Ortom: EFCC Now APC’s Strike Squad, Court for Trial of Opponents Threatens N10 billion suit against Oshiomhole Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja and George Okoh in Makurdi Just days after freezing and unfreezing the accounts of the Benue State government, in
an act widely condemned as illegal, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been accused of engaging in other “shameful” activities on purpose to
cripple governance in the state. Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom made the allegation yesterday in a statement by his spokesman, Terver Akasa. The statement
released in Makurdi said such acts included the bandying of figures in the media by the commission and claiming such to be transactions in accounts owned by the state
government. It alleged that EFCC was turning into a strike force and trial court for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) against the opposition.
This was as Ortom threatened to bring a N10 billion defamation suit against the national chairman of APC, Continued on page 8
Peter Amangbo: Zenith is a Technology Driven Bank that Thrives on Innovation… Page 23-25 Sunday 12 August, 2018 Vol 23. No 8516
& RE A S O
T H I S D AY G U I D E T O S E N AT E C R I S I S :
Issue of the Day: Removal of Senate President Is It by 2/3 of Members Present and Voting, or 2/3 of the Entirety of Members? Olawale Olaleye The serial attempts to remove the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki (PDP/Kwara)
from office has continued to raise constitutional, legal and political questions, especially after the botched attempt last Tuesday seeking to sack the
National Assembly complex in order to ferry in his opponents Gestapo style and effect an unconstitutional change. Saraki's All Progressives
Congress (APC) opponents cite the manner of his emergence on June 9, 2015 to justify their plot, which was to use the state security
apparatus, in this case, the (PDP), ferry in some 30 Department of State Services APC opponents meeting at ( DSS), to stop the entry of the behest of their new noSaraki's supporters in the Peoples Democratic Party Continued on page 8
Atiku: I Will Do One Term Only, if Elected President in 2019 “If I am elected President in 2019, I give an undertaking that I would only do one term. .... I am willing to sign a written document. If you or any other Nigerian can come up with an ironclad legal document that binds me, I am willing to publicly commit to it”
See full interview on pages 75 - 77
Bunmi Ojo, APC Chieftain, Shot Dead in Ado Ekiti… Page 10
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ͺ˜ͺ˾T H I S DAY, T H E S U N DAY N E W S PA P E R
PAGE EIGHT ISSUE OF THE DAY: REMOVAL OF SENATE PRESIDENT nonsense chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, somewhere in Aso Drive, Asokoro, Abuja; create a quorum of 30 members required under the Rules for meetings, and then vote out the Senate President and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu (PDP,Enugu). But they disagreed on replacements. Some wanted the party's zoning formula maintained, with a new Senate President emerging from the North-central zone between, George Akume (APC, Benue) or Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nassarawa) while others wanted the South-east, with Hope Uzodinma ( APC, Imo) or the South-south, with the newly defected Goodwill Akpabio (APC, Akwa Ibom) as Senate President.
How Saraki Emerged: On June 9, 2015, Saraki was elected Senate President about 10:30am by 57 of the 108 members, as 51 of them were waiting for an APC political caucus meeting about two kilometres away, at the International Conference Centre (ICC), waiting for President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve which of them, between Saraki and Ahmed Lawan (APC, Yobe) should be Senate President. But they forgot the President had already sent in a letter proclaiming the Senate at 10 am on the faithful June 9. While his colleagues sat at the ICC, Saraki and 56 others were being swornin as Senators. Following the swearing-in, the next item on the order paper was elections, and without much ado the election was called and Saraki (then of APC) emerged unopposed and was elected by 57 of the 57 newly sworn-in Senators which at that time was 100 per cent of the Senate. The other 51 Senators who were still Senators-elect at the time scrambled back to the chambers once they heard the elections were underway. But Saraki had won. Ekweremadu was later to defeat Mohammed Ali Ndume (APC, Borno) for the Senate Deputy Presidency when he polled 54 to Ndume's 20. As Senate President, it was Saraki who swore-in the rest of the absent Senators. So legal
experts say the quorum that elected Saraki was 100 per cent of the newly sworn-in members, "present, sitting and voting"... and the 51 members holed up at the ICC were not yet Senators at the time but Senators-elect, so could not be counted. Today, the issues are slightly different. At the heart of the matter is whether removing a Senate President requires twothirds of members present and voting at a sitting, or two-thirds of the total number of senators of the upper chamber, which discomfortingly puts the number at a near-impossible 73. To elect the President of the Senate, the constitution clearly demands a simple majority of members. But that is not the case with his removal. For instance, to impeach the president, the constitution clearly demands the consent of two-thirds of "the entire members". In the case of the removal of the President of the Senate, the constitution says two-thirds of members. That is where legal experts begin to differ. What does two-thirds of members mean in this context? Is it two-thirds of those present and voting or of the entire membership? By extension, the question to ask here is: can a simple quorum take such a decision as removal of principal officers on behalf of all members? It is this ambiguity which keeps PDP members and Saraki's supporters awake all night, that APC seeks to exploit - if by hook or crook.
overnight, just like the plot that was deployed in the failed impeachment of Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom. The plan was to seal the National Assembly with the aid of the DSS operatives, take in their own senators – 30 of them – who would be present and voting on the impeachment saga. But the Senate President’s group got wind of the development and stayed back, in Abuja refusing to travel out on recess. In the Saraki group, however, were 48 senators, more than those allegedly meeting with the APC and Daura. To give fillip to the planned impeachment and contrary to some reports, THISDAY confirmed that Daura, who operated in cahoots with the APC apparatchik, had prevented the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Sani Omolori, from proceeding on leave, which had long been planned, allegedly, saying "a new Senate President would have to be sworn in on Tuesday" and Omolori’s presence was constitutionally key to such an exercise. The Clerk, THISDAY learnt, had planned to go on leave (which had been approved) since two Fridays ago but he received “an order” to put it on hold, because of the planned removal and the expectation that a new Senate President would emerge on Tuesday, to be sworn in immediately. But it turned out a failed plot.
The Tuesday Drama
The Enwerem, Okadigbo, Wabara Examples
Contrary to whatever narrative out there in the attempt to manage the fallout of Tuesday’s siege to the National Assembly, the truth is that the operation was devoted solely to the removal of Saraki as senate president and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu. It is also correct that the APC party apparatchik were with former Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, in the plot to get Saraki out of the way. It is important to state that the leadership of the APC had planned to take about 30 of their “loyal senators” to the National Assembly to remove Saraki. This followed a meeting
From 1999 till date, only two Presidents of the Senate – Chief Evans Enwerem and Dr. Chuba Okadigbo – had been successfully removed and both of them were removed from office on the grounds of corruption. The third person, whose position was also threatened, was Senator Adolphus Wabara. He, however, beat his colleagues to the impeachment move by resigning. The late Enwerem was impeached for alleged perjury and age falsification. He was President of the Senate from June 3, 1999 to November 18, 1999. Having been accused
of falsifying his age and academic qualifications, he was subsequently asked to step down. But Enwerem refused, and 90 of 99 senators (in a 109-member Senate) voted to impeach him. Two opposed the motion and the rest were either absent or abstained from voting. Okadigbo, who is also late, took over from Enwerem and was President of the Senate between 1999 and 2000. The senate voted to impeach him following demands for his resignation over allegations of corruption. Okadigbo, who spent just about 263 days in office, was impeached by 81 to 11 votes, following his refusal to resign as demanded by the Senate. However, in the case of Wabara, his colleagues had in May 2004 moved to investigate him over alleged financial misdeeds, accusing him of exceeding his authority by handing out various contracts without the knowledge or approval of the Senate committee responsible for such. Wabara denied the allegation and claimed that it was a plot by Igbo senators, who wanted his position. But in April 2005, Wabara resigned from his position after allegations were made that he and others took a $400,000 bribe from then Minister of Education, Fabian Osuji.
Now, the Saraki Debate Following the issues above and the examples, the natural question to ask is: what is the threshold for removal of the senate president? Is it the two-thirds of members present or two-thirds of the entire members? From all indications and in spite of the seeming ambiguity of the constitution, what is required is the two-thirds of the entirety of the senators. While Enwerem was impeached by 90 senators, 80 members voted out Okadigbo, thus, exceeding even the 73 two-thirds that is constitutionally demanded. But if the debate was reduced to the two-thirds of members present and voting, what it means is that where 30 senators were present, only 20 could conveniently remove the senate president in a house of
109 members. That, according to legal scholars, would have made nonsense of the intentions of the framers of the constitution, who envisaged that there could be mischief in the attempt to remove a senate president, which only requires a few disgruntled elements to gather at the chambers and announce a leadership change. In fact, if it was that, Saraki would have been long gone. It is therefore important to establish that, and given the informed views of some lawyers, who have enhanced the quality of this debate, the two-thirds being referred to by the constitution is the two-third of the entire members and not of those present and voting, as is the case in electing the senate leadership. In other words, Saraki’s continued stay in office is not inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution, even if he were of the minority party. Section 50 (1) (a) of the 1999 constitution as amended states: “A President and Deputy President of the Senate shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves.” The constitution did not expressly bar lawmakers from the minority party from aspiring to elective senate leadership positions, for as long as the number favours the individual. In addition, the constitution does not stipulate that a senate president, who becomes a member of the minority party, should give up the position. What Section 50 (2) of the Constitution states is: “The President or Deputy President of the Senate or the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives shall vacate his office: a) If he ceases to be a member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, otherwise than by reason of a dissolution of the Senate or the House of Representatives; or b) When the House of which he was a member first sits after any dissolution of that House; or c) If removed from office by a resolution of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case may be, by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of
the members of the House.” In essence, what this means is that Saraki could keep his position as president of the senate till the National Assembly reconvenes and he’s removed by two-thirds majority of the entire members of the red chamber. Unfortunately, the APC could only attain the two-thirds majority required to impeach Saraki if PDP senators align with them, a situation that is very unlikely in the current power game.
client, you could not bring yourself to mention a single Benue person or any other person for that matter from whom you sourced your false narratives. For the records, the principles of law grounding liability for defamation and libel do not exculpate tale bearers from liability for the reason that the tales they bear are not original to them. "There is also no gainsaying the fact that the false allegations you have levelled against our client are weighty and same would have demanded a greater degree of circumspection, sobriety and deep reflection from you before rushing to the public domain. "For one who is purportedly schooled, it is taken for granted that you are fully abreast of the legal obligation cum implication that he who asserts has a corresponding burden to prove. Regrettably, in your case you spoke not to records but to base political sentiments. "Therefore, the only inference to draw is that your unproven allegation was informed by a dangerously cultivated, albeit unwarranted malice against our client. In the circumstance, we have our client’s instruction to place before you the following demands: "A letter of retraction/apology
addressed to our client in respect of the false, defamatory and libellous statement made against him in the sponsored press conference herein complained of. "That the said retraction/ apology be simultaneously published in the Sunday edition of 10 National Dailies circulating within Benue State as well as a paid advertorial to the same effect on the prime time beats of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Channels Tv, TVC News, African Independent Television (AIT), Independent Television (ITV) Benin, Radio Nigeria, Radio Benue and Harvest FM, Makurdi. "An undertaking not to indulge in any such false publication against our client in future. "Payment of N10,000,000,000. (Ten Billion Naira) only to our client as punitive, general, exemplary and aggravated damages "We have our client’s express instruction that the terms above be met within 7 days of receipt of this letter. It is the further instruction of our client that in the event of any failure, refusal or neglect to conform to the terms set out above, he would be left with no option than to commence appropriate legal proceedings against you in the law Court."
Minority Leadership Not a New Development While this debate continues, it is worthy of mention that Saraki is not the first leader of the National Assembly to come from a minority party even as there is no party with an absolute Majority of 55 Senators, Between APC and PDP they have some 52 to 53 senators each with APGA and ADC having the rest. However, in the Second Republic, for example, then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Edwin Ume-Ezeoke, was of the Nigeria Peoples Party (NPP), which wasn’t the ruling party at the time. President Shehu Shagari’s National Party of Nigeria (NPN) was the ruling party. But to get elected NPP was in alliance with NPN which later broke down but because of the 2/3 rule the Speaker could not be removed. Recall also that in the 7th assembly, former Speaker of the House of Representatives and now Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, remained in office even after defecting from the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC, a move the APC was favourably disposed to. And currently, in this 8th assembly, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, is of the PDP, when ordinarily the office is deemed to belong to the APC by practice. What this means is that the running of the affairs of the National Assembly is purely the business of its members as guided by their rules and the Constitution. Conventions not supported by the Constitution are not valid in the current debate.
ORTOM: EFCC NOW APC’S STRIKE SQUAD, COURT FOR TRIAL OF OPPONENTS Comrade Adams Oshiomole. In a letter to the APC chairman through the governor’s lawyers, which was made available to THISDAY in Makurdi, Ortom referred to various interviews and media briefings where Oshiomhole allegedly defamed, maligned, and demeaned his personality. Ortom defected from APC to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on July 25, a day after the ruling party lost about 13 senators and 37 members of the House of Representatives to the opposition party. And he has since been involved in a series of running battles with the federal government’s anti-graft agency, which are generally believed to be set off by his defection. Ortom’s spokesman said EFCC had claimed in newspaper reports yesterday that a staff of the Benue State government, whose name it gave as Agbo Amada, had been sacked "to avoid making him available for interrogation". The statement said, “The commission could not disclose where the said government staff worked before he was sacked obviously because such a person does not exist.” It added, “It released figures allegedly withdrawn from the Benue State Government
accounts without disclosing the dates of the withdrawals and the period during which they were made. “The commission has also not been able to state accounts into which such monies withdrawn were paid to prove that the funds had been diverted. EFCC is contented with publishing the figures without stating how impropriety has been established.” The governor said EFCC was simply out to tarnish the image of his administration without cause. Ortom stated, “On this score, it is clear that the EFCC has now become both a strike squad of the APC for torment, and their law court for the trial and conviction of political opponents. “Only an agency which has the mandate of ruining the reputation of persons perceived to be political opponents of the ruling party would descend to the low level the EFCC is currently heading to, by circulating figures in the conduct of a media trial of Governor Ortom.” The statement also said, “EFCC should be ashamed to have lied to Nigerians that it began investigation of the present administration in Benue State two years ago. The evidence is that the commission
commenced the witch-hunt when it became clear that Governor Ortom was on his way out of the ruling APC. “Since then, no day passes without the commission harassing officials of the state government. Some of the affected officials are threatened and manhandled once they are taken into custody at the EFCC headquarters, Abuja. “But certain things remain clear. One of them is that Nigerians are wise enough to read in between the lines to know where the smear campaign has originated and to dismiss it accordingly.” The governor said he was not distracted by the EFCC persecution and will not reconsider his exit from APC. He alleged that the latest acts of the EFCC were prompted by the recent failure of a minority group of eight legislators, sponsored by the same forces, to impeach him. “We alerted Nigerians about the organised smear campaign against the governor by enemies of Benue State who are using a minority group of lawmakers in the state House of Assembly to remove the governor,” the statement said. Ortom’s lawyers stated in their letter to Oshiomhole, "Recall that on Friday, July 27th, 2018, you did cause a
sponsored press conference to be aired on multiple television and radio stations which was also widely circulated in the print and social media. "In the said sponsored press conference which was entirely centred on the person of Governor Samuel Ortom, you made very astonishing, unsubstantiated, wild and wide allegations against our client relating to the issue of allocation and payment of salaries, security votes expenditure and the insecurity in Benue State. "It is the aggregate of your allegations that our client has confessed to sharing Benue State money with party leaders and that despite collection of bail out and Paris Club refund monies, ‘Gov. Ortom has not and is not paying salaries… the vicious circle of poverty in Benue State has been deepened under Gov. Ortom’. "By deducible analysis, it is also your allegation that our client is responsible for the killings in Benue State specifically the unfortunate killing of two Catholic priests and their parishioners in Mbalom community which sad event occurred on the morning of 24th April, 2018. "It is noteworthy that in the entire web of false accusations that you weaved against our
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾ AUGUST 12, 2018
Editor, Editorial Page PETER ISHAKA Email email@example.com
THE INVASION OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY Nigerians expect a higher commitment to the rule of law and respect for the critical institutions of state
here is an urgent need to rise above mundane blame games and narrow political stone throwing in reviewing the implications of last Tuesday’s invasion of the National Assembly premises by masked men from the Directorate of State Services (DSS). This incident raises fundamental questions not only about the future of democracy in Nigeria but also about the integrity of national security institutions. For us, therefore, the key question is: how and when does a democracy slide into autocracy? The sight of hooded gunmen in the National Assembly is a novelty almost approximating the late General Sani Abacha’s goons in trench coats, except that those ones Whatever the never pretended to excesses or be acting on behalf of an elected sovereign. missteps of The dark motives of the senators this misadventure and members and its treasonous of the House of implications should Representatives not be lost on those or their presiding who place premium on democracy anchored on the oﬃcers, the hallowed precinct rule of law and the sanctity of institutions. Whatever the of the National or missteps of the Assembly remains excesses senators and members of the an embodiment House of Representatives of the will of all or their presiding officers, the hallowed precinct of the Nigerians who National Assembly remains elected them an embodiment of the will of all Nigerians who elected them. What is particularly disturbing is that from all indications, what happened on Tuesday was no mere mistake. It seems like the culmination of a plot that is inconceivable except with the highest level of authorisation. Unfortunately, the hasty and badly written report of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Ibrahim Idris (which was leaked to the media) failed to address salient questions because it relied on the interrogation of just one actor: the dismissed Director of the DSS, Mr Lawal Daura. While we remain disinterested in the cynical politics of decamping and defection that makes our country slightly
Letters to the Editor
ollowing the abrupt resignation of the erst while deput y governor of Kano State, Professor Haf iz Abubakar, there is urgent need to f ill the leadership vacuum, hence I am appealing to Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and other stakeholders to consider Senator Jibrin Ibrahim Barau, currently representing Kano north senatorial district at the upper leg islative chamber. While I am not holding brief for Senator Barau, it becomes
less than a banana republic at every election cycle, we are nonetheless worried by the growing abuse of institutions. It is interesting that the police, whose IGP was asked to probe the National Assembly invasion, was also complicit in the recent farcical drama in the Benue State House of Assembly where eight members were allowed into the chambers for a kangaroo session after which a notice of impeachment was served on the governor, following his defection from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
eyond relieving Daura of his job as the Director General of DSS, the presidency should go one step further. A thorough public investigation is in order and in fact imperative, otherwise the sacking would amount to a populist cover up. While the public may have been given what they expect in such situation, the origin of the travesty would remain untouched and unchallenged, if no further action is taken to unravel what exactly happened. Nor should we look at this invasion in isolation given the growing recourse to self-help by operatives of this
S U N DAY N E W S PA P E R EDITOR SHAKA MOMODU DEPUTY EDITORS OLAWALE OLALEYE, TOBI SONIYI MANAGING DIRECTOR ENIOLA BELLO DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR KAYODE KOMOLAFE CHAIRMAN EDITORIAL BOARD OLUSEGUN ADENIYI EDITOR NATION’S CAPITAL IYOBOSA UWUGIAREN MANAGING EDITOR JOSEPH USHIGIALE
T H I S DAY N E W S PA P E R S L I M I T E D EDITOR-IN-CHIEF/CHAIRMAN NDUKA OBAIGBENA GROUP EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS ENIOLA BELLO, KAYODE KOMOLAFE, ISRAEL IWEGBU, IJEOMA NWOGWUGWU, EMMANUEL EFENI DIVISIONAL DIRECTORS BOLAJI ADEBIYI , PETER IWEGBU, ANTHONY OGEDENGBE DEPUTY DIVISIONAL DIRECTOR OJOGUN VICTOR DANBOYI SNR. ASSOCIATE DIRECTORS ERIC OJEH, PATRICK EIMIUHI ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR SAHEED ADEYEMO CONTROLLERS ABIMBOLA TAIWO, UCHENNA DIBIAGWU, NDUKA MOSERI DIRECTOR, PRINTING PRODUCTION CHUKS ONWUDINJO TO SEND EMAIL: ﬁrst firstname.lastname@example.org
government. In recent months, there have been police barricades of homes of key National Assembly officials; there was a dubious broad daylight carting away of the Mace of the Senate right inside the chambers; there were choreographed trials and house searches and a lopsided anti-corruption investigation of mostly opposition political big wigs. In all this, key institutions of state and national security like the police, the DSS and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have acted in openly disgraceful and partisan ways. Taken together, therefore, these acts of executive intimidation and abuse of institutions smell of a creeping authoritarianism. It is, for instance, that the president must be more aware of these deviant acts. The system of government that we practice does not allow the person at the helm the luxury of ignorance in matters of grave national security. The president must retake his authority and ensure we do not use or misuse criminal law and national security to settle political scores. What President Muhammadu Buhari and his handlers must understand is that, for a leader who has benefited greatly from democracy despite his military background, Nigerians expect from him a higher commitment to the rule of law and respect for separation of powers checks and balances and the sanctity of the critical institutions of state.
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 email@example.com. We also welcome comments and opinions on topical local, national and international issues provided they are well-written and should also not be longer than (950- 1000 words). They should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org along with the email address and phone numbers of the writer.
In Praise of Jibrin Barau imperative at this stage of the state’s search for replacement of the former deput y governor to consider a capable hand whose capacit y, political clout and sagacit y will add immeasurable value to the state and the All Progressives Congress at both national and state levels. As a stakeholder and in line with f reedom of expression as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended, I hereby recommend the distinguished senator for consideration as the substantive deput y
governor. Filling the vacuum created as a result of lust for power and irreconcilable political dif ferences with a capable hand will help to sustain the current tempo of transparency, good governance and innovative and purposef ul leadership by Governor Ganduje. Unlike other states in the countr y suffering f rom self-conf inement as victims of unwritten political permutations in of f ice sharing, a development that causes untold dichotomy amongst populace of such evil arrange-
ment, Kano’s political brand needs to sustain its vibrancy in line with fairness, equit y and above all competence and track record capable of driving the much needed transformation policy of Kano as a mega cit y. Whereas the of f ice of a state deput y governor may sound secondar y to a sitting or former senator; but on the other side, it becomes incumbent upon Barau to accept the call of the populace in recognition of his tremendous achievements and national contribution towards nurturing and sustaining the political scene since the advent of democracy in 1999. In addition, the senator ’s
laudable contribution to mass mobilisation of supporters and defectors (of other parties) to APC not limited to his senatorial zone and closeness to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje formed parts of the raison d’etre for this clarion call. This development will be an impetus to rejuvenate governance while in the near f uture, the impending appointee will lead the state towards policy sustainabilit y and continuit y of leadership as one core value of good governance to reposition Kano in the comit y of states. – – Sulaiman M. Ayagi, Abuja
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾AUGUST 12, 2018
NEWS Bunmi Ojo, APC Chieftain, Shot Dead in Ado Ekiti tFayose blames APC for renewed violence tFayemi, Oluwajana seek thorough investigation Gboyega Akinsanmi in Lagos and Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
two other persons at the viewing centre, bringing the number of the victims to three. In a swift reaction yesterday, however, Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose blamed the APC for what he described as the breach of peace the state had been experiencing since 2014. But the state’s governor-elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and APC National Vice Chairman (Southwest), Pastor Bankole Oluwajana condemned the killing, tasking the Ekiti State Police Command to bring the perpetrators to book. Different accounts revealed that Ojo had gone to the viewing centre to watch an opening match of the European Premier
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Bunmi Ojo was gruesomely murdered by unknown gunmen in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, thereby putting the state on the spot again. Ojo, who was until his death a Commissioner of the Federal Character Commission (FCC), was shot at about8:30 p.m. at a viewing centre located along Ado-Iworoko road. Ojo, a personal assistant to the state’s former governor, Chief Segun Oni between 2007 and 2010, was murdered alongside
League between Manchester United FC and Leicester City FC in company of his political friends before tragedy struck. One of the accounts claimed that the gunmen, numbering six, invaded the centre and shot sporadically at the targets in the midst of the football enthusiasts, leaving three dead after the operation. Another account added that Ojo was shot in the head and stomach while his body had been deposited at the morgue of the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti. The account said the tragic incident had thrown Oni’s camp into mourning and confusion,
noting that many had started giving it political meaning to the gruesome murder of a staunch loyalist of the former governor. It revealed that Ojo was preparing to contest the 2019 federal legislative election in the House of Representatives in Ekiti North Federal Constituency II. The account said: “This killing had fueled the insinuation that Ojo’s death must have been politically motivated. He had aspiration and he had made contacts to his group. Already, his group had begun underground works.” In a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Mr. Lere
Olayinka, Fayose condoled with the families, friends and political associates of the deceased, praying that God in His infinite mercies would console and uphold his wife and children. He said: “The manner in which Ojo, a commissioner in the Federal Character Commission and strong ally of Chief Segun Oni was killed is a demonstration of the extent some devilish people can go to settle scores with their fellows. The security agencies must not add this gruesome murder to the diary of unresolved murders in Nigeria. “The state was peaceful until May 5, 2018 when members of the APC openly disrupted the party’s primary election, with gunshots. This was after Olalekan Taiwo, aide of one of the APC governorship aspirant, Dr. Oluwole Oluleye had been shot on May 4. “The violence at the APC primaries was followed up by the shootings at the party secretariat during a reception organised for Fayemi, which left Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele and six others injured as well as invasion of the state with thugs during the July 14 governorship election.” Fayemi, in a statement by his Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Wole Olujobi, noted that the killing of the late politician was a sad commentary that shattered the relative peace the state had
enjoyed after the election. The governor-elect commiserated with the family of the late politician, thereby charging all security agencies “to get to the root of the killing and bring those behind the killing to justice. “This is a sad development that should not be allowed to go away without getting to the root of this killing. However, the public must give security agencies chance to do their job and get to the root of this sad development.” Oluwajana, APC National Vice Chairman (South-west), also condemned the incident, which he said, claimed three defenceless citizens including an APC patriot, warning against the use of political violence in pursuit of selfish interest. Unlike the long list of unresolved murder in the state, Oluwajana urged the state police command to bring the perpetrators of the murder to book without wasting time. He explained that bringing the perpetrators to book would be a clear statement “to criminals that there is no safe haven for them in Ekiti State, neither can evil perpetrators escape the grave consequence of their acts within the ambit of our laws.”
Ekiti’s Unresolved Murder Cases
L-R: Senior Vice President, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company, Victor Okoronkwo; Global President, Society of Petroleum Engineers, Darcy Spady; Group Managing Director, Aiteo Group, Chike Onyejekwe; and Chairman, Society of Petroleum Engineers, Nigeria, Chikezie Nwosu, during the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ visit to the Aiteo Group head oﬃce in Lagos... recently
Mr. Tunde Omojola - May 28, 2005 Dr. Ayo Daramola - August 14, 2006 Chief Ayo Awolumate – May 15, 2009 . Mrs Julianah Adewumi - May 30, 2014 Mr. Ayo Jeje - May 30, 2014 Mr. Foluso Ogundare – November 3, 2013 Chief Omolafe Aderiye: September 24, 2014 Mr. Bunmi Ojo –August 10, 2018.
Makarfi: Corruption Worse Under APC Tobi Soniyi A presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi has alleged that corruption under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is worse than 16 years when PDP ruled.
Speaking with PDP leaders in Enugu as part of his nationwide consultation on his aspiration, Makarfi said the extent of corruption in the country would not be known until APC had left power. The former Kaduna State governor said that the anti-graft war was weak under the cur-
rent administration because it had been politicised. He said APC was always accusing the PDP of being corrupt, yet it took measures to fight against corruption by establishing anti-graft agencies. He said: “By the time APC is kicked out in 2019, you will know that the corruption in
PIND Spends $190m on Peace-building, Economic Development in N’Delta tAdvocates intensified peace efforts in view of 2019 election Omon-Julius OnabuinAsaba The Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) has committed more than $190 million in carrying out its corporate mandates in the Niger Delta since its inception about eight years ago. The Deputy Executive Director of PIND, Mr. Tunji Idowu disclosed this while fielding questions from participants at executive session of the Capacity Building for Local Empowerment (CAPABLE) of regional and national media practitioners,
at the PIND Centre EgbokodoItsekiri in Warri South Local Government Area, Delta State. Idowu, who gave a detailed explanation on the organisation’s efforts to tackle poverty and associated insecurity in the region, also stressed the need for all stakeholders to brace up for possible threats to peace in the Niger-Delta especially in view of Nigeria’s 2019 general election. He noted that PIND had been largely funded by Chevron Corporation to effectively carry out its mandate of building partnerships towards enhancing
equitable social and economic development in the region in an atmosphere of peace. Idowu revealed that Chevron mobilised PIND with $90 million while the organisation successfully sourced over $100 million from several donor agencies it has partnered. Since taking off, according to him, PIND received $50 and $40 million in the first and second phases, respectively, agencies, including USAID, Rotary and others, provided over $100 million through partnerships.
the system now is even worse now than in PDP’s 16 years. It is usually difficult to investigate a government in power. “But, I must tell you clearly that this government is corrupt. They keep saying PDP is corrupt, yet we established EFCC, ICPC etc, which showed our readiness to fight corruption
from the beginning.” Makarfi said the best of the presidential aspirants must be chosen at the party’s convention in a bid to wrest power from the APC in 2019. He added that the PDP’s presidential candidate would tell if the PDP would return to power in 2019 or not.
In a statement by his media assistant, Mr Sirajo Mukhtar, Makarfi had said having chaired the technical committee that set the agenda for the National Conference under President Olusegun Obasanjo, restructuring Nigeria under his leadership would not be difficult.
‘PDP Lacks Grounds to Upturn Fayemi’s Victory’ Victor Ogunje in AdoEkiti A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State, Mr. Akinlayo Kolawole yesterday noted that the governor-elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi would survive the election petition the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) filed against his victory in the July 14 governorship election. Kolawole, a House of Representatives aspirant in Ekiti North Federal constituency II, said Fayemi’s second coming was divinely arranged to salvage Ekiti from bad governance being
experienced under Governor Ayodele Fayose. He expressed the views yesterday at a session with select journalists, noting that the petitioner and the PDP candidate, Prof. Kolapo Olusola did not have grounds to challenge the victory of Fayemi in the just concluded governorship poll. According to him, allowing the will of Ekiti to prevail could have been the most honourable thing for the PDP to do on the outcome of the election. The step taken will further affect the fortunes of the party after quitting office.
He said the APC was determined “to present more damaging evidence on how the PDP members allegedly perpetrated electoral robbery during the election. Blaming APC for their woes indicates that the PDP is bereft of the right strategies to win election. “It is rather unfortunate that the PDP can be desperate to upturn the mandate freely given to Fayemi and our party in the election. Where were they when Fayose was destroying the party by sending away valuable politicians that could add value to Olusola’s ambition?
T H I S D AY Ë¾ SUNDAT AUGUST 12, 2018
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾AUGUST 12, 2018
NEWSXTRA PDP Asks APC, Buhari to Probe Alleged N21bn Daura Loot Says allegations of guns, thousands of PVCs found in his residence are in public domain Onyebuchi EzigboinAbuja The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has challenged the Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to speak out on the alleged discovery that the former Director-General of the Department of State Services, Mr. Lawan Daura, corruptly amassed about N21 billion. The PDP also alleged that guns and thousands of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) were found at the residence of Daura, whom it described as President Muhammadu Buhari’s ally. In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP said the discovery had not only exposed the hypocrisy of the Buhari presidency, but also stripped it of all integrity and brought its saintly posturing to a disgraceful end. “The world can now see that the PDP has not been raising a false alarm when it alerts that the Buhari Presidency has been using its much hyped fight against corruption and sustained harassment of opposition as a cover to divert public attention from the humongous stealing going on under President Buhari’s official cover.” PDP said while the Buhari presidency and the APC were busy hounding and harassing opposition members with trumped-up corruption charges to create an impression of integrity and fight against corruption, their agents were frittering away, and warehousing trillions of naira, ostensibly for the 2019 election.
Ologbondiyan stated, “Today, the sneaky ways of this Presidency have further been exposed and it must not in any way seek to disown the sacked DSS DG, as Nigerians already know that he was merely one out of the numerous agents being used by the APC and Presidency cabal in their nefarious activities, including warehousing money, fake PVCs and weapons to be unleashed during the 2019 elections. “What the APC and the Buhari Presidency should note is the eternal reality that though the truth may be suppressed for a while, it always has a way of showing itself to light at the end. “Nigerians are already aware of the leaked memo detailing alleged underhand oil contracts to the tune of N9 trillion at the NNPC and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, which are under the direct supervision of Mr. President.” The main opposition party alleged that Nigerians were already aware of the alleged stealing of over N25 billion, meant for the health needs of the people, from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and how the indicted and suspended Executive Secretary was recalled by Buhari. PDP stated regarding APC and the presidency, “They are aware of the alleged diversion of crude oil worth N1.1tr, using 18 unregistered companies; the diversion of N18 billion Internally Displaced Person (IDP) funds and billions of unremitted revenue from sale of crude for
Thugs Vandalise Factional APC Secretariat in Rivers Ernest Chinwo inPortHarcourt The internal crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State yesterday became worse as hoodlums suspected to be political thugs vandalised a factional state secretariat of the party in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. The secretariat, located in the Waterlines axis of Aba Road, Port Harcourt, was set up by aggrieved members of the APC loyal to the senator representing Rivers South-East district in the National Assembly, Sen. Magnus Ngei Abe. Although party flags had been hoisted in front of the building, work was still on-going at the site in preparation for take-off. An eyewitness of the attack told journalists that the hoodlums attacked the secretariat at about 9:00 a.m. in no fewer than five commercial buses The eyewitness, who identified him as Ikechukwu Stephen, said the thugs were accompanied by armed men, who wore black and rode on a Toyota Hilux. He said: “I was working, that is painting the building, when
I saw five buses parked in front of here and boys came out and rushed into this place. The first rushed me and threw away the paints. They entered inside building and started destroying things. “There was a white Hilux following them at the back. After they finished their action, somebody from the white Hilux started shooting gun; I don’t know whether they are policemen or not. They scattered everywhere, the glasses, the doors, the windows and so many things.” Addressing journalists after inspecting the level of destruction on the building, the member representing Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives and Chieftain of the Abe faction, Hon. Chidi Wihioka, accused the Chairman of APC in the state, Hon. Ojukaye FlagAmachree of involvement in the attack on the factional secretariat. He alleged that men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) provided cover for the hoodlums that destroyed the factional party secretariat.
which there have been deadlock at the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), all of
which are being swept under the carpet by the Buhari Presidency. “The time is ripe for the
Buhari Presidency and its disintegrating APC to tell the nation how these corruption acts were
allegedly perpetrated under an administration that lay claim to integrity.”
L-R: Enugu State Deputy Governor, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo; Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, and Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwanyi at a reception for the acting president in Enugu...yesterday
Jaiz Bank to Disburse $20m ICD Facility to SMEs the conditions precedent are met. “We have finished all of that and we have lined up a number of Jaiz Bank Plc is on the verge of customers desirous of benefiting disbursing the $20 million its from this facility and very soon recently-secured Islamic Corpora- we will start to disburse to these tion for the Development (ICD) customers. of the private sector facility to op“We believe that before the erators in the Small and Medium end of this year, we would have Enterprises (SMEs). done if not all of the disburseThe bank’s Managing Director, ment of the $20m but substantial Mr. Hassan Usman disclosed part would have gone before the this at an interactive session with end of this year.” journalists in Abuja on Thursday, Usman disclosed that the noting that the fund would be dis- bank is already in the first year bursed before the end of the year. of its five-year strategic plan to He said: “On the SME financ- enable it provide better services ing line from the ICD, when you to its customers. signed publicly that is when you According to him, the intereststart to do the work and tidy up to free bank is on a network expanmake sure the agreement and all sion drive, with a target to set up
40 branches before the end of the year. Usman added that Jaiz was expanding its branch network in the southern part of the country, with particular emphasis in Lagos, for now. “We are having a balance sheet size that is growing by 20 per cent year-on-year and our branch network has increased from 27 to 32 and we hope to increase this to 40 branches before the end of the year,” he said. On funding for agriculture, he said that the Central Bank of Nigeria had reviewed it’s framework of the commercial agricultural credit scheme to accommodate the funding structure of the bank.
5,000 Kwankwaso Supporters Defect to PDP in Nasarawa
Buhari Celebrates Ex-Foursquare General Overseer, Farombi, at 80
Emmanuel Ukumba in Laﬁa More than 5,000 members of Kwankwasiyya group, a political movement of former Kano State Governor, Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso has formally moved defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nasarawa State. The movement, which fused into the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014, merged with the PDP at a grand ceremony held at the party secretariat of Nasarawa PDP, Lafia, the state capital yesterday. After the Chairman of Nasarawa PDP, Hon. Francis Orogu received over 5,000 of its members into the PDP, Kwankwaso said the movement formally moved to the PDP enable its teeming
members register with the opposition party in the state. Kwankwaso, who was presented by Mallam Aminu Dabo, said: “We have decamped from the APC to the PDP long ago. So, this is coming together formally of our members so that everyone will go to his ward and register with the PDP. “Each of us that came is a representative of over 5,000 members of Kwankwasiyya across Nasarawa State. We are doing this in preparation for the 2019 general election,” he said. Also at the reception, Orogu assured the Kwankwasiyya group of a leveled playing field as it merged with the PDP, noting that all members and supporters “are working together to rescue Nigeria. That is our goal. And we will get there.”
Omololu OgunmadeinAbuja President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday sent his warm greetings to the General Overseer Emeritus of the Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria and founder of the Refreshing Ministries International, Dr. Olu Farombi on today’s occassion of his 80th birthday. According to his Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, Buhari joined the Christian community in Nigeria and abroad, family members, friends and Farombi’s co-workers in Christian fold in celebrating the grace of God “upon the life of His humble servant, which separated him early for a life of sacrifice, service and charity.” According to Adesina, the president extolled Farombi’s loyalty and commitment to
He said, “The Central Bank and the Federal Government has been trying to ensure that financing get to the farmers. To address the challenges, they came up with the Anchor Borrower Scheme and similar scheme. “We are also now going to be participating in the commercial agric scheme of the central bank because they have now fine-tuned the scheme to accommodate our type of financing structure. “Hitherto, we were not able to access it because it was on interest based but it has been modified and we have a number of customers that will benefit from that.”
the preaching and teaching of the gospel, especially with the establishment of the 10-year-old Refreshing Ministries International, which said inspired preachers across the world and provided trainings on best practices in spreading the love and truth of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, he said Buhari affirmed that the prayers of the faithful and those of spiritual leaders in Nigeria, including Farombi, and the preaching of the undiluted word of God had immeasurably contributed to the oneness of the country, “further appreciating the former General Overseer for his love, wisdom and resourcefulness.” He added that the president prayed that the almighty God would pour more grace upon His servant for longer life, good health and strength to continue serving both the nation and humanity.
T H I S D AY Ë¾ SUNDAT AUGUST 12, 2018
ͯͰ˜ͰͮͯͶ˾THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER
OPINION As ‘Saints’ Leave APC, They Become ‘Sinners’ We need true saints to take Nigerians to the Promised Land, writes Oludayo Tade
hey say if Buhari wins election, they will all go to prison. That is why they are running from APC to form a formidable force against us. Most of them hid money in latrines, we don’t need thieves in APC; they should go. If they don’t go, we will pursue them out as two good men are better than 10 and 10 good men are better than thousands. (Oshiomole, 2018) There is no best time to see the hypocrisy of Nigerian leaders than now when politicians are hiding under the camouflage of ‘massism’ to pitch their tents where the interests of their inner caucus can be best served, protected and entrenched. While Nigerians suffer economic crunch, elevated unemployment, heightened poverty and uncertain tomorrow owing to untamed insecurity, both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the seeming opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) opened their windows to party switching. Each party is busy scavenging for individuals with the requisite political capital that can make victory happen in 2019. The ultimate concern is the political worth calculated in terms of the number of votes the new ‘player’ can bring to the club to win the champions league in 2019. In all this, it is immaterial whether the individual switching camp is of questionable character or not. Funny enough we are inundated with name calling: the defectors have been reconstructed by the ruling APC as ‘bad eggs’, ‘thieves’ and ‘corrupt’. The question is how come a ‘good person’ of three years relationship while in APC suddenly becomes labelled as ‘thieves’? In the richly oral tradition of the Yoruba people of southwest Nigeria it is rightly observed that the outpouring of vituperations in social relationships must have been laced with discord (ìjà lódé ni orín dí òwe). Peter and Paul Okoye (P. Square) provides insight into the importance of the presentation of the self in anticipation of the evaluation of others. In their song ‘Nobody Ugly’, P-Square presents to us those ‘not beautiful’ but who utilise technology to enhance beauty. With technologyenhanced beauty, people are deceived by the presentation of the self as against the real person. For instance, a black person could use image modifier to become light skinned thereby deceiving viewers. Using this analogy therefore, nobody is ugly until we say the person is ugly. Those who defected have become ‘ugly’ from their beautiful old-self. But the ugly can also be painted as beautiful (if a PDP member defects to APC) depending on the motive behind such remarks. Complimentary and uncompli-
mentary remarks are therefore not entirely objective but subjective. The same thing happened to the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari when he was presented as ‘dictator’, ‘anarchist’, and someone who will Islamise Nigeria. By 2014, Buhari was repackaged from a ‘sinner’ into sainthood wearing a messianic robe. Even Buhari in his Chattam House speech said he had become a converted democrat. This transformation affirms the ‘nobody is ugly’ thesis. It shows the hypocrisy of the APC national chairman who never saw the need to invite the police to prosecute the defectors before leaving APC since he was sure they are ‘thieves’. The ruling APC has sufficiently demonstrated its ability to perfume those loyal to it while fumigating those found opposed to it. The comrade senator, Shehu Sanni rightly observed this when he asserted that the anti-corruption fight of the ruling party is fraught with jaundiced considerations. He opined that while the presidency deodorises friends of the executive, it deploys toxic spray on perceived enemies and labels them as anti-people and corrupt in order to pitch them against Nigerians. The social construction of what is criminal, who is criminal and who is not deviant are all a function of power. Those who hold the lever of power determine those to be labelled as criminals and those to be prosecuted or not. This has played out in cases such as those involving Babachir Lawal, the back-door entrance of Abdulrasheed Maina, the construction of Fulani-herdsmen by the presidency, and the ongoing allegation of forgery against Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun, among others. How time flies. The political ‘blessings’ of APC in 2015 seem to have decided to return to PDP. Their return migration, no doubt hit the APC below the belt even though the president and his party chairman have been trying to portray it as inconsequential. While President Buhari (from ANPP to CPC to APC) and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (from AD to ACN to APC) may be laying claim
How do we make unpaid civil servants become saints when they are governed by sinners? The ruling house lives with sinners yet wants grace to abound. This perhaps explains why little progress is made
to their consistent ideological leaning despite doing political re-alignments to boost their political goals, the ex-labour leader turned party chairman had migrated in a partnership agreement from Labour Party to the broom party in actualising his gubernatorial ambition. The good eggs of yesterday have now been labelled by President Buhari as bad eggs. Adams Oshiomole purported that the reason for defecting is the fear that the ‘corrupt’ will be jailed if Buhari wins in 2019. The question is why were they not jailed while in APC? Why did APC allow them to enjoy for three years and only began campaign of (im)morality against defectors when they had found solace elsewhere? Why did Samuel Ortom suddenly become a nonperforming governor because he defected from the jaundiced judgment of Oshiomole and not because of the failure of the APC controlled federal government to stop carnage in Benue State? Perhaps since Senator Godswill Akpabio has decided to ‘sweep’ for President Buhari and Oshiomole, he has become a ‘saint’ and has dropped the robe of ‘sinner’ despite being painted as ‘ugly’ by the APC! If Akpabio is treated as a golden egg today, he will be bad egg tomorrow when the relationship becomes strained. Abeg, nobody ugly! Claiming to be saintly and hobnobbing with those Oshiomole called ‘thieves’ is trading Nigerians for bad governance by the ruling elite. Their association has not been beneficial to Nigerians in the last three years where many have lost their jobs and died due to insecurity. It is to the credit of the saints and the sinners that we now rank as one of the chronic poverty capitals of the world. Between 2015 and now, corruption has levitated with our global ranking unimpressive indicating that even outside political space, the number of sinners have increased. Lack of respect for separation of powers, disobedience to court pronouncements and elevated propaganda are regular features. How do we make unpaid civil servants become saints when they are governed by sinners? The ruling house lives with sinners yet wants grace to abound. This perhaps explains why little progress is made. For 2019, we need a true (not packaged) saint to give Nigerians world class infrastructure in health, education, power and attend to the impending dangers of youth unemployment. To Nigerians, we are yet to see the difference between the saints and the sinners. The way they practise their politics is precisely the distinction between six and half a dozen! ––Dr Tade, a sociologist sent this piece via email@example.com
State Police And The Nigerian Security Crisis Ahmed Joda argues the need to give serious and urgent thought to our policing system “Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters” - Margaret Peters
istinguished Senator Murray Bruce, in his recent article in THISDAY Newspaper, advocated as many others have done in the past few years the creation of state police. He, like many other Nigerians believe that such action, alone, will solve the serious crisis of policing our country. I am old enough to have experienced what life was like with state or local police in this country. I also am one of those who took keen interest in police and policing. In 1966, after our first Military Coup I worked with a group of civil servants in the Northern Civil Service in an initiative to abolish the Native Authority Police, then under the effective control of the Regional Government. We were driven by our common concern of the massive abuse of the Native Authority Police. Not many of the present generation of Nigerians, under the age of 60 really experienced life under the Native Authority Police system in Nigeria of the 50s and 60s. The Native Authority Police formally existed in Northern and Western Regions of the country. In Eastern Nigeria, there were no Native Authority Police. They had what was called Court Messengers, who functioned more or less like the Native Authority police forces in the North and in the West. The management, financing and operational controls were supposed to be the responsibilities of their respective native authorities, under the direct control of the emirs and chiefs. This arrangement worked well under British watch. With Self Government and then Independence, effective control was exercised by the regional governments, although in times of tension the Nigeria Police took over this control. The first generation pioneer opposition politicians of the 40s and 50s and up to the end of the civilian era in 1966 experienced hell, far worse than we have ever experienced since military and civil dispensations since then. Many of them, especially at election times were simply rounded up at rallies, walked to the native authority courts, promptly convicted and sent to another native authority institution: the Native Authority Prison for long enough periods to take them out for the election period and render political opposition prostrate.
Some were simply abducted and disappeared for the period of the elections. Anyone interested is recommended to visit to the national archives in their various locations to study the newspaper reports of the time to understand what I am talking about. So in our first memorandum, submitted to the Military Governor of Northern Nigeria, General Hassan Usman Katsina we recommended the merger of the Native Authority Police with the Nigeria Police, which then looked respectable, efficient and respectable. Simultaneously, we recommended the takeover of the Native Authority Prisons by the Federal Prison Service. At the same time we advocated the transfer of the native courts to the regional judiciary. Most surprisingly all these recommendations were virtually unanimously endorsed even at specially convened meeting of the Northern emirs and chiefs. Our hopes and expectations were then that we would improve the justice system and ensure the existence of a properly trained and professional police force. We had hoped that transparent recruitment and professional training of the police would be assured. We also hoped that the justice system would be free and fearless. We were to be deeply disappointed. The Nigeria Police, we have today is worse than anything we could have imagined. The justice system does not enjoy the respect and confidence that a good judicial system should enjoy. Neither the Bench nor the Bar in this country deserve the respect of the citizen. I believe that in trying to resolve the crisis of our policing and ensuring peace and security of our lives and property, we must give the deepest possible thought in bringing about any change in our present arrangement. In 1999, just before he was sworn in as President, I presented three memoranda to the President-elect which addressed three issues which I counselled him to address early in his Presidency. They were one, security and policing, two, petroleum, pricing and distribution and three, electricity. I said if he did not begin to address those issues within his first three months in office he would have lost the battle. In the case of the Police I said rather bluntly, some would say recklessly, that the best way to start would be disband the Nigeria Police altogether, although I recognised that it would seem irresponsible to wake up one day and find that there is no police for the country. So I suggested other ways for experts to examine the issues for policing in a federation like ours. I also
suggested that it must be redesigned to reflect the realities of the Nigerian condition. Adopting any system from any other country would not serve our purpose; just like our adoption of the British and American political system has failed us. Rather jokingly, the president-elect, after reading the three memoranda, asked what I knew about any of those three subjects. I replied that I knew next to nothing or nothing about all of them, but I have been concerned about them and have given deep thoughts about them all. What he needed to do was to get those with the knowledge and expertise to study the situation with a view of finding the necessary solutions to them. We laughed, but he promised to give them all some thought. Eighteen months after that encounter, he asked me whether I still remember those three memoranda. I said I would never forget them. They still continue to worry me very deeply. He said the situation was very much worse than I had conveyed. The rest is history. The Nigeria Police has gotten much worse than even at the time I wrote that memorandum of the Force. Perhaps, the creation of state or local government police would help improve the situation. I don’t know! I suggest that those levels of governments and the various leaderships’ levels of the country, the NASS, the state Houses of Assemblies and society organisations should all engage in a national debate that would propose workable and acceptable systems of policing and security architectures for this country. One thing we must never forget is that we are an Amalgamation of Federated States within a National Federation. We are a nation made of many nationalities, cultures, religions and traditions; each with different ways of viewing issues. Issues that we must reconcile for our common good. I am persuaded that we need to decentralise our policing system. How we do so is the question to which we must give full and most urgent attention. We must not rush to create state police forces and think that we have resolved anything. Policing and security will not come cheap. It will cost a lot of money. –– Joda, a former Permanent Secretary, wrote from Kaduna (See concluding part on www.thisdaylive.com)
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾ AUGUST 12, 2018
THAT DEMOCRACY MAY HAVE MEANING “With politics now the exclusive province of a tiny elite group for whom party platforms are mere vehicles, not necessarily to advance any ideal but rather to secure power and privileges, we must understand that the interest of the ordinary citizens is not factored into the convulsions going on within both the APC and the PDP. Yet, if power, as we glibly say, emanates from, and belongs to, the people, then there is an urgent need to reform our political system to reﬂect that reality and restore the conﬁdence of the people in democracy”
decided to capture the last part of Olusegun Adeniyi’s recent column, “Stones in their rice, sands in their garri” and use it to start my intervention. What caught me is “there is an urgent need to reform our political system...” Certainly, there is the need to reform our political system but one of the most important questions to answer is where do we start from. A population of 180 million need representatives they can trust to stand in for them on all issues of importance or relevance to
Yakubu, INEC Chairman
their wellbeing and my thinking is that this is where we have got it wrong all along. If we cannot vouch for those who represent us then it is as good as saying that there is no representation at all. This is the reality of Nigeria today so much so that to see an elected leader working for the people is a rarity and an exception to the rule. The biggest problem with
our politics today is our selection process. It is tainted and skewed in favour of election generals and godfathers and this is the reason why when you hear about a political party planning to take power, it talks not about the people but about the generals it expects to join its fold. The people are not considered at all but all the consideration is for the election
generals who can pull out the votes in their areas and spheres of control. So in reality what we practise in Nigeria and call democracy is actually, “a government of the election generals by the generals and for the generals”. For the people to take hold of their destiny our political selection process must change and this change must take place before any meaningful political reform can take root. If there are elections to a national conference or a referendum or plebiscite takes place in Nigeria today, one thing is certain: with the selection process that we have in place the outcomes can and would always be manipulated. For our democracy to be deemed the government of the people by the people for the people where the sovereignty of the people is exercised through their elected representatives and leaders, then we must ensure that every vote counts and is accounted for. There should be no doubt or question to the fact that any time there is a voting process in Nigeria, that the minority will have their say while the majority will have their way. How do we ensure that this happens? By ensuring that every vote counts. How do we ensure that every vote counts?
Fayemi’s Victory And Osun’s Opportunity “Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters” - Margaret Peters
kiti State governorship election has come and gone, certainly with an accompaniment of the usual frills and thrills. In like manner, All Progressives Party (APC), State of Osun Chapter, has picked its candidate for the forthcoming governorship election in the state, expectedly too, with pomp and pageantry. Add to these the twists and turns that characterised the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary - also in Osun - and one would appreciate the values inherent in the direct primary in the choice of party candidates. Before I proceed, let me reiterate again that September 22, 2018 will be a straight fight between the ruling APC and the main opposition party, PDP. From the look of things, it’s going to be between purposeful leadership and credibility crisis. Specifically, it will be a battle between the urbane Adegboyega Oyetola and one ‘secondary school certificate challenged’candidate of the leading opposition PDP. Put in strict terms, it will be an informed choice between a display of intellect and wisdom and belligerent, ‘kick-and-start’ power grabbers whose sole mission is to turn Osun into a contested space for a negative inscription on the trophy of our democracy. Well, those with contrary views had better interrogate what drove
Iyiola Omisore out of the PDP, a house on which he'd until last year invested a fortune. As if the gods were angry, desperation met intrigues in a satanic struggle for relevance and the perennial governorship candidate became an outcast in his treasured nest. As posterity would have it, Omisore is now in the valley of his political career and only God can save Chrisore from self-inflicted troubles. By the way, since the Omisore debacle is beyond the scope of this piece, I'll rather leave it till another day. Democracy rests on two pillars: participation and accountability. However, the hearts of those who use blackmail as a means of economic survival tell us a great story about how politics is played in this part of the world. Without being immodest, Kayode Fayemi’s victory on July 14, 2018 has again shown that no amount of false claims can influence a people once they've resolved to take their destiny in their hands. For instance, who would have thought that the former minister would defeat Ayo Fayose without the incumbent governor acting the ‘Rock’ in his Peter? Were votes also procured in Irepodun/Ifelodun, Fayose’s Local Government? Without doubt, the Oshoko’s loss symbolised the victory of competence over the primordial innuendos that have for some time been troubling our teething democracy. Good that Ekiti preferred performance to the imprisonment
of such narrow concepts as tribalism, ethnicity and religious bigotry. They opted for social welfare, not stomach infrastructure which effects are indeed transient. Amidst challenging status that, more than often cannot be screwed together, Ekiti reminds me of Osun, the ‘Land of Virtue’. That Osun now has a thriving economy in a tranquil environment and an increased number of students learning in a convivial environment attests to Rauf Aregbesola’s vision of a new dynamic history on his people. That a "journey of remarkable improvements" under "the most resourceful, consummate governor in the history of Osun" has also begun is not in doubt. Therefore, what dear state needs is an "inclusive, innovative and unwavering” leadership that can think into the realities of tomorrow. Politics aside, the state cannot withstand the deceit of some too greedy, ill-assorted and too deficient politicians whose attraction is to lazily line their pockets. The tiny-but-loud band of over-ambitious pollutants who think that the best way to make Osun grow is to deprive it the best that nature can offer should not be given the opportunity to take our state back to those years eaten by the locust. Again, while those who are buying into the dubious claims that Adeleke's academic baggage poses no threat to the ruling party have not presented alternative ways of addressing the
conflictual contradictions inherent in political practice on this side of the globe, those who are now masquerading as vanguards of our democracy may have to re-examine more closely the roles of Wadata Plaza in the thoroughly corrupt, inept and tardy process that threw up the comedian as the PDP standard bearer. But how did we get to this pitiable pass? For God's sake, why are our wars now being fought around trivial issues while more serious issues like development and progress are consigned to being trailed by small bush fires? In Britain, David Miliband and Edward, his brother, once served as members of the British Cabinet. Jared Kushner, who is married to Donald Trump’s daughter, currently serves as Senior Advisor to White House. Here in Nigeria, we have the Adamu Ciromas and the Tony Anenihs to show for the George Bushes and Bill Clintons. Unlike what obtains in other climes where nepotism is synonymous with the changing colours of politics, it needs to be noted that Oyetola formally declared his interest to serve as Aregbesola's successor and negotiated himself into the consciousness of the electorate. Little wonder he was validly elected as Osun-APC governorship flag-bearer by an overwhelming majority of registered party members in a primary adjudged as free and fair. ––Abiodun Komolafe, Ijebu-Jesa, State of Osun.
Only by insisting that all the votes cast are accounted for. How do we ever hope to hold our “elected” representatives accountable if our votes are not accounted for in the first place? Remember that if your vote is not counted and accounted for, you cannot be taken seriously by any of “our” representatives as they know that in reality your vote did not get them there. Instead they would be loyal and listen to the godfathers and election generals who “democratically” allocated them the positions. All those crying and seeking to change the present circumstances of our country either through the enthronement of capable rulers, restructuring, national conferences or referendums, without first tackling the problem of how to creditably select those who will represent us are just groping in the dark. Reading the reports of past elections from 1999-2015 as published by credible election observers like the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, what we have considered as elections all along will only pass as mere events to allocate votes. In areas where actual voting took place, results collation and compilation turned democracy on its head while elections did not hold at all in many places.
What we have had since the beginning of our democratic journey is simply “vote allocation” by election generals in their sectors and areas of control. Little wonder why political parties in Nigeria do not canvass for voters to lean towards them but instead negotiate with election generals to move to their platforms. Today, the reality is that the votes of the populace do not count but only the choices of election generals do. Can we the people ever take back our country if we cannot be in charge of our votes? The answer is never. But how can we begin to take back our votes and get our country back? By demanding a system where our votes are counted, collated and archived as we cast them. By rejecting a system where after standing for hours to cast our votes at polling points, the votes are discarded and discounted at collation centres in preference for the allocation of votes by election generals. We must demand a voting system that is real-time, online and free of manipulation. We must demand and secure the introduction of total electronic voting in Nigeria as the minimum irreducible and start point for any credible political reform process. ––Arubi Agama Arubi, Port Harcourt, Rivers State
NDDC’s Provocative Project Allocations
n an advertorial published in the Daily Sun newspaper of Tuesday, July 17, 2018 titled, “NDDC Expression of Interest”, the Niger Delta Development Commission advertised its intended projects to be procured in accordance with the Niger Delta Regional Development master plan in the nine mandate states of the region viz: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers State. In the said advertorial, the NDDC requested consultants and contractors to forward their applications for the engineering design and construction of these projects with their technical and financial proposals of not less 70 and 30 points respectively. However, this is not the area of my concern. According to the advertisement, the projects were classified according to serial number, project description and state. Under these, we have the project types of education, energy/power supply, health, roads and bridges, governance, social services and sports and water. In this direction, Imo State occupied serial number 629 to 724, showing that a total of 96 projects were allocated to the state. Interestingly, out of the 96 projects that were allocated to Imo State, only 20 were allocated to Ohaji/Egbema LGA, which is about 21 per cent. Ohaji's share numbered two. The two projects are as follows: SN Location Project Descrip-
tion 646 Obitti solar powered street light and, 716 UmuagwoUmuekune 1km road. Therefore, in terms of number, even quality and value of projects allocated to Imo State, the share of Ohaji is abysmally low a paltry two per cent! More so, the oil belt of old Awarra court area that comprises Awarra, Ikwerede, Ochia, Assah and Obile communities were unjustly excluded outright from the allocations even when some communities in Imo State got Federal Medical Centre project allocations from the intervention agency’s distribution. Obviously, this unfair distribution defeats the NDDC’s mandate of supporting the development of oil producing communities that lack amenities such as electricity, water, roads and hospitals, all lacking in the communities mentioned above, yet they produce the oil that gives Imo State an oil producing status that qualified it to receive monthly 13 per cent derivation funds from the federation allocation. I implore the chairman of the NDDC, Victor Ndoma- Egba and the agency’s management to re-examine this provocative neglect and skewed distribution to Ohaji and the old Awarra court area communities in particular, which bears largest gas deposit in West Africa. This would enthrone equity and justice to all. Nobody achieves peace in the midst of injustice. –––Clifford Amadi, Ohaji, Imo State.
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾AUGUST 12, 2018
NEWSXTRA Two Killed as Kogi Chief of Staff Disrupts Bye Election Yekini Jimoh inLokoja The Kogi State Police Command yesterday confirmed that two persons were killed during the Lokoja/Kogi House of Representatives bye election, which was marred by violence, intimidation and voting buying. Beside the two cases of death recorded, an authoritative source said two agents of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) shot during the process, which Chief Edward Onoja, Chief of Staff of Kogi State Governor, Mr. Yahaya Bello allegedly disrupted. Spokesman of the police
command, Mr. William Aya confirmed the incident in Lokoja yesterday, noting that electoral violence had claimed at least two person during the bye election. He said that the latest victim, who he identified as Yadau Umoru was killed at Ugwan Pawa polling unit, in front of Maigari palace while attempting to snatch a ballot box. According to him, the corpse of the deceased has been deposited in the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja. An unidentified man had earlier in the day been killed by a mob at the polling unit located
by Abuja Electricity Distribution Company’s office in Lokoja, while also attempting to snatch a ballot box. He noted that the identity of the unfortunate man was unknown. The by-election which started peacefully, with impressive turnout of voters, later became characterised by vote-buying and violence, including ballot boxsnatching. THISDAY checks revealed that the victim was killed at NEPA polling center, Lokoja just as the agents shot during the bye-election for Kogi/Koto-Karfe federal constituency.
THISDAY, also, gathered that some political thugs allegedly invaded the polling center to scatter the ballot boxes, leading outbreak of fracas that claimed one life. With the outbreak of violence, THISDAY learnt that officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) including corp members had to run for their lives. Among others, Chief Press Secretary to former Speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly, Hon. Umar Ali confirmed that two agent of SDP were shot duringasessionwithselectjournalists. He said the names of the agents
“are still unknown as at the time of filing this report. The two agents have been taken to an unknown hospital for treatment. He said they were shot inside their vehicle along Federal Medical Centre road in Lokoja. Also, in paparanda and karaworo voting units in Lokoja, voters complained of intimidation and harassment by the government agents and political appointees. A member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mallam Mohammed Balga was said to have been beaten in Lokoja. In ward B, some people, who
allegedly dressed in police uniform with red beret, besieged two polling units shot sporadically and carted away the voting materials. There were reports of sharp practices at a voting unit located at Osuku Primary School in Kotokarfi Local Government Area. There were also reports of sporadic gunshots to scare supporters of the opposition party from coming out to vote. An INEC officer, Mr. Joseph told journalists that they were arm-twisted “to follow the bidding of the APC,” noting that the officials had to play along to save their lives.”
Dogara: Nigeria Will Endure, Despite Threat to Democracy SegunAwofadejiinBauchi Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Yakubu Dogara yesterday said Nigeria would survive and thrive no matter the threat by those who are not comfortable with the nation’s democracy. Dogara, also, noted that despite the prevailing challenges confronting the country, democratic rule would definitely thrive at last. He expressed this view after casting his ballot at a polling unit located at Gwarangah Primary School, Bogoro Local Government Area during the Bauchi South Senatorial District by-election. After casting his ballot yesterday, the speaker expressed optimism that nothing would derail the democratic process in the country despite challenges here and there. While commending the electorates for coming out to exercise their franchise, Dogara assured that political actors in the country would continue to learn as democracy grow and take root
in the country. He further said dividends of democratic rule would be provided for the teeming populace in the country, thereby urging Nigerians to always support the government in its resolve to make positive impact in the living standard of the people. According to him, Yakubu Dogara however refused to comment on the present political situation in the country. It is part of democratic process as it will make democracy grow strongly. In his own reaction to the conduct of the by-election, Caretaker Committee Chairman of Bogoro Local Government Area, Mr. Elisha Tula Gwamis described the exercise as peaceful and orderly in spite of the low turnout of voters. Gwamis said the low turnout was caused by the farming season because 99.9 percent of the people of the area “are farmers and since this is the peak of farming season they found it difficult to abandon their farms for the by-election.”
Union Bank Unveils ‘Elite Experience’ to Connect with Customers Omolabake Fasogbon
as mixology classes; training on the art and science of mixing The Union Bank of Nigeria has luxurious cocktails. unveiled a new programme, Shedding more light on Elite Experience’ to connect the development, the bank’s with customers in a more head,Elite and Royalty Banking, relaxed atmosphere. Chioma Nwokike noted that Elite Experience is an the Elite Banking proposition initiative of the bank to hold is a tailored service for the across the country at select emerging middle class, debranches to enable the institu- signed to meet their personal, tion engage its elite banking financial and lifestyle needs. customers in a series of in “It provides them with value teresting and lifestyle master added benefits and a range of classes, fun and networking personalized banking services opportunities. which are usually reserved for The year’s events held at high net worth Individuals. the bank’s elite lounges lo“Elite Banking customers cated in some of the branches enjoy benefits including dediin Lagos and Abuja with cated Relationship Managers, customers hosted to fun-filled exclusive deals and discounts, activities including: music, access to exclusive Elite Lounges freebies, networking and located in specific branches as learning in a relaxed setting. well as Priority Pass cards The customers were also which grant them access treated to makeup master classes to 850 airport VIP lounges taken by popular cosmetics around the world amongst brand, Zaron Cosmetics, as well other benefits.”
WELCOME ON BOARD
L-R: Incoming President, Nigeria Army Oﬃcers Wives Association (NAOWA), 81 Division Chapter, Mrs. Amina Yusuf, and outgoing President, Mrs. Grace Udoh, receiving an award from the Chairperson, National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Mrs. Shekinat Lawal, at a dinner in Lagos...Friday KOLA OLASUPO
Ogoni Chiefs Ask Court to Wind up Bank over N17bn Judgement Debt
Africa’s Talking Joins Open Banking Nigeria
A mobile technology company, Africa’s Talking, has joined the league of technology companies partnering with Open Banking Nigeria in the development of Open APIs for the Nigerian financial industry. Africa’s Talking provides payments and communications APIs (SMS, USSD, Airtime and Voice) to help both startups and large companies communicate with their customers across Africa. It teamed up with Open Banking Nigeria to help extend this innovation to strengthen the objective of unlocking the potential of mobile communication networks across Africa by simplifying the process and technologies required to exploit them. Speaking on the partnership, the company’s Country Director, Simon Aderinlola, said “Open Banking Nigeria has a huge potential to drive financial inclusion and boost innovation in Nigeria which is why Africa’s Talk-
Five chiefs of Ejama-Ebubu community in Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State have filed a fresh application at the Federal High Court in Lagos, asking the court to wind up First Bank Plc. The chiefs, who filed the application after the bank failed the claims, are Isaac Osaro Ogbara, Victor Obari, John Oguru, Joseph Ogusu, George Osaro, and Adanta Obelle, They filed the application through their lawyers, Lucius Nwosu (SAN), R. A. LawalRabana (SAN) and others, are praying the court to wind-up First Bank for claiming that it does not have money to pay the N17billion which the court ordered in favour of the community in 2010. The Ejama community had dragged Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Netherlands, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, United Kingdom, and Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) before the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt for alleged oil spills that occurred when Shell operated in the community. After listening to the submis-
sions of the parties, the presiding judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba awarded N17 billion in favour of the representatives of the Ogoni people in 2010 The court equally granted the Ogoni chiefs 25 per cent interest charge on the principal sum of about N17 billion. SPDC then appealed against the judgment and applied for a stay of execution of the judgment pending the appeal. As a condition for granting a stay of execution, the court directed Shell’s bankers, First Bank to provide a guarantee of the judgment sum should they lose at the Court of Appeal. This condition was complied with, but Shell’s appeal failed at the Appeal Court on technical grounds, ostensibly because it filed its processes out of time and without regularising them. Since then, the Ogoni has mounted a lot of legal pressure on the bank to redeem the undertaking it signed to no avail. But the bank claimed that it had appealed the case at the Supreme Court, which the community said, was not part of the agreement.
ing is partnering with the organisation. “Open Banking Nigeria will create security and safety for customers to share their financial data with banks or third parties. This will open the doors to millions of Nigerians currently out of the financial market. We appreciate and believe in the future this work portends.” Africa’s Talking provides communications and payments APIs across Africa. Headquartered in Kenya with an office in Nigeria, the mobile technology company offers APIs to companies to build solutions and services on USSD, Voice, SMS, Airtime, and Payments. Open Banking Nigeria, a not-for-profit, non-partisan industry group, is committed to developing and advocating Open Banking API standards for the Nigerian financial industry. Visit www. openbanking.ng to know more about Open Banking Nigeria, objectives, partners, and progress made.
T H I S D AY Ë¾ SUNDAT AUGUST 12, 2018
ͯͰ˜ͰͮͯͶ˾THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER
INTERNATIONAL Nigeria’s Current Security Challenges: Beyond War on Corruption, Party Defections and Chicanery
urrent Security Challenges in Nigeria: the Way Out” was the title of a public lecture written and delivered by Major General (Rtd) Adewumi Ajibade, Fellow of the Nigeria War College and former Director of Military Intelligence and Deputy National Security Adviser, on Thursday, 9th August, 2018. The lecture was organised by the Yoruba Tennis Club, a socio-cultural organisation founded in September 1926 in response to colonial discrimination against Nigerians by the colonialists, and held at the Greetings Hall of the Yoruba Tennis Club. The lecture is of significance for various reasons. First, it came on the heels of the many threats to the national security of Nigeria: boko haramism, quest for sovereign autonomy of the Igbo people, agitation for resource control in the Niger Delta, politics of national self-deceit, largely characterised by party defections and political chicanery, Fulani herdsmen’s war on farmers, etc. The threats are increasing in different forms by the day. And yet, there are no visible end to them. Consequently, any attempt made officially, officiously, or unofficially to diagnose the causative factors and evolve possible enduring solutions cannot but always be a welcome development. Second, the lecture did not take the format of delivery, followed by questions and answers but that of a vested-interest controlled symposium, structured into three main parts: the lecture by Major General Ajibade, the three-man-panelist discussion, and contributions from the floor. At the level of the general contributions, five interest groups were identified for possible contributions: the military, women, Yoruba interest group, Hausa interest group, especially as represented by the Kwankwaso Movement in Lagos, and the media. The quality of panelist discussion was quite high and this can be traced to the empirical background experiences of the panelists. The first discussant was Otunba Deji Osibogun, the Chairman/ Founder Space FM and Convener, Yoruba Ko’Ya (that is, the Yoruba people contest societal injustice, indiscipline and unfairness). The second discussant was Mr. Babajide Kolade-Otitoju, who heads the News Department of the Television Continental (TVC). Former Assistant Inspector General of Police, Chief Tunji Alapini, the Otun Oluwo Adimula of the Source, was the third discussant. While the first discussant underscored the nature of threats to Yoruba land, the second discussant provided a media perspective, especially from eye witness accounts. The third discussant explicated some security challenges with which senior police officers can be faced with in security-related decisionmaking processes. Third, the Yoruba Tennis Club is no longer simply a club for social relaxation and camaraderie alone. It is now deeply engaged in several intellectual brainstorming sessions aimed at finding enduring solutions to impediments to nation-building. It is within this context that the lecture on security challenges and the possible way out of them should be appreciated, and particularly in light of the high level personalities invited. For instance, His Royal Majesty, Professor Adeyemi Abdukadir, the Olota of Otta of Awori Kingdom was there and he took active part in the discussions. He was the invited Royal Father of the Day. Fourth, and perhaps more significantly, the platform of the lecture was not only used to appreciate the officiating guest participants but also to recognise non-members whose roles had impacted on the mandate of the Yoruba Tennis Club. They included the veteran journalist, Bisi Olatilo, the three discussants and the guest lecturer. Amember of the Club celebrated his 83rd birthday anniversary on that day and was honoured. Dr. Oluyomi Abayomi Finnih who moderated the event, Dr. Bolaji Ajenifuja who chaired the occasion and many representatives of former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, who is also one of the presidential aspirants in the 2019 general elections, were all there. Fifth, and most importantly, different causal factors of insecurity were identified but could not all be articulated in terms of how best to address the problems. One major rationale for it was time constraint. Another reason was that greater emphasis was on commentary rather than on analyses. Thus, with the deepening threats against national security, what really should be the way forward? Is Nigeria’s main problem that of corruption, or that of political leadership? Is it that of followership or unilateralism-
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driven democracy? What about the agitation for restructuring?
Lecture and Discussion: The Issues Major General Ajibade raised a number of issues in his paper. He drew attention to the distinction between wars that are fought by armies and those that will no longer be fought by armies. Wars fought by armies are the conventional types while the other category of wars are fought by terrorist groups, insurgents, guerrillas, bandits, militants, including herdsmen. The lecturer was quick to note though, that this category of wars that are not fought by armies is not a new phenomenon and that ‘before the birth of Christ, the assassination of tyrannical rulers were not only condoned but encouraged, the killers were glorified, praised and reverend. Terrorism has long exercised great fascination, especially at a safe distance.’ Asecond important issue is the conception of security which the lecturer considers to be both offensive and defensive. It can be offensive when it is about acquisition of security of information for planning, while ‘the implementation of protective security measures to guarantee own security... and to carry out security audit/security survey’ falls within the purview of defensive security. Additionally, he considered security as a situation where everybody can go on his or her duty unhindered and where lives and property, as well as valuables are protected from harm or disruption. What is noteworthy about how to understand security is that the lecturer made strenuous efforts to trace the origins of the quest for security: how the primitive men of Africa sought shelter and security in caves, and when there were new threats, how they engaged in safe-guard measures, such as bonfires and traps, how they built gates, high walls, hill tops, watch towers, trenches, gullies, gorges, and how they eventually invented weapons like spears, bows and arrows. Considering that security concerns have existed since early
The Nigeria of today has become a nation of untruth, where the biggest challenge is also the inability of the people to know what their problem is all about, where party defections are essentially about protection of self-interests and not that of the constituencies of the defecting politicians, where court rulings and judgments are selectively obeyed depending on convenience, and more importantly, where people put in position to defend national integrity, honesty of purpose and national unity consciously engage in the contrary. Possession of invalid certiﬁcates by public serving ofﬁcials, diversion of public funds and selective targets of the anti-corruption war, as well as appointing indicted people in government are the critical and current threats to national security and not as propounded above. Only truth can deliver Nigeria from its security ordeals
times but the challenges have actually never been as readily manifest as they are today, the lecturer came up with the thrust of his lecture on how best to respond to the challenges of national security in Nigeria. As he put it, ‘the right attitude to security begins with the acceptance that no amount of arms, ammunition and guards can produce the desired result, attitude and commitment to security. What is more, it begins with the acceptance that security is the collective responsibility of everyone in the society.’ More importantly, he posited that ‘the right attitude encompasses security awareness, a mindset, the understanding that those elements that constitute threat to security problems should therefore, not be the exclusive responsibility of the state, but the solemn duty of every member of the community.’ Without jot of doubt, he came up with the foregoing arguments in the strong belief that the causal factors of the threats to Nigeria’s national security are mainly high rate of unemployment and poverty, undemocratic governmental actions, alienation of the intelligentsia, radicalisation of religious groups and intolerance, illegal militant activities, uneven distribution of scarce national resources, environmental degradation leading to agitations, particularly in the Niger Delta area, and effects of globalisation and natural disasters. The viewpoints of the panelists and other participants in the audience are mixed: some share the viewpoints of the lecturer while some gave different causative reasons. For instance, Otunba Deji Osibogun gave three reasons for the deepening insecurity in Nigeria. First, he recalled the 1960 independence day speech of Sir Ahmadu Bello in which he declared that ‘this new nation called Nigeria shall be an extension of the estate of our great grandfather Othman Danfodio, we must ruthlessly prevent a change of government. We must use the people of the middle belt as willing tools and the people of the South as conquered territory and never let them control their own future.’ This reference is widely held seriously in the southern part of Nigeria, and particularly in the South West. The quotation is largely responsible for the suspicions underlying the attitudinal behaviour towards the Fulani elite in Nigeria. In the thinking of most southerners, the silence of President Muhammadu Buhari on the frequent Fulani Herdsmen’s aggression on farmers is seen in the context of fulfilment of Othman Danfodio’s extension of the estate, which most southerners are showing unwillingness to accept. This is how Ahmadu Bello’s 1960 independence day speech becomes a major threat to national security. Asecond threat noted by Otunba Osibogun is the 1914 amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates which obstructed Yoruba unity by neutralising the peace agreement done in 1893. As Osibogun explained it, the 1893 agreement required that ‘each region (would) take a certain percentage of the profits they make from their trade and remit them to the traditional central authority.’ However, in 1914, ‘the British Colonial Master sought total submission of all tribes to the amalgamation of Southern and Northern protectorates. We signed an agreement that is akin to the restructuring we are clamouring for now in Nigeria but the British Colonial Masters never forgave the Southern Nigeria for resisting their indirect rule system, so they placed the North above the South.’ This was how the Yoruba lost their security on the very day they ‘accepted the amalgamation of 1914.’ This was also how ‘the Fulani took over Ilorin, a Yoruba land, they were not joking when they arrived there but no one took them serious.’ Consequently, Otunba Osibogun advised on the need to be cautious of the Fulani theory of taking power, seizing power and using power and for every Yoruba man to take seriously this threat being manifested in different forms. For instance, there are the cases of ‘7,356 migrants mainly from the aforementioned northern states (Borno, Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto and Yobe) (who) came into Lagos State alone in the month of June 2018 without verifiable place of residence. Their first point of call and destination is usually at Yaba-Oyingbo axis from there they are distributed across the land of aquatic splendour.’ Third, and perhaps most disturbingly, Otunba Osibogun drew attention to the preponderance of importation of motorcycles from the north to Yoruba land, but to which little or no attention is being paid in terms of implications for security. In the words of Otunba Osibogun, ‘today a Northern Senator will buy 200 motorcycles, get the corresponding number of Fulani men and send them down to the South West and induct them into the Yoruba tribes, they are first deposited in the villages in Yoruba land like Akoko, Egbe, Ikun, etc, so that they can communicate with Yoruba language before integrating the aggressors into cities like Ibadan, Ijebu, Lagos Mainland, Lekki and Ajah.’ Again, whether anyone wants to agree or disagree with the submission of Otunba Osibogun, there can be no disputing the fact that the submission is the belief of the Yoruba K’oya Movement whose Directorate of Organisation, Research and Publicity ‘found out that a minimum of 500 migrants come into Lagos State everyday from the Northern States of Borno, Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto and Yobe. The belief, rightly or wrongly, is that there is an emerging hidden agenda of Fulani domination in Nigeria. The President of Nigeria is a Fulani man and he is perceived to be supporting his kinsmen to the detriment of his national mandate as the president of all peoples of Nigeria. (See concluding part on www.thisdaylive.com)
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾AUGUST 12, 2018
Editor Kunle Aderinokun 08033204315, 08111813084 Email: kunle. aderinokun @thisdaylive.com
Rail tracks under construction ...lots of borrowed funds go into ﬁnancing rail transportation projects
ICAN: Nigeria’s Debt Servicing Ratio at 63%, Unreasonable, Unsustainable Govt making progress in economic diversification Not satisified with handling of budget Kunle Aderinokun
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has said at 63 per cent, Nigeria’s debt servicing ratio is “unreasonable”. ICAN President, Razak Jaiyeola, who made this declaration in an interview with THISDAY at the weekend, also said the servicing ratio was unsustainable and would not help the growth of the economy. “The debt servicing ratio of about 63 per cent of revenue is unreasonable and has not helped the economy to grow. It is unsustainable and should bother every right thinking Nigerian,” Jaiyeola stated. The Institute’s chief believed what “misled the country is the wrong position of relating debt servicing to GDP.” He added that “the relationship should be between debt-servicing and revenue generated”. According to him, this would give a better idea of what the situation
is and help chart a new path. Jaiyeola, however, said: “What level of progress are we making when crude oil still remains the major source of government revenue in Nigeria?” The ICAN president, who argued that increasing the tax rates and widening collection capacity were not the answers to Nigeria’s budget deficit, said, “Diversification is the answer; the only way to move out of poverty to prosperity and be a player in the global economic space.” Continuing, he explained: “One of the most potent areas for diversification is agriculture. A legion of measure had been put in place in the past but not much has been the outcome. Agriculture is formidable as it can increase the supply of food for both internal consumption and export, provides labour, enlarging the market for manufactured and other goods and services as well as increasing domestic savings.” Notwithstanding, he observed that the
nation required a high level of ethics and innovation for “our products to be acceptable in the international market”. “Though we are making progress, it is at a snail’s pace. We require much more than we are doing,” he added. Jaiyeola however frowned upon the way the country’s budget is being handled. “It would be difficult for anyone to confess that he is satisfied with the way the nation’s budget is being handled,” he said. “A lot of improvements are needed to bring the budgeting process in line with global leading practices by eliminating all fundamental challenges currently being experienced. For instance, the budget preparation and scrutiny are always late. This makes it difficult for stakeholders to plan appropriately,” Jaiyeola stated. Speaking further, the ICAN disclosed: “There is also the issue of assumptions underlying the budget estimates which
are often over ambitious. We need to begin to learn from previous budget in preparing current ones. We do not have to impress anybody with high sounding but unrealistic assumption, especially in the area of crude oil production. “The budget is also usually skewed in favour of recurrent expenditure. This is a disservice to the nation and an aberration. We equate budget performance in Nigeria with the release of funds such that nobody actually critically examines whether the budget is performing based on the parameters set in the budget or not.” According to him, this is even compounded by the erratic release of budgeted funds to the respective agencies and units that need funds to execute projects and programmes. “Unless and until all these fundamental challenges are dealt with sincerely and timely, the budgeting process in Nigeria would continue to be a challenge,” he warned.
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾AUGUST 12, 2018
The Sleaze in NSITF For so long, the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has been foot-dragging on its statutory responsibility of providing social security protection and safety nets. But recent events surrounding the sordid cases of corruption within the fund have tended to portraying NSITF as a house of sleaze, and by extension, indicting the board members and management who in the first place ought to protect the fund. Paul Obi reports
rom 1994 to 2014, when the NSITF Act was amended, Nigeria’s quest for a reliable social security net and compensation pool for employees in the private sector has been tardy and mostly inept. In short, the fund has not adequately addressed the core values for employees’ interest with regards to social security and employees’ compensation. At the core of this unimpressive performance had been NSITF’s slow-pace in providing employees’ compensation, where there have been clear-cut cases of injury or industrial harm. Though, the fund has performed well in some areas, to many, not much can be said of NSITF as a protector of employees. Many had thought that the composition of the NSITF board after its transformation as enshrined in the NSITF Act, 2014 would assist in repositioning the body. Given that the NSITF board is made up of a tripartite committee, comprising appointees of the federal government, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the National Employers Consultative Association (NECA), the expectation was that check and balance, including efficient governance structure would be the bedrock in the running of the NSITF affairs. Alleged Sleaze Surprisingly, the expectation has fallen flat in the face of current allegations of rampant corruption in the NSITF. In the report submitted to the Ministry of Labour and Employment, a whopping N62 billion was said to have been stolen from NSITF. It was observed that “the fund was operating with incomplete books of account. Several bank statements of the various bank accounts, cashbooks, etc were not submitted for audit examination and sighting. Financial statements (accounts) produced from such accounting system could not be reliable.” Also, there were several transfers of funds in between bank accounts without authorisation and approvals. For instance, the sum of N15,737,757,697.91 was transferred from one account to another. Evidences to show the approvals and payment vouchers authorising the transfers were likewise not presented to the panel. The panel observed further that the sum of N2,990,184,262.77 was expended on computerisation and other related ICT
equipment. Despite this expenditure, not much was achieved on computerisation of the fund, thereby defeating the purpose of the expenditure. Unlike in most instances where government is quick to shield cases of corruption involving government agencies, alleged corruption in NSITF has presented a unique case. This time, government is leading the charge to expose the cases of corruption. In the forefront of that charge has been the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, who has been doing everything possible to uncover the deep corruption that held sway in the last 10 years. Ngige’s resolve to go the whole hog in fishing out those, who stole from NSITF is not far-fetched. Many of those involved in the alleged graft in the fund are members of the organised labour, who formed part of the tripartite NSITF board. To make matter worse, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, was the board chairman when some of these cases of alleged corruption were perpetuated. Oshiomhole’s Ultimatum But immediately Oshiomhole took over as APC National Chairman, he had gone ahead to direct Ngige to inaugurate the NSITF board or face sanction from the party. A directive that did not go down well with the minister. According to Ngige, Oshiomhole intrusion, forcefully demanding that the he constitute the NSITF board was primarily meant to bury the investigation and its subsequent outcomes. He explained that, being an interested party, Oshiomhole intention was to ensure that the new board, if inaugurated, will do everything to cover up established cases of corruption labelled against members of his constituency -the organised labour. Ngige’s Allegation After receiving the letter from Oshiomhole (which many believed the APC National chairman crossed the line, as such directive to Ngige could only be issued by President Muhammadu Buhari to a member of his cabinet), Ngige wasted no time in sending back the missiles to the APC National Chairman. Responding to the letter, a miffed Ngige told Oshiomhole that “I am not oblivious of the fact that you are an interested party in the matter because
having served as the chairman of the NSITF board before the last board and as a former Nigerian Labour Congress President, you will be interested in the tripartite colouration of the board being maintained more so as labour still remains your constituency.” Another source in the ministry had told THISDAY that the basic reason for the demand to set up the board was to cover up the tracks linking the looting of about N62 billion from NSITF. According to the source, “some members in the former board that were nominated in the board were from labour and NECA, some of them are standing trial, so naturally, he will want the tripartite board to be constituted. The source added that the push to constitute the NSTIF board and downplay the investigation clearly indicates a hidden agenda. “Who are they shielding? Are they saying that the board is more important than fighting the corruption in NSITF? Why are they not talking about the corruption? Are they shielding some interest and some of them are from labour and NECA?,” the source asked. However, some analysts and observers argued that it was better for Ngige to inaugurate the board so that operations of NSITF would not continue to be affected by the absence of the board. According to them, having the board in place would not affect the on-going investigation into the corruption allegation and more so, the fund could not afford to exist without a board in perpetuity because it was trying to avoid a cover-up. The Politics at Play The gall part of it is that, many see Ngige’s action as more political than an administrative step taken to correct an anomaly in NSITF. Close watchers of the event argued that the minister’s rationale for not inaugurating the NSITF was more of a political brinkmanship to get at Oshiomhole and top members of the organised labour. Although, the APC National Chairman had wanted to browbeat Ngige into submission, and as well as display the supremacy of the party, he, however, met a measured match in Ngige who was adamant to heed to his demands. It was therefore more of a political ding dong between Ngige on one hand and Oshiomhole and NLC on the other hand.
NLC’s Silence More so, since the beginning of the NSITF’s investigation and hostility between Ngige and Oshiomhole, the NLC had maintained sealed lips. Notwithstanding several allegations against its members in the NSITF scandal, the union has blatantly refused to speak on the matter. Several attempts by THISDAY to speak with NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, on the matter were not fruitful. Wabba also did not respond to calls and text messages put across to him on the matter. Conversely, NSITF Managing Director, Adebayo Somefun, at a recent gathering in Abuja told journalists that even the fund was yet to grasp with the on-going investigation. Somefun stated that, “There are actions going on in the court on the matter and anti-graft agencies are also on the case. None of these actions have been concluded. All we know about the panel is what all Nigerians have been reading in the news mediums.” According to Somefun, what is paramount to NSITF management at the moment is how to restructure the procurement process in the award of contract in the agency. He said, this will go a long way to stem corruption in the fund. Beyond such assurance, the current scandal has raised concerns over the running of the NSITF, as the crisis already appear to have damaged the reputation of the organisation. It is even doubtful if the crisis will fizzle out any time soon. And although, the NSITF crisis has snowballed into some political in-fighting between Ngige and Oshiomhole, the NLC and other stakeholders in the organised labour must also come out clean on what went wrong. Looking Forward The danger of covering up the damning cases of corruption in NSITF is that many of the stakeholders would in future lack the moral authority to hold government to account. If the mess is not cleaned up, and quickly too, the potential of NSITF remaining a perpetual house of sleaze beckons amid a damaged reputation. That will be a dangerous route to take. The only option left is to purge NSITF of the already battered image and project it to the future. Only then, will the fund return to its glorious days.
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾AUGUST 12, 2018
Ending the Dilemma of Unproven Daily Petrol Consumption Figures Nigeria is looking to tackle the recent shameful dispute the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), her state oil company, had with state governors over how much petrol the country consumes every day, using two key measures, writes Chineme Okafor
he recent dispute between the 36 state governors and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over volumes of petrol imported into the country and on which the corporation claims subsidy, brought to fore unhealthy details of how poorly managed Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sector has been. From the dispute, Nigerians got the feeling that the country really may not have an accurate statistics on the country’s daily petrol consumption capacity, and that without such vital statistics, the country may have planned and implemented her petrol supplies schedule uneconomically. Also, because of this, reported incidences of smuggling and theft of products may have flourished considering the country may have become an available market for supplies. Trouble, however, started when the governors questioned and doubted NNPC’s petrol supply figures upon which it claimed billions of subsidy payments. The governors had based their argument on a reported record provided them by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and which under quoted NNPC’s figures. Looking for answers to questions about the situation, the governors asked for a forensic audit of the country’s consumption pattern and NNPC’s operations in this regard, to which the National Economic Council (NEC) was rather forced to ask the NNPC and Ministry of Finance to undertake. As it were, the governors claimed the NNPC was short-changing the federation with exorbitant financial claims as subsidy over volumes of petrol it imports into the country, and this resulted in shortfalls of revenue available for sharing in the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) monthly meetings. The meeting for June was reportedly deferred a couple of times on account of the dispute. Alleging the NNPC claimed higher petrol importation figures of 50 million per day as against what the DPR told them was not more than 30 million litres, the governors called for an audit of NNPC’s petrol importation to determine the true situation. Necessary Measures Their call for an audit was subsequently heard by the NEC and as disclosed by the NNPC, the audit team was put in place to review the country’s consumption status. But beyond the audit, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) also approved the sum of N17 billion for the installation of a device by the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) to monitor fuel distribution and perhaps abolish fraud in petrol subsidy management. The FEC, according to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, decided on this recently to perhaps back up the need for Nigerians to truly and really know how much petrol they consume every day. Kachikwu disclosed this new move to State House correspondents at the end of the council’s weekly meeting presided over by the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. Forensic Audit Perhaps to put things right and find answers to questions and allegations raised by the governors against the NNPC, the NEC asked that the audit be done. The Chief Operating Officer (COO), Downstream of the NNPC, Mr. Henry Ikem-Obih, first disclosed this would happen when he spoke about the situation at a recently concluded oil and gas conference in Abuja. At that time, Ikem-Obih indicated the audit exercise would include the World Bank and other agencies of the government.
Port Harcourt Refinery
His claims were subsequently backed by the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, who disclosed this in a letter to Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, during the ‘consumption’ fracas with the governors. In the letter THISDAY sighted, Baru even stated that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) would be part of the audit team. But according to Ikem-Obih: “We are presently in a joint project with the Federal Ministry of Finance. We are doing a study around consumption, to determine the actual consumption by the people. We have to determine what we call the daily load out or the evacuation as against the actual consumption; what people go to the pump every day to buy for their cars, for their generators at home and for other uses of petrol.” Ikem-Obih further explained that in terms of daily truck out from depots around the country and the records of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the NNPC trucked out 48 million litres daily in 2016 and 50 million litres in 2017. However, he said the NEC had mandated that these figures be verified through the audit. “This is why NEC has mandated that we work with the Federal Ministry of Finance. We also had a meeting with the World Bank, and we are trying to progress in a global study that would help us get around the actual numbers of what we consume in Nigeria,” he added. According to him, the country had challenges with cross-border smuggling. He said Nigeria remained the cheapest source of petrol in the West African sub-region because its neighbours sold petrol at over 200 per cent higher than its price. “If you go to Niger, Cameroon, then it is in the 400 per cent region; for the rest of the countries, it is about N360 to N370, as against the N145 per litre that we sell. That is sufficient incentives for those who want to take the product across the border to sell and make a good margin,” Ikem-Obih, explained, adding the corporation was working with the Nigeria Customs Service, Department of State Services (DSS) and other
security agencies to put an end to this. Additionally, Baru explained there was an ongoing engagement by the NNPC with an inter-ministerial team comprising the Ministries of Petroleum and Finance with the participation of the DPR, PPPRA, PEF, OAGF and the CBN to put in place a monitoring system for the entire fuel supply and distribution system in the federation. He said in his letter to Adeosun: “Also, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources is engaging the National Bureau of Statistics to establish actual consumption of petroleum products in the country. The outcome of these exercises may establish the actual fuel consumption in the country.” Tracking Device Beyond the forensic audit, the FEC according to Kachikwu, also approved the PEF to introduce a tracking device to also help put an end to the conflicting figures on Nigeria’s actual fuel consumption per day. Kachikwu explained that although the project was for three years, it would start yielding results by the time the 2020 budget was prepared next year. According to him: “The narrative is that we have all struggled with this whole subsidy payment and how much is consumed in Nigeria, volumes of products moved out illegally and the whole impact on Federation Accounts Allocation Committee. “The essence of what PEF is doing is that this will enable us to track refined petroleum products’ movement from the point of the LC (Letter of Credit) opening from the vessels that come into Nigeria, up until the point where they are discharged into tanks in Nigeria; and from the tanks into trucks in Nigeria. Monitor the trucks till they deliver the products into the storage tanks for the filling stations and they are discharged and sold.” He said the adoption of the PEF initiative had become imperative in view of discrepancies in figures being bandied as daily fuel consumption in the country, adding that when the network
becomes operational, every truck conveying fuel would be licenced with a driver and transport company, which would take responsibility for any missing truck. The minister also said with the advent of the network, the exact daily fuel consumption in the country would be known for the first time, adding the NNPC, DPR and PPPRA would work together to achieve this. “The president has given a very serious mandate that we ought to rein in on his process. So that will produce a 100 per cent holistic monitoring of this production. For the first time, we will be able to tell how much petroleum products we consume in this country because there has been so much going on in terms of the movement of consumption numbers from 30-something million litres a day to 70 million litres to 18 million litres a day during the difficult times. “And the challenge the president has given me is to rein that in. Let’s know what we consume in reality. Let’s know where these products are going and this process will be able to track every truck. So, a typical truck will be licenced with a driver, with a transport company. So, if a truck misses, you can find the transporter and the company that takes responsibility,” added Kachikwu. Continuing, he stated: “So, we expect this to be over a period of three years but we promise that within one year, the real effects of this will begin to show. Obviously, you need time to train and to continue to improve the system. We hope that by the time we start doing the 2020 budget in 2019, we would have got to a point, where the losses that you are seeing are being tracked and substantially, impact will be made in monies that come into the federation accounts “It will help us keep proper data repository of consumption in this country, data on all trucks that operate, total number of products received, what is sold out of filling stations and it is going to be a collaborative system that involves NNPC, DPR and PPPRA but situated quite frankly in PEF.”
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾JULY 29, 2018
A Partnership for Economic Growth The Joint Venture (JV) partnership between Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Sahara Group, a leading energy conglomerate, to supply Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), to the West African sub-region is a major step to diversify the nation’s economy. It also heralds the beginning of the end of scarcity of the commodity in Nigeria. Bamidele Famoofo writes
bout five years ago, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), entered into a joint venture agreement with Sahara Group, a foremost indigenous energy conglomerate in Nigeria to explore the opportunities in Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) sector of the oil and gas industry. Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, said the joint venture partnership, which the NNPC entered into with Sahara Group in 2013,has already started yielding fruit. Baru said the relationship was beginning to record success in a very short period. The main driver of the partnership, according to him, was to boost the availability of the commodity in Nigeria and the West African sub-region. The NNPC boss added that the partnership would address the lingering challenges of supply, affordability and fraudulent activities of individuals and organisations seeking to adulterate cooking gas due to scarce supply. For the Managing Director of West Africa Gas Limited, Roland Omoregbe, the partnership and the successes it has began to record, is a clear indication that the dream of the company to become a leading LNG supplier is on course. The Company West African Gas was incorporated in March 2013 as a Joint Venture Company of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation LNG Ltd , a wholly owned subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and Ocean Bed Trading Ltd, an established oil and gas trading Company. According to information made available on the company’s website, WAGL was established to primarily serve as a vehicle for off-take, marketing and trading of NLNG NGLs under the equity lifting scheme. Its strategy leverages the long term NGLs trading experience and expertise of its Joint Venture partners, particularly: Ocean Bed Trading Ltd. With a focus in trading NGLs, the company would seek to maximise value from the market whilst leveraging on its vast resource base. Acquisition To formally launch the business partnership and to commence the business of gas supply as planned, WAGL, in January 2017, acquired two new vessels, MT Africa Gas and MT Sahara Gas. The management of WAGL said the acquisitions were in its bid to reduce transportation bottlenecks, add value to the Nigeria economy through exporting the commodity. It says it would deepen the LPG market in West Africa as well as enhance access to clean and safe energy. “The acquisitions were also a strategic response to the lingering challenges of supply, affordability and fraudulent activities motivated by scarcity of the product”, the company said. While speaking at the inauguration of the LPG vessels in South Korea, the NNPC boss said it was “an outstanding achievement” for Nigeria considering the fact “that the Joint Venture between NNPC and Sahara is already recording success stories within a short period having been established in 2013.” Baru said the NNPC remained committed to ensuring uninterrupted supply of cooking gas as well as the adoption of policies to drive sustainable development across the entire energy value-chain of the nation’s oil and gas sector Initial Voyage MT Africa Gas, one of the two Liquefied Petroleum Gas vessels ordered and completed by West Africa Gas Limited (WAGL), delivered its first cargo of 9,000 metric tonnes of gas to Ghana. MT Africa Gas is to deliver 180,000 standard cubic feet of gas as works at the Tema Port to receive first gas for the thermal plants in Tema energy enclave is underway.
L-R: Executive Director, Sahara Group, Tope Shonubi, Managing Director, West Africa Gas Limited (WAGL), Roland Omoregbe, Chief Executive Officer, Asharami Synergy Plc, Moroti Adedoyin-Adeyinka, Managing Director, Petroleum Products Marketing Company, Umar Isa Ajiya, and Manager, Projects Engineering, LNG Investment Management Services of NNPC, Theophilus Aholu, at the ceremony to mark the delivery of 7,000 metric tons of LPG following the maiden voyage of MT Sahara Gas, a newly acquired LPG Vessel owned by WAGL (an NNPC/Sahara Group JV) to Nigeria
Sahara’s LPG vessel
This was disclosed at a media tour of the facility at Tema port when the vessel ordered at Hyundai Mipo Shipyard in South Korea in 2014 docked at Tema. Managing Director of the company, Roland Omoreegbe, who could not hide his excitement about the arrival of the vessel said the company’s dream of being a leading LNG supplier is on course. “This is the first of its kind by any energy company and this feat will help them serve consumers in Africa and beyond,” Omoregbe disclosed. Captain of MT Africa Gas vessel, Sergejs Tihomirovs, said the vessel could carry both butane and propane. The capacity for both vessels is 38,000 cubic meters (cbm). Latest Delivery MT Sahara Gas, the newly built vessel of the West Africa Gas Limited (WAGL) recently delivered another 7,000 metric tons of Liquefied Natural Gas (LPG) in its historic maiden voyage to Nigeria to boost availability and safe access to the commodity widely referred to as cooking gas. Commenting on the delivery, Baru said, “This
is a historic achievement for the NNPC and Sahara Group that showcases a truly successful partnership by all global standards. The quest is to achieve uninterrupted supply of the commodity and address infrastructural limitations as we continue to implement our zero tolerance policy against adulterated products and their promoters across the nation.” Baru added that the NNPC/Sahara Group partnership remained a model for successful JVs, adding that both parties were considering various strategies to optimise the delivery of the product across West Africa. “The federal government deserves commendation for implementing policies that are geared towards growing the economy. That we have such a partnership involving the NNPC and Sahara Group is indeed an important global narrative for Nigeria in terms of capacity, expertise and sustainability,” he noted. Speaking aboard the vessel, Managing Director, Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Umar Isa Ajiya, said it was a significant and important milestone not only for Nigeria, Africa and the entire shipping and maritime industry. “We have a brand new LPG vessel, built by 100 per cent fully-owned Nigerian entities and it
has picked up LPG from Bonny and brought it to Lagos. This is the first time we are having a wholly-owned shipping vessel bringing product to our shores. This is an opportunity to grow and deepen the LPG market in Nigeria such that the use of firewood will come to an end sooner than later. I must commend the shareholders of Sahara Group and NNPC for making it worthy to make this laudable investment,” he said. Also commending the NNPC/Sahara Group Partnership, Omoreegbe said: “This is the first time the private sector in Nigeria is involved with the NNPC in ensuring that there is enough supply of LPG to the country. We are happy that it has done several voyages into West Africa, including Lome, Ivory Coast and Ghana and we are counting more. The sister vessel, Africa Gas is in the West Africa waters as we speak. We have strategic plans to flood Nigeria with LPG and other cleaner sources of energy to do their domestic chores which will in turn save our country and our planet.” Chief Executive Officer, Asharami Synergy (A Sahara Group Downstream Company), Moroti Adedoyin-Adeyinka, said: “What we see here today speaks to the power of collaboration and the great things that can be achieved when the private and public sector work together with the right strategy, expertise and capacity. At Sahara, this is the kind of collaboration that we push for; one that makes our economy better and saves our planet.” Trans-Atlantic Voyages LPG/C Africa Gas has performed five transatlantic voyages loading butane from US Gulf Coast and discharging in West Africa mainly in Abidjan, Tema and Lome. The vessel also traded once in South America for a spot voyage in September 2017. LPG/C Sahara Gas has performed four Trans-Atlantic Voyages around the West African region, with her berthing in Lagos, being her first trade in Nigeria, after it loaded from Bonny and discharged in Lagos. Sahara Gas also had a spot trade in France in April 2017. Total volumes traded by both vessels include: 150,000 MT in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 35,000 MT in Tema, Ghana, 2,500 MT in Lome, Togo, and the recently delivered 7,000 MT in Lagos, Nigeria. “Africa Gas is currently discharging in Abidjan and heads out to Tema, Ghana and Lome, Togo in a fortnight,” a source close to the deal disclosed.
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ËžAUGUST 12, 2018
THE EXECUTIVE PETER AMANGBO
Zenith is a Technology Driven Bank that Thrives on Innovation Zenith Bank Plc has in 28 years grown to become one of the strongest and most profitable banks in Nigeria as well as in the entire Africa. The financial institution which was established in May 1990 and commenced operations in July of same year with N20 million, currently has total assets of N5.256 trillion (as at June 2018). The bankâ€™s management team is made up of seasoned professionals led by its Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Peter Amangbo. The cerebral CEO who took over the reins in June 2014, has ensured that Zenith Bank sustains its growth trajectory. In this interview with Obinna Chima, he speaks about efforts by the bank to increase its market share in the retail segment of the market, how it has been supporting growth through lending to various sectors in the economy. Amangbo also disagreed with the belief that commercial banks have abandoned their financial intermediation role. Excerpts:
SUNDAYADIGUN SUNDAY ADIGUN
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾AUGUST 12, 2018
With the Economy Out of Recession and Oil Prices Going Up, Appetite for Loans and Advances Would Improve Cont’d from Pg. 23
redit to the private sector has dropped signiﬁcantly, to the extent that at the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was obviously frustrated, which is why the apex bank announced some measures to increase liquidity in the economy. Why are banks not lending?
There are many factors responsible for this. Firstly, if you are talking about the declining trend in credit creation to the private sector, you will have to also look at the declining trend in deposit mobilisation by banks. Actually, deposit customers have more options to invest their funds. You have treasury bills, the federal government’s savings bond and others at attractive rates. So, there is competition for these funds which were hitherto kept in banks, and therefore that creates some challenge on the availability of loanable funds. Secondly, we have the Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) of 22.5% of deposits which is kept away at zero earnings to banks. This means that for every N100 deposit taken by a bank, only N77.50 will be available to the bank for credit creation and other forms of investment. Aside the huge cost of the CRR to banks, currently exacerbated by the calculation methodology which ensures only increase in the CRR amount with deposit growth without a corresponding refund to banks when deposits decrease, the fact that it reduces the amount of loanable funds has an impact on the declining trend in credit creation. Also, remember that the economy is just emerging from recession and is therefore not the time that people would naturally be bullish on credit creation. Even in terms of quality demand for credits, it will be muted for some time. The forex challenges that the country faced in 2015 to 2017 caused by the global crash in crude oil prices also contributed to the muted credit growth in the economy. But, the fact that we are coming out of recession, oil prices are going up, I would expect that the appetite for loan would probably increase overtime.
Can we attribute that to the 10 per cent drop in your loan book in your 2018 half year results as well as the decline in the loans and advances in your 2017 full year results?
The drop in interest rates also affected the yield on loans and advances. As our interest income is dropping, if you look at our interest expense, it also dropped drastically
Yes, I will say they contributed, because the issues that affect the financial system and the economy naturally would affect the components of the financial system.
But I was impressed that impairment charges in your half year results reduced signiﬁcantly from N42.4 billion to N9.7 billion...
What is the level of Zenith Bank’s commitment to supporting SMEs out of the CBN’s N220 billion? How much has your bank disbursed so far?
We have been very conservative in our credit management process. Once we see that there is challenge in any credit, even before it gets so bad, we start to take provision for it and commence remedial actions. If you do that, you will find out that you won’t get many surprises, where you will just wake up and make one massive provision. That will not happen. So, we try to anticipate and adopt a forward-looking approach to classifying accounts once they are challenged and I think that has actually helped us and we just keep taking these provisions gradually and on time
Overtime, we have been very strong in funding commercial customers whom I would say are mid-tier customers, not only the major corporates or multinationals, even though we are very strong in this segment of the market. In the real SME segment, we are increasing our lending activities but there is still a lot of room for improvement.
I am aware you made 30 per cent provision for your 9mobile (formerly Etisalat) loan last year, did you make further provision in the results you just released?
Let’s go back to your half year results, would you say the bank is on the right track?
The 30 per cent provision was for half year 2017. Then for the full year 2017, we increased it to 50 per cent in line with our conservative approach to business and proactive recognition of challenged assets. So as it is now, we have done 50 per cent. The good news however, is that the sale process for the telecoms company would soon be concluded, subject to regulatory approvals from the Nigerian Communication
So how much of the CBN intervention fund has Zenith Bank disbursed?
We have disbursed over 3 per cent of the CBN N220 billion SME fund.
If you look at gross earnings, the major factor that affected it was that interest rate dropped generally. As at December last year, treasury bills rate was about 20 per cent, but today we are talking of a maximum of 12 per cent, which is about 800 basis point drop. The drop in interest rates also affected the yield on loans and advances. As our interest income is dropping, if you look at our interest expense, it also dropped drastically. That was one area that helped performance in half year 2018. Secondly,
on our own, we decided to work smarter by focusing on low cost deposits. We had to let go of the expensive deposits in the bank. This affected our total deposit base, but our Net interest margin improved. If you look at our deposit mix, thedrop is from fixed deposit. But if you look at savings, it actually went up, and it’s still growing. We expect a growth in our total deposit liability by year end 2018.
Can we say Zenith is moving from corporate banking to more a retail banking
Let me put it this way, if you look at all the successful global banks as much as they are strong in corporate, they are also strong in retail. So, you need a blend of that. If you look at Zenith Bank today in terms of network of branches, we have close to 400 branches. You do not have those type of large corporate businesses all over the country. Corporates are concentrated in few cities. We have always been in those mid-tier locations, but there is the perception that Zenith is for corporate and the affluent. This is not the case. Zenith Bank is for all corporates and individuals irrespective of class or wealth. It is important to note that 20 per cent of our deposit base is from the retail segment.
So, what are you doing to ensure you increase your presence in the retail segment of the market? The good thing is that if you check the
growth of our electronic products and our mobile banking in particular, you will see that between now and the comparative period of last year, we have grown by over 100 percent and that is a massive growth within one year. We expect further growth in this segment. Our retail strategy is very simple; it is anchored on the mobile and cards. Whatever you can come into the bank to do, you should be able to do it on your tablet. That is our strategy – the mobile and the card. You don’t need to even come in here, whether it is to open an account, transfer, whatever it is that you can do at the bank, you should be able to do on your mobile. That is our simple strategy.
What is your strategy on agency banking?
We are steadily growing our agency banking network, especially for the unbanked. Ideally, agency banking works well in locations where you don’t have banking presence and where you can use major retailers in villages and others like them to offer financial services. We are developing that gradually and we believe that over time it would enable us to bring in more customers to the bank.
So far how many agency banking partners does the bank have?
We have over 1,000 agents across the country and we are still growing the network of agents.
So how is Zenith Bank optimising its various digital banking platforms to scale its operations in the retail segment of the market?
Zenith Bank has always been a technology driven bank that thrives on innovation. Our objective is to provide convenience for our customers to carry out their banking businesses using the latest technology and digital platform. We also provide different options for our customers to afford them a choice that best suit their circumstance. We have invested massively in digital banking and this is still on going.
How active is your bank in agriculture
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾AUGUST 12, 2018
Zenith is Well Positioned to Serve the Retail Segment of the Market with Our Wide Range of Innovative Digital Offerings ﬁnancing?
Zenith Bank is very active in Agricultural financing. We have funded customers in the primary agricultural farming for rice, maize, sugar, soya beans, and many others. Our total loans to agriculture is close to 10 per cent of our total loan portfolio.
But lending to the sector remains low...
Lending to the sector is growing. Compared to what obtained in the past, we are making significant progress. For example, the volume of rice importation in Nigeria has dropped significantly. Thanks to the various initiatives by the Central Bank and the banks. As at 2015, rice was number two in terms of foreign exchange consumption, but today, it has dropped.
There are concerns that banks have left their intermediation role, how is Zenith Bank balancing loans creation with value creation?
Banks are still very active in their intermediation roles. Intermediation includes deposit taking, granting loans and advances, investing in treasury bills, selling of BTA, PTA, foreign exchange etc. It is like somebody saying newspaper houses have left their core business of news gathering and are now focused on advertorials and spotlight. It is all part of the business. Whether you like it or not, there is no bank that can survive without lending. It is important for us to note that the funds in the banks do not belong to the banks. They belong to the depositors. So, we must handle it with utmost care and diligence. Banks must partake in the various roles listed above and also maintain some level of liquidity so as to meet customers’ obligations. So, you must still invest in treasury bills and you must still maintain cash. I actually disagree when people say banks are not lending. Check each of the banks today, what is their loan to deposit ratio? It is above 70 per cent. If you are already lending above 70 per cent of your deposits as loans, net of CRR, that is adequate. So, people need to look at figures and facts and the various regulatory ratios before they conclude that banks are not lending. Check across most of the banks, they have a loan-to-deposit ratio of about 70 per cent. That means that for every deposit you have, 70 per cent of it goes to loans. You don’t lend 100 per cent of your deposits. You don’t do that. And moreover and as I mentioned earlier a minimum of 22.5 per cent is already kept out of reach of banks by way of CRR. In terms of whether we are giving sufficient loans, I will say the banks have done well. Anybody can argue that maybe there is a concentration of the beneficiaries - that is a different matter entirely. But, over time, you will find out that once the top end is saturated, banks will be forced to come down market. You can see that before, individuals would always find it difficult to access credit, but now, it is available especially with the advent of the Credit Bureau and BVN. So, I think it is an evolution. We need to be patient and I believe the banks are doing well in terms of their primary role of intervention.
What progressive steps have you taken to enhance the banks ethical practices?
Having been on the board for more than a decade, I understand that to achieve the standard ethical practice we seek, there is need for clear and consistent communication across the board. We will continue to improve and strengthen our Corporate Governance practices and maintain the highest ethical standards in line with regulatory requirements and Code of Corporate Governance. We have a governance frame work that guides the board and management and this we strictly adhere to.
Corporate governance codes are going through a transition period in Nigeria, how difﬁcult has it been to adapt to international best practice standards?
The dynamics of financial business operations is converging globally. We operate in the UK and other countries, hence we must
adhere to global practices of governance at the highest level. The conferment of the Ethical Boardroom Best Corporate Governance Award on the bank is a clear testament to our adherence to global standards. This, no doubt, is borne out of our commitment to quality in all our dealings with various stakeholders.
Are you worried that your bank’s share is under priced?
Honestly, my mandate is to ensure that we deliver value to our various stakeholders. We will continue to run the bank diligently, keep depositors money safe, look at all our stakeholders - investors, depositors etc – and try as much as possible to deliver superior performance. That is really our mandate. The market will always take care of itself. We look at our business from a very long-term perspective.
There is no doubt that business thrive in a peaceful and predictable environment. However, it is important to note that we have had elections since 1999, and this should not
define the business environment or economy. Economic activities and businesses must continue irrespective of elections. Foreign investors do not panic because of elections after all Nigeria have witnessed several changes in our democracy. I believe we have gone beyond elections being a major factor in our economic and business activities and we have all learnt to move on whether there is an election or not. We are not going to pack our bags and say we are leaving because there is an election. Elections would be there, and the noise would be there, just like in any environment. The frenzy might be different, but elections would always come and go. Look at the United States elections and what it generated. The elections would come, and it would be peaceful and we would move on. So, we must learn to move on with our business. Just like in those days, I remember when we started our career in the 80s, once it is November, businesses start to wind down because they are waiting for the government to release the budget. Today, nobody bothers about that. You do your business up to a day to Christmas, come back after Christmas
Maybe by the end of the year, at best, we would achieve something close to 2 per cent Gross Domestic Product growth, which for a country that is developing and wants to grow, is no good news. If you look at even the United States that has a massive economy with a large base, they are still projecting GDP growth of ﬁve per cent and even want to do more. Look at India, the country is projecting GDP growth of above 8 per cent. For Nigeria to develop, we must target double digit in terms of GDP growth
and continue. So, it is part of the evolution and that the economy is growing beyond the public sector. Private sector is becoming much stronger and over time the private sector will become the dominant player and the driver of the economy.
So, in your opinion, what is responsible for the depreciation of shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange?
You know for now, foreign investors still dominate the market and the way they will look at the environment is different from how the domestic investors will look at it even though their investment objectives are aligned. If you (points at the interviewer) are an investor in the stock market, you will definitely not be thinking about how to exit. It is different from when you have a lot of foreign investors in the market, which is part of the danger if you don’t have a very good mix of both local and foreign. What you will see is that once there is any uncertainty in the economy or in the global economy, most time they fly. Unlike when you have predominantly the locals, no matter what it is, they are here, and are less mobile. During the Asian crisis, that was part of the problem. There was a flight to safety from Asia and the whole market basically collapsed. But again, we have to look at the fact that from an economic principle, Nigeria is just coming out of recession and the economy is still recovering. The increase in rates by the Federal Reserve Bank is also a major reason why investors in the market are exiting and hence the drop in the stock market.
Finally, what is your outlook for the economy for the remaining part of the year?
For the remaining part of the year, (less than 4 months) growth would likely be slow. Maybe by the end of the year, at best, we would achieve something close to 2 per cent Gross Domestic Product growth, which for a country that is developing and wants to grow, is no good news. If you look at even the United States that has a massive economy with a large base, they are still projecting GDP growth of five per cent and even want to do more. Look at India, the country is projecting GDP growth of above 8 per cent. For Nigeria to develop, we must target double digit in terms of GDP growth.
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾AUGUST 12, 2018
On Sustaining the Gains of Treasury Single Account Sylva Okolieaboh
n the annals of fundamental reforms in Nigeria, few have captured public attention like the Treasury Single Account (TSA). Rarely has a government policy commanded the sort of mass appeal and elevated expectation as the TSA has done. In it, Nigerians invested their hope for a new order in public finance management; and on its shoulders, they placed the burden of defenestrating a profligate past. This short post takes stock of our TSA journey highlighting key achievements and challenges; and sets agenda for the future. Treasury Single Account or TSA, for short, is a unified banking arrangement that allows for centralized management of all cash resources. It can be a single bank account or a set of linked bank accounts provided there is central control and oversight. Centralization makes for ease of consolidation of all cash balances and therefore earns TSA its place as a powerful cash management tool. Although TSA can be maintained in one or more commercial bank(s), the Federal Government opted for a Central Bank domiciled TSA. The underlying reasons for this are outside the scope this post. TSA is built on the principles of the unity of cash and of the treasury. Unity of cash is founded on the fungibility, or exchangeability of cash which means that any cash can be exchanged for another irrespective of purpose. Unity of the treasury means that at each level of government, there can only be one treasury notwithstanding that there may be multiple arms of government. Leveraging on technology, TSA is being implemented simultaneously with a multi-channel online electronic collection (e-collection) system that sweeps all receipts to relevant accounts at Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in real time. TSA applies to all funds of all entities of the federal government be it proceeds of debt, donations, budgetary allocation, fees, charges, earmarked funds and all other funds for which the entity has primary responsibility for custody of the underlying cash. The consolidation of cash flows from all these sources gives government a clear picture of its cash position and increases liquidity. Fragmentedbanking arrangement is costly. It leaves significant cash assets of government out of treasury oversight and control. Government borrowing is done in complete ignorance of actual government cash position leading to borrowing and incurring interest when there was no need to borrow in the first place. Excess cash balances that should ordinarily be invested to earn interest are left idle because the Treasury is unaware of their existence. This, in a nutshell, is the underlying rationale for TSA: effective cash management. The implementation of TSA has brought immense, tangible, measurable and verifiable benefits. First on the list is huge savings on interest charges. As at the last count, TSA saves government over N42 billion monthly on Ways and Means charges. Ways and Means is overdraft facility that the Central Bank is statutorily mandated to extend to government to bridge temporary cash short falls. Second, TSA has improved government liquidity position. Consolidation of government cash balances under the control and oversight of the Treasury and implementation of nationwide real time whole-of-government cash collection means that every kobo is immediately paid into government coffers and available for budget implementation. Loss of government money by theft of physical cash whether by man, snake, rat or armed robbers have drastically reduced, if not totally eliminated. Gone were the days when bullion vans conveying government cash were high jacked in transit. On the monetary policy side, the near total withdrawal of federal government cash from commercial banks has reduced both inflationary and exchange rate pressures. These are just a few of the many empirical benefits of implementing TSA over the past three years. The road to TSA was, expectedly, paved with nearinsurmountable challenges from both expected and unexpected quarters and sources. Thanks to the support of Mr. President, the Vice President and the Honourable Minister of Finance, the journey was made easier and the road smoother. For ease of discussion, these challenges are grouped into three: institutional, operational and technological. Institutional challenges relate to those arising from inter-agency relations, conflicts in agency mandates as well as dysfunctions arising from how participating agencies interpret their roles. Stakeholders in the TSA project have different understanding of their roles; and have acted, sometimes, in manners that undermine rather than promote the cause of the policy. This is the reason parties
to a project of the scale and magnitude of the TSA operate under a well-documented Memorandum of Understanding or Service Level Agreement that not only spell out responsibilities of parties but also sets out the boundaries within which each party performs its roles. Institutional challenges also manifest in the form of wrong assumptions about the scope of the TSA and to what extent the Treasury can exercise control over the financial operations of government entities and whether specific agencies given their legal status and mode of funding are within or outside the scope of the TSA. Although the Presidential directive on TSA communicated through the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation Circular of 7th August, 2015 and the TSA Guidelines approved by the Vice President and issued by the OAGF tried to clear all conceivable doubts about the universal application of the TSA across all arms and MDAs of the Federal Government; these assumptions have defied all efforts to lay them to well-deserved rest. Operational challenges are those originating from the interaction of institutions and individuals with established TSA processes and procedures. It manifests in the form of wrong interpretation of processes, misapplication of business rules and non-compliance with agreed guidelines. Some of the very common examples of operational challenges are lump sum transfer of MDA balances by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) which made it difficult for affected entities to access their funds; transfer and payment of funds to the wrong TSA account; and the perverse interpretation of institutional financial autonomy vis-à-vis the principle of the unity of cash and of the Treasury. Operational challenges are associated with the way processes, procedures, rules and guidelines are interpreted and applied in the course of discharging individual and institutionalresponsibilities.The interaction of each participant with the TSA is ultimately informed by his understanding of these basic elements.What is TSA? Why was CBN chosen as TSA bank? Why were banks instructed to transfer funds to TSA using specified payment gateway? Must sub-accounts exist as physical CBN bank accounts or as virtual front-end sub-accounts with appropriate controls? Does operating within the TSA erode the autonomy of the National Assembly, the Judiciary, Independent National Electoral Commission, and other constitutionally established bodies? There are, of course, no universally acceptable answers to these questions, and I wish to leave them open-ended. The last set of challenges relate to the information and communication technology (ICT) tools that drive the TSA. TSA is an ICT-intensive endeavour and it is to be expected that a few pain points would arise from this
front. Positive user experience is an essential element in the mix of syntactic sugar necessary to get the buy-in and eventual ownership of the entire TSA project by MDAs, the partners, stakeholders and the public at large. Users at all levels want fast, reliable and secure connection and transaction processing. Inadequate ICT infrastructure leading to slow consummation of transactions and generation of reports is one lingering ICT challenge begging for solution. Moreover, the sheer scale of the TSA and the deluge of financial and non-financial data generated in the process create an opportunity for effective data mining, analysis and management to support fiscal and monetary policy formulation. It also aids reporting, accountability and transparency. The ICT infrastructure in use is yet to rise to this challenge. The good news is that the odds are in favour of TSA sustainability judging from its antecedents. Conceived in 2004, TSA has survived four regimes and two political parties.When a reform enjoys popular appeal; is publicly adopted, owned and protected; it becomes a public trust reducing the operators to mere custodians and trustees with limited ability to deviate from its core objectives. Discussions are on-going with relevant stakeholders towards addressing all observed challenges. There is going to be better coordination and integration with core cash management activities to further optimize the benefits derived from cash resources,properly align borrowing plans and further reduce cost. The political environment has been outstandingly favourable with the Presidency standing as a bulwark. The National Assembly is beginning to pay attention and to provide the much needed parliamentary support and positive vibes that leave nothing but hope in the horizon. There are otherpointers to the prospects of long term sustenance of the TSA. Its implementation so far has relied exclusively on local resources; human and material. Unlike similar projects undertaken by the public sector, the implementation team is made up of civil servants. The major ICT gateway driving the TSA is wholly developed, owned and managed by Nigerians. There is no better time than now to incinerate the pernicious mismanagement of the past and usher in a new era of responsible public financial management in Nigeria. For those of us who have been called to midwife the new era, it is nothing but a labour of love. TSA shall live up to public expectation.
– Okolieaboh, FCA is Director, TSA, Ofﬁce of the Accountant-General of the Federation and a public ﬁnancial management Expert. The views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the author.
T H I S D AY Ë¾ SUNDAT AUGUST 12, 2018
THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER ˾UGUST 12, 2018
Hoisting Ortom with his Own Petard Sufuyan Ojeifo
watched on the Nigeria TelevisionAuthority, NTA, on Monday, July 30, 2018, shortly before the network news at 9 O’clock, a repeat telecast of the press conference addressed by the national chair of theAll Progressives Congress (APC), ComradeAdams Oshiomhole, on the Benue state governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom’s July 25 defection to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The press conference, which took place at the party’s national secretariat on Friday, July 27, 2018, packed in it the force, velocity and magnitude of a grenade. Someone even said it was an atomic bomb, judging by the extent of the collateral damage that it seemingly caused to Ortom’s political rating. Oshiomhole had simply hoisted Ortom with his own petard. Surely, the governor’s agenda was to destroy the APC platform in Benue. But Oshiomhole had quickly risen to the occasion and turned the table against him. In a tirade of counter narratives, he deconstructed Ortom’s deliberately-choreographed theatrics about people blocking the road and telling him not to go to Abuja to meet with the APC national leadership. To the APC national chair, the histrionics were aimed at validating and rationalising Ortom’s obvious bad faith and consequent defection. He, however, dismissed them as pieces of comedy probably fit for Nollywood. It was obvious that Ortom had made up his mind to jump ship, for which Oshiomhole expressed relief. Ortom’s alleged non-performance had become a moral burden to the party. Fielding him, notwithstanding his perceived electoral baggage, would have become an albatross to the party. Besides, that he left, despite assurances by the national leadership of the APC that the party did not have a red but yellow card, was indicative of an under-the-table agenda. In a fit of righteous indignation, Oshiomhole had not only exposed Ortom’s shenanigans but also denied him the electoral values that he claims to have and which he desperately seeks to put to test on the platform of his new party. Indeed, the Oshiomhole-Ortom showdown is the kind of stuff of which the 2019 electioneering will be made: those seeking re-election will be rewarded and rejected on the basis of their performance and non-performance respectively. Besides, those who are offering themselves afresh for election will be thoroughly interrogated to confirm and reconfirm their capacities to perform and deliver on
Ortom campaign promises. In the race for 2019 elections, it would be quite interesting if the parties can draw public attention to the stewardships of their elected officials. There should be cross-party interrogations of performances and capacities anchored on cogent and verifiable facts. Those who seek to govern or represent the people must be made to imbibe the sense of accountability to the people who voted for them. In this instant case, all gloves were off, yes, there were no more niceties. Ortom had crossed the Rubicon and created the impression that the APC had spurned good faith in its relationship with him. Oshiomhole would not accept that suggestion, knowing full well the specifics of Ortom’s foibles and how they had affected the party’s profile somewhat negatively. It was like throwing down the gauntlet to the APC and Oshiomhole. Trust Oshiomhole not to fight shy. He confronted the issues. He did not to speak tongue-in-cheek. He said that after the national leadership first met separately with Ortom and the other group, there was need to meet both parties together so they could speak looking into each other’s eyes. The meeting, according to him, was arranged
for Wednesday, July 25, 2018, at the behest of Ortom but he decided, instead of coming for the meeting, to engage in the now historic monkeyshines. Firing from the hips, Oshiomhole said that the APC leaders in Benue alleged that Ortom had not performed and that there was nothing on ground to justify his being given the governorship ticket. Besides, if he must be fielded at all costs, he would have to work for the ticket. Interestingly, those who watched the repeat telecast of the press conference can attest to the claim by Oshiomhole that Ortom did not deny the fact that he did not have any project on ground to show for the more than three years that he has governed the state. Nothing could be more scandalous against the backdrop of the whopping sums that had been received by the state under his watch. Perhaps, the report about the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigating the governor in respect of over N20 billion allegedly spent on security issues would give an insight into the scale of alleged misappropriation in Benue. But, Ortom had challenged the EFCC to start the probe of security votes from the presidency. Sincerely, how can anybody rationalise such humongous expenditure on security and yet the state is not secure? How can anybody justify that kind of mind-boggling and iniquitous expenditure? How can anybody defend the unconscionable leadership in Benue? If it is, indeed, true that no single project had been commissioned in three years of Ortom’s governorship, what greater damage could he have done to himself? Oshiomhole had damningly put the narrative thus: “There are some of these facts that are in the public domain and we just need to amplify them; that he has not commissioned a single project is not a secret for me to discover. The only issue is his argument that he is spending money on security issues. He did not say that he was sharing the money with party leaders….” And, he certainly could not have shared the money with party leaders because if he did, that would have even been a good reason for them to give him a return ticket on a guaranteed term. That was Oshiomhole’s argument. If, therefore, he did not share the money with them, what then did he do with the money? Did he pay the salaries of workers? Did he build more roads for the people of Benue with the money that he refused to share? These are logical questions. –Ojeifo writes via firstname.lastname@example.org (See concluding part on www.thisdaylive.com)
T H I S D AY Ë¾ SUNDAT AUGUST 12, 2018
AUGUST 12, 2018 Ë¾THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER
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WEEKLY PULL PULL-OUT OUT
Kayode Adegbola Renewing Bola Igeâ€™s Political Dynasty ASSISTANT EDITOR OLUFUNKE OLAODEemail@example.com
T H I S DAY, T H E S U N DAY N E W S PA P E R ˾ͯͯ,ͰͮͯͶ
The Grandson Stepping into Bola Ige’s Shoes Deliberate in approach and shrewd in action, Kayode Adegbola is a newera Nigerian politician and the grandson on of one of Nigeria’s political grandmasters. Adegbola – 27 years old – who is gunning for the Ogun State House of Assembly to represent Yewa North is a by-product of an illustrious name – the late Chief Bola Ige ge (SAN), one of Nigeria’s most dynamic democrats of his era, whose sophistication ophistication and oratory negated the sophistry of many pedestrian politicians cians of his time. Adegbola, Ige’s grandson, has begun to show that no one nee ever says never in the Ige political dynasty. Brimming with ideass aand nd ppassion, assion, Adegbola, in an interview, spoke about his life in the shadow adow w of his grandfather and an nd his hiss political ambitions. Funke Olaode captured ptu ured the moments in this piece piecce
nce upon a time, there lived a Cicero of Esa Oke – if you did not know, that was Chief Bola Ige (SAN). He was a brilliant lawyer, an enchanting orator, a charming politician and an indefatigable administrator. He was a true leader of men. Yet, he was a mortal and so he was murdered. Though the man died, his legacy and ideals live on. Not only his children, ardent followers and supporters have continued to propagate his essence, even his grandchildren have an insight on the pedigree the late sage, Ige, left behind. The enduring characteristic of a true leader is found in his ability – alive or dead – to produce other leaders. It is not certain whether if alive, the late patriarch of the Iges would have wanted one of his most beloved grandsons to take a plunge into the deep blue sea of Nigeria’s politics which is often infested with political sharks. If Ige dared to be a politician and man of the people, Kayode Adegbola’s desire will not be different. His grandfather, a one-time attorney general of the federation and minister of justice was an enigma with unflinching faith in quality education. The late Ige once held sway as the governor of the old Oyo. Since Ige died almost 17 years ago, none of his offspring has shown keen interest in politics. Although his surviving eldest son, Muyiwa Ige, an architect became a commissioner
gbesola’s first term during Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s in office. Muyiwa had also attempted to be the governor of Osun State. Today, not a few believee that the Ige o witness a political dynasty is about to on, Adegbola – a resurrection as his grandson, owing in his lawyer – appears to be following ng to represent his grandpa’s footstep by vying n the Ogun Sta ate t constituency, Yewa North in State House of Assembly. Young and insightful, his passion for nique; well leadership and service is unique; grounded both in academicc and dence humanity, he exudes confidence n and humility. Adegbola, an alumnus of The Vale College, Ibadan, also attended Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, where he studied law. Thereafter, he was back in his gerian fatherland to attend the Nigerian Law School. iable Nevertheless, his insatiable m quest for knowledge has moved him institutiionss to attend more prestigious institutions ch hoo ooll of o across the globe: London School iencce; Economics and Political Science; ursh ur hip Management, Entrepreneurship arvaard d and Global Leadership, Harvard y University, John F. Kennedy ecutive School of Government, Executive Education; among others.
Adegbola as a toddler with grandfather, the late Chief Ajibola Ige
AUGUST 11, 2018 ˾T H I S DAY, T H E S U N DAY N E W S PA P E R
Adegbola on graduation day with Chief Bisi Akande a and nd La Lai ai Mo Mohammed
The political dynast dynasty ty o off Bo Bola Ige never died. That is why every suc successive cces government shows an interes interest in reopening his murder case case. His name, spirit and ideals live on, and they haunt tho those that should be haunted
Adegbola with family-L-R- Mum, Funso Adegbola (nee Ige) father, Gbenro Adegbola and younger sister, Ayotunde
Being Bola Ige’s Grandson, A Responsibility Not Liability Adegbola seems to be re-creating history Adegb Ad trac tr aciing h – tracing his grandfather’s footsteps in more t an a sym th than symbolic or political way. Following his education he began his career as an associate education, with Bola Ige & Co., a legal firm founded by the late Ig Ige in Ibadan (Oyo State) between 2 12 and 22014. During his time there he was 20 2012 involve in litigation with focus on debt in involved r cove re ve for Nigerian commercial banks. recovery I a In addition, he was a member of the tteam te ea that represented a governorship cca a candidate up to the Supreme Court. In March 2016, following his ex exploits in private legal practice, he v ventured into public service. He wa appointed as executive assistant was E to the Executive Secretary/CEO of Lagos Emp State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Akin Oyebod o e. The LSETF is a N25 billion social Oyebode. fun setup by Lagos State with a impact fund goal of cre creating employment. Adegbola has demonstr demonstrated acuity and empathy in his h is reputed to go the extra mile to role and he th common good. Ige’s grandson is achieve the se also the secretary of the Governing Council Lag g State Employability Support of the Lagos Programm a $4 million project designed to Programme, upskill the unemployed and underemployed, partner in partnership with UNDP. With aan accomplished career and a promising future in his field, why does Ige’s g andson want to represent Yewa North? gr grandson W at gaps Wh gap did he see that he wants to feel? “I What first saw a village in which my grandfather, th late te R t Rev. Adegbola was born and raised, the Rt. wond d and wondered if he would have had the opportuni that he did, if he did not have opportunities educat an education, or perhaps if he was not ‘lucky’. I saw an o opportunity to use whatever little influence, resources, knowledge and network i I have to improve the quality of life of my kinsmen,” he said. Howe However, Adegbola admitted that he is seekin a political office to revive what not seeking many see as the moribund dynasty of his grandfath He pointed out: “The political grandfather. dynasty o of Bola Ige never died. That is why succ every successive government shows an interest in reopening his murder case. His name, spi spirit and ideals live on, and they haunt those that should be haunted. In addition, o a few people who grew up in there are only the 1970s and 1980s that can say they did not fro or know of his free education benefit from policy as tthe governor of Oyo State. He also
mentored hundreds of his younger friends, who are keeping the flag flying today.” Having a grandfather who had such an accomplished political career tends to create a burden of expectations. Does he sometimes feel the pressure and feel that his grandfather’s shoes are too big for him to step into? The 27-years-old has a different view: “I always say that my grandfather left shoes too large to fill, and if I can be half the man that he was, I would be considered a great man. I have always had a passion for service; I have also been politically active since I was a teenager. Now it just happened to be the right time, in my view, to offer myself for service to the people of Yewa North. Also, my heritage gives me more of a sense of responsibility, than a feeling of pressure. I have to be responsible to and for myself, to and for others.” Recalling his memories of the late Ige, Adegbola narrated: ”My grandfather was much disciplined, and very loving. I knew him to fast on most days, and he had much ease to saying no to the things that he was uncomfortable with. He certainly mastered himself. He also cherished his children and grandchildren very much – he was a doting father and grandfather. I had a very blissful 11 years with my grandfather before he passed away. He loved all his grandchildren very much, and did not hold back showing it. He was very expressive. We spent many Christmases together. He also never forgot our birthdays, and would send handwritten note to us if he couldn’t see us on the day.” Beyond the Ige factor, Adegbola possesses an unassailable pedigree. “Personally, I like to think I am kind and considerate towards the plight of others. With all sense of modesty, I have taken the time to engage with the people of my community and the peculiarities of the community itself,” he explained. According to him, passion and service to humanity are more important to him than a fleeting ambition. The grandson of Ige said, “I am man of the people who is constantly in touch with his root. There are ideals of lge that I hope to replicate. One of them is qualitative education for our primary and secondary school students. I will be very happy to achieve a fraction of his charisma as well. I recently ran a scholarship examination under the auspice of the Kayode Adegbola Education Support Fund. Two deserving students, one boy and one girl, won the 2018 Kayode
Adegbola Scholarship to attend The Vale College, the secondary school I attended.” Adegbola may be seen as a new kid on the block but he has been learning at the feet of not a few political heavyweights and when he talks about them do not conclude that he is just dropping names. “Governor Akeredolu of Ondo State is one of my mentors. I had the privilege of an internship in his law firm while I was a law student. I also volunteered my time and resources in his 2012 governorship campaign and subsequent election petition up to the Supreme Court. We have kept a very close mentor-mentee relationship since then. The Governor-elect of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, is another of my mentors; and so is Governor Amosun of my dear Ogun State. I keep a close ‘grandfather-grandson’ relationship with Chief Bisi Akande – and I also admire people like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Rauf Aregbesola and the current Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed,” the young politician said. With Nigeria’s politics populated by few youths and a horde of old men and women, Adegbola noted: “Young people make up a vast majority of the Nigerian population, and there is strength in numbers. I think that there are not enough of us young people actively participating in politics and nationbuilding, and as such, one of the things I hope to achieve is inspiring other young people to get involved. I think women and youth participation in politics is very important. I have a group of 10 coordinators, out of which about six are women. I have a leaning towards women in politics. I think they are better team players.” With his gaze fixed on the immediate future, Adegbola is not ruling out the possibility of being the governor of Ogun State. But for now, his focus is on serving his constituency. “I am focusing on my run for the House of Assembly now. If or when I win, and whether the people I hope to serve are confident in my service will be the factor that will help determine the future. But ultimately, I have long surrendered my today and tomorrow into the hands of the Almighty God, my creator,” Adegbola philosophised. As the interview comes to an end, Ige’s grandson has a message of hope for Nigerians: “I bring a message of hope, and not one of despair. The future might seem bleak, but with the right leadership, Nigeria will rise again.
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Akin Oyebode: How I Missed Being Wole Soyinka’s Student at UI The trophies, plaques, certificates shimmered in their respective places on the shelf, wall, and a table; just as framed certificates of awards adorned the glittering wall of his office. They are not from Toronto or Oluwole. Here, all that glitters is gold. Every glistening item in the office represents moments of industry, inventiveness, intellect, and perseverance of a man that gives his best and does not leave the rest. With silvery moustache and beard gracefully sitting atop his upper lip and chin, respectively, he exudes the elegance and ebullience of youth and old age. As a teacher not many may be as prolific and proficient as Prof. Akin Oyebode. In an interview with the erudite scholar and retired professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, the septuagenarian talks about the thrilling episodes of his illustrious life. Oyebode lives and breathes law – though it has not always been like that – writes Funke Olaode, who explores the life and times of a legal luminary following his retirement – at the age of 70 – at the University of Lagos
e ranks among the best in Nigeria’s academia, traversing the field like a colossus for 44 years. His seeming ageless features, unrelenting zeal to excel, the hunger to conquer new turfs and unwavering belief in God are the major characteristics that set him apart. The distinguished legal giant, indefatigable researcher, prodigious author with an unassailable integrity, Prof. Akin Oyebode, beams with pride – the kind that engenders humility as evident in his words: “Providence steered me into law. I had wanted to study at the University of Ibadan because of the newly appointed Director of the School of Drama, Wole Soyinka in 1967.” Eventually becoming a proud teacher of law, he has the singular honour of teaching more than 60 Senior Advocates of Nigeria, 35 law professors – Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, was
one of his students. As much as he could, he tried to play down his early privileged life sharing the same neighbourhood with the Europeans. “To date, I’d call myself an ‘ex-ajebota’. I lived in GRA, Ikeja, when it had only four African families and all the streets were named after the Europeans. We lived in the renamed Ladoke Akintola Street. Funny enough, we were prevented from attending White schools like Grange and Corona. It was purely for the colonialists. So the colonialists devised a school for people like us that did not belong to their social circle. So my primary school is right behind Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral.” To the law guru, who retired at 70 last year at the University of Lagos, the schools a child attends matter a lot. He illustrated this with his personal experience. “The school that I went to more than anything shaped my life. I went to Christ School in Ado-Ekiti –the
same school my father attended. Most of my siblings attended that school too. I think the school you went to, the friends you make growing up –people of like minds –will no doubt make a significant impact in one’s life,” he recalled. Nothing prepared him for a career in law. An inventive mind, he wanted to be an engineer. Then again, he was struck by the genius of Wole Soyinka in the arts. What a crossroads that must have been for a young mind. The septuagenarian explained how he chose his eventual career path. “Honestly, providence steered me into law. In those days, we had teachers from the best schools all over the world, Cambridge, Oxford, Yale. In school, I wanted to be an engineer. In fact, I read Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Physics (MMP). But I had this American teacher who taught us English. He called me one day and said I was wasting my time in Pure
Mathematics, Additional Mathematics and Physics – that I would end up just being an ordinary engineer. But if I read humanity I would excel. That was how I switched from engineering to humanity and I have not regretted that decision,” Oyebode narrated. But he was not done. Speaking further on the matter, he pointed out: “Again, I was very lucky to go to Christ School, though most people saw me more like a rascal. But l later became house captain, prefect and had very high scholastic records at school. I had a distinction in English which was a feat in those days. I ought to have read English and Drama because I had fallen in love with Wole Soyinka in school. In fact, I produced two of his plays when I was 19. I got admission into the University of Ibadan in 1967 to read English and Drama because Soyinka was the director of the School of Drama at UI then. Providence would later push me to attend
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My Experience Teaching Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Others an interview at the Nigerian Institute for International Affairs (NIIA). The former Director of the NIIA, Dr. Lawrence Fabunmi, advised me to abandon English and go for International Law. He said, ‘at a drop of a hat if you want a Bachelor of Arts from Ekiti you can get 30’. But he said he didn’t know any Ekiti person who had studied International Law.” Encounter with Dr. Fabunmi no doubt altered his destiny for good. Afterwards, he got a scholarship to go to the Soviet Union. Among about 250 who were interviewed only five individuals were selected. He was one of them. Oyebode admitted: “Dr. Fabunmi was instrumental in my taking up the scholarship. Three days later, I was air-borne to Russia to study International Law.” As a 19-year-old, who was leaving the shores of Nigeria to travel to Russia for the first time, not a few events awaited him – such moments as he recollected too soon. “Well, I was 19 years old and just finished my HSC when I landed in Moscow. There are some culture shocks starting from the plane. I looked at the letters of USSR and I thought ‘is this the language I am going to learn?’ I had studied Latin in school and I picked up the language fast. Then in my time you can imagine young Nigerians going to the Eastern Europe. It was a learning process in terms of culture, climate – it was a different society. So, studying in a European society ignited in me panAfricanism, black power as a defence mechanism and coping strategy for survival in that kind of the environment. And of course, we have the Nigerian Embassy. I didn’t study in Moscow. I was sent to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine now. “It was full of trying times because of the strangeness of the environment and the attitude of the people as if we just dropped from the sky into their country. They never believed we had perquisite preparation for university education. We had to tell them that we were some of the best and brightest from our country that coming to Russia didn’t mean that we didn’t have universities back home. But the Russians thought they did us a great favour because we were on scholarship – there was a lot of envy. The girls also liked us – which again wasn’t a comfortable scenario with the Russians when they saw us with their Ukrainian girls,” he recalled. Did he ever think he would end up in the classroom or at what stage did he develop passion for teaching? “I went to Russia in 1967 and came back in 1973. As a student, I had very great teachers and my role model was Prof. Lucas – a fellow who taught me International Law and who supervised my master’s project. He was an authority on the Law of Treaties and the way he charmed us: well dressed, he would come to class with small index cards and would take you through the rudiments of international law within an hour and when you got back to the hostel and pick the text book you would see how much he had covered. He lectured without notes. I said that is the type of person I wanted to be. He was an inspiration – his intellect was awe-inspiring. He was a great jurist. He was a member of the International Law Commission. “I remember the day he came back from Vienna and came straight into our class. This was 1969. He exclaimed and said a new star was born in International Law. He was referring to Justice Elias who had just made a mark at the International Court. You could literally see my head was swelling in a class of students from 42 different countries and a Nigerian was singled out. Elias never studied international law. Elias’ doctorate was on
land law. But he read it up and became a master. Justice Elias became the Minster of Justice and Attorney General – and later Chief Justice of Nigeria. More significant, he became the judge of the International Court of Justice. All those things affected us in terms of aspirations and impacted on us that the sky is not the limit for any young Nigerians who have aspiration and capacity to actualize his dreams,” Oyebode pointed out. By the time he returned to Nigeria at the age of 26 in 1973 – drawing inspiration from Lucas and Elias – his career path was already laid out. “I came straight to the University of Lagos, faculty of law. I was the youngest lecturer in the faculty. I was only 26 and we shared offices. But I must pay tribute to the man who actually offered me the job – Prof. Kasumu. He was the dean and had just come from the University of Ife. When I assumed duty the authority thought I was going to the Law School. I said they should bury the thought that I came to Unilag to become an academic. Again, Prof. Kasumu believed that after spending so much time in Europe I deserved some exposure to Western Jurisprudence. This man got me admitted into Harvard Law School. Again, a friend and confidant, the late Prof. Jelili Omotola, who became the dean at the faculty, also insisted that I must go and work for my doctorate. I had thought I didn’t need it after the double-barreled qualifications. He advised me that having a PhD is another qualification and is established for a purpose. That is how I left for Toronto, Canada, for my doctoral degree,” he narrated. Just as his impact was felt throughout
his 44 years at the citadel of learning, his home state, Ado-Ekiti, also benefitted from his expertise as he helped it to establish the University of Ado-Ekiti’s faculty of law – following the persuasion of his former student – former Governor of the state, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo. He would later serve as a dean of the faculty and then the vice-chancellor of the institution. For a man whose life is filled with thrilling moments, it may be difficult to single out certain achievement or period in his career that he cherishes most. Without thinking long and hard though, he pinpointed 2010 – when he got international recognition. The international law and jurisprudence scholar shed more light on that: “I became a professor 26 years ago. The high point in my life was when I gave my inaugural lecture some six years ago – it was the high point being an academic. But the high point of my career was when the African Union briefed and gave me the mandate to draft the Trans-border Cooperation Treaty for Africa in 2010. I had to shuttle between Nigeria and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. The treaty was signed two years ago. To be briefed by the entire African continent to do a job for the continent was challenging. I faced stiff competition among many other legal experts but I won and my draft was adopted and now at the Convention of the African Union.” Do not be fooled that his life is all about academics and law. Oyebode is a man of flesh and understands the mandate given to Adam in Eden. That mandate he exercised with his
I became a professor 26 years ago... the high point being an academic. But the high point of my career was when the African Union briefed and gave me the mandate to draft the Transborder Cooperation Treaty for Africa in 2010. I had to shuttle between Nigeria and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. The treaty was signed two years ago. To be briefed by the entire African continent to do a job for the continent was challenging. I faced stiff competition among many other legal experts but I won and my draft was adopted and now at the Convention of the African Union wonderful wife culminating in the birth and nurturing of three accomplished children – two of them are lawyers. “The firstborn, Akin Oyebode – an economist – is the Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Youth Employment Trust Fund. He provides loans for young entrepreneurs and starts-up. My other son is a senior associate and group leader with a top law firm. My daughter – the youngest – works for an international firm in Lagos,” the proud father disclosed. So, what would he have done differently were he to restart his life? “It has not been a bad experience. God has favoured me tremendously. I don’t know what else I would ask for. Why should I change a winning formula that has worked for me?” he wondered. If that is the case, is there something he regrets in life? He answered: “I was fresh from Europe when I joined Unilag – a week to my 26th birthday. I have made my own contribution and I have bowed out in style. Unilag has given me the leverage and place to stand on, to impact the world. I have had a fulfilling career and I have no regret.”
AUGUST 12, 2018 ˾T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R
WITH LANRE ALFRED 08076885752
...Amazing lifestyles of Nigeria’s rich and famous
From Politics to the Pulpit... Remi Tinubu Becomes a Pastor
he idea that only a cleric can represent Christ at the altar is a most serious heresy in the parlance of the Nigerian politician. And the Biblical question: “When the son of man comes, will he ﬁnd faith on the earth?” resonates within and beyond Nigeria’s increasingly populated Christendom. The evangelical calling, to borrow the words of brand strategist extraordinaire, Leke Alder, is now populated by magicians in robes, economic opportunists in cassocks, ecclesiastical predators in surplices and charlatans in collars. However, amid the hordes of prosperity hunters, a select few consciously distinguish their messages from the gospel of errant peer. These select few clerics would rather tow the path of holiness and reason and win more souls for heaven. They do not bend or lust for the lure of material things or hard currencies. Yes, she is currently preaching salvation and righteousness and devoting the better part of her days to preaching and living God’s word. When next you run into Senator Oluremi Tinubu, your salutation might not be complete if you didn’t address her as Pastor Tinubu. The ordination of the senator was one piece of news that received media mention last Tuesday. To many who did not have a glimpse into the religious activities of the politician, ordaining Tinubu as an Assistant Pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God came as a
surprise. In fact, no sooner had images of the ordination, which featured her, her husband and the General Overseer of the RCCG, hit the internet than cynics went on dismissive conspiracy theories. Some opined it was honorary but it turned out to be a substantial title, which Pastor Remi indeed merits because she is not only a committed member of RCCG but has been worker in the church and took all the required courses to be eligible for the pastural role. Those who are acquainted with her ways before her husband, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, became a political juggernaut always testify to her desire to work in God’s vineyard. She was said to have unadulterated penchant for preaching and winning souls. Before political demands took her to Abuja, she was said to have always preached to both the low and mighty who besieged their Bourdillon home on a daily basis. An inside source even hinted that she always say to people that the day she gets her husband converted would be one of her greatest moment in life. Asiwaju was born into a Muslim home and still practises Islam to date. The couple has been married for over 31 years, and has never been separated for a day. They are often cited as a symbol of unity of faiths. Remi was reportedly instrumental to the creation of Lagos State Thanksgiving Service, which is annually oﬃciated by Pastor Enoch Adeboye.
Another Son for Femi Otedola
Femi Otedola, the billionaire oil mogul, nurtures a robust interest in the humane. He does not turn a blind eye to the needy. Rather he pays attention to their needs. And in this respect, his generosity proclaims him. He embarks on a humanitarian odyssey like a kind of poet and painter whose imagination is unclipped. He paints picturesque scenes in lives severely marred by squalor; he encrusts bleakness in shiny varnish and, as he is able, he seeks to mend small damaged lives here and there. The humanitarian side of the Chairman of Forte Oil has been taking the better part of him lately; and he does appear as someone whose philanthropy does not seem to be ebbing any time
soon. It is not that Otedola has a new biological son but he has added to the list of people whose well-being and growth he has chosen to shoulder the responsibility. Here is how the story goes: Otedola had attended a comedy show hosted by Kenny Blaq in Eko Hotels in company of his daughters last Sunday. He was sitting in a vantage position to see a very talented kid rap in a captivating manner. Impressed by his wizardry, Otedola reached out to the managers of the wonderkid named Megabyte. He invited the boy to his office few days later, and had a discussion with him. Inspired by the boy’s gift and smartness, Otedola promised
to help make his dream a reality. He demonstrated his large-heartedness by deciding to foot boy’s education bills up to the university. He also encouraged the boy to reach out to him when the need arises, as he is readily available to assist in his music cancer. Otedola has recently upped the ante of his philanthropic gestures. The billionaire businessman instituted a N200 million scholarship scheme as intervention in the educational sector in 2008. Like his late father, Sir Michael Otedola, Femi is a generous soul with a heart for the less privileged and the challenged. His munificence is a testament to the fact that kindness runs in the DNA of the Otedolas.
Men Who Stuck Daggers in John Darlington’s Back John Darlington currently blows hot because he believes he was betrayed for cool cash. If his beliefs are true, then there would never be a turncoat in human form that could cause his heart to cringe from ensnaring vile as his estranged friend and benefactor. Darlington, former managing director of defunct Bond Bank, has a hole in his heart, and the hole was caused by a sharp-edged dagger stabbed deeply into him by those he trusted and even helped to attain enviable careers in the banking industry when he bestrode it like a colossus. Darlington who was almost consumed in the furnace of
betrayal, narrated how he got caught in a web of corporate politics that destroyed all he laboured for just as he dined with some dudes with a short spoon. According to the former bank guru, he was deliberately roped into the fraud case involving a former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, in an attempt to wrest Bond Bank, his brainchild, from him. Darlington was arrested in 2005 for what was termed concealment and conversion of N1.16billion allegedly belonging to Balogun. That event signalled the beginning of a tortuous journey down to the abyss for him. While providence was sympathetic to him, his health and name suffered
gravely. His health deteriorated as he slid into depression. Since banking is about character, name and integrity, his career got destroyed, losing everything. His fellow board members whom he was counting on as support structure sold out. Efforts to revive his life hit wall because each time he attempted to do international business due diligence carried out on him by prospective partners would throw up unpalatable tags since the internet never forgets. For 13 years, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission mined and combed everywhere to look for implicating evidence to buttress their allegation and nail him but to no avail.
AUGUST 12, 2018 ˾T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R
Bliss Activated! Jite Okoloko’s New Wife Rewards Him with a Set of Twins
ong before the current agricultural revolution aimed at diversifying the Nigerian economy, Jite Okoloko had been hailed as the champion of Africa’s food revolution. The appellation was no earned. Jite is a very hardworking dude, no doubt. However, Salma Okoloko, his beautiful wife, is gifted in love. Like the fabled enchanter from the renaissance era, she has got Jite, the head honcho of Notore Chemical Industries Plc, forever pacing the Hadrian’s wall of her shoulder and dreaming of her maiden castle. In the same breath, she has got him perpetually hooked on her cocktail of love. Since his eyes held with hers and they experienced their ﬁrst touch, she sent shockwaves of love through his veins like radiant energy. Thus Jide became a string to be played by the nimble ﬁngers of Salma, his new beloved wife.
As you read, the ravishing beauty savours blissful matrimony with her husband. She relishes every minute of her garden-fresh union, basking in the glory of being an elegant consort of Jite. Bet many people didn’t know Jite has a beautiful set of twins by his second wife. Yes, Salma gave birth to twins not too long ago. Apparently, their heartfelt prayers eventually yielded at long last as they actually prayed to have twins. Jite is joyous over the new addition into his family. Funnily enough, a lot of people didn’t know Jite has remarried to even know he has twins. However, Jite ﬁnally understands that true bliss could be attained soon after the loss of its presumed shadow. Soon after his ﬁrst marriage to exwife, Mina, crashed to irreconcilable diﬀerences, Jite was heartbroken by the shattering experience of the failed marriage, but later rediscovered love in Salma.
The Fortune Maker... Silent Billionaire, Adebiyi, Lands Sweet Deals
The life of a billionaire is oft befuddling. More often than not, they exhibit weird and wonderful characters that distinguish them from peers. But sometimes, they do things that make them look like the average man in the street. This is why the case of a billionaire construction giant, Adebiyi Olalekan, the owner of LaraLek Construction, blurs the line between utter incredulity and utmost curiosity. Perhaps one of the most understated billionaires in this clime, Adebiyi is the individual whose construction firm is trusted enough by the Lagos State government under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, for construction jobs. In Ambode’s reckoning, if ‘Laralek, as he is popularly called, could not do it, nobody else could. And if he could, nobody else, not even from Jupiter, would be dignified with a consideration. Since Ambode became the governor, Adebiyi effortlessly commandeered the juiciest construction contracts; notably the 10-lane Oshodi-Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road is a project managed by him. The transformation of road networks in
Alimosho, Ipaja-Ayobo and environs was handled by him among many others. His tentacles spread across other Nigerian states. But it’s in Lagos he is making the cleanest sweep. Sources close to the self-effacing billionaire say, like his anonymous appearance, he doesn’t like to be noticed, a strategy that might have worked well for him over the years anyway. While not totally colourless, Adebiyi is just one wealthy dude who doesn’t give a damn about style or material acquisitions. Seeing him for the first time you will never believe he is the guy that has Lagos in his palm for few years now. Adebiyi is so influential in the affairs of the state that the incumbent government and its prominent officers eagerly do his bidding. Adebiyi, whose multi-billion-naira construction company is coined from his name and that of his wife, Omolara, to form the synthesis, LaraLek, is addressed as an engineer. But a source claimed he is just a billionaire businessman with skeletal engineering knowledge garnered on the job.
Royal Rumble! Olugbo Erects Statue to Castigate Moremi’s Betrayal The battle for cultural supremacy between Ile-Ife and Ugboland does not appear to abating any time soon. It seems things are even going to be compounded further with the recent step taken by the Kingdom of Ugboland to make an indelible statement about its traditional belief about the role of Moremi Ajasoro, a key figure of high significance in the history of the Yorubas. The Olugbo of Ugboland, Oba Fredrick Akinruntan and his people, have unveiled a statue of Moremi with her knees bowed in Ilaje-Ugbo, in a bid to castigate her vices as a treacherous traitor while the Ifes extol the virtue of the amazon. Olugbo, Oba Akinruntan and Ooni of Ife, Oba Eniitan Ogunwusi, have been locked in a battle of supremacy and historical accuracy, as they both have given distinct versions of the exploits of Moremi in the era past. The divergence
of accounts has pitched both traditional rulers against each other at different times. To the Ooni and the Ife people, Moremi was a heroine whose feats were very pivotal to the freedom of Ife people at an age when external forces of the Ugbo extraction would invade their territory at will, cart away their possessions and enslave them. From the perspective of Ooni, Moremi Ajasoro became a goddess of liberty that liberated her people from captivity. But Olugbo would have none of the Ooni’s account, which he called historical distortion. According to Olugbo, Moremi, contrary to widespread belief, was a villain who betrayed the trust of the Ugbo people and sold them out to the Ifes. Olugbo explained that Moremi was the wife of Osangangan Obamakin, the first paramount ruler of Ile-Ife and the first Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom, whose secrets
Pride of a Royal Father: Awujale Commends Globacom for Throwing Weight Behind High-Octane Ojude Oba Festival
and powers she later divulged to the Ifes. It was this alleged treacherous act of Moremi, a beautiful, light-complexion woman that makes it a forbidden act for Ugbo men to marry ladies who are fair in complexion. By tradition, Ugbo men who are attracted to light skinned ladies should do so with great caution and are always enjoined to perform some traditional rites to exorcise Moremi spirit from the woman in order to make the union a blissful one. So whenever Ife people are celebrating Moremi as heroine, Ugbo people will be ceremonially castigating her as a traitor who betrayed the love of her husband. This is the more reason the statue in Ugbo depicts Moremi in kneeling posture to reflect her regrets and penitence. The traitor celebration comes up on 8thof August, 2018 at Ode Ugbo.
wujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona’s heart is full of songs. Mellifluous notes flit through his belly like dapperwinged butterflies. The fireflies dance in his eyes like winged fluorescents of the dale. Happiness sparkle in his eyes like glazed orbs of the eastern muse. And the reason is hardly far-fetched. This year’s edition of Ojude-Oba festival is going to be wondrous and all thanks to Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr, GCON, CSG, CLH. Globacom has thrown its weight, as usual behind this year’s festival. Yes, promoting African cultural heritage is one of its core corporate social responsibilities. The leading telecommunications company has not deviated from that resolution for once. It has become an annual ritual of some sort in the calendar of the company. The telecommunications giant is already in Ijebu, Ogun State, putting finishing touches to ensure that the Ojude Oba festival turns out as grand as it has always been since the company became the festival’s main sponsor in 2006. Ojude Oba is one festival quite a good number of people look forward to be part of; and the coming of Globacom into it has continued to add colour and flavour to it. As butterflies swarm to savour the sweetness of nectar, so does many a Nigerian flocks to attend the annual Ojude-Oba festival. Dignitaries from all walks of life annually besiege Ijebu-Ode to share in the ceremonial jubilation of the festival. Among those expected as official guests this year is Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to whom invitation has been extended among others. Ojude Oba has also become an avenue for Glo to empower indigent indigenes of Ijebuland by establishing well-equipped commercial telephone call centres for them while also using the opportunity to bring the company’s products and services closer to the grassroots. Glo has added further excitement to the festival through the inclusion of music fiesta, arts exhibition and beauty pageant to the line-up of activities. Globacom has continued to partner with several communities to promote popular cultural festivals such as Lisabi in Abeokuta, Ofala in Onitsha, Anambra State, Ekimogun in Ondo State, Awankiri in Delta State, Anambra State, Puuskat in Jos, Plateau State, Okebadan in Ibadan, Oyo State, Anioma in Delta State, Iri Ama in Abiriba, Abia state, Abia Ukwu in Aba, Abia state, Oru Owerre in Imo state and Afiaolu in Nnewi, Anambra state among several others. The company has not only brought many of these festivals to international limelight, but has also turned them into major tourist attractions.
Oba Sikiru Adetona
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾AUGUSTͯͰ˜ͰͮͯͶ
How BUA Boss, Abdulsamad Rabiu, Marked His 58th Birthday
here is no gainsaying the business terrain is like a wilderness riddled with storms. But despite its inherent dangers, a few daring entrepreneurs like Abdulsamad Rabiu, navigate through its perilous paths with a stubborn resolve and unyielding spirit, like bog-hardened seekers. For Rabiu, that relentless spirit often pays oﬀ. It guides him through perilous quagmires of global commerce till he emerges victoriously in spirit and resolve, like the champion he sets out to
become. Ask Alpha magnate, Alhaji Rabiu. He is a humble man with the heart of a lion. Having done almost everything that is great in his prime, Rabiu evolved as the poster icon to generations of Nigerian youths and even his arch rivals. However, when he clocked 58, penultimate Saturday, August 4, he did not roll out the drums. Gone, for him, were the madcap years of letting expensive cognacs and champagnes ﬂow like a rivulet; or setting sail on a yacht for diﬀerent territorial waters with stops in the party cities of the world. While the billions continue
to be stockpiled, the wealthy industrialist settled for a low-key birthday with members of his family. For him, it was a day to exult and exalt God for coming thus far in business and in life. Who wouldn’t? Samad has survived several tempests that would have sunk a whole clan. Although Rabiu has every reason to shake his garment like the branches of the teak in spring and let his joy glow like the ﬁreﬂies that light up the ﬁelds and quiet meadows, but the Chairman of BUA Group celebrated his birthday quietly last weekend.
The Oracle Has Spoken! Intrigues As Tinubu Stops Obanikoro for Yayi In what can be called a volte face, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro has shelved his ambition to contest the sole seat of the Lagos West Senatorial District in 2019. Obanikoro’s entry into the contest brought about some waves in Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress few weeks ago when he registered his interest which culminated in his supporters taking to the field, drumming support for his candidacy. Unlike his first stint in the Senate when he represented Lagos Central, Obanikoro was ready to slug it out with Adeola Solomon, popularly known as Yayi, who is presently representing Lagos West in the Red Chamber, and has already indicated his readiness for re-election next year, having shelved his ambition to take a gubernatorial shot in Ogun State, where he had expended huge fortune before he was
prevailed on to opt out. Obanikoro was said to have indicated interest because Yayi shifted focus to his governorship ambition in Ogun State. Obanikoro’s campaign was already gaining grounds and it appeared there was going to be some crisis and personality clashes in the party because Yayi was equally on the ground in Lagos West. Sensing that clash of egos may mar the election and consequently affect the fortunes of the APC in Lagos adversely, the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, quickly waded in and nipped in the bud what appeared like a festering feud between Obanikoro and Yayi. He called both parties and prevailed on them to ask their warring factions to sheathe their swords and work together for the emergence of Yayi. He was reported to have pacified Obanikoro to wait for another time.
At 45, How Lagos Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, Handles His Oﬃce and Three Wives
Like his ﬂeet of vintage and topof-the-range automobiles, the Lagos State Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa’s harem is ﬁlled with some of the ﬁnest species of the womenfolk. The world is particularly familiar with the drool-inducing Idayat, who in recent times, seems to be stepping sideways for her junior, Bukola, to also enjoy the limelight. Blessed with a savoire-faire and grace that make it seem that the city bends to her, so besotted with Bukola is the Speaker that he doesn’t let her out of his sight for too long else he would be lovelorn and forlorn. By Jove, you should not expect any less from the speaker, a man of taste and global exposure; a man of fabulous wealth and immense inﬂuence. Yes, there is an innate strength in Obasa that deﬁes notions of valour applicable to his peers. Even though he is 45, (would be 46 years old in few months), the amiable politician grapples with the challenges of his ofﬁce and demands of running a home with three ravishing wives, Fausat, Idayat and Bukola Obasa. Very few men of his age and class can handle the onerous tasks of running a state and catering for the needs and desires of a large family.
But Obasa unfurls into the task without a crease on his brow or the oft-dreaded fear of exhaustion. He does not crumble in fear or anticipation of failure because he believes that even the greatest challenges and darkest days were made to sharpen a man’s wit and burnish his shine. While older men struggle to keep pace with the demands of less taking jobs and fewer number of wives, Obasa internalizes strength in his chubby frame. While he worries about legislative matters, he also has to contend with the challenges of managing three wives at the home front. He has to think of sheltering his wards from storms of the future and catering for the needs of their mothers. Despite the unprintable rumours being spread about Obasa, his friends, political associates and other apologists are of the opinion that those spreading malicious and unfounded rumours about the speaker are simply scared of his rising and intimidating proﬁle on the nation’s political turf. According to them, the future of Lagos is in very safe hands with the likes of Obasa at the helm of the coastal city’s affairs.
ARTS & REVIEW A
FACES & PHASES EXHIBITION HOLDS AT TERRA KULTURE PAGE 69
A DUOâ€™S SOULFUL SERENADES TO AFRICA Lionel Loueke and Celine Rudolph..
EDITOR OKECHUKWU UWAEZUOKE/ firstname.lastname@example.org
AUGUͯͰ˜ͰͮͯͶ˾THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER
ARTS & REVIEW\\CONCERT
ADUO’SSOULFULSERENADESTOAFRICA Two international jazz artists, Celine Rudolph and Lionel Loueke oﬀered music fans in Lagos, a very hypnotic escapism from the fever-pitch city life, Yinka Olatunbosun writes
est Africa must be fortunate to have been picked by the touring music duo, Berlin-based Celine Rudolph and New York-based Lionel Loueke. Elsewhere, West Africa is under scrutiny for ebola, malaria and other unpleasant news, sometimes, slightly exaggerated to scare away foreigners. But Loueke, a US-based jazz musician with roots in Republic of Benin certainly knows better than that, having been born and bred in Africa. Largely influenced by the music of King Sunny Ade, George Benson, Herbie Hancock and Jimi Hendrix, Loueke didn’t start playing guitar till his late teens. Cash-strapped, he worked for about a year to raise money to buy his own guitar and was playing African pop music long before he discovered jazz through a friend, who brought a George Benson album from Paris. His break in music came with winning a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston. There, his tutors found his style of playing the guitar quite intriguing. Loueke grew into a self-exerting musician. He was said to have inserted weak batteries in his old cassette player to hear how he played. Perhaps, half-tone slower. When he arrived in US, all he wanted was to play like the Yankees. In time, he found his own voice in music with albums such as “In a Trance”, “Mwaliko”, “Heritage” and “Virgin Forest”. On her part, Rudolph isn’t just another music adventurer. Her parentage is quite cosmopolitan, with a French mother and a music-loving German father who was an amateur guitarist, jamming with some bands including Brazilian bands. In his large music collection, he had some Fela albums in Berlin where they lived. Rudolph started playing piano as a child; but composing as an autodidact and by the age of 12, she was writing French songs! “I was singing along with those records without knowing what was meant. But I loved the sound of it,” she recalled at a breakfast meeting in Victoria Island, Lagos before the concert. Her father brought home the talking drum to Berlin. That background really explained her gravitation towards African elements in her music. In 2010, Rudolph won the prestigious German Echo Jazz Award for Best Vocal artist with several albums on her sleeves, even as a professor and head of Jazz Vocals Department at Dresden Hochschule fuer Musik. Luoeke and Rudolph’s paths met five years ago at a jazz festival, where
The Junk Man as Professor Junk
they listened to eachother’s music. They quickly identified the similarities in their music elements and deliberated on future collaborations. The result was the awardwinning collaborative album released on October 27, 2017, titled, “Obsession”. Before their concert at Jazzhole, Ikoyi, the duo shared some coffee and some creamy details of their career lives from their chance meeting that led to studio work and tours with some jazz-influencers in Lagos. These include the convener, Lagos Jazz Series, Ozi Bazunu, who was instrumental to bringing to Nigeria Marcus Miller, Bob James, Ola Onabule and a part of the Lagos jazz club, Blue Notes; the high-octane performer, Femi Leye; jazz radio show host, Peter Fisher while two men from the Inspiro Productions, incidentally, both named Segun Adebisi, represented the convener of the Lagos International Jazz Festival, Ayoola Shadare who was touring Berlin and other major cities in Europe on a jazz mission. At the breakfast meeting, the director, Goethe-Institut Nigeria, Friederike Moschel declared happily that the night’s concert was the German cultural centre’s parting shot before the August break. Of course, Goethe-Institut has this age-long tradition of leaving Lagos fans with some nice lingering taste of cultural offerings before closing its doors for a month. After
the breakfast, Luoeke made a surprising request: to be taken to a nice eatery for some egusi for his lunch. Leaning on the bar that concert night at Jazzhole were some early birds waiting for the jazz ensemble. A few others arrived arm-in-arm while the little surprise came when a father arrived with a tiny yet colourful school bag on his shoulder and his pre-elementary school age-son, presumably the owner of the bag. He was determined to enjoy the night against the odds of parental obligations. At centre stage, Rudolph’s black jump suit was nicely lit with her multicoloured African necklace as she began this music dialogue with Luoeke. Luoeke’s performance that night exemplifies what he said earlier that day about what most African jazz do with the jazz material: they don’t let jazz change their style but they blend it with it. Loueke believes that many African jazz artists have learnt the music genre without necessarily being restricted by scales and keys. Rudolph’s jazz-influenced balladry is a blend of European classical music, Brazilian and French. The award-winning vocalist sang with
a voice range that oscillates between the Nora Jones’ softness and Mariam Makeba’s growl. The duet, “New Day” is a very smooth collaboration with Luoeke’s acoustic support and his non-verbal vocals done with heavy beatboxing, keeping a steady rhythmic flow. This technique is very common with jazz singing legends such as Ella Fitzgerald as well as other acappella singers or better still barbershop quartets in New York. Rudolph matched up to that skillful performance with her own version of it in the song titled, “Fabula”. It’s almost impossible to separate improvisation from jazz as the duo demonstrated at the concert. Rudolph’s electronic playback device substituted for a backup howling sound that she needed with her performance. The song, “Here Comes the Rain” was particularly solemn, adding to the night’s therapeutic playlist from the duo. The concert was given a befitting wrap with the song, “C’est un Love Song”, which swept the audience into singing the refrain, though just a few knew the exact words of the song. The West Africa tour by Rudolph and Luoeke which ended on July 31, covered Dakar, Abidjan, Ouagadougou, Lome, Lagos, Accra and Cotonou.
Moms at War Hits the Cinemas on August 17
oms at War, a production by Inkblot, Dioni Visions and Film One, is hitting cinemas across Nigeria on Friday, August 17. Moms at War tells the story of Olaide and Ebubechukwu, two mothers, who would do anything for their children. Omoni Oboli stars as Ebubechukwu, a posh career woman who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and expects her only daughter to follow in her footsteps. Funke Akindele
stars as Olaide, a self-made woman who built herself up from nothing to raise her son and give him the life she did not have. The dramedy soars as a slam bang tale of friendship and motherhood which is stylish, subversive and strikingly funny. It is written by Naz Onuzo known for films such as Wedding Party 2, New Money and My Wife and I and directed by Omoni Oboli, the triple threat box office Queen responsible for such hits as Okafor’s Law and the Wives on Strike films. With their children competing for a place in a prestigious scholars programme, everything starts to derail as the mothers go head to head to ensure that their own child
wins. The production, starring Funke Akindele, Omoni Oboli, Yul Edochie, Eucharia Anumobi and Yul Edochie, follows closely on the heels of such box office hits as New Money, Wedding Party 2, and Wives on Strike 2. “Having had many successful collaboarations with Inkblot we were pleased to continue the partnership on Moms at War,” enthused Moses Babatope, CEO of Film One. “We have worked with Dioni Visions and Omoni Oboli for many years and are happy to announce our first collaboration with her. Moms at War is
the perfect film for women and everyone else as it cloaks in comedy the wars our mothers wittingly and unwittingly fight for us, everyday.” Inkblot Productions is a Lagos-based production company founded with the goal of creating high quality, commercially viable films and television shows for Nigerian and international audiences. Since inception in 2011, Inkblot has been one of the fasted growing production companies in Nigeria, releasing crowdpleasing hits such as The Wedding Party Series, My Wife and I, New Money, The Arbitration, Out of Luck and The Department.
THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER ËžST 12, 2018
FACES & PHASES EXHIBITION HOLDS ATTERRA KULTURE Yinka Olatunbosun
n Lagos, Terra Kulture will have its doors open untill August 20 with the sixth season of Faces and Phases exhibition. Created as a platform for artists of diverse media and techniques to showcase their works, Faces and Phases sticks to the tradition of ten artists annually. Each artist is showing five works. At a recent meeting with some of the participating artists at Terra Arena, Ade Odunfa, the foreman for the group, explained that the artists are selected from a shortlist of entries for the show. From the collective, seven are painters while three are sculptors. As it was in the previous edition, only one female artist is on board at this show. Her name is Elizabeth Ekpetorson. Born in Port Harcourt, she has honed her artistic skills at the Universal Studios of Art, Lagos. Her works at this show include, â€œThe Gazeâ€?, â€œSobrietyâ€? and â€œTranslucent Hope II, III and IVâ€? with all of them made of acrylic and charcoal. Taiwo Owoyemiâ€™s collection in this show will likely strike a familiar chord with anyone as it is reminiscent of the legendary artist, Bruce Onobrakpeyaâ€™s, which is no surprise given his background at the Harmattan workshop at Agbara-otor, Delta State. His works at the show include â€œAdam and Eveâ€?, â€œMan and His Environmentâ€? and â€œHappy Peopleâ€?. With the still-life painter, Ismail Lawal, his full-time studio work is about to count for something. With works executed with pastel on paper, Lawal is set to show â€œBondingâ€?, â€œEmpty Pocketâ€? and â€œPlaygroundâ€? at Terra. Feminine as well as cultural references are at the centre of Ade Odunfaâ€™s strokes made of acrylic on canvas. â€œMy brush strokes look calculated. By merging several seemingly incompatible worlds into a new universe, I create works in which a fascination with the clarity of content and an uncompromising attitude towards conceptual and minimal art can be found,â€™â€™ he stated. His works include
â€œFacing Bluesâ€™â€™, â€œGele Dunweâ€? and â€œKingâ€™s Guardâ€?. Also engrossed with female forms is Ifeoluwa Alade, a final year student of Fine and Applied Art at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. His thematic preoccupation is sourced naturally from the campus life with works such as â€œAwaiting Resultsâ€?, â€œâ€ŚWhen?â€?, â€œReflectionsâ€™â€™ and â€œApereâ€? meaning example. Another sculptor at the show, Steve Ekpenisi boasts of a retinue of experimental sculptures developed from found objects. As a young child, he had involuntarily prepared himself for a career in art at the expense of household gadgets. His works are influenced by socio-economic realities, political climate and cultural traditions. His automobile spare part ensemble titled â€œWildlifeâ€™â€™ is likely to steal the show. Jonathan Ikpoza holds an interesting stance in this exhibition with highly philosophical paintings made of oil and acrylic. Ikpoza, who was part of the Araism movement in art, broke through the barriers set by straitjacketed styles to express himself on issues of humanity. His works are titled, â€œPure Soul I, II and IIIâ€?, â€œIroro 22â€?, amongst others. Titus Osikoya delves into abstract paintings at this show to articulate certain concepts and moods of life using acrylic on canvas. Though not a full-time studio artist, his creative other shines through his pieces such as â€œLair of Composureâ€?, â€œSacrifice for Tomorrowâ€? and
One of Ophori's photos in the series titled, "Women and Children of Oporoma". â€œAbandonmentâ€?. A minimalist approach is sought by Dudu Emmanuel in his visual narratives which offers insight to socio-cultural debates as shown in works such as â€œTriumph of Peaceâ€™â€™, â€œDefined Handsâ€™â€™ and â€œWhatâ€™s the colour of your love.â€™â€™
Kukoyi Olusolaâ€™s pieces are cultural statements without doubt. Drawing upon contemporary social order and African traditional culture and institution, he reclaims his position as a metal-inspired sculptor with â€œOmidanâ€?, â€œAgbagba Metaâ€? and â€œThe Oathâ€?.
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A Show for Visual Storytellers Yinka Olatunbosun
even photographers who benefited from the three-month-long Creative Photography Masterclass in visual storytelling recently showed their creative works at the Pyramid Art Centre in Ikoyi. This exhibition was the icing on the cake for these emerging photographers who studied five thematic courses in visual storytelling led by masters in photography namely, Kelechi Amadi Obi, Tam Fiofori, Uche James Iroha, Gbile Osadipe, Boye Ola, George Osodi, Adolphus Opara. Don Barber, Yetunde Ayeni Babaeko, Hakeem Salaam, David Asumah, Godwin Anaebonam, Andrew Esiebo and Toye Gbade. As expected, the workshop was heavy on theory and practical. Several photography genres were explored, leading to individual projects in documentary, fashion, advertising, photojournalism, events and travel photography. In addition, the participants were exposed to other subject matters related to the art of photography such as post-production, intellectual property, copyright and image licensing laws. With the theme, â€œWork in Progressâ€™â€™, the works selected for this show cut across the photography genres, treating topics of interest for the polity such an environmental degradation, education, sexuality, migration and wildlife conservation. The artists at the show include Leke Dipe, Emeka Mbaebie, Samuel Dickson, Isreal Ophori, Gbemile Oluwatosin, Obue Peter and Toju Eyesan. In the series of photography titled, â€œThe Child and Education Systemâ€™â€™ lies the sad story of a Nigerian child at a government-owned secondary school. Obueâ€™s minimalist-styled pictures showed bare classroom floors and students with long faces. The images in this series serve not just as a pointer to the dilapidated state of infrastructure at public schools and the lack of commitment by the government to invest in the knowledge economy. (See concluding part on www.thisdaylive.com)
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THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER ˾ AUGUST 12, 2018
Editor:Olawale Olaleye Email:email@example.com, SMS: 08116759819
IN THE ARENA
The Siege, the Storm and the Revelations In a spin that challenges constitutionality, Nigeria’s democracy was put to a tempestuous test last Tuesday, writes Olawale Olaleye
ast Tuesday would certainly go down in the nation’s political trajectory as one of the few days that Nigeria survived one of the most impossible conspiracies against a democratic institution in modern history. Some of the events of the last few weeks had exposed certain existential threats to the nation’s fledgling democracy with evidence that some of the active players have yet to learn anything either from the many years of military interregnum, which stalled the smooth run of legitimate governments or even the three-year civil war, from which many have yet to completely heal. What has further exacerbated the fears currently gripping the turf is that the ongoing power play has very little to do with the elections of 2019, but sadly more about what could be the fate of some of the actors in 2023 hence the recklessness with which the jostle for relevance and positioning is being sculpted. This is particularly, because a majority of the actors strongly hold the view that the outcome of the 2019 elections would determine almost entirely the shape the 2023 polls would assume, without as much building safety into any of these assumptions. It is, perhaps, for this reason that they have continued to travel an otherwise impossible route which promises to do more harm than good. The Tuesday siege to the National Assembly complex has no place in any democratic institution, given the avoidable storm it created let alone the revelations that have since greeted the ill-fated coup against the nation and her people. The attempt to forcefully change the leadership of the National Assembly through any means other than the laid down procedure was in itself an aberration that stands condemned. A member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Boma Goodhead dares the DSS operatives during the siege However niggling is the drafting of critical the mastermind of the siege to the National Assembly and the matter, promising to also search houses and premises security agencies of government to deliver on personal reckoned, with their findings, that he might have acted the of the already identified suspects. agenda under the banner of collective interest, thus script of “some highly placed politicians to achieve selfish Whilst the police should be commended for such quick subverting the rule of law and undermining democratic political goals hence, his unilateral and unlawful decision delivery of a sensitive assignment within a short time, it is institutions. to invade the National Assembly.” worthy of mention that the tone of the report also exposed This is why the swift intervention of the acting Although the report stated that Daura, in his statethe deep-seated animosity and the lack of harmony President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who immediately ment, confessed to having deployed the hooded DSS amongst the different security agencies, which not only ordered the sack of the former Director-General of the operatives to the National Assembly complex following explains why the security situation in the country has Department of State Services, Lawal Daura, was generintelligence that unauthorised persons were planning to remained appalling but also the reason some of them are ally applauded, because he not only saved the nation’s smuggle undisclosed dangerous weapons and incriminatsusceptible to abuse by mischievous politicians. democracy from being undermined, he also saved the ing items into the legislature, Idris dismissed it, because If anything, the government and party have this one government and the party from global ridicule. according to the report, “He (Daura) did not inform the opportunity to wholly address issues, tame impunity and Now that Daura’s statement with the police is beginActing President, neither did he share the information take back its slipping control with full responsibility. The ning to yield results and already influenced the interim with the Nigerian Police Force or other sister security current investigation must be followed to a logical conclureport recently authored by the Inspector General of sion with everyone, who has played one ignoble role or the Police, Ibrahim Idris, through a team of operatives headed agencies.” On the contrary, Idris contended that the DSS operaother sanctioned, going forward. by a Commissioner of Police, CP Garba Baba Umar, which tives acted like mercenaries, who were hired to carry out It is also important that the presidency, government accused highly placed politicians as the brains behind the executions, noting that “The claim of purported inteland APC stop seeing the legislature as opposition, siege, this particular situation provides a rare opportunity ligence report by the suspect could not be substantiated as irrespective of the current standing in terms of balance for the government to rein in some of those accused of the personnel deployed were not EOD experts or specialof power. Need they also be reminded that they are having seized control of the government through subterists in this regard.” supposed to be partners hence the imperative of the fuge. Idris, however, added that all communication gadgets, principle of separation of powers, which serves as the In a memo dated August 8, 2018 with reference such as phone and other electronics devices of the suspect much-needed guide for the sanity of the nation and her number: CR: 3000/IGP-SEC/ABJ/VOL 131/782, and addressed to the acting president, Idris identified Daura as (Daura) would be thoroughly analysed to get to the root of brand of democracy!
P O L I T I CA L N OT E S
All Hail the APC Leaders!
ays ago, a certain report oddly stated that some APC leaders had begun moves to stall the defection of some lawmakers elected on the platform of the party. This was days before the ‘inevitable defection’ of the President of the Senate, Dr.
Bukola Saraki. Strangely, these so-called patriots are at the same time the most profound liabilities that the party has had to deal with. They had since stalled the progress of the party and by extension, government. They are often the much talked about government-withingovernment. Unfortunately, however, this reality is not known by a majority of the insiders, who have continued to worship their very own problems. These emergency patriots create problems in the party. They frustrate every peace process. They call
the bluff of aggrieved members. They even threaten to sack them. They set individuals against each other. They plot a clandestine takeover of the party. They sell personal messages as against party’s doctrine. Their aim is 2023; they have an ambition that surpasses collective interest and do not even care if the house is burnt down. Their claim to ownership of the party is roguish. The APC needs a lot of introspection. Although it may be late now, it is advisable it does a thorough soul-searching within the short time left and sees how to genuinely salvage what is left of the party. Even then, it is important to establish that there are no patriots in the APC. What is obtainable is the pursuit of personal interest and agenda. Present there are selﬁsh characters, who parade themselves as leaders or patriots but exploit the system for personal gains – mainly personal gains!
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾ AUGUST 12, 2018
In Active Capacity! Last week’s sack of a former Director General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura, was a clear and unmistaken message from the oﬃce of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, writes Shola Oyeyipo
s if taking a cue from an American author and motivational speaker, Doreen Virtue, who said: “Once you have a major success with assertiveness, you learn that it’s a much healthier path than being a doormat to the insensitive folks. You gain respect for yourself, have more time for your priorities, and develop authentic and healthier relationships,” Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, last week distinguished himself just by making one hard choice. Although it is not clear whether it is providence or by sheer happenstance, Osinbajo has always shown a rare courage expected of a leader in a country like Nigeria each time he stood in for his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, who has been away to London, the United Kingdom on a 10-day vacations. Given a different circumstance, the siege on the National Assembly by men of the Directorate of State Security (DSS) under the sacked DSS Director, Lawal Daura, would not only have been clandestinely managed, but swept under the carpet for different considerations. But that did not happen with Osinbajo. He asserted himself and stood for that which was right. On his Twitter handle, Osinbajo posted thus: “The unauthorised takeover of the NASS complex was a gross violation of the rule of law and all acceptable notions of law and order. Persons within the law enforcement apparatus, who participated in this travesty will be identified and subjected to disciplinary action.” Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had also noted that Daura’s sack was carried out with the consent of the president, however being at the center of it and quoted as describing the DSS action as gross violation of constitutional order and that the act was not authorised by the presidency, had attracted accolades directly to the VP. According to the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, “The siege was an act of cowardice by those seeking to carry out an illegal impeachment of the leadership of the Senate in flagrant disregard of the law.” He therefore commended how Osinbajo reacted to the development.
This is many pundits hold the view that President Buhari and all those who aspire to leadership in Nigeria must learn from the way Osinbajo attends to national issues with dispatch. At every opportunity in his acting capacity, he adds more pep to leadership and at the same time makes some deft political moves that provide credit for the APC
Osinbajo...a president is in charge
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar also commended Osinbajo for listening to what he called “the clarion call of Nigerians” and also for taking action to “halt the illegal and antidemocratic siege” of the National Assembly by men of the Department of State Security. According to Atiku, by sacking Daura, the acting president has given meaning to the “cries of Nigerians” that we will not tolerate such anti-democracy actions. He therefore urged all statesmen and political leaders to put aside partisanship and rally round the acting president.” The list of commentators with positive disposition to the development is long. It ranges from political office holders across party lines and many ordinary citizens, who applauded the VP’s assertiveness. Osinbajo has shown more than a passing penchant for abhorrence of corruption. In fact, the sacking of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal; and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ayo Oke, was based on the report of a three-man panel led by him that investigated them. Even if the presidency claims to have had a hand in Daura’s sack, how would it explain that despite the obvious roles played by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in the reinstatement fugitive former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, who was dismissed from service over pension fund fraud, he and many other persons involved in that national embarrassment never got fired till date. The handling of the alleged effort of the Babagana Kingibe-led Presidential Review Panel to siphon $44m intervention fund, belonging to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the way the case of a former Department
of State Services (DSS) boss, Ita Ekpenyong, who allegedly took part in corruption and mismanagement of funds amounting to $9m of the $30m operation fund from former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, was addressed and the handling of the alleged diversion of over $21m into a private pocket by the sacked DSS Director, Daura, never indicated that the government was given to sanctioning erring cabinet members. This is many pundits hold the view that President Buhari and all those who aspire to leadership in Nigeria must learn from the way Osinbajo attends to national issues with dispatch. At every opportunity in his acting capacity, he adds more pep to leadership and at the same time makes some deft political moves that provide credit for the APC. At some point during the president’s medical vacations, he made efforts to sort out the issue of resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta region that led to dwindling revenue from oil production. Then, Osibanjo visited Oporoza, headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom, home of Chief Government Ekpemupolo a.k.a Tompolo in Warri South-west local government area of Delta State on a fact-finding mission in January. The second leg of his peace and dialogue tour of the oil-rich Niger Delta region, took him to Bayelsa, Rivers and Imo States. It had far-reaching impacts, because he did not only reaffirm government’s commitment to addressing the sufferings of the people of the Niger Delta, where Nigeria gets its major income, he openly agreed that the region has been largely neglected and promised that the federal government would discontinue the ugly trend. Osibanjo, who went to Gbaramatu in company with the Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and the Minister of State (Petroleum), Dr. Ibe Emmanuel Kachikwu, said the Niger Delta people have a genuine need as
special economic zone for special developmental attention. Later in Bayelsa, on February 12, he assured the people that the federal government would provide rapid development for oil-producing communities in the region. According to Osinbajo, while addressing Bayelsa State stakeholders’ meeting, since oil is the dominant source of foreign exchange earnings in Nigeria, it is only proper that the country adds value to crude oil. To him, adding value to crude oil will bring enormous economic benefits to the oil-bearing communities. The tour train berthed in Rivers State between February 13 and 14 in Port Harcourt, the state capital, where Osinbajo held another town hall meeting with governors, former governors, community leaders, women and various youth groups in the region. He underscored the fact that Rivers and the Niger Delta region were critical to the development and stability of the country. He also urged vandals of petroleum infrastructure to desist from such acts, assuring the people that, unlike at any time in the past the current administration was prepared to ensure that the needs of the region were met. Buhari, on November 10, 2016, appointed Onnoghen as acting Chief Judge of Nigeria (CJN) following the retirement of Justice Mahmud Mohammed at the attainment of the mandatory age of 70 years. The National Judicial Council had earlier forwarded Onnoghen’s name to the president as the new CJN based on the recommendation of the Federal Judicial Service Commission, but he remained in acting capacity until Osinbajo forwarded his name to the lawmakers and he got the confirmation. In another instance of personal example, Osinbajo rejected the new official residence built for the vice-president by the administration of Goodluck Jonathan. According to his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, Osinbajo was satisfied with living in Aguda House built in the 1990s by the General Ibrahim Babangida administration It is also on record that Osinbajo was the one who got the support of the duo of the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogora, to approve the federal government’s $1 billion Eurobond. The Eurobond, amounting to $4.5 billion, formed part of the federal government’s threeyear $30 billion external borrowing programme, which was rejected by the National Assembly last year. On Thursday, February 16, a few days after its issue, the $1 billion Eurobond started trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the offer was oversubscribed about eight times, with the order book closing at approximately $7.7 billion. The listing also secured high quality investors’ support from the U.S. and Europe and it is expected to support Nigeria in financing its long-term infrastructure development. It is for the many reasons of how he has added some dignity to leadership in acting capacity that some social media commentators have suggested that President Buhari should rather have him complete his tenure while he takes credit for any success recorded. In a post by Blessed Abemum, where he asked: “Should President Buhari still extend his stay in UK so that Prof Osinbajo can continue as acting president?” Seventy-five per cent of the respondents answered in the affirmative while only 25 per cent would prefer that the president carries on. Although Osinbajo is vice-president, from his acting capacity, he has proven that effective leadership is possible in Nigeria and that many disturbing cases often swept under the carpet are matters of political will and the ability to make hard choices by the leader.
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾ AUGUST 12, 2018
Ganduje (r) and Kwankwaso...before their friendship went awry
2019: The Ganduje, Kwankwaso Clash Lying in wait for Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and his predecessor, Rabiu Kwankwaso ahead of the 2019 election is a major survival battle, writes Ibrahim Shuaibu
olitical permutations have begun across all political parties ahead of 2019 general election in Nigeria. One of such moves is the gale of defections that has hit the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), which of course, has not left out Kano State with the defection of Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a former governor of the state, to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). After many months of uncertainties over the political future of some members of the Kwankwasiyya group, who are loyal to Kwankwaso, their defection to PDP from APC remains a big threat to the ruling APC in Kano State especially, if considered with Kwankwaso’s biggest followers across the state, whose symbol is the “Redcap”. However, Kwankwaso’s defection to the PDP did not come as a surprise, because of the internal bickering between him and Ganduje, who served as Kwankwaso’s deputy for two terms. The duo was longtime political associates that have been steering the political atmosphere of the state since 1999, but immediately Ganduje was elected Governor in 2015, Kwankwaso and his supporters went their separate ways, because of the crises of who would control the party and government. In Kano, the 2019 battle would be among three major political gladiators – Ganduje, Kwankwaso and another former governor of the state, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau. Though there may be other political lightweights that could also spring surprises, there is no doubt that they are bound to queue behind these political juggernauts. Kwankwaso’s defection from APC to PDP has again raised some dust in the political atmosphere of the state. The question many pundits have continued to ask is whether Kwankwaso and Shekarau could work together
in the PDP or if there is going to be a replay of the 2013 episode when Shekarau left APC for Kwankwaso. Compounding the situation is the Kwankwaso-Ganduje standoff. The political atmosphere in Kano remains tense following the irreconcilable political rift between Kwankwaso and Ganduje, which started towards the end of Kwankwaso’s second tenure. At the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1999, Kwankwaso with Ganduje won the Kano State governorship election under the banner of the PDP. And in the build-up to the 2003 general election, Shekarau aligned with the populist Muhammadu Buhari (now the sitting President), who was the presidential candidate of the All Peoples Party (APP). With the influence of Buhari, Shekarau clinched the APP governorship ticket and defeated incumbent Kwankwaso in a historic election that has continued to beat the imagination of pundits. Shekarau held sway as the governor of the state for consecutive eight years, breaking the jinx in Kano politics. For those years, Shekarau tackled Kwankwaso even with his federal might as the minister of defence under President Olusegun Obasanjo. In the 2011 general election, at the expiration of Shekarau’s tenure, Kwankwaso staged an aggressive come-back and defeated Shekarau’s candidate, Salihu Sagir Takai of then All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP). Ganduje returned as Kwankwaso’s deputy. Again, Kwankwaso and Shekarau had another open clash at the congregation of the legacy party that later transmuted into the APC. In fact, Shekarau who came from the ANPP bloc of the legacy parties was said to be one of the brains behind the APC merger arrangement. At this point, Kwankwaso, engrossed with his presidential ambition, became a major player among the PDP rebels that formed the new PDP.
In the heat of the PDP crisis, Kwankwaso, with all at his disposal, struck a deal with the APC and the party structure was handed over to him on a platter. Shekarau, who was relegated to the background by the party leadership, had no choice than to play to the tune of the PDP-led federal government, which compensated him with the portfolio of minister of education. However, the recent resignation of the Kano State Deputy Governor, Prof Hafiz Abubakar and his 10 aides that also defected to the PDP has created another intrigue in the political jigsaw. There is also the defection of six Kano State House of Assembly members from APC to PDP, while at the National Assembly, they also joined Senator Kwankwaso and defected to the PDP with a view to unseating the ruling APC in Kano over what they termed the incompetence of Ganduje. It is, however, important to underscore the fact that from the foregoing, Kwankwaso’s main target is to ensure that Ganduje does not return as in 2019. He has started perfecting his plots with the endorsement of Ganduje’s deputy, Abubakar, as the potential governorship candidate in the 2019 gubernatorial elections in the state. This plot is becoming clearer because a few months ago, Abubakar openly declared that he was not interested in running as a deputy with Ganduje in 2019. However, pundits have continued to doubt the possibility of Kwankwaso working together Shekarau as many of Shekarau’s lieutenants are said to have started putting pressure on the two-time former Kano State governor to dump the PDP for Kwankwaso before it is too late. Whatever it is, as events unfold in the weeks ahead, the compass naturally focuses on Ganduje, Shekarau and Kwankwaso as no one can predict, for now, where the pendulum will swing.
NOTES FOR FILE
Abdullahi as an Epitome of Loyalty
Since coming onboard the Bukola Saraki train as a special adviser in 2003 before becoming commissioner and later minister – all at the machination of the Senate President Bukola Saraki – Malam Bolaji Abdullahi knew he might have earned a career in politics and at the magnanimity of Saraki. The least he could do in reciprocation was to give unalloyed loyalty, which he has since dished out one hundred per cent. His resignation as sports minister in the countdown to the 2015 elections was the ﬁrst evident indication that he could take a bullet for Saraki, a gesture understandable within the context of the political situation at the time. He grew further in his exemplary followership of the Saraki leadership by emerging the spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress (APC) and also as the chairman, Nigeria Sugar Development Council (NSDC). But in days apart, he resigned from the two posi-
tions, because the dynamics had again changed and sided with the man, whom God has used at different times to change the course of his life. Although he has just emerged the spokesman of the newly formed Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), a movement that seeks to wrest power from the APC in 2019, there is, however, a feeling across the turf of Kwara now that Abdullahi deserves a far much bigger recognition for such pure loyalty. Of course, it is common knowledge that Abdullahi desires to be the next governor of Kwara State (if God wills), an ambition that is not settled yet. What many reckon as being certain is that his loyalty is not one that is predicated on sheer aspiration. He genuinely holds the view that his principal deserves all the support, especially that Saraki is said to be that one individual, who always goes all the way to look out for his own.
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾ AUGUST 12, 2018
El-Rufai’s Survival Battle John Shiklam writes on how the defection of some political gladiators from the Kaduna APC to the PDP may aﬀect the chances of the ruling party in 2019
aduna State is one of the states, where aggrieved stakeholders in the All Progressives Congress (APC) have defected to the opposition PDP and other political parties. Leading the pack are Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, representing Kaduna North Senatorial district, Hon. Isah Ashiru, who lost the governorship ticket to El-Rufai in 2014 with a narrow margin, Dr. Datti Baba Ahmed, Yaro Makama Rigachiku, a former Kaduna state chairman of the PDP, who joined the APC in the “wind of change” that swept the PDP in 2015. Several of those, who played a key role in the election of El-Rufai, have dumped the APC over allegations that they were not carried along, after working to ensure victory for the party. Hunkuyi headed the APC campaign organisation at the time. Also, members of the two factions of the APC in the state have left the party either for the PDP or are waiting to join other political parties. Other politicians, who played important roles in the campaign council especially people like Ahmed Tijani Ramalan, Anthony Ali Wakili, Mikhail Takwak, Isah Abdullahi Shika, Nuhu Audu, among several others have equally left the APC. However, the problem in the state chapter of the party does not seem to be over yet with the recent suspension of Senator Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, which has pitted the national secretariat of the party against the state chapter. This, according to observers, is not good for the party, coming at a time when elections are approaching. With this scenario, the APC seems to be facing threats of likely El-rufai... defeat in 2019. El-Rufai, it is believed, would need to work very hard to face the impossible gang-up against him by the opposition as well as tackle other dynamics that are likely to be played against him during the election. But in the opinion of the state assistant publicity secretary of the APC, Salisu Tanko Wusono, there is no threat to El-Rufai’s second term bid. Giving his perspective on the political scene in the state, Wusono said the APC is not threatened by the defection of Hunkuyi and others to the PDP. According to him, the ordinary masses are fully in support of the APC, because of the performance of El-Rufai and President Muhammadu Buhari. “Our concern is the people, that is, the ordinary people, who voted for the APC, not those big men with big cars,” he said in an interview with THISDAY. He noted that the PDP could not win elections in Kaduna State, no matter their gang-up because the people have long rejected them. Wusono, who classified politicians into three groups, said the elite, don’t vote and have no role in determining who wins elections. “In politics, you have to classify them into three groups. You have the first class, the second class and the third class. The first class is the masses that have votes. The second class is those intermediate big men. The third class is the big men, who have money – those who can contest for elections. “We thank God the people of Kaduna State chased the PDP in the state based on certain reasons. Those reasons are: PDP failed to provide schools, they failed to provide health facilities, roads and so on”. According to him, the APC government in Kaduna State has performed well by fulfilling its electoral promises. “We promised responsible public service with zero tolerance for corruption. We promised the expansion of our decaying infrastructure. We have fulfilled many of these promises. The APC government has built a lot of roads, schools, hospitals. The good people of Kaduna State are appreciative of the good works of the APC government, so, we don’t have fears.” Wusono maintained that “all those defecting from APC are used to defecting, not their first time. Some of them had defected several times until they had nowhere to go again.
“The people are watching them because they are defecting for their personal interest not the interest of the people. It is only those who have amnesia that will be thinking of PDP coming back into power. “In the process of fulfilling some of our campaign promises we had to take some decisions. If you want to have zero tolerance for corruption, you have to identify who and who is doing the right thing. “The state government sacked 22,000 unqualified teachers. The reason is to establish a good foundation for education. We must uphold the education of our children because that is their future. “The good people are aware of all these things the Kaduna state government is doing. The people of Kaduna State are the ones, who will determine who wins in the election, not the elite. PDP is not a threat to APC in Kaduna State. In no circumstance will PDP defeat APC in Kaduna State. The people can still recall what happened under 16 years of PDP,” he explained. But Murtala Abubakar, a former spokesman of a faction of the APC that has defected, insisted that with the present political situation in the state, El-Rufai will not return in 2019. “The election is not going to favour the APC, the reason being that many of the major gladiators who supported governor Nasir El-Rufai in 2015 to win the election are no longer with him, because he has fought with them and they had left the party,” Abubakar said in an interview with THISDAY. He noted that most of the notable politicians are no longer in the governor’s camp, besides the fact that several groups and individuals across the state have an axe to grind with the governor as a result of some of his alleged hurtful policies and actions. Listing the obstacles that might hinder the APC from winning in Kaduna, Abubakar said the traditional institution in the state which plays important role in elections in the state had fallen apart with the governor and they are not likely to support him during the elections. According to Abubakar, “the traditional institutions in the state are key players in who determines who becomes the governor of Kaduna, today the governor is at loggerheads with them. “He sacked many of them for no justifiable reasons. Another important segment that he has fought or he is fighting with is the civil servants. Many of them were
sacked and the governor made them useless and today, have lost their value. Many civil servants and teachers were sacked in the name of reforms, these civil servants and their relations may not vote for El-Rufai,” he added. Abubakar also pointed out that the APC would find it difficult to make an inroad in the southern part of Kaduna, the traditional home of the PDP, where votes come en bloc. “The governor also has issues with the southern Kaduna people and it is not likely that they will support his second bid. They are accusing him of marginalisation. The growing insecurity in the state, occasioned by killings and kidnapping will not favour his re-election. Out of all these, the government has not performed anything apart from making promises. “The Shiite are also mobilising their members to register and vote in the 2019 elections, they will not vote for El-Rufai because of the massacre of their members in Zaria and the continued detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky. “When you analyse these things, you don’t need to be told that APC will not come back to power in Kaduna State in 2016,” Abubakar said. Besides all the permutations, the PDP also faces challenges that might deny it too of victory in the state in 2019. One of such challenges would be the party’s ability to manage the defectors that have joined the party, especially those who have declared an interest in contesting the governorship election without rancour. Two of the defectors, Suleiman Hunkuyi and Isah, who left the APC are among those aspiring to contest the governorship on the platform of the PDP. There are also members of the party like former Governor Mukhtar Yero, former Justice Commissioner, Jonathan Adamu Kish, a former Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Muhammad Sani Sidi, and a businessman Alhaji Shuaibu Mikati, among other PDP members, who are jostling for the party’s ticket. Unless the party is able to handle the contending political interests of all, the talks about defeating the APC in 2019 might be tougher than they seem. But, generally, the political situation is expected to change as politicians re-align forces and strategise for 2019.
AUGUST 12, 2018˾THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER
Believe The APC Government And You Will Believe Anything
here is only one thing worse than the show of shame that took place at the National Assembly on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, when the Buhari administration laid siege on the National Assembly. The one thing worse than that despicable action is the attempt by the executive to spin the whole thing as a conspiracy between Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the now sacked DSS Boss, Lawal Daura. If you believe that tale, then I can assure you that you will believe anything. So preposterous is the allegation that I would have wondered why anyone will tell such a monumental lie. And then it hit me. The tactic now being employed by the Buhari administration to spin the National Assembly siege as a conspiracy between Senate President Bukola Saraki and the now disgraced DSS Director General, Lawal Daura is known as the Big Lie. The Big Lie was the brainchild of Adolf Hitler, who wrote in his now infamous book, Mein Kampf, that in the pursuit of propaganda, it is best for the authorities to cook up a lie so “colossal” that the public would not believe that anyone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously”. This is exactly what the Buhari administration is doing. Their big lie is that Lawal Daura, the disgraced DSS DG who allegedly wept like a little girl when he was arrested, was working for Bukola Saraki. Believe this and you will believe anything. Daura was the face of the cabal. He is from the same village as President Muhammadu Buhari. He has been an acolyte of the President for decades. What motive would he have to work against the President and for Senator Saraki? And the fact that the government continues to sell this theory and that even reputable news media are writing about it as if it were true seems to validate the theory propounded by Joseph Goebbels who said: “when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it.” The fact that the Buhari government was behind the siege of the National Assembly is very clear going by the desperation of the All Progressives Congress Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, to get Saraki out of office as Senate President. Mr Oshiomhole, a man without tact, finesse, or diplomacy, uses every opportunity to lambast the Senate President and ask for his resignation. In a press conference on Friday, August 10, 2018, Mr Oshiomhole stood logic on his head by claiming that since the Peoples Democratic Party was in the minority at the Senate, then the Senate President must give up his seat seeing as he is a member of the PDP. No law in the Nigerian statute boos supports Mr Oshiomhole’s
Oshiomhole position. In fact, it was precisely his party, the APC, that started (at least in this republic) the practice of asking its members retaining your parliamentary seat and title even if you leave your party. They did it with Aminu Waziri Tambuwal after he cross carpeted from the PDP to the APC on October 29, 2014. As a matter of fact, Muhammadu Buhari, the man responsible for installing Oshiomhole as APC chairman, actually praised Tambuwal when he left the PDP and still retained his speakership. If you go back to the remarks Buhari made, you would find that he expressed admiration for what Tambuwal did. I mean, these are the sorts of hypocrisy that the APC has become known for. And it has become more of a pattern under Oshiomhole, a man who behaves as if he has a death-wish for his party. For example, at the ceremony marking Godswill Akpabio‘s defection to the APC, both Oshiomhole and the APC’s somewhat tamed National Leader, Bola Tinubu, presented Akpabio to AkwaIbom as the panacea to PDP’s alleged ‘sixteen years of destruction in Akwa-Ibom state’. But how could they present Akpabio to Akwa-Ibom in one breath and in the next breath ask Akwa-Ibom to reject the PDP because PDP destroyed Akwa-Ibom for sixteen years? Do they
not see the contradiction? For eight solid years out of those ‘sixteen years of destruction,’ Akpabio was the Governor! So Akwa-Ibom should reject Akpabio and also accept Akpabio! This is what in literature we call a paradox! They said PDP’s sixteen-year rule in Akwa-Ibom was a waste. Victor Attah ruled for the first eight years. Godswill Akpabio ruled for the second eight years. Both men are now in APC. My question is this: Is APC a WASTE RECYCLING PLANT? If that is the case, then PDP has recycled its waste to APC and is now clean! Another thing is that the APC styles itself as an anti-corruption party (although according to Transparency International, Nigeria is more corrupt today than it was under the PDP). Akpabio admitted that he has a case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The EFCC itself also admitted that Akpabio has a case with them. Yet, this is the man that the quartet of Buhari, Osinbajo, Tinubu and Oshiomhole all met. This is the man they appointed ‘Leader of the APC in Akwa-Ibom’. And tomorrow the APC will say President Buhari has ZERO tolerance for corruption! When you celebrate alleged corruption, how can you be celebrated as an anti-corruption administration? And how could they say that the PDP destroyed Akwa-Ibom when the airport the APC leaders landed in at Uyo, the road they drove on from Uyo to Ikot-Ekpene and the stadium at which they received Akpabio were all built by the same PDP that ‘wasted sixteen years’. Let them go to the nearest APC states to Akwa-Ibom (Imo and Edo) and see if they experience the level of uncommon infrastructural development they witnessed in Akwa-Ibom that PDP destroyed! The fact is that the APC under Adams Oshiomhole has become a party set on self-destruction. A party that is turning itself into the definition of hypocrisy. By replacing John Odigie Oyegun with Adams Oshiomhole, what the APC did was jump from frying pan to fire. Leah Sharibu: The Girl Boko Haram Left Behind: My new book with the above name is now out in hardback on Amazon and wherever books are sold.
Reno’s Nuggets Even if you are poor, occasionally take your children to classy hotels, and nice malls, the cinema or just some fun hangouts. Expose them to the rich so they don’t have a poverty mentality. Even if your parents didn’t do it for you, break the cycle and do it for them. If you are poor, don’t bequeath poverty to your children by having many kids. Have children that your income can support. It is wicked to bring kids into this world simply because you are fertile. Keep your manhood in check if it is not as fertile as your account #RenosNuggets
Defection, Counter-defection & Imminent Re-drawing of South-south Political Map Tunde Rahman
arpet-crossing, decampment, defection or whatever name it is couched has been part of our body politic for such a long time that its end is hardly conceivable. In plain language, it connotes the repudiation of a political platform one had earlier espoused and embraced and, in some cases, through which one had been elected into a particular public office, and the joining of another one. Notwithstanding this seemingly negative attribute, defection may not necessarily be a bad thing. It may even be done for good. A defector, for instance, may have suddenly realised he had all along belonged in the wrong group or realised the association he once promoted or identified with may have dumped those fine ideals it once professed. What is appalling about abdicating one party for another is the way and manner the action is often undertaken in our clime, bereft of any altruistic underpinning. The comportment of some defectors and the end defection is designed to serve are even more dismaying. A few analysts have attempted a comparison of some defections recently witnessed in the country when some 14 or so Senators left the governing APC for mostly opposition PDP and a flurry other defections followed. After the14 Senators announced on the floor of the Senate they were moving out of APC, Senate President Bukola Saraki, known to be APC only in name since he fraudulently ascended the Senate leadership position, expectedly joined them. In the days that followed, however, Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who is former governor of Akwa Ibom State, also sensationally defected from PDP into APC. Now, it has been argued that Akpabio’s singular defection embodies a higher political credence than that those of Senate President Saraki and the other Senators combined. His defection is something that would pass for a counter attack in the game of football. Akpabio’s move
is a big blow to the PDP; it’s akin to a dagger in the heart of the opposition party. The PDP got 14 Senators including Saraki whose grip on the Senate presidency has become weak and rickety, the APC in return grabbed the Minority Leader, the PDP Leader in the Senate, and with that, also symbolically won the control of perhaps not only the Akwa Ibom home-state of former governor Akpabio and the entire South-South. This is why it seems so. Akpabio is that highly regarded political leader in the South-South geo-political zone with a crushing grip on the politics of Akwa Ibom State where he erected most of the key infrastructure on parade today and successfully installed his erstwhile Secretary to the State Government Udom Emmanuel as governor in 2015, at the expiration of his own tenure. His defection has given the APC a huge inroad into the South-South where the party seems non-existent, signalling an imminent change in the power configuration in that geo-political zone. Akpabio’s defection is also remarkable in one other important way. Upon his decision to defect, the former governor wrote a letter to the Senate and the PDP caucus in the Chamber, relinquishing his position as Minority Leader, taking the path of honour and by so doing demonstrating to the other defectors the respectable way to handle such a situation. This, in my view, represents a new high in the matter of defection. It is perhaps due to his bewildering political influence and the noble way he went about his defection that the APC National Chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomhole labelled Akpabio an uncommon defector. Akpabio’s act would pile more pressure on some of the defectors particularly Senate President Saraki who left the APC but has stubbornly refused and in fact has been engaging in all kinds of subterfuge to not relinquish the office he obtained on the APC platform. Not surrendering a crown or an office acquired through an earlier association with a party whose membership one has now repudiated, in my view, raises a huge moral issue and remains a moral burden on the
occupant of such an office. For how long will such defectors, for how long will Saraki for whom such moral issue holds no importance, hold on in that office? Time will tell. But beyond the apt lessons in defections, Akpabio’s declaration for APC last Wednesday at the township Stadium in Ikot Ekpene, his hometown, was exciting. The crowd was massive. The rally was grand. Dignitaries thronged the occasion in their hundreds. There were also great speeches. In attendance among others were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha who represented Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, APC National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Comrade Oshiomhole, Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, Senate Leader Ahmed Lawan and some other distinguished Senators as well as Ministers and other top government functionaries. At the rally, Osinbajo declared that treasury looters would no longer be allowed to return to power. Asiwaju Tinubu took a swipe at former President Olusegun Obasanjo for kicking against President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election, alleging that Obasanjo was part of the PDP that ran the country for 16 years without results. Energetic Comrade Oshiomhole pronounced Akpabio the new leader of APC in Akwa Ibom State, stating that Akwa Ibom people were united that in 2019, under the leadership and guidance of Akpabio, the state would join the “states of progressive governance”. On the defection and Akpabio’s honourable act, Oshiomhole said: “What other people are afraid to do, Akpabio did it after deep reflection. He listened to the yearnings of his people, by sacrificing the title of Minority Leader of the Senate, to join the APC. Akpabio did what Senator Bukola Saraki is unable to do and he has shown that the people of the South-south zone can be different, where it matters. We can stand up and be counted.” He added:”I know that with your membership ––Col of our great party (APC), we will benefit from your uncommon transformation qualities you demonstrated while you were the governor of this state. You are an uncommon defector. There
are ordinary defectors, who want to move, but they want to steal the crown. We have an uncommon rally in Ikot Ekpene”. Responding, Akpabio said he decided to join the APC “in the national interest” and to support President Buhari whom he described as a man of integrity and a nationalist. “I decided to join the APC at this time because I am a nationalist. In times like this, everybody should support to bring peace to our dear nation; to stop the killings and ensure employment of our teeming youths. With my declaration, uncommon change has come to Akwa Ibom. We believe that the South-south cannot stand alone on its own. We need to collaborate with others. I consulted. What I have done today is to take the people of the Southsouth to the centre.” But the move that culminated in Akpabio’s final decision to cross over to APC did not come from the blues. It was a properly coordinated affair, apparently initiated by the APC National Leader Tinubu who was engaged for many months in series of meetings and discussions in Lagos and Abuja with the former governor. When the deal was finally consummated and he was set to declare for APC, former governor Akpabio headed for London to meet President Buhari who was then holidaying in the United Kingdom. He later returned to Abuja for further deliberations with Asiwaju Tinubu ahead of his declaration. This was barely three days to the declaration rally in Ikot Ekpene. Confirming the eventual success of the initiative Asiwaju started, Akpabio reportedly told the APC leader, as he sat down in audience with him at his Abuja office that he was “back for final consultation and meeting where it all began.” And without being asked to do so, those around them in that office immediately began clicking their cameras and positioning their mobile phones to take the momentous photographs. –––Rahman, former Editor THISDAY on Sunday, is Media Adviser to Asiwaju Tinubu.
AUGUST 12, 2018 ˾THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER
Atiku...I always keep to my words
Atiku: I Will Do One Term Only, If Elected President in 2019
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who has officially declared his intention to contest the presidency in 2019 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in this exclusive interview with Olawale Olaleye and Bayo Akinloye lays out his plan to reposition the country to realise its full potential. Atiku speaks on a wide variety of issues, including youth unemployment, the troubled education system, insecurity, and restructuring. Furthermore, for the first time, he committed himself to doing just one term of four years. Excerpts: ou ofﬁcially joined the race for the PDP ticket ahead of the 2019 presidential election two weeks ago. What exactly is your agenda for Nigeria? My agenda is centred on jobs. That is what I have been doing for the past 40 years. I am first and foremost an entrepreneur. A job creator. My group of companies has a workforce of about 50,000. This does not include the hundreds of thousands that are indirectly employed. I believe in creating jobs, providing opportunities, being united as one Nigeria, and securing it all with a military-industrial complex whose raison d’être is ‘Nigeria First.’ It is a fact of life that you cannot give what you do not have. In December of 2017, the government-owned and operated National Bureau of Statistics officially revealed that 7.9 million Nigerians had lost their jobs in the 21 months immediately preceding the Buhari government. The current government cannot create jobs because it is headed and peopled by men and women who have never run successful businesses. They ran their own private businesses down. So how can you expect them to run the public’s business up? What I am assuring Nigerians is that if they elect me, I promise them that everyone who wants to work will be given opportunities. Even this thing they are doing, called N-Power, is a product of their poverty mindset. Nigerians do not need handout. Nigerians need a leg up! Our people are not lazy. Quote me anywhere; Nigerians are the most intelligent people on God’s planet. The reason our people are living in poverty today is that our current leaders have a poverty mentality. I will give you a very good example. How can I be president and criminals will attack my people and I will tell them that the only thing I can do is pray? Then, in that case, I should be a clergyman, not a president! How can a leader open his mouth and tell his citizens that it is better to give land than to die? That is as good as telling the people that they have been conquered.
headquarters for extreme poverty. Not poverty, mind you, but extreme poverty. That is the highest level of poverty. It is almost as if I was born for this challenge. You may even say that the challenge is tailor-made for the unique abilities that God has given me. Atiku means Jobs. President Buhari can’t say that. In fact, under him, the situation has deteriorated so badly. None of the other aspirants can say the same thing. Most of them have spent their entire lives being either employees of the government or employees in the private sector, which in itself is not a bad thing. However, I have created more jobs than any other person in the race. Let me ask you a question: If you are at an airport with your private plane and you notice that the weather conditions are bad, would you go with a pilot who tells you, ‘I know how to pilot a plane’ Or, will you go with one who tells you, ‘I have piloted a plane in bad weather and here is the proof?’ The current Nigerian economic climate can be likened to bad weather. Even the government cannot pay salaries. Even the government is not employing. Yet, with all that they have done to make things difficult for me, I am still employing. I am still paying salaries. I recently brought the Chicken Cottage franchise to Nigeria and created hundreds of new jobs. I am currently building a hospital in Abuja with the Saudi-German Hospital. Just the construction and planning alone is already providing jobs. Imagine how many jobs it will provide when it is completed. Not to mention the huge impact it will have in making healthcare accessible and affordable for Nigerians.
You have become the champion of restructuring even more than Bola Tinubu, who no longer speaks of it. President Buhari described those clamouring for restructuring as parochial. What is your reaction to that? In addition, how do you really plan to restructure the country if elected in 2019? With all due respect, it is the refusal to even discuss restructuring that is parochial. Nigeria either restructures or it withers away. And the sad thing is that the man who made that What do you think puts you shoulder above other aspirants and more so, the current comment does not even know the meaning of the word parochial. To be parochial is to have a limited mindset incapable of seeing reason with others. Now, who is parochial between him president? The number one problem facing Nigerians today is not insecurity. It is not corruption. It is not and those advocating restructuring? Take something like insecurity. The other day there were killings in Plateau State and the even lack of power. The most pressing problem in Nigeria today is unemployment. We have President said the situation had got so bad there was nothing more he could do than pray. more unemployed people in Nigeria today than the combined population of the Republics of Benin and Togo multiplied by two. Two months ago, Nigeria overtook India as the world’s Cont’d on Pg. 76
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾AUGUST 12, 2018
The Less You Spend on Education the More You Have to Spend on Security Continued from Page. 75
I am not Muhammadu Buhari. I do not make promises I cannot keep. I am assuring Nigerians that I will keep this promise. I am making it out here in the open. I am willing to sign a written document. If you or any other Nigerian can come up with an iron-clad legal document that binds me, I am willing to publicly commit to it
Even that statement itself is a cry for restructuring. The man is admitting that there is nothing he can do, within the current structure, other than to pray. That means the current structure, by his own admission, is not working. If we restructured and had community policing, the man would not be in such dire straits. The Imam of Nghar village, in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State saved 300 Christians by hiding them in his mosque during the recent crisis. By that singular act, Alhaji Abdullahi Abubakar saved 300 lives. That was a community solution to a community challenge. Now put your thinking cap on. Imagine how much safer that community would be if they practised community policing, which relied on community leaders like Imam Abdullahi Abubakar? Even in revenue generation, I came up with the idea of matching grants when I gave a speech at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, also known as Chatham House, on April 25, 2018. Matching grants would motivate our states to be less dependent on federal allocation and more dependent on internally generated revenue. Today, both the Federal Government and the states are broke. They depend on loans to even pay salaries and in the midst of that, someone is saying that we do not need restructuring. Reality departed from such a fellow a while ago! How do I plan to restructure the country if elected? Restructuring is a process, not an event. However, I have said it that I would restructure Nigeria within six months of being elected. First of all, no state will get less than what they are currently getting from the federation account. In fact, they will get more. That is what my initiative of matching grant is all about. I only need a constitutional amendment if I want to take power and resources away. I do not need to amend the constitution to give power and resources away. Let me give you an example. There are several federal government-owned assets and projects wasting away in Lagos and other states. I do not need a constitutional amendment to call the Lagos State government or governments of the other states and say take over these assets and projects and whatever monies they generate. I do not need a constitutional amendment to transfer universities from the Federal Government to the state government. I only need an Executive Order. Ditto for returning schools to the missions and religious organisations, which once owned them. The most vital part of restructuring is the devolution of powers, not the accumulation of powers and it is easier to give powers away than to take them from the federating units.
quantities in the East. He was not threatened by it. He was overjoyed. His vision was that the North would grow more food that the other regions would be in a better position to buy. Is that not genius? Does that sound like someone who would be against restructuring? Now coming back to the present time, even though Nigeria did not become the world football champions at the World Cup, I am so glad that our Russia 2018 World Cup Team was constituted the way it was. Ahmed Musa, a northerner, was the Most Valued Player on the Super Eagles squad. He delivered goals. Ahmed Musa has proved some people’s fears to be unfounded. Through his talents, he has demonstrated that there is no part of Nigeria that is without talents. He has shown that we can run our government and our civil service based on merit, instead of ethnicity and religion. Just last week, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board revealed that the best overall scorer in this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination came from Borno State. Borno State! Think about that! Stereotypes are dying. Let us give them a proper burial and move on without them. There is support for restructuring nationwide and there is resistance to it countrywide. Let us not make northerners a convenient scapegoat just because Buhari, who does not want restructuring, is a northerner.
so that we can collectively increase our investments in the education sector. The fastest way out of Third World status for any nation is by educating youths and women. The whole purpose of the National Youth Service Corps was to improve national cohesion by involving Nigerian graduates in the development of the country. If I am elected as the president, all members of the National Youth Service Corps would have only three options on where to serve. You either teach, or you farm or you treat people in a hospital or clinic. No exception, even if you are my own biological child or grandchild. If I am elected as the president, I will ensure that the education sector attracts the best brains by working with the states to achieve targeted salary increase for teachers and lecturers. You cannot have a local government councillor earning more money than a lecturer and expect our best brains to be attracted to the academia. I would change that. I was shocked to find out that Nigerians spend a billion dollars to educate their children in Ghana every year. When you add the cost of educating their wards in Europe and America, you are looking at a further $1 billion. I am assuring you that if we invest in our education sector and make it as good as Ghana’s and definitely even better, that $2 billion will no longer leave Nigeria. It will circulate internally and boost the quality of our education and the value of our Naira.
The entire educational system in the country has collapsed. We now produce fourth grade graduates. Nigerian universities are hardly among the top 500 universities in the world. Our public schools are in a sorry state because leaders like you have not done what you ought to have done. Now that you have broken with that class of leaders and you tell us that you want to solve the problem, tell us where you are going to start from and how you are going to do this? Well, you can only hold me vicariously liable as a member of the political class, but you cannot hold me personally responsible because when our administration came into being in 1999 the situation was already bad. However, by 2007 when we left, we made it better than we met it. Our administration increased the salaries of teachers and lecturers. We committed a higher sectorial allocation to education than what was the norm before us. And when you look at what I have done in my personal capacity, you must admit that, perhaps, no other individual or group of individuals has committed the quantum of investments I have committed to education. I did not found the American University of Nigeria, Yola, to make money. It is my biggest community development project. Chibok girls are there on scholarship. I was an indigent student. I was an orphan as a child. So I know what it is to struggle. As a result, the American University of Nigeria, Yola, has opened up its doors to those who would not ordinarily have been able to attend. If we want to fix education in Nigeria, we must do the same thing. We must commit to investing in education because no other investment yields a greater interest. If I am elected as the president, I would sit with the heads of the legislature and the judiciary and appeal to their sense of nationalism. We must all reduce our recurrent expenditure
Recently, you were said to have promised to devote 21 per cent of your national budget to education. Tell us, how you will do this because we actually need a concrete plan of action and speciﬁcity in this regard? Yes, I did make that commitment and I make it here again. I pledge that if I am chosen by my party, the Peoples Democratic Party, to be its presidential candidate, and if I am subsequently elected as the President by Nigerians, I will go above and beyond the United Nations’ recommendations and ensure that a minimum of 21 per cent of the federal budget is devoted to education. Beyond that, I will reserve 10 per cent of that amount to further and continuous education for our public school teachers. Nigeria’s education sector must progress from creating job seekers. We must train our teachers to train our children to be job creators as well. As for the specifics, for the last 10 years, Nigeria has budgeted the equivalent of $30 billion at the federal level, give or take. Twenty-one per cent of that is about $6.5 billion. I already mentioned to you that if elected as the president, I would sit with the heads of the legislature and the judiciary for the purpose of coming to an agreement on how we can scale down our overheads. On the side of the executive, there are so many things we can cut down on. Recently, I wanted to go to Azerbaijan and I found out that they don’t have an embassy in Nigeria or any other country near Nigeria. To get a visa, you apply online to their foreign office. Nigeria maintains literally hundreds of embassies and foreign missions in multiple nations that we really do not need. We can close down two-thirds of these missions and have one embassy service as many as four nations in the geographic vicinity. We can use technology to provide consular services. In 2018, we budgeted N63 billion for recurrent expenditure in foreign affairs. Under an Atiku presidency, we would
As you know, restructuring is not particularly popular among the northern elite. How are you going to convince them that this is the best way to realise Nigeria’s economic and human capital potentials? That is a myth. Unfortunately, this presumption has discouraged many true proponents of restructuring. Those who perpetuate this falsehood are attempting to rewrite history. Let me tell you, when General Aguiyi Ironsi came up with the controversial Unification of Assets Decree No. 34 of 1966, it was not the West or Midwest that resisted it. It was not the East. It was the North that rejected it and for good reason. Northern Nigeria is capable of feeding not just the whole of Nigeria, but the whole of Africa. That was why the Sardauna was so happy with the discovery of oil in commercial
AUGUST 12, 2018˾THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER
It’s a Myth to Say the North is Against Restructuring The truth, which you and I know, is that without the support of Bola Tinubu, Buhari would not have been elected as the President, his cult followership notwithstanding. Some have also said that your chances of being president would be enhanced if you commit to only one term so that you will be the bridge between the old and the future. Would you commit to one term only? Of course, I would! I have said this before on my own initiative. I believe in it. If I am elected as the President in 2019, I give an undertaking that I would only do one term. Having said that, let me remind Nigerians that Buhari also gave such an undertaking in 2011, but he is not living up to it today. My own case will be different. I am prepared to sign an undertaking to do only one term. Are you not just saying this to get the ticket and, ultimately, get elected after which you would feel no obligation to honour your words? But how do you make us believe you, since Buhari, as you have said, failed to honour his own 2011 pledge? I am not Muhammadu Buhari. I do not make promises I cannot keep. I am assuring Nigerians that I will keep this promise. I am making it out here in the open. I am willing to sign a written document. If you or any other Nigerian can come up with an iron-clad legal document that binds me, I am willing to publicly commit to it.
spend only a quarter of that. The rest will go to education. In the same budget, we are spending N1 trillion paying salaries for our military and paramilitary officers and men, and less than half of that paying salaries in the education sector. As an educator, I see the problem immediately. The less you spend on education the more you have to spend on security. The more you spend on education the less you have to spend on security. It is interconnected. We are having to spend so much on defence because over the years we have not invested enough in education. Beginning from my first year, I will reverse that. The money will be re-channelled to education. In the 2018 budget, we have N112 billion going to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. To do what? Award grass cutter contracts? Under an Atiku administration, whoever is the Secretary to the Government of the Federation just has to find a way to manage 10 per cent of that money. The rest will go to education. I am serious about this. This is not rhetoric. I have achieved it in my private capacity as an educator and if given the chance, I will replicate it in Nigeria’s public sector.
Nigeria as a whole can have similar successes. Are you going to devolve responsibilities for education to the states? And how will you engender competition among the states to ensure that the educational system is merit-driven? I already answered this question and in some detail too. As to the second part of your question, the federal government will retain ministries and agencies, like the ministry of education and the National Universities Commission and other agencies for other levels of education to ensure that minimal national standards are in force in institutions. As long as these institutions maintain these standards, the federal government will continue to intervene in those institutions through the initiatives I already outlined.
Would you eliminate State of Origin and replace it with State of Birth to herald a new Nigeria? I have said this publicly before now. And this is not a new thing. The first elected mayor of Enugu, Umaru Altine, was a Fulani resident of the coal city. On the 10th of November, 1956, Altine was also elected the leader of his local branch of the NCNC without any opposition. In fact, our constitution does not give prominence to this dichotomy. That is why my party, the PDP, fielded Oghene Egoh, from the South-south, and Rita Orji and Tony Nwolu from the South-east, as candidates for election into the House of Representatives, representing Lagos constituencies and the good thing is that they won. So, it is already happening, and if I am elected as the president, it will become an official government policy. The APC has been mobilising to remove the Senate President and his deputy. How do you see a move like this by a party that beneﬁtted from defections that it celebrated with fanfare a couple of years ago, which, of course, helped it to win the 2015 election? Hypocrisy has always been the APC’s stock in trade. They claimed that the PDP mismanaged Nigeria for 16 years, yet in just three years of APC being in power, Nigeria experienced a recession, which we never experienced under the PDP. Nigeria’s currency became the fourth worst performing currency in the world and in just three years, they have taken more loans than the PDP took in 16 years. They claim the PDP was corrupt, yet Nigeria made its best showing in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index under the PDP in 2014 when we moved eight places forward, from 144 to 136. Meanwhile, under the so-called anti-corruption government of the APC, we made our worst performance ever, moving 12 places backward, from 136 to 148. They claim that the PDP lost the war on terror and they declared victory. But look at where we are today? Terror has spread nationwide and the man who said the PDP was weak on terror says there is nothing he can do but pray! So when you talk about hypocrisy and the APC, you are referring to two evil twins that are so identical that one can pass for the other.
NIGERIA Nigeria nationalised education in 1975 and that has been the root of the crisis in the education sector. How would you resolve that particular issue of centralised control of education that has destroyed the educational system? Would you allow states to have total control over education, limiting federal intervention to the barest level? And how would you use the increased budgetary allocation to education you have proposed to ensure our education is more relevant to the economic and scientiﬁc growth of the country? I believe I answered the first part of your question when I said I would use Executive Orders to devolve some powers. To be more specific, by Executive Order, the President can hand over universities to the states in which they are located. By Executive Order, the President can also hand over all unity secondary schools to the states in which they are located. Where these schools were taken over by the Federal Government from religious bodies and missions, they should be returned to such religious bodies and missions. As to the second part of your question, the bulk of the 21 per cent sectorial allocation will not go towards paying salaries, as is currently the case. Almost half will go towards infrastructure and capacity building. I will set up a fund for the compulsory training and continuous education of all Nigerian teachers. I will issue an Executive Order mandating that all Nigerian schools must be WiFi-equipped at federal government expense. We will work with the private sector to take in students as interns so that they can learn on the job during their holidays and the federal government will be responsible for paying these students a learning bursary. Our research and development agencies will be retooled. They must deliver. How could the Buhari administration be considering importing grass from Brazil when we have research agencies like the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, and the non-government owned International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan? I would order our research agencies to work with fully Nigerian-owned businesses, like Innoson Motors. Because of the immense successes we have had at the American University of Nigeria, Yola, I know that
Some people are worried about your age. Many also say that you don’t have the cult-like followership that Buhari has, to be able to win the election. The belief is that even though you have national support, winning the presidential election is still going to be a tall order. What is your reaction to this? How old am I versus the incumbent? I know when I was born. This is my exact age. I do not have a football age. But the issue is even beyond age. It is about fitness. I am fit. I am ready to publish my medical records and I challenge all those who are running, including the incumbent, to give that same assurance. As to the cult-like following, yes, you are right, I am not a cultist, nor will I ever be. The history of the human race has shown that personality cults do more harm than good. But if this cult is so powerful, how come it could not help elect Muhammadu Buhari in 2003, 2007 and 2011? How come Nasir el-Rufai, my former protégé, said on October 4, 2010 that Buhari is ‘perpetually unelectable’?
2019 How old am I versus the incumbent? I know when I was born. This is my exact age. I do not have a football age. But the issue is even beyond age. It is about ﬁtness. I am ﬁt. I am ready to publish my medical records and I challenge all those who are running, including the incumbent, to give that same assurance
How would you resolve the security challenge in the country – Boko Haram, ISIS, herdsmen, etc.? Many worry that the spate of killings threatens the very existence of the country. Why do you think it is so difﬁcult for the government to protect lives and property? It is all about leadership. Pure and simple. I have said it before that Nigeria has 150,000 policemen performing noncore police functions, chief of which is guarding VIPs. Do you know that Leah Sharibu’s father, Nathan, is a policeman? He is a member of the Nigerian Police Force’s Special Protection Unit. Just look at how we failed him and his family as a nation. At a time when he was protecting others, nobody was protecting his daughter’s school in Dapchi. How do you think he will feel? My solution to the current insecurity in Nigeria is that I would commercialise the Special Protection Unit. Those 150,000 policemen will still guard VIPs and the private sector. But those VIPs and the private sector will have to pay for their services. From the money realised, we will recruit an additional 150,000 policemen and send them to security hot spots, thereby creating jobs by securing the nation. It is all about priorities. The other day we had an election in Ekiti State and this administration mobilised 30,000 policemen there. Then two weeks later, the government proudly announced that they were sending a 1,000-strong force to tackle the scourge of banditry in Zamfara State. Under an Atiku presidency, this will not happen. Securing the lives of Nigerians would have priority over securing votes for my party.
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾AUGUST 12, 2018
Adebayo Adeoye firstname.lastname@example.org; 08054680651
Dayo Alebiosu’s Dwindling Political Fame
n the build-up to the All Progressives Congress’s (APC) primary in 2015, Hon. Dayo Bush Alebiosu, who wanted to contest a seat in the House of Representatives, had exhibited great hope and conﬁdence, perhaps for his bloated ego and overconﬁdence couples with his heavy ﬁnancial war chest. He had also put in a lot of machinery to actualise his dream. But sadly, he lost the bid to Rotimi Agunsoye. Following this unsavoury development, the former twoterm member of the Lower Chamber decided to take a back seat in the political and social scenes. But the decision has greatly affected his popularity and inﬂuence. He may not have resigned to fate, as he was said to have made some efforts to stage a comeback in preparation for the 2019 election. But the plans reportedly fell ﬂat on his face even before taking off. Observers say his twoterm victory was facilitated by his father, Alhaji Bushura Alebiosu. But he lost his shine when he was defeated by Agunsoye in the party primary. While in the House, he served in many committees, including National Security, Petroleum (Upstream) and was a former sub-committee chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), among others.
Lara Banjoko’s Awful Experience
ara Banjoko, CEO, Zone4 Energy Limited, has successfully built a good reputation in the nation’s oil and gas business. Beautiful and brainy, she is one of the most sought-after female experts in the industry. In fact, not a few chief executives believe that she holds the magic wand that can turn the fortunes of any moribund petroleum company around. Also, Banjoko, a former chief operating officer of Oando, once bestrode the Nigerian social scene like a colossus, causing many to believe that her name would resonate for a very long time. But what remains unfathomable is the fact that she has always been dogged by controversies. It all began after she left an oil marketing company owned by a multi billionaire, in controversial circumstances. Following her resignation, she went under the radar. But she resurfaced on the social scene, particularly after she floated her company, Zone 4 Energy, which has since become one of Nigeria’s fastest-growing indigenous oil and gas brands. But just when you thought all was looking good for her again, Society Watch gathered that the lady again might have fallen into troubled waters that may take a long time to swim through. Her firm, has been invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over an allegation that it received N5bn from a former minister. She has since been fighting through legal means to clear her name. But the more she tries, the deeper she seems to sink, as the EFCC is allegedly tightening its noose around her neck and other executive directors of the company.
Lekan Osifeso’s Narrow Escape
f you hear that the family and friends of Lekan Osifeso, Chairman, Lekai Construction, are organising a prayer and fasting session, you don’t have to sneer at them. For them, only God deserves their praise and worship for sparing the life of their beloved Osifeso, who was recently involved in an accident. The socialite, it was gathered, was
on his way from Abuja to Iseyin in Oyo State when the accident occurred. Those in the know claimed that the socialite was travelling to attend Shina Peller’s declaration for the House of Reps, when the car he was travelling in somersaulted. He was said to have sustained injuries in his neck and arms. It was further gathered that friends are contemplating flying him out of the country for better treatment.
Honour For Paul Inyang
Paul Inyang, CEO, Megaplux Global Access, is a testament to the popular saying “A man who is diligent in his profession would sit before kings.” The story of Paulo, as he is famously called, is that of a man who has risen from nothingness to prominence owing to hard work, creativity and innovation.
Armed with a master’s degree from the University of Calabar, Cross River State, Paul, who is said to be planning big for the birthday of his beautiful wife, Deola, had dreamed to be a voice in the branding world. Pronto, he set up his then mini branding firm with a paltry sum.
Cont’d on pg. 65
AUGUST 12, 2018 ˾ T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R
Helen Solomon’s Bold Move Dr (Mrs.) Helen Naomi Godswill Solomon, a lawyer, is the author of ‘The Birth of a New Nigeria’. In the book, she showcases the greatness of Nigeria and calls on all to work towards making the country great again. Those who have read the book say it offers an insight into what Solomon, as an individual, will do if she is in the position of power. Perhaps, this explains why she has joined the murky waters of politics in Nigeria. Obviously desirous of changing the current narratives in the land, she dared the odds and took a bold step to live her dream on July 13, when she declared her intention to run for president on the platform of the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, in 2019.
Prior to her declaration, Solomon had impacted many lives through her “Operation Deborah Arise” (ODA), an international, non-governmental organisation specialising in raising women from thrash to treasure. In her capacity, she goes from one nation to another, rehabilitating African prostitutes, stopping child trafficking and the use of young girls as sex slaves, feeding the poor in various cities and mentoring, empowering and helping women and young girls to use their Godgiven talents to build homes, businesses and nations. Solomon, also the co-founder and president of Divine Empowerment and Leadership Foundation for Youths and Women, graduated from the Nigerian Law School in 1992. She was ordained a minister in the Redeemed Christian Church of God in 2000.
Honour For Paul Inyang Cont’d from pg.. 64
a global phenomenon, with rich clientele. In recognition of his feat, Paul will again, be honoured with a deserving award on September 23, in Frankfurt,
Germany, as his company, Megaplux, will receive an International Award in Excellence and Quality (IAEQ) in the Gold Category at the 32nd International Quality.
Interestingly, 11 years after, Paul has not only succeeded as a frontline brand pusher, but has become
Festering Wound in Caroline Ekanem’s Heart
he love tale of Caroline Ekanem, ex-wife of Musa Danjuma, would make a good read, if beautifully knitted by a powerful
writer. She hugged the limelight after she joined Nigeria’s movie industry, aka Nollywood, some years ago. Though she was never on the A-list category, she was rather known for her beautiful face. Besides, she gained more fame for her alleged aﬀair with awardwinning musician, Tuface Idibia , and a former Super Eagles player. But what appeared to be the icing on the cake was her aﬀair with Danjuma, a brother to a former Defence Minister, TY Danjuma. Marrying the billionaire aﬀorded her a new lease of life as there was total transformation in her life. They were an item on the social scene as many of her single friends envied her. However, 10 years after their celebrated wedding, negative stories began to ﬁlter in from their home. But the couple kept denying it until the marriage ﬁnally hit the rock last year. Though the foregoing are well recorded facts about her, society Watch gathered that the young lady is seriously nursing the wound of her series of losses. Those in the know said that since the mother of three lost her last boyfriend, Tagbo, to the cold hands of death months back, she is yet to get over the shock. In fact, the sad development has caused a deep wound in her heart so much so that the ravishingly beautiful mother of three is said to be uninterested in any of the guys who have been seeking her attention.
Obat Oil and Gas MD, Femi Obateru’s Humility
s son of His Imperial Majesty, the Olugbo of Ugbo, Oba Fredrick Akinrutan Obateru, Femi has blue blood. By providence, he is s born with the proverbial silver spoon in his month and enjoys a privileged position in the society. But quite unlike many in his class, Femi, aka Omo’ba Pataki, is simple to a fault. He is humility personiﬁed. He does not shy away from attributing his humility to the lessons he learnt from his father. Besides, one can say that he has also imbibed the sense in the words of a popular philosopher and theologian, Saint Augustine, who said: ‘’It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” Though he is misunderstood by some individuals, he sees wealth and riches as
God’s blessings, which must be used to uplift humanity. Blessed with managerial skill, Femi, who is the head honcho of Obat Oil and Gas, has helped repositioned the company to an enviable height, ranking it as one of the biggest upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas conglomerate in Africa. No wonder, even though he quietly jetted out of the country to the United States of America a few days to his 41st birthday to celebrate with his wife and kids, his friends, family members and wellwishers ﬂooded their social media timeline to celebrate him. He was said to have attended a church thanksgiving service the following day to show appreciation to his Creator for sparing his life.
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾AUGUST 12, 2018
SOCIALMEDIABITS Lastweekonsocialmedia,theDSSstormedtheNationalAssembly, Tony Elumelu shows us how he lets oﬀ steam and Lagos society stormed a wedding party thrown by the Ibrus and Akinnolas...
t’s extremely difficult to see past politics when we beam a searchlight on social media. It’s in your face, especially on Twitter which relatively, is for serious stuff. So serious that Femi Kuti couldn’t accept a compliment because it was, well, an obvious fact. Luckily, there’s Instagram, where one can scroll through pictures of (usually) fun people showing off glamorous lifestyles. Imagine checking your Twitter feed on a Sunday afternoon and being confronted with images of President Muhammadu Buhari receiving a prominent member of the opposition
party at his residence in London. The APC Twitter handle told us to guess what was being discussed. We didn’t have to, as events unfolded during the week to confirm that Senator Godswill Akpabio had defected from the PDP to the APC. Of course this sparked reactions that trended for days from different sides of the political divide. Nigeria’s Minister of information Lai Mohammed was so ecstatic, he described the former Akwa Ibom governor’s move as a ‘oneone goalless draw’! A stalemate in other words. Cont’d on pg 81
with DEMOLA OJO email@example.com
AUGUST 12, 2018 ˾T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R
SOCIALMEDIABITS While Akpabio was trending, yet another political event occurred that grabbed the nation’s attention. This time, it was the misadventure by the secret service; they stormed the National Assembly with nobody really sure under whose instructions. The reaction from Acting President Yemi Osinbajo was swift though. He sacked the DSS chief and explained why. If you missed the memo, it’s spelt out clearly on twitter, among many other claims and counter-claims. Senate Deputy President Ike Ekweremadu’s house was stormed too. Luckily for him, it was by pastors. He may need those prayers in the near future. A storm is certainly brewing in the National Assembly. According to Donald Duke, it won’t clear until it ceases to be a retirement home for former governors. Banky Wellington would
have the youth go further: come together and ‘cancel’ all the politicians. He may have a point. Apparently, the two candidates for a senatorial bye-election in the president’s Daura zone is being contested by two blood brothers. A family affair. It’s not all doom and gloom though. There’s so much to cheer, and Instagram is usually the place to find it. We can learn how to let off steam by toeing Tony Elumelu’s path; his early morning regimen incorporates some yoga. Or learn how to party with taste and class like the Ibru’s and Akinnola’s, who threw a contention for wedding party of the year (the first instalment) for their children, Ebruba and Ibiyinka. Considering the way Olorogun Oskar still looks at his wife, the new bride is in for a swell time.
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AUGUST 12, 2018 ˾THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER
President Buhari makes a stop-over at his campaign secretariat before leaving for London
The Power GameThickens...
Without oﬃcially declaring open the 2019 elections, there are strong indications that the race, which is a few months away, might have already begun. It also goes without saying that a majority of the events that have shaped the last few weeks have not helped matters either, but corroborated this position. Interestingly, what appears the slight diﬀerence between the last national elections and the much talked about 2019 is that the battles are being fought at diﬀerent levels, albeit at the highest level of power play. Whilst some are being fought at the party level (intra and inter), some are being slugged out at the parliamentary level. The presidency has its hands full as it struggles to deal with all sorts of challenges within its ranks, including looking for a selling narrative or message that could appeal to the people. But, whatever it is, some of the experiences of the last few days seem to have provided the platform for a good review of the coming elections, write Olawale Olaleye, Deji Elumoye, Omololu Ogunmade and Onyebuchi Ezigbo report
bout a week ago, just before he left for his 10-day vacation in London, the United Kingdom, President Muhammadu Buhari, had requested of his supporters to suspend all forms of campaigns, pending the time the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declares the race open. He frowned at any activities, either directly or indirectly, that could foul the laws of the land. The irony, however, was that shortly before he embarked on the trip, Buhari too, had paid an unscheduled visit to his campaign office in Abuja, newly and beautifully put together by the Minister of Transportation and Director General of the campaign organisation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi. Although the president was circumspect in terms of his utterances, because when the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha allegedly asked for the programme of activities, the president, who described himself as the Chairman of the campaign, allegedly said he would provide all of that with time, the campaign office in itself was a message with subliminal content. But could it also be sheer coincidence that a few days to the vacation trip, there was an initial move to arrest the President
of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, when the police blocked his residence and that of his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, with the sole aim of effecting leadership change in the legislature? That failed, but unfortunately, it exacerbated the intensity of the power game, as the different contending forces dug deeper into their trenches on the path to 2019. However, with a second and brazen attempt at a forceful leadership change in the Senate, a move that left both the government and the country thoroughly embarrassed before the international community, there is no gainsaying the fact that the 2019 battle has begun in full blaze, whether or not INEC has declared the race open. It is now an open political warfare as each side perfects strategies to outdo each other and gain political advantage.
Enter Party Politics
The signs of the current cracks in the various political parties and the rivalry therefrom derived basically from the manipulations of the congresses and national conventions especially, of the two main political parties – the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The exercises conducted by the two parties were fraught with such manipulations that gave away the sincerity of their respective congresses and conventions. Whilst the development was not as bad in the PDP as it quickly moved in to contain the various tendencies, the APC has sort of failed in handling its own situation well, a move that has resulted in staggering defections of very important members of the party, including the President Senate of the Senate, Saraki, governors, former governors, senators, House of Representatives members and many more party faithful. Unfortunately, for the new leadership of the APC, which is believed to have more to lose than the PDP in the emerging power play, rather than being contrite and employ suasion in dealing with the tense situation, it became annoyingly arrogant, calling the bluff of those, who could not stand its guts and even threatening to sack ministers, who would not play by the rules. It won’t stop there; it also sent a clear message to the president, when the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole said if the president had been condoning a disrespect of his office, he would not. And because of the palpable indication that the president might not be hands-on, a fact that has always been public
Cont’d on Pg. 84
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾ AUGUST 12, 2018
The Power Game Thickens...
Continued from Page 83
DSS operatives laying siege to the National Assembly
Defections and their Import
For some time now, the APC and the PDP have engaged in a battle of wits, trying to surpass each other in what many observers have dubbed the political transfer market. As at the last count, the APC had lost a substantial number of its key support bases to the PDP. Most of them now crisscross the country, seeking to appease or woo more members. With the gale of defections rocking the polity, the first to go was the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, who had to defect to the PDP with a majority of the members of the State House of Assembly as well as all his political structures in the state. APC had hardly recovered from the shock of Ortom’s departure, when about 14 Senators of the APC left the party in their droves to join the PDP. But the defection of the senators did not go without a drama, as there was a major onslaught on the leadership of the Senate by security agents. Early in the morning of the day of the senator’s defection, the homes of Saraki and Ekwerenmadu were barricaded by fully armed Policemen to prevent them from attending the day’s sitting. Saraki had to pull off one of the uncommon political stunts in the country’s recent history to beat the security and found his way to the Senate chambers to preside over the day’s proceedings. The defection train also saw former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso lead a good chunk of the lawmakers from the state to defect to the PDP. As if scripted, a week after the Kano defection, the Kwara State governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed also left the ruling APC with his entire cabinet, state assembly lawmakers and party structures in the state and moved to the PDP. The gale defections from the APC continued unabated. With the defection of the Kwara State governor, who is a known protégé of the Senate President, everyone expected his boss to toe the same line, but Saraki kept his decision to his chest and waited, perhaps, for the right moment to drop the bombshell. When Saraki’s decision to defect to the PDP came, it was communicated in style. First, it came through a short tweet early in the morning but as newsmen and politicians tried to digest his post, the real message came via his media aides, who issued a lengthy resignation letter, chronicling all his reasons for bidding the APC goodbye. Another blow to the APC ego came shortly after Saraki’s departure, as the Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal defected from the party to the PDP with a majority of the state lawmakers. Aside from this, there were other defections suffered in the APC states like Kaduna, Katsina, Adamawa and Niger. The leadership of the party had dismissed the defections as a non-issue especially, the defections in the Senate. It said as the ruling party, it still maintained the majority, although such position has been disputed by the PDP, which claimed that it has taken over the majority in the Senate. But the later reaction of the ruling party belies its earlier bravado that it had nothing to worry about. A visibly shaken APC immediately beckoned on President Buhari to help halt the defections. National Chairman of the
party, Oshiomhole had to shuttle between his office and the Aso Rock Villa, where series of meetings and consultations were held to map out the strategies to adopt in rescuing the ruling party from drifting. Not even the initial braggadocio exhibited by Oshiomhole and some of APC leaders could calm the tension and anxiety caused by the defection of 14 of its senators in one fell swoop. More worrisome was the possibility of APC losing its majority status in the senate, which could lead to PDP not only occupying the two principal offices of the President of the Senate and the Deputy, but also taking over the seat of the majority leader. Such were the stakes that woke up the lion in the APC and its leadership started making efforts to reconcile with aggrieved members, trying desperately to reverse the advantage PDP seemed to have gained with regards to wining over key politicians. However, the effort of the APC paid off, when its dragnet caught a big fish in the South-south politics, in the person of former Senate Minority Leader and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio. Before Akpabio’s defection, APC national chairman had gone to Ebonyi State to receive a senator from the area into the party’s fold. The ruling party also took advantage of the misgivings that heralded the return of Saraki to the PDP to woo the Kwara State PDP chairman, Iyiola Oyedepo. Although APC is still basking in the euphoria of having caught a big fish in Akpabio and some House of Assembly members, its leaders know that it still needs to do more in order to match the calibre of defectors PDP has garnered in the last few weeks. With the high chances of the Speaker of House Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara also defecting from APC along with his loyal colleagues, it remains to be seen what the ruling party is going to do to counter the trend. Putting Akpabio and Kwankwaso side by side, the latter will no doubt be more beneficial to the “umbrella” than the former to the “Broom revolutionaries”. For instance, Kwankwanso pulled Kano State Deputy Governor, some state assembly members, commissioners, state APC chieftains and other political appointees with him to join the PDP. Don’t forget Kano alone has two million votes, whereas Akpabio pulled only two commissioners and a few legislators to join the APC during the mega rally at Ikot Ekpene Township Stadium. In fact, four of Akpabio’s aides resigned and insisted on staying with the PDP.
Daura...an inglorious exit
knowledge, this leadership, in connivance with some characters in the party decided to run their own government within the legitimate government of President Buhari to flesh personal agenda, however, in the name of the president. Expectedly, the PDP too has refused to let the APC live rent-free on the turf by constantly pushing back hard on nearly every issue. Also, supporting the position of the PDP at nearly all the time is the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), which just appointed a former APC spokesperson, Bolaji Abdulahi as its new Publicity Secretary. Although the engagements have been a little bit dirty and tension-soaked, sometimes with the crudest of languages being employed, the PDP has also tried to make the 2019 debate issue-based by constantly raising concerns to which it has been encouraging the Nigerian people to ask relevant question. Clearly, party rivalry actually presents itself as the fulcrum of debate in the battle for 2019, both internally and across. But with more defections expected across the parties sometime soon, the rivalry is also expected to scale up in the next few weeks as the election dates approach.
A Background to the Siege
When Senate President Saraki formally defected from the APC to the PDP, in his country home, Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on Tuesday, July 31, 2018, little did he know that his return to the PDP, which he left some four years ago, would generate so much heat! The APC caucus in the Senate, which claimed it still has the majority quickly swung into action and commenced moves towards ensuring that Saraki vacates his seat as Senate President, having left the party under which platform he became the nation’s number three citizen. The Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, who is also the Chairman of the APC Senate Caucus and arrow head of the game plan met with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa in
ͯͰ˜ͰͮͯͶ˾THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER
The Power Game Thickens...
The navy in a routine workout Abuja, to discuss the issue of the defecting Senators and the way forward. In one week, the APC Senate Caucus were said to have met with President Buhari in a record four times. At one of such meetings, the Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, joined Senator Lawan and 11 other APC Senators to meet behind closed-doors with the President. The APC Senators at the meeting with President Buhari included Aliyu Wamakko, Ali Ndume, Hope Uzodinma, Umar Kurfi, Yahaya Abdullahi, Danjuma Goje, Robert Borrofice, Sabi Abdullahi, Sunni Ugborji, Abubakar Yusuf and Abdullahi Gumel. At another time, a fourth-time member of the National Assembly, Senator Abu Ibrahim, warned that the Senate would know no peace until Saraki vacates office, having defected from the ruling APC to PDP. Senator Ibrahim (Katsina South) had in an interview declared that peace would elude the Senate except Saraki resigns as Senate President. “If Saraki doesn’t resign, we will never have peace in that Senate, because it is absolutely clear that APC has majority to produce the leadership”. He said Saraki has chosen the path of survival by leaving APC, which he claimed the senate president had undermined for some time. He, however, noted that “The next line of action for him is to resign as Senate President, because by all conventions all over the world, the majority party produces the leadership: Senate President, the majority leader and others. So, let him be gentlemanly enough and resign as Senate President. If the leadership does not ask for peace, it will not get peace. Peace is a function of leadership. I have been in the Senate for about four times. I can’t allow anybody to manipulate me. I can’t take it. “Nobody was elected as Senate President. We all came here as Senators. So, we have equal footing. We gave you leadership. If you fail to give us the right leadership and if majority of us don’t want you any more, you have to leave. Saraki was elected by us. At any time majority of us say he should go, he has to go.” On the allegation that some senators attempted to break into the Senate chamber on Tuesday to reconvene plenary, he retorted: “How do you break into the chamber? If we like we can reconvene legally, because it is legal for us to reconvene. We don’t need to break into the chamber when we have the number. I will never subscribe to that. The rules are there that if we are up to 30, we can reconvene”. Ibrahim, a close confidant of President Buhari, had at that time hinted that the APC Senators even with 30 members could reconvene. His position is however contrary to Rule 12(1,2,3) of the Senate Standing Order 2015 as amended. Rule 12(1) of the Order states: “Whenever the Senate shall stand adjourned to a date not fixed and it is represented to the President of the Senate by the leaders of the political parties in the Senate that the Senate shall meet on a certain day at a certain time, the President of the Senate shall give notice accordingly and the Senate shall meet on the date and at the time stated in the notice.” Rule 12(2) states: “Whenever the Senate stands adjourned either to a date fixed by the rule of the Senate or to a date determined in accordance with paragraph (1) of this Rule and it is represented by the leaders of the political parties in the Senate to the President of the Senate and the public interest requires that
the Senate should meet on an earlier or later date or time than that which it stands adjourned, the President of the Senate shall give notice accordingly and the Senate shall meet on the date and at the time stated in the notice.” Rule 12(3) States: “When the President of the Senate shall have given notice in accordance with either of the two preceding paragraphs, the Clerk shall communicate the terms of the notice to each Senator. This was the build-up to the eventual invasion of the National Assembly premises by security operatives on Tuesday. The invasion, which was condemned by all and sundry, including the international community led to the sack of the Director-General of the Department of State Security (DSS), Alhaji Lawan Daura.
egoistic attitude, which smacked of disrespect for both the personality and office of the acting president, compelled the latter to make a telephone call to his boss in London, reporting the development at home and the attendant arrogance of the protagonist. Without having to go into the details, a consensus was allegedly reached between Buhari and Osinbajo to do away with Daura. Thus, at about 1.50 pm on Tuesday, Daura, in whose imagination it never existed that he would quit the service that day, albeit in such an ignoble manner, was forthwith given the boot. It was learnt that a top presidency official rushed to the acting president’s office to plead for leniency and allow Daura to keep his job, but then, it was too late as it amounted to medicine after death. Daura, thus, kissed the dust and in a matter of minutes, the one-time powerful DSS boss, who would arrest and stop planned arrests at will, was himself under arrest and cooled off his heels in the custody of Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS). Even as at the time of filing this report, he was still under house arrest. It was the end of an era as all the perceived personal aggrandisement of over three years came to a close with just a two-sentence statement, which read: “The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has directed the termination of the appointment of the Director-General, State Security Service, Lawal Musa Daura with immediate effect. Mr. Daura has been directed to hand over to the most senior officer of the State Security Service until further notice.” Osinbajo had on that day, been scheduled to embark on a trip to Lagos, where he had been billed to address a meeting on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), organised by his office in collaboration with the government of Lagos State. After getting rid of Daura, Osinbajo condemned what he described as unauthorised takeover of the National Assembly, saying it was a gross violation of constitutional order, rule of law and all acceptable notions of law and order. Categorically stating that the act was unlawful and done without the knowledge of the presidency, he insisted that the act was condemnable and completely unacceptable, threatening further that everyone who was party to the conspiracy would not go unpunished. The sack of Daura is expected to serve as a deterrent to a number of presidential aides, who make impunity their badge of honour.
NIGERIA Daura’s Cup of Offences
The sack of Daura, last Tuesday, dominated events throughout the week. Until he was fired by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, the erstwhile Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS) was law unto himself. The DSS under his watch fell short of a sense of professionalism and that seemed to be the general consensus among Nigerians. In his days, professionalism which had been the hallmark of the service since inception ceased to be a principle as operatives of DSS, who were hitherto respected for decency, descended into the abyss, storming secondary schools to beat up teachers, raiding homes with sheer disregard to professional ethics and laying siege to churches to arrest pastors for daring to criticise the government, among other vices. The Daura-led DSS even reportedly had little or no respect for the presidency to which it owed responsibility as it had the guts to write the National Assembly, asking it to reject the nominees of President Buhari. It would also deploy some of its men to stop the arrest of people that the system believed had questions to answer. The DSS led by Daura hardly took instructions from anyone, as it was allegedly at loggerheads with the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to which it ought to report. Those were the features of the secret service, which climaxed on Tuesday, when it deployed men to take over the National Assembly without consulting the acting president, who was the head of government. With that decision, Daura’s cup of offences seemed to have run over, culminating in his summary dismissal. Reports had it that when the news of his sack got to the DSS headquarters, it was a celebration all the way as his colleagues were said to have hailed the development as good riddance. There were reports that even though the acting president was shocked to the marrows over the deployment without his authorisation as the acting commander-in-chief of the armed forces, he did not conceive any plan to sack him. The decision was only dictated by his alleged rude and unrepentant posture. Daura’s sack was the fallout of the meeting called by Osinbajo in the Presidential Villa over the matter on that fateful day. Both Daura and the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had been summoned to the meeting to explain the rationale behind the sudden deployment of masked armed men to besiege the National Assembly without his knowledge. While Idris arrived at the Villa at the nick of time, Daura came much later to join him. There were allegations that his
2019 2019 in Their Faces
Let no one be deceived, 2019 is fully and finally here. INEC could choose to announce the kick-off date whenever it is pleased to do so, it would not stop the high-wire power game that is currently at play. Whilst some of the trappings are utterly disturbing, it appears there is no stopping the gladiators as everyone seems determined to undo one another in the ensuing end game. However, while it is okay to flex muscles and outwit one another in the battle for 2019, embracing outright anti-democratic tactics must be discouraged, no matter the desperation on either sides. The stakes for collective interest as a people are far greater than the individual aspiration that some desperately seek. Yes, 2019 is in their faces, let them see the positive approach to the power game and not inadvertently undermine the gains of the nation’s 20 years of democracy.
T H I S DAY, T H E S U N DAY N E W S PA P E R ËžÍŻÍ°,Í°ÍŽÍŻÍś
Atlanta Unitedâ€™s 16-year-old Wonderkid on the Brink of a Breakthrough Two years ago, George Bello was showing out on the training fieldâ€”clearly standing out among his peers with his delicate touch, darting movements and pinpoint passes. Except Bello wasnâ€™t training on the fields of his youth academy club, the Alpharetta Ambush, nor his hometown of Douglasville
o, he was thousands of miles away trialing at Premier League club Everton and Serie Aâ€™s Genoa. â€œWithin an hour of seeing him, they both wanted to sign him. He was the best player on the pitch,â€? said Belloâ€™s former coach and mentor David Eristavi, recalling how he watched with bemusement from the sidelines. â€œThey couldnâ€™t believe it. â€˜Who is this kid?â€™â€? The anecdote is an eye-opening reminder of just how talented Atlanta Unitedâ€™s homegrown starlet really is. But despite succeeding at literally every level and now participating as a member of the first team, Bello is still somwhat of an enigma. Perhaps thatâ€™s the way Bello w would prefer it, keeping to his lowkey and humble demeanor. But the truth is that Belloâ€™s potential is as high as anyone at the club, homegrown or not. This is his story. Bello has been playing the sport as long as he can remember. Having moved to the United States from his birth country of Nigeria when he was one year old, Bello credits his father for instilling his passion for the game. Growing up in Douglasville, Bello d to o quickly moved play in a
more competitive environment with Chelsea FCâ€™s development partner at Southern Soccer Academy in Cobb County. It was there where Eristavi first laid eyes on Bello and knew he had to at least extend an invitation for him to play in his own teamâ€™s upcoming tournament. â€œGeorge was playing U9 and once I got permission from his coach, I asked if heâ€™d come play in a tournament with my U12 team,â€? explained Eristavi, 60, who played professionally for 14 years, coached pro teams for nine more before spending the last 22 years in elite youth coaching. â€œIâ€™ve been in this business for a long time, and I could see with his first touch and his visionâ€”right away I knew he had the potential to play bigger soccerâ€Ś Iâ€™ve never had a player like George. Heâ€™s a very special ha boy.â€? Bello played well in Eristaviâ€™s tteam te am in that tournament, and tthere th ere was no going back to S SS A. He spent the next five SSA. y ears playing with Eristaviâ€™s years A lpharetta Ambush, logging Alpharetta h undreds of hours in the hundreds ccar ar as his parents carpooled h im back and forth from him D ouglasville. It was worth Douglasville. it for Bello though. Playing w wi th the Ambush, Bello with teamed up with another future Atlanta United A cademy teammate Zyen Academy Jonesâ€”now at Bundesliga club Schalkeâ€”despite playing up by two age groups. Bello didnâ€™t just accept the cchallenge, ch allenge, he embraced the competitionâ€” th g gr owing as growing a player, w wi nning winning
trophies and national club competitions. It wasnâ€™t long before Bello drew interest from the United States Development Academy and, eventually, Atlanta Unitedâ€™s Academy through its current director Tony Annan. By the time I got to Alpharetta Ambush, I knew [Atlanta United] was gonna start up, which was great because I always was wondering why there wasnâ€™t a team in Georgia,â€? Bello explained. â€œCoach Tony [Annan] has known me for a while and had wanted me to come to Georgia United. But when he went to Atlanta United, he reached out to me again and wanted me to come, so we took that offer.â€? Despite the loss of a quality player such as Bello, Eristavi was happy to see him move on to a bigger opportunity with Atlanta United. Itâ€™s all he eve ever wants from his players: to help them them d develop from a raw talent to a more season seasoned, versatile player that can move on to the nex next stage, wherever that may be. For som some kids, itâ€™s another development team, for some som itâ€™s college. But for the rare few like Bell Bello (and Jones), Eristavi was happy to see them move m to the next stage of their developmen development. â€œGeorge needed to play for an MLS club,â€? said Eristavi Eristavi. â€œIt was the best thing for his futureâ€”not playing with the Ambush.â€? At the te tender age of 15 last May, Bello found himse himself standing in the middle of a soccer field w with more than 45,000 people in the stands applauding ap him. Except this time it wasnâ€™t for a shot or a tackle. Bello, alongside Atlanta United Unit teammates Lagos Kunga and Patrick Okon Okonkwo, were presented at Bobby Dodd Stadium Stadiu as Atlanta Unitedâ€™s newest homegrown contingent, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Even at his extremely young age, Atlanta United brass knew they needed to lock down a talent like Bello B to a professional contract. No more than a couple month later, Bello helped the Atlanta United Academy to win the club clubâ€™s first trophyâ€”the U.S. Soccer Developmen Developmental Academy U16 national championsh championshipâ€”alongside his Ambush teammate Z Zyen Jones and two other notable Atlanta United Unit homegrowns in Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin. That week, we Bello was awarded by the USDA as U1 U16 player of the year despite still being on the low end of the age range at just 15. 2017 effe effectively marked the finale of Belloâ€™s caree career as a youth player. This year, heâ€™s on a professional profess contract earning wages, an entirely different diffe challenge. At just 16 years old, heâ€™s the youngest, and therefore most physically d disadvantaged, player at the club. Heâ€™s spent the th year learning how to play against grown grow men in USL, some of which are twice his age age. â€œItâ€™s a gr great place to develop yourself. Just b be cause itâ€™s called â€˜the second teamâ€™ doesnâ€™t because m ean itâ€™s no mean not a place that can help you get b etter as a p better player,â€? says Bello, referring to A tlantaâ€™s U Atlantaâ€™s USL club named Atlanta United 2. Belloâ€™s time with the USL team has been h is best opportunity op his to show fans the kind o off player h he is, even if those moments have been spor sporadic due to a chronic hip injury tthat hat has h held him out for some extended periods. T Thankfully, he was able to show his talent iimmediately upon the start of the sseason eason and created a goal in Atlanta United 22â€™ss second competitive match. 2â€™ Remem Remember, Bello is a left back. â€œWe k now [his attacking talent] is there, so weâ€™re know n no nott surp surprised,â€? Donnelly said following the mat match in late March. â€œHeâ€™s natural in tthat th at he sees the game very clearly, and w wh en he sees a moment to go, he goes. when Thatâ€™s why heâ€™s a huge prospect for the club, because he has the ability to play high up the field and also play in a d de fen defensive role. As I said after the game o S on Saturday, we have no hesitation tto op put him on the field and trust him
for 90 minutes. He rewarded that faith with a good performance.â€? Itâ€™s a good description of Bello. He himself admits heâ€™s â€œof two mindsâ€? when it comes to his urge to contribute both to the attack and the defense from his left back position. While Eristavi is adamant that Bello is a natural central midfielderâ€”not a fullbackâ€” Bello is enjoying focusing on learning the nuances of the position at this point. â€?When I was around 10 and 11 years old I played striker,â€? said Bello. â€œThen when I got older I went to left wing, attacking mid, and then how I got to left back was at my first national team camp. They decided that would be a good position for me and I played well. I try to make myself as versatile as possible, but right now I really focus on that position so I can make myself better and improve. But I love attacking as well.â€? Interestingly, Bello mentions David Alaba as a player he models his game after. The Bayern Munich left back is one of the most versatile players in the word, having played just about every position at one point or another for the German superclub outside the goalkeeperâ€™s box. Bello points out Alabaâ€™s versatility as a specific reason why he likes him so much. And like Alaba, Bello now finds himself on the edge of the first team at his one-and-only club at an incredibly early age.
On the brink of a breakthrough Despite having played only for Atlanta United 2 so far this season, the truth is that Atlanta United Manager Tata Martino is clearly a fan of Bello. The teenager has been training extensively with the first team most of the season (when healthy), and just last week, Martino confirmed that Bello would finish the season in first team trainingâ€”not with the 2s. â€?Training with the first team is great. Practices are always intenseâ€”thereâ€™s no breaks,â€? said Bello. â€œSo itâ€™s just compete, compete, compete and try to show yourself as much as possible. Iâ€™ve learned that the pace of the game is just a different level than what the academy might be. It forces you to step your game up to another level.â€? If thereâ€™s anything Bello loves, itâ€™s competition. He is clearly unphased by any physical disadvantage he faces on the pitch. Heâ€™s competed against older, bigger, stronger kidsâ€”and now adultsâ€” at every level of his career. And heâ€™s succeeded. But now Bello has to make an adjustment. For the first time in his soccer career, heâ€™s not stepping into first team training as one of the best players on the pitch. This is all part of his development. But the flip side of that coin is that now Bello has teammates that can support him and help his game. Oh, and being coached by Tata Martino ainâ€™t bad either. â€œThis is my first time being coached by one of the greatest coaches of all time, so itâ€™s really great to go out there and be taught the game. And just to be in his presence for him to see you play is a huge blessing. Heâ€™s a really good coach. You can ask him anything and he will explain things to you. Heâ€™s always there to answer any questions you have.â€? Bello clearly has the talent to succeed. Heâ€™s shown it at every level, but the quality of his character, according to Eristavi, is what will make him a success. â€œIn the four or five years he played with me, he never criticized a teammate when they did something wrong. Never,â€? said Eristavi. â€œHe always motivates. He always encourages. â€˜Letâ€™s go get it! Letâ€™s do better!â€™â€? Eristavi had a deal with his team. If the team won, Eristavi picks up the water bottles and cleans the bench area. If they lost, it was the teamâ€™s responsibility. But Bello was the only one, win or lose, picking up the empty bottles after every game. t'SPNXXXEJSUZTPVUITPDDFSDPN
T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾AUGUST 12, 2018
Edited by Demola Ojo Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Emery’s Arsenal Host Reigning Champions Man City
epGuardiolahaswarnedthathisplayers mustbetterlastseason’sperformancesif they wish to win back-to-back Premier Leaguetitles,asManchesterCityprepare for today’s season-opening clash with Arsenal. Under the guidance of the Spaniard, City blazed a trail to the title in 2017/18, breaking nine records and equalling another in a season that saw the division’s first-ever 100-point haul. City begin their title defence against Unai Emery’s Arsenal - who are led into the new season by a new manager for the first time in 22 years - and speaking to the club’s official website, Guardiola said: “Doing the same as we have done will not be enough.” “That’smyexperienceatBayernMunichandBarcelona -youalwayshavetodemandmoretokeepthatlevel,” he explained. “First, you have to win the first one, and after that win the second one. In every competition we play we must try to win.” Today’s curtain-raiser marks the beginning of a new era for the Gunners and in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports earlier this week, the Spaniard alluded to the manner in which his side will set-up in their quest for success this season. “Our style with the ball is to be protagonists, to do things with combinations, to control the match with the positioning of the ball. And then when we have the space, to be aggressive going forward,” he said. “Weneedtwothings:qualityplayers,whichwehave, andthenorganisation.TogetherIthinkwecanimprove, to win in our way. I repeat: organised, then play.” Emery will be hopingAaron Ramsey is fit for today’s match. Ramsey, whose contract expires at the end of theseason,sufferedaslightcalfinjurybuthasreturned to training and could be fit. Sead Kolasinac (knee) and Laurent Koscielny (Achilles) are definitely out as summer arrivals Bernd Leno, StephanLichtsteiner,SokratisPapastathopoulos,Lucas TorreiraandMatteoGuendouziallpushtomaketheir competitive debuts. Guardiolaconfirmedinhispre-matchpressconference on Friday afternoon both Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne are available for selection for City, despite only returning to training this week following their
Man City started the season impressively against Chelsea in the Community Shield three-week post-World Cup break. BernardoSilvahasimpressedinmidfieldthissummer and could start, and though Ederson is another player yet to feature ahead of the new campaign, he should replace Claudio Bravo in goal, despite the Chilean’s clean sheet in the Community Shield triumph over Chelsea. Danilo (ankle) has been sidelined since picking up an injuryduringtheWorldCupwithBrazil,whileDavid Silva is also on the treatment table, having been absent
throughout City’s pre-season campaign. ManchesterCityareunbeatenintheirlastnineopening PremierLeaguefixtures(W8D1),winningthelastseven in a row.Arsenal are without a victory in their last five league meetings with Manchester City (D2 L3), and have won just two of their last 12 against City (D5 L5). At the Emirates, Arsenal have enjoyed just one win in their last six league clashes with Man City (D3 L2), courtesy of a 2-1 win in December 2015. ThereigningPremierLeaguechampionshavelosttheir
Strengthened Liverpool Face West Ham Test JurgenKloppunderstandswhyexpectationsarehigh at Liverpool after the club added some impressive players in the summer transfer window. The Reds brought in Brazilians Alisson Becker and Fabinho,agoalkeeperandutilityplayer,plusXherdan Shaqiri from Stoke and Guinea midfielder Naby Keita from RB Leipzig. ManypunditsseeLiverpoolastheteammostlikelyto challengechampionsManchesterCityforthePremier League title, and Klopp said: “My own expectations are always high. “Make the best of it. It was pretty normal there would be one season when we would spend more money. We had to create a squad which is strong enough and wide enough to cope with the Premier League. “People ask me already if it’s the best squad we have ever had - I don’t think about that because it’s not about what we have now, it’s about what we make of it. It’s about how often we deliver.” New manager Manuel Pellegrini is confident West Ham have built a squad to be competitive in the Premier League. TheHammershavespentaround£100monninenew signings this summer including Lucas Perez,Andriy Yarmolenko, Jack Wilshere and Felipe Anderson. Ahead of the season opener at Liverpool today, Pellegrini said: “When I talked with the owners, we agreed we needed to work on a project. “They wanted to invest money to bring in players. We have improved the squad, all of the players are here because I asked for them. “For me as a manager, it’s difficult when you don’t have options. We have options, I choose the starting XI and they know that during the whole season, you need a strong squad. “We have two players in each position and they must work in a competitive way and it’s my duty to pick the team I think is the best.” New signing Fabinho faces a late fitness test before Klopp decides whether he can make his debut. The Brazilian had a scan on a muscle injury on Thursday
but although that came back clear the midfielder was sent home from training after feeling unwell. Joe Gomez is expected to be fit after missing Tuesday’s friendly against Torino but fellow defenders Ragnar Klavan and Joel Matip are unlikely to be ready while World Cup finalist Dejan Lovren will not be considered having only returned from extended leave at the weekend. West Ham will be without Andy Carroll (ankle), Winston Reid (knee), Manuel Lanzini (ACL) and Michail Antonio (ACL) while Yarmolenko (hip) is a doubt. EdimilsonFernandeshasaslightknockbutPellegrini confirmed the rest of his squad is fit. Liverpool have won each of their last three league games against West Ham, scoring four goals in each of those victories; they’ve never scored 4+ goals in four consecutive top-flight games against a single
opponent. Against no other side have West Ham lost more top-flight games than against Liverpool (61, level with Everton). WestHamhavewononlyoneoftheirlast45top-flight visits to Anfield to face Liverpool (D12 L32), with that win coming in August 2015 (3-0). West Ham have lost their season opener 11 times in the Premier League, more than any other side. Liverpool have scored four goals in each of their last three Premier League clashes with West Ham - the only side to have scored 4+ against another in four straight games in the competition are Tottenham against Stoke. Sadio Mane has been directly involved in four goals in his three Premier League appearances for Liverpool against West Ham (1 goal, 3 assists). The last Liverpool player to score in three consecutive opening top-flight fixtures - as Sadio Mane could do - was John Barnes between 1989-90 and 1991-92.
Nigeria, 13 other Countries in Nairobi for CAF Club Licensing Workshop The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) is among 13 national leagues in Africa and the Australian league that will be participating in a Confederation ofAfrican Football (CAF) organised workshop on Club Licensing. The workshop which holds in Nairobi, Kenya will commence tomorrow August 13 and end on the 15th. Salihu Abubarkar, the Chief Operating Officer of the League Management Company (LMC) will lead the Nigerian delegation that also includes Team Manager of Rangers International, Amobi Ezeaku(representating NPFL Clubs) and Nasiru Jibril (representing the Nigeria Football Federation). Countries participating in the workshop are hosts Kenya, Egypt, Libya, Seychelles and Liberia. Others are South Sudan, Sudan, South Africa and Angola. The rest are Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Somalia. It will be recalled that Nigeria has played a promi-
nent role in evolving a club licensing process on the continent with Abubakar and Nasiru leading at different workshop sessions on Club Licensing. Nigeria’s model was praised by FIFA at one of such workshops and recommended to other Federations to adopt
RESULTS & FIXTURES Newcastle Bournemouth Fulham Huddersﬁeld Watford Wolves Liverpool Southampton Arsenal
1–2 2-0 0-2 0-3 2-0 2-2 v v v
Tottenham Cardiff City Crystal Palace Chelsea Brighton Everton West Ham 1:30pm Burnley 1:30pm Man City 4pm
opening game in each of the last two campaigns - this has never happened in three consecutive seasons in English top-flight history. This is the seventh consecutive season that Arsenal have kicked off a Premier League campaign with a homegame,butthey’veonlywontwooftheprevious six (W2 D1 L3). Pep Guardiola and Unai Emery met 10 times in all competitionsduringtheirspellsinSpain,withGuardiola never losing in those meetings (W6 D4 L0).
EPL Review: Chelsea Cruise, Richarlison Shines Chelsea opened their Premier League campaign with victory against Huddersfield, while Tottenham, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Watford also made winning starts. Blues boss Maurizio Sarri gave a debut to the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga, while another summer signing, Jorginho, scored a penalty in a 3-0 away win, with Pedro and N’Golo Kante also on target. In the day’s late kick-off, Wolves twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at home with Everton. New £50m signing Richarlison scored twice on his debut, while Phil Jagielka was sent off five minutes before half-time. In the early start, England’s World Cup stars Harry Kane and Dele Alli started against Newcastle in Tottenham’s 2-1 victory at St James’ Park. Spurs needed goalline technology for their opener, as replays showed Jan Vertonghen’s header had crossed the line by 9mm. Joselu equalised for the Magpies, before Alli headed in the winner in the 18th minute. Roberto Pereyra scored twice, including a stunning volley, as Watford beat Brighton 2-0. Fulham’s return to the top flight ended in defeat as Jeffrey Schlupp and Wilfried Zaha gave Crystal Palace a 2-0 win at Craven Cottage, while fellow new boys Cardiff lost 2-0 to Bournemouth after goals from Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson. On Friday night, Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw were on the scoresheet as Manchester United beat Leicester City 2-1 at Old Trafford.
Sunday August 12, 2018
& RE A S O
Saraki to Oshiomhole
“It is indeed amazing that the same Oshiomhole, who is now describing Saraki as a politician of no consequence was the same one who only a few months ago was crawling all over the place pleading for Saraki’s support to become chairman. We are sure that those who took him to Saraki several times to plead his case must now be thoroughly embarrassed by his reckless and uncouth manner.” – Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki rejecting the call by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole that he should step down as senate president having defected to the Peoples Democratic Party.
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Politics in the Season of Cholera
f you want to get Nigerians excited to the highest level, start a discussion on politics. Whip up sentimental discussions on our political divides and see adrenalin in action. Our collective ecstasy is best stimulated by political intrigues. We were created for rallies, defections, impeachments, permutations, allnight plotting and scheming. That is when you see Nigerians — both the leaders and the misled — at their best. The excitement is out of this world. Newspapers sell more copies and news websites get more hits and page views. You will never see the same excitement when the issues at stake are about healthcare, education or power. Last month, angry Benue youths blocked the state governor, Chief Samuel Ortom, from attending an APC meeting. They asked him to leave the party. How many governors have been blocked by angry citizens over unpaid salaries, bad roads and maternal mortality? Never mind. Did you see the massive crowd that turned out to welcome Senator Aliyu Wamakko to Sokoto to downplay Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s defection to PDP? I can assure you that 5% of that crowd will not turn up if a rally was called to protest against unemployment and insecurity. Maybe Joseph de Maistre, the French philosopher, was right: every nation gets the government it deserves. In 2013, when the Nigerian Political Billionaires Club, better known by its street name of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), went to war over the famous “16 is greater than 19” game show, I wrote an article, “Fellow Nigerians, It is All Politics” (THISDAY, June 2, 2013). In that article, I pointed out that while the overfed and over-pampered Nigerian politicians were busy fighting ahead of the 2015 elections, the Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was busy unveiling plans to build three world-class hospitals and 40 new clinics to promote “medical tourism”. He set out to build hospitals comparable to any medical facility anywhere in the world. Al Maktoum said he would also build fivestar hotels next door to these facilities for the relatives of patients who come for treatment and surgery. The objective was to add another dimension to the Dubai story – trade, travel, real estate and now medical tourism. Fellow Nigerians, may I with all pleasure inform you that Dubai has finished building the hospitals. That is vision. That is leadership. Visionary leadership. That is what develops a country. It has nothing to do with tribe or tongue; it has nothing to do with oil or gas; it has nothing to do with 1963 constitution or restructuring. It has everything to do with competent and patriotic leadership. There is no substitute. And you know what? Nigerians, particularly the political billionaires, are now shamelessly trooping to Dubai for medical treatment and surgery. We were fighting over governors’ forum when these projects started in 2013. They were built from the scratch. And you know what? LUTH, UCH, UNTH, ABUTH and all the THs in Nigeria, I bet you, are not better today than they were in 2013 when the politicians were fighting over NGF chairmanship. Their disagreement, I did say then, was not about building world-class hospitals and world-class schools. It was not about fixing our roads. It was not about making Nigeria a land of trade
President Muhammadu Buhari
and tourism. It was not about turning Nigeria to an exporter of mobile phones, like South Korea, or dairy products, like the Netherlands. Expectedly, I got my regular dose of abuse from some readers who were mad with me for not pitching my tent with one of the feuding factions. I was accused of sitting on the fence and trying to be politically correct. The fad in Nigeria is that you must belong to a camp in the political football that these guys are playing with our lives. That is the rule. They said I should have taken a stand in favour of either Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, then governor of Rivers state who won the NGF chairmanship election, or Da Jonah Jang, allegedly propped up by President Goodluck Jonathan to neutralise Amaechi — who had been viciously attacking the president after a very public falling out. A mere case of class misunderstanding among the political oppressors of Nigerians was framed as a fight between democracy and dictatorship — or a struggle between the good guys and the bad guys. You know the drill: the progressive politicians versus the regressive politicians. My opinion then was that this fight was not about how Nigeria was going to be a great nation — and the Nigerian people were not going to be the ultimate beneficiaries of the tussle. We were mere pawns being tossed back and forth by the politicians. It was all politics. But as usual, Nigerians were sucked into the excitement. People get the kind of leaders they deserve, apparently. As the season of politicking is sucking us in yet again, and a lot of heat is being generated in the polity, I want to seize this opportunity to remind Nigerians that these politicians are toying with our lives again. Nothing has changed. APC, as expected, is playing politics the same way PDP played it for 16 years — using state institutions to intimidate and emasculate their opponents. In my last article, I highlighted how the police, DSS and EFCC were used by PDP governments for political purposes. As the 2019 elections draw close, APC is aping PDP badly and brazenly. My view, again, is that if the PDP guys that are at the receiving end today regain power in 2019, they will do the same thing. I do not suggest that politicians should not politick. It’s like saying fish should not swim. But to what end? Swimming just for the sake
of swimming? Why is there so much passion for politicking and little zeal for development? On the other hand, I am not suggesting the Nigerians should not be interested in these political intrigues. We are political animals, all said and done. But should that be the ultimate source of our enthusiasm? Should that be what we live for every so often? It is very painful that Nigerians cannot just see through these politicians. If we were wise enough, we should be pelting these pot-bellied politicians with rotten eggs rather than siding with any of them. It seems Nigeria is clearly not ready to practise democracy the way it is done in civilised societies, neither are Nigerians themselves really interested in the principles of democracy. We have turned politics to an end in itself, rather than politics being a means to an end. Everything starts and ends with politics. We have allowed the politicians to pull the wool over our eyes. Yet, all these intrigues, counter-intrigues, scheming, plotting and politicking — by both APC and PDP — are about holding on to power or regaining it. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. I have never seen any difference between APC and PDP; and my glasses are very genuine, even if I have to say that myself. There is a demand-and-supply aspect to the national mindset on politics. We derive cheap entertainment from politicking. Our leaders, to meet our entertainment needs, place politicking above development. They take the easy way out by supplying us entertainment in abundance. It is the forces of demand and supply at play. We are madly in love with the intrigues and the drama. It helps our leaders a lot. It takes the pressure off them. They orchestrate political divisions to get us excited. We get excited. The most important issues take the back seat. We are just too happy to be entertained. We deserve all the drama we are getting. What then? Since our politicians can’t seem to get politics right, maybe we should start distracting them by focusing their attention on the basic needs of the people — education, healthcare, security, infrastructure and such like. Let us discuss these issues with the same level of energy, the same intensity of enthusiasm, the same passion that we deploy whenever we are discussing defections and elections and impeachments and PDP and APC. Let us troop out to campaign for greater security of life and property the same way we troop out for political rallies organised by these guys. Let the media prioritise coverage of development issues the same way they cover political intrigues. Sorry if I have disappointed you by not analysing how the 2019 presidential election will go. You were probably expecting me to analyse how the defections will shape the elections. I have been doing election analyses since like forever. But who election analysis ‘epp? As I write this, 19 hapless Nigerians have died of cholera in Kano state in the last two weeks — but, sorry, 2019 electioneering is our priority. Go to the general hospitals, either federal or state: most of them are still as they have ever been before and after elections. No bed space, no drugs, nauseating nurses, disdainful doctors, and torn window nets. I worry more about infections more than defections. Priorities.
And Four Other Things… POETIC JUSTICE I’m not one to gloat over anyone’s misfortune, but I ﬁnd it very hard to overlook the sudden change in fortune for Mr. Lawal Daura, the former director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS). He was ﬁred, arrested, detained, quizzed and later placed under house arrest. His international passport was seized. He could not have imagined this just a week ago. I hope those who are misusing and abusing power today see how things can change so quickly. It appears people never learn from history or they just don’t care. They behave as if they own the world but all power belongs to God. Where are those who terrorised us with power yesterday? Karma. ‘JUDAS’ AKPABIO One of the most shocking defections in our political history must be that of Senator Godswill Akpabio, former governor Akwa Ibom. He was a PDP member for 19 years, was chairman of PDP governors’ forum and was senate minority leader. No wonder it shook the polity like an earthquake. His defection to APC has been described as an insurance policy (the EFCC had been after him since 2015) — although ex-governors Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame who defected to APC did not escape justice. Akpabio’s defection should not be treated as an abomination. “Politics of convenience” has been a deﬁning feature of Nigerian politics forever. I have not seen any strange thing yet. Typical. SARAKI MANIA Am I the only one who thinks the Buhari administration is doing too much to boost the proﬁle of Senate President Bukola Saraki? He has been turned to the main issue since he outsmarted Aso Rock in the senate presidency race in 2015. They should have accepted defeat, cut their losses and moved on. But whenever the government has gone after Saraki, he has managed to wriggle out. His stock, it appears, keeps rising. The APC leadership talks so much about Saraki these days it is becoming an obsession. Inadvertently, they are making Saraki look like the victim. This is winning him a lot of sympathy. As the APC/Saraki entertainment continues this week, I predict a close race. Stalemate. AND FINALLY… This is not the kind of news you’d normally thirst for. Patrick Okumu-Ringa, a Ugandan politician, does not like to lose, especially when he has invested so much in the people for decades. After losing a recent parliamentary by-election, Okumu-Ringa angrily dismantled all the boreholes he had built in the constituency, accusing the voters of being ungrateful to him. The boreholes had been supplying water free-of-charge to the people for the past 20 years, but that did not mean anything to them as they still refused to vote for Okumu-Ringa in the Nebbi municipality parliamentary poll. This is the ﬁrst time I am hearing of refundable boreholes. Hilarious.
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