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2 killed in fresh herdsman attack in Benue BY PETER DURU, Makurdi
he conflict between native Tiv farmers and Fulani herdsmen in parts of Benue State reared its head again when two persons were reportedly killed by the Fulani herdsmen at Uvir community during a fishing festival at Ake Lake in Guma local government area. Chairman of the local government, Hon. Frank Adi, who disclosed this yesterday while briefing newsmen on the occasion of his 100 days in office, lamented that the recurrent invasion of communities in the area by herdsmen was taking its toll on the socio-economic life of his people. Adi disclosed
that one of the victims of the attack was a visitor from a neighboring local government area who came to savour the fishing festival but met his untimely death. According to him, “In my first 100 days, we have embarked on several development projects across the council area, including the construction of a police station at Agasha, roads, refurbishing and rehabilitation of our offices and the improvement in staff welfare and security. ” It is pertinent to note that the essence of embarking on these development projects is to better the living condition of our people but they cannot enjoy these benefits in an atmosphere of skirmishes and crisis.
”That is why I eagerly call on the state and federal governments to create grazing settlements and routes for these herdsmen in order to stem the bloodbath and senseless killings of our farming populace”. The chairman disclosed that four persons had been arrested in connection with the crisis, adding that security operatives had also been drafted to the troubled community to check further breakdown of law and order. When contacted, the Benue State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Deputy Suprintendent of Police, DSP, Daniel Ezeala, said he was yet to be briefed on the fresh killings.
•From left:: The Special Adviser on Health to the Governor of Lagos State, Dr Yewande Adeshina (left), Administrator, Renal Dialysis Centre, Miss Olutope Aina and the Critical Care and Transplant Nephrologist, Dr Shamik Shak during a facility visit for the one month free screening, discount for renal and kidney related ailments.
Police quiz ex-Gov Yerima over “inciting” comment BY LUKA BINNIYAT
ADUNA State P o l i c e Commissioner (CP), Mr Olufemi Adanaike, yesterday, subjected Senator Ahmed Rufai Sani, former governor of Zamfara State, to almost three-hour questioning over a comment he made during a live programme on Federal Radio Corporation (FRCN) in which he said that should the newly formed All Progressive Congress (APC) was not registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), leaders of APC would stage peaceful demonstration similar to that organised in Cairo’s Tahir Square, Egypt. Yerima was escorted to the commissioner’s office by four vehicles of Operation Yaki around 1:10pm and left after writing a statement around 4pm. Kaduna police boss later
e x p r e s s e d disappointment with journalists’ interest on the issue, saying the incident was blown out of proportion. Said Adenaike:”Let me start by saying that I am seriously disappointed at journalists, in the sense that you are blowing nothing out of proportion “If you put yourself in my shoes - you are the commissioner of police of a state, and you start getting calls from
concerned citizens of the state that somebody has made an inciting statement on the radio, will you go to burukutu (local brew) joint and start drinking? You have to make a move. “All I did was to go to the radio house. And I met the distinguished senator and I said, ‘Please, I want to know what you said’. He said, ‘ no problem, let me finish’. And I will come with you to your office.
or the second Saturday running, more residents of Lagos State have continued to enjoy the services provided by four pilot agencies of the state government even as the residents expressed appreciation to the state government for the novel initiative. The governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola
Why we should celebrate past leaders, by Bishop Osa-Oni BY ADEOLA ADENUGA
ishop John Osa-Oni of Vineyard Christian Ministries, Lagos
We use traditional rulers, others to fight smuggling —Customs Comptroller BY DAUD OLATUNJI, Abeokuta
gun State Area Comptroller, Nigeria Customs Service, Ade Dosumu, says traditional rulers in the border areas of the state have been involved in the fight against smuggling. The Comptroller also
disclosed that youths in the volatile areas of the state have been recruited as informants to curb the problem of smuggling. Addressing a press conference at Idiroko in Ipokia, Ipokia local government area of Ogun State, Dosunmu disclosed that due to the collaboration between the command
Lagos agencies open on Saturdays BY BILESANMI OLALEKAN
•From left: Mrs Yetunde Arebi; Dr Lady Gloria Chuwa-Ibe; Mrs Funmi Ajumobi and Mrs Ndidi Aimienwau, during Vanguard/CBAAC Conference on International Women’s Day.
(SAN), in the course of giving his stewardship account on the occasion of his 2,100 days in office, recently, promised that in order to deepen service and allow people who ordinarily could not access government services during the week, some selected agencies of government would start operating on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm except on the last Saturday of
the month which is dedicated to environmental clean up. Speaking with newsmen at the Vehicle Inspection Service office at Ojodu where he had come to collect the new number plate for his wife’s vehicle, Mr Oyewole Olorode said he was impressed with the development which will allow his wife take her new vehicle to church today.
and the community, it recorded a total of N568.4 million in January as against N381.8 million recorded in the same period in 2012. He however advised smugglers to invest their energy and money in legitimate businesses, adding that the Customs had facilitated the operation of free trade zones which, according to him, is capable of producing over 5,000 jobs.
wants Nigerians to celebrate their former leaders who left good legacies for the coming generations to emulate. Osa-Oni spoke ahead of the silver jubilee anniversary of his ministry scheduled for between April 3 and 7. He cited the cases of second republic President Shagari and former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon. “Recently, we celebrated Shagari at 88. Most politicians made money during his time but he didn’t. He lived a transparent life. I believe good names are better than gold. He left a good name. That is why he is still being celebrated”, the bishop said. “Gowon has done his best. That is why he is being celebrated.
One of the things that touched me about the life of Gowon, you call him his excellency and he will say, ‘No, that is for the sitting president, I am a former Head of State’. “He is one person that is doing prayer meetings to move the nation forward. In Africa, we celebrate the dead. I pray God to change things.” Speaking on the events lined for the silver jubilee of Vineyard Ministries, he said the anniversary would be flagged off on April 3 by Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi. “The anniversary continues on April 4 and 5 but April 6 is the grand finale where I would be elevated as archbishop and bishops installed.”
Rain alert in Oyo
BY OLA AJAYI, Ibadan
ollowing the pre diction by the Nigerian Meterological Agency (NIMET) that rainfall might, this year, be above normal in Oyo State, Governor Abiola Ajimobi has alerted all relevant agencies including the State Emergency
Management Agency (SEMA) to be on guard. The governor said this, yesterday, through his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo. He said past efforts made by his government notwithstanding, a massive awareness campaign on radio and television that will educate
all residents on the need to avoid dumping refuse that could block drainages should be put in place. Ajimobi also said that he had begun the circulation of information to residents on the need for them to remain wherever they are whenever there is heavy downpour.
SUNDAY VANGUARD, MARCH 10, 2013 — PAGE 5
Boko Haram: Plot to shoot down Jonathan’s plane foiled Continued from page 1 Islamist group, Boko Haram. The alleged recovery of three anti-aircraft guns, two technical vehicles mounted with antiaircraft stands and 10 rocket propelled grenades, in a cache of arms, in Maiduguri, on Friday, lent credence to the claim of the plot to attack the president’s plane. Besides the anti-aircraft guns and rocket propelled grenades, the massive arms the Joint Task Force (JTF)recovered in Maiduguri, on the day the president left the state capital after the visit, include 17 AK rifles, general purpose machine guns, three G3 rifles, 20 RPG bombs, 12 RPG chargers, 1 x 36 ,hand held grenades, one tear gas rifle, 33 AK 47 magazines, 11 FN magazines, three G 3 magazines and 11,068 assorted ammunitions. The twist to the story, however, is the claim by some security sources that the Islamist group had hoped that the entire security apparatus in Borno would be diverted for the president’s visit, to enable it deploy the massive arms to also attack the facilities where its members are being held in the state with a view to setting them free. Whatever may have been the Islamist group’s plan, security agencies alleged that close monitoring foiled it. Spokesman for the JTF in Borno State, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, in a statement emailed to journalists, yesterday, hinted that intelligence by informants led to the foiling of the insurgents alleged plan. The statement listed the cache of arms recovered during the Friday operation while saying it was one of the JTF’s operations to combat insurgents in the last ten days. The statement reads: “Based on information and intelligence report, series of operations were conducted by the Joint Task Force Operation RESTORE ORDER in the last ten days in Borno State. The latest was the one conducted at Bulabulin, Bayern Quarters and Jajeri in Maiduguri metropolis between 3 – 8 pm yesterday Friday, 8 February,
2013. During these operations under the period stated, there were exchange of fire that led to the death of 52 Boko Haram members including ten commanders of the sect. 70 terrorists were also arrested. In the period under review, the JTF lost two men, three were wounded and no civilian casualty was recorded. The under listed weapons, ammunition, uniforms and other items were recovered in yesterday ’s (Friday) operation: 3 anti aircraft guns; 10 rocket propelled grenade tubes; 3 general purpose machine guns; 17 AK47 rifles; 3 G3 rifles; 1 pistol (lama); 20 RPG bombs; 12 RPG chargers; 1x 36 hand held grenade; 1 teargas rifle; 3 3 AK 47 magazines; 11 FN magazines; 3 G3 magazines; 11,068 assorted ammunitions; 2 technical vehicles with mounted anti aircraft stands; 1 box of weapons cleaning kit; 4 swords and two knifes; 5 walking talkies; 4 VHF hand held sets; 1 multi links router; and assorted uniforms and kits. “The task force wishes to thank members of the public particularly our moles in the Boko Haram’s camp for giving us the information that assisted in the successes so far recorded. Thus, members of the public are reminded to
continue to give credible and timely information to security agencies to combat insecurity.” Sunday Vanguard learnt, yesterday, that security agencies have launched investigations into how the weaponry which, in size, quality and quantity, were capable
of waging a full scale war either against air or land opposition and with which targets kilometers away could be successfully taken out, were assembled. “The fact that assorted uniforms of security agencies, especially those serving in the
Joint Task Force were recovered in the Friday operation, is fueling the intelligence that there was indeed a plan by the group and their sponsors to breach the security of the president”, a source added.
From right: Former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Chibudom Nwuche, Chairman, House Committee on Niger Delta, Hon. Warman Ogoriba, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Hon. Kingsley Kuku, Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Senator James Manager and representative of the Nigerian Ambassador to the United States at the All Nigerian Nationals in the Diaspora (ANNID) Town Hall Meeting on "Amnesty and Peace in the Niger Delta: Human Capacity Building for Nigeria's Development" in Houston, Texas.
I’ll not let Nigerians down – Jonathan BY JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU, CALEB AYANSINA & ALICE FESTUS
RESEDENT Goodluck Jonathan says he is comitted to the wellbeing of Nigerians by ensuring that “our stewardship” translates into great strides for the country at the end of his tenure. Jonathan stated this in a
goodwill message to the public presentation of fifteen books by a legal practitioner, Mr. Job Dangana in Abuja. Represented by his Special Adviser, Special Duties, Mrs Sarah Pane, the president said, “I wish to use this opportunity once more to reiterate my pledge to Nigerians that I have a deep commitment to improving your lot and I will never let you down. “We have continued to make steady progress in all sectors. I am confident that by the end of our tenure, we will have every cause to be satisfied that our stewardship has translated into great strides for Nigeria.” However, the President noted that every Nigerian had role to play, if the much desired change that people are yearning for is to come. “We all have a part to play, if every Nigerian is committed, definitely a change will come. The transformation agenda of Mr President is not a ‘seat-down look’ thing,” he added. Jonathan who decried poor reading culture of most Nigerians, insisting that some beliefs that “if you want to hide anything from a Nigerian, then put it into a book” must change. In his remarks, the governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu
Wamako, who commended the idea of the author, noted that the decadence in the society nowadays was as a result of little or no respect for the societal values. The governor, represented by his Commissioner for
Information, Danladi Bako, was of the opinion that 80% of criminal tendency in Nigeria was because people do not give ethics its value, urging every Nigerian to imbibe a good reading habit to broaden their knowledge base.
Sultan under fire over Islamists amnesty call BY SAM EYOBOKA
HE Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, may have made the call in good faith. But he is literally under attack for making it. Some Christian leaders rose up in arms against the leader of the Muslim community in Nigeria, at the weekend, for his call for amnesty for members of the Islamist group, Boko Haram, terrorising some northern states. Catholic Church said it was amazing that a man in an exalted office as the Sultan’s could make such a call. Niger Delta Christian Leaders Forum (NDCLF) said it was improper to call for amnesty for “terrorists”. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 northern states took sides with President Goodluck Jonathan who rejected Abubakar’s call.
The Sultan made the call for amnesty for the Boko Haram members at a meeting of Ja’amatu Nasril Islam (JNI) in Kaduna on Thursday. It was his solution to the insurgency in the North. But President Goodluck Jonathan, in a riposte, said the proposal was impossible as there were no clear leaders of the group to discuss amnesty with. Spokesman for CAN in the 19 northern states, Elder Sunday Oibe, told Sunday Vanguard, yesterday, that the position of Christians on the Sultan’s call for amnesty was clear, adding that the body would rather address the call for the removal of JTF from the North East. According to him, the Borno elders are failed politicians “seeking relevance through an amnesty agenda which is why
Continues on page 6
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Sultan under fire over Islamists amnesty call Continued from page 5 they are clamouring for funds to rehabilitate t h e m s e l v e s ” . Oibe continued: “They are not realistic. We know that the Shehu of Borno is not associated with such calls. He is a gentlemen who will do anything to ensure peace in his domain, but those politicians who have been parading themselves as elders of Borno will stop at nothing to make themselves relevant”. PFN Chairman for Borno
State, Pastor Har una Maidoki, who also spoke to Sunday Vanguard, yesterday, lamented that because of the security situation in the North East, most residents were denied the opportunity of welcoming Jonathan when he visited the region last week. He backed the president on his opposition to the call by the Sultan for amnesty for Boko Haram insurgents. ”We are very happy that
the president demonstrated the needed political will and spoke to them the way he did,” Maidoki said, adding that the Christian community in that axis was now reassured that it is part of the nation called Nigeria. He said the people calling for amnesty for Boko Haram members or the removal of JTF could not be said to be realistic because none of them made mention of the plight of the Christians who had
been the victims of the violent clashes in the region. ”They have not spoken one word about the plight of the Christians killed and their churches that were burnt or vandalised”, he stated, adding that they were not realistic and should ignored totally. NDCLF listed several points why Jonathan must ignore the Boko Haram amnesty call. According to the Secretary Genereal of the group, Bishop Eddy Bebor,
it is a well known fact that the insecurity situation in the country is targeted at the Jonathan administration. ”You can tell when and how Boko Haram started to unleash terror in Nigeria, you can still remember statements of high profile personalities in the northern part of Nigeria and you can also see the reaction of leaders from northern Nigeria to the security challenges that have bedeviled us as a country, they actually want to frustrate the government of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and that is what they are doing so that the president will not concentrate. ”What a shame today that there is a call for amnesty for terrorists, people who killed and destroyed lives and property for reason that is not acceptable to the country. ”He (Sultan Abubakar)is calling for amnesty for terrorists that has nobody speaking for them. If he is saying that he knows them, let him tell us. If he says the reason Boko Haram is terrorizing Nigeria is justified, let him tell us. If he is saying Boko Haram has asked him to speak on their behalf, let him tell us. ”The militants from the Niger Delta region were p r o t e s t i n g marginalisation/ underdevelopment even though their zone is producing the oil that provides for the entire country and they were given amnesty. The elders, church leaders, traditional rulers and political leaders condemned the arms taking of the Niger Delta youths openly while speaking to the government to see to the
plight of the region. There was an agreement reached by both government and those who represent the militants before amnesty was granted. ”Who are those representing Boko Haram? Who are the Boko Haram themselves and why have they decided to terrorise our nation?” Bebor said his group needed answers to the questions! Director of Social Communications at the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Rev. Monsignor Gabriel Osu, who spoke for his church, said it was amazing for somebody of the Sultan’s stature to make the amnesty call for Boko Haram members. ”With due respect to him and the exalted office he represents, the call for amnesty for Boko Haram members as canvassed by the Sultan is improper. Two things easily come to mind: the culture of impunity and the erosion of the sacredness of human life,” Osu said. He argued that the Sultan’s call for amnesty without reference to the victims of the Boko Haram attacks was unfortunate, noting,”Reading between the lines one can deduce that the lives wasted by the Islamic fundamentalist sect are of no significance”. According to Catholic church spokesman, the Sultan’s argument that most of Boko Haram’s victims were Muslims could not be justified. “It appears we have all suddenly forgotten the sacredness of human life. I believe that anybody who commits any offence should punished in accordance with the laws of the land.”
Women in show of solidarity on World Women’s Day
UNDREDS of w o m e n gathered in Lagos on Friday to mark the International Women’s Day. The event was organized by the Community Peoples Initiative Against AIDS, (COPEAIDS) in collaboration with the office of the Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola. The theme of this year ’s celebration by the UN was tagged “A promise is a promise, time for action to end violence against women is now ’, however the Lagos audience focused on ‘HIV, Environmental Protection and Sustainable Livelihood in Lagos. Dr Joe Okei Odumakin, the leader of Campaign for Democracy, (CD) and coordinator of Women Arise said it was time for Nigerian women to press for fundamental changes that would uplift them from a state of economic
and political depression. Odumakin who is in the US to receive the International Women of Courage Award Award Award from the United States Secretary of State John Kerry and Mrs Michelle Obama, the US First L ady, was represented by Mr Gbenga Ganzalo. Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of the Community Peoples Initiative Against, AIDS, (COPEAIDS), Mrs Feyisike Adeoye, who spoke on the ‘Environmental Livelihood, and the Challenges of Women in a Developing Economy’ said the forms of violence against women in Nigeria have seen correspondent rise in the spread of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria. She said law enforcement authorities are responding to the issue of violence against women but not with the speed anticipated the victims of injustice.
SUNDAY VANGUARD, MARCH 10, 2013 — PAGE 7
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (left) and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, at the opening session of the Crans Montana Forum for Africa in Brussels, Belgium on Friday.
Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima addressing journalists after his release by the Kaduna State police command who detained him over a statement on a radio Nigeria Kaduna phone-in programme yesterday. Photo:Olu Ajayi.
Seven foreign hostages executed — Ansaru, Islamist group •Govt doubts claim BY TONY NWANKWO, with agency reports
SLAMIST group, Ansaru, said, yesterday, it had killed seven foreign hostages seized last month from a construction firm’s compound in northern Bauchi. But the Federal Government said it had no information on any such killing, and doubted the veracity of the statement. In a statement released on an Islamist website, the Ansaru group said it had killed the hostages in response to attempts by Britain and Nigeria to free them, SITE Monitoring Service reported. Ansaru is one of several Islamist groups that have become the main security
threat in Nigeria. The alQaeda-aligned group blasted into the compound of Setraco, a Lebanese construction company, on February 7, abducting a Briton, an Italian, a Greek and four Lebanese workers. The statement issued in Arabic and English on an affiliate of the Sinam alIslam network was accompanied by screen shots of a video purporting to show the dead hostages, SITE said. One shot showed a man with gun standing above several figures lying on the ground. The image was not clear enough to see if they were dead or much detail about them. The hostage-taking, in the remote town of Jama’are in Bauchi state,
was the biggest number of foreigners seized in the mostly Muslim north since the Islamist insurgency there intensified two years ago. “As far as I’m concerned, and to the best of my knowledge, nothing like that has happened,” Bauchi Police Commissioner Mohammed Ladan told Reuters when asked about the online statement. An intelligence official in the north also said he doubted the report, although he said some suspects linked to the kidnapping had been arrested last week. Lebanese officials said they were checking the reports. Italy’s foreign ministry also said it was checking. Britain did not officially comment.
Immigration says I’m not a Nigerian — 60-yr-old Matthew Daniel BY BILESANMI OLALEKAN
NTIL last week, she didn’t know she was not a Nigerian, at least that was what Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) told her. Matthew Daniel is a popular Lagos name. One of the daughters of the Lagosian, Laila,60, was denied passport last week at Ikoyi, Lagos office of the NIS on the grounds that she is not a Nigerian. Laila is founder of ACTS GENERATION, a non governmental organization, NGO, on domestic violence and abuse. According to her, she had gone to the immigration office to renew her passport. Having scaled through all the necessary
procedures, she was asked to pick up the passport this Tuesday, 12th of March but she was called back on Wednesday as the ‘PCO would want to make some clarifications’. “On getting there, the PCO, one Modupe, asked me if I was a Nigerian. I told her yes. She said it is not true that I must have been married to a Nigerian. When I insisted that I am Nigerian as my late mother was Nigerian, my father may not be but more than that, I was born, schooled here, she said I must provide my late mother’s data to prove she was actually a Nigerian. I felt that was an embarrassment as she was talking to me in the presence of people. Is it now at the
age of 60 that somebody will be telling me I am no longer Nigerian?. It is traumatizing. She said my name Laila Osman is not Nigerian . I am not sure she is competent to be on the seat otherwise she would have known the beautiful melting point that Nigeria is. There is mix marriages, different colours. And she would have known that the name Osman or Laila can be found in the north. My colour and hair type can be found in the north within the Fulanis. I could pass for a Fulani if I could speak Hausa. How come she does not know that?. In the River-rine areas, there are quite a number of people like me by virtue of the fact that it is a coastal town.
Mohammed Abdullah, a spokesman for Setraco, also said he had heard nothing about any harm done to the hostages. Alleged rescue attempt The group’s full name is Jama’atu Ansarul Musilimina Fi Biladis Sudan, which roughly translates as “Vanguards for the protection of Muslims in Black Africa”. Ansaru, believed to be an offshoot of the larger Boko Haram group, said it had decided to kill the hostages because of attempts by Britain and Nigeria to rescue them. “(We) announced the capture of seven Christians foreigners and warned that should there be any attempt by force to rescue them will render their lives in danger,” the statement said. “The Nigeria and British government operation lead to the death of all the seven Christians foreigners,” it said. Ansaru was suspected of being behind the killing of a British and Italian hostage a year ago in northwest Nigeria and Britain’s parliament has labeled it a terrorist organization. It also claimed responsibility for the kidnapping in December of a French national. After abducting the seven foreigners in February, it said its actions were “based on the transgression and atrocities done to the religion of Allah by the European countries in many places such as Afghanistan and Mali”. Western governments are concerned the Islamists have linked up with groups elsewhere in the region, including al Qaeda’s North African wing AQIM.
BY SIMON EBEGBULEM
DO State government has waded into the crisis between members of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN),Okada riders and revenue collectors in the state. Meanwhile, the leadership of the RTEAN has debunked the allegation that it was extorting money from Okada riders who staged a protest in Benin-City on Wednesday. The Chief of Staff to the state governor, Patrick Obahiagbon, who met with all the parties following the protest by Okada
‘Edo RTEAN not extorting Okada’ riders and complaints by Akugbe Ventures saddled with the responsibility of collecting revenue for the state government , urged them to play according to the rules in order to avoid further conflict. A statement by the Publicity Secretary of RTEAN, Chief Okpokunu, explained that “the activities of motorcycles had nothing to do with union and was embarrassed when it was accused of extortion.”
Kenya: Jonathan congratulates Kenyata
RESIDENT Good luck Jonathan has congratulated Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta on his victory in Monday’s presidential election in Kenya as declared yesterday in Nairobi by the country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. “As Mr. Kenyatta prepares to assume office later this month as the first Kenyan president to come into office under the country’s new constitution which was adopted after the crisis that followed its
2007 elections, Jonathan urges him to rededicate himself to carrying forward the process of national healing and reconciliation”, a State House statement said. “President Jonathan calls on the Kenyan President-elect to do his utmost best to foster greater peace, unity and progress in the country by forming a truly national administration that will meet the yearnings and aspirations of all Kenyans, including his opponents and their supporters.
AMORC’s case for youths
HE Rosicrucian Or der, AMORC, has identified self-reliance among Nigerian youths as a veritable tool towards the promotion of peace and security in the country. Addressing newsmen at a two day Delta-Edo regional rotational conclave (2013) with a theme; ‘Promoting Harmony as Key to National Security’ of the Order at Ugbomro community, Uvwie Local Government Area, Delta State member, National Board of the Rosicrucian
Order in Nigeria and Grand Council Emeritus, Rivers State, Chief Temple Owhonda-Wopara said the alarming rate of unemployment could be minimized if the people imbibe the principle of self reliance. Saying that it was absolutely imperative for all to live a healthy and happy life and be at peace with themselves, their neighbours, society and the environment, he held that the conflicts that exist between human beings and nations were manmade.
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SUNDAY Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 9
..... And what do I grant the victims of Boko Haram bombings? "Rest in pieces?" All letters bearing writers' names and full addresses should be typed and forwarded to: The Editor, Sunday Vanguard, Kirikiri Canal, P. M. B. 1007, Apapa, Lagos. E-mail: email@example.com
PHCN: Okpe kingdom in total darkness Dear Sir, “A people’s voice is dangerous when charged with wrath” (AESCHYLUS – 525 – 456 BC) Agamemnon. HEN the choreographer loses his terpsichorean clan and the conductor his dexterity, the dancers and the philharmonic orchestra becomes cocooned in salmagundi and cataclysmic contretemps. This scenario continues to play out itself in the power sector in Nigeria. Right from 1953 to 1960 under the aegies of the Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (ECN), Nigeria had regular and constant supply of power. As soon as Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (ECN) changed to National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), hell was let loose in the power sector. As NEPA changed its acronym to become ‘Never Expect Power Always’ (NEPA). Today, under Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), the power supply situation has become unthinkably and diabolically disastrous. As PHCN has changed its name to Please Hold Candle Now (PHCN). What a shame! The Socioeconomic, etc consequence of the inability of successive regimes and corrupt juntas to rejuvenate and rekindle life into the power sector after 53years of independence is too gruesome and macabre to contemplate. Indeed, lack of power supply and corruption are the omnibus bane of our problems in Nigeria for which all governments right from independence have collected trillions of Naira to salvage to no avail.
A perfect exemplification of the government and PHCN’s brutal assault on the psyche of the citizenry in terms of power outage and erebuslike darkness is Okpe kingdom In Delta State. Okpe kingdom is one of the largest kingdoms in the state and nay Nigeria. It has two local government councils with littoral boundaries and an oil producing kingdom, but in constant darkness. As a dialectical amalgam, the people have numerical superiority over most tribes in the state. Sapele in Okpe kingdom houses the Ogorode Power plant, etc that supplies power to other states and towns, but the politicization of the ‘step down’ mechanism which has now brought in
unforeseen consumers, has robbed Sapele of power supply and the economic and social consequences are too terrible to recount here. The transformer at Okpara (not in Okpe kingdom) is tapped to give 7 streets in Orerokpe (Ancestral home of the Okpe people and the headquarters of Okpe Local Government Area) candle – like light. It is indeed a pity beyond all telling that a drive through the virtually unmotorable roads in Okpe kingdom to Oha, Ugolo, Odjedi, Amuokpokpo and Umiaghwu reveals that the people have been left behind by the march of civilization in the 21 st century. The towns of Okobia, Elume, Evwriyin, Amuabude, Okuokoko, Egbeleku
Adagbrassa and Oviri-Okpe are in crass darkness and facing troglodyte extinction. What a shame in an oil producing Okpe kingdom. This is Finally, from Obasanjo to President Jonathan, from Barth Nnaji to Professor Nebo, it has been one electricity road map to another. The electricity sector has been befuddled and bemused by policy somersaults.. We need strategic repositioning and a fixed developmental agenda to rekindle a potent frame work for redeeming the comatose electricity sub-sector and Okpe kingdom should not be left out Chief Bobson Gbinije, Mandate Against Poverty (MAP), Warri.
Nigeria still groping in the dark Dear Sir,
T is very distressing that our politicians have focused all their attention and energy on the 2015 general elections, instead of thinking on how to change our expensive system of government where a great chunk of our resources goes into recurrent expenditure and the little left for capital expenditure, is pounced upon by unscrupulous Nigerians, thereby resulting in the stunted growth of our country and the suffering of the poor masses in the midst of plenty! The politicians that merged their parties to form APC, if their new party will not be consumed by their lifetime personal ambitions before 2015, only
want to dislodge PDP from the centre and then take control of the huge resources that accrue to the government and not that they will make our lives better, as long as they continue with this system of government that enriches them. It beats my imagination that our politicians are so blinded by greed and the unmerited benefits they are deriving from the system that is milking our country dry and most regrettably that they are not bothered that over 70% of their compatriots are living below poverty line and denied of the basic necessities of life that could have easily been provided with the huge resources expended to fuel their penchant for insatiable and
primitive acquisition of material wealth. They are equally not bothered about our rising debt profile neither are they working towards reducing the cost of governance by our going back to the less expensive parliamentary system of government of the 1st Republic and not to talk of saving for the rainy day . Finally, our ruling class should bury their heads in shame that with the abundant resources at their disposal, they could not launch our country to greatness like the Asian Tigers or the Western nations. This is the tragedy of our country! Ifeka Okonkwo, writes in from Awka
PAGE 10—SUNDAY Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013
These men are dangerous: Jonathan/ Obasanjo – 1
My brother’s keeper “I am, because we are”. -Ubuntu Philosophy Zulu philosophy that explains that a person with ubuntu knows his or her place in the universe and is consequently able to interact gracefully with other individuals. One aspect of ubuntu is that, at all times, the individual effectively represents the people from among whom he or she comes, and therefore tries to behave according to the highest standards and exhibits the virtues upheld by his or her society. It was because of ubuntu tenants that South Africa was able to proceed and heal the nation in the aftermath of apartheid. It was a cleansing medium that some say, without it, there could not have been reconciliation between the Whites and the Blacks. It could be what we need some reconciliation.In particu-
lar after the the shooting of the young man at LASU last week. The young are are dying at an alarming rate and it is not in our culture for the old to be burying the young. The advent of cultism in our halls of learning has reached an horrifying level that something has got to be done. It is so easy to look the other way or explain it away that it is a just a cult- on- cult turf war. That rebuttal would a cop out and we quietly know that . Damino Damoche was only 24 years old, he had left the lecture halls having completed his banking and finance test paper as he stepped out, he was gunned down by assassins on motorcycle who ,riddled his body with bullets. He laid on the ground,and he laid for several hours before the police came and took his body away in a pick-up van. Then the social network sites went on over-
electing in 2011, a fellow who cannot be trusted to abide by written agreements; let alone a spoken one. That is a fatal character defect in anyone; but more so in a President or Prime Minister because they make numerous promises which are not written down but to which they must be committed. A country is doomed; the minute its Head of State acquires the reputation of a man who cannot be trusted. Obasanjo was, also, GEJ’s teacher in the area of making public announcements and doing the exact opposite of what he says. His lies about the third term ambition, which
If Jonathan continues like this he would have polarized Nigeria into two – SouthSouth and the rest of us. I feel sorry for Nigeria.
he disclaimed so many times, have again been exposed by a member of his kitchen cabinet –El-Rufai; who becomes the fourth authentic witness to the efforts to amend the constitution and allow Baba Iyabo to use “do-or-die” method to continue in office. And, pray, where is the legacy he left behind after eight years in office? Obviously, his testament was really a self-indictment. As the longest serving Head of
clinch the ticket and win the election, including, but not limited to, late S.B. Awoliyi, Babangida, Danjuma, Atiku, Ekwueme and Victor Attah were repaid with ingratitude when he reached Aso Rock. Jonathan, who he hounded into running for office in 2011, in total disregard of a 2002 written agreement, is now giving him the political thrashing of his life. If care is not taken, an enquiry into the activities of the
drive with all sorts of commentary ;that this up and coming hip hop artist, Olaniyan Damilola, popularly known as “Damino Damoche,” was killed due to his association with campus fraternity at, Lagos State University, LASU. Some said that it was a reprisal from a rival gang because Damoche was alleged to be a member of a confraternity on the campus. His copse laid on the ground while the students gawked and took pictures of his lifeless body and placed the images on the social network sites. Of course, it is Nigeria after all, sights like this has become common place. We have become so immune to violent deaths
corrosive and the numbers of victims;maimed, dead and the living have witnessed such violence and deaths is unimaginable . This denial is equally corrosive because whoever experiences such scenes on a regular basis,will become emotional unstable.It will come back to haunt and disturb them. What people see on a daily basis is not normal and it should not be normalised as such. Life has become two for a penny and it does not seem that our government is acting in a way to stem the flow of violence and senseless deaths. In other countries they would have acted swiftly,carry out exhaustive inquiries,make
cy, a man who had no background of achievement to justify the promotion to that exalted office. Obasanjo’s insufferably selfrighteous lecture about good leadership is akin to receiving a lecture on the virtues of chastity from the owner of a brothel or a pimp. Baba Iyabo should please stop disturbing us with his sermons, we have an important assignment, and he is a BIG part of the problem. As the Yoruba people would say, “o pe ole wa ja; o pe oloko wa so; or he invited the thief to come and steal, and is now asking the farmers to come and catch him”. Again, we all recollect that, soon after Yar ’Adua passed away, and before the eighth day fidau, Obasanjo, with no human feeling for the departed President, was shouting, “Jonathan, you must run; don’t tell me you won’t run”. He even helped to lay the foundation for the unilateral repudiation of the zoning agreement reached in December 2002, at an expanded caucus meeting of the PDP, which Jonathan attended in place of Governor Alamasiegha. That breach of agreement, by Jonathan, which was brought to the attention of “My Fellow Nigerians” in 2011, was designed, at the time to warn people, especially politicians, who had plugged their eyes and brains, that we might be
“The only battle that counts is the last battle”. Richard Neustadt, in POWER AND PRESIDENTS. IGERIANS, of course, deserve President Jonathan; you voted for him overwhelmingly. Even Obasanjo, who, last week, was at his hypocritical best, when delivering a lecture, in which he decried Nigeria’s lack of good leadership, should accept most of the blame for GEJ. As we all recollect, it was OBJ who set in motion the calamity in which we find ourselves as a nation when in 2007, he imposed GEJ as Vice-President on Yar ’Adua. The Americans have always referred to the Vice-Presidency as a “heart-beat from the Presidency ”. The death of Yar ’Adua, in 2010, after prolonged illness, about which Obasanjo knew when making him President in 2007, in a do-or-die election, had proved the Americans right. Americans always strive to ensure that the person who emerges as Vice-President, is capable of being elected a President in his own right. Nobody, given the poverty of Jonathan’s experience in political leadership, in 2007, can claim that he would have been electable in 2007 as President. So, what Obasanjo did in 2007, which is now haunting all of us, amounted to political sabotage of our country. He placed, within a heart-beat of the presiden-
State, with almost twenty percent of the time since independence at the helm, he represents at least twenty percent of the failure of leadership he derides. That makes him dangerous enough. But, the aspect of this man’s activities that should scare everybody is his refusal to leave the political scene; even after resigning as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP and grandly announcing that he was retiring from active politics. I told a friend, “If you believe that nonsense, you will believe anything”. Has the man left active politics? Why then is he still associated with factions of PDP in Ogun and at the national level? There is bad news in all these for his supporters. Obasanjo no longer has any positive political value. All he has left is nuisance value and that he is deploying as generously as possible. Fortunately, Obasanjo is being paid back in his own coins - ingratitude. All those who helped him in 1999 to
Life has become two for a penny and it does not seem that our government is acting in a way to stem the flow of violence and senseless deaths
that the young and old have become voyeurs in such a distasteful, tragic twist of daily existence. I am really at a loss that a country like ours regularly exposes our young to such dangers and ceases to find a meaningful way to arrest this epidemic. This disease is
recommendations and implement actions to ensure such tragedy is never repeated. In my time, fraternity was a social club, a place where young men bond and at most show their rivalry in songs and calibre of the type of academic minds that are
Federal Government, from 1999 to 2007, might be forthcoming. Then, the whole world will see the depth of hypocrisy of the man we were unfortunate to have had as our leader for the second time. Then as now, I warned the Dr Ekwueme-led PDP. In 1998, in a column titled TO MY BROTHER EKWUEME, I warned the former Vice President, that “the PDP which you now call “My Baby ” will be snatched from you by others”, after the PDP admitted Obasanjo into the party and, against the party’s constitution, Uncle Sege became a Presidential candidate. In the process, he derailed the presidential ambition of Dr Alex Ekwueme, who was, by far, the leading candidate for the Presidential elections. Today, not only Ekwueme, but all the members of the G-34, still alive, have been swept off the corridors of power by those who were too cowardly to talk when Abacha was alive. Now, we have opportunists and dangerous people who are desperate to hold on to power in charge of government – even if Nigeria goes to hell. We deserve the insult. “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” wrote William Shakespeare, I564-I6I6. (VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p 123. But, that was in the dark ages. Homicide is not recommended now. We are more civilized now, except for the apostles of “do-or-die” politics. And we can come to lawyers later. However, it needs to be said loud and clear. The first thing we do, let’s drive Obasanjo out of politics and into retirement; otherwise, we will regret it. But that is not the last battle. The last battle we must fight is to suffer and then
stop Jonathan. Take a look. Under Jonathan’s PDP, the President is from Bayelsa, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees is from Edo State, the Chief of Staff is from Edo State, two of the most powerful Senior Special Advisers are from Bayelsa and Edo, and now his chosen Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum is from Akwa Ibom. The only figure-head, (suffer-head) and comedian among them is the Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur from Adamawa. If Jonathan continues like this he would have polarized Nigeria into two – SouthSouth and the rest of us. I feel sorry for Nigeria. When a ruler from a minority ethnic group engages in this sort of lopsided appointments to power positions, the nation is on the way to Rwanda…. (But God forbid) LAST LINE: A court of law had ordered the Federal Government to pay the people of Odi, Bayelsa State, N37 billion for Obasanjo-ordered massacre of innocent people. Two things should happen next. First, the people of Zakim Biam, Taraba State, also wantonly wasted by this blood thirsty man, should go to court for their own money. Sauce for the goose should be good enough for the gander. Second, the Federal Government should proceed to prosecute Obasanjo for crimes against humanity. Otherwise, the people of Odi and Zakim Biam should jointly drag him to the International Court. Obasanjo handed over Charles Taylor; Nigeria should hand over Baba Iyabo. In any event, we must be rid of the man. V i s i t : www.delesobowale.com
members of their fraternity. Whatever scores they have to settle never ended in such loss of lives.It is no longer so. Now fraternity has become a grooming ground for thugs, murderers, megalomaniacs who seek to humiliate, torment and oppress young minds to submission and worse. These so called individuals are bullies who have not learnt the simple code of existence in a civil society; that you have to earn respect and that demanding respect does not mean you are a big shot, it only means that people are scared and will submit to fear. In the UK, the government had to act when statistics indicated a rise in youth on youth crime and a teenager a month was killed and many more maimed and left damaged through gang violence. Of course, the usual finger of blame was pointed at the working class and the minority communities. With gang culture,it proliferates and glamorize violence, drugs and crimes. We can ill afford to look the other way; we need to face this abhorrence head on. In the UK that is what they did. They invested time and money, opened a dialogue with gang
members,in prisons and in areas where they roam, found out what was actually going on. They listened to young people, invest in them so that the young who are in danger of joining gangs found a positive alternative to gang membership. One of the lures of the gang membership the young people said was that it served as a replacement of family;that the gang takes care of one another; there is hierarchy or command and there is punishment for those who disobey the “laws”. Home should be where our children should learn the basics of life,code of behaviour, after all it should be our first school. Gangs would not exist if the membership did not satisfy, albeit in very antisocial and destructive ways. We should instead,create a place for young people to feel protected,nurture a sense of empowerment and positive group membership, mentoring and employment. Let me assure you , that there is no type ,it is not just some youths who are most at risk — the net is bigger ; it is those marginalized by discrimination based on class, poverty, discrimination,education, tribe and religion.
SUNDAY VANGUARD, MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 11
After water summit, what next? O This is because there is no evidence that any progress may come the way of water resources with the same budget as that of last year, which is one tenth what the summit says is needed to fix the sector. That government has many needs and cannot meet them all at a go is a good argument; it is however a different ball game if gov-
n Monday Feb ruary 18, 2013, the federal Ministry of Water Resources organized a Presidential Summit in Abuja. The event was well attended as it attracted the nation’s number one citizen and a host of other dignitaries described on the occasion as stakeholders. They made pronouncements which showed expert knowledge of the challenges of managing water in a complex and large society like Nigeria. As in most subject areas, inadequate funding was identified as a major constraint. Although the water sector gets an average of N39 billion in our annual budget, President Jonathan himself acknowledged that the sector requires a commitment of N350 billion. In a way, the summit can be said to be a good initiative; if for nothing else, it illuminated the scope and challenges of our water needs. That appears to be how far we can go in being charitable about the summit.
tened to one of our brilliant economists, I gathered that a whooping sum of N921billion was set aside for that subject. I hope it is not so this year because in spite of the generous provisions, we are yet to reduce if not overcome bombs, kidnapping, armed robbery etc. It is thus not wise to continue to give to security, a budget that is big-
There is a report that in Tundun Wada, Jos, people urinate at one end of a stream and fetch water from the other end of the same stream to produce ‘Burukutu’
ernment does not disburse its funds proportionately to its needs. We need to reduce drastically the budget supposedly meant to secure lives and property. After all, when last did anyone feel safe in our clime? The last time I lis-
ger than that of 12 other Ministries combined. In addition, I had thought that with the huge sum, Nigeria would have joined the League of Nations engaged in security by intelligence where advanced technology is used to gather
PhD, Department of Philosophy, University of Lagos,
The dwindling population of genuine role models in Nigeria (2) of material comfort may be very difficult to resist, especially if such benefits can be had easily just by associating with people that have the necessary financial wherewithal and “ right connections.” Yet the Igbo saying that ezigbo aha ka ego (good name is superior to riches) captures a powerful existential insight about life which should guide individual conduct at every level. Consider for a moment a society where respect and social prestige are uncritically accorded to wealthy individuals irrespective of the way they made their fortune, where a sizeable percentage of the population admire nouveaux riches even when the characters involved are known to be fraudulent. Such a society, without a doubt, will manifest symptoms of a community in decline. Nigeria, to be candid, is declining due to idolatry of undeserved wealth. Who and who are celebrated daily by a broad section of the masses, the media, traditional rulers, religious organisations and
the intelligentsia? In our churches and mosques, on whose behalf are special prayers offered regularly by the clergy? The answer to both questions is obvious – influential VIPs with highly questionable income profiles. Given this background, the frenetic quest for quick money especially by the youths, which has
know that the tempta I tion to have a big bank account and other trappings
top government officials, law enforcement agencies and the media. To make the point more explicit, a thorough examination of the conduct of most influential Nigerians would reveal sordid details of deceit, hypocrisy and corruption. Therefore our youths should be very careful in selecting role models or mentors, particularly if they do
To be a genuine role model one has to be courageous enough to challenge “the crowd” and resolutely pursue a course of action that transcends the self in a positive way
pushed some of them into armed robbery, advance fee fraud, kidnapping, prostitution and other nefarious activities, is a direct consequence of bad example from the elders. Some socalled eminent Nigerians parading themselves as voices of conscience and moral policemen are despicable human beings who cleverly concealed their evil deeds with active collaboration from the judiciary,
not have direct acquaintance or knowledge of the mentors. Everyone should adopt a mixture of admiration and critical attitude towards a role model. In addition, whenever possible it is best for a protégé to interact personally with, or do a thorough background check on, the mentor. That way one would likely avoid the embarrassment and disappointment occa-
data. I have looked forward in vain to such things as the use of forensic labs to crack crime; rather I continue to see outdated strategies premised on the use of armoured carriers and guns. In contrast, customized remote cameras are installed in other parts of the world to unravel criminals more than one kilometre away from a given location. But in our beautiful capital cityAbuja- many of the 4lane streets are still being blocked to prevent criminals from gaining access to strategic locations and buildings. What this suggests is that our security personnel are still not too far away from the sophistication of my forefathers- the Benin warriors- who sought to use woods and ‘dane’ guns to stop the British from invading our city in 1897! In the circumstance, we are the wiser for it if we can deploy some funds from our security budget to areas like water, agriculture, health care etc. That is exactly what we need, not summits. Those who do summits all the time like the managers of our education sector have proved us right over time. They are always brainstorming the falling standards in education without a change in the sector. Of course what summit will help students when150 of them are admitted into a course whose facilities are designed to accommodate not more than 50? Similarly, water sum-
mit cannot alter the fact that less than fifty percent of our people have access to clean water. What the summit can do and has already done is to throw light on what needs to be done. We obviously donot expect a 100percent coverage in the next one year but we can step up progressively till we get there. Talk shops will unfortunately not facilitate such stepping up. What is required is proper funding. The option of relying on international donors to assist is not in itself a bad idea, but events have shown that such donors support only those who are proven to be poor. Their support to nations that donot get their priorities right is usually feeble. Is Nigeria really poor or is our dilemma caused by poor governance? At the last summit, Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State appeared to have answered this question when he imputed that our governments have not handled the subject well and called for a legislation that empowers people to sue government for failing to provide water and other essentials. Although we donot know which government the chief servant was referring to, we are aware that water is a subject for all tiers of government and that only one in five rural households in Nigeria has clean water while most families collect water from unsafe sources, such as rainfalls, ponds, streams and riv-
ers. For instance, there is a report that in Tundun Wada, Jos, people urinate at one end of a stream and fetch water from the other end of the same stream to produce ‘Burukutu’. If the reason for not investing in the management of water is because such issues donot prick our collective conscience, we are again approaching an aspect of water that will rattle us all shortly and that is flooding. According to Dr Anthony Anuforo, Director General of the Nigerian Meteorological Service (NIMET), the coming rains would be heavier in parts of the country than the one of last year which almost sacked half of us. In the past, we handled the predictions of NIMET casually while providing so much to crime prevention under the guise of saving lives and property. At the same time, thousands of Nigerians died through flooding due to our failure to use our dams to hold back excessive water. Now, if we opt for summit and fail to see our water problems as pressing and more worthy to be provided for, let no one in authority seek to exclude himself from blame in any flood disaster this year because we have once again been professionally warned. Indeed, if those in government donot embrace ‘prevention is better than cure’ let them not visit affected families to show empathy because that would be ‘governance by condolence’
sioned by the realisation that one had been admiring the wrong person all along. Human beings are incurably fallible, which means that it is a grave mistake everywhere and every time for anyone to admire another human being to the point of becoming blind to that person’s weaknesses.. Clearly, the number of genuine and spiritually enlightened role models is declining very fast, and there is increasing proneness to hero-worship in most people. That is why in Nigeria today, former military heads of state, ex governors and ministers, captains of industry and so on who ought to be in prison for nepotism, corruption and other grievous offenses are celebrated everywhere. Nothing betrays the negation of genuine honour and recognition by the Nigerian establishment more than the annual ritual of national honours awards by the federal government. In a decent society, official award at the highest level is reserved and bestowed on personalities that provided exemplary service to the community. But in our own case, the whole thing is upside down: largely, it has been terribly bastardised by members of the ruling elite for self-aggrandisement and celebration of acolytes of dubious antecedents without any worthwhile contribution to the community. The danger here is that recipients of national honours ought to serve as role models to the younger generation, since
such recognition is a direct message to the citizens by government that anyone who behaves like so-and-so deserves to be acknowledged and honoured. Unfortunately, by celebrating mediocres and people of questionable character either because they are (or served) in government and are highly connected to the corridors of power or are extremely wealthy, government is sending a wrong message to the people. Little wonder, as I reported at the beginning of our discussion, that Prof. Achebe rejected the national award twice. Every society needs men and women of exemplary character to serve as mentors and role models for members of the community, especially the youths. This is because the human the brain is a model-creating and model-seeking biological machine. To act rationally and sanely we need, in addition to good models of the world around us but, very importantly, adequate exemplars of good conduct to model our behaviour as social beings. That said, it is essential to have a good idea of the qualities we should cultivate through emulation. Personally, I admire knowledgeable people that manifest healthy disdain for wealth and power. I also respect iconic individuals like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Tai Solarin and Mother Theresa who sacrificed their own personal comfort for a life of service to humanity, a manner of being human
that contradicts popular modes of existence. It follows that, to be a genuine role model one has to be courageous enough to challenge “the crowd” and resolutely pursue a course of action that transcends the self in a positive way. A lifestyle of easy, indulgent materialism prevalent among the ruling cabal and business elite in Nigeria cannot be the foundation of positive transformation; which is why President Jonathan’s transformation agenda will not succeed because those executing the programme lack the necessary psychological, moral and spiritual attributes to do so. As indicated already, it is important for those seeking role models or who have them already to be careful and circumspect. There has never been, and there will never be, a perfect human being, given that all human beings are fallible. Tai Solarin and others mentioned a moment ago had weaknesses and made many mistakes while alive, but they cultivated exceptional qualities that stood them out from their peers. Still, we need good people that our young ones could look up to and change from their evil ways, although the number of such people will continue to decline unless Nigerians cease to admire despicable characters with money and influence, and instead focus their admiration on extraordinary people of humility, integrity, compassion, discipline, and disdain for riches. CONCLUDED.
PAGE 12—SUNDAY VANGUARD, MARCH 10, 2013
Y favourite genre of
entertainment is comedy; I like to laugh; I like funny people and I am sometimes considered very silly by those very close to me. It is always surprising to hear people describe me as very serious and even austere. I think life for the most part is serious; reality is a mixed bag of events that will either reduce you to tears or have you double up in laughter. I have no control over the happenstances of the world so I roll with the punches. But I can at least control my own entertainment and my choices are determined by the laughter quotient. I am intrigued by involuntary actions and reactions that are comedic and lately I have been inundated by quite a few. There is
comedy that comes from entertainment and there is the natural occurring comedy. This is when spontaneous responses and accidents lead to mirth and I have chosen to brand this type of comedy, wicked humour. Its wicked because most of the time the laughter is at someone else's expense. Almost everything is funny from the right perspective and I was tickled into a long bout of uncontrollable laughter by a scene from a Sitcom last week on television. A thief had threatened everyone in a diner with a gun, asking everyone to unload their purses and wallets on a table. One of the waitresses just froze and couldn't move; this seemed to upset the gunman who then shouted at her with hilarious consequences! Her face contorted into a
comical mask and a few seconds later it relaxed with a hiss! The lady just peed!! Urinating while being robbed was funny to me on several levels. The scene it self was funny but it reminded me of a real life robbery incident some years back. Armed robbers had gained entrance into a home and had everyone lying face down. The parents weren't home and they were trying to get the cook and two of the children to tell them where the valuables were. On finding the rotund cook unresponsive; they dealt him a rather vicious slap. Now I know the cook would not have been amused but everyone else present certainly found his reaction funny. The shock or maybe pain of the slap triggered an involuntary release of repeated farts! From all accounts the robbers
were stunned for a few minutes before they started laughing! There must be some unwritten or unspoken cosmic law that embarrassment naturally translates to laughter. We are all guilty of laughing at others when they embarrass themselves. The laughter has a dash of malice when it is at the expense of someone we don't like. In the case of Monsieur Etienne (the messing cook as he came to be known thereafter), fear seemed to give him gas and being slapped was the trigger for him to release the said gas!! I should
tight kitchen and acted as spy on the boys to the parents; so he wasn't ver y popular. This happened in the midnineties and my senior brother was a friend to the boys (now middle aged men) in question. The boys moved with friends and like locusts, they ate a lot. They had a habit of eating everything and anything and it had caused the cook to lock the kitchen to protect his job. They accused him of eating all the food himself and starving them; they had a good case, he was gaining weight all the time.
There must be some unwritten or unspoken cosmic law that embarrassment naturally translates to laughter. We are all guilty of laughing at others when they embarrass themselves
give you a brief history of the household in question. At the time of the event, there was a mother and father, two sons in the university, household staff that included Monsieur Etienne who doubled as cook and daddy's right hand man. He ran a
So back to the slap. The robbers decided to have fun at the cook's expense and they slapped him a few more times. Unfortunately each slap produced more farts so it went on for a while. I should add at this time, that the robbers couldn't gain access to
the upper floor so they were just being entertained by Monsieur's fart fest! They were persuaded to leave by the sound of sirens and they had everyone tied face down before they made their getaway. You would think the fun ends now but no!! Remember me describing the cook as rotund? Well, his pot belly prevented him from lying flat so he was tied sitting on the floor. The robbers locked them up in a room and switched off the lights and there they stayed for 4 hours before being rescued when the parents came home. According to one of the boys; it felt more like days because they were suffocating! Monsieur continued to fart intermittently and they suspected he may have even defecated at a time. I wasn't there but I have never not laughed crazily anytime I remembered the story and the peeing waitress certainly brought it back to mind. Lately I noticed quite a few comedians use wicked humour to great success; there are some that cross the border of good taste but most of them are pretty fun. You should catch a nigerian comedian known as Clint da Drunk; I would crown him the king of wicked humour.
We can clean up Nigeria — Fire Lenke Prophet Fire Lenke, the Overseer of Liberation Embassy, a.k.a Ghoster, is a Cameroonian pastor married to a Nigerian. He speaks on how to drive away satanic powers.
How did you get your calling? was not called, I was born a prophet but never knew it until I got the revelations through what I call a nightmare during one of my days searching for a job. Can you explain? It all started years back
were snakes fleeing so as not to be caught up by the light. I was holding the remaining half and I then woke up from the trance only to find myself in another room. Has there been any yoke broken by you? Yes! The Lord has been using me to break so
Prophet Fire Lenke when I was in my hotel room with a girlfriend when a force pushed me down the floor and I became unconscious. Suddenly, I found myself in another realm facing a bright light that was brighter than anything I had ever seen in my whole life. I had to turn my face off so as not to get blind while wondering what it was. I heard a loud voice saying that I shouldn’t be afraid, that ‘it is He thy Lord who created you, ‘ yet I was not brave enough to look at the light . The voice ordered me to raise my right hand which I did and I was holding an object like a fluorescent. The voice ordered me to walk towards the extreme of the brothel where I was and strike it on the floor of one of the dark rooms. What I saw after striking the object on the floor
BY AJI DONALD
I will soon reach out to so many souls in need of the blessings of the heavenly father
many yokes and also bring down so many temples that are not from the Lord. I have travelled to the eastern, northern, southern and even the western parts of the country where my church is to bring down lower altars. Because my Bible makes me to understand that when two temples meet, the lower temples bows. Has there been any effect so far? Not at all. My Bible
makes me understand that when God is for us, who can be against us. Although they have come through my household, my wife especially, has had several attacks but now she is empowered by the Holy Spirit. What is your prediction for 2013? My prophecy and not prediction, because the words of the Most High are not predicted but prophesied and they come to pass. So, my prophecy for the year which the God Almighty has revealed to me is that this year is a year of altar against altar. What do you mean by altar against altar? It simply means the altar of the Almighty against the altar of hell. For instance, I was reading Vanguard when I saw a story of a brother who killed his own younger brother in the name of greed and wickedness and also you hear preachers preach the words of prosperity and not of breaking of yokes. I am called by the Father in heaven to break down altars that are not of heaven and also to heal the sick. What our president’s wife is passing through is a very small problem which I can cure spiritually in a twinkle of an eye. I have already seen the cure for such
sickness through the revelations from the most High God. I cannot reach out to them directly because Bible makes me to understand that a child of God does not brag about his gift by going about healing people but people should give them the opportunities to heal them. I need an invitation from the president to come over to Abuja and I will state without fear of contradiction that five minutes with Mrs. Patience Jonathan will bring about great testimonies. If anybody body wants to know how I can achieve that, I will only say that signs and wonders can never be explained. But I believe what I have in me. What do you have in you? I had a revelation a day after asking God to grant me powers to heal and break yokes without being hurt by the demonic powers and a long glove appeared in my right hand and there was a voice that said to me that the glove was my power. So, with that I can break all demonic powers. So what is your message for the nation? I will soon reach out to so many souls in need of the blessings of the heavenly father.
SUNDAY Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 13
By Henry Umoru
enator Yisa Braimoh, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), represented Edo North Senatorial District in the Senate (from 2007 to 2011). In this interview, he speaks on the oneterm pact that President Goodluck Jonathan allegedly had with PDP governors; the emergence of PDP Governors’ Forum (PGF) as a counterpoise to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF); the desirability of local government autonomy; the problems with the All Progressive Congress, APC, merger and the emergence of Chief Tony Anenih as Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the PDP, among other issues.
What is your position on the crisis that has hit the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and the emergence of the PDP Governors’ Forum (PGF)? Before now, I had always seen the Forum of Governors as a mere platform for governors, irrespective of their political parties, to meet minds and/or share ideas on governance in their respective states so that one or two positive lessons and/or paradigms of development that are invaluable could be shared and learnt for the purpose of possible replication in other states. It, abinitio, had no constitutional backing; and, therefore, its operations were not supposed to be carried out in such a manner as to suggest that it was or is a legal entity. But because we are in a democracy, the system has tended to give room for platforms of positive associations, interactions and expressions which are geared towards promoting collective good interests and thus deepening democracy in the process. But over the years, there has been an inclination by the Forum to turn itself into not just another arm of government but a powerful one at that. Incrementally, with the passage of time, the Forum has now become a monster, engaging and issuing threats to the Federal Government and the president on issues such as the sharing of money in the Excess Crude Account, et al. What has become worrisome is the disposition of the leadership of the Forum, acting in concert with some members, to turn the Forum into a political weapon to intimidate the president. I find this particularly nauseating because as a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with twenty-three governors, I did not expect that the Forum under the chairmanship of Governor Rotimi Amaechi, a PDP member, would be deployed to intimidate and blackmail the president. If Amaechi has a personal axe to grind with the president, he should have looked for other ways to deal
Braimoh....This merger will not work
the good governance tour of states embarked upon by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, vis-à-vis the position by your state governor, Adams Oshiomhole, and his counterpart in Lagos, Babatunde Fasola, that the programme was ill-conceived? I am not a spokesperson of the Federal Government. The Minister of Information should be in a position to do that rationalization. But be that as it may, Governors Oshiomhole and Fashola failed to convince me on the position they took and, in contradistinction, I was quite happy that the statement by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State that the tour was the collective decision of the governors: that they discussed it and agreed to do it has put the moral burden on the duo. Indeed, I believe that if the idea of the tour as it was also done when Jerry
Any pact that limits Jonathan to one-term is unconstitutional —Senator Yisa Braimoh with it; not by hijacking the platform of the NGF to prosecute a selfish agendum. It is sad that the majority of the governors who are PDP did not know on time that the opposition had perfected plans to use the Forum to upset President Goodluck Jonathan’s reelection bid in 2015. How do you relate with the issue of Local Government autonomy against the backdrop of reports from the states where governors are said to
opportunity to access the full funds that are allocated to them. The local governments in all the states have been greatly short-changed with a vast majority only getting what is just enough to service their overheads; nothing to fund development projects. Yet, the local governments are closer to the grassroots; and, by virtue of which they should have been allowed direct access to their funds to intensify the implementation of development projects at that level.
The elements coupling this merger together are not from heaven. We know their antecedents, tendencies and their characters, their attitude towards internal party democracy, governance and accountability have abused the joint state/ local government account? This is one of the areas where the excesses of the state governors have been quite manifest. It is ironical that state governors who demand, and, in fact, ensure that their states’ shares of money from the Federation Account and the Excess Crude Account get to them in the spirit of our FederalState structure are the ones who have consistently denied local governments in their domains the
This is why I would like to suggest that the PDP should take a position on the issue of local government autonomy in the interest of rapid and widespread development across the country, especially in the PDP-controlled states, as the process of constitution amendment is still on. local governments should get their disbursements direct from the Federal Government. local government autonomy is a recipe for rapid grassroots development. Can you rationalize the idea of
Gana was Information Minister, is for the Federal Government to monitor how federally allocated and collected revenues have b e e n judiciously utilized to fund development projects in
states, I would suggest that the PDP-controlled Federal Government reverts to what obtained in the defunct Second Republic when the National Party of Nigeria (NPN)-controlled Federal Government under Alhaji Shehu Shagari where Presidential Liaison Officers were appointed in charge of states being governed by the other parties. It does not require an Act of Parliament to do this. It would be a corpus of aides, not of cabinet rank. What the Liaison Officers would do is to develop, project and promote Federal Government infrastructure in such States as well as monitor State Government activities in such states. How ready is your party for the All Progressive Congress (APC) merger? The PDP is the party to beat. It is arguably the biggest party on the continent of Africa. Since 1999, it has been dominating the Federal Government and this will continue for a long time. The structures are there on ground. There is only one thing the opposition parties can do about that: the merger that they are currently involved in; and, this is not the first time they would form an alliance of a merger to confront the PDP. But, unfortunately, this merger cannot dislodge the PDP. I consider it a merger of jokers, by jokers and for jokers. The elements coupling this merger together are not from
heaven. We know their antecedents, tendencies and their characters, their attitude towards internal party democracy, governance and accountability. There can never be a consensus within the APC in the conduct of primaries for the emergence of candidates for election in 2015. Will the APC adopt the autocratic selection process of the ACN? Crisis of credibility is rocking the CPC whose chairmanship position is being challenged by some senior members of the party. And for APGA with only two governors in its fold, it has already broken into three splinter groups. I do not want to talk further on this; but mark my prognosis: this merger will not work and, even if it manages to work, it will not be able to muster the power and national appeal to dislodge the PDP and President Jonathan from power in 2015. Your political leader in Edo State, Chief Tony Anenih, has emerged as Chairman of the BoT of the PDP. What does this portend for your party? His emergence is no doubt the greatest thing that has happened to the PDP in recent times. It means that our party is on the path of consolidating its holds on the reins of government with our predictable victory in the 2015 presidential election. Chief Anenih is an experienced political strategist, who has the capacity to define and chart his winning ways in politics and electoral contests. With the backing of the awesome federal machine, the job becomes easier for him to accomplish. I am sufficiently close to him to understand a bit of his strategies. As I speak to you, he has begun to work quietly to bring strategic stakeholders in the party and the polity to the side of President Jonathan. Is the president’s reelection bid not running against the grains of an alleged one-term pact that he entered into with governors as claimed by Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State? This is the monstrosity of the governors and their forum that I talked about earlier. How can a governor, who is serving out his second term in office, come out with such effrontery to claim there was a pact that limits President Jonathan to one term of office? I do not want to go into the argument and dialectics of an existent or non-existent pact. But my brief take on that is that any such pact is unconstitutional. My position is that Jonathan is qualified to contest for a second term in office, as constitutionally circumscribed; and, therefore, I will support every effort in that direction.
PAGE 14, SUNDAY
Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013
Last Thursday, President Goodluck Jonathan responded to the request of Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar pleading for amnesty for members of Boko Haram. The President insisted during a State Visit to Borno State that people who need amnesty must come to the open. However, the Sultan’s request was within the context of the insinuation that the leadership of the North was not doing enough to stem the tide of violence occasioned by the violence perpetrated by Boko Haram.But between the Sultan and the President and beyond public remonstrations, both men are well equipped to employ back door channels if truly they are not intent on playing to the gallery. Below is the report of the meeting of the Ja’amatu Nasril Islam (JNI) held in Kaduna where the Sultan made the request that has since become controversial.
JNI’s solution to Boko Haram and polio Grant amnesty to sect— Sultan Ghosts don’t need pardon—Jonathan
AST weekend, former Defence Minister, Gen Theophilus Danjuma, declared, at the Ahmadu Bello, Zaria (ABU) special convocation, that the North was embroiled in a “civil war”. His assertion has not been disputed in view of the forlorn human development index of the region, which has got worse since the 2011 political violence, and the steady rise of Islamist group, Boko Haram, in many states of the North. For all that people are wont to say about the violence caused by Boko Haram, Muslim leaders in the North have agreed that they have a role to play in stopping me. But, that is not the only problem, especially in the far North. Last month, nine female health workers were mowed down by bullets of assassins fighting against the vaccination of children against wild polio virus. Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan remain the only countries with the wild polio. The Sultan told Muslim leaders in the North when they met to find a way forward at the Ja’amatu Nasril Islam (JNI) headquarters in Kaduna over these setbacks that he would like government to give amnesty to Boko Haram members. Abubakar ’s speech at the meeting entitled,’The need for truth and the guidance of the Almighty Allah (SWT)’, was riddled with admonition that all hands must be on deck to ensure peace in the North. “This afternoon, we shall discuss what is happening to the Ummah in this great country of ours,” he stated. He continued: “May Allah (SWT) let us to deliberate qualitatively, bluntly, with history on our side, knowing that what ever we say, whatever we do, he sees, we don’t see him. It is our responsibility as leaders to always say the truth even if it is affecting us unpleasantly. This meeting will allow us and our political leaders and other religious leaders (to say) the blunt truth and what the way forward is for this great country. We believe that at the end of this deliberation, we shall have a communiqué, and that communiqué
will be widely circulated up to the Federal Government as our own contribution to the development and peaceful co-existence of every citizen of this great country. Concerns about insecurity “My dear brothers and sisters, we are facing great challenges in this our great country. And as Muslims, we owe it a duty to everybody to exist positively, to peace and stability of Nigeria. We have been talking, and we must continue talking, and we will not get tired of talking until the Almighty Allah (SWT) takes us away. And we believe that it is only when we talk, when we dialogue that issues will become clearer. In this hall, I believe that we are all God-fearing, patriotic; we all love ourselves and we all love our neighbours as Almighty Allah’s (SWT) religion says. We want to bring to attention of the government our challenges. As Muslim leaders, we feel very concerned and very, very worried the way things are going on in Nigeria today, especially the insecurity issue in this country. We have problems in the North, we have in the South East; we have in the South West and in the South-South. We believe that it is the duty of the government to protect all of us. Ours is to only advise and we will continue to advise the government to do what they should do, if they don’t, we will continue to tell them to do the right things and that is why we have to work closely with them. The problem of terrorism “My brothers and sisters, what happened in Wukari a few days ago is a total madness beyond comprehension. Because if you follow the news, how can an issue between the youths playing football turn into what happened in Wukari where the major victims have been Muslims. You have been living together for centuries (ands all) of a sudden you say you don’t want to live with one another. These are some of the things we shall be discussing. Either there is something somewhere we
*Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Kano State Governor
don’t know; or we come to the table together (with the other side) and seek for solution. By the grace of God, we believe that the issue of security or rather, insecurity - terrorism and the likes shall be discussed. We have terrorism, everywhere, everyday. On declaring total amnesty for Boko Haram members “We have heard in the news that the President shall be visiting Maiduguri in a couple of days. And praise be to God, that the Shehu of Borno is here and he *Sultan of Sokoto will be briefing us this evening. are doing much more than what any We want to use this opportunity to other person has done. And I want to call on the government, especially Mr commend you all. We will continue to President, to see how he can declare do more despite criticisms. total amnesty to all combatants (Boko At this point, we are calling on the Haram) without thinking twice. federal government to be just in whatThat will make any other person who ever thing (it does). As Usman Dan picks up arms to be termed a criminal. Fodio has said, “a society can endure If amnesty is declared, it will give so with unbelief, but cannot endure with many of those young men who have injustice. The problem with us is that been running and hiding the of injustice meted out to people who opportunity to embrace that amnesty. are not meant to feel such. By the grace Some of them have already come out, of Allah (SWT), we shall continue to because we have read in the papers speak to the federal government on that some have already come out. this. We have invited the Minister of Amnesty as an effective tool Health to join us today. He is a Muslim ven if it is only one person that leader, but we have never invited a denounces terrorism, it is the Minister to our meetings before. He is duty of the government to accept that here to talk to us on the issue of polio. person and see how he can be used to He is the Chairman of Polio reach others. It is left for the govern- eradication. He is going to give us a ment to use that person, evaluate him brief on areas of controversy and see whether he is genuine or concerning polio. And as we go into fake. the close door session; we shall discuss this and come out with a possible soEfforts of Northern Muslim leaders lution. “These are some of the things we are pushing for, yet people will be saying On the need not to propagate falsethat, we are not doing anything as •Continues on page 15 Muslim leaders in the north. No! We
Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 15
Vice President Namadi Sambo; Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; former Head of State, Gen Ibrahim Babangida; and Gen. Theophilus Danjuma; during Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria special convocation ceremony, last weekend.
•Continued from page 14 hood “We must never propagate falsehood on what we don’t know. As Muslim leaders, we must come out with the authenticity or otherwise of these claims. Polio has been eradicated all over the world, except in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. We must show total commitment to the total eradication of Polio in Nigeria.” The communiqué issued at the end of the meeting is hereunder reproduced. Preamble: The Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) held its Annual Central Council Meeting on Tuesday, 23rd Rabi’uThani, 1434AH(5th March, 2013) at its Headquarters in Kawo, Kaduna . The meeting comprised two sessions, namely the opening ceremony and the plenary session, both of which were presided over by the President-General of the JNI, His Eminence the Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni. and was declared open by the Governor of Kaduna State, His Excellency Alhaji (Dr.) Mukhtar Ramalan Yero. The Opening Ceremony attracted a cross section of distinguished personalities that included the Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, distinguished Royal Highnesses Emirs, Islamic Scholars, Academics, and the Executive Secretary National Primary Health Care Development Agency Speeches were delivered by His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Excellency, the Governor of Kaduna State and the Honourable Minister of State for Health. The issues that featured prominently in the speech of His Eminence included the state-of-the-nation, the upsurge of insecurity and violence in all parts of the country, the need to confront the problem of religious insurgents decisively and with stronger political will that should include declaring amnesty to whoever is willing to surrender and embrace peace among the insurgents. Other
JNI’s solution to Boko Haram and polio
We have problems in the North, we have in the South East; we have in the South West and in the South-South. We believe that it is the duty of the government to protect all of us. Ours is to only advise and we will continue to advise the government to do what it should do
issues raised in the speech are the need for leaders to be upright and more responsible in leadership and to dispense justice and fairness to all, the importance and necessity of Muslim unity, the need to accept the polio eradication programme based on informed opinion and avoiding prejudices on the issue. He also expressed happiness over the progress so far recorded on the JNI repositioning efforts and the benefits that have started to be derived therefrom, as demonstrated in the improvements recorded in the efficiency and effectiveness in its activities and the need for further revitalizing its Da’awah activities and efforts, among several other things. In his speech the Governor of Kaduna State emphasized the need to meaningfully intervene in the Almajiri education system with a view to eliminating the untenable practices associated with it. Furthermore he stated that after security, his Government attaches greatest attention to education as it is the most significant agent of development in the present era of globalization. In his speech, the Honurable Minister of State for Health, essentially dwelt on the issue of polio vaccination wherein he tried to clarify the misunderstandings and misconceptions associated with it. Observations: he meeting made the following observations: 1. That the cases of violent conflicts have unfortunately not only continued to recur unabatedly but have also monumentally grown in terms of magnitude and proportion across the country. 2. That the recent unfortunate incident of armed conflict in Wukari, Taraba State which emanated from dispute between two individuals on
football smacks of high level of intolerance just as it signifies premeditated aggression against innocent Muslims. 2. That in spite of the serious security and existential challenges facing the Ummah the problem of disunity in the Ummah has continued to not only persist but is also taking dangerous dimensions that are further wreaking a great deal of havoc on the Ummah. 3. That enemies of peace have continued to vilify Islam and Muslims through various campaigns of calumny. 4. That the polio issue has continued to remain both a controversial and misunderstood issue especially in Northern Nigeria . 5. That the menace of street begging while still persisting as an eyesore, has continued to dent the image of the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria. 6. That the efforts of repositioning the JNI have gone really far and have already registered a great deal of success, making remarkable impacts on its overall administrative and operational efficiency. 7. That Muslims are still being denied their constitutional rights to practice their religion unhindered and are even being persecuted in some instances as recently witnessed in some parts of the country. Resolutions: In the light of the observations made, the meeting resolved as follows: 1. That the JNI would not relent in its efforts at advising leaders at all levels to be more sincere, proactive and responsive in handling cases of conflicts. Government should be seen to be fair, just and impartial in dealing with such conflicts. 2. As a way of curtailing religious
insurgency, the meeting called on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency treat the case of insurgents with all sense of magnanimity by declaring amnesty to all of them, especially combatants that have expressed readiness to tread the path of peace. 3. Rather than further dividing and weakening the Ummah the meeting called on Islamic scholars and preachers to necessarily foster the spirit and mechanisms for cooperating mutually and working together in the interest of Islam, in spite of their differences of opinions. 4. That in the spirit of mutual respect, tolerance and peaceful coexistence the meeting calls on a section of the press and preachers that propagate hate, blasphemy to desist from such unwholesome attitudes and tendencies. 5. The meeting resolved to continue to partner with relevant stakeholders in the campaign towards the eradication of polio by maximizing efforts at educating the general public as well as using meaningful dialogue as far as possible to resolve the controversies surrounding the issue. 6. That although it appears to be seemingly an intractable problem, the meeting believed that strong political will and commitment on the part of the government at all levels supported by genuine and broad based intervention of all stakeholders the Almajiri Education System can be positively improved and uplifted to a level that can make it relevant and effective in addressing the educational challenges and aspirations of the Ummah. 7. That having been convinced of the meaningful progress and positive results already recorded by the JNI repositioning efforts, the meeting resolved to continue to give all necessary encouragement and support to the drive to ensure sustainability . 8. That the meeting frowned at the way Muslims, especially women are being denied their constitutional right to observe their religious duties without any encumbrances. It also condemned the persecution of Muslim women in some states simply because they observe the Hijab, particularly the case of the Principal that brutalized a Muslim student in a Secondary School in Lagos State . 9. That bearing in mind the prevalence of ignorance in the Ummah and the existence of teeming population of non-Muslims that are ignorant about Islam, the meeting called on the JNI and other Islamic organizations to intensify and diversify their Da’awah work and strategies. 10. That the meeting called on the government at all levels and all stakeholders to exert greater efforts and commit more resources in the education of our youth and children and to also put in place an enduring Muslim manpower development plan. 11. That the meeting also reaffirmed its confidence on the leadership of the JNI and all the Emirs while combining their roles as royal fathers and custodians of Islam. Finally, the meeting expressed profound and sincere appreciation and gratitude to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the Vice President, His Excellency, Architect Muhammad Namadi Sambo for their continues support and understanding. Similarly, the meeting commended the government of Kaduna State and expressed sincere thanks to it for its relentless support and hospitality to the JNI whenever it undertakes any activity or project. It also expressed thanks and gratitude to the Committee that executed the project of renovating its burnt auditorium and to all those who contributed in that regard.
PAGE 16—SUNDAY Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013
BY FEYI BANKOLE
here persistence rules, great strides follow! Peter Oladotun Falade played the sax in Faze’s Originality as well as the sax version for Terry G’s Pass Me Your Love. It was my first encounter with him, and that memorable evening, he handled the saxophone in a manner that seemed like he was born with it. Young and charming Saxo Smooth sent goose pimples down my spine as I watched him do what he calls ‘his thing’- a skill that has taken him to France, Germany, and several other countries. Not one audience in the crowd, irrespective of age, could pretend not to have been enthralled as they all rose up both consciously and unconsciously to dance to his sax version of Dbanj’s hit song, Fall in Love! As he exited the stage, I cornered him for a chat and Peter, the CEO of Groove Entertainments, was quite on point as he shared how he journeyed into the world of sax. Enjoy!
E had begun playing alongside big names like Ayo Solanke, Abayo and Supo Adebiyi before he realized how far he had gone in his pursuit for excellence with the saxophone. Those were names he was looking up tonames that polished his skills beside the personal lessons he gave himself! Eyeing the trumpet Peter Oladotun Falade, as he was christened, started playing the local drum ‘Akugba’ in his church, the African Apostolic Church, at about age fourteen, but suddenly discovered something that caught his fancy along the line, and that was the trumpet. “Whenever I saw dance-bands playing the trumpet, I would follow the procession to whatever street they were going to. Coincidentally, my church decided to invite those who wanted to learn musical instruments. They taught me to play the guitar, but my grip on it was not too firm, so, I was introduced to the bass guitar. I played the drum and bass guitar for the church”, he recounts. An unsatisfied Peter who understood his heart desire fortunately met a friend who already knew how to play the trumpet. They were both in their fourth year in secondary school; a time when their contemporaries would rather spend their time in antisocial acts. “He agreed to teach me, and I went to his house regularly for lessons. That was how I ventured into dance-band precisely. I also had to leave my church for the Redeemed Christian Church of God because they seemed to cater well for us at that time. After a while, I started going to perform in other churches.” Mastering the sax As his skill waxed and gradually earned him money for his school fees and other needs, something happened just when he was beginning to think like a champion. Patronage became low, and when he investigated the cause, he found that most churches were beginning to employ the services of saxophonists more than trumpeters. Young Peter thought about what he could do to regain relevance, and just then, an idea struck. The plan was to buy a used saxophone and get himself trained! “I bought a used saxophone and started going to a couple of people for lessons. I
By blowing trumpet, I paid my w ay thr ough sc hool wa through school — Peter Falade a.k.a Saxo Smooth
bought books, cds, and other materials so I could also teach myself. I also started playing along with local and foreign artists. After some time, I discovered that I could play along and also rehearse for three hours every day for six to seven months. I also acquainted myself with people like Ayo Solanke, Abayo and Supo Adebiyi for further training. In seven months, I had mastered it and could play for my church. “Gradually, I started going for shows and playing with bands like Ebony Band, Onyeka Onwenu, Teemark, Ola Balogun(Iroko), Jagunlabi, and many others. I’ve over the years travelled with Iroko to France, Germany, South-Africa, and more. With Iroko, I however play the trumpet. Presently, I run my own entertainment company, Groove Entertainments, where I also people and play in my church, This Present House. I play with hip hop artists too and presently, I play with Flavour”, says. S e l f responsibility The sixth of seven children, Ekiti-born Peter Falade who had his primary and secondary school education at the National Primary School, Gbagada, and the National College, Gbagada, respectively, also went on to study Business Administration at The Polytechnic, Ibadan, all thanks to his skill which paid the bills right from his fourth year in secondary school. But he’s got parents who should have paid footed those bills being the sixth of seven children, you might say, but Peter is not one of those “baby of the house” who love to depend on others for things he could afford. He says; “I believe my older siblings had their own needs! I was already earning money from playing with bands, so, why would I want to depend on them or my parents for bills I could afford? Moreover, dad was a civil servant and mum had a little business. She died about six years ago, and I miss her a lot because she was a great source of encouragement! I was away in France when she fell seriously ill. When I returned to Nigeria, I could remember I spent three days with her at the hospital before she gave up before my very eyes. Like I was saying, I paid for my WAEC, GCE and JAMB myself in SS3. From the little I was earning while in secondary school, I could remember giving my dad N100 to keep for me each time I returned from shows. I didn’t collect the money back, anyway”.
Vanguard , MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 17
EXCLUSIVE By EMMA AMAIZE, Regional Editor, South South
his is the curious – very curious – twist in the investigations into the murder of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, the late Principal Private Secretary, PPS, to Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, by the Police and the Department of State Service, DSS. Last December, Sunday Vanguard examined the inconsistencies in the report of the Police as signposted by their records. In this series, we probe into the seeming shambles that was introduced into the report of the DSS and the Police. The details will shock you; at a time when the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, in a letter, after penultimate week’s public hearing by the House of Representatives, tried to pull wool. Whereas a certain Judge John J. Sirica, U.S. District Court judge in charge of the Watergate break-in scandal, did all he could to assist the prosecution in getting to the root of the matter, it appears that the more senior government officials get involved in the Oyerinde case, the foggier it gets. But using the Police Report and the DSS Report of their respective investigations, Sunday Vanguard attempts to make sense of the situation.
LACED side by side, the reports of the Police and Department of State Service, DSS, on the May 4, 2012, murder of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, the late Principal Private Secretary, PPS, to Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, come as results of undercover operations. On some scores, the reports are not dissimilar. Both agencies agree that the suspects that killed Oyerinde were four in number. The reports also agree that they killers were armed robbers. In addition, there were buyers of stolen good. That is where the similarity ends. The two reports are, in their true essence, opposed to and antagonistic of each other. Indeed, the DSS, in an August 23, 2012 letter by its Director General, DG, Mr. Ita Ekpenyong, signed on his behalf by Charles Madu, and addressed to the Inspector General of Police, titled “Transfer of Suspects”, named Mohammed Ibrahim Abdullahi as the ring leader of the four-man gang that killed Oyerinde. The second and third suspects are Raymond Onajite Origbo and Edeh Chikezie. The fourth suspect (probably still at large) was not identified in the report, but four receivers/purchasers of stolen items were named, bringing the total to seven. The DSS letter, with reference number S. 605/9021,clearly marked for the attention of Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, Chris Ezike, Federal Special Anti-Robbery four persons to wit: Danjuma Musa, Squad, FSARS, FCID, Garki, Area Muritala Usman, Auta Umaru Ali 10, Abuja, was in itself a response to and Moses Asamah Okoro were the a previous letter, with reference four persons that killed Oyerinde. number, CR:3000/X/FHQ/ABJ/ The police report, however, VOL.T1/14, and dated August 14, identified Garba Maisamari, a stolen nine days earlier, from the police. goods receiver and alleged The police, in the letter, wanted sponsor, to be the mastermind and the suspects which DSS had earlier recommended that Musa, Usman, paraded, to be released to them. Ali, Okoro and Adamu, alias Duna, On its part, the police found that be charged to court for conspiracy,
THE OYERINDE MURDER SCANDAL
•Cross-referencing DSS and Police reports
C M Y K
armed robbery and murder of the aide to Oshiomhole. The constant in all of this is that Oyerinde was killed. However, two sets of criminals can never be responsible for the killing on the same date, time and venue. Clearly, there is either a shambling approach to the investigation by one of the agencies or the truth is being stood on its head deliberately.
The anatomy of contentious investigations (1)
•Oyerinde...a death and its cntroversy
The gun that police investigators showed me, a cut to size single barrel locally made gun, is the gun I carried on the 4th of May, 2012 during the operation at 2nd Ugbor Road, GRA, Benin City
Rather than clear the perplexing ambiguity, top shots of the police and DSS, who appeared at the public hearing conducted by the Committee on Public Petitions, House of Representatives, led by Hon. Uzo Azubuike, February 27, on the alleged poor handling of the investigations into the murder, only succeeded in further adding
Continues on page 18
PAGE 18 —SUNDAY
Vanguard , MARCH 10, 2013
THE OYERINDE MURDER SCANDAL Continued from page 17
Synopsis of the police report
rom the police report, signed by DCP Chris Ezike, a copy of which is available to Sunday Vanguard, the obvious conclusion is that human rights activist and Executive Director of Africa Network for Environmental and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, Benin City, Rev David Ugolor, contracted the alleged prime suspect, Maisamari, to kill his bosom friend, Oyerinde, for N20 million. Maisamari, in turn, recruited Musa and others. The report said one of the suspects, Okoro, disclosed, under interrogation, that that they were hired to kill Oyerinde and that the contract was given to Maisamari. According to the police, “Maisamari admitted the offence and named one David, whom he described as ‘not too tall, dark in complexion, get body small and wears native dress called old school always’, as the man who gave him the job.” The statements of the suspects, except for a few that wrote of their own volition, were interpreted and handwritten by police officers that quizzed them. However, those in the first category signed or thumb printed after interrogation.
Summary of the DSS report
ith the police pointing at assassination, the DSS indicated that it was an armed robbery that went awry. C M Y K
•Mohammed Bello Adoke
•Gov. Adams Oshiomhole In a brief on the suspects forwarded to the police, DSS said, “Abdulahi, the leader of the fourman gang that robbed and killed Oyerinde, disclosed that he got information about the deceased from his security guard who had unwittingly talked about the affluence of his boss at several fora. However, he maintained that his shooting was not intended to kill Oyerinde, but to scare him”. The DSS did not present any statement made by the suspects to the police, but it was categorical that it had the real killers. Nevertheless, it transferred “1 Europa Magnum pump action, No. Zumrut-Silah San 1270NBDT5870, MP-43 (Russia) double barrel gun and one NM27EMFC (Russia) double barrel gun to the police, the three guns, which Abdulahi confessed were used in the robbery,” among other exhibits, to the police.
ow the poser: How can the police and the DSS have different sets of suspects agreeing to have committed the same crime? It is simply not possible and there is more than meets the eye in the case. The probability is that a set of suspects might have been tortured to lie by either of the security agencies, in their desperation to take credit for uncovering the killers of Oyerinde.
What police suspects said
he alleged mastermind of Oyerinde’s murder, in the police report, Maisamari,39, a father of five, born in Bagudo in Bagudo Local Government Area of Kebbi State, in a statement made to the police on June 28, 2012, did not mention that he was hired by David Ugolor to carry out the murder. According to Maisamari, a
shambles. The petition was filed by the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations, CONGOS, Edo State. The Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, Mr. O.T Olatigbe, stated the obvious truth when he said at the public hearing that the Federal Ministry of Justice was “confused” about the murder. He said the Ministry was in a quandary over whom to prosecute. Typically, however, and in furtherance of the shambolism that has attended the murder investigation, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, in a letter, with reference number, HAGF/NASS/2013/VOL.1/2, and dated February, 28, to the Chairman of the Committee, vehemently denied that the Ministry was “confused” and went ahead to declare that, constitutionally, the authority to investigate criminal cases belongs to the police. Observers were left stupefied by Adoke’s outburst, as he seemed more interested in asserting the authority of one of the police over the DSS, instead of addressing the core issue of who killed Oyerinde based on available evidence. In fact, a close look at the two reports would show that there is not just confusion as Olatigbe stated at the public hearing, unquestionably embedded in the reports is also anarchy.
The motive of the operation was to steal money, jewelries and telephones. I am not aware whether any person hired Moses Auchi or Garba Usman Maisamari to kill the man
Muslim, who hails from Zarbama tribe in Niger Republic and came to Benin City in 1999 from Lagos “in search of better life for myself ”, “On the 3rd day of May, 2012, at about 18.00 hours, one tall black man, who is my customer, came to me at Ring Road, Benin City with the sum of $850 (eight hundred and fifty dollars) to change into Naira. The man had (previously) come to me on two occasions with the sum of $500 (five hundred dollars) each to change to Naira. On the second time the man came to change money, I called Moses Asamah Okoro, alias Auchi Boy, on telephone, to come with his motorcycle and, as the man left, we trailed him to his house at 2nd Ugbor Road, GRA. “On the 3rd of May, 2012, we also trailed the man to a beer parlour at Adesuwa Road. We waited for him to finish but he stayed long and we left before him. Moses (Auchi) now dropped me in my house and they went for the operation. I called Danjuma Musa on phone to meet Moses at Owina Junction, off Sakponba Road, Benin City and plan properly for the operation in the man’s house at 2nd Ugbor Road, GRA, Benin City. I also informed him to contact Murtala Usman and Auta Umaru. At about 22.00
hrs, Moses called me on telephone to inform me that they were about taking off and I replied okay. At about O3.00 hours of 4th May, 2012, Moses called me on telephone and informed me that they had finished the operation successfully. “At about 12.00 hrs of 4th May, 2012, Danjuma Musa came to my house and picked me on his motorcycle to the beer parlour at Owina Junction, where I met Moses Auchi, Murtala Usman and Auta Umaru Ali. They brought out the items that were stolen from the man’s house, which included one laptop computer, one Galaxy telephone handset, gold, jewelries, four Blackberry telephone handsets. I weighed the gold with my weighing scale and it weighed 14.7 gram. I bought the gold N75,000 (seventy five thousand naira) , the Galaxy phone N22,000, the four Blackberry phones, N85,000. I paid the sum of N150,000 as advance…”. He went on, “I am the person who planned the whole operation. I know them as armed robbers but I do not know how they got their guns. I know that receiving stolen property from armed robbers and conspiring with them to rob people’s houses is a crime. I will not do it again if I am forgiven…”
bout two weeks after the statement, precisely July 12, 2012, Maisamari, apparently asked about David during interrogation, replied, “I also know one man whose name is David. I have known him for about one year now. He comes to Ring Road and exchanges money from me and he is my customer. He has also bought gold from me but only once, early this year, 2012. David is black in complexion, not too tall, but get body small. He always wears native dress they call old school. He speaks English language fluently, he drives a car but I do not know the
Continues on page 19
Vanguard , MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 19
THE OYERINDE MURDER SCANDAL Continued from page 18
The DSS transferred “1 Europa Magnum pump action, No. Zumrut-Silah San 1270NBDT5870, MP-43 (Russia) double barrel gun and one NM27EMFC (Russia) double barrel gun, the three guns, which Abdulahi confessed were used in the robbery,” among other exhibits, to the police
aisamari, who described what happened as an armed robbery operation, said, “The man that we killed at 2nd Ugbor Road, GRA, Benin City, I do not know his name, I do not know where he works. David also uses MTN and GLO numbers to call me at times. Before the operation was carried out, on 3rd May I held a meeting with Danjuma Musa, Muritala Usman, Moses Asamah Okoro and Auta Umaru at Owina Junction, where I explained to all of them that the job was brought by someone, who promised to pay N20 million if the man was killed. I did not tell them his name.” 23–year old Danjuma Musa, who hails from Kamba in Kamba Local Government Area of Kebbi State, admitted he went for the operation, but did not mention anything about David Ugolor. His words: ”We are members of one armed robbery gang, but Garba Usman Maisamari and Umaru Adamu do not follow us for operations, but we plan together. I wish to also state that the man who we robbed his house at 2nd Ugbor Road, GRA, Benin City was trailed two times to enable us know his house. On the first time, I cannot remember the date, Garba
•Ita Ekpenyong, DSS DG
•MD Abubarkar, IGP
(name of the) car. Each time he comes to me, he parks his car at Oredo LGA Car Park.” The alleged murder mastermind continued: “It is at Ring Road Exchange Market that me and David know ourselves. This David is the person who told me to arrange to kill the man at 2nd Ugbor Road, GRA, Benin City and promised that he will pay us N20 million if the assignment is executed successfully. He paid me the sum of N200,000 as advance payment for the job. He paid me the N200,000 about two days before the date of the assignment. He told me that why he wanted the man to be killed is because he want to take over his job in the office. This David is a friend to this man who we killed at 2nd Ugbor Road, GRA, Benin City because they came to change money together from me… “David called me on telephone and told me about (sic) for us to kill. He advised me to follow them so that I can know the man’s house. Myself, Danjuma Musa and Moses Asamah Okoro trailed them in two motorcycles and we knew the man’s house at 2nd Ugbor Road, GRA, Benin City. “I did not tell Auta Umaru and Murtala Usman that the job was given to me by David. I only told Moses and Danjuma but did not tell them the name of David. The telephone David used in calling me is of Etisalat network, I cannot remember the number, I stored the number but after my telephone got lost and I did welcome back, the number disappeared. My telephone line, which got lost is 08037171096. I can always identify and recognize David if I see him”.
Usaman Maisamari called me and Moses Auchi on telephone to come to Ring Road. “When we came, he pointed the man to us who was in a black Toyota car with one other person. The vehicle (windscreen) is slightly tinted. As the man moved, we trailed him to 2nd Ugbor Road, GRA, Benin City and he entered his house. The house is along a major road and it is a bungalow. The second day, we trailed him, it was still Garba Usman Maisamari who called me on phone and I called Moses Auchi and we all met at Lagos Street by Ring Road”.
hirty-two-year-old Moses Asamah Okoro, a native of Iguode in Agenebode, Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State, who was arrested in the house of his girlfriend, said, in his statement, dated July 11, “Maisamari told me there is a job which one man brought to be executed in GRA. He also said that if we are able to kill the man, the man who brought the job will give us N20 million. I told
him I would want to meet the man who brought the job but he refused and told me that the job was given to him and I should trust him. “. On the killing of Oyerinde, he said, “I pointed my gun to shoot the man but my gun did not answer. As soon as the man noticed that the gun was not effective, he wanted to rush me but I rushed out to the parlour and informed Muritala Usman that my gun was not working and he, Muritala Usman, jumped into the room and shot the man once, while Auta Umaru shot twice from the window. “As soon as the man fell, we quickly left the house with the items we stole, including the single barrel gun, which Muritala Usman collected from the man’s bedroom. The operation did not last more than one hour. When we finished the operation, we all went to Auta Umaru’s house and Danjuma Musa called Garba Usman Maisamari, informing him that the operation was over.”
uta Umaru Ali, 26, a native of Gumi in Gumi Local Government Area of Zamfara State, told the police that “Our gang of four, namely myself, Danjuma Musa, Muritala Usman and Moses Auchi, has been selling stolen gold sets and other items to Garba Usman Maisamari at Ring Road Market, Benin City. The items we sold to him on 4th May, 2012, it was not our first time. Our gang had also been robbing along Auchi-Benin Expressway, Benin-Lagos Expressway, Adesuwa Road, Mission Road and the loot we always sold to Garba Maisamari.
•Late Judge John Sirica “During the armed robbery operation of 4th May, 2012 at 2nd Ugbor Road, Benin City, we went with two locally made guns, but I stayed by the window. Moses Auchi was the person that fired the man. The motive of the operation was to steal money, jewelries and telephones. I am not aware whether any person hired Moses Auchi or Garba Usman Maisamari to kill the man. “I wish to also state that on 04/05/ 2012 when myself, Moses Asamah Okoro, Muritala Usman and Danjuma Musa went for the armed robbery operation at 2nd Ugbor Road, GRA, Benin City, I was the person who stood by the bedroom window and I was armed with a locally made gun given to me by Muritala Usman. The gun is not too long and it is a single barrel gun. I saw somebody lying down on the bed in the bedroom but I do not know who he was. It was Moses, Auchi Boy and Murtitala Usman that entered the parlour and bedroom. I fired two rounds from the window into the house but I did not see anybody when I fired. Moses Auchi also fired one round. I did not see the owner of the house struggle with Auchi Boy during the operation. “The gun that police investigators showed me, a cut to size single barrel locally made gun, is the gun I carried on the 4th of May, 2012 during the operation at the 2nd Ugbor Road, GRA, Benin City. I fired in order to scare the man. I did not intend to kill him. Nobody told me or paid me to kill the man, I followed my gang for the robbery so that I can get some money after the operation.”
What the DSS suspects said
Referring to Mohammed Ibrahim Abdullahi (alleged ringleader), the report said, “He is the leader of the four-man gang that robbed and killed Oyerinde. He admitted to have shot the deceased through his bedroom window. Also he took Service operatives to where he hid the three (3) guns used for the operation that were recovered.” Also: Read about Judge John Sirica and how he assisted the prosecution team in America to unravel the attempted cover-up of the Watergate Scandal, as opposed to the shambolic approach of Nigeria’s Justice Ministry in this matter.
PAGE 20 — SUNDAY VANGUARD,MARCH 10, 2013
Re: A better life for the aged
C M Y K
HE feeling out there, at least from the responses of some of our readers, is that because many of our rulers in any regime, be it military or civilian, are always in a position to stash away enough money to enable them live an opulent life in their old age, and also cater for generations of their descendants, they would normally not feel any concern about elderly people and whatever problems they may possibly have -like pensioners being owed ·several months of their meager monthly pensions, and some almost reduced to go begging on the streets in order to survive. A frustrating situation in a: country where there are no social security benefits to help the poor, the, elderly and the physically challenged. “Sister Helen, 1 liked your write-up on a better life for the elderly in our country. I’m I being pessimistic if I say that we shouldn’t expect any help from the government there? I have an elderly cousin who has been residing in Europe for some decades. She worked and retired there. She told me recently that because the winter there has been very bad this year, the government gave each elderly person who needs financial help, about four hundred pounds to help cushion the effect, as they need more warm clothing and nourishing food. Can we have such a caring and responsible government here? - Mrs IS, Lagos.” “Before we talk about caring for the elderly, above what the individual family can do, we need to know just how many elderly people we have in the country. We may not have accurate figures, but it would be helpful if all wards in local government areas all over the country, supply the government with the names, addresses and age of all elderly people. The government would then find out what their situations are, and see what can be done for them by way of feeding, medication and clothing. If we add housing, families would just be too happy to come dump their elderly in the home provided by the government, and forget them there. Home-care with support from the government is most suitable in our culture, as it would be an abomination for an elderly person, even ‘a childless one, to be sent to a home. Our rulers should understand that there’s an urgent need to add care of the elderly to their list of priority for citizens. Thanks - A retired Civil servant, Abuja.” “Madam, sending our elderly to Old People’s Homes is not part of our culture, and most families, even the poorest in the land wouldn’t want that. So, my contribution to the topic is that the government should have packages for elderly, people, which would ensure that they have nourishing food, adequate clothing, and medical care. I support the idea of every general hospital and healthcare centre having a department for the elderly; there, their health would be monitored as
Helen Ovbiagele Woman Editor
I support the idea of every general hospital and healthcare centre having a department for the elderly; there, their health would be monitored as they have regular check-ups and treatments.
they have regular check-ups and treatments. For better effect, families should be asked in the various wards or hamlets, to go register their elderly ones at the local government offices. It should be decided from what age a person can be considered elderly. If we can establish this, there would be a big relief in the land, as medical care for the elderly can be a nightmare for poor families. - Ifeanyi, Abakaliki.” “I wish there would be more NGOs at grass root level who would lobby for the care of the elderly. I’m in my mid-seventies and I retired at a middle level from government, after several decades of work. My monthly pension, even after a review a couple of years ago, is not. able to meet my expenses, and but for my grown children who pitch it from time to time, eating well and managing my health would have been a struggle. To worsen matters, the pensions are not paid regularly. Just what is happening at the top? Have they no feelings for retired people? Sometimes, you wonder if it’s worth it, working for government, earning dismal salaries, and in the long run, abandoned in your twilight years. Our counterparts in some countries in Europe, have free healthcare and transport once they hit sixty for women, and sixty-five for men, I’m told.
Shouldn’t our legislators try to get those for pensioners in this country?” “Dr. Cole, in her chat with you, was right to implore citizens to look after their elderly while these are alive, instead of neglecting them and then splashing out on expensive burials for them when they ’re gone; just to impress people. Each year, just like it is with weddings these days, burials get more expensive. The focus at the event then shifts from expressing fond memories of the dead, to proving how well-off the living is! Ridiculous! If it were possible for the dead to witness their lavish burials, I’m sure they would protest and expose their wards as hypocrites who had no time for them while they were alive. I think parents themselves can do something about this. They should tell their children, if these ones have the financial means, that they would prefer good care while alive, and not expensive burial later, which would be of no use to them. That said, there are millions in this country who are too poor to care for the elderly in their families. The government should step in to help with medical care. Some elderly people would have lived longer if their relatives had the means for medical care for them. - Funsho, Agege, Lagos.”
“Personally, I don’t see any harm in taking the elderly to an Old People’s home, if the family can no longer take adequate care of the person. Sometimes, it isn’t about money, but adequate medical attention, like a live-in nurse to look after the person round the clock. Except you’re very rich, it’s only in a well-run home that that can be possible. The thing to do is for the government to upgrade facilities in the homes, in terms of accommodation, meals, socials, care, etc. In addition to this, private Old People’s homes can be established by business people to cater for the wealthy. This happens in a place like Britain, where some movers and shakers in the societies spend their twilight years in comfort, in Homes where they have their own apartments, and surrounded by the things they love. The plus is that there’s good medical care and help round the clock, and even aged couples who can no longer look after themselves can have their own apartments, and can be helped to do things together. Some aged people can get better attention and company in a well-run home, than living with abusive relatives who have no time for them, and they live in isolation. Obviously, it’s all about available funds. Thanks Paul, Lagos.” We thank all those who wrote in.
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SUNDAY VANGUARD, MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 21
e r u t l u c g n i d a e r e t a v i t l u c o t t o r n o a g t r A o o p t s u g A It's im a l o i B — e l p o e p g n u o y n i By JOSEPHINE IGBINO VIA IGBINOVIA Mrs.Mubarak Abiola Agusto-Agoro is the President of Soroptimist International of Eko, an international service group comprising women professionals who aim to empower women and girls across the world. An Accountant by profession, Abiola Agusto-Agoro retired from the Nigerian National Petroleum CorporationNNPC in 1996 after her long years of service. Currently, she is the CEO, Agusto Book Dot Com Limited and Augusto Babe Nigeria Limited among other companies and business ventures. Recently, the President of the Federation of Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland, Prof.(Mrs.)Pat Black, paid a visit to Nigeria, and during her one-week stay in Nigeria, she was hosted by the Soroptimist International of Lagos at one of their projects, ‘Presentation of books to Methodist Girls’ High School’, Yaba library. At the event, Mrs.Biola Agusto-Agoro spoke to Vista Woman on this very important project. Could you tell us about why you chose this project? T is part of our awareness campaign that we exist; to let the students know what Soroptimism is about - for girl child education and for the less privileged in the society. We are trying to catch them young so that when they go out into the society, they know that there is a group of women out there with their interests at heart. We have chosen to do it through book distribution because we are keen on helping them develop the reading culture, and through that, improve their outlook on life. A well- equipped library is vital to learning. The library here is not even computerized. In other countries, a school of this stature should have a computerized library so that students can read and learn more. Do you think they are interested in reading? They may not be willing because internet is taking over the lives of many young people, and That is why I said our ultimate goal is to computerize the library so that they can read off the internet. But for now, we need books so that at least, they can be occupied with something. How many schools have you distributed books to? This is our first port of call. We hope to visit other schools in due time. How did you pick out this school to start with? We know that the Methodist Girls’ High School, if not the best, is one of the best secondary schools in Lagos. We also know that it is the oldest girls’ secondary school in the state. So, that informed our choice of the school. Apart from that, I am an old student of this school. Methodist Girls’ is a well-established school. Why didn’t you choose one of those schools that are in dire need of this sort of attention? The reason is we are starting in Lagos. It is true that there are some schools that are less privileged so to say, and we shall be visiting them too, for awareness however, we need a school that is well-known, in order to make a better impact.
Who benefits? The gesture is of mutual benefit to both the Soroptimist International and the school ultimately because the students get helped, and we get the opportunity to render help. In what ways do you think parents can assist these children to read? Parents can go through the books with them. Parents will not be able to read on the internet with them. But when you have a hard copy, you can do so. Even the English people will tell you: “Whatever you give us on the internet, give us the hard copy also as back up”. So, the books are like the back-up or reference point. They are the things that parents can use to know what their children are reading or what they are being taught at school. When some of the pupils leave secondary school, they may not be able to go to higher institutions of learning. Still, in one way or the other, the reading culture will help them in any direction they may want to take. Our Club is out to render needed help. That is what Soroptimist is about as ‘Best Sisters’. Are there other projects you are car-
When some of the pupils leave secondary school, they may not be able to go to higher institutions of learning. Still, in one way or the other, the reading culture will help them in any direction they may want to take
rying out during your term as president? My tenure will focus on the distribution of books and other materials to schools and tertiary institutions in Lagos. The idea is to create awareness, catch them young and help young people cultivate reading culture. To this end, we shall be shipping in container loads of books from the USA and London to be distributed free of charge to students. Freight of each container load alone is about 10,800 dollars. That’s quite a sum! Where do you hope to get the money from? With God and good-spirited individuals and corporate organisations, we shall attain our goals and aspirations. We need support to make meaningful impact in the life of the girl-child, knowing fully well that when you educate a woman, you’ve educated the whole nation. When did you join the Soroptimist Club, and why?
I joined the club about eight years ago, and as the president of the Soroptimist Club of Lagos, I will steer the ship of the club for the next two years. On why I joined the club, I will say that helping the less privileged is a natural thing with me. Indeed, I was born unto it. Maybe this has to do with my background and childhood. We were raised to render help to the needy. On my part, I started from the Nigerian Red Cross and went on to prison ministry activities where we regularly visited and took food items and other materials to female inmates at Kirikiri. Your background? My father, Late Chief Iman Alhaji Laawal Basil Agusto QC, was the first Nigerian Muslim Lawyer. My mother was Late Mrs.
Nimota Akanke Agusto (Nee Oshobo). I got a Diploma in Accounting from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1976, and thereafter, worked with Akintola Williams and Co. in Lagos. I later proceeded to Luton College of Higher education, Bedfordshire, England, (now Luton University) in 1978 and obtained an Association of Certificate and Corporate AccountingACCA Foundations A and B Certificate in December 1979. I proceeded to the South Bank Polytechnic, London, (now South Bank University) where I obtained ACCA finals 1&11 in 1981. I had brief working experience as the Accountant of Lad Group Company Ltd. and the Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd., both in Lagos, before joining the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation-NNPC in 1983. I worked there until 1996 when I retired to set up my own business. C M Y K
PAGE 22 — SUNDAY VANGUARD , MARCH 10, 2013
How do I approach this angel? Dear Rebecca
am a sixteen year old secondary school leaver, in love with a beautiful, well behaved girl in my school. My problem is that I don’t know how to talk to this girl, and other boys are also after her. Please tell me one or two things I can arm myself with to ease my telling her. Freddie, Onitsha
REPL Y REPLY
t is said that ‘’faint hearts never win fair ladies’ so, you just have to make bold to make this girl know that you like her. However, remember that you have rivals, and she may not want a close relationship with you or any other boy for that matter. I don’t know how old she is, but not every girl who is pursued by boys is anxious to have a boyfriend. She may have other interests at present, like her studies, her religion, her friends, romantic books and music. She may also be under instructions from her parents not to have relationship with boys yet, so that her studies, are not disturbed by romance. Still, you can be just a school friend to her. Start off with polite greetings whenever you meet. Af-
ter a while you can stop briefly for a chat out of the classrooms; asking about her studies and any thing you noticed she is interested in e.g. games, school societies or magazines. Her response would show whether she wants to be friends with you or not. She may accept exchange of novels, religions or pop dvds, or magazines, or she may reject these moves. She may not even bother to respond to your greetings. If this happens, leave her alone like a gentleman. Don’t go about spreading ugly rumours about her because she had snubbed you, and don’t be abusive or hostile. Just accept that she does not want to be your friend. If she shows friendliness, go easy and don’t pledge everlasting love and proposing marriage. Don’t go about saying she is your girlfriend, and monopolizing her time, behaving as if she is your personal property. That would be childish. Let friendliness build up gradually and treat her just like a friend-no kisses, no hugs, no demand for sex. Both of you can be friendly too with other boys and girls. When you are both older, the relationship may turn into romance, or it may not. Only time will tell.
He asks for sex every time! Dear Rebecca
am a 21 year old school leaver. I am in love with a boy. We live far apart and this makes it difficult for me to visit him frequently. The first time he asked for sex, I agreed and we made love. Since last October when this happened, it has become a tradition for him to demand for sex each time I visit him. I don’t like this . Please advise me before I get pregnant. Ethel, Asaba
REPL Y REPLY
f you do not want get pregnant, stop having sex. Say ‘no’ to this man and any man who asks you for sex. Do not make yourself a foot mat for men to wipe their feet on, before they dump you and go to marry a more reserved and disciplined girl. In a romantic relationship do not do any thing you don’t like. Respect your body and don’t give it out any
how, no matter how much in love you think you are with a boy. If sex is all your boyfriend wants from you, stop going to visit him, and tell him the reason why you are doing so. If he ends the relationship because of your refusal, then, that’s okay. You will meet another man who will respect you and ask for sex when he has married you legally. A mere promise of marriage should not make you allow any man sex. He should wait until he marries you. Some men are not serious when they propose marriage. After they have had sex with the girl, they would start a quarrel with her so that they can have a good excuse to leave her. Or, they may just drop her without a backward glance. Unless you’re ready for marriage now, the issue of having boyfriends shouldn’t be your priority.What about further studies or a career? Doing something now that will give you financial independence in future should matter more to you now than boys.
Will this pain always be there? Dear Rebecca
am a girl of nine teen and still a vir gin. Although I’ve tried losing my virginity I always find myself not being able to go though with the exercise. This happened when I was seventeen although I wouldn’t say I was in love with the boy in question. When he tried going into me, I couldn’t relax at all. I had this flash of blood and pain. For some time after this, the tips of my vagina remained pepperish.
Recently I met a boy I love and the same experience repeated itself. I couldn’t go through with it. Although he was very understanding. I am worried that the situation might remain so. I need to talk to you and to know whether to see a doctor or not. Restless, Lagos REPL Y REPLY
hen you say that you’re still a virgin at 19' you sound as if you are odd, or are inferior to other girls. You
Making the body available to any man who is not your husband, for whatever purpose, is not advisable and it earns you disrespect, as those men would not want to marry a girl who they consider a football that has been kicked around by many people
are not odd at all. These days of dreadful sexually - related diseases, and many serious born- again young Christians, young men and women choose not to have sex until they get married legally, no matter the age that is. Some are them get married in their twenties and thirties and they are still virgins. Now, making love for the first time is never easy or smooth for both male and female; just like anything you are doing for the first time. Sex is even more awkward because of the intimacy involved. You’re exposing to another person, something you have been brought up to keep covered and hidden all the time. Then, the act is not exactly something that makes you feel naturally relaxed and carefree, even with someone you love and are used to. It takes sometime to accept the position, which on the part of the woman is like surrendering her body and soul. Then there is the fact that if you are not married and are not using contraceptive, you would worried about getting pregnant, a thing which could disturb your studies or training, and also your future, and which is a risk to your health. Some men reject pregnancy when girls declare they are pregnant for them. All these tend to make some girls tense
during love-making. However, may I ask why you were anxious to lose your virginity? A sensible girl should hang on to it for as long as possible and only lose it in a serious like proper marriage. It is to a girls’s credit if she’s a virgin on her wedding night. That does not guarantee the success of a marriage and it is not what makes a man faithful in the marriage, but there, the body was given legitimately, and after solemn vows either in a civil wedding or a traditional wedding, so you feel okay to give a man your body. Making the body available to any man who is not your husband, for whatever purpose, is not advisable and it earns you disrespect, as those men would not want to marry a girl who they consider a football that has been kicked around by many people; never mind that in order to have their way, they had told the girl they love her, would marry her, etc. when they have ‘tasted’ enough they move on. And others eagerly take their place. The girl would think she’s popular with men, whereas they are only using her to satisfy their lust.Then, there is the risk of contacting venereal diseases. My advice is that you don’t have sex again until your wedding night.
•All letters for publication on this page should be sent to: Dear Rebecca, Vanguard Media Ltd, Kirikiri Canal, P.M.B 1007, Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SUNDAY Vanguard , MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 23
Morality means not getting caught!
RACE is my exwife and Bisi my l i v e - i n - l o v e r, what is conunonly. referred to as the second ‘ wIfe’. Only, we’re not legally marned as I can’t stand the messy details of divorce and it doesn’t help that both of them can’t stand each other.’ Kola, a man of immense wealth and connection can comfortably keep as many homes as he wishes. He continues. ‘Grace and I separated amicably after ten years of marriage and three children. I love my children and they all live in the family house while I moved into another house with Bisi. ‘I loved Grace to distraction when we got married, but somewhere along the line, the passion just fizzled, and I realised I would still want to keep her fiiendship and her wise counselling. Apart from being intelligent and brilliant, she’s a wonderful mum. And those kids! They’re my life. Bisi on the other hand, is quiet and more reserved. I love her in my own way but I told her right from the word go that Grace and the children would always be part of me. At first she
seemed to be alright with our arrangement, but now she’s accusing me of wanting my bread buttered on both sides ... ‘ Like most philandering men, Kola believes whatever would make him happy. He’d quite forgotten under which circumstances he met his beloved ‘quiet and reserved’ Bisi. ‘She’s more of a calculating bitch than quiet’, stormed Rita, the PA of Daniel, one of Kola’s business associates. ‘It is an open secret in the office that Daniel always engages in sexual acts with his female staff but Bisi was his favourite. He lives alone in his Government-funded home where Bisi had a free rein. She was even known to always give Daniel the full Lewisky in the office whenever he felt like one. The creep enjoyed using his position of power for his sexual gratification, and exploiting the vulnerability of much younger female emplyees gave his perverted ego a boost. ‘Apart from being my boss, he was a good family friend. He’d tried to be fresh with me but I always put him in his
place. A few years ago, my husband got a political appointment when his predecessor died. A group of friends gave us a congratulatory party and my husband and I were welcoming guests when Kola showed up. My husband’s attention was briefly distracted and as he came through the door, he pushed me quite forcefully against the wall and put his hand up my skirt. I glared at him but he just shrugged and winked and carried on as if nothing had happened. But from that day, I realised what sort of a perverted creep he was.
‘When Kola met Bisi in my boss’ office and made a play for her, I thought my boss would stop him. But then what would have been his excuse? Both of them were married and womanised freely. What was more, Bisi was getting too possessive and my boss was only happy for someone else to take her off his hands. But when we heard Kola was setting up home with Bisi and leaving his family in their family home, I was saddened. How could he throw Grace over for a trollop? Which goes to show that being too nice
sometimes get you nowhere. And in spite of her new status, Bisi still works with Daniel - and Daniel gets the Lewinsky treatment whenever he felt like. What changed was he couldn ever take her back to his official residence, or that’s what we all thought. ‘Recently, my Boss’ house became due for renovation. In the past, Bisi not only saw to the last (two three-year periodical renewals) she made personal supervisory visits. We thought that would be a thing of the past but no, she again got the go-ahead to su-
pervise the current one. We were all outraged, especially when Kola came to personally thank his ‘friend’ for looking after his woman’s interest. Now the joke in the office is that Bisi would be in a better position to personally ‘test’ all the beds in the house to make sure they’re up to standard. “All these re-cycling of sleeping partners leave you dizzy at times. Now Kola says Bisi is baring her fangs to be recognised a proper wife. I wish he calls her bluff. She’s not only contented to be living with a man who should be with his family, she wants to be relevant and control two ‘homes’ so to speak. At times I get so mad I feel like writing an anonymous letter to Kola. But then what would that achieve? He is obviously besotted with her and the fact that he would lose face if he were to go crawling back to the family home could make him tow her line. ‘I’ve discovered still waters often run deep. Looking at Bisi, you wouldn’t think she was capable of having an affair, let alone, keep two married lovers on a leash’.
and exhale forcefully. Now, with the breath out, draw in the muscles of the abdomen until you have a hollow forming beneath the ribs. The fro movement of the hands should be placed feet going continu- on the thighs and the ally. If you break the knees bent a little. Keep rhythm by hesitat- the trunk a bit tipped foring you rill immedi- ward but don’t lower it. ately fail to keep go- Maintain the retraction ing. You may do as of the diaphragm by few as 5 thrusts and keeping both hands withdrawals of the firmly pressed against feet initially and the thighs as you lean on then increase the them. Keep the position for as number of times as long as can be without you improve. Benefits: The breathing. Then, ease up, stand *The Rocking Rocking toughens the upper thigh and erect and begin to abdominal muscles. breathe normally. ReThe exercise is re- peat only once more if puted to also im- you’re just stating this prove the sound- exercise. As regards this very exercise, Indra Devi ness of sleep. The Abdominal advises gradually bringing it up to seven times Lift Technique: Stand- adding one time each ing with the feet week. Warning: People with a about a foot apart, breathe in deeply weak heart or serious abdominal or circulatory problems Yoga classes at 32 Adetokunbo Ademola, Victoria Island,should Lagos,refrain from this exercise. 9.10am on Saturdays
Tightening the abdominals
OR most people over thirty the ab dominal region gets to be the least toned set of muscles of the body. We work with our hands and walk with our feet, therefore, somehow, those parts are almost always in better shape than the abdominal wall. A trim waistline doesn’t only look impressive aesthetically, it also speaks volumes of the state of health of the individual. Reduce the girth and presto! You instantly look youthful. You will begin to digest your food and absorb it more efficiently. Once the belly is shrunk appreciably, we can then learn to perform certain exercises which can help the system achieve better bowel action - a veritable way f eliminating toxins. As regards exercise, C M Y K
there are countless ways to deal with the bulge of the belly. Some get results from practising ditups, others from legraises and so on. But there are some less familiar practices that deal with flabby stomach a lot more thoroughly. Besides strengthening the muscles of the abdomen, some of these practices can be used for purification purposes along with drinking large quantities of salt water. The following exercise will help trim the waist and keep it so, forever. I have had the same waistline since the past thirty years and I am fifty two now. If yours truly can do it, so can you! All it takes is diligence. Lets consider the Rocking. Technique: Sit with the knees drawn and the hands placed at the back
of the knees. Now, lunge both legs forwards and quickly draw them back and thrust them forth again. Keep this to and
P AGE 24 —SUNDAY Vanguard , MARCH 10 , 2013
When you’re in love, you’ll believe even a serial womaniser!
S your man trying too hard to please you? That’s what Michelle thought when she started going out with Paul. A divorced mother of two, she was satisfied with the arrangement she had with Paul when they became an item. “He worked away from Monday to Friday and we didn’t see much of each other except for the weekend,” she said. “But he made up for it whenever he was around - presents, outings and a lot of sex. He even found time for my kids and they loved him. There was just a snag. Even if he gave me the world, I wouldn’t be impressed. I just didn’t trust him. ‘I always had this feeling he was too smooth to be a honest person. Whenever we were out together, women would constantly come over and chat with him. ‘They’re just friends: he would say whenever I gave him a questioning look. After a particularly frustrating outing, I asked him outright if he was seeing other women. He was outraged. ‘You can’t judge me because you’ve had bad experiences in the past”, he said. “If you must know, I too know how it feels to be betrayed. I was cheated on once by a girlfriend who went with a good friend and I was left feeling hurt. I have come to a stage in life where I just want to settle down. And you’re the woman I want to do that with. ‘ “I felt flattered. Paul was no oil painting but despite not being a hunk, in many ways he seemed the perfect man for me. He was generous and charming and never neglected his duties in the bedroom. “We’d been together for two years when he resigned from paid employment and started his
own business. Now he was around all week, he said I could resign to come and work with him. I refused. His line of business had nothing to do with the skills I’d acquired and I refused to be a kept woman. Before I met Paul, I’d been single for seven years, raising my children alone. I was used to taking care of myself. His generosity merely meant I could relax a bit more from time to time. He must have seen my refusal as a challenge as he asked to be introduced to my family so we could have a traditional marnage. “At that moment, all my doubts melted away and I began to trust him more. A few weeks later, I went over to his flat, intending to stay the night. After the good meal I had prepared for us, we retired to the bedroom and were in a very compromising position when I heard a key turning in the lock. I was alarmed. An armed robber? I looked at Paul and he looked shocked -not frightened. Then a figure appeared in the doorway. ‘Who the hell are you?’ she screamed at me. ‘Paul’s fiancee~’ 1 told her, ‘but more to the point~ who are you?’ she replied: ‘I’m Paul’s fiancee - have been for the past one year. ~ At that moment~ I realised I was naked and panic set in. What if she wanted to make trouble? “I jumped up and grabbed my dress~ pulled it over my head~ stepped into my shoes and ran out of the flat. I had never felt so humiliated - or hurt. How could Paul betray me like this? In the weeks that followed~ he sent me presents and bombarded me with text messages~ begging me to forgive rum. Some of my friends were on his side - no man was perfect~ they said~
and they’d seen worse. 1 was still in love with rum and in the end~ I agreed to see him. ‘I’m so sorry~’ he said~ ‘I’ve made a terrible mistake but you’re the one I love. I don’t want anything more to do with that woman. I told him everyone deserved a second chance. 1 didn’t want to throwaway my emotional investment in the relationsrup. 1 warned rum I didn’t want any more skeletons in the cupboard and he promised to behave. “We resumed our relationship and he seemed determined to make up for his bad behaviour. We divided our time between my flat and his house and saw each other almost every night. He would drop me at work in the morning and he’d often collect me again in the evening. The only tune I didn’t see much of rum was during the day when he was at work. We were together so much there was no chance for him to carry on behind my back. Gradually, I began to trust hun again. Like any couple we had our ups and downs. Sometnnes, we’d argue and I wouldn’t see him for a few days, but then he’d turn up with presents and we’d carry on where we left off. “Months later, I was at a party with friends when I saw a familiar figure ap-
proaching our table. It took a few moments to register who it was - it was the woman who had walked in on us in Paul’s flat - the woman who’d been engaged to him the same time as I was. I was worried that she wanted an argument, but she started chatting in a friendly manner. ‘Did you enjoy your weekend away?’ she asked. ‘How did you know about that?’ She told me: ‘Paul told me. He took me to dinner before you left and texted me the whole weekend you were away. I’m not trying to cause trouble but we were an item for years. Just before you went for your weekend~ I’d been with rum to the same neighbouring country and we stayed at the same hotel. ‘ I was numb with shock. He’d told me he’d gone away with one of his friends. We talked some more and it emerged that Paul had bought us identical clothes and perfumes. He’d even taken her to a restaurant on a Friday night when I was with my sick mum, then taken me on the Saturday night! No wonder the waiters there kept giving me funny looks. That was it. I told him it was over - in a text!
replenish,there lies the answers to my questions. Chiwetalu Sibeudu Emenike, email@example.com
OUR column to express your loving thoughts in words to your sweetheart. Don’t be shy. Let it flow and let him or her know how dearly you feel. Write now in not more than 75 words to: The Editor, Sunday Vanguard, P.M.B. 1007, Apapa, Lagos. E.mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Please mark your envelope: “LOVE NOTES"
My priceless jewel!
You are priceless like the rare jewel and perfect like the dream come true. In your eyes, my dreams
I love you
I will never let go of my love for you. Even when they try to strangle me to renounce my love for you, I shall still say it in tears, in pains, with blood all over me, I love my Angel and she alone will I love. Taking her away from me is taking away my good health. What is life without health? What is contentment without love? A strong sadist, a living corpse. My tears will never run dry if I should ever lose you. I love you. Omorville Umoru
“He kept bombarding me with calls and texts but I told him I wouldn’t get back with him if he were the last man on earth. When one of his persistent calls came through, I answered it~ intending to give rum a piece of my mind. Only, it was a woman on the line. “I’m Paul’s girlfriend,’ she said. “You left messages on our answering machine”. I told her: “We broke up six weeks ago. He wants me to get back with him. She said, ‘But we’ve been together for three months.’ 1 sighed, here we go again. ‘Well, that’s Paul for you,’ 1 told her. “He can’t stick to one woman.’ “I know he had a past,’ she told me snootily, “but he defInitely loves me.’ 1 told her: “You’re welcome to him. You’ll soon find out what he’s like ... “ I’d always had this feeling Paul was up to no good and I still fell for his charms. I should have trusted my female intuition and savee myself a lot of heartache and embarrassment. Red meat is definitely dangerous to your health! ed meat has con tinued to have a bad press over the years, with reports suggesting that its consumption can
contribute towards serious illness. Last year, the British Government warned that eating red meat, particularly processed red meat, raised the risk of bowel cancer. The fIndings of a recent US study were even more worrying, reporting a clear correlation between eating red meat and dying from all sorts of cancers as well as heart disease. Eating too much red meat raised the death rate by 13 per cent going up to 20 per cent when more processed meat was consumed.
ut red meat is also a good source of protein, iron and vitamins, especially Vitamin B12. It’s valuable as patt of a balanced diet - as long as we don’t overindulge. So how much beef is safe? About 70g (2 1/2 oz) is the recommended daily limit for red meat. That’s the equivalent of two rashers of bacon, a burger, a lamb chop, three slices of ham or two slices of beef. Although a portion of spaghetti bologness (140g) or an average-sized kebab (130g), for example, are over that limit, they wont do any harm as part of a valid diet. Just try to eat no more than 500g (17 oz) of red meat a weak. Is there an alternative to eating beef? People who favour white meat, pulses and vegetables tend to live longer. So eating more fish (particularly oily fish), chicken, cereals, beans, nuts and veg instead is a good idea. When you do want red meat, get lean cuts and don’t over cook charred meat has been linked with cancer-causing compounds. And finally, remember that smoking, excessive alcohol, inactivity and obesity are far riskier overall than a juicy steak every now and again.
Spread the love
Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbour... Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting,and that is called.........L.O.V.E."
Chris Onunaku, email@example.com, 08032988826/08052757049
SUNDAY Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013—PAGE 25
BY EMMA UNA, Calabar
wo men, simply iden tified as Benjamin (27) and Michael (24), who admired a 12-yr-old girl (names withheld) and allegedly conspired to rape her, are facing trial. The girl related her ordeal to her uncle’s
her private part showed forceful entry and also showed that she had an infection.” The matter was reported at the State Housing Police Station and Benjamin arrested but Michael initially escaped. A manhunt for the fleeing suspect by the police, however, led to his arrest and arraignment at Magistrate Court 3, Calabar before both suspects were sent to the Afokang prisons to await trial. Barrister James Ibor, a Calabar based child rights lawyer, said rape was an infringement on the rights of the child and amounts to gross child abuse. “The suspects in the matter have to face the law because what they have done amounts to gross violation of the rights of a child”. He said the village where one of the suspects hails from in northern Cross River had threatened to ostracise the girl’s family if they failed to call off the matter. “But that threat is preposterous because the law has to take its course”, Ibor declared. DSP John Umoh, spokesman for Cross River State Police Command, said the police would follow up the matter to its logical conclusion”.
Rapists next door!
Two neighbours accused of carnal knowledge of 12-yr-old girl
wife who then told the husband. The uncle, Mr Collins Odu, quoting the girl, in a first information report to the police in Calabar, said the suspects had been fondling the victims breasts since 2009, but, not satisfied with that, conspired to have forceful sex with the girl on 11 February, 2013 when she came back from school. According to him, the girl attended the morning session of Estate Secondary School so that she could come back early to take care of his two kids. “These young men are our neighbours. Benjamin lives in the next block while Michael is an attendant at a bar adjoining my house,” Mr
Odu said. He said he never knew that the two were secretly romancing his niece and plotting to rape her “in the presence of my two kids in broad daylight”. The uncle alleged that Benjamin and Michael waited for the victim at his residence and, as soon as she came back from school, followed her and pounced on her. “Mike held her while Benjamin raped her; after Benjamin was satisfied, he then held the girl while Mike took his turn,” he said. Mr Odu said they held the victim’s mouth to stop her from shouting. “ The girl reported the incident to my wife when she came back from work and when we took her to the General Hospital for medical examination, the tests revealed that her hymen had been broken and
Benola brings succour tto o cchildren hildren with cerebral palsy By Ephraim Oseji
or AVM Olufemi Gbadebo (rtd) and his wife, Alaba, life has not been the same since they gave birth to their last born, Olaoluwa, in 1996. As concerned parents, they have had to seek to cure their son of cerebral palsy and, later, after years of search and better understanding of the nature of the ailment, find a way for the child to live with the sickness with minimal discomfort. In the course of doing this, Olaoluwa received medical care in Hamburg, Germany from September to November, 1997; New Delhi, India, from January to December 1999; London, England from February 2006 to December 2008; Bangalore, India, March to July 2010; and Bangalore, India from Febuary to March 2011. This points to the fact that since the birth of Olaoluwa sixteen years ago, both parents have been travelling all over the world spending money not only searching for a cure for the ailment of their child, but also how to manage the ailment. No wonder the mother, Alaba, while narrating her ordeal during the launch of BenolaA Cerebral Palsy Initiative, at Point Four Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, lamented the plight of the children of the underprivileged suffering from the ailment. “It has been a long journey. We spent our own money in addition to the funds donated by friends, relatives and kind-hearted people. Even then, we still find it difficult handling the case of OlaoluC M Y K
Founder, Benola, Air Vice Marshal Olufemi Gbadebo (Rtd), his wife, Mrs. Alaba Adeyemi Gbadebo, Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike and Chief Executive Officer, Bright House Group, Mr. Ola Oyelola at the launch of Benola in Lagos. wa. Thus, we began to wonder that if this child was born by those who cannot afford the medical bills or provide the necessary support to make him enjoy the basic things of life, what would have happened to him? Maybe poor parents who have human feelings would try their efforts to provide for him, but, at the end, the child may probably die because they may not be able to meet up with the medical expenses and developmental process. For some other parents, they may abandon the child or kill him,” Alaba, who said they spent 80,000 dollars on Olaoluwa for surgery in India, explained. Many may confuse cerebral palsy with epilepsy, down syndrome and other children ailments that affect the brain. They are dead wrong. Executive Director, Total Health Trust
Limited, Dr Ebun Sonaiye, while delivering a keynote address, entitled, “The challenges of Managing Cerebral Palsy in Nigeria”, during the launch of Benola, defined cerebral palsy as a group of disorders that affects a person’s ability to move and keep his balance or postures as a result of a result of an injury to part of the brain or as a result of problem with development which happened before birth or soon after birth. “The signs of cerebral palsy vary greatly because there are many different types and level of disability. The signs that your child is having cerebral palsy are a delay in reaching motor or movement mile stones. The child always stretches and sleeps by the side. A cerebral palsy child, after twenty four months, may
not be able to walk or talk effectively. If you notice any of these signs, call your doctor”, Sonaiye advised. This was the pain Olaoluwa’s parents went through for sixteen years in an attempt to cure the ailment and manage the developmental process of the child. Consequently, the Gbadebo family took advantage of their visits abroad to interact with experts, care-givers and manufacturers of special needs equipment to see what could be done to improve the quality of life of their son. “What we have come to realize is the fact that, for those living with limitations in this part of the world, there is indeed a very serious GAP, because, in their planning for infrastructure, health care delivery and social welfare, gov-
ernment, and indeed the private sector, often fails to make provision for those living with limitations,” Olaoluwa’s father, Femi, stated.. “The result is that for those born with limitations who manage to somehow survive early death, the quality of existence always fall far short of even the United Nations minimum standard, a situation that could have been different if better care and training had been made available to such individuals much earlier in life”. According to him, Benola intends to fill this GAP by using cerebral palsy as a platform to speak for those living with limitations, raising awareness on the need for attitudinal change by all concerned, being a part of the change process itself and making a case for appropriate legislation that will ensure a proper place for these unique individuals. “Therefore, and after due consideration of the options before us, we have opted to work to raise awareness about cerebral palsy, advocate for early intervention as a tool for better management of developmental delays in pre-term babies and infants, work to establish, as a matter of urgency, a data base of cerebral palsy in Nigeria and other African countries and advocate for inclusive education and the establishment of special needs classes in every community”. Femi said that Benola would advocate for the training and deployment in every community of pediatric doctors, nurses and physiotherapists, occupational and speech therapists, special needs teachers and social workers, trained carers and care givers.
PAGE 26—SUNDAY Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013
More deaths in Delta oil community war Militants By Emma Amaize
HERE must be some thing defective with the line of attack adopted by government and security agencies to tackle the lingering crisis in oil-rich Uzere Kingdom in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, otherwise the bloodshed, which escalated in 2011, should have abated or ceased two years after, 2013. If there is nothing wrong with the approach of the authorities, then, the apparent conclusion is that demons of war have been unleashed on Uzere by the dark kingdom to spill blood on regular basis and some human beings are pawns in their hands. Otherwise, how can one explain the bloodletting and arson, where brothers kill brothers and set property ablaze in the community without any feeling of sorrow? In the beginning In November 2011, no fewer than three persons were killed in a clash between security agents and villagers, who laid siege to the flow station of the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, in the community. About 100 persons sustained various degrees of injuries in the ensuing stampede. The villagers’ grouse was that their traditional ruler, His Royal Majesty, Odhebeodhiwu Udogri I, Ovie of Uzere, was fraternizing with the oil company to short-change them. Escape from death Whereas the royal father strongly denied the allegation, the fury of the protesters knew
walk freely with guns, monarch alleges no bounds, as his palace, guesthouse, wife’s supermarket and vehicles were set ablaze. But for the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in the area, who warned him to run for his dear life, the monarch could have been burnt alive on that day. Trouble with SPDC Uzere, home to some 50 oil wells, is the second community, after Oloibiri in the presentday Bayelsa State, where oil was discovered in Niger-Delta. The people, who were angry that Shell was foot-dragging in the signing a Global Memorandum of Understanding, GMoU, with them, blamed the royal father for the delay situation. At the Shell flow station where the mayhem started, two patrol vehicles belonging to the police were burnt and another vandalised. About 30 charred motorcycles of the protesters, allegedly torched by security agents in retaliation, also littered the roadside near the flow station. The house of a female police officer, an indigene of Uzere, accused of firing the teargas that provoked the violent reaction by the youths, was also vandalised. Uduaghan’s response Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, responded by sending security agencies to the troubled community to restore peace and, later on, a judicial commission of inquiry, headed by Justice Sylvester A. Ehiwario, was inaugurated, January 2102, to look into the crisis and advise government on the way forward. The government’s response saved the situation from
His Royal Majesty, Isaac Udogri...war against the palace
degenerating. Because of the extensive damage to his palace, the monarch, Udogri, went on self-exile in Warri and the commission, which sat in 2012, had since submitted its report to the state government. As the commission was sitting in Warri, the opposing faction in the community, claiming that Udogri had abdicated his throne, based on his absence from the kingdom for about three months at the time, installed a parallel traditional ruler. Parallel royal father The state government could not take it. The police declared the royal father, Henry Etuwede III, wanted. He was purportedly installed on June 9, 2012 but
Woman empowers 69 By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja “IF I was not picked up, I would not have been where I am today,” Mrs. Rhoda Bassey, the founder and co-coordinator of Vantaged Teens Centre, VTC, Abuja, stated in an emotion laden voice at the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the centre. Mrs. Bassey who, despite her challenges in her growing stage that forced her to go into petty trading so as to get money to pay her school fees, has today trained 69 teenage orphans that dropped out of school with skill acquisition in different fields. Meantime, the Director General of the National C M Y K
because of the manhunt for him, he went into hiding. Udogri returns Udogri returned to Uzere on the advice of government after the commission completed its assignment. He returned, July 2012. He was treated to a colourful reception in his palace by his subjects. Addressing his subjects on that day, he pledged to promote unity, harmony and peace in the community. The monarch described his re-instatement as a testimony of the people’s confidence in him and his ability to give the community a qualitative leadership, pledging to unite all aggrieved persons in
Directorate of Employment, NDE, Mallam Abubakar Mohammed, has promised to collaborate with the VTC in the area of skill acquisition and creation of jobs to the vulnerable people in the society. Speaking in an interview after the empowerment programme in Abuja, the co-coordinator said that what had made her to attain the position she was today was her determination and focus in life believing that God can do everything if one remained steadfast and committed. Bassey, who came from the family of 13 children, said she decided to go into petty trading to pay her fees in secondary school, while a Good
the kingdom. Fresh crisis However, peace has remained a mirage in Uzere. About a fortnight ago, five persons were killed again and 10 houses, including the temporal palace of the monarch, razed. Gunmen were said to have invaded the community killing one Omojoli ldolor, a security guard to Etuwede 111. A source said irate youths regrouped for a reprisal attack and killed one of the gunmen, while another was severely wounded and the house of one of their alleged sponsors razed. Retired army officer behind crisis- Monarch Addressing reporters in Warri, the monarch said, “What is clearly discernible is that there are some persons in the community motivated by personal interest and sentiment that will stop at nothing to hijack power and authority in the land”. Giving an account of the crisis, he said, “Prior to the 2011 general elections, a top army officer (names withheld) sent some emissaries to my palace with a view to luring me to support his candidate, who was contesting into Delta State House of Assembly. “My refusal to yield to their request on account of my position as a father to all may have angered the general. “I strongly believe that the negative utterances and attitude of the general towards the palace thereafter are tied to my refusal to endorse the candidate. “I am sure that was when he launched a total war against the palace. Since then, we have not not known peace in Uzere community. Several lives have been lost while properties worth millions of naira have been wasted in the land.”
Samaritan took up the payment of her tuition fees at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. Apart from those 69 indigent people her center had trained and empowered, Bassey, every year, attracts the Rotary Club to render humanitarian services to the people and, at the 5th anniversary of VTC, 25 orphans were given school bags, sandals, uniform and books and their fees for one year were also paid by the Rotary Club of Apo and Wuse. The DG of NDE, who was represented by the FCT Coordinator, Mohammed Shuibu, said the NDE in FCT will be ready to collaborate with the centre to train more people thereby reducing unemployment in the system.
SUNDAY Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 27
‘My lover is my worst enemy’
By Simon Ebegbulem, Benin-City
oney is indeed the root of evil. Or why would a lady lure her lover all the way from Spain to fleece him? Ada Joy Okafor, 28, was repatriated from Spain about a year ago but really wanted to go back to the European country. She solicited the help of her Spanish lover, Jose Anthonio Murili Turrilo, to secure a visa. Meanwhile, Ada began another relationship in Nigeria with 25-year-old Kenny Oyewmina. In February, the lady invited her Spanish lover to Nigeria and was lodged in a hotel in Benin-City where Ada and her Nigerian boyfriend also lodged. Subsequently, Ada allegedly found herself under pressure from Kenny to fleece Turrilo. Each time Turrillo was set to go to the bank, Kenny would arrive as the cab guy to drive them to the bank. The Spanish soon found out that he was held allegedly captive by Kenny and Ada when he was asked to withdraw all the money from his domiciliary account else he will not leave Nigeria alive. Turrilo allegedly acceded to their demand until he emptied his domiciliary account. When the suspects allegedly found out that he had no money anymore in his account, they were said to have told him to communicate to his sister in Spain requesting her to send down 2000 Euros. The victim put a call across to his sister but, rather than asking for money, he narrated his predicament in their native Spanish language unknown to the suspects. That was how Ada and Kenny landed in police net. Edo State Police Commissioner, Mr Foluso Adebanjo, who paraded the suspects in Benin City, said they were arrested after the Spanish police contacted the INTERPOL in Nigeria which, in turn, contacted the state police command. According to him, “after we received a phone call that Murili Turrillo was being held captive in a hotel, my men swung into action and the Spanish man was rescued while the two suspects, Okafor Ada Joy and Kenny Oyewmina, were arrested. Investigations revealed that the female suspect lured her Spanish lover from Spain to Nigeria and he was made to withdraw all the money he had in his domiciliary account. When the two suspects discovered that their victim had no money left in his account, they forcefully asked him to call his sister in Spain to send 2000 Euros to them before he will be allowed to go back to Spain. It was the sister who contacted the Nigeria INTERPOL which then contacted us here. We have handed the victim over to INTERPOL while the two suspects
Lady dupes boyfriend after luring him from Spain Suspect drugs Facebook friend, rapes her
The victim, Turrilo
Ada (l) and co-suspects Kenny will face prosecution”. When asked why she did what she did, Ada told Sunday Vanguard: “It is the devil. I just don’t know what happened. The man is my boyfriend while I was in Spain; so I actually wanted him to help me get a visa so that I could go back to Spain. He actually wanted to help me but I don’t know what happened that we collected all his money. I never intended to hurt him because he is my lover but devil used us to cause this prob-
lem now. I feel sorry for what I did”. The police, in a case similar to the Cynthia Osokogu incident in Lagos, also paraded 19year-old Iyen Osahon and Esochukwu Okorie, who allegedly drugged a 16-year-old girl before raping her in an hotel. The victim claimed to have known Osahon through Face book but that the suspect lured her to the hotel where she was raped.
Anguish as rainstorm sacks 5,000 By Emma Amaize
INCE penultimate Saturday, it has been anguish in Akwukwu-Igbo, headquarters of Oshimili North Local Government Area ofDelta State, where rainstorm rendered over 5,000 persons homeless and destroyed no fewer than 200 houses. A two –year –old child, Agilga Okafor, and her mother was struck by the storm which started around 5.00 pm. It was as if the forces of nature particularly chose the community for the attack, as none of the neighboring communities was affected by the storm. The rainstorm, which pulled off the roof of the mortuary of the General Hospital, Akwukwu-Igbo, did not also spare the dead. Traditional ruler of the community, HRM, Obi David Azuka, whose palace was damaged, told Sunday Vanguard, “It was a calamity that befell us, we have not seen this kind of thing before in this town.” A medical personnel said, “There is fear that the corpses in the mortuary will be exposed if there is rainfall now and we expect government to act fast to avoid an epidemic.”
*Hospital walkway’s roof blown off A source said, “Six persons, including a woman who was unconscious, a pupil with laceration from Madona Comprehensive School, Akwukwu Igbo, were rushed to the General Hospital, Akwukwu Igbo, but many
of the victims, especially those with broken hands legs and hands, decided to go to traditional medicine practitioners.” Mrs. Okafor and her son were initially taken to a traditional doctor before they were taken to the General Hospital, on Monday, two days after the disaster. However, the state government has intervened by sending the Commissioner for Special Duties, Chief Tony Nwaka, to the community. Obi Azuka confirmed the visit of Nwaka and the chairman of Oshimili North Local Government Area. His words, “The commissioner said he was sent by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan to assess the situation and promised that government would assist in rebuilding damaged property. The chairman of the local government council also said they would assist.” Besides the mortuary of the General Hospital, Akwukwu-Igbo, our source said the doctor s residential quarters theatre, laundry, general out-patient department, GOPD, walk way, female ward, chief nursing officer’s flat, plant house and pharmacy were affected.” Managing director of Haalimonwo Ventures, Akwukwu-Igbo, also affected by the storm, Mr. Jude Amaize, said, “There is practically no household in the community that was not affected by the rainstorm, this is a terible mishap and we call on the relevant authorities to come the aid of the people”.
28—SUNDAY, Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013
Fanfare ffor or OBJ @ 7 6 76
t was a gathering of the nation’s glitterati on Tuesday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, for the 76th birthday of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The glamorous celebration which was a four-in-one package kicked off with the presentation of the outcome of the Regional Summit on Women and Youth in the Promotion of Cultural Security in Africa, followed with the book presentation; thereafter, prizes were presented to winners in four different types of competitions. Many eminent personalities graced the occasion. Photos by Wumi Akinola
Pa Gbinije’s first year remembrance It was fanfare all the way and a family reunion of sort when the family and children of Late Hon. Chief Pa. Gbinije (Okpagha of Okpe Kingdom) came together to hold the first year remembrance of their patriarch. Notable dignitaries from Delta and State and beyond, including a host of the State Government’s functionaries graced the occasion to pay their honour to the late man and commemorate with the family.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (celebrant) cutting his 76th birthday cake, while left Professor Akin Mabogunje (l), Mrs Bola Obasanjo (r) and others look on.
L-R: Chief Bobson Gbinije and their Matriarch, Chief Angela Gbinije.
L-R: Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Prof. Dipo Akinkugbe and Alhaji Ahmed Joda.
Mr. Jim Ovia, Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State and Mr. Donald Duke, former Gov. of Cross River State
Chief Bobson Gbinije and Chief (Mrs) Angela Gbinije, welcoming the Chiefs from Okpe Kingdom
R-L: Prince Bola Ajibola, Oba Gboyega Dosunmu, Olowu of Owu and Chief Doja Adewiolu.
R-L: Dr. Akunyili Chike, Professor Dora Akunyili and others.
Funeral rit es ffor or Johnson Egbelughe rites The final burial rites for late Mr. Johnson Egbelughe took place in Ekapn, Delta State and it was an occasion for family reunion and merriment as the children of the deceased gave their father a befitting burial. One of the children is Edirin Egbelughe, a Vanguard staff.
From Left; Mrs. Edith Egbelughe, Edirin Egbelughe, and Mrs Efe Duku, all children of late Johnson Egbelughe C M Y K
Mrs. Edith Egbelughe (5thl), Mr. Victor Gotevbe (6thl), Admin Manager, Vanguard Media Ltd and other Vanguard's staff
L-R:Miss Gloria Gbinije, Mrs Juue Okoigun and Chief Matthew Gbinije
L-R;Oghovese Gbinije and Friend.
SUNDAY VANGUARD, MARCH 10, 2013 —29
10th memorial pra or Oba Oy ek an prayyer ffor Oyek ekan
he Iga Idunganran palace of Oba of Lagos, was a beehive of activities on Thursday when the Royal Families to the throne of Lagos gathered for a special prayer for late Oba Adeyinka Oyekan, the 22nd Oba of Lagos who ascended to the great beyond in 2003. The Chief Host is Oba Rilwan Akiolu, the reigning Oba of Lagos, who extended his hospitality to all and sundry who graced the prayer session at his palace. Photos by Akeem Salau
L-R:Senator Bode Olajumoke,Alhaji Aminu Idris Yaro, SarkinHausawan,Lagos with Oba Rilwan Akiolu ,Oba of Lagos And Oba Babatunde A.Lawali ,Onigbanko Of Igbanko
L-R:Oba Babatunde A. Lawali,Onigbanko Of Igbanko, with Oba Rilwan Akiolu,Oba of Lagos and Oba Mobadenle Oyekan,Onilado Of Ilado. L-R:Engr Tayo Williams,Senator Bode Olajumoke, Chief Segun Osoba and Prince Ademiju Adekinte Oyekan
L-R: Princess Adebopo Oyekan,Prince Ifalade Oyekan, Oba Mobadenle Oyekan, Onilado of Ilado,Olori Oyekan Olumegbon and Prince Adeniran Oyekan
L-R:Oba Rilwan Akiolu, Oba of Lagos, Aremo Kolawole Oyekan, first son of late Oba Oyekan with Oba Babatunde A. Lawali Onigbanko of Igbanko and Oba Idowu Abiodun Oniru of Iru Land, Victoria Island
L-R:Alhaji Femi Lawal,Captain Wale Oke, Chie f F.B A Coker and Chief Dr Bolagi Kuti, Sonmori of Lagos.
Consecration of ne w Bishop ffor or Lagos W est new West
L- R: Mr Toyin Oke, outgoing Rt. Revd. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi, Bishop of Lagos West. New Bishop Rt. Revd & Mrs James Odedeji, Bishop of Lagos West
L- R: Chief & Mrs Segun Osunkeye with Deputy Gov. of Lagos State, Mrs Joke Orolope- Adefulire C M Y K
t. Revd. James Odedeji has taken the baton from retiring Rt. Revd. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi as the Bishop of Lagos West. The consecration took place on th Sunday, February 24 2013 at the Cathedral of St. Jude, Ebute-Metta, Lagos . Two other Bishops consecrated on same day are Rt. Revd. Simeon Borokini, Bishop of Akure and Rt. Revd. Geofrrey Okoroafor, Bishop of Egbu. Many eminent Nigerians graced the occasion. Photos by Diran Oshe
L- R: Mrs Ugoeze Okereke and Chief (Mrs) Ndidi Okereke- Onyiuke
L-R:Senator Bode Olajumoke, his wife, Mrs Remi Olajumoke and Prince Ifalade Oyekan
Sun A ward Aw MR Andy Onwere, Assistant Sales Manager, Owerri Branch of the Sun Newspaper has bagged the ‘Best Sales Manager’ for the period under review.
Mrs Funke Egbemode, Sunday Editor, Sun, handing award to Mr. Andy Onwere, Asst. Sales Mgr, Owerri Branch
By SONI DANIEL, Regional Editor, North
meka Wogu, lawyer and politician, has set a record in the political history of Nigeria, as one of the youngest Nigerian politician from his state to head the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, a post that the first and last person from his Ngwa Ethnic Nationality of Abia, Dr. Jaja Nwachukwu, vacated over 45 years ago. Today, Wogu takes the punches on behalf of the Nigerian government, as the one who mediates between Nigerian workers and the government on several burning national issues without looking back. As a deft technocrat and mediator, Wogu, in this interview, explains how he has largely succeeded in stemming the tide of incessant strikes and protest by organised labour in Nigeria through consultation and negotiation, a development that has ultimately created goodwill, understanding and support for the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. Excerpts:
What have you done to keep incessant strikes by labour at bay? Well, what I can say is that the relationship between government and labour is cordial. We achieved that cordiality through serious effort in promoting social dialogue and partnering because in labour administration there is this doctrine of tripartism, which involves Nigerian Employers Consultative Association, NECA and government and labour on one side. It is a doctrine propounded by the International Labour Organisation, ILO. It is equally further deepened and furthered by the support I get from Mr. President, Goodluck Jonathan, who is respecter of the Rule of Law, who believes that it is better to dialogue than to jaw-jaw. The encouragement I get from the President has equally helped me to sustain good ideals of labourgovernment relationship and over the years, as Minister of Labour, I have a good serious discussion with labour leaders and others and we always agree that it is better to dialogue over issues that affect the nation and workers than to fight and flex muscles. As a rule I have put in place as a minister, we are always interfacing with labour in Nigeria and they also realise the need to discuss with us what bothers them with a view to finding an amicable solution. This has led to a drop in the frequency of strikes and disruption of work and productivity in the country. Moreover, I am pursuing a paradigm shift in the Ministry of Labour and Productivity from the usual adversarial approach to labour issues to developmental approach, which seems to have caught the fancy of the labour people and then the observance of the Rule of Law and the insistence of the government that the laws must be obeyed by both sides no matter whose ox is gored, has endeared government to labour. That is why we are making progress and we are using the institutions set up by law, like the Industrial Arbitration Panel and the National Industrial Court of Nigeria to arbitrate in most of the cases when consultation and mediation would have failed at the level of the ministry as provided in the C M Y K
MARCH 10 , 2013
How weâ€™ve stemmed the tide of strikes in Nigeria, by Wogu of Service, Steve Orosanya, and I to go and look at the workers demands and do something about it. We than entered into negotiation with the workers and at the end of the day, we came with a recommendation that the salary of federal workers be increased by 53.46 percent and when you translate that into the lower and upper limit, it came to N17,500 and that was before the minimum wage came into effect. But still, we still pursued the pan-Nigerian workers welfare-pan Nigerian in the sense that it has to benefit all Nigerian workers. We worked with the Minimum Wage Panel headed by the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Alfa Belgore. So we computed everything and it amounted to N18,000 that became the National Minimum Wage. The Federal Government has paid its workers to the letter, some states have paid but others are yet to pay in full. There are places where you have partial implementation and so on. That is for the public sector. The National Minimum wage has a proviso that if you employ from 50 persons and above you have to implement the national minimum wage for workers.
ut university staff are still edgy in spite of the fact that other public workers have become wary of strikes and protests? Well, there are agitations by ASUU and others. These are centred around the agreement that was reached in year 2009 between the government and the labour unions and ASUU. That followed a period of strikes that lasted several months by ASUU. Then we have been able to discuss with them. A committee was set up and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is leading the mediation. We still discussing with them.
Wogu...if you employ 50 persons and above, you have to pay minimum wage
Labour Act. Your have made some progress in the enactment and payment of national minimum wage to Nigerians. But there are still pockets of employers and state governments yet to comply fully with the law. What is the government doing about that? Well, the National Minimum wage Act is an Act of the National Assembly, which means that it applies to all parts of the country. It is an item in the Exclusive List of the 1999 Constitution. But the main issue is before now, what was the minimum wage? It was a mere N7,500. It took the intervention of Mr. President to push through a new national minimum wage because of his love and concern for the overall welfare of the Nigerian workers. Mr. President has through that law done what no Nigerian head of state has done in a very long time. No Nigerian leader dead or alive has so identified with the Nigerian workers like him. You will recall that on May Day 2010, Jonathan attended the workers celebration at the Eagle Square. That act really endeared him to the Nigerian worker because that day he stood with them, marched
It took Mr. Presidentâ€™s interest and intervention to improve the welfare and social security of the Nigerian workers that he initiated through my Ministry, the Employee Compensation Act, which he immediately signed into law
with them, took the salute, interacted with them to know their grievances, read the placards carried by the workers and even took back some of the placards to his office to study and identify what the workers were looking for. At the end of the day, there was this strike by Federal workers that was already going on when I assumed duty as the minister. They were asking for a pay increase and other things. The president then directed the then Head
What have you done to boost productivity and the welfare of Nigerian workers? As a ministry, we presented before the Federal Executive Council, the first ever national policy on productivity, the first by any administration in this country. It was discussed and approved by FEC after approval by the National Economic Council, which involves all the state governors. They all welcomed the idea because the President wanted a National Policy on Productivity so as to boost the economy. What does the National Productivity Policy entail? The policy is aimed at increasing national productivity because before now, there was none in the country. There was dwindled productivity in all sectors, and this impacted negatively on the national economy. The model produced has been accepted by the government and it is being put to use Continues on page 31
Vanguard , MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 31
‘There is an Employee Compensation Act now’
hat about job creation for t e e m i n g Nigerians roaming the streets with certificates? Does your ministry still create jobs? Well, the truth is that the
and engage Nigerians. And between the time it came into effect between 2011 and 2012, several hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created. No fewer than 200,000 jobs have been created by that process. This is without prejudice to the jobs created by other sectors. The SURE-P and other are also generating thousands of jobs for Nigeria. Then because Mr. President is desirous of tackling unemployment, which is a global problem, and because
They are saying that they were not carried along in the calculation. Let me answer that question in three ways. First, there was an agreement between the government and labour and the heads of agreement were noted down and signed. At the end of the day, those agreed portions will definitely be monetized. Secondly, there are agencies of government involved in the calculation. The central body that plays a central role in the whole process is the Bureau of Public
I see myself as a change agent and without sounding immodest, I have done a lot to change the way things were. The records are there and I would want others to talk about them
Wogu...work place injuries are being compensated of the council and the approval of Mr. President the National Policy on Employment Creation, NAPEC. It identifies about 15 sectors of the economy where jobs could be created and in that policy, there are provisions on how to achieve
and a national productivity day has now been set up by the government all in a bid to give meaning to the new policy. The idea is that since we have a motivated workforce, we need to put in motivation in place to boost productivity in both the private and public sectors. I have also set up a new department in my ministry to measure productivity measurement and some states are already keying into it, asking us to come and open offices for them. Workers compensation is still a problem in Nigeria in that some are injured and some even die on their duty posts without being compensated adequately. What are you doing about that? Sadly, the Workman Compensation Act is an archaic law and is no longer being used in most Commonwealth countries. But it took Mr. President’s interest and intervention to improve the welfare and social security of the Nigerian workers that he initiated through my Ministry, the Employee Compensation Act, which he immediately signed into law and even set aside seed money to the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund to manage. The NSITF was even before now moribund. But it has been revived. That agency and the parastatal under me are doing very well. Unlike before, work place injuries are being compensated promptly by the employers because of the renewed policies and programmes we have put in place. Right now, the Inspectorate Department of my ministry has been reposition to undertake effective and routine monitoring and supervision of work places to ensure that the workers are adequately protected and compensated in case of any injury or accident. They are also mandated to ensure that work places are not only conducive but are also safe so that people are not injured or wounded in the course of their operations. The implication is that we are trying to minimize work place injuries. The point is that we have a social responsibility for the welfare of our workers. All these have been done between 2010 when the President assumed office and now.
aspect of job creation was taken off our ministry. But what is important is that there is a provision on the Exclusive List of what we are expected to do. The Federal Civil Service Commission is in charge. But we are entrusted with the responsibility of coming with policies that are articulated in such a way that employment would be created through such policy. One recent policy of the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, which I took to the FEC and got the support
Continued from page 30
of our peculiar situation, he has set up a standing committee on Job creation and I am chairing that committee and we are charged with the responsibility of finding ways and means of reducing unemployment in the
They are also mandated to ensure that work places are not only conducive but are also safe so that people are not injured or wounded in the course of their operations it. The Federal Government is pursuing the implementation of that NAPEC policy and it has created jobs in various sectors already. As a follow up, we came up with another one called the Local Employment Content Initiative, which has made it compulsory for ministries and departments and agencies of government, which are embarking on contracts and projects to declare the number of jobs that are to be created
country. We have been given a marching order by the president. So everybody in the cabinet is involved in job creation. The National Bureau of Statistics is a member of the committee and the total number of jobs created will be released at some point. How did the Federal Government arrive at the sum of N384 billion for the payment of severance benefits to PHCN’s workers?
Procurement, BPE. There is an implementation Committee that is working on the matter. The reason for putting an implementation committee in place is that where there are issues of complaint, it can look at the issues. Already, we are planning to meet with labour to discuss it. The committee is still doing its work and that the announcement should have come after the committee might have completed its work. The point is that there is an implementation committee and that the issues should be handled at that level. That implementation committee is being chaired by Minister of State for Power. It is an all-embracing committee and labour is aware of it. How do you feel being Minister of Labour? Are you excited, challenged or afraid that the whole issue of labour in Nigeria is being put on your shoulder? I feel honoured that I was invited by Mr. President to join his team, just like any other Nigerian would feel when invited to serve the nation. My prayer is that God will give me the wisdom to continue to do the right thing. And I am very grateful to Mr.
President for giving me this opportunity. It is indeed, a rare opportunity when you look at where I come from. I come from the Ngwa Ethnic stock of Abia State and the last Minister to come from that part of the country was late Dr. Jaja Nwachukwu, who was the first Speaker of the House of Representatives and Minister of Foreign Affairs and later became a Senator in the Second Republic. He left cabinet at about 1965 or thereabout. I was born in 1965 and I became the second minister to be appointed from the Ngwa area of Abia State in 2010 and so for 45 years we did not have any minister from that part of Nigeria. And I have the support of the state where I come from, the support of the people and the governor of the state. They are most grateful to Mr. President for giving the post not only to the Ngwa stock but to Abia State.
nd then being a minister of labour comes with its challenges but every ministry in any country comes with its challenges and responsibilities. So I am facing my own challenges and responsibilities with a lot of dedication, honesty and determination to make sure that the Transformation Agenda of Mr. President works. We are doing that as a group, it is teamwork and the entire ministers are on their feet to ensure its success. We are looking at tomorrow and the future and Mr. President insists we must bequeath a better place to Nigerians, where power will be constant, where the infrastructure is working. And these are problems of many decades. Nigerians should be patient because Mr. President is actually working hard to fix these problems once and for all. The problem is that a few Nigerians want to criticise everything even though they don’t even know that the government has done and is doing. This action has led to so much misinformation in the public domain. I give kudos to Mr. President for being courageous enough to come with a transformation agenda. You know that it is painful when you are building, transforming and all that but it must be done and it is being done. So we plead with Nigerians to support him. What would you like to leave as a legacy at the Ministry of Labour? I want Nigerians to remember me as part of the team that contributed a lot to development of the country. Initially when I was asked to come and served, I was looking at what positive impact I could make within a year or so. I see myself as a change agent and without sounding immodest, I have done a lot to change the way things were. The records are there and I would want others to talk about them. I cannot begin to praise myself. My work will speak someday.
PAGE 32—SUNDAY VANGUARD, MARCH 10, 2013
The road to a viable national carrier, by Fadugba *Says
Nigeria has a record of failures in aviation
BY KENNETH EHIGIATOR
the face-off between the NCAA DG and the National Assembly not send wrong signals to the international community? It will be very dangerous for Nigeria to politicise the aviation industry. Now I am not privy to all of the information that the Senate may have. However, I want to say that I have utmost confidence in Dr. Harold Demuren. What he has done has been to transform the industry on the regulatory side and to transform the perception of Nigerians abroad. United States Federal Aviation Administration, International Civil Aviation Organisation, International Air Transport Association have all paid tributes to him for what he has done to transform aviation in Nigeria. And, therefore, I believe it will be wrong now that we have C M Y K
A gory scene of plane crash. When will this stop?
Nick Fadugba the Dana Air crash, very unfortunate and tragic, to call for the head of Dr. Demuren. But I want to commend the Senate for the interest they have expressed in the aviation sector because it is a long time since we had a Senate with a lot of interest in aviation; but let us not politicise what we have, let us not call for heads to roll unnecessarily. Let us not push Dr. Demuren out of office unnecessarily. When his time has come under the rules, he goes and we respect him for what he has a c h i e v e d . Let us not send him packing for any alleged irregularity that has not been proved. What does this do to Nigeria to push out the most successful person, internationally recognised in Nigerian aviation industry’s history? I have a lot of respect for Dr. Demuren; I have a lot of respect for the Senate, but what I am saying is let us calm outbursts down, let us look at the aviation sector objectively, let us not rush to judgement, let us not unnecessarily tarnish someone’s image who is well respected globally. So I don’t support any call that he should be removed from office due to the Dana accident. Why has the aviation industry in Africa in general been b a c k w a r d ? The most pressing issue facing the African aviation industry today is safety. We lag far behind the rest of the world in aviation safety; efforts are being made by African governments and aviation bodies to enhance safety on the African continent, but the fact is that we still lag far behind. I am pleased, however, that following the
conference in Abuja recently, African countries, including the African Union, committed themselves to improving aviation safety. That is the first priority for Africa. People in Africa must feel that they are being flown from one point to another safely, efficiently, reliably and affordably. I believe that steps are on the way to enhance safety in Africa. Secondly, the issue we face in Africa is lack of cooperation among African airline operators. If you look around the continent, you have more than two big airlines: Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways, Egypt Air, Kenya Airways, Royal Air Maroc ,etc. The remaining ones are small,
Nick Fadugba, publisher of one of the world’s most authoritative aviation magazine, is perhaps one of Nigeria’s few exports to the aviation world. His deep understanding of the workings of the aviation industry worldwide informed the need he had yet remained Africa’s voice in global aviation interface, the reason most airlines on the continent consult him before buying outright or wet-leasing aircraft for their operations. Fadugba’s intervention has led to the release of several aircraft operated by African airlines seized by lessors in Europe, America and other parts of the world due to inability to honour financial obligations. Aircraft manufacturers, engine makers, lessors and MRO centre operators across the world fall over themselves to be part of his annual MRO conference which he rotates from one African country to another. He does this to promote the level of awareness among airline operators in Africa about current trends in global aviation. On the sideline of the justconcluded MRO conference in Addis Ababa, Fadugba spoke on a variety of issues in world aviation, especially as they affect Africa and Nigeria. To him, no private airline has the capacity to be national carrier in Nigeria. Excerpts:
airlines are now coming into Africa, to operate domestically and regionally; an example is Fastjet Airlines backed by Easyjet in Europe. What we are facing is that African airlines are facing huge competition on the long haul, and now they are going to face competition internally in Africa. And you can be sure that the passenger in America or Europe, he wants to book on an airline in Africa from point A to B, from Lagos to Johannesburg for instance, if he sees a non-African owned airline in Africa vis-a-vis an Africa airline, I am sure because of the safety record and other factors, they will patronise the nonAfrican airlines. That does not
The government must raise the bar in terms of the financial capacity of airlines in Nigeria. They must have the capacity to run sound, safe and profitable airlines
weak, under capitalised, lack the depth of management and capability to the drive the growth of the airlines they are running. What we are saying is that for African airlines to ensure that they improve their market share in Africa, at least for now, they have to come together, work together, cooperate, attain economies of scale; which means they need a critical mass of size, fleet, traffic, etc to be able to compete effectively with the Middle East and European airlines that are gaining market share in Africa. 78 per cent of long haul traffic out of Africa is carried by non-African airlines. That is not acceptable, but that is what the situation is today. If you add to that fact, foreign
mean I am against Fastjet or other airlines. What I am saying is that the African airlines have another chance now, perhaps the last chance, to work together or, one by one, they will fall by the way s i d e . How do you assess the airline industry in Africa? Over 20 years ago, we had Nigeria Airways, Ghana Airways, Zambia Airways, Air Afrique, Air Zaire, etc. Where are they today? They have all gone. They are now history. We do not want to see more airline casualties in Africa. If we take Nigeria as an example, if you look at airline casualties in Nigeria, it is probably one of the highest in Africa. Now, everywhere I go in
the world, people say,’ Nick, Nigeria is a strong powerful nation, a rich nation by Africa standard, a well educated nation by Africa and even global standard’; Oxford, Harvard Cambridge, MIT; there are more Nigerians than probably any other African country. We have the market, the intelligence, and the resources and yet we have not been able to optimise the aviation and airline industry in Nigeria. Now, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to find out what is the problem in Nigeria. And the problem is when you compare with Ethiopia Airlines, you find out 100 per cent commitment to the country first and yourself second. So, in Ethiopian Airlines, when they set out to run an airline, they are not thinking of personal gain; they are thinking of driving the country forward. Every Ethiopian talks with pride and passion about how to drive the airline. Even those who have retired are still passionate and are still backing the system. And Nigerians can learn from this because we cannot afford to allow the aviation industry in Nigeria to continue to remain backward because air transport is too vital for economic development. We have a large country skies wise; and we have roads, rivers and railways that are not really meeting the needs of the people; and, therefore, air transport is very crucial and critical to the economic development of the Nigerian state. And I want to implore the Nigerian government to please focus more efforts on the aviation development. I believe the government is very committed to the aviation development. I have met the Minister of Aviation and I think she is truly committed and I want to commend her for the airport development projects. I have inspected the airports in Lagos and Abuja. They have material development. However, I will urge the Minister and her team to visit South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco, just to look at the infrastructure; they far exceed in terms of quality of what we have in Nigeria and I can’t understand it. So what the Minister is doing is a wonderful job, but we still have a long way to go. In summary, what must the government do to improve the sector ? One, no political interference in the NCAA. We must not turn it back to the old days. So we must have an independent NCAA. Two, the government must raise the bar in terms of the financial capacity of airlines in Nigeria. They must have the capacity to run sound, safe and profitable airlines. Three, government must ensure sound Continues on page 33 aviation
SUNDAY VANGUARD, MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 33
‘1,450 new jobs created in the maritime sector’ terminals, oil drilling, and tankers, focuses heavily on safety and training of its highlyskilled staff as well as sustainability. What are the details and statistics of Maersk Nigeria trade update in 2012? The traditional commodities, which included electronics, cars, food items, chemicals, machinery and paper among other goods covering industrial needs and private consumption, remained the dominant items imported into Nigeria in 2012. The Trade Report also indicated that agricultural products such as cocoa, cashew nuts, sesame and cotton dominated the list of containerised commodities exported from Nigeria . We see very few finished products being exported from the country.
The export market is subject to harvest conditions and global market prices, but we foresee an increase of 8-10 per cent in 2013
Mr. Jan Thorhauge The 2012 containerised import market to Nigeria is estimated to have ended at 383,000 FFE (forty foot equivalent units), which following the significant 22 per cent increase observed in 2011 over 2010 - would represent a relatively marginal year on year 4 per cent growth. The East Nigerian market outperformed West Nigeria in terms of growth in percentage terms. While the first half
of 2012 saw the import market remain above the 2011 level, this changed during the second half of the year where volumes dropped and for the last five months of the year were consistently below the same period in 2011 Maersk Line maintained its position as the leading shipping line into Nigeria and combined with its sister company, Safmarine, command an estimated 38 per cent share of the import market and 32 per cent on the export
market. On Nigeria ’s trade balance, the containerised market in the country continues to be strongly dominated by imports. Since 2007, the import/export ratio has remained at around 92 per cent import versus 8 per cent export. At 7.8 per cent in 2012, this was however the lowest export ratio recorded during this period. Nigeria will be able to positively influence this ratio if obstacles such as unreliable power supply, poor road and rail infrastructure are improved.
What is Nigeria ’s position in the area of sourcing? In terms of sourcing, Nigeria still imports most of the containerised cargo from the Far East and China in particular. Also, the sourcing patterns have not changed fundamentally in the last five years, though imports from Europe are seeing a downward trend. What is your expectation for 2013 fiscal year? Our expectations for the 2013 import market are conservatively optimistic because we expect the market to grow by 6-8 per cent. The export market is subject to harvest conditions and global market prices, but we foresee an increase of 810 per cent in 2013. Forecasting in general in Nigeria remains a challenge and 2013 is no different. The market development will as always depend heavily on unpredictable macroeconomic factors as well as stable oil prices and oil production, security issues in Northern Nigeria, stability in Eastern Nigeria and the rate of exchange fluctuations for the Naira.
Nigeria has a record of failures in aviation Continued from page 32 infrastructure in N igeria, probably
through public private partnership because I don’t think government has the resources to develop the airports on its own. Four, we must put a greater emphasis on aviation training. Five, we must place emphasis on maintenance, repairs and overhaul with the facility preferably in Lagos where the business is so that we can drive the efficiency of aircraft operations. When you look at Nigeria, you have more and more modern aircraft coming, aircraft that can operate round the clock; and yet due to lack of basic things like airport lighting, the aircraft cannot operate efficiently. Who do you blame? You can’t blame the airlines. We must all work together; government, regulators, service providers, airlines, to move aviation f o r w a r d . Why did the plan to form another national carrier, Virgin Nigeria, after the demise of the Nigerian Airways, fail? W h e n Virgin Nigeria was formed, I was not in
favour of that particular business plan because I believe it was not advantageous to Nigeria. Here we are, we sold 49 per cent of the national carrier for about $24.5m. If I put a widebodied aircraft on the Lagos-London route, I can make more than that in a few months, and yet we gave half of the national carrier to a foreign airline (Virgin Atlantic) that was already enjoying the market in Nigeria. And we gave them five of the most lucrative routes for seven years as part of the package. I actually wrote to President Olusegun Obasanjo at that time to express my concern that the deal was not in the interest of Nigeria. The reality was that I thought that the airline would not survive, and it did not. If you take a very close look at Nigerian airlines, you will discover that virtually none of them has good corporate governance. What would you advise on this? Most of the airlines in Nigeria are privately run. It is a family business, it is a private business. So they have their own corporate
governance which we cannot question. If we are talking of the government airline, then we can talk of corporate governance. But the way you run your own business, whether you succeed or fail, is almost your own business. But because Nigerian airlines are flying the
In line with the policy of the Federal Government to enhance rapid economic transformation through job creation and influx of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, one of the leading terminal operators in the country has created 1,450 jobs in Nigeria and 10,000 in Sub-Saharan Africa. The company is also investing a huge sum of $2.1 billion in 22 new ships, specially designed to visit West Africa ’s shallow-water ports. The Managing Director of Maersk Nigeria Limited, who is also the Head of the Central West Africa Cluster, Mr. Jan Thorhauge, speaks on the commitment of the firm to reposition the shipping sector in the country. Maersk Line, which accounts for 14 percent of all global container trade by sea, emerged from a pricing war in 2012 after making a US$553 million loss in 2011. The largest division within the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, representing 44percent of total group revenues of $59 billion in 2012, posted a profit of US$461 million in the face of alltime high bunker prices with the second half performance improving thanks to significant cost reductions and rate increases. AN you give us a brief background details about Maersk Line activities in the shipping industry? Maersk Line is investing US$2.1 billion in 22 new ships, which are specially designed to visit West Africa ’s shallow-water ports. The company transported 183 million tonnes of cargo in 2011, which is the largest container carrier in the world. The Maersk Liner business include Safmarine, which has 33 per cent share of the container shipping market in Sub-Saharan Africa. For instance, A.P. Moller-Maersk Group has about 10,000 employees in SubSaharan Africa and 121,000 worldwide with about 1,450 in Nigeria. A.P. Moller-Maersk is present in more than 140 countries around the world. The company also engages in oil and gas production, towage and emergency services at sea, logistics, container
BY UDEME CLEMENT
We must all work together government, regulators, service providers, airlines - to move aviation forward
travelling public, I believe we need to say something. It is a tough job to run an airline. I respect those running airlines in Nigeria. The margin is minimum; so they deserve commendation for even trying to run an airline. But any airline in
Nigeria which is undercapitalised, underresourced in terms of management capability; lacks training, lacks technical resources or commitment or plan should be grounded immediately. I believe the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority should rigorously enforce financial rules and regulations for airlines in Nigeria. We have heard about financially distressed airlines (not in Nigeria yet) which cut down on training, maintenance, etc. We do not want this to occur in Nigeria. And, therefore, I strongly advise the NCAA to audit airlines in Nigeria on monthly basis. In the United Kingdom, the UKCAA actually publishes the financial situation of airlines. You have to report, whether monthly or quarterly, to the CAA. Whether it is traffic statistics or financial aspect, you have to do this. We should do the same in Nigeria and Africa. Every airline in Nigeria must be IOSA certified. I believe in Nigeria, what we need is not many airlines but just a few good airlines; strong airlines.
Why are Nigerian airlines not merging? This is not a problem peculiar to Nigeria. It is an African problem. We had the Organisation of African Unity; what was it all about? Unity. Now has the African Unionunity? We talk widely and freely about cooperation and coming together and meanwhile we are not doing a lot. If you look at the European Union, you discovered that the OAU and AU had been there. But when you look at Europe, it is almost like a single market, aviation wise. Meanwhile, Africa is just like 54 countries, with weak economies, so many of them, small airline industry; they don’t have the critical mass; they don’t benefit from economy of scale. So when you see it, it is an African- wide problem and then we zero in on Nigeria. My experience with Nigerian airlines is that they are reluctant to work together,and yet, individually, they cannot succeed to the level that we require. And, therefore, the Nigerian government has to
Continues on page 34
PAGE 34—SUNDAY VANGUARD, MARCH 10, 2013
NEXIM: The burden of transformation
N a world that is increasingly defined by economic strength at the individual and national level, it is now imperative to recognize the institutions that make national economic growth possible and, by extension, the individuals that drive the institutions. For Nigeria, such institutions include the Nigeria Export and Import (NEXIM) Bank which has the responsibility of being an Export Credit Agency (ECA), a role that has seen it offer support to Nigerian exporters who need to raise capital for their businesses. While the bank has been playing its role dedicatedly since it came into being via an enabling Act in 1991 that made it replace the Nigeria Export Credit Guarantee & Insurance Corporation, it is now making more impact under the stewardship of the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Robert Orya. Upon assuming office in August 2009, Orya inherited a loan portfolio of N14.6billion out of which 71% was nonperforming. He wasted no time in calling for a review of the status of all the loans and acted
BY PHILIP AGBESE
After sorting out the bad loans which resulted in losses and aggressively recovering other debts, as early as December 2010, the management has turned around the institution’s loss and reported an audited profit of N189m
professionally thereafter to put the bank on a sound footing. After sorting out the bad loans which resulted in losses and aggressively recovering other debts, as early as December 2010, the management has turned around the institution’s loss and reported an audited profit of N189m. Orya’s stint at NEXIM has seen him introduce innovations on how the bank does business. One of such is the drive to boost investment in the non – oil sectors that are crucial to driving export. As recently as November of last year, the MD revealed a partnership with the Export
Mr. Robert Orya
Credit Bank of Turkey to explore additional offshore financing for the bank and the people it services. The thinking expressed by the NEXIM MD was that such move would drive employment and boost foreign exchange earnings. His tenure has also seen the bank able to present a balance sheet that secured lines of credit from the African Export Import Bank, the Export Import Bank of India in addition to being able to collaborate with the United States Export Import Bank. Under his leadership, NEXIM has intervened and opened up sectors whose exports previously had no
value added. An example of this is the agricultural sector where the bank undertook its Greenfield projects that have grown to the extent of being on the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s list of top 100 exporters in the country. The bank facilitated as much as N23.3 billion to support exporters, particularly small and medium enterprises, SMEs, between 2009 and 2012. Orya’s touch at NEXIM has seen the financial institution excelling in other areas as evident in the $61.5million Sealink project that aims to boost maritime trade among members of the Economic
Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The confidence that the MD brought to the bank’s image is already yielding fruits as the shareholders – the Federal Government and CBNinjected fresh capital into the bank in addition to offering other forms of support to strengthen the institution. As confirmed by Orya himself, improved performance at the bank has led to the declaration of dividends to shareholders for the first time since 2003 when dividend was last paid. Today , NEXIM , thanks to the management team under Orya, has moved up from just another institution to be one of the bastions in the quest to grow Nigeria’s economy by diversifying the country ’s revenue base. The banks activities to promote non-oil earnings are yielding impact which has in turn made the bank to be corporately visible to citizens and businesses. It must be mentioned that Orya was able to take NEXIM to its new heights despite the distraction constituted by persons sponsored to sabotage the work of the bank internally and barrage of attacks from the outside. *Agbese is the Director, Centre for Good Governance Peace and Media Advocacy.
Nigeria has a record of failures in aviation encourage the airlines to work t o g e t h e r . Can the Nigerian government do what was done in the banking sector consolidation by raising the b e n c h m a r k ? Yes. I believe that is it. We have to raise the financial bar in Nigeria such that anybody getting into the airline business must have the financial resources; training; etc with a minimum fleet of XY, aircraft size, aircraft age, technical agreement, etc. All these should be overseen by the NCAA. We need tougher regulation of the airline industry in Nigeria. We need to raise the bar. Gone are the days when you make some money in shipping or oil and gas and then you want to float an airline. No! We must move forward. If you get into the airline industry, you must do it with the full commitment and energy needed to do properly. We do not need any fly-by-night airline. Those days must go. I agree that the bar must be raised. If we can do it in the banking industry, why can’t we make it in the airline industry? Nigerian is planning to establish a private-sector driven national carrier. Do
you think this will help Nigeria own a formidable carrier? I am concerned about whether the private sector in Nigeria has the capability to provide Nigeria with the national carrier that we need; because Nigeria Airways unfortunately folded; it was officially shut down by government in 2004, although I disagreed with government on that politely. I disagreed because I was a witness to the turnaround of Kenya Airways way back in the 90s, having visited the airline in the 80s. And I saw an airline that was in a worst shape than the Nigeria Airways. And yet the government of Kenya committed the resources, commitment and the determination to turna round the national carrier, they recognised the importance of a national carrier for national development and, therefore, they did not take the easy option of closing it down, they took the tough option of turning it around and I believe this is what Nigeria should have done with Nigeria Airways. And I was very unhappy because Nigeria Airways had all the requisite in a way; lacked cash of course but had the history which we could have built on as an
heritage. Since Nigeria Airways was folded, we have not seen emphasis on training. Of course every airline in Nigeria is training but not with the emphasis of Nigeria Airways. Every individual airline now is competing for its benefits, but
Continued from page 33
The government we understand is making plans for the purchase of 30 aircraft for private airlines. This I believe may be well intentioned but needs different packaging, a re-thought
not necessarily for the benefit of the country. I don’t question the integrity of the airlines in Nigeria, I question whether they have the capacity to build an airline that Nigeria needs; that is why I say government should support a privatepublic partnership in which government cooperates with the private sector to form a national airline that we can be
proud of and which will perform the functions that are necessary of a national airline. For example, I believe that many airlines in Nigeria lack the financial means, fleet, training and resources to really get up to the level required to compete with the international airlines. It will take them many many years. The government is talking about a national carrier. I am not privy to what the government is discussing internally, but I have not seen an open discussion or a debate, I have not seen a blueprint yet. We are all waiting anxiously to see the blueprint. But I will like to implore the Federal Government of Nigeria to ensure that Nigeria has an airline that we can all be proud of, and that drives economic development, whether we bring all the existing or some of the existing airlines together. Don’t forget that Asset Management Company of Nigeria, by default, virtually owns most airlines in Nigeria. I believe personally that AMCON should convert all the debts to equity which they are already doing with Aero for example; in which way AMCON then becomes the shareholder (de-facto) of the
Nigerian airline industry. And then you can merge the airlines, you can maximise the resources they have and, of course, being government driven, you can reach where we want to be with a strong airline. But I am not sure whether AMCON has really reached that point, but, right now, I know AMCON plays a decisive role in the aviation industry and I know Mr. Chike-Obi is really committed to rescuing the aviation industry in Nigeria. However, we have seen an intervention fund that was misused. The good intentions of the government with intervention fund don’t materialise. Nobody knows where the money is today or whether it will be repaid. That is not good for Nigeria. The intervention fund failed to achieve its objective. The government we understand is making plans for the purchase of 30 aircraft for private
airlines. This I believe may be well intentioned but needs different packaging, a re-thought. I want to assure the government and the Minister that I am fully behind what is being done but it should be tailored to ensure that it succeeds.
Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 35
AR L L O D M I L L I O N CH MAKER T WRIST-WA
n a c n a i r A Nige y n a d e succe e h t n i e r whe e r i A s i r h C — d l r o W
Says hard work pays
I was secretary, salesman, manufacturer all rolled into one Introduced D’banj to Snoop Dogg the film and TV world, his pals include Will Smith, Bruce Willis, Adrian Brody, Eva Longoria, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey and Clint Eastwood. In this interview with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR , (icirnigeria.org ), Chris Aire speaks about his early struggles in
fter weeks and months of try ing to track him, an opportu nity came last week. This is the story of Christopher Airemiokhai Iluobe, otherwise known as Chris Aire. The adverts of his products that run on cable networks globally do not bear any linkage to the humility that of his persona. After leaving Nigeria at the age of 17years in 1983 for greener pastures abroad, Chris Aire has done well for himself. The jeweler and exotic watch maker, artist and designer, has as buddies some of the biggest names in American music, film, fashion, entertainment and sports industry. “He is called the Iceman on account of his trading in diamonds and other precious stones with which he has bedecked many of his superstar friends. Aire will qualify as one of the early prophets of the bling bling culture, a hip hop inspired phenomenon referring to the wearing and accessorizing of flashy, dazzling, sometimes outrageous, often outlandish jewelry. In a world where the bold, big, flashy, loud and even outrageous are a fashion statement, this Nigerian kid has created a niche for himself in the risky jewelry business and, in the process, made a fortune for himself. In music where he once tried his hands out in his early days in the US, his friends and clients include Rihana, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Jay Z, Nelly, Usher, Celine Dion and 50 Cents. In
When we first came out with the watch, the Aire Traveler, the basic model was $4,600. Then we had the diamond model that was $6,000 to $7,500. Then we had a $22,000 watch and later a $50,000 watch and the million dollar range
America and how he switched from acting to exotic jewelry-making. Excerpts: What does the Aire in your name mean? Is it Nigerian? Yes it is Nigerian, a derivative of my
Ishan name. The full name, Airemiokhai, is a derivative of two Ishan words, “Aire,” which means “drawing close” and “Okhai,” meaning “greatness.” So it means “drawing close to greatness.” I decided to adopt my middle name and cut of the second half first as a mark of my independence at that time and, since I was going abroad then, to make it easier for people to pronounce. I was born Christopher Airemiokhai Ilu-
obe. Growing up must have been tough; can we get to know more about you? I was born and raised here. I left in December 1983 before I turned 18. I was born in Ivue - Uromi previously Agbazilo Local Government Area. It was Bendel State at that time but now Edo State. I grew up in the village and then attended Immaculate Conception College in Benin. After college, I went to work for my father. I graduated with distinction from high school so he figured that I would be able to run his business. My father had an oil business that I helped to run for about a year and a half before I traveled abroad. You were so young and ran such a big company? I was, but I was able to run the company efficiently. Our head office was on Sapele Road in Benin and we had haulage trucks all over the country. We had about 100 trucks that transported diesel and petrol all over the country. My father (Pa Iluobe) was a very successful businessman. He was into oil and building materials. He had a factory that produced galvanized roofing sheets. He was also into farming, exporting cocoa and palm
kernel. He actually gave me my first lessons in business. If you were doing so well why did you decide to go abroad? My dad and I were very close growing up and he challenged me several times. But there was this particular time he did that and I decided that it was time to take him up on the challenge which is why I took the decision to be far away from home and his assistance and to use my middle name as my surname. The challenge was that I couldn’t make it without him and his name. And looking back if I had remained with him then, I believe that I would not have made it without him. Was the America you arrived in what you expected it to be? No it wasn’t as I had imagined when I arrived, partly because I went to Memphis in Tennessee, in the south, which was still pretty segregated. It was not what I expected and I told myself I would rather return home than stay there. So I left Tennessee and moved to California. How did you survive? It was hard. I started by flipping burgers to put myself through college. One of the things that was ingrained in me back in Nigeria was the need to be educated. So in America, I struggled to get a bachelor’s degree. That was my first goal. I met other Nigerians there who told me that the best jobs a Nigerian could were guard jobs or fast food jobs. That was how I started working in a fast food restaurant. But I soon decided it was not for me and that I could do better. You were also going to school at the same time you were working? Yes. I would go to school from 9 am to about 4 pm or 5 pm, go home to rest and then go to work around 10 pm till 6 am. I did that until I graduated college. It was really tough. Here I was moving from running a major company to having to virtually work myself to death. But I am intractable and a very focused person. When I decide to do something I keep at it. But there was a time I really thought seriously of coming back home when it got unbearable. I thought of coming home for one summer but then it didn’t work out. Now, how did you get into the jewelry business? I always had a love for jewelry and knew that jewelry was also a profitable business and wanted to ultimately invest in it. I had hoped to create a successful career in the entertainment industry in the USA and invest the money I made into the jewelry business. You wanted to be an actor? Yes, my degree was in acting and directing. But what happened was when I finished college it was impossible for me to go into acting. If you were not connected you could not get into the acting business at the time and I wasn’t connected. When I realised that I could not break into it, I put a group together and started making music. Our brand label was Raw Silk. We did that for a few years and then broke up and I went solo and started doing my own thing. I actually got up to number 8 on the American Street chart once and had a video on BET. Back to your involvement in the jewelry business? Well, I talked to a friend of mine about my interest in the jewelry business and his father happened to be a jeweler. This was
during my foray into music. One day his father called me and asked me if I was really serious about pursuing a career in music because it was not taking me anywhere. He invited me to come and
Chris with Usher C M Y K
Chris with 50 Cents
learn about the jewelry business since I was always yapping about investing in one. He
Continues on page 36
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Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013
A Nigerian can succeed any where in the World — Chris Aire Continued from page 35 said at least I would have a job and be earning some money while waiting for my big break. I thought it was a good idea and started working for him. It eventually became a fulltime thing. I started sketching unique jewelry pieces for him and that was really how I started to re-apply my creative skills into designing jewelry. I apprenticed under my friend’s father for six years and then started my own company. How did you start your own company? I worked for him for six years and I had been able to save $5,000. That amount in starting a jewelry company was absolutely nothing. But what happened in those six years was that I met a lot of high net worth individuals within the jewelry community. The jewelry business is a very small community. We all go to the same shows, hang out together. So, working for him gave me a platform which catapulted me into the game. Unbeknownst to me, people had watched me for six years and had an insight into my character. They knew I could be
ow did you start with $5,000? The $5,000 was just enough for me to rent a small office space where I was my own secretary, designer, salesman, manufacturer and everything rolled in together. I
started in 1996 with that small amount of money but the goodwill I had built was what pushed me over the edge. What exactly did you have to do? I did all the designs and since I had befriended so many people in the business, I approached somebody with a manufacturing facility that would help me with the gold and other raw materials to extend credit terms to me. I then produced the pieces, put them in my bag and hawked them to the people I thought would buy them. I was given about 30 days to sell pay off my creditor. I would sell the pieces and repeat the process. What gave you that real break in the business? The turning point for me was when I met Gary Paton. He used to play for the Seattle Supersonics. That year they were playing the Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs. I knew Gary was going to be staying at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Marina Del Rey, so I went early and waited for him to show up. I waited for a few hours and when he finally showed up, I walked up and talked to him in the middle of the press frenzy. I will never forget how gracious he was. I had never met him before. I just walked up to him and introduced myself and my business. He put his arms around me and pointed to his body guard and asked me to talk to him and exchange addresses and phone numbers. I stayed in touch with them after the playoffs. In the summer they were in Miami and invited me over to show them the stuff I had and I went over. When I got there he gave me an order for $50,000. What exactly did you sell to him? A bunch of gold and diamond basketball pendants. He bought for himself and his friends. It was a big order at the time. The interesting thing is that I had maxed out my credit card making that trip and if he hadn’t bought anything it would have been difficult for me to go back home. But it was worth the risk. Apart from him, I met a number of other people on the trip with whom I later did business. Our clientele cuts across business, entertainment, Sports and so on. When I first started it was mostly entertainers. Do you ever get carried away, being this
Chris with an American movie actor
trusted and that I was a serious minded person, this made it easier for them to take a chance on me.
I was shocked when I came back home to do business and my name started being dragged through the mud. What happens is that many people come from a position of lack and poverty which drive them into wanting to pull successful people down
young Nigeria making it big, and hobnobbing with superstars? Sometimes I still pinch myself because I have been very fortunate. I consider myself lucky. Everything I have done I can only say is by the grace of the Almighty God. You were away from Nigeria for a long time. What made you come back? When I left Nigeria the idea was to go and study, better myself and then come back and apply the knowledge here, but the people who came back returned and told us how horrible it was. So coming back home was the last thing on my mind at the time. Also, the things that we were getting popular for in the USA were not your standard run off the mill designs. They were cutting edge and a lot of people did not understand it. They used to ask who would wear a clock? I could never have come home at that time with the pieces I was making. When I left, Nigeria was a conservative place. We were used to small flat wrist watches. So I never thought there would be a market for what I was doing in Nigeria. As I got older, I started rethinking because most of the raw materials I use come from the African continent and most Africans are exploited and never really given the opportunity to add value to our raw materials, I decided it would be good to come back and set up something that would start to change that. So I started thinking of coming to set up here and contribute in my own way and share the knowledge I have accumulated in the United States. But I
didn’t come to Nigeria right away. I went to Sierra Leone and Conakry, Guinea, and then gradually started coming to Nigeria. We set up the jewelry Boutique at Transcorp Hilton. Where and how do you source you raw materials from, particularly diamonds? We deal only in blood -free diamonds. Some of the raw materials like semi-precious stones and precious stones we get here in Nigeria. We have investment interest in mines in and outside Nigeria and we get some of our gold and others materials from there. You see, blood diamonds are diamonds that fund wars and conflicts. Sierra Leone has been peaceful for quite some time, but there are diamonds in Canada, and there is no war in Canada. There are beautiful diamonds in Australia and there is no war there. Most of the yellow diamonds are from Australia. Some of the best diamonds are from Africa - South Africa, Botswana, Angola, and many other places. Apart from jewelry you also went into wrist watches and other products. Can you tell us more about your businesses? When I started I didn’t have much money so I started with what I felt most comfortable with which was bridals – designing bridal rings and accessories and expanded into other areas later. But I felt restricted and I couldn’t express myself much. I wanted to serve a clientele of artists, actors, celebrities and people like that who had different tastes, certainly not conservative. So I started creating these pieces my peers called
“crazy designs”. But I always went out and sold them. By the time I had built up a big clientele I realized that they were looking up to me for direction in terms of the design of their jewelry and so I started recommending other brands to them. One day I woke up and said I was going to create something that was mine and present it to them. I created my own brand of watches and put it out and it sold out within two weeks and people were sending me their Rolex watches to trade it in for the Chris Aire watches. How much was it? When we first came out with the watch, the Aire Traveler, the basic model was $4,600. Then we had the diamond model that was $6,000 to $7,500. Some were $22,000 each and the most expensive one at the time $50,000. But today we have watches that sell in the million dollar range. Looking at some of the stuff you have
done, it takes an utterly crazy person to do them? You call me crazy? (Laughs). Yeah, I get called that sometimes. Most of my clients are my friends now. When you are in the public eye you become extremely suspicious of people. Most celebrities are guarded. I misread this when I was starting out. I didn’t know it was a protective shield. I thought they were just being jerks because I would walk up to some of them and they would look down on me like I was a thief or something. As a Nigerian, I have an innate sense of pride but I had to swallow that pride because I had to eat. And that is why I say I was lucky. Imagine if the first 100 people I walked up to had told me to go to hell. It would have been a different story today. Has being a Nigerian even worked against you abroad? My belief is that if you do not feel comfortable or confident in your own skin, everything will work against you no matter where you are from. Yes I am a Nigerian, a black man and I am proud of it. What my story has shown is that a Nigerian can make it anywhere in the world. Nigerians are great people. We are hardworking and immensely blessed by God that is why Nigerians excel wherever they go. It is a high risk business. And you have been in the US for a long time. Have you ever been scammed? And have you also ever had any problems with the law? I have been in America for 30 years now. And I have been in a business of trust. But I have never had any run with the law and I have not had any problem with anybody. You know the jewelry industry is replete with stories about quark jewelers. We have been very fortunate and have not been involved in any controversies; thank God! I would prevaricate if I tell you that I am not aware of the international community’s perception of the Nigerian brand. I know most people think that a lot of us cannot be trusted and there is a strong argument in favor of that. My take on that is that you cannot indict a whole group of people based on the actions of a select few. This is why I always let people know that I am a Nigerian, because even though some people have given us a bad name, not every Nigerian is a conman. As far as being scammed, I wouldn’t say I have been scammed in the US but I have lost money in Sierra Leone and Guinea. I have not had any problems in Nigeria.
aving made it outside this shores there are many young Nigerians who would look up to you as a role model. In what way are you giving back to society, in building up our youths, for example? I think it is a privilege to be in my position and I do not take the responsibility of giving back lightly. But on a serious note, that is one aspect of my life that I do not make too much noise about. But what I can talk about is I have tried to give some of our young ones the kind of opportunity and exposure that I have enjoyed. I was the one who introduced D’banj to Snoop Dogg and orchestrated the deal with the collaboration. I have also worked with Duncan Mighty and a host of other guys helping to strengthen the Nigerian entertainment community. And none of it was business. I never got a dime from helping any of them. You said you had invested in mines in Sierra Leone. Do you have similar investments in Nigeria? Yes we have some investments in Nigeria as well. We support small scale miners in the country from whom we source some of our raw materials use in some of our products in our Transcorp Hilton Hotel Boutique. Do you have a factory here? No not yet. We are working on it but we need to get our electricity and other things sorted out first. That is a disincentive to investing in Nigeria isn’t it? I think it is a very import one. I am told that the government is working round the clock to fix it. There are other discouraging factors. I have been extremely encouraged by the support that we have received from majority of Nigerians in our efforts here, but there are a few people who are grounded in negativity that they believe the only way to excel is by bringing others down.
Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 37
t m a e r d r I neve e h t g n i e b of kiimni,gparamount ruler of Ede –T
BY JIMOH BABATUNDE
C M Y K
Oba Lawal...I didn’t see myself as a prince
’Sango Festival has nothing to do with being a Muslim or a Christian’ God for he has a way of doing things and has a way of preparing one for the future. He has actually used the teaching to prepare me for this position”, he said. “As a teacher, you are an administrator, a counsellor, an arbiter, you are everything. So, God has used the profession to prepare me.” Explaining his sojourn in the profession of teaching, the Timi said that after his Higher School Certificate (HSC) examination at Ogbomosho Grammar School in 1974, “ due to the shortage of manpower in the school system then, I was employed as a
again as a teacher by the central school board in Ibadan and was posted to Baptist High School, Ede, my Alma mater. I started there September 1981 and two months later I left for further studies in Bayero University , Kano , where I studied mathematics and library studies with second class upper degree”. For the love of the teaching profession, Oba Laminisa returned to Baptist High School, Ede after his first degree in 1984. “So, I started by teaching career again. I was in Baptist High School from then till 1987/88 session before being posted to
Few eyelids were raised in the ancient town of Ede in Osun State when he was announced as the 13th Timi five years ago. The expectation had been that someone from one of the five major ruling houses was going to be chosen as the town’s paramount ruler, but, according to Oba Muniru Adesola Lawal, Laminisa 1, God threw him up from a minor ruling house. Born into the Laminisa ruling house of the late Bariyu Abefe Lawal and Alhaja Akanke Lawal, who hailed from Ile Imole compound. Oba Lawal, who grew up in his maternal family ’s compound, never thought of being an Oba while growing up and, as such, never used the title ‘Prince’. He explained that his stay at his mother’s family house could be the reason he never knew that the Laminisa family had been added to the other five ruling houses by a panel of inquiry set up to look into chieftaincy issues in the then Western Region by the Jemibewon administration. “I happened not to have stayed in our family house and so, I did not know that the Laminisa family had been added to the other five ruling houses. “You know there were five ruling houses in Ede before General Jemibewon set up a panel of inquiry to look into chieftaincy issues in the region, it was then that the Laminsa ruling house was added in the declaration as one of the ruling houses. “And since I was not raised in the family compound, this was not known to me. In essence, I am saying I never dreamt of being a king”. Oba Lawal added “There were many princes in Iree where I taught, but I never for once called myself a prince while there.I need to quickly make a correction here because some people are now saying that someone who never called himself a prince or dreamt of being a king now became one.They have forgotten the work of God who knows all things and makes who He wishes a king. We might be looking at this person being a king and God will look the other way. So, I will say that my being on the throne as the 13th Timi of Ede is the work of Almighty God.” Looking back to his formative years, Oba Muniru Lawal said his career as a teacher prepared him for the position he is occupying today. “I want to thank
I need to quickly make a correction here because some people are now saying that someone who never called himself a prince or dreamt of being a king now became one.They have forgotten the work of God who knows all things and makes who He wishes a king
teacher by the central school board in Oshogbo and posted to Timi Agbale Grammar School, Ede, where I started my teaching career. There I taught students mathematics, chemistry and physics. “I was there from 1976 to 1978 before going to Adeyemi College of Education where I read mathematics and chemistry education. I completed my NCE in 1980 and did my youth service in Borno State in 1981. “After my NYSC, I was employed
Moremi High School in Ile Ife which is a university town; there I did my Master’s in Business Administration. After my MBA, I asked for transfer and was sent back to Ede to teach at Oba Laoye Grammar School. I was there between 1990 and 1992",the monarch said. “As God will have it, the first Executive Governor of Osun State, Isiaka Adeleke, converted the satellite campuses of the then Ibadan Polytechnic at Eruwa and Iree to full
fledged Polytechnics. It was there I was appointed as lecturer 3 in November 1992. “At Iree, I taught mathematics where I rose to the top which is the senior principal lecturer/ chief lecturer. I was given the chief lecturer in 2006 before this opportunity to be an Oba came in 2008.” Oba Laminisa 1 said being a teacher was quite different from being an Oba, explaining that as an Oba you cannot go out and do what you like. “ Everybody calls you baba baba, which was a big problem to me in the first year. I always feel it as an insult to call my father ’s age mates by names, but that has been the tradition. The tradition believes no matter how aged you are, you can’t be above the Oba.” As a custodian of the people’s culture and with his background as a teacher, are there things he will like to change in the culture of the people. He answered, “Culture should not be static, it should be dynamic. For every culture, there are those things that are good and those that are bad. I can’t say one needs to change something suddenly, but if a particular thing is bad, God has a way of eliminating such. “There are some of our cultural beliefs that are very good that are now being eroded by Western culture and there are some that are bad that have gone into extinction, so, I want to let you know that God has a way of taking care of things. Those things that are bad in our culture will naturally fall out. But that is not the case with the Yoruba language which is to a large extent about being eroded by foreign languages. We need a lot of work in this direction as everyone now tends to gravitate towards foreign languages. We as traditional rulers and custodians of the people’s culture should do more work so as not to allow our language
Continues on page 38
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Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013
I never dreamt of being the King Continued from page 37 (Yoruba) to go into extinction. “As a principle, I don’t speak any other language in this palace except Yoruba language. The other traditional rulers in Osun State here are taking efforts to make the Yoruba language richer.” The Oba explained that as part of his efforts to protect the culture and tradition of his people, he has tried in the last five years of his kingship to promote the Sango festival and others in the face of opposition from religious leaders. “You cannot remove the seat of Timi from that of Sango and that is why Sango has been one of the major traditional festivals that we celebrate. In the last five years, I have tried to rekindle the dampened lights of this festival. “People will testify that I have done a lot to promote the festival, but Islamic and Christian religions have been affecting the festival. If anything happened to an Ede person, he will shout’ Sango Timi’ in those days. We believe Sango is part of Ede and Ede is part of Timi and that is why I have been trying to promote the festival again. “People believe once you celebrate this festival that you are no longer a Muslim or a Christian, but I am a
People will testify that I have done a lot to promote the festival, but Islamic and Christian religions have been affecting the festival
Muslim and I know my relationship with God. So, I have tried to raise the standard of the festival so as to attract people from far and wide”. He noted that there is bound to be clash between tradition and religion, “but you as a traditional ruler, you are a father to the Muslims, the Christians and the traditionalists.” The monaech went on :” So, you are a father to all. With this in mind, you know, you will give everyone his due. That has been the bedrock of my success as I give unto Caesar what belongs to him. “The origin of Timi itself is Sango and one should not allow religion to blind fold him as to close his eyes to the traditional worshippers and the culture of the people. I know I am going to give account of my stewardship for all the religious beliefs of my people in Ede before my creator as their burden is on me.” Being a traditional ruler of an urban town like Ede has its own challenges and the Oba admitted this much when
he said “everything and development centre on land. The issue of land has been the most challenging issue in Ede in the last five years. “My people are looking for developmental projects in the town, but all these projects involve land and the people are not willing to give up their land. My challenge has been how to allow my people to willingly give up their land for development of the town. “There are many projects that are coming into the town and these projects will not be sited in the air but on land, so I want to implore my people to let us work together as one for the development of Edeland. “My aspiration is to see Ede land become a financial hub and a place where people will live comfortably and a place where people from all over the world will want to visit.” While explaining that the traditional stools are important for good governance in the country, he does not want constitutional roles for the traditional rulers because of what happened in the past. “You know before the advent of the Europeans, the Yoruba had their system of governance. The old Oyo Empire had the Alafin as the traditional ruler with the Oyomesi acting as check and balance. They had standard ways of making people to become one. But when the Europeans came and met this standard ways of doing things, they introduced the divide and rule system. The parliamentary system that was once practised here gave room for Obas to be appointed as ministers, commissioners and given political positions. With what happened under that arrangement, you will not advocate for traditional rulers to go into politics. Then there were traditional rulers whose salaries were reduced to one penny because of their involvement in politics. “Obas have enough work to do, especially those of us who preside in towns where the people still have faith in the traditional institutions. In my palace here we sit from Monday to Friday from 8- 3pm attending to issues. “We attend to issues on land, marital problems and others. You see, Obas have lot to do”. Oba Lawal said with the position of Obas in the present dispensation as fathers to all they are still relegated to the back seats in their domains, “what is annoying is that while in your domain, ou are the father to the local government chairman, when there is a function in the local government, the chairman is recognised before you. “Even the wives of local government chairmen are recognised before traditional fathers. I am not calling for political posts that will expose traditional rulers to ridicule before their subjects, but, in the protocol lists, the traditional rulers should be given a place of respect that shows the traditional rulers as the father of the political officer holders. “But the situation where the local government chairmen and their wives are recognised before the traditional rulers is an insult.”
Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 39
•Inmates in class
By EVELYN USMAN
ROM the gates, it was glaring that this was not just any place to visit. From the high walls, to the stern looking armed uniformed men, the ferocious dogs ready to attack any intruder, it, indeed, was a no-go area unless you have a good reason to visit. This is Kirikiri Prisons! For long, much has been said about the deplorable state of prisons in Nigeria, and the adverse health implications on inmates, with successive governments accused of negligence. More worrisome is the fact that inmates get back into the society hardened after serving their sentences, thereby frustrating security operatives’ efforts to curb criminal activities. To reverse the trend, the Nigerian Prisons Service was renamed Nigerian Prisons and Correctional Service sequel to the National Assembly passage of a Bill for an Act to repeal the Prisons Act Cap, P29 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. According to the Act, the name change is “to underscore the humane aspect of the reform focus of prisons administrations and to conform to provisions in the international instrument.” The National Assembly also approved a recommendation that deleted the words ‘hard labour’ and replaced
BEHIND THE HIGH WALLS OF KIRIKIRI
The Intriguing World of Prisoners!
The inmates with mental disorder Tales of 68-yr-old in JSS 2, fellow students The congestion and prisons pregnant women ’I am happy I was imprisoned there’ it with ‘prison labour’ in theAct, as it noted that “hard labour” was an inheritance from the colonial era. Sunday Vanguard , on Monday, visited the three prisons in Kirikiri area of Lagos comprising the Maximum, Medium and Female Security Prisons. The reporter’s first port of call was the Maximum Security Prisons. But that was not without being escorted by
prisons officials. The sight that greeted me on arrival was the neat environment and well- trimmed lawn tennis courts, as well as a football pitch, where inmates go to in the evening for exercise and leisure. Although facilities at the Maximum, Medium and Female Prisons hospitals are nothing to write home about compared to what obtains in government hospitals and elsewhere around
the globe, prisons medical officers make do with what is available. At the reference hospital of the Maximum Security Prisons, for instance, there are no less than 30 beds, a far cry from the number of inmates who come for treatment daily. At least, 100 inmates reportedly visit the hospital daily for all sorts of ailments. The hospital also takes care Continues on page 40
PAGE 40— SUNDAY
Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013
Behind the high walls of Kirikiri
felt there was a need to take it a step further. That is why we came about partnership and collaboration with Open University. And this university has been in existence for about seven years. We have inmates in different disciplines:Law, criminology, name it... There is no discipline in the conventional universities that you do not find in the Open University here. “Before we even started the Open University, we had a JAMB centre, especially for those of them that were about to leave the prison. We started that JAMB centre so that they could take their JAMB here and, as they leave, they will go straight into the university without any break. It is just part of making sure that they do not fall into that former life style of theirs”. It was also learnt that prison authorities bear all the expenses in the running of the schools with assistance from non-governmental organizations because of the limitation of budgetary allocation. Contrary to the notion that prison is mainly for robbers,pick pockets and murders, the rich and well to do in the society are also confined in the same cells with the common man. Some of the inmates were discovered to be bank staff.
Continued from page 39
Life in the prisons
ife behind the prison walls can be likened to that outside. But the distinctive difference is freedom! Whereas inmates are confined to the prisons vicinity with high walls shielding them from the outside world, the man outside, on his part, has the privilege to move about at will. You can do your sports in the prisons just like it is outside; formal and informal education as well as vocational skills are also obtainable in the prisons. Inmates with degrees from various fields are school teachers in the prisons. An interesting case was that of a 68year-old lifer, who reportedly used the opportunity to fulfill what he described as ‘a life time dream’. According to the
Interaction with inmates
Most of the Kirikiri Prisons inmates have taken their destinies in their hands by carrying on with life. Some of them were seen sewing, barbing ,knitting and even carrying out laundry work. One of the inmates, slammed with a five years jail term over rape , told Sunday Vanguard: “ I sew both male and female shirts and I sell them for between N1,500 and N2,500. I save the money realized from the sales , so that when I leave here, I will get something to fall back on”.
•68yr old ...I have always dreamt of going to school
inmate, who simply identified himself as Jonathan :“I have always dreamt of going to school. But I was deprived the opportunity because of the civil war. I later joined the police, in the course of which I killed someone. I was brought here in 1994. At first, I was slammed a condemned convict verdict but, later, my case was heard and I was given a lifer. In the course of moving on with my life, I decided to actualize my dream by going to school here. I started right from primary 1 and today I am in JSS 2 and will complete my secondary education if I am not let out by then. In the face of this, I am grateful that I am able to achieve a life time dream,” he said. Aside the primary and secondary levels of education, there are also inmates attending the Open University. When Sunday Vanguard visited, they were writing their examination. Officer in Charge of Welfare, Chukwuemeka Patrick, a Deputy Comptroller of Prisons, said the aim of establishing the schools was to ensure total transformation of inmates. “We coordinate all activities such as vocational and recreational, as well as religious. As you know, religion has a very big role to play in transformation,” Patrick said.
I find fulfillment in teaching-inmate
inmates who come for treatment daily. At least, 100 inmates reportedly visit the hospital daily for all sorts of ailments. The hospital also takes care of Zone A of the prisons service comprising Lagos and Ogun states. There were also facilities for ante-natal and post-natal care as well as x-ray and laboratory where inmates blood samples are tested. The common ailments among inmates, as observed during the visit, are malaria, high blood pressure and skin infection which is rampant among inmates, particularly those at the Medium Prisons. But Dr Edwin Itemeson (doctor on duty) said the hospital was a referral hospital and well equipped for its day-to-day running. He hinted that cases beyond their capacity are usually transferred to the Navy reference hospital or government hospitals. Sunday Vanguard met two patients on admission at the Maximum Security Prisons hospital; one of them, a condemned convict, CC, said to have multiple problems of asthma, inguinal scrota hernia, and hypertension. The 68 year-old inmate, said to have been transferred from Abeokuta Prisons, said the treatment he was receiving at the prisons kept him alive. But some of the inmates, as gathered, have mental disorder. While some of them were said to have been brought into the prison in that state, others reportedly developed it from depression. The psychologist on duty spoke on the inmates: “Basically, what we do here is to provide psychological intervention services for both inmates and staff. . At times, doctors do refer to us inmates that have psychological problems from other prisons and we send those we cannot handle at our own level out. So far, it has been so good. At other times, psychiatrists come here to consult with them and when they do not have time, we take the inmates there. At other times, those with bizarre cases are advised to indulge in sporting activities”.
Inmates with degrees from various fields are school teachers in the prisons.
“In the school, we have primary and secondary units. The school sees to the remedial aspect of inmates education—for those of them who never had the privilege of education before coming to prison or those that dropped out as a result of their lifestyles out there before they came to prison. The school has been in existence for about 15 years. There is also a GCE centre that has been on for 10 years. “Over the years, we have always recorded more than 90 per cent success in our GCE results. WAEC has even given us commendation several times because of the work we are doing here. In the course of time, we
nother inmate, who did not want his name mentioned, was seen teaching in a JSS 2 class. For him, “ this is the only way I can impact on people. This is also the only way I can keep myself busy and forget about the confinement. It was not easy getting others consent. But after much persuasion, I made them understand prison is not the end of life and here I am, fulfilling an aspect of my potentials”.
I miss my family-pregnant inmate
nother inmate , a pregnant woman, who was slammed a 21 year jail for manslaughter, looked pale when approached. But she reluctantly opened up, saying, “ I miss my family, particularly my two children.. If the hand of the clock could be turned back, I would have refrained from the temptation that led to my being here today. I have only served four months out of the 21 years term. I wonder if my children who are five and three years old respectively will recognize me at the end of the jail term. It has never been my intention to be in prison . But here I am , pregnant at that”. Continues on page 41
Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 41
Behind the high walls of Kirikiri
•Time for spoprts for inmates
‘I am happy I was in prison’
ne of the pathetic and, at the same time, encouraging narrations came from an ex-convict who simply gave his name as Matthew. When asked what his mission at the prisons was, he replied: “I came to see my brothers, my fathers and the warders . I am what I am today because of the warders. I never regretted coming to prison . In fact, I am happy that I was in prison.. I still remember how I was treated when I got to prison. You know what? I made my WASSCE in the prison in 2006. The first one I wrote, WAEC seized my result. They said they could not find my result in their system. I reported to the warder in charge, who wrote a petition to that effect. Today, I am out. But I will not want to mention my name because of stigmatization. . People out there believe it is better to be in the grave than to be in prison. But this is not true”.
The following conversation with him ensued:
You said what your parents could not do the warders did. What exactly did the warders do? Yes. What my parents could not do, the warders did. You want to know how?” They turned the hand of the clock around for me. You will not understand. When I got to the prison, they made me understand that in the prison there were potentials. You see, the prison in Nigeria was set up basically to detain criminals and offenders. But the warders, out of their own initiative, brought out good programmes of which I am a product today. I was a very stubborn person. They had to talk me into going to school by encouraging me that there was more I could do with my life than wallow in
self-rejection. After writing my WASSCE, I wrote my Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) exam in prison in 2007. But the result was bad. I felt bad and decided not to write JAMB again. But Mr Obariwo (a warder) called me and said ‘examination was not a true test of knowledge, write another one’ and I wrote another one and passed. After that, I went ahead and studied a fouryear course on criminology and security, here in the Maximum Prison. I spent seven years and six months here. But you know what? I was never judged! I went to court for years but my case was never tried. What offense brought you here? rmed robbery. But by sheer divine intervention, I am out today and currently engaged in a private firm. My advice to government is to reform warders whose responsibility it is to reform the inmates. Because if they are not reformed, they can not reform inmates. Just like my father will always say, you cannot put a cat in the custody of meat. So, for them to do what government wants, let the government give them what it takes for them to put in more. The warders are working hard. If they could reform me, they can reform another person. It was observed that even in the prisons, the inmates sometimes choose what to eat. For instance, the inmates at the Maximum Security Prisons prefer their beans to be prepared in two different ways; beans porridge and ordinary beans without condiments. As for their eba, they prefer it a little solid. But for the female inmates, eba is a no-go area. Rather, they prefer Semovita. One spectacular sight at the female prisons was that of a woman with her two months old baby. When approached, she simply smiled,
Continued from page 40
Some other women were also discovered to be pregnant. In response to the question on this reporter’s mind, Deputy Comptroller of Prisons in-charge of the Female Prisons, Mrs Onwuli Isioma Leticia, explained that the women were brought to the prison pregnant
rocking her baby, refusing to speak. Some other women were also discovered to be pregnant. In response to the question on this reporter’s mind, Deputy Comptroller of Prisons in-charge of the Female Prisons, Mrs Onwuli Isioma Leticia, explained that the women were brought to the prison pregnant.
irikiri Prisons are congested owing to the increasing number of awaiting trial persons (ATP). At the time of visit, a total of 52,754 persons were reportedly in prisons across the country. Out of this number, over 34,000 were awaiting trial, a development said to have posed challenges to prisons officers in the area of transforming inmates. At the Maximum Security Prisons, there were 752 inmates out of which
418 were awaiting trial. The Female Prisons had a total of 183 persons with 146 awaiting trial while the Medium Prisons had the highest number of 2,248 persons awaiting trial out of a total of 2,395 persons. These figures, as gathered, increase on daily basis, in spite of shortage of prisons staff. It was observed that the major factor militating against efforts by the Nigeria Prisons Service staff to efficiently carry out their constitutional responsibility is congestion owing to the increasing number of awaiting trial persons. “The major challenge presently is that we have too much volume of awaiting trial inmates in majority of the prisons in Nigeria, especially the urban prisons and this has to do with the problem of Criminal Justice System. It is only when the population of awaiting trial inmates reduces that we will be able to properly carry out the rehabilitation and reformation work on inmates. What you don’t understand is that it is difficult for a prison officer to train somebody who is awaiting trial in the prison, but he will train those convicted and sentenced. As they come in, we ask them what they can do; tailoring, carpentry, laundry, gardening, woodwork and other vocations we have in the prison. Then we train them by trying to associate them with whatever vocation they want to learn. But for the awaiting trial inmates, it is also morally unfair for somebody who is awaiting trial to be approached and say ‘will you like to learn a vocation?’ The guy will believe that he has not been proven guilty and will not be ready to succumb to learning any trade. He will just be ready for the court to call him for his case”, the Nigerian Prisons National Public Relations Officer, Mr Kayode Odeyemi, said.
risons sources told Sunday Vanguard that the continuous rise in the population of persons awaiting trial, in a sense, was traceable to the ineptitude of the police, their allied agencies and the office of the Director of Public Prosecution in the various states. These bodies are constitutionally responsible for the prosecution of criminal cases in Nigeria. Many awaiting trial persons are victims of circumstances, but then, they deserve to be given fair trial within reasonable time; otherwise it would be a case of human rights violation. Adjournment of cases is another tool discovered to be employed. “Even though prisons authorities are doing all they can to better the lots of inmates put in their care, it is imperative for government and other concerned bodies to address the issue of awaiting trial persons. The reform envisaged in this circumstance should be holistic and should extend to the assessment of the roles of police, courts and other related agencies in causing dilemma for the nation in the areas of management of the prison services and judicial administration,”one of the sources stated.
PAGE 42—SUNDAY Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013
Gov. Ibikunle Amosun
Ogun: Rebellion in the House BY DAUD OLATUNJI
ARELY 18 months after the Ogun State House of Assembly was thrown into crisis following the emergence of two Speakers, history seems to be repeating itself. The 6th legislature during the era of the immediate past Governor Gbenga Daniel had been split into two groups G14 and G11-with two Speakers- Tunji Egbetokun and Soyemi Coker struggling for the soul of the legislature. The G11 had the backing of the then governor which allowed them not only to suspend 15 members but also reversed the controversial House Resolution 169 which barred financial institutions from granting a hundred billion naira bond proposed by Daniel. This group, however, reportedly used the mace belonging to Abeokuta South local government legislative council as the symbol of the House at their sittings held at odd times, often times from 6:30 am. Eventually the troubled House was shut for months. The 7th legislature, under the leadership of Suraj Adekunbi, an Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN) member, is also not only in crisis but also polarised. The House is divided into two
groups-G14 and G12 -and had its mace,which is the House symbol of authority, broken at the plenary of T u e s d a y . Despite the monotonous nature of the House which had all members belonging to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,in the last parliament, it witnessed such intractable crisis that worked against the victory of the party in the state
abandoned lawmaking for wrestling. The drama commenced around 11:11am with one of the lawmakers, said to be a G14 member, playing the principal role in the first scene. The drama took all the artistes and spectators five hours with several episodes. Trouble started after the day’s session began when the
of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, which quizzed and later released him. When journalists asked the aggrieved lawmakers for their reason for breaking the mace, the securitymen attached to the House tear gassed them. And later, when the House decided to reconvene, the journalists were sent out of the
Despite the monotonous nature of the House which had all members belonging to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,in the last parliament, it witnessed such intractable crisis that worked against the victory of the party in the state during the last general elections during the last general elections. This time,the House has members of the A C N in the majority while PDP and Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN, form the opposition. Like in the Daniel era, the crisis seems to be targeted at the incumbent governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, as well at the leadership of the House which has been accused of misappropriating the House funds. On Tuesday, the hallowed chamber became a theatre of the absurd when 26 lawmakers
lawmaker grabbed the mace, lifted it up and smashed it on the ground. Her other G14 members immediately joined in the game of destruction. But, for providence, the aggrieved lawmaker would have smashed the mace on the Speaker ’s head. The warring lawmakers had been irked by alleged contract for 28 official cars which was reportedly inflated. It was gathered that the lawmakers were sidelined in the alleged contract which snowballed into the invitation of Adekunbi by the operatives
hallowed chamber following the claim that a lawmaker was armed. The claim, according to the minority leader, Job Akintan, had been posted on the internet that a lawmaker, leading one of the groups in the crisis, had smuggled a gun into the chamber. This gun scare prompted some lawmakers to call for the search of everybody including the Speaker. After the search, which was not extended to Adekunbi and his loyalists, the Speaker and Hon. Remmy Hassan, which a
group had elected Speaker extempor in the wake of the alleged suspension of Adekunbi, clashed over who should address the floor in the capacity of Speaker. Adekunbi’s security details prevented Hassan and his other loyalists from moving against their boss while the aggrieved lawmakers resisted Adekunbi’s attempt to reconvene the sitting. This development prompted the Speaker to hurriedly called for the adjournment of the plenary while members of the opposing group stood firmly against his authority. However, at the time of filing this report,both camps claimed to have suspended the leadership of one another. According to Adekunbi, Remmy Hassan, Olufemi Akintan, Adija AdeleyeOladapo and John Obafemi reprenting ; Odogbolu; Egbado North 11; Ifo 11 and Remo North state constituencies were suspended for “various acts bordering on unparliamentary behaviour and gross disrespect for the legislative institution”. The Hassan group hit back, announcing the reversal of their suspension and declared Adekunbi, his deputy, Tola Banjo, majority leader, Israel Jolaosho and a member from Ifo 1 constituency, Olakunle Oluomo, suspended.
SUNDAY Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 43
BY HENRY UMORU
HE people of Akparabong in Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River State will not forget in a hurry that day when the serene and agrarian community came to life.The day was Saturday, 23 rd Februar y, 2013 when the community stood still for a man that was so dear to the people’s hearts, a man who educated them, who fought for them, their mentor and, to top it, a man they called Teacher till he went to rest. From Calabar to Ogoja, Ikom and Akparabong, and, despite the fact that the roads were in bad shape, the towns became a beehive of activities as vehicles of different kinds meandered through the roads and Nigerians from all walks of life and even foreigners finally arrived at the place one could call the Cocoa Town. Nigerians and the people of Akparabong gathered that day to say good night to the late Justice Emmanuel Takon Ndoma-Egba, father of the Leader of the Senate, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba. Senate Leader Victor Ndoma- Egba, while reading the profile of the subject matter, and who brought life once again to the village, disclosed that he was born on the 28th of August, 1928 to a successful farmer and an entrepreneur of the Egba Etta family. According to him, Elder Ndoma-Egba started as a pupil teacher hence the appellation, ‘Teacher Takon’, and he took the name to the grave. He was also a Clerk in the Native Ikom Authority where he rose to the position
From left. Prof. Roland Ndoma Egba, Madam Adeline,widow, Senate leader, Victor Ndoma Egba, and Senate president, David Mark, at the burial of Justice Emmanuel Ndoma Egba in Ikom, Ogoja in Cross River. of Assistant Secretary. He, thereafter, returned to teaching, but later joined the Board of Internal Revenue. Elder Ndoma-Egba, who later read economics as well as law, set up a law firm under the name, ‘’Ogoja-Ejagham Chambers.” The Senate Leader said, ‘’At the end of the Nigerian civil war, he relocated briefly to Ogoja before moving to Ikom which had emerged as a commercial hub and a fast growing metropolis, from where he continued championing the cause of the poor, the downtrodden, and his Ogoja-Ejagham people, urging his people to exert themselves tothe limits of their endowments and inspiring a whole new generation. The peak of the career of the former judge of the High Court of Old Cross River State(now Cross River and Akwa Ibom States), was his appointment as a judge of the Court of Appeal. To sum it, the late Elder Ndoma-Egba was a
teacher, civil servant, lawyer, community leader, the peoples’ soldier and a judge. He was a recipient of the Officer of the Federal Republic(OFR). In his sermon at the funeral, the Prelate and Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, His Eminence, Most Rev. Emele Mba Uka, extolled the virtues of the late jurist. He stressed that the late Justice Emmanuel NdomaEgba lived well and his was a splendid exit. President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark and Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Aliko Dangote, Chief Tony Anenih, Senator Joy Emodi, among others also extolled the virtues of the late jurist. President Jonathan, who was represented by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, described
the late Ndoma-Egba as an eminent jurist, a dedicated path-finder and an accomplished leader of men. In his remarks, Vice President Namadi Sambo, who was represented by his Special Adviser, Senator Isaiah Balat, said that as humans, we must remember that from God we came and unto Him, we go, adding that with his death, the judiciary has lost a great one. Also speaking, Senate President David Mark ,who noted that the entire Senate moved to the village as a show of solidarity for the Senate Leader, said that with the number of senators present, a
The day the Senate relocated to Cross River for Ndoma-Egba
The late Ndoma- Egba was an outstanding patriot who served his country meritoriously as a judge of the Cross River State Judiciary from where he rose through the ranks culminating in his elevation to the Court of Appeal
vote could be taken and that decision could be binding. Mark, who reminded all of the inevitability of death, described the late jurist and elder statesman as a source of inspiration, a forerunner and a trail blazer. Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, who was represented at the church service by Chairman, House Committee on Defence, Honourable Christopher Eta, said the late Ndoma- Egba lived a fulfilled life,and that he left a good legacy, not only
in the judiciary and enthronement of good governance, justice and equity in Nigeria, but also through his children who are impacting immensely on the development of Cross River and Nigeria at large. Also in his tribute, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu said, “he was an accomplished and respected jurist and community leader who served his God, nation, and humanity most creditably. His days on the bench remain a reference point in rectitude, honour, and distinction.” Chairman, Senate Committee on Senate, Pe t r o l e u m ( D o w n s t r e a m ) , Senator Magnus Abe, PDP, Rivers South East said, “given the testimonies of his good life and devotion to his maker, there is no doubt that Pa Ndoma- Egba was a patriarch who lived a life worthy of emulation.” President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, described the late NdomaEgba as a dependable father to all, with excellent vision whose greatest comfort was selfless service to mankind that would be missed by all. The Chairman, Board of Trustees, BoT, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, said, “His legacy as a judge of the High Court of Old Cross River State and Akwa Ibom State, as well as the Federal Court of Appeal, will forever be remembered.” To the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Joy Emodi, “ the late NdomaEgba was an outstanding patriot who served his country meritoriously as a judge of the Cross River State Judiciary from where he rose through the ranks culminating in his elevation to the Court of Appeal.” President of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Okey Wali, SAN, said the late NdomaEgba contributed immensely to the legal profession.
Anenih and the repositioning of PDP By Ogaga Udumebraye
n human history, there are always men and women of unique character whose leadership, ideas and activities determine the direction of events and social destiny, irrespective of whether or not they hold official positions. One such Nigerian who, among others, has been the brain behind the success of the PDP and, therefore, the continued survival of Nigeria, is Chief Tony Akhakon Anenih, the legendary politician from Edo State. One of the remarkable traits of great men is that when they fall, they are able to stand up, take giant strides and leave behind their adversaries. The proverbial phrase of “cat with nine lives” aptly describes any man with this unusual character. While many analysts are interested in painting the image of Anenih as a rugged political survivalist, they ignore the greatest qualities of this man whose bridge-building capacities cut across Nigeria and who has contributed immensely to the continued survival of Nigeria. It is for his politics of cooperation and mutual co-existence that the verdict of history will mark Anenih’s name in bold prints, not because he was National Chairman of several political parties, Minister, BoT Chairman, etc.
It is natural for those who enjoy the kind of blessings associated with Anenih not to be generally loved or even tolerated by the less fortunate. Anenih has, therefore, suffered all forms of political antagonism, even from those he had assisted in the past. For instance, he stood by Obasanjo throughout his eightyear rule, but it was the same Obasanjo who conspired and forcefully removed him as Chairman of PDP BoT in 2007, an act of injustice recently rectified. In spite of this act of betrayal, Anenih has continued to work for the success of the party, as if nothing happened. Having in mind, the ethnic diversity of Nigeria, due mainly to her colonial history, Anenih has been playing the politics of inclusion which transcends ethnic boundaries. When former President Obasanjo wanted a bridge–builder to connect politicians from across the nation, he readily found one in Anenih who played the role creditably till the end of Obasanjo’s tenure in 2007. Anenih continued to play that role for Obasanjo’s successor, the late Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. When the unrest in the Niger Delta was at its peak and things were becoming difficult, Anenih, on September 13, 2009, led an official team comprising the then Minister of Defense General Godwin Abbe, the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Coordinator of the Presidential Committee on Disarmament, Air Vice Marshall (AVM) Lucky Ararile, and Chief Timi Alaibe, the then Special Adviser to
the President on the Niger Delta, to the swamps of the area to make first contact with militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo and the Traditional Ruler of Gbaramatu Kingdom, in Okporoza, the headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom. On the same day, the team visited Ateke Tom’s camp in River State and struck an agreement for Tompolo and Ateke Tom to accept the Amnesty deal. In fact, it was Chief Anenih who took Tompolo to meet the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua at the Aso Villa for the first time. For any politician to succeed in the act of peace making and consensus building, particularly in a multi-cultural society such as Nigeria, with its diversified interests, he must possess certain unique human qualities. Anybody familiar with Anenih would tell you that his greatest personal virtue is the courage to stand by the truth and to be fair to all, irrespective of the interests and personalities involved. One other quality for which Anenih’s political associates continue to increase across the country is his unique capacity to remain loyal to friends and any cause he believes in. While consistency, loyalty and commitment may have earned Anenih his enviable status in Nigerian politics, his most outstanding virtue resides in his humaneness. He easily empathizes with those in distress and would not hesitate to
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08023145567 (sms only)
SJCCG ordains first set of 27 female pastors nantly governed by spiritual revelations through the Holy Spirit which manifest through the prophets and prophetesses, visionaries and dreamers, has approved the ordination of women.
By SAM EYOBOKA
ESPITE division among Protestant churches over female ordination either because of cultural prohibition, theological doctrine, or a combination of the two, the St. Joseph’s Chosen Church of God, SJCCG, penultimate weekend ordained its first set of female ministers in Benin City, the Edo State capital. Penultimate Sunday, in a very colorful ceremony at the national headquarters of the church in Benin, 43 persons, including 27 female members, were ordained pastors to climax a 4-day 67th annual delegates conference presided over by the pioneer DirectorGeneral of Nigeria Stock Exchange, Apostle Alile. The process which comprised a procession with the each candidate carrying his own cross, the cleaning/washing of the candidates by the senior ministers which is followed by the robing, and the anointing by the spiritual leader.
e was assisted by a horde of senior apos tles and ministers of the church including Apostle Wilfred Omorogie, Ikponmwosa, Nosa Omozuyi, Staff Pastor Levi Ogbonna among others. The ordainees included two pastors, Samuel Ohaegbu and Obadiaru were upgraded to the office of apostles. After the ordination exercise, six of the female pastors were immediately promoted to the post of Staff pastors. They included Pastor Pat Alile, Gloria
*Apostle Wilson Omoregie (l) presenting a certificate of ordination to newly ordained Staff Pastor (Mrs.) Patience Nohuoma Alile.
*Apostle Wilson Omoregie (l) presenting a certificate of ordination to newly ordained Pastor Victor Chiejina Mukwuzi. Konyeshi, Mariam Omoregie, ordained person fulfills has Bridget Dafe, Hosana Okoh traditionally been restricted to and Victoria Obadiaru. men. Female ordination had been The last week exercise is in a very controversial issue fufillment of the decision of the among denominations in council of St. Joseph’s Chosen which ordination, the process Church of God headed by by which a person is conse- Apostle Hayford Alile last year crated or set apart for the ad- in favour of female ordination ministration of various reli- as part of ongoing re-organigious rites) or the role that an sation in the church predomi-
t will recalled that Sun day Vanguard exclu sively reported in September 2012 that the first batch of 25 female ministers including the wife of the Spiritual Leader, then Deaconness Patience Alile, a daughter of the founder, Mrs. Star Abache would be ordained in February after the church’s annual delegates conference. Apostle Alile in an interview then, confirmed the development, saying that the proposal for female ministers had been in the card long before the passage of the founder of the church, Apostle Joseph Ikechiukwu who was a little hesitant because he could not identify experienced female members for ordination. The conference which featured several activities including the selection of ministers, lectires, bible quiz, a book launch, award ceremony for the best dressed minister in the church was attended by two representatives of the Oba of Benin, the Ihekhuuoba of Benin, Chief S.O. Asuen and the Uso of Benin Kingdom, Chief Nosa Egharevba. In his opening remark, the spiritual leader, Apostle Alile described the world today as a theatre of the absurd, noting "it is not an exaggeration to say that our world is in great turmoil and it is burning with fever worse than that of Peter's mother-in-law." According to him, it was
while he was holidaying in one of his daughter's home in the US that he got a divine revelation that gave him a theme, 'No limit', for this year; which also formed the title of the book. He said 'No Limit' is a soiritual mandate which must be declared in any situation that we find ourselves. In one of the lectures, Deaconness Bridget Dafe who spoke on 'The vessels of God', said: "As a vessel you are essentially a carrier and what you carry is a function of what you have put in your inside over time," noting that human beings often look for someone else to blame for their predicament and wallow in self pity and mediocrity "thereby converting ourselves into carriers of complaints, mutmurings about the economy, criticisms about our places of work and worship." Pentecostal churches and several Protestant denominations ordain church leaders who have the task of equipping all believers in their Christian service. These leaders (variously styled elders, pastors or ministers) are seen to have a distinct role in teaching, pastoral leadership and the administration of sacraments. Traditionally these roles were male preserves, but over the last century, an increasing number of denominations have begun ordaining women. The notion of a priesthood reserved to a select few is seen as an Old Testament concept, inappropriate for Christians. Since no woman appeared in the New Testament as ordained ministers, many Protestant churches continue to restrict ordination to males.
Okoh warns against delay of ministers' salary
RIMATE of Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh has issued a directive to all Anglican diocesan bishops across the country to ensure the prompt payment of salaries of their clergymen, reports OLAYINKA LATONA. Flagging off a campaign against delay in payment of ministers' salaries during the consecration service of Very Rev. Simon Borokini, Ven. Geoffery Okoroafor and Ven. James Odedeji as bishops at the Cathedral of St. Jude, Ebute Metta, Lagos, Okoh noted that some dioceses are heavily indebted to their clergy-men, a situation he said was unacceptable.
The primate argued that it is against the Anglican tradition to owe clergymen as their pay-ment is of utmost priority in the church while other things are secondary. In his words: “It has been made known that some parish-ioners owe their clergmen salaries. It is a pity that many of our clergmen are not pro-perly taken care of. We cannot continue like this. From now it is the responsibility of the parishioners to ensure that their clergmen are paid regularly." Continuing, he said: “This culture of owing must not continue. The clergmen are there to serve us hence we should not bring tears and
*One of the newly consecrated bishops, Rt. Rev. Simeon Borokini, Anglican bishop of Akure, Primate of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, and wife of the bishop, Mrs. Christiana Borokini shortly after the consecration ceremony. Photo: DIRAN OSHE.
sorrows to their homes”. Primate Okoh also charged Anglican members to support their individual dioceses, adding that it is their various supports that will move the church forward. Primate Okoh also the occasion to commend the decision of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who resigned due to old age. "For me, it is a good example. If you know that you can no longer cope with the demands of your office either as a Pope or archbishop it is better for you to give chance so that those other people who can do it can come in and do the work effectively. I commend him for doing that”, he said.
SUNDAY VANGUARD, MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 45
Nigerian Christians in US decry FG's inability to tame Boko Haram ...donates N8m to victims
JESUS IS THE MESSIAH (2)
WISH I had been there as a fly on the wall at the time of Jesus. You had to be there to understand the excitement; the pandemonium Jesus caused among the pastors, bishops and popes of the day. You can cause no greater excitement than by doing the impossible. That is precisely what Jesus did. He set the ball rolling by healing a leper. Then he sent the healed man to the religious establishment: “He charged him to tell no one, ‘But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as a testimony to them, just as Moses commanded.’ However, the report went around concerning him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. So he himself often withdrew into the wilderness.” (Luke 5:14-16).
This “obnoxious” “ offensive” Jesus, the man you love to hate, is the Messiah
Asking for trouble Our Jesus was asking for trouble. Every leper in Israel had a certificate of leprosy. Leviticus 13 establishes how to diagnose leprosy. When the leprosy is confirmed, the leper is issued a certificate which effectively ostracises him from the rest of society. Leviticus 14 then establishes how to validate officially the healing of leprosy. After the healing is certified, the healed leper is required to make some sacrifices of thanksgiving. No Jew had ever been healed of leprosy in Israel, so Leviticus 14 had never ever been put into effect before. Elisha healed Naaman of leprosy; but Naaman was a gentile from Syria and not a Jew. As far as the Pharisees were concerned, should a man with a certificate of leprosy ever show up at the priesthood without any trace of leprosy, it can only mean one thing: the Messiah has arrived. Imagine then their surprise and consternation when they discovered that the man who healed the leper was their arch-enemy and critic: Jesus of Nazareth. As a result, Jesus’ ministry was immediately inundated by the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. They came in droves from every town in Galilee to see this man who has the power to heal a leper: “Now it happened on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them.” (Luke 5:17).
Raising the stakes Just think about this; you come to church one Sunday to discover that all the seats have been taken by unbelievers; so you had to stand out-
side. This is what happened in Jesus’ ministry as a result of his healing a leper. It became standing-room only. Therefore, when they brought a paralytic to him, there was no way for them to get to him. They had to resort to the extreme action of removing the roof in order to let the sick man down with a rope. With all the Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, Jesus created even more problems by saying to the paralytic: “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” (Luke 5:20). The scribes and the Pharisees were livid thinking: “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Luke 5:21). The answer was obvious but they did not want to admit it. This man who forgives sins is the same man who healed a leper. Therefore, this “obnoxious” “offensive” Jesus, the man you love to hate, is the Messiah. As I said, I wish I had been there. You had to be there. Nevertheless, Luke managed to capture the moment vividly in the scriptures. Jesus would not let up. He read their thoughts and asked them provokingly: “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Rise up and walk'?” (Luke 5:22-23). Even me: I can answer that one. It is far easier to tell a paralytic your sins are forgiven than to tell him “rise up and walk.” If you tell him his sins are forgiven, nobody can tell if they are forgiven or not. But if you tell him to rise up and walk everyone can tell if you are fibbing. If the man does not rise up and walk, they will know your words are worthless. Boy, I really wish I had been there. Jesus then turned to the paralytic and said; “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins, I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” (Luke 5:24). In short, Jesus decided to do the more difficult task. Luke says of the paralyric: “Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, "We have seen strange things today!” (Luke 5:25-26).
The overdrive I think you can now begin to understand my insistence that everybody must have known Jesus is the Messiah. Before they could recover from the shock that Jesus healed a leper, he forgave a man his sins. Before they could recover from the audacity of a man forgiving the sins of a stranger, Jesus validated his authority to do so by heal-
ing the man instantaneously of his paralysis. While they were still reeling from all this; Jesus raised the stakes yet again. Before they could decide what to do about the fact that the Messiah who healed a man of leprosy was this ragamuffin called Jesus, Jesus proceeded to heal 10 men of leprosy in one go; all in one day: “Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him 10 men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" So when He saw them, He said to them, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And so it was that as they went, they were cleans-ed.” (Luke 17:11-14). Don’t miss the implications of all this and the complications Jesus was bringing to the Jewish religious establishment. No leper had ever been healed in Israel before Jesus broke the mould by healing a leper. Now in one day, he healed 10. They had just finished conducting investigations about the one healed leper, now they are confronted with 10, and all from the same source: Jesus of Nazareth. What are they going to do about this? The house of the Pharisees was divided and therefore could not stand. (Matthew 12:25). Some reached the obvious conclusion. Jesus is the Messiah. Others found the truth too inconvenient. Jesus is the wrong Messiah. Among the ranks of those who already admitted defeat was Nicodemus. Although he would not yet openly identify with Jesus, he came to see him by night to avoid detection. He said to him: “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” (John 3:2). But “Nicky,” Jesus is not just a teacher; Jesus is the Messiah.
(To be continued).
BUJA---NIGERIAN Christians based in the United States of America, operating under the aegis of the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans (CANAN)have expressed disgust over the continuous killing of Christians in the northern part of the country, reports CALEB AYANSINA. Consequently, CANAN recently came down hard on the Federal Government for its inability to checkmate the activities of the Boko Haram sect in parts of the country. The group pleaded with President Goodluck Jonathan to seek for the intervention and assistance of the US President, Barack Obama to end the menace. At a joint press conference with the Secretary General of CAN, Dr. Musa Asake, in Abuja, CANAN president, Dr. James Fadele gave the advice, while donating the sum of $50,000 (about N8 million) as relief funds. At the occasion, a former Minister of Education Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, broke into tears after listening to Pastor Sarana Chinda of All Saints Protestant Church, Hauran Wanki, Barracks, Kano on how eight members of his congregation were wiped out for refusing to renounce Jesus Christ. Ezekwesili also heard from a 45-year old Deborah Shetima from Borno State how her husband was slaugthered on April 25, 2012 and their two daughters aged nine and seven were abducted by Boko Haram members with no clue to their whereabouts. After this sad development, according to her, the sect came back after three month and killed her third son in cold blood. In an interview, the executive director of CANAN, Laolu Akainde said President Jonathan should be aggressive in fighting the Boko Haram menace, by bringing National Assembly members that were indicted, to face the full weight of the law. According to him; “I think government including President Jonathan has said on several occasions that the problem is big. We believe that Nigerian government cannot handle this problem. “Government can become more aggressive in going after members of Boko Haram and those supporting this sect. Government is not proactive. It should seek support from other countries like the US to deal with Boko Haram. This is an international problem," he stated. In his remarks, Fadele called on all Nigerians and people of goodwill to “rise up and come to the financial and material aid of victims of Boko Haram attacks in northern Nigeria”. According to him, Nigerian Christians in America have taken notice of the impact of the actions of Boko Haram terrorist sect, adding “we are concerned about the widows and deeply touched by the plight of the orphans. We reckon that many of these individuals are left without a source of livelihood”. Continuing he said: “We have heard that CAN is setting up a Relief Fund where Nigerians can donate money and relief materials to support the victims. For instance victims' children can benefit from scholarships taken out from such a fund. Towards such a fund, CANAN is making an initial widow's mite contribution of $50,000. “If backers of terrorists are raising the money to perpetuate acts of terror, supporters of and advocates for peace can no longer look the other way. We join CAN today to call on Nigerian philanthropists, businesses, and captains of industry, well-todo individuals and all people of goodwill to consider the apparent financial plight of Boko Haram victims and lend a helping hand. "We commend the bold leadership of CAN for speaking up in a categorical, courageous and consistent manner on the Boko Haram menace," he stated. Ezekwesili was of the opinion that Nigeria is fast becoming a country which does not place value on human lives. Her words: “Whatever happens to one of us happens to everyone of us. So if we have become a nation that does not put value to human lives, then we really are in a bad place. Listening to these women particularly and seeing what these woman have to carry alone, you almost feel a sense of abandonment for them. It is almost like they are invisible to the rest of us and that worries me," she contended.
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BORNO: Of a league of ignorant professionals BY ANJILI KWARI VIEWPOINT IN BRIEF The tale insinuating rift between the Borno governor and his predecessor is fiction.
T was clear that some fifth columnists were at work when last week, what started like an agenda setting move by a faceless group snowballed into media bashing of former Borno State governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff; his godson, Governor Kashim Shettima; and Shettima’s deputy, Alhaji Zannah Umar Mustapha. First, it was the call for Shettima to drop Mustapha in the build up to the 2015 governorship rac. It was alleged that there was a rift between Shettima and his benefactor Ali Modu Sheriff which, according to them, is the basis for the dropping of Mustapha. Just when concerned people were trying to unravel the puzzle around this clear case of mischief, another news item appeared in many national dailies to the effect that the governor was contemplating a reshuffle, to weed out some members of the cabinet who were alleged to be too close to Sheriff, in order to boost Shettima’s own political machinery.
Apparently not satisfied with the dust raised in the first two publications, a so-called League of Borno Professionals wrote a public petition to President Goodluck Jonathan calling on him to stop Sheriff from further visiting his home state, citing security concerns over such visits, as the basis for their call. The group, which has also remained faceless to date, attempted to chronicle what, in their opinion, was Sheriff ’s roles in mismanaging the Boko Haram insurgency. Contrary to available security reports on the matter, they portrayed the Borno government, under the then governor, as an agent provocateur, that caused events leading to the whole imbroglio, even as the insurgents were merely retaliating certain provocative actions. All three publications, which appeared within one week, smack of mischief and political vendetta. The last, which attempted to blame the resurgence of violence in some parts of Maiduguri as a reaction to Sheriff ’s visits, was even a more contemptous display of crass ignorance. To my mind, all three publications derive from the same source, and were clear cases of a hatchet job; in which the petitioners were only acting out written scripts, by a seeming desperate power mongers. I have very strong suspicions that the actual motive was to
paint a picture of a degeneration of the crisis, and possibly prevent the holding of elections in Borno State in 2015. They think that driving a wedge between the governor, his benefactor and strongman of Borno politics, Sheriff; and between him and his loyal deputy, Mustapha, may pro-
increasing acceptability. One does not perhaps need any talisman to tell one that the 2015 contest for the governorship will be between Shettima and himself. Already a picture of the so called league of professionals is becoming clear, judging from the antecedents of a similar group
Those who do not know the genesis and metamorphosis of the Boko Haram insurgency may be easily misled into believing that what the so-called professionals wrote was a gospel truth
vide a fertile ground for the actualization of that agenda. Although Shettima has come out to clear the air on all issues without any ambiguity whatsoever, one is still worried that some people may be planning to further plunge Borno into deeper crisis, at a time when the government seems to be overcoming the problems associated with the Boko Haram insurgency. It is also coming at a time when the government seems to be making inroads into the political arena, with the tendency to silence any form of opposition in 2015. One can appreciate their apprehensions in the face of Sheriff ’s indomitable political spirit, and Shettima’s
during the 2011 elections. Suffice it to however correct the wrong impression created about all professionals from Borno State. Borno is known to be the centre of scholarship, and professionalism, and could not have produced the caliber of professionals in the so-called league. The writers of that petition, judging by their display of ignorance, can best be classified as a league of ignorant professionals, who could hardly distinguish between the powers of a president and the rights of a citizen Those who do not know the genesis and metamorphosis of the Boko Haram insurgency may be easily misled into be-
lieving that what the so-called professionals wrote was a gospel truth. Those who can decipher can, however, see that, not only were the facts stood on their heads, but one can see the hands of Esau but the voice of Jacob in the unfolding drama. Every professional from Borno State, irrespective of our specialties, but who do not belong to this so called league ought to be ashamed that, some people are hiding behind the noblest of acronyms, to wit political mischief. I wish to place it on record that there was never a specific incident in Maiduguri which can be attributed to the visit of the former governor. It will be most uncharitable to associate the man with any insurgency activity. It is also needless to attempt to drive a wedge between Shettima and Sheriff, because it will definitely fail. Whatever others think, it is clear that the so-called Borno League of Professionals is trying to play politics with the issue of security in the state. While I regard that as the height of rascality, it remains unjustifiable and unfair to attempt to further poison the mind of Mr. President, who has never hidden his disdain for the people of Borno State to take any unpopular decision. *Kwari, a public affairs analyst, is resident at Gimbiya Street, Area II, Abuja.
Another look at NDDC committee report BY MUTALLUBI OJO ADEBAYO
Open letter to Mr. President by Niger Delta Peace and Development Movement
UR attention has been drawn to the recent belated submission of a report by the NDDC Presidential Monitoring Committee to Mr President in which the Niger Delta Development Commission is accused of poor implementation of projects and irregularities in the award of contracts. The tales of project abandonment by the NDDC is not news any longer. We are, however, uncomfortable with the summary of the findings of the Committee as they show the lack of courage to pinpoint the specific officers within and outside the NDDC that should be held accountable for the alleged infractions. The blanket indictment of the NDDC from 2005 to 2011 is an attempt to demonise everyone who served in the NDDC dur-
ing the period under review. This is quite uncharitable as we know that during this period there were many Nigerians who served in the NDDC with integrity. For example, the current governor of Kano State Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso, who was a member of the 3rd Governing Board, resigned in protest against certain irregularities he noticed in the award of contracts in the Commission. Senator Tunde Ogbeha and Mr Joe Jakpa, who both served in the 3rd Governing Board, were found worthy to be reappointed by Mr President into the current Board of the NDDC. It is common knowledge that the NDDC Presidential Monitoring Committee on NDDC was inaugurated in May 2010 shortly after you were made Ag President following the application of the Doctrine of Necessity. The Committee was reconstituted by Mr President in contravention of the Section 21(1) of the NDDC Act 2000 which provides that: “There shall be established for the Commission a Monitoring Committee which shall
consist of such number of persons as the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces may deem fit to appoint from the public or civil service
The blanket indictment of the NDDC from 2005 to 2011 is an attempt to demonise everyone who served in the NDDC during the period under review
of the Federation” Apart from the Secretary of the Committee, no other member was drawn from the public or civil service of the Federation.
It has since its inauguration either turned itself or has been turned into an investigating panel instead of a Monitoring Committee. We find it curious that a Monitoring Committee that is supposed to provide executive oversight over the affairs of the NDDC on behalf of Mr President could only submit a report for three out of nine states covered by the Commission almost two years after the 3rd Governing Board headed by Air Vice Marshall Larry Koinyan was dissolved. We have it on good authority that the NDDC Presidential Monitoring Committee never had any interaction with the last Governing Board before it was illegally dissolved by Mr President on the wrongful advice of the Oronsaye Committee and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Senator Anyim Pius Anyim. We are aware that the NDDC Board led by Koinyan never awarded a single contract in the NDDC before it was dissolved. We see the belated report submitted by the NDDC Pres-
idential Monitoring Committee as a ploy to divert attention from well-known sharp practices by certain persons who held key offices in the Commission with the connivance of government officials, in both the executive and the legislature. It is our plea that Mr President should take the bold step to sanitise the NDDC by: 1) Dissolving the illegal NDDC Presidential Monitoring Committee for incompetence as well as the fact that it has long outlived its usefulness. 2) Appointing a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into various sharp practices in the NDDC from inception to date. 3) Jettisoning the belated report of the NDDC Presidential Monitoring Committee as it does not serve the interest of the stakeholders in the Niger Delta Region, and 4) Appointing a new NDDC Presidential Monitoring Committee from the public and civil service of the Federation in conformity with Section 21(1) of the NDDC Act 2000.
SUNDAY VANGUARD, MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 47
VIEWPOINT BY INWALOMHE DONALD VIEWPOINT IN BRIEF Rehabilitation of federal roads in proper perspective.
N estimated 11,886 Federal Government projects were abandoned in the past 40 years across the country, Founder of the Africa Diaspora Research in Charis Complex, Centurion, South Africa, Professor Kole Omotoso, has said. The university don, who quoted from the report of the Abandoned Projects Audit Commission set up by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, stated this while delivering the Federal University of Technology, Akure 24th Convocation Lecture entitled, ‘Technology and Human Development’. Labara Maku should use his good office and Good Governance Tour to tell Nigerians the companies and the contract sum of those abandoned projects instead of making noise about projects Governor Adams Oshiomhole has executed in Edo State. No one gets a prize to see the truth in the criticism of the Federal Government’s poor handling of infrastructure across the country. It is as disturbing as it is shameful and embarrassing that we cannot fix anything in this country and Labara Maku is not talking about that..
One of the abandoned projects, the Benin-Ore Road, which collapsed since the days of the military regimes, has been under repairs for more than a decade under the PDP government and is still uncompleted. High-wire blackmail and well designed propaganda targeted at Oshiomhole is at work. A recent one has ensued; who is actually working on Five Junction Round About, Dawson Road/Urubi/Ugbowo federal roads? After Labara Maku and PDP elements claimed glory for Oshiomhole’s giant strides in education and roads which the governor sank billions of naira into with 50% counterpart funding from the Federal Government, a false claim is in the offing. There is no controversy about ownership: the Benin-Ore Road commences from Dawson Road (beginning at the Akpakpava Road junction) through Urubi Road, Uselu Ugbowo Road onto Oluku, then to Ekiadolor Junction onwards Ohosu (Ofosu) which is the boundary with Ondo State. This road had been abandoned over the years and became particularly dilapidated during period starting around 2003 up till now. The road has been the reason for public outcry and outrage for over a decade being the primary cause of various fatal accidents and unreasonably extended journey times due to its scandalous state. The Ugbowo-Uselu-Urubi-Dawson axis of the road had been a recurring nightmare, dreaded by inhabitants and
visitors to Benin City especially during the rainy season. This axis passing through the heart of the city is along the main route connecting the western part of the country through Shagamu to the eastern part of the country with its attendant heavy flow of people, goods and services from Lagos ports onward eastern Nigeria. That the Federal Ministry of Works shirked its responsibility to keep this axis motorable by not fixing the Daw-
Maku on Edo roads
The New Lagos Road is another federal government road that has been long abandoned and allowed to fall into total disrepair. For over 10 years, the road has inflicted untold hardship and anguish on the people
son-Ugbowo-Oluku axis for over a decade is particularly painful to residents of Benin City. Shockingly, rather than redesign the road to take care of the flooding challenges confronting the road, the Federal Ministry of Works chose to only patch the potholes, relay the asphalt overlay and install “New Jersey” median. However, there is an attempt by the Minister of Works and Labara Maku to obfuscate the facts. The vague ref-
erence to gutters and parking lanes or drive ways etc. are not helpful and shed little light on the issues. For clarity, the government of Edo State is constructing two brand new additional lanes to the road. These new lanes ranging from 3.65meters - 5.25meter in width include site clearing, earthworks, sub base and crushed stone base as base course before two layers of asphalt and stretch from Dawson Road to Ugbowo. The New Lagos Road is another federal government road that has been long abandoned and allowed to fall into total disrepair. For over 10 years, the road has inflicted untold hardship and anguish on the people of Benin due to congestion and gridlocks occasioned by its parlous state. However, thanks to the Edo State government; the road is now dualized, expanded to six lanes and entirely reconstructed complete with covered drains, street lights and has achieved almost 90% completion. The same applies to the Auchi – Ikabigbo dualisation project; which is a section of the Auchi – Agenebode Road terminating at the Ojio river. Edo State government thus compelled to take on these roads due to their fundamental importance to the economic activities and the well-being of the people of the state. We are, however, glad to hear from the Honourable Minister, Mike Onolomemen, that the Federal Government is preparing to refund to the states what they have spent on federal roads. The earlier they do, the better than sponsoring advertorials with taxpayers’ money over nonissues. • Donald is resident in Benin City.
NTA–Star Times Agreement: The issues in proper perspective BY MAXWELL LOKO VIEWPOINT IN BRIEF Clearing the misconception on pay TV
HE launch of the NTA-STAR TV Network on July29, 2010 was received by Nigerians with elation. At the time of its launch by Vice President Arch. Namadi Sambo, on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigerians had not seen such technology which allow you to view digital terrestrial TV channels without installing any dish. This revolutionary technology was brought into Nigeria through a joint venture partnership between the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Startimes of the Republic of China. Over the years, viewers have become more sophisticated and the only way to keep up with this is the concept of multi-channels which entails the transmission of many channels, instead of one. Thus, when NTA decided to have multi-channels, it therefore needed a platform. Setting up such a digital terrestrial television platform is a very capital intensive project which also requires advanced technology. To this end, NTA decided to look for a partner for the project, hence the partnership between it and Star Communications of China. The core objective of the partnership is to provide excellent and technolo-
gy-driven digital pay TV services in Nigeria as well as provide excellent and socially responsible television broadcast services. The project in the long run will expand to include the provision of advertisement and signal transfer services, mobile phone television as well as wireless internet serv-
There is no gainsaying that NTA-Star Times has lived up to its promise of bringing to your homes digital terrestrial TV channels without having to install any dish
ices. Star Times relationship with NTA is a strategic partnership that will help Nigeria in actualizing its 2015 digital transition deadline. StarTimes will leverage on the existing platform of NTA to provide quality digital service to every home in Nigeria and in doing that, the whole country won’t find it difficult to get digitalized even before the 2015 transition. NTA-Star Times bouquet include local programmes and other well known international satellite channels, which provide news, music, sports, cartoon, finance, religion, movies, reality, etc.
The programming platform also captures all age and interest groups. More importantly, the costs, both in terms of decoders and subscription, are affordable and easy to use with an advanced technology that guarantees clean and stable signals. Laudable as the NTA-Star Times partnership has been, it has come under criticism critics have seized the opportunity of the impending transition and upgrade from the DVB-T technology platform to the DVB-T2 to peddle some misinformation. One of such misinformation is that it is unnecessary exploitation to make people buy the DVB -T decoder when at the launch of the DVB-T2 decoder they will be made to repurchase the new decoder to enable them continue to view the Star Times bouquet. The truth about the introduction of DVB -T2 decoders by Star Times is that it will enable subscribers to have access to over 70 channels as against the 53 Channels with DVB-T décor der. However, there is no iota of truth that subscribers with the old DVB-T decoders will have to buy the new DVB-T2 decoders. All subscribers with the DVB -T decoders will have them swapped with the new DVB–T2 at absolutely no cost to the subscriber. NTA – Star TV is not unmindful of the dynamism of technology, and would always strive to give its subscribers the best. The issue of NTA’s 30% shareholding in the venture also came under criticism with a counter proposition for a 50-50 shareholding structure. NTA-
Star Times partnership is no different from other partnership in any part of the world and there is no place that equity must be 50-50 in any partnership. Two parties in every joint venture come to the negotiation table with their comparative advantages, and t hat is what determines the equality ratio. However, this is subject to review from time to time. The analogue switch off is expected to free up frequency spectrum. The recently inaugurated DigiTeam, saddled with the responsibility of implementing the digital transition, is in the process of splitting NTA in two viz NTA broadcast signal distributor and NTA broadcast content provider. A signal distributor would provide signal to broadcasters on an equitable, reasonable, non preferential and nondiscriminatory basis. Needless to say that there would be additional private signal distributors to be licensed. So the assumption that NTA would have unlimited control over broadcasters will not arise. It is not also true that at the expiration of subscription, viewers are completely disconnected. There are two free to air channels: NTA News 24 and NTA Sports. At the expiration of subscription, the subscriber can continue to watch both channels free of charge. There is no gainsaying that NTA-Star Times has lived up to its promise of bringing to your homes digital terrestrial TV channels without having to install any dish.
*Loko is Deputy Director, Startimes
Contribution of not more than 800 words should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
PAGE 48 — SUNDAY VANGUARD, MARCH 10, 2013
JUSTUS ESIRI: Exit of Headmaster BY PRISCA SAM-DURU
HE Village Master ”, one of the few dramas that excited the Nigerian television stations in the 80s is on the news for the second time in barely a year. Reports about the now rested TV drama, which was created by late Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia and cultural icon, Olusola Olusegun, made headlines late 2012 when the producer exited the stage after a very brief illness in a Lagos hospital. The demise of the veteran broadcaster created a very big vacuum in the Art industry and of course, in the lives of his numerous beneficiaries. Just as Nigerians were beginning to come to terms with his exit, death dealt, yet another painful blow to the industry as Justus Esiri, the man who starred in Olusola’s drama as the Headmaster, also, left the stage. The sudden death of Legendary actor, Justus Esiri, on Tuesday night barely few days after popular songstress Goldie Harvey died also in
His role in “The Village Headmaster ” was excellent, little wonder it shot him to limelight. He made sure viewers at home never regretted rushing home to get glued to their sets by 8pm on the day the programme was broadcast. And after the programme went off air, Chief Esiri had a smooth transition into Nollywood, where he made himself even more relevant. From Playing the role of the loving father, to chief, business tycoon, Don, etc, Justus left no stone unturned at justifying whatever his earnings were and of course, his educational background.
Lagos, threw the entire entertainment industry into mourning,and may thus, be fittingly interpreted as end of an era. According to reports, Chief Esiri, aged 71, who hails from Delta State, reportedly died of complications resulting from diabetes at an undisclosed hospital in Lagos. His death is the latest on the long list of celebrities in the entertainment industry who have died, leaving their fans and admirers, wondering who will fill up the huge vacuum their deaths have created. With the departure of the disciplinarian, Pete Eneh; David Ihesie; the lady of song, Christy Essien Igbokwe; Comedian, Sam Loco Efe; Ashley Nwosu; James Iroha (Giringory Akabuogu); Enebeli Enebuwa who died two months ago in an Indian hospital, Goldie Harvey, and just last week, Justice Esiri, Nigerians wish nothing less than a capital full final stop on the list , after chief Justice Esiri’s name.
t is so painful especially for the fact that these were all A-Listers in the entertainment industry, who have proved so much relevance in the industry. It is even more disheartening that they all died as a result of one ailment or the other, thus exposing the health conditions of Nigerians who most often, struggle amidst ill health just to make a living due to the harsh economic realities of the time. Chief Justice Esiri, renowned for his role as the headmaster in the popular 80’s sitcom, “The Village HeadMaster” was one
actor who gave all Nigerians the privilege of enjoying and taping from his wealth of experience.
Life in My City repositions for 2013 festival ...creates Lagos zone BY JAPHET ALAKAM
HE new Board of Trustees and an Organsing Committee of Life in My City Art Festival (LIMCAF), the yearly celebration of creativity and fresh talent in the Nigerian art landscape, has outlined new measures for a successful hosting of this year’s festival. The committee has created a zonal centre of the national youth art competition for Lagos with effect from this year. As a result, there will now be a special Lagos zonal exhibition of the best entries from the greater Lagos area at a venue to be announced later. This was announced at a briefing with the festival’s friends and stakeholders including art editors, artists, photographers and officials at the Alliance Francaise centre in Yaba Lagos recently. At the meeting, the Artistic Director of the Festival, Mr. Ayo Adewunmi gave a detailed presentation of the history of the festival now in its 7th year and explained that the organizers had since
recognised that Lagos as the art capital of Nigeria must be given the pride of place it deserved in the scheme of things as far as the festival was concerned but this had not been possible before now because of logistic challenges in Alliance Francaise Lagos. Mr. Adewunmi explained that a situation whereby entries by artists in Lagos had to be taken to Ibadan for adjudication and exhibition as had been the case since 2007 was obvious anomaly detrimental to the growth of the festival. He expressed gratitude to the Director, Lagos who is also Delegate General of the Alliance Francaise network in Nigeria Madam Christine Deuve , for making the new arrangement possible and for making herself and her staff available to help create and sustain the new Lagos centre of LIMCAF. According to Kevin Ejiofor, Executive Director of the Festival, the implication of the new Lagos centre was that Lagos would now serve as both a collection centre and an exhibition zone and will therefore host a special exhibition of the
artworks selected from the Lagos area before the grand finale in Enugu. According to the executive director, Kevin Ejiofor, submission of entries for the event which is dubbed the largest gathering of artists and stakeholders of visual arts in Nigeria, kicked off on 12th of February and will end on July 1st, 2013. According to him, the 2013 festival with the theme: Out of Frame, Out of the box, will as usual, feature exhibitions, talent contest, symposia and workshops. It will also feature the panAfrican photo contest, the photo Africa competition and exhibition for young photographers which was introduced last year. Life in My City commenced in 2007 to encourage artistic creativity and awareness of environmental issues. It provides space through art for young people to make meaningful statements about the society. It also encourages and empowers young artists throughout Nigeria by promoting and commercializing their creative endeavours on national and international platform.
e will forever be re membered as one of the movie actors who was so natural while on stage. He interpreted his roles with so much ease that viewers found it difficult drawing a line between the world of make believe and reality. In a career that spanned decades, Justus Esiri who was described by colleagues as one of the strongest men of the African film industry, contributed his quota to the growth of the industry as he has starred in many interesting Nollywood movies. The multiple award winner was also star actor in acclaimed productions such as Wasted Years,The Investigation, Forever, The Prize, Last Knight, Six Demons, Corridors of Power, The Tyrant, The Ghost, Assassin’s Practice, (one of his most recent movies produced last year), etc. Born on 20 November 1942 in Oria-Abraka, Delta State, Esiri attended Urhobo College, Effurun, Warri in Delta State. He later traveled to Germany to study engineering at the Maximilian University, Munich, Germany, in 1964, where he developed interest in theatre. A Member of the Order of the Niger (MON), Esiri started his acting career in Germany and ranked as the only Nigerian male that performed on stage between 1968 and 1969. He also worked as a translator at voice of Nigeria VON, German Service, Late Esiri was last seen at a close-door parley, few weeks ago when a delegation of the Federal Government led by Secretary to the Federal Government, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, met some major stakeholders in the entertainment industry in Lagos, to inform them about their expected role in the forthcoming centenary celebration.
SUNDAY VANGUARD, MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE — 49
HAT would you say is the defining character of The Third Wave of Nigeria Poets? We have to be careful at this point. If there were no defining characteristics there will be no need for the differentiation in the first instance. And such dissociative markers do not lend themselves to very neat summaries; because they are several. So we may peep at their watermarks. In the area of language, we can see that The Third Wave Poets are more effervescent in their use of words than the earlier poets. And that is simply at the surface level of expressions which also appear to have a more global spicing or flavour. We shall need examples which your space may not accommodate. But, there is also a caveat to this. Whereas, Okigbo, Soyinka and say the Second Wave Osundare deploy terms with more learnedness or gravitas; Uche Nduka or Amatoristero Ede can use registers with greater lightness, frolic and play - in the contemporary arena. And which a more cosmopolitan audience can relate to or recognize. At the sociocultural plank; The Third Wave Poets do not appear prepossessed with any agenda to project their works as ‘culture - carriers’ in the sense which Ibe Nwoga; advanced for sensitive and successful art! The Africanness of Okigbo, Clark and Okara - inspired and propelled their art - as almost independent elements by themselves. But you do not witness the preponderance of such afflatus among our current poets. And that is where you easily also see exceptions which you asked after in your next question. It is a categorical but not a rigid assertion. Because you have cultural lei motifs in say Promise Okekwe, Olu Oguibe, ‘Sola Osofisan and Izzia Ahmad; but not in the chromatic surplus witnessed in Okigbo, Tanure Ojaide, or even the tenuous Ossie Enekwe that comprise the other waves. We require an excerpt from the work to meet a logical encore of these assertions. “Pain. Anger. Protest. These are the dominating moods of The Third Wave of Nigeria Poets. Even the mildest mannered among them are capable of hot words! The literature of the African Continent appeared destined for revolutionary themes …. The Second Wave Poets spear-headed by Niyi Osundare were confronting inequities in the home land with condign metaphors of disgust, remonstrance and renunciation. In The Third Wave of Nigeria Poets a tectonic shift occurs. And that
Conversation around The Third Wave of Nigerian Poets with Obu Udeozo (2) is the subject of our reflections. The entire poets of Gardeners of Dreams manifest Pain. Anger. Protest: in ways that are new to Nigeria Literature in terms of the degree of their outrage, the content of their diatribe and especially the weapons deployed for their assaults! Plus a rather funny dimension - the texture in the characterization of their adversaries! Unfortunately, politicians and soldiers do not read poems: otherwise the whole scale looting and corruption going on in the country would have decreased when our rulers encounter the metaphors by which our poets describe them in pitiable kinship with pigs, hyenas, wolves, tigers, cobras, vampires and every species of ugliness and greed in the animal kingdom.
hat has been the main distinction of Gardeners of Dreams. Their spectacular contribution to our national discourse is their successful dehumanization of our adversaries to the level of mindless beasts! …. But with the advent of Gardeners of Dreams you begin for the first time in our reckoning, to have writers who from exceeding pain, anger and protest consistently ascribe to their antagonists the sub-human attributes of wild life! After more than 40 years when Nigeria’s rulers have refused refinement, deployed progress and betrayed her citizens in every aspect of civilization; the current poets now shop for their metaphors from wild life. Images deployed on the leadership of these days are more bestial. So whereas, the antagonists of the era of Soyinka, Echeruo,
Okara and Clark came from the third wave from the the same taxonomy: the soldier poetry of the first and - rulers and politician second generations? predators of Gardeners of I believe I have already Dreams are trans-species; and given some copious instances have become hyenas, gorillas, in the preceding answers. I do tigers, cobras, dogs and pigs! not intend to pre-empt the As Esiaba Irobi himself affects of more curious and concludes with a more ambitious readers who intend ennobling apostrophe to the to encounter the published poet-persona: works. I am the sparrow in the Could you illustrate with meadow examples? These Really and landscapes truly, the verse After more than I paint are of Remi Raji, is 40 years when the terrains not Mona Lisa, of a mind nor Ben Nigeria’s rulers disfigured E n w e o n w u’s have refused by pain. Tutu; the poems refinement, It gives of Obi deployed us an Nwakanma, inkling of Toyin Adewale progress and some of the Gabriel, and say betrayed her defining C h i e d u citizens in every characteristic Ezeanah are not aspect of of The like Okigbo’s T h i r d Watermaid, or civilization; the Wave Poets Soyinka’s Her current poets against the Joy Is Wild ... but now shop for earlier their works practioners represent a their metaphors in our particular if from wild life land. You specular form of may need art and our own to encounter the actual texts ‘ newness’ in the creative for exhaustive enjoyment of pantheon. Like T.S. Eliot and Ezra the expositions offered in the historic series. Pound alerted America and Are there exceptions to this Europe to the emergence of poetic age? the symbolist writers; that the After dwelling on this new poetry need not subject for the past 16 years, I superannuate Shakespeare or have not discovered any the Magdalenian Cave Man; exceptions to the categories in order to be valid; I urge our enounced. No human readers to welcome the works performance is perfect. None. with cultivated sincerity and But I will also wish to see goodwill. You can be sure that the where exceptions can be adduced. It will be interesting. critical rigours of dissociation, But given the rigours and discernment and evaluation meiotic industry of the have been applied to these process; I doubt the expositions, as to warrant the prospectus of spotting stray continuation of the selection pigeons in the canon. and sanctification ethic. For What would you say despite the stones and insults differentiate the poetry of hauled at Manet, Monet,
Edgar Degas, Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin at the emergence of Impressionism; a time came when Europe finally awoke to the fact that a new form of art is on pirouette in their cultural firmament.
ike all human societies, this is Nigeria’s moment to progress, inspect and assimilate the creative energies twirling among her citizens - after more than Fifty Years of Independence. Our Universities, Examinations Boards, and other academic institutions and colleges across the country, have a fresh pool of data and body of work to connect and interact with: in a fluid and changing aesthetic, cultural and technological lives of our nation state. There is something about the illustrations of the books. You used pictures of persons from different fields of life including beauty queens, politicians and sports men and women in the same way that you used pictures of writers and visual artists to illustrate a series on poetry. What do you intend to achieve by this? I commend the sincerity over your strong reservations on this score. But there are varying perspectives to these issues. During the writing of the series; I had my mind set upon Will And Emil Durant’s The Story Of Civilizationand deep familiarity with Bernard Meyer’s solemn tome: Art And Civilization. There is no single photograph in any and or / all the historic series that was not directly referenced or alluded to in the main text. So be it the pictures of beauty queens or Palmwine tapers; every illustration was conveying a storyline.
PAGE 50 — SUNDAY Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013
SUNDAY Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013, PAGE 51
Atiku: Uncelebrated signature of our democracy By Obaro Obru - Egboro
othing great will ever be achieved without great men, men are great only if they are determined to be so………..Charles De Gaulle
There are numerous Nigerians in the ‘shadows‘ who have refused to join issues with anyone because it is not in their character to do so. They are not perturbed by the comments people make continually about either their person or what they stand for. There is no doubt that our society appreciates those who proclaim their contributions with gongs like the town criers of old. But it is different with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Turaki Adamawa, ever humble, unassuming, genial and of a milk heart. History has been fair and unfair to this great ambassador in the Nigerian project. Yes, history has been fair because he rose from a humble back ground as a staff of the Nigerian Customs and Excise in 1969 into an achiever of no mean repute. On the other hand history has been unfair to him because his contributions in the Nigerian project are hardly appreciated either out of share mischief by his traducers or they are just mentioned without the historical beacons required of such selfless contributions. It is unfortunate that in this country we remember very vaguely or little of people‘s contributions towards our collective greatness but we file and keep records of errors of our people who have committed one blunder or another as if man is infallible. Our newspapers and weekly magazines have become hunting machines either genuinely or otherwise to sink those who have dared to err. It is in our nature to tear down anyone not perceived as‘ perfect, capable of no wrong. The newspapers are awash everyday with write-ups of columnists playing sainthood with the usual routine criticisms that are enpassant and irritating. They pass comments on great Nigerians who have one way or the other made sacrifices to ensure we are an indivisible entity. The Turaki is an avowed patriot of a united country and he is doing just that despite the obvious land mines set on his path. At this juncture, it is pertinent to retrospect on Turaki‘s foray into politics and the roles this uncommon Nigerian played to enthrone democracy. He possesses undeniable qualities or signatures of a committed patriot and a nationalist. His signature is undeniable in the calculations that enthroned the present democratic experiment. Believe it or not, he is among the few Nigerian leaders you can trust today. One is aghast that his detractors have gone to town with all kinds of misinformation about the strides of this
Atiku Abubarkar great son of Nigeria. This discourse is not to examine his wrongs or rights but to put the records straight on his patriotic contributions to get us to where we are today. Atiku said he has not seen a country in the world where growth is predicated on gathering at the centre to share rent. Unfortunately, Atiku environment does not appreciate his wealth of experience in investment and knowledge of good governance. It is becoming impossible to change our inherent nature of complacency, mediocrity and ignorance. It is a tragedy! This detribalised great Nigerian started his political career with the Peoples Demo-
more alive. Incontrovertibly, Abacha knew that with an Atiku free out there, there was trouble and it was only a matter of time before democracy will carry the day and that is where we are today. He mobilised and networked against the Abacha government even outside the country at that time. No one can erase the signature of a man who rose against a ruler from his own geographical entity, not even history because his combined effort with other dogged fighters gave us yet another shot at democracy. Accept it or not in this present democracy, Turaki‘s signature is an indelible imprint to be continually seen today, tomorrow and generations to come. That he was a vice president is not enough, he deserves more because of the magnitude of his unsolicited contributions. The Shehu Musa Yar‘Adua PDM was the foetus that gave birth to PDP and Atiku was a pioneer founder of both the PDM and PDP. He was also amongst the principal actors that produced Obassanjo as president in 1999. In 1999, there would have been no argument as to who should step into the shoes of Shehu because we had a very veritable Atiku that had been around both in PDM and PDP. As a true democrat that he is, he joined hands with other stakeholders to shop for a successor to Shehu and this was how Obasanjo emerged as the presidential candidate to a political party co-pioneered by Atiku. The Turaki had the opportunity and followership to take over the mantle of leadership from where Shehu left off but he resisted it. The vice president slot he got was not canvassed by him, it was given to him as an act of gratitude and the recognition of his selfless role in the life of Obasanjo and the political calculations at that time. To prove the mien of this dignified Nigerian after settling for an Obasanjo presidency, he went back to h i s home state Adamawa to pick the governorship ticket and he contested and won. Hence, the wise men of the party thought otherwise when they remembered the roles he played and gave him the VP slot. In 1999, the Obasanjo/Atiku regime started the journey of governance. The relationship between the two principal players was smooth until 2003, when Atiku showed interest in the presidency because nothing was cast in iron as to whose turn it was. A lot of political watchers frowned at the early signs of fracas but it was quickly put behind them because of the accommodating nature of the Turaki himself. The second journey started in 2003 and as they entered into the twilight of that regime rumours of a third term rented the airwaves. Turaki became unsettled with the
It should be remembered that the democracy we are enjoying today was made possible by the sacrifices of men like Atiku cratic Movement (PDM), a political hegemony put together by the late General Shehu Musa Yar‘Adua, in 1995 when Abacha held sway, he clamped Shehu, Obassanjo and others into detention and the ever calculative and strategic Atiku fled the country to avoid the Abacha tornado. His detractors contended that Atiku fled out of cowardice. Firstly, it is unfair to contend cowardice because he has to be alive to fight for our democracy. Secondly, they are wrong to brand him a coward because he was one of the principal actors the man behind the dark goggles, Sani Abacha, was actually looking for not only to incarcerate but to kill and destroy the political whirlwind of PDM. Although choking and strange as such criticisms may seem, they should not be taken seriously because Atiku was worth
turnout of events and all attempts to persuade Baba Iyabo on the possible dangers of foisting an illegal regime on the people proved abortive. Atiku went to town including NASS to intimate them of the latest of events at Aso Rock. Some school of thought says Atiku‘s war against third term was an insincere effort or desire to protect his presidential ambition. Others argue that engaging in a fight with his boss was an act of disloyalty and that at best he should have resigned honourably. It is safe to say at this point that most of the positions adduced are superficial because the third term thing and the resultant followups envisaged were much deeper than anyone can conjecture. Instead we should be thankful to God and all those who rose against it. Our unalloyed gratitude should go to Atiku who fought it not for any selfish motives as we are quick to believe. The issue of third term was an anathema to our political history and grossly unconstitutional. These are the facts Atiku stood for. There have been pressures on him to form a parallel PDP using his command followership in PDM, whose members form the majority and core of PDP. He has resisted and rebuffed it. As a mercurial and peaceful person, and not to crack what he has assisted to build over the years he left instead to ACN to pursue his ambition. Because of his nature as a political pundit and a team player that he is, he went back to PDP when he was constantly persuaded to do so. Turaki Adamawa has an imprint of a war general, but this time he is a general in our democracy. A man of history we have not appreciated but stabbed on the back and seen more as an enigma. Instead of celebrating him we vilify him and call him names not worthy of him, what an unfair treatment for all he has sacrificed to ensure our political cruise is on course. Finally, it should be remembered that the democracy we are enjoying today was made possible by the sacrifices of men like Atiku. He has endured so much, even attempts on his life to ensure we are still on the democratic cruise. All we can do for him as a people is to appreciate his unreserved contributions. The recent call by the youths of Cross River State as published in the Sunday Guardian of 03/03/13 on the need for an Atiku presidential ticket is timely and a wake-up call for us to once again appreciate this great son of Nigeria. Nobody the cap fits better than him right now. We can do nothing about the truth but the truth. Yes, we should all rise up courageously as Nigerians and give Turaki a presidential salute, come 2015. We can adjust the sail but we cannot direct the wind!
*Obru-Egboro is President, Down2 Earth Network (a non governmental initiative) Tel – 08023303339 No 32 Okpanam Road, Showers Plaza, Delta State
Anenih and the repositioning of PDP Continued from page 43 offer assistance where and when needed. That may be due to his deeply religious upbringing in the Catholic Church. His ability for reconciling differences between individuals and groups has been tested over and over. It was, therefore, not surprising that members of the PDP Board of Trustees had the wisdom of electing the political legend as Chairman of the party’s BoT. The PDP is in a fractious state and there is no doubt about it. The party suffers from widespread indiscipline
in nearly all of its chapters. Some of the governors elected on the platform of the party no longer respect its authority. Internal schism, lawlessness and disorder now permeate the party nationwide. Some Nigerians believe that what happens to the PDP is an internal business of the party. How wrong! The fate of Nigeria, at least, for now, is tied to the well-being of the PDP, especially as there is yet to be a viable opposition party that is capable of serving as an alternative. The existing opposition parties are too fragile and too sectional to be able to play any substantial role while the All Progressive Congress (APC) remains a dream
that may evaporate any moment from now. Anenih is well known, not only for his peace-building capacity but also as an enforcer of discipline, law and order. He is playing a historic role in seeking to resolve the dilemma imposed on the nation by its colonial history. The dilemma is that in spite of our social and cultural differences, we have a strong desire to live under one political roof. That is the cause that Anenih must champion as PDP BoT Chairman. * Udumebraye is a Lagos based legal practitioner
SUNDAY VANGUARD, MARCH 10, 2013
Let it go
f you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be, see ya next week, cheers!
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SUNDAY VANGUARD, MARCH 10, 2013,PAGE 53
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Sitting from right, President General, Urhobo Progress Union, Major-General Patrick Aziza(rtd), President General Ndokwa National Union , Pharm Paul Enebeli and other members of both unions in Delta during a courtesy visit of the new executives of Ndokwa National Union (NNU)to the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) exco.
Tourism park: Community commends Uduaghan
HE people of Ol eri, Udu Local Government Area,Delta State, have applauded the state governor,Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan for his decision to site the tourism tpark in the community. A member of the Oleri Leaders of Thought, Sir Samuel Sagba, who spoke with journalists in Warri, said the project would bring accelerated development to the place. Sagba commended the governor for the con-
struction of a bridge leading to the town which he said has made access to the ongoing project easier. He said the development would not only change the face of Oleri town,but would also transform the entire Udu Kingdom. The leisure resorts, he said, would be one of the most prestigious leisure destinations in the world when completed He added that the theme park would succeed in putting the rus-
tic community on the world map when completed. According to him: ”This project holds a large prospect for this community in terms of employment and integration. In fact, it is expected to employ 6,000 people in this area. ”For this reason, we the people of Oleri are indeed very grateful to the governor for deeming our community fit for this project and assure him of our cooperation”, Sagba said.
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54 — SUNDAY VANGUARD, MARCH 10, 2013
Rooney’s Man Utd future still bright — Ferguson
Does NFF still need the Maigaris, Greens et al?
ANCHESTER United manager Alex Ferguson broke his silence on Friday over this week’s Champions League exit and dismissed media speculation that dropped striker Wayne Rooney’s Old Trafford days were numbered. The England international only came on as a 73rd-minute substitute against Real Madrid in United’s biggest game of the season on Tuesday when his side were 2-1 behind and reduced to 10 men after the controversial dismissal of winger Nani. “He will be here next year, you’ve got my word on that,” Ferguson told a news conference after British media reports had suggested Rooney could leave the club at the end of this season. “He will be involved on Sunday (against Chelsea in their FA Cup quarterfinal), no doubt about that. “There is absolutely no issue between Wayne Rooney and I, to suggest we don’t talk to each other on the training ground is absolute nonsense,” Ferguson added. “He understood the reason for not playing him was completely tactical and I think we were right ... (Danny) Welbeck is the best player we have in terms of operating in a double role (attacking and tracking back).” It was the first time Ferguson
BY BABAJIDE ALAKA
NOT FOR SALE... After overcoming the shock exit of his club, Manchester United from the European Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid, Alex Ferguson (left) broke his silence Friday with assurance to Wayne Rooney that he’s safe at the club. had addressed the media since Tuesday’s match when he was too distraught to speak publicly, sending assistant Mike Phelan to the news conference instead after Nani’s 56th-minute red card completely changed the game.
He arrived at the training ground smiling and asking whether reporters wanted to “do the nonsense first” or “talk sense” and was anything but the angry manager who remonstrated so furiously
during the Champions League last 16 second leg match. Portugal winger Nani was sent off after a high-footed collision with Real defender Alvaro Arbeloa with United leading 10 at the time.
Lateness: Betis slam 15% fine on Igiebor T
HE delayed return of Nigeria star Nosa Igiebor to Real Betis from the AFCON a month later will be probed by the Spanish La Liga club. The club have already slapped a15% fine on the Nigeria international midfielder over his late return. They would have wanted to impose a higher fine of three months’pay, but that is not allowed by the rules governing the Spanish league. The former Lillestrom of Norway star arrived Friday morning, about a month after the AFCON in South Africa, at Sevilla to rejoin his team after flying from Lagos to Madrid on Wednesday. A work permit hitch has been blamed for the player’s lat return and according to the Real Betis official website, all parties involved in this matter will be heard to find out why the player stayed away for several weeks.
Pistorius fights ba il conditions
•Igiebor The former Olympic team star was already left out of his country’s squad for a 2014 World Cup qualifier against Kenya in Calabar on March 23 possibly because of this hassle. On arrival in Sevilla, Igiebor immediately went directly to the Estadio Benito Villamarin, where he met with top club officials. He expressed his joy on his return and said he will be available for training.
OUTH African Pa ra cused of murderin lympi-an Oscar Pistorius, ac g his girlfriend Day, is seeking to have his bail cond on Valentine’s that he can trave itions relaxed so l ab Reports have it th road, reports say. on foreign travel at his lawyers will ask for his ban to drug and alcohol be lifted, along with mandatory tests. The lawyers rius - who says th e shooting of Reev argue that Pistoa Steenkamp was a tragic accident - is The papers reques not a flight risk. tions were reporte ting an easing of the bail condiHigh Court yester dly filed with the North Gauteng da Pistorius, 26, has al y. ket ban” on talkin so reportedly asked for the “blang nity to be lifted an to residents of his gated commud for him to be ab house were Stee le to return to the nk reported to say th amp was shot. The papers were at lant to use any pr “there is no desire by the appeloh that the condition ibited substance or alcohol” but w They asked that heas unfair. ally, with police pe be allowed to travel internationrmission.
HAT Stephen Keshi purportedly resigned in the aftermath of the Super Eagles victory over Burkina Faso did not come as a surprise to many avid football pundits in the land. All the signs were there that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) – why they changed their name from NFA (No Future Ambition); which was a very apt title beats anyone’s imagination– were not in tune with the workings of the coach and wanted to replace him with a foreign dollar-motivated trainer with a sharing formula in place – in the guise of a certain Tom Sainfiet, who was employed and dismissed without resuming the job. The questions that have been asked of the football house over time have never been answered in detail and we continue to nosedive from one crisis to the other. While they say they want to bring in a foreign coach (which is really a get rich scheme), they put obstacles and mines in the path of their current employee to ensure that he failed. Unfortunately, the calculations made before the match against Cote d’Ivoire and the Afcon in general boomeranged in a cataclysmic way that it is sure to have fatal effect on the careers of some in the Glass House – but you can never say never in this land that does not run on civilised conduct. Why must a Chris Green be hankering after sacking a coach that his Technical Committee recommended for the Super Eagles post 15 months ago when the Nigeria Premier League which is the foundation and baby of the NFF is dying a slow death? What is Aminu Maigari going to say he achieved in his time as NFF President? Thankfully, Stephen Keshi won the Nations Cup and that will be on Maigari’s CV. But looking at his tenure, what has he singularly thought up and brought to fruition?
•Culled from supersport.com
SUNDAY Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013 — PAGE 55
It feels good being an Olympic gold medalist, Chuwkwu BY BEN EFE
YDNEY 2000 Olympics newly crowned gold medalist, Clement Chukwu has described the awarding of the 4x400m relay gold to Nigeria by the International Olympics Committee as the best thing that has happened to Nigeria sports and he hoped that it will inspire Nigeria to better performances in future games. Chukwu a member of the heroic Nigeria 4x400m quartet added that Nigerian officials should administer the sport with greater commitment if they desire to see Nigeria go back to the glory days. “It
feels good getting the gold at last. There is no doubt that Nigeria is blessed with many talents. “However, these talents have been mismanaged by few greedy officials. People with good intention should be allowed to come in and move the sport forward. “I sincerely believe we can get or even surpass previous levels reached in Track and Field with the right people in place,” Chukwu said. Jude Money, Clement Chukwu, late Sunday Bada and Enefiok Odo-Obong put up a display that fetched Nigeria the silver in the race won by the American quarter featuring 400m world record
holder Michael Johnson. But when it emerged that late Antonio Pettigrew, took performance enhancing drugs, the IOC strip the USA of the gold and elevated Nigeria. Members of the team were asked to return their medals, before they could get their gold. It is only OdoObong that has complied. “I spoke to IOC representative and I have been given the go ahead to mail the silver medal directly to IOC. I also have contacted Awazie and Gadzama. I have also spoken to Monye, his case is unique and I think he should be in position to decide what to do.”
GOLDEN QUARTET.. Nigeria’s 4x400m relay team to the Sydney 200 Olympic Games rejoice after picking the silver medal behind drug tainted USA team. The gold medal has been restored and Clement Chukwu is excited about it.
Ghana shuns Warri 2013 G
HANA is a notable absentee at the maiden African Youth Athletics Championship scheduled for March 27-31 in Warri, Delta State, Nigeria.
The five-day event under the auspices of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) is the latest on the calendar of the continental body and targeted at athletes between the ages of
FA Cup: Wigan upset Everton 3-0
IGAN produced a superb performance to reach the FA Cup semi-final for the first time and leave Everton and manager David Moyes shell-shocked at Goodison Park. And they did it style, scoring three first half goals. Everton had been pre-match favourites to reach the last four for the second successive season - but Wigan will go to Wembley after a devastating burst of three goals in less than four first-half minutes. Maynor Figueroa, Callum McManaman and Jordi Gomez scored in quick succession to set up a victory Roberto Martinez’s unpredictable Wigan side thoroughly deserved. Moyes and his players were left to face the fury of fans at a rapidly deserting Goodison Park and the grim reality that
the Scot will mark the 11th anniversary of his appointment as Everton manager still without a trophy to his name. Everton would have thought a relatively kind draw offered a reasonable hope of a return to Wembley but Wigan, composed throughout, were outstanding and no-one could begrudge them such an emphatic victory.
Today’s matches Wikki v Pillars Bayelsa Utd v Lobi Akwa Utd v Dolphins 3SC v Gombe Utd ABS v Kwara Utd Sunshine v Kaduna Utd Sharks v Warri Wolves Heartland v Nembe City Nasarawa Utd v El-Kanemi
16-17 years, but the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) has declined participation at least for now. The deadline for the confirmation of countries was March 4, and with Ghana conspicuously missing Sources hinted that the Ghana National Sports Commission did not provide funding for the competition. “Our concentration is to prepare very well for the African Junior Athletics Championship as our aim is to get athletes who will mature and be in their prime for the 2016 Olympic Games where we are hoping to make a huge impact,” said Bawa Fuseini Ghana Athletics Association secretary-general. On the African Youth Athletics Championship, he reminded that Ghana may participate in future events, in line with their objective of building a solid rock team at all levels. Meanwhile, countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa have confirmed their participation alongside hosts Nigeria.
Ojeikere’s arm-twisting postulation
ODAY I want to talk to my friend and colleague, Ade Ojeikere. His e-mail, email@example.com aptly captures it. Ade, as he is fondly called, is a powerful writer and most times, writes satirically. But the one of Saturday, February 23, 2013 in the Sporting Life was definitely not a satire. Ade, known very well as a friend of the present NFF Board in trying to defend them, wrote so much on how Stephen Keshi and John Obuh, coach of the Flying Eagles have introduced blackmail or armtwisting, to get what rightly belongs to them. He proffered that for embarrassing the NFF and Nigerians at a time they were still celebrating the heroic feat of the Super Eagles at the Nations Cup, that the coaches should be sacked as their action, which he said was tantamount to blackmail, was unheard of in the civilised world. I want to draw Ade’s attention to what happened at the 2010 World Cup when the French players boycotted a training session over a grievance they had with the authority. So such things happen in the civilised world, at least to draw the attention of the authorities to an unpleasant situation. Ade said Obuh’s action brought shame to Nigeria, that he should have exploited a better option to drive home his protest. Who told Ade that the coach has not tried or even exhausted these other options and had no other option than to go public? One of the options Ade suggested was for the coach to have reported to NFF’s supervisory body, the National Sports Commission, NSC. The same body that has been accused by the NFF and Ade himself in the past of interference when it tried to look into activities of the NFF including embezzlement of funds? Why resort to the NSC now? To make an excuse for the NFF’s inability to pay its coaches, Ade further blamed the government, indirectly the NSC, for not providing funds early enough for competitions. Was coach Obuh crying over funds to prosecute Flying Eagles campaign in the African Youth Championship or his personal salary? The two must be separated because they are two different issues. For an NFF that fights for autonomy, it behoves on the Board members to source for funds for some of its primary activities like payment of staff salaries. Even if the money to prosecute the competitions haven’t been released, a functional NFF should be solvent enough to fund the project until the government money, which definitely must come, comes. It is the practice with some other federations not spoon-fed like the NFF. The athletics body, the AFN did it under Dan Ngerem and is still doing it under Solomon Ogba, so why not the NFF? Here is where proactive men with foresight are needed to serve as chairmen/ presidents of associations or Board members. I will urge Ade to dig into the history of the NFF and see that it has never met part of its contract with coaches, foreign or Nigerian. The foreigners are better off as FIFA always comes to their rescue by withdrawing from source and paying them whenever it wants to pay the NFF monies accruing to it from FIFA activities. The Nigerian coaches, on their part, are at the mercy of egoistic NFF Board members. I don’t know whether Ade is aware that a coach like Godwin Izilein is still owed some money since 2004 after he led Falcons to win the African Women Championship in South Africa. They claim they did not receive money on time from the NSC and asked Izilein to beg the girls to play as their money would come later. After lifting the trophy, the money still did not come and the girls protested, refusing to return home unless their money is paid them. They argued that if they don’t get paid in South Africa, they may never get paid. Was that not a vote of no confidence of the NFF? The girls went as far as carrying the flag of the defunct Biafra Republic in protest of their ill-treatment by the NFF. And pronto, the then NFF held on to that to deny Izilein his reward by reporting to then president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo that the Edo-born coach instigated the players. What a laughable but cruel way of punishing an innocent man. How can an Edo man instigate players to carry Biafran flag? At the end of the embarrassment, the players and all other officials were paid their allowances and reward from the government but Izilein was denied. Till today no one has said what happened to his money which must have been released by the NSC. No one even investigated the circumstances of the national embarrassment in South Africa and Izilein, like an orphan, is left to lick the wound of the NFF’s injustice alone. This is what I expect Ade to do and not castigate officials who are asking to be paid their wages, for up to 10 months or more for God’s sake. Was it not better Obuh protested here in Nigeria than getting to Algeria during the competition to ‘embarrass’ the country? To avoid the Keshi resignation or Obuh public protest, Ade should advise the NFF to pay its workers promptly. Can Ade tell Nigerians who among the NFF Board members in South Africa during the Nations Cup who had, sleeping, waking up, eating, picnicking, shopping, watching matches and doing other nocturnal activities, as their daily routine, was not paid his or her ecstacode fully? Why should coaches who are always receiving the fire on the sidelines not get their money and yet keep quiet. If the arm-twisting option, like Ade likened it to, is the panacea to their plight, then it is allowed because they too are humans and have families to cater for. C M Y K
SUNDAY Vanguard, MARCH 10, 2013
Sports Minister raises concern over power blocs •Lobbies for Maigari
PORTS Minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, has expressed concern over the type of politics that is being introduced into the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive Council seat election which holds today in Morocco. Abdullahi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja during the week that the place of origin of an intending candidate should not be made a major condition for the election. He said that such a development could thwart the emergence of the right candidate for the post. NAN reports that Aminu Maigari, the Chairman of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), has offered himself for election into the available seat in the West Africa Zone B. The election is scheduled to take place in Marrakesh, Morocco, on March 10. Maigari is expected to contest the election with Anjorin Moucharaf of Republic of Benin and Hima Souley from Niger Republic. “What I know is that there are different interests across the Africa zones and there are also issues of Francophone and Anglophone but it is my hope that we will surmount this. For us, the important thing is that we want to have a seat in the CAF Executive Committee. We will do our best to get it but that is not going to stop anything. Nigeria stands to benefit a lot if we are able to get the seat,” Abdullahi said. The minister said the Federal Government had thrown its weight behind Maigari to signify the importance of the seat to the country. “We are giving him absolute support. Personally, I have visited the CAF president and I told him clearly that this is the candidate for Nigeria. The CAF president assured me that Nigeria is very impor-
tant to him; but added that he cannot pitch his tent with a particular candidate but will be fair to all. As you know in every election, you have to campaign and mobilise people. We have been meeting almost everyday to strategise on these issues,” Abdullahi added.
Results Norwich QPR Reading W/Brom Man City Rangers
0 3 1 2 5 1
S’hampton Sunderland Aston Villa Swansea Barnsley Enyimba
0 1 2 1 0 0
Nigerian athletes celebrate after winning a race. Coach Toblow has urged the National Sports Commission, NSC, to organise refresher course for coaches to prepare them for the task of discovering and nurturing of young talents in the country.
“Toblow” advocates refresher courses for grassroot coaches T
OBIAS Igwe, a renowned athletics coach, has called on the National Sports Commission (NSC), to organise refresher courses for grassroot coaches to keep them abreast with the current trends in the discipline. Igwe told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos at the weekend that the need was necessary for the coaches to master the art of grooming grassroots talents to fruition as
League begins with borrowed money •As Rangers pip Enyimba 1-0 BY TONY UBANI, Enugu
ANGERS International of Enugu kicked off their League campaign on a winning note, beating Oriental rivals, Enyimba of Aba 1-0 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu as the league officially kicked off on borrowed money. Dada Idris 29th minutes goal separated the two sides till regulation time. Chairman of League Management Company, Nduka Irabor described the League opening and the turnout of spectators as impressive. He was particularly excited that logistics could not hold back the League. ”I’m happy that we are on the ground. It’s not been easy. We had to borrow money to ensure we start the League”, Irabor said, adding, “We won’t look back if it means continuing borrowing to run the League”. “This is the beginning of sterling performances by Rangers. Our Governor is a sports-loving Governor who is committed to seeing Rangers excel”, Chuks Ugwuoke, Enugu State Information Commissioner, said. Rangers coach, Monday Od-
igie expressed joy on the team starting on a winning note adding that they would do well this season. The scorer of the goal, Idris, attributed it to team work. “We work as a team”, he said as Enugu celebrated their first victory in the League.
he also decried the poor state of the sport at the grassroots, which he said, had stunted the growth of budding talents. “The problem with our system is that we don’t nurture our talents accordingly. We just discover and leave them on their own and they end up not attaining their full potential. Even some of the coaches that are supposed to groom the athletes lack the expertise to do the job. They will require some form of training to enhance their knowledge. Refresher courses are needed for coaches to be better equipped in their bid to discover and nurture young talents,” Igwe said. Igwe, fondly called ‘Toblow’ by admirers, stressed the need for schools to have their own inhouse coaches; and commended the University of Port Harcourt for adopting such a step.
“We need to have coaches in our higher institutions, in fact in all schools from primary to secondary. Take for instance the University of Port Harcourt, they now have an in-house coach and things are beginning to look good and you will see them dominating very soon,”the coach added. He urged the NSC to adopt the long-term preparatory approach to competitions like the Commonwealth and Olympic Games. “The NSC needs to understand that three months camping cannot produce the result we want. For instance, which of the top 10 countries on the medals table in the Olympics trained for three months? It’s only in Nigeria that people expect such miracle which is not possible. God does not encourage mediocrity,” Igwe said.
CROSS WORD PUZZLE ACROSS 1. Nigeria’s neighbour (8) 4. Nigerian tribe (4) 6. Bird of prey (5) 7. Geometrical shape (8) 8. Shaft (4) 9. Tidy (4) 10. Turncoat (8) 11. One (4) 12. Within (2) 13. Boxes in training (5) 15. Tub (4) 18. Looked at (4) 21. Nigerian state (4) 23. Notion (4) 25. Sports field (5) 27. Above (2) 28. Image (4) 29. Lowers (8) 30. Emblem (4) 31. Hausa boy’s name (4) 32. Dared (8) 34. Barrier (5) 35. Friend (4) 36. Gently (8)
DOWN 1. Bed (3) 2. Enugu soccer team (7) 3. Maiden name (3) 4. Planet (7) 5. Chosen by vote (7) 9. After this (4) 10. Knock (3) 14. Nigerian Grammy Laureate (3) 16. Hatchet (3) 17. Hello (2) 19. Still (3) 20. Mathematical constant (2) 21. Anambra city (7) 22. Cancel (7) 24. Extinct flightless bird (4) 25. Sowed (7) 26. Lettuce (3) 32. Animal doctor (3) 33. Twelve hours (3)
SOLUTION on page 15
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