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Lagos Confirms 20 Killed in Collapsed School Building, 45 Rescued Scores trapped as three-storey house collapses in Ibadan Bennett Oghifo in Lagos and Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan After search and rescue activities ended yesterday at the

site of the collapsed building in Ita-Faji, Lagos Island, the Lagos state government has officially stated that 20 people died from the tragic incident.

This is coming on the heels of another building collapse in Ibadan, Oyo State, yesterday evening, with rescue agencies battling late into the night, to

free the trapped workers in the three-storey house. The final figure of the Ita-Faji disaster was given by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr.

Jide Idris, when he visited the Lagos Island General Hospital, stating that the 20 persons were brought to hospitals dead. He also confirmed that some of

the bodies had been released to their relatives and families for burial. According to him, 45 persons Continued on page 8

S’Court Affirms Interim Forfeiture of N2.4bn Linked to Patience Jonathan... Page 6 Saturday 16 March, 2019 Vol 24. No 8741

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Elections: Buratai Inaugurates Panel to Probe Misconduct by Soldiers Wike's assassination claim included in inquiry

Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

The Nigerian Army yesterday in Abuja inaugurated a committee to investigate allegations of misconduct

against its personnel during the 2019 general elections. The nine-member committee headed by Major General TA Gagariga was also mandated to probe allegations of

assassination attempt on Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the circumstances surrounding the killing of military personnel during the just concluded

elections. The Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai, said last week that the army headquarters had received formal complaints from

governors of Bayelsa, Oyo and Ogun States on alleged professional misconduct against soldiers, prompting the military high command to set up a high-powered panel

to look into the allegations. Buratai, who spoke through the Chief of Army Administration, Major General Continued on page 6

I Was Tortured to Implicate Bukola Saraki, Says Offa Robbery Suspect IRT boss, Kyari, told me to name Senate President as the person that gave me guns for the operations Hammed Shittu in Ilorin One of the suspects in the April 5, 2018 bank robberies in Offa, Kwara State, Ayoade Akinnibosun, yesterday told a Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin how the police coerced him to implicate Senate President Bukola Saraki. Akinnibosun, who is the first accused person, alongside two other suspects - Ibikunle Ogunleye (2nd accused person) and Adeola Abraham (3rd accused person) are among

the five suspects standing trial before Justice Halimat Salman in connection with the Offa robberies, during which six banks were robbed and millions of naira stolen. The two other accused persons are Salaudeen Azeez and Niyi Ogundiran. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd accused persons also told the court yesterday that the principal suspect, Michael Adikwu was shot dead by one Inspector Vincent attached to the police Intelligence Response Team Continued on page 8

NBS: Inflation Declines to 11.31% Page 53

WITH LOVE FROM BORGU... President Muhammadu Buhari with members of a delegation from Borgu Kingdom, Niger State that paid him a courtesy call at the Presidential Villa, Abuja …yesterday. Photo: GODWIN OMOIGUI


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PAGE SIX

S’Court Affirms Interim Forfeiture of N2.4bn Linked to Patience Jonathan Alex Enumah in Abuja The Supreme Court, yesterday, affirmed the judgment of the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal which ordered interim forfeiture of N2.4 billion allegedly traced to Patience Jonathan, wife of former President, Goodluck Jonathan.

The apex court, in a ruling delivered dismissed an application filed by Mrs. Jonathan, seeking to upturn the interim forfeiture order made last year by the appellate court. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had traced the said sum to her and alleged that it was proceed of illegal activities.

According to a statement by the commission, the said amount was surreptitiously kept in the Eco Bank Plc., bank account of La Wari Furniture and Baths Limited. Justice Mojisola Olaterogun had in 2017 ordered the interim forfeiture of the money, and held that anyone interested in it should appear before the court to show

cause why it should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government. Dissatisfied with the ruling, the former first lady then approached the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, seeking to upturn the ruling of the lower court. However, ruling on the appeal on January 12, 2018, the appellate court, in a lead

judgement read by Justice Mojeed Owoade, upheld the interim forfeiture order. This prompted Mrs. Jonathan to file an appeal at the apex court to challenge the ruling of the lower court. However, the five-man panel of Supreme Court Justices, in a unanimous ruling, delivered yesterday, upheld the interim forfeiture

of the N2.4 billion. On March 8, a five-man panel of Supreme Court Justices, had in a unanimous judgement, also dismissed a similar appeal against the interim forfeiture order of a Federal High Court, Lagos, for the sum $8.4m traced to her by the EFCC and believed to be proceeds of illegal activities.

doing its work, is a big threat to our democracy.� Similarly, Governor Ahmed refuted police allegations of sponsoring, funding, arming or otherwise supporting political thugs. Ahmed in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, described the allegations as false.

He also rejected his alleged indictment by the Nigeria Police or the armed robbery suspects in their custody. Ahmed said that while the state government had empowered several youth groups under its Small and Medium Enterprises scheme neither he nor the state government could be held liable for how beneficiaries utilise the facility.

I WAS TORTURED TO IMPLICATE SARAKI, SAYS OFFA ROBBERY SUSPECT (IRT) contrary to police claim that he slumped in the custody and was rushed to the hospital where he died. The IRT is headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari. Akinnibosun, Ogunleye and Abraham (1st, 2nd and 3rd accused respectively), who were examined and crossexamined by their counsel, Mathias Emeribe and the prosecution counsel, Razaq Gold, during trial within trial yesterday, said they were tortured and threatened by the police to make confessional statements. The prosecution witness Inspector Hitila Hassan had at Thursday’s proceedings told the court that the suspects voluntarily gave their statements under his supervision. Lead prosecuting counsel, Prof Wahab Egbewole (SAN) had sought to tender the statements as exhibit but the move was objected by the defence counsel, Emeribe. Emeribe contended that the statements were not voluntarily taken, and as such fell short of the provisions of the Evidence Act, particularly sections 28 and 29. At yesterday’s proceedings, Akinnibosun said: “Abba Kyari told me to mention the name of Senate President Bukola Saraki that he gave me the guns for the operations. But I declined to do that contending that my life is at stake. “He promised that they would reward me handsomely and set me free if I can indict Senator Saraki. "When I disagreed, they called some policemen to take me back to the cell. During this time my hands were tied to my legs in the back and the police were saying ‘their children are in America and Europe you are allowing yourselves to be used as political thugs.’ Akinnibosun stated that

he was the leader of Kwara South Liberation Movement mobilising young jobless graduates for Dr. Rafiu Ibrahim, the Senator representing Kwara South district in the upper legislative chamber. The essence, according to him, was to secure government jobs for the boys. The 1st-3rd accused persons also at yesterday’s proceedings, gave graphic details of their alleged horrifying experience in the police custody in Abuja. The suspects also alleged that during one of their encounters at the police IRT ‘theatre room,’ one Inspector Vincent shot dead five Fulani men. The ‘theatre room’, according to them, is the generator room of the IRT’s office and it also doubles as a place for extrajudicial killings. The trio added that it was in the same ‘theatre room’ that Inspector Vincent otherwise known as ‘Mr. Torture,’ allegedly shot dead Michael Adikwu for his failure to indict them (accused) in the robbery incidents. According to Ibikunle Ogunleye (2nd accused): “They brought the late Adikwu to implicate us and he said he had not met any of us in his life that is why Mr. Torture shot him to death.� The presiding judge, Justice Salman has adjourned the case to March 25 for continuation of trial within trial. Senate President, Bukola Saraki, was in June last year invited by the police in Abuja for questioning over his alleged involvement in the Offa bank robberies of April 5, 2018. Specifically, he was directed to report to the Force Intelligence Response Team Office at Guzape, Abuja to answer to the allegations reportedly levelled against him by five alleged gang leaders involved in the robberies. The then Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh

Moshood told journalists that “the gang leaders namely, Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez, Niyi Ogundiran and some of the other 17 suspects arrested for direct involvement and active participation in the Offa bank robberies admitted, confessed and volunteered statements that they were political thugs of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and the Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed.� Moshood narrated that investigations indicated that the Lexus SUV with the sticker, ‘SARAKI’ ‘Kwara, State of Harmony,’ used during the bank robberies was hidden on the premises of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in Ilorin, Kwara State, while the sticker was replaced with number plate, Kwara, KMA 143 RM. He stated that the sticker was recovered from one Adeola Omiyale who drove the vehicle to the Government House, Ilorin after the robberies on instructions of Olalekan, the Personal Assistant to the Kwara State Governor “who was privy to information that the police are looking for the Lexus SUV as an exhibit.� But Saraki dismissed the allegation as baseless, saying he had no link with any band of criminals. Saraki attributed the allegations to plot by the police to embarrass him following his insistence that the InspectorGeneral of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris (as he then was) should appear before the Senate to explain reasons for the rampant killings and violence across the country. The Senate President, in a statement then by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, urged the entire public to disregard this claim as a baseless allegation and another ploy by the Police

to implicate him by all means. “Let it be known that there is no way I could have been associated with armed robbery against my people. When the Offa robbery incident happened, I was the first top public official to pay a visit to the place and right there in the palace of the traditional ruler, I put a call through to this same Mr. Ibrahim Idris, the IG, requesting him to make certain specific security arrangements as demanded by the people. “Members of the public will remember that on May 16, 2018, I alerted the Senate to the information passed on to me by my state governor, Dr. Abdulfatai Ahmed, over a plot by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to frame me by getting some suspected cultists arrested in Ilorin to implicate me. It is believed that the timely leakage of the plot in that case aborted the use of the suspected cultists to implicate me. Now, it is the Offa bank robbery suspects that are about to be used. “This plot is concocted to embarrass me and, in the mind of the IG, it is his own response after his refusal to honour the invitation by the National Assembly, headed by me, for him to come and offer explanations on the rampant killings and violence across the country. “Like the earlier one, this frame-up will also fail as I hereby state categorically that I have no link with any band of criminals. “As a person who has utmost respect for the rule of law and all constitutional institutions, when the invitation from the Police is formally extended to me, I will be ready to honour it without any delay. “It is however sad that this abuse of the criminal investigation process aimed at intimidating and overoverawing the legislature, thereby obstructing it from

ELECTIONS: BURATAI INAUGURATES PANEL TO PROBE MISCONDUCT BY SOLDIERS Kay Isiaku, said the committee, which had since commenced work will submit its report not later than March 31, 2019. He admonished the committee "to carry out their duties objectively, fairly and transparently in line with its terms of reference". The terms of reference of the committee include "a thorough investigation of the activities, actions and/or inactions of Army personnel in all the states that alleged one infraction/wrong doing or the other. "The committee is also to collate and thoroughly analyse

all reports to determine the veracity of the allegations including the alleged assassination attempt on Rivers State Governor and the circumstances that led to the shooting to death of Lt Kurmi as well as what led to serious injuries to an officer and some soldiers in the state. "The committee is further mandated to visit all states where issues have been raised about the conduct of the Nigerian Army during and after the elections and also interact with civil society organisations, sister security agencies and state governors

with claims against the army." The Chairman of the committee, Gagariga, assured the army chief and all Nigerians of the committee's commitment, resolve and determination to objectively and professionally address the major issues as contained in its terms of reference. Other members of the committee are BrigadierGeneral JM Ali, Brig-General GO Adeshina, BrigadierGeneral MA Obari, Col AT Bitiyong, Col A Tanko and Col WA Bakare and Lt Colonel PAJ Ebuk as secretary. A statement signed by Army

Spokesman, Col Sagir Musa read: "Lieutenant General TY Buratai had consistently indicated that under his watch, Nigerian Army personnel must remain apolitical, respect human rights and abide by the rule of law in all its official engagements within or outside Nigeria and in or out of conflict situation. "Nigerian Army troops were deployed for the elections under Operation Safe Conduct that was set up to provide support to the Nigerian Police and other security agencies to ensure hitch free and successful elections in the country.

LAGOS CONFIRMS 20 KILLED IN COLLAPSED SCHOOL BUILDING, 45 RESCUED survived the tragedy and were currently receiving medical attention in various health facilities across the state. He assured that some of those still hospitalised may be discharged today. Health institutions giving care to the victims, Idris said, include the Lagos Island General Hospital, Massey Street Children’s Hospital, Onikan Health Centre and Gbagada General Hospital, the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja; National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, and Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba. “Out of the 45 survivors known to the government as at this (yesterday’s) morning, 14, including 10 children and four adults, are still receiving medical attention at the Lagos Island General Hospital. More survivors will still be discharged to their families before the close of work today,� he assured. Responding, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, heaped praises on Lagos State government for the timely responds, as well as the way it handled the management of survivors, in addition to paying the bills of all the victims. Adewole noted that the state’s decision to pay the victims’ medical bills removed barriers to prompt, qualitative and comprehensive care needed for their rehabilitation. He added, “I am greatly impressed by the promptness of the emergency response of the state and the efficient healthcare deployed to ensure that the survivors of the sad incident are stabilised and kept alive.� He said that there were plans to strengthen the healthcare system across the states in order to address emergencies and save lives; urging other states of the federation to emulate the Lagos State example. “I also want to appeal to the media and Nigerians to report suspected unregistered schools in an environment not ideal for learning,� he said.

Scores Trapped as threestorey Building Collapses in Ibadan Meanwhile, residents of Ibadan, the Oyo State were thrown into panic as a three-storey building under construction collapsed yesterday at Sogoye, in Bode, Molete area, trapping some people. As at press time, men of the fire service and some local volunteers have been able to rescue four of them; Tunde, Toheeb Gbadamosi, Rilwan Oladepo and Olalekan Dauda, who said he was working with other artisans on the third floor when he heard an unusual sound and noticed he was trapped under rubbles. Those rescued thanked God for keeping them alive and thanked the firefighters and volunteers for responding swiftly. However, the firefighters said, “We responded promptly to the emergency as we got to the scene about 35 minutes after the alert. “We are trying our best to rescue the victims but the challenge we are facing is getting the right equipment to lift the concrete wreckage. Another challenge is the time of the day; it will soon get dark but that will not deter us from doing our best.� The adjoining roads were blocked by anxious people trying to get word about those trapped under the rubbles of the building. One of the survivors, Toheeb Gbadamosi, 19, said: “Today is my first time of working at this place. “I just came around in order to raise some money for my upkeep because things were difficult. I thank God that I came out of the rubble alive.� Other lucky ones include 42-year-old Olalekan Dauda; Tunde, and Rilwan Oladepo. Dauda said he was working with other artisans on the third floor when the building suddenly gave way. “I just heard a sudden blast and later found that I and others in the building have been trapped in the rubble,� Dauda said.


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THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER Ëž ͚͞˜ͺ͸͚Î

NEWS

Ă?ĂĄĂ?ĂŽĂ“ĂžĂ™ĂœAhamefula Ogbu 08116759810 (Ă?Ă—Ă?Ă™Ă˜Ă–ĂŁĚš Ă—Ă‹Ă“Ă–ahamefula.ogbu@thisdaylive.com

FOR HEALTHLY KIDNEYS... L-R: Assistant Business Coach, Renal Dialysis Centre, Dr. Deirdre Black; Member, Nigeria Medical Women Association (NMWA), Dr. Modupe Okoh; Business Coach, Dr. James Black; Founder/CEO, Renal Dialysis Centre, Dr. John Okoh and President, Nigeria Medical Women Association ( NMWA), Dr.Omowunmi Bakare, during a walk to mark the 2019 World Kidney Day in Conjunction with World Kidney Day Foundation, with Theme: Kidney Health for Everyone, Everywhere, in Ikeja Lagos‌yesterday

  

Elections: Remain Calm, Our Victory Will be Sweet, Wike Tells Rivers People Ernest ChinwoĂ“Ă˜Ă™ĂœĂž Ă‹ĂœĂ?Ă™Ă&#x;ĂœĂž

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has called on Rivers people to remain calm as the success of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 9 Governorship election would be a sweet victory in the end. He said that the will of Rivers people would prevail at the end of the day despite the conspiracy against the people of the state. He spoke yesterday when members of the National Assembly elected on the platform of the PDP presented their INEC Certificates of Return to him at a ceremony in the Government House, Port Harcourt

“I know that PDP won the elections squarely. We believe in peace, therefore, Rivers people should remain calm. We believe in due process. I believe that INEC is doing their best to follow the due process. “In the end, it will be a sweet victory. The will of Rivers people will prevail,� he said. Wike described the entire political standoff as a drama which will end. He said the people of Rivers people voted overwhelmingly for the PDP in all elections, while the anti-democratic forces attempted to snatch results at the Collation Centres. “Let me thank the people of

Rivers State for the love they have shown for our great party. It is not in doubt that Rivers people have shown our party love. What is happening is sad. It is a drama. “We have 13 House of Representatives seats and the PDP clinched all of them. We have three Senate seats, one has been declared and PDP won. When the remaining two seats are declared, PDP will win them. Eighty per cent of the seats declared, PDP took all. “You begin to wonder why any right-thinking person would say that PDP lost the governorship election. Not that they say PDP lost to a party with a known logo, or even if you have seen the candidate one day

in your life or seen his posters to make people vote for the candidate. For us, it is a drama. PDP won the election squarely,� he said. He said that across the 4,442 Polling Units of Rivers State, the people voted for the PDP in all the elections. He said: “Across 4,442 Polling Units the results are there. The PDP won in all these areas. “Not when you hijack results at the Collation Centre. When you hijack Form EC 8C, you forget that there is Form EC 8A. Any other party can win in any other state, but not in Rivers States. “I dedicate this victory to God and the good people of Rivers

State who stood firm and said that nobody can manipulate their mandate,� he said. Wike urged the elected National Assembly members to always place the interest of Rivers State above other considerations as they represent the state. The governor said all those who plotted the killings of Rivers people because of their desperation to clinch power would face the consequences of their actions. Speaking on behalf of the elected National Assembly members, Senatorelect Barry Mpigi said there is no need for anyone to panic as Wike would be declared winner in line with the votes cast on March 9.

He said Rivers people are with Wike as shown by their votes in all the polling units and that the people have shown that they love PDP while the party has also shown that it is on ground in Rivers State. “We have looked round the 23 Local Government Areas and we have seen that the people of Rivers State voted for you. Don’t panic, the vindication will come at the appropriate time,� Mpigi said. Rivers State PDP Chairman, Felix Obuah, said the elected members of the National Assembly were at the Government House, Port Harcourt, as a mark of respect for Wike and in recognition of his support all through the electioneering process.

PDP Warns INEC against Tampering Presidency Won’t Interfere in Election of 9th with Declared Results in Bauchi NASS Leadership, Says Enang Adedayo AkinwaleĂ“Ă˜ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has warned the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, against attempts by his commission to tamper with and further cancel already tallied and declared results in 14 more local governments in the Bauchi Governorship election. The main opposition party said that it has full information of plots by certain known top ranking officials of INEC, who have been allegedly bribed with huge sums of money by the All Progressives Congress (APC), to widen the scope of result cancellation beyond Tafawa Balewa to 14 more Local Government Areas The PDP stated categorically that such a wicked plot could not stand, as the people of Bauchi State have fully rallied themselves for a firm resistance. The National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, raised the

alarm Friday while addressing a press conference in Abuja, warning that with the charged atmosphere in Bauchi State and the level of awareness attained by the people of the state, stressing that any attempt by anybody to touch the already announced results will attract serious consequences to the conspirators. He stated, “Our party already have full information of plots by certain known top ranking officials of INEC, who have been bribed with huge sums of money by the All Progressives Congress (APC), to widen the scope of result cancellation beyond Tafawa Balewa to 14 more Local Government Areas and hike the number of cancelled votes from 70,000 to 184, 555. “To achieve this, INEC has been instructed by the APC to cancel already declared results in 230 polling units in 15 LGAs, in the state, cause confusion and pave the way for the APC to manipulate the March 23 Supplementary elections. “Seeing that our party, the PDP, and our candidate, Senator Bala

Mohammed, are inevitably coasting to victory, being that Tafawa Balewa is home to the PDP, the APC is instructing INEC to cancel elections in more local governments where it plans to manipulate the processes and allocate fictitious results for the APC at the March 23 polls. “Our party is already in possession of a leaked document from the Bauchi INEC office, which exposed details of this wicked plot against the people of Bauchi State.� Ologbondiyan noted that the plot further justifies the party’s stance that even the cancellation of Tafawa Balewa results was orchestrated by the APC and INEC in the ignoble bid to forcefully rob the people of Bauchi State of their choice of the PDP candidate, Senator Bala Mohammed, as their governor. He added that it is public knowledge that by the results delivered at the polling units, Mohammed was already leading with over 4,000 votes after results of 19 LGAs were collated and announced.

Deji Elumoye Ă“Ă˜ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË

The Presidency yesterday declared that it had no special interest in the election of presiding officers for the 9th National Assembly billed for inauguration in June. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, who disclosed this while addressing reporters in Abuja emphasised that President Muhammadu Buhari, would not interfere in the election of new presiding officers for the 9th National Assembly. According to him, the President believes so much in the rule of law, hence, he would allow each arm of government to perform its constitutional responsibility without interference on who and who occupies whatever position . Enang said the president would remain neutral and allow the elected lawmakers to carry out their constitutional responsibilities.

He said, “The principle of President Muhammadu Buhari is that each arm of government should function according to what the constitution says which is that every person in government should do the right thing. “He (Buhari) will not go beyond what the constitution allows him and every arm of government should stick to its constitutional responsibilities.� He urged the federal lawmakers to give priority to certain critical legislations like the 2019 Appropriation bill, New Minimum Wage Bill, the Medium Terms Expenditure Framework and the budget of the various government agencies. According to Enang, “The budget of the 64 different federal government-owned agencies are still pending before the national parliament. “Unless the budgets of the different agencies are considered and passed, we still have a lot to lose in terms of opportunities for

employment in those ministries and some capital projects which would have increased government spending or the spending of the various agencies and parastatals. “The executive is ready with all the system to come in and defend the budget. We have in advance, worked with the Committee on Appropriation to determine a time table for the defence of their budgets. “We have informed all the ministers, heads of departments, agencies and the ministries to be on the alert so that immediately the bill is committed to the committee on appropriation, we will upon invitation, appear before them.� Some senators-elect on the platform of the All Progressives Congress ( APC ) had on Thursday told journalists that the presidency and leadership of the party, should provide the direction for both chambers as regards leadership configuration to avoid leadership crisis that engulfed the 8th Senate and by extension, the 8th National Assembly.


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 ͚͞˜ͺ͸͚ΠËžTHISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER

Mahmood Yakubu’s Jaga Jaga INEC

B

y now, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu ought to have resigned as the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission. This is standard in decent climes, but it did not happen because we are a third world country. Yakubu and his men presided over the most disgraceful general election in the history of this country, yet, he is still parading himself as the Chairman of INEC. The level of ineptitude and partiality displayed by Yakubu’s INEC in the 2019 elections is unprecedented. During the governorship elections, Yakubu and his men became overtly partisan with numerous unnecessary stoppages and delays in the announcement of already collated results in most states. At the end of the day, and for the first time since the return of democracy in 1999, INEC declared governorship poll in six states inconclusive, while that of Rivers State was suspended. The affected states are Kano, Sokoto, Benue, Bauchi, Adamawa and Plateau. It is pertinent to note that the opposition PDP was clearly leading in five of the six states. Yakubu This is food for thought for all lovers of most ridiculous. Umar Fintiri of the PDP democracy. had polled 367,472 votes against incumbent INEC has evidently abused its power to Governor Mohammed Bindow’s 334,995 declare elections inconclusive. The reasons votes, after results from the state’s 21 LGAs for declaring elections inconclusive in had been collated. But INEC declared the these states are preposterous. INEC has election inconclusive on the argument that evidently compromised. Take the case of the margin of lead by the PDP, which was Sokoto State, incumbent Governor Aminu 32,467 votes, was lower than the number Waziri Tambuwal, of the PDP met all the of registered voters, 40,948 in the 44 polling conditions to be returned elected, according units where elections either did not hold or to section 179, subsection 2 of the Nigeria were cancelled. INEC in Adamawa should constitution as amended, yet, INEC refused have reckoned with the number of those to do the needful. No cogent reason was given for declaring the Sokoto State election who collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in the indicated units and not all inconclusive. INEC only relied on absurd the registered voters. This is the standard. technical grounds. It is only those that collected PVCs that Tambuwal was leading his closest rival, can vote. This is common sense. The truth Ahmad Aliyu of the APC with a margin of is that the number of voters with PVCs in 3,413 votes while 75, 403 votes were cancelled by INEC in 136 polling units because the affected 44 polling units is lower than Fintiri’s margin of lead in the election. So, there were violence, willful destruction of the Adamawa governorship election was voting materials and manhandling of INEC not inconclusive. Fintiri ought to have been staff. INEC refused to declare Tambuwal declared the winner. winner, saying that it would conduct fresh The Adamawa PDP was apt when it elections in the 136 polling units because declared thus on Monday: “The number “the total number of votes cancelled were of PVCs collected by voters in the 44 PUs higher than the winning margin and can is 31,027. So, 31,027 are the only eligible significantly change the result.� Cancelling voters in those units. If there is going to be voting in polling units because of violence, a rerun, the 31,027 people who collected willful destruction of voting materials and manhandling of INEC staff, did not prevent their PVCs are less than PDP’s margin of win. How then would the rerun affect the the overall result from being declared in previous elections conducted by Mahmood’s leading position of the PDP? So, there was no basis in declaring the Adamawa State boys. Tambuwal must proceed to court governorship election inconclusive.� immediately to challenge this aberration. In Kano, PDP candidate, Abba Yusuf Voting was cancelled in several polling polled 1,014,474 to beat APC’s Umar units during the governorship elections in Ganduje, who polled 987,819. Then, the Ekiti, Ondo and Osun states because of violence, yet, the final results were declared. result for a ward in Nasarawa Local Government Area could not be added Also, during the February 23 Presidential because “hoodlums attacked the centre, election, voting did not take place in disrupted the collation and tore the result many areas in Rivers, Lagos, Yobe, Borno, sheet.� Instead of the INEC to Zamfara, Bayelsa, Delta, Cross River and re-generate the results from its primary Kaduna states. The margin of Buhari’s vicand secondary data base and verify its tory over Atiku was far below the millions authenticity, it decided to cancel the result of voters disenfranchised in these places, and ordered a rerun. The victory of PDP’s largely because of violence, yet, INEC went Yusuf was needlessly truncated by INEC. ahead to declare Buhari winner. The INEC Chairman’s name and that of In Bauchi State, INEC cancelled election his boys across the states are now synonyin Tafawa Balewa Local Government mous with inconclusiveness, fraud and adjudged to be free and fair by local and ineptitude. What a shame. Our democracy foreign observers, just to be able to declare and electoral processes are under blockade the governorship election inconclusive. under Yakubu. My message to voters in all The state’s returning officer, Mohammed Kyari, said violence at the local government the six states is to go out again on March collation centre necessitated the cancellation. 23, vote and protect the mandate already given Tambuwal, Fintiri, Ortom, Bala This is contrary to the position of the collaMohammed and Abba Kabir-Yusuf. tion officer for the local government, Mrs. On the flip side, men of the Nigerian Dominion Anosike, who said that the almilitary messed up during the general leged violence at the collation centre did not election. It was heart-wrenching watching affect her result. Mrs. Anosike was ready soldiers snatching ballot boxes, attacking to read the scores but the state’s returning opponents of their favoured party and officer objected. Kyari evidently took committing all sorts of infractions across anarbitrary and unconstitutional decision to the states. In Rivers State, they took the declare the Bauchi election inconclusive. An election that was duly conducted by various interference in politics to an unprecedented height, while allegedly working for Transpresiding officers and validly collated at port Minister, Rotimi Amaechi. The likes ward and local government levels was of Ateke Tom and Asari Dokubo, seen as declared invalid, just to scuttle the poll. What a country! INEC is overtly playing the supporting Governor Nyesom Wike were hounded by soldiers. Our military has script of the ruling party. never been this bastadised. I heard one of In Adamawa State, INEC’s decision was the commanders saying the recalcitrant

soldiers we saw snatching ballot boxes and intimidating voters/opponents of the federal government were fake soldiers. Well, why have they not arrested the fake soldiers? It’s a big ignominy. I wept for my beloved country after reading the preliminary report of the European Union Election Observation Mission to Nigeria. The EU mission complained bitterly that Nigerian soldiers barred them from monitoring elections in Rivers State. Yes, Nigerian soldiers did this. The Chief Observer, Maria Arena, who is a member of the EU Parliament, faulted the entire elections. She said: “Observers, including EU observers, were denied access to collation centres in Rivers, apparently by military personnel. This lack of access for observers compromises transparency and trust in the process. There is no doubt that the electoral process there (Rivers) was severely compromised. Violence, underage voting and vote-buying marred the elections in some states.� The retiring Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan, also indicted the military: “The process has been militarised with armed thugs engaging our security forces, who in their turn are rarely able to be as fair and professional as they claim to be.� It is an embarrassment that the same APC that went to court (when in opposition) to get judgments barring the military from participating in elections, went ahead (now that it is the ruling party) to deploy soldiers for elections. Has President Buhari forgotten that both the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court gave judgments to the effect that soldiers should not be involved in electoral process? The military has no business with elections and this baloney must stop. I sincerely hope that our military chiefs will amend their ways and allow votes to count when the supplementary elections hold on March 23. Army Chief, Tukur Buratai, should send his men to the North-east to tackle Boko Haram instead of running after ballot papers/boxes and intimidating the political opponents of the ruling party.

Love from Financial Times

As President Buhari prepares to commence his second term, I urge him to spend quality time reading the Financial Times of London’s editorial of March 6, which x-rayed his first term and pointed the way forward. The Financial Times remarked: “Nigeria’s recent election produced a winner, but victory for incumbent Muhammadu Buhari has generated little enthusiasm in a country performing far below its potential‌. With his renewed mandate, it is now Mr. Buhari’s task to rebuild faith by running a dynamic and successful administration and by building the institutions that can lay firmer foundations than in his previous term. “The omens from his first four years in office are not good. During that time, the former military leader ran a lacklustre administration with no obvious sense of direction. There was no coherent economic strategy of the sort being attempted by the likes of Ethiopia, Rwanda or West African neighbours Ghana and Senegal to produce the rapid growth needed to haul tens of millions of people out of poverty. It is an indictment of its leadership - both military and democratic - that the continent’s biggest oil producer should have more people living in absolute poverty than any other country in the world. “Mr. Buhari’s priority this time must be to set out a coherent agenda, implemented by technocrats rather than ideologues, to turn things round. Nigeria desperately needs to create a level playing field for business in which access to foreign currency, permits and other requirements are predictable and rational. His much vaunted crackdown on corruption must go beyond taking action against a few minor officials. Some big scalps would help. More important still is to implement systematic changes - whether by reforming institutions, using technology or by removing arbitrage opportunities - to create a more transparent environment. People should prosper in Nigeria based on what they know and how much value and employment they can create, not by their connections. “On security, Mr. Buhari’s first term was also less than successful in spite of repeated declarations of victory over Boko Haram. There is credible evidence of a renewed threat in the north-east in the form of a breakaway Islamist group. Nigeria’s army remains ill-equipped, both literally and institutionally, to take on such a challenge. Too often, its armed forces - which have committed human rights abuses of their own - have been part of the problem rather than the solution. “Nigeria should be Africa’s economic motor. Too often it looks more like a country teetering on the edge. In his second presidential term, Mr. Buhari has a chance to silence his critics. With decent policies and effective implementation, he can stop the rot and lay the basis for a better future. If he can do that, he can yet salvage his reputation. If not, he will go down in history as a general who should have stayed in his barracks.â€? I hope the cabal around our President will allow him read this thought-provoking piece from The Financial Times.

ReďŹ neries of Doom The news is that Nigeria’s four state-owned refineries posted a cumulative loss of N114.3 billion in the first 11 months of 2018. Yes, over N114 billion. The refineries are still inefficient, almost four years after the Buhari government vowed to turn things around. Over 95% of petroleum products consumed in Nigeria are still imported because these refineries are still not working optimally. Figures from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation showed that the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company, Port Harcourt Refining Company and Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company made losses in the 11 months under review. The KRPC made a deficit of N31.62 billion; PHRC recorded N44.2 billion loss

while WRPC lost N38.5 billion. The losses were from January to November 2018. The expenses of the refineries were higher than the revenue generated during the specified period. Of the three refineries, Kaduna refinery earned the lowest revenue of N3.1 billion, while it spent N34.73 billion. Port Harcourt refinery generated N140.82 billion and spent N185.03 billion. Warri refinery spent N178.32 billion while its total revenue was N140.23 billion. The Buhari government has failed to revive the refineries while funding inefficiency. Just imagine what N114 billion would do for the country’s teaching hospitals and higher institutions. N114 billion down the drain in just 11 months. What a country.


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THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER ˾ MARCH 16, 2019

SUPER SATURDAY Biodun Stephen

I’m an Accidental Cinema Filmmaker Biodun Stephen is known for some Nollywood blockbuster movies from The Visit which was one of the first Nollywood movies bought by Netflix and earned AMVCA nomination to Picture Perfect which was a hit in cinemas in 2017 and host of others. She is a screenwriter, film producer and director. Her movies were adjudged via audience ratings as the best movies on iROKO TV in 2017 and 2018. Biodun’s latest movie, Joba, will hit cinemas in April. This Nollywood heroine talks to Chinedu Ibeabuchi about her career, what film making means to her and a lot more How did it all begin for you?

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t was initially acting. I really wanted to be an actor. I was busy going for auditions. It was never about not passing an audition. It was always ‘did they ever call you back’? Also, I think when I was much younger, there were just few men who were as tall as I am. So pairing me was difficult. And when they pair me, they pair me with old men. So, they are automatically doubling my age in real life. And you know how Nollywood works? The moment you are known for a character, that’s the character you will always be playing. For instance, I always assume Carol King was old and when I met her 10 years after, she said ‘oh, I am not as old as you think.’ You know because she always plays someone’s mother for a long time, I had a perception that since she is a mom, she must be in her 50s. But alas, she is still young. My original dream as a teenager was that I wanted to act. I studied Philosophy in OAU and after school, I worked as an OAP and news presenter on radio. Later, I worked as copywriter in an advertising agency, then went back to radio and later traveled to learn film making at the London Film Academy. When I got back to Nigeria, I met Chris of Koga Entertainment. We collaborated to produce an amazing story called The Visit. That earned me AMVCA nomination as the best movie in West Africa. In 2016, we shot Picture Perfect which was out in Cinemas in 2017. My films were rated as the best, by audience choice, on iRoko TV in 2017 and 2018. My latest work is Joba, a faith based movie.

You seem to be investing whole lot on talented actors who are up coming. Why?

It’s because I have come from a place of hunger. By hunger, I mean being hungry for the space I am now. Someone gave me an opportunity in the person of late Chris of Koga Entertainment. Also, because I write my script myself, I need to find the perfect person. If


THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER ˾ MARCH 16, 2019

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SUPERSATURDAY One of the Crises I Suffered from was Ability to Do So Many Things it means that I have to drill talents till we get it right. I like working with young talents because someone needs to give them the chance. Someone took a gamble on me, so why won’t I do that to others.

A lot of young people get confused about career. They don’t know what to look out for. What’s the best way to choose a career or knowing what to do?

On my own part, I was confused for so long. One of the crises I suffered from was an ability to do so many things. I can write, act, direct, present and so on. In finding my space, I talked to myself and also prayed. I realised I had gone for several auditions and not clicking; also, I was on radio for a long time. However, radio helped me to find my purpose as a film maker because I did a talk show on radio which was about sharing life issues. So, that helped me to realise that even as a film maker, whatever I am writing has to speak the truth and help someone find peace. The defining moment for me was the AMVCA nomination which made me realise that my space was not in the front of the camera but at the back. And the moment I accepted that, every other thing fell into place. Now to answer your question on how to find your purpose, there is really no fast or short route. Sometimes, your purpose is steering at you but you don’t want to accept it.

Your first movie, The Visit, was a hit. Do you prefer producing for Pay-TV or Cinemas?

The Visit was everywhere. It was on Netflix, Africa magic, Rok TV, Ebony Life, etc. The question is why do we want to go to Cinema? The few times I have gone to Cinema were by accident. When I wrote The Visit, I was fresh out of Film School. Cinema was not on my mind. My goal was to produce a fantastic movie. And when I graduated from film school, I didn’t have huge budget, so I said let me shoot a small budget film that is very fantastic. But it turned out to receive great accolades. The Visit was one of the first Nollywood movies bought by Netflix. In summary, you tap into the opportunities that you get. The Visit opened my eyes to a lot of possibilities.

Tell us about Joba?

The story of Joba is amazing. I was driving and listened to this song featuring Tope Alabi, ‘Jesu Joba’. I listened to it repeatedly and repeatedly about 50 times in the traffic. And I just knew that this song has to be a story. Right there, I got the idea. I ran home and wrote the story as it plays in my head that same day. I slept at 1a.m. When I woke up in the morning and re-read the story, I knew this wouldn’t have been me who did this. Then I shared a post on social media that I have just written an amazing story, that I am very honoured that God chose me to write this story. After I posted it, I got a direct message from a woman in South Africa saying, ‘God says I should work with you on this project’. I have never met the women before. Two days later, we signed the contract to collaborate on financing the project. Joba is highly emotionally gripping.

There is a trend in Nollywood now started by Amaka Igwe. Female filmmakers are bold enough now to come out and do amazing things. Would you say it’s literarily the time for female film makers to take over the industry from men? I don’t think it’s a takeover but it a positioning. We are kind of sitting in our space and making a mark. I am happy for Nollywood. I am happy that a lot of things have changed. Now, you can have a talent in Nollywood and the talent is recognised without having to sleep with anybody or kiss anybody’s ass. That evolution has also brought women to the fore. People like Amaka Igwe and Emem Isong paved the way. Today, you have the likes of Mary Njoku of Rok Studio giving a lot of women the platform to be producers. She tells you, ‘bring your film, I will finance it and put it on our platform.’ It’s no longer the era of saying I have a good story but don’t know what to do. The paradigm has shifted. The top films of last year were made by women. Women have been given a space to flourish career-wise, in this field. I think the men are out there supporting us.

Would you say problem in Nollywood is access to finance or recovering the finance? It’s both. I think one of my biggest fears is accepting money to shoot a movie though I do get several offers. In as much as content is king, the demand for it is getting higher but the remuneration is getting lower. Producers, who have made huge box office returns, check out what they have put in and their returns. If you say you make N100 million in cinemas, split that in three ways first before you start considering returns on investment from the one-third that comes to you.

The talk around town now is that Netflix owning a particular Nollywood series, might tamper with the originality of the story, taking into consideration that our culture is different from that of western world. I doubt if they will tamper with the originality because it’s the authenticity of the story that will make it different. You can’t sell sands to the Arabs, they already have enough sand. I think what they will focus on will be on technicalities, qualities, production value and picture but the core of the story, I doubt if they will tamper with it because that’s what will make it different.

I Like Working with Young Talents Because Someone Needs to Give Them the Chance


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MARCH 16, 2019 • THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER

COMMENTARY

‘AH, SIMBO, OUR ENEMIES HAVE WON’ Simbo Olorunfemi pays tribute to Pius Adesanmi, an academic, writer and humanist

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never met Pius. In the flesh. Stunning. He was a part, in a way, of the generation of the ‘Ibadan School’ who burst onto the scene in the 90s. Chiedu, Ama, Uche, Afam, Nduka, Wale and others. We were all friends. But I never met Pius then. But as success and fame catapulted him into greater reckoning, even before the age of social media, I wondered how we never met, seeing we had so many mutual friends in the same community. Perhaps, it had to do with my abrupt drift away from the community of writers then. Perhaps we did meet at one of the conferences. Perhaps, we had met and I just could not recollect. Perhaps… Who knows? Who cares? We met here. We became friends here. We shared the same world here. We shared ideas here. We laid bare our minds here. We became friends here. It never occurred to me to even find out if we had ever met. We were going to meet, anyway. With Pius, you soon became an Egbon, Aburo, Friend, Brother or whatever else. So rather than lash his koboko in the glare of the public, he will come inbox to ask questions. He will come inbox for fellowship. We were going to meet anyway. You found a kindred spirit in Pius simply on account of the quality of your mind. Once he sees a hint of brilliance, gifting, patriotism, the good heart, community spirit, or whatever else, he will sniff you out. You are now a part of his circle. He begins to point the torch in different directions for you. He begins to open the doors. He brings the young ones under his wing. He begins to mentor. He begins to push, to get you to sit up, to aspire, to aim higher. We never met. We were going to meet anyway. When I received his invitation to join the closed group – African Doctoral Lounge, I wondered why he felt I ought to be a part. Even as I have half a leg in the world of intellectuals, I have struggled with the difficulties and choking nature of university education in Nigeria and was on the verge of giving up. But the moment Pius got to know I was on a PhD programme, it became a personal project for him. “How far? I have to see your Chapter 2 by June!” He had warned me. He had told me he was going to be on my neck until I finished it. He was not ready for any stories – ASUU or no ASUU. He will simply come into your inbox and scream – “Simbo, Simbo, Simbo”. He had said I had to come for the Pan-African Doctoral Academy (PADA) at the University of Ghana he had been instrumental in setting up to help prepare the new generation of scholars. As I missed one training programme, he would remind me. I will promise to make the next. I finally applied late last year and was chosen to be a part of the January programme. We never met. We were now going to meet. Finally. I didn’t mention it to him. He was the one who brought it up,

PIUS WAS A GIFT TO GENERATIONS. HIS WRITING, INTELLECT, HUMANITY, SENSE OF HUMANITY AND THE DUTY OF CARE HE EXERCISED OVER PEOPLE, NIGERIA, THE CONTINENT AND EVEN FURTHER IS BEYOND COMPARE

someday, close to the commencement of the programme. I told him I was in! “When were you going to tell me?” he asked, excited. But then. The programme was for two weeks. I assumed he would be in for the two weeks. He must have thought I would be in for the two weeks. As the first week began to fade away, he came inbox with – “Simbo, Simbo, Simbo”. I assured him I would be in Accra on Sunday. He would have left, he said! We never met. Were we not going to meet again? “Our enemies have won”, he said. Perhaps, for the moment, I thought. We were going to meet anyway. June, he said. We never met. We were going to meet anyway. Then, yesterday. How can? How can a life which gave so much of himself for the sake others, for the sake of the continent, when he did not even have to, be so cruelly harvested? Only on Friday, you added more people as Admin members of the African Doctoral Lounge in view of the increase in the number of members, prospective ones and the attendant workload. If only we knew. The other time I was thanking God for your full recovery and strength to be able to travel again. But you said you were yet to attain full recovery and that embarking on these journeys was not quite what your doctor wanted and that when I see you in Ghana, I will get to see your legs. But you had to be in Ghana to keep the programme going. You had to be in Germany, sometime back, for the sake of another brother. I am sure, as you struggled over this trip, you must have been motivated by the desire to push yourself harder for the sake of Africa. If I had known you were only going to be in Ghana for a week, I could have booked the flight to come in a day earlier. If only the airline had not abruptly moved the flight from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. which later became 9.30 p.m., perhaps I might have met you in Accra. We never met. We were going to meet anyway. Our enemies might assume a win. But they will be mistaken to run with such an assumption. We never met, but we met. Pius was a gift to generations. His writing, intellect, humanity, sense of humanity and the duty of care he exercised over people, Nigeria, the continent and even further is beyond compare. He has taken on fresh wings. Now, he can fly, free, unhindered, impacting generations unborn with his words and work. He lives. We never met, but we met. Olorunfemi works for Hoofbeatdotcom, a Nigerian Communications Consultancy and publisher of Africa Enterprise

FATHER OF ZAMFARA POLITICS

Ahmad Yerima, former governor of Zamfara, is still in charge of the state’s politics, writes Kayode Oyelade

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enator Ahmad Sani Yerima is the Father of Zamfara Politics. Ever since the beginning of the Fourth Republic he has bestrode the political field of the Northwest and indeed the entirety of the North like a colossus. More than any politician of his generation, Yerima has continued to play an inalienable fatherly role in Zamfara politics, transmogrifying from a relatively quiet individual in 1999 to the father figure that he is today. He was the first elected governor of Zamfara State —two others who have governed the state after him were his scions—they ascended the throne under his tutelage. It is incontrovertible—no narration of Zamfara politics without the mention of Sani Yerima is complete. Virtually all the governorship candidates from all the different political parties cut their political teeth under Yerima. Apart from the fact that he is a major factor in the creation of Zamfara State, he has remained a rallying point in Zamfara politics and Nigeria as a whole. Suffice to state unequivocally that he has over the years nurtured to maturity an army of politicians in the state, who have taken up political offices in the state and at the national level. All the recent governorship candidates in the state are his political sons and he has refused to take side. Yerima cannot afford to take side in the field of Zamfara politics for many reasons. All the current power players are virtually members of the Sani Yerima political family. And it would seem preposterous for a patriarch to take side among his political offspring. This explains why after the Court of Appeal ruled that Zamfara APC could field candidates in the 2019 election that he made a statewide broadcast. The broadcast was what many of his admirers have since been commending him for as a true political father of the state which at a point was looking doomed politically. “As you all know, since when these issues were going on, I remained silent but at the same time, going up and down to ensure that the issue is resolved and in our favour. But now that it is over, I deemed it imperative to voice my mind thereby calling on all the teeming contenders to these races to accept

this verdict in good faith as destined by Allah SWT,” Yerima said as he appealed to his people. In rounding off his broadcast, he solicited votes for his party’s candidates in all the elections—a true party man—his admirers have always praised him for always identifying with his party. “I want to once again congratulate all members of APC in the state and also want to urge them to come out enmasse to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari, our three senators and House of Representatives members in the coming election and thereafter, vote for governor and state assembly members,” he said. Irrespective of political party, Yerima has always been adopted by political gladiators in the state as a political life force upon which their fortune could attain traction or trajectory. It would not be out of place to assert that the very foundation of the political career of the incumbent was built on the Yerima political soil. And throughout the two term governorship of Abdulazeez Yari, Yerima has been acknowledged as the virtual bedrock of that successful dispensation. Even recently, it was Senator Yerima who facilitated or initiated a reconciliation and peace meeting between his political godson Governor Abdulaziz Yari and APC National Cha irman Adams Oshiomole bringing the National leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to resolve political differences between the two warring personalities as a result of the rancour emanating from the state primary elections. Despite not belonging to the same political party with the former Governor Yerima, most of the political party candidates of that state printed posters and added his (Yerima’s) picture to their own in an apparent attempt to convince the electorate in Zamfara that they have the blessing and or endorsement of this political juggernaut. He is such a rallying point and force no one ignores in the state. In addition, no agenda setting or political calculation regarding the Northwest is complete without Yerima being factored in. Such is the extent of his stature and influence. Cerebral and forward looking, Yerima has also

been successful because he has never been afraid of any battle. His ability to weather the storm generated sometimes ago by the Sharia controversy is a good case in point. In an interview a while ago in Abuja, Yerima allayed the controversy surrounding his introduction of sharia law. Yerima said: “I will say sincerely that I introduced sharia with the best of intentions as a Muslim because the legal system is acceptable to Islam. The intention was not to Islamize those that are not Muslims in Nigeria. I did it because I knew my people needed it to check the wrongs of the society. “Frankly, I never anticipated that the sharia introduction would attract such huge attention in Nigeria and internationally because it was just meant for the people of my state who are Muslims and wanted it. “But I was so surprised at the international outrage and attack of the system. It got so bad that in one week, I received not less than 5000 protest petitions against the introduction of sharia from the Amnesty International. And that was just part of the larger attention that came with it. However, I did not stop the implementation because I was sure the move was right and we needed the sharia legal system to correct errors in our state.” What would amount to Yerima’s vindication even after the anger and disagreements that greeted the introduction of the law came when about 12 states of the country went ahead to adopt sharia. At every given opportunity Yerima has never hesitated to stress his commitment to Nigeria as a multi-faith society. According to Yerima, “All non-Muslims in Zamfara are able to choose civil law rather than Sharia law when faced with legal proceedings. Rights of non-Muslims to pray, preach and build places of worship were secured and reinforced.” In short, the ideal of freedom of worship was guaranteed in Zamfara despite the Sharia dispensation. At the end of the day, it was discovered that the furore that greeted the Sharia issue was like making a mountain of a molehill.” At the national level, Yerima has over the years been very relevant in lending his voice and muscle to topical national issues. If he’s not speaking on

the issue of fuel scarcity, rehabilitation of Nigerian refineries and turning things around based on the All Progressives Congress change mantra, Senator Yerima is voicing opinion on issues of national security and people’s welfare. And his belief in the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has never been in doubt. Recently he said: “Anybody that expects or wants Buhari to be there in four years and leave is not thinking properly. The problems with Nigeria won’t take four years to solve. If we really want change from him, we should make up our mind that he being there for eight years would make that difference. I mean it. He needs eight years.” And contrary to what might have been assumed by the ignorant, Yerima’s influence goes beyond the religious divide. He has his own numerous handshakes across Nigeria and many are of the opinion that a future of greater national service still beckons much as he has the requisite experience and intellectual capacity to handle greater responsibilities than that of a state. Ahmad Rufai Sani Yarima has tested the waters before. For instance in 2007, he put his name forward to be the ANPP candidate for the presidential election that year. What was surprising was that this so-called proponent of Sharia even won backing from the Christian Alliance. But he had to withdraw from the contest at the party’s 2007 national convention to back former Head of State Muhammadu Buhari as the ANPP candidate. Yerima was eventually elected senator representing Zamfara West constituency for the All Nigeria People’s Party in April 2007. He has since served on committees such as that of Selection, Federal Character & Inter-Government Affairs, Drugs and Narcotics, Anti-corruption and Agriculture. In whatever capacity, Yerima has always exuded the image of a man of honour and a reliable power broker. The future definitely is bright for this son of Zamfara State and veritable citizen of Nigeria. And one thing is even clearer: his influence and position as the primus inter pares in Zamfara is secure. Here is one man Zamfara should be proud of having as a son.


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MARCH 16, 2019 • THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER

INSIGHT

What went wrong?

Kudos, Shehu Pambegua

Nigeria and the Challenge of Voter Apathy

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oter apathy has become a great challenge to Nigerian democracy. The issue has become a cankerworm that is refusing to go since the 2007 general election in Nigeria. The main threats then could be attributed to ballot box snatching, manipulation of votes at collation centres and the lack of interest in political activities by many. These and others caused low turnout during the voter registrations in 2011 election. Electoral process is a major pillar of democracy as the voter remains the most important stakeholder in the procedure. This is apparent as the electorate tends to lose confidence when democracy is imperilled. The main objective of electoral process is to confer universal suffrage on the eligibility of voters who would exercise their franchise under an atmosphere of free, fair and credible election which in turn confers legitimacy on those elected. Thus, elections are necessary but it is disheartening that the electorate is losing confidence during electioneering period. The just concluded governorship and house of assembly elections across the 29 states witnessed a lot of issues like low turnout of voters: only 34.7 per cent came out of over 80 million registered voters. This is not the first time Nigerians will experience this as the 2003 presidential election also witnessed this setback. It is on record that voter turnout stood at 53.7 per cent in 2011, 57.7 per cent in 2007 and hit the jackpot of 69.1 per cent in 2003. This is indeed an indication that something fishy is going on in the conduct of Nigeria election. Looking at the nexus that exists in vote buying, voter apathy and the declaration of inconclusive results in some states across the country, there is a clear indication that something is not right. The practice of do- or- die game of politics by our politicians and desperation on their side to grasp power is becoming unacceptable and a major cause of voter apathy in the country. This unfair game of politics has led to voter inducement, violence, harassment, intimidation of voters as well as poll officials and even the observers. Several observer groups reported that, vote buying displayed in almost all the polling units especially in Zamfara, Adamawa, Benue, Plateau, Kano, Sokoto, Akwa Ibom and Abia States where voters were given small amount of money to exchange their mandate is undemocratic.

The most important elections that will shape the lives of the people in terms of education, water supply, agriculture and health care system is the one at the grassroots level, that is the state elections. But Nigerians seem to give less importance to it. Some have this notion that state governors and house of assembly members are not doing anything apart from sharing the grant from the federal level. The reverse is the case; governors are the most important public officers in terms of touching the lives of the common man. In a nutshell, poverty, ignorance, timidity, frustrations are among what is pushing people away from politics. The politicians enjoy this scenario so as to have their way into public offices and continue crippling the economy of the land. As a matter of urgency, it is not late for us to understand the implication of vote buying and voter apathy in our electoral process. Authorities need to recruit more young people into the system and empower them with more knowledge on politics and also give them more room to participate openly. Public officials especially at the state and local level should provide more democratic atmosphere to the people in order to awake their political consciousness and motivate them to participate more in the exercise. INEC and other stakeholders on the other hand should engage on sensitization and voter education by highlighting the danger of voter apathy to our democratic culture while making efforts to rebuild the confidence of Nigerians in the electoral process. Idris Mohammed Funtua, Program Officer, YIAGA Africa, Abuja

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he election of Shehu Yunusa Pambegua as member Kaduna State House of Assembly to represent Kubau local government is greeted with joy and jubilation. Being a direct beneficiary of the “Not too young to run law”, the engineer has fully prepared to take Kubau local government to greater heights. Kubau local government has suffered from poor representation in the last two decades. The former members who represented the area performed below expectations. The poor performance could be attributed to lack of deep knowledge, experience and the ability of the members to rub minds with the constituents on the problems affecting the local government. Moreover, the former members were not fully ready for legislative works. No wonder their several years in the state assembly failed to attract any benefits to the good people of the local government. That is the reason why the electorate described them as seat warmers who cannot add value to the lives of not only their constituents but also the state in general. It is in view of this leadership failure that compelled the people of the area to beam their search light for a credible candidate.

T H E SAT U R DAY N E W S PA P E R EDITOR YEMI ADEBOWALE DEPUTY EDITOR CHIKA AMANZE-NWACHUKU 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 DIRECTOR ERIC OJEH ASSOCIATE DIRECTORS PATRICK EIMIUHI, SAHEED ADEYEMO CONTROLLERS ABIMBOLA TAIWO, UCHENNA DIBIAGWU, NDUKA MOSERI DIRECTOR, PRINTING PRODUCTION CHUKS ONWUDINJO TO SEND EMAIL: first name.surname@thisdaylive.com

Luckily, the good people of Kubau local government found Shehu Yunusa suitable for the job. The graduate of electronic engineering from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, accepted the clarion call and threw his hat into the ring. Initially, he contested for the position of chairmanship of the local government but lost at the primary election. But he was dogged and resilient. At the just concluded gubernatorial and state assembly election, he was overwhelmingly voted for and declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission, having polled the highest number of votes. Ibrahim Mustapha, Pambegua, Kaduna State

INEC, APC and Democracy

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or a federal government unit headed by a professor, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lacks finesse and sophistication in its bid to convince anyone it is playing fair and square on the political scene. When it was obvious that Northern Nigerians were charting out a fresh political course for themselves defined by the emerging PDP-controlled states that can be traced along an arc on the northern stretch of the map of Nigeria running west to east from Sokoto through Kano, Bauchi, to Adamawa and then following an easterly course through Taraba that curves inward to Plateau and then slightly southward to Benue State, someone high up in the corridors of power remembered that certain “disloyal”APC stalwarts who defected to the PDP must be “punished” like Bukola Saraki and not be allowed to control any “political dynasty.”This overriding desire, more than anything else, was the reason INEC truncated genuine polling results at Sokoto in order to get at Aminu Tambuwal, at Kano in order to get at Musa Kwankwaso, at Bauchi in order to get at Yakubu Dogara, at Adamawa in order to get at Atiku Abubakar, at Plateau in order to get at Jerry Useni, and at Benue in order to get at Samuel Ortom. Over there in Rivers State, it is gangster-styled federal Mafiosi shock treatments that are being meted out to the good and hardworking people of that state. Let us all face it, is this democracy at all? Sunday Adole Jonah, Department of Physics, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State


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NEWSXTRA

In Brief S’Court Restores Kalejaiye’s SAN Title

The Supreme Court yesterday restored the title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) on Kunle Kalejaiye, counsel to former Osun State Governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola. The Supreme Court in a unanimous judgment ordered the restoration of the rank of SAN on Kalejaiye shortly after it upheld Kalejaiye’s appeal on the grounds that the trial procedure at the LDPC was flawed. The Legal Practitioners and Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) of the National Judicial Council (NJC) had in 2015 stripped Kalejaiye of his SAN rank over alleged professional misconduct. He was specifically accused of exchanging text messages with an election tribunal judge, Justice Thomas Naron, during the election litigation between Oyinlola and the immediate past Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola. Kalejaiye, who was once a lawyer to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and then Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola faced an inquiry over the alleged misconduct since 2008 when a series of text messages between him and the judge were said to have found their ways into the public.

Rainstorm Wreaks Havoc in Osun

REBRANDED... L-R: Former MD/CEO African Alliance Insurance, Ope Oredugba; MD/CEO African Alliance Insurance, Funmi Omo; former Chairman of Board, African Alliance Insurance, Cyril Ajagu; Executive Director, Finance, Bisi Adekola; and Interim Chairman of Board, African Alliance Insurance, Anthony Okocha, during the unveiling of the new African Alliance Insurance corporate identity in Lagos...recently

PDP Alleges Withdrawals of over N17bn by Gov Okorocha in 3 Days Amby UnezeĂ“Ă˜ĂĄĂ?ĂœĂœĂ“ Imo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised the alarm over alleged banking transactions leading to massive withdrawals to the tune of over N17 billion in the last three days since the declaration of governorship election results by governor Rochas Okorocha and his cronies. Disclosing this to journalists yesterday, the state Chairman of PDP, Chief Charles Ezekwem

said that between Tuesday, 12th March and Thursday, 14th March, 2019, Governor Okorocha had made major withdrawals from Access Bank, Zenith Bank, Unity Bank and Sky Bank amounting to over N17 billion. Ezekwem maintained that in the last two days alone, the governor and his cronies had transferred ownership and reregistered over 150 government vehicles to individuals, adding that government properties including furniture and electronics

in Government House were being moved out to Ogboko, Ideato South local government residence of Okorocha. According him, over 300 uninstalled transformers had been moved to governor’s personal house at Ogboko, while engaging in mass employment and back-dating same with a view to causing problems for the incoming government. “We are aware of the rampant issuance of Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) to family members and friends

of Okorocha’s family. The party warns those involved that they do so at their own peril. This massive looting of Imo treasury are in addition to the previous looting of Paris Club and bailout funds, which led to the plunging the state into huge indebtedness. “Once again, we warn financial institutions against collaborating with governor Okorocha to continue the looting of our collective common wealth as they shall be held responsible,� he stated.

Nigeria Records 93 Deaths from Lassa Fever in 2019

Shila Boys on Rampage, Kill 3 in Yola

Martins IďŹ jeh Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽAyodeji Ake

Daji SaniĂ“Ă˜ÙÖË

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has reported at least 93 deaths and 1,297 suspected cases of Lassa fever since beginning of 2019. Stating this during a presentation on ‘NCDC Epidemiology Update’ by the Senior Technical Assistant, NCDC, Dr. Kola Jinadu at the Health Journalism Master Class, organised by the Nigeria Health Watch in Abuja yesterday, he said Lassa fever mortality was increasing because of late presentation by affected Nigerians. He said this was why NCDC had continued to engage in more awareness campaign on early presentation for swift treatment. “We have been seeing turnouts and the reason is because we have been able to get more reports from hospitals, and people are now getting aware every day of the nature of the disease. “Lassa fever is a viral illness that occurs in Nigeria and other West Africa countries, transmitted to humans mainly through food or household items contaminated by infected rat urine and faeces and by handling infected rats. It could present with gradual onset of malaise, fever headache, sore throat, cough, among others.

On NCDC‘s part to control mortality rate, he said the centre had been able to establish a national multi-partner, multi-sectoral Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), to coordinate response activities. The Deputy Director, Prevention and Programmes Coordination, NCDC, Dr. Ayoola Olufemi, said the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS), a five year strategic roadmap would aid in filling critical gaps by promoting multi-sectoral collaboration, and information sharing to reduce risk of epidemics. “NAPHS is a country owned, multi-year planning process that can accelerate the implementation of international Health Regulation (IHR) 2005 core capacities. It’s a five-year strategic roadmap to fill critical gaps that were identified by health security assessment including the Joint External Evaluation (JEE) 2017 and Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) 2010. “The NAPHS covers all the 19 technical areas required to effectively prevent, detect, and respond to public threats. With the benefits of promoting multi-sectoral collaboration and information sharing, there will be high return on investment and reduction of risk of epidemics,� he said.

A group of hoodlums going by the name, ‘Shila Boys’ yesterday went on rampage and killed three persons in a reprisal attack in Jambutu, a suburb of Yola, Adamawa State capital. According to eyewitness, trouble started when a group of hoodlums terrorising citizens in the state capital on daily basis popularly called Shila boys killed an old man last week. The relatives of the deceased old man irked by the development allegedly attacked the group of hoodlums which led to a serious clash between the two warring sides that resulted in one of the boys being killed and many injured The source further explained that the Shila Boys as a result of the clash retreated, reenforced and immediately after the Friday Mosque prayers, launched attacks on their targets which claimed the lives of three people at Jambutu Primary School. Shila Boys, is a group of hoodlums across the state capital ,who specialise in snatching of bags, handsets,

money and valuables on streets or inside Keke NAPEP, taxi and even inside the homes of residents. According to residents, the Shila Boys were allegedly supported by some top government officials and used to carry out dirty jobs which had been a torn on their flesh, accused the security of not being able to put them in check. “These Shila Boys are also dealers in hard drugs, go about with weapons to use to threaten residents who might want to refuse to handover their valuables,� one of the residents lamented. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the state police command, Abubakar Othman confirmed the incident but explained he was yet to get details at the time of sending this report. Othman said meanwhile the command had deployed a group of policemen to the troubled area to quell the situation. However, he did not confirm the number of casualties, saying he was yet to receive report from the DPO of the affected area.

Property worth millions of naira was yesterday destroyed by rainstorm at different parts of Osogbo, the Osun State capital. The affected areas visited by our correspondent are, Oke-Baale, Gbonmi, Isale-Osun, Kelebe, Ofatedo, Igbona and Oke Onitea among others. The rain, which started about 7:10p.m. and fell for almost two hours, pulled down electric poles, block fences and blew off many roofs. There was no report of casualties as at the time of filling this report, however, traffic was obstructed by electric poles, which fell across the Kajola Street, Balogun-Oke Bale. Many residents were seen parking out of their buildings which roof had been blown off by the rainstorm. The head of Kajola community whom his house is one of the affected houses in the area, Chief Tiamiyu Ibraheem said it was a terrible experience for the residents of the area yesterday. Chief Ibraheem said though, no cases of casualties were recorded but, he had personally lost close to one million naira worthy of property to the incident.

Ambode’s Wife Laments Death of Pupils

Wife of the Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode on Friday described the collapsed building which claimed the lives of some school pupils at Ita-faaji area of the state, as a very sad incident, praying for the repose of their souls. In a statement signed by the Assistant Director Public Affairs in her office, Folashade Kadiri, lamented that it was most unfortunate that young pupils in the course of education should meet such a tragic fate.According to her, “As a mother I feel pained and sad that little pupils in the course of education should meet such a tragic fate.�Mrs. Ambode who is currently out of the country, noted that sad occurrence like that could be prevented, if property developers adhere strictly to building code and integrity, stressing that lives were too precious to sacrifice for economic gains.

Law on Youth Development Fund

Youth Development Fund Bill aimed at creating jobs and evolve greater opportunities for youths in Akwa Ibom State has been passed into law by the State House of Assembly. In passing the bill into law, the Speaker of the State Assembly, Rt. Hon Onofiok Luke lauded the Youth Alive Foundation and other youth groups in the state for proposing the bill with Hon. Emmanuel Ekpenyong as lead-sponsor. The bill, he said proposes the establishment of the Akwa Ibom Youth Development Fund which ultimate aim was to create jobs and evolve greater opportunities for our teeming youths in the state. The Speaker expressed the satisfaction of the legislature to fulfil one of its prominent promises to the youths of the state. “We told them in 2015 that we will always be on their side. There could not have been a better way to reflect that commitment to them other than to pass into law the bill to implement a sustainable youth policy framework. It has been a mark of honour on the 6th assembly that in passing this bill, we have given verve to our economy to attract foreign direct investments into youth development ventures in our state.�

Lions Club Symposium on Women

The International Association Of Lions Clubs District 404B-2 Nigeria, will hold a New Voices Symposium, Tagged ‘The Role of Women in National Building in Nigeria’ next week at Our Saviour’s Church Hall, Tafawa Balewa Square behind Lagos House, Lagos. Speakers at the event will include Kemi Sarumi, Chairperson, Women Symposium, the wife of the Former Ondo State Governor, Her Excellency, Mrs. Olufunke Agagu, the Founder, the Handicapped Education Foundation, Dr. Bridget Itsueli, Founder, Relate African Organisation and Lynda Odu Okpeseyi, PMF, the Constitutional Area Speaker, New Voices for English West African Countries. The event which is expected to be well attended by eminent personalities from the Lions International Community, astute Scholars and Seasoned Administrators from both sectors of the Economy, is being hosted by the District 404B-2 Governor, Dupe Dada, to be assisted by Lion Kemi Eribake of the New Voices Leadership, District 404B-2 Nigeria.

Sanwo-Olu, Abiodun Capable, Says Oyetola

Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola, has expressed confidence in the ability of Lagos State governor-elect, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Ogun State governor-elect Dapo Abiodun, to perform to the expectation of their people. He described the two of them as “capable and able given their antecedent.� Oyetola stated this in a message of congratulation to the governors-elect, who, like him, were members of the All Progressives Congress (APC). A statement by Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Adeniyi Adesina, quoted him as saying that the election of Sanwo-Olu would allow the continuation of the purposeful and people-centred administration in Lagos, which Asiwaju Bola Tinubu started in 1999. “The Lagos State Governor-elect has a foundation to build on. He is no doubt capable of carrying on the banner of making Lagos the Centre of Excellence based on the existing roadmap. He has a capable Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, who has equally proved his mettle in the public and private sector in the previous positions he occupied,� Oyetola said.


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Plus Doris Nkrumah As the Hair Boss, I Give You the Weaves that Fits Your Face

Olakunle Churchill

I Treasure Life-Changing Testimonies of BeneďŹ ciaries of My Humanitarian Projects

FASHION FILE GLOBAL SOCCER FAIRGROUND SHOWBIZFLAIR

pg. 22 pg. 29 pg. 42 pg. 45


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PLUS

As the Hair Boss, I Give You the Weaves that Fits Your Face Doris Nkrumah is the CEO of Lagos-based ‘Hair By Wanneka.’ She is a serial entrepreneur and an inspiration to many. The ‘Hair Boss’ as she is popularly known, started her journey down this hair business in 2013. At a point, her hair business almost collapsed, but she came back strongly. Doris is simply hardworking and daring, and aims to own an empire. This mother of three tells Tosin Clegg about her growing up, how she started her business, her booming hair business, supporting women and a lot more

Nkrumah

I grew in the midst of a loving family attended Majesty High School, Calabar and proceeded to University of AdoEkiti (UNAD) to bag a Diploma in Law. I later started an undergraduate programme in English before getting married, relocated to Lagos and started another degree at the University of Lagos. Growing up for me was quite interesting. I had an amazing family that would tear anyone one down if I get bullied. I grew in the midst of a loving family. My mother was a sweet kind person and she loved all her children equally. As

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PLUS I Had to Quit My Hair Business Twice‌ with Determination, I Bounced Back the last child, one would think I got so spoilt but I was given strict rules kind of treatment which has built me over the years to become this independent, hardworking and daring. I have always wanted to own an empire. Passion for human hair products I started as a stylist in the Nigerian Nollywood industry and gradually gained grounds and made a few friends, which gave birth to my baby steps into the brand I have today called ‘Hair By Wanneka.’ My passion for human hair products was what influenced my choice of business. Many hair clients love ‘Hair By Wanneka’ because of the style of the advert, the quality of my hairs as well as the affordability of the hair types. Several times, I have shared my inspiring story of how I had to quit my business more than two times because the business had failed. With determination however, I started again and less than two

years after, my business is flourishing. Getting active on social media helped In my early days I resold weaves bought from a well-known hair seller. In-terms of marketing, I would go to banks and waited till I could speak to fashionable female staff to patronise me. From the banks, I moved to church gates just to wait for the beautiful sisters to tell them about my business. Getting more active on social media was a huge success for me. It was a terrain that was easy to access and quick to reach a wider audience, with more customers from outside Lagos. Gradually, I was able to gather enough money to buy a large stock of product, but unfortunately I got duped by a supplier, which eventually made me to start afresh. It was a bitter sweet experience because I was hounded for taking clients order seriously. I believe in true quality in whatever market I sell. But the saying goes that once bitten twice shy. I had no

choice than to start afresh and attend to the business I love; though, it was rough, but I thank God. I really don’t have a special ingredient to my soup I’m more about quality than quantity which is the key in this business. My suppliers always sort out the best quality for me. Most times, I go to the factory to get the hair directly, sit with the workers to sort each hair and strands before I sell them to my customers. Most of my hairs have different feels as regards to texture and durability. One thing for sure is that I don’t sell fake hair but ensure that my hair is long lastingly depending on how you maintain the hair. In terms of varieties, I always try to cater for many pocket sizes. I have many women who cut across many ages and walks of life. So, I personally feel it’s best to provide for their hair needs, from weaves to wigs. I also try to ensure I come up or creatively think of how I can always make my hair collections unique. This process always comes with sessions and brainstorming with my team members. I also collate customers’ comments which I don’t take for granted. Obviously, it comes with sleepless nights but at the end of the day, I’m able to come up with something soild. My ‘Success Circle’ Initiative Most times, people enquire about how to grow businesses or my biggest hazard in the industry. This gave birth to my ‘Success Circle’ initiative. I don’t run it alone. I have few collaboration on that platform. Success Circle (Wanneka Empowerment Initiative) is aimed at tendering to growing businesses owned by young women or individuals who are aims at good exposure for their brand on social media. We provide financial aid and support SME’s. We also most times go live on Instagram and do physical consultations with other women who have worked that part in their various businesses to share their unique experience and expertise advice to growing business. We do have one on one physical brunch and get together at least once a month to host a few young women with a mentor in the same line of business. This event is aimed at bridging the gap between the social media and gatherings. At these events, the guest of the month schools young women about the pros and cons of businesses. I believe in women having their own business I know you would say I’m a feminist but I believe in women having their own business regardless of their husbands’ money. In attendance most times are young wives, married women and single mothers. Also on the platform, we get paid to talk about a business or do give away. I also run ‘Wanneka Woman Gele’ It is a new way of styling ‘Hair By Wanneka’, most especially with the head gear - Gele. I was inspired by the growing trend of young women getting their hair

covered in the Gele. So, I thought to myself ‘why don’t I do something very stylish and sleek with our native attire and signature look.’ That was how the collection was born. It was a collaborative effort with the Bimms Aso Oke. The beautiful thing about motherhood It is watching your baby turn to a child and gradually to a grown human. I remember when my first child, Emily was born, I looked at her and said what a pretty thing; this gorgeous pretty human God gave me to nurture and take care of. It was the most wonderful experience in the world. Motherhood has made me love more and nurture more. I’m blessed with three beautiful kids. I met my husband in the village I met my husband during a Christmas celebration, surprisingly we clicked and we became very good friends. Marriage is a total school. I never knew it until I got married. Trust me, it’s another life demand entirely. But my husband is very easy breezy with life. Though, we have our ups and downs, but he is a very supportive husband who keeps a level head on everything I do. It’s funny how my family loves my husband so much. I always try to ensure my style goes with my looks Most time, I go very glam but I tone it down with the right hair and accessories. I’m a lover of bags and shoes. Everyone who follows me on Instagram knows that it is standard for me to dash and buy myself or reward myself with a new accessory. As a petite lady, It is quite easy to dress me and very scarce to get our size. My fashion must have a good wig or weave; a good weave can turn an entire look to glam. As the hair boss, I give you the beat weaves that last longer and fits your face shape. You can’t go wrong with your bag. The right bag gives you the right pose. And my last but not the least is your feet accessory. Yes, that one is fire for me. You can’t go wrong with the right foot wear. How I deal with Cyber bullying It’s very simple, delete and block. You know I deal with a lot of customers who leave both negative and positive feedbacks on their purchase on my brand which I note because I believe that customer feedback is the key. I remember one time, I was dragged on Instagram about my products and customer chats were leaked on her page. All the blog in Nigeria took the story. I was tagged on various pages from different news platform. To be honest, it was a terrible moment for me. I literally blanked out and allowed my lawyers to take over the case. I lost customers at that moments due to that scandal but guess what? I regained 10 times the customers again. It was a bitter sweet experience at that moment. I also learnt that in life, hold on to your God, regardless of your standard in life. It is very key. I deal with cyber bullying in the simplest way. I stay true to my hustle and keep selling hair.

In terms of varieties, I always try to cater for many pocket sizes. I have many women who cut across many ages and walks of life. So, I personally feel it’s best to provide for their hair needs, from weaves to wigs. I also try to ensure I come up or creatively think of how I can always make my hair collections unique. This process always comes with sessions and brainstorming with my team members. I also collate customers’ comments which I don’t take for granted. Obviously, it comes with sleepless nights but at the end of the day, I’m able to come up with something soild


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Olakunle Churchill I Treasure Life-Changing Testimonies of BeneďŹ ciaries of My Humanitarian Projects

Olakunle Churchill is an entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the Chairman, Big Church Haven Limited and BIG Church Entertainment, which he launched in 2007. Many will always remember his Big Church Foundation’s visit to IDP camps in Borno with relief materials. He has done many more of such charity work of recent. Churchill is also involved in youth empowerment projects across the states of the federation. He has won hearts with his numerous charity works. He has also been in the news for some time now, because of his court case with his estranged wife, Nollywood actress, Tonto Dike. Churchill shares his charity story and the battle for his son with Azuka Ogujiuba


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PLUS I’m from a Proper Disciplined Yoruba Home, Well Trained, Brought-up Under the Fear of God

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ou’ve been very frequent in Ondo State, where you recently launched a youth empowerment initiative. Could you shed some light on this project? Basically, my 36,000 youth empowerment project is an initiative aimed at providing a platform for youths to be industrious, relevant and economically valuable to the growth and development of the entire nation. The project has commenced in Ondo State and the brand will continue across all the 36 states in Nigeria.

traditional requirements for her dowry. I flew her to the United States to deliver my child in one of the best hospitals in America. She stayed at my family house in London few months after delivery, before she returned to Nigeria. On her arrival, I had already prepared a well-furnished exquisite apartment for us - this was the first and only times we lived together until the divorce. We only lived together for six months. Still on the issue of squatting, it will interest you to know that Tonto will never marry or date a man who lacks prospects or is unsuccessful. She likes to live the life. We broke up in 2016 at a house I newly acquired for my mother in Lekki, Lagos State. Our marriage was plagued with several frivolous claims of falsity, ranging from domestic violence to false allegations and all what not. I never laid my hands on her. I have never done that in my life before. She made up those things to discredit my philanthropic works. I am from a proper disciplined Yoruba home. I was well trained and brought up under the fear of God. Marriage isn’t by force and so I encourage the entire public to shun the baseless sponsored social media propaganda which the actress has continued to fuel. It would eventually settle in the water-low.

You have also been championing a Lassa fever intervention programme? Yes. The Lassa fever intervention programme has been a huge success, especially when we have to evaluate how much impact it has made since the programme was officially flagged-off few years ago. The programme is doing well enough. Are you eyeing a political ofďŹ ce in your state with these your charity projects? Well, leadership and political engagements are decisions made by the people. The Ondo people have indeed issued me a courtesy call to service, and that’s why I am here in Ondo State to lead my people, promote my people, develop my people and empower the people of Ondo State. You’ve made similar intervention with safety management when you reached out to the Fire Service in Abuja, how have you been funding these projects? We fund these projects with a 10 per cent budget from every profit made by Big Church Group. This is a promise I made to myself while growing up. So, from my Safety Management project, through the Physically Challenged Initiative and the 36,000 Youth Empowerment programme, we funded them without interventions from local or international bodies. How well has your real estate business fared especially now that many claim low patronage in the business? My real estate business has fared well in recent times. Regardless of the challenges faced in Nigeria. My real estate is global and we are actually making headway, significantly in Switzerland and Ghana. Your life seems to revolve round business and philanthropy, what other things excite you? Well, maybe tourism and entertainment. I think I also admire those variables a lot. After the celebrated union with your estranged wife, Tonto Dike, many keep wondering if you will still give marriage a shot. Is marriage in the pipeline? For now, there are no plans for that, but as we all know, man proposes and God disposes. That’s all I can say for now. How is the relationship between you and your look-alike son, King Andre? King Andre is my beloved son. I will continue to be the best father in the world to my son despite the storms. If Tonto Dike returns and pleads your forgiveness, will you let her return to your home? That is an issue I really refuse to discuss right now because I am less interested in topics that bother on controversy.

Churchill

Your son recently celebrated his birthday and you didn’t see him. How do you feel about not seeing your son and could it be that the bitter and controversial divorce between you and his mother was behind it? It was very unfortunate that I was unavoidably indisposed to celebrate with my son on his birthday. To be with your son for a special day like birthday is the wish of every good father but I was out of the country for a business trip some days before then. I must say I truly felt sad not putting up appearance and identifying with him as he marked three years. Well, my international business engagements affected my availability this year unlike last year when I celebrated with him in Abuja in his school with the mother. However, I would not totally rule out the fact the divorce case contributed to my inability to see him before the birthday especially in his school as the mother instructed the school not to grant me access to my son even with the judgement of the court to allow me access and custody of his international passport. She also tried to make it very difficult for me to see him. I am a business man. I do not want all my emotions and life to be tampered with, that is the reason I have been taking it very cool and following up with the court and many people will accept that from the mother of his child in this country. Even till this moment, the school still sends to my email my son’s result documents with his surname as Dikeh (King Andrea Dikeh) with his school fees cost but I had to ignore that. They refused to adhere to the court on the surname change. The management believes that the school is only answerable to the mother. Though, the issue is still in court pending when the judgement is made on the lingering case. In truth, I

would not want to go deep into this issue for the sake of the innocent boy’s future. Are you not worried about persistent negative allegations against you by Tonto Dikeh? At first l was bothered but later the whole scenario became a movie script, where the executive director, is the producer, script writer and actor all in the name of bringing down and tarnishing the image of your ex, to the extent that people who were not part of our marital plans or who were not even in the know of our marital issues were hired and cajoled to concoct lies against me. She claims to be the bread winner of her family. Is she the Nigerians President’s daughter? Is it true that you met Tonto Dikeh at a nightclub called Escape during your brother‘s birthday party, then you moved into her house where she was squatting you before marriage? You mean squatting? This is ridiculous. Before I met the Nollywood actress, Tonto Dikeh, I was already one of the most successful young millionaires in Africa. I met her at a night club, during my brother’s birthday party in 2014 and it was about the same time I acquired the latest Benz cars. Three months after we met, she got pregnant. I have never really stayed in Nigeria for too long, because I do business in Ghana, although I have an office at Ikoyi. She visited me in Ghana several times and when she broke the news of her pregnancy three months into the relationship, I decided to visit her in Nigeria. I had to visit her often, because she was carrying my child. I have never squatted or lived with her and the only time we stayed together was after the birth of my son, which came with the approval of her parents, after I had completely satisfied the

It was recently reported that Tonto Dike was granted full custody of your son. Is this true? Well, that was a sponsored publication from a cheap blackmailing blogger. It is not only false but absolutely misleading. Following an in-dept investigation by my legal team, it was revealed that there was no such judgement granted as the fake information which emanated from one blogger ‘Cutie Juls’, was a desperate move to defame my personality. This has been a continuous occurrence in the past three years to blackmail and justify the bidding of her paymaster. It’s important to note also that my legal team has debunked and discredited the false publication of the alleged judgement by a customary court in Abuja granting my ex-wife full custody of our son. This was made known through an official disclaimer that stated that the frivolous report was just a mere attempt to distract me and create baseless relevance. Interestingly, the standing court judgement ordered that all documents of our son must bear the father’s surname by right and that the international passport of King Andrea must be kept in the bank and shall not be released except with a written consent of both parties. But she violated the court order by fraudulently obtaining another passport for my son bearing her surname to fly the little boy outside the country. This illegal acquisition of fresh passport for King Andrea with ‘Dikeh’ as a surname, is not only illegitimate but against the instruction of the court. The public is by the disclaimer of my lawyers advised to disregard the fake news making the rounds on social media about the full custody of King Andrea Churchill granted by the court as it’s not only misleading but geared towards scoring cheap social relevance. If you have to change anything about yourself, what will that be? I am not God and I can justify why I have to change anything about myself; that is if I actually understand the context within which this question is asked. What is your biggest treasure as a man? My vision, proposed impacts and the life-changing testimonies I get from people who are beneficiaries of my humanitarian projects and Initiatives.


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THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER หพ อนอพหœอบอธอนฮ

Fashion File

The

R.S.V.P

Collection


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MARCH 16, 2019 ˾THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER

FASHION FILE

The R.S.V.P Collection West Africa’s most renowned male jeweller, Gbenga Artsmith, is back with the 2019 edition of his yearly campaign which celebrates outstanding women and also the launch of his 2019 bridal jewelry collection- “The R.S.V.P Collection.” In this campaign, he put the spotlight on 3 phenomenal women who are moving mountains in their respective fields. One of them is Mofe Bamuyiwa, the female photographer behind the viral photo of a 5-year old girl who was called “The Most beautiful girl in the world” by Yahoo News. The photograph became such a sensation that there is hardly any media platform locally and internationally that did not feature it- BBC, Essence magazine, People.com, Bellanaija, CSBN, etc. The other headliner is Mrs. Ini Abimbola, foremost strategist and management consultant. Among leading ladies in the corporate world, Mrs. Ini stands

out as an amazon! During International Women’s Day 2019, she was listed as one of the “50 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria.” She is truly an inspiring spirit!

PHOTO CREDIT

And then there is Abisola Akintunde, the brain behind the highly sought-after makeup brand-Makeup by Ashabee. It is difficult to think of any Nigerian female celeb whose face has not been touched by Abisola’s brushes. She has been involved in at least 70%of top-rated TV shows in Nigeria from 2014 till date. Her commercially-successful line of eyelashes (Bee Lashes) is an ubiquitous staple in many Nigerian makeup artistes’ box. She is all that! All the jewelry pieces are exclusive and 100% handcrafted in Lagos, Nigeria by Gbenga Artsmith and his team of gifted craftsmen. The pieces are also modelled by other outstanding women doing laudable exploits in their respective endeavours.

Outfits: January 8th Style and Tee

Jewelry: Gbenga Artsmith Photography: Sniper Ajix Photography Threads Fashion .Fabrics: V 2 V collection, Toyemi Fabrics and Apparel by Damzy .Gele tying: MB Artistry Asooke: Trs Asooke, Molbaks Alasooke and Ceomania Alasooke Makeup: Makeup By Ashabee, Molurlah’s Makeover and Be Me Beauty Studio Hair: Tee’s Hairmpire Styling: Gbenga Ayo-Dada


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 ˜ ˞MARCH 16, 2019

PERSPECTIVE For Ugwuanyi, It’s a Social Contract Renewed Laurence Ani

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or many observers not familiar with the politics of Enugu State, the statement by Senator Ike Ekweremadu describing the 2019 general elections as “the easiest we have ever had� may have seemed like mere political posturing. But the result of the election announced last Sunday evening by the Independent National Electoral Commission’s state collation officer, Professor Joseph Ahanaku, has proved a strong validation for the deputy senate president’s comment at the Peoples Democratic Party’s campaign round off held on March 6 at Obollo Afor, in Udenu Local Government Area. Besides, Senator Ekweremadu’s submission had a faultless premise. Eulogising Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, he said: “Your good governance has made our election very easy.� That pretty much echoes the sentiments of a majority of Enugu State residents who have in the last three and a half years experienced robust governance that has brought remarkable development across the state, and given the people better living conditions. So, for the electorate, the huge votes they had cast to reelect Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi was a fitting payback for his good works. You really do not have to look long and hard to find those good works because every community in the state, including the most remote, now bears visible imprints of government presence courtesy of the Ugwuanyi administration’s innovative “Every community, one project� initiative. But it is not only this project that earned the governor the sort of wide acclaim that could only have made the resounding victory he got at the polls on Saturday, March 9, possible. Other impressive scorecards abound. And while some may not be immediately

Ugwuanyi discernible, quite a number of these are self evident. However, they are all inspired by a simple philosophy that essentially considers the people’s welfare as an irreducible minimum in every government policy. That worldview reflects in Gov. Ugwuanyi’s comment during a courtesy visit to the Government House, Enugu, by some pensioners early this year. “You could build skyscrapers and be hailed for building a gigantic legacy project. But of what purpose will such project serve if the people are hungry and unhappy? My greatest legacy is if the people are happy; they are my greatest legacy project,� the governor told the pensioners who had come to commend him for his sustained payment of arrears of gratuities stretching back to past administrations. The emphatic nature of the victory secured by Ugwuanyi (the governor had

449,935 votes while the All Progressives Congress’s candidate could only garner 10,423 votes) as well as other candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party is as much a statement on the governor’s popularity as it is a reflection of the unity in the party - a point which leaders of the party insist has been missing for years. Former senator, Dr. Hyde Onuaguluchi highlights this very succinctly. “Ugwuanyi has reunited everyone in PDP. There’s no dissenting voice here,� he told the large gathering that thronged the Udenu council secretariat to witness the PDP’s campaign grand finale. “The peace we’re enjoying here is an uncommon peace. It’s difficult to hold power and not wield it adversely. But Ugwuanyi has done that successfully. So there’s no room for dissension. There may never be any leader like him in Enugu in future. We all have to learn from him because we have never had the sort of peace like we’re having now. There has never been anyone like him,� Onuaguluchi noted further. Senator Ekweremadu concurs. It was only in Ugwuanyi’s reign that the PDP had yet to experience the sort of fissure which usually created bitter camps especially during elections, he said. “This is the first time we’re not having crisis,� he said, adding that it stemmed from the governor’s humility and love for peace. “I have always known him and I can tell you his humility isn’t because he is eager for votes; that is just his nature,� the deputy senate president added. In an age of unbridled narcissism, such commendation is an eloquent testimony on Governor Ugwuanyi’s character and bespeaks an attitude clearly in tune with the altruistic demands of public office. In both words and deeds, he has repeatedly reaffirmed his convictions that suburban and rural communities should not be places politicians visit only while soliciting votes ahead of elections. For him, it’s simply a question of commonsense, and the remarkable attention he has devoted to those areas underscores

that. As he often says, “we will continue to direct our policies and projects towards these locations because that is where most of our people reside�. This is no populist rhetoric. He continues to demonstrate socio-economic inclusiveness in practical terms, implementing humongous infrastructural projects in rural communities where such were once inconceivable in the past, and carrying out sustained urban renewal programmes in settlements with hardly any developmental hallmark despite their location in the city. The prevailing peace and harmonious coexistence for which Enugu State is reputed and for which Ekweremadu, Onuaguluchi and many other political leaders and clerics credit Governor Ugwuanyi is, to a large degree, rooted in the inclusiveness adopted by his administration. An equally significant point to note is that the governor’s remarkable electoral triumph shows that popularity is not fortuitous; it is earned. Although Ugwuanyi’s reelection had long been fairly predictable, it’s instructive he still campaigned like he was facing a stiff competition. Apart from serving as a subtle reassurance to the masses that they won’t be taken for granted, it helped rouse them from whatever lethargy the initially postponed general election may have understandably engendered. And, indeed, the resolve to retain a people-centric philosophy in all matters of state policy remains as firm as it has been all through his first term. He fully appreciates the weight of the people’s expectations and is no less mindful of the complacency that an electoral victory could create for a re-elected incumbent. For him, there would be no room for such indulgence. His acceptance speech makes that very clear. It’s time to get back to work considering the sacrifices and support of the people in renewing his mandate, he said. Nothing can be more reassuring. ––Ani, a former editor of ThisDay, The Saturday Newspaper and Saturday Telegraph, resides in Enugu.

Orji, An Uncommon Warrior Before the gubernatorial elections of March 9 were conducted in 29 states across the country, the opposition parties in Abia State and their henchmen clattered against the PDP, but Senator Theodore Orji remained quiet till PDP was declared the winner, writes Charles Ajunwa

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ill the governorship election in Abia State was announced on March 10 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Returning Officer in the state, Prof. Benjamin Ozurumba, declaring Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), winner of the election, the opposition political parties in Abia State heated up not only the state, but the entire country with their quest to hound Ikpeazu out of office. Nigerians heard the voices of some supposed strong persons in the opposition political parties in Abia making jest of Ikpeazu and his supporters; especially a former governor of the state, Senator Theodore Ahamefule Orji, the senator representing Abia Central at the Red Chamber of the National Assembly, who was reelected as senator in the February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections. These voices mouthed unprintable things against Orji before the elections, but he was not known for railings and did not join words with them because he’s a winner, a champion who has seen the big picture, as Americans would say. Many cajoled him because they only wanted to hijack power and never subscribed to losing, but Orji is one man who aspires winning in every venture and does not fear to lose, hence, he uses his head to think and work harder to win instead of clattering. Orji’s political struggles have developed his strength having gone through political hardship and refused to surrender. He believes that no man goes undefeated all the time, hence, he swallowed sadness of which his opponents that often sully his image cannot do. He puts 100 per cent into whatever he does whereas opposition to him divide their attention and talk of T.A. Orji from dusk to dawn. They do not have confidence in themselves. They think Orji is their problem, whereas the man

Orji

has no problem and does not think ill of anyone or group. His motto is to show confidence and display good manner by displaying a winning attitude when the opposition was displaying setbacks. A great mind, Orji is more than all the people teaming up against him and is always ready to compete in any humane contest without a show of acrimony. He is a winner who took many years to build his winning team and sees every-

body’s contribution as important. He does not give up and espouses utilitarain philosophy of the best for the greater number as well as wants to do more good for humanity. Senator Orji reminds us about the statement that it takes talent to win, character to sustain the winning. His mien suggests that winning is an endurance game because he has good character. The later is not something that you buy. His honesty and compassion for others have earned him respect in the society. He has tolerance which is a trait not known of many in his class. He has patience and this has gone beyond every area of his endeavours . His actions have defined him before people who he is. Let’s continue to celebrate this rare gem and let the opposition to him imitate his qualities because some good characters are transferable or imitable. Abia people have shown that they never valued the wrong people. They have refused to associate with money bags in the state over character; the latter being the bastion of Orji’s way of life. Abia people have shown that they prefer men of character in the persons of Ikpeazu and Orji and not men of means in the opposition. The most important thing is that Abia people have accepted Orji for who he is not the things he has achieved. The important thing is who we become not what we have achieved. Senator T.A. Orji has for years kept his face to the sun and he does not see shadows because he is an optimist, who keeps moving forward. Abia people knew that Orji had shot for the moon and landed among the stars. He refuses to accept it when people say that he cannot do anything positive. This is what warriors do not like to hear. Let all and sundry clap for this man who does not talk much but his positive actions speak for him. His party winning in the Abia guber race is a lesson that every man should think with his head like Orji does, not with his mouth, like the opposition in the state have done.


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THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER˾MARCH 16, 2019

POLITY

Lulu-Briggs at the unveiling of Accord party’s flag

Dumo Lulu-Briggs

Parties that Fund, Promote Violence Should Be Disqualified

In this interview, Dumo Lulu-Briggs, the Governorship candidate of the Accord Party in Rivers State talks select journalist, including Olaoluwakitan Babatunde about the suspended Governorship election and a sustainable solution to electoral disruptions and violence in Rivers State

H

ow will you rate the performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission during the 2019 general election? The greatest challenge we face with our electoral process is really not INEC, but on the legitimacy of the elected Government. The legitimacy of a Government is under threat whenever the minority of eligible voters decide the fate of the majority. The responsibility we now have as leaders is to increase awareness, improve participation and promote the power of the ballot box. INEC also has to rebuild its image as not only an independent electoral body, but an effective and efficient one. There will be supplementary elections in some states, but Rivers is the only state that elections were suspended. What can be done to ensure that elections are free from violence? Why do peace charters fail (smiles)? It is because peace does not lie in charters and covenants alone. Peace lies in the hearts and minds of all people. We should not rely on signed documents alone, there has to be a genuine desire for peace, a readiness to work and commit towards building peace in each family and community. I believe that we can achieve this in Rivers State. Practical peace is enabling women and men to grow and to hope that they can build a better life for their children. This will create not only create peace in our time but peace for all time. In your opinion, what led to the suspension of elections in Rivers State? Let me make myself clear, the elections were not suspended because of violence. The elections were suspended because the Rivers People had made up their mind to vote for peace. Our women and men voted for a doctor who can cure the virus of violence. My vision for making Rivers State the number one destination for jobs and prosperity in Nigeria gave me the edge above other candidates. Now, the evidence before us suggests that the other parties had a contrary vision. What INEC needs more than ever before is courage to do what is right. Remember, elections are being funded with tax payer’s money. Parties that fund and promote

violence should be disqualified. When elections are suspended, rescheduled or cancelled due to violence, tax payers are punished by paying for the crimes they did not commit. Rescheduling elections due to violence is the best example of double taxation. The evidence that is available shows that the AAC and PDP in Rivers State were complicit in electoral disruptions across all the local government areas. They should be disqualified. Let us not allow the bullets of murder shoot down justice. Will it be fair practice for some parties or their candidates to be disqualified? We need to adhere to rules and procedures. Every competition has rules. In Athletics, if you jump the gun twice, you are disqualified. Usain Bolt, the fastest 100 meters runner, was once disqualified for breaking this rule. No party is above the law. In Rivers State, we must not reward the perpetrators of violence with another opportunity. In football, when there is a handball in the penalty area, the referee must give a penalty. INEC knows the parties that have handled the ball. I call on INEC to disqualify all parties that funded, promoted and participated in violence in Rivers State. In States that have history of violence, shouldn’t the military be used to protect voters and the electoral process? The law is clear on the roles of the security agencies during elections. Let us not subvert this. An election is not war. Let’s heed the advice of Malala Yousafzai (17 year old Nobel Peace Laureate) - “If you want to end the war then instead of sending guns, send books. Instead of sending tanks, send pens. Instead of sending soldiers, send teachers.” What is the way to guarantee peaceful elections in Rivers State As long as people use violence to combat violence, we will always have violence. We cannot get peace through violence; it can only be attained through understanding. As Rivers State Governor, I will bring an end to the beginning of all violence. Remember, violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

Lulu-Briggs Is this what motivates you to want to be the next Governor of Rivers State? A Government that cannot create jobs does not deserve to keep its job. The Rivers people now need less of the same. Our future lies in ideas. Fresh ideas! I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for Rivers People. Are you willing to work with all political parties and stakeholders to promote peace in Rivers? There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. My campaign as Governor has been to spread light across all of the twenty three local government areas in Rivers. This is what the Lulu-Briggs family has always done. Violence is not an option for me. But make no mistakes, peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways. So,What should INEC do next in Rivers State? The Rivers people have voted. INEC now has to vote. INEC can either put their thumb on the ballot paper for the party called violence or peace. A vote for peace is to disqualify the AAC and PDP. A wise man once said, “There is a higher court than courts of justice, and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts.”


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THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER˾ MARCH 16, 2019

POLITY

Collapse Building: More Tears as Lagos Hands Over Bodies to Families for Burial Bennett Oghifo

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he Lagos State Government has handed all 20 bodies that were brought dead to the hospital from the site of the collapsed school building in Lagos Island to their families for burial. The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris stated this when he visited the Lagos General Hospital yesterday, as search and rescue operations were officially called off. Families affected by the devastating event are still in shock and some, particularly those who lost their loved ones, walk around dazed, hoping all that played out on Wednesday was a nightmare that they would gladly wake up from if only someone could nudge them. Death brings with it cold silence and except for the heartwrenching wail of mothers, there was nothing else to do than resign to fate, and so it was with families of those killed by the tumbling building at Ita-Faji, as they filed out to retrieve the bodies. The Commissioner said there are 45 survivours receiving treatment in government health facilities across the city. These include the Lagos Island General Hospital, Massey Street Children’s Hospital, Onikan Health Centre and Gbagada General Hospital. He said some were moved to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja; National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, and Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba. “Out of the 45 survivors known to the government as at this morning, 14, including 10 children and four adults, are still receiving medical attention at the Lagos Island General Hospital. “More survivors will still be discharged to their families before the close of work today (yesterday).” At the Lagos Island General Hospital, a woman was seen praying silently for the wellbeing of her child that was critically injured during the incident. They all had dreams that they hoped would turn to reality someday but for the poor workmanship of the developer of that building and the owner of the building who allegedly ignored the evacuation order of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABSCA). Officials of LABSCA stated this yesterday as they demolished some buildings that had been marked as defective. “We have over 80 cases of defective buildings in Lagos Island alone that we have approval to remove the occupants from all the buildings that have been identified as distressed so that no lives are lost in Lagos. “We are going to remove the 80 buildings in phases and systematically so that life will be comfortable for Lagosians and today (yesterday) we are going to remove three structures in Lagos Island at Smith street, Massy, and Palm Jot. As for other ones that are still occupied, we are going to evict the occupants of those structures because their lives are more important to us. On the Lagos Island we have marked over 150 buildings for demolition. “We have removed over 30 in the last one year,” said Mr. Omotayo Fakolujo, the acting General Manager of LABSCA. “Scientifically, these buildings must be subjected to test through Lagos State Materials Testing and it agencies and that is how we identify them so that we sure that nobody is malicious about bringing down these structures.” He said, “In the past three years, you can see that no structure had gone down in Lagos, because of Materials Testing that is doing its due diligence and LABSCA’s certification department is also building with them, but for these old structures we need to do foundation probing for over 70 per cent of these old structures that are over 75 years old to ensure that they are still structurally sound.” He said their demolition action was not prompted by the collapse of the school building at Ita-Faji area of Lagos Island. “We have started with over 30 removed in the last one year. We just secured the clearance from the court because most of the prolonged marking that we are not bringing structures down in Lagos is not that we don’t have the will to do it but what we are trying to avoid is litigation from the court. “We don’t want to be slammed with outrageous liabilities, but what we are trying to do as much as possible is to remove all occupants from all the structures that have been distressed so that no life is lost in Lagos,” he added. “We have cleared over 80 houses ready for removal in Lagos island, and we are going to be doing them in phases. “From today, we are going to remove them in a systematic way so that life will be comfortable for Lagosians,” he said. LABSCA began the demolition exercise early yesterday at House No 60A in Freeman Street, Epetedo, Lagos Island, where a three storey building belonging to one Chief Yesuf Fagbemi Odanle was brought down. Some of the residents were happy about it, while others complained that they were not given adequate notice as some of them still had their belongings in the buildings at the time of demolition. Meanwhile, building professionals have advised the Lagos State government to demolish most of the buildings in the Idumota, Adeniji Adele axis of Lagos Island to prevent them from collapsing on their users. The professionals, who represent Building Collapse Prevention Guild, at the scene of the collapsed building yesterday, said nobody needed to conduct an integrity test to know that the unfortunate incident occurred because of deflection in the beams, bad workmanship and poor quality building materials.

Pupils rescued from the rubbles of the collapse school building at Ita Ifaji, Lagos Island, Lagos They added that these infractions were ignored by those who ought to regulate building code, saying it would happen again in the area any time soon. However, the claim that the infractions were ignored by government agencies was countered by the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), through its Public Relations Officer, Titilayo Ajirotutu who told THISDAY that “during its monitoring exercise, the Agency identified the building as being distressed and was given a letter to undergo all necessary tests to ascertain the structural stability of the building.” She said, “After this the owner during the structural reappraisal and engineering re-enforcement, the recalcitrant builder went ahead and did additional floor on the building. The agency enforced this by sealing up the building and evacuating everyone in the building but they went back there.” Regardless, the first Vice President, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr. Kunle Awobodu, said the tragedy could have been avoided because the Lagos Island had been designated a danger zone for frequent collapse of buildings. Awobodu, who is the immediate past President of Building Collapse Prevention Guild BCPG, said there was “no need to carry out structural integrity test to know that many of those buildings are weak. He said the building that just collapsed was built by a developer who handed it over to the owner-family about 10 years ago and that it had been renovated twice. “Merely sighting the buildings, you will see deflection, evidence of poor construction, and they are so jam-packed with infinitesimal airspace where people do not respect setbacks, and all the buildings will burn down if there was fire outbreak in one of them, and it will be difficult for fire fighters to penetrate them.” He said the standard setbacks recognized by law is that a building should have space of three metres on the sides and six metres in front, “but in Lagos Island, you have one metre, 1.5

metres, some are so dangerously close that you will not need to take measurement.” The situation, he said was particularly pathetic because the government seems to sit idly, saying “We have government; we have Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, LABSCA, among others. This is happening because of obvious evidence of cheating and non-compliance with established laws and regulations.” He said the harrowing aspect of the tragedy was that while people mourn, some unscrupulous people are undeterred and continue with their substandard construction, even in the vicinity of the disaster. He said perennial cries by government without lifting a finger to prosecute defaulters amounted to shedding crocodile tears. “The amount of money spent on rescue operations could be used to create a system to alert the regulators when such buildings were being developed.” He said danger looms on Adeneji Adiele street where “most of the buildings are death-traps, danger waiting to happen; down to Sangrose, to Tinubu Square; Isale Eko area; Isanwo; especially Idumota; when you are coming from the Island to your left Idumota; Ebute Ero.” The area where there is sanity, he said are the approaches to CMS, Broad Street, and the stretch to Obalende, recommending that the whole of Lagos Island should go through urban renewal and that families displaced by the exercise should be given new accommodations elsewhere. BCPG Lagos Island Cell said in a statement said, “Compromise-cum-political influence is the barrier to the Building Collapse Prevention Guild ( BCPG) struggle against building collapse on the Lagos Island. “Again, we appeal to Gov. Ambode, Oba Akiolu and Asiwaju Tinubu to support our cause against bad developers and negligent regulators. There are many buildings waiting to collapse all around us. A stitch in time saves nine.”


THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER˾ MARCH 16, 2019

27

POLITY

Abia 2019: Testimony of Ikpeazu’s Leadership Prowess Enyinnaya Appolos

T

he peaceful conduct of the 2019 elections in Abia State, from the Presidential/National Assembly to the Governorship/State House of Assembly polls, without any rancour or record of loss of any human life, is a testimony to quality leadership, and has shown the character, courage and competence of Okezie Ikpeazu, not just as a governor, but also as a leader who cares so much about the lives and property of the people whose mandate he holds in trust, while relying on God’s grace and guidance, and paying little or no attention to his personal political or material gains. Such humane dispositions of a governor are rare in our clime. It also goes a long way to explain why Abia has been politically stable since Ikpeazu assumed office on May 29, 2015, making him the first Governor in Abia State’s political history without a quarrel with his deputy, and also the first Governor to finish his first term with his deputy and also run for a 2nd term with the same deputy. Okezie Ikpeazu has shown that he has the capacity to ensure peace and stability even in times of crisis and tension. Prior to the elections, there were insinuations and agitations of plots by the opponents to foment crisis in the state. Such plots became so loud and clear after the Presidential and National Assembly elections which gave the APC an upper hand over the ruling PDP in the Abia North senatorial zone of the state particularly. Amidst all that, Governor Ikpeazu was firm, focused and courageous; his only concern was Ikpeazu the safety of lives and property of Abia electorUnlike the old order, where Governor/ ates and all her residents. Deputy Governor relationship was always in bad Recall that Ikpeazu has worked so hard since shape, in the news for the wrong reasons and assumption of office in 2015 to keep Abia uninterformed an avoidable cog in the wheel of the state’s ruptedly stable politically; politicians of all sides progress, Ikpeazu ensured that Ude Oko Chukwu, in the state were given a level playing field to his deputy, did not only complete his tenure, he operate.

also got him re-nominated as his running mate for the 2019 gubernatorial election despite high wired plots by the Deputy Governor ’s kinsmen in Abia North to have him replaced for untenable reasons, thereby making Chukwu the first Deputy Governor in the history of Abia to finish his first term and also go for reelection with his boss. Ikpeazu also happens to be the first Governor from the Ukwa-Ngwa clan of the state, despite its majority status. Ikpeazu has returned Abia to the path of honour, progress, political and economic stability, and respect for each other and office. In the days ahead, it is believed that whatever is left undone, will be done. For the Governor, it was a victory foretold. Outside the support from his people across party divides, Ikpeazu in four years as Governor, has major landmark achievements that stand him out, making it impossible to beat him in the election. His unflinching efforts in infrastructural upgrade of the state, which was in a state of comatose when he came to power in 2015, was a major boost for him. Aba, which was completely abandoned, got infrastructural attention with all roads leading into major markets, particularly the Ariaria International market, all fixed to ease movement of persons, goods and services. Also, the Made-in-Aba campaign which had direct impact and touch on artisans, small and medium scale businesses in Aba, particularly shoe, other leather works and garment dealers, was not just a master stroke , but a sure bet for Ikpeazu. A culmination of all of these gave way for the resounding and seamless victory of the Ikpeazu at the polls, defeating his opponents with a huge figure of 261,127, winning 12 out of the 17 local government areas of the state, including Obingwa, Isialangwa North, Isialangwa South, Osisioma Ngwa, Aba North, Ugwunagbo, Ukwa East, Ukwa West, Umuahia North, Umuahia South, Ikwuano and Ohafia. Finally, it ended in praise. t"QQPMPTJT$IJFG1SFTT4FDSFUBSZUP*LQFB[V

PHOTO NEWS

L-R: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, Lagos State, Abidemi Raji; Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe; Executive Secretary, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Akintunde Oyebode; and Regional, Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Lagos/West, Nigerian Bottling Company(NBC) Limited, Ifeoma Okoye; during the presentation to some of the beneficiaries out of the 1,000 women targeted for the Lagos State EmploymentTrust Fund/Coca-ColaWomen Empowerment initiative held in Lagos... recently

L-R: Director, Human Resources, Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) Limited, Olumide Sholanke; Managing Partner, Superheads International, Mrs. Bunmi Babalola; Managing Director, NBC, George Polymenakos; Legal Director, Abiodun Peters; and Head, Quality and Sustainability, NBC, Mihaela Bendic, during the celebration of International Women’s Day by Nigerian Bottling Company Limited in Lagos ...recently

L-R: Head of Laboratory Services, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Abdulwarees Solanke; General Manager, (LASEPA), Mr. Antonio Ayodele; Head of Legal and Corporate Communications, Promasidor Nigeria, Andrew Enahoro; and Manager Risk and Safety, Promasidor Nigeria, Apo Basil, during a courtesy visit by Promasidor team to the General Manager of LASEPA in Alausa-Ikeja, Lagos...recently

L-R: Corporate Communication Manager, FrieslandCampina WAMCO, Nkechi Ejesi; Marketing Manager (Peak), Maureen Ifada; Head Shopper Marketing, Dolapo Otegbayi; Managing Director, Ben Langat; Corporate Affairs Director, Ore Famurewa; Senior HR Business Partner, Stephanie Omobuwajo; and Employee Relations Manager, Bola Fadaka, during the International Women’s Day celebration held at the company premises in Ogba-Ikeja, Lagos with the theme ‘Balance for Better’


THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER t."3$), 2019

28

MARKET PLACE with Omolabake Fasogbon... 08155131874

L-R: Sales Manager, CCD Superstores, Mr. Eze Frank; Managing Director, Nic’s Butchery, Mrs. Bukola Mato and Executive Director, CCD Superstores, Mrs Iyobo Innih, during the unveiling of Nic’s Butchery’s brand at the flagship CCD Superstores in Ogudu, Lagos ... recently

L-R: Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs Abidemi Raji ; Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe ; Executive Secretary, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, LSETF, Akintunde Oyebode and Public Affairs and Communications Manager, West Africa, Nigeria Bottling Company, Ifeoma Okoye, at the graduation and handover of trade supplies to 300 women, under the LSETF and Coca-Cola System Empowerment Programme in Lagos .. recently

La Casera Hosts Stakeholders in Style A soft drink firm,The La Casera Company, has expressed appreciation to its customers across the country for their consistency and loyalty to the brand. The company stated this at an engagement forum it organised for stakeholders in Lagos recently. Speaking at the well attended event, Managing Director of the company , Mr. Chinedum Okereke, stated that the forum was necessary to celebrate and connect more with brand loyalists through their feedbacks. At the event, customers specifically restated their likeness for the Apple variant of La Casera, which they said

comes with exciting offerings and values much more than its retail price of N100. Responding, Okereke boasted that the Apple brand was the only soft drink in Nigeria that contains five per cent of real apple juice, in addition to the alluring refreshments offering, hence, its preference in most homes and events. He said: “The brand has maintained a strong position in the apple segment of the soft drink market in the past 17 years. It has brought several innovations into the Nigerian soft drink market. For instance, when other players in the industry were still using recycled glass bottles, RGB,

La Casera Apple pioneered the use of polyethylene terephthalate, PET, bottles in the market. It took other players a whopping three years to follow suit. Today, the brand offers the best apple content in the soft drink market.’’ In his testimony of the Apple variant, a member of the stakeholders, Miss Rita Chukwudi, said she was addicted to the drink because of its real apple content which is also beneficial to health. “The Apple variant is far becoming my identity as you would ordinarily not find any other drink in my home. As a matter of fact, it is my way of showing hospitality,” she said

Lagos, Coca- Cola Empower 300 Women The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, LSETF, in collaboration with Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited and its bottling partner, Nigeria Bottling Company Limited (NBC), has empowered no fewer than 300 women via the women empowerment initiative . The beneficiaries are the first batch of the 1000 women targeted for the initiative. They were provided with trade assets including coolers, tables, umbrellas and Coca-Cola beverage products, having completed their training modules on financial literacy and business skills. Speaking at the graduation ceremony, the Executive Secretary, LSETF, Mr. Akintunde

Oyebode, stated that the initiative was in line with the vision of the state government to create jobs, wealth opportunities and alleviate poverty among residents in the state. He commended the women for their tenacity and determination to improve their lots economically and urged them to judiciously put into use all the skills acquired as well as the resources mobilised for them. While appreciating efforts of the corporate partners, Oyebode stated that such collaborations would help to reduce social problems and address the alarming rate of unemployment in Lagos State. He also called on other private sector partners to

join LSETF to create jobs in the state. In his remarks, Managing Director of Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Mr. Bhupendra Suri, noted that the initiative aligned with the firm’s 5by20 programme to enable economic empowerment of five million women entrepreneurs across its value chain by 2020. Represented by Public Affairs & Communications Manager, Ms. Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, She said: “We are as prosperous as the communities in which we operate. We believe any investment on them, particularly women would trigger not only economic growth but foster sustainable development.

Cars45 Expands Retail Footprints with Enyo Partnership In continuation of its drive to facilitate ease of access and deliver more convenient services, Nigeria’s largest online vehicle trading platform, Cars45, has partnered with ENYO Retail and Supply, an innovative fuel retail brand, to increase its retail footprints and provide consumers with opportunities to buy, sell or swap their cars at all Enyo service stations nationwide. It is expected that the launch of this exciting partnership, will enable consumers experience peerless automotive services at Enyo retail outlets whilst increasing visibility for Cars45 value offerings across foot and vehicular traffic channels. Commenting on the partnership, Chief Executive Officer, Cars45, Etop Ikpe, noted that the relationship is a strategic one aimed at helping to the company to achieve its mission to build an ecosystem that enhances, enables and drives trade within the nation’s automotive sector. “This partnership with ENYO affords us the opportunity to deepen the pervasiveness of our products and services across the country. We are always seeking innovative approaches to expand and transform the currently fragmented automotive ecosystem and offer support across all the automobile trade, repair and verification services,” Ikpe added. Highlighting the similarities between both organizations, Ikpe noted that, “Cars45 and ENYO are both technology-driven and innovative firms that have become synonymous with engaging customers through excellent retail experiences. Whilst Cars45 fueling and giving life to the car ownership dreams of consumers, ENYO is powering a fuel retailing revolution in Nigeria.” Also speaking on the partnership, Chief Executive Officer, ENYO Retail and Supply, Abayomi Awobokun described the partnership with Cars45 as an extension of Enyo’s unrelenting desire to become the most desired fuel retailing company renowned for its best-in-class retail experience, strong customer-focus, and technology driven operations.

Cowbellpedia Records Highest Entry in 21 Years Firm Moves to Boost Consumption of Local Meat Indigenous butcher shop, Nic’s Butchery has demonstrated its commitment to promote the consumption of made in Nigeria meat in its new partnership deal with CCD Superstores. By the new deal, the butcher shop would have its products stocked in all CCD Superstores across Lagos State to enhance patronage for locally made meat. Despite the ban on imported meat, report has it that Nigerian loses $2.5 billion dollar annually to imported frozen food, in addition to the health hazards posed by it. Realising this fact, Managing Director of Nic’s Butchery, Mrs. Bukola Mato noted that the latest move would stir interest in local produce, while also ensuring that Nigerians consume healthy meat. “This partnership is a huge step in fulfilling our mission of providing healthy

products to consumers across Nigeria. Majority of Nigerians are aware of the health implications of consuming imported chicken and beef products as most of them have not been properly handled and preserved. “We have always advocated for consumption of locally produced beef products and we are glad to know that Nigerians are embracing local poultry and beef products. This partnership is a right step in the right direction for us to make farm fresh products available to consumers who have become conscious of their healthy wellbeing”. She said further that the partnering company would be stocking Nic’s Butchery range of products such as Boneless Fish Cubes, Boneless Goat Cubes, and Shredded Beef, amongst others, to treat consumers to luxury options.

The annual Cowbell Mathematics competition, tagged Cowbellpedia, has recorded its highest entry, totalling 56,073, since it kicked off 21 years ago. According to the sponsor of the initiative, Promasidor Nigeria Limited (PNL), the record was achieved as a result of an upgrade to online registration system which was well embraced by students. The current figure makes it a 34 per cent increase over the 41,730 participants recorded in 2018 when the registration format went strictly online. Before now, it had been mixed of both manual and online registration. The online format was introduced in 2016 to align with global trend in examination registration.

Marketing Manager of PNL, Abiodun Ayodeji, explained that the online mode of registration was introduced in 2016 to ease participation, which he said has paid off with the new feat recorded in 2019. For the current year, Lagos State led the registration chart with 9, 860 candidates, followed by Ogun and Oyo States with 4, 687 and 4, 195 respectively. The three states had been consistent in their lead over the last four years. The company informed that the result for stage one examination would be announced in June with the best 108 students (54 each for junior and senior categories) proceeding to stage two, which is the Television quiz show. This will be in a quiz

format that would be further sub-divided into preliminary, semi-finals and final rounds. The show will run in 13 episodes and aired on major television stations across the country. Earlier, Managing Director of the company, Anders Einarsson hinted that the ultimate prize for 2019 edition is N2 million with an all-expense paid educational excursion outside the country. The first and second runners-up will go home with N1.5million and N1 million respectively. The teacher of the top prize winner will be awarded N500, 000, while those of the first and second runners-up will get N400,000 and N300,000 respectively.


3

THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER ˾APRIL 24, 2011

GLOBAL SOCCER A

WEEKLY PULL-OUT

Paul Onuachu

Set to Take His Chance with Super Eagles

16.03.2019

NEWS

Battle of Premier League Strugglers

PAGE. 32


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Paul Onuachu Set to Take His Chance with Super Eagles

That he has taken Danish football by a storm would amount to an understatement and the clamour for his call to the Super Eagles has been on for some time now. With Nigeria set for the AFCON qualiďŹ er against Seychelles to be followed by a friendly with the Pharaohs of Egypt, Paul Onuachu now ďŹ nally gets the chance to establish himself in the national team. How well he warms himself into the heart of the Eagles gaer, Gernot Rohr, will clear all the doubts


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MARCH 16, 2019 ˾THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER

GLOBAL SOCCER “It was tough for him as he was growing taller. We had options to either move him to defensive midfield, central defence or attack. We decided that because of his great footwork, which would be wasted if he played so deep, we should make him a striker,” said Young Stars coach Osahon Emokpae to ESPN FC. Then he was spotted by FC Ebedei’s Churchill Oliseh, a man whose track record of spotting and promoting talent includes the likes of Obafemi Martins, Stephen Makinwa and current Nigerian midfielder Sylvester Igboun

I

n spite of missing two months of last season to injury, Paul Onuachu was still able to manage 18 league goals. He indeed attributed his non-invitation to the Super Eagles before now to his injury. “I was supposed to be in the Nigerian squad for the last set of friendly games against Poland and Serbia but I was injured by the time the team list was to be released. I’m back now and hoping to get a look in soon. “My aim is to get back to scoring goals like I was doing before I got injured and hopefully I will make it hard for Coach Gernot Rohr to ignore me. He is aware of me and that is a motivation I need to build on,” Onuachu said. So far Onuachu has been able to walk the talk as he has been in fantastic form this season for FC Midtjylland in the Danish League, scoring 14 goals and also contributing three assists, which has really made it difficult for Rohr to ignore him. The 24-year-old, who hails from Owerri, Imo State, is also eligible to play for Denmark as he has lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 in the country, but said representing the Danish national team was never an option for him, and he is “super proud” to have been named in Nigeria’s latest squad. “I am super proud to be selected for the Nigerian national team. It’s something I’ve been dreaming for a long time, and it’s just a good feeling to have achieved such a great goal in my career. “It has been a goal for me for a very long time, but you just have to be patient. I do what I can on the football field, and now I’m just glad it has succeeded. I was called by the Nigeria coach and he told me he wanted to try me out for a while, and now he has found room for me on the team,” Onuachu said. Speaking to cafonline.com about his player selection, the Franco-German

stated that Onuachu was in form and was too strong to be overlooked. “He has the experience of Europe at the height of his 24 years. His size is obviously his strength and the beautiful goals scored in the Danish championship. This is another profile for us in the attack,” Rohr said. Last year, Onuachu alongside Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez were the only Africans to join top stars from around the world in the FIFA 19 Ultimate Team of the Week. Onuachu said his first call up to the Nigerian senior national team was a dream comes true. The FC Midtjylland striker has lived in Denmark since 2012, and for most of his time in Denmark, he has been a diligent goal scorer. However, he had to wait to get a shot at the Nigerian senior national team, after he had earlier been called up to the Nigerian under-23 national team in February 2015. On Monday, he was called up for Nigeria’s Super Eagles game against Seychelles and Egypt. FC Midtjylland’s head coach, Kenneth Andersen, believes that the selection is well-deserved. “He has played well for a long time, and it is deserved that he gets the chance… Now I’m not exactly an expert on the Nigerian national team, but from my point of view it has been underway for a while.” Onuachu said he received the happy message over the phone. “I was called by the Nigerian coach (Gernot Rohr), and he told me he wanted to try me out for a while, and now he could find room for me on the team,” Onuachu noted. The 24-year-old was playing amateur football barely five years ago and almost did not even make it to the professional ranks. While turning out as an offensive midfielder for Young Stars Academy in Lagos, Nigeria, Onuachu’s growth spurt meant he could not quite function effectively in that playmaking role and his future

as a footballer looked in doubt. His father, growing impatient, decided it would be better for his younger son to leave football and either continue his education or become a trader at the popular Alaba electronics market in Lagos. That was when fortune played its part. First, his coaches at Young Stars decided to convert him to a striker, where his emerging physical attributes could be more of an asset. “It was tough for him as he was growing taller. We had options to either move him to defensive midfield, central defence or attack. We decided that because of his great footwork, which would be wasted if he played so deep, we should make him a striker,” said Young Stars coach Osahon Emokpae to ESPN FC. Then he was spotted by FC Ebedei’s Churchill Oliseh, a man whose track record of spotting and promoting talent includes the likes of Obafemi Martins, Stephen Makinwa and current Nigerian midfielder Sylvester Igboun. “As soon as I saw him, I knew he was special,” said Oliseh to ESPN FC. “And as I always do with my players, we immediately put him on scholarship at Golden Gate College, Sagamu while he played and lived at the academy.” While at school, Onuachu played for Ebedei, including a friendly match against Nigeria’s U-23 team in which he was head shoulders above everyone else, and not just physically. “Some of the team officials came to me and said I should tell him to show more respect to his senior international colleagues and not embarrass them too much,” Oliseh said. Within months of leaving school, where he passed his O’ Levels with seven credits, and finishing as third-highest scorer in the Nigerian second division, Onuachu was off to Denmark to join Ebedei’s parent club, Midjytlland. Oliseh insisted that the 24-year-old Onuachu, who was a member of his

school’s 4x100m relay team, has all the tools. “For a player with his height, he has good dribbling ability. People of his height only rely mostly on their aerial strength, but he can play, both in the air and on the ground. And he has speed,” said Oliseh. Onuachu moved to Danish club FC Midtjylland in 2012, on a scholarship, from their affiliate team in Nigeria, FC Ebedei. He was a prolific scorer for their youth team, and made his first-team debut in the Cup later that year, before making his league debut in December 2012. In June 2013, he signed a new three-year contract with the club before extending it for further three-years in August 2015. In early 2015, he was loaned to Vejle BK, before returning to FC Midtjylland ahead of the 2015–16 season. Onuachu is known for his goal scoring exploits in Europe, especially his 77th-minute winning goal for Midtjylland against Manchester United in their Europa League last-32 first leg tie in 2017. In October 2018, Paul Onuachu bagged a hat-trick in FC Midtjylland’s 4-1 away victory at FC Nordsjaelland. Onuachu has scored 17 goals this season with Midtjylland. Onuachu, however, admitted he would love to play for Arsenal. “The way they play is just the kind of football I like to see and so I would like to play for Arsenal at one point…”

G LO B A L S O C C E R ASSISTANT EDITOR KUNLE ADEWALE

THISDAY ON SATURDAY EDITOR YEMI ADEBOWALE DEPUTY EDITOR CHIKA AMANZE-NWACHUKWU THISDAY NEWSPAPERS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF/CHAIRMAN NDUKA OBAIGBENA MANAGING DIRECTOR ENIOLA BELLO DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR KAYODE KOMOLAFE


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THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER Ëž ͚͞˜ͺ͸͚Î

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Rudiger of Chelsea against Everton

Everton, Chelsea Clash in Battle of Strugglers Chelsea head to Goodison Park to take on Everton as both sides look to bounce back from disappointing results last time out



tch us. Of the four clubs scrapping for third and fourth place, only sixth-placed Chelsea are in league action this weekend as they travel to Goodison Park on Sunday to face

Everton. Victory for Chelsea would lift them level on points with fourth-placed Arsenal. Maurizio Sarri’s side currently sit three points behind the Gunners in the Premier League, but their London rivals do not play again until April while fifth-placed Manchester United are in FA Cup action this weekend. Victory on Merseyside would be a major boost to their hopes of finishing in the Champions League places, then, although it would take a win by six clear goals for them to end the day in fourth.

Everton midfielder, Michael Keane said Everton must replicate the intensity of their recent performance against Liverpool to claim a top-six scalp when Chelsea visit Goodison Park on Sunday. Everton went six unbeaten in the Premier League on their own ground earlier this term. And after contesting a breathless home Merseyside derby draw a fortnight ago, Keane is eager for his side to finish the campaign on a similarly prolific note at home. Equally the centre-back is hoping to sample a repeat of the partisan atmosphere which accompanied Liverpool’s visit – and he is determined to give his team’s supporters plenty to shout about. Everton drew the reverse fixture with Chelsea 0-0, a repeat of the scoreline when the teams met at Goodison Park last term. “We have played really well against

Chelsea and defended strongly,� Keane told evertontv. “They are a good team with a lot of topquality players, so we will have to be really on it like we were against Liverpool. “Hopefully we can score a few goals, as well, and win the game. “The derby was the best atmosphere I’ve played in at Everton. When the fans are like that it really helps us – but we know we have to play well to get them behind us even more. “We will do everything we can to make sure we do that, we are really hungry for a win and need to beat one of the top teams at home – and we want to do that on Sunday.� Keane has started all but three of his side’s Premier League games this season, missing two matches with a head injury early in the campaign and being rested from one prior to the busy festive schedule He will have a new partner in the middle

of defence against Chelsea, with Kurt Zouma unavailable against his parent club. But the 26-year-old insists whoever starts alongside him- Yerry Mina and Phil Jagielka are the frontrunners for a place in Marco Silva’s side – will bed in without any issues. When Everton captain Jagielka featured in the recent 3-0 victory over Cardiff City it represented the 26th time the duo had been on the field together. Keane has played with Zouma Zouma on 23 occasions and Mina 11, including when the Colombian helped Everton shut out Chelsea on his full debut in West London back in November. “Everyone I have played with this season has been great,� said Keane, whose side still have big guns Arsenal and Manchester United to welcome to L4 this term. “If I am picked, I feel comfortable with


 ͚͞˜ͺ͸͚ΠËžTHISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER

33

GLOBAL SOCCER Premiership Table Team Man City Liverpool Tottenham Arsenal Man Utd Chelsea Wolves Watford West Ham Leicester Everton Bournemouth Newcastle Crystal Palace Brighton Southampton Burnley Cardi Fulham HuddersďŹ eld

P 30 30 30 30 30 29 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 29 30 30 30 30 30

GD 58 51 25 24 18 19 2 -2 -6 -4 -1 -13 -9 -5 -10 -16 -23 -30 -40 -38

Pts 74 73 61 60 58 57 44 43 39 38 37 37 34 33 33 30 30 28 17 14

Premiership TODAY

Bournemouth

v Newcastle

15:00

Burnley

v Leicester

15:00

West Ham

v HuddersďŹ eld

15:00

Fulham

v Liverpool

14:15

Everton

v Chelsea

16:30

SUNDAY

Hot Shot

whoever is next to me. “The lads, Jagielka and Mina have been patiently waiting for their chances and at least one of them will probably get an opportunity on Sunday. “I have played with the other centrehalves a good number of times and they are all slightly different players. It takes a bit of time to get used to each other – and I feel we have now. “I am sure they will be raring to go and, hopefully, we can do the fans proud and get a win.� Everton claimed four points from their matches with Cardiff and Liverpool and were in control for prolonged spells at Newcastle United last Saturday before losing late on. “We felt we were cruising for an hour, they did not cause us many problems at all and we were playing really good football,� added Keane. “We were disappointed for all the fans who came to watch us. “But I do feel we have turned a page in the past three games. We played really well at Cardiff and against a top side in Liverpool. And we did well until the final 20 minutes at Newcastle. “You have to take positives from every game and learn from the mistakes you make. We have to look forward and always try to improve.� Riding the crest of a wave after their

superb victory over Bayern Munich, Liverpool have the perfect opportunity to edge back in front in a titanic Premier League title race at struggling Fulham on Sunday. With leaders Manchester City continuing their audacious pursuit of a quadruple the previous day in the FA Cup quarterfinal, Liverpool have the chance to sneak two points clear of Pep Guardiola’s side with victory at Craven Cottage. While City would then have a game in hand, points in the bag at this stage of a title run-in, especially with big Champions League clashes looming on the horizon, can be a huge advantage. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said before Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 clash in Munich that victory could “change the world� for his team – rather than hinder their domestic title bid. And the way they controlled the Bundesliga giants for a 3-1 victory will give them a massive surge of confidence. “It is a fantastic sign that we again set a mark for Liverpool FC, for this wonderful club, that we really are back on the landscape on international, top-class football,� Klopp said. The only slight concern was an ankle injury sustained by skipper Jordan Henderson that means the midfielder will miss the trip to Craven Cottage. Yet even without him, it is hard to see a relegation-bound Fulham side beaten

in nine of their last 10 Premier League matches causing too many problems. In the two games they have played under caretaker boss Scott Parker, their third manager of the season, they showed signs of life in defeats by Chelsea and Leicester City. They are, however, 13 points away from the Premier League safety zone with eight games left and along with bottom club Huddersfield Town who travel to West Ham United today, are now simply playing for pride. That leaves one from Cardiff City, Burnley, Southampton, Brighton and Hove Albion, Crystal Palace and Newcastle United to join them through the relegation trap door. Of those only Burnley and Newcastle are in action this weekend with Burnley, one place and two points above the bottom three, at home to mid-table Leicester City. After going eight league matches without defeat, Burnley have lost three in a row and can ill-afford a slip-up at home. When Newcastle United trailed 2-0 against Everton last week they looked like being sucked deep into the relegation mire, but a remarkable turnaround saw them claim a 3-2 win that kept them six points clear of 18th-placed Cardiff. Rafa Benitez’s side goes to Bournemouth today knowing victory will put them within sight of safety.

NAME

CLUB

Sergio AgĂźero

Man City

GOALS

18

Mohamed Salah

Liverpool

17

Aubameyang

Arsenal

17

Harry Kane

Tottenham

17

Sadio ManĂŠ

Liverpool

16

Raheem Sterling

Man City

15

Eden Hazard

Chelsea

13

Alexandre Lacazette

Arsenal

12

RaĂşl JimĂŠnez

Wolves

12

Jamie Vardy

Leicester

12

Romelu Lukaku

Man Utd

12

Paul Pogba

Man Utd

11

Callum Wilson

B’mouth

11

Son Heung-Min

Tottenham

11

Roberto Firmino

Liverpool

11

GylďŹ Sigurdsson

Everton

11

Spanish La Liga Fixtures TODAY

Huesca Madrid Bilbao LeganĂŠs

v v v v

AlavĂŠs Celta Vigo AtlĂŠtico Girona

12:00 15:15 17:30 19:45

v v v v v

R’ Valladolid11:00 Sevilla 15:15 Getafe 17:30 R’ Vallecano 17:30 Barcelona 19:45

SUNDAY

Eibar Espanyol Valencia Villarreal Real Betis

Serie A TODAY

Sassuolo

v

Sampdoria 14:00

SPAL

v

Roma

17:00

Torino

v

Bologna

19:30

SUNDAY

Genoa

v

Juventus

11:30

Atalanta

v

Chievo

14:00

Empoli

v

Frosinone 14:00

Lazio

v

Parma

14:00

Napoli

v

Udinese

17:00

AC Milan

v

Inter

19:30


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THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER Ëž ͚͞˜ͺ͸͚Î

GLOBAL SOCCER

Unoaku Anyadike, Corporate Communications and External Aairs, GTBank Plc; Mmuo Onyedikachi, Captain, FSTC, Yaba; Modupe Philips, Corporate Communications and External Aairs, GTBank; Chibike Igbori, Captain, CMS Grammar School Idoko Negedu and Aimanohi Ogun of Corporate Communications and External Aairs at the quarter ďŹ nals qualiďŹ ers of the the Season 8 of GTBank Lagos Masters Cup at Campos Stadium in Lagos, today

Pep Guardiola passing instruction to Raheem Sterling

Supporting Golf Excites CEO Pixels Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan One of the major sponsors of the 2019 Ibadan Golf Club, (IGC) Ladies Open and Lady Captain’s Day Tournament, Omolaraeni Olaosebikan, has pledged her support as well as her firm, Pixels Digital Photo Lab, to the game of golf. Olaosebikan who is a member of the planning committee of the two-in-one event, also expressed delight being part of the golf tournament She said, “Pixels is investing more than N2 million in terms of our services with aims to help the game of golf get high level of awareness it deserves. We promised a

mind blowing event and we are doing this because our brands is a vibrant one that like to associate with what is giving joy to the people which is what golf represent to some people and we’re doing every possible best to collaborates with the Ladies Section of IGC to create a lasting memories in minds of every participants of this year’s tournament. “We have been around for 16 years back-to-back, churning out excellent pictures to make people happy and this is also the 16th edition of the IGC Ladies open, so it’s quite interesting to us, it is like we’re doing our birthday.

That was what excites us into coming to collaborate with IGC and commence our anniversary campaign with this event which we tagged: ‘Sweet 16’, and we’re going to organised a day golf kitty to celebrates it in July. It is going to be interesting because the game is going to be between lovers, either between you and your wife or between you and your husband, between you and your best friend or girlfriend. It is about couple, it is about friendship, it is about relationship.� She however described golf as a game that teaches discipline, saying one must keep

to the rules and regulations of the game, and if you cannot adhere strictly to those rule you can’t do well in golf, and that was why she found golf very interesting particularly as her position as a CEO. The tournament tees-off on Thursday morning with other format showing that Day-1, Friday is arrival as well as Lady Captain’s Day, followed by a cocktail party while Day-2, Saturday is Tournament Day-1 and Day-3, Sunday is Tournament Day2 and presentation of prizes with men playing as guest’s players.

Semifinalists Emerge at 2019 GTBank Masters Cup After two days of entertaining football at the Campus mini stadium, Lagos Island, four schools have booked their places in the semifinal of the 2019 GTBank Masters Cup in both the male and female categories. In the first quarter final played on Tuesday, Lead-Forte

Gate College, Lekki defeated Greenspings School, Lekki, 2-0 via penalty shootout after a goalless draw in duration time. The second quarter finals saw Ansar-Ud-Deen Girls High School mauled Ansar-UD-Deen College. Isolo 3-0. In the male version, CMS

Grammar School, Bariga ran away with a lone goal against Federal Science and Technology, Yaba, while Anwar-Ul-Islam Model College, Agege walloped Igbobi College, Yaba, 5 – 0. Other semifinalist are Atlantic Hall Epe, Queens College, Yaba, which pummelled Anwar Ul

Islam Girls High School, Ojokoro, 6 – 0. Kings College, Lagos also got the better of Jibril Martins Memorial Grammar School, Iponri 4 – 3, while Baptist Academy, Obanikoro bowed to the firepower of Whitesands School, Lekki, 0 – 2.

Trophy 5-a-Side Tournament Accreditation Attracts Massive Turn-out

Since the official launch of the Trophy five-a-side Field of Honour, there has been a massive turn-out of interested would-be participants who want to be a part of the excitement. The in-bar activations which commenced March 7 will run through March 24, after which successful participants will be grouped into football teams in

preparation for the knockout stages. The 10-week-long campaign will produce a final winner by May 12. The winning team will take home N3 million cash prize, meet with Samuel Eto’o, the renowned African football superstar and have the opportunity to participate in the continental finals taking

place in Tanzania later this year. Winners at the knock-out stages will also be rewarded with various consolation prizes and memorabilia, in appreciation for their participation. Though the in-bar accreditation will take place in four states: Oyo, Ogun, Osun and Lagos States, football loving Trophy customers will be recruited as

‘Super-fans’ across the country via weekly questions and sweepstakes availing customers outside the four states, the unique opportunity to participate in the tournament as fans. Four lucky fans will attend the Pan African regional finals in Tanzania, all-expense paid, to cheer our team to victory.

DStv to Air Milan Derby on Sunday Night The Milan derby will be the key game in Round 28 of the 2018/19 Serie Aseason, with the Rossoneri and Nerazzurri battling over third place on the log. The meeting of AC Milan and Inter Milan at the San Siro on Sunday night promises to produce major fireworks. Just one point separates the teams on the Serie A log, though it is Gennaro Gattuso’s Milan who come into the match in the better form, with their 2-1 win away to Chievo this past weekend bringing their unbeaten run to 10 matches across all competitions. The scoring spree of Janu-

ary signing Krzysztof Piatek continued when he netted the decisive strike in Verona, and he will be the main dangerman as far as Inter are concerned. Luciano Spalletti’s Nerazzurri won 2-0 at home to SPAL this past weekend to end a threegame winless streak across all competitions. They will be looking to complete a double over Milan (and reclaim third place) following a 1-0 win over their rivals earlier in the season, courtesy of a late strike from Mauro Icardi. The Argentine striker could return from exile for the derby following his recent

wrangle with the club. Elsewhere in Italy, Juventus will look to march one step closer to an eighth successive Scudetto when they play away to Genoa on Sunday afternoon. The Bianconeri enjoy an 18 point lead at the head of the table and manager Massimiliano Allegri (who is rumoured to be leaving the club) can afford to turn his focus on their UEFA Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid this midweek. Napoli fell further behind Juve this past weekend when they were held 1-1 at Sassuolo, but they still look a strong bet

to come home in second place. Carlo Ancelotti’s side will be at home to Udinese on Sunday evening, but they too may put more focus on their continental campaign as they take on Salzburg in a Europa League clash in the prior midweek. Roma, who recently sacked Eusebio di Francesco and replaced him with Claudio Ranieri, will be away to SPAL, Lazio need to beat Parma at home to keep up their hopes of playing in Europe next season, and a key battle as far as relegation is concerned sees Empoli host Frosinone at the Stadio Carlo Castellani.

FA Cup

Man City Hope to Enhance Quadruple Chances at Swansea Manchester City head to Swansea today hoping to secure victory to further enhance their Quadruple chances. Pep Guardiola’s side will be heavy favourites for the game against the Championship team and the quarterfinal draw has given more ammunition to those with short or selective memories to talk up what an easy time of it City have been given by randomly drawn balls. Swansea’s name has not featured as a potential obstacle in the quest for the Quadruple, unlike heavyweights such as Liverpool, United, Barcelona and Juventus Yet nobody expected League One side Wigan to be the first team to knock the Blues out of a competition last year, and that game came similarly out of the blue. The Premier League champions-elect arrived at the DW Stadium with nine wins and a draw from 11 league games in 2018, then included Sergio Aguero, Leroy Sane, David and Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte in the starting XI. A few lapses in concentration and 90 minutes later any talk of four trophies was shelved for a season. If that night was a blip, it was also part of a small but significant trend. The lower league sides that have given Guardiola’s City problems - Wolves, Bristol City, and Huddersfield also come to mind - have had common traits: intelligent coaching, resolute defending, enough ambition to counter at the right moments, and total confidence in their own identity as a team. Swansea’s inconsistency this season is reflected in the fact they are no higher than 15th in their first season back in the Championship, but on their day they can be a match for many sides - and most of their days tend to come at the Liberty Stadium. Boxing Day is the last home game they lost, with five wins and two draws since including victory over high-flying Sheffield United. Graham Potter is a man with a growing reputation as a talented coach. His Ostersunds side troubled Arsenal last season in the Europa League and he will have views on how to get at City; the fact that their last two games have been away to Norwich and West Brom should have allowed for a decent standard to prepare for today. Guardiola has named strong sides in the FA Cup all season, partly because of the upset last season and also simply because he has so many talented players in the squad. However, what will give him most confidence is the players coming through a similar situation and not making the same mistakes. It is why last season’s title win spurred another strong start, why victory over Liverpool in January helped the players keep their belief that they can win the league again, and why the manager continues to harbour doubts about their Champions League dreams. Lose at Swansea and, however unexpected, it won’t make for a disastrous season but victory, however it comes, can lift the players and the manager even more for the last two months of the season. As well as making the semi-finals of a competition Guardiola has never won, more evidence that the group are stronger this season could yet make a difference in the pursuit of other trophies.


 ͚͞˜ͺ͸͚ΠËžTHISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER

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GLOBAL SOCCER

Everton Not Losing Sight of Henry Onyekuru With interest said to be worth ÂŁ20m from Paris-Saint Germaine and AS Monaco of France, parent club, Everton have not lost sight of Henry Onyekuru Onyekuru

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alatasaray of Turkey striker, Henry Onyekuru is bound to have a huge decision on his hands this summer, as he is said to have gained interest worth £20m from Paris-Saint Germaine and AS Monaco of France, while several other clubs are also said to be lurking around the corner. However, his parent club, Everton are not losing sight of the Nigerian international. Galatasaray are bound to lose Onyekuru to a whiff of cash, but his parent club, Everton could also now end up failing to keep him as well. This is sequel to frenetic interest in Onyekuru from PSG and Monaco, whose French Ligue 1 rivals, Olympique Marseille are also keen on the striker, along with Borussia Dortmund of Germany, AS Napoli of Italy and Sevilla of Spain. It means Everton will be left with a huge decision to make, as their scouts have been issuing glowing reports on Onyekuru’s progress at Gala back to The Toffees’ boss, Marco Silva. However, PSG are said to be upfront, as the Paris giants have been long-term admirers and they are ready to offer Everton a £20m deal, but they are not the only side interested in the ex-KAS Eupen of Belgium star. The 21-year-old was signed by The Toffees 18-months ago from Eupen, but he has never played for the Goodison Park, Merseysdie-based English Premier League club due to work-permit issues. Everton are however hopeful Onyekuru will be able to obtain a work permit this summer after joining the Blues in June 2017 from little known Belgium outfit KAS Eupen in a deal worth over £7m – but has yet to play for the Blues. Onyekuru hit 22 goals and registered nine assists during the 2016-17 campaign to finish as joint top scorer in Belgium’s top flight and spark a race for his signature. Everton fended off the interest of clubs including Arsenal and Celtic, but have not been able to play him due to eligibility issues. But the Blues are growing increasingly hopeful they will have a robust case to present to the Football Association in order to get the green light to use a player who would have been on the books at Goodison for over two years by the start of next season. The 21-year-old, a graduate of the

However, PSG are said to be upfront, as the Paris giants have been long-term admirers and they are ready to oer Everton a £20m deal, but they are not the only side interested in the exKAS Eupen of Belgium star

Onyekuru and Veratti

Qatar-based Aspire Academy, was immediately sent on loan to Anderlecht after joining Everton in the hope that a campaign of Champions League football, and in a World Cup year, would improve his chances of being able to play in the Premier League. Everton agreed on a two-year deal with the Belgian club but had the ability to recall him after one season, yet a promising start was cut short by a knee injury – which required surgery and then rehab at Finch Farm - and, then, a broken relationship with Anderlecht boss Hein Vanhaezebrouck. Onyekuru only played once more that season after suffering medial ligament damage and accused Vanhaezebrouck of not selecting him on purpose, thus ruining his chances of playing for Nigeria in Russia and, therefore, his hopes of getting a work permit to launch his career at Goodison. A second season on loan was essential for Onyekuru but with the player hav-

ing no intention of returning to Brussels a deal was struck with Galatasaray to take him for the 2018-19 term. Everton’s director of football Marcel Brands has yet to watch Onyekuru in the flesh but members of his new-look scouting team have done so. And in total, the Blues’ transfer chief and his recruitment department have cast their eyes over the young forward live on television 12 times this season. Everton Manager, Marco Silva too, has been keeping tabs on Onyekuru and has watched a number of his performances on TV although the young forward was not part of the squad that returned to Finch Farm last summer for pre-season training with the Portuguese coach. “Yes, we are doing our work and are aware of everything he is doing,� Silva said. “It is the same with all of our loan players and at the end of the season we will take a decision. We are following him like we are all the loan players and,

as you know, we have a big number of loan players and we have to do that work and take the right decisions for us.â€? It remains unclear if Onyekuru, will feature in Silva’s plans over the long-term but after scoring 19 goals in 56 appearances for Anderlecht and, so far, at Galatasary he is sure to be given a chance to impress. Everton, who are understood to have pocketed a ÂŁ1m loan fee from the Turkish club, will also be mindful that they could make a tidy profit on the player should they choose to sell. Speaking with the Turkish media last week, the Nigerian international hinted he would like to remain at the club if his Premier League “dreamâ€? cannot happen. Everton, however, are growing hopeful that Onyekuru can meet the complicated work permit criteria based on playing in the Champions League and Europa League for the Turkish giants as well as his national team. Onyekuru, who turns 22 in early June, has made seven appearances for his country and featured in all four of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that have taken place this year. An injury put paid to his hopes of playing in the other eight internationals in 2018, including the three group games Nigeria played in at the World Cup in Russia, but the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in June is another chance for him to strengthen his work permit claims.


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THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER t."3$), 2019

FAIRGROUND with

Faithia Williams Premieres New Movie, ‘Connection’, Launches Website

AZUKA OGUJIUBA

azuka.ogujiuba@thisdaylive.com

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alented Nollywood actor and producer, Faithia Williams has released new pictures to the public just after premiering her new movie which also coincides with the launch of her new website. Nollywood diva, Faithia Williams held the private screening of her short movie, ‘Connection’ recently at Radisson Hotel Ikeja in the presence of top entertainers who graced the occasion. Celebrities like Toyin Abraham, Etinosa Idemudia, Muyiwa Ademola, Kemi Afolabi, Dayo Amusa, Yomi Fash, Bimbo Thomas, ChinneyLove, Ayo Adesanya, Tayo Odueke, Bimbo Ogunnowo- Afolayan and more were present just to name a few. The short movie was written by Faithia Williams and Directed by Desmond Elliot, ‘Connection’ stars award-winning actors such as Odunlade Adekola, Toyin Abraham, Kate Henshaw, Muyiwa Ademola, Iyabo Ojo, Priscillia Ojo and more. The event also coincides with the launch of the actress’s personal website, www.faithiawilliams. com where her fans can catch a full glimpse of her life, what she stands for, her works and how to reach her for more work. The talented actress plan to use the platform as a tool to reach thousands of her fans globally. Faithia Williams also used the opportunity to reactivate her foundation and NGO for the girl child. The foundation will seek to address issues surrounding the girl child in Nigeria and in Africa. Some of these issues will be brought to bear through advocacy, strategic movies, giveaways and counseling to the girl child and their guardians. Faithia Williams has been in the movie industry for over one decade and has made multiple movies. Despite her longevity in the industry, her influence still stands strong as shown in some of the cinema blockbusters of 2018 she starred in – Yoruba Demon, Seven and a Half Dates to name a few. The actress revealed that she doesn’t just want to be all about acting but all about making a lasting impact. “Many people have been asking why I am making the kind of moves I have been making lately and this is why: I want to make a lasting impact in the world. I don’t just want to be a fine face in front of the camera every day, I am interested in being a fine face that impacts people and acting is just one of the ways I can do that. The movie ‘Connection’ is about the girl child and so is my foundation as well. I will be telling more of these stories and doing more in this regard. It’s also why I have my personal website set up. I want to be able to interact and share with my direct constituency regularly. More announcements are coming and as you hear them, please bear in mind that the new Faithia Williams is doing all these to make a lasting impact in the world,” she said.

Toyin Abraham

Faithia Williams

Muyiwa Ademola and Odunlade Adekola

Dayo Amusa; Muyiwa Ademola and Yomi Fash Lanso

Faithia Williams and Abimbola Ogunnowo

Kemi Afolabi and Iyabo Ojo

Antolecky

Iyabo Ojo and her children


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THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER t."3$), 2019

FAIRGROUND

Feyi, LuxuryByFeyi Fashion Director Turns 40

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London-based Nigerian couture artist, Feyisola Adeyemi, who turned 40 on January 2, 2019, threw an exclusive birthday dinner party at the prestigious and luxurious “The Mayfair” hotel in the heart of west end, London, United Kingdom. Feyi as popularly called and often referred to as “D Red Carpet Queen is the CEO/Creative Director Of LuxuryByFeyi fashion brand. She recently collaborated with Aston Martin London to showcase her SS19 collection “Black Swan” during London Fashion Week. The party was a cosy, intimate, fun and a glamorous celebration graced by close friends and family. In attendance were entertain-

ment and media consultant personalities, Dj Abass and wife, Sam and Tola Onigbanjo of “Women for Africa” , Yvonne Ayegbeni, Chioma of “GlamAfrica Media, Uriel Ngozi Oputa, Brenda David of “Celario” and many more. The celebrant looked elegant and chic in her own designs. When asked about the inspiration behind her brand, she said: “Feyisola’s efforts is to create a voice that encourages women and young female generation, particularly from the African decent (not to limit themselves) to break boundaries and be the best version of themselves globally, most especially in the luxury industry, which has been dominated for a while now by the western market.” Feyi wishes herself an outstanding year of prosperity and peace. Feyisola and husband, Adedoyin Adeyemi

Feyisola, her husband and children

Cross-sections of guests at the party

The WED Show 2019 to Showcase Wedding Vendors, Fashion Trends

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he biggest wedding event ever to be held in the city of Lagos is coming! Promising three days of fully loaded exhibition, flawless fashion shows, and forward-thinking seminars, THE WED SHOW would be a highlight of the wedding industry calendar. From the 29th- 31st March 2018, The Wed Show is set to take Nigeria by storm. Holding at the Balmoral Convention Centre in the prestigious Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. Get ready for the show of the year, there promises to be not one, not two but three shows to delight visitors. Timed to be the first major event on the international calendar, it is a fusion of largescale trade fair, fashion show, and educational seminar programme. This exciting new format sees hundreds of brands congregating under one roof, a full wedding exhibition, fashion

show, and wedding talk sessions. It’s important that you take the time to plan your visit to ensure you make the most of the experience. Get to meet all the vendors you need for your wedding and your guests also get to enjoy great deals on fabric and beauty items. What are you waiting for? Mark your calendars now and get ready to win millions in discounts and giveaways. It's your first chance to look at product and services from over 150 wedding vendors, 30 of Nigeria’s best fashion houses and 60 wedding experts. You’ll be ahead of the curve for 2019 and able to share the trends for the year ahead. Admission is free. Are you a wedding vendor? Showcase your business to potential clients at the WED Show. It promises to be an event with a healthy dose of networking too – you would meet suppliers, catch up with friends and forge new business relationships.

There also would be a highlight of a cake bake off and bridal face-off contest. Don’t forget to make time in your schedule to attend the Fashion Show as well – you’ll see the very latest in bridal design up close. If you haven’t already, make sure you clear your calendar and make plans to be at this great event! If you are a corporate brand that wants to also tap into the wedding market by connecting to bride and grooms with a special product or want to connect with wedding businesses then this is a show you should be on and showcase what product or service you have, it is a place to be. The WED Show convener, Mr. Akin Esho who is a pioneer in the wedding industry in Nigeria has made it known that the newly repackaged WED Show will serve as a network and meeting point for anyone in the wedding market and buyers who love variety before making Akin Eso their decisions.


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THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER t."3$), 2019

AUTO

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz Sells Over 150,000 Cars Worldwide in February Stories by Bennett Oghifo

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n the first two months of this year, Mercedes-Benz delivered 333,229 cars worldwide (-6.7%). In February, 152,690 vehicles with the three-pointed star were sold worldwide (-6.7%). The automaker reeled out these figures in a statement, which said the model changes in the highest-volume segments SUVs and compact cars had an impact on sales in all regions also last month. The worldwide decrease in unit sales compared with the same month of last year is largely due to the discontinuation of the predecessor models of the CLA and the GLE. Meanwhile, the new B-Class had a positive effect on sales in Europe. B-Class deliveries increased more than 16% in Europe in the month of market launch and in Germany even more than 40%. Since the beginning of the year, MercedesBenz has maintained its market leadership in the premium segment in markets including Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Switzerland, Portugal, Poland, Denmark, South Korea, Australia, the United States, Canada and South Africa. “We are delighted that the new B-Class has had such a positive impact on Mercedes-Benz unit sales so soon after the market launch in Europe. At the

Geneva International Motor Show, we presented the latest generation of our top-selling SUV, the GLC, which will ensure further enthusiasm among our customers this year,” stated Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing and Sales. “We assume that the ongoing model changes will result in significant sales impetus in the coming months. At Mercedes-Benz, we continue to see strong demand worldwide for our current and new models.” Mercedes-Benz unit sales by region and market In Europe, Mercedes-Benz sold a total of 63,560 vehicles in February (-0.1%). The model change of the GLE and the discontinuation of the previous model had an impact on sales in various European markets. In Germany, the core market, 23,119 cars with the three-pointed star were delivered, representing an increase of 7.3%. This was the best February in the past ten years for unit sales in Germany. In the domestic market of MercedesBenz, the sales growth was driven in particular by the new A-Class, the new B-Class, and the new C-Class Saloon and Estate. In February, Mercedes-Benz was also able to increase its total unit sales in markets including France, Belgium, Russia, the Netherlands and Poland. In theAsia-Pacific region, 59,253 cars were delivered to customers by Mercedes-Benz in February

(-9.8%). In China, where sales are traditionally weaker in the month of the Chinese new year, 40,733 customer decided in favour of a car with the star (-5.4%). Sales in January and February totalled 112,430 units, more than ever before in the first two months of a year in China (+0.9%). In the NAFTA region, Mercedes-Benz posted total unit sales of 25,757 cars delivered last month (-14.0%). In the core market, the United States, a total of 21,660 customers were delighted to receive their new automobile with the star (-12.5%). The model changes also had an impact in the USA, with a double-digit drop in unit sales of the GLE for example. Sales of the new C-Class Saloon increased at a double-digit rate in the USA in February. Mercedes-Benz unit sales by model Sales of Mercedes- Benz compact cars in the first two months of 2019 were slightly above the prior-year level: More than 81,700 customers were delighted to receive their new A- or B-Class, CLA, CLAShooting Brake or GLAin January and February (-4.6%). Meanwhile, the model change for the compact cars continues. The newA-Class recorded sales growth worldwide for the sixth month in succession (+20.8%). Following the market launch of the new B-Class in Europe on February 16, the new model achieved double-digit growth in deliveries in Europe, especially in Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Spain.

Lagos Motor Fair, 8th Autoparts Africa Expo Holds in May The organisers of the annual Lagos International Motor Fair & Autoparts Expo Nigeria have announced a date and venue for the forthcoming edition. According to the Managing Director BKG Exhibitions Limited, Mr. Ifeanyichukwu Agwu, who is also the Chairman of the Organising Committee for the event the 14th Edition of the Motor Fair as well as the 6th edition of the Autoparts Expo will hold at the Federal Palace Hotel, Ahmadu Bello Way Victoria Island, Lagos on from the May 6 to 11 and May 8 to 11, respectively. According to Mr. Agwu at a press briefing, yesterday to announce the kickoff of arrangements for the event, the theme of this edition is: “One Expo; Continental Spread”. He said that this is informed by the determination of the Organisers to champion the development and thriving of autoparts sub-sector as leeway to fast-tracking the development of Nigeria’s automotive industry. “In this edition as we have been doing for sometimes now we will champion the autoparts section to seeing to making Nigeria become the hub of the business in Africa. We want to make it a strong point of real taking off of a realizable auto policy.” The event, he said would attract 2000 special guests from all economic sector of the nation and that these high-profile individuals would be hosted to different spectacle as long as the fair lasted. This year, 20 auto companies are expected and 150 to 200 auto parts companies would attend.

Hyundai Santa Fe Named Most Dependable Mid-Size SUV by J.D. Power

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yundai’s Santa Fe has received one of the world’s most highly respected awards for long-term owner satisfaction, being named as the most dependable mid-size SUV in the J.D. Power 2019 Vehicle Dependability Study. The United States-based study, now in its 30th year, examines problems experienced during the past 12 months by 80,000 original owners of 2016 model-year vehicles. Overall dependability is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality. The study covers 177 specific problems, with cars grouped into eight major vehicle categories. The Santa Fe ranked highest in its class, demonstrating real-world dependability based on the experience of real owners. “Dependability is the foundation of Hyundai’s success as a brand, so this is an important award for us as a company,” said Hyundai’s Middle East and Africa Head of Operations, Mike Song. “We offer customers bold design, powerful performance, versatility, and a host of advanced technologies to keep drivers and passengers comfortable, happy and safe. Most of all, we promise all of this in a car that people can depend on year after year.” As a long-term test, the 2019 Vehicle Depend-

ability Study assessed a model-year of the previous third-generation Santa Fe. Hyundai launched an all-new fourth generation during 2018. Mike Song said he believes the current Santa Fe goes even further to create satisfied customers. For 2019 models, the Santa Fe features new safety, comfort and convenience technologies, better visibility, increased cabin and storage space, and bolder design language. J.D. Power is a global market information consultancy, known for its research into customer satisfaction and product quality. Its automotive surveys include the Vehicle Dependability Study each year, and also the Initial Quality Study which looks at problems people have with new cars during the first 90 days of ownership. Hyundai has achieved strong results in previous J.D. Power surveys, including the Hyundai Tucson being named as most dependable small SUV in the 2018 Vehicle Dependability Study. Also in 2018, the Hyundai Kona was the top-rated small car in the J.D. Power Tech Experience Study, which measured owners’ experience, usage and interaction with driver-centric vehicle technology. Kona topped the small segment in technology categories such as entertainment and connectivity, driving assistance, collision protection and smartphone mirroring.

Hyundai Santa Fe


THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER t."3$), 2019

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AUTO

BMW Manufacturing Continues as Largest U.S. Automotive Exporter by Value Stories by Bennett Oghifo

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or the fifth consecutive year, BMW Manufacturing ledtheUnitedStatesinautomotiveexportsbyvalue, according to data released this week by the U.S. DepartmentofCommerce.BMWexported234,689X models from its Spartanburg, SC, plant during 2018. About 81 percent of these Sports Activity Vehicles and Coupes were exported through the Port of Charleston with an export value of more than $8.4 billion, according to Commerce Department data. This confirms that the South Carolina factory is the leading U.S. automotive exporter by value. The remaining 19 percent of BMW X models were exported throughfiveothersoutheasternports:Savannah,GA;Brunswick, GA; Jacksonville, FL; Miami, FL; and Everglades, FL.All totaled, the Spartanburg plant exported nearly 66 percent of its total production volume of 356,749 units. BMW Manufacturing’s production volume and exports declined slightly in 2018 due to model updates of the popular BMW X4 and BMW X5. “Despite last year’s model changeovers and the ongoing uncertainty regarding trade and tariffs, Plant Spartanburg is still positively contributing to the U.S. balance of trade,” said Knudt Flor, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. “This achievement clearly reinforces BMW’s ongoing commitment in the U.S. With additional models such as the first-ever BMW X7, the BMW X3 M and X4 M, and the recently-announced BMW X3 and X5 plug-in hybrid vehicles, we anticipate an increase in production and exports for 2019.” In 2017, BMW announced an additional $600 million investment in the Spartanburg plant from 2018 through 2021 for manufacturing infrastructure for future generations of X models. Last month, the plant produced the 4.5 millionth BMW built in South Carolina. Later in the year, associates will mark 25 years of BMW production in the state. “The remarkable partnership between BMW and South Carolina continues to thrive, and this is evident by the fact that our state remains the nation’s leader in the export sales of completed passenger vehicles,” said South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “

2019 BMW X5

All-new Toyota Corolla Hatch Makes a Striking Return

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ith the all-new Toyota Corolla hatch, one of the most successful model names in automotive history makes a striking return. Taking over the Auris name badge in South Africa, the Corolla recalls a memorable history in this country – mostly with sedan models, but also the Corolla Conquest and Avante variants of the 80’s and 90’s – and this new hatchback builds on its predecessors celebrated qualities of contemporary design, driving dynamics and efficiency. DESIGN With the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) chassis as its basis, the Corolla is longer, lower and therefore sleeker than its Auris predecessor. The striking nose features all-LED lamp clusters, with integral daytime running lights beneath the curved edge of a flatter, clamshell bonnet and narrow upper grille.

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Beneath that, trapezoidal lower grille features a new mesh design and a frame that projects powerfully forwards with a grille surround that generates Toyota’s signature ‘catamaran shape’ at the front corners of the car. It emphasizes the car’s width and gives the Corolla that aggressive broad, sporting stance. Like the front, the rear styling is more rounded than before and a 14-degree increase in the angle of the rear screen and muscular haunches above the rear wheel arches combine to give the car a more compact appearance. All-LED light clusters, located as far to the two corners as possible emphasise the car’s width, while the rear bumper styling echoes the ‘catamaran’ look of the front. A lower rear lip features a black-out design matching the; and all versions of the hatchback feature a roof spoiler and shark fin antenna. The new Corolla hatch comes in six exterior colours, including three new colours – Scarlet Metallic (Red), Oxide Bronze and Caribbean Blue.

The all-new Toyota Corolla hatch

What to Know about Convoy 2

oday, I wish to focus on two of the most important roles in a convoyLEAD and car2 –The leads job in a convoy is the hardest while car 2 is referred to as the aggressor. I told you the lead is the most important because the Lead maintains the convoy speed and integrity navigate to the destination, look far enough ahead to anticipate how the group will proceed, watch/listen for the group sequencing and spacing, assess changing conditions, and make decisions for the entire group. Lead sets the tone of the group: will the convoy be smooth sailing or a roller coaster, will it be slow and steady will depend on the Lead. Car 2 is what I call the aggressor. He’s the one to brake check the left lane hog, clears the way for the convoy, annoys the highway pedestrians to get out of our way and blocks traffic at a stop sign so we can proceed as a group. Depending on the size of the group and the route thru town, two or more aggressors may be needed. BEWARE and never ASSUME. Team work. You either drive like Arsenal against Leicester or Arsenal against Stoke. Your guess is as good as mine the success of a convoy depends on two things-the driver of the lead vehicle knowing where he is going and the driver of each car staying without fail, with the car behind; not the car in front. Before I dwell deeply on the focus for today, Let me equally state here that even where this two vital conditions prevail, a third and determining variable within the context of the present discourse in our clime depends solely

SAFE DRIVING with

Jonas Agwu amnipr, mcipr,mprsa,arpa (Corps Commander) Corps Public Education Officer Federal Road Safety Corps. + 2348033026491 on the principal or what can be referred to as the VIP. The examples of the VIPs cited last week shows that the decency or otherwise of a convoy is directly related to the attitude of the Principal, meaning that no matter the anxiety of the convoy drivers to disregard laid down rules, the disposition of the Principal finally counts. Permit me to share this material I sourced on convoy driving. Since success of a convoy depend on the driver of the lead car knowing where he is going and the driver of each car staying, WITHOUT FAIL, with the car BEHIND; NOT the car in front, we need to dwell further on this. What this means is that each driver, starting with the lead car, drives in such a way that they never lose visual contact, for any significant period, with the car following. The driver should not attempt to stay with the car in front under any circumstance. His responsibility and allegiance is with the car BEHIND. Keep the car behind you in sight, if it is not, then STOP in

a safe place as soon as possible. The speed of the convoy is important. If all the cars went real slow, this stretching and shrinking might not be too bad. If they went real fast, things might get out of hand. And, there are always road conditions, traffic lights, stop signs, and other traffic to worry about. So, the first car should adjust speed according to what’s going on. On a 4-lane, speed up. On a dusty road with no wind blowing, slow way down. After a stop sign, or after a traffic light or after a turn, slow way down until “tail-end Charlie” reports being by the point of change. You should drive at a speed and in such a way that the car behind you stays in contact. This is the Fundamental Rule of Convoy driving. You must Drive at a speed that you can comfortably maintain. If all goes to plan, the actual speed of the convoy should be set by the slowest car. If you find you are pulling away from the car behind, slow down slightly to allow them maintain visual contact. Conversely, if the car behind you closes the gap, and you are able and willing to raise the speed slightly, do so until you have re-established a reasonable gap between the cars. You must not close up on the car in front unless the car behind has closed up on you! Try and maintain a constant speed, try not to keep speeding up and slowing down. The effect is accentuated as you pass down the convoy. There is no set distance between cars in a convoy; it will depend on speed, road conditions and line of sight. On main roads, the distance can be quite large allowing other vehicles to overtake easily; on country routes the gap should

be reduced to aid visual contact but still allow space for other traffic to overtake. In town, the gap should be as small as possible. This aids visual contact and maximizes the number of cars that can pass through traffic lights during each sequence. If you’re driving in the convoy, there are some things to pay attention to, also--such as the plate number and color of the car you are behind. Your distance behind the car in front should be as constant as you can make it. For safety reasons, you should observe the “2-second” rule--never be closer than 2 seconds behind (count “one thousand one, one thousand two”). If you see a car behind that isn’t in the convoy and wants to pass, open up your spacing so they won’t feel that they have to pass several cars at once. That way, they probably won’t tailgate you. Do you remember the old saying “Monkey see, monkey do”? That should be you in a convoy. If the car leading you shows brake lights, step on your brakes. If it shows a turn signal, turn on your signal. If it changes lanes, you change lanes. If it speeds up or slows down, you do the same. If it pulls to the shoulder, you do too. Every car in a convoy should travel with headlights on. That we you know who’s part of the convoy, and everyone else knows you’re part of it too. You can also flash your lights to alert the driver in front of you if you need to slow down, pull over, or stop. When in convoy, all cars must adhere to road rules & regulations. Stop when the light is red. Overtaking is not allowed! Stick to your position from start to the end. Always remember the car in front and at the back of you. Convoy driving is the collective responsibility of all actors (drivers) on the fleet.


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THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER หพ อนอพหœอบอธอนฮ


MARCH 16, 2019 ˾THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER

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 ˜ ˞ MARCH 16, 2019

TRIBUTE

Thumbs Up for Jang at 75 Seriki Adinoyi

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elebrating Jonah David Jang’s birthday has for me become virtually a vocational pursuit. It’s always on my mind at least a week ahead I feel this compelling desire for laying of hand on my pen. It does not matter whether or not he’s in government; a great man deserves an honour. He’s indeed quite simply a great man. By this, I do not refer to his eminence as a distinguished Senator or as a former governor that transformed every state he had the opportunity to govern. I speak of the person of Jang himself, his essential person that truly set him apart and on the path of greatness that he has walked on this long 75 years. He did not “develop� it, he had always possessed it; a dogged attitude to stand with his people through thick and thin. As a young military officer, he had shared his vision to truly and passionately serve Nigeria and of course, his people. That became his focus and drive. Then, he was in considerable measure, the man he was to become: tough, yet considerate and balanced, modest, intelligent and unostentatiously secure, and also very careful to discern the mix multitude that crowds around him. You will agree with me that it is simply the grace of God that can make a complexity of attributes such that Jang has, all resolving into a strikingly simple consistency as found in him. He is definitely a rare breed amongst us. To a very large extent, looking back one would say that at 75, Jang has every reason to be thankful to God’s graciousness in enabling him fulfill his dreams; not everyone that dreams have them so fulfilled like the celebrant. I have heard of Jang for many years even as a youth, but I have only known him closely a few years ago. One striking attribute that endeared him to me is standing on the side of the truth. This is rare among politicians who will on several occasions bend over backward to accept and politicise injustice. Of course, this attribute has been misunderstood by many to mean stubbornness, especially those that expect him to understand that remaining relevant in Nigerian politics requires substantial compromise. This has earned him true

Jang

friends, and likewise arch enemies. The fear when he became a civilian Governor was that unlike in the military when a leader holds unto what he feels right and performs it with zeal and impunity, democracy requires of leaders to listen to all and pick out what will benefit their government and the people they govern. This multitude of advice has in many occasions, derailed leaders, who only regret after their times in office. But how

Jang was able to manage the multitude of counselors around him, to perform credibly well as a civilian governor, still remains a miracle. Indeed, he has shown that whether as a military or a civilian leader, he posses that quality. That’s why he could hold his head high today at 75. Today, it’s on indelible records that Jang raised the bar of governance to an enviable height in Plateau and in fact elsewhere he had held sway- such records that may not be surpassed anytime soon. Strong feelings stir within him, but there is little evidence of this on the surface, except perhaps when he conducts! He is always outwardly calm, though never cold. His approach to people is unfailingly receptive, friendly, wherever possible. He always understands the situation in which he finds himself. He is always just, not in the sense of being “fair,� but in that he stands in the exactly fitting relationship to each of his own experiences. He instinctively avoids all intemperance; he never goes “overboard.� There is mystery in Jang, but no ambiguity. He says what he feels and means. He would make a great diplomat (indeed, he is one) not because he ever prevaricates, but because he tells the truth--nothing more or less. He is not given to overstatement of any kind. This was particularly evident during the Jos crisis, when he had to do everything to calm fray nerves, especially of his people that had been provoked beyond measure. He needed to reassure them that he was with them, yet without asking them to take up arms against the obvious enemies. And knowing that he has their back, the Plateau man has never stopped to believe in him. He remains the father of a modern Plateau. Little wonder why the entire people took to the street of Jos to condemn the obvious persecution mated on him by the government of the day through its agent, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), the same agent that gave him medals for his prudence while he was the Governor. The people believe that a good man deserves honour and not persecution. With all this, he is endowed with great sense of humor. Sometimes he pretends surprised; that is his little joke. But the truth is he is prepared for everything. His wisdom consists of having learned how to make himself ready for all contingencies. In Jang, we meet a total man. All rise for him as he climbs on the top of 75 today! Hurray!


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THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER Ëž ͚͞˜Ͱ͎ͯ͡

JOE/FAJ THEFRONTLINES

2019: What Has Changed?

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inally, the almighty 2019 general elections have come and gone producing losers and winners in its wake. While the losers are nursing their wounds with some heading to the various election petition tribunals in the coming days, the winners are hugging their certificates of return handed to them by the umpire the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as evidence of their exploits. In the build up to the 2015 elections, former president Goodluck Jonathan promised to bequeath Nigerians with an electoral body that would deliver free and fair elections. Under Professor Attahiru Jega, the electoral body undertook sweeping reforms including the adoption of the revolutionary card readers. In the end, Jonathan, an incumbent, lost his re-election bid to President Muhammadu Buhari in the keenly contested 2015 presidential polls considered generally as very free and fair. For the first time, no one headed to the presidential election tribunal nor Supreme Court to seek the nullification of the announced result. Rather, Jonathan who lost, made history by congratulating the winner in a remarkable show of statesmanship. Given Buhari’s track record as a serial presidential election loser who had lost thrice in 2003, 2007, 2011 before eventually winning in 2015; his past experiences positioned him as the best in class to carry out electoral reforms when he assumed office in 2015. During his campaigns in 2015, Buhari promised to undertake sweeping changes in the electoral system, set up special courts to deal with electoral matters and review both the electoral act and the constitution to amend areas that needed to accommodate the changes and also reposition INEC as well as prosecute electoral offenders. Although the president has given assent to about seven or so electoral amendments presented to him by the outgoing National Assembly, so far, feedback from the field in the just concluded polls indicate that it is not yet Uhuru for our electoral system in this country. So how have these reforms reshaped the electoral system in 2019 or what has changed in the just concluded 2019 polls? Nothing has changed in the real sense of the word. In fact, things have gone from worse to worst. For instance, this is the first time, the electoral body would declare elections in some states inconclusive. In 2015, Buhari who won the 2015 polls, accused Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of influencing the outcome of that year’s election with money, thugs, military and police. He promised that under his watch none of such unlawful acts would be tolerated and vowed to prosecute all electoral offenders.

WITH

JOSEPH USHIGIALE e-mail: jushigiale@yahoo.co.uk, joseph.ushigiale@thisdaylive.com mobile phone: 08023422660 (sms only)

Buhari

However, what Nigerians witnessed in the just concluded polls would go down in history as one of the most corrupt elections ever staged in this part of the globe where the country was literally turned to a war zone. Contrary to his earlier promise, the president himself ordered the military to shoot at sight any person caught trying to snatch ballot boxes. As if it was payback time, the president went to sleep and turned a blind eye as his Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi desecrated the peace that reigned in Rivers State. In the days leading to the vote, Amaechi boasted and promised the president during his campaign in Rivers that the state would be transformed into a theatre of war. On election day, Nigerians watched in realtime as Amaechi with the full support of the military held the entire state to ransom. Towns like Buguma, Abbonema, Emohua were highly militarized as residents scampered to safety from the superior fire power as heavy machine guns bellowed in the neighborhoods. In the end, the election was rendered inconclusive by INEC. In Akwa Ibom State, long before the election, the Commissioner of Police in that state lay siege to the State House of Assembly ostensibly to seize the instrument of power and effect the impeachment of the governor. That attempt was stoutly

resisted by the people. Not yet done, loads of soldiers again converge on the state during the presidential and National Assembly elections where attempts were made to force the people to vote for former governor Godswill Akpabio. During the governorship and state assembly polls proper, another unprecedented move was made to effect regime change in the state and install the former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nsima Ekere. Both attempts failed woefully leading to the defeat of Ekere, the All Progressives Congress candidate who lost to incumbent governor, Udom Emmanuel of the PDP. Chris Ekpenyong of the PDP roundly defeated Akpabio in the senate race which witnessed so much drama and influence peddling. Even the president’s thank you visit to the state where he gleefully claimed that the party was robbed of victory, provoking the withholding of Ekpenyong’s certificate of return, failed to sway the people from voting for the PDP at the governorship and state assembly elections that weekend.. Without a doubt, Buhari has demonstrated his vindictive nature and has shown that his aides can go to any length to break the law so long as the outcome of that illegality would be to his benefit. He ensured that Fayose was paid back in his own coins through Governor Kayode Fayemi; Amaechi is already pulling all stops to upstage Wike in order to pay him back for what he did in 2015. Where is the rule of law? It is curious that the same Buhari who initially frowned at the use of the military in election duties would now turn around to endorse same in 2019 polls. With this mindset, the president has shown that he lacks the political will to do the right thing like reforming the electoral system. Every action of his in the last four years has been a direct opposite of what he promised to do when he assumed office in 2015. We wait to see how Buhari would prosecute both Amaechi and Akpabio for the mayhem in Akwa Ibom and Rivers states including his party’s National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who rubbished the administration anti-corruption fight by ordering the delivery of huge cash in three bullion vans to his residence. Therefore, as he gets set to commence his second and last term, he has again promised to bequeath a reformed electoral system to Nigerians to make their votes count. Readers can continued online www.thisdaylive.com

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t is now clear to discerning minds that we, as a nation, are a fraud! Our only excuse for stagnating largely in every area of human endeavour is the reality of our geographical size, bigoted ethnicities numbering in hundreds, and the inherent distrust that tenderises our interactions. More than any event in recent memory, the 2019 elections (held on February 23 and March 9) have exposed the limitations, lack of positive movement and sporadic germination of a corps of pestilential political actors with the appetite of consuming locusts. Our people have been so pauperised mentally and physically that despite ceaseless media campaigns, vote-buying and such self-loathing electoral indiscretions, some of our people readily submit themselves to be deployed as thugs, ballot snatchers, crowd-dispersers, vote pimps, etc. It is now not strange to see some people seeking who would pay for their votes, the next venue where food items and other trivia would be shared. Even our children are no longer innocent. Many of the ad-hoc staff of INEC, who were largely recruited from the NYSC programme, were captured on videos and photographs with their hands and necks deep in the perpetration of heinous acts on behalf of derelict politicians. These activities, deplorable and unfortunate as they were, paled in consequence to the calibre and temperament of political actors “democratically� elected to run the affairs of this country for the next four years. How does one get inspired or motivated to believe in a greater nation and much better society, when the drivers of that hope are foisted through a vastly tainted disruptive process of transition? The nation has somehow lost its way, even before the journey had begun. Are we surprised at our low estate, and our seeming resolve not to move an inch away? Let us reflect on few of the damning scenarios thrown up by these elections - perhaps, we are in too much haste to discredit what may indeed turn a dynamic, though traumatic resurgence. In the past three weeks, this column has attempted to evaluate different actions and situations surprisingly coughed out by the political class, while seeking to understand the possible elements unraveling before our eyes. Going forward, we shall attempt to highlight certain issues and situations that lure us into further existential enquiry.

Hottest Gold Bar Called ‘Inconclusive Election’ We are perhaps well known for our love of the dramatic, and knack to find an amusing narrative in the most harrowing of human experiences. The ‘reigning’ concept in Nigeria of today is designed by Prof Mahmood Yakubu’s electoral commission in the conduct of the 2019 governorship election, especially. Out of the 29 states where elections were held last Saturday, INEC has suspended final declaration of winners in at least six states; insisting that elections were ‘inconclusive’ in a number of polling units, and must be repeated. Rivers’ election was summarily cancelled because of widespread violence and other criminal acts, without a new date in sight. Most neutrals may accept the argument of INEC based on Part 4, Section 26 of the Electoral Act, to wit: “26. (1) Where a date has been appointed for the holding of an election, and there is reason to believe that a serious breach of the peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on that date or it is impossible to conduct the elections as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies, the Commission may postpone the election and shall in respect of the area, or areas concerned, appoint another date for the holding of the postponed election, provided that such reason for the postponement is cogent and verifiable�. This section is often cushioned with “page 17, paragraph C� of INEC’s Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections� which explores the context of marginal differences between leading scores in conflict with the weight of cancelled votes. On the face of it, the following states and their “tagteam� figures underscore the logic of repeat elections (now slated for March 23) especially as the margins of votes between the two leading candidates are obviously less than the margins of cumulative votes cancelled in a particular area as a result of potentially disruptive activities. Expectedly, critics of INEC, led by the main opposition party, still have their nostrils in the air. As far as they are concerned, the kite of “inconclusive election� is wildly blowing in the sky towards Osun guber re-run which many observers believed was a dubious and desperate attempt to redefine ‘free’, ‘fair’ and ‘credible’ election. Most aggrieved PDP sympathisers suspect all the six states under the clouds of “inconclusive election� are potential victims of APC’s homegrown designs to spring another Osun banger,

COUNTERPOINT BY

FEMI

AKINTUNDE-JOHNSON e-mail: fajalive1@gmail.com mobile phone: (08182223348 - SMS Only)

and explode their “certain� victories at the polls. PDP was leading in all but one. This crisis of trust in the ability and integrity of the electoral umpire to deliver on its promise of fairness and commitment to independence may tarnish all the gains of the past four years with all the huge investments and sacrifices of materials, human and governmental resources and international goodwill Here is how the six states stood before the “�inconclusivity�: Kano - Abdullahi Ganduje (APC - 987,819), Abba Kabir-Yusuf (PDP - 1,014,474), differential - 26,655; cancelled votes in 172 PUs - 128,572; Bauchi - APC (465,453), PDP (469,512); Benue - APC (329,022), PDP (420,576); Plateau APC (583,255), PDP (548,326); Sokoto - APC (486,145), PDP (489,558) and Adamawa - APC (334,995), PDP (367,471). The route to “inconclusive election� declaration is often predicated on the margins of votes between between the two leading candidates in relation to the number of registered voters disenfranchised in the affected PUs or wards. However, we all know that a place like Adamawa where 32,476 votes separate incumbent Jibrila Bindow of APC and Ahmadu Fintiri (PDP), there is a level of mathematical exactitude that only politics can rubbish. Registered voters affected by cancellations in 44 PUs are 40,988. We know that voter apathy generated less than 30% national voter turnout average during the presidential election, a situation which instead of improving in the governorship election two weeks later, was generally observed to have slightly worsened. Even when we accommodate the uniquely high voter turnout in Adamawa (894,481 accredited voters out of registered 1,973,083, according to the state’s Returning Officer, Prof. Andrew Haruna) a healthy 45.3%... in a free and fair ambience, that can hardly cause a seismic shift in favour of Bindow to wipe out over 32,000 lead margin of Fintiri, plus one - and at the same time expect zero vote for the PDP man... except, of course, Professor Peller is back from the grave!


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THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER Ëž ͚͞˜Ͱ͎ͯ͡

EXPRESSION

MEDIAGAFFES

‘Heavy Downpour’ Wrong

EBERE WABARA

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AILY INDEPENDENT of March 13 offered its readers the following blunders: “It took a de Gaul to end the senseless killings and France acquiescing to the self-rule agitation of Algerians.â€? Away from anarchy: acquiescing in (not to). “There will be lots of entertainment, music, a special buffet and the show will be rounded up with a Grand Ballâ€?. The revelry will be rounded off with a grand ball. “In a bid to escape with their booties with (in—not with) a helicopter gunship‌.â€? I am opposed to misadventures in grammar: ‘booty’ is uncountable. “We’d noticed the professor was not too comfortable standing under the blazing sun, but we thought she would nerve it through.â€? Get it right: standing/sitting in the blazing sun. ‘Under the sun’ means ‘anywhere in the world’ THE GUARDIAN on Sunday of March 3 presented four inaccuracies: “And then they demanded for money, at gunpoint. “ Gently remove ‘for’ to avoid any ‘accidental discharge’! â€œâ€Śthe two countries have since been understudying one another’s political system.â€? Two countries: each other; three or more countries: one another. “The Nigeria Police has also assisted in the training of Sierra Leone (Leonean) police and detectives. “ Always: police (collective noun) have. Vanguard of March 13 did not conform to journalistic excellence: “When a dupe in the regalia of politics tickles himself and laughs hilariously to fool his un-bemused electorate‌.â€? The person who is duped is the dupe, while the perpetrator is the duper and the act referred to as dupery. The English language abhors un-educated familiarity with words, their meanings and applications. Persistent use of wrong expressions cannot confer

BY

acceptability on them. “Nobody can at this stage doubt the ability of the administration to take serious and atimes painful decisions.â€? Leadership in Nigeria at times (not atimes) smacks of non-seriousness. THISDAY of March 4 went down with a bazaar of lapses: “In his sixpage address paying glowing tribute (tributes) and homage to late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.â€? The late Chief Obafemi Awolowo‌. “People subject themselves to flogging and beating, and all manners of dehumanization in the name of healing.â€? Thoughts on grammar: all manner of. “There have been indications for sometime that‌.â€? Time for distinction between ‘some time’ (which applies here) and ‘sometime’. “Furthermore, the conduct of officials and the general logistics support for that election were unprecedented in the annals of our nation’s history.â€? ‘Annals of history’ is tautological (by my own poetic licence). And this: logistic or logistical support. “Despite the Moslem-Moslem ticket which he and his vice-presidential candidate held, majority of Christians across the country still rallied in their favour.â€? No protest: a majority of Christians. “Medical and scientific researchers have shown that offsprings of drug addicts suffer mental deficiency.â€? ‘Offspring’ uncountable “Garbage ought to be disposed off as regularly as possible because they can constitute a serious nuisance to the public.â€? Fixed expression: dispose of. ‘The eventual failure of many of such drugs have not discouraged fresh attempts at inventing more effective ones.â€? The battle against discord continues: The failure...of drugs has (not have). By the way, we cannot be talking of more effectiveness in the same breath with failure. We are still in the realm of effectiveness, contextually. “The heavy downpour during the

ewabara@yahoo.com, 08055001948

week has made the price of perishable commodities in the market to come down due to low patronage by consumers.â€? ‘Downpour’ does not require amplification (heavy) because of magnitude inherence. And ‘patronage’ is usually by consumers. So, ‘by consumers’ is otiose. â€œâ€Śbecause they are not entirely immuned from the adverse consequences of pervasive poverty in third world nations.â€? Get it right: immune (not immuned) from. “UN statistics on fertility in subSaharan Africa has indicated.‌â€? Statistics have (not has) except as a discipline (course). “These are the major factors but there is a final secret with regards to.‌â€? No secrecy: as regards or with regard to. “Students of sports history remember that Morocco played three matches and lost them all, conceeding six goals in the processâ€?. Language scholars endorse these: concede, conceded and conceding. “Last week Monday’s press briefing by the Minister‌.â€? Functional communication: Last Monday’s press briefing‌. “Extremism had also brought about the death of 37 left-wing intellectuals when the hotel in which they were holding a conference in the central town of Sivas was touched on December 2.â€? Love of grammar: torched (not touched). “Some news media have been known to have lent themselves unwittingly into the hands of hack writers by not doing a thorough investigation of the stories they publish.â€? Literate style: lent themselves to (not into). “Jakande as governor of Lagos State warmed his way into the hearts of Lagosians with a single-minded pursuit of his housing programme.â€? LKJ wormed (never warmed!) his way into the hearts of Lagosians. THE PUNCH of March 10 disseminated two infantile goofs: “Unknown gunmen kidnap varsity VC in A’Ibomâ€?

When will Nigerian journalists desist from using this clichĂŠ: “unknown gunmenâ€?? Just say, ‘gunmen’! And this: “varsity VCâ€?! My dear reader, how does it sound to your ears? A rewrite: Gunmen kidnap VC in Akwa IbomFor the second time, let us welcome DStv, which offered two hollow blunders via its message scroll on Thursday, March 7, 2019, to this column: “Dear subscribers, we are please to inform you that‌.â€? Enjoy this: I am pleased (take note) to inform you that reactions to this column are welcome. “Kindly tune in for your viewing pleasureâ€? Learn and relax: tune in to your viewing pleasure. “Why spend 6 years for a 4 year course?â€? Electioneering: 4-year course. Punctuation marks mean so much in communication, most especially when the issue is scholarship. Vanguard of March 8 deserves a query for this slipshoddiness: “Apparently disturbed by the spate of armed robbery in Lagos State, the IGP‌.â€? Yellow card: spate of armed robberies. The next farcical line is from DAILY TRUST of March 8: â€œâ€Śthat over six million people in Nigeria have been affected by glaucoma, which is the second leading cause of blindness in the continent of Africa.â€? World Glaucoma Week: on the continent of Africa. “To diffuse tension, Cottone says, discuss money and expectations up front (everything from paying rent to doing chores).â€? (THE GUARDIAN Homes & Property On Wednesday, March 6) There is a world of difference between ‘defuse’, which should apply here, and ‘diffuse’ (which means another thing entirely)! “March Polls: We won’t use lethal weapons, says Policeâ€? (Vanguard Headline, March 4) Towards a better life for the people: say Police. “Antidote for Disfigured Emotionsâ€? (THE GUARDIAN Headline, March 4) Antidote to solecisms: pursuit after perfection.

POLITY

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T

he Nigeria fruit juice sub-sector of the economy has not stopped attracting new players ever since the Federal Government placed a ban on the importation of fruit juice into the country. Thanks also to the government’s initiative of tariff reduction on juice concentrate that saw to incentive boost for local manufacturers, a move that has significantly fueled prospects and opportunities in the sector. These developments have so far aided growth, competition and quality output in the segment and rubbed off positively on the general economy. On account of this, GX Foods, an indigenous firm, is driving innovations in the Fruit Juice segment with the launch of ‘Frudi’. However, despite the impressive turnout of investors in this sector, Nigeria is still to meet the annual national demand for fruit juice. According to the Raw Material and Research Development Council, RMRDC, the annual demand for fruit juice in the country presently stands at 550 million litres, while current supply is estimated at 135 million litres which represents less than 25% of total demand. The council also disclosed that the ban placed on foreign juice further sparked an increase in consumption level of Nigerians to about 10% per year. While consumption increased to 320 million litres in 2007 from 200 million litres that it was in 2002, it jerked up to 550 million litres in 2017. Plaguing the sector asides from supply deficit is also the changing interest and purpose of consumers that have graduated from the thirst quenching, refreshing and invigorating values of fruit juice to

products that subscribe to consumers’ health and wellness plans. This is even as guidelines for a healthy balanced diet recommend plenty of fruits and vegetables to supply body’s vitamins and minerals needs, hence medical professionals advice on moderate consumption of 100% fruit juices to make a significant contribution to potassium and some other micronutrients. These trends thus call for quick innovations to enhance sector attractiveness and more importantly, satisfy the sophisticated cravings of consumers. The entrance of ‘Frudi’ in the Nigerian Food and Beverage space is a major development that would have consumers enjoy desired values on their money and at the other end, positions Nigeria as the next food and beverage manufacturing hub globally. Coming at a time when Nigeria is longing for more fruit juice to harmonise with huge consumption demand, Frudi juice variants, from the stable of GX Foods, is not only filling the deficit gap, but equally matches up with innovations required to boost sector growth and performance, to the admiration of global market. The official launch of the product took place in Lagos and was witnessed by trade partners across the country, top executives of GXFoods, media executives and some members of the public who attested to the unique offerings of the latest. Frudi Juice comes in four different variants, namely-Gingy Lemon, Zobo Blast, Sensational Guava and Exotic, all of which are made of traditional and tropical ingredients. Speaking at the launch of the product, Head of Sales and Marketing, GX Foods, Theresa AromeSule, stated that the latest has come to satisfy the

yearnings of health conscious young adults and mothers who desire beyond ordinary refreshments in fruit juice. She said, “The innovation in the taste of Frudi is the distinguishing quality that GX Foods have invested in. More so, in our effort to revolutionise the sector, we have ensured that all Frudi variants are all partly made with locally sourced ingredients to further buttress the company’s commitment to the ‘Buy Nigeria to grow Nigeria’ movement. “Frudi is also aseptically packaged by employing the highest quality standards using Tetra Pak equipment. Our latest is a promise to the consumers for more exciting, refreshing and body nourishing fruit juice. “Apart from the tropical and traditional ingredients; Frudi leaves the taste buds tingling for more. This distinguishing quality of Frudi is referenced in the Frudi slogan, ‘taste the extra to forget the ordinary,’’ she said. Managing Director of GX Foods, Gbemi Adio Moses, reiterated the essence of the new products to enhance healthy living. He said: “Now, we are moving from an era of refreshments and just drinking juice, to an era where health and nutrition are strictly considered in whatever that goes into our stomach. This is where the world is headed and we are on that train and direction.� The company equally shared its innovative plans to drive sales, initiate partnership, incentives and source raw materials locally to create markets for farmers in order boost their income and employment level. This move by GX Foods is focused on driving a higher stake in the fruit juice segment and, in every case, to rub off positively on the food and beverage industry.


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Omawumi, Waje, Explore Nollywood Production with ‘She is’ GRACE AMAH My Work Can Be On Social Media But Not My Private Life pg. 48

SEGUN JOHNSON I Grew Up As Son of a Local Bread Seller pg. 49


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SHOWBIZFLAIR

Omawumi, Waje, Explore Nollywood Production with ‘She is’ With ‘She is’, a collaborative effort of Aituaje Iruobe (Waje) and Omawumi Megbele (Omawumi), enters a new set of female producers in Nollywood, writes Ferdinand Ekechukwu

“W

hen you meet someone who you share the same tastes and reasons with you, then you have every reason to be close to the person. We have both been through a lot together and she has proved to be a true friend time and again. Apart from music, we do a lot of things together and we understand each other so well. She is someone I can call a true friend. I actually have a media company that is into movies, and it is in partnership with her. You will hear more about it as time goes by.” That was Aituaje Iruobe on her relationship and partnership with cosongstress, Omawumi Megbele. Waje as you know her and her best friend Omawumi are like Siamese twins. Both artistes in their own rights are successful in their music careers. Their success ranges beyond their vocal range put in three octaves. The strength of their success has inspired them to great heights. Drawn from the influence, the vocal powerhouses and best friends Omawumi and Waje came together to establish Hermanes Media, a company set up to provide services such as film/TV production, TV adverts, content creation and curation services, brand event activation, and creative digital marketing. The best friends, singerssongwriters cum actresses and now co-founders of a media company have released their first full body of work, a movie titled ‘She is’. The movie was on Sunday, March 10, 2019, premiered at the IMAX FilmHouse Cinema, Lekki Lagos and will be showing at various cinemas across the country. As expected, the premiere was attended by a number of A-list celebrities, friends, and fans who all came out to support the singers. The red carpet was lit with all the glitz and glamour as celebrities came looking their best for the movie night in their ‘Modern Day Fairytale’ dress code. Prior to the start of the movie premiere proper, Waje and Omawumi thrilled the guests to what they know how to do best with a very beautiful performance. This was one of the biggest highlights of the night. The movie, which is the first collaboration of the singers as movie producers, was directed by Chris Eneng Enaji. Starring actress Somkele Idhalama in the lead role and seasoned Nollywood actors Segun Arinze and Desmond Elliot. She is, a captivating drama with noticeable comedic elements tells the story of Frances Anyaoku (Somkele Idhalama), a beautiful Nigerian woman in her late 30s and a successful realtor. Frances’ life changes when she’s told by her gynecologist that she has a fibroid which adversely affects her ability to conceive and is presented with various options that aren’t favorable to her. Undeterred, Frances


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Omawumi, Waje, Explore Nollywood Production with ‘She is’

Waje and Omowunmi and others on set

‘She is’ tackles a number of personal and societal issues women have to deal with in today’s world and cuts across all ages. Today’s woman is constantly switching roles, resilient and fragile yet the strength and vigor she possesses cannot be denied. There are sad realities of her existence and health is the major topic in this movie takes her destiny into her own hands as she tries to rewrite her script through the emotions and resulting decisions – some funny and others devastating. Also featuring Waje, Omawumi, Chiwetalu Agu, Frank Donga, Mawuli Gavor, Bishop Okon, Ali Baba and a host of others, ‘She is’ portrays the story of the average Nigerian woman who after attaining a level of success career-wise and has also come of age, is expected to get married. Prior to the new project, both business partners have had stints in Nollywood. Waje made an acting debut in the movie Tunnel, a 2014 Nigerian movie directed by Stanlee Ohikhuare which tells the story of a young pastor’s life, his journey and his fulfillments. On her part, Omawumi had played a minor role in the 2009 edition of the V-Monolugues, a play that reflects the negative issues affecting women in Nigeria. She also starred in the musical play “Olurombi.” She had a minor role in the movie Inale, a Hollywood/Nollywood Bongos-Ikwe Production. In 2011, she starred in Funke Akindele’s Return of Jenifa, and also starred in Yvonne Nelson’s House of Gold (2013). Currently in Nollywood, women comprise just a minute percentage of directors and producers working in the industry. With ‘She is’, a

collaborative effort of both talented music stars enters a new set of female producers in the industry. A list of some of the most inspiring female directors and producers in Nollywood shows more than their numbers can tell. Nevertheless, their contributions are no less significant as the industry boasts quite a number of women who have continued to push, set records, inspire, and tell refreshing kinds of stories. In the same vein, ‘She is’ tackles a number of personal and societal issues women have to deal with in today’s world and cuts across all ages. Today’s woman is constantly switching roles, resilient and fragile yet the strength and vigor she possesses cannot be denied. There are sad realities of her existence and health is the major topic in this movie but reading in between the lines of the script and looking deep into the lesson of the storyteller. She is thrown into the depth of society’s pressure and what it expects of her like being married before a certain age, staying successful, having kids and loved by everyone. Noting their years of experience and success in navigating the media world, the women at the birth of their new venture had noted that they want to tell their stories of hard work, consistency and collaboration while navigating the media industry.

Somkele Idhalama

Ray Emodi


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SHOWBIZFLAIR tthe age and time where everything you do has to be on social media to be able to d eeither get endorsements or followers. It’s a good thing to put your work out there, but for me putting my relationship on b ssocial media is a no-no. My work can be on social media, but not my private life. o I now see life from a different point of view o Years back, I can throw caution to the wind, but today, I cannot do that. There w aare times I want to take some decisions, but when I think of the fact that I am now b a mother and I have someone who is llooking up to me, I tend to have a rethink on it. It has taught me a lot. It is still teacho iing me, I am still learning and putting in my best to be a better person. m Talking about love Why should I give up on love? You don’t particularly rule out things just d because a particular step you took wasn’t b tthe right one or didn’t favour you. I love tto love and whatever has happened hasn’t taken love away from me. It has h not, to be honest with you. Don’t let me n go into details because whatever hapg pened wasn’t like things went bad, the p only thing is that we didn’t go to the altar. o At the right time, what will play out will A play out in terms of marriage. p Secret to my youthfulness To be honest, I don’t have any recipe. God has been awesome. I don’t do ‘this G iis what I do when I wake up’. I am not a makeup person. I tend to go natural aas often as possible. When you see me o outside when I am not shooting, I am just m myself the way God created me except tthat I have clothes on. It’s just been God. P People ask me this question a lot. I don’t d drink, I don’t smoke. I stay away from tthings that will make me age. Established Nollywood stars make ffans desperate I don’t want to mention names; they o only follow what they see. The industry I looked forward to coming into was an iindustry of potentials. When I got into tthe industry, my vision was to be a role m model to the younger ones. I also got into tthe industry because I want to fend for myself and for my family. m Fast forward to this moment, there iis a whole lot of competition within my colleagues, especially the females m iin the industry, you want to outshine yourselves, you want to outshine others, y you want them to feel ‘I am the best, this y iis me’.

GRACE AMAH

My Work Can Be On Social Media But Not My Private Life Grace Amah is a Nollywood actress and TV personality. Her earlier days in the movie industry gave her a strong hold and that “sweetheart feel” everyone desires. She talks to Tosin Clegg about coming back into Nollywood, motherhood, the industry at large and more Coming back into Nollywood

C

oming back into the industry wasn’t easy but the good thing is that we are playing different roles and interpreting roles differently. My fans were excited to have me back. That is a good one and a plus for me. It’s a good thing we have new acts, I was also a new act at the time I came into the industry. I had senior colleagues; I still have senior colleagues so it’s a good thing. I am back for good and coming back again with something huge.

Interpreting characters When you play a character very well, they tend to want to see you in other movies like that, forgetting the fact that you are an actor and you are versatile. You can interpret any role. Nothing has changed in my height and size, the only thing I can say is that I am a mother now. Maybe that is the reason I play mother roles and they now see me as a more mature woman and I could play something different. Except that I have added weight a little bit. The role I am playing in ‘It’s a Crazy World’ is a different role entirely. That is why I am finding it exciting to play. Coincidentally, my son joined me today

because they are on mid-term break. I have a house help and my mum is also available. He stays with them when I am on set. I don’t put my relationship on social media I have always been a low key person in terms of my relationship. I don’t put my relationship on social media. I don’t think it’s an ideal thing in the industry I find myself. It’s better to stay out of it and be safe. For the wedding bells, I will send the invitation when the time comes. Everybody is entitled to whatever he or she wants to do and especially my female folks. I am not just the person that puts my life on social media. We are now in

I attended auditions when I retturned to the industry Sometimes I wake up as early as 6am, go back home, go do my house chores g aand then go back for the auditions proper. After 20 auditions, you don’t get p tto see your name. When you look back aat those days knowing God has smiled on you today, you don’t want to throw o tthose years away. Some of us got into tthe industry on a platter of gold, maybe y you were just walking on the road side and someone puts you on a movie. Lo and behold, the movies sell well and you become a star. When they see that their senior colleagues are doing these things, they tend to want to go nude or do things in a bid to outshine others. The competition is so high and we need to cut it down and that’s because we are not encouraging our younger ones at all. We are making them not to see life as it should be, step by step, taking it one step at a time. They just want to come in and become stars overnight. That is what I can say about it. We need to help our up and coming ones; we are also guilty of it. My role in the series ‘It’s a Crazy World’ I am playing the character Kemi, the second wife of chief Don Chucks and it’s been fun so far. The script has a lot of content and quite interesting and has a lot of comic relief as well. It’s been sweet with the research I have put into the character, making me want to play it so well. The character I am playing is a Yoruba lady who goes all the way to get what she wants.


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Tosin Clegg 07062816737 e-mail: tosinclegg@hotmail.com

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MY STORY

Gists THE FUN BEGINS ON AFRICA MAGIC URBAN WITH ‘COMEDY NITES’

A brand new season of “Comedy Nites” has hit the air on Africa Magic Urban on DSTV. The new season promises to entertain the audience with 13 nights of fun, side-splitting jokes, laughter and occasional music. Comedy Nites is a half hour, Stand-up comedy television show that boasts an array of top-notch performances from a blend of newly discovered, fast rising and established Comedians all in a cozy, comedy club setting. This season sets the Comedy Nites stage ablaze with fresh acts from Senator, Koloman, Larry J,

Efe the Warri boy, DeeOne, Josh 2 Funny, Ovy Godwin, Ukodo, Daniel Egwede, Koja Kaze, MIC, PHAGE, Damola, Laff Doctor, Whalemouth, Parkhage, Short Family, Ebube, Uwa, Mr Paul and MCLively. Channel Director, African Magic Channels, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu says “We’re excited about this and we hope our viewers will be entertained by the show. This isn’t just comedy; it is an opportunity to introduce upcoming comedians to a large audience.” First-rate performances from SLK, Forever, Odogwu, Bow Joint, Desmond, Bash, Lasisi, Funny Bone, Acapella, Omo Baba and Emma Oh my God will leave viewers in stitches. Comedy Nites will also feature must-watch headline acts from top-of-the-range comedians like Basket Mouth, Dan the Humorous, Buchi, Bovi, Chigurl, Akpororo, Ajebo, MC Abbey, Okey Bakassi, Klint da Drunk, Kenny Blaq. It will also feature surprise performances from guest artistes. “It’s been an exciting experience working on this project. It took months of hard work and planning and I can’t wait for viewers to enjoy the show,” said IK Osakioduwa.

SEGUN JOHNSON

I Grew Up As Son of a Local Bread Seller Segun Johnson is a live performer and a musician. His expertise with different musical instruments have helped shaped him into a musical powerhouse. He tells Tosin Clegg about starting out, his big break, career and so much more

‘THE PRESIDENT’ HITS CINEMAS

H

ow did it all start?

I grew up as a son of a local bread seller in Oke-Ira, Ogba part of Lagos, where I was raised by my mum, Mrs. SamiatAdekanbi, all by herself. I had my primary and secondary education in Lagos. During this time, my talent in playing the drums and piano granted me an opportunity to play the drum set in a local church where I was paid N10,000 monthly salary and I was able to save some money with which I sponsored myself in school.

When did your career kick off? And my first step was to serve as a backup singer for different live bands in Lagos. My plan was to learn the styles of these different live bands, especially because they all had different kinds of music as their selling points. Some live bands were good with gospel songs, some were good with juju and fuji music, some were good with Jazz and Pop songs of foreign old school songs. For a year, I continuously did backedup vocals for different bands just to learn their styles. I spent a major time of my learning process with Bolaji Olarewaju, popularly known as Big B.

Tell us about your performances so far? Movie buffs at the movie premiere

Featuring A-list actors like Toyin Abraham, AY, Funky Mallam, Omo Ibadan, Broda Shaggi and Shirleyann Ede, The President, a Nollywood movie is currently gripping cinema goers with its humourous twists to political intrigues in Nigeria. The movie is a parody of power-play in Africa’s most populated country. Themed ‘the controversial election’ and coincidentally hitting the cinemas in this general election period, The President creates pun, exploiting the vigor of its highly humourous cast to dramatically bring comic relief to Nigeria’s overheated polity. The comedy movie premiered last Friday at the Marturion Cinemas, Lekki. In attendance were cast members including Funky Mallam, Omo Ibadan, and Shirleyann Ede, among

other notable personalities in Nollywood and the business world. The movie was produced by Shirleyann Ede. It was shot in Abuja, the seat of power, and using imageries with real life semblance, it scores a high point in making its audience relate with the story and intended satire. The movie tells a story of an incumbent president who interrupts a football game to declare his intention to run for a second term. Several issues spring up to threaten his ambition as the cunning and hilarious game of politics begins to unfold. He must listen or ignore the advice of his cabinet to determine if he would lose or win the election against a formidable opposition party. The President is currently in Cinemas.

I have moved from corporate to regular owambe events, such as weddings and birthdays in and out of Lagos. I made appearance on different media platforms such as the Teju Babyface Show, TVC wake up Nigeria, Channels television Sunrise, amongst others. I’ve hosted corporate events with different corporate organisations such as Chevron Nigeria, Toyota Nigeria, Promasidor Nigeria, Meristem Securities, amongst others.

When was your most memorable moment? When ChiefAde-Ojo, Chairman of Elizade, called me personally and requested my presence and performance at his golf course at his home town in Ilara Mokin, Ondo State. This was memorable for us because as at that time we were just few months into the business and choosing us was at the expense of another notable band in Nigeria.

What are your future goals? Presently, we stand as the only live band and crossover artiste that performs the present style of versatility in vogue. We also perform customised ethical songs, not vulgar songs, for each event. In years to come, we look forward to satisfying clients.


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Ashanti Flaunts Hot Body Sexy American singer, Ashanti, 38, rocking a revealing beaded Bikini with exotic headdress as she celebrates at the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival.

Ashanti


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Adesua Motivates Nollywood actress, Adesua EtomiWellington recently revealed what she does anytime she’s about to “give up”. In her Instagram page, she wrote: “I read about the most inspirational human beings and my faith in humanity is restored. There is hope.” Etomi has always had a passion for acting right from childhood. At the age of seven, she became a member of the drama club at Corona School, Victoria Island. She moved

to the UK when she was 13 years old. She obtained a diploma in music theatre, physical theatre and performing arts from The City College in Coventry, the United Kingdom. She also graduated with a First-class honour in drama and performance at from the University of Wolverhampton in 2009. Adesua was recently featured featured on Vogue’s list of 14 global superstars. She was on the cover of the Magazine with three other stars.


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NEWSXTRA

Stop Abusing Buhari over APC’s Woes, Abe Cautions Amaechi Lloyd insists statement his view, not Amaechi’s

Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

The Senator representing the Rivers South East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Abe, has called on the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, and his supporters in Rivers State to stop abusing President Muhammadu Buhari over the predicament of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state. However, Director General of the Tonye Cole Campaign Organisation, Dr. Chidi Lloyd who made the allegation that President Buhari had abandoned APC in Rivers State charged Abe to leave Amaechi out of his views, adding,“ I want to state categorically that my views are my personal thoughts and should not be credited to any other person other than me.� He accused Abe of mischief. Abe said Nigerians had heard and ignored stories of the abuses rained on the President on a daily basis by those who were supposed to be his supporters and promoters in Rivers State. He, in a statement issued yesterday in Port Harcourt by his spokesperson, Parry Benson, recalled that during the party’s Presidential campaign in Port Harcourt, not a kind word was said about the President for his numerous achievements in Rivers State. Abe, who was reacting to comments by the Director-General of the Amaechi/Cole campaign, Lloyd, on a live TV programme on Thursday, said the habit of blaming everybody for the party’s woes must stop. The statement reads, “I was visibly shocked when Hon. Chidi Lloyd, the Director-General of the Amaechi/Cole campaign went on Channels TV to openly abuse the President and blamed President

Buhari for the electoral challenges facing the APC in Rivers State. “This is most unfortunate. The habit of blaming everyone else for our woes must stop immediately. We had a needless and senseless power tussle in the party even when everyone agreed that the minister was the leader, yet that was Senator Abe’s fault, (because Senator Abe has a gubernatorial ambition as if there is any member of a political party in Nigeria without an ambition). “APC members in Rivers State went to court for a minor issue that could have been resolved internally in 10 minutes, they were accused of being sponsored by Governor Wike. “The APC leadership went to physically attack the courts and openly disobeyed court orders and the courts responded by axing the candidates for being products of that disobedience. The judges were accused of being PDP and working for Wike. “Now you have gone into an election for which you are clearly ill-prepared, and yet the president gave you everything. Rivers APC had NDDC, Railway, NPA, Shippers Council; Ministry of Transportation, Police, Army, Air Force, DSS and yet you could not win because the INEC REC is PDP. INEC Chairman is PDP. Haba!� The Senator further charged: “Now we are blaming the President, is the President also working with Wike? If we had taken time to remind Rivers people of the uncommon love that Buhari has shown to Rivers people in the Ogoni clean-up, the Bodo-Bonny Road, approval for new higher institutions in Rivers State, appointments of our sons and daughters into positions of trust and so on. “We would have made more sense to Rivers people than the failed campaign for personal supremacy

WELL DONE... Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, presenting a letter of appreciation to the Director General Ekiti State Council of the PMB/PYO Presidential Campaign Organisation, during a meeting to appreciate members of the council and APC leaders in Ado-Ekiti...on Friday

by the leader of the party in the state. The president even went as far as risking his reputation and integrity to support the APC in Rivers State more than any other state in Nigeria. “In playing our usual blame game let us leave President Buhari out of it and focus on the real issues facing the party in Rivers State.� A statement by Lloyd titled, ‘Take Amaechi Out Of My Personal Views, I am An Adult And I am Responsible for My Actions And Inactions’, insisted that “As a stakeholder in the politics of Rivers State, I feel sad that a collaboration of Senator

Magnus Abe and Governor Wike and their accomplices in the Rivers State Judiciary denied us so much in power structure of Rivers State. Whereas, it is an incontrovertible fact that Magnus Abe was collecting huge sums of money and a Land Cruiser jeep, including payment of legal fees, from Governor Wike to pull the rug off the feet of the APC, it is even more annoying that Magnus Abe did everything under the sun to stop President Buhari from being re-elected. It is on record that when we were working round the clock to ensure we re-elected President Buhari, Magnus Abe addressed a team of 23 Coordinators across

the 23 LGAs in his camp to go to their LGAs and instruct their supporters to vote for Atiku instead of President Buhari and they did. “I want to state here that no reasonable member of the APC in Rivers State feels happy over what is happening in Rivers State of which Magnus Abe is part of. Magnus Abe and Wike sat down with Obo Effanga, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Rivers State and drew a list of Returning Officers and Collation Officers. Magnus Abe nominated Dr. Peter Medee, a member of the PDP as the Returning Officer of Emohua LGA, my LGA to work in favour of Wike.

“Magnus Abe should take his sanctimonious demeanour to the dogs. As the days go by, more and more Rivers people and indeed Nigerians are getting to know that Abe is a man without honour. Today, the same Abe who joined forces with anti-Buhari Senators led by Senator Saraki is acting like he believes in President Buhari than the rest of us. Where was Abe when only 10 APC Senator stood out for President on the floor of the Senate? When President Buhari was away for medical treatment, the same Abe was in nocturnal meetings planning how to force President Buhari out of office as if he was God who gives health.

PDP Wins 17, APC 4 Assembly Seats in Bayelsa

IPAC Condemns Criticism of A’ Ibom REC by Opposition, Says Elections Peaceful

Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

Okon Bassey in Uyo

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared as inconclusive results from three constituencies in the just-concluded State House of Assembly election in Bayelsa State. It said that fresh polls had been rescheduled for the 23rd of this month, noting that a stakeholders’ meeting would soon be held to intimate all the parties with the details of the polls. However, in the released results by the electoral umpire, the PDP retained 17 seats and conceded four to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state. INEC listed Brass Constituency 1, Ogbia Constituency 2, where former President Goodluck Jonathan voted and Southern Ijaw 4 Constituency as the areas where the elections could not be concluded due to several irregularities. A statement by Mr. Wilfred Ifogah, INEC Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity

in the state, said supplementary polls would be conducted in the affected areas on a date to be announced shortly. He explained that the reason for declaring three constituencies inconclusive by the INEC was due to breaches of the regulations and guidelines for the conduct of 2019 general elections. “21 results were fully declared and winners returned while three were declared inconclusive with due reference to INEC regulations and guidelines for the conduct of 2019 general elections.� He noted that some of the rules included “Clause 10 (10), mandatory use of smart card readers and 28 (b), collation at ward level as well as clause 43 (b). He added that after a careful review of the activities by the management team as informed by the reports given by the Collation Officers and Returning Officers, the decision was finally arrived at. Ifogah said that the commission would in due time inform stakeholders in the state of the new date to conduct supplementary elections in the three

affected constituencies. The results showed that the APC which had one seat in the State House of Assembly in 2015, increased the number to four in the 24-member State Assembly. Among those who emerged as APC State Assembly memberselect were Mr. Wilson Ayakpo (Ekeremor 2), Minister of State, Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri’s area, Mr. Edward Irigha (Nembe 2), Douglas Samson (Nembe 3) and Omubo Ayonatimiyo (Brass 2) where the leader of the APC, former Governor Timipre Sylva, hails from. Among the returning members of the State House of Assembly for the PDP are the Deputy Speaker, Abraham Ngobere (Brass 3) Tonye Isenah (Kolga 2) who is returning for a third term, Ben Ololo (Nembe 1) and Koku Obiya (Yenagoa 2). Also elected were the former Chairman of the Ijaw Youth Council (Central Zone), Tare Porri, ex-Chairman of Southern Ijaw Local Government Council and Special Adviser to Bayelsa Governor on Oil and Gas, Bonny Ayah.

The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Akwa Ibom State has given their verdict on the just concluded Presidential, National Assembly, Governorship and State House of Assembly elections held in the state describing the processes as peaceful in the state. IPAC condemned the concerted efforts by the opposition to attack and assail the integrity and character of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner in the State, Mr. Mike Igini. At a press conference in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, the body said despite being peaceful, there were outright intimidations and harassments in some parts of the state by those who claimed to be agents of the security agencies. It said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had a commanding, almost cult-like followership in the state stressing that the

results announced were the true reflections of that deep sense of fidelity to the party by the people. “While one political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) out of over 60 political parties operating in Akwa Ibom State relied more on the aid of security agencies which they had termed “Federal Might�, the PDP was entrenched within the grassroots and when the time came, they rose in unison and voted for the party, and went ahead to defend their mandate. “It is our sincere belief that any other political party within IPAC will one day take over the seat of power in Akwa Ibom State. “That one indisputable lesson in the just concluded elections in Akwa Ibom State is the majesty of God in the affairs of man and of course, the unflappable will of the people to determine who rules them.� Describing Mr. Igini as a noble and upstanding Nigerian patriot, IPAC said he deserved praise and gratitude for standing up to what is right and

ideal. “He refused to be compromised and stood his grounds on doing only what was right and noble; he refused to kowtow to the fusillade of blackmail aimed at attacking his sterling character and integrity especially from the APC. “Mike Igini deserves the praise and commendations of Nigerians. INEC should be proud of the likes of Mike Igini. “Democracy is about the supreme will of the people, it is not an exercise that is conducted under duress or through the nozzle of the gun or the sharp edges of the bayonet. “Akwa Ibom people rose in unison across the three senatorial districts and told the world loud and clear that in the God of Udom Emmanuel, they trust. The results of the elections are the true reflection of the wishes of the people. “We feel proud that in our lifetime, credible and peoplecentric elections could and were held and the voices of the people and their votes mattered,� the body stated.


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NEWSXTRA

APC Rues Poor Performance in S’East, Alleges Betrayal by National Leadership Emmanuel UgwuĂ“Ă˜Ă—Ă&#x;Ă‹Ă’Ă“Ă‹

RECOGNISED FOR EXCELLENCE... L-R: Key note speaker, Dr. Nike Akande, receiving a plaque from Executive Director, Human Resources and Admin, PZ Cussons Nigeria, Ms. Joyce Folake Coker, at the colloquium on achieving gender-balance on the International Women’s Day celebration organised by PZ Cussons Nigeria at Ilupeju, Lagos...recently

Ination Declines to 11.31% James EmejoĂ“Ă˜ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, further decreased to 11.31 per cent (year-on-year) in February compared to 11.37 per cent in January, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 9.8 per cent in February, down by 0.1 per cent when compared with 9.9 per cent recorded in January. The urban inflation rate stood at 11.59 per cent (year-on-year) in February from 11.66 per cent recorded in January while the rural inflation rate increased stood at 11.05 per cent in February from 11.11 per cent in the

CHANGE OF NAME I formerly known and addressed as MISS MARRY-ANN OBIAGELI NWAOKOYE, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS MARRY-ANN OBIAGELI IYOHA. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I formerly known and addressed as MISS. ADESEWA OPEYEMI ADENIYI Now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. ADESEWA SUSANNE AKHIGBE. All former documents remain valid.The general public should please take note. I formerly known and addressed as ZAINAB KABIR Now wish to be known and addressed as ZAINAB JAMIL KABIR. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I formerly known and addressed as SIWEKU KATE EDOBOR Now wish to be known and addressed as SIWEKU KATE IRABOR. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. I formerly known and addressed as MISS PRECIOUS UCHEOKWUAZU Now wish to be known and addressed as MRS PRECIOUS UCHE ORIAKU. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.

previous month. On month-on-month, the Headline index increased by 0.73 per cent in February, representing 0.01 per cent rate lower than the 0.74 per cent rate in January. According to the NBS in its CPI report for February, the percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12-month period ending February 2019 over the average of the CPI for the previous 12-month period was 11.56 per cent, which indicated 0.24 per cent point from 11.80 per cent recorded in January. It noted that the highest increases in headline index were recorded in prices of tobacco, repair and hire of footwear, major household appliances, domestic services

and household services, dental services, medical and hospital services, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing. The NBS added that the average 12-month annual rate of change of the index was 10.19 per cent for the 12-month period ending February 2019 which was 0.15 per cent points lower than 10.34 per cent recorded in January. The composite food index rose by 13.47 per cent in February compared to 13.51 per cent in the preceding month. According to the statistical agency: “This rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of fish, bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, meat, vegetables, oils and fats and fruits.

“On month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 0.82 per cent in February 2019, down by 0.01 per cent points from 0.83 per cent recorded in January 2019. “The average annual rate of change of the food sub-index for the twelve-month period ending February 2019 over the previous twelve-month average was 13.62 per cent, 0.31 per cent points from the average annual rate of change recorded in January 2019 (13.93) per cent.� However, month-onmonth, the core sub-index increased by 0.65 per cent in February representing a decline by 0.16 per cent when compared with 0.81 per cent recorded in January, the NBS further stated.

Carleton University Launches Memorial Fund for Pius Adesanmi As activities continue to hold across the country and beyond in honour of the memory of late Professor Pius Adesanmi, a fund is being established by Carleton University to support students who wish to continue in the path of his life’s work. The Director of its Institute of African Studies, Adesanmi was one of the two Nigerians among the 157 passengers and crew members who died as an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed a few minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa for Nairobi on Sunday morning of March 10. Announcing its plans for the fund, it said: “Carleton University is devastated by the sudden death of Prof. Pius Adesanmi, director

of our Institute of African Studies and a remarkable writer, poet and political commentator who was celebrated for his eloquence and fearlessness in speaking truth to power. “His award-winning book – You’re Not a Country Africa: A Personal History of the African Present – was groundbreaking. One of the most important minds of the African diaspora, he inspired his Carleton colleagues with his brilliance and cemented his close ties to faculty, staff and students with his kindness, thoughtfulness, enthusiasm and unforgettable laugh. “To honour his memory a fund is being established which will support students and continue

his life’s work.� Hours after the crash, the university had expressed shock, saying: “The Carleton community is shocked and devastated to learn of the death of Prof. Pius Adesanmi, who was among the 18 Canadians killed in today’s crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet at the Addis Ababa airport.� It also tweeted: “The Carleton community is mourning the loss of Pius Adesanmi, director of the Institute of African Studies, who was among the 18 Canadians killed in today’s Ethiopian Airlines disaster. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.� The school also encouraged the public to share their memories of Adesanmi by submitting tributes via the school portal.

IOM Repatriates 12, 574 Nigerians from Libya in 2 Years Chinedu Eze

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has facilitated the repatriation of about 12, 574 since the past two years.

This was disclosed when the Nigeria Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) received another batch of 174 stranded Nigerians from Libya on Thursday night. The Coordinator, of NEMA’s Lagos Territorial Office, Mallam

Idris Muhammed who received the newly repatriated Assisted Voluntary Returnees disclosed that with this batch, the total number of stranded Nigerians repatriated back from Libya makes it 12,574.

A seething anger is spreading within the ranks of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-east zone following the poor performance of the party. A highly placed chieftain of APC in the South-east, who prefers not to be named told THISDAY that “we are thoroughly disappointed� at the turn of events, adding that “accusing fingers are pointing at the party’s national leadership.� APC not only failed to win any governorship seat in the South-east but lost Imo State and could just pick two Senate seats, one each from Abia and Imo. He said that the national leadership of APC “conspired� to betray the party in the South-east by trading the interest of the party by making a deal with South-east governors. According to him, the APC national leaders deliberately allowed the governors of South-east states “to rig themselves back to power� in order to make the zone less attractive for the party’s 2023 presidential ticket. “This is nothing but struggle for 2023. If you are a politician you will understand that the South-west is already positioning for 2023.

“Their intention is to scheme South-east out of 2023 by creating the wrong impression that APC has no strong base in the zone,� he said. He warned that “such dangerous politics will backfire against the party because the zone is too big to be ignored.“ The party chieftain specifically alleged that the national chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu were among those that conspired to suppress the APC in the South-east “for their selfish reasons�. “The party’s candidates were betrayed and weakened with no support provided for them to win election,� he said. The source noted that the interest of the APC national leadership was to extract concession from Southeast governors to enable President Muhammadu Buhari get the at least 25 per cent votes in each of the five states of the zone. Buhari scored over 25 per cent of votes in Abia, Imo and Ebonyi while he could not make it in Enugu and Anambra. The APC chieftain disclosed that the meeting where the party was “sold in the South-east� was held in Enugu before the presidential election of February 23, 2029.

CNPP Craves Support for Ayade’s Second Term Bassey Inyang Ă“Ă˜Ă‹Ă–Ă‹ĂŒĂ‹Ăœ

Twenty five political parties in Cross River State, all members of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) have congratulated Governor Ben Ayade over his reelection for second term in office. While congratulating the governor on Friday at a press conference in Calabar, the state chapter of the CNPP led by its chairman, Pastor Sunday Michael, said they would throw their weight behind the governor, so he could have a successful second term. Addressing journalists on behalf of the governorship candidates, Michael said they decided to support Ayade because “the governorship election was free, fair, and credible.� Michael said now that election was over; the state should be allowed to move in the interest of the people, and for the governor to settle and continue in his industrial development plan.

“Elections have come and gone and our general assessment of the poll shows that the election was relatively free, fair and credible. It is on this premise that we the governorship candidates and chairmen of political parties say a big congratulation to Senator Ben Ayade, Governor-elect. “We urge the governor to see this victory as the validation of the trust the majority of the people had in him to continue in his industrialisation drive, job creation, youth empowerment and see to the realisation of his flagship projects,� Michael said. The CNPP appealed to other candidates who contested the governorship election, but lost, to sheathe their swords and allow peace to reign. The CNPP advised that all the governorship candidates should accept the outcomes of the election in the spirit of sportsmanship.

Declare Imo North Senatorial Result Now, PDP Tells INEC AdedayoAkinwaleĂ“Ă˜ĂŒĂ&#x;ÔË

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to announce the already collated results of the February 23, 2019 Imo North Senatorial election, as well as March 9 rerun poll, in which it claimed its candidate, Hon. Ndubueze Patrick, was in clear lead. The party urged INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to douse the tension in Imo State by directing the declaration of the final results and return of its candidate who has been legitimately elected by the people of Imo North to represent them at the Senate. The party in a statement Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, cautioned that the continuous delay in announcing the final result, after returns have been

established at the polling units, wards and Local Governments levels was already heightening tension in the state. He said that party believed that the commission had completed its investigation on the documents and results of the rerun election, which established PDP’s victory in that election. Ologbondiyan stated, “This is more so as the results have been moved to INEC headquarters in Abuja following the harassment of INEC officials in Imo State by agents of the losing All Progressives Congress (APC) and Action Alliance (AA). “From the collated results in the February 23 elections, the PDP won in all the Local Governments in Imo North before polls in two local governments; Isiala Mbano and Ehime Mbano were cancelled and scheduled for rerun.


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THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER Ëž ͚͞˜ͺ͸͚Î

NEWSXTRA

Taraba Govt Accuses APC of Instigating Violence as Normalcy Returns to Jalingo WoleAyodeleĂ“Ă˜ Ă‹Ă–Ă“Ă˜Ă‘Ă™

WE APPRECIATE YOU... L-R: The Consul General, Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Stefan Traumann; President, Coscharis Group, Dr. Cosmas Maduka; and General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Coscharis Group, Abiona Babarinde, when the Consul General paid a courtesy visit to Coscharis Group head office in Lagos‌ recently

Exam Malpractice: WAEC Blacklists 13 Schools, Warns 56 in Kogi Yekini JimohĂ“Ă˜ ÙÕÙÔË

Thirteen secondary schools in Kogi State have been derecognised by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), and warned 56 others who involved in examination malpractices during the 2018 West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE). The WAEC Desk Officer, Kogi Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Mr. Ademu Amos, disclosed this at a meeting with the Principals, Vice Principals (academics) and Examination Officers of the affected schools in Lokoja. Amos said that 13 secondary schools were de-recognised, while 56 schools were seriously warned by WAEC due to examination malpractice.

He expressed concern about the situation and said that the State Government was not happy about it, describing it as a serious issue that could kill the hope of a nation. Amos quoted the Examination Malpractices Act No. 33 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Government which stipulates that offenders were liable to four years imprisonment and a fine of N100,000 per student and N250,000 per school. He said that the major offences committed were the use of mobile phones and sameness of work by copying one another in the exam. Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Natty Bobai, the Branch Controller of WAEC in Kogi, said that the Council had zero tolerance for exam malpractice, and would do everything to curtail the menace.

PZ Cussons Eulogises Women, Seeks Gender Parity Speakers at an event organised by PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day espoused ways gender parity could be achieved. The event which took place at Ilupeju, Lagos, called for full commitment for the advancement of affirmative action as a panacea for an all-inclusive development as enshrined in SDG 5. In his opening speech at the occasion, the CEO, PZ Cussons, Christos Giannopoulos said that PZ Cussons is an equal opportunity employer and opportunities are opened to all irrespective of their gender. He reminded the audience that the Global Chairperson of PZ Cussons is a lady, adding that “as a company dealing in beauty care and household products, women in the company have made immense contribution in providing consumer insights and crafting winning marketing strategies.� In her speech at the occasion, the Key Guest Speaker, Dr. Nike Akande, described women as the foundation of any society and called for action to acceler-

ate gender parity. She said: “Currently inequality persists everywhere and stagnates social and economic programme.� She buttressed her assertion with a statistics that ‘in 2014, 143 countries have guaranteed equality between men and women in their constitutions, while 52 are yet to take this step. “Women should endeavour to support women for this mission to be accomplished, while government on its part needs to come up with more legislation to address these issues.� In her closing remarks, the convener of the event, Executive Director, Human Resources and Admin, Ms Joyce Folake Coker, said the company decided to join the global community to celebrate the event as part of their responsibility in setting and driving forward the momentum towards achieving a more gender-balanced and enabling workplace. “For a long time, PZ Cussons Nigeria prides itself as company with a number of women on its Board and have women in both senior managerial and other positions,� she added

He expressed his gratitude to the commissioner for tackling issues bordering on examination headlong and her resolve to stand with the Council for what it stood for. He urged all stakeholders to join hands with the Council and stamped out the menace of exam malpractice in the nation’s education sector. Mrs. Rosemary Osikoya, Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology in the state, reiterated the commitment of the state government to reduce exam malpractice in Kogi to the barest minimum. Osikoya stressed that stiff penalties as prescribed by law and other stringent measures would be used to curb the menace in the state. She recalled that 47 secondary schools were derecognised and 108 ‘seriously warned’ in 2017, while

13 schools were derecognised and 56 seriously warned in 2018. She noted that the state government had been able to reduce the trend of exam malpractice in Kogi to 27. 6 per cent for derecognised, 50.9 per cent for seriously warned, and 1.38 per cent for indicted schools. She restated the state government’s commitment to restore standard and quality education in schools across the state. She urged all schools’ operators both private and public, to visit the ministry’s website and update their school profiles and records not later than March 31, 2019. �All the derecognised schools would not be used as examinations’ centre in 2019, and their names would be sent to the police for prosecution according to the existing law.

Enugu: UPP, Nsukka People, Others, Congratulate Ugwuanyi One of the leading opposition political parties in Enugu State, the United Progressive Party (UPP), has joined the league of 70 other political parties and groups in congratulating Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi on his reelection as the governor of the state. In a congratulatory message signed on behalf of the UPP by its State Chairman, Ken Onyekaonwu, which was presented to Governor Ugwuanyi when members of the state and national leadership paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Enugu, the party told the governor that “your reelection was well deserved having spent the last four years of your life labouring hard to move Enugu State to an enviable height.� Acknowledging that Governor Ugwuanyi “toured the length and breadth of the state campaigning�, the UPP pointed out that “it is obvious that if indeed you have failed the people of Enugu State, they would certainly not have renewed your mandate as their governor,� stressing that “this however, well explains why your victory at the polls could be described as well deserved.� “Your Excellency, a cycle has just been concluded, and our people

have spoken through the inherent opportunity presented thereby, and their voice was made manifest in their support and votes to reelect you as the governor of our dear state for the next four years. May the good Lord guide and grant you the necessary wisdom and ability as you steer the ship of governance in our dear state for the next four years,� it stated. Members of the delegation include the National Treasurer, Chief Flint Obiekwe, the Assistant National Secretary, Chief Don Nwabueze, the National Admin Officer, Chief David Ukeje and the Zonal Secretary, South East, Chief Nzeanochie Iweka, among others. In a related development, the people of Nsukka Local Government Area leveraging on the euphoria of being the local government area in Enugu State that delivered the highest number of votes to GovernorUgwuanyi in the just concluded election were also at the Government House, Enugu to congratulate him. Led by the council chairman, Hon. Patrick Omeje, the people of the area who came in their numbers, thanked God for the governor’s resounding victory at the polls, stating that it did not come to them as a surprise.

The Taraba State Government has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state of instigating the violence that trailed the gubernatorial election in the state with the aim of portraying the election as not credible. This is coming just as the state government disowned the unnamed aide of Governor Ishaku allegedly arrested by the Department of State Security (DSS) for being in possession of 350 permanent voters cards (PVCs) saying no aide of the governor was involved in such a dastardly act. Following the declaration of governor Darius Ishaku as winner of the election, armed youths and miscreants had carried out series of attacks on thousands of people that trooped to the streets to celebrate his victory. In separate press statements read by the state’s Commissioner of Information, Simon Dogari and the Senior Special Assistant to the governor, Bala Dan Abu in Jalingo

yesterday, the state government noted that the intention of the masterminds of the violence was to create tension and anarchy in Jalingo and the entire state in order to discredit the election. According to Dogari, “the intention of those who lost election was to create tension and anarchy in Jalingo and the entire state such that the impression would be created in and outside Taraba state that the elections was not credible. “The state government is happy that this motive has not been achieved and we give credit to God and to all the good people of Taraba State who have ignored the call to arms and have helped to defuse tension rather than yield to the temptation of reacting violently.� The commissioner also wondered why someone who lost at the polls descended so low to give a religious colouration to the violence that greeted the declaration of Governor Ishaku as winner of the governorship election.

Group Pledges to Renovate St. Charles Grammar School, Osogbo SundayEhigiator

The old students of St. Charles Grammar School-Oshogbo 1978/1979 set, a.k.a. ‘Stanza 789’, has pledged to commence renovation of the dilapidated structures of their Alma mater. Chairman of the 1978/1979 set, Mr. Olufemi Olusola, during a press conference in Lagos said educational facilities contribute to academic achievement in the school system. He said, “Infrastructural facilities are the physical and special provisions made to enhance teaching and learning in schools. The importance, need and relevance of physical resources towards the success of every educational programme can never be over-emphasised. “The availability of adequate school buildings, classrooms, chairs desk and other facilities are necessary for the attainment of educational objectives. Educational facilities are major factors contributing to academic achievement in the school system. These include the school building, classrooms, furniture, libraries, laboratories, recreational equipment, apparatus and other instructional materials. “It is necessary that efforts should be made to renovate the dilapidated school buildings in the country as experience has shown that bad educational system and structure would inherently lead to the bad academic performance of students in national examinations, encourage truancy, immoral conducts and

behaviours.� According to him, “Today in Nigeria, few if any, of the public schools, can’t boast of good infrastructure. Most of the public schools are full of decay infrastructure. “In Nigeria, there seems to be no culture of facilities maintenance. Once a school building or other physical structure has been commissioned, every other thing about the structure is usually forgotten.� Thus, it is not unusual to find that most schools built over several decades ago have had no renovation, even when it was obvious that such structures have dilapidated or become obsolete,� he lamented. In an analysis of the results of the West African School certificate examinations (WASSCE), the Assistant Registrar, West African Examination Council, Mr. Collins Uduh revealed that the candidates who obtained credit passes in at least five subjects including English Language and Mathematics within 2005 to 2009. “The above distressing statistics capture the fears of parents, governments and employers of labour about the enormity of the problem at hand. Though the situation has not always been this bad, things got progressively worse when societal values began to be eroded by crass materialism, corruption, bad leadership and abdication of responsibility by political jobbers, posing as political leaders. More worrisome is the virtual neglect of the educational sector by all the stakeholders.�

Ita, Former DSS Boss, Loses Wife Former Director General of the State Security Services, Mr. Ita Ekpeyong has announced the untimely demise of his wife, Mrs. Temitope Ekpenyong Ita, on March 13, 2019 in Abuja after a brief illness. Mrs. Ita, a lawyer, was until her death, a staff of the Corporate Affairs Commission in Abuja. She is survived by her husband, children, aged father, brothers, sisters and other relatives. Burial arrangement will be announced by the family. According to a statement

by the family, burial arrngements will soon be released.

Mrs .Temitope Ekpenyong Ita


THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER Ëž ͚͞˜ͺ͸͚Î

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SPORTS XTRA

Man Utd Draw Barca, Spurs to Face City in Champions League Qâ€™ďŹ nals

T

ottenham have been drawn against Manchester City in an all-English Champions League quarter-final tie, while Manchester United will face Barcelona. In the other two ties, last season’s finalists Liverpool were drawn against Porto, while Real Madrid’s conquerors Ajax will face Juventus in a rematch of the 1973 and 1996 finals. The draw means a return to Nou Camp for United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who scored a stoppage-time winner in United’s Champions League final win over Bayern Munich in 1999.

Although Barcelona were initially drawn to be at home in the first leg, the tie will take place at Old Trafford to accommodate neighbours Man City. UEFA said ahead of the draw: “Manchester City and Manchester United will not be able to play at home on the same night, nor on consecutive nights, following a decision made by the relevant local authorities. “Therefore, should both clubs be drawn at home in the same week, the team having finished lower in the domestic league the previous season - in this case, Manchester United will be reversed in accordance with the UEFA Club Competitions Committee

principles.� The first legs of the quarter-final ties will take place on April 9 and 10, with the second legs coming a week later on April 16 and 17. Spurs will travel to the

Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on April 20, meaning the two sides will play three times in the space of 10 or 11 days. Liverpool’s quarter-final against Porto will be a repeat of last year’s last-16

tie which Jurgen Klopp’s side won 5-0 on aggregate. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told the club’s official website: “What can I say? It’s Porto and we’ve played there already and we know how good we had

to be last year. “The result, in the end, was a strange one; it was very good for us, of course, but it was a strange one. In the second leg, we saw the character of Porto and the quality they have.

World Cup Draws

D’Tigers in Pot 7 alongside Senegal, New Zealand and Angola May face Argentina, Brazil or Canada TheFederationofInternational Basketball has put Nigeria in pot 7 alongside Senegal, New Zealand andAngola ahead of the Men’s World Cup draw coming up today, at Shenzhen BayArena. The 32 teams which qualified for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 were shared among eight pots of four teams each, based on the latest FIBA World Ranking for Men after the last window of qualifiers played in February. Host- China are in pot 1 alongside the top three teams in the World, USA, Spain and France. Pot 2 has Serbia, Argentina, Lithuania and Greece while Russia,Australia, Brazil and Italy complete pot 3. Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Turkey and Venezuela are in pot 4. Germany, Czech, Poland and Iran are in pot 5 while FIBA grouped Canada, Montenegro, Philippines and Korea in pot 6 Japan, Jordan, Tunisia and the

last African team to qualify, Cote d’Ivoire make up teams in pot 8. According to the guidelines released by FIBA24 hours before the event, Pots 1, 4, 5 and 8 will feed GroupsA, C, E and G while Pots 2, 3, 6 and 7 will feed Groups B, D, F and H. China will be placed in Group Awith all their group matches to be played in Beijing and reigning world champions USA will be allocated to Group E in Shanghai. Group B games will be played inWuhan.ThecityofGuangzhou will host Group C while Foshan will play host to Group D team. Group F teams will play in Nanjing, Group G in Shenzhen while Dongguan is the preferred city for Group H teams. The World Cup holds between the 31st of August and 15th of September. The Nigeria Basketball Federation will be represented at the draws by Lawal Razaq Dayo (Nigerian high ranking embassy staffinChina)andD’TigersTeam.

Champions-league-draw

D’Tigers in action

Juve, Leicester, Ajax Monitoring Coveted Nigerian Leicester City scouts were in Denmark on Wednesday afternoon to watch one of Europe’s most exciting young talents, according to reports. Reports from Danish newspaper Herning Folkeblad claimed Leicester City were one of around 20 clubs represented at the UEFA Youth League Round of 16 ties between FC Midtjylland and Manchester United. The scouts which included representatives from

Juventus and Ajax, were present to watch up-andcoming Nigerian talent Jibril Abubakar. The 6ft 3in 19-year-old didn’t score in the game, but he played a part in a historic win with Midtjylland becoming the first Danish side to reach the quarter-final stage of the competition. Abubakar has played a vital part in his team’s extended run in the Youth League, scoring four times in 19 appearances across all

competitions. Abubakar joined Midtjylland on a free transfer from homeland club FC Ebedei in January of last year, and it seems the Danish club could make a big profit on the striker, who is known for his physicality and presence up top. Midtjylland will face Porto in the next round when the scouts - if indeed they were impressed by his performance against Manchester United - may be tempted to return.

21-Goal Arsenal Striker, Balogun Yet to Decide International Future Prolific Arsenal youthteam striker Folarin Balogun is faced with a difficult decision over the national team to commit his international future to as he’s eligible to represent countries from three different continents. According to Arsenal youth-team guru, Jeorge Bird citing the latest Gunners matchday programme, Balogun is yet to decide where his international future lies despite his call-up to

England’s U-18 squad for games in March. The United States Soccer Federation also have their eyes on Balogun and previously invited him to their U-18 team, for whom he has scored two goals in four appearances, all of which came in friendly matches in August 2018. The 17-year-old is eligible for Nigeria-based on the granny rule but that has not been exploited by the Nigeria Football Federation as the player

has never received an official invitation to their youth teams. Balogun has been in brilliant form for Arsenal’s youth teams this season, notching 21 goals across all competitions. In the eyes of FIFA, Balogun is originally an American citizen as the teenager was born in New York, however, he is provisionally cap-tied to England, having represented the country at the 2018 European U-17.


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Onaiyekan on Election Violence “The process has been militarised, with armed thugs engaging our security forces, who in their turn are rarely able to be as fair and professional as they claim to be. No wonder votes often no longer count.” – Retiring Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, condemning 2019 general election violence.

PENDULUM DELE MOMODU

F

dele.momodu@thisdaylive.com

Tribute to Pius Adesanmi

ellow Nigerians, it is very difficult to write this tribute to a man one knew as a friend, colleague and brother, Professor Pius Adesanmi. Let me start from the end. Last Sunday started for me like every other Sunday, a day for relaxation. My son had driven to Oxford to pick me and take me home in London. The drive from Oxford on the Motorway was smooth, with little traffic here and there particularly when we got to London because as is typical of most roads in the capital, they are perpetually undergoing some repair or another at the weekends. On getting home, I opted for a quick Nigerian lunch, something which is a rarity in Oxford and which I had therefore missed during my weekly stint in Oxford. Thereafter, I opened my phone to navigate through my social media platforms as is my habit. Suddenly, a satanic news item jumped at me. An Ethiopian airlines plane was reported to have crashed shortly after take-off. I was stunned. I have never liked such news, being a frequent flyer myself. I said the usual selfish prayer: “may we not have any of our family members or friends on it.” But truth was, that route, from Addis Ababa to Nairobi is quite popular for Nigerians. The headquarters of the African Union is in Addis Ababa and international agencies dot the landscape of Kenya which is also renowned for its amazing tourist attractions. The allure for fun-loving and adventurous Nigerians is best imagined. My mind continued to process the news and I twitted a prayer for the casualties and offered my condolences to their bereaved families. I was still wondering what might have caused this unfortunate crash when my eyes roamed to a pending direct message on Twitter from a lawyer, writer and brother, Tade Ipadeola: “Egbon, something ghastly has happened. We have to believe Pius Adesanmi was on the crashed Ethiopian airliner. Travelling with his Canadian passport.” I screamed, “no way!” I immediate called Mr Ipadeola in Nigeria and he reiterated his earlier message. I started working the phones and soon stumbled on another bad news regarding another distinguished Nigerian on the ill-fated flight, written anonymously by God knows who: “Just got this: I’ve just been informed now that we lost one of our own. A high-profile Nigerian, Amb. Abiodun Bashua in that crash. Those serving in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will know him. He was the former UN and AU Deputy Joint Special Representative in Darfur, Sudan. A complete gentleman. May God rest his soul.” What a terrible day this is turning out to be, I soliloquised. Ambassador Bashua is a brother -in-law to Bose and Gboyega Adegbenro, and I could therefore share in their pain and sorrow because of my friend and brother, Prince Damola Aderemi, whose mother, Funlayo Adegbenro, is the matriarch of the Adegbenro family. As for Pius, who I used to call Kofeso, as a Yoruba corruption of the word ‘Professor’,

Adesanmi

I eventually confirmed that he had indeed perished along with Ambassador Bashua and 155 other innocent souls on that doomed Flight ET302. I knew his death would reverberate to far-flung places across the oceans because of his towering accomplishments in academia and the literary world. Kofeso, in his inimitable, simple but flowing literary style had written himself into the hearts of too many fans globally. At under 50 years of age (Pius had only recently celebrated his 47th birthday on 27 February), he seems to have achieved what most people wouldn’t have achieved at the age of 80 and beyond. I had become acquainted with him through his compelling essays and articles before we met physically. And ours was love at first sight, based on mutual respect and admiration. My colleague and brother, Segun Adeniyi had called me in Accra, Ghana, one afternoon from Abuja, Nigeria. After our exchange of usual pleasantries and banter, Segun informed me that his close friend, Pius Adesanmi, would like to have my numbers. I gave him my consent immediately. Who wouldn’t? I was a big fan of his writing prowess, as well as his political interventions, even if we disagreed from time to time on various issues. I soon received a call from Kofeso and he told me he was coming to spend some time teaching at the University of Ghana in Legon. I told him to alert me once he arrived and settled down, and he did. I personally drove to pick him from Legon to my home where we had so much fun devouring our bowls of pounded yam and egusi soup. We ate as voraciously as we chatted moving back and forth from mundane to serious issues. We got on so well, it was as if we had known each other forever. I told him that for as long as he was in Ghana, he had unfettered access to my chefs, whether I was home or not. He was such a friendly man and he would sometimes ask if he could invite his friends along and of course this was fine by me. His friends straddled society and was a reflection of the kind of persona that Kofeso had. Needless to say, we all bonded as one blood. Months later, Kofeso returned to his base in Canada but we kept in touch. I followed

him on social media, and I admired his passion and love for our motherland Nigeria, a passion we shared, albeit with different approaches. Let me fast forward a bit. Kofeso was involved in a ghastly fatal motor accident on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway last year. He was lucky to escape with his life from what I later learnt. Somehow, I missed the news but stumbled on it on September 7, 2018, and I quickly sent him a WhatsApp message: “My dear Brother, this is Dele Momodu. I don’t know how the story of your accident escaped me. Just discussing now with Segun. May God heal you totally. I will keep trying till I get you.” Kofeso responded about six hours later. I didn’t realise the accident was worse than I had imagined. “Great to hear from you my dear Brother Bob Dee. It was serious o. 2 months later I’m still in physio and recovering from injuries. 2 people died. I am the only survivor.” I was shocked to my bones. “Lord have mercy… May their souls rest in peace.” I wrote. How could I have envisaged that that fiendish accident was only a dress rehearsal? Surprisingly, barely 24 hours later, Kofeso and I exchanged yet another WhatsApp conversation, after he read my Pendulum column titled “Are Nigerian Youths Truly Ready to Run or Just Ranting?” I was particularly delighted by his beautiful comment: “Bob Dee, this tour de force has arrived in time for inclusion in my syllabus on youth and politics in Africa.” I thanked him profusely. Our interactions continued unabated, and on January 24, 2019, I contacted him to be one of the three referees I needed for my application to Oxford University, the others being my former teacher at the then University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Chidi Amuta, and my former boss at Weekend Concord, Mr Mike Awoyinfa. As always, as soon as he read my message, he responded: “Apologies Bob Dee, I’ve just seen this. I’m in a seminar. Can I call you in an hour?” I said ok. He requested for my current cv and asked if there was anything in particular I wanted him to write. I simply replied: “Pls write from the heart. You know I’m a great fan of your style.” I pestered him a bit about the deadline for the submission of the referee’s letter. At a stage, he phoned and said “Bob Dee, you should know I can never let you down” and I was deeply touched by his love. It was such a great honour to have him write a reference on my behalf as an impartial and independent assessor of the quality of my essays and work. He finally completed the reference and sent it off. True to his word, I subsequently got confirmation from Oxford that all my referees met the strict deadline, and I was very grateful to them all including Kofeso, who had obviously been very busy and distracted at that time. My last WhatsApp interaction with Kofeso was on February 5, 2019, after what seemed an altercation between us on Twitter. Some

young guys had suggested that Pius Adesanmi had attacked me in a comment, which I didn’t consider as a big deal, but Kofeso was visibly worried to the extent that he privately fired some quick clarification to me: “Bob Dee, I can’t believe this. I just got on Twitter now and noticed that a comment I made pointing out that CNN would always badmouth China from an American perspective was misread by so many. I hope you got my drift o. What is wrong with all these Twitter kids and reading comprehension?” Since I didn’t feel his tweet was anything negative, in the first instance, I just told him: “Nothing at all KOFESO. We live in the age of ignorance and intolerance.” But Kofeso was not yet done, and he raged on: “I am so angry. How could anybody think it was u I was attacking? E GBA mi o. These kids can’t read!!” Kofeso appeared like a man who had a deadline to meet, and he didn’t want our relationship destroyed by any mischief-maker. I told him not to worry because, sincerely speaking, I didn’t take it to heart, in any way, and I had not even considered that I might be the one he was addressing in his tweet, which as he explained was not the case in any event. “My own KOFESO, these young guys don’t know our relationship. Check my response pls.” That was my final response to him on WhatsApp. It never occurred to me that it would be the last. But I’m glad we managed to speak before his unfortunate departure on the tragic flight. Kofeso had called me weeks back to ask if I would be in Nairobi, Kenya, this week. He knew I travelled a bit within the East African region and was hoping we could meet in Nairobi where he was attending a conference. I said I would be in England most of this week before travelling to Lagos for a youth empowerment program. It was our last verbal discussion. It still plays on in my head like a broken record because this was a most unassuming intellectual and literary giant as his writings demonstrate. Death took away one of Africa’s best and brightest. Like too many people have openly attested to, it would be difficult, if not impossible to replace Professor Pius Adebola Adesanmi. He came, he saw, he conquered, within a short space of time. Kofeso flew away on the wings of time into eternity and the sure hands and embrace of the Lord, when he finished his assignment on earth, even as we, the lovers and admirers of his writing and and some of his ideals, still feel that we needed him more. Such is the unchallengeable way of almighty God that we must give thanks for his short but monumental life. A life in which he gave of his knowledge and wit to enrich our space and thoughts. Kofeso, we thank and honour you today and always. You are a pious STAR! My sincere condolences to his entire family particularly his mum, wife and children. May his beautiful soul rest in perfect peace. Adieu, Kofeso. Sun re o!

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SATURDAY 16TH MARCH 2019  

SATURDAY 16TH MARCH 2019  

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