of the renowned Ibadan industrialist and sports philanthropist, Late Chief Nathaniel O. Idowu, the Okanlomo & Mayeloye of Ibadan, Oyo State.

Faith Oyedepo

endless exotic champagnes and cognacs known to connoisseurs were art, you may jolly well call billionaire businessman, Chief Olu Okeowo, the Michelangelo. And if that skill were classical music, please, call him Mozart. The money man knows how to deploy his vast wealth to serenade and stun those close to him. However, for his brother and friend, Otunba Niyi Adebayo’s 60th, Olu had more than enough reasons to throw the gates of his sprawling mansion in Parkview, Ikoyi, Lagos, open to fete a friend in whom he is well pleased. Predictably, expensive food and drink was surplus at the



It’s an established fact that if organising high society parties with the right mix of guests, gourmet food and

event and the music offering was timeless. The crowd was select and classy. The ambience was celestial in its gold draperies. Typical of Olu’s predilection for grand celebrations, gourmet meals, and champagnes and cognacs and canapés flowed like a river and nobody left until the drinks had thinned to a tributary. However, some days after, Olu threw a lavish party in his Ikoyi mansion for his son, Ibukun Okeowo, as he clocked 21 last weekend. Asides the assorted liquor, beer and fruit juices, the guests were also treated to delicious meals and dessert that sufficiently wet their palates and sated them. At the background, a soulful medley of contemporary music wafted from well-appointed woofers causing the guests to sway, shuffle and waltz as much as the music moved them and transported them to euphoric cusps. Ibukun was more than glad that night.

Ibukun Okeowo

Many a woman go into wedlock goaded by unrealistic fantasies of bliss. In marriage, they are constantly hatching an enormous number of false ideas, conceits, Utopias, mystical explanations, suspicions, and megalomaniacal fantasies, which disappear when brought into contact with the brutal reality of matrimony and their better half. It took Orode Uduaghan one crashed

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





t is the wisdom of the crocodiles to shed tears when they would devour. But unlike the beast of the deep, the daughters of former Nigerian President, Late Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’A dua, flash toothy smiles when they would devour. The late President’s daughters betray no bloody appetite like the crocodile, rather they sport insatiable craving for the love and attention of leaders of men. Maryam, Nafisat and Zainab got married to sitting state governors. They are still married to them

even after they quit power. And just recently, they stepped out in an event. Until they stepped out, many people did not know that Maryam married former governor of Katsina State Ibrahim Shehu Shema. Nafisat got married to former Bauchi governor Isa Yuguda while Zainab is the wife of former Governor of Kebbi State Usman Saidu Nasamu Dakingari. Some would say that they love power and all the appurtenances that come with it, others simply admire them for their exquisite planning.

marriage to realise and accept this fact. The daughter of the former Governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, suffered an agonising end to her marriage with Ryan Okpu few years ago. So shaken was she by the experience that she took a wide berth from the marital shores. Orode persistently rued her loss and scorned the gender mating dance wondering if it was actually worth the hype. Few years since the crash of her marriage, Orode has re-emerged from the ashes of her misfortune wiser and more mature. She has realised that there’s no dignity being a single mother hence her fervent prayers for a serious suitor to whom she could try marriage for the second time. Yes,

Orode intends to remarry and she is dreaming and praying seriously about it. According to her, “It’s not easy filling in the gap. I am living my dreams. I am not trying to be an awesome mum for the world to see that all is well and good, no. Sometimes all is not well, sometimes it difficult. I mean, it was hardit still is hard. It’s not the funniest thing that I wanted, it was what I had to do to be honest; it really all boils down to God. “There are still dark days, there are still days where I ask myself some questions, should I have been better, should I have seen signs, what mistakes did I make? But the moment when God really stepped into the picture for me was when it became easier. I enjoy the gift of marriage, knowing what God intended for marriage and I want to experience it properly someday. “I want to be married. I tell God every day that you are going to bring me a man that I will enjoy marriage with. By God’s grace, I will marry again of course, it’s a beautiful thing when done right and in God.”


Orode Uduaghan

There’s something captivating about Joshua Olusegun Oshea Akinbo aka Jace. His imaginative genius defies stereotype. Unlike too many artistes whose music resonate as trite rehash of other people’s contemporary drivel, Jace’s artistry is evident in his style. His feral creativity, mastery of form and profound individuality are deeply rooted in his earliest influences and music role models. These include late Luther Vandross, Jaheim,

Zainab Dakingari (left) and Nafisat Yuguda

Boys II Men, Daniel Caesar, Alexander O’neal and Peabo Bryson, among others. The “grown and sexy” vibes are definitely not lost on the 6 ft 7’ tall crooner. Jace is a creative genius of the old school and iPhone era, an enthusiast of evergreen oldies and contemporary Nigerian music, intent on using his creative and expressive gifts to articulate the yearnings and titillate them. His music career started in the church choir and later saw him move to Abuja, after his formative years, where he was signed to Impact Records under which he released his first ever single titled “I’m Hot” featuring K Dubb. The song ripped the airwaves in the North from Jos, Abuja to Kano, introducing Jace to the music industry. After a long hiatus that saw him return to school and acquire degrees from Lead City University, Ibadan, Oyo State to professional certifications from Oxford Princeton University, England and Harvard University, USA, Jace returned to his first love, music. Then he reignited his music career which took him around the world. Jace announced his return to music with the release of the smash hit single “Tsunami” which debuted on iTunes on September 23, 2017. He subsequently released the video for the single on January 28, (2018 Grammy Awards night) which is available on YouTube and other online streaming platforms. Born and raised in Jos, Plateau State, Jace parades a talent that several of his peers would kill to possess. His creative flair

is rare to the point of being eccentric. It is not so often that you would find so many astounding variables in one artiste, including features which ought to be incompatible: vulnerability, a sense of menace, sterling and comprehensible intellect, candour, audacity — and a rather startling energy. As he revs on his music career, “Tsunami” continues to garner great reviews ahead of his plans to release an album. In his words, “ the field is big enough for all talented artists to prosper. Just stay in your lane and be original. Don’t try to sound like someone because they are getting fame.” And we are indeed glad he is choosing his own lane and giving a much needed refreshing sound to the evolving Nigerian music industry scene.

Joshua Akinbo

Sunday February 11, 2018



& RE A S O


Price: N400


“Lofty as the gesture seems, however, what the governor has only succeeded in doing is a classical and wanton display of primitive hypocrisy of the worst type.” – Rivers State chapter of All Progressives Congress castigating the state governor, Nyesom Wike, for donating N200 million to victims of herdsmen attacks in Benue State while victims of killings and other criminalities in his own state are ignored.


Governance as a Relay Race


first met Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode early May 2014 somewhere in Victoria Island, Lagos. We had just launched TheCable online newspaper. We ran a story — “The man who would be next Lagos governor” — which surprised him, for it was not yet public knowledge that he was going to throw his hat in the ring. I saw him briefly. We chatted, exchanged numbers and I wished him all the best. Ironically, nearly four years after, I have not met him again. We’ve spoken only once on the phone. That was a few days to the 2015 elections. Nonetheless, I have quietly observed him from a distance. I have come to certain conclusions which I intend to share with us presently. In all honesty, as I stepped out of the compound that day and jumped into my car, I worried a bit. I did not doubt his competence, but I wondered: Is Asiwaju Bola Tinubu about to take the gamble of his life? Why is he pushing a “dark horse” to be governor of a highly complex state like Lagos? I consoled myself with the fact that Tinubu supported a relatively unknown Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola in 2007. Lagos was clearly the better for it. So if Tinubu chose to back another dark horse, maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt. He seemed to never support known politicians to become governor. There must be something Tinubu knows about dark horses. Ambode went on to win the APC governorship ticket in a fierce primary election that officially confirmed that there was no love lost between Tinubu and his protégé, Fashola, who backed other candidates. Ambode also won the governorship election convincingly against PDP’s Jimi Agbaje, whom many had seen as a replica of Fashola and the natural replacement on offer. If the truth be told, nobody gave Ambode a chance to do well in office. And they seemed justified when he took off on a shaky note. Lagos was fast dissolving into anarchy. In October 2015, Mr. Eniola Bello, THISDAY MD and columnist, fired an article, “Lagos, Oh! Our Lagos”, to lampoon the new governor. Looking back, I would say Ambode needed the heavy knock on the head. No matter the excuses he had for not hitting the ground running — perhaps there were a lot of housekeeping issues in his party and his new government — all that Lagosians wanted to see was action, certainly after the glittering footprints that Fashola left behind. No “dulling” governor can survive Lagos. Today, Ambode’s story has evidently changed for the better. What changed it? What is Lagos getting right? Is this sustainable? Is there any thread linking the tenures of Tinubu and Fashola to Ambode? Can Abuja learn any lessons from Lagos? These questions shaped my thinking today. It is fascinating that in less than three years, Ambode has put many Doubting Thomases on the back foot. What I like the most about him is that you can see what he is doing. No long story. You can see ideas at work. You can feel the sense of urgency. You can see the schools being built, the health centres, the roads, the bridges, the lights. You can see the regeneration of the chaotic Oshodi axis, the pioneer DNA lab, the Lake Rice initiative. You can see the thinking behind these projects — trying to create something close to a modern city, trying to make Lagos a 24-hour economy, putting people to work,


easing traffic, reducing crime and, in Ambode’s words, making Lagos “home for all”. I have in no way tried to suggest that Lagos has become a paradise, or that there are no failings and issues here and there. However, in my quest to understand what works and what doesn’t work in the peculiar circumstances of Nigeria, one area that continues to pop up is the governance structure and the political ecosystem. We most often play politics without a development agenda in mind. The mindset is always about grabbing power and retaining it by any means. In the end, we make little or no progress. We remain underdeveloped. Our politics in Nigeria is too political, pardon my grammar. Politics must have a goal — to impact positively on the society, not self. Here are two lessons I intend to draw from my Lagos example. One, development is a product of planning. Having lived in Lagos through the tenures of Tinubu, Fashola and Ambode, I can see clearly that there is a plan that is being followed. It is not an accident. I have been hearing about the Atlantic City, the rail project, modernising the waste management system, mass transit, and beautification, among others, from the time of Tinubu. I am seeing every successive governor pursuing the plans, even if with modifications. The sense in this is that if you jump into governance without a template, agenda and goals, you are a visionless, ad-hoc leader. The best years of Nigeria were when we had national development plans. We had the first one in 1962, covering up to 1968. Key economic development drivers were kept in focus: power, roads, technical education and agriculture. It was a co-ordinated plan between the central and regional governments, spanning civilian and military times. Some of the policy outcomes were the construction of the Kainji dam, the development of the lower Niger River basin, the building of the Port Harcourt refinery, a tree-to-crop system in the Western region and farm settlements in the Eastern region. We can argue about our fidelity to our development plans, but

at least we had plans. Two, for development plans to be sustainable, leadership must run like a relay race. Our constitution is very clear: no governor or president can spend more than eight years in office. The wise leader will groom a pool of successors, a core team, to carry on with the plans. African dictators often think they are irreplaceable. They keep amending the constitution to stay put. They define continuity narrowly — in the context of “only one man can do it”. Lagos has benefitted tremendously from running a “relay race” in leadership. You can see a method in its governance delivery. No governor has dropped the baton yet. It is said that success without successor is failure. The biggest failing of President Olusegun Obasanjo, in my opinion, was the way he handled his succession in 2007. Having embarked on meaningful reform initiatives that saw significant economic growth and development, he probably was more focused on getting a third term than creating a legacy that would outlive him. He had conceived mega projects in power and rail sectors that are very vital to attaining our development goals. Imagine the socio-economic value of a rail line from Kano to Lagos? Imagine the socio-economic value of stable power supply? He came up with Vision 20-2020 that needed to be pursued with urgency and commitment. I would say the natural successor to Obasanjo was his vice-president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who was a key player in the policy processes of his government. In fact, as vice-president, Atiku was theoretically the leader of the economic team, although Obasanjo was very hands-on. He entrusted Atiku with power during his first term, and Atiku certainly knew the ideas and the goals pushing the reform agenda. Allegations of corruption against him effectively led to his political ruin, but we cannot say exactly that corruption has been wiped out of Nigeria since Obasanjo stopped Atiku from becoming president. I may be wrong, though. But since Obasanjo had irreconcilable differences with Atiku, he had other options. Having groomed the likes of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, it was pure tragedy that he settled for Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as his successor. Worse still, none of his mentees was part of Yar’Adua’s new government! If Obasanjo wanted a governor to carry on with his agenda, Yar’Adua was too distant to be the one. He knew nothing about Obasanjo’s policies. He, unsurprisingly, began to undo them one after the other: reversed the sale of refineries, stopped the Kano-Lagos rail and stalled the power projects. I am not saying Yar’Adua did not have good reasons for the actions he took. That is a different topic of discussion. My point here is that Obasanjo did not think beyond politics when he was settling for Yar’Adua — and we are suffering the consequences till this day. That is why in appraising and applauding Ambode, I am also able to see that there is clearly a plan, a foundation and a relay race in Lagos. There is a method. There is fidelity to the principles. There is onward movement. If the PDP had had a similar thinking for the 16 years it was in power, Nigeria would have been much better today. But does the ruling APC have any enduring plan for Nigeria? I can’t see it.

And Four Other Things… MERCHANTS OF MALICE Many years ago, a photograph of corpses on Benin-Ore road went viral. The story then was that the passengers were robbed, asked to lie on the road and then crushed by their assailants. This narrative was designed to paint a picture of insecurity under Jonathan. Police denied the tale, saying a bus broke down and while the passengers disembarked, an oncoming vehicle rammed into them. Well, the photograph has resurfaced with a new tale: Fulani herdsmen just butchered some people. For effect, the audio of a crying lady went with it. Nigeria! Meanwhile, an old video showing Boko Haram militants slaughtering a soldier is back in circulation, just that it is now showing “Fulani herdsmen” at work. Those working to set Nigeria on fire neither sleep nor slumber. Kontunu. ANIMAL FARM Prof. Usman Yusuf, executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), has been recalled from suspension by President Muhammadu Buhari — in a move that has clearly undermined the supervisory minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who had suspended him over allegations of gross misconduct. Alas, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, minister of information, has said the recall will not affect the investigation of allegations levelled against Yusuf. Wonderful. How come Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, the suspended DG of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), does not enjoy this presidential privilege? The contradictions of this government are simply ridiculous. Change. INSOLENT GENERAL OF POLICE Am I the only one wondering why Prince Kassim Afegbua was declared wanted by the police over the statement he issued on behalf of former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida? IBB urged Nigerians to vote for “digital” leadership in 2019 and asked President Buhari to sacrifice “personal ambition” in the “national interest”. I thought it is Babangida that should have been declared wanted, not his media aide. Anybody who knows the inspector-general, Mr Ibrahim Idris, should please remind him that we have seen many overzealous and sycophantic IGPs in Nigeria. Where are they now? We will certainly see Idris’ end too. Impunity. GANDUJE GAMBLE Politicians must politick. The herdsmen/ farmers crisis has offered a big stage for drama from all sides — PDP governors are trooping to Benue to shed crocodile tears, and Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, the governor of Kano, has decided play the game. He has asked all “rejected” herdsmen to relocate to Kano. What are the plans on ground? Does he know the population of the herd and the herdsmen? Will there be enough grazing fields? Is there sufficient water supply? Have the potential host communities been identified and consulted? And to think Ganduje has a PhD in public administration from UI! May we be blessed with leaders who think before they talk. Amen.

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Sunday 11th February 2018  
Sunday 11th February 2018