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Emefiele: With CBN’s Strong Policies, Growth to Accelerate in Q3 Funke Olaode, Shola Oyeyipo and Martins Ifijeh in Washington DC The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said the economy will record strong

growth in the third quarter of this year. Emefiele, who hosted Nigerians and friends of Nigerians to a banquet, tagged ‘Evening with the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria,’ on the sideline

of the ongoing IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, DC USA, Friday night, expressed optimism that the policies of the CBN were yielding positive results for the economy. Updating the international

community about the prospect for the Nigerian economy as indicated by IMF, Emefiele said: “We feel delighted that yes, our growth number still looks fragile but things are look up. At today’s (Friday) session, it was admitted that growth

has been weak from the last quarter of 2018 and will remain weak up till around the end of the first half of 2019, but by the third quarter of 2019 growth, will begin to accelerate again. “It was also admitted at this session that those growth we will see, will be coming from

emerging markets; and countries like India, China, like Brazil were mentioned and among them Nigeria, in Africa was mentioned as a country that will contribute to improvement Continued on page 8

Buhari: Sharibu's Freedom Hindered by Fear of Safe Movement… Page 8 Sunday 14 April, 2019 Vol 24. No 8770

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Chibok Girls: An Emblem of Boko Haram’s Violence Against Women By Aisha MuhammedOyebode and Audu Bulama Bukarti Today marks the 5th anniversary of the Chibok

kidnapping – an unprecedented episode in jihadi exploitation of girls. In the early hours of April 14th, 2014, Boko Haram abducted 276 Nigerian school

girls in Chibok, Borno State. At the time, few imagined that their captivity would be so protracted. Local outrage and international indignation created a sense that the girls

would be rescued in short order. Yet, half a decade on, 112 of them still remain in the firm grip of Boko Haram. The administration of Nigeria’s President Jonathan initially denied the atrocity

had happened, which fed the outrage from which the #BringBackOurGirls movement was born. A resistance led by Nigerian women and fuelled by social media, the campaign

brought unprecedented international attention to the girls’ plight, and rallied the world together, creating a new alliance for common good as Continued on page 8

APC Team: Atiku, Nigerian by Referendum, Not Birth Says a person must be citizen by birth to contest election under 1999 Constitution Ruling party attempting illegal redefinition of citizenship – former VP INEC defends Buhari’s election, disowns Atiku’s figures Yemi Adebowale and Tobi Soniyi A member of the legal team of All Progressives Congress (APC) that packaged the party’s response to the election petition filed by the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has said citizenship is a trump card held by the ruling party against the former vice president. He claimed the fact that Atiku is not a Nigerian citizen by birth, and, thus, unqualified to contest the February 23 presidential election was a valuable constitutional resource that could give them advantage in the electoral

litigation. But Atiku, in a statement released yesterday by his media office, debunked the claims of the APC regarding his eligibility, saying the ruling party is attempting an unconstitutional redefinition of the term “Nigerian”. That was as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) defended its declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the poll, in its own response to the main opposition candidate’s petition. INEC also said Buhari had the requisite educational qualification Continued on page 8

UBA Asks Court to Wind up Sahara Energy over N15bn Loan... Page 10

GATHERING FOR GOOD OF COUNTRY... L-R: President /Chairman, ICAN, Uche Olowu; Deputy CBN Governor, Okwu Joseph Nnanna; CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele; Nigerian Ambassador to USA, Justice Sylvanus Adiewere Nsofor; and former USA Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms Robin Renee Sanders, CBN Media at a dinner organised by CBN in Washington DC, United States... Friday night


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 ÍšÍźËœͺ͸͚ΠËžT H I S DAY, T H E S U N DAY N E W S PA P E R

PAGE EIGHT APC TEAM: ATIKU NIGERIAN BY REFERENDUM, NOT BIRTH to contest the election. The APC, in its response submitted to the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal last Friday, had stated that since the former vice president “is a Cameroonian and not a Nigerian citizen by birth,� his petition against Buhari should be dismissed because he was not qualified to contest the election. The member of the APC legal team, who pleaded for anonymity, explained that the former vice president became a Nigerian citizen by referendum and not by birth, “so he is not qualified to contest for the Presidency of Nigeria, because the Nigerian constitution says only people who are citizens by birth can contest for the office of the President.� He continued: “Recall that in 1961, a plebiscite organised by the United Nations was held in the British controlled part of Cameroon (British Northern and British Southern Cameroons). The referendum was to choose between joining a self-governing Nigeria or re-unification with sovereign Cameroun. On February 12, 1961, the results of the plebiscite were released and British Northern Cameroons joined Nigeria, while the southern part voted for reunion with the Republic of Cameroon. “Our dear Atiku Abubakar was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada, situated in the then British Northern Cameroon. He was born a Cameroonian. Atiku is a Cameroonian citizen by birth and became a Nigerian by referendum. He is not a Nigerian by birth. We have to get that right. The 11.1m votes recorded in favour of Atiku is a waste, and should be voided by the tribunal. “The constitution of Nigeria is very clear on the requirements for vying for the office of the President. The candidate must be a citizen of Nigeria by birth. Citizenship by referendum is not recognised by our constitution for the purpose of elections. “Section 131(a) of the 1999 Constitution clearly states that ‘a person shall be qualified for election to the office of the

President of Nigeria if he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth.’ Atiku became a citizen of Nigeria by referendum and not by birth. So, Atiku is a Nigerian citizen by referendum. He ought not to have taken part in Nigeria’s presidential election in the first instance. “It is like this in the United States, too. You must be born on American soil to contest for the office of the President. So, you can see that it is not a Nigerian thing. “Another very vital thing to note is that the constitution of Nigeria has not been amended to make it possible for those who became citizens by referendum, based on the 1961 plebiscite in the British Cameroon, to be eligible to contest for the position of Nigerian president or any election in Nigeria. Until that is done, Atiku and others, who became Nigerians by virtue of that plebiscite, are not qualified to contest elections here. However, their children born after the plebiscite are Nigerian citizens by birth, and constitutionally qualified to contest elections in Nigeria.� APC averred in its response sent to the tribunal that by reason of Atiku not being qualified to contest the election, “all votes purportedly cast for him and PDP in the February 23 election is lost votes.� But the Constitution also forbids any form of discrimination, on the basis of race, religion and ethnicity. Besides the issue of nationality, the APC asserted that most of the claims contained in Atiku’s petition had become statute barred and that the tribunal was not the appropriate forum to entertain them. Furthermore, APC said the issue of educational qualification of the president-elect, raised by Atiku, “cannot be treated by the tribunal� because the period for claims and objections on such issues had expired and that the petitioners failed and neglected to use the period to challenge the validity of the educational qualification of Buhari as contained in the form CF001 submitted to INEC.

According to the party, since the petitioners have waved their rights to challenge the propriety of information contained in the form CF001, their petition no longer disclose any reasonable cause of action. APC also faulted the allegation of non-compliance with relevant laws made by Atiku and PDP, adding that their failure to make specific references to the compliance issue had fatal effect on the petition and, therefore, the petition has no enough material to justify the grounds of any relief sought. Atiku and the PDP had on March 19 filed the petition against the declaration of Buhari as winner of the February 23 poll. Their petition, which was anchored on five grounds, prayed the tribunal to annul Buhari’s victory on grounds that the election was characterised by widespread rigging, violence and substantial non-compliance with electoral laws. They also urged the tribunal to disqualify Buhari over alleged non-possession of requisite academic qualification for the office of president. Atiku claimed to have scored the majority of lawful votes and prayed the tribunal to declare him the winner of the election. In the alternative, the PDP presidential candidate prayed for an order cancelling the election and directing INEC to conduct a fresh one, which will conform to relevant laws. But APC argued that Atiku’s failure to join the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police and other security agencies, who performed the alleged harassment and intimidation, as defendants in the petition to establish his claim, was fatal to the petition and that the claims should be struck out. The party prayed the tribunal to uphold the victory of its candidate, President Buhari, who polled 15,191,847 votes to emerge winner and his subsequent declaration as president-elect by INEC, while also urging that the petition against the victory should be dismissed for having no cause of action. No date has been fixed for

the hearing of the petition. Atiku: APC Attempting Unconstitutional RedeďŹ nition of Citizenship Atiku, in a formal reaction to the APC allegations, titled, “On The All Progressives Congress’ Ridiculous Claims at the Election Petition Tribunal,â€? said the ruling party was attempting an unconstitutional redefinition of the term “Nigerianâ€?. The former vice president, in the statement signed by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, said, “The fact that the APC chose to base its defence on the ridiculous assertion that the Waziri Adamawa is not a Nigerian should show to Nigerians the type of characters we have in the APC and its government, whose legitimacy runs out on May 29, 2019. “The position of the APC is so pedestrian and shows such straw clutching desperation on their part that I shall not dignify it with an answer. Our lawyers would, of course, do the needful in court. But the point I want to draw the attention of Nigerians to is that both the APC and its candidate have by this infantile logic admitted to the fact that they trampled on the will of Nigerians and that their only defence is to attempt an unconstitutional redefinition of the term ‘Nigerian’. “I am, however, confident in the Nigerian judiciary, as well as in the Nigerian people. I trust that the tribunal will treat such a claim with the contempt it deserves. We must maintain our fidelity to the rule of law and to our fountain of origin, the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended). “Atiku Abubakar has served our nation diligently in various capacities, from the civil service, where he rose through merit to the top of his chosen field, to public service, where, by the grace of God, he was the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Moreover, he has committed his assets and talents to developing our nation through the provision of tens of thousands of direct jobs

and hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs. “I make bold to state that those who have made Nigeria the world headquarters for extreme poverty are the very people whose Nigerianness should be in doubt, and not a man, who worked with President Olusegun Obasanjo to double the per capita income of our nation in less than eight years.� INEC Defends Election

Buhari’s

INEC mounted a staunch defence of Buhari’s victory at the February 23, 2019 presidential election. In its response to the petition filed by Atiku before the Presidential Election Tribunal, INEC also defended the educational qualification of Buhari. The commission urged the tribunal to dismiss the PDP candidate’s petition for being incompetent and to uphold the declaration of the candidate of APC, Buhari, as the winner. INEC filed a notice of preliminary objection supported with 11 grounds upon which it asked the tribunal to strike out Atiku’s petition. It said Atiku’s petition was incompetent because it did not contain the actual election results declared by it. It also argued that it was wrong for Atiku to claim that he won the election while at the same time asking the tribunal to nullify same because Buhari was not validly elected. The commission argued that no one could be declared winner of an invalid election. The electoral body stated that card reader machines were merely used for authentication during the election. It said some of the grounds relied upon by Atiku were pre-election matters, which should not be brought before the presidential tribunal for adjudication. The commission’s response was filed by Yunus Ustaz Usman, SAN, leading a team of other senior lawyers. Contrary to claims by Atiku that votes were collated electronically, INEC said the

collation was done manually. While denying the existence of the table of scores, which Atiku attached to his petition, INEC said, “Any evidence contrary to what was recorded in the authentic documents of the 1st Respondent is false. Any such contrary document or information is false and was deliberately skewed, suborned and produced for the purpose of lending credence to the petitioners’ spurious contentions.� INEC also denied disfranchising voters during the presidential election. The commission said it also did not order supplementary election in 14 states with respect to the presidential election. Atiku had claimed that INEC disfranchised 2, 698, 773 voters and cancelled 2,906,384 votes. However, in its response, INEC said, “It is equally not correct that all accredited voters must vote, as voters accredited for both the presidential and National Assembly may elect to vote in just one of the two.� The commission said the election was peaceful throughout the country. It said, “The conduct of the election was peaceful, fair and free and INEC created a level playing fields in all polling units nationwide for all political parties and their candidates, and the outcome of the election was a true reflection of the wishes of the voters all over Nigeria.� INEC said Boko Haram did not stop people from coming out to vote for candidates of their choice in Yobe and Borno states. It said, “Specifically, in respect of parts of states of the federation experiencing Boko Haram terror of threat, such as Borno and Yobe, the terror or threat did not adversely affect voters turn -out as voters turned out in large number to vote for candidates and political parties of their choice and at no time did the 1st Respondent (INEC) wrongly credit the 2nd Respondent (Buhari) and 3rd Respondent (All Progressives Congress) and of any political parties or candidate for that matter with any non-existent votes.�

CHIBOK GIRLS: AN EMBLEM OF BOKO HARAM’S VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN global leaders added their voice to the campaign. Fueling the outrage further, the response from the authorities was lethargic and weak. The trucks carrying the girls broke down several times, requiring hours of repair, yet the army still failed to mount a rescue. Adding to the sense of calamity, after the President initially failed to provide an official reaction for weeks, the army twice claimed to have rescued the girls and twice rolled back on those claims. In the intervening years, of the 219 girls, 107 have made it home: 4 by Nigerian military/ para-military intervention, and 21 in October 2016 and 82 more in May 2017 pursuant to a deal negotiated with the Buhari

administration which took over from Jonathan’s in May 2015. Yet, today half a decade later, 112 now young women, more than half of those incarcerated, remain in the firm grip of Boko Haram. Collectively, they symbolize all the women and girls across Nigeria who have been brutalized by Boko Haram in the last 10 years of this ruthless insurgency. In addition to killing an estimated 50, 000 people since 2011, over the course of its brutal crusade, Boko Haram has kidnapped and enslaved thousands of women and girls. Sentencing them to not only to a life of domestic and sexual slavery but a life of enforced radicalization by the tenets of its extremist ideology.

The most sadistic expression of Boko Haram’s instrumentalization of women is the group’s appalling use of girls, some as young as seven, as suicide bombers. Tony Blair Institute’s Global Extremism Monitor revealed that in 2017 Boko Haram used women more than any other Islamist group across the globe. Using women in 49 per cent of its suicide attacks in 2017, deploying 172 female assailants in three countries—Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger—and killing 248 people, including 233 civilians. But women’s quandary and the gendered violence in the conflict with Boko Haram does not end with Boko Haram�s foot soldiers. There are chilling

allegations against Nigeria’s state authorities too. In its report titled “They Betrayed Us�, published in May 2018, Amnesty International alleged that thousands of women who survived Boko Haram’s terror have faced an organised system of rape and sexual exploitation at the hands of state officials, who abused their victims with impunity as it did in several other reports. Similarly, the Human Rights Watch had similar allegations, all of which were dismissed as unfounded by Nigerian authorities. All these go to show that women in north-eastern Nigeria have suffered horrendous experiences in the last 10 years. This is an issue that must be

squarely faced in community healing process. Nigeria has so far deradicalised 254 ex-Boko Haram fighters under its amnesty scheme preparatory to reinserting them back to community. There are reports of a comprehensive dialogue with the group as more fighters who laid off arms are being treated for reintegration. To succeed, reintegration must include, among other things, some form of community-based truth-telling, justice, forgiveness, and reconciliation mechanism should be instituted. Women must be at forefront of all negotiations. Allegations of sexual abuse must be properly investigated, documented and addressed. There must be proper psychosocial support

for survivors and members of society need to be properly educated not to stigmatise, but support, women and girls who have suffered these abuses. Until this is achieved, northeastern Nigeria cannot heal the deep wounds inflicted by this brutal barbaric group that exploited elements of Islamic teachings to wreak its havoc.

hovering between N357 to N361 to a dollar, which we feel at least, it is good for our system today. Now businesses can plan, people can then determine the price of their products and then know what and what should be imported or not. “Our reserves had declined to $33billion, but with the implementation of all the tools mentioned above, our reserves sometime in 2018 was around $48 billion, and now we are able to provide dollars to who needed to go out of the country. Today, our reserves stand at about $45 billion, which we are happy about, and we feel with the confidence Nigeria

currently enjoys, the reserves will go up before the close of this year. “The government's Anchor Borrowers scheme ensures that Nigeria emerges from being a net importer of foods such as rice, to becoming a major exporter of rice supplying key markets in neighboring countries. For instance, the data from the Thailand exporters association indicate that in 2012 about 1.2 million metric tonnes of rice was exported to Nigeria. However, in 2016, which is the first one year of the implementation of our anchor borrowers scheme, rice import to Nigeria had dropped to less than 1000 metric tonnes.�

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WITH CBN’S POLICIES YIELDING FRUITS, EMEFIELE UPBEAT ABOUT THE ECONOMY to global growth in 2019. “I felt very delighted that Nigeria was mentioned. What does that mean to me? It means that we are doing something right and that all we needed to do is that, with a lot of tenacity, we can even do better and one feel encouraged that you are on the right path and we can continue to do what we do.� According to him, the recovery has been sustained for seven consecutive quarters and the pace of quarterly GDP growth has improved from 0.5 per cent during the second quarter of 2017 to 2.38 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2018. “Admittedly, we would say

that the growth rate looks fragile – it still looks low, if compared with the traditional growth number that Nigeria normally displays, averaging at that time between 5 – 6 and in some cases seven percent, but we are happy that at least for seven consecutive quarters we have shown positive growth numbers for Nigeria. “As a result of all these policies, we have introduced, like I said earlier, inflation that had risen to 18.72 per cent in January 2017 currently stands 11.3 per cent as a result of the tightening measures that we have put in place at the CBN. “In the area of exchange

rate, since the establishment of investors and exporters’ window 2017, we have recorded close to $35billion in autonomous inflows through this window alone and as a result, exchange rate pressures eased considerably across all markets as the rate converged today at about 360 to a dollar and distortive premium almost today eliminated,� the CBN governor explained Noting that the apex bank had to take some drastic decisions to bring Nigeria back from recession, some of which are producing the positive results, Emefiele stated that, “Yes, we admitted that it was a very painful period; but there was

the need for our people to understand that the pain will be for a very short period and that in the long run, our people will benefit from it. “Consequently, after about five consecutive quarters of uninterrupted GDP contractions beginning from the first quarters of 2016, eventually Nigeria was able to exit recession in second quarter of 2017. “At some point, the rate at which the exchange rate was stable, people started to ask why, I asked them if they saw my hand anywhere. That is because the market players had developed confidence in the market; hence the rate is


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SUNDAY COMMENT

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

CHIBOK GIRLS: FIVE YEARS AFTER... The task remains unfinished until every one of them is free

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xactly five years ago today, 276 girls were abducted by Boko Haram insurgents from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State in a tragedy that shook our country and the entire global community. While majority of the girls have either escaped or been released by their captors, especially following the intervention of the current administration, 112 of them are still held in captivity. A day like this therefore serves as a reminder of the task yet undone. Until all the abducted girls can be accounted for, the promise of the constitution, that the welfare of Nigerians shall be the primary purpose of government, will continue to ring hollow. The Chibok tragedy was a defining issue because of the chilling message sent by Boko Haram which stands for “western education is sinful”. The insurgents have in the past decade waged a brutal campaign against innocent school children, especially in the North-east. Yet, “children should feel safe at home, in schools and on their playgrounds at all times," according to Mohamed Malick Fall, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria who revealed that the insurgents have recruited and used thousands of children between the age of 13 and 17 as combatants and non-combatants, raped and forced girls to marry, and committed other grave violations against children. The Chibok tragedy led to the formation of the #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) group, comprising Nigerians from all walks of life, religion and ethnicity, who started holding peaceful sit-out two weeks after the abduction.

With the fear that the girls could easily be forgotten in the daily swirl of things, the aim of the group was to remain at the Unity Fountain as a reminder that the girls are still in captivity. The group succeeded in attracting worldwide attention to the plight of these young girls, compelling a unique humanitarian solidarity that is unprecedented in our nation’s history.

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Nigerians desperately need the assurance that our government has the capacity to protect all its citizens, and that those in distress for no fault of theirs will not be abandoned to their fate

Letters to the Editor

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S U N DAY N E W S PA P E R EDITOR SHAKA MOMODU DEPUTY EDITORS OLAWALE OLALEYE, TOBI SONIYI MANAGING DIRECTOR ENIOLA BELLO DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR KAYODE KOMOLAFE CHAIRMAN EDITORIAL BOARD OLUSEGUN ADENIYI EDITOR NATION’S CAPITAL IYOBOSA UWUGIAREN MANAGING EDITOR JOSEPH USHIGIALE

T H I S DAY N E W S PA P E R S L I M I T E D EDITOR-IN-CHIEF/CHAIRMAN NDUKA OBAIGBENA GROUP EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS ENIOLA BELLO, KAYODE KOMOLAFE, ISRAEL IWEGBU, IJEOMA NWOGWUGWU, EMMANUEL EFENI DIVISIONAL DIRECTORS BOLAJI ADEBIYI , PETER IWEGBU, ANTHONY OGEDENGBE DEPUTY DIVISIONAL DIRECTOR OJOGUN VICTOR DANBOYI SNR. ASSOCIATE DIRECTORS ERIC OJEH, PATRICK EIMIUHI ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR SAHEED ADEYEMO CONTROLLERS ABIMBOLA TAIWO, UCHENNA DIBIAGWU, NDUKA MOSERI DIRECTOR, PRINTING PRODUCTION CHUKS ONWUDINJO TO SEND EMAIL: first name.surname@thisdaylive.com

residents, first ladies, film stars, sports men and women, governments and international organisations, religious leaders as well as so many ordinary people around the globe, joined the campaign for the release of the Chibok girls. Initially, the federal government announced that efforts to rescue the girls were on course and that they would be brought back home. But days turned to weeks and months. And then, years. While it is gratifying that many of the girls have been reunited with their families, giving up on rescuing the remaining ones cannot be an option for any self-respecting society. The authorities must deploy all necessary resources, equipment, intelligence and men into the forest and beyond, whatever it takes. Nigerians desperately need the assurance that our government has the capacity to protect all its citizens, and that those in distress for no fault of theirs will not be abandoned to their fate. Meanwhile, the Senate on Thursday urged the federal government to expedite action for the release of Miss Leah Sharibu, the only schoolgirl among the 110 students abducted from Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19 last year, still in captivity. The rest, following what the federal government described as a series of ‘behind-the-scene-discussion’ were returned March 21 to Dapchi, incidentally by the kidnappers themselves. Sharibu is being held back because of her faith: she is a Christian. But President Muhammadu Buhari had vowed then to ensure that ‘the lone girl was not abandoned’ and Nigerians are holding him to his promise. As this newspaper has argued repeatedly on this page, we cannot afford to give up on Leah Sharibu or indeed the 112 Chibokgirls that are still pining away in captivity. They and many others held behind the lines represent a blur on our collective humanity. On a day such as this, Nigerians desperately need an assurance that the federal government has the capacity to defend our territory and that the life of every single citizen matters. Nothing would symbolise that more than the return of Leah Sharibu and of course, the remaining 112 Chibok schoolgirls.

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

Taming Xenophobia in The Rainbow Country

n June 12, 1964, Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment for attempting to violently overthrow the Caucasian dominated government. Alongside his comrades most notably Govan Mbeki, Thabo Mbeki’s father, he was sent to Robben Island to live the rest of his days in anguish. The campaign for the release of Mandela became a worldwide rallying cause as genuine agitators and hustlers all found a common cause in crying that the world’s most famous prisoner should be set free. Nigeria played a vital role in the destruction of apartheid. As Africa was the centre piece of our foreign policy in the hey days of military rule, the ‘Giant of Africa’ spearheaded the throwing open of Robben Island and financed some of the activities of the banned African National Congress. Former President Olusegun

Obasanjo was particularly vocal in the Mandela cause and was known to have brokered peace deals between Frederick De Klerk and Mandela when he was eventually released using his African Leadership Forum platform. 1994 was an epochal year for the Rainbow country as the first truly democratically elections were held with Mandela declared as the winner. Many African nationals saw the country as a goldmine and rushed in to take advantage of her numerous opportunities. Many Nigerians were not left out as they trooped in large numbers to become partakers of the new renaissance African state. The end of apartheid merely transferred political power from the whites to the blacks. The real economic power still largely resided in the hands of the whites. This led to some resentment by the hapless

blacks as they lacked the skills and education to compete in the jet age. Activism had given way to administration and they clearly lacked what it took to consistently bring home the bacon. The black South Africans now saw their new adversaries in the hardworking African nationals of other African nations who were honestly eking a living without or with little governmental backing. The wave of killings started and the media did its best to downplay it so as to give the impression that all was well in Mandela’s country. The conspiratorial role of the white dominated media was made more pronounced by the fact that the whites weren’t happy with the progress that these other black nationals were making and they advocated running a more closed economy with high barriers to entry. The media suppression was short

lived as in 2008 about 62 people were brutally murdered in a wave of xenophobic attacks. Many Nigerians were included in that horrible number. Subsequent attacks went on and on with the most recent being a few weeks ago when two Nigerians were killed. Nigerians are nicknamed ‘kwere kwere’ and are particularly hated by South Africans because of the former’s penchant for hard work and the uncanny ability to squeeze juice out of stone. Their ladies are said to prefer the more aggressive Nigerians to the rather laid back South African men which only increases the hatred for them. The erstwhile apartheid fighters are allegedly envious of the loud swagger of their Nigerian guests and would do anything including cutting short their lives to cut them down to size. It is tragic that Nigeria is yet to take an official position to defend the interests of her nationals in that country. It is a well known fact that Nigeria is home to many South African companies from MTN to

Shoprite amongst many others. These companies make the bulk of their profits in Nigeria and remit it back home without any disturbance from the Nigerian government. Nigerians don’t have the time to haunt down and kill South African residents in the country as we have a rich culture of accommodating our guests even when they don’t reciprocate such to us. The xenophobia seems to be somewhat state sanctioned as the King of Kwa Zulu Natal, Goodwill Zwelithini was quoted to have said “We are requesting those who come from outside to please go back to their countries. The fact that there were countries that played a role in the country’s struggle for liberation should not be used as an excuse to create a situation where foreigners are allowed to inconvenience locals.” Given his position as a first class monarch, the pro-xenophobic backers would have taken it as a cue to spill the streets with raw blood. –––Tony Ademiluyi, Lagos.


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T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾APRIL 14, 2019

NEWS

Acting News Editor Gboyega Akinsanmi E-mail: gboyega.akinsanmi@thisdaylive.com, 08081986590

UBA Asks Court to Wind up Sahara Energy over N15bn Loan We have no outstanding facilities with bank, says firm Davidson Iriekpen United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) has filed a winding up petition before a Federal High Court in Lagos against a petroleum resources company, Sahara

Energy Resources Limited, over an alleged inability of the firm to pay a debit of $42,282,430.49 (equivalent to N15,221,674,976). In its reply, however, the management of Sahara Energy yesterday said it had no out-

standing facilities with UBA, contrary to the petition the bank filed before the court. In the petition it filed before Justice Mohammed Liman, the bank alleged that KEPCO Energy Resources Limited was

desirous of raising capital requirements to fund the acquisition of 70 per cent share of Egbin power plant located at Egbin in Lagos State. The bank filed the petition against the oil firm through his

HAPPY BIRTHDAY...

L-R: Lagos State Governor-Elect, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Chairman, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Chief Kola Jamodu; Chairman, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Paschal Dozie; Founder, Nigeria and Entrepreneurship Summit & Honours (NESH), Mr. Emeka Ugwu-Oju and Group CEO, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Rob Shuter, during the presentation of the NESH Titan Honours to commemorate Paschal Dozie’s 80th birthday...recently

counsel, Mr. Temilolu Adamolekun, To actualise the acquisition, UBA alleged, KEPCO applied to several Nigerian banks and finance houses for credit facilities and UBA was one of them (jointly referred to as the lenders.) The bank averred that the lenders agreed “to provide KEPCO with the finance and credit facilities to the tune of respective commitment.” The bank said as part of the security for the said facilities granted to KEPCO, Sahara Energy Resources Limited executed a sponsor guarantee and assurances deed wherein it stood as a corporate guarantor and undertook to irrevocably and unconditional pay to the lenders, including UBA, any unpaid balances and sums owed to each lender by KEPCO. It was on the strength of the guarantee given by the company that UBA agreed to grant KEPCO the facility. Consequently, UBA availed KEPCO facility in the sum of $35 million in August 2013, according to the petition. To manage the transaction as chronicled above, the lenders appointed FBN Capital Limited as the facility Agent and First Nigeria Limited as Security Trustee. Pursuant to the failure of the

company and KEPCO to perform their obligations to UBA, KEPCO applied for a restructuring of the facility. Consequently, in May 2015, UBA extended the moratorium on the principal for KEPCO by a further 12 months and in October 2017, a second restructure of the finance facility was granted to KEPCO, increasing the facility from $35 million to $40 million. Resulting from the above, as at December 31, 2018, the indebtedness of the company to UBA stood at $42,282,430.49, which is equivalent to N15, 221,674,976.4, the petition alleged. The company failed to meet its obligations to the petitioner, UBA, in respect of the facility. The bank made several demands on Sahara Energy Resources Limited to fulfill its obligation as a guarantor in respect of the loan granted to KEPCO but all to no avail. According to the petition, the company herein is insolvent and unable to pay its debt. In the circumstances, it is just and equitable that the company should be wound up, UBA insisted in the petition. The petitioner, therefore, among others, prayed for an order that the company, Sahara Energy Resources Limited, be wound up by the court under the provisions of Companies and Allied Matters Act.

Katsina Residents Reel under Burden of Water Scarcity Francis Sardauna in Katsina Katsina, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, have been facing an acute case of water shortage for the past six months now, residents have lamented. Also, the residents have decried that they are currently living daily at the mercy of water vendors, who have increased the price of water by over 100 percent. They expressed their frustration in separate interviews with THISDAY, noting that long queues of water vendors

at commercial borehole centres “are currently common in many parts of the city including Government Reservation Areas (GRAs). THISDAY investigation revealed that the worst hit areas “are Shagari-low cost, Kofar-Kaura, Rafindadi, Kofar-Sauri, Sardauna Estate and Sabon-ungwar, Kofar Sauri, Layout, Dandagoro, Goruba road and Abatour.” Findings showed that men and women including children in the affected areas “forsake other duties in search of this precious commodity

on daily basis and sometimes depend on jerry cans water sellers.” But in a swift reaction yesterday, the Katsina State Government assured that the accelerating water scarcity would be tackle by the end of April through the provision of addition water pumping machines. THISDAY had reported that following the scarcity, commercial borehole operators had increased their rates by 50 per cent. While owners of private boreholes now charge between N10 and N15

as against N5 per 25-litre jerrycan. Some residents, who spoke with THISDAY yesterday, blamed the biting water scarcity on irregular tap water supply by the state water board and negligence by the state ministry of water resources and rural development. One of the residents, Mr. Abubakar Bakori said there “is no regular tap water supply from government. The state government keeps on saying it will address the problem but up till now noth-

ing has been done. “Most houses do not have boreholes and few that have could not serve the population of people living in the metropolis. Most of them could not fuel their generators to pump water for people. They wait for electricity supply before they could pump for the general public.” Another resident, Mr. Abdulkadir Rafindadi expressed dismay over the scarcity, noting that some residents with low income had resorted to using water from the well as an alternative.

He added that the situation “has affected almost the entire city and water vendors have continued to capitalise on the situation by increasing their prices. “I used to buy a jerry can which was sold for N20 before the scarcity. But it is now sold for N35. We are calling on the state government to come to our aid.” In her own account, Mrs. Asebe Babangida claimed that the water scarcity had been confronting the state capital for the past three years.

Buhari, Saraki, Masari Commiserate Install Ikeja Monarch Before Exit, with Nasir’s Family Kingmakers Tell Ambode Deji Elumoye, Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Francis Sardauna in Katsina President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday described the death of former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Mamman Nasir, “as not only a loss to the judiciary, but also the country at large, because of his remarkable commitment to public service.” Likewise, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Masari expressed sadness over the death of Nasir, the Galadiman Katsina and District Head of Malumfashi, saying that Nigeria had lost one of its last standing illustrious sons. In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on

Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, Buhari said Nasir belonged to a generation of judges and justices who perceived public office as an opportunity to offer selfless service to the country and its people. Buhari said Nasir and judges of their golden age “were more interested in leaving untainted record of integrity than accumulation of wealth overnight. When you look at Nasir’s modest lifestyle and his incredibly humble possessions, you would be disarmed at once by his honesty and patriotism. “While some Nigerians perceive public office as an opportunity to line their pockets, men of Nasir’s character put a higher premium on honest labour

than on greedy accumulation of questionable wealth overnight.” Buhari said Nasir succeeded in protecting their reputation because greed was far removed from their minds, adding that contentment “is the secret to a happy life of service to the people.” “Lack of contentment is the devil behind greedy accumulation of wealth at the expense of others, but selfless public servants like Nasir were never motivated by the desire to live above their means. “Nasir’s family should be proud of their father because he built a solid and impeccable record of integrity, which is the greatest asset any individual should leave behind,” the president said.

Kayode Fasua The Body of Kingmakers in Ikeja, Lagos has pleaded with Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode to install a monarch in the community before he leaves office, saying Ikeja has been without a traditional ruler for upwards of five years. The kingmakers spoke to THISDAY through their secretary, Chief Olufemi Titi-Thomas yesterday, lamenting that they had chosen Prince Samsondeen Adeleye as an oba-elect since December 2014, but the state government was yet to give its approval. “When the last Olu of Ikeja, Oba Rauf Matemi, Amore 1, joined his ancestors in October 2014, the kingmakers in December that year, under the leadership of former

Lagos Deputy Governor, the late Chief Rafiu Jafojo, met, performed all traditional rites and screened the Princes, which led to the emergence of Prince Samsondeen Adeleye. “We, the kingmakers, sent his name to Ikeja Local Government for onward transfer to the Lagos State Government for approval. But ever since, we have been waiting. “We know what Ikeja, which is the capital of Lagos State, has lost because we do not have a traditional ruler to represent us at where certain decisions are being taken. “Besides, the community needs a monarch to be our face, inspire progress among indigenes, and perform the needed traditional rites for the peace and progress of Ikeja. “We really appreciate Ambode’s performance and

contributions to Ikeja and the entire Lagos State in the last four years, but we plead with His Excellency to crown everything by correcting the aberration of having an Oba-in-waiting for five years, during which the community has missed so many opportunities,” Titi-Thomas said. He added that the kingmakers commended the peaceful conduct of the last general elections in Lagos State, especially the governorship election won by Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his running mate, Mr. Femi Hamzat of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The kingmakers and the entire Ikeja traditional institution, he said, joined other Lagos residents to wish all the victorious candidates a successful tenure of office.


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NEWS Buhari: Leah Sharibu’s Freedom Hindered by Fear of Safe Movement Promises not to rest until Dapchi, Chibok girls return Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday in Abuja that various efforts were being made to ensure that Leah Sharibu and the remaining Chibok girls were freed and reunited with their families. Buhari stated this at the commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the kidnap of 276 girls from Government Secondary School, Chibok, in Borno State, by Boko Haram. A statement by presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, quoted Buhari as saying he had not forgotten the promise he made to the parents of the Chibok girls before the 2015 general election to ensure the release of their daughters. The 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram from their school hostel in April 2014. While 107 of them have regained freedom through negotiations by the federal government, the remaining 169 are still in captivity. Another set of 110 schoolgirls from Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, were kidnapped by Boko Haram on February 19, 2018. But while 104 of them were freed on March 21 same year, Leah, the only Christian girl among the abductees, was held back by Boko Haram following her refusal to renounce her Christian faith. There has been a global campaign for her release. Buhari called her mother, Mrs. Rebecca Sharibu, last year to assure her that he would do all within his power to ensure that her daughter was rescued. In the statement yesterday, Buhari explained that whereas progress had been made in the efforts to rescue Leah, her return had been hindered by the fear of her safe transport by the insurgents in view of the heavy military presence in areas where Boko Haram had previously left. He said the military could not jeopardise the security of the

entire North-east in a bid to allay the fear of Boko Haram. The president promised that Leah would be freed as soon as arrangements on her safe transport was concluded. The statement said, “Diverse efforts are being intensified to secure the release of the Chibok girls, along with all hostages in Boko Haram captivity, including Leah Sharibu, who was kidnapped from her school, Science Secondary School, Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19, 2018. “On Leah Sharibu’s abduction, the interlocutors have reported encouraging progress so far. The report reaching us says her return to her family has unfortunately been hindered by the fear of the militants. “They worry that heavy military presence in areas where they previously moved about freely could affect their safety after they return her to the government. “At the same time, the military cannot jeopardise the security of the entire north-eastern region by halting their operations to accommodate Boko Haram’s fears. Leah Sharibu will be reunited with her family as soon as any conclusions are reached on a number of options being considered for her safe transportation.” Regarding the Chibok girls, Buhari said he had not forgotten them in Boko Haram captivity. He recalled that it was the promise he made to their parents prior to the 2015 general election that prompted the people of Chibok to overwhelmingly vote for him at the election. He also said he had assured their parents at the beginning of his ascension to power in 2015 that he would ensure the freedom of their daughters, pledging that aside the 107 already rescued, he would not rest until the remaining girls are freed. The statement added, “President Muhammadu Buhari would like to remind the parents of the schoolgirls of Government Secondary School,

Fuel Scarcity Hits Ekiti Victor Olakitan in Ekiti

The scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit commonly known as petrol bit harder in Ekiti State yesterday as most filling stations in the state were closed. The few stations, mostly those of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and major marketers, which opened witnessed long queues with motorists and cyclists spending hours on queue. Fuel queues resurfaced in the state and across the country on Friday when most filling stations did not open. Many car owners have been forced to park there cars at home. On Saturday, black market sellers were seen selling petrol in jerry cans at exhorbitant prices on major streets. However, Ekiti State Gov-

ernor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has appealed to owners and operators of filling stations in the state to desist from hoarding petroleum products thereby creating artificial fuel scarcity in the state. In a statement on Saturday by the Chief Press to the Governor, Yinka Oyebode, Fayemi, who described hoarding of petroleum product as “an act of economic sabotage, which creates uncesessary hardship for the people and cripples businesses.” The statement added, “Any filling station caught hoarding fuel will receive heavy sanction”. Oyebode said monitoring teams had been dispatched to go round filling stations in the state and ensure that no filling station hoarded fuel to the detriment of the people.

Chibok, Borno State that he has still not forgotten their daughters who were kidnapped from their dormitory five years ago (April 14, 2014).

“He promised the parents when he met them, at the beginning of his first term as president, that he would bring their daughters home.

“He is aware that this promise he made is the main reason the people of Chibok voted overwhelmingly for him in the February elections, and

although his government has so far succeeded in bringing back 107 of the girls, the President will not rest until the remaining are reunited with their families.

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H.E President Muhammadu Buhari, GMD, Sahara Power Group, Kola Adesina, Executive Director and Co-founder, Sahara Group, Tope Shonubi and Executive Director, Sahara Group, Wale Ajibade in key nation building conversation at the inauguration of H.E Macky Sall in Dakar, Senegal

AfDB Invests $15m in Nigeria’s InfraCredit Kunle Aderinokun The board of the African Development Bank has approved a $15 million investment package for Infrastructure Credit Guarantee Company (InfraCredit), to support infrastructure financing through the domestic debt capital markets in Nigeria. The board’s approval was contained in a statement, stating that the investment package to InfraCredit “is comprised of a subordinated loan of $10 million and a risk sharing facility of up to $5 million.” The statement said the intervention would promote local currency infrastructure financ-

ing, and further development of the domestic capital market. It added that InfraCredit “is a specialisedninfrastructure credit guarantee company, established to enhance local currency debt instruments - mainly bonds, to finance eligible infrastructure projects in Nigeria. “This is intended to uplift the credit rating of such bonds, allowing institutional investors to include them in their portfolios. InfraCredit was founded by the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) in collaboration with GuarantCo (part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group). “These initial investors

have been joined by the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and KfW, the German Development Bank. The AfDB’s investment in InfraCredit will catalyse local institutional investor funds, including pension funds, into financing long-term infrastructure projects through the local bond markets. “The investment boosts InfraCredit’s qualifying capital base through the subordinated loan; it also improves its capacity to expand its guarantee business through the proposed risk sharing arrangement.” Through this intervention, the statement said the AfDB was helping to stimulate local cur-

rency financing across diverse infrastructure transactions, thereby improving economic diversification and competitiveness, as well as promoting more equitable growth, strengthening local value chains and financial markets in Nigeria. According to the statement, InfraCredit’s operations will catalyse infrastructure investments in critical sectors such as renewable energy, housing, transportation, agricultural infrastructure, and telecommunications, which are critical for the country’s economic development. These also align with the Bank’s High 5 agenda.

Masari Urges Corps Members 15 Unions Endorse Fashe for Adamawa NLC Chairmanship Election to Shun Drug Abuse Francis Sardauna in Katsina The wife of Katsina State Governor, Dr. Hadiza Masari has admonished corps members to desist from drug and other substances abuse, vowing to collaborate with relevant stakeholders in order to mitigate the menace in the country. She, also, lamented that the cases of drug abuse by youth in Katsina was accelerating, noting that she should tackle the threat through her pet project, ‘Centre for the Advancement of Mothers and Children in Katsina State’. She expressed concerns at the closing ceremony of 2019 Batch ‘A’ Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurial Development programme (SAED) for corps members deployed to the state yesterday. Masari said as future leaders of the country, corps members should avoid drug abuse and addiction.

Masari called on stakeholders not to remain aloof but unite in fighting the menace of drug abuse, which she said was capable of damaging the future of youths in the state and the nation at large. According to her, it is a collective responsibility of all stakeholders to check the fast growing rate of drug abuse in the society, and not just the responsibility of government alone. She, however, noted that the state government was arbitrated “to address the issue of youth unemployment through their involvement in the skill acquisition and entrepreneurship development programmes that would made them self-reliant. “To effectively tackle the issue of youth unemployment in the state, the Katsina State Government established the youth craft village which is located within the NYSC orientation camp.

Daji Sani in Yola

Fifteen labour unions in Adamawa State have endorsed the National Publicity Secretary of Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees NULGE, Mr. Emmanuel Fashe for the state’s chairmanship position of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). The Chairman of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in the state, Mr. Rodney Nathan disclosed this yesterday at a session with Journalists in Yola, Adamawa state capital. Nathan said after much consultation, the NUT had reached a consensus “to work with the NULGE and 13 other unions to produce Fashe as the next chairman of NLC in the state.” “The NUT has unanimously decided to throw its weight to support Fashe 100 percent in the forthcoming

election as the anointed candidate for all,” the NUT chairman explained. He said several unions decided to support Fashe candidature as the NLC chairman in the state due to his sterling records while he was the chairman of NULGE in the state. Nathan said that all the contestants for the position – Jeremiah Ngakwar, Yakubu Mijah and Emmanuel Fashe “are all credible enough to head the NLC. But the NUT has decided to produce the vice chairmanship candidate. “Before we align with a particular union for chairmanship, we must first of all sit down and look at all aspirants. We have taken this decision in good faith that Fashe will lead the NLC in the overall interest of all Adamawa workers.


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OPINION Stemming The Rising Tide of Insecurity Ayo Oyoze Baje canvasses a holistic approach to tackling the security problems

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et all Nigerians who are sincerely concerned about the terrifying and ever soaring wave of insecurity in the country come together, synergise and proffer lasting solutions to prevent the wanton wasting of human lives. And let those in government, constitutionally empowered with the protection of our lives and property walk the talk to save lives. Nigeria cannot continue to be run this way. After all, the primary purpose of government as enshrined in Section 14(2b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is to guarantee security as well as provide for the welfare of the citizenry. That perhaps explains why socio-cultural groups such as Afenifere, Ohaneze and the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) have joined the clamour, asking President Muhammadu Buhari to be more decisive in tackling all manner of insecurity challenges bedevilling the nation. Even the House of Representatives had on Thursday 11th April 2019 told the president to do the needful, and urgently at that. One cannot blame them. Cumulatively, crimes and criminality have assumed the status of a hydra-headed monster ready to bring the nation to its knees. In retrospect, one of the salient reasons why Muhmmadu Buhari, then the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) edged out the then incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 election was the public perception that given his military background, he could secure the nation. In fact, he and his party did promise that with them in power, Nigerians would within a few months say ‘good bye’ to the menace of Boko Haram insurgency. Some four years down the line, the insecurity incubus has worsened so much that the Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping for ransom, killings by herdsmen, cultism and armed

banditry are all on the upswing! For instance, bandits have turned the once peaceful Zamfara State into a wasteland. The governor has long admitted that he was no longer qualified to be called the chief security officer of the state. The scourge of insurgency and banditry continue to rage with passion in the states of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Kaduna and Taraba and now with Sokoto and Katsina in the fold. The challenge took on a new toga as it metamorphosed into the killer farmer- herdsmen clashes which sent not a few hapless, innocent citizens to their early graves in Benue, Taraba, Plateau States. While Nigerians have got used to the angst that trailed theDasukigate allegations of billions of security votes converted to slush funds, there are still questions begging for answers. The impact of humongous amounts allegedly spent so far to drastically reduce insurgency vis-a-vis the pervasive insecurity is not being felt. In December 2017, the National Economic Council approved $1 billion dollars to combat the insurgency and other sundry crimes. Where has all the money gone with insecurity creeping into every nook and cranny of the country? But in all of this, what matters most is for a holistic approach to bring solutions that last. The root causes of insurgency, banditry, kidnappings and armed robbery must be taken care of. We have to begin with the family unit that

The government must be there to provide a buffer against the shocks and pains of poverty and unemployment

has virtually broken down. Every killer comes from a home. If the parents are there for him or her and if he is sufficiently engaged in some worthwhile venture the lure of blood money would be tamed! In addition, the government must be there to provide a buffer against the shocks and pains of poverty and unemployment. With Nigeria as the headquarters of extreme poverty and the sixth most miserable country to live in, government must go beyond giving matching orders to top security personnel to deal ruthlessly with culprits, to looking for sustainable approach involving both the public and private sectors. A lot of public enlightenment and sensitisation of young minds against quick riches and religious extremism has become a necessity. The time has come to be more proactive; to put in motion mechanisms that prevent all manner of crises than being reactive when they do rear their ugly heads. It is good to arm, train, insure and pay our soldiers and policemen well. It pays to be transparent and accountable with regard to security funding. But we need socioeconomic restructuring; with community policing to bring security closer to the people. We must also do away with the culture of impunity. The masterminds behind Boko Haram still walk our streets as free men. Giving amnesty to killers is not the best way forward. Wrong doers, no matter how powerful - be they politicians or traditional rulers- must be brought to speedy justice to serve as strong deterrence. Nigerians desire and indeed deserve a safe, secure and productive environment for gainful employment, where their potential can be identified, honed and maximised. The blight of insecurity hurts us all. A government should act like a father figure that protects and provides. Anything short of that is inimical to peace and development. ––ayobaje@yahoo.co.uk

Women and Representative Government Government should work towards achieving gender parity in democratic governance, writes Ify Ayomo

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he 2019 election has come and almost gone as the battles have shifted to the legal front. But a look at the race has shown that women are significantly few in the number of candidates and winners in the election. Except for a few of them that were elected into legislative houses, there were little gains for the women folks in the Nigerian political system. Truth be told, the two major political parties in the country - All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) - claim to love the womenfolk dearly. They wax lyrical tunes and political messages to show their interest in advancing the political interest of women in the country, but unfortunately, this is where it ends. In the last general election, no woman was nominated governorship candidate of both parties and none was elected. Instead, the best they did was to nominate a few of them as deputy governorship candidates - and like deputy governors all over the country, they do not have any political influence, and their relevance is negligible. According to statistics, women and youth make up almost 80% of eligible voters in the country; yet, they have been ignored politically, except during elections when their votes count. There is precious similarity between the APC and the PDP. That in fact is the reason for the seeming confusion over choice among electing Nigerians, especially women who voted overwhelmingly for the parties. During the 2015 election circle, due to pressure put up by women's right organizations which used Dame Patience Jonathan as their anchor person, the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, realizing it needed the women's votes, proposed to reserve 35% of all appointive positions for women and youth. This has somewhat become the official policy of the two parties. Early last year, President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law, the Not- too –Young- to- Rule policy which significantly reduced the age that people need to attain before vying for some positions, and also giving greater opportunities and inclusion for women and youth. This was done to curry the votes of the women and youth. But has this come to any advantage? The outcome of the 2019 general election has proved the contrary. One of the most perplexing questions in the Nigerian polity has to do with the role of women and youth in the political system. Until recently, it has been widely assumed that politics in Nigeria can be controlled, but the new reality from the last election suggests otherwise. No doubt, politically, the Nigerian woman has made political progress. From the days of the Aba women riot to Mrs. Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti to Mrs. Margaret Ekpo to Hajia Sambo Sawaba, there has been gradual inclusion of women in the political system. But

unlike the youth who seized the prevailing political situation in the country, such as the plotting of coup by young soldiers, women have not had the opportunity to be at executive positions in the country. Not surprisingly also, along with their children they make up the bulk of victims of political violence in the country. Despite these, they are hardly compensated with positions in government commensurate with their qualification apart from being given such politically irrelevant posts. But in the last few years, some of them have however taken on such sensitive positions like the ministry of finance and education where they have performed creditably well. However, this is significantly low. In numbers, in the current political system, women’s representation in the House of Representatives is 5.5%; in the Senate: 5.8%. Only five out of 73 candidates that ran for president in 2019 are women. Some 1668 men and 232 women vied for 109 senatorial seats while 4,139 men and 560 women competed for 360 seats in the House of Representatives. According to Mrs. Pauline Tallen, a former minister and the first woman to be nominated a deputy governor in the fourth republic, at a capacity building workshop for budding women politicians, "I advise [young] women to believe in themselves. Be prepared because it’s not easy.” Not easy indeed. Three decades have passed since Tallen joined politics, but the state of women’s political participation in Nigeria remains abysmally low, with less than six per cent women in the parliament. Today, Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of female representation in parliament across Africa, and globally, ranks 181st out of 193 countries, according to the International Parliamentary Union. “We have a whole lot of women across Nigeria who can do so much better than what we are offered now,” explains Joy Ada Onyesoh, National Coordinator of Nigeria’s Women Situation Room and Country Director for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). “The issue is that we are not given the opportunity… [Men] are still operating a culture of women are meant to be seen and not heard.” Since 2006, Nigeria’s National Gender Policy highlights women’s right to equality in economic, social and political life, with provisions to increase women in elected and appointed positions to 35 per cent—but that hasn’t happened. “There have been so many protocols, conventions, amendments of the Nigerian Constitution, which support providing a quota system, but in reality, women are excluded in politics,” says Blessing Obidiegwu, head of the Gender Division for the Independent National Electoral Commission. “Such problems as patriarchy, violence in elections and their economic situation serve as barriers to women’s participation.”

In 2016, a Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill was tabled, calling for the adoption of temporary special measures to eliminate discrimination in political and public life. UN Women supported the bill’s passage in five states (Anambra, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi and Plateau) and is currently advocating, alongside partners, for its adoption at the National Assembly. Although Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili was just one of the six females among the 73 presidential candidates, before she withdrew her candidacy, her role was significant insofar as she was a direct repudiation of the gendered narratives that portray women candidates as incompetent and unable to compete in the world of politics. While women make up 47 per cent of registered voters for the 2019 elections, only eight per cent were cleared to vie for electoral positions in the presidential elections. Furthermore, all six women presidential candidates withdrew their candidacy even though their names remained on the ballot box. In today’s federal elections– Presidency, Senate and House of Representatives– women’s candidature is unimpressive. For the presidential elections, men swamped women by a 12:1 ratio. Women’s presidential candidature stands at eight per cent. At the National Assembly, women’s candidature is only 12 per cent of the total seats available as a total of 763 women vied for the Senate and House of Representatives out of 6,563 places available. Simply put, at eight and 12 per cent candidature for the Presidential and National Assembly elections, respectively, the prospects for gender parity in Nigeria remain a distant dream. Women’s minimal participation in Nigeria has multidimensional implications for the democratic project in Nigeria and for the continuing quest for gender equality in Africa’s biggest economy. The 2019 election is the sixth consecutive general elections since the beginning of the fourth republic in 1999. This marks what is undoubtedly a measure of democratic progress - if only for conducting periodic elections since the return to civil rule. What remains deeply in doubt, however, is how inclusive this progress has been and, in particular, to what extent women have benefited from the democratic dividend of equality and fairness. Today, many countries of the world are making efforts to bridge the gap between men and women in politics. But in Nigeria, the representation of women in government even though has improved is still very low compared to what obtains in other nations of the world, particularly in the developed nations. There is no doubt that women have some potential and rights to contribute meaningfully to the development of their country. Therefore, the Nigerian government should work towards achieving gender equality in democratic governance. ––Ayomo is an Abuja-based Human Rights Advocate


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LETTERS

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PMB, Zamfara and The Tale of Jabir

abir is an indigene of Zamfara. He lives in Kaduna and recently had engagements in Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto. For a horrifying reason associated with Zamfara – the state that will link him to Kebbi and Sokoto, Jabir could not embark on his journey. What was his reason? Fear. The fear of the unknown. The fear of being kidnapped in his beloved state. The fear of being robbed or killed on his way. The fear of hearing awful stories from citizens of the state. Fear and trepidation wrapped Jabir whenever he spared a thought of travelling for his pressing engagements. Jabir gave up; his conclusion was the journey by road was suicidal. How did we get to this level? Indigenes fearful of visiting their hometowns because of serious security challenges? Zamfara is amongst the poorest states in Nigeria. The state has lacked the sort of leadership that will steer it in the right direction. Past leaders have made little or no effort towards the growth and development of the state. And

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Yari things have really been tough for people in the state. Daily Trust of 30th March 2019 reported some scary figures associated with the insecurity in Zamfara as confirmed by the Executive Secretary of Zamfara Emergency Management Agency. The figures are 38 deserted communities, 31,402 displaced persons; also, from December 2018 to March 2019 up

to 408 people have been killed, 126 injured and 227 kidnapped. I am not surprised that some residents have resorted to the possession of arms and amulets for self defence. Zamfara is currently grappling with a number of challenges, such as unemployment, poverty, poor infrastructure, among others. All these are being compounded by the rising security challenge in the state.

These have manifested in the form of farmer/ herder clashes, banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping. The ones we call bandits do not just live by plundering. They kill, maim and rape. They torch and raze villages. What joy do they derive in inflicting pain on their fellow human beings? Is there any satisfaction in killing or making people homeless? The agenda of the criminals is to make life difficult for Nigerians. These criminals have succeeded in creating a state of disarray. They have caused so much pain and panic in Zamfara. Families have fled their bases to avoid night attacks. The people sleep with one eye closed. The once peaceful north western state is now a danger zone. There is so much apprehension, anguish and anger in the land. Having seen how bad things are, it is a no brainer to declare these criminals as enemies of the state. With all due respect to the efforts put by security agents, they can only be applauded when things improve. Solving the security problem requires a multifaceted approach. This should involve initiatives for poverty alleviation

Nsibid Free-Masonry

ame re-numbering matrix would appear to be one of many artifice of man, learnt from osisix-feet, the tree of knowledge bearing forbidden fruit Gen3:7. A matrix of re-numbered name of bank account is a cook-up of figures. Figure out of matrix, cooked up as ready-made pottage at mess. Mess-age of pot of which, is ozimoo odibo, the elder demon-star servant Gen24:1-35. Servant that putteth forth his hand and taketh ‘Nnamchi’ his father-god by the secrets given as alms Dt25:11 Mt6:4. Secret given as amu, a sackcloth Ezek7:18, sackcloth of rainment between his thighs as wear. Swear to take a wife, to his own masters’ home on behalf of his son-god the Ra-star. Rasta-swear with what would appear to be asusu utara-nce isi ewu-ulo. Asusu, the incantation language. Languid-age of Rasta lying on, Lion in Den-mark-et of sheep, at a body-mass age. Body massage in a whirl-pool astir Jn5:1-7, stirring for sex-pool awaited later than sooner. Sauna, a Finnish steam-bath out-step from in-step to the pool of water at a season due. Seasonal-dew ‘adi-isiijiriji-anyuike’, a euphemism for snapped axe-head that fell into the pool 2kg6:5-6, axe-head to ask, tax as whot has fallen due. Dew falling as fine droplets of rain, watering man, ozoro as star, in Ezotus hide, of his skin in vapourisation Acts8:40-38. Evaporation in a smoke out

of sight, by a gradual physical change, to which all solids and liquids are subjected by a rise in temperature and drop in pressure. Pressure droplets of rain, meant to hide skin as scare-ape-goat. Escape goat, escape go-to plain in earth, planet found as Mars by son. Mass-son, mason free to build a prayer-oratory Gen11:1-7, oratory in a mono-language of the upper-room to lodge by the wharf. Dwarf known in Ehugbo as Ohamaa Lev21:20. Ohamaa the tanners’ of hide-house, oharmattan-house of horror. Ohorror a public latrine in Ehugbo, pubic laterine for stooling of Hebrew women by Egyptian midwives Exo1:16, midwifing the stool ‘nsi’. Nsi, bids of tender Dt28:54-56 Gen33:13, tender-men at restroom as zoo-ike, in the convenience Mk6:21-30, convenient day of Lords-feast. Faeces in upper-room of layer for ‘uza nna’, the fathers’ answer Acts10:1-16. Layan za-Nna, the father is a tall man. Tall is man hat, a talisman-Manhattan or BabyLon-don towers. Towers abuild with brutish pound of block-us as chilies, pounded with pestle as bricks, in aid of mortar. Brigade mortal pound of fleshy-skin in hide as the sky-ape. Skype scraping off sheets of the sky. Ski on crest of water-bed-sheet to lie as footmat in low-deeps. Diplomat that arose across as-wear of the fathers’-polo, Apolo-nnia 1cor3:6 Isa18:2 Gen27:16. Polo ima as

lie eti, Poliomyelitis, a pull-over, but never pull-out of hide in Nahor-Messopotamia, to take wife as mother ‘Nne’. Ne-ahor Den-market day for selling sheep to shearers, as a dumbration Acts8:33-27 Mk11:17. Adumbration of cast private part-iculars, of soldiers. Sold theirs as per articles of enterprise monopoly, a game of Isau as the sport of Jacob proposed in hypo-thirst of IS Jn19:28. Hypothesis proposition not derived from experiment but as a formula of Pi, Lot of Sodom. Oso-domino Pi of the lot, pi-lot cast as ration Gen19:17-1, castration of malefactors as provender of whores. Horse ride on, as aircraft of name endorsed as wishes. Endor-witchcraft of foundation-sod as pottage Gen25:29-33 1sam28:15-7 Jn19:23-30. Sodden pot, age of languid, language of assumption for argument. Augmentation of wives’-in come by Jacobs’-head to enter, as price Ga-bata Jn19:13. Gabatha-income on return-enterprise charged as-pay of Isau for re-tail. Tale told as storeys of upper-room of horror-lodge. Horology as the making of watch Neh2:10, watch made on tower, the prayer oratory as labour of his mother. Mothers’ laboratory shut with locks. Lucks of hair on Rastas’ head, charged as enter-price of abata. A battery charger of the head decapitated on be-half of the kingdom-land. Land, labour and capital as the stones of languid Peter, cast as

Paul of doubt. Doubter, Daughter of the kingdom better-half cast, of re-tail in tomb bu ili-nkwor. Tombo-liquor in cups, corpse as sobriquet for the male factors of re-production of goods at indoors-trial 2kg4:1-7. Indus-tryus-woman, to go wholesale goods ‘ogudu-manu’ to pay the enter-price of herself by sons at zoo-ike in lodge to live as epistle of us, blockaded in immortal flesh and not die, cast as a body-mass. Body-mass of Christ, Christmas of Jesus, the son-rise as east-star Mt2:2. He-rose and cross of Gabatha as a-garrison of David, Quarter-cast of virgin-har-lot, the enter-price, of awaited Isunna, sooner coming King for a bath finished, Fin-land-LORD, the Joker to ask as worth of Ibi, the Aftermath-matrics, Big-shop arcade-mix, In-divisible Threein-One, Zoo-key of Monks, hood of Pen-IS and I-thirst of IS, for a fetch of water in battle-Pitcher and the Shoulder I say head or tail, of Free-indeed Masons, Eze-amass-INRI, the Itiri-bet, Premier-Mess and Meal of pottage, Ayodine and Latterain, Philistine Dragon and Town-ship of Israel, foundationstone laid, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy, Udo-bricklayer-mansions of mt-sion, as His-story of Hosa-nna in the highest Man is tall, Amu-let into Lodge, the Ne-mess-is and The Messiah Jn8:36. ––Abili Willy, Lagos.

and human capital development. This can be done in addition to strategic security decisions and actions that are holistic and methodical. Taking care of security and welfare is the basic responsibility of governments. Regrettably, neither the state nor federal government has done well for Zamfara in this aspect. It is high time government responded better. Under this dispensation Zamfarawa are more impoverished and troubled despite always aligning with Muhammadu Buhari. In politics consolidating a base is essential. The people of Zamfara have consistently supported Buhari throughout his political career. Despite being in this dilemma, Zamfara voted for Buhari during the 2019 polls. One would assume that Buhari will take a swift approach to come to the aid of his fellow citizens. Especially his “day one fellas”. Sadly, it seems PMB has been inconsiderate to the predicaments of these people. Women are raped, men are lynched and children are orphaned. Still Buhari finds it difficult to visit Zamfara or send condolence messages. All it takes to release condolence message are mobile data/network and electricity. Are these missing in the Villa? President Buhari should take a cue from prime minister of New Zealand. A non-Muslim went to the mosque and killed Muslims. She

denied the perpetrator the notoriety he sought. She visited the bereaved and victims, making sure she respected the victims’ culture by wearing scarfs during the mourning period. She used the Muslim standard way of greeting “Salaam” in all press statements and communications. Immediately it happened she swung into action by ensuring that her government changed the poor gun laws that led to the killings of innocent Muslim worshippers. This is how a leader should act. Lest I forget, she is a non-Muslim and did not discriminate. This same PMB administration deployed a DIG, an AIG and two CPs for a re-run election in Kano State to make sure they delivered the state. At no point did they ever send these high level security chiefs to Zamfara to aid with securing the lives of innocent Zamfarawa against the senseless blood suckers. Do they really care about the safety and lives of innocent people? Are they really working for the people? We now hear that the operation Harbin Kunama is to continue and the police are also making efforts. The kneejerk approach is happening due to pressure from citizens in Nigeria and abroad urging PMB to #EndTheZamfaraKillings via the massive protests. –– Khalifa Musa Muhammad, Kaduna

Kolade Johnson and Police ' Kill And Go'

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refer to your publication on the above subject matter and specifically wish to draw your attention to the misinformed reporting of the death of Ferry Gberegbe. For the records, Ferry Gberegbe died on the 16th March at St. Patrick Hospital, Eastern by Pass, Port Harcourt from an undisclosed illness and not from any gunshot injury. Contrary to the doctored social media video, Dr Ferry Gberegbe was not shot by SARS or any one for that matter and please take a second look at the video if you have it and you will see very clearly that Ferry Gberegbe held his stomach and fell down when the shooting had stopped. Let me also inform you that the shooting you referred to was done by cultist who had come to attack the collation centre

and not the police. This is explicit in the video if indeed you watched it. Thankfully, this video was shot by the accusers and not the Police. I consider the publication unfair and partisan, intended to promote the view of Mr. Lee Meaba and his political party and interest. The maxim 'audi alteram partem' (hear the other side) applies in all cases where a lawyer undertakes to advocate on any issue of public interest. The least you should have done was to call up the Rivers Police PPRO for the police side to the incident. Posting the photograph of a public officer to promote a story that is half-truth does not do our collective effort to build an egalitarian society any good. ––ACP Akin Fakorede,akinfakorede92@ gmail.com


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T H I S D AY ˾ SUNDAY APRIL 14, 2019


T H I S D AY ˾ ͯͲ˜Ͱͮͯͷ

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A ͹ͼ˜ͺ͸͹΁˾THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER

INTERNATIONAL Challenges of ‘America First’ in Global Politics: The Case of Democratic Corruption and ICC Visa Denial

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he United States has been a leader of leaders in the conduct and management of international questions, especially since the end of World War II in 1945 and the Cold War in 1989. The United States, as a great nation, and particularly the extent of such greatness, has, at best, remained another controversy of its known. However, the fragility of the many international issues with which the United States has had to contend with, are such that the various leaders of the United States have to tread cautiously, as well as making haste slowly in their foreign policy reactions, but this is not the case with Donald Trump. When Mr. Donald Trump was elected US president in 2016, he mistook the caution of his predecessors for weakness and not only wrongly believed that the United States was on the path of decline, but also that there was the need to stop the movement of US along the path of decline. Was and is the United States really on the path of decline? If yes, in which aspect of national life is such a decline? Will it be right to talk about a general decline? We do not believe that the United States is on the path of decline. What is obvious is that many are the nations that have attained the feats of the United States. China is a typical example. In fact, China is increasingly showing both capacity and capability to assume the position of an alternative leader of the world. Both the United States and the European Union are much concerned about the rise in status of China, especially in light of its large and increasing following of African States. And true enough, some European Union Member States have also subscribed to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Whatever is the case, it can be deductively and rightly posited that Donald Trump believes that the United States has a declining status. What is not clear with his conception of ‘America First’ is the domain of its application: is it at the domestic or at the external level? By declaring the making of ‘America First’ the first and most important pillar of his foreign policy, what should we mean, and what does Donald Trump understand as ‘America First’ as a policy? These questions are necessary because Donald Trump simply borrowed the expression from others because he likes it. He likes it but without necessarily understanding it, not to mention understanding its attendant implications. Based on historical record, it was the America First Committee, comprising about 800,000 members and grouped into 450 chapters in the United States, that first came up with the expression during World War II. By then, ‘America First’ only meant American nationalism and unilateralism of action. Additionally, all the proponents of ‘America First’ were anti-Semitic and pro-fascist in focus. Perhaps more interestingly, the long term objective of the proponents of ‘America First’ was to prevent the United States from entering into World War II on the side of the Allies. In spite of the original meanings of ‘America First,’ as given by the America First Committee, the expression has been freely used by politicians, and particularly presidential candidates. For instance, President elect, Jimmy Carter, used the expression in his victory speech at his campaign headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, on the morning following election night in 1976. In 1980, Ronald Reagan’s campaign slogan was ‘Let’s Make America Great Again.’ As coined, the slogan was more of a plea unto others to kindly join in ‘Making America Great Again.’ It is quite different from ‘Make America Great Again,’ which has an imperative and authoritative character. It is more of a directive, and therefore dictatorial. In fact, Ronald Reagan used the expression as a call on all Americans in reaction to the deepening stagflation that characterised US economy by then. It was a call for understanding of the situation and patriotism. Bill Clinton was also on record to have used the expression in 1992 during his presidential campaigns, as well as in a radio commercial aired in support of his wife in 2008. He again referred to it in 2016 but not as a campaign slogan but to provide another interpretation of it on the basis of disagreement with Donald Trump’s understanding of it. As he put it, ‘Trump’s version, used as a campaign rallying cry, was a message to white southerners that Trump was promising to “give you an economy you had fifty years ago and ... move you back up on the social totem pole

VIE INTERNATIONALE with

Bola A. Akinterinwa Telephone : 0807-688-2846

e-mail: bolyttag@yahoo.com

conditioning, assembly line, supermarkets, bar code, automated teller machine, etc.’ With these inventions, the United States cannot but have a record of greatness. The greatness should not be understood in the context of the inventions per se, but particularly in terms of US technological capacity and capability. When greatness is defined by capacity and capability, there is no way such greatness will not remain permanent. In other words, we cannot talk about ‘less great,’ or ‘loss of greatness.’ Having technological capacity and capability is another way of saying institutional possession of technological know-how. Consequently, talking about ‘Making America Great Again’ is a misnomer. America was great. It is great, and it can still be made greater, if not the greatest. However, an acquired status of greatness cannot be reversible. It is a fait accompli but this should be clearly differentiated from the policy of ‘America First.’ The notion of ‘America First’ can be ambiguous. It can first be interpreted to mean giving priority to domestic questions before foreign policy interests. It can also imply that, in the conduct and management of foreign policy, priority should first be given to US interests. In fact, since foreign policy itself is regarded as an extension of domestic policy, and in which case, the external environment can also be taken advantage of to foster national interests at the domestic level, the distinction between internal and external policy may therefore not be a big deal. Thus, the best interpretation that can be given to the policy of ‘America First’ is absolute defence of, or insistence on, US interest at home and abroad without compromise. This applies to both foreign policy as an operational tactic and as a strategic objective. It is within the context of this interpretation that Vie Internationale explicates the current challenges to the US policy of ‘America First’ in international politics, with particular emphasis on increasing corruption of democracy in America and the conflict between the democratic preaching of what it does at home and abroad. In this regard, the withdrawal of visa already granted to people is hereunder given for purposes of illustration.

Democratic Corruption

Trump and other people down.’ In this interpretation, superiority or discrimination, or better-than-thou disposition is insinuated. It implies seeking progress for oneself while pushing setbacks for others. Bill Clinton was simply suggesting that Donald Trump was coming to be a source of development setbacks. Consequently, when Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, he was challenged with criticisms ranging from what the America First Committee represented in the 1940s, especially in terms of isolationism and anti-Semitism. Donald Trump had to quickly defend himself as a non-isolationist and made ‘America First’ as his foreign policy doctrine. He lays great emphasis on it in light of the fact that, in a politico/Morning Consult poll released on January 25, 2017, 65% of Americans polled supported Donald Trump’s ‘America First.’ It is therefore not surprising that the 2018 budget proposal of Donald Trump mentioned ‘America First’ and ‘Make America Great Again’ in it. Like ‘America First,’ ‘Making America Great Again’ (MAGA) is not new a concept. It has been used variously by different professionals. But this is not the problem. The issue is the greatness of the United States that is presented to the public as having been lost and that has to be regained. Before the election of Donald Trump, the greatness of the United States was never in doubt and United States had not always been the first in many spheres of life. For example, the Wikipedia.org has simply summarised the industrial feats of the United States thus: ‘one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world.’ In this regard, it says ‘the United States has been the birthplace of 161 of Britannica’s 321 Greatest inventions, including items such as the airplane, internet, microchip, laser, cellphone, refrigerator, e-mail, microwave, personal computer, liquid-crystal display, and light-emitting diode technology, air

By preventing any inquiry into the alleged excesses of American troops, is the US not implicitly admitting guiltiness of its troops?Where is the credibility,fairness and justice on which democratic values are predicated? Is‘America First’attainable as a tactic and objective in light of Donald Trump’s mania of political governance? Can the US have its greatness increased in international relations?Why acceptance of protectionism at home but its rejection abroad?The US refused to sign the Rome Statute but opted to sign agreements with some signatories to the Statute in order to protect its interests. US cannot support the trial of CharlesTaylor by the ICC and be against the investigation of US soldiers.Why deny the killers of Jamal Kashoggi in Istanbul US visa while similar crimes are levied against US soldiers? In fact, why seek to try Al-Bashir of Sudan? It is precisely these contradictions in US foreign policy attitudinal disposition that have the potential to frustrate the dream of a greater America, and‘America First’policy

Democratic corruption is about democratisation of corruption and corrupting democracy and its values. Corruption, in whichever way it is defined, is outlawed in international law and relations. However, many people disregard the law and feel free to engage in sharp practices. The United States is a terra cognita of democracy worldwide. Consequently, it can never speak well if it is in the same United States that democratic values are now bastardised, and for that matter, by Americans, their government, and its agents. The largest college admission cheating scheme ever prosecuted in the United States reportedly took place last Monday, April 8, 2019 in Boston. Mr. Rick Singer who administers a college prep business, assisted several wealthy parents to cheat ‘on standardised tests for their children. He bribed college coaches to falsely designate the children as recruited athletes, smoothing their path to admission. The scheme helped the students get into highly selective universities like Yale, Stanford University of Southern California and UCLA.’ Amongst those parents for whom cheating assistance was given is Felicity Huffman, the star of “Desperate Housewives.” She recognised her fault and pleaded guilty in the court. In her words, “I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions.’ More important, she added: ‘I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community. I want to apologise to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who made tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.’ And most importantly, Madam Huffman admitted that her ‘daughter knew absolutely nothing about (her) actions and in (her) misguided and profound wrong way (she has) betrayed her. This transgression toward her and the public (she) will carry for the rest of (her) life. And most interestingly but disturbingly too, she said her desire to help her daughter ‘is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty.’ Her statement is quite touching and thought provoking. There is no disputing the fact that she regretted her wrong doing, especially for admitting that seeking help either for her daughter or anyone else does not mean doing so contrary to law. She might have been advised to be remorseful, bearing in mind the stiff punishment for the offence. For instance, Eric Levenson of the CNN who reported the case, has it that, ‘in exchange for Huffman’s plea, Federal prosecutors will recommend incarceration on April 8 at the “low end” of the sentencing range, a $20,000 fine and 12 months of supervised release. They will not bring further charges.’ Our concern is not much about the remorsefulness, and even more less about the sanctions, We are more concerned about the operational modality of how corruption is executed in a highly developed country like the United States. (See concluding part on www.thisdaylive.com)


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THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER ˾ ͹ͼ˜ͺ͸͹΁

BUSINESS Owerri Airport Fire: FAAN Not Prepared for Emergency 08033204315, 08111813084

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Last week fire ignited by electrical fault gutted the VIP block and destroyed part of the arrival and departure facilities at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri. Chinedu Eze writes that the slow reaction to the fire outbreak indicates that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria is not prepared to effectively attend to emergencies at nation’s airports

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any air travellers and industry observers who watched the video clips of the fire that burnt parts of the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri expressed happiness that no human life was lost and that it was not an aircraft that was involved in the fire. Many who spoke to THISDAY said the slow reaction of the fire department of the airport to put out the fire indicated that it would have been unable to extinguish such fire if in time aircraft was involved. They recalled the tragic accident involving Sosoliso Airlines Flight 1145 on December 10, 2005 when low-level wind shear brought down the aircraft at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa and it bursted into flames, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) did not have serviceable fire tender with water and foam to put out the fire. So those who survived the initial accident were finally burnt to death. Out of the 110 persons on board, seven survived, but five persons died later in the hospital. In the Owerri airport fire incident time ticked from seconds to minutes as persons at the airport scampered away from the area of fire and motorists slammed their accelerators and headed out of the airport. The thick black smoke wafting from the fire had spiraled into the clouds, colouring the atmosphere with foreboding ash before a fire tender was seen driving languidly towards the area of fire. Fire Equipment THISDAY learnt that a month before the fire incident happened, there were no serviceable fire tender until a new management appointed by FAAN recently repaired the vehicles. In other words, if the fire had happened a month before there would have been no fire fighting vehicles to put out the fire. It would have been equally difficult for state fire service to bring in their own vehicles because the airport is located far from the city and the road to the Owerri main town is known for heavy traffic. But the General Manager of the airport, Mrs. Rejoice Ndubunachi, told THISDAY that the fire was put out in time and that the only area severely damaged was the VIP building, noting that flight operations continued that day the fire incident happened and that the airport has been processing passengers since then. She also told THISDAY that renovation was going on at the airport when the fire occurred and expressed optimism that FAAN would quickly repair the damaged facilities at the airport, which is becoming a busy airport, adding that currently the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport records eight landings a day from commercial flights and caters for air travellers from Imo state, Abia state and part of Anambra state. Cause of the Fire The fire was attributed to faulty electric cable which sparked fire and burned slowly in the ceiling of the building before it escalated when heavy smoke pulverized the atmosphere. Industry insiders alleged that the airport terminal and allied structures were built with inferior materials when work at the airport facilities were hurriedly done. A former Managing Director of FAAN anonymously wrote his experience when he managed the agency and said that interferences from the then ministry of aviation and Presidency never allowed the agency to effectively manage the airports and provide the needed equipment and materials for efficient running of the airports. He made a reference to the low quality of materials

Owerri Airport gutted by fire last Tuesday

that are supplied to FAAN by contractors handpicked by top government officials in the Ministry and the Presidency and said during the period he was the managing director, a contractor who supplied foam to the fire department brought very inferior foam, which he rejected. “This terminal (Owerri airport terminal) was one of the urgent reasons why I was fired. Its promoters were damn too offended by my insistence on certain things being done. There was a consignment of fire fighting foam delivered by a contractor that I insisted to test and found that it could hardly put out fire and rejected it. This caused me unimaginable trouble in Abuja. When they summoned me, I told them I tested the foam and it wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do. That it could be any of them (VIPs), including even the President that could be involved in a fire incident in Lagos and we would attempt to fight the fire with this useless foam. Who would take the can (responsibility) if such happened? “I said no, the foam must go. They did everything to intimidate me to accept the consignment. It was worth N150 million ($1 million at the time). They even said “okay, just use it for training”. I refused. I made very big enemies up to the Villa. This particular guy had been supplying foam to several airports for years. For this, I cancelled his contract (among very many others that I cancelled and made me a highly controversial Managing Director),” he said. Interference THISDAY spoke to two senior officials in FAAN who acknowledged that what the former FAAN Managing Director wrote encapsulated the problem of the agency. One of the officials told THISDAY that budgets would be made and funds earmarked and approved but some highly placed persons in

government would “pocket” more than half of the money and “use the balance to buy inferior materials and nobody will talk.” “So simple thing as the purchase of foam is given out as contract and you know that this foam is critically important for the fire department because without foam you cannot put out the fire. Yet, they will go and buy inferior ones. Most of the projects done at the airport are inferior, including the buildings. So politicians are part of our problem; in fact, they are the major problem that we have,” the official said. Also a manager at the headquarters of the agency in Lagos told THISDAY that FAAN may never rise to effectively manage the airports and the nation’s airports may never rise to compete with major airports in the world because the ministry and the Presidency cannot allow FAAN to function effectively and fully take charge of the airports. “As long as there are interferences and the managing director of FAAN is a mere rubber stamp, we may never have effectively functional airports in this country. Before you even talk of concession, you should allow FAAN to manage the airport without interferences and see whether they will not manage it very well. And I can assure you they will manage it well without interferences,” he said. Managing Director’s Visit The Managing Director of FAAN, Saleh Dunoma, on Thursday, paid a visit to the airport and expressed happiness that there was no casualty during the fire incident and disclosed that Zenith Insurance had conducted the evaluation of the damage and has agreed to pay the claims in full. He said the authority would do all within its powers to ensure that the airport was renovated as soon as possible, so as to ameliorate the inconveniences the incident may cause airport users.

He thanked the incumbent Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, and the governor-elect, Emeka Ihedioha, for their support and timely intervention during the incident, also thanked the Air Force commandant, the Divisional Police Officer, Owerri airport command and their team for the role they played during the incident. While stating that a committee has already been constituted to inquire into the remote cause of the incident, the managing director advised the airport management to continue to engage the host communities and other stakeholders collaboratively in the interest of all. However, the General Manager of the airport, Mrs. Ndubunachi, said the incoming governor, Ihedioha had shown indications that he would support FAAN in providing critical infrastructure that are presently lacking at the airport. Currently, the airport has no airfield lighting so airlines carry out daylight operations at the airport, which known as 6:00 am to 6:00 pm , but it is expected that airlines could operate into the airport in the night if airfield lighting is installed. Fire Cover On fire equipment and personnel, the airport general manager said there were two fire tenders and adequate personnel for the category of the airport. But THISDAY investigations revealed that due to the fact that training for fire fighters are done outside the country, many of the personnel are behind schedule in training, but recently the federal government has started serious talks on the installation of firefighter simulator for the training of firemen for the airports and Nigeria’s fire departments all over the country. So the fire incident at the Owerri airport has shown once again how the airports are ill-prepared for emergencies.


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THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER Ëž ÍšÍźËœͺ͸͚Î

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Containerised goods at the port ready to be shipped out

As Africa Free Trade Deal is Set to Take off‌ Recently, at the 7th Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, African countries agreed to implement a landmark trade policy, the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), which is expected to make the continent the largest free trade area in the world. But the proposed take-off of the AfCFTA in May 2019 has generated a debate among policy makers, corporate giants and analysts as to whether or not the deal will achieve its laudable goals, reports Bamidele Famoofo

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he plan to deepen trade among the 55 countries in the African continent, which is expected to eventually make the continent the largest free trade area in the world with over a billion consumers, and generate a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over $3trillion, is ordinarily seen as the best thing to happen to the continent, only if the pros and cons to the deal are carefully considered. Aliko Dangote, richest man in Africa and President of Dangote Industries Limited, whose investment in cement cuts across the continent has some reservations over the implementation of the deal as he believes that regional markets must first be made to work well before the deal goes live. Dangote, responding to questions from British-Sudanese Billionaire, Mo Ibrahim, recently, seems to justify the reasons why Nigeria is yet to join the other countries to ratify the deal. He said African government needs to work on regional trade to promote economic ties and development before swinging fully into the continental trade agreement. Citing the case of West Africa region where cement from Nigeria would not be allowed to enter a neigbouring country like Benin Republic, he argued that free movement within regional markets is still lacking. His words: “Benin Republic which is Africa does not allow Dangote Cement product but will rather import from China�. Besides free movement at the regional level, Dangote lamented implementation of AfCFTA. He said the key issue was not about the signatories, but implementation by African governments. “My issue is when we signed, what about implementation - which is key and missing. “I think the CFTA will help, but we need to make regional markets work very well. Aliko Dangote said there was a need for more collaboration from other African nations in areas on economic integration and open border. “This is one of the areas that I always keep discussing with my good friend Vera (Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary – Economic Commission on Africa (ECA), focused on the AfCTA). “I’m sure she’s somewhat and I always tell Vera, you know please can you make the regional market in Africa to work before we go to AfCTA,� he said. Another issue raised by the richest man in Africa as touching

the free trade agreement, is the African passport. He asserted that the passport is not working. (The African Union passport is a document set to replace existing nationally-issued passports and exempt bearers from having to obtain any visas for all 55 states in Africa.) He cited an example of how Angola stamped an AU passport because he was allowed free entrance into the country. “The ugly situation was when I was invited by the President of Angola and ‌. when I went there, I was issued visa on African Union passport.â€? “I had to apply for visa, and intentionally, when I applied for the visa, I also applied on the African Union passport and I gave them that too to stamp on it.â€? He queried: “If African countries can grant British, America and European citizens’ visa on arrival why can’t they grant free entrance to African citizensâ€?. A public affairs analyst, Ridwan Sorunke, is in agreement with Dangote as he told Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa recently that without political will, the AfCTA may suffer a similar fate to the AU passport. But Executive Secretary, Economic Commission on Africa (ECA), Vera Songwe, believed AfCFTA was workable in spite of the reservations expressed in some quarters. She argued that what was less known about the AfCFTA was that its scope exceeded that of a traditional free trade area, which generally focus on trade in goods, to include trade in services, investment, intellectual property rights and competition policy, and possibly e-commerce. “The AfCFTA is complemented by other continental initiatives, including the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Right to Residence and Right to Establishment, and the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). The scale of AfCFTA’s potential impact makes it vital to understand the main drivers of the agreement and the best methods to harness its opportunities and overcome its risks and challengesâ€?, she said. Songwe believed that the signing of the AfCFTA in Kigali came at a time when the benefits of trade were actively contested, and global powers that traditionally promoted trade as a crucial driver of growth are now calling into question its very tenets. “This apprehension is not without cause. It is broadly recognised that, while globalisation and trade produced the impressive economic expansion of the past three decades, the gains have not been fairly distributed. The

World Bank population-weighted Gini index shows that inequality rose steeply between 1988 and 1998 and declined only moderately by 2013. Although global poverty has fallen, prosperity has not been fully shared.� There are insinuations that the deal could scale through without the participation of big oil producers like Nigeria and Angola who are yet to subscribe to it. “At the regional level, Southern African economies have, on average, the most sophisticated exports. Botswana and South Africa export the most sophisticated goods while Rwanda and Uganda have made the greatest improvements over the past three decades. However, quality improvement of the export basket has been sluggish elsewhere, with some reversals, and there is considerable cross-country heterogeneity within regions�, Songwe disclosed. To further drive home her argument, she said, “Analysis of sectoral quality shows that some richer and more open countries have well established manufacturing exports, such as South Africa and Morocco. Like the East Asian economies, they may have reached a saturation point to quality improvement within existing sectors and may need to target new geographic markets that can provide greater scope for growth and innovation to improve their competitive advantage. Other countries, such as Botswana and Mali, have successfully moved up the value chain within their natural resource sectors. In these countries, knowledge transfers to other export sectors can unlock the potential of established or emerging industries�. Songwe’s optimism notwithstanding, she submitted that AfCFTA could only fulfill its potential in diversifying and transforming African economies in an inclusive manner. “African countries must develop effective policies and strategies for exports, and identify new opportunities for diversification, industrialisation, and value chain development. Furthermore, although the AfCFTA can address many important demand-side constraints to trade, particularly those linked to market size, supply-side constraints must also be addressed.� The Gambia recently joined as the 22nd member nation to internally ratify the agreement constituting the number needed to move the agreement forward. Meanwhile, the continent’s oil biggest producer, Nigeria and Angola are yet to sign ahead of May kick-off date of the economic ties.


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BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Why Borrow to Boost Economy? All appears set for the Nigerian government to raise N3.4 trillion through issuance of promissory notes to settle a backlog of local debts, especially those owed to government contractors and civil servants. The move, according to the nation’s finance ministry, will boost economic growth, even as the biggest economy in Africa targets to achieve a three-per cent growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2019. Bamidele Famoofo reports

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he total debt stock hanging on the neck of Nigeria stood at N24.39trillion or $79.44billion as at December 31, 2018. The domestic component of total debt attributable to both the federal and state government at the end of 2018 was N16.63 trillion. Besides debt obligations to government contractors, employees and others, big chunk of domestic debt are borrowings from local investors through issuance of treasury bills and bonds by government for project financing purposes and other sundry matters. Director General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Patience Oniha, who in a recent report, revealed that the total public debt stood at N24.387 trillion or USD79.437 billion as at December 31, 2018, said the increase represented a year-on-year growth of 12.25 percent. Further details provided by Oniha showed that more progress was made towards achieving the target debt stock mix of 60 per cent (domestic) and 40 per cent (external). She noted that the share of domestic debt dropped to 68.18 per cent from 73.36 per cent as at December 31, 2017, thereby achieving a mix of 68.18 per cent and 31.82 per cent in the debt stock. According to DMO, the strategy of using relatively cheaper and longer tenored external funds is achieving the expected objectives. Some of the objectives were: to create more space for other borrowers in the domestic market, extend the average tenor of the debt stock in order to reduce refinancing risk and increase external reserves. The implementation of the strategy led to an injection of N855 billion through the redemption of Nigerian Treasury Bills in 2018 and a general drop in the FGN’s borrowing rate in the domestic market from over 18 per cent per annum in 2017 to 14 – 15per cent per annum in 2018. Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, recently revealed government will again borrow N3.4trillion from the investing public to clear a backlog of N2.7trillion obligations to local contractors working for government as well as pay salary arrears of civil servants. Part of the would-be beneficiaries of the debt settlement are pensioners and players in the oil marketing industry to whom is due some interests on fuel importation. Ahmed, who said the proposal to raise N3.4trillion through a 10-year tenor promissory note, was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at its last meeting in Abuja, believes going for the option would help revive an economy that has faced low growth since emerging from its first recession in 25 years in 2017. The economy plunged into a recession in second quarter of 2016 with growth contracting by 1.6 percent. But exactly a year after, second quarter in 2017, the economy bounced back, recording a positive growth. The growth came as a result of upward swing in oil price and desperate borrowings by government to finance infrastructure, which revived the dying economy. Growth has been consistent since 2017, though it recorded a drop

Oniha

in third quarter of 2018 before closing at 1.9 per cent in 2018. Besides boosting economic growth, “the note issuance programme would help the government to account properly for its liabilities, as at December,” said Ahmed. While economic pundits cautioned on increasing the nation’s debt stock because of the impact of its repayment on ordinary Nigerians, they are of the opinion that settling debts owed to contractors, payment of salary arrears and other entitlements due to workers among other considerations, will enhance the purchasing power of a large number of Nigerians with a multiplier effect that will boost growth. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said growth in gross domestic product should reach 3 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, buoyed by election and government spending, compared with 1.9 percent last year. But while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) shared the optimism of the Nigeria’s Central Bank, going by the outcome of its recent assessment of performance of the economy, it differs on the projection for economic growth as

it sees the economy growing by 2.1 per cent in 2019. It, therefore, proffered the ways to boost the economy and achieve a healthy growth. Executive directors of the IMF welcomed Nigeria’s ongoing economic recovery, accompanied by reduced inflation and strengthened reserve buffers. They noted, however, that the medium-term outlook remains muted, with risks tilted to the downside. “In addition, long-standing structural and policy challenges need to be tackled more decisively to reduce vulnerabilities, raise per capita growth, and bring down poverty.” Directors, therefore, urged the authorities to redouble their reform efforts, and supported their intention to accelerate implementation of their Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. On the way forward for the economy, directors of the IMF emphasised the need for revenuebased consolidation to lower the ratio of interest payments to revenue and make room for priority expenditure. They welcomed the authorities’ tax reform plan to increase non-oil revenue, including through tax policy and administration measures. They stressed the importance of strengthening domestic revenue

mobilisation, including through additional excises, a comprehensive VAT reform, and elimination of tax incentives. Securing oil revenues through reforms of state owned enterprises and measures to improve the governance of the oil sector will also be crucial. The IMF highlighted the importance of shifting the expenditure mix toward priority areas. They welcomed, in this context, the significant increase in public investment, but underlined the need for greater investment efficiency. They also recommended increasing funding for health and education. They noted that phasing out implicit fuel subsidies while strengthening social safety nets to mitigate the impact on the most vulnerable would help reduce the poverty gap and free up additional fiscal space. The directors recommended stronger coordination for more effective public debt and cash management. With inflation still above the CBN target, IMF generally considered that a tight monetary policy stance is appropriate. They encouraged the authorities to enhance transparency and communication and to improve the monetary policy framework, including by using more traditional methods, such as raising the monetary policy rate or cash reserve requirements. Directors also urged ending direct central bank intervention in the economy to allow focus on the central bank’s price stability mandate. The IMF directors commended the authorities’ commitment to unify the exchange rate and welcomed the increasing convergence of foreign exchange windows. They noted that a unified market based exchange rate and a more flexible exchange rate regime would support inflation targeting. Directors also stressed that elimination of exchange restrictions and multiple currency practices would remove distortions and facilitate economic diversification. The IMF welcomed the decline in nonperforming loans and the improved prudential banking ratios but noted that restructured loans and undercapitalised banks continue to weigh on financial sector performance. They suggested strengthening capital buffers and risk based supervision, conducting an asset quality review, avoiding regulatory forbearance, and revamping the banking resolution framework. Directors also recommended establishing a credible time bound recapitalsation plan for weak banks and a timeline for phasing out the state-backed asset management company, AMCON. The also urged the authorities to reinvigorate implementation of structural reforms to diversify the economy and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. They pointed to the importance of improving the business environment, implementing the power sector recovery programme, deepening financial inclusion, reforming the health and education sectors, and implementing policies to reduce gender inequities. Directors also emphasised the need to strengthen governance, transparency, and anti-corruption initiatives, including by enhancing AML/CFT and improving accountability in the public sector.

Firm Hits Market with Pocket-friendly Rice Packages An indigenous food processing company, Integrated Factory Food Company has launched into the Nigerian market economic-friendly smaller package rice. The company, brand owner of NewlifeRice, NaijaSweetRice has in addition to the existing sizes of50kg,25kg, 5kg and 750g launched cost effective and economic friendly 375g NaijaSweet Rice package popularly known as ‘HungaBusta’. This lowest pack is targeted at the retail consumers especially those who are already

accustomed to buying rice in direct retail cup serving. According to the Chief Executive Officer of integrated Factory Food Company, Akhibi Onoke Akhibi, despite the laudable emphasis of the Federal Government on local content in rice production, many urban rice consumers are being denied the opportunity of savouring the rich taste of freshly milled, delicious locally produced rice as a result of sharp practices of some unscrupulous rice merchants.

Akhibi added that his company in its innovativeness, decided to introduce the NaijaSweetRice HungaBusta pack through the new trend of dry food channel. The HungaBusta pack is equivalent of two cups (175g) plus edible rice grains that is ideal for a family of four. Like its other sizes, he said the rice is sourced locally from Bida, Doko,Enagi, Edozhgi and Katcha areas if Niger State, North Central Nigeria and are processed to high quality standard.

Akhibi also stressed that NaijaSweet Rice “ meets all the standard of food safety,consistent quality, reasonable pricing and fair trading opportunities for supply chain participants. “By introducing single family serving homegrown freshly milled and well packaged Nigerian rice to retail consumers, the company hopes to offer to the public, especially the urban consumers the opportunity to connect with farmers and the rich taste of locally produced rice that have been denied for so long”.


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Getting Ready for FATF Evaluation With an unmet deadline last November, 2019 offers fresh insights, opportunities for Nigeria to meet requirements for and provide the legal framework for the nation’s guaranteed financial autonomy under the mutual evaluation policy. Will Nigeria meet the conditions necessary for undertaking the second round this year? Adedayo Adejobi examines the country’s readiness

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hen compliance professionals, industry stakeholders, financial institution regulators and technology experts converged on Lagos at the Association of Compliance Chief of Banks in Nigeria (ACCOBIN’s) 2019 Chief Compliance Officers retreat recently , it was to set a tone for conversations around digital revolution; Revolutionising the Compliance Function in Nigerian Banks. What seemed to be the overriding point of interest aside digital and technological innovations, was the question of assessing Nigeria’s readiness for the second round of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) mutual evaluation slated for the months of September and October this year. Periodically, countries all over the world must undergo mutual evaluation. The purpose of the mutual evaluation is to assess how each country has implemented the recommendations and the principles on fighting money laundering, terrorist financing and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction all over the world. With that in view, Nigeria was supposed to undergo the second round of mutual evaluation two years ago, but because of certain technical details it wasn’t armed with, it asked for extension of time to enable it meet the requirements. This time around, Nigeria cannot, but face the reality of the mutual evaluation exercise. Even though Nigeria presently has an observer status, it has applied for full membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). And so, its membership ultimately relies on how well it performs during the mutual evaluation slated for later this year. It is crucially important that Nigeria performs very well, as its success would be benchmarked against the FATF 40 recommendations. Exploring the genesis and trajectory of Nigeria’s loss at clinching the coveted statutory global standards, during the Abacha regime, Nigeria was offered membership on a platter of gold, but turned it down because the late military ruler, Muhammed Sani Abacha didn’t even understand the significance and its unique essence to Nigeria’s global ranking and the health of its financial institutions. Unfortunately, last year when Nigeria was supposed to have the mutual evaluation, it requested for extension on grounds of unpreparedness. Amongst all countries in West Africa, Nigeria is supposed to be the first country to have completed this exercise and clinched its full membership status, because, it undoubtedly was the first to have its first round in 2007. For a country like Nigeria, which midwifed Ghana’s Financial Intelligent Unit (FIU), the latter is presently ahead of the country, as it has successfully done its mutual evaluation in October 2016. GIABA, the body saddled with the responsibility to conduct the mutual evaluation exercise, came to Nigeria in March this year, with a view to kick-starting the process, but Nigeria came up with excuses and couldn’t host them. With that in the basket, it is worthy of note that there are complications that have arisen as a result of Nigeria’s seeming laid back and procrastinating demeanour towards this professional certification gap. Nigeria, the sleeping giant of Africa, is presently out of the EDMOND group, an Association of the financial Intelligence Unit all over the world. Following reports by the media, Nigeria’s financial intelligence Unit has been indicted for

Buhari

not running a course according to international standards. Secondly, Nigeria’s’ Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) does not have legal framework and financial autonomy. These, amongst a myriad of gaps, are what the global Association of the Financial Intelligence Unit, want Nigeria to guarantee. With a deadline approaching, the country is saddled with the burden to make sure it provides the legal framework and guarantee financial autonomy before November. The big question on the lips of all and sundry is that, is Nigeria ready, willing to meet this fast-approaching deadline set to hold in September and October. Is this feasible? No one knows. Stakeholders are somewhat jittery, not knowing the fate of Nigeria, whilst the financial sector seems to be hanging in the balance. The GIABA team which represents the FATF was in Nigeria last week trying to go round all the stakeholders to be sure they could find a common ground. The stakeholders no doubt need to quickly put themselves and its house in order. With a house once divided against itself, a major stumbling block in the way of Nigeria’s Readiness for FATF Mutual Evaluation, is the offshoot of the dramatic opposition and face-off between the National Assembly and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on this issue. Have they really sheathed the sword? Can it be said that the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit is truly self-governing under the Central Bank of Nigeria? Does the National Assembly believe in the need for a stand-alone Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)

or one that is a compromised? On the other side of the divide, EFCC once held that if they took out the FIU, as done last year, it will effectively affect the template. From the time it’s been domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria till date, has it affected its autonomy? Does the commission still insist on its standpoint which it premises would still work? The question which begs answer is: Have they, and if not, how would both parties would resolve their differences amicably? Not forgetting that there are still critical issues yet unaddressed, meeting conditions for FATT 40 recommendations, and Nigeria’s level of preparedness, which hangs on the fringe of uncertainty. Giving an insight on what Nigeria needs to do to qualify, Managing Director, DataPro Limited, Abimbola Adeseyoju, gave this submission, “ensuring success at the mutual evaluation, Nigeria must meet a minimum standard.� “The way countries are scored is simple. Should Nigeria score above 80 in each of the estimates given, it means we are compliant. If we score between 60-80, we earn the LC rating. But if we score below 60, they give us PC, which is technically a re-sit. Should Nigeria score below 40, we earn an SC, which is not non-compliant. For us to be fully admitted, we must demonstrate and score at least LC.’’ From history, the last time Nigeria participated, it scored half, meaning there is room for serious work to be done in preparation. At this point where lack of coordination seems to have taken centrestage, the National Assembly needs to pass the necessary laws

because there is still need to pass a lot of amendments to make sure Nigeria meets the conditions. More worrisome is the presidency’s lack of understanding the enormity of the problems ahead. Without its proper understanding, it cannot provide leadership to technical issues bordering on, but not limited to money laundering, terrorism financing, as this would in turn adversely affect Nigeria negatively on the global stage. Nigeria didn’t seem to understand the importance up until now, that’s why South Africa was offered the opportunity and it latched on to it, to become compliant and a member. Speaking on the unique essence of this exercise and its attendant implications, Adeseyoju stated that, should Nigeria fail to qualify for this mutual evaluation exercise, one offered on a platter of gold, and which gets more difficult by the year, �it would affect the banks, foreign direct investment and the country’s reputation worldwide in terms of corruption index and transparency.� With so much at stake, and most crucially Nigeria’s long-etched good name, the National Assembly and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and regulators, are left with no other choice than to bury personal interests, so that Nigeria could present a common front. The membership and mutual evaluation would require Nigeria to demonstrate it is implementing all the measures agreed at the international level, and that all Nigerian banks are implementing all its designated financial institutions are implementing so that the level of acceptance of our financial institutions could be higher. With these attendant issues unresolved, it becomes difficult for Nigeria to qualify on many fronts. Most significantly is the National risk assessment report, one which has not been done. Without the result of the National risk assessment been released, the country can’t even start the mutual evaluation because the national risk assessment needs to be read to know how the nation has classified all its institutions. The principle of the risk-based approach is the need to put commensurate resources to where the risks are higher. Unfortunately, at the moment, Nigeria’s seems to be focusing on people that will not hurt it, and looking the other way on those stealing the common patrimony of the country. This does not show any form of preparedness. Being the biggest country in Africa, most strategic and one accused of committing virtually every high risk crime, and a with a clearer understanding beyond with compelling reasons, as to why Nigeria preparedness to domesticate these principles, mutual evaluation and most importantly gain membership into the comity of nations as recommended by the Egmont Group. With 35 countries deciding the fate of the world including Nigeria’s, whilst there are almost 200 countries in the United Nation, the country, which is presently an observer nation, needs to demonstrate readiness, technical compliance, effectiveness and the willingness to abide by those global principles. With 2018 gone, and September and October 2019 of the mutual evaluation year looking very active for compliance in Nigeria, the preparation has started. With the preparation seeing Nigeria put in structures, there is the need to sensitise Nigerians on the unique essence of and need for compliance. Now is the time and it’s not negotiable on grounds of sentiment. The big questions yet unanswered remains: Is Nigeria ready for FATF Mutual Evaluation?


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Resetting the Economy With the announcements last week of global major businesses from aviation pharmaceuticals, oil and gas weighing the sale of their gas fields and seeking to close their business operations in Nigeria, there is no better time than now for the country to restructure the economy by enhancing local refining capacity through state governmentowned refineries and major infrastructure concession. Adedayo Adejobi reports

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igeria’s economic history since its independence in 1960 has been largely characterised by inconsistency, increasing unemployment, poverty, inadequate social facilities, poor health care delivery, to mention but a few. This situation has, for the past several years, engaged the attention of scholars who have shared their views on these negative trends which prove too complicated for a successful holistic analysis. The long years of military rule, which were virtually void of democratic values and principles, had a devastating effect on the economy. Planning was haphazard, policies were distorted and implementation processes were undermined. More so, corruption, fraud, dishonesty, gross indiscipline and general mismanagement went unabated. These have dealt a blow on the economy. Experts make an attempt to unravel the past and the present state of the economy with emphasis on the inevitability of moral values and virtues in the pursuit of economic development. The Buhari-led administration is almost concluding its four-year tenure without a clear-cut economic roadmap. The questions on the lips of every truly concerned Nigerian, right now, on the premise of the present administration’s first-term assessment are: What major evident economic progress have been made in the years under Buhari? Are Nigerians really better off now than in 2015? With the shaky health of the leader intricately intertwined with the economic health, it is more so in a delicately fragile union of the nation called Nigeria. In a country, where its citizens voted out the incumbent on the premise of frustration resulting from the administration’s lack-lustre attitude towards governance, nothing demonstrates the lack of preparedness for leadership better than the Economic Recovery Growth Programme (ERGP), launched twice by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and his principal a year and nine months late. Till date, the effect of the programme has not been felt. Going down memory lane, in 2007, former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo offloaded the financial sink holes called refineries in Nigeria. The decision was prelude to getting the private sector to totally take over the downstream Petroleum Sector so that the federal government will loosen itself off the noose called subsidy payments. Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, on assumption of office in 2009, promptly reversed the sales on political sentimental conundrum against sound economic strategic reasoning. Since that unfortunate error by the late President Yar’Adua, Nigeria has wasted over N10 trillion on subsidy. Had the refinery disposal been allowed to stand, not only would Nigeria have saved the trillions of naira wasted in subsidy payments, but even bigger billions of dollars used in importing petroleum products would have been retained in the economy to do innumerable beneficial things for the people. Years after, the pump price has risen astronomically and later on, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria caused the government to increase fuel price from an inconvenient N87 per litre to its present harrowing N145 per litre. Chronicling companies who have left the shores of Nigeria and the ones putting finishing touches to sell off their assets and leave, notably, Virgin Atlantic, Cadbury, ExxonMobil which has valued its oil and gas fields for up to $3billion tops the list. The pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline, also plans to close its huge Agbara plant. Groaning under harsh operating environment, and global economic crunch, over 20 big shipping firms have left Nigeria over low business resulting crucially from government policy summersault. Some of the companies that have already made their exit include Mitsui O.S.K Line, Nippon Yusen Kasha, Taiwan’s Evergreen Line, Messina Line, Hapag-Lloyd and Gold Star Line (GSL). They were forced to withdraw from the West Africa route due to growing losses as a result of declining volumes. The gloomy economic climate has seen dockworkers groan under threats of $7billion cash call, deficient

A crude oil reďŹ nery

import policies, whilst over 300 workers have been sacked, and the shipping giant, Maersk reducing its crew by 400. In 2006, the massive retrenchment came on the heels of the inability of the federal government to meet its joint venture obligation with the international oil companies that are major partners with the marine logistic companies. Nigeria, as an import-dependent country, cannot suddenly ban the importation of the principal goods being generally consumed in the country. Hence, the government policy on importation though with the best intention seems to have wreaked more havoc on the economy and ought to be reviewed. According to reports by NACCIMA, over 800 companies shut down in three years. The current situation of the “surviving� industries poses a great threat to the survival of the manufacturing industry, as the capacity utilisation in industries hovers around 30 per cent and 45 per cent on the average, with 100 per cent overhead costs. The continued decline in the manufacturing sector has been blamed on “political and economic factors’’, with poor infrastructure and epileptic power supply, high interest rates, policy inconsistency, poor patronage of locally manufactured products, poor supporting infrastructure, among others. The economy is still confronted by serious challenges, structural imbalance and lack of diversification, whilst the current government policies targeted at the real sector (manufacturing) are also inadequate. While some of the affected manufacturers have relocated to neighbouring countries, according to Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, as at 2016, at least 222 small-scale businesses have closed shops, leading to 180,000 job losses. It is however unthinkable what the figures would be now, if an audit was done. Oil, the mainstay of the economy, is dwindling, thus hitting hard at the nation’s dependence on the black gold. With the unsustainable foreign exchange paid in importation, subsidy payment plan, the nation’s purse had bled profusely, thereby debasing the value of the currency. With this in continuum, it might get worse. In his view, economic analyst and financial expert, Benjamin Obialor Ojiegbe, noted: ‘‘The Nigerian economy cannot support these subsidy pay-outs for much longer. No matter the monbojombo, wuzzle buzzle the Central Bank may come up with in terms of management of foreign exchange and the value of

our local currency, unless and until the importation of petroleum products is stopped, the value of the Naira will continue to fall in perpetuity. Even if you make it N1,000 to $1 today, it will still continue to fall until Nigeria stops importation of petroleum products in the volume that we currently do.� “This is where the bemusement manifests, the federal government of Nigeria and in fact, state government can and should be making money from the downstream petroleum sector activities rather than bleeding the economy to extinction,� he added. Immediate diagnosis of the continued importation of refined petroleum products includes exporting hundreds of thousands of lucrative refining employment opportunities, by keeping the foreign refineries busy, massive amounts of money wasted monthly on fuel subsidy payments, scarcity of petrol every now and then, causing unwarranted hardship on Nigerians, and waste of valuable manpower resources. With these attendant problems related and centered on the inadequacy of local refining capacity in Nigeria, the solution to these problems would require the political will and resolution of the government, given the grave economic consequences of inaction in the present circumstances. Shedding light on possible solutions, Ojiegbe suggested the federal government should immediately advertise for private sector concessionaires to take over and run the National Refineries and pay royalties to the government. “The federal government should not listen to any civil servant who comes and says, give me this and that, and they will make the refineries work. Nigeria has wasted enough money in this, that we should now become very weary of this kind of talk. The federal government should also support state governments, especially the oil producing states, to build and operate their own refineries in conjunction with some private sector concessionaires. The involvement of the private sector concessionaires will bring in the needed capital as well as the expertise in efficient operation and management devoid of corruption, politics, favouritism, nepotism and other such tendencies associated with public sector approach to business. “It will relieve the government of burden of heavy budgetary allocations and waste that characterise government contracts while ensuring that projects are implemented on time, to specified standards, continuity and efficiency of services. This is also

recommended by major development finance institutions across the world as most cost-effective and reliable approach to infrastructure development the world over. The state governments, together with the concessionaires should procure modular refineries of various capacities to be approved for each of them. A sovereign guarantee of the government is all that is required, and using such guarantees, the private sector operator concessionaires selected through a thorough competitive bidding process, will source financing and establish the refineries,� he said. “Within 12 to 18 months from the date of the investment decision, the refineries can be assembled and fully operational (It takes less than 12 months to assemble a modular refinery of capacities up to 36,000bpd). Importantly, the refineries will pay for themselves. The federal government, using the domestic crude supply obligation and increasing it slightly to accommodate the aggregate established capacity of all the refineries, will supply crude oil to all the refineries daily through existing pipeline networks and barges. “The federal government in agreements with the participating states would deduct cash payment for the supplied crude from the federal allocations of the states. The federal government should discount the crude oil supplied to the states refineries by removing taxes, transportation costs, clearing and forwarding charges, handling charges, amongst others,� he added. Ojiegbe believed each state government, together with their concessionaires/operators will decide how much they will sell the products of their own refineries within their state, regulated by the federal government to determine the maximum refining margins allowed. “The federal government will not be part of the pricing decision and will not subsidise any of the refineries,� he noted. “In essence, the income of the governments from the refineries shall be two-fold: the cost of the crude oil, to be paid to the government (by the concessionaires/operators), profit sharing with the concessionaires/operators from the sale of refined products. When this is done, it is expected that the cost of PMS per litre will fall below N50.00 to a litre seeing a public private partnership Concession approach in building, operating and managing the refineries as the concessionaires/operators assume performance and revenue risks,� he explained.


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The celebrant Dr W Waheed Olagunju Olagunju, retired Executive Director Small and Medium Enterprises and wife wife, Mobolaji

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At 60, Nigerians Honour Waheed Olagunju with a Balanced Scorecard

R-L: Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi; Governor of Ekiti State , Dr Kayode Fayemi; the celebrant Dr Waheed Olagunju, retired Executive Director Small and Medium Enterprises; wife, Mobolaji ; Minister of State for Industry Trade and Investment, Mrs Aisha Abubakar; Mrs Mary Paul, who represented the First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari, at Olagunju’s 60th birthday and retirement reception in Lagos...recently

F

rom all indications, it was obvious many had waited for the day. Friends, old and new colleagues as well as leaders in business and government, all wanted to celebrate a man, who had given his all to the media and Nigeria business environment. In his unique style, Dr. Waheed Olagunju, a former acting managing director of the Bank of Industry, had sent out a classical invitation out few weeks ago, with an inscription; ‘Dr. WAO AT 60’. Perhaps, Olagunju had wanted a quiet birthday soiree, where friends and family members would come and appreciate what God had done for him in six decades. But he got more than he bargained. Since the birthday ceremony coincided with his retirement, the invitation had stated that Olagunju simply wanted friends to join him on Sunday April 7 at a prayer session to express profound appreciation to God for the two milestones. Though this was meant to be followed with a reception, as Olagunju was planning for the party, a few closest friends and professional colleagues in the media, banking and marketing communications industry were also putting heads together to celebrate one of their own in another beautiful manner. This explains why the event that was meant to be a day affair turned out to be two days at two different locations in Victoria Island Lagos. After the solemn prayers with thanksgiving to God for granting him a successful career and for clocking the age 60, the atmosphere changed as various entertainment groups mounted the stage to entertain the birthday boy and his friends and family. Within a short time, men and women, old and young had bombarded the dancing floor to celebrate a top player in the investment and development banking environment, who was bowing out of service. The prayer session was led by Dr. Ismail Musa, the Chief Imam of the University of Lagos. Aside the tributes to Olagunju, which were well captured in a 96-page photo book containing his biography, given to

all guests, who attended the reception held at the Harbour Point, Victoria Island, Lagos, some of the guests also used the occasion to speak glowingly about a man who has traversed many industries and excelled in all. Perhaps as a result of President Muhammadu Buhari’s personal disposition to parties, not a few people in the hall took time to digest his goodwill message, signed by Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity. The statement, which stated that the president celebrated with all family members, friends and associates of Olagunju, also commended the celebrant for always making himself available for service to the nation and humanity. This was said to be centrally motivated by his fear of God and sense of patriotism. He also lauded him for playing a significant role in supporting the vision of diversifying the Nigerian economy through innovative and actionable ideas that translated into growth of more small and medium enterprises across the country. The president prayed that, as Olagunju turns 60, the almighty God would grant him long life, good health and strength to continue serving the country. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, thanked Olagunju for serving the nation, BoI and for his loyalty when they worked together. Enelamah prayed God to bless the celebrant even more in all his future endeavours. The First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari, who was represented at the prayer session and reception by a formidable group of eminent women led by Mrs Mary Paul, also congratulated Olagunju and commended him for supporting the nation’s development programmes. On his part, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, BoI, Olukayode Pitan, described Olagunju as a very versatile person, who came from broadcasting, where he was reporting sports, to build a good career in banking. Pitan said: “He (Olagunju) has institutional memory. If there’s anything you

wanted to know about BoI – before it was born, how it was growing as a baby, all you need to do was ask him. “And he has a way of keeping records. He will get the required documents even if it was from 12 years ago.� President of African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina, in a congratulatory message, expressed delight while thanking God for Olagunju’s landmark of turning 60 years. Akinwunmi, who noted that God has been gracious to the celebrant, prayed that God may continue to grant him much joy, happiness, good health and length of days to fully enjoy the fruit of his labour. The Director General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Oscar Onyema said in particular the exchange commended Dr. Olagunju’s acting leadership of BoI in 2016/2017 period during which the bank simultaneously achieved up to 50 per cent increase in loan disbursements to the MSME Sector and a significant reduction in non-performing loans. He noted that this also culminated in the upgrade of BoI’s ratings by both domestic and international rating agencies under your watch. A former Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission and Koguna of Sokoto, Mallam Danladi Bako, described Olagunju as a beacon of hope, humility and generosity. “In a nation, where many people have little regard for values, Olagunju, through his exemplary character, has shown that the future is indeed bright for Nigeria. He is a hardworking gentleman, ever focused, humble and generous with all that God gives him in knowledge and resources. On this occasion, we can only wish him, his wife –Mobolaji and the chidren, the best of the moment,� Bako said. Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; the Minister of Women’s Affairs who is also doubling as Minister of State for Industry Trade and Investment, Mrs. Aisha Abubakar; the Special Adviser to the President on Social investments, Mrs. Mariam Uwaise and the Ooni of Ife were amongst the gaily dressed dignitaries from all walks of life who

converged on the Harbour Point in Lagos last Sunday to celebrate Olagunju. Also present were former Ministers of Industry, Chief Kola Jamodu and Mr. Olusegun Aganga; retired Inspector General of Police MD Abubakar, former Central Bank deputy governors, Mr. Ernest Ebi and Dr (Mrs) Sarah Alade, current and former bank MDs, industry captains, leading development scholars, family and friends as well as Dr. Olagunju’s former colleagues from both BoI at NTA. Olagunju, who retired recently after successful careers in broadcasting and banking, has a doctorate degree in Business Administration from the Paris School of Business in 2017; Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Master of Social Science Degree in Mass Communications from the University of Lagos in 1981 and 1984, respectively. His career trajectory and accomplishments in journalism, banking and public service speak volume of his resilience, determination and penchant for capacity building. As a cub reporter at the Nigerian Television Authority, (NTA), in the early 80s, Waheed Olagunju, was quick to worm himself to the heart of his bosses and top government functionaries through the sophistication of stories that usually came from him. As a result of the quality of his financial/economic analysis and the depth of his report on the NTA, Olagunju was beckoned upon to come and work at the then Nigeria Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) in 1989 as communication personnel. Within few years of interacting with financial experts, reading economic journals and participating in local and international conferences and workshops, he became master of NIDB operations, which informed the decision to upgrade him as company secretary as well as head of corporate communications. As he retires from service after 28 years in the investment and development banking environment, Olagunju has promised to use his period of retirement to offer advisory services to government and players in the private sector across Africa.


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ÎÓÞÏÎÌãDemola Ojo ×ËÓÖdemola.ojo@thisdaylive.com

Virgin Atlantic’s Redesigned A350 Upper Class Set for Summer Takeoff Stories by Demola Ojo



irginAtlantichasunveileddetails of its long-awaitedAirbusA3501000 aircraft, which includes an entirely new Upper Class cabin, featuring a brand new suite and social space. On sale this month, the airline’s first A350, named Red Velvet, will take to the skies in August, as it flies from London Heathrow to New York JFK, followed by other services to JFK later in the year. Virgin Atlantic has ordered a total of 12 Airbus A350-1000, all scheduled to join the fleet by 2021 in an order worth an estimated $4.4 billion. Mark Anderson, Executive Vice President Customer, at Virgin Atlantic said: “The introduction of our A350 represents a true evolution of our customer experience. We believe flying should be exciting, whether it’s your first or 100th flight with us and that’s why we’ve elevated our offering to provide our customers with something totally unique. “The A350 forms a significant part of our fleet transformation strategy and by 2022, we’ll have our youngest, cleanest, greenest fleet in the sky as the aircraft transforms our customer experience, reduces our environmental impact and improves our route economics.” As the first airline to introduce an on-board bar, Virgin Atlantic has taken its customer proposition to the next level on the A350, as customers can now enjoy a social space known as The Loft. As the largest social space in the airline’s fleet, it’s designed for customers to gather, chat, enjoy a drink or dine with friends. The Loft extends the airline’s world renowned

The Loft extends Virgin’s world renowned Clubhouse experience to the skies

Clubhouse experience to the skies, offering a wide range of cocktails, and the option for customers to dine together. As well as enjoying luxury comfort and high end finishes, customers can settle in with

Bluetooth headphones and connect to the 32” screen – catch a show, or watch the live tailcam. The Loft is not the only innovation to the Upper Class cabin, as customers can also experience an entirely new suite, which has been designed in

collaboration with a number of Virgin Atlantic’s most frequent flyers. Every seat now faces towards the window and offers deployable privacy screens. The suite boasts Virgin Atlantic’s largest ever in-flight entertainment screen, at 18.5”and features intuitive new system, controllable by customers’ own personal device. In line with the rest of the fleet, every customer will still have direct aisle access. Customers travelling in Virgin Atlantic’s award winning Premium cabin and its much loved Economy cabin will also be able to enjoy the increased levels of luxury and comfort the A350 has to offer. Both have the largest entertainment screens ever offered; 13.3” in Premium and 11.6” in Economy. Premium customers will also enjoy increased space for storage, a four-way adjustable headrest and a luxurious leather. Economy seats have been upgraded to new luxurious fabrics offering adjustable headrests. The entire aircraft will also have access to high speed wifi as well as the unique and personalized service of Virgin Atlantic’s world famous cabin crew. The A350 will also be the first aircraft in Virgin Atlantic’s fleet to feature its new Flying Icons, which are set to replace the airline’s famous Flying Ladies. The high flyers are a diverse range of men and women representing modern Britain, rolled out on the four A350-1000 aircraft this year, followed by a further eight by 2021. The A350 is designed to be 30% more fuel and carbon efficient than the aircraft it replaces and is expected to reduce the airline’s noise footprint at its airports by more than half.

Eko Hotel Promotes Eco-friendly Culture, to Host Art Contest on Earth Day The Eko Hotels and Suites in Lagos has stated its determination to invest considerably to ensure a more eco-friendly culture is embedded into the daily operation of its business. As part of its “Going Green” drive, it will be hosting an art competition for pupils across selected schools in Lagos on April 22, which is globally recognized as Earth Day. With travellers consistently seeking accommodation that supports eco-friendly initiatives, the hotel – which hosts over 500 clients a year – is introducing environmentally conscious elements

and attitudes to running its operations. According to a statement by the hotel’s management, “We see great opportunity in building capacity in an area that improves the personal welfare of guests, their families and our society more broadly.” The eco-friendly painting contest is conceived to encourage students create a piece of art inspired by nature, and reflecting a society that promotes innovative and sustainable waste management, energy and water conservation. The visual arts challenge is open to selected

secondary schools in Eti-Osa local government for students aged 12 – 15 in public and private schools. Of the selected 20 participating schools, 10 will be shortlisted to partake in the grand finale. Shortlisted artists and their guardians will be treated to a two-day all-expense paid, activity filled weekend at the hotel leading up to April 22, while winners will leave with cash prizes. According to the management of the hotel, “Staff have undergone weeks of training and re-orientation to make them environmentally responsible and conscious of how we affect our

environment. “They are being equipped with the necessary tools required to aid them in leading the change towards an eco-friendly hotel and they are championing the eco–friendly drive with keen interest. “Energy consumption has significantly reduced, several water conservation practices have been adopted, utensils and amenities are being replaced with biodegradable options, and hundreds of children are being sensitized on the need to reduce our carbon footprint.”

Transcorp Hilton Promises Indaba: Africans Urged to Change Easter Treat for Families Continent’s Narrative

Transcorp Hilton Abuja has announced this year’s Easter package for hotel guests, offering luxury accommodation, festive dining and entertainment. The package starts from April 18 through 22. Highlight of the package is the popular Easter Brunch on Sunday, April 21 – a perennial favorite with the weekend brunching crowd in the city. The most talked-about Sunday Brunch in the city puts on its Easter theme for the yearly feast with unlimited rounds of goodness spread across the buffet at the Bukka Restaurant. The hotel’s chefs are cooking up a magnificent Easter feast that is larger than usual with all the trimmings, seasonal favorites and endless buffet on Nigerian and continental specialties, while kids can indulge in a host of fun activities. Activities lined up to delight the kids during the Easter weekend include egg races, egg hunting, egg painting, swimming pool games and kids aerobics. “We are set to create a refreshing and truly festive experience for our guests

Hilton GM Kevin Brett

during the Easter weekend,” said Kevin Brett, General Manager, Transcorp Hilton Abuja. The Easter package, available at the 667-room hotel, includes accommodation for two adults and two children in a standard room. There are pricing options for other room types. The price also includes taxes, buffet breakfast, Wi-Fi and access to all recreational facilities. Booking is open for the package for stays occurring 18 April 2019 through 22 April 2019, based on availability.

In a bid to boost tourism in Africa, it is time for its citizens to change the narrative from a continent that needs saving to one that is thriving. This was the key insight at Africa’s Travel Indaba media launch held in Durban, South Africa, recently. Africa’s Travel Indaba is the continent’s leading and longest running travel trade show. The event showcases the widest variety of the continent’s best tourism products and attracts international buyers and media from across the world. It also offers industry players and stakeholders an opportunity to meet and engage on the challenges and opportunities that affect the advancement of tourism on the continent. Keynote speaker of the day, the Chief Convention Bureau Officer of South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB), Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, elaborated on this year’s Travel Indaba theme - Africa’s Stories, Your Success. “We no longer look to the world for affirmation or inspiration, the world looks

Image from Indaba 2018

to us. We are real, vibrant and driven to succeed. So, we invite the world to journey with us and tell the new story of Africa.” Kotze-Nhlapo added that the responsibility of safeguarding Africa’s narrative is not only up to its storytellers but all

Africans. “In this post-truth world, it is up to each of us to be vigilant about the way Africa is depicted. We can be the watchdogs of misrepresented stories and best of all, we have the digital tools to keep the narrative truthful.”


T H I S D AY ˾ ͯͲ˜Ͱͮͯͷ

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30

T H I S D AY ˾ SUNDAY APRIL 14, 2019


A

WEEKLY PULL-OUT

14.04.2019

OONI OF IFE

Yoruba, Igbo, and Igala Are Oldest Races in the World ASSISTANT EDITOR OLUFUNKE OLAODE/funkola2000@gmail.com


32

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

COVER

Why Ogun State First Lady Is the Living Moremi Oba Enitan Babatunde Akanke Ogunwusi

He is a blend of majesty and history; the bridge between modernity and tradition. His lungs are filled with ancient air though he breathes in the oxygen of the future with the combination of the past and present. Resplendent in a white robe, suave in simple, flowing attire, he glides royally into the shimmering throne that smacks of ancestral aura. His visage is clean-shaven and his looks handsomely majestic; his words imperial, subtle and spiritual. His eyes glimmer as he speaks, intoning transcendental musing and understanding. Revered home and abroad, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Enitan Babatunde Akanke Ogunwusi, Ojaja II and the 51st Ooni of Ife, speaks with Adedayo Adejobi about the ‘Moremi’ project, the essence of the Yoruba, Igbo and Igala races and the correlation between Google and the Ifa divinities

W

hat is the unique essence of the stage play, ‘Moremi’, which you’re promoting? What informed the whole idea? The story of Moremi signifies great leadership. What makes it more unique is that she was a woman. Great leaders always put the love of their people before themselves and that is what exactly what Moremi did. Moremi was indeed a true feminist who saw the opportunity to save her people not minding the fact that she was a woman. Feminism is not about waiting for something to be handed over to you because you are a woman; it is about getting up and going out to earn it. And this is what Moremi did 1700 years ago, that why she’s remembered today. Moremi’s story also shows that female leadership did not just start with the influence of western feminism, it started with the sacrifice Moremi made 1,700 years ago. She took that bold step of allowing herself to be captured by invaders of Ife who were taking her people as slaves. Moremi is beyond a stage play. It’s deeper. It is a

heritage that mustn’t be forgotten. It’s a stage play about the Yoruba and it stems from our nicknames Aku, Kaaro Oojire or Omoluabi race. We are very concerned, accommodating and passionate about what happens to others. And it’s always been like that from time immemorial. So the story of Moremi is very unique and strategic to whom we are. Through the play, we’ve been able to give honour to women for their leadership and doggedness. The stage play has been able to refresh the minds of the entire populace. We are, however, looking beyond the stage play and going into movie production, international awareness of Moremi as the goddess of liberty. The symbol of the woman holding the torch is the epitome of liberation all over the world. So, for us, its deep and we don’t joke with it – and thanks to wonderful people like Princess Aderonke Ademiluyi, Bolanle Austen-Peters and others around me, who are all working on the project together. I give the glory to God, and thanks to the living Moremi of our time, wife of the Governor of Ogun State. She’s answered the clarion call as the Moremi from the source in Ogun State.

The initiative gives us the opportunity to mentor young women in a way that will enable them to become great leaders of tomorrow. The musical also enables us to tell the story of Moremi in a way that appeals to the new generation of millennials panNigeria and Africa. Moving into the world speaks to the fact that there are only artificial boundaries. Moremi is the goddess of liberty. Moremi is beyond Yoruba land, it’s global. Applying the Moremi story to Nigeria, are we truly free and at liberty as a nation? We have independence. The day we are at liberty is the day we can liberate the youths from poverty. That’s why our leaders should never rest. I tell them all the time; we are seated on the keg of gunpowder. We need to liberate our youths so they can be effective in adding value to the growth of this nation. They are so stressed right now and unhappy. Leaders of this country should continue to invest in youths of Nigeria. The future of the country is in their hands. They own it and someday they’ll call for it. It’s for our leaders to build a legacy for themselves. One would expect that your choice of

the ‘living Moremi’ would come from Osun State. Why Ogun State? The Yoruba are close to 500 million all over the world. All that you see are artificial boundaries. We are one big happy family. She is a Yoruba woman deeply rooted in her heritage. She’s in Ogun State as the first lady. At some point, there was nothing as Ogun, Osun, or Oyo states. Some people created that. There was nothing like Nigeria at some point. We all belong to one happy family called the black race. We are all descendants of Oduduwa. Last year, you sponsored a project to chronicle the essence of the Yoruba race. How far have you gone and what archaeological findings have been discovered? We’ve gone far and it’s a big achievement for us a race. Now it’s been established scientifically in Harvard Medical School that the oldest race in the world is Yoruba. The Yoruba, the Igbo, and the Igala are pretty much the oldest races in the world; and the largest ethnic races in Nigeria not directly mixed are the Yoruba and the Igbo. The Afro-Asians are the Fulani and


APRIL 14, 2019 ˾T H I S DAY, T H E S U N DAY N E W S PA P E R

57

COVER Nigeria Is in a Period of Trials the Hausa. We’ve done so much, although we haven’t given out the official statement. What we’ll be doing next is the mobile museum. It would house the largest artefacts collection which would depict and tell our story as Yoruba. It’s the first in the world done by the black race. It is noteworthy that they took our artefacts out of Africa; they know the potency of just a few of the many that were taken away. Our story is hinged on divinity and humanity. We’ve had three dynasties of a cycle spanning several hundreds of thousands of years, and I am the 53rd king of the third dynasty, although people don’t like to talk about the first two dynasties. Why so? It is because the first has to do with spirituality and divinity. They were humans in spirit form. The second dynasty witnessed super-humans until the transition to humans. But the spirit of our ancestors from the first dynasty still lives in us. Once we finished the programme, we’ll let the world know that the existence of the Yoruba race predates any other race. What we’ve achieved is the research about telling every race has emerged across the entire black race. Every soul left out of Africa. You’ve been at the fore of the Yoruba narrative across the globe. As the custodian of the Yoruba culture and heritage, how do feel when you see the Whites practise Ifa divination in their countries? All those divinities are real and potent, they don’t die. So for different races to be practising these things, it shows what is called the life of perpetuity of the divinity world. Spirits don’t die. Abrahamic religion – basically Islam and Christianity, all came from the lineage of Abraham. We believe in the spirit of our ancestors, as a result, Yoruba has the potency of the divinities, as for that, it’s survived over 400 years of slave trade and it’s still alive. They’ve tried to destroy it, no way. The world couldn’t and it’s because spirits don’t die, and that’s why it’s practised all over the world. It would continue to grow and I’m positive about it because it’s the oldest in terms of serving God. For us, God created all the divinities for Yoruba people. It’s alive and can never die. Speaking of the old ways of serving God, has anything changed about the Ifa divinities? You have to move with time. Today, anyone who wants information goes to Google. The engine room and software backing Google are based on algorithms. Without it, you can never write software. If you write the software, you need hardware to drive it. Algorithms are based on the computations of Ifa, 16 by 16 totalling 256. But it’s been changed from the old ways of casting 16 by 16, equalling 256, to zeros and ones. The binary codes of the ancient days of counting one to make two is still the same binary codes of zeros and ones, but in a more refined way. We believe strongly and it’s been proven by the western world that everything is still based on Ifa divination. We Google every day, and it’s based on the 256 algorithms. It came in a new form and you still get the same result. Time changes things and situations. Right now, everyone still consults Ifa. One of the issues that seem to have created public outcry is the allegation that the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, offered his stool in the palace to the President during the last electioneering. Is it true? What does that say of the king, his stool and the Yoruba race? And would you be as liberal enough to do the same? You these Journalists! You like to cause controversies. I’ll tell you the honest truth, it is a lie. The Akiolu that I know believes in our heritage and tradition and he’s a no-nonsense king. It’s good to give honour to whom honour is due and that is the president of the country. He didn’t do it but the media played it up. If you look at the chair Mr. President sat on, it was one of the chairs for VIPs in his palace, though it carried the inscription, ‘Oba of Lagos’. His throne is intact. People did Photoshop and cut a portion. They didn’t look at the wider background of the picture of the president viz-a-viz the throne of the Oba of Lagos. People now assumed that the president sat on the throne, it’s not true. It’s completely false and mischievous. With the rise of pop culture, many fear

that the next generation will know nothing about culture and traditions. What do you think and can this be prevented? The Yoruba will say, as you carry your calabash, others would carry for you. As Yoruba, we’re lucky our foundation is deeply rooted in the Almighty God. It’s celestial and that’s why it’ll be difficult for the race to go into extinction. The divinities started and emerged from us. That we’re lucky doesn’t mean we shouldn’t propagate and nurture our heritage. And that’s what we are doing. We want to keep it intact and that’s what I’m championing. Some school of thoughts may want to prove me wrong. But I mean it when I say Google is Ifa. Ask all the best brains in Google if they can do Google with 16 by 16 binary codes. If they can, are able to tell me we cannot do it? They‘ve won but if not, it’s case closed. The foundation is critical and our foundation is the divinities. We will continue to push the originality of the Yoruba people. You wear white attire in the palace and at public functions. Is it safe to assume there is some spiritual connotation to that? It’s very deep, and that’s what the Ife of old is known for. Ife is known for white and purity. We invented clothes and it started from the throne of Oduduwa. We were the first to wear clothes. The first set (of clothes) we made turned out to be white. That’s what excites me about Ife; it’s the white apparel. In those days, everyone wore white. So, I’m trying to return us to the age-old tradition and fashion of wearing white attire. For me, it goes with my spirit. My spirit-head cannot wear any other colour besides white. What is your assessment of Nigeria? We are in a period of trials. It’s harsh but let’s keep our body and unity together. At some point, we’ll come out of it. For anyone who hasn’t seen you beyond the confines of official mood, they wouldn’t know how convivial and funny you are. Are you always friendly? I joke a lot because it makes me feel relaxed. I can be very playful but that doesn’t mean I’ll lose the essence of my office. I joke a lot and that’s how to take life easy and simple. Simplicity is my watchword. I don’t think I’ll change because that’s who I am. Do you get angry? I am human but to a large extent, I do more of spiritual things. I have a very deep sense of it. So every day I pray to God to suppress my anger. I don’t want to get angry about anything. It kills a lot of things. It burns and dissipates energy and brings in negativity. I can’ stand negative energy. It doesn’t work for the kind of my calling. I pray for God to continually suppress anger. How do you find the balance between the spiritual and the physical? It’s just the grace of God because there are too many rules surrounding spirituality. As a spiritual head of a race with a calling, I have things I must do. It’s how I met it, and I must uphold it. It’s very difficult because there are too many rules surrounding spirituality. As a spiritual head of a race with a calling, I have things I must do. It’s how I met it, and I must uphold it. It’s very difficult because there are too many rules. I can’t so too many things, but God has been helping me. I’m very happy and passionate about what I do. As an Ooni does life get boring for you? I make lemons out of lemonades or make lemonade out of lemons. For me, getting bored is a function of the mind. I channel my mind on positive things. You chair the Committee of Kings in the South-west. What is it like? I chair and it’s relative. To me, it’s about service and I have to give respect to some very prominent kings in Yoruba land. More so, I met them there. I can’t do things alone. I pay respect to the Alaafin of Oyo, the Awujale of Ijebu who’s been there for 56 years, Oba of Lagos, Oba of Idanre and several of them have been on the throne for years. We have to carry one another along. It’s about a common front. I am young and want to use the same advantage. I can run around on their behalf. I’ll rather be a servant to a united race than a divided race. I’m a young servant King for a race I want united.


58

T H I S DAY, T H E S U N DAY N E W S PA P E R ˾APRIL14,Ͱͮͯͷ

PERSONALITY

Prof. Ibraheem Gbajabiamila

Passion and Patriotism Made Me Return to Nigeria After Decades Abroad

P

rof Ibraheem Gbajabiamila is from a renowned dynasty in Nigeria as his family name Gbajabiamila has become an institution in Lagos. It resonates in education, social movement and later politics. The son and great-grandson of a teacher, his grandfather started the Ansar-Ud-Deen Movement in his family compound in Isale-Eko, Lagos State in the 1930s. The movement later led to the establishment of Ansar-Ud-Deen group of schools to help tackle the menace of out of school children which was prevalent in that era. The Ansar-Ud-Deen’s vision did not only affect the generation of that time, it also produced many accomplished professionals whose generations are still making waves till this day. Gbajabiamila belongs to the league of privileged kids courtesy of his parents, which placed his feet on the pedestal of success both in academic and professional life. But he didn’t take it for granted as he embraced the opportunity and conquered his own world. He was moved to England as a toddler where he acquired his primary and secondary. He studied Microbiology at the University of London and stayed back as a research fellow after his post-doctoral thesis. He would later ply his academic trade for the next three decades as a researcher with the renowned institution. He may have stayed and lived in the UK all his life, but a sense of patriotism to his fatherland was reawakened when he met the eminent jurist, Prince Bola Ajibola, who was then Nigerian ambassador to the United Kingdom. The jurist convinced him to join his vision and mission of breeding well nurtured products in character and learning. Recounting his encounter with Prince Ajibola, he said: “I met Prince Bola Ajibola who was Nigerian ambassador to the UK then at that time. He had always mentioned that when he went to the World Court at The Hague, as a Nigerian representative. He felt that the perception of Nigeria is different from what we know ourselves. He said that whenever he introduced himself as a judge from Nigeria, they almost always said that that it was a country that didn’t care about education. Although he has always challenged that but the fact speaks that 20 percent of out-of-school children are from Nigeria and that figure is getting worse. He says he always feels uncomfortable because we have not done anything to improve the situation. “They gave us a chance to improve the figures. In 1995, they reviewed it was the same and in 2005 we were still the largest, and in 2015 it hasn’t gone better. Whereas other countries have actually improved: Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia. These are countries that are considered smaller to us. We have been unable to crack that egg and we as a big nation, a top 10 producer of oil country in the world. Apart from the largest number of out-of-school children we also have the highest number of infant mortality in the world. We have been unable to find a solution to it,” he lamented. The passion to support Prince Ajibola’s vision was re-ignited when the former ambassador decided to float a university in 2005. “Prince said in his retirement that he would make his own little contribution by starting a university. And 14 years ago, he got a license to start a university as a way of increasing the opportunity for our children. The key issue is that we have 1.5 million sitting JAMB every year seeking

Gbajabiamila

admission into tertiary education but the total carrying capacity of the Nigeria system at private, state and federal is only 450,000. So we have 1.5 million looking for space that doesn’t exist. In the process of seeking education they end up with substandard education in some schools in countries around us. That is a problem for us as a nation. It was on that basis that ‘His Excellency’ invited me to Nigeria to assist in the development of Crescent University.” Gbajabiamila left his comfort zone in England in 2010 to join Ajibola in driving his vision and in 2014 was appointed the vice-chancellor. Speaking on how to rid the country of out-of-school children, the erudite scholar said: “It is a straightforward equation in the sense that the UNESCO says that each country should spend 25 percent of their GDP (income) on education. And those countries that have done so have been able to improve their education standard. For instance, Ghana is the only country in Africa that is spending the 25 per cent on education. And with that, there has been an improvement on its educational system as more of children are back in school and they have turned its university equation into money spinner. “In fact, it is Nigerian parents that are sustaining Ghanaian universities. There are 78,000 Nigerian students in Ghana. And their parents pay in dollars. Nigerian parents are spending more money on tertiary equation in Ghana than what Nigerian government is spending on university education in Nigeria. So the answer is that if government can spend

more there would be an improvement. Nigerian Government has signed an agreement since 2012 they did not honour it. So the morals are low for some of the academics. The kind of standard we used to maintain is now sliding rapidly.” Going back to the good old days, according to the don, would require commitment on the part of government. “Nigerian universities used to be ranked among the best in West Africa and globally. Students used to come from England on exchange programmes. Neighbouring Cameroon and other countries seeking qualitative education used to throng the then University College Ibadan. I remember during the apartheid era, Nigerian government used to offer scholarships to Southern African students from South Africa, Botswana, Angola to study at University of Ibadan, University of Lagos and other places because standard was very high. “In fact, Ghanaian students would prefer to come to a Nigerian university because we have the history and the standard. Those were the good old days and I think those were the days Nigeria prioritized education but since the military era things have gone down. That has been the real reason for the decline in education because university is an engine driving the economy, which means we have to have standard facilities but most of the facilities are obsolete especially in science and medical and engineering,” he stated. The professor of Microbiology still believes all hope is not lost as there is still good news.

He said: “Despite the decline in academic prowess, our students and lecturers still belong to the leagues of first class intellectuals if given the opportunity. Recently, the first pioneer surgeon in America who carried an operation on a child brought out from the womb, operated on it and was taken back was performed by a Nigerian. The fellow was trained at the University of Ife. He went abroad and developed the skills. “That kind of opportunity that is very technical and scientific is important. It means that if our people are given an opportunity, they can actually do well. But if you are in a place where there is no electricity or water, there is no way you can be world class or be able to make innovative discovery. Our main challenge is to retain our talents and develop them for the benefit of our country.” Commenting on the achievements of his university over the past 14 years, he says it has been a success story. “The vision of the proprietor, Prince Bola Ajibola is to have an academic environment with moral excellence. And we are achieving that. He said he wanted an environment where the students are not only academically sound but they can actually be put in a position of trust. That is why we introduced courses such as Global Studies that would enhance knowledge and understanding in civic rights and understanding of moral that being in a position of authority in academic or circular world should not be abused. Somebody who has gone to the university should be seen as somebody who would put the nation first, would not abuse his or her position of authority. And that is why the university reinforces and reinvigorates the message to the students. “We have been able to touch lives as all the states of the federation in Nigeria are represented here. We have contingent of northern students from Kano, Zamfara, Gombe, and Sokoto. And when those children come here, they don’t go back home until the end of the session because they find Abeokuta very conducive. We have a student who had a first class whose parent didn’t go to school. The boy did JAMB by himself and the government gave him scholarship. The father was disappointed because he wanted him to be a herdsman like him. “Another female student from Kano, Fatima Abubakar got a first class in Economics. She is totally unassuming but dedicated and the lady said if she hadn’t been given the opportunity, she would have been married off and wouldn’t have had the opportunity of education. Our best graduating student last year (2018), Tiamiyu Latifat, had a GP of 4.91, which it had never happened in the history of this school,” Gbajabiamila explained. With the mantra of education not meant for the poor, he believes Nigerian parents’ resilient spirit and kind gesture of the proprietor have been able to bridge the gap. “All over the world everybody knows that quality education is not free. But here in this country reverse is the case. The only thing they know about us is the number of private jets that we have while the opportunity to improve our health care, education, our roads have been missed. When we put the mirror in our faces some people don’t like it. Nigerian parents are trying. Even here we have a number of students with helpless situation and the proprietor will step in. For me, I believe as top 10 oil producer in the world, we should be able to provide quality education and health for our citizenry,” he added.


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High Life Triumphs And Grace of Erelu Aisha Babangida....How she Conquered Marriage Trauma For Erelu Aisha Babangida, eldest child of former military president Ibrahim Babangida, it is not a case of once bitten twice shy but twice bitten third time reflective. Having set sail on two matrimonial voyages and being shipwrecked twice, she’s learned to find the fortune in misfortune. Though it dawned on her late that there is more to happiness than a wedding ring, it was a lesson better learnt late than never. The tentative, halting steps of yesterday have become the confident, assured gait of today. Aisha has well and truly emerged from the cocoon of romantic misery. She has unfurled herself and unlocked her capabilities, a beautiful butterfly flapping its golden wings. Aisha’s first married Basheer Nalabo Garba, a relative of the Abachas, in 2003, only for them to separate three years later. Undeterred by that bitter experience, and determined to emulate the happy marriage of her father and late mother, former first lady Mariam, she again ventured into matrimony, this time in the perilous pond of polygamy. She married then Zamfara governor Aliyu Shinkafi as his third wife. By the time it dawned on her that the more is not always merrier in marriage, she had already packed her bags and rejoined the singles club. Scarred by those experiences, Aisha put the brakes to further thoughts of marriage. Never again, she vowed would she be wholly tethered to a man’s apron strings. She reinvented herself with a vengeance, becoming the entrepreneur and people’s advocate she was always meant to be. She resuscitated the Better Life for the African Rural Women programme which had been left moribund after her mother’s demise. She weeded the organization of the wealth-sapping leeches solely there to feed off the Babangidas and transformed the organization into a committed champion of the rural African woman. She is focused on empowering the African Woman and preparing the next generation of female leaders. Aisha loves uplifting lives with adult literacy programmes, skills acquisition and financial literacy which are all offered through the program While others like to focus their activism on the mainstream, cerebral Aisha prefers to focus on the road less travelled and the people less represented. Little wonder she launched Egwafin Microfinance Bank. An offspring of her dreams of financial inclusion for all, the

59 with KAYODE ALFRED 08116759807

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

Life After Death…How Top Nigerians Are Preparing for The Afterlife Spending Heavily on Mausoleums Everything about the Vaults and Gardens, Ikoyi, bespeaks opulence and class. From its well-manicured lawns and gardens, the walkways and driveways to the serene scenery and splendid landscape that exudes a peaceful memorial park, the private cemetery bears a striking semblance to the home of the wealthy and aristocrat. But it is the final resting place for those who can afford its dollar-priced facilities for their deceased loved ones. Now, people don’t even wait until they are dead before acquiring vaults and mausoleums, they buy ahead. Indeed, those who opine that the ways of the rich and influential are different from those of mere mortals are not mistaken. From the ways they live in opulence and style to places where they can be seen, the moneyed class never wavers in the tiniest of details that have to do with their well-being. It is why many of them are splurging on preparations for the afterlife. Commissioned by then Governor Bola Tinubu in 2006, many top Nigerians have bought mausoleums and fitted them out to taste in preparation for when the Grim Reaper calls. The marble mausoleum of General T. Y Danjuma (rtd.) is beside that

Mausoleums

of his wife and it is as elegant as their enviable life. Sources said that among other Nigerians, Tinubu, Babatunde Raji

At Last, Top Banker, Aig Imohkuede marries Funke Fowler Aigbovbioise Aig-Imoukhuede, the younger brother of Aig Imohkuede, the former MD of Access Bank, has found his bride thus dismissing fears by friends and family that he might end up an ‘eternal bachelor.’ Aig has found that ethereal maiden in her flower whose love presumably trumps a hundred coat-of-arms and the love of a pining mob of damsels. While his friends and family agonized over his perpetual bachelorhood, Aig surprised them with the only woman with whom he would walk down the aisle: Funke Fowler. Yes, they got married last Saturday in Lagos. It was a star studded event. The latter, who is the daughter of

the Federal Inland Revenue boss and former Lagos tax Czar, Tunde Fowler, has also found love in Aig, soon after she bled and stung from an ill-fated marriage to ex-husband, Abbey Kuku. At the moment, Aig and Fowler’s story reads like a passionate verse in a treatise of love. The intrigues and realities inspire such rare passion that has become a reference point for experienced and budding romantics alike among their coterie of friends, relatives and other loved ones. For Aig, it would be his first sojourn into the meadows of wedlock but for Funke, it would be her second attempt at finding bliss and living it within the folds of matrimony.

Imohkuede and Funke Fowler

While no marriage is an easy grind, let’s hope they are blessed with the cosmic gift of resilient love. That perfect love that survives the test of time.

Current Champion: Kassim Adeleke Strikes Gold

Kassim Adeleke and Rotimi Akeredolu

Erelu

Fashola and current Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, Tunde Fowler, Mutiu Sunmonu, all have their special places there. Don’t forget, many prominent Nigerians currently inhabit several spaces six feet below the Vaults and Gardens, which prides itself as the leading provider of unparalleled and dignified final resting place in Africa. Regarded as the foremost rest haven for dearly departed relatives, friends and loved ones; the promoters say it is the most exquisite and aesthetically pleasant private cemetery in the West African subregion. “Vaults and Gardens provides your departed loved ones with a beseem cemetery ground with state of the art facilities. We provide you with a dignified, caring and memorable funeral reflecting the lifestyle of your loved ones. We grant adequate information to help facilitate your funeral services, memorial services, etc. Vaults and Gardens has a dynamic, innovative and dependable team-oriented Management, which is made up of qualified and seasoned professionals with foresight and imagination,” reads a statement on their website.

Nobody goes undefeated in life. The path to the summit is strewn with the bones of adventurers who fell on their own swords after a setback or two. To pick yourself up after a crushing defeat, to reinforce yourself with the resolve to win again, that is the hallmark of champions.

It is an attitude that has served to propel Kassim Adeleke, the distinguished Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Liquid Waste Energy, to the highest of highs after flirting with the lowest of lows. A visionary who sees further than the human eye can comprehend, he nonetheless had

to battle adversity as his brilliant ideas were turned down by mean men with little minds. In the midst of those wilderness years, Kassim Adeleke understood that winning isn’t something that happens suddenly on the field when the whistle blows and the crowd roars. Thus he kept his nose to the grindstone and diligently chipped away at the barricade between him and his desire. In the day, he redoubled his physical and mental efforts, and at night he dreamed. In the end, his works and his dreams came together to construct a beautiful reality of accomplishment. Few days back, Kassim was in the Sunshine State to sign a multimillion dollar Memorandum of Understanding with the Ondo State Government to build a modular refinery in the southern part of the state. When completed, it will be a veritable cash cow employing up to 2000 people. On completion of the mammoth project, the refinery will produce 120,000 tons of base oil and 25,000 tons of lubrication oil on a yearly basis.


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HIGHLIFE

Sweethearts Forever: Tunde and Reni Folawiyo Malabu Oil: Mohammed Celebrate 30th Wedding Anniversary One is a billionaire businessman and boardroom guru. The other is a first-rate connoisseur of fashion. Yet if you ask Tunde and Reni Folawiyo what their greatest accomplishments are, they would be unanimous in declaring the joining of their hearts and souls as life’s greatest blessing. For many celebrity couples, 30 years is more than enough time to fall in love and fall right out of it. For Tunde and Reni who recently celebrated their pearl wedding anniversary, it is not enough time to savour marital bliss. The iconic power couple have been a mainstay of the social scene since March 11, 1989, when the wedding bells tolled the solemnization of a lifetime of journeying together along love’s lush lanes. When Babatunde Tijani Folawiyo, first son of the late billionaire businessman, philanthropist and the former Baba Adinni of Nigeria Chief Abdulwahab Olayinka Iyanda Folawiyo first crossed paths with beautiful and bashful Reni, he fell head over heels. Reni, the first daughter of late Chief Lateef Adegbite, the former Attorney General of the Western Region of Nigeria, and former Secretary-General of

the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, gracefully reciprocated his amorous advances and the rest is history. Theirs is a union approved by love, tribe and religion and it shows in the continuing tranquillity of their marital existence. The love that waxed strong then between Tunde, 59, and Reni, 54, waxes stronger now. Each year they spend side by side and arm in arm adds more firewood that keeps their flame burning ever bright. And in the person of their two grown-up, well-behaved children, Faridah and Fuaad, they have left a token of their shared bliss for posterity. As the head honcho of the Tunde Folawiyo Group with an estimated bet worth of $650 billion according to Forbes, Tunde is in a position to spoil his wife silly and spoil her silly he does. In addition to the love that money cannot buy, he regularly gifts her with the best things money can. Thanks to his diversified portfolio spanning the energy, real estate, communications, shipping, and agriculture sectors, Tunde is one of the most loaded men around and it shows. Not that Reni is a pushover either. The blue-blooded matriarch of high society runs Alara, an upscale concept store ensconced

Abacha Heads to Appeal Court

Tunde and Reni Folawiyo

in Victoria Island. The store was designed and built by the internationally renowned Ghanaian-British architect, David Adjaye, whose design for the National Museum of African American History broke ground in 2012. Her store is a destination of choice among the glitterati.

Fair-weather Friend: Oyo APC Guber Candidate Bayo Adelabu Shuns Ajimobi’s Wife 60th

Bayo Adelabu

It was a scene of revelry and opulence as the crème of high society converged on Government House Ibadan to felicitate with the wife of

Oyo Governor Abiodun Ajimobi, Florence, as she celebrated her 60th birthday anniversary in grand style. Being the last party to be thrown by the Ajimobis before vacating the Oyo State seat of power for good, there was a sense of urgency and closure on the occasion. No wonder the Who’s Who of politics, business, and the social scene were all on hand to serenade the first lady as well as informally bid their adieus to the outgoing executive couple. However, one person conspicuously missing at the highpowered event was Ajimobi’s protégé and candidate of the APC in the governorship election, Adebayo Adelabu. The invited guests who were expecting to engage in some banter with the former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria were in for a rude awakening as he ruthlessly shunned the event. Even as Governor Ajimobi maintained a calm and happy façade on the big day of his jewel of inestimable value, those close to the couple squealed that he was privately

fuming at what he considers a great betrayal from someone he nurtured and supported to aspire for the state’s premier seat. Adelabu’s no-show at the event might not be unconnected with the recent rumblings within Oyo APC over who gets to pick the state’s ministerial slot in the incoming central government. The battle is between Ajimobi, Adelabu and a former APC governorship aspirant, Joseph Olasunkanmi Tegbe. Those in the know disclosed that the battle has become more heated in recent days as the governor insisted he should be compensated with the ministerial slot after losing his senatorial bid while Adelabu and Tegbe are also spoiling for a fight as they regard the slot as their divine right. Adelabu might also be unhappy with the governor’s performance during the governorship campaign. He has allegedly accused the governor of not doing enough, thereby making him lose the elections to Seyi Makinde of the PDP.

Mohammed Abacha, the son of late former head of state General Sani Abacha, seems to have taken to heart the saying that tough times never last but tough people do. Despite numerous setbacks in his efforts to reclaim a stake in OPL 245, allegedly the richest oil field in West Africa, he remains undaunted in his perceived quest for justice. Muhammed, one of the original shareholders of Malabu Oil and Gas which acquired the lucrative oil bloc in 1998, has been crying foul in recent times. His grouse is that he was not consulted when the bloc was sold to oil and gas giants Shell and ENI. Neither did he see a kobo of the $1.2 billion allegedly shared among government officials. Muhammed and his company Pecos Energy Limited have therefore gone to court to challenge the alleged illegal divestment of his shares in the oil bloc. He is claiming a right as a shareholder and interested party to have a say in how the bloc is disposed of, and also benefit from any and all monetary proceeds from its disposal. The case has seen several twists and turns since it was first filed. The latest drama to the seemingly unending Malabu Oil saga came this week as he filed an appeal against the judgment of a federal high court that ruled that Shell and the federal government’s objections to the case must be heard first. Mohammed’s lawyers had been trying to remove Shell, the federal government, and the office of the attorney general, as defendants in the case. The suit, which will be assigned a hearing date in the coming days, is a mere minor subplot in the battle of wits and wills between Muhammed and those stakeholders involved in the OPL 245 sale. The scion of the Abacha dynasty’s ultimate goal is to reverse the sale of the oil bloc and assume control of its vast oil reserves through Malabu Oil and Gas.

Bose Adedibu Gets Second Chance at Love If you see Bose Adedibu grinning from ear to ear like a Cheshire cat, you should know that the source of her happiness is her new love, Remi Gbede. The train of romance has berthed on Bose’s doorstep once again and she has hitched a ride to Eldorado. The widow of late strongman of Ibadan politics Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu finally emerged out of her anonymous cocoon in the arms of Remi who is rumoured to have been a childhood lover. The two were separated by the river of time. While Remi travelled abroad to make his fortune, fate led Bose to cross paths with the late “Garrison Commander” of Ibadan politics who married her as his third wife. While the two were together, Bose

enjoyed the trust and respect of Adedibu to the point that she became his closest confidante. She welded so much influence that people on the Ibadan political scene saw her as the sentinel whose permission they must acquire before her husband can be approached. She was, for many, the key that unlocked Adedibu’s patronage. Unusually, the big age gap between the two of them heightened, rather than diminished, their relationship. Though he stopped her from running for the Senate at one point, he spoilt her silly in every other way and made sure she never lacked anything. She rubbed shoulders with the very best of high society and always occupied the highest seat of honour at most events. But since she lost her husband 11

years ago, Bose was introduced to the grey side of life. Many of those who associated with her jumped off the ship and abandoned her to steer the reins in loneliness, even as she mourned her husband for some years. All that is in the past now according to those who should know. Bose is said to be in high spirits as she opens a new chapter in her life. Her Molete, Ibadan residence has become the new Mecca for Gbede who is always coming in and going out. The former House of Representatives member is head over heels in love with Bose. He has promised to give her heaven and earth. To show his feelings are genuine, he’s said to have taken her on vacation trips abroad on multiple occasions.

Mohammed Abacha


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Golden Moments as Mo Abudu Receives Medaille D’Honneur in Cannes Nigeria’s very own Mo Abudu made history in faraway France on Monday as she was honoured with the prestigious Medaille d’Honneur. She was one of only four winners of the 2019 edition. This award not only makes her the first Nigerian and African recipient, but it also marked her official coming out party as a global television influencer. With this mighty feat, Mo has once again demonstrated that in the comity of women in the domestic television industry, she has no precedent and no peers. The Media Personality, Talk Show Host, TV producer, Human Resource Consultant and founder of

Mo Abudu

EbonyLife TV is in a league of her own. Ageless with the kind of beauty that makes a mockery of time, Mo Abudu bestrides the entertainment industry like a colossus, fusing traditionally disparate elements together to form a unique brand. The Moments with Mo anchor certainly had her moment in Paris. As she received her prestigious award in recognition of her giant strides in television, her wide and unabashed grin was evidence of her great pleasure. The business mogul can now add this shining new award to her glittering

For Rotimi Amaechi, the Beats Go Down The devil was once an angel, and not a few fierce rivalries spring from the debris of lifelong friendships wrecked by the iceberg of divergent interests. Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi and Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike are living proof of the depths to which former buddies can sink in a desperate bid to retain the ruling rod of power. And as the curtain winds down on another episode of their titanic struggle which has raged like wildfire across a political generation, one of the combatants has seen their stock plummet faster than a crashing meteor. Rotimi Amaechi, the man who lays claim to the dubious title of preeminent Riverian, has been taught a lesson in bunker politics. The latest war of attrition with his great nemesis has left him feeling blue and broken like discarded twigs. Ahead of the presidential and governorship elections, Amaechi had beat his chest and proclaimed to the heavens

how he would wrest the Rivers political structure from Wike’s iron grip. With the considerable weight of presidential support behind him, he strutted into town, spitting fire and promising to unseat the incumbent. As he maintained a fratricidal war on two fronts — with Wike on one hand and fellow APC member Magnus Abe on the other — Amaechi surfed on, led by grand visions of recapturing his lost glories in Rivers. It is no news that his influence has been on the wane after his former Chief of Staff and nominated minister Wike broke ranks to establish his own dynasty. But the outcome of the presidential and delayed governorship elections turned out to be Amaechi’s worst nightmare. Not only was the APC handily defeated in the presidential poll, but Rotimi’s anointed candidate in the last state governorship election, Biokpomabo Awara of the African Action Congress (AAC) was also taken to the cleaners. Since then, the proud Lion of Port Harcourt has become a cowed cub. He

Amaechi

shuns high-profile gatherings of recent and prefers the comfort of his anonymous cocoon from where he can strategize for a comeback.

Tony Elumelu: The Pride of Africa Tony Elumelu is the rallying point of many heart-warming ideas. And wherever you find him, you are likely to see some of the brightest minds of our generation. Go to Heir Holdings or United Bank of Africa where he is the Chairman, or to Tony Elumelu Foundation where the youngest brains are being discovered. The very brilliant banker who recently added to his age is unafraid of putting ideas to the forefront because he’s not only talking. Some of his peers count their wealth in coins. Others measure their impact by the fatness of their business deals. But Tony weighs the size of his pocket by the breadth of his ideas and the depth of impact. The man atop Heirs Holdings is not so much a chief executive than a master operator of one of the greatest incubation networks in the country. His chief currency is ideas and these he spends liberally, nurturing young minds with water and oxygen in a fertile environment, turning them into blooming flowers, some of who have gone on to become towering trees of productivity in their own right. Tony has done too many things to convince all that he has the can-do magic wand. Courted by dreamers who are eager for a breakthrough, Elumelu is never tired of supporting the youths who are the future of this country. The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme is one such grooming avenue that straps the rockets of resources to the backs of enterprising young men and women and watches them as they head into the stratosphere. Nor is his Midas touch confined his home country. Nigeria is too small a circumference to contain an explosive personality like Tony. His doctrine of

Africapitalism – economic transformation of Africa through long-term investments that create both economic prosperity and social wealth – has caught on in Africa like a forest fire. His efforts have been recognized through multiple continental awards like banker of the year and African business leader of the year. Having done all he has, not many would begrudge him some much-needed rest from the centre of creating impactful change. But Tony is just getting started. His is a lifelong fight against economic deprivation. Even though he turned 56 in March, the banking tycoon shows no sign of slowing down.

trophy cabinet. Other accolades that have come her way include honorary degrees from prominent schools and entrepreneur of the year awards. She also regularly features in every top most powerful women list. Mo is one of those people for whom everything turns to gold. Despite being a comparative neophyte in the film industry, she already boasts the title of highest grossing Nigerian movie in history. EbonyLife Films launched a few years ago, is the producer of rip-roaring romantic thriller, The Wedding Party, which shattered all manner of box office records.

Sholaye Jeremi: The Silent Money-Maker While many aspiring entrepreneurs get swallowed whole by the great white shark of controversy, never to be seen again, Sholaye Jeremi shrugs off the taint of public storms like stray dust. The dark and handsome go-to guy in the oil sector manifests like a rampart of strapping, albeit acquired, character. He embodies so much of what makes perfection an onerous, yet enviable, trait. Fitted out with a mind that is both telescopic and microscopic, Sholaye finds opportunities were others see landmines and quagmire. He pores on details like a master captain, unearthing new vistas incomprehensible to unsophisticated minds. He is perfection personified and competence crystallized. He stalks the halls of entrepreneurs with a chip on both shoulders carved therein by dint of achievement. Yet the man who soars high is always found walking low. Sholaye affects a humble poise that would strike a stranger as incongruent with his deserved status as one of oil and gas’ key players. His diffidence of nature is matched only by his openness of mind. Sholaye is a broad church with a place at the pews for all humanity-enriching ideologies, however wide their surface differences. The fast-rising oil tycoon boasts the ears of senior barons of the business

Tony Elumelu:

Gang-up against Obasa: His Speakership Position under Threat The battle for the soul of the Lagos State house of the assembly is hotting up ahead of the swearing in of the new dispensation. A group of aggrieved Lagosians under the aegis of Atari Àjànàkú have been chanting a war cry in their

bid to ensure the Speakership position is secured by a Lagos Indigene. Insisting that the era of total domination of the Lagos political scene by non Indigenes must stop, the group have

RETRACTION

Our attention has been drawn to a factual inconsistency in our report about Alhaji Abubakar Aliyu linking him to a popular Lagos celebrity lady, Toke Makinwa. We have since been reliably informed that the story is totally false. We sincerely apologise to Alhaji Abubakar, his family and the management of AA Oil for the embarrassment the said article has caused them and we hereby retract the article in its entirety. There was no intention whatsoever to malign or disparage Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar, a very reputable businessman. The error is highly regretted.

Sholaye Jeremi


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Adebayo Adeoye bayoolunla@gmail.com; 08054680651

SOCIETY WATCH

Uche Ogah: Twice Unlucky As a top player in the oil and gas business, Uche Ogah’s paths have been laced with more of roses than thorns. The CEO, Masters Energy, plies his trade to the envy of many of his competitors. However, the man whose business interests include banking, insurance, aviation, shipping, dredging, logistics, construction and hospitality had taken a wrong step when he dabbled into the murky waters of Nigeria’s politics. His foray into politics can only be described as a misadventure rather than an adventure, as his ambition of becoming the number one citizen of his state has so far amounted to a wild goose chase. His political trajectory started in 2015 when he lost the Abia State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket to the incumbent Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu. He had felt like someone whose birth right had been denied him; so, he reportedly spent millions of naira to reclaim the ticket. There was palpable joy in his household when Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cede the certificate of return to him, saying Ikpeazu was never qualified to run for the party’s primaries in the People’s Democratic party (PDP) on the grounds of fake tax returns during the primaries. Justice Abang further ordered the Chief Judge of the state to swear in Ogah as the substantive governor of the state. Following the controversial ruling, his supporters went out in wild jubilation, while the whole state went into frenzy. But his balloon of hope was punctured, in spite of the fact that he was presented with a Certificate of Returns by the INEC, as the Appeal Court in Abuja nullified the Certificate issued to him, a development that finally put paid to his dream. Surprisingly, in spite of this doleful experience, he never gave up as he fought and got the ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to challenge his old rival, the incumbent governor, Okezie Ikpeazu at the last governorship poll. Like a serial loser, he was again defeated by Ikpeazu who polled 261,127, while he got 99,574.

Aliko Dangote: Celebrating A Tycoon With The Midas Touch@62 For some, turning 62 is no big deal. But that is not so in the case of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the man whose name is synonymous with success. He was deservedly celebrated globally on Wednesday, April 10, when he turned 62. His life in entirety is a compelling study in determination, focus and ambition. Like every creature, this amiable billionaire too has his own humble beginning. But his is one that will inspire any ambitious soul, any day and any time. As a young man, he had a clear vision of what he wanted to do later in life and he pursued it with unwavering doggedness. While growing up, the only thing that caught his fancy was business and he refused to be swayed by any other interest. Though he started out as a trader at 21, he is today Africa’s leading businessman. His chain of companies is spread across 16 countries around the world and he has over 15,000 people in his employ. As an entrepreneur, he always sees opportunities, while others are bogged down by morbid fear of failure. It is clear that he is a man born under a lucky star; it is also clear that he is endowed with the proverbial Midas touch. No wonder, he has always made a success of all that he has ventured into. From trading in commodity to sugar refining and from cement manufacturing to petroleum product refining, it is all a success story. In the thinking of his traducers, he is no more but a beneficiary of government waiver and concession. But those who know him too well will attest to the fact that he is a hard-working shrewd businessman. Dangote was born into a wealthy family in Kano. But rather than being pampered, he was given a chance to pursue his love for business. His uncle, Sanusi Abdulkadir

Dangote

Dantata, eventually gave him a loan of N500, 000 that has today turned into mega fortune. Today, the visionary businessman has built the largest sugar factory in the whole of Africa, largest cement factory in the continent, largest flour mill in the continent while his yet-to-be-completed refinery is said

to be one of the largest in the world. Apart from his business acumen, he is also a philanthropist of note. He has collaborated with the Bill Gates Foundation to invest in the provision of health, especially the eradication of polio in Africa and other parts of the world, where the disease is still

Ayobami Kareem-Lawal Steps Up Today, Ayobami KareemLawal, the brains behind the thriving White Rose Properties, can be described as a blessing to the nation’s real estate industry. Those who have encountered her say she never sees any mountain too high to climb, even as she operates in a maledominated industry. She is worth celebrating because she is good at what she does. This, no doubt, has rubbed off on her company, which has recorded many firsts. For industry watchers, Rose Properties has upped her ante, Ayobami Kareem-Lawal

following her emergence as one of the big marketing partners of Ostia Island, which is poised to rival others like Ja Jolla in San Diego upon completion. In all of this, there is a general consensus that this brilliant female realtor of international repute is worth celebrating. No wonder, when she turned a year older recently, she was celebrated to high heavens by close friends and family members. The colourful moment featured a thanksgiving session and beautiful speeches by some of the guests who had converged to honour her.

Solomon Olaide Gbadamosi: Making Nigeria Proud in Diaspora

Uche-Sampson-Ogah

When he was moving to Minnesota, USA, about a decade ago, Solomon Olaide Gbadamosi did not leave anyone in doubt that he would join the crop of Nigerians in the Diaspora who are trying to change the negative perception about the country by involving in legitimate means of livelihood. Very enterprising, he operates an old people’s home, Alaafia Homecare Llc in his state of residence, Minnesota, USA, where he caters to elderly people who, on account of their age, have become virtually a liability to their immediate family members.

The home, it was gathered, is not run as a charity. But it goes without saying that good thinking and well-channelled feasible study can result in a worthwhile venture. And this is exactly what Gbadamosi has been doing with his old people’s home in the US. Olaide also operates a unique and posh restaurant/kitchen, Jimbo Italian American Restaurant DBA Qdot Kitchen. He is enjoying good patronage owing to the aura and ambience of the restaurant, among other reasons. For a man who detests the bad name that some undisciplined elements have

Gbadamosi

given the country, industrious Gbadamosi also runs a car mart, ‘Qwando Car Sales’, in the US, where he deals in big auto business, without cutting corners.


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SOCIETY WATCH What could the living probably do as a mark of respect for the dead? This is a question begging for a satisfactory answer, especially when one takes a peep into the life of the family left behind by the late Benson Lulu Briggs, who passed on about four months ago. For want of better description, it seems the crisis that has now reared its ugly head in the family may not abate in time, if care is not taken. Four months after the patriarch of the family passed on, the planned burial ceremony has been shifted twice, thereby making his remains to remain in the sepulchral milieu of a morgue in Ghana. Though many point the finger at the wife of the deceased, Pastor (Dr) Seinye, for the unresolved crisis in the family, Society Watch gathered from an impeccable source that billionaire businessman, Dumo Lulu Briggs, has been fanning the embers of disunity in the family, which has made the burial plans failed. It was further revealed that efforts by deceased’s wife to ensure amicable settlement of the crisis have been allegedly shunned by the billionaire businessman. The source also disclosed that Dumo had stubbornly turned a deaf ear to the wise counsel by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. “Mrs. Seinye has been all over the place, inviting people to intervene in the matter, but Dumo wouldn’t yield. And this is the woman who loved their father till his death. She was the only one who stood with the founder of Moni Pulo while he was bedridden. She is a true definition of a virtuous woman. “ I am surprised Dumo has been using the state election as an excuse, even after the election has been won and lost,’’ our source added. Meanwhile, even as many are still making frantic efforts to make Dumo work in sync with the plans of the other family members, Society Watch also gathered that a farewell held in Ghana in honour of the late businessman. At the spectacular event put together by his long-standing associate and very good friend, His Royal Majesty, Nana Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, King of Ashanti, Ghana, encomiums and tears literally flowed freely, as friends, family and wellwishers from various nationalities across the globe recalled the impact the la te High Chief (Dr.) O. B. Lulu Briggs had on their lives. The event as disclosed was not known by Dumo and some of his siblings. The memorable service, which kicked off at The Chapel, Transition Place, in Haatso, Accra, was graced by family members, friends, well-wishers, top government functionaries from various countries, diplomatic corps and foremost traditional rulers from Nigeria and Ghana in attendance. It started on a joyous note with the choral groups from both Nigeria and

Rage In Lulu Briggs’s Family Continues

Lulu

Ghana rendering sonorous hymns that lighted the solemn ceremony. Both the Nigeria’s Royal Male Choir and Ghana’s Accra Youth Choir thrilled the audience with soul-lifting tunes while it lasted. The Lulu Briggs family and friends chose a purple Ankara material with the inscription “High Chief O.B. Lulu Briggs” , while the women wore a purple headgear to match the combination. Joining the Lulu Briggs were traditional rulers from Kalabari Kingdom, among who were HRH King Diamond Tobin West, Amayanabo of Okpo, HRH Iwari Bala, Amanayabo of Krakrama, Chief Obrasua Ernest Briggs, Secretary, Oruwari Briggs Council of Chiefs, Abonnema and many other chiefs from Rivers State, while the South west traditional rulers had a foremost King in the South west, Owa Ajero of Ijero Ekiti leading the pack of eminent traditional rulers from the part of the country. The Igbo community in Ghana had a huge turnout, as they insisted that High Chief OB Lulu Briggs supported “our

people in Ghana when he was alive.” The Eze Ndigbo of Ghana, Igwe Chukwudi Ihenetu, led his people from the South East to the farewell for the late business mogul. The Ghanaian delegation, at whose behest the event held, was resplendent in very colourful attire and ornaments. The late Lulu-Briggs was named one of the 10 richest Nigerians in 2014, with an estimated net worth of $500 million. He was the Vice Chairman of the nowdefunct National Party of Nigeria, NPN, the dominant political party in Nigeria from 1979 to 1983. His oil exploration and production company was awarded its first oil block in 1992, when the then Nigerian President, General. Ibrahim Babangida (retd.), was encouraging indigenous participation in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry. The company currently has oil blocks in Ondo, Abia and Akwa-Ibom States. Its flagship project, OML 114, produces 10,000 barrels.

Royal Grandeur As Jemibewon Gives Out Daughter

Lola-and-hubby

About a year ago, precisely May 26, 2018, Maj.-Gen. David Jemibewon( retd.) and his delectable wife, Modupe, had cause to thank God for keeping them alive to witness the memorable wedding of their beautiful daughter, Omolola,

and her British-born beau, Capt. Samuel James Foster, at the historic town of Lewes, East Sussex, England. The first leg of the wedding was graced by a large turnout of friends and well-wishers of Jemibewon, who was

the Minister of Police Affairs between 1999 and 2000. If that classic wedding that held in England is still etched in the memories of those in attendance, the second leg of the nuptials, which held yesterday, April 13, 2019 in Kogi State, will remain the talk of town for a long time. At the yesterday’s wedding, the Jemibewons played host to the crème of the society, as both Omolola and Foster of the Province of Wales Royal Regiment of the British Army exchanged marital vows to the admiration of all. It all began with a short prayer by select clerics from across Nigeria in the country home of the former Army General. Omolola is a trained International Trade and Economic Development expert, while her husband, Foster, is a British-trained Army officer. The event had all the trappings of royal grandeur, military finery and highbrow taste due to the backgrounds of the two families, who are of the aristocratic class and raised with the best of military tradition.

Sandra Ikeji’s Passion Already, Nigerians, home and abroad, have been following with keen interest the exploits of Linda Ikeji, a leading blogger, and Laura Ikeji, a fashion blogger and entrepreneur. But certainly, Linda and Laura are not the only family members who are doing the Ikejis proud. No doubt, evidence abounds that the Ikejis are blessed with entrepreneurial skills. If you are in doubt, you will surely have a rethink when you read the profile of beautiful Sandra Ikeji, who has been plying her trade as an event planner; hers is a complete departure from her sisters’ interests. Since she opened shop a year ago, many socialites and those who love to give life to their parties have been beating a path to her door. Not one to ride on the crest of her sisters’ fame, Sandra, the brains behind Events by SI, is determined to change the face of events planning with her creativity and attention to detail. In recognition of her feat, she won the “Event Management Brand of the Year 2018” at a recent awards ceremony organised by leading lifestyle magazine in Nigeria. A number of high profile socialites, who have patronized her, have attested to the fact that they got value for money when they engaged her services. Contrary to the thinking in some quarters, she is not a tyro in the business. How? Her passion for the business first took her to the International School for Hospitality in Las Vegas, Nevada USA, where she studied Conference Management and Event. Upon graduation from the institution, she worked with top event managers in Vegas, where she assisted in the planning and execution of several world-class events. Determined to conquer her world, Sandra, who holds a Master’s degree in Regional Planning from the University of Lagos, returned to the country in 2015. This restless soul, who is constantly in quest of excellence, seemed to have identified a lacuna in the industry, when she came on board the events management industry in Nigeria. What set her apart from her competitors is the fact that she is able to infuse Western concepts to the traditional style, thereby giving her growing clientele value for their money. Ever since, she has witnessed an increased demand for her professional services in corporate events, weddings and destination parties. She has also assisted some start-up wedding vendors, helping them to be more creative in designs by sharing her expertise.

SandrA


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T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾APRIL 14, 2019

LOUD WHISPERS

with JOSEPH EDGAR (09095325791)

Mr. Buhari – Whither Thy Legacy? You see, I am writing this with the purest of hearts. I was trained by soldiers after going to Command Secondary School in Ipaja and as such understand very clearly the rudiments of authority, discipline and loyalty. I remain very steadfast in my belief that Atiku would have made a better president at this time and rooted for him during the last elections. But as INEC has said that Nigerians have spoken, and we are still waiting for Atiku’s petition to be treated, Mr. Buhari remains my president and commander-in-chief. I cannot come and kill myself for the matter. Today, he is the one that is on the seat and we must do everything within our powers to support him and make sure he succeeds in whatever he has planned to do even though me I know know the thing. It is in this regard, that I want to discuss the issue of his cabinet. You see Mr. Buhari, your first cabinet you will agree with me was an unmitigated disaster with some characters that were totally out of tune with the current situation in the country. They ran around like blind mice causing more confusion for you than you intended. If you ask me, 60% of that cabinet had no business in planning your birthday party talk less of working with you to drive the country and we are all living witnesses to all the chaos they caused, making you sweat more than

you should during the elections. As my mother would say, ‘How many times will something do you?’ It is a well-known fact that just maybe you did not have a choice in the matter considering the forces that came together to throw you into power. This time, the situation is different and the choice to immortalize yourself as one of the greatest statesmen in recent times or be remembered as one herdsman that just passed through is actually within your control. You see if you take my advice, wey you no dey even take, you should be looking at your legacy. The question you should be asking yourself is simple: what do I want to be remembered for? What would be my legacy programme and this will guide you as you choose your team. They must come with necessary capacity to work with you in delivering on the chosen legacy. See Awolowo, he chose free education and infrastructural development and that is why anytime you talk of free education anywhere in the world you will call his name and you can see the beneficiaries of that programme like Tinubu, Lai Mohammed as they are just doing shakara everywhere. If not for Awo they will just be doing kola nut farming somewhere in Osun---- (kai, I can find trouble o). Awo did not choose his team

from Ikenne and environs but instead he chose people he knew could deliver. So my lord, what would be your legacy programme? Four years is too short and you cannot do everything. Please choose one sector and lock into it. Education, health, sports, infrastructure, economy, anything that people can touch and feel that would impact their lives and then choose people who actually have proven skills to partner with you and not people that will come and be telling us how we are importing pizza from UK or be telling us that we will soon attack Israel. Well, my brother, I believe me and you are close enough that is why I am talking to you like this otherwise, I for keep quiet and wait for Obasanjo’s next round of letter writing and give him some inputs to fire you. But like I have said earlier I can be loyal like that o, ask Lami my partner, that is why I am giving you this advice that all the grey-haired vultures in APC will not tell you. Mbok, bring your ear let me pull it so you will hear well, cos at times, I used to think that you no dey hear well, mbok choose proven capacity as you build your new cabinet, forget party affiliation, or ethnic considerations, it will mess you up. You are a great man, please behave like one. Thank you. I don go chop Afang, no be me kill Jesus. See you.

Buhari

Ali Ndume

Ambode

Obasanjo

Dapo Abiodun

ALI NDUME – DON’T AGREE!

the party too has a right to be interested in the situation especially after the Saraki era where things were not too rosy for them. So they would be foolish to just sit down there and be watching without having an input. Well, I have invited both parties to Shomolu so that we can put heads together and bring out a solution. If you ask me, this is very simple: we should have two Senate presidents. Ndume and the other person APC is throwing up. One will be the Senate president for Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The other one will be Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Then Sunday will be off days. Yes that is the solution because as I see this Ndume, he go break person head o if he no get this thing o. Make we help am, na nice man.

‘enemies’. I have suffered for Ambode o. Come and see the abuses and attacks that have come my way for this my principled position. But you know something? I remain resolute because like they were saying, the Asiwaju truly discovered this rare gem and gave him to us. In a discussion with one of his commissioners, I will not mention his name, Ambode’s legacy came to play. His principled infrastructural development can be seen all over Lagos. The airport road, the modern bus stations, light up Lagos, the bridges at Ajah and the rest. His frugal treatment of state funds and now the huge bus thingy at Oshodi plus the pre launching of a $50m factory at the Lekki Free trade zone showing how his policies attracted foreign direct investments. Despite all these, they said he was not allowing ‘things’ to flow so they castrated him. Well I remain very happy that was the reason and not because he slept with someone’s wife or worse still, was using people’s undies to do rituals. So the man looks at the

resources of the state and decides to truly allow Lagos ‘tax to work’ and he was vilified. You can now begin to see what kind of system we are running. Today we have a governor-elect who is not even involved in the choosing of his cabinet, who was ordered to shut down his campaign office. I just pity am, because na nice man. No problem, like I told the commissioner, Ambode will be vindicated. History has a way of doing these things and whether he likes it or not, he will remain a true symbol of the resistance, he will be an unwilling hero in the true fight for positive change in the system and would be a catalyst for true liberation. See as I just dey hail the man and I am sure him go dey the other room just dey enjoy life, me dey here dey look for trouble on his behalf. Anyways, that is life. Welldone sir.

What you people don’t know is the fact that this gentleman has been watching the perks of the office for the last four years: the huge motorcade, the babes, the diplomatic respect, the free food and the fact that he can shut the Senate if he ever has wahala at the CCT and you now come and say the guy should step down for one mallam because party don talk. Is it party that paid his school fees? Or is it party that will feed his family if he steps down? You people have not seen fight yet. He said as much when he met the Vice President. He boldly stared at that one’s face and said categorically, ‘I WILL NOT AGREE’ and walked away. He was so furious that when he came out of the VP’s office and pressmen asked him if he would step down, he looked at them and said, ‘Me?’ Shege, walahi if not that we are on live TV, I for pull your ear for asking me that stupid question. You see the issue here is dual. Ndume has a right as a ranking senator to aspire and also

AKINWUNMI AMBODE – A POSTMORTEM I have never hidden my respect and admiration for this bobo. I have stood and fought for him even when he was busy running around begging the

OBASANJO – SHOULD I? So last Saturday was my late motherin-law’s one-year remembrance and you know Yoruba people with party. They


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LOUD WHISPERS

Seyi Durojaiye

decided to do party o and you know what that means to the pocket. I put my foot down and said that mummy had come to me in a dream that they should only fry puff puff and donate 30 packs of pure water to her egbe at the Ago Ijaiye Methodist Church at Oyigbo. Are you minding this people, they did not listen o. Aso oke don reach like 5,000 people and I saw myself wearing one Aso Ebi to the house at Morocco in Shomolu. Well, na God say make I go because I met my sister-in-law who is Seyi Olude or something Winclair depending on the time of the day. She had written a book on the great icon Olusegun Obasanjo. Kai, I read the first chapter and was amazed at the depth of history Wincliar/ Olude had unearthed and immediately the thoughts of putting this on stage hit me. In case you all don’t know, I am a prolific theatre producer who is putting on stage a psycho erotic drama – 3some this June. I immediately called Brother Ibi in Abeokuta. I remember seeing Bro Ibi in a photograph with OBJ at his farm both of them not wearing shirt. Bro Ibi listened attentively as I told him of the plan, the countries we will tour with the political satire that would see OBJ in a light that most of us have not seen him before. As I spoke, he waited until I finished and said in his heavy Ijebu accented English ‘come to Abeokuta’. My people I dey on my way o. If this baba agree kpere, my years of poverty have ended. Seriously if my sister Bolanle Austen Peters can put Fela on stage to critical acclaim, why can’t I put baba there too and for all you know the man may just agree to play himself. So if you all love me, make it your prayer point that he will agree o. For those of us going to our various churches, shrines and mosques to support me in prayers , his full name is General (Mr) Olusegun Matthew Aremu Obasanjo. Please go with his pictures. Those of you going to Sopona or Sango please don’t forget to go with palm oil, kola nut and 14 virgins – this would be difficult to procure but still try and the prayer point is that as I walk into Chief Obasanjo’s presence before I even open my mouth, let him just shout “Yes!”. I don tire for poverty. Thank you.

DAPO ABIODUN - DON’T KILL ME I wish I could write the title of this piece in Yoruba, then you guys would get the real import of the message. You know Yoruba people when they see something that makes them burst into uncontrollable laughter they will say ,’jo ma kpa mi’, na wetin I want talk be that. This my brother has been carrying his certificate of something issued to him

Onnoghen

Femi Otedola

Atedo Peterside

by INEC to go show everybody. He has taken it to Buhari and recently I have just seen that he has taken it to the Redeemed pastor. Laugh is just killing me, this one na eaglet o. The thing is just shacking him that he is just carrying it around and showing and presenting it to everybody. By the time he is through, he would have presented it to everybody including Aki and Paw Paw. Mbok, we have just received signal that he would like to come and present the Certificate to the Duke of Shomolu and I ask his people what is the link. Mbok my brother that thing no be world cup and in case you don’t know it is a call to serve. Please go and get busy and start fine tuning your master plan, building a credible team for the task is arduous no be this one you dey do. Please don’t come I am not interested, just do the work. Thank you. God bless you.

from Nigerians. I can offer my services, you know I am a major investment banker and can work with your team in delivering a funding structure that would not stress you and would ensure sustained and impactful quality health care delivery to our people. We cannot keep waiting for government or for one person to cry before help comes. Millions are dying daily for lack of N1,000 to buy drip. I should know, I visit the Gbagada General Hospital with our 1k group where we donate N1m every month from N1,000 donations from my friends to sick Nigerians. Baba come and see suffering, come and see tears, come and see needless deaths. Please do something ‘baba white’. I know you can. Let’s build this hospital or let’s buy one and turn it into a massive succour for Nigerians. God bless you. Say me hi to Cuppy. I love that girl. Kai.

engage these boys for your homemade food. I tell you, I hear they are cleaning out, employing fellow Nigerians in the UK and sending back home so much hope and fulfilment. Me I am very happy when I hear of things like this and would push for the total support for these kinds of initiatives. We cannot continue to be waiting for government, government wey never even know him right from left. Opportunities abound, we have the people, the resources and the population, all we need is this kind of thinking and then you will begin to see wonders. I swear.

ONNOGHEN – I AM WEAK

ATEDO PETERSIDE – ONE BAG?

Mbok this resignation weak me o. I no understand the thing o. Is this an admission of guilt or like they have said, a move to save the judiciary? Well anyways for me, this is a black spot on his career and that of the Judiciary and truly it is looking like the people who moved against him may have been vindicated. Kai, a whole Chief Justice and if the vindication is real then the corruption battle with all its blemishes may have received a major boost. But like I have said, I will hold my peace until the air clears and we get better clarity and then I will fire as you know I can. For now, Onnoghen look like say, you have ‘fallen my hand’.

FEMI OTEDOLA – THANKS BUT… Let me use this opportunity to thank gentleman Femi Otedola for reportedly coming to the aid of ailing former Super Eagles honcho Christian Chukwu. Reports have shown that he has offered to pick up the bills of the football great. This is quite impressive especially if you consider that just a few months ago, he had done the same for baba Suwe, I hope I am correct o. We really remain eternally grateful to you sir for such a wonderful gesture. However, I am thinking o. Don’t vex, won’t it be more sustainable and farreaching since you have shown this kind of interest in the health of our people to come together with your friends to build a private world class-hospital here with modern facilities? We can build a funding structure that would see Nigerians donate into a poor to be managed by a credible custodian firm ensuring that the hospital provides quality care at highly subsidized rates through donations

They say the rich also cry. Last week we heard about the theft in his private Jet. The report was plenty o and as I was waiting to hear what truly happened, I was told that na one bag dem thief and na him come be all this rumpus. Mbok, while I am not defending the thieves or saying it was a good occurrence, Nigerians are daily being raped, killed and maimed by daring armed robbers and ritualists o. This one na una concern. If FAAN decides not to secure the airport and na private Jets dey at risk well what can we say or do? For me the true situation is the almost daily kidnapping on the Benin -Ore road, Abuja- Kaduna Road and Zamfara axis. No be one Louis Vuitton bag dem thief inside one private Jet. Sorry my brother but I cannot connect. My mind is in Zamfara, don’t vex. Mbok don’t let me laugh, but one bag? Na him lead to press conference? Different strokes. Government do something o. Atedo don lose bag ooooooo. Kai.

WAKIKI.CO You see, I am one for entrepreneurship as a veritable solution to joblessness in this country. With over 2million people that have lost their jobs since the emergence of this regime, I will support initiatives that create jobs and opportunities in this country. Wakiki is one of such; promoted by young Nigerians who have seen the thirst and hunger for homemade food even while you are abroad. They have set up this platform to ease the procurement of Nigerian food in the UK and Europe. So for those of you who still travel, me I don give up on such pursuits - you can

SEYI DUROJAIYE, SEUN FADIORA – I SAY KUDOS O Still on entrepreneurship as a credible alternative to the jaga jaga our government is using our eyes to see. Let me throw the stories of these two boys out there. Both of them are bona fide investment bankers who got tired of the – go bring money rubbish that is the lot of many young people in our financial system. So they broke out to set up their own businesses without a prayer. Seun first went into the sale of alternative power solutions for those of you wey no read too much, he dey sell inverter. He made quite an impact as he employed over 20 young people thereby contributing his own quota to the economy. While that is still ongoing, he has today opened a major shared offices outlet called Avalanche spaces. According to him the idea is to give other young people the opportunity to start their own business without having to worry about the huge capital outlay of renting and furnishing office space. I went there o and saw for myself and the contentment that these young people are giving themselves trying to create opportunities and bettering society. Seyi on his own is a life coach, pulling in thousands into his various seminars and using empowerment videos to deliver his message; teaching the principles of self-reliance and positiveminded thinking. Seyi was a brilliant investment banker and he is leveraging on his experiences in gifting younger ones with the skills they need to survive in this our system. People no vex I just had to celebrate these three: Wakiki, Seun and Seyi not that they are the only ones. In fact there are millions of youths working assiduously to ensure our survival as a nation and I send them all my salute. Make we dey fight over cattle and grazing land our youths dey do things. Kudos.


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POLITY

Ajayi Crowther University VC Spits Fire Dapo Asaju lashes out at some parents and their over pampered children

V

ice Chancellor, Ajayi Crowther University, Prof. Dapo Asaju has lambasted some rich parents who want their children to be treated as kings and queens in his University, saying any parent whose child cannot obey rules and regulations is free to take his child away. Prof. Asaju who expressed frustration over the meddlesomeness of some parents in the affairs of the faith-based private university, hinted that some of the students he has to manage â&#x20AC;&#x153;have become drug addicts, prostitutes and cultists, yet some parents will still come and be dictating that they should not be treated like secondary school students â&#x20AC;&#x153; Prof. Asaju in a post to the Parentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Forum said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;a student committed sexual immorality and confessed in writing to have had sex with two female students in classroom and was placed on suspension pending trial, yet the parents proceeded to sue the university and posted insult against the university, forgetting that we have rules, and that the two girls also have parents who have been hurtâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Parents who find it difficult to abide by our rules and regulations are kindly advised to withdraw their children. We are not desperate to keep any student here. We will sanction hemp and drug users, those who bully others and want to behave like cultists and sexual perverts. Those who canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t train their children well will not be allowed to corrupt other children hereâ&#x20AC;?, he stated. Below is the full post: Dear Parents, It is not likely that I will post any message on your platform after this. I must express my shock at the behavior of some parents and their messages against the VC and the University in recent times. It is not common for VCs to exchange words with parents or students over matters of University rules, discipline and morals. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not sure you individual parents interacted with your VCs where you studied. My simplicity and availability has been abused and that has to be withdrawn forthwith. You sent your children to Ajayi Crowther University believing that they will get good education and sound morals. The discipline here is no where near that of some sister Christian Universities which are over subscribed. The developments going on here academically, spiritually and infrastructure-wise has been much improved and works are ongoing to make things better. Students ought to have some endurance and not be spoilt with claims and rights that shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be fought over.

What happened recently?

r"$6XPVMEIBWFSFTVNFEGPSTFDPOETFNFTUFS on 25th Feb. Due to the shift in date of elections, we changed resumption to 16th March (more than two weeks) yet many students resumed many days after the deadline! And you want us to tolerate that? Parents who habour students when they ought to be in school are themselves not disciplined. You canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t raise next generation with the same corrupt and indisciplined ethos that has ruined Nigeria. We eventually allowed

Rt. Rev. Professor Dapo Folorunsho Asaju, Vice-Chancellor of the University all late comers in after keeping them waiting outside gate for few hours as punishment for them to learn how to obey rules of punctuality. Parents who disobey rules and set bad examples do not expect red carpet treatment just because they paid fees for their childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s education. r"TUVEFOUDPNNJUUFETFYVBMJNNPSBMJUZBOE confessed in writing to have had sex with two female students in classroom and was placed on suspension pending trial yet the Parents proceeded to sue the University and post insults against the University, forgetting that we have rules and that the two girls also have parents who have been hurt, and innocent students who might be badly influenced. r:PVDPNQMBJOBCPVUMJHIU XBUFS FUD8FQVUPO generator for students between 6-8am, 10-1pm and 6-10pm daily in addition to when PHCN gives power supply. We spend N3.7m monthly on PHCN bill and buy 20,000 liters of diesel monthly to run ten generators, totaling about 8million Naira per month yet the University does not receive one kobo in subventions from the proprietor, Anglican Church. We forget that even in our homes do we always have light? r%PZPVLOPXUIBUUIFIPTUFMT FYDFQUPOF EPOPU belong to the University and that we remit the rent

to the owners who do not maintain the facilities? We spend our own money to carry out repairs in hostels that do not belong to us. In this last semester we have spent about 5 million Naira to repair facilities including providing alternative water system, purchase 185 fans, sockets, toilets, nets, etc. r:PVQBSFOUTEFDJEFEUIBUXFTIPVMEDPNQFMZPVS children to observe daily library hours, which is one reason students are complaining. Be it known that in a three floor library in which we have invested over 30 Million Naira in recent accreditation exercise, you will hardly find five students reading there. They are all busy with their phones: browsing rubbish. They donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t read except a few serious ones who end up with good grades. Many end up in third class. Some hardly attend classes for up to a week yet they turn up for exams and are disallowed. They think that once they paid fees, they are entitled to be passed. Bad homes produce bad students. r3FDFOUMZ%FBOTSFQPSUFEUIBUMFTTUIBOTUVEFOUT were found in their respective faculties during a period when more than 1,600 students should be in class. Your children are mostly unserious. They want to play around with opposite sex unchecked, they want to go to town to smoke hemp or prostitute. But we gated them and as a result the University is now well rebranded. r8FEFDJEFEUPMPDLIPTUFMTEVSJOHMFDUVSFQFSJPET in order to force them to go to class or library. But you parents protested asking for â&#x20AC;&#x153;freedomâ&#x20AC;? that will eventually destroy the moral and academic lives of these children. You same parents who have your children elsewhere obey the more stringent rules at Covenant and Babcock Universities, etc and you want Anglican Churchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s University to tolerate trash! Based on your protest we have after one dayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trial, reopened the hostels at all hours and released your children to choose whether to study or sleep in hostel when they should be in classes. They now have freedom to choose whether to fail or pass. We shall henceforth not treat them, in your words, like â&#x20AC;&#x153;Secondary school studentsâ&#x20AC;?. Some of you will bear the consequences of your indiscretion. But we will not allow anyone teach us how to run our system. r1BSFOUTXIPĂ OEJUEJGĂ DVMUUPBCJEFCZPVSSVMFT and regulations are kindly advised to withdraw their children. We are not desperate to keep any student here. We will sanction hemp and drug users, those who bully others and want to behave like cultists and sexual perverts. Those who canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t train their children well will not be allowed to corrupt other children here. r.BZ*BEWJTFUIBUOPQBSFOUTIPVMEDBMMNFPO phone on any matter concerning students henceforth. The Dean of students will attend to the public on complaints. I wish you all the best and may you and your children do that which is right in the sight of God and for the future good of the coming generations. Amen. â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Rt. Rev. Prof. Dapo Asaju, Vice-Chancellor, Ajayi Crowther University


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14.04.2019

AWAITING YSMA, NIGERIAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S FIRST LEGACY MUSEUM Prince Yemisi-Shyllon

EDITOR OKECHUKWU UWAEZUOKE/ okechukwu.uwaezuoke@thisdaylive.com


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ARTS & REVIEW\\MUSEUM

AWAITING YSMA, NIGERIA’S FIRST LEGACY MUSEUM On its final stages of completion, the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art blazes the trail as the first of its kind in the country and aspires to be the leading museum in Africa. Okechukwu Uwaezuoke reports

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n Wednesday, June 10, 2015, Nigeria’s celebrated art collector Prince Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon generously parted with 1,000 of his highly-priced artworks. This was at a formal presentation ceremony to the Pan-Atlantic University (PAU) and at a time the Lagos-based tertiary institution’s planned museum of Nigerian art was still on the drawing board. In addition to the artworks, comprising of traditional, modern and contemporary art pieces, Shyllon had also donated 200 photographs documenting Nigeria’s fastdisappearing cultural festivals. Among the highly-valued paintings in the collection are works by such artistic greats as Aina Onabolu, Ben Enwonwu, Akinola Lasekan, Yussuf Grillo, El Anatsui, Simon Okeke, Uche Okeke and Bruce Onobrakpeya, among many others. Works by leading contemporary artists include those by Diseye Tantua, Segun Aiyesan and Kelani Abass while sculptural pieces were produced by Ben Enwonwu, Isiaka Osunde, Okpu Eze, Adeola Balogun, Oladapo Afolayan and a host of others. The privately-owned university’s precursor and sister institution, the Lagos Business School (LBS), known for its interest in the arts, has over the years amassed its own impressive collection from contemporary Nigerian artists. Hence, the establishment of a museum became imperative not only to host this collection, but also those loaned from other sources. Before Shyllon came into the picture, there had been an ongoing discussion between another Lagos-based based art collector, Sammy Olagbaju, who had even gone on to make a proposal to the university. But then, Olagbaju’s proposals went with him as he departed this life sooner than expected. Thus, Shyllon a friend of the late Olagbaju, stepped in with not only a donation of a large number of artworks from his massive collection, but also with an offer to provide the funds for the building and the long term sustainability of the museum. “The project was predicated on my funding the building and the museum housing 1,000 from my collection,” Shyllon said. Years on, the museum, which now proudly bears the name Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, or simply YSMA, is a few months away to completion. The brick-coloured cuboid-shaped edifice, perching on the grassy edge beyond the end of the long cobbled thoroughfare leading into the Pan-Atlantic University, has been scheduled to be officially

Yemisi Shyllon Art Museum

opened on October 1, this year. Even before the official opening date, its doors would already have opened to not only students from all disciplines in the university, but also to those from nearby schools, especially those located in Lagos. Modelled on many European and American university-owned museums, the YSMA is an extension of the university’s lofty educational goals. This was why the Spanish-born architect, Jess Castellote, who had led groups of aficionados to the site, said that it was being positioned as “an interdisciplinary educational instrument of PAU at the service of the university and local communities, through the experiential engagement with visual art objects by means of thematic exhibitions and educational programmes.” Still, so much about the running of the museum – which Shyllon assured would not be run as “oneman show” – would be subject to the deliberations of the Museum Supervisory Council. According to him, positioning the museum as educational does not preclude the opening of its doors to tourists. It also does not rule out the museum from organising exhibitions for artists or even lending out and borrowing artworks for exhibitions. “It will cater for all genres as it happens in all the university museums in the world,” he added. For Shyllon, who has been rated among the world’s top 100 private art collectors and Africa’s number one collector by The Financial Times of

London, it was the concern about the fate of his massive collection after his demise that led to his entrusting over 1,000 works to the PAU. This was one way of not only guaranteeing their preservation, but also of properly documenting them. His tacit vote of confidence on the PAU is thanks to the institution’s track record and commitment to excellence in its relatively long history of holding exhibitions and collecting art. “I’m satisfied with the university,” he said. “I don’t think I have a better institution to work with.” Besides the Museum Supervisory Council, which Shyllon heads, other governance and management structures like the Museum Advisory Board and Friends of the Museum are entrusted with the long-term sustainability of the museum project. Indeed, the privately-run tertiary institution has promised to avail the art space of its “high maintenance, cleanliness and security standards.” The fact that the museum space can only exhibit not more than 400 works at any given time means most of its collections would not be on display at the same time. The architect, Castellote, had explained that it was – like the other buildings in the university – built with these three main principles in mind: fitness for purpose, sustainability and character. According to him, the building’s design creates

the flexibility that allows the museum to change its display configuration to adapt to changing curatorial whims. As for its external walls, they have a first-rate thermal insulation and an efficient air circulation throughout the single “exhibition space”, which requires a minimum air conditioning load. Then, there is its emphatic volumetry — a clean cube of 30 X 30 X 10 metres—and its richly textured finish of the stained concrete gives it the desired character. Though initially conceived to be a small, collection-based museum, the YSMA is nonetheless committed to enlarging its initial collection and eventually expanding its building. This, according to Shyllon, would allow for the addition to the existing collections from other collections “subject to the terms and conditions of subsisting agreements.” Its proposed long exhibitions will not only be well researched, but will also address specific themes, which it is hoped will foster critical thinking about central issues in the humanistic formation that the university aspires to offer. Conceived as a learning space of the university, the YSMA is expected to work in tandem with the university’s other schools and departments as well as its broader community. It is eventually expected to grow from impacting on the cultural and educational life of Lagos to becoming the leading university museum in Africa.

EXHIBITION

Lekki Gets a New Home of Arts

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newartgallery,adivisionoftheLVIHomeand OfficeSolutionsLimitedintheupmarket LekkiPhase1neighbourhoodLagos,willbe hostingitsdebutexhibition,titledBeautyand theBeholderfromtomorrow,MondayApril

15. AccordingtoJuliusIyoghiojie,theLVIHomeandOffice SolutionsLimited,theexhibitionwhichwillruntillApril 20willbefeaturingartworksbycontemporaryNigerian artists.“Weareexposingbeautytotheworldandgiving thebeholderssomethingthatlastmorethanalifetime, somethingthataimstodevelopthecareerofartists whilepromotingNigeria'sheritageintheartspace,” Iyoghiojiedisclosed. Accordingtohim,thegallerybasesitsoperations onthedisplayof“qualityandaffordableart”,assuring thatthepricingoftheworksdonotcompromisetheir qualities.“Wegiveyoufirstclasspieceofartwork.Imean firstclassbyeverystandardateconomyprice.Ihave notseenanybodythatdoesnotlikeapieceofartwork, beitasculpturalpieceorpaintingofwhateverkind,

whatvariesisthetastefromonepersontoanother.Mostpeople areafraidtoadmittheyappreciateartworksbecauseoftheir non-affordability.” FeaturingattheexhibitionaretheworksofartistslikeSoji Yoloye,EhigborO.B.J.,PitarAlakhume,JoelUtuedor,Alagbada OlayinkaandOdeyemiOluwaseun,amongothers. ApetroleumengineeringgraduateoftheUniversityofBenin, Iyoghiojiewasinspiredbytheartworksofhisartistfriendswho werefineartstudentsattheuniversity.Herecalledthatsomeof thestudentswhowereinfinalyear,usedartworksastheirprojects andtheytalkedaboutartworksasbeingveryexpensive.Thisled himintocollection,marketingandpromotionofartandartists, whichbroughtabouttheconceptofaffordableart. "Theprideofanartistisforhisworkstobeinhomesandoffices, museumsandchurchesforpeopletoseeandappreciate.Why wouldyouhavesomethingthatisbeautifulandishidden?Whatis thevalueforanartisttosecretlyadmirehis/hercreationalone? “Lettheircreationbeexposedtotheworldforpeopleto appreciateandbythistheartistwillgainappreciationtoo.Asa collector,IwasabletogainsomeleveloftrustfromtheartistsandI becametheirmarketingagent.”

Itwasin1994whenhebegantosellart.Hesoldalotof artworksinPortHarcourt,whereheheldhisexhibitionasa collector,titledColourExplosionandwhichwassponsored bytheAllianceFrançaisein1995. “Ihavedonealotofartexhibitionsafterthat,butstill maintainingtheconceptofaffordableart.Thebeautyabout artisthatartispricelessbecauseyoucannotputapriceto someone'screativity.But,thereisalwaysacommonground withtheartistsintermsofpricing.” Thegallery’smainobjective,hesaid,is“tobridgethatgap, andshowthatartworksareaffordableandwhateveryou loveyoucanafford.Secondly,wearetryingtopromotethe artists.Ifanartistinthepastcansellthreepiecesofworkina yearandsameartistcannowsell30piecesofworkinayear, itmeansheisincreasinghisreach. “Thirdly,wearepromotingNigerianartandcraftwhich istheculturalaspect.Thereisalsoasocialandeconomic aspectofitintermsofaffordabilityforboth individualsand corporateorganisations.Thereisnothinglikeacorporate price.Theprincipleofaffordabilityis acrossboard.Wedo Iyoghiojie notwantorganisationsoverspendingintheirbudgeting.”


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TALES FROM MOROCCAN DESERT YinkaOlatunbosunrecountssomeofthenarrativesina70-minutedocumentarymoviebyaGermanfilmmaker,Caroline Reucker whose film production, “Le Ciel, La Terre Et L'homme” was screened at the Nigerian Film Corporation Ikoyi, a satellitevenueforthe2019IREPDocumentaryFilmFestivalwithsupportfromGoetheInstitut,Lagos

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t was unbelievable. Nigerian Film Corporation’s cinema hall’s ravishing make over was a pleasant surprise to a first-time visitor to the venue since its renovation commenced. The raked seats, air-conditioning system, sound, footlights and life-size screen spelt a new chapter for the organisation, which for many years had been regarded as moribund. The arriving guest from Berlin, Caroline Reucker wouldn’t know that. Initially, she was taken aback by the deserted look of the venue of the much-trumpeted documentary film. She had not come all the way from Germany to watch her film all by herself. Call that “African Time". Caroline Reucker is fresh out of film school. Her final year project is an atmospheric documentary set in a desert in Morocco, a holiday destination for her family. The challenge of finding an original story can be daunting for a city dweller but it is not far-fetched. After sounding off the idea with her father, she began a journey into a production that would last for three years. She was fascinated by the life of the nomadic shepherds in the desert. Most of them live in temporary structures such as tents with young children and older ones who are quickly indoctrinated into hard yet simple life. Little did they know that some of these children have utopic desires of city life. Of course, some of the scavengers along the desert coasts have dreams that had been submerged under daily anxieties which could manifest in form of wind storm, flood or other elements of nature. One of them was a black belt in martial arts but life may have dealt him more blows than his opponents in the ring could have. From near-rags to dented cooking wares, poverty has dug

its claws into the daily life at the desert. With very little water available, in relation to the dust around, the settlers often look dirty and dusty. Told in episodic plots, the stories of the documentary were delivered in Arabic and Tamazirt with subtitles in English. Featuring Ahmed Hamri, Youssef and Lahcen Aridall, Idir Aukrouch, the story traversed the natural to the supernatural. One of the protagonists of the movie claimed to have received a stranger in his tent where he guards the mobile telecommunications mast. And for a month, they co-habited before he discovered that the stranger was a ghost. The perpetually windswept desert posed some challenge for Reucker and her film crew. The slapping force of the wind beneath the tent damaged one of the camera lenses. As though the fierce weather situation was not enough, the language barrier had to be overcome using the interpreters. One of the interpreters fell very ill and there was no health care facility at the desert. That singular event slowed down the course of shooting. Still, Reucker took care to give a broad account of life at the desert, not just from the perspective of the displaced persons. Although the story ended in a night of festival at the desert which is one of the biggest tourist attractions at the desert, it was actually the genesis of the movie development. As the director and script-writer, Reucker investigated the story of destroyed buildings in the desert region. Apparently, some investors had seen economic potentials for building hotels and holiday inns at the desert. However,

when a violent storm came through, the beautiful buildings were destroyed. To escape the life at the desert, there seems to be one option: to move to the city. Working at construction sites, fetching water, and other menial jobs await anyone from the city outskirts. Returning to the desert from the city is itself another story. Without any public means of transportation, several days of walk along the dusty terrain is the way back home. At the desert, more construction sites have evolved as investors are relentless in creating a haven for fun seekers. It means that construction starts very early in the morning because by midday, the sun would have become so excruciating, depleting anyone's energy reserve in no time. As a female film maker, Reucker had her own share of discrimination from that patriarchal region. Most of the time, questions were directed at her male crew members even after the natives had been told that she was the one in charge of the entire production process. Her earlier visits to the desert had been helpful as she already established some contacts she could leverage on to get her scoop and develop what will be a fine narrative. Her cinematography was buried in establishing the locale, showcasing the beauty of the landscape and juxtaposing these physical elements with the ugly truths of human existence. The documentary title which simply translates in English as “Heaven, Earth and Man" captured the universal theme of survival. It was screened specifically for the audience drawn from the Pefti Film School in Lagos who arrived in droves at the venue about 40 minutes into the movie. The director obliged the cinema technicians to begin the screening all over again and the grateful lot reciprocated with zillions of questions after the screening.

EXHIBITION

DIFFUSION Lights up Temple Muse

Yinka Olatunbosun

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heworksoftwopromisingartists, PromiseOnaliandChibuikeUzomaare illuminatingtheluxurystore,Temple MuseinVictoriaIsland,Lagosinmore waysthatthescentedcandlesinthe buildingcaneverdo.Itisthefirstshowoftheyear curatedbySMOContemporaryArtfeaturing 45uniquepiecesbytheduo.Theworks,mostly inlargeformat,amplifythetheme,“Diffusion",in thephysical,spiritualandemotionalsenseofthe wordbyexploringconsciousness,individualand collectiveidentityaswellassocio-culturalcultural evolution. Expectedly,bothartistsworkedwithdifferent techniques.Onaliwhostudiedfineartatthe UniversityofNigeria,Nsukkacreatedacreative ventwithhismixedmediaexpressions.He deployedavisualstorytellingtechnique,rendering someoftheworksinseries,usingunusualfabrics,

metal,wire,polystyrene,paper,fibre,amongstothers torecreatehisthoughtsoncanvas. Sportingdreadlocks,Onalirevealedhowhesourced forsomeofthematerialsandhowhiscreativeprocess evolvedinthecourseofproducingeachworkduringa presspreviewoftheworkswhichhadbeenavailable forpublicviewingandpatronagesinceitsopening onMarch30.Onalirecountedhowhispreferred fabric-thewhitelace-becamemoreexpensiveasheincreasedhisdemandforit.Awayfromthemarketblues, Onalidipshiscreativeinkinhistoryandphilosophy.On hiscolourschemesforsomeoftheworks,Onalidared tobreaktherulesbyworkingwithblack. “Ineverboughtblackasapainter.Idecidedto exploreblackandred.Redisanemotionalcolour.Ijust wantedittobeanintrinsicpartofthework.Itwasa struggleinitiallybutIhaveimprovedonit,”herevealed. Itwasnotjustthechoiceofcoloursthatposeda littlechallengeforOnali.Hisambitiontousedifficult materialskepthimonhistoes. “Itwashardfusingthewiregauzeintothecanvas butnowalotofpeoplefinditinteresting,”henoted,

relishinghislayeredmetaphors. Hisworksattheshowinclude,“DaydreamsofA Pedestrian",“MillennialsforSale”,“PortraitsofanArtist", “TaintedPerception",“LandscapeofUnconventional Dreaming,”and“Intentionsseries". Uzoma,onhispartprefersnottobepredictable. Withpiecestiltedtowardsabstraction,Uzoma’spieces activatethethinkingfacultyonsight. “Idon’tlikedoingportraits.Idon’tlikephotographic painting.Igivecluesandopenituptoabroaderaudience,”hesaid.AfterhisreturntoNigeriafromDelhi, hebecamefascinatedwithcoloursevenmore.A near-nomadicartist,UzomaworksbetweenIfe andBenincity,perhapsdrawinginspirationfromhis proximitytonatureinthetwoplaces.Heromanticised natureinpiecessuchas,“FromMonkeytoaFlower"and “AnEveningBloom"amongothers. “Myartmakingprocessisorganic,”saidUzoma duringatourofthebuildingwherehisworkswerelined up.HeisheadingtoYaleUniversitylaterintheyearfor aMaster'sdegreeinFineArt.LikeOnali,hehassome seriesthatarerootedinanarrative.Thestoryisalittle gameheplayedwithfriendsthatinspiredthetitleof

thework,“DidYouSinLastWeek?”.Additionally,racial discriminationisquestionedinhisworks.Acasein pointis“GraphicViolence".Inthepiecetitled,“Dolphin", heprobesmaterialismusingapairofdesignerlensto viewtheworldofselfishnessandhowcheaphumanlife isrenderedintheabsenceofhumanity. AsthecuratorSandraMbanefo-Obiagoobserved, “UzomareferencescontemporarypoliticsinAfrica andtheDiasporaandquestionspopularculture againstthebackdropofglobalconflict.Byasking “maybeweknownothing?” The26-yearoldartistcreatesvisualpoetrywhich reflectsouruniversalstrugglewithidentity. “Itrytomakesimagesthatexpressthebasicand necessaryelementsofhumanexperience:freedom, love,joy,possibility,hopeandeventragedy,”hesaid. Prof.FrankUgiomoh,aProfessorofarthistoryand theory,formerlyattheUniversityofPort-Harcourt remarkedinastatementthat“Diffusioncomesagainst abackdropofcontemporarysocialconsciousnessand howitconnectstohistoryascertaintylivedout.” DiffusionrunsfromMarch30toMay17andis supportedbyVeuveClicquot.


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HUMANITY

My Mission to Mount Everest on Behalf of the #FreeLeahSharibu Movement

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n Monday, April 8, 2019, I embarked on a mission to Nepal. My quest in that Asian country was to visit the Himalaya Mountain range and especially, Mountain Everest, wearing my full #FreeLeahSharibu tracksuit. I arrived Kathmandu on April 9, 2019, and the very next day, I went, as scheduled, to visit a Buddhist Temple and monastery, where I met and conferred with Buddhist monks and got a crash course on Buddhism. The Buddhist told me about the balance of nature amongst the five elements in the prayer flags they fly all over their monastery including the red flag for fire, the yellow flag for the sun, the green flag for the earth, the blue flag for water and the white flag for the air. They also told me of their various stages of enlightenment, with the highest being Nirvana (pronounced Nir-wana). I listened intently because I wanted to understand them first so I could then be understood. While still in Kathmandu, I had cause to say publicly that I don’t believe in Buddha (even though I respect their beliefs) and I know that Yehoshu’a (Jesus) is the only way to God. But I am taking the story of Leah round the world and the Buddhist people were receptive to it. I was led their prayer wheels, which they use in saying their mantras. Quite curiously, I discovered that the art of using prayer beads originated from Buddhism and not Catholicism as I had previously thought. The monks have been praying with prayer beads (málá in Sanskrit) used for counting mantras. They have been using them for a 1000 years before Catholicism and 1600 years before the Islamic Misbaha tasbih. I learnt so much from them about their culture and religion. Their Jerusalem (or Mecca) is Tibet, of which they talk so fondly of. Buddhists are peace loving people and the #FreeLeahSharibu campaign is about peace. Thereafter, I was taken to the old Nepali Royal Palace where I got another opportunity to rep my #FreeLeahSharibu tracksuit. Whilst there, I was inspired to tweet a message to Boko Haram urging them to remember Áyah (verse) 256 of Al-Baqara in the Quran which says “there is no compulsion in religion”. Please release Leah and may God bless you. I also visited the home of Nepal’s Kumari (Living goddess). She appeared for all off five seconds and I was asked to worship her by acknowledging her blessing and saying namaste. My hosts were not too upset when I ignored their instructions. I then did one of my favourite things to do when I go to a new country-visiting orphanages. The particular orphanage I visited is the Paropakar girls’ Orphanage in Kathmandu. Nepal is a poor country, but they look after their orphans. The girls are brilliant. I was impressed by how clean and loving the facilities are. I encourage everyone who has benefitted from my #RenosNuggets To please support this orphanage. (Just Google them). The next day (April 11, 2019), I flew from Kathmandu to the Himalaya Mountain Range and recorded a video of myself over Mount Everest in my #FreeLeahSharibu tracksuit. The reason I decided to do that is because Mount Everest is the highest peak on earth and after there, it is heaven. The symbolism is that Leah Sharibu is still very close to God’s heart. I am now back from Nepal and I feel so spiritually rejuvenated. The first and only other times I felt like this is when I went to Ephesus, Cappadocia, Smyrna and Laodicea (in Turkey) and Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee and Kaper Nahum in Israel. Now that I am back from Nepal, I am inspired to pass on a message to many people who have made requests of me, and to humanity in general. Many followers of #RenosNuggets have asked me to be their mentor. Why ask me to be your mentor when you can have my Mentor? He is greater than ANY prophet that ever lived. He divided time (BC/AD). He is Yehoshu’a. If you must follow me, follow me ONLY to the extent I follow Him. (I am human. I desire to always follow Him, but I don’t always follow Him). There is NO other God EXCEPT His Father. My Mentor is respected by EVERY religion on Earth. They may not agree with Him, but they can’t ignore HIM. Without Him, I Am NOTHING. I am NOT ashamed of The Gospel, for it is the Power of God unto salvation. Let me give a testimony. I am in Qatar flying to London as I write this. I bought an economy ticket. 3 minutes after I wrote the last three paragraphs above, esteeming God and His Onlybegotten Son, Yehoshu’a, I got upgraded to Business Class. Of course, I can afford Business Class and often do. But this time around, I was flying on Qatar Airways, which is a bit different in pricing from my usual airline. The timing of this blessing was auspicious. Brethren, I encourage you to lift up Yehoshu’a without any motive anywhere and everywhere you go and He will lift you up beyond measure. He made a promise to that effect. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”-Matthew 6:33. Also, the #FreeLeahCampaign has taught me how useless stereotypes are. There is this stereotype of Igbo people as money loving greedy Shylock people who won’t part with a dime. Since I

started this campaign, more ordinary people of Southeastern Igbo heritage have supported Leah’s family than any other ethnicity. What is more, they ALWAYS insist on anonymity #IgboABlessingToNigeria Permit me to say thank you to African Independent Television and Silverbird Television, which both covered my visit to Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak. This movement will not stop until Leah is reunited with her family, so help me God. If I die, my children and members of the #RenosNuggets family will continue the struggle.

Finally, I want to thank Nathan and Rubeccah Sharibu, my partners in the #FreeLeahSharibu movement. I also want to thank all those Nigerians who have donated to the family (I refused to be sponsored and asked that EVERY penny goes to the family). Lastly, I thank Mr. Boris Johnson, MP, for launching the #FreeLeahSharibu clothing line.

Reno Omokri

Bestselling author of Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years.


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CICERO

Editor:Olawale Olaleye Email:wale.olaleye@thisdaylive.com, SMS: 08116759819

IN THE ARENA

Zamfara State Banditry as Metaphor for Leadership Failure The security challenge in Zamfara State is stoked by no less a factor than failure of leadership by the state government, writes Olawale Olaleye

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he deteriorating security situation in Zamfara State peaked in the last few days following the reign of bandits in the North Western state, which in turn increased the number of lives lost to the development. It was also shocking to note that people were being killed in their large numbers every other time in the state and yet had no commensurate mention in the media as if there was some sort of conspiracy to keep the situation out of the public knowing. This naturally elicited reactions from members of the public, when it eventually came to their knowledge and many of them quickly led protests against the government for failing to live up to billings by ensuring the security of lives and properties. But attempt to look away from the failure of the state government and shift the blame at the doorstep of the federal government is misplacing the issues in context. Kadaria Ahmed, a renowned journalist, made the headlines, when she led a protest to raise the alarm over the extent of killings that had been going on in the state. While dismissing the state government as ‘utterly useless’, she reminded President Muhammadu Buhari of the sacrifices the people of Zamfara made, both in 2015 and 2019 to elect him president and that paying them back with such bestiality was most unfair. Short of saying the current government of Buhari was irresponsible and had failed the people, her protest gained incredible traction and recorded huge media mileage, a situation, which perhaps informed the late but rather lukewarm intervention by the government. Sadly, she might have failed in her mission by not sufficiently drawing attention to the failure by the state to act true to expectations. In its response to the situation, the federal government ordered all foreigners engaged in mining in the affected states to quit within 48 hours. This was because the killings in the form of banditry had been linked quite closely to mining in the state – illegal or not. Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, while addressing journalists, said anybody, who Buhari and Yari at the State House engaged in mining activities in the state again would have their licence revoked. And that, in their wisdom, was meant to stop the development council areas, what it means is that funds accruable to killings forthwith. the councils are being shared by the state as desired without proper But talking seriously, to reduce the growing insecurity in Zamfara monitoring of the expenditures much less any development projects only to the mining activities in the state implies that government is yet at that level. Thus, with this alarming disconnect, which would have to have a grasp of the complex nature of the crisis at hand. Yes, mining brought along with it responsible community policing if allowed, the might be a factor in the whole; it could not have been solely or largely basic security of the communities is taken away and the people left at responsible for the degree of killings being witnessed in the state for the mercy of total strangers. some time now. What is presently obtainable in Zamfara State is that of ungovernRather, it is a far more complex situation. A majority of the miners able and ungoverned territory, occasioned by a combination of these there work on a large scale and therefore not competing for control of the factors. Also, with people coming from war-torn countries, bearing resource. Perhaps, the illegal miners, who might have been reveling in arms and ammunitions and aided by indefensibly porous borders, unofficial support of persons in position of authority, have been locked what is left to blame here is failure of leadership especially, when you in some supremacy battle. It is definitely not at the core of the issue. factor the extent of damage this had wreaked on the social capital of Stricto sensu, the crisis is about failure of government in the area of the state, with staggering unemployment rate and scary unemployable security and community response to such challenges that threaten the numbers roaming the streets. co-existence or co-habitation of the people. It is also one of such crises that To that extent, while illegal mining is not entirely ruled out, what is come with the challenge of climate change resulting in desertification. happening in Zamfara is a symptom of a larger crisis of simple leaderFor instance, there is no local government presence in the state, a ship failure as many of those at the centre of it are not even Nigerians. situation which has elicited some sorts of disconnect between the people A majority of them strayed from places like Niger, Libya and the likes at the lower rung of the ladder and the government. This also explains with their migratory tendencies. the core of the rationale behind the creation of development council And when you also consider the fact that there are no more cattle areas by some state governments, to make council administration to look after or engagement by the councils and yet dreading to be smoother and easier and also draws the government closer to the people. idle, these able-bodied and anti-social elements will choose to look Unfortunately, with the absence of the local government let alone

after something else in a country that places no value on life but boasts a strangely poor understanding of what intelligence and pro-active internal security is all about, banditry becomes the way to go, not necessarily through mining. Therefore, rather than continue to dish out mere orders, effectively containing the Zamfara crisis in the immediate requires more serious security measures that are outside the ordinary approach. First, government must be responsible. It must start by thoroughly combing the town and weeding out those elements that do not belong there, recover as many arms and ammunitions as possible and review the border policing system in lieu of the situation at hand, while at the same time engaging the idle hands loitering the streets by establishing a link between the people and the councils. The danger in not thinking faster than the criminals and the potential criminals is that if government suspended mining for too long and the bandits were unable to survive especially, when there were no more cows to tend to, they might resort to other crimes, including sneaking into the neighbouring states to compound the already ugly situations in those places. To ensure this does not happen, government must act and faster than the criminals. But if the Zamfara crisis must be properly situated – with over 3,000 killed and about 500 villages affected – it is nothing but a clear failure of leadership at the state. And you just might want to ask: what manner of government waits till 3,000 is killed and many rendered homeless before acting?

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

There’s Staggering Insecurity in the Land!

B

Adamu, IGP

efore everyone gets carried away by the security situation in Zamfara State, it is important to point out that the entire security architecture of the country needs total overhauling. The picture the current situation paints now is that of an aggressively failing nation, which has lost its security to the renegades of the society. Ponder some of the reports from Zamfara to Lagos, Kogi, Kaduna, Borno, Taraba and Ebonyi and you’d agree they are clear indications that the country might be sitting on a time-bomb, which if not detonated before time could see the whole nation go up in flame and in no time. From banditry to insurgency, kidnapping, robbery, ritual killing,

rape and cult clashes amongst other vices, the scale of insecurity in the country has so deteriorated that many are worried if the situation could ever be brought under control. Indeed, the degree of what is currently obtainable is both worrisome and disturbing. Whilst it is arguable that all of these vices, save for insurgency, have always been part of the system, the propensity of what is being churned out now is what differs and that propensity is also defined by the failure of leadership. The security of the nation needs urgent attention. Perhaps, emergency should be declared in that sector even as government must consider retiring the current set of security chiefs as a matter of urgent national importance. They have failed in their beats and unable to justify their continued stay in office.


THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER ˾ APRIL 14, 2019

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BRIEFINGNOTES Lagos PDP and the Search for New Leadership The Lagos chapter of the PDP is in the crucible and must address its crisis of leadership to end the APC’s stranglehold in Lagos, writes Segun James

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hat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) needs entirely new leadership if it must change its current narrative is no longer subject to debate. It has never been in doubt that it was greed, inordinate ambition, thirst for power and the belief that the party’s future is tied to the future of a particular person or group is responsible for the crisis that has continued to undo the party in

Lagos state. Since 1999, the party in Lagos has been embroiled in one crisis or other, a situation, which at every turn, has led to losses most especially at election times. Right now, the party secretariat has been taken over by a former factional chairman, Mr. Segun Adewale in the crisis that engulfed the party during the Ahmed and Ali Modu Sheriff power struggle. That the party in the state needs a new leadership is no longer news. In the last three years, there have been three chairmen, who got to the position due to one crisis or another, but unless the process is refined, the party may find itself in yet another crisis when the process is repeated. Truth is that the party needs new leadership that will shepherd it to the next election, a job which the present leadership is surely not cut out to do. With leaders such as Chief Bode George and Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe and others at loggerheads over the control of the soul of the party, who is going to be the ultimate beneficiary of the new situation? This is the question as the party struggles to find stability or succumbs to total irrelevance. However, the situation at the national level is sharply different. After all, the party had a fine showing in the last general election. With Oyo State in the kitty and Osun State likely to fall into the hands of the party, the greatest gains outside its traditional stronghold since the 2003 tsunami, the PDP has hardly had it good. This achievement is in spite of the leadership of the party. But it is at the Lagos state level that it was so bad that the leaders are now at each other’s throat. But as the dust from the general election settles, the battle for the control and the soul of the former biggest party in Africa has resumed in Lagos. This is more so that in Lagos, there have been accusations and counter-accusations over the candidates fielded during the last elections, which resulted in a bad showing. In Lagos PDP, the situation has always been that of the ‘dog eats dog’ syndrome. The mutual mistrust among the leadership has cost the party dearly. This was further exposed after the March 9 governorship and House of Assembly elections, where the party was worsted terribly. Not only did it lose all the House of Representatives and House of Assembly seats it won in the 2015 elections, but the margin of loss to the APC candidate was also so wide that it left the party’s leaders wondering how they got it so wrong. That was the situation when a meeting was called recently. The meeting was called at the Lugard Road office of the state leader of the party, Chief Bode George, for a post-mortem assessment of the performance of the party in the election. At the meeting, which was chaired by Bode George was the party’s governorship candidate in the election, Mr. Jimi Agbaje; the state chairman, Mr. Adegbola Dominic; state secretary and former chairman, Captain Tunji Shelle, and other party stalwarts. As soon as the meeting started, it soon turned into a battle and a blame game. The chairman accused Agbaje of being a ‘Lone Ranger’, who was never a team player, noting that the party never had a candidate in Agbaje and the candidate had no party. He claimed they worked at cross purposes and that the party was doomed to fail from the beginning as Agbaje never worked with them, an attitude he said caused the party to lose the few seats it gained in the past. He told the gathering that Agbaje never met the leaders of the party at the state level let alone at the local government or ward level.

George

Agbaje

Dominic complained that all efforts to get Agbaje to “carry the party along” in what he was doing towards the elections proved abortive, adding that Agbaje ruined PDP’s chances by running a solo campaign. He also accused Agbaje of having less regard for the leadership structure of the party. It was at this point that the issue turned to the finance and how monies budgeted for the election were singlehandedly managed by Agbaje to the exclusion of the party’s leaders, the elders, and other candidates. Dominic accused Agbaje of siphoning the money meant for the campaign. Angered at the accusation, Agbaje stormed out of the venue. He later claimed that he became the subject of growing attacks because he refused to jeopardize PDP’s reputation and leave the structure of the party in the hands of self-centred party chieftains. He also vowed to seek legal redress against those in the party trying to malign him and destroy his hard-earned reputation. Angered by the claims of Agbaje, it was at this point that the party went for his jugular. Dominic at a press conference accused Agbaje of obtaining funds from Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate, without the knowledge of the party elders including George. According to him, one of Atiku’s aides had called him to meet him at a location in Lagos, because he had some money to give them for the election. “He told me that he was instructed to hand over the money to the governorship candidate, the state chairman, a representative of the senatorial candidates, and two representatives of our House of Reps candidates. He asked me to call the other people, which I did, and we met at the hotel where he lodged.’’ Dominic said they deferred the meeting because President Buhari was going to make a broadcast to the nation and they feared he might postpone the election. But, when they discovered the election would not be postponed, they got back to the meeting venue, to discover Agbaje left with the money. According to the aggrieved PDP chairman, Agbaje ran a

solo campaign with low regard for the leadership structure of the party led by George. He also said the money was for the election campaign and party leaders were supposed to be involved, but Agbaje personally shared the money the way he liked. In 2018, as the race towards the general election gained traction, the crisis within the PDP soon consumed the state chairman, Mr. Moshood Salvador, who later defected to the APC with his supporters. Also, the chairman of the Apapa local government council area of the party was killed and several leaders, including Salvador, were arraigned before the courts for murder. They were also remanded in prison custody for several weeks before they freed. When the time for the primaries to pick the party’s governorship candidate came up, Agbaje emerged the candidate to the consternation of many. He had contested the position two times before under the party and failed. As such, many believed that other persons should be allowed. From this testy beginning, he never enjoyed the support of the party in the state and he was always at daggers drawn with the leadership. To some of the observers, therefore, the party lost the election the moment it picked its candidate. In politics as in football, timing counts. It makes the difference between a brilliant tackle and a red card, or a smartly taken goal and a raised offside flag. For the PDP in Lagos, the election was already lost when Agbaje couldn’t convince any party leader to campaign with him. His was a one-man-army; and for the leaders, it was as though they were waiting for him to fail, and fail he did. But this is to the overall disadvantage of the party, which has been condemned to perpetual opposition in the last 20 years. The battle in the Lagos PDP has been like this since 1999, a situation that had cost the party severely. Even when the party was ruling at the Centre, the mutual mistrust between the leaders was to the advantage of the rival All Progressives Congress (APC).

NOTES FOR FILE

That 2023 Debate is Immoral

Oshiomhole

The 2019 general election has just been formally closed after the Rivers impasse was resolved. Although petitions are already flying around at the various tribunals, which could mean that the last has not been seen of the elections, technically, however, the elections have been concluded, whilst the next stage of this phase is the inauguration in May and June to completely wrap it all up. Curiously, however, the 2023 debate has already begun and inordinately, so to speak. The talk about which part of the country is next to produce the president of the country at a time the current officials are yet to be

sworn in, says quite a lot about the Nigerian people, the ruling class especially. Importantly, it says more about the party in power, the All Progressives Congress (APC). It defines the irreverent nature of the party. It exposes her capacity to be irresponsible and puts it right in the faces of the people that regardless of what they think it could get away with blue murder. Debating 2023 now is not only reckless, silly and arrogant; it is immoral and indefensible under whatever guise, depicting crass impunity. In fact, it is a tendency associated with tawdry leadership.


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Yakubu announcing results of the presidential poll

INEC: A Wasted N27bn Investment in Technology? Adedayo Akinwale examines the war chest at INEC’s disposal and its performance in organising and conducting the 2019 elections

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ollowing the drastic improvement in the country’s electoral process during 2015 elections, which was adjudged to be free, fair and to a large extent acceptable by all, it was expected that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would build off on its own record by conducting a much freer, fairer, more transparent and credible elections in 2019. But this was not to be as INEC under the leadership of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, despite the huge budgetary provision given to it, has conducted about the worst election in the history of the country. While the 2019 election was not free, fair or credible, it was equally not acceptable by all. Political analysts have opined that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari has returned Nigeria back to the 1983 era. The electoral body was even unable to match the standard it set in 2015. Rather, it was only able to return the country’s electoral process back to the wilderness. In the run-up to the elections, INEC chairman had assured delegations of the European Union (EU), United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US), African Union (AU), ECOWAS and various observers mission that the commission would surpass its 2015 achievement. “We are good to go for the 2019 general election. We are aware that the election is going to be an intense media event but only that international community will also intensely watch the processes as they have always done and I want to assure you that we will not fail the international community and will not fail the nation. “We are aware that the long term EU observation mission is on ground, and also the ECOWAS observation mission, so, the international community is already in Nigeria for the elections. 2019 elections will be credible; we will jealously guide the processes. We will ensure that the processes lead to the outcome that all Nigerians expect. Nothing but free, fair, credible elections will be good enough for the commission,” Yakubu added.

The Rise of Election Cost

A critical review of INEC’s budgetary allocations showed that the cost of elections has been rising since the country’s return to democracy in 1999. The total budgetary allocation INEC has received from the federal government from 1999 to 2018 was N730.99 billion. Out of this sum, N450bn was captured under ‘electoral expenditure,’ while N191.8bn was ‘personnel cost,’ N36.9bn ‘overhead cost,’ and N54.7bn was ‘capital expenditure projects.’ The electoral expenditure started with N1.5 billion in 1999 to N29 billion in 2002, N45.5 billion in 2006, N111 billion in 2010 and down to N87.8 billion in 2014, while a total of N236.7 was spent on the 2019 elections. Out of the huge sum budgeted for the 2019 elections, about N27 billion was spent on technology, which includes enhancement, replacement and procurement of the use of Smart Card Readers to consolidate the success of the 2015 elections.

The Smart Card Readers were introduced in the 2015 general election to facilitate the accreditation of voters using the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs). It also helped to know the total number of accredited voters in a particular polling unit, while also checking over-voting. At the national collation centre before declaring Buhari winner of the election, the INEC chairman said a total number of 82,344,107 ‘collated voters’ were registered for the election as against over 84 million registered voters in the commission’s data base. He also declared 29,364,209 voters were accredited, while the total number of valid votes was 27,324,583; and the total number of votes rejected was 1,289,607; while total votes cast was 28,614,190. This means that a total of 1.6 million people were missing in the voter register, considering the fact that the number of registered voters was over 84 million, while the number of collated voters, according to INEC chairman, was over 82 million.

Fighting Discrepancies in Votes

Baffled with the discrepancies, the PDP agent and former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, who was at the national collation centre observed that the main opposition party did not accept the result as representing the valid votes of Nigerians. He stated: “We have made three issues; first, after all the investment in technology, we required INEC, after spending N27 billion in this year’s budget alone for technology, we had expected that today, INEC would have for the purpose of transparency not just for law, projected to us the result of what the card reader that they used displayed about the people that went through the card reader verification, that singular act puts a dent on the image of the election. “The second one is the issues we raised about the number of registered, vis-à-vis what the chairman now calls collated voters means that 1.6 million people are missing in the voter register. We also believed that the difference between the accredited voters and the votes cast, which came to about 750,000 votes requires an issue to be looked at,” Chidoka had said. But despite the protest by the PDP, Yakubu said, “In relations to the issues raised, there are specifically three of them that the commission wishes to make some preliminary statement on. We said preliminary statement, because during collation we haven’t had all the time in the world to look at these issues in-depth. “The first, one is that the figures of accredited voters in relation to the votes cast were not adding up in one or two instances. We have noticed that and our preliminary investigations and analysis revealed there are a number of figures that were carried from the field and were adding up and the states were also adding up from 176,000 locations nationwide as polling units and voting points. “From there, the figures were adding up at the ward level, which we have 8,809 nationwide. From there to the local government of which we have 774, and then the state declaration or collation centre and the FCT making a total of 37,000 before coming up to Abuja.” This showed that the purpose of SCRs was utterly

defeated as the number of voters from the polling unit did not add up. Also, the issue of figures discrepancies resonated last week when Presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his party filed their case before the Presidential Election Tribunal, where he claimed that data from the server of INEC revealed that his votes were reduced in 31 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Atiku therefore claimed that he defeated Buhari with 1,615,302 votes, adding that the data from INEC server showed that he actually polled a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat President Muhammadu Buhari, who had 16,741,430 votes. The petitioner said smart card readers deployed by the commission, in addition to accreditation, equally transmitted electronically the results of voting from polling units directly to INEC’s server. Atiku stressed that the commission published numbers of registered voters before the election but recorded a totally different figure in its Form EC8D (A). A breakdown of the 174-page document showed the electronic collation of results state by state as of February 25. In Abia state, the petition said Atiku recorded 664,659 votes in the electronic results from the server, against the 219,698 votes recorded by the commission. In Adamawa, 646,080 votes, instead of 410,266; Akwa Ibom 587,431 votes, instead of 395,832; Anambra 823, 668 votes, instead of 524,738; Bayelsa 332, 618 votes, instead of 197, 933; Benue 529,970 votes, instead of 356, 817; Borno 281,897 votes, instead of 71, 788; Cross River 572, 220 votes, instead of 295, 737 recorded by the commission. Atiku also claimed that he had 778,369 votes in Delta, instead of 594, 068; in Ebonyi 565, 762 instead of 258, 573; Edo 677,937, instead of 275,691; Enugu 698,119 instead of 355,553; FCT 419,724 against 259,997; Gombe 684,077 against 138,484; Imo 485,627 against 334,923; Jigawa 539,522 against 289,895; Kaduna 961,143 against 649,612; Kano 522,889 against 391,593; Katsina 160,203. The former vice president claimed that in Kebbi, he had 493,341 votes against 154,282 votes; Kogi 504,308 votes against 218,207 votes; Kwara 353,173 votes against 138,184; Lagos 1,103,297 against 448,015; Nasarawa 344,421 against 283,847; Niger 576,308 against 218,052; Ogun 438,099 against 194,655; Ondo 451,779 against 275,901; Oyo 527,873 against 366,690; Sokoto 552,172 against 361,604; Taraba 442,380 against 374,743; Yobe 306,841 against 50,763 and Zamfara 379,022 against 125,123. The petition stated that the commission inflated the scores of the party in Osun and Plateau States. The document also added that the party recorded 337,359 votes in the data available on the server, but the commission credited the party with 337,377 votes; likewise in Plateau, where the party garnered 273,031 votes, as against the 548,665 recorded by INEC in its final collation. Beyond the case being put forward by Atiku at the tribunal is the fact that INEC has let down the system and the Nigerian people by failing to live up to billings especially, given the amount of money since sunk into it for effective delivery of the 2019 elections. Sadly, it appears a totally wasted investment if this embarrassment of a result is all that the commission could post.


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CICERO/ONTHEWATCH

Alaibe

Dickson

Agbedi

Looking Forward to Bayelsa’s Governorship Battle Last week’s announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission unveiling the timetable for the governorship election in Bayelsa State has opened up the race in the state, writes Segun James

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inally, the race for governorship election in Bayelsa State has begun. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced November 2 as the date for the election, alongside Kogi State. But Bayelsa, being the homestead of a former president, Goodluck Jonathan, is a crucial turf for either of the two major parties – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC). Thus, ahead of the November 2 election, realignment of forces and maneuverings are expected to start taking shape as contending groups and individuals wrestle for the soul of the state. Just like in the just concluded general election, the battle for Bayelsa promises to be keen and intriguing too. Unlike in the past, when most of the gladiators were from the PDP and any opposition, if at all, and whoever was endorsed as the candidate of the party, was automatically assumed the next governor, the rules of engagement have changed. Therefore, the race for the Creek Haven Government House was always between the PDP candidate and the others. In the past, politics in the state was centered on individuals, especially aspirants to the most coveted governorship position, and not the party they belong to. This was because every politician in the state belongs to the PDP only the disgruntled or the disenfranchised moved to the opposition. As a result of this, the tempo of political activities at any given time was dictated by the ambition of the individual aspirant. Today, the campaign is yet to take off, but the battle field is already strewn with frenzy and intrigues such that even the closest of friends have suddenly become worst enemies. Although the contest for the governorship is local in nature, its effect will reverberate and have profound implication on the nation’s body polity. The gladiators are swelling in their numbers and a few of them are considered formidable. On the one hand is former governor Timipre Sylva, who has the main opposition party, the APC in his grip. His only known opponent and ally is Senator Heineken Lokpobri, the Minister of State for Agriculture. Surprisingly, even though both men are considered rivals, they worked as a team, surprising Governor Seriake Dickson in the last general election by winning a senate seat, two House of Representatives seats and four House of Assembly positions, a move that has broken the myth that the “PDP is Ijaw’s party.”

The Parties and the State of Play

The PDP Aspirants Timi Alaibe

He was the special adviser to two consecutive presidents on Niger Delta affairs and former managing director to a federal government owned interventionist agency, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). An astute administrator, Alaibe is considered the aspirant most eligible to be the next governor of Bayelsa State. He has contested the position several times, and to most people, this is Alaibe’s best time. “The Principal” as he is fondly called is though yet to formally declare his intention to contest, he is believed to be the leading aspirant. He is reputed to have the ears of the elders of the state, who not surprisingly, have been rooting for him to step out to contest. What he also has going for him is that he comes from the Bayelsa West senatorial district, which, considering the rotational system in place is supposed to produce the next governor. Also, he comes from the only one of three local government council areas – Yenagoa, Ekeremor and Kolokuma/Opokuma – which has to produce any governor from the state. Alaibe however comes from Kolokuma/Opokuma, the smallest local government area of the state, which voting strength is insignificant. Despite this, his formidable and towering political machine has caused upsets in the political equation in the state in the past. Another drawback for him is that the senator that will represent Bayelsa Central in the ninth senate is his kinsman, Senator-elect, Douye Diri. Alaibe’s recent move back to the PDP is said to have upset the political calculations of other aspirants and Dickson. How this will play out will be determined in a matter of weeks.

Peremobowei Ebebi

Ebebi is a former two times deputy governor of the state under Goodluck Jonathan and Timipre Sylva. He is one person, who had been overlooked in favour of other candidates in the past. A lawyer, Ebebi is a master political tactician, who was able to survive working with principals, who suspected and feared him. As a politician, Ebebi has always held his own. He never lost his constituency in any election to the opposition. But Ebebi comes from the same senatorial zone as Governor Dickson. Although he is from Ekeremor, a part of the state, which has never produced the governorship, Ebebi is a first cousin of Senator Lokpobri, a possible aspirant under the APC.

Stephen Ereboh

Until recently, the PDP stands as a colossus in the political firmament of Bayelsa State. Everybody on the political field belongs to the party. Although it is still the party in power, its the loss to the APC during the last national election, has robbed it of its dominance and influence. Thus, the November 2 election will further determine the fate of the party, whose national leader still remains former President Jonathan. The upstart that has come to upstage the PDP is the APC, whose state leader is a former governor, Sylva. These are the two parties that exist in the state with the APC as the new and beautiful bride for the politically disgruntled.

Ereboh is a former member of the state House of Assembly and from Southern Ijaw, the same area where the late governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha came from. In the last few years, Ereboh has bought his way into the heart of the people by embarking on several philanthropic activities. Quite popular, Ereboh believes that the existing and popular zoning formula which was designed by the founding fathers of the state, a system which had been sustained respectfully in the past, should be retained.

Who Are the Gladiators?

Etifa is the scion of a highly respected politician and founding father of Bayelsa. Since joining politics, Etifa has been able to hold his own and emerged from the shadow of his father to become his own man. But like Dickson, he too comes from the same western district.

Bayelsa is an unusual state. It is almost 100 per cent riverine, sits squarely on the delta and a hotbed of political uncertainty. With the PDP losing it stranglehold on the political jugular of the state (even though the PDP still stands as a colossus in the political firmament of the state) and the people not used to being in the opposition, who is going to win the election? That is the question as rumour of Governor Dickson’s ambition to return to the National Assembly, but this time as a senator representing the Bayelsa West Senatorial District, continues to heat up the polity. Dickson is said to be positioning his closest ally and confidant, Lawrence Eghwhrujapor, the state’s commissioner for works, who has just won his ticket to the senate as running mate to the secretary to the state government, Dr. Kemela Okara, who being positioned as the PDP governorship candidate. This will automatically clear the way for Dickson to contest for the senate seat vacated by Eghwhrujapor in a bye election. It is with this calculation in mind that the groundswell of opposition to the governor increases everyday and evident in the number of aspirants jostling for the PDP governorship ticket.

Bekes Etifa

Kemela Okara

An intellectual and professional, Okara is from the family of Dr. Gabriel Okara, the great Poet, who died recently at almost 100 years. Okara is from Yenagoa, the state capital. Yenagoa, which is the biggest city in the state, has never produced the governor and its people have been agitating for it for many years. This might be the reason Dickson might have decided to let a person from the area have a shot at the governorship. Even as secretary to the State Government, Okara has been responsible for managing the state’s economy some years ago. An “outsider” of sort, Okara contested for the governorship in 2011 but failed.

Fred Agbedi

If there is one political strategist and master tactician among the lot of the aspirants in the PDP, Agbedi easily comes to mind. He is the engine house of Timi Alaibe’s onslaught against both governors Alamieyeseigha and Jonathan. Agbedi was in the House of Representatives during the third republic and during this dispensation, he has found himself in the same house for a third term. He was


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CICERO/ONTHEWATCH t ‘LOOKING FORWARD TO BAYELSA’S GOVERNORSHIP BATTLE’ tContinued from Page 76 The APC Aspirants… Not surprising, the aspirants under APC are just two:

Sylva and Lokpobri.

Timipre Sylva

Although he is yet to officially indicate interest in the race, he has at least one more chance to take a shot at the office he once occupied from 2007 to 2011. Sylva is the state leader of the APC and following the performance of the party in the last general election, he might have found his groove back. Following his ouster as the governor of the state and the subsequent use of state apparatus to keep him in check politically, when the PDP was in power, Sylva had put himself together and relaunched ferociously into the political arena on the platform of the APC. He was ridiculed and even his former aides led by his deputy denounced him and pledged loyalty to Jonathan and Dickson as political activities peaked during the 2015 general election. Like the Phoenix, he continued to weather the storm. He is considered as the aspirant to beat if primaries were conducted in the APC primary hence many people had advised that he plays the role of the party leader and leader of the Ijaw people irrespective of their political affiliation and leave the governorship stage for others. Sylva is still very popular among the people. One thing that attested to this was the mega crowd he mobilised for President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC in Yenagoa during the last general election. A Sylva candidacy is a threat to whomsoever the PDP fields.

Heineken Lokpobri

Sylva the director general and engine house of Dickson’s political campaigns. Not surprising, the feeling now is that the kingmaker also seeks to be king. Among watchers of Bayelsa’s politics, the belief is that he might indeed be the architect of Dickson’s move for the senate despite being seen as the leading candidate in the past.

And the Dark Horses… Reuben Okoya

Other names have since come up in the PDP and they include Mr. Reuben Okoya, a protégée of former President Jonathan. Okoya contested against Dickson the last time but lost.

Ebebi

Franklyn Osaisai

A nuclear scientist and former director general of the federal government owned Nuclear Materials regulatory body, Osaisai has been a player in the politics at the national level before coming home after his retirement.

Joshua Mciver

A former militant leader and the first to renounce militancy in 2008, McIver has since been involved in politics, having pitched his tent with the PDP. Of all the aspirants, he is the only one, who has set up a campaign office even before INEC leased its timetable.

Joseph Akedesuo

A retired permanent secretary in the state civil service, Akedesuo is the immediate past director of protocols to Dickson.

A dogged fighter, who is ready to take on any foe without fear, Lokpobri is the pioneer Speaker of the state House of Assembly and was at daggers drawn with Alamieyeseigha for the control of the state. He soon pitched his tent with the political machine of Alaibe until Alamieyeseigha was removed from office. When Jonathan became the governor and political positions were shared between his camp and that of Alaibe, Lokpobri was compensated with the senate ticket, which he won. However, he is from the same senatorial district as Dickson, who is completing his second term. Although he is from Ekeremor, one of the three LGAs, which is yet to produce the state’s chief executive, he is a first cousin to Ebebi, who has also indicated his resolve to contest the governorship under the PDP. In Bayelsa State as it is anywhere, the political season is harvest time – a time when the battle for the control of the politics of the state is fiercest and sometimes, bloody. It is also the time when rivalry for the control of the soul of the state between the gladiators is renewed. Let the game begin!

PHOTO NEWS

Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State (2nd left), groom’s father, Prince Olatunji Braimoh Banjoko (left), his wife, Mariam (right) with the couple, Dr. Lanre and Mrs. Deborah Banjoko at the wedding of the Banjokos’ in Lagos... yesterday

The Past President, Rotary Club of Lagos Island, Rotn Sanjeev Tandon with a Trustee, Geeta Ashram Foundation, Rotn Lalwani Manu and his colleague, Mr. Anil Gopwani, encouraging a beneficiary of The Free Eye Cataract Surgical Operation sponsored by the Rotary Club Lagos Island District 9110 Nigeria, Rotary International and Geeta Ashram Foundation, Lekki, Lagos at the event held General Hospital, Lagos Island, recently

The wife of the Celebrant, Otunba Mrs. Josephine Diya, the Celebrant, Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya (rtd), and the wife Otunba (Mrs.) Folasade Diya at the Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya’s 75th Birthday Thanksgiving Service at the United African Methodist Evangelical Church, Abule-Ijesha, Lagos

L-R: World Bank African Region, Abuja, Dr Oluwole Odutolu; Havard T H Chan School of Public Health, Prof Phyllis Kanki Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole and CEO, APIN Public Health Initiatives, Dr Prosper Okonkwo, at a public Presentation of a Book titled: TURNING THE TIDE: AIDS IN NIGERIA held Thursday in Abuja. Photo: Julius Atoi


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CICERO/INTERVIEW

Lanre Issa-Onilu

Ballot Now an Instrument to Punish Political Office Holders Who Perform Below Expectations The National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Lanre IssaOnilu speaks on some topical national concerns, including the just concluded 2019 elections. Bayo Akinloye presents the Excerpts:

W

hat is your assessment of the just concluded 2019 elections? This election cannot be likened to any previous election. It was unique in many ways. This is the first election where the bookmakers were off the mark in several respects. Not many could have imagined, for instance, that certain big name politicians could lose elections the way they did. You saw what happened in Oyo State, where Governor Ajimobi lost his senatorial election. That was one third of the state in which he has been acknowledged to perform so well. You saw what happened in Kwara State, where Bukola Saraki lost practically everything. He could not win even his own ward. Under his watch, all contestants who associated with him lost elections. You saw how two sitting APC governors in Bauchi and Adamawa States battled to regain their seats as they lost to the opposition PDP. There are a number of issues we should pay attention to in this scenarios. One is the obvious and increasing sophistication of the voters. You could see voting patterns that showed the voters have become aware of their power to choose. You could see deliberate voting patterns, such that in many states, the voters were targeting contestants with votes. In other words, you could see voters in a particular environment voting for candidate A in APC and candidate B in another party. What this means is that ballot papers are becoming instruments of political justice. Politicians can no longer take electorate for granted when they are in power. Voters understand the power of the ballot, more so they understand that ballot is an instrument to punish political office holders they believe have performed below expectations. Would you then say the 2019 elections were free and fair with the massive deployment of the police and soldiers? I understand the fact that we would never appreciate the calamity we escaped because of the roles played by the security personnel. We can begin to question the deployment of the security agencies, because we managed to minimise violence and saved numerous lives of innocent Nigerians that could have been wasted by desperate opposition politicians. It is normal for a patient to complain of the bitterness of the

medicine after he has recovered from his ailment. Of course, it is easy to forget the magnitude of a disaster after averting it. We owe the security agencies a lot of gratitude for their professionalism, their patriotic engagements with all the people and institutions that participated in the elections. But we must not forget that this was possible only because we have a President Buhari, who showed uncommon statesmanship. This is the first time you have a President that was more desirous of guaranteeing the civic rights of the citizens than his own ambition for a renewal of his mandate to be able to govern for another four years. This is contrary to the belief of the opposition. For instance, PDP would argue that President Buhari deployed the soldiers to intimidate opposition candidates across Nigeria to pave the way for the victory of the APC candidates. What is your reaction to this? It is very shameful for PDP to accuse anyone, not to talk of President Buhari of intimidating voters or manipulating the electoral process. The records are there. All the elections conducted under the PDP witnessed brazen deployment of brute force. We witnessed open state sponsorship of violence against leaders and members of the opposition party. We witnessed outright disenfranchisement of voters in areas where PDP was unpopular. How do you compare such a disgraceful mobilisation of state’s instruments of coercion under PDP as they forcibly foisted themselves over the country for those years of gruesome oppression of the electorate with the elections of 2019 under the watch of President Buhari? This is where the media need to step up the game. They need to do more in playing their role as interpreters of events. The media is not making much meaning out of the events going on in the country. And that should bother industry stakeholders like us. Otherwise, the media would have led the celebration of the exemplary democratic credentials of President Muhammadu Buhari. How did the media miss the fact that the President did not mention a single member of opposition parties throughout his campaigns across the 36 states and FCT? How come the media missed the fact that the President stuck to issues and not personalities throughout his campaigns? That was a new vista in our politics. We need to underline this as a significant milestone in our democratic journey. Again, I shuddered to see the media misinterpreting

the statement of President Buhari urging voters to vote across party lines. That was unprecedented. It did not go down well even with some APC members. But it showed that not a few Nigerians misunderstood the President’s intention. And I won’t blame anyone. We are not used to seeing a sitting President, with all the powers of suppression at his disposal, subsuming his own interest under his responsibility as a President to guarantee the freedom of the electorate to choose whomever they wished. There is no disputing the fact that President Buhari contested and won the 2019 Presidential election on the strength of his performance in the last four years. He demonstrated courage to choose to face other contestants in a level playing field. Under President Buhari, Nigeria has indeed reached a new positive height in democracy. Are you saying there was voter intimidation and suppression in targeted opposition controlled states or areas? President Buhari is the real difference in the 2019 elections. The fact that the President was adamant on providing level playing field for all contestants across the country ensured voters have a conducive atmosphere for free and fair elections. Hopefully, we will get to a period when political players will play by the rules. Then the job of the security agencies would become routine during elections. We can only imagine what would have happened if the President didn’t respond to the threats to peace that pervaded the country going into elections. So we can only commend the security agencies for ensuring a condition that allowed voters to freely carry out their civic duties. We all saw the level of desperation from Atiku and PDP. They didn’t hide their plans to forment trouble in areas where they expected to lose. Their desperation is understandable. This is the first time PDP had to contest as an opposition party. They felt like fish out of water. It was difficult for them to go through election without being in charge. They were used to deploying state institutions to intimidate voters and manipulate the electoral process. Even as opposition, Atiku and PDP did their best to hijack relevant state institutions by all means to serve their inordinate desire for power. Where it was difficult to manipulate the process, they resorted to intimidation and harassment of operators of the institutions. Under President Buhari, our members wondered if APC


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CICERO/INTERVIEW t ‘BALLOT NOW AN INSTRUMENT TO PUNISH POLITICAL OFFICE HOLDERS WHO PERFORM BELOW EXPECTATIONS’tContinued from Pg. 78 was not the opposition party. This is because the President ensured we all played by the rules. Your party, the the APC was not on the ballot in the governorship, national assembly and state house of assembly elections., but it managed to enter an alliance with an unknown party a few days to election, Amaechi told APC supporters to vote AAC and with the help of the military attempted to rig the election As a party, we obeyed the judgement of the Supreme Court not to field any candidates in Rivers State. It was a painful situation, particularly because we felt there was no basis for disenfranchising millions of voters in that state. The people were left with no option to the calamitous government of Governor Wike. Even though APC did not have any alliance with any political party in Rivers, we can relate with the effort made by our members in that state to provide alternative choice to the electorate. I guess this informed their decision to work with AAC. We couldn’t have stopped them since all politics is local and APC has no candidate anyway. PDP has gone to the Tribunal to reclaim what Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has repeatedly called his stolen mandate. Are you bothered about the possible outcome of the court process? Far from it! Why should anyone bother about such fallacious allegations contained in Alhaji Atiku’s affidavit? That is a theatre of the absurd. Well, there is something to laugh about in its absurdity. Is it the purported figures PDP claimed to have fetched from INEC server? Is it the figures he awarded himself? Well, to be fair to him, he extended his generosity to us in APC by awarding extra one million plus votes to our over 15 million votes. Of course, we do not need such concocted figures. We are satisfied with what the electorate voluntarily gave us during the elections. APC appears to be heading into another crisis over the election of the leaders of the 9th National Assembly. Many lawmakers are already kicking publicly and insisting they would resist the imposition by your party. How will your party handle this imminent crisis? I know one cannot be wrong for doing the right thing. Even when it appears you are being misunderstood or blamed for doing what is right, time would always vitiate your position. On this matter of choosing the leaders of the National Assembly, the APC is absolutely right. There appears to be a lot of ignorance in the polity. I think it is because we have seen anomaly going on for too long under PDP that we begin to see it as the new normal. What the National Working Committee of the party is doing is in line with international democratic practice. Let me provide some education on this matter. What we practised in Nigeria is called Presidential system of government, which is fashioned after the American Presidential system. It is different from parliamentary political system we practised in the First Republic, which was copied from Britain. In party politics as we have in Nigeria, the only recognised vehicle for electoral contest is political party. Our constitution does not have provision for independent candidate as at now. What this means is that anyone who wishes to contest to become a senator or member of the House of Reps or for any other political office for that matter must be a member of a political party. It goes without saying, therefore, that such a person has invariably subscribed to the ethics and beliefs of such a party. Our progressive beliefs and worldviews in APC are further expressed through our manifesto. So, we conduct primary elections to select candidates, who would be given our party’s tickets to represent us in the National Assembly towards the fulfilment of our manifesto. Do not forget that the electorate voted for us based on the promises contained in our manifesto. So, in other words, every person elected on the ticket of APC is a trustee of our collective mandate as a ruling party. By association and membership, he has accepted to be part of the delivery of our promises wherever he finds himself, whether; he finds himself at the National Assembly, in the state, local government or the presidency. So you are saying the National Assembly cannot claim independence? This is contrary to the Principle of Separation of Powers or what do you think? I have read many otherwise experienced politicians mixing things up in this regard. Let me state clearly that the National Assembly is not a political party. So, it is an abnormality for the National Assembly or the Senate or House of Representatives as institutions to be in opposition to the executive. The opposition in the National Assembly is PDP and other political parties that have members elected into legislative arm. The members of the National Assembly elected on the tickets of APC cannot be in opposition to their own government. They are part of the ruling party. They are in the National Assembly to help the ruling party deliver on its mandate. The APC lawmakers are the legislative arm of the ruling party, APC. And because they are in the majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, they automatically produce the leaders of the two chambers. Let me emphasize the word produce, not elected. The rule allows for simple majority and APC has that already. You may need to ask those who are posting unfounded opinion about this issue when did they see the Democrat and the Republican in the United States’ congress conducting elections as a unit to choose leaders. If the Democrat is in the majority in the House of Representatives in the US, they automatically produce the Speaker and other leadership positions that belong to the majority party. The Republican would also produce leaders for the positions that belong to the minority positions. If the

Issa-Onilu situation were reversed, then the leadership positions would be reversed in like manner. The respective party normally handles this matter and they would return to the chambers to announce their respective new leaders. The process of election in the chambers, therefore, becomes a mere formality. As a party in the majority in the two chambers, APC does not require the support of the PDP members to elect the Senate President, the Speaker and the other principal positions. Just as the PDP does not require the support of APC to elect the minority leaders and those other positions that belong to the minority party. This is the convention. Where then does the Separation of Powers come in? There are both the Principles of Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances between the three arms of government. That is bringing the judiciary into the fold. But let me address the tenets of these principles between the legislature and the executive. The Principles of Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances have to do with the responsibilities of each arm of government. You cannot, for instance, because APC is in the majority for the ministers who are part of the executive arm to pass laws or put legislation in place, just as it would be wrong for APC lawmakers to say, because they are part of the ruling party to begin to award contract or execute policies. It is the role of the lawmakers to make laws. The difference is that when there is a bill being considered in any of the chambers, the norm is that the APC lawmakers would seek to serve the interest of their own party, while the opposition would seek to serve the interest of the minority party. It is their different perspectives on the floor that distinguish the ideology of the party they represent. So, both in passing laws and in over-sighting the policies, programmes and projects being executed by the executives, the members of the National Assembly have separate powers. But as I said earlier, this is in their responsibilities. In affiliation and advocacy, lawmakers align with the political parties that presented them for election. Do you not think this could create chaos in the National Assembly? Where does the national interest come in? You do not have chaos, because debate, conflictual positions, and conflict resolutions are healthy for the country. For instance, the majority of voters, who believe in our government, have elected our party. And we have over 15 million Nigerians, who said so. But we must also understand and in fact, we must not forget that there are over 11 million Nigerians, who said no to APC in the last election. The difference is that they are in the minority. In addition to that, we have been given majority in both chambers. But the people who do not want APC have also elected members into the National Assembly to represent their opinions. These issues are very important to the development of party politics and representative democracy. PDP members cannot get to the National Assembly and insist on obliterating the dividing line between the majority and the minority. The line must be maintained to protect the weak against the strong. It is not for nothing that they say the minority must have their say, while the majority have their way. If they do anything contrary to the norm, as we have had all through the 16 years of PDP, and particularly with the abnormality that subsists in the National Assembly following the 2015 moves by some lawmakers, we would be stewing in absurdity. PDP has a responsibility to represent those who believe in them and sent them to the National Assembly. In all of this, national interest becomes the mediating factor. PDP members are not expected to oppose a policy that would

benefit Nigerians just for the purpose of preventing the APC government from fulfilling its mandate. If they do so, they would be hurting even the minority that elected them. So, national interest has to be the common denominator. You expect the APC lawmakers to seek cooperation when necessary to secure a smooth sail for an APC policy. So you can maintain your lane, while negotiating when you need more lawmakers to make the number. What will APC do to members like Senator Ali Ndume and Senator Danjuma Goje, who are bent on going against the party’s position by contesting for the Senate President position? You have a similar situation, if not worse, among APC members in the House of Representatives? We are not panicky at all. First, we have enough time for discussion. Every member of our party is important. So, we would continue to hold consultations. We are a party that advocates change. When people have got used to abnormality, you must be on top of the game to cause a change. There would always be resistance, no matter how positive the change is. It is important to know that we have a President who is a thorough party man. He is the backbone of the many positive changes we are witnessing in the country now. He is resolute. Driven by uncommon patriotism, he is taking our country to the next level. Many believe that the party chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is too dictatorial and treating lawmakers like school pupils. Do you agree with this position? That would be unfortunate. We cannot forget so soon that Comrade Oshiomhole spent the better part of his adult life fighting for the oppressed, stomping his feet on the podiums in the defence of citizens’ rights. He grew in the community of progressives. Rather than labelling him a dictator, we should admit he is a man of conviction. He does not act of his own volition. Saying he is doing that would mean you are saying the rest of us in the NWC are dumb asses. What you need to know about him is that he is a great team player and an outstanding mobiliser. He knows how to build consensus. Even when his opinion does not fly, he would canvass the position of the majority with the same vigour. On this issue of electing the leadership of the National Assembly, you cannot imagine the level of consultations the party has embarked upon. When we say the party has taken a position, it doesn’t mean just those of us who are privileged to be in the National Working Committee. You have the President, who is the chief driver of our government, you have party leaders like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, you have the APC governors, you have the lawmakers, and many more stakeholders, including members of the National Executive Committee and the Board of Trustees. These are all critical stakeholders that we always consult, whose opinions count. When we have been able to build consensus around an issue, then you have the party chairman taking responsibility. You have someone like me as the town crier delivering the messages. What should Nigerians look forward to in the next four years? Nigerians should expect much more than they witnessed in the last four years in terms of infrastructure, social investment programmes, job creation, security of lives and property, food security, renewed fight against corruption, and restoration of our national dignity. Under the able leadership of our President, we have already turned the corner. President Muhammadu Buhari has an avowed commitment to use the next four years to build a befitting national development edifice on the solid foundation that he has laid in the last four years.


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with DEMOLA OJO demola.ojo@thisdaylive.com

SOCIAL MEDIA BITS

Last week, Aliko Dangote turned 62, Femi Otedola showed some love, and the NNPC debunked rumours...

L

ast week was notable for the reaction that followed protests over insecurity in Zamfara State. Leading the march in Abuja over the killings in the state was a journalist, Kadaria Ahmed, who recently moderated town hall meetings for presidential candidates and their deputies before the 2019 election. “As far as I am concerned, that Governor is the most useless governor in the history of Nigeria,” Ahmed said in response to what she thought of Zamfara Governor Abdulazziz Yari. The protest and her views drew widespread attention and response, not least from President Muhammadu Buhari, who hurriedly tweeted his concern about Zamfara from Jordan. He was at a Middle-East and North Africa conference. There were negative reactions too. The most despicable was by Abdularahman

Yahaya, who suggested anyone does not deserve to live after “converting from Islam to Christianity.” Ahmed’s sister, who is married to the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, says the popular broadcaster remains a Muslim. This was amplified by a few of her sympathisers on twitter, which prompted another debate: Does it really matter what faith she professes? Such bigotry shouldn’t go unpunished and the police should bring purveyors of hate speech to book. As Vice President Osinbajo noted while in Rwanda, the resurgence of hate speech and all identity type problems is frightening and a compelling reason to reflect on the Rwanda genocide of 25 years ago. Still on the subject and without absolving Yari of blame, how effectively can a governor secure his state under the current system where police commissioners take orders from the Inspector General of Police who in turn


APRIL 14, 2019 ˾THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER

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SOCIAL MEDIA BITS takes orders from the President? In related news, it is heart-warming that last week was one in which the Nigerian Army decimated terrorists especially in Zamfara and Katsina. The same army recently released a total of 152 former Boko Haram militants for reintegration back into society after undergoing 12 months of de-radicalisation training in Gombe State. There was a graduation ceremony for them too. But not everyone is a supporter of the “Operation Safe Corridor” program. Political activist, Deji Adeyanju, wondered why other criminals in Nigerian prisons are not treated similarly, and wants to know if Boko Haram leader Shekau would be assimilated into society if he surrenders. It is almost two weeks ago that the University of Lagos held its 50th convocation ceremony but the event was revisited on social media after a lecturer, Sam Amadi, felt the education system is now a mess because the university produced 300 first class graduates which he believes, they cannot defend. It is no secret that many tutors in Nigerian universities are programmed to take pride in students struggling to pass their subjects. But as a few commentators on twitter rightfully

noted, it is an indictment on a lecturer (and the educational system at large) that so much time is spent with little to show. For the statisticians out there, the precise number of first class graduates is 271 out of 12,811 which represents a measly two per cent. This is in stark contrast to the UK for example, where more than 25 per cent of students graduated with a first-class degree in 2017. The NNPC took to Twitter to debunk rumours of an impending fuel scarcity. They cautioned against panic buying which seems to have commenced in some locations across the country. The replies to their tweet suggest the public isn’t convinced. Many from different parts of the country report seeing queues. Some of these “sightings” come from Lagos which is already suffering from nightmarish gridlocks. The incoming governor, Babajide Sanwo-olu says he has the solution. Aliko Dangote clocked 62 last week. As you can imagine, so many sent the richest African their best wishes. Fellow billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola, took to instagram to pay tribute by listing some of the great man’s achievements, before thanking him for his brotherly love.


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SMS: 08116759819 

  ÎÓÞÙÜ˝ Olawale Olaleye ×ËÓÖ˝ áËÖÏ˛ÖËÖÏãÏ̶ÞÒÓÝÎËãÖÓàÏ˛ÍÙ×

When Will N’Assembly Pass 2019 Budget? Four Months after the 2019 budget estimate was presented by President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly is yet to pass it, creating needless anxiety in the body polity, write Deji Elumoye and Shola Oyeyipo

National Assembly complex

A

lmost four months after President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2019 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly, the Senate and the House of Representatives appear to be foot-dragging on the passage of the Bill. President Buhari had on December 19, presented an N8.83trn budget proposal for the 2019 fiscal year to a joint session

of the National Assembly. The budget details include assumptions such as 2.3 million barrels per day oil production and N305 to a dollar exchange rate, real Gross Domestic Product growth rate of 3.01 per cent and inflation rate of 9.98 per cent. Other projections are total revenue of N6.97trn, which is three per cent lower than the 2018 estimate of N7.17trn. While oil revenue projection was N3.73trn, non-oil revenue estimate was put at N1.39trn and this consists of N799.52bn from company

income tax; N229.34 billion from value added tax, and customs duties of N302.5bn. There is also expectation from recoveries of N203.38bn; N710bn to be earned from the restructuring of government equity in joint ventures, and other sundry incomes of N104.1bn, grants and donor funds of N209.92 billion. Government projected a decrease in budget deficit to N1.86 trillion or 1.3 per cent of the GDP in 2019 from N1.95trn projected for 2018. While the House of Represen-

tatives commenced debate on the budget in January which culminated in the bill passing through second reading, it took the Senate up to three months in March before subjecting it to debate and also passed the second reading stage. However, the two chambers, last week, passed the 2019-2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) which will from this fiscal year, form the basis for the preparation of the annual budget.


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When Will N’Assembly Pass 2019 Budget? Last Tuesday, the Senate approved the 2019-2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) of the Federal Government, six months after it was sent to it by President Muhammadu Buhari in November, 2018. The approval of the MTEF and FSP by the Senate was sequel to the presentation of the 18page report of the Committee on Finance by the Chairman, Senator John Enoh (Cross River Central), which considered the President’s request. While adopting N1.64 Trillion as the amount for New Borrowing to fund the budget deficit, the Senate however advised relevant government agencies “to continue exploring ways of generating additional revenues for government to bring down the fiscal deficit”. The MTEF/FSP, a three-year rolling expenditure plan, spells out the medium-term expenditure priorities and provides the basis for the preparation of the annual national budget. The Senate retained the oil output of 2.3 million barrel per day, oil price benchmark of $60 per barrel, an exchange rate of N305/$1, GDP Growth rate of 3.0percent and Inflation growth rate of 9.98percent. Other provisions of the MTEF and FSP approved by the Senate include the proposed expenditure of N8.83 trillion, FGN retained revenue of N7.92 trillion, fiscal deficit of N1.86 trillion, statutory transfers of N492.4 billion, debt service N2.14 trillion, Sinking Fund N120 billion, total recurrent (non-debt) N4.72trillion, personnel costs (MDAs) N2.29 trillion, capital expenditure N2.86 trillion, Special Intervention N500 billion, among others. Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives at plenary also approved the 2019-2021 MTEF/ FSP proposal of the federal government. The House passed the MTEF and FSP with the projections approved as presented by the executive. The lawmakers in the green chamber unanimously adopted the report presented by the Hon. Babangida Ibrahim-led joint House Committee on Finance, Appropriations; Aids, Loans and Debt Management; Legislative Budget and Research; and National Planning and Economic Development, which considered the MTEF. The lawmakers also approved the federal government proposed and debt service, N2.14tn expenditure; retained revenue N7.92tn; fiscal deficit N1.86tn; new borrowings N1.65tn; statutory transfers N492.4bn. Also approved was Sinking Fund of N120bn, total recurrent (nondebt) of N4.72trn, personnel costs (MDAs) of N2.29tn, capital expenditure of N2.86tn, and Special Intervention Fund of N500bn, among others. On crude oil production, the lawmakers were of the views that the target could achieved if efforts to curtail vandalism of oil facilities were sustained. They however urged that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) must be supported to evolve modalities to strengthen the naira and bridge the gap between the official and parallel

Saraki and Dogara

market rates. Relevant agencies were implored to come up with alternative ways of generating additional revenues for government so as to bring down fiscal deficit. Part of the committee report read: “Also, the Federal Government should harness the full optimal potential of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in terms of revenue generation to minimise the level of new borrowing. “The federal government should consider reducing the granting of waivers and exemptions, while ensuring that the Nigeria Customs Service personnel are at all oil terminals for accountability, and the Federal Inland Revenue Service should consider increasing tax on luxury goods and services. The House members, however, noted some important areas of concern. For instance, Hon. Betty Apiafi was not favourably disposed to how the federal government goes about the management of debts and deficits. She was particularly concerned that government already has plans for new borrowings in 2019, when the debt profile of the country cannot still be ascertained. She queried how loans were spent as regards how much is expected to go to capital projects and expressed disdain over alleged non-transparency in the payment of subsidy on petroleum products. Giving clarification on the issue of borrowing and application, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, pointed out that the Fiscal Responsibility Act only allowed borrowing for capital expenditure. But Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf maintained that every Nigerian, including the lawmakers, must

be abreast of how much were spent on capital expenditure in borrowed funds, because in his views, while debt profile has maintained a consistent progression, capital component of the country’s budget was always less than the recurrent expenditure. On his part, Hon. Ogene Egoh, was concerned about the fact that the exchange rate has remained stagnant over the years, but the committee Chairman, Hon. Ibrahim noted that the committee also noticed that. He assured Nigerians that the executive would be made to shed more light on the matter in the 9th assembly. Adding his voice to the debate, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, who said there was need to reduce waiver granting, said it was important to know the value of the waivers already granted and why it must be reduced. He faulted the federal government’s directive to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to introduce new taxes and raise some of the existing ones, this, according to him, “is like ceding the power on taxation to the service.” While the issue of the 2019 budget cropped up for debate on the floor of the Senate last week, it was not mentioned at the House. The Senate had on Tuesday directed its Appropriations Committee headed by Senator Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central) to submit the 2019 budget report by Thursday. Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, gave the directive after the submission of the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Sunny Ogbuoji (Ebonyi South), who disclosed that only 24 out of 61 sub-committees had submitted their reports as at last Tuesday.

Ogbuoji “We are still having some challenges with the subcommittees on Appropriation, because out of the 61 committees that we have, only about 24 committees have submitted their reports. And we are unable to go ahead and write the Appropriations report unless we get further directive from here. Our request would have been that we be allowed to now prepare this report even on behalf of the committees that have not submitted their reports”. Saraki thereafter insisted that the budget report must be presented last Thursday ahead of the April 16 deadline approval of the budget. But this was not to be as the budget report was not presented on Thursday, because it was not included in the order paper of the day. In fact as at last Thursday, some agencies of government were still defending their 2019 budget estimates before the various sub-committees. Trade and Investment ministry on that day appeared before the joint committee of the National Assembly to make further clarifications in its 2019 budget estimate. The April 16 deadline set for the passage of the budget by the Senate also appears unrealistic since the budget report is yet to be laid. As it is now, it is not certain if both the Senate and the House will pass the 2019 Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly goes on Easter vacation on Wednesday. It is however expected that the leadership of the two chambers would ensure that the budget is passed before the end of April so as to give the President enough time to study it before giving his assent in line with constitutional provisions.


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T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R Ëž APRIL 14, 2019

IMAGES

F

unso Fayomi, lawyer, pastor, educationist and a former top executive of the Nigerian Communications Commission last Sunday celebrated his wife Bola as she marked her 60th birthday with thanksgiving service at RCCG Aroma of Christ Parish, Apo, Abuja. Photographs by Julius Atoi L-R: Funso Fayomi and wife/celebrant, Bola

Pastor and Pastor (Mrs) Olusegun Rotimi Pastor (Mrs.) Modupe Adeyinka (l) and Pastor Kemi Oluyele

R-L: Gen. E Abejirin (rtd) and wife Mrs. E Abejirin.

L-R: Deconess (Mrs.) Modupe Ilayomade and Helen Ronke AlaďŹ atayo

L-R: Hon Justice U P Kekemeke and wife ,Roseline

L-R: Maj-Gen .Funso Owonibi and Hon T J Yusuf

L-R: Olorshundare Thomas and wife, Mrs O Thomas

L-R: Mr. Kelechi Nwakwo and wife, Uchechi


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T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾ APRIL 14, 2019

IMAGES

L-R: Prof. Mike Ikupolati; Justice Alaba Omolaye Ajideye and Barr Stella Peter-Inyang

Hon Karimi Sunday and wife, Stellamaris

Prof. Maxwell Gidado and wife, Dr. Rose

L-R: Yomi Awoniyi and Olushola Akanmode

L-R: Senator Effiong Bob and wife, Mrs. Effiong Bob

L-R: Mr. and Mrs. Adebola Raji

L-R: Aminu Musa; Aliyu Badaki and Blackson Olaseni Baiyewumi


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T H I S D AY, T H E S U N D AY N E W S PA P E R ˾APRIL 14, 2019

NEWSXTRA 15 Killed in Fresh Tiv, Jukun Conflict Wole Ayodele in Taraba At least, 15 persons were killed yesterday in a renewed crisis between Jukun and Tiv tribes in Wukari, Taraba State with many houses razed down in the affected communities. The Special Adviser to Taraba State Governor on Students Affairs, Mr. Samson Tor-musa confirmed the incident, claiming that no fewer than seven village were set ablaze with scores of residents displaced. The special adviser listed the affected communities to Tar-Orshi, Ikyaan Gbaki, Orlumun Nege, Tor-Musa, Ioryina and Kashuan Shanu villages as well as Chonku village. He appealed to the warring ethnic groups to sheathe their swords, asking elites and stakeholders from the area “to come together to

work for peace and peaceful coexistence.” Also, the Taraba State Police Command confirmed the attacks. However, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. David Misal told journalists that there was no casualties in the attacks. But residents, who fled the conflict zone yesterday, said the conflict affected some villages belonging to both tribes along Wukari Kwatan Sule, Chonku and border communities of Jootar and Vaase. They lamented that the renewed conflict would in no small measure undermine a peace accord brokered last week between the two warring ethnic groups A Jukun community leader, Mr. Bako Benjamin said despite the peace accord reached last week between the two warring communities, Tiv ethnic militias had attacked on Jukun communi-

ties. According to him, just this morning in the wee hours, they struck at Chonku firing sporadically and razed down houses. They attacked four of our communities in the last three days and as I am talking to you, corpses of 15 people killed by Tiv militias have been deposited in Wukari and we have compiled their names.

However, Orbee Uchiv, a Tiv spokesman, denied the claim of the Jukun leader, noting that the Tiv people “are under attacks from by Jukun ethnic militias in recent times. “A peace meeting at Jootar, a border town between Benue and Taraba States convened by one Rev Father Dankaro and other priests to sue for peace was truncated. ‘’Thursday morning,

Vaase, a border town was attacked by Jukuns. More than 12 people were killed. Probably on reprisal this morning, Chonku, a border Jukun settlement, was attacked. “As I am talking to you now, looting, arson and killing within and around villages of Tiv people is going on and hundreds of Tivs have fled to Benue state,’’ he said. With the renewed crisis,

the Chairman of Wukari Local Government Area, Mr. Daniel Adi and his Ukum counterpart in Benue State, Mr. Iber Logo accused each other of escalating the crisis after a peace accord was brokered last week. Adi, who confirmed the outbreak of crisis in the area, said many were feared killed and houses burnt in the last five days of fighting.

Reconsider Travelling to Nigeria, US Tells Citizens Gboyega Akinsanmi The United States Department of State has warned its citizens to reconsider travelling to Nigeria due to violent crime, which it claims, has become prevalent in different states of the federation. The department made the call in a travel advisory it released on its website on Tuesday, claiming that armed robbery, assault, carjacking, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, rape and piracy “are common throughout the country.” The advisory listed Nigeria among 35 countries with where the US nationals could be at risk of getting kidnapped or taken hostage. It, also, said the new indicator “is part of the US ongoing commitment to provide clear and comprehensive travel safety information to U.S. citizens so they can make informed travel decisions. “The Travel Advisories for 35 countries have been updated to include an indicator for the risk of kidnapping and/or hostage taking: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Central African Republic.” Other countries that are classified as high risk areas comprise Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iran,

Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russian Federation, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine (in Russiancontrolled eastern Ukraine), Venezuela, and Yemen.” As indicated in its advisory, the department classified Nigeria on level three, though placed Adamawa, Borno and Yobe on level four. The department said the security situation in the Northeast “is fluid and unpredictable, particularly in Borno and Yobe States and northern Adamawa State. “Terrorist groups based in the Northeast target churches, schools, mosques, government installations, educational institutions, and entertainment venues. Approximately two million of Nigerians have been displaced as a result of the violence in northeast Nigeria.” The 35 countries were placed in four levels of travel with respect to their safety and security risk. Aside, the department cited the cases of sporadic violence occuring between communities of farmers and herders in rural areas, claiming hundreds of lives each year.

END FUEL SUBSIDY...

Minister of Finance, Ms. Zainab Ahmed and Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms. Christine Lagarde during a session at the ongoing IMF/World Bank meeting held in Washington DC...yesterday

NLC Warns against Removal of Fuel Subsidy CISLAC boss suggests fixing refineries to block wastages Funke Olaode fromWashington DC, Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Chineme OkaforinAbuja The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has cautioned the federal government against heeding the advice of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to remove subsidy on petroleum products, because the move would result in astronomical increase in the pump price of petroleum and cost of other goods and services. Instead, the President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, who spoke during the inauguration of the local organising committee for 6th African meeting of solidarity with Cuba in Abuja, said the federal government should do something urgently to revamp the local refineries which are

presently in camotose due to high level conspiracies. But the Nigerian Association of Energy Economists (NAEE), was rather in support of the recent call on Nigeria by IMF to end subsidy on petrol, saying it was beneficial only to elites in the country. Also, the Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, a not-for-profit organization based in Abuja, Mr. Auwal Musa Rafsanjani has called on the Nigeria government to yield to IMF’s call on the need to end subsidy by fixing the refineries and by extension prevent avoidable wastages that have continued to stymie the nation’s economy. But the NLC, which disagreed with the IMF maintained that

among the agenda usually set for any president that emerges in the country are the devaluation of currency, removal of subsidy, and opening of the country’s borders to free trade. Wabba said the meaning of fuel subsidy in the understanding of the NLC is nothing but funding inefficiency in the downstream sector. According to him, the solution to the problem of subsidy is local refining of products, which will drive down cost of products and end the corruption associated with the present subsidy regime. “In Nigeria, the removal of subsidy is synonymous with price increase and all of us know that the system is shrouded in corruption. So, clearly that recommendations is not only faulty,

it is wrong. NLC consistently said that what needs to be done is to refine products for domestic use. “So, naturally, you will kill subsidy and corruption. And do what IMF is prescribing is to transfer the corrupt tendencies of the so-called subsidy now to the citizens. The fact of the matter is that Nigerians are so impoverished that any price increase certainly cannot be pushed down the throat of every Nigerian and so let’s tell our government that they should be wary of this decision,” he said. Speaking further, he claimed that, “The issue of whether there is indeed fuel subsidy as President Muhammadu Buhari had queried some years back, that question has not been answered.

Buhari Advocates Regional Cooperation to Counter Infiltration of Small Arms

Airstrikes Force Bandits to Relocate to Other Zamfara Communities

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

Segun James

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday arrived N’Djamena, the Chadian capital, where he sought wider cooperation among countries of Sahel and Saharan regions to counter the infiltration of small arms to Nigeria. The president who said the small arms were flowing into the hands of militia forces, bandits and insurgents who have become threats to human rights and internal security, made the remarks while participating in the oneday Extraordinary Session of

the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, CEN-SAD. A statement by presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said the president attended the conference alongside his host and current Chairperson of CEN-SAD, Idriss Deby Itno, and their counterparts from Niger and Togo, with high-level representations from other member-countries. According to the statement, Nigeria under Buhari has worked closely with immediate neighbours in the last few

years to stem the widespread availability of small arms and light weapons making their way into Nigeria. He added that the very disturbing recent developments had impelled the administration to seek support from a wider circle of countries if the illegal inflows are to be curtailed. The statement added that the president “is also putting on the table for discussions, the problems of irregular migration, trafficking in persons, especially of women and children as part of the security nature of his engagements.

Suspected armed bandits are currently walking freely with arms in some communities in Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State after military began airstrikes, Premium Times has reported. According to the online news outlet, residents say since the armed bandits fled the ongoing military airstrikes in several of their hideouts in the bush, they have been forced to accommodate them in their communities out of fear. “As I am speaking to you now, in Jaja, Rukudawa and

Tsanu communities all in Zurmi Local Government Area, armed bandits are being sighted with guns walking around unchecked because they are no longer safe in the bush.” They probably return to the bush at night or sleep in the town, out of fear, residents said. One of the residents said the bandits “are patronising local shops, clutching sophisticated weapons, buying maltina, peak milk and meat. They move freely. Nobody has the courage to look at them twice.

“They have informants in the town. They stay with them or move to close-by communities and pass the night,” said a resident who requested not to be named. The resident said the military airstrikes in Dumburum community in Zurmi hit the armed bandits and forced them to flee. According to him, airstrikes alone cannot help because in Zurmi local government area, there is a dearth of ground soldiers which makes it easy for the armed bandits to infiltrate civilians unchallenged.


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SUNDAYSPORTS

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

Chelsea Looking To Halt Liverpool Title Charge

iverpool will be hoping history doesn’t repeat itself when Chelsea visit Anfield in today’s big Premier League clash. The Reds famously fell to a 2-0 defeat at home to the same opposition when last challenging for the league back in 2014, a result that ultimately saw them miss out on the title to Manchester City. However, there are two different managers in the dugouts and probably 20 different players in the starting lineups (Mohamed Salah is one of only two survivors and was in the Chelsea ranks that day). More relevant is Liverpool’s failure to beat Chelsea in the last eight encounters at Anfield and their opponents’ problems on the road, with Maurizio Sarri’s side losing four of their last six away league games. Liverpool haven’t won any of their last six Premier League games at Anfield against Chelsea (D4 L2); the Reds have never endured a longer winless home run against an opponent in the competition. Chelsea have only lost twice in their last 16 meetings with Liverpool in all competitions (W6 D8), though both of those defeats came at Stamford Bridge. The Blues’ last defeat at Anfield came back in May 2012 in the Premier League (1-4). The Blues have already won away at Liverpool this season, beating them 2-1 in the Carabao Cup. However, Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 37 Premier League games at Anfield - only once in their top-flight history have they had a longer unbeaten home run (63 between Feb 1978-Dec 1980). Chelsea have won three Premier League games in a row for the first time since September 2018, when they won their first five matches in the competition under Maurizio Sarri. However, the Blues have lost their last five Premier League away games against fellow ‘big six’ opponents, including all three this season by an aggregate score of 1-11. Interestingly, they have won three of their last four away league games against sides starting the day top, including that 2-0 victory at Anfield

Eden Hazard is in fine form and has scored crucial goals for Chelsea against Liverpool this season in April 2014. Looking at the players that will step out in today’s game, Andrew Robertson will return to the Liverpool side having been suspended for the midweek Champions League win over Porto. That means James Milner, the Scotland captain’s stand-in last Tuesday, is available for a midfield role - giving manager Jurgen Klopp a selection dilemma

as Naby Keita and Jordan Henderson have both performed well in the last two matches. Fellow midfielder Adam Lallana is expected to return to the squad after missing the last two games with a muscle injury. Chelsea will recall Eden Hazard for the trip to Anfield after he was only used as a substitute against Slavia Prague. Hazard has had a hand in more

goals than any other Premier League player this season (28 - 16 goals and 12 assists). The only league season in which the Belgian has been involved in more goals was in 2011/12 with Ligue 1 club Lille (36). Callum Hudson-Odoi was left out of the squad but may also be drafted back into the fold while Emerson Palmieri will undergo a fitness test.

Man City Visit Crystal Palace for Valuable Points Manchester City can move back above Liverpool in the title race with a win over Crystal Palace today. On paper, this is no contest. Crystal Palace have already lost eight home games this season, and scored only 13 times in 16 matches, and are now without both first-choice centre-halves. Palace have won just 41% of their Premier League points in home games this season (16/39), the lowest such ratio in the division Manchester City will spy it as an opportunity. Yet Roy Hodgson’s side were one of two clubs to stop City scoring in the league last season, missing a last minute penalty which might have won this fixture, and remain the only team to claim points from the Etihad Stadium this term. Crystal Palace are looking to complete the top-flight double over Manchester City for the first time since the 1972-73 campaign. Indeed, the last non-big six

side to beat the Citizens twice in the same Premier League season were Everton back in 2010-11 Manchester City have won their last eight Premier League games, keeping a clean sheet in six of the last seven. City boss Pep Guardiola has won 23 of his 27 Premier League matches against English managers (D3 L1), with his only such defeat to date coming against Roy Hodgson and Crystal Palace in the reverse fixture earlier this season. City will check on left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko and playmaker Bernardo Silva. The pair missed the Champions League defeat at Tottenham on Tuesday with hamstring and thigh injuries respectively. Benjamin Mendy, who is being eased back into action after knee trouble, could come back into contention while Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane might start after late substitute roles at Spurs.

Lucas Moura scored a hat trick for Spurs yesterday

Pogba Penalties Save United, Tottenham up to Third African Tour: Torgah Surges to FCT Classic Victory Manchester United needed two Paul Pogba penalties to stay in contention for a top-four Premier League finish by beating West Ham 2-1, while Tottenham moved up to third thanks to Lucas Moura’s hat-trick in a 4-0 win over Huddersfield yesterday. United had lost four of their previous five games in all competitions and were extremely fortunate to get back to winning ways as West Ham had a goal ruled out for offside, hit the crossbar and saw David de Gea make a wonder save to deny Michail Antonio giving them a late lead. However, a much-needed win moved Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men up to fifth, at the expense of Arsenal, and to within two points of Chelsea in fourth. United were gifted a first-half lead when Robert Snodgrass’s clumsy challenge brought down Juan Mata and Pogba sent his first spot-kick down the middle of the goal. West Ham were deservedly level four minutes into the second half when Felipe Anderson turned home at the back post, and the visitors went on

to enjoy the better of the chances. Antonio crashed a shot from range off the bar before De Gea produced a stunning save to claw the West Ham forward’s header to safety. Within seconds of being saved by their captain, United had a second penalty 10 minutes from time when Ryan Fredericks chopped down Anthony Martial, and this time Pogba buried his penalty into the bottom corner. Tottenham had no such strife despite missing Harry Kane, who is expected to miss the rest of the season due to ankle ligament damage. Dele Alli was also sidelined by a broken hand, while Mauricio Pochettino took the chance to rest some other key personnel, including Son Heung-min, ahead of the second leg of his side’s Champions League quarterfinal against Manchester City, with Tottenham holding a 1-0 lead in the tie. Lucas took his chance to shine against the already relegated Terriers to show Pochettino he could be an important weapon in Kane’s absence as Spurs look to tie down a top-four finish.

From Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

Vincent Torgah over the weekend maintained his commanding domination of the African Tour following a seven-stroke victory at the FCT Classic. Torgah played a final round of one over par 73 to win at the IBB International Golf and Country Club, Abuja. The Ghanaian left no one in doubt with his overall 10 under par 278 tally that left Gift Willy in second place seven shots off the pace. Torgha has been a massive influence on the African Tour this season after winning all three tournaments on the roster since the season He has already secured victories at Eko Challenge Cup in Lakowe Lakes, Lagos and the Memorare over Arsenal Golf Club, Owerri, Imo State. Willy finished the tournament at three under par 285, three strokes over Mohammed Liman and Sunday Olapade, who tied for third at even par 288. Olapade, who has been searching for a victory on the tour since he won the Tour Championship

in Abuja in December last year, shared the spotlight with Liman, as the only players to finish their rounds under par. Ageless Emos Korblah, who headed into the final round with a share of the third, ended in fifth after carding one over par 291 for the tournament. The next tournament on the African Tour is the Port Harcourt Classic and it is billed for Port Harcourt Golf Club from May 15-18.

RESULTS & FIXTURES

Tottenham

4–0

Huddersfield

Brighton

0–5

Bournemouth

Burnley

2–0

Cardiff

Fulham

2–0

Everton

Southampton

3–1

Wolves

Man United

2–1

West Ham

Crystal Palace

v

Man City 2:05pm

Liverpool

v

Chelsea

4:30pm


Sunday April 14, 2019

TR

UT H

& RE A S O

N

Price: N400

MISSILE

Atiku to APC

“Those who have made Nigeria the world headquarters for extreme poverty are the very people whose Nigerianness should be in doubt, and not a man, who worked with President Olusegun Obasanjo to double the per capita Income of our nation in less than eight years.” – Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar’s reaction to APC’s claim that he is not a Nigerian.

SIMONKOLAWOLE SIMONKOLAWOLELIVE!

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

NigeriaandtheHegemonyofIdeology

W

e marked the World Water Day on March 22 with a damning statistic: over 60 million Nigerians do not have access to safe drinking water. In simpler English, they get their water from unhealthy sources, such as streams and ponds. I will deliberately leave out the stinking statistics on the 47 million still practising open defecation and the 120 million lacking decent toilets to answer the call of nature. When 60 million people drink unsafe water, the consequences for their health are obvious. That is why we keep experiencing regular outbreaks of diarrhoeal diseases, notably cholera. Guinea worm disease, typhoid and dysentery are products of drinking unsafe water. This is to say nothing about the social costs: children having to trek miles every morning, loading heavy buckets on their heads, to fetch water for their parents. Some do the round twice or thrice before going to school. They get to school tired and disoriented — and we then begin to teach them chemistry and mathematics. This is wickedness. The next headline would be that 80 per cent of candidates in rural areas failed their WAEC/NECO papers. We cannot establish a link between water and education. Most grievously, we cannot establish a link between the well-being of a child and the development of Nigeria. We just think Nigeria is backward by some coincidence. Days after the World Water Day, the Federal Executive Council, FEC for short, met and approved the building of an office for N35 billion, including N1.4 billion allocated to design. Yes, it is an office, not a factory. It is a 12-storey building for the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). For sure, the funds will be released and the project will be completed within time. Don’t get me wrong: I am not suggesting anything untoward in the contract. Dr Ibe Kachikwu, the minister of state for petroleum, even said that this was the lowest cost. I am just trying to suggest that because the office is very important to the Nigerian elite and, automatically, the government, it will become priority. Let’s go back to water. I’ll tell you a story. I have told this story many times because it fascinates and saddens me. It also tells me how rigged the system is against ordinary Nigerians. There is a place called Birnin Ruwa in Zamfara state. Every year, they used to experience cholera deaths. The villagers would bathe, wash and drink from the same stream. At a particular time in the year, cholera would come calling. Then one politician, who was running for office, came and sank a borehole for them. According to my late friend, Mallam Imam Imam, who used to report for THISDAY from Zamfara, that borehole ended cholera in that village forever and ever. Life could be that simple! In other news, shortly after the World Water Day and the approval of N1.4bn for the design of DPR’s “ultramodern office”, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) issued a statement demanding that the next senate president or speaker must be a Christian. That was front-page news. The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), the counterforce to CAN, swiftly scolded CAN. That was another front-page news. You would notice that neither CAN nor NSCIA said anything about unsafe water or DPR’s N35 billion office. Even if they mistakenly do so, it wouldn’t make the front page. That is how rigged the socio-political order is in our dearly beloved country! I am not a Marxist but I am deeply intrigued by the thoughts that shape, or seek to explain, the socio-political and economic philosophy. Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Marxist philosopher and communist politician who died at 46 in 1937, propounded the theory of “cultural hegemony” in

Kachikwu trying to explain the societal order in a capitalist society. He said the state and ruling capitalist class — called the ‘bourgeoisie’ — use cultural institutions to maintain power. They develop a “hegemonic culture” using ideology to propagate their own values and norms. These become the “common sense” values of all. The status quo is thus entrenched and maintained. Let’s come back to Nigeria. If you are very attentive, you would notice that the powerful socio-political groups and mighty opinion leaders in the country hardly raise issues about infant mortality, maternal mortality, access to clean water, sanitation, quality education and other indices that affect the wellbeing of at least 160 million ordinary Nigerians. Google Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Arewa Consultative Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum, NSCIA, CAN, and Pan-Niger Delta Forum over issues such as “potable water” and “infant mortality” and you will hit a dead end. Those institutions exist to control our thoughts in a different direction. Let’s go back to Gramsci. He talked about the ‘bourgeoisie’ maintaining hegemonic values and norms to keep their hold on power; I would replace the ‘bourgeoisie’ with the ‘Nigerian elite’. The average member of the Nigerian elite class sends his children to schools abroad, has borehole in his house, is well protected by the police, flies to US or UK for medicals and has a generator to bridge the power gap. The children are guaranteed jobs at CBN, NNPC and the banks. It is just a phone call away. The governor, the minister, the DG and the MD are his friends. He himself could be the governor, the commissioner, the minister, the DG or the MD. It is their country, basically. To maintain this societal order, they have their own ‘institutions’ that control our thoughts and shape public discourse. In their corner, they have a legion of professors, journalists, activists and elder statesmen who direct public discourse in a way that not only maintains the status quo but also diverts our attention from critical issues that matter to the ordinary Nigerians. They are so powerful and they always succeed in reproducing themselves among the ordinary Nigerians. Go on the social media. The patterns of debates are clearly influenced by this hegemonic ideology built on ethno-religious and regional sentiments, unconnected to the urgent existential needs of Nigerians. Up north, the institutions and their intellectual branches focus more on how the region can retain political power and maintain a hold on decision-making in the country by controlling the bulk of ministries, departments and agencies via

appointments and policies. They hardly devote their energies to combating the poverty that has rendered the region one of the most backward on the continent. Unfortunately, because the ordinary northerners have been brainwashed through the instruments of religion and politics to think that this current order serves them well, they are not interested in questioning how, or if, the status quo has made their lives better. Northerners have ruled Nigeria for approximately 42 out of 58 years since independence. Are ordinary northerners the better for it? The answer is no. The system is completely rigged against them. The elite send their children to Western schools and persuade the talakawa to limit their children to Quranic education so that they will not be Westernised. And the people believe them. The north-east and north-west lead the way in infant mortality, water-borne diseases and illiteracy but the thought leaders make them believe that perpetually keeping northerners in political power is in their best interest. That is how hegemonic ideology works — through “common sense” values. Down south, the hot topics developed for public engagement are ‘restructuring’, ‘resource control’, ‘fiscal federalism’ and ‘true federalism’ — while most of the state-owned schools and hospitals are an eyesore despite huge budgetary allocations. How many southern governors and commissioners can allow their children attend public schools? How many can allow their pregnant wives give birth at public hospitals? Yet, the thought controllers would rather talk about state police than question the mismanagement of resources by their governors. They perpetually paint northerners as the enemies of their progress, as if all the oil revenue goes to the north! I recently saw the federation allocation figures for February 2019. Akwa Ibom got N17.2 billion, Bayelsa N13.2 billion, Delta N17.4 billion, Lagos N9.1 billion and Rivers N14.7 billion. By contrast, Sokoto got N4.05 billion, Taraba N3.6 billion, Yobe N4.07 billion and Zamfara N2.9 billion. You will hardly hear any of these southern hegemonic institutions and their intellectual agents question what Delta does with its N17.4 billion, or ask why Lagos, with its enormous internal revenue, has a debt overhang of N500 billion. Rather, the attention of the “elders” will be on the N4 billion collected by Yobe and how the north is “dragging” Nigeria backwards! That is how hegemonic ideology works. They spend all their time attacking Lord Lugard, conveniently ignoring the poverty being brought upon the people through the mindless mismanagement happening in their backyards, right under their nose. I was involved an argument with a professor a week ago. He said Nigerians do not have common aspirations and should, therefore, not be one country. I disagreed with him. I have been to most states of the federation. I always ask the ordinary people — taxi drivers, traders, artisans, Muslims, Christians, northerners, southerners — their desires. They list education, healthcare, roads, water, power and jobs. They want a peaceful and prosperous country. What else is aspiration? Are we in a hopeless situation? I would not say so. We need a new class of thought leaders in the media, academia, civil society and polity to focus public discourse on the things that matter the most. We should stop heaping all Nigeria’s woes on Lord Lugard. Why can’t we also spend some of our energies on demanding for water, education, healthcare, power and security — which most Nigerians apparently agree on? Inevitably, the rich and the poor will benefit. National productivity will increase. This will ensure social stability. The elite class needs to be far-sighted enough to connect its own interests with those of the ordinary people. We need a new hegemony.

And Four Other Things… CHIBOK SHAME The abduction of 276 Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram five years ago said a lot about the Nigerian state and why we are where we are. One, the army lied that all the girls had been rescued a day after the kidnap. It turned out only 57 of them escaped — not that they were even rescued. Two, the government of President Jonathan treated it as a conspiracy hatched by the opposition party, APC, and reacted slowly. Three, the APC disgracefully politicised the tragedy to gain power. Most significantly, it became very clear to all that this country cannot really protect its citizens. We budget billions of dollars for “security” every year but insecurity still envelops up. Shame. ZAMFARA ZEALOTS It is appalling that when a strong character like Ms Kadaria Ahmed rises up to fight for the peace and progress of her community, she gets blackmail and chauvinism in return. A bitter desperado has even accused her of converting to Christianity — just to endanger her life. She’s tougher than her traducers, though. She has succeeded in drawing global attention to Zamfara state, which bandits have been governing comfortably for years. The activities of the illegal miners (similar to the oil theft in the Niger Delta) have led to turf wars between armed gangs, just like in the Congo. I hope Zamfara shall soon be free. Kudos to Kadaria for her courage! Heroine. OND REMEMBERED Four years ago, on April 9, 2015 to be precise, Nigeria lost a committed nationalist. Oronto Natei Douglas (OND), known more for his activism in the Niger Delta than his role as special adviser to President Jonathan, was a thorn in the flesh of the oil companies whose unethical practices in the Niger Delta had gone unchallenged for decades. I first met Oronto in 1996. I was fascinated by his candour and simplicity, and our relationship became more like family than friends. His community of friends cut across the country. He kept telling me we needed to build a “strong Nigeria”, even though we sometimes disagreed on the methods. He truly, truly loved Nigeria. Patriot. AND FINALLY… Anambra lawmakers, trying to cry more than the bereaved, have come up with an innovation that may change life and death forever: a bill to — promise me you won’t die from laughing — curtail funeral expenses! The law will also regulate weeping: you can now only mourn for one day instead of four. Would there now be a commissioner for burial affairs? What will be the punishment for spending and crying too much? I hope it is not a death sentence, because it would further raise burial budgets. If I may still make an input, I would suggest a clause in the law to ban serving jollof rice and goat meat at funerals. It will reduce attendance and further curtail expenses. DOA.

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SUNDAY 14TH APRIL 2019  

SUNDAY 14TH APRIL 2019  

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