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Consecration of Bishop (Dr) Chris Kwakpowe
‘Jonathan’s 2015 bid may destroy Nigeria’ Continued from page 1
Chairman of APC, Chief Adebisi Akande, said yesterday. He added: “Jonathan is the most powerful President in the world. He has all the powers arrogated to him, yet he is asking for more”. Akande, a former governor of Osun State, buttressed his claim that the President is unfit for re-election with the allegation that he wrote two letters to the President as the National Chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, on national issues, but Jonathan failed to reply. “I did not see President Jonathan as a seriousminded person. Nigeria’s problem today is Jonathan. I wrote him twice when I was in office as National Chairman of the ACN on issues bordering on the state of the nation and, till date, he did not acknowledge the letters not to talk of replying”, the APC leader, who spoke while Bishop Chris Kwakpowe, newly elected Bishop, flanked by Archbishop fielding questions from journalists on the state of Iriubeme Amu, Lagos State secretary of Christian Association of Nigeria the nation in Ila Orangun, Osun State, said. (CAN), and other bishops, at the former’s consecration as the Bishop of He likened President Jonathan’s style of Manna Prayer Mountain, Ogudu, Ori-Oke, Lagos. governance to that of former President Olusegun
Obasanjo, saying the President keeps harassing anybody that stands on his way with anti-graft or security agencies. Akande noted that the political crisis in Rivers State was as a result of the President’s ambition to remain in office beyond 2015. On the quality of the person to flag the APC presidential ticket in the 2015 election, he said, “We want a thinking leadership in this country and not a kindergarten leader like Jonathan.” The APC leader denied media reports that his party was not keen about the 2015 presidential election,saying he was misquoted.
APC’s registration: PDP, only party with Nigerians’ interest — Ex-Gov Kalu
Bishop Kwakpowe during the consecration
former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Kalu, says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) remains the only party with the interest of Nigerians at heart. Kalu, who spoke against the backdrop of the registration of the All Progressive Congress (APC), said only the PDP can deliver democratic dividends to Nigerians in the quantum they expect. Kalu, who was on his way to deliver a lecture on
governance and politics in Nigeria at the Atlantic Council in Washington DC, United States of America, told newsmen at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport that it was good the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) registered APC. He said: “In a democratic setting, there should be a level-playing ground for all political parties for the sake of our growing democracy.” The former governor also
said it was time to reposition Nigeria’s agricultural sector for economic growth and development. He noted that before the discovery of and boom in the oil industry, agriculture was the mainstay of the national economy, accounting for employment, foreign exchange earnings and food security. He said if all Nigerians would embrace agriculture, Nigeria’s vast potentials will be fully maximized.
Amaechi, Jang clash again as NGF faction summons meeting *5 northern govs disown parley BY SONI DANIEL
ACTIONAL Chairman of Nigeria’s Governors Forum (NGF), Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, and Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, leading a group of 19 governors, appeared back in the trenches, yesterday. Jang and Amaechi renewed the NGF crisis after the former
scheduled a meeting of governors for Abuja today. The Rivers governor kicked against the meetings, describing his Plateau colleague as an impostor, desperately trying to portray himself as the leader of the NGF. Amaechi, who trounced Jang by 19 votes to 16 during the May 24 election of the NGF to emerge the group’s Chairman, warned Jang to desist from further acts of
impersonation, saying he might be compelled to take action against him. Jang was said to have called the meeting of the NGF for Abuja today, during which very sensitive national issues are expected to be discussed. Sunday Vanguard gathered that the meeting, expected to take place at the Jang’s faction office in Maitama, is to discuss the issue of local government autonomy that was killed by the Senate in the constitution amendment process but endorsed by the House of Representatives. It was also learnt that dwindling earnings to the Federation Account from oil arising from unabated theft in the Niger Delta is listed for discussion by the NGF faction. A notice of the meeting, seen by Sunday Vanguard, read: “The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Gov. Jonah Jang of Plateau State, has summoned an emergency meeting of members of the forum. ”The meeting will be held on Sunday, August 11, 2013 at the NGF Secretariat, 2 Nana Close, off Erie Crescent, Nile Street, Maitama, Abuja at 7.30 p.m. “The agenda for the meeting are: Constitution Amendment.” But Amaechi, in a short message to our correspondent, asked his fellow governors to ignore the meeting and wait for a formal notice of meeting
from him, as the Chairman of the group. The Rivers governor said that the NGF, under his leadership, had not scheduled any meeting for today and that issues to be discussed would be made known to them when a meeting date was taken. Amaechi said: “Again, I want Nigerians to know that Jang is an impostor, having tried to steal my victory. He was not elected by the majority of governors, who were in attendance during the election on May 24. “On what basis does he summon a meeting of the NGF? Nigerians should tell Jang to respect himself and desist from impersonating me”. Amaechi disclosed that he was in touch with the leadership of the National Assembly on the issue of constitution review and that the NGF would take a decision on most of the issues deliberated upon by the NASS.
‘We won’t attend’
It also emerged yesterday that many of the 36 governors might not attend the Jang group’s meeting because of the controversy generated by recent events in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the NGF. None of the five PDP governors from the North, who are uncomfortable with the leadership of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, is likely to attend the meeting by the Plateau governor, whose leadership is seen as a ploy by the Presidency to weaken the
Amaechi’s leadership of the NGF. One of the five governors, Murtala Nyako, of Adamawa State, who was contacted through his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Ahmed Sajoh, said there was no way he could attend any meeting called by Jang since he did not win the election of the NGF. Nyako said: “As far as we are concerned, Jang cannot call a meeting of the NGF because he is not the Chairman and there was no time that we elected him as such. That is our position.”
Trouble shooting parley with OBJ
In the meantime, Sunday Vanguard learnt, yesterday, that the Jang group, after today’s meeting, may meet former President Olusegun Obasanjo tomorrow as part of the efforts to resolve the lingering crisis in the NGF. The meeting, according to a source, will be held in Abuja. “The Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau, will, on Monday, lead other members of the forum on a visit to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abuja as part of the reconciliation process. You know he is a former president, as well as a former chairman, BoT of PDP and, with his wealth of experience, he has a lot to offer and we are optimistic that he will intervene and the problem will be over,” the source said.
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2015: Indigenous groups vow to mobilise against fundamentalist candidate BY OLAYINKA AJAYI
Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), praying for the congregation during RCCG 61st Annual Convention held at the Redeemed Camp on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, at the weekend. Photos by Shola Oyelese.
Women blessed with babies dancing when they were giving their testimonies on the last day of the convention.
NIGERIANS have been asked to reject politicians with links to Boko Haram. In a joint press conference by leaders of ethnic indigenous communities held in Lagos at the weekend, the groups said the conflict in the Magreb region and Boko Haram insurgency has led to displacement of indigenous communities and the seizure of ancestral homelands, rape and killing of innocent civilians by armed Islamic gangs. According to
them, the response of the Hausa-Fulani ruling class has largely been that of cold complicity. The groups position was articulated as part of the activities marking the United Nations (UN) Day of indigenous communities which began in New York on August 9, 1994, after the General Assembly of the UN set the date aside to honour and recognise the plight of the indigenous peoples across the world. This year’s event, held in Lagos on Friday, was at the instance of the Green Peoples Environ-
mental Network, (GREPNET), Southern Nigerian Ethnic Nationality Alliance (SONENA), O’odua National Coalition (ONAC) and the Coalition of Nigerian Civil Rights Groups (CONRIG). Several representatives of ethnic
groups from across the country, including members of the United Middle Belt Youth Congress (UMBYC), were at the event. The joint statement was signed by Ibiri Digifa, Michael Popoola, Kalu Nwachukwu and Adegbuyi Kehinde.
Amosun extols late Waka icon, Batili Alake
GUN State gover nor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has described Alhaja Batili Alake, a Waka music
icon, who passed on at the age of 78, as a humble trailblazer. Amosun expressed shock at the news of the exit of the renowned singer, describing it as a great loss to the music industry, Ogun State and N i g e r i a . In a press release by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mrs Funmi Wakama, Amosun described Alake as a devout Muslim, who, through inspiring songs, propagated the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) across the length and breath of Yorubaland, especially in the 50s and 60s.
A cross section of traditional rulers at the convention.
Ogun Dep Gov’s wife showers gifts on nursing mothers, school children BY FUNMI AJUMOBI
To commemorate this year breastfeeding week, Mrs Olufunmilayo Adesegun, wife of Ogun State Deputy Governor, showered gift items including baby clothing, bed sheet, diapers, socks, shawl, blanket on nursing mothers in AgoIwoye and villages in Ijebu North Local Government of Ogun State in collaboration with Helping Hands Initiative, USA, a non government organisation. In line with this year’s breast feeding week celebrated under the theme, “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers”, Adesegun said mothers needed to be assisted and encour-
aged with a consenting understanding that breastfeeding is the best investment in human development as it helps the child to be intelligent, responsible and in turn useful to the society, hence her decision to appreciate the complying mothers. Adesegun noted that breast feeding is the best natural food for a new born baby as it has no disadvantage on the new babies or the mothers; rather, it has all the nutrition and contain anti-biotic which can protect the baby against any childhood diseases and also help mothers prevent unwanted pregnancies and controls their weight.
Jonathan mourns Nwodo’s wife
RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has condoled the former Minister of Information, Chief
John Nwodo, on the death of his wife, Justice Regina Obiageli Nwodo, a judge of the Court of Appeal, in London. A statement by Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, yesterday said. “By her demise, your family has lost a dutiful
wife and a devoted mother; Enugu State has lost one of her finest; our nation has lost an accomplished jurist and a veritable epitome of excellence in service. “As you mourn, I wish, on
behalf of my family, the government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to express our heartfelt commiseration with you at this time”.
SUNDAY VANGUARD, AUGUST 11, 2013 — PAGE 7
Jonathan cautioned over Rivers crisis in the state took over the affairs BY DAYO JOHNSON, AKURE
chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Hon. Isaac Kekemeke has advised President Goodluck Jonathan to stop stoking the crisis in Rivers State. Kekemeke, an Ijaw leader in Ondo State, said the President should stop playing up the crisis “ with a view either to cause political distress to Amaechi in Rivers State or with a view to causing pain to our democracy in Nigeria”. Kekemeke, also a former Secretary to the State Government, spoke in Akure while awarding scholarship to 24 secondary schools students across the state to mark his 50th birthday and the 6th edition of his yearly essay competition for secondary schools. He urged Jonathan to ensure that peace returns to Rivers State to forestall national anarchy and stop been a vindictive leader as regards his differences with Governor Amaechi. The former SSG, who said the President has a duty to put an end to the crisis in Rivers, stated that his continued silence over the crisis is an indication that the President is in support of what is happening in the state. Kekemeke expressed shock that five of the 32 lawmakers
of the state assembly and announced the removal of the Speaker. “To me, there is only one House of Assembly in Rivers State, that Rivers Assembly is headed by Amachree not Bibi who is an impostor as there was no sitting to elect him and more so five can never be greater than 26. ”We have seen that 26 members of the Assembly have stood up to give their support to Amachree, so the other Speaker remains an impostor and that will be a threat to our democracy,” Kekemeke said
L_R: Mrs Funmi Obajimi;Mrs Olufunmilayo Adesegun, wife of the Deputy Governor of Ogun State; Mrs Nike Agbe, member, Helping Hand Initiative, United State of America; and Pastor Mrs Tinu Oyenuga; at the presentation of gift items to nursing mothers and school children in Ijebu North Local Government Area to mark this year breastfeeding week
Panic over N-Delta activists’ alleged kidnapping BY SAMUEL OYADONGHA, Yenagoa
ivil society organisations in the Niger Delta were yesterday thrown into panic following the alleged kidnap of Alagoa Morris, the Project Officer of Environmental Rights Action (ERA), and another rights activist, Chris Alagoa, on the Atlantic fringe of Odioma in Brass local government area of Bayelsa State. The alleged kidnapping, which hit the social media in the early hours yesterday, S u n d a y Vanguard learnt, occurred Friday. Though the renowned environmentalist and his colleague have since been released, there were conflicting accounts of the incident. While a source hinted that Morris and
Chris were taken hostage by youth of Odioma community, another source said the rights activists were detained by the youths and not kidnapped as reported. The duo, it was learnt, were taking photographs of a vessel laden with crude oil which ran aground on the fringe of the Atlantic Ocean, near Odioma, when the youths swooped on them and took them to the community for interrogation. A top police source also dismissed the claim of the kidnapping of Morris and Chris, saying they should have informed security operatives, the leadership and youths of the community before embarking on the expedition. The source, however, explained that the rights
Bayelsa defends suspension of IYC election BY SAMUEL OYADONGHA, Yenagoa
ayelsa State government has defended the decision of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) to suspend the national election of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide slated for yesterday, saying it was in the best interest of the youth body and the entire Ijaw nation. The parent body of the Ijaw youth body, the INC, had, on Wednesday, waded into the crisis rocking IYC and ordered the suspension of the poll following the emergence of two electoral committees for the election meant to usher in the sixth executive of the council. Though no new date has been fixed for the contentious poll, the state government, through its Commissioner for Culture and Ijaw National Affairs, Dr. Felix Tuodolo, in a statement in Yenagoa, said the action of the the INC would create a peaceful atmosphere for free and fair election. Tuodolo, a pioneer President of the troubled Ijaw youth body, dismissed the claim of alleged state government interference in the electoral process, declaring, “Government wishes to reiterate that it has no interest in the politics of the IYC neither is government
interested in any particular aspirant. All aspirants are Ijaws; therefore, government wishes all of them the best in their aspirations to serve the Ijaw
nation. ”However, government wishes to caution all aspirants not to play politics with the Ijaw struggle by politicising the IYC.”
activists were freed later on Friday. Contacted, Morris confirmed the incident and their release, adding, “Chris and I were extensively interrogated by the community.” He said they had returned to their homes hale and hearty, explaining that the youths carried out the action because they were concerned that
Diya, Ita Giwa, Adefuye condole with Fashola over father’s death
former Chief of General Staff, LT. Gen. Oladipo Diya; APC chieftain, Senator Anthony Adefuye; and a former Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo on National Assembly Matters, Senator Florence Ita- Giwa, have condoled with the governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, over the death of his father, Alhaji Ibrahim Ademola Fashola. Diya, in a tribute, described the deceased as an astute administrator, a religious scholar and community leader who devoted all his life, talents and
Ondo monarch sacks three chiefs BY DAYO JOHNSON
HREE traditional chiefs appointed by the paramount ruler of Mahinland in the riverine area of Ondo State, the Amapetu, Oba Lawrence Omowole, have been sacked over alleged illegal sale of community lands and other sundry offences . The chiefs, appointed to oversee the administration of some communities within Igbokoda, were accused of “acting inconsistent to the oath of their traditional offices”. Speaking on behalf of the paramount ruler, Chief Godwin Ola-Balogun, who is also the Yasere and traditional Prime Minister of the kingdom, alleged that they engaged in illegal sales of community lands, refused to answer to queries on the allegations, insubordination and gross disrespect to the Amapetu and the body of traditional chiefs. Ola-Balogun said it was imperative to remove the chiefs “because they were already, by their actions, allegedly destroying the social and economic fabric of the communities they headed”. But one of the sacked chiefs said, on behalf of others that though, they had been served, the action of the
Amapetu was illegal because they were duly appointed. While denying the allegations levelled against him and his colleagues, the chief said all they did since
their appointment were within their authority, adding that “appropriate response would be taken against the action of the Amapetu”
NDDC-ED Projects: ‘It’s Delta’s turn’ BY TONY NWANKWO
o n c e r n e d Communities of Oil Producing Areas, CCOOPA, Delta State Chapter, says it is the tu rn of Delta State to
produce the Executive Director (Projects), on the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) as Bayelsa and Ondo States have already taken their respective turns. A statement by CCOOPA chairman, Akporuerho Okameh, said the group had ignored sentiments expressed in newspaper reports, aware that these were stories planted in newspapers by mischief makers. “We decided after our meeting, today (Friday, August, 9, 2013), to state categorically, that the core oil producing states of Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta, have always rotated the
unpleasant situations in the area were usually attributed to the people of the area. Morris said though their cameras and other gadgets were seized, the items were given back. He added that the youths and chiefs of the community took care of them and ensured their safe return to their homes.
three executive posts of, Managing Director, Executive Director (Finance and Administration) and Executive Director (Projects)”, the statement said, adding, “CCOOPA is aware that Akwa-Ibom had produced Chairman, Executive Director (Projects), and is now to produce the Managing Director. Rivers had produced the Managing Director and Executive Director (Projects). Delta had produced the Managing Director and Executive Director, (Finance and Administration), and Bayelsa had produced the Managing Director, the Chairman and the Executive Director, (Finance and Administration), so it is now the turn of Delta State to produce the Executive Director, (Projects). Bayelsa had produced the three executive positions while Delta had produced only two, the MD and Executive Director (Finance and Administration)”.
resources to the service of God and mankind. Adefuye, in his own message, described Alhaji Fashola as a disciplined father worthy of emulation and an exemplary role model. Ita Giwa said: “Loss of loved ones is usually a bitter experience but I want to urge the governor and his siblings to be grateful to Allah because their late father lived a good and fulfilled life”.
African movie channel to be launched
All roads lead to the Grand Ballroom of the Oriental Hotel, Lekki today as the UK based African Movie Channel (AMC) will be launched in Nigeria. AMC is the world’s first global channel dedicated to the best movies and series from Nigeria’s movie industry. Expected to grace the event, which will be hosted by Teju Babyface, with Andre Blaze as red carpet anchor person, are who’s who in media and business, along with top Nollywood stars.
Metro FM road shows
Metro 97.7 FM took steps to identify with its listeners across Lagos metropolis when it launched the first of its five road shows. The show saw the organisation’s staff hitting the streets of Lagos in a convoy, dancing and singing. The road show took off from the organisation’s office in Ikoyi, and moved through Costain, Ebute-Metta, Yaba, stopping at strategic points before terminating it in Surulere. Making their feeling known during the show, listeners of the station urged that particular attention be paid to people oriented programmes.
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SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 9
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nigeria: A nation that never considers its own Dear Sir,
E have created and employed over 3.5m job seekers since May 29 th, 2011'’ say government representatives at various fora, but the statistics and specifics are kept in the vault of imagination. World all over, maritime is the greatest employer of labour, and nations of the world protect and exclusively allocat that sector to their nationals, or at best to those that have naturalized. In the sub-region of West Africa, no non-indigene enters the sea/airports as well as the boarder stations to do the transactions of clearing, forwarding or transportation. Such issues must be handled by the indigenes who are authorized by their agencies to execute the jobs. Those nations base their reasons on provisions of employment to their citizens, as well as ensuring the protection of their gateways (securitywise) as well as insulating their officials from corrupt tendencies. But reverse is the case in Nigeria. Our senior Those affected corruption virus, transmitted into them by the system, bask in the euphoria of worthless chairmanship epulate, been accorded them by the foreigners. Today in Nigeria, all the sea, air and boarder- Area commands, of the Nigeria Customs Service, are invaded by foreigners who do the job of clearing and forwarding as well as haulage, creating dire consequences to our economy. As these foreigners who have made incursion into the clearing and forwarding industry continue to bulldoze their ways unchecked, by the regulatory agencies, like Immigration
services as well as NIA, our officers and men at the various commands, are exposed to all manner of vices. They boast of their contacts in high places and display the pictures they had with men of earthly powers, who they claim, are their partners. By the indices of Nigeria Customs Service, prio to this invasion, indigenous clearing and forwarding agents were up to 20,000 in the roll and each had in its employment an
avarage of 20 workers with minimum salary of N25,000.00 per month (20 X 20,000 = 400,000 workers) (20,000 X 20 X N25,000.00 per month) = N10,000,000,000.00 (Ten Billion Naira). All these have gone, and yet import profile has gone up tremendously. Indegenous Agencies have retrenched their workers and some can’t even renew their License – No thanks to the system that has betrayed them.
Crime wave has taken the front burner because as the indigenous agents are forced to close shops, their erstwhile staff resort to aiding and abetting smuggling and falsification of import documents to make ends meet. It is imperative that Nigeria learn to empower its citizens, by ensuring the safety of its gateways as well as protecting the values of humanity. Prince MacDonald Aroboinonsen Okojie Clemasup Nigeria Limited
When shall we ever get it right? Dear Sir,
T is very shameful that INEC despite the billions of naira it was given for the 2007 general elections, she is yet to issue us with permanent voters’ cards and not to talk of introducing computerized verification system like in the banks, for quick verification and voting, once the voter ’s picture and signature or thumb print appear on the computer that should be at each polling centre. INEC was given enough money that would have provided computers for each polling centre and small generating sets to power them, instead of the slow process of verifying the names of voters in the Voters’ Registers that sometimes are not sent to the polling centres they are meant for, leading to many voters being disenfranchised when they could not find their names in those voters’ registers sent to the polling centres they registered their data initially. This was what happened in the last governorship election in Anambra State in 2010, when only about three hundred thousand voters who found their names in the Voters’ Registers,
cast their votes, out of more than one million registered voters who could not find their names in the Voters’ Registers that were brought to the polling centres where they were initially registered. INEC should endeavor to rectify this anomaly before the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State in November this year. Finally, INEC, before the 2015 general elections should endeavor to introduce computerized verification system and electronic voting system that would eliminate the counting of votes manually that usually aids the rigging of elections in favour of the highest bidder! They should take a cue from the transparent and credible voting system that brought Barrack Obama to power in 2008 and 2012, period! Yes we can, if only those entrusted with conducting elections, will not allow themselves to be compromised by the huge sums of money those seeking elective posts entice them with! Ifeka Okonkwo writes in from Awka, Anambra State.
An appeal to Gov Akpabio on Mbak Etoi-Adadia Road Dear Sir,
HE people of Mbak Etoi-Adadia communities are faced with the problem of not having motorable roads to Uyo metropolis and they are passionately appealing to Governor Godswill Akpabio to flag-off the construction of their roads along with others in Akwa Ibom State. The roads are not more than 3km away from Oron road and Uyo town that have a well developed road network. These roads would have been easy access roads for some state civil servants to take off from their respective homes to their offices in Uyo had it been motorable. The social and economic importance of the roads if constructed can not be over stressed as it will boost agricultural produce by the people of Etoi and Uruan and aid in evacuating same to other parts of the country. God will surely reward you for doing a noble work. Effiong Edet Bassey (FISLT) IkOT OTOINYIE 08037440913
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any political association, especially one that has arrogated to itself the word “PROGRESSIVE”. The reason my enthusiasm for APC is less than expected lies in the fact that my readings in semantics had taught me to disregard the words people use to describe themselves and to focus on what they have done, or causes they have been known to support and their utterances on important matters. Lastly, I am more interested in character, or its synonym, integrity. Looking closely at the leaders of the APC, it is doubtful if all of them will pass the test of integrity. Few, if deeply probed, will fail to change their designer suits for prison attire.
Nigeria is delivered to a political party led by conmen? The answer is: I doubt it….
“You cannot adopt politics as a profession and remain honest”. Louis Howe, 18711936.(VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS P192). This article could easily have been given the title, TWO SMALL LIES ADD UP TO A GREAT TRAGEDY, and it would still have been apt. Governors Fashola and Obi had disappointed their thinking supporters in immeasurable ways on this matter. And they have left, at least in my mind, the thought that “if they lie so glibly on this serious matter, which was
only exposed providentially, how many more atrocities are they hiding?” I have an inkling of two which I am now investigating in Lagos State. However, before proceeding to the lies and dodges of the governors, let me address the related issue of public response to issues about which commentators and critics have little facts but a rumour to support their claims. On Saturday, 28 July 2013, I received a text message from 0802-467-9718 and someone who signed the message as Kamma. Part of the message read as follows: “De painful thing is dat there has been silence from de self-appointed social critics and champions of democracy….pretending not to notice dis inhumanity to man and grave breach of our constitution. It is clear now where they are all coming from”. I hope “Kamma” is reading this article because, having arrogated to himself the role of a critic, which is his right, he reminds me again of the quip by Macmillan, who said: “I have never found in a long experience in politics that criticism is ever inhibited by ignorance”. Unknown to, or deliberately ignored by Kamma, there had been criticism of the deportation by “self-appointed social critics” some of whom are Igbo people. Let me cite two. One Ofili, writing in the PUNCH, had called the Lagos State government, as well as those of us who call ourselves indigenes of Lagos State, “Nazis” for supporting the government on the deportation policy when we were never consulted on the matter. That is fair criticism which Kamma would endorse, of course. He is not a victim of “guilt by association”. The previous Sunday, another “self-appointed crit-
to go back home". They did defend their decision that a letter did indicate that the Akwa Ibom Government responded to Lagos Ministry of Women Affairs, repatriating two indigenes of Lagos, who were picked up on the streets of Uyo. So what is the faith of other vulnerable people,
people but we know how Nigeria is, anything is open exploitation. This is open to abuse and it means individual state become territorial and discriminatory. We are already quite intolerant as it is,we tend to go on overdrive and take the tribal high roads without questioning the motives. It is a distraction for those who do not want peace and stability in Nigeria. So who runs and manage these rehabilitation centre and who administer these treatments? Do we really think we can rid our streets of those we see as undesirables ? Out of sight does not mean that the problem of poverty and associated ills will disappear no, it has just been decanted elsewhere . As for Lagos State, As we often say, when you are tired of Lagos, you are tired of life! All roads leads to Lagos like any metropolis, people come in search of work and a better life and it has always been like that everywhere across the world. So there is more than meets the eye with this story. The other explanation by the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Mr Umar Manko is no better as he categorically denied that Lagos State did not 'deport' 72 persons of Igbo ethnicity. He explained away that " the state government embarked on 'revive and reform' mission which after
they indicated that they would be happy to go back to their home town and be resettled.So in the last two weeks there have been some to and fro in denials and rebuttals in the last two weeks. The Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola continues to offer his response in an open letter to Peter Obi, the governor of Anambra State over the deportation of some indigenes of Anambra from Lagos State, and he followed with another within 24 hours. So are we any wiser than when the story first broke If they are local people do they then receive treatment and taken to their families who may not be in the position to take care of them? There are many opportunists who are quick to join the bandwagon on the tribal and state divide. I would hope that being a Nigerian is exactly what it is:A Nigerian and that I could go where I want, provided I abide by the law of the land. Not sure the former governor of Abia State is right to think we are different in race, we are not. It is very unlike Fashola's administration to act out of character; he has always been fair and forthright. He always put the interest of all the people of Lagos at the forefront. This is very worrying sign if it is what it is. Each tribe to his own? We are Nigerians pure and simple. We cannot afford to
Is APC the answer? -- 1 U
that: “If people want a sense of purpose they should get it from their archbishop [or Chief Imam]. They should certainly not get it from their politicians”, I cannot agree more. The last person to trust absolutely is a politician; a bunch of them, in my view make up the devil’s workshop – irrespective of political party or alliance; mainly because groups are generally more immoral than individuals. The fiasco of Governors Forum election and the mayhem in Rivers State House of Assembly demonstrate how, ordinarily sensible people can easily lose their senses once they become part of a group. Even the devil knows that after fourteen years in government, at the Federal level, and in most states, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has failed. There is hardly any problem we had as a nation, in 1999, that has not got worse or remained unsolved. The singular exception has been communications and the GSM revolution. Education, infrastructure, power supply, corruption and official greed remain with us; same with high unemployment and the decline of industries. Today, unlike any time in the past, we live under a Mrs President who intrudes into operations of government, at home and abroad, at will, bringing with each intrusion discord and sometimes ridicule. We know the problems; even if some ethnic jingoists would
Trouble rousing "When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool." - Chinua Achebe am still trying to get a handle on what re ally happened, how 72 Nigerians of Igbo extraction were dumped in Anambra State. Really, can you be deported in your own country? So what exactly is going on? The former Governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, was up in arms that the Governor of Lagos State acted unconstitutionally by deporting them that he has issued a 7-day ultimatum for the governor to apologise and stop future illegality from happening. Defending Governor Fashola's action, his Special Adviser on Youths and Social Development, Dr. Enitan Dolapo Badru, said: 'The end result is to reunite them back with their families.' A very unlikely story if that were the case, we should see more people coming forward when they are tired of living Lagos
and they are desperate to be bussed out? Fashola defended his corner that contrary to the 72 that was widely reported he said that the number is 14. So what really happened then? It was said that the plight of these deportees was reported to their place of origin and communicated the wish of these people to return to their home state once they have been rehabilitated, detoxed and health restored. These people,we were told were picked up on the streets of Lagos as part of a continuous exercise to assist vulnerable citizens who roam the streets without food or shelter and a number who have medical ailments, usually in the nature of mental infirmity. So the magnanimity of the Lagos State programme is treating them and restoring them to health. They were seen by social workers who were told they wanted to be repatriated to their home state. So it stated that "in the event, they disclosed that they were from Anambra and sought assistance
want the rest of us to join them in pretending that all is well. But, from now until 2015 and, perhaps beyond, the most urgent question is: Is APC, as presently constituted, the answer? My answer for now is: perhaps not. We may need another political party. That answer will probably shock a lot of people who had assumed that as a long-term critic of the PDP, I would naturally embrace
“Alliances are held together by fear not by love”, Harold Macmillan, British Prime Minister. (VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p 9). NTIL the Independ ent National Electoral Commission, INEC, registered the alliance of political associations which had come together under the banner of All Progressives Congress, APC, to me, there was nothing to discuss about the matter. APC is now a reality, so there are loads of issues to consider. The first, and most important, has already been addressed by Harold Macmillan. The former British Prime Minister, on February 3, 1960, in a speech to the South African Parliament, had pronounced as follows: “The most striking of all impressions I have formed since I left London a month ago is of the strength of African national consciousness…. The wind of change is blowing through the continent [underlining mine]. Whether we like it or not, the growth of national consciousness is a political fact”. That was eight months before Nigeria became independent. Most commentators remember the part about “ wind of change” but few know the venue and the context in which it was made. His views of political coalitions, or alliances, were just as unique and sensible as his views about politicians in general. He was also once reported to have said
But, my biggest worry lies in the fact that APC, even so early in the day, is like a structure resting on two major pillars; each deeply flawed. APC remains ACN and CPC or, more candidly, Bola Tinubu and Muhammadu Buhari – with a lot of political appendages or even jesters attached. Character flaws in some of the leaders are so deep as to frighten me at the prospect that power might shift to them. Few of them believe in and practice democracy within their own organizations or in the areas they control and with the exception of two, there has been little really “progressive” about the governance in their domains. The question that bothers my mind can be summarized this way: will I be happy if
The Northerners, he called DESTITUTES, the Yoruba (Fashola actually deported Yoruba people to Abeokuta and Ibadan before the Igbo) were called BEGGARS. But Mr Ofili called the affected Igbo NIGERIANS
We are Nigerians pure and simple. We cannot afford to be strangers in our own homeland
will they be picked up by the special squad and taken to a place of safety? Alarm bells should ring as it reminds me of the time when we had dog catcher squads who went about town rounding up stray dogs but they also scooped up domestic dogs. If they are creating a pick up squad, we are setting a dangerous precedent and it is going to be very dangerous not for only vagrants, disabled and vulnerable
DEPORTATION: GOVERNORS ALSO LIE –1
ic”, my own stable mate, Obi Nwakama, had written a column condemning the deportation and calling it ethnic cleansing; with the obvious implication that the Yoruba people of Lagos State hate Igbos. I can provide more examples from numerous articles in various newspapers about the subject matter to prove without any doubt that Kamma’s message saying critics were pretending not to notice “dis inhumanity to man” was at best, a demonstration of ignorance; or at worst, a lie – similar to the lies the two governors, Fashola and Obi, have served us on this matter. Obi in his own write-up declared that the victims were transported “across two state lines”. Well, Obi left for the US several years ago. So he can be forgiven for not remembering that you cross five state lines from Lagos to Anambra States and the trip cannot be less than ten hours. So, if human cargo arrives at Onitsha at 3.00 in the morning, it must have left not later than 5.00 in the afternoon from Lagos. Five o’clock in the afternoon is not exactly “dead of night”, or is it Obi? Ofili? Kamma? Ofili, in his article, acknowledged that Lagos State government had deported non-Igbos from the state as well. But, Ofili, Igbo, categorized the victims as follows. The Northerners, consisting of over seventy ethnic groups, he called DESTITUTES, the Yoruba (Fashola actually deported Yoruba people to Abeokuta and Ibadan before touching the Igbos), were called BEGGARS. How about the Igbo victims? Mr Ofili called them NIGERIANS. That tells the entire story does it not? Kamma did not read those insults to other ethnic groups, I am sure. Who is the Nazi, Mr Ofili? be strangers in our own homeland. How is too much is never enough It seems that Nigeria is on holidays from urgent state duties. Her politicians are busy cutting deals: some of them who are in their first term as governors are designing to go to the senate; those who are in the second or third terms are scheming for the fourth and the umpteenth. Even the president of two and half terms wants more. And the chairmen and councillors are not left out. The result: the economy is haemorrhaging; the greedy are stuffing their overfilled pockets with the nation's wealth. Sadly, this is how they will carry on till the elections. You can't make this up even if you wanted to, they are really eager to make grounds and galvanise their power base and of course ,the flowing money well. So the good Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue is on his last tenure but he appears to be playing his cards very close to his chest. Actually, the modus operandi is the same with his lot; He will contest for the senate just like those before him, then will tread the well-worn path to the lush and gravy train of the upper chamber of the National Assembly. He has not said much but we know he will and others have implied on his behalf.
SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 11
Scrap the post of Minister of State PSN President, Mr. Olumide Akintayo, President Jonathan should “be bold enough to tackle the forces that frustrated Pate out of the system by reacting appropriately." Pate is believed to have resigned because of irreconcilable differences between him and the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, on the delegation
HEN Dr Mu hammad Ali Pate, Nigeria’s Minister of State (Health) resigned his appointment last month to assume the position of Professor in an American university, President Goodluck Jonathan, was reported to have seen it as evidence that “his starstudded cabinet was attracting global attention”. For some reasons, not many believed that Pate’s departure from the cabinet was an all-is-good affair. To some, it was like Andrew checking out. First, that the resignation was with immediate effect looked suspect. Second, it appeared he did not have enough time to give proper notice and undertake a fairly detailed handing over process. Meanwhile, the same university reportedly offered him the job as far back as 2009. An important stakeholder in the health sector - the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) believes that the minister was forced to resign. According to the
even the allegation that Chukwu and Pate were hardly seen together. According to unrefuted media reports, both ministers did not sit together as one delegation to share thoughts during the last World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland. Yet, President Jonathan’s admonition is that, each minister “must know everything
As at today, the reality is that a minister of state does not know what happens in his ministry as ministers hardly involve their ministers of state in the activities of the ministry
of duties and power in the ministry. To corroborate this, Pate did not in his exit statement, give Chukwu any mention but glowingly acknowledged the contribution of his driver, security aides and other personal staff to his work. There is
about his ministry”. As members of the federal executive council who are entitled to participate in the weekly meetings of the council, one is tempted to see some level of equality among our ministers. After all, they were all
PhD, Department of Philosophy, University of Lagos,
The difference between running the country and running the country down cal leadership, misfits and undesirable elements have risen to political and economic prominence nationwide. It follows that although Nigeria's problem is, fundamentally, leadership kwashiorkor, Nigerians themselves deserve a big part of the blame because they lack the courage to engage in genuine transformational praxis to liberate the country as a whole from the quagmire of mediocre leadership. It is as plain as daylight that vicious ruling cabals have been running the country down instead of running it with wisdom, courage and compassion for the suffering masses. It is even more pathetic that Nigerians are incapacitated to do anything concrete about it, partly because of underdeveloped social consciousness and because they are thoroughly soaked in the delusionary comfort of religious superstition. Let us clearly differentiate between running a country and running a country down in order to identify clearly the leadership problem responsible for our desperate condition right now. To run a country (or any institution for that matter) requires certain mental qualities and habits necessary for the attainment of the goals for which the institution in question was established. All human
societies came into being from the complex dialectical interactions of both intended and unintended consequences of human actions. However, whatever else might be true about human groups in general, each group exists primarily for the benefit of its members. What justifies the emergence
T is very unfortunate that Nigeria continues to be a paradigm case of a richly endowed country in the cesspit of arrested development. Therefore, Nigerians must begin to seek seriously the reasons for that anomalous situation. To be more specific, why have Nigerian leaders continuously failed to harness the tremendous human and material resources domiciled in the country for optimum national development? What exactly is preventing the most populous Black country in the world from becoming one of the greatest nations in the history of civilisation? The straight answer to all the questions above is bad leadership. By an unfortunate dialectic of historical circumstances, especially since the end of the civil war, a visionless cabal (or cabals), lacking appropriate moral and emotional intelligence for responsible and responsive leadership, has been dominating commanding positions in the critical areas of our national life - this is precisely the problem. On the other hand, ordinary Nigerians have not been able, through active participation in public life, to ensure that only the best is entrusted with political authority. In other words, given the self-centred lethargic attitude of our people to politi-
cleared by the senate as fit and proper persons to hold the post of minister. Interestingly however, as soon as portfolios are shared, those designated as ministers of state suddenly become spare tyres like deputy governors in the states. Even the legislature that had found them worthy begins to despise them. A good example being the case of Dr. Yerima Lawal Ngama, Minister of State (Finance) who was once disallowed to present to the legislature, certain information needed to deal with a finance matter. The legislature had insisted that the information could only be presented by Minister, Okonjo Iweala. Why can’t any of the 2 ministers in a ministry provide any information about the ministry? Why was Ngama nominated and cleared as a Minister? Again, why does he attend the federal executive council meetings and more relevant to this article, why should he know anything about his Ministry? What the posture of our law makers suggested concerning the ministry of finance issue was that the minister of state was not a real minister and that he was not actually needed in the ministry. Even if we dismiss the action of the legislators as egoistic, we may not be able to adduce enough evidence to convince workers in our ministries that a minister and the minister of state in a particular ministry have any ambience of compatibility. President Jonathan was humorously accurate dur-
ing the signing of the Performance Agreement with his ministers in 2012 when he said: “If Minister A does not know what Minister B is doing and Minister B does not know what Minister A is doing, but the Permanent Secretary knows everything that all of you are doing, the Permanent Secretary becomes a boss of the two ministers and the Permanent Secretary can use your heads to hit yourselves and just laugh at you”. As at today, the reality is that a minister of state does not know what happens in his ministry as ministers hardly involve their ministers of state in the activities of the ministry. Even if ministers are disposed towards teamwork, their aides invent several stories to hit their heads against each other. While some work to ensure that the minister of state shakes off any inferiority complex, others brief the main minister daily on the need for him to at all times establish that he is in charge. In the ministry of my sector – information - a staff once told me that the rebranding project was known to only the minister and her personal staff. Does that explain why the project was not sustained by the current minister of information who was previously the minister of state in the ministry? When insecurity heightened in the nation in 2012, Dr Haliru Belo was dropped as the minister of defence but Olusola Obada, the minister of state was
saved. What did the 2 ministers do or not do together? Could it be that only one of them was supposed to be vicariously liable for the problem at hand? If so, that is the only minister we need. There is however the argument that because we have 42 ministers - a figure that is more than the number of ministries, more than one minister will have to be in some ministries. Why do we need 42 ministers? If it is so that every state can have a minister, we should not lose sight that as at today we still have only 36 states and Abuja. Those who argue that some ministries are too large for one minister should remember that our large nation has only one President. In addition, if a ministry is very large, appointing for it, one minister and a minister of state cannot ensure decentralization for efficiency. What such a situation calls for, is a specification of each minister’s exclusive jurisdiction. Two points are made. First, 2 ministers in the same ministry in Nigeria are hardly compatible notwithstanding some postures at public functions to hide their infighting. Second, we only have idle ministers of state. But is our minister of state (Education) not quite visible these days? He is, but not in his ministry which not having been able to settle its disputes with lecturers has left our universities in limbo for longer than makes sense.
ing British Empire. As everyone knows, colonial administration of "Niger area" ended in 1960. Up until now, the long shadow of British rule is still visible in the fundamental economic and geopolitical architectonics of the country. Nigerians who took over from British administrators were expected to run the country wisely by mobilising her abundant human and material for the good of all. In other words, the emergent Nigerian state has the necessary natural resource base to emerge as the "giant of Africa"; what the immediate post-independent leaders needed to do was to work extremely hard to harness the resources for all-round develop-
gion the cynosure of all eyes. Some hero-worshipping Awoists for whom the late politician was almost the divine being itself might have exaggerated his skills in financial management. Yet, Awolowo's achievements in the areas of economic development, mass communication and infrastructure were impressive. But the field in which the most respected Yoruba politician made his greatest mark, which remains an enduring legacy today, is education. As an intellectual deeply convinced that education is the key to allround positive transformation of people, the late political philosopher, through his policy of free education, ensured that chronic poverty did not stop anyone in his region willing to go to school from getting educated. Therefore, Awolowo's above-average performance while in office makes him one of the few Nigerian politicians who knew how to run things - and he did so admirably. Now, consider the performance of Nigerian leaders since 1970: virtually all of them ran the country down. The military heads of state, with the possible exception of Muhammadu Buhari (probably because his tenure was too short for him to make his own egregious mistakes) mismanaged the country so badly that repercussions of their incompetent leadership are still with us. In sane and serious countries, Yakubu Gowon, Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Olusegun Obasanjo ought to be thoroughly investigated and, where complicity and culpability is established, prosecuted for corruption and chronic mismanagement of the econo-
my. However, Nigeria is light years away from sanity. As a result, the media still celebrate these incompetent dictators, to the extent that Gowon and others shamelessly strut around gloating in the delusion of "elder statesmen." The way I see it, most of our most pressing problems stem from the poor quality leadership provided by these men. To make the point more explicit: our military dictators, because of avarice, wasted wonderful opportunities to lift Nigeria from the slough of arrested development to the zenith of self-reliance and economic cum industrial sustainability. In a lecture entitled "Nigeria: A Country in Perpetual Flux," the bohemian virologist, Tam David-West, enumerated media reports about the grand larceny committed by our military rulers. Moreover, the embarrassingly high ratings of Nigeria in the corruption index of Transparency International - all this constitutes serious indictment of the twenty-seven years of military dictatorship in the country. To repeat: it is a big shame that dictators largely responsible for our tragic slide into the oxymoronic category of "poorest rich nation" are free men enjoying proceeds of their misgovernance. More disturbing is the fact that these wealthy individuals are looked upon as role model for the youths. Past military leaders of the country, aside from being compelled to face justice for their selfishness and unpatriotic misuse of power, should be treated as lepers were treated in the past. But it appears that the word 'shame' has lost its meaning for Nigerians.
Our military dictators, because of avarice, wasted wonderful opportunities to lift Nigeria from the slough of arrested development to the zenith of self-reliance and economic cum industrial sustainability
of social formations of all kinds is the opportunity they provide for people to actualise their productive powers in cooperation with others. In the case of the geopolitical entity called Nigeria, it is incontrovertible that the country is the creation of British colonialists meant to serve primarily the economic interest of Britain. Therefore, the interests of the various peoples that constitute Nigeria were secondary to those of the colonising power as a motivating factor in the birth of modern Nigeria. Of course, British imperialists administered the country in a manner that suited the imperialist designs of the declin-
ment of the country. From October 1, 1960 to January 14, 1966, Nigeria operated a regional political arrangement based on the parliamentary system. A paradigm example of how to run a government effectively was the Western region under late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Despite his tribalistic predilections and the horrifying measures he adopted to emasculate Biafrans during and immediately after the civil war which cast a serious slur on his reputation, Awolowo was a disciplined and astute leader. When he became Premier of Western Nigeria in 1954, Awolowo set to work to make the re-
PAGE 12—SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013
TENSION OVER OLOFFA STOOL
It is sad two brothers are at war — Chief Shao, kingmaker BY DEMOLA AKINYEMI Offa, in Offa local government area of Kwara State, is on edge following the Appeal Court judgement which ordered its monarch, Oloffa, Oba Gbadamosi Mufutau, from the Anilelerin ruling house, to vacate the throne and directed the state government to install the rival candidate, from Olugbense ruling house, Alhaji Adegboyega Keji. A suit to stall the execution of the court order has been filed pending the hearing of the appeal at the Supreme Court. The tussle for the throne is generating ripples in Offa. One of the kingmakers involved in the process that produced Sanni, Chief Shao of Offa, bares his mind on the issue, making some clarifications,and what the development portends for the town. Excerpts of interview: ow did things degenerate to this level? We have some third party on this issue, because for the Olugbense ruling house to have forwarded the name of its candidate, it means it has accepted defeat. I think along the line some people told them not to accept; that there is rotation. It is something like an after thought. If not, immediately they got the letter of invitation to bring their candidate, they should have said they would not participate, that it is their turn as ascension to the throne is rotational. If not for fifth columnists, this chieftaincy tussle wouldn’t have got to this level. Can you give a background into how the kingmakers arrived at the choice of Oba Gbadamosi? We arrived at his choice based on the statue, customs and tradition of the town coupled with the requirements in the government gazette. Being the custodians of customs and tradition of the people, we had to apply what the people wanted. We also approached stakeholders before arriving at his selection. Was the Olugbense ruling house carried along before the choice of Oba Gbadamosi? There was an interaction with them and we have evidence to that effect. We invited them to submit name of their candidate, which they did. The gazette laid down the procedures for the two ruling houses. We took to the instructions of the chairman and took into consideration the numbers of things in the gazette. They actually nominated their candidate against the Anilelerin candidate. What have been the feelings of the people of Offa since the Appeal Court judgment? Actually many people didn’t even know there was a case in the Appeal Court. They felt the election of the Oba had been concluded since the coronation and victory for Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi at the High Court here in Offa. It was a surprise to many people. We have to appeal to the people to calm down and not cause any trouble, as many of them think Oba Gbadamosi is their favourite candidate. What will you suggest as the way out? I don’t want to preempt the court, so to make any conclusion may be tantamount to commenting on the case in court. We are peace-loving people and all of us believe that God is the one who does whatever he wants; and we believe in destiny. If we want to live in peace, we just have to follow how God lays that out. Are you thinking of out-of-court settlement? It is premature now. Since this matter is in court, I have to be very careful, but I assure you that something will be done on the matter. This is because both Anilelerin and Olugbense ruling houses are the same family; there should not be any basis for fighting over the Oloffa stool. They should
be happy that stool is occupied by one of their own, not another man from another lineage coming to contest it with them. They are brothers and sisters. Even their facial marks are the same. What does the community stand to benefit in an atmosphere of peace? People of Offa tend to struggle to achieve development and, if there is no peace, there will be no development. It is when you have peace that there will be freedom of association. What development projects have been attracted to Offa community since the enthronement of Ob Gbadamosi? Oba Gbadamosi is a well travelled man. The knowledge he has gathered from his travelling he brought it to bear on the community. Even the trademark of his business before he became the Oloffa is enough to build confidence in any investor or somebody with good business idea to come to Offa. He has been very successful and everybody will like to play along with a successful man. This is a man who studied building in the university and there is no story of him inheriting the business empire of his father. He started from the scratch. You know by associating with him you will gain some business sense. There is nothing like having somebody who has the interest of his people at heart. They say Obas have blue blood but his own blue blood Offa is written on the blood. All the time he is always thinking of
Chief Shao this town and how to come up with something. People are more than ever before ready to pull their resources together for the development of the community. In the advanced countries, they don’t always go to court wasting resources on litigation. Though, you can fight for certain things you claim is your right, sometimes you have to consider what your people will benefit. It is better to jaw-jaw than to war-war. Do the people of Offa appreciate all these things? They do. You can see that after his ascension to the throne, Offa indigenes in the Diaspora have been associating
with the people at home. This was not the case before. Almost the major towns in the South-west, we have Offa people; even there was a time an Offa indigene was the Olubadan of Ibadan. An Offa man was the first chief judge of Tanzania when it was Tanganyika. This is to show you how intellectually up to date our people are. People have seen Oba Gbadamosi as the rallying point. Everybody brings what he has including expertise for the development of the town. The annual Ijakadi festival is even being gradually turned into tourist attraction. Since he came, Offa, being an education loving community, scores of schools have sprung up and we are happy as we want something that can bring development to the town, the state and the country as a whole. My advice to the people of Offa As law-abiding people, we have weathered so many storms even in ancient times. We should just look at our predecessors and see how they kept the community intact. We should not act like the Israelites, who maybe because of too much pampering from God decided to allow that enter their heads. We should know that whatever God does not give us we can not get it. We know that a good name is better than gold and silver; we should never allow ourselves to be instigated by some people out to protect one interest or the other.
End of the road for pastor, herbalist, 26 others *Police officer is our boss – Suspects BY DAUD OLATUNJI
juwa in Ikenne local government area of Ogun State is known for its agrarian nature. But many of the villagers seem to have, lately, abandoned agriculture for the more lucrative business of pipeline vandalisation. They burst the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) pipelines passing through their village to steal fuel which they sell. Sunday Vanguard gathered that, apart from Arepo village in Obafemi-Owode local government area of Ogun State, where some vandals lost their lives while scooping fuel, last year, the next hot spot for black market for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, is Ajuwa. Before security men raided the NNPC right of way in the village, vandalisation was said to have been a thriving activity in the area. Ajuwa is two kilometers away from the old Ogere toll gate on Lagos-Ibadan expressway and sandwiched by Ogere Water Corporation and the popular Siun market . The well organised vandals built a wooden bridge across the river in the bush through which they get to the ‘depot’ to steal fuel. Hundreds of Jerry cans filled with stolen fuel and cars loaded with Jerry cans were seen along the road when Sunday Vanguard visited the village. There was a police check point nearby. Many travellers expressed shock when news filtered in that the vandals made use of the police ‘parking space’ in the night in the process of carrying out their operations. It was reliably gathered that pipeline vandalisation had been on going in the area for a long time before security men raided the village and arrested 28 suspected oil thieves who were mostly youths and artisans . It was gathered that a herbalist, a pastor as well as a young woman who claimed to have just been divorced by her former husband were among the suspects. The raid, executed by men of Nigerian Army from 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta and those of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence in Ogun State, followed a tip-off by some of the villagers. Speaking after conducting journalists round the area, the commanding officer, David Ahmadu, described the pipeline vandals’ action as economic sabotage . Also speaking at the
The suspects scene, Ogun State Commander of NSCDC, Mr. Akinwande Aboluwaye, disclosed that 28 persons were arrested while seven assorted vehicles, 363 Jerry cans, a hose as well as some substances believed to be charms were part of the items recovered. Meanwhile, some of the suspects caused a stir when they mentioned one Sergeant Adamu, believed to be attached to a police station in Ogere, as one of their sponsors. One of the suspects who gave his name as Monday Bitrus, 20, from Katsina State, said at least five vandals were working for Adamu. He claimed to have joined the business two months ago. Another suspect, Ibrahim Wasiu, 22, said, “Before my arrest, I could count five to six policemen who were working with us”. Meanwhile, some of the villagers expressed concern over their health following the pollution of their farms and source of drinking water by the activities of the pipeline vandals. The river in the village was said to have been polluted following the spillage of fuel into it.
SUND AY SUNDA
AL-MUSTAPHA AND 2015 PERMUTATIONS
An emerging political pattern! BY SONI DANIEL,
Regional Editor, North
reed former Abacha strongman, Maj. Hamza Al-Mustapha, is like a beautiful bride being courted by sundry suitors ever since he left Lagos prison. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is believed to have begun discussions with the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, on how to use him to advance the cause of the party in the 2015 elections. Will they succeed? If they do, can Al-Mustapha deliver the goods and in what capacity? He remains the cynosure of the moment. Like a prized item, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha is a man, who is being sought after like a hot cake. Unlike a man, who has become used to solitary confinement and who should actually be hiding away and reflecting on what happened to him, the soldier in him has continued to propel him to be on the road, seeing, thanking and, in many instances, shedding tears of joy in the process. Many of the visits have been conducted quietly while others are known to have attracted large crowds of people, some of whom were so moved by emotions that they shed tears after listening to the story of the stoic army officer. In the process of going round, many have come to see Al-Mustapha as a man, who has
paid the huge price for a decaying political and judicial system that can turn the innocent into a villain and coerce a good man into crime. Reject or accept it, Al-Mustapha is like a rising star on the horizon, whose rays are not just about to dim. Those angling for the soldier know his true worth and are convinced, albeit momentarily, that his mounting popularity and connections can fetch them new political converts and swing the next polls in their favour. Voyage of thanksgiving Although the optimism of his political admirers might have been blown out of proportion, the former Abacha strongman has not left anyone in doubt that he is relishing in his new-found souring fame. Since emerging from his gulag, Al-Mustapha has been on a voyage of thanksgiving to some individuals and groups across the country, as if he was on a pilgrimage for some religious rites. Among the personalities that the former CSO has so far met and showered with undiluted appreciation for standing by him during his incarceration are: Chief Edwin Clark, TB Joshua, Asari Dokubo and the former Kirikiri Prison Controller, Mr. Iorbee Ihiagh. He has also visited Kano State governor, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and held rallies in some northern states as part of his effort to reconnect with his friends and admirers across the land. But the visitation by the feared ex-CSO has triggered more than a passing interest in the minds of Nigerians and brought about a new thinking within the political circles. In fact, the searing feeling in the camp of the opposition is that the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has already used its fronts to corner Al-Mustapha
Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 13
to its side, with a view to exploiting his assumed clout to curry the elusive support of the North, particularly the crisis-ridden states of Yobe, Borno and others controlled by the opposition in the region. Possible role The suspicion has been bolstered by the visit of the former strongman to Clark and what transpired when a former Education Minister under Abacha, Dauda Birmah, visited the headquarters of the PDP and met with its National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur on July 26. While Clark was deft enough to discuss privately with the Major on the possible role he would want him to play in the polity, Birmah went viral, almost announcing to the world it was President Goodluck Jonathan and Tukur, who were instrumental to the freedom granted Al-Mustapha and not the court of law. “I know how much the PDP Chairman has been working hard to get Al-Mustapha released,” the former minister said. “I know that someone who has worked with a former head of state and was incarcerated for 15 years cannot be released by mere pronouncements of the judiciary without the concurrence of the executive. “I must thank Mr. Chairman for getting the ear of the President for this gesture. I must also thank the Nigerian women: three staunch women sat on the judgment and we want to thank the Nigerian women. “Goodluck Jonathan’s leadership has been rated as the best administration so far. With what Jonathan has done in Maiduguri, I can affirm that the city is now safer than most parts of the country. “ On that occasion, Birmah, who heads the Northern Elders and Youth Forum, NEYF, said that Jonathan and Tukur provided the enabling environment for the release of Al-Mustapha. He was accompanied by two other groups: Fresh Air Youth on Continuity and
Continues on page 14
PAGE 14—SUND AY 14—SUNDA
Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013
AL-MUSTAPHA AND 2015 PERMUTATIONS
An emerging political pattern! Continued from page 13 North/South New Nigeria Forum, which are actively campaigning for Jonathan’s re-election in 2015. Old man and his ‘loyal son’ While that remains the position, AlMustapha has stirred the dust of his own, when he described himself during his visit to Clark as ‘his loyal son’ and poured encomiums on the old man for standing by him throughout his incarceration. The Major said, “I have come to thank you for the support, for standing by me all these years of my incarceration. I am aware of your appeal to the federal and the Lagos State government for my release. I am still your loyal son,” the officer stated. Ambush Of all the people visited by Al-Mustapha, his call on the former Niger Delta militant leader, Asari Dokubo, on July 28, in his Abuja residence lends credence to the suspicion that Jonathan’s men had actually laid ambush for the army officer to recruit him for some roles in the government. Some northerners, who are close to the army officer, whispered to their close associates that the least post the government can dangle before him is that of National Security Adviser given his intimidating pedigree in that sector. The post is currently being occupied by Sambo Dasuki, a retired Colonel, who served as aide-de-camp, ADC, to former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, who is not known to be at war with Jonathan. Dasuki’s appointment did not also come without the knowledge of the former military leader. Others, who have been following Al-Mustapha around, speak with the optimism that given what they know, the former Abacha CSO may even replace Vice President Namadi Sambo as running mate to Jonathan in 2015 and stay on to become the President the North is clamouring for in 2019. Those in that camp have not hidden their anger against the likes of Prof. Ango Abdullahi, Gov. Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and Dr Junaid Muhammed, who have since asked Jonathan not to even declare his intention to run in 2015. Among the protagonists of Jonathan’s re-election is Mohammed Abba Gana who has made a strong case for the President to run in 2015, arguing that doing so would not hurt the North in any way. A close associate of Al-Mustapha, who has been junketing round the country with him, argued that it would not be out of place for the Jonathan administration to saddle him with a position of responsibility given his pedigree. “It is obvious that this man has a lot to offer for the 2015 games. That is one step of it; at the same time, there is
the likelihood that with the way things are going in the Villa, it is clear that the number two-man is losing his popularity in the North,” the source said. “They see him as more of a political liability. So, it is either he is going to be replaced when that time comes or, at the end of the day, the NSA may likely have to give way because his presence anywhere you fix him is enough threat to the major opposition and the northern part of the country right now. One of these scenarios is likely to happen.” Split in opposition It is clear that there has been a major split in the ranks of the opposition in the North against Jonathan with the release of Al-Mustapha. Unlike in the
Good for Al-Mustapha: he has maintained a studied silence over his career and ambition. He might have been compelled by the military authorities to seal his lips if he still wants to continue as an officer of the Nigerian Army past when the North spoke of presenting a consensus candidate in the 2015 presidential election and pressurising those who have a counter opinion to fall in line, there is a marked shift in that direction in recent weeks. The new song on the lips of the northern elite is that the area has never been united politically and will never be made to do so in 2015. The National Publicity Secretary of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Anthony Sani, is of the view that any attempt by anyone or group will backfire. Sani cited the case between the late Aminu Kano and former President Shehu Shagari in 1979 as a typical example that the North has never stood behind a particular candidate and asked those mooting the idea to jettison it. Sani is supported by the president of the Arewa Youths Forum, AYF, Gambo Gujungu, and the president of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, AYCF, Shetima Yerima. They all agree that the North is divided and that AlMustapha is entitled to any post that he can possibly get from the system. “Today, as I speak with you, Al-Mustapha remains a rallying point for all of us. I don’t think he is contesting any governorship election, but with the
Al-Mustapha way he is enjoying the support of the grassroots in the northern part of the country and the like minds, I believe strongly he doesn’t need to go to state politics. He should go to the central government. We need him more there,” Yerima said. “I don’t want to go into conclusion until we get there. But right now, he remains a military man, so let us not talk and implicate him. He remains the property of the Army until the day he retires, and then we will know what to do with him.” But a top Kano official cautioned AlMustapha to be wary of those who are trying to draft him into the murky water of politics without allowing him to study the atmosphere and seek integration into the society; he has been kept away for about 15 years. “My innocuous advice to Al-Mustapha is that he should not mistake the growing sympathy of Nigerians following his unjust incarceration for political popularity because he may end of opening a can of worms that may dry up that fleeting sympathy,” the politician said. Between the devil and the deep blue sea Good for Al-Mustapha: he has maintained a studied silence over his career and ambition. He might have been compelled by the military authorities to seal his lips if he still wants to continue as an officer of the Nigerian Army. Under a proposed deal, he may be promoted to an appropriate rank with his contemporaries and formally eased out of the army. While that is yet to happen, political jobbers have taken turns to drum into his ears that it is the transformation agenda that
quickened his freedom and that he should be keen on joining the winning team in the next contest. But of what relevance is Al-Mustapha in the current political dispensation? If he joins the Jonathan train, the South-west, which still harbours some grudge against him might use it as a campaign issue against the PDP in 2015. On the other hand, if Al-Mustapha pitches his tent with the opposition, the government that freed him may feel pained and may begin to see him as an ingrate. Truly, whichever way Al-Mustapha goes in the current political juggling is likely to pose some ethical issues against him. He should bear at the back of his mind that even though he has been discharged and acquitted over the murder of Kudirat Abiola, the moral burden remains as long as the tears of those left behind by the deceased continues to drip like a fountain. Al-Mustapha may become the hero that some persons are trying to make of him if he clearly shuns the murky path of politics and retires quietly to his chosen career and communes more with his God for the rest of his life. Somehow, God will tell him what to do, how to do it and when that will be. Leaving the prison after 15 years, a period that has effectively cut him off from the socio-political reality in the country, and jumping on the political bandwagon, could expose him to another round of mistake that has the capacity to dent his image forever. Al-Mustapha must be wiser than those who are goading him from the sidelines of his life: he must not allow the enemy to throw weeds into his wares.
SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013 — PAGE 15
Anambra 2014: Governorship for sale The conduct of the PDP in the run up to the Anambra gubernatorial election shows that the party’s ticket may be for sale to the highest bidder. BY HENRY UMORU PENULTIMATE week, the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, rolled out its guidelines for the Anambra State primary election in preparation for the state gubernatorial poll fixed for November 16. The party also threw open its Wadata Plaza, National Secretariat for interested aspirants to pick Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms ahead of the August 24 primary election where the party’s flag-bearer would emerge to wrestle with Senator Chris Ngige of the Action Congress of Nigeria, CAN, now All Progressive Congress, APC, and the candidates of All Progressive Grand Alliance and other parties in the gubernatorial election. Wadaza Plaza thus became a beehive of activities, heightening the political atmosphere, and, as against the solemn nature of the Secretariat, praise singers were on ground to hail aspirants who came with their supporters in different kinds of cars. It was also time to raise money for the party, a period some PDP officials described as ‘Ojanta’, meaning, ‘’Market is booming.” For the Anambra election, the PDP set aside its 2010 guidelines for primary elections which stipulate that an aspirant shall obtain the Expression of Interest Form-Code PD002/G for N500, 000, and the Nomination Form- Code PD003/G, for N5,000,000; save for female aspirants who shall be exempted. Each male aspirant from Anambra State rushed to the Secretariat, collected the Expression of Interest Form for N1million, not N500, 000 as well as the Nomination Form for N10 million, not N5 million, making it a total of N11 million, while each female aspirant picked the Expression of Interest Form for N1 million and N5, 000, 000 for the Nomination Form, totally N6million as against the former arrangement of N500, 000 for Expression of Interest Form and free Nomination Form for women. There is now a new dispensation in the party where women no longer enjoy the privilege, just as the PDP is also using the Anambra election as a case study for the increase in Nomination fee. During the period of collection of forms ahead of the Anambra primary election, twenty- six aspirants picked the Expression of Interest Forms to vie for the PDP gubernatorial ticket, but, at the close of submission of both the Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms on Monday midnight, only17 aspirants returned the forms and thus
met the 12 midnight deadline. The implication is that nine aspirants have backed out of the race. In terms of Naira and Kobo, the PDP raked N12 million from the two female aspirants in the race and N165 million from the 15 male aspirants who submitted the forms at N11 million each. On Tuesday, the 17 ‘successful’ aspirants appeared before the Ambassador Aminu Wali- led Screening Committee at the National Working Committee, NWC, meeting hall of the PDP National Secretariat. Other members of the Screening Committee are former Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Mrs Biodun Olujimi; Mohammed Umaru Kumalia; former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Austin Okpara and
In terms of Naira and Kobo, the PDP raked N12 million from the two female aspirants in the race and N165 million from the 15 male aspirants who submitted the forms at N11 million each
Casmir Ugwu. The 17 aspirants, who appeared before the screening Committee, are Senators Andy Uba and Emmanuel Anosike Obi; former Minister of Women Affairs and past National Woman leader of PDP, Chief Iyom Josephine Anenih; Dr. Obinna Uzoh; Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu; Barrister Mike Okoye; Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo; Chief Ugochukwu Okeke; Amb. Jerry Ugokwe; Sylvester Okonkwo; Tony Nwoye; Patrick Nduka Ugbomo; Agape Ifunanyachukwu Dike- Kramer; Dr. Alex Obiogbolu; Charles Odunukwe; Onwuanyi Afamefuna Damian and Walter Ubaka Okeke. Those who picked forms and did not return for reason which may not be unconnected with the hike to N10 million the fee for the Nomination
•Senator Andy Uba
•Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo
Form fromN5,000, 000 are Eucharia Azodo; Donatus Okonkwo; Chukwuka Onyema; Adimachukwu Calista; Chinyere Udemba; Ikeobasi Mokelu; and Linda Chuba Ikepeazu.
(3) aspirants with the highest votes shall be returned elected.” Anambra State has 326 wards and, according to the ‘Electoral Guidelines for Primary Elections’ of the party, ‘’three delegates per Ward elected at Ward Congress at least one of whom shall be a woman, all of whom shall cease to function at the conclusion of the Congresses for which they were elected.” Sunday Vanguard also gathered that some of the aspirants have kicked against the N10, 000 per the three adhoc members as delegates against the backdrop that only the very rich will get the delegates to their sides as the villagers who are coming from the ward cannot afford the money.
Besides the raising of the fee for the Nomination Form from N5 million to N10 million, Sunday Vanguard gathered that the PDP has pegged N10, 000 each for the three delegates per ward as against the N100 that was hitherto paid by each of the three adhoc delegates during the past governorship primary elections, just as over N300, 000 will enter the purse of the party at the end of the exercise. According to the PDP guidelines, ‘’for the purpose of nominating the party’s candidates for the offices of Governor of a State, member of the National Assembly(Senate and House of Representatives), member of the State House of Assembly and election of National Delegate, each Ward Chapter of the Party shall elect three(3) Ward Ad-hoc Delegates at a Special Ward Congress, at least one of whom shall be a woman…the three
Some aspirants, a source said, were also, at the end of a meeting, on Monday night, complained of moves to include, as delegates, all former members of the State Working Committee on the grounds that Anambra has had up to 13 Executive Committees till date, even as the
Continues on page 16
PAGE 16 — SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013
Governorship for sale
•Mike Okoye Continued from page 15 source said that the arrangement will be tailored to favour one of the aspirants.
primary and governorship elections in Anambra State is the issue of the Chairman of the state chapter that will be recognized as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the Bamanga Tukur- led National Working Committee, NWC, are poised for another war on the matter. The PDP leadership is recognizing Ken Emeakayi as the state PDP Chairman, but INEC overruled the recognition. INEC says it will continue to recognise Chief Ejike Ogbuebego as the Anambra PDP Chairman. The office of the National Chairman of PDP was served a letter from INEC where it indicated its non- recognition of Emeakayi as the Anambra Chairman of the PDP.
Chris Ngige Party in Anambra State at which Chief Ejike Ogbuebego was elected as Chairman of the Party in the State. “The Commission accordingly recognised Chief Ejike Ogbuebego as the State Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party in Anambra State. The Commission has not been served with any order in which the Court nullified the election of the said Chief Ejike Ogbubego as the State Chairman of your party in Anambra State. “This is to inform you that the Commission will continue to recognise Chief Ejike
Special Congress According to the guidelines of the PDP, those expected as delegates to the Special State Congress to pick the Anambra candidate are the State Chairman; gubernatorial candidates; members of the Board of Trustees, BoT, from the state; members of the State Executive Committee; members of the National and Zonal Executive Committees from the State; members of the National Assembly from the State; members of the State House of Assembly, who are members of the party; elected Local Government Council Chairmen and Vice Chairmen who are members of the party; Local Government Party Secretaries and Treasurers; Local Government Woman and Youth Leaders; former members of the State Working Committee who are still members of the party; former Governors and Deputy Governors produced by the party who are still members of the party; and former Speakers and Deputy Speakers of the State House of Assembly produced by the party who are still members of the party. A major hurdle that the PDP will have to cross as it prepares for the
Now that the PDP has fixed N11 million for both the Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms starting with Anambra State, will the fees be sustained as the party goes for the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun states? INEC Secretary, Abdullahi A. Kaugama, in the letter, said, “The Commission was served with several letters on the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party in Anambra State. Several Exparte Orders and consent Judgements in none of which INEC was a party were attached to the letters. “You may wish to be reminded that the Commission monitored a State Congress of the People’s Democratic
•Amb. Jerry Ugokwe
Ogbuebego as the State Chairman of your party in Anambra State until specifically ordered otherwise by a Court of law.” Now that the PDP has fixed N11 million for both the Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms starting with Anambra State, will the fees be sustained as the party goes for the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun states?
There are other posers arising from the hike in the fees payable by the aspirants jostling for the Anambra PDP gubernatorial ticket. Is it a case of Anambra being a rich state? What happens to an aspirant who may be loved by the people and with unquestionable character but cannot raise the N11 million to pick the forms? What happens to that aspirant who may not have sponsors to invest in the business of fielding him? Will the party extend same to the House of Assembly, House of Representatives’ elections? Should that happen, what hope does a fresh graduate have to vie for such public office? And if the person eventually raises the N11 million, becomes the party’s candidate, and the campaigns begin, how does he manage that his budget will not hit over N1billion. And if the candidate wins the election, will he not first recoup his ‘investment’ before delivering democracy dividends to the people? There are so many unanswered questions trailing the high fees the aspirants for the PDP gubernatorial ticket are paying such that many analysts of the Anambra election say the ticket appears to be for sale to the highest bidder.
SUNDAY VANGUARD, AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 17
By BENJAMIN NJOKU email@example.com
ulius Agwu is one of N i g e r i a ’ s m o s t successful entertainers. He got married to his wife, Ibiere, in 2008,and they are blessed with a girl and expecting the second baby soon. The couple takes us through their journey into marriage. How I met my wife
I met my wife at a wedding in PortHarcourt in 2000. She was part of the bridal train. My mind was blown away when I sighted her. Thereafter, we became friends. Somehow, we lost contact with each other and later, met again in 2002. The rest is history. We got married in 2008.
We dated for eight years. This is because her parents insisted that she must complete her education. After her Youth Service, they insisted she had to enroll for her master ’s degree program. And I kept waiting for her. When you court your spouse, that’s when you understand yourselves better. You find out what she likes and what she doesn’t; her shortcomings as well as yours and find a way to blend with her. Some marriages are having problems today because of the inability of the couple to bring God into it. These are two people from different backgrounds coming together to live as husband and wife. I am very temperamental and my wife too is a stubborn woman. But in spite of these shortcomings, we have learnt to manage our issues.
She’s not only beautiful, she is also intelligent. We connected immediately. She combines beauty and brain. I realise she’s something different. It’s not every lady you dated that you can propose to. Not every date can lead to marriage because God created every man and created a wife for that particular man. God also created every woman and created a husband for that woman. That two people dated does not mean that they must become husband and wife. Your prayer should be that nobody should marry your own wife or husband. That’s how we connected.
Ready for marriage
Yes, at some point, I was ready to marry her but her parents delayed our marriage. W hen I first met her, I was not ready to marry her. Then, I was trying to build a career, but by the time she was finishing school, I was ready to take her to the altar. Like I said earlier, her parents insisted she had to complete her education.
Accepting marriage proposal
From the outset, she likes me. But when I first met her, she was about 18 years and she was giving me an attitude. I wasn’t patient as I got angry. I didn’t want to beg anybody . This went on until 2002, when I lost my father and we ran into each other again. Coincidentally, that was her birthday. He got connected again. She came with her friends and we hung out that night. We exchanged our contact again and renewed our love for each other.
My wife does not display public affection for me —Julius Agwu 5 years after
It has not been easy. Marriage can be funny. When it is sweet, it is sweet, and when you quarrel with your spouse, it looks as if that is the end of the marriage. But my attitude has always been that no two marriages can be the same. That has been my style. You may quarrel, keep malice but the most important thing is that I have decided to spend the rest of my life with her, for better and for worse until death do us apart.
Advice to young couple
It’s just that whatever you do in life, you need to hold onto God. At any point, married couples need God to mediate in their marriages. Problem starts when they allow third party to
interfere in their marriage. We are in an era where a lot of marriages are hitting the rock. It’s not about celebrities alone, it’s also happening in other professions. Because we are in the public eye, people easily notice when there is a crack in a marriage involving a celebrity.
My wife understands the kind of business that I do. I have an understanding wife and I know where to draw the line. That’s the truth.
Strength of marriage
God has been the bedrock of our
marriage. That understanding that we both share; understanding of each other ’s temperament and shortcomings has been made possible by God.
Before I met my wife
I dated other girls before I met my wife. That’s why I said when two people dated, it does not mean that they must get married. I had one or two girl friends who were on the line then. But it did not work out for us. I prayed for God’s direction and He directed me to my wife.
What I dislike about my wife
My wife is not as loving as I would have wanted her to be. There’s what we call display of public affection, she does not give me that. That’s one thing I don’t like about her. May be, it’s because she’s an introvert. Sometimes,I get scared because of her quietness.
Love in marriage
Love is the foundation upon which marriage is built. That’s why I said earlier that it’s sweet when it’s sweet. But when you quarrel with your spouse, it looks as if you have become sworn enemies. Sometimes,hardship forms part of the reasons most marriages crash in our society. But it is only when trials set in, that husband and wife are expected to show understanding to each other. That’s when truly love counts. If you love your spouse right from the out set,you should be able to make sacrifices. Every relationship depends on what you put into it. While I was in the university, I propounded a theory of relationship known as “PUT”. “PUT” stands for Patience, Understanding and Tolerance. These three factors must be presence in your relationship with your wife, children, parents,siblings and even with God.
I didn’t take him seriously — Wife How we met It was at a wedding ceremony in PortHarcourt. When he proposed to me ,I did not take him seriously. Stronghold of my marriage God, and believing in each other. Attraction I really do not know what attracted me to him. We were friends for a while, before we later got married. Female fans snatching him That means he does not belong to me. I’m not scared, instead,he should be the one to be scared. If he allows them to do so, that means he does not belong to me. How I see my husband He can be funny but at the same time, he’s annoying. He knows how to get me annoyed.
PAGE 18— SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013
SENATOR Nkechi Nwaogu is the Senate Committee Chairman on Gas. In this interview, she frowns at the budget cycle in Nigeria, adding that it is responsible for the frequent budget faceoff between the executive and the legislature. Nwoagu also wants an agreement that would allow the National Assembly to make inputs into the budgets. BY CHARLES KUMOLU As a financial expert, let’s look at the budget impasse between the National Assembly and the executive. What is really the problem? Even though I am a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, I will say that it is still hazy. I did follow the executive’s submission, which is an estimate. They complained about tampering with the budget. But I do not know at what point. It revolves around that the personnel sub-heads were tampered with, and that such should not have been done. But to what extent were they tampered with? The main problem with the budget of 2013, just like it has always been in the last ten years that I had been in the National Assembly, has been the same tampering matter. The expectations from us as legislators, apart from our primary function of providing quality legislation and undertaking oversight to ensure that things are done well, include providing secondary responsibility, that is, providing constituency function to improve the quality of life of our people. Some of these basic things have never been taken care of either by the federal budget, or that of the state government or the local government budget. We cannot just sit in Abuja, the entire 459 representatives, to make laws when, in our villages and communities, there are no health centres, electricity, potable water, and other basic amenities. The state and federal governments do not capture these things in their budgets. Can’t legislators bring up new sub-heads? Must you tamper with those ones that the executive
Why NASS will not stop tampering with budgets —-Sen Nwaogu Says PIB will unlock the oil and gas sector
brings? We do bring. But where will the money to fund them come from? The executive estimate comes in fixed amounts. There are no provisions for inputs from the National Assembly. I suggest that the legislature and the executive need to work together. At what point do we bring this harmonious relationship as it affects budget? This is July. The executive arm should ask the legislature to send their proposals as expressed by their constituencies. I have six local government areas. I am the only one that knows their needs, not the minister in Abuja knows these needs. Not even Mr President knows. We are elected by the people to provide quality life for them. We need to work together. There should be no friction. We must be made to make submissions according to the templates to be provided by the executive. This is how it should be instead of them putting their own ahead. Every year, you see overseas’ training, local training and many more; there are always a lot of ambiguous, unexplainable budget heads where they filter the funds away. That is why we are consuming 72% on overhead. This overhead can be brought down to 60%. The truth is that the legislators do not have the resources to carry out thorough oversight function, which means investigative oversight function. Oversights
Let us see what they have done so far. We are now over seven months into the year. What have they achieved with the budget? The system of budgeting is wrong. We should change our budget cycle
should not just end in looking at projects on-going or completed, but also the overhead of ministries and agencies. You cannot tell me that
every year, there must be purchase of computers and maintenance with millions consumed. The legislature has no means of identifying the
genuineness of these purchases. We can reduce our overhead. Mind you, all the areas where the National Assembly made inputs are capital projects that will bring development, not overhead. There are many leakages in revenue. That is the reason for the problem; and the problem can be resolved if both arms of government are truthful. How do you think the recurring budget face-off can be addressed, in order to achieve a comfortable level of budget implementation? Let us see what they have done so far. We are now in July, seven months into the year.
What have they achieved with the budget? The system of budgeting is wrong. We should change our budget cycle. It should not be January to December because of the kind of seasons that we have. The budget is usually passed by December/January. It takes another three to four months to have the budget breakdown analysis. By the time they begin to award those capital projects, it will be rainy season. You can’t do much during the season in terms of road infrastructure. It is better to do our budget in September. Let the executive give us budget submission by September. Let the National Assembly ensure that the budget is passed according to all its ramifications by December. Then, by the first week of January, contracts must begin to go out to contractors.
Continues on page 19
SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 19
`We need stiffer penalties for those who flare gas’ Continued from page 18 Secondly, the level of corruption in the civil service is beyond comprehension. Most of the civil servants are involved in this contract work. For instance, on constituency projects are mind-boggling that ordinary Nigerians think that we in the National Assembly are the providers of the contractors. It is not true. The constituency projects are never completed, that is why most of the uncompleted projects in Nigeria are the National Assembly projects. Has anybody found out what has happened to the funds voted for them? It is because these jobs are hijacked by civil servants of ministries and agencies. They sell them second hand, and the next person sells it third hand. By the time the actual person goes to do the project, he finds that he is working on the skin. The street lights that were done in my house did not last for one month before they collapsed. I do not know who to call. I know that somebody has been paid. The way forward is to go back to the drawing table. We must agree; the executive must agree with the leadership of the National Assembly. The National Assembly should make submissions of our projects interest as expressed by our constituencies to the executive so that they are captured by the ministries and agencies. This is against the current trend where the executive brings it to us to make additions and they call it distortions. Mind you, the constitution says the president will lay before us a budget estimate. We can amend the constitution if the executive does not need to bring the budget to us. That will be okay. But if the constitution says that the president should lay before us the budget estimate, an estimate is an estimate. It is plus or minus. It is a draft. The way forward is for an agreement with the National Assembly to make inputs into the budgets which will be factored by the ministries and parastatals. The oversight activities of the National Assembly must be more proactive. There should be more funds made available so that we can do the job thoroughly and at the right time. I am happy to announce that there is a bill being worked on which is the National Assembly Budget Office. It will be the shadow Budget Office of the executive. It will continually x-ray the activities of the executive from the first day the budget is passed. Most of the constituency projects NASS members asked for are supposed to ordinarily be the responsibilities of the local governments... They could be the functions
*Nwaogu..PIB captures oil and gas sector challenges
of local governments or the states. But they are absolutely not provided for at all, or not provided for adequately. The worry is that the
Committee on Gas, I must thank the leadership of the Senate for having confidence in me in giving me that position. When we came on board in
Gas has not made its expected contributions to the nation’s revenue. Our committee is working towards the early passage of the PIB so that we can put stiffer penalties for those companies who consistently flare our gas executive arm brings out what it wants to do, and suddenly the legislators tamper with it. For instance, the executive may earmarked N6b for the reconstruction of Lagos-Ore Road; then the lawmakers might decide to reduce it to N2bn, without due consideration for some costing factors? It is. In the case of the LagosOre Road, which you mentioned, what happens to a community in Ore or Lagos where the project passes? How many of those rural dwellers use the road? They are very important. I support the construction and rehabilitation of federal roads. But the case is: how do we take care of over ninety percent of ordinary Nigerians who do not have anything to do with the LagosOre Road? Our people need health centres, primary schools, rural electrification, and boreholes. Can we know about the activities of the Senate Committee on Gas in terms of oversight function? As the chairman of the Senate
September 2011, the gas sector was almost being consumed by oil. When people hear about oil and gas, they only talk about oil; whereas evidence abounds that Nigeria has more gas than oil. We have over one hundred and eighty-six trillion cubic of gas that is expected to provide about thirty-six trillion US dollars. The crude oil reserve as we have it today is about forty billion barrels expected to provide only about 3.6 trillion dollars. So, if we are to channel resources in exploration and exploitation of oil only, we drain all our oil very soon. If we channel the same resources to the exploration of gas, we are going to get thirty-six trillion US dollars. You can see that if we put enough resources in gas exploration, we will have ten times more revenue than what we are getting from oil. Why is it that the efforts of the Federal Government are directed at oil alone? It is probably because of the cost of the exploration and exploitation of gas. Right now in the committee on gas, we have only realised that what is
being sold in the gas market is gas obtained in association with oil, which is called associated gas. Our committee is working with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources on the current Petroleum Industry Bill. It is expected that this law, when passed, will open up the gas sector. That is why I am a crusader for the early passage of the PIB. It will open up the gas sector for new investors, both national and international. Our committee is also frowning at the consistent flaring of gas which ought to be monetised, and penalties ought to be paid by those who default. In the budget of 2013, there is some reasonable amount that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources has earmarked for what they call gas reconciliation exercise. This means that government does realise that the revenue derivable from gas has not been maximally obtained. If we maximise the revenue accruable from gas, we will improve on the total revenue of Nigeria. For instance, in 2013, the total revenue available for distribution is N10. 48 trillion. We believe that it is grossly understated. This means that there must be a lot of leakages. Gas has not made its expected contributions to the nation’s revenue. Our committee is working towards the early passage of the PIB so that we can put stiffer penalties for those companies who consistently flare our gas. We know that they do not do such in their own countries. Our committee has done a lot of foreign oversight. We visited the gas plant in Escravos that is being operated by Chevron. We discovered that we have the same type of plant in Qatar. The gas-to-liquid plant in Qatar started the same day in construction as the one in Nigeria at the Delta. The one in Qatar has been in operation for two years, but Nigeria’s own has not been concluded to commence operations on commercial scale. The committee feels that the gas sector needs a lot of exposure. It needs a lot more attention. In the past, we had a minister of state, gas. We are advocating for the same thing now so that more concerted efforts will be dedicated towards the development of the gas sector, which is subsumed by the oil sector. It should not be so. If you look at the domestic gas development in Nigeria, less than five percent of homes in Nigeria do not have much to do with LPG or other domestic gas. How many of our industries are being served with industrial gas that could reduce their cost
of production to make them more competitive? We really need to put more emphasis on gas exploration, gas processing, and gas distribution. We just came back from the Exporting Gas Countries’ Forum in Moscow. In Moscow, ninety percent of all power utilisation comes from gas. Why can’t Nigeria replicate the same since we have much gas available? What do we need to do to ensure that Nigeria’s gas is channelled towards the domestic end of the market? What we need is infrastructure, which is not readily available. The cost of building gas pipelines is prohibitive. But there are many other processes in tackling this. We can open up the industry, and allow investors to run them with commensurate concessions so that they will find investment in gas development attractive. For instance, gas pricing in Nigeria is a disincentive to go into gas production. You cannot compel an investor who has put in so much money to harness gas from the point of production to maybe the point of distribution to sell his gas at one dollar per DTO. We need to revisit the gas pricing system in Nigeria to attract investors. Has your committee made this official to the executive arm? We have, but because we have the Petroleum Industry Bill standing, it is hoped that all these problems and solutions are captured in the PIB. That is why we have not been able to make a separate submission. We are relying on the PIB. As we x-ray it through public hearing coming in July, we shall gather other people’s opinions. Also the Nigeria Gas Association will have its biannual conference, where the document of the PIB will be a major paper to be discussed. It is not only the PIB; it also includes the subject of gas and its domestic development. Look at our agreement on the West African Pipeline; we are supposed to supply to the West African countries, like Ghana and Togo, about 130 million cubic of gas. We are not meeting the supply; hence most of these states in the West African region are also having their economies seriously hampered by the erratic supply of our gas. With this gas, we have the demand and there is the consumption. Why don’t we look at the exploration and production sector and see how we can bring people in to invest in exploration, processing and distribution? If we do that, even the domestic consumption alone will boost Nigeria’s revenue.
PAGE 20— SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013
When a law can worsen social issues View-Point T was the reason that they were hawking on the streets in the first place? If a nine-year old child whose help is desperately needed to feed and clothe the family is prevented by law from selling what his mother produces, what should engage his attention while he’s lazing around? How would he be proving himself useful to his family. Idleness at that age drives a
Helen Ovbiagele Woman Editor at which the lid is lifted from this, but should a nine year old child be arrested by two Police officers for selling snacks on the streets? What does the law say about arresting children on our streets? Personally, I feel uncomfortable about a situation were our children could be taken off the streets by lawenforcement officers for any purpose without their parents being present. I’m not saying that children should be allowed to break the law with impunity, and be allowed to get away with it, especially where the offence is a criminal one like inflicting body harm, stealing, murder, abduction, etc. No, they should be held for such criminal offences, and their parents sent for. The law would take its course, they would be charged to Juvenile courts and sentenced as appropriate for their age, if proved guilty beyond measure. They would then go serve in prisons tailored to turn them into sober/ more responsible citizens through purging them of criminal tendencies, giving them vocational training, and meeting their spiritual needs, so that when discharged, they emerge better and more welladjusted citizens; ready to contribute to the growth of the land. Young offenders should not be sent into prisons where they would interact with hardened criminals and become truly conscripted into a life of crime; becoming worse later than when they were sent in for correction/punishment. Making them pay for their criminal offences, would serve as a deterrent to other young people who may want to indulge in such heinous acts. But carting off nine-year old street hawkers to Police stations? How does that help their situation of poverty, which
for the needs of the family. Most families believe that the key to a better future for their children is good education, but sadly, not all can afford even the supposedly free primary school education, when the head of the family has no job, and the trader wife can’t afford a stall in the market, and the makeshift hut she sells her wares in, is demolished by council officials. If
HE laws of the land are made with the in tention of protecting its citizens – bringing them justice, protecting their interests in every perceivable way. In short, any law made by a government, is supposed to give us a better life. On our part, we’re supposed to obey these laws in our own interest; to ensure that the better life envisaged comes to us unhindered, and also to avoid being punished for the disobedience of specific laws. In our country, how peoplefriendly are these laws and their enforcement? How many are enforced to the point of actually ensuring a better life for all citizens? Sometimes, one could see some laws as being non-productive, and a bit pointless. You have this feeling that all aspects have not been well-thought out before law-enforcement officers are asked to zoom into action, and begin to arrest citizens for flouting them. ‘Woman arraigned for beating two police officers’, which appeared in Punch of July 10, startled many of us. I couldn’t imagine how two Nigerian Police Officers would have calmly allowed themselves to be beaten by a 25 year-old woman. Usually, it’s the other way round as we hear of Police allegedly arresting people arbitrarily, even in front of their houses, and whipping citizens on flimsy excuses. We’re used to such stories. So, I salute the calmness of the two female Police officers in that report who did not retaliate, as it wasn’t mentioned in the article that the woman was beaten up before being taken to the Police station. So, what led to this unusual sight? ‘The two officers Inspector ….... and Corporal …..... of …....Police station, were said to have been assaulted by …...... after they arrested a nine-year-old child who was selling a local doughnut, popularly called puff-puff on the road. The names of those involved don’t matter, so I’ve left them out here; but the said offence and the arrest of a childhawker matter, and that’s what this my piece is about. ‘The female officers were said to be enforcing the Lagos State Child Rights Law when the defendant came after them, tore their uniforms and necklace.........................’ Apparently, part of the Child Rights Law for the State forbids children hawking on the streets. I don’t know the age
If law officers feel that a childhawker is under-aged, they shouldn’t arrest him, but caution the child, and send him home immediately. They can take down the address of the child, visit the parents, and tell them that it’s against the law to send such a young child to hawk on the streets
child to join bad gangs, and acquire bad habits, values and friends; usually without the knowledge of his parents who are stressed-out, fending for the family. I suppose part of the reason for such a law is to make sure that children are not absent from school unduly. In this day and age, I’m convinced that no parent down south in this country, would keep his/her child from school and send him hawking, if they have the means to cater well
she hawks in certain areas she and her goods are carted off to the council premises, where she’s detained until someone comes to pay a hefty fee. What an irony for someone eking out a living! Any wonder that some very poor families choose not to query the source of the money their wards help the family with, when their efforts to engage in honest means of livelihood are thwarted by the authorities. Yes, I’m concerned about
Young children hawking on the streets.... What hope for the future?
children under five being asked to go sell anything on the streets, due to the attendant danger of accident, abduction, rape, etc. But an eight or nine year old child, who these days is ripe for secondary school, can be asked to hawk in the neighbourhood. One expects the parents to counsel them on how to cross the road, and to sell mainly in the open places around their streets where the family is known. The local council can make it a point to use a crier to announce to parents, many of who are illiterates, not to allow children under eight to go hawk on the streets, and the older ones should be told safe places to hawk in the neighbourhood. If law officers feel that a child-hawker is under-aged, they shouldn’t arrest him, but caution the child, and send him home immediately. They can take down the address of the child, visit the parents, and tell them that it’s against the law to send such a young child to hawk on the streets. The newspaper report didn’t say what was done to child, whether the policewomen still arrested him, but we were told that the woman who was outraged enough to intervene as he was being arrested, didn’t even know the child. She has been charged to court for assaulting the officers. I suppose the sight of a child of nine being arrested by the Police for hawking could trigger off anger in many of us, especially mothers. Were they really going to lock him up in a cell? Isn’t that an abuse of his rights? God help us in this country.
SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 21
Young mothers are failing in their primary role -Elizabeth Olomofe-Kufeji, educationist cum philanthropist
he Proprietress of Lagos-based Starland Private School and Chairman, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, Mrs.Elizabeth Olanrewaju Olomofe-Kufeji a.k.a Mummy 2, is a seasoned educationist with over 40 years of experience in the teaching profession, beginning from the Lagos state civil service where she retired as the principal of Okota Grammar School 1986. Also a passionate philanthropist, in this interview, Elizabeth who is the newly elected Chairman for International Inner Wheel- IIW District 911(an organization comprising wives of Rotarians), speaks on problems bedeviling the educational system which prompted her venturing into private practice, her plans for her tenure as an IIW District Chairman and her distaste for the inability of many young mothers to fulfill their primary roles. Enjoy! I’m going to continue with that by sponsoring hip replacement for 10 sickle cell patients. Each costs N1m and we’re collaborating with the National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi, on this. I am also adding a campaign on awareness because it seems a lot of people do not know why we have sickle cell patients on our hands. We need to curb marriages between men and women that are carriers of sickle cell. Being an educationist, I’m adding adult literacy to my activities, including sensitization
BY JOSEPHINE IGBINOVIA
hy did you have to retire so early from the civil service? I was discontent with the way the system was run, and decided to establish my own school where I could do things properly. I’m glad government is however working towards correcting some of the problems. The stipulated pass mark was nothing to write home about! We were mandated to promote children enmass and even on trial, whether they passed well or not, and the pass mark was placed at 40%. They failed to realized that the system was indirectly building up problems for those students because at WAEC, 40% will never be the pass mark! Therefore, we started experiencing mass failure in WAEC and other external examinations! The aftermath of that system is still affecting us till date because those who we now refer to as our teachers passed through that system! Hence, we see a lot of half-
baked professionals here and there, and graduates with questionable performances. That’s why you hear employers say most of them are unemployable! For how long have you been a member of the International Inner Wheel? I’ve been in the Inner Wheel since 1980 because my late husband, Olomofe, was a Rotarian. I lost him in 1993 after a brief illness. I actually joined the organization through the Inner Wheel Club of Onigbongbo where I served in various positions including that of club president, several times. I’ve also served at the district level, District 911, for several years before I got elected as the 30th District Chairman. So, what are your plans for your tenure? My predecessor had series of beneficial projects, and I’ve decided to continue one of them; a project on sickle cell. She really dealt with hip replacement surgery for sickle cell patients.
ed parents. You sure have a long list of projects; what do you think might be the challenge? The challenge can only be funds. We’re hoping that that good-spirited individuals and groups would support us. We hope to raise funds at my official installation ceremony which is coming up in Lagos on the 18th of August, 2013, and to also pay visits to people like the Oba of Lagos who has been our staunch supporter.
Some mothers cannot even stay back home for three months after child delivery! If we’re not careful, outrageous immoralities and vices are what we will have to contend with in future
seminars for young mothers. From experiences as a teacher and proprietress, I’ve realized that our young mothers need to be seriously guided. Due to my passion for children and the aged, I’m also organizing a special outing for the aged, so they could have a nice time. My executives and I are also planning an interactive session with public transport providers. By breaking traffic laws and driving ‘one way’, many of them have caused a lot of accidents which have wasted lives. We want them to hear from us so they would know that it’s not only government that is concerned about this menace. The district will also continue with the maintenance of orphans who are victims of HIV infect-
You highlighted earlier your intention to organize seminars for young mothers; why is this necessary? These mothers are failing in heir roles as mothers! It’s a big pity that most fathers can no longer bear the responsibilities in the home, but be that as it may, we need to start proffering solutions. Grandmothers need to form a vanguard to help young mothers be able to cope with the current situation. A situation where both the mother and father are struggling to become the CEOs of their different places of work cannot help the children! Now, children spend over 80% of their time with their “aunties” (house helps) or “uncles” (drivers).
These are also the people who go to receive report cards on behalf of parents. If you say to the children “Give this letter to daddy when he comes” they will tell say “My daddy does not come home on time; I would have slept before he comes”. Okay, give it to your mummy, and they’ll still say “My mummy too doesn’t come early, and they leave very early in the morning”. Ask them who takes care of them, and you’ll hear “It’s my “aunty”” Tell me, what morals can house helps give to children? The government has to look into this as well because the effects are taking their toll on our society. A nation that does not have reliable future leaders is heading for doom! There’s no need for a mother who has little children to train, to begin to take up demanding jobs, thereby killing the family life; somebody has to be there for these children! Some mothers cannot even stay back home for three months after child delivery! If we’re not careful, outrageously immoralities and vices are what we will have to contend with in future. The closing time for young mothers have to be adjusted to enable them work to support their families and still be able to train their children. The only time these mothers have for their children these days are for timeouts in eateries and saloons where they go to put chemicals and wigs on the hairs of little children! These same young mothers are the ones forming clique to cut corners for children and take their children to secondary school from primary four. We need to start letting them know that what is pushed under the carpet will eventually burst the carpet when it gets too high.
PAGE 22 — SUNDAY VANGUARD, AUGUST 11, 2013
I regret ending the relationship!
Should I commit this sin? Dear Rebecca
Dear Rebecca ’M 26 years of age, a regular reader of the Sunday Vanguard. I lost my girl friend as a result of my best friend’s advice. I love this girl so much but she was stubborn and disloyal. I cautioned her about this regularly but she would never heeded my warning. I discussed the issue with my best friend and he advised me to call off the relationship, and to tell her to stop visiting or phoning me. I did as he said. Her response was, ‘ what a pity Goodbye.’ Now, I’m beginning to regret my action. Aunty, would you advise I give up on her or get her back? I need her if she will accept me again. Please, come to my aid. Dan, Lagos.
However, if you both make a move towards resuming the relationship, 1 suggest you sit down together first to iron out the differences. Why and how is-she stubborn? Is she unyielding because you want to force her to see or do things your way? Are your decisions al-
ways best or do you think that as a man, you have to control the woman in your life? Maybe she resents this and also wants you to consider her own views. How is she disloyal? Did she gang up with those who don’t like you, against you? You should discuss all
these and find out ways by which they can be solved so that they will not disturb your relationship again. Any friendship involves give and take and cooperation, if it to be successful. If on the other hand, if you don’t think there’s a chance she will change, move on to someone else.
AM a 21year-old guy and have never made love to a girl, and I have lost three to four girlfriends as a result of this. My reasons are: I hold a position in my church and I’m scared of sex-related diseases. I don’t trust the condom which is not 100 per cent protective.
REPL Y REPLY
REPL Y REPLY
HAT do you need her for when, you said that you found her ‘stubborn and disloyal’ and she refused to change even after you cautioned her many times? ‘Stubborn’ means someone who is uncooperative and unbending and who insists on having her own way. Well, most human beings, and even some animals, like to have their own way. Disobedience is part of our nature. Now ‘disloyal’ is an unflattering word to use in describing somebody. It means someone who cannot be trusted to be relied upon by a friend or a loved one. A person who is not on your side and who is more likely to be against you in spite of your closeness. That is a sorry state of things in a romantic relationship, and if there’s no change, then the relationship is not worth it. Why would you want someone who is disagreeable and who is against you back in your life? 1 suggest you leave this girl alone too. We always advised people on this page that if a relationship constantly upsets you and is not going the way you want it to, you should end it.
I fear God and would not want to commit fornication but sometimes I have this urge to make love to a girl , I do not know if this is peculiar to every human being. Right now, I feel unhealthy. What can I really do? Should I give in and sin against God? Or wait till I am married? Eddie, Cross River State
Tired of his battering! Dear Rebecca
’M a girl of 20, in love with a 24-year old guy. This relationship has lasted for three years. We love each other so much. A day never passes by that we don’t see or call each other on phone. He never lets me lack anything and makes me happy, but he is jealous. His jealousy started when he caught me eating some snacks with a course mate under a tree. He has been suspicious of us. To my greatest surprise, he beat me up when I went to see him later. Since then he formed the habit of beating me especially when he sees me with any other guy he doesn’t know. He no longer trusts me. Aunty, I’m tired of the relationship. I have decided to call it quits but being my first love, makes it difficult to take him off my mind. What do I do to get him out of my mind? Worried girl, warri. REPL Y REPLY
E always ad vise young people on this
page to allow good friendship build up between them and members of the opposite sex before they decide to go into a romantic relationship. Unfortunately, very few do this. They rush headlong into a romantic relationship as soon as boy meets girl, and they begin to lay claims on each other. They have not taken the trouble to study and understand each other’s character. The boys are anxious to have a sex object and the girls want a constant flow of money, presents and nice social outings. As time goes on, they begin to find things that they don’t like in each other and they would want to quit the relationship. Sometimes, this is easy and they part ways. But sometimes there could be some nastiness. A man who has spent a lot on a girl could turn violent, so also could a girl who allowed herself to be de-flowered because she thought she had found true love, and a man to marry. No-one likes to be used or
cheated. In your case, if you had taken the trouble to study the man properly, you would have known that he is prone to jealousy and violence. A decent and God-fearing man never fights, let alone lift his hand to batter a girl; talk-less of one he claims to love, no matter the provocation. If your parents cannot provide what he gives you, then do without those things. You must end the relationship immediately. Don’t go meet him in his room or any corner to tell him this. Let it be
in an open space, but not near other people. Explain to him that you cannot continue any longer due his uncontrolled jealousy and beatings. Don’t yield even if he promises to change. He won’t change. You are neither engaged nor married to him, so he has no claims on you. If he harasses you, tell your parents or those close to him. It is always important for a girl to let her people know her boyfriend, so that he would not be free to treat her anyhow.
If your parents cannot provide what he gives you, then do without those things. You must end the relationship immediately. Don’t go meet him in his room or any corner to tell him this
T is normal for most people, both male and female to feel like being intimate with a member of the opposite sex. God created this feeling in us and there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you feel aroused. Young people experience this a lot and it is healthy. The key word is self-discipline that will ensure that you don’t feel deprived or miserable about not having sex. Rightly, you have made a vow not to have sex until you get married. Stick to this because if you obey your body and go and have sex, your conscience would begin to trouble you because you have done something your heart tells you is wrong, and the pleasure you expect from the act would not be there. My advice is that you should be true to yourself, and stick to what would bring you peace of mind, knowing that the situation is not meant to last forever. Each time you feel like having sex, remind yourself that it is against the will of God for a child of God to have sex with a lady without being married to that lady. Tell yourself that each time you avoid making love, you are avoiding venereal diseases, and unwanted pregnancy and likely abortion. You are 21 and a long way from being ready to settle down in marriage, so, I would advise that you have responsible girls as friends,just like you have boys, especially in your church. When you have studied girls enough and are ready for a romantic relationship, approach the girl of your choice.
•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, AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 23
When to hide your happiness from your disgruntled friends!
E all have our share of foulweather friends. But are you one yourself? Your career is grinding to a halt, the man you once termed “the best thing that ever happened to me” has found lasting bliss with another woman and your good friend is driving you insane giving you a blow-by-blow account of her life with her newfoundland. So, when another good friend called, weeping heart-breakingly because the father of her child (you never liked him anyway) wants ‘space’, you feel a glimmer of relief - no matter how tiny. You thank your stars you’re not the only one asking “why me” all the time. Ini, remember her? A good friend who never allowed the grass to grow under her feet; who in spite of being married, boasts of an impressive array of “shock absorbers”. She met this politician on a flight to London, struck a relationship with him and gloated about how what was supposed to be a fling had blown into an intimate relationship. A few weeks ago, she came bounding down my drive way. “I’ve called things off with Chief’, she fumed as soon as she settled down. She looked more angry than heart-broken. “This man’s appetite for sex is insatiable. And there is no day you don’t find him with different types of women or hear
about his escapade with these so-called society women.” But what was her problem? She was not looking for a husband, and Chief was over-generous. She also knew the type of lover the poor man was before she plunged into a relationship with him. “Money is not everything”, she told me, rolling her eyes. “I was at a party last week when the news started making the rounds that one of our so-calledmoney-miss road celebrities had tested positive to the AIDS virus. Not only that, most of his flashy· wives also tested positive. The only lucky escapee is the first wife he virtually abandoned in order to sew his belated wild oats with these fortune hunters he acquired as wives. When I finally saw Chief, I requested we should start using condom. He looked at me as if I’d suggested he robs a bank. ‘What for?’ he sneered. ‘Use a condom at my age? You told me you didn’t want my children, so why should I now be wearing a silly contraceptive because I want to have sex with you.’ “Talk about being crude. I patiently explained to him about the rampant spread of AIDS and the shocking news of this ‘socialite’s predicament. `What has that got to do with us?’, he
wanted to know. I had to remind him of his penchant for chasing anything in skirt. That all my children were still young and I would love to see them married”. I’m sure we’ve all experienced that feeling of warm smugness when a close friend confides in us. After all, it’s nice that you’re the one they chose to turn to, the one they trusted with their secret, and the one whose advice they all valued the most. It’s flattering; it makes you feel needed and secure. I don’t really ask my friends to come to me with their problems and certainly don’t encourage them to feel bad. But; I’m a good
listener and I genuinely care for my friends. And, let’s face it, listening to everyone else’s problems makes me forget my own. I consoled Ini the best I could, assuring her she would soon find a replacement. As I saw her to her car, I was dying to give Lilian a blow-by-blow account of Ini’s current dilemma. Lilian, is an incurable gossip - just like me. When I walked into her sitting room, her stepson, late Ayoka’s son was running around the living room, a picture of health and mischief His sister was being taken care of by the nanny. But the little boy was. ador-
able. How children quickly forget? His mum might be dead, but he was quite unaware of this as he snuggled up to Lilian. Her mothering instinct must have kicked in as she cuddled the boy - who looked really contented and trusting, Lilian listened enraptured as I told her of Ini’s resolve to chuck her politician lover. “Serves her right”, Lilian said, “ when I was having problems with Rex (her husband) I went to her for sympathy because you were away for a week then. Instead, she gave me regular accounts of the wonderful time she was having with her beau. I was really depressed at the time and hearing how happy she was didn’t help. I really needed her sympathy but she was in another planet. Now that her perfect Chief has turned into a monster, she would soon be needing my sympathy. But I’m not like her. I won’t pay her back in her own coin by being indifferent to her pain. I’ve never liked that pompous oaf and I say good riddance to him!” You can then imagine how embarrassed I felt when Ini came strutting into my office a few days later with her seemingly disease infested Chief! I’d met him a couple of times. An intelligent man, he had a really aloof look, but this time, he tried to be friendly. He offered to give us lunch. As a married woman, Ini
daren’t got out to lunch with him alone; that was where I came in, the perfect excuse if she was spotted. It was inevitable that our discussion finally centred on Ini’s refusal to have sex with him condomless. Sounding really wounded, he told me he wasn’t a promiscuous man and had always been careful as to whom he went to bed with. “Your friend is a good indication of my taste. Now, would you say she could be an AIDS victim?” The fact still remains he has lots of lovers, upping the risk of AIDS - but I didn’t tell him this. I told him to take things easy that Ini would soon come round to his way of solving the simple problem that now threatened to break their relationship. “ The next time I saw Ini, I told her that one of Lilian’s friends who had a well stocked pharmaceutical shop in one of the shopping malls on Victoria Island now sold female condoms. “What do they look like?” Ini wanted to know. “Will Chief notice I’m wearing one and would it give total protection against any disease?” How would I know? I wasn’t the one selling the stuff and I’d never used one either. All she had to do was be patient until Lilian took us to this pharmacist friend of hers.
Regular exercise saves you from stiffness will not wait till you have attained the same age as Methuselah. This means that we
Y YOGA teacher was of the opinion that old age sets in when one throw away good posture to the winds. He would say ‘do your exercise regularly to avoid that sort of stiffness which starts from the nape of the neck down to the heels of the feet.” I, myself, have found out through the years of teaching Yoga to others that even a little boy of less than six years could be in capable of doing the head-to-knee posture, whereas, someone of thirty who exercises regularly has no problem with the same posture. That fact drives home the point that the deteriorating of the tone of the muscles can occur even while a child is growing up. Loss of muscle tone
For the stronger individuals doing the exercise with both legs at the sametime is encouraged. This exercise will strengthen the spine and expel fatigue in the small of the back
owe it to ourselves to start to keep the body healthy very early in life. Parents should therefore realise the importance of
fitness not only for themselves but also for those that they bring into the world to delight their days on earth! Parents do not have to breathe down the necks of their children to get them to exercise. Children almost always learn by example. Seeing their parents exercise will in most cases inspire them to follow suit. Typical of this situation was what existed between my own Yoga teacher and his children. He would tell me that because his children thought most of the exercises were funny, they would want to join in the fun by during them too. The and result being that his children of both genders became very good at doing the exercises, enjoying all the therapeutic benefits of the practices.
He would tell me, for instance, that none of his daughters suffered from period pains or had problems at child delivery. And he would put all that down to their practice of Yoga. After a few weeks of Yoga classes. I once told a group of ladies that one of the benefits of the head-to-knee posture was that of painless periods and one of them said, ‘no wonder, I have not had to take paracetamol for some time now during my periods, I see’, I want the reader to know that this was an honest-to-God incidence. For a good posture, which means an absence of a round back, the following exercise is to be practised. Lie flat on the back raising the legs vertically and making sure the small of the back remains
on the ground. Now while you breathe in, bring own the right leg to the right side of the body to touch the floor. Exhale and raise again upwards. Thrice in all Repeat with the left legs to the left side of the body.
For the stronger individuals doing the exercise with both legs at the sametime is encouraged. This exercise will strengthen the spine and expel fatigue in the small of the back.
* The Leg Raise
Yoga classes at 32 Adetokunbo Ademola, Victoria Island, Lagos, 9.10am on Saturdays
P AGE 24— SUND AY Vanguard , A UGUST 11 , 2013 SUNDA AUGUST
Women can never be discreet when having an office romance!
HERE is the most fertile field for those fascinated by the vagaries of the human heart?” Someone once asked that question and came up with the answer that “in my opinion - be it the market place, social gathering or friend’s house - nothing beats the average sizeable office for the most sizzling blow-by-blow account of the current torrid loveaffair.” Well, well, well! What would we all do without our daily routine of getting ready for the office and wondering what the latest episode of the various love - affairs we keep on monitoring would be? What is really amusing is that, even the top notches in your office up to the post of the managing director, know all the love-affairs going on in the office and happily gossip about them, to ward off the routine of office life. At a board meeting recently, one executive director said his colleague had slapped him on the back - a roguish look on his face: “Did Felix tell you what happened to him?” he boomed. Felix squirmed. Relishing in Felix’s discomfort, he continued: “His latest girlfriend, that rake of a girl who would be the death of him yet, .wrote him a scorching letter. Unfortunately, his wife found it and realized that Felix’s packed lunches had always been shared by his girlfriend in his office. You know what she did? She packed his
the money, smiled at her and said, “Listen, I’ll give you a chance to win back all your money. I bet I can make love to you so gently, you won’t tell a thing.” She agreed immediately. There was no way she wasn’t going to feel him. They disappeared into the storeroom and got down to it on the floor. As he thrust in and out, she declared with glee. “I can feel it, I can feel it!” “Oh well,” he gasped, continuing his humping. “You win some, you lose some.”
lunch as usual and put enough salt and pepper to wake the dead. She then phoned during lunch to find out if the girlfriend liked the stew and, by the way, if he was looking for the love letter from her girl friend he forgot in his trousers’ pocket, she had it in safe custody!” Ironically too, it is the group of these top dogs that also gets away with their ridiculous reasons for being in the company of young, beautiful women. “Bola is the new public relations officer in the company and I’m putting her through the ropes,” is one of the reasons that trips most easily off their lips. So, how do you detect the latest office romance no matter how discreet the couple are? Again and again, the phrase “they tried to keep it quiet but, of course, everyone knew,” is first to be observed by
an avid office love watcher. This is followed by minute and inadvertent signals of face/body or behaviour which are enough to give away what is going on to a hundred pairs of absent-mindedly watching eyes. She went on: “It is impossible for a love-sick girl not to lay claim to the lover concerned, even if it is only in the smallest possible way; like an indiscreet hand on his arm at some unsuitable moment!” And if the men go out to lunch and have too much to drink, they can let anything out. Seriously though, I think women often, subconsciously, do want other people in the office to know.” If you are having a passionate relationship with a colleague in the office, the telephone is the biggest give away not from what is said - but from the way it is used. Cupping the mouth-piece
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: email@example.com Please mark your envelope: “LOVE NOTES"
secretively to whisper down it or a guiltily slamming down the phone when someone comes too close. With the mobile, text messages ping constantly enough to almost scorch the phone – drawing colleagues to draw whatever conclusions they like! And when an office romance dies? If it ends in messiness and acrimony, the hurt never goes quietly. The hurt is, sometimes, so deep that the office is turned into a boxing ring. When it comes to that stage, the more violent lover might be asked to leave. Fortunately, this seldom happens and we all muddle through the mundane acivities of office life, knowing we have the euphoric feeling of keeping those tabs on our Romeo and Juliet colleagues as compensations!
I live to love you, I live to see you happy, I live to adore you, I live to put a smile on your face, I live to see your dreams come through, I live to be your only man, I live to care and cherish you all day long, I live to share my emotional thoughts with you, I live to see you through the storms, Just know you are my princess;baby... And I will stand by you...,because i have chosen you as my one and only wife, I will love you till the end of time... James N Okonkwo (Freesoul) firstname.lastname@example.org 08066043380
Winner Takes All (Humour) A man walked into a bar and ordered a beer from the very attractive barmaid. He engaged her in conversation. “I bet I can bite my own ear,” he said, putting Nl,000 on the bar. She accepted the bet and the next moment, he took out his false teeth and nipped his ear. He picked up his winning and then said,’ “I’ll give you another chance. For another Nl,000 I bet I can keep an eye on my beer while I go to the loo”. The barmaid hesitated. She didn’t want to lose any more money but she knew the toilets were outside. “Okay” she said. “You’re on.” The man took out his glass eye and put it by his beer as he went outside for a wee. Again he collected
A birthday to remember! (Humour) A man arrived at work to be greeted with a smile from his secretary as she wished him Happy Birthday. He was overjoyed. At least someone had remembered. That evening, as he was about to leave for home, his secretary suggested they go for a birthday drink. He readily agreed and for the next hour, they really enjoyed themselves, for the first time, he realised how pretty she was, and how kind. So it wasn’t surprising that when she invited him back for coffee, he quickly accepted. “Make yourself at home,” she said when they got back to her flat. “I’ll just go and slip into something more comfortable.” “I’m right here,” he thought to himself and quickly stripped on: ready for her return. All of a sudden, the bedroom door opened and out came his wife, daughters and friends singing, “Happy Birthday to you ,,,”...
The Broken heart can be mend, even if the one you truly love abandons you, God will never abandon you. He will send you an angel: an angel that will take away your pains, an angel that will make you forget your past, an angel that will make you uphold love with all your heart, an angel that brings true rest of mind. My love, that angel came the day I found you. I love you. Kelechi Ndubisi (KC) Kconeofafrica@gmail.com, 08032900530 My love, The day I lost you, I lost my happiness, I lost my inspiration, I almost lost my life. My hope died, my smile became thick tears, my love world became dark, I became an empty vessel. now that you are gone, I wish I could turn back the hands of time. I love you, I really do. I've miss you sooooooo much. Omorville Omorville@gmail.com, 08062486549
SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013 — PAGE 25
How human heads were concealed in Onitsha hotel room — Suspect •Says stench oozed out •Poser: Was proprietor framed? •Lawyers battle Gov Obi over ‘hasty’ demolition BY VINCENT UJUMADU, Awka
AST week’s demolition of a three –storey building housing Upper Class Hotel, located at No. 8 Old Market Road, Onitsha, was the third to be supervised by Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State in the last one year. The governor, on two previous occasions, led security operatives to demolish the houses of two suspected notorious kidnappers at Oraifite in Ekwusigo local government area and Uli in Ihiala local government area. During the previous occasions, Obi made it clear that any property belonging to confirmed criminals in the state would be demolished to serve as deterrent to others who engage in criminal activities. After the two demolitions last year, there was a noticeable drop in crime rate in the state, especially kidnapping and armed robbery. That is why the alleged discovery of fresh human heads in the Onitsha hotel last week jolted many people, including security operatives. On that Wednesday, policemen from the Onitsha Area Command, allegedly acting on a tip off, swopped on the hotel and made what was said to be a startling discovery in one of the rooms. There, three human heads, said to have been wrapped in a cellophane bag, were allegedly kept beside the bed. In the same room were reportedly found two AK47 rifles, 40 rounds of live ammunition, some mobile telephones and two army caps. The visit to the hotel by the police was allegedly carefully planned as police intelligence unit from the Inspector General’s, IGs, office, was said to have, for about one month , been gathering information on alleged criminal activities in
*The 'offending' hotel at the outset of demolition last week the hotel. Though the proprietor of the hotel, Chief Bonaventure Mokwe, was often not working in the hotel as he has other businesses in parts of Onitsha, the police ensured that he was in the hotel on that day. At the time the police demanded to search the rooms, most of the workers were allegedly present and 11 of them, six females and five males, including the owner of the hotel, Mokwe, arrested. The hotel proprietor is currently being detained at the headquarters of the Special Anti- Robbery Squad, SARS, Awkuzu in Oyi council area. An Infinity jeep with registration number, DA 203 FST, belonging to the hotel proprietor, was impounded
by the police. Mokwe is the son of a wealthy businessman from Umuchu in Aguata local government area of Anambra State who, after his education and following the death of his father; started managing his late father’s businesses. One of the suspects, who claimed to be a cleaner in the hotel, said she invited her daughter that fateful day to help her in the job as she was not feeling well only to be rounded up by security men. She also said that she had been telling the hotel management to give her the keys to the hotel room where the human heads were allegedly found to clean it because of the stench, said to be oozing from there, but to no avail.
*The 'hotel ...Before the bulldozer moved in
There, three human heads, said to have been wrapped in a cellophane bag, were allegedly kept beside the bed. In the same room were reportedly found two AK47 rifles, 40 rounds of live ammunition, some mobile telephones and two army caps She said: “I don’t know anything concerning this incident; I am just a cleaner in the hotel. My daughter just returned from school on holiday and I begged her to assist me clean the hotel before we were arrested. Even before the arrest, I
noticed that one of the rooms was permanently locked, even without any guest, I have been telling the manager to give me the keys to the room so that I could clean it but he refused and Continues on page 26
PAGE 26—SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11 , 2013
Continues from page 25
there was odour oozing out from the room before our arrest.”
Barely 48 hours after the discovery of the human heads in the hotel and arrests that followed, Governor Obi led security operatives and other government officials to the hotel and ordered the immediate pulling down. Addressing a large number of Onitsha residents who made the vicinity of the hotel a tourist center soon after the discovery, Obi insisted that he would not allow criminals to return the state to the ugly days of the past when Anambra was associated with evil deeds. The governor announced that the state government had confiscated all assets belonging to the owner of the hotel, explaining that the action was in line with the policy of his administration to sustain the fight against crime and criminality. He said: “I will not relent in my resolve to flush out hoodlums from all parts of the state and I will continue to knock down property belonging to criminals. I am aware some people would rather want us to convert those property for use for public purposes, but I tell you, acquiring those property and knocking them down is psychologically more beneficial because the weight of the punishment is proportional to the fear it engenders in people to avoid crime.”
Some lawyers in Anambra State are, however, questioning the hurry in pulling down the hotel building when, according to them, investigations were not concluded. Dr. M.N.Umenweke, who claimed to be a solicitor to the proprietor of the hotel, said Governor Obi might have been misinformed to take the action he took, unlike his usual way of listening to all sides and getting all facts as he did in previous cases. In fact, Umenweke and some other lawyers hired by the family of the proprietor are threatening to petition the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Abubakar, and Anambra State Police Commissioner (CP), Bala Nassarawa, over
*Gov Obi (centre) with government officials at the demolition site
How human heads were concealed in Onitsha hotel room the issue. To them, there might be unseen hands determined to ruin Mokwe and members of his family, arguing that the best thing under the circumstance was to order a full investigation on the human heads saga. According to them, Mokwe is very well known in Onitsha area and had not been associated with any crime. Already, the lawyers have filed a suit at an Onitsha High Court to seek for the preservation of the fundamental rights of the hotel proprietor pursuant to order 11 rules 1 and 2 of enforcement procedures 2009, section 33, 34 and 35 of the Constitution of Nigeria. Another lawyer, Mr. Kachi Bielu, also in a petition to the IG, said Mokwe was framed up. His petition to the IG reads: “It is our instruction from our client to appeal to you to use your good offices to send a crack team from the Force Criminal Investigation Department, FCID, or the monitoring unit and transfer the case to police formations where the case will be properly handled and investigated. It is the belief
of our client that where this allegation is not thoroughly investigated by competent and unbiased hands, these unmitigated and dangerous elements will continue to set innocent people up over one allegation or the other in the state. “We appeal to you and urge you to get the police at
should demolish the only evidence against Mokwe, which is the hotel where the human heads were allegedly found. They said: “There were two old rusty human skulls planted in the hotel and there was no trial and the next thing was an executive
The governor announced that the state government had confiscated all assets belonging to the owner of the hotel, explaining that the action was in line with the policy of his administration to sustain the fight against crime and criminality Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Awkuzu to transfer the case to Abuja where a full scale investigation will be conducted in order to unravel the persons behind this act and curtail their activities.” The lawyers are demanding to know who made the complaint to the police about the alleged criminal activities in the hotel and why government
sentence. The skulls could have been obtained in any burial ground, lab or mortuary or even teaching hospitals where students use them for practical. “The police arrested Bonaventure Mokwe on 1/8/ 2013, tried him same day and passed judgment that same day, executed the judgment the same day and the next day, the hotel was demolished.
“This is a hotel with so many rooms and the proprietor only uses one as an office and the objects were supposedly found in one of the commercial rooms. Again, the IG was petitioned on 2/7/2013 which led to this invasion and the question is why should the person who saw human heads wait until 1/8/13 to invade the hotel? Why was evidence destroyed in a hurry? Wife of the hotel proprietor, Mrs. Mokwe, has also cried foul, alleging that her husband was set up. Mrs. Mokwe, herself a lawyer, is calling on authorities to intervene in the matter to save her husband. She said: “My husband is being detained in a very de-humanizing condition at SARS and the police have denied him access to his lawyers and relations. Government has also threatened to further demolish his plaza at OseOkwodu and other properties belonging to him and members of his family. Indeed, my husband has not been given a fair hearing.” She said that her husband, who is an estate agent, has unresolved problems with some people, adding that about four of the disputes are pending in court. According to her, the masterminds of her husband’s arrest may have smuggled two human objects into his office which the police claimed were human heads and arms in one of the rooms in the hotel and pleaded that her husband be charged to court or granted bail. Members of the civil society groups led by Comrade Justus Ijeoma have also called on the police not to compromise the investigations in order to unravel those behind the ugly incident. They however commended the Nigeria police for bringing their intelligence to bear in the discovery. Many residents in Onitsha, including Messrs Eddie Okosi and Ugochukwu Ezeani, commended the state government for the ‘quick intervention’, saying the state government was already winning the war against criminals. According to them, Obi has rebranded Onitsha, adding that the city is regaining its lost glory.
SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 27
‘Saved from cancer’ BY CHIOMA OBINNA
y whatever name you may choose to call it, Providing Early Attention for Cervical Cancers Everywhere or P.E.A.C.E Campaign, as the pet project has been christened, what was on the mind of hundreds of women, children and men at the Holy Habitation Auditorium of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission, TREM, International Headquarters, along Gbagada Expressway, Lagos, for the free Medical Fair organised by Women of Global Impact, WGI, in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs, on this particular day, was to be among the beneficiaries of the Fair which offered free screening for breast and cervical cancer, free medical consultation, free drugs, body mass index, BMI, blood sugar test, blood pressure test, health talk, free eye examination treatment and general medical treatment. Before now, many of the beneficiaries, mostly widows, orphans and indigent, who thronged the arena, must had waited patiently for a day like this which finally landed at their door steps stress free. In an economy with increasing poverty, unemployment and sundry socioeconomic challenges, with no steady income to contend with the rising incidences of the burden of diseases such as cancer, organising free Medical Fair for vulnerable people, particularly women and children, is WGI’s own approach and effort at breaking the growing burden of cancer, among other non -communicable diseases women suffer from. Early detection and prompt medical
attention are key in cancer management. But the unfortunate aspect of cancer situation in Nigeria is the fact that the country is not prepared for the scourge as it is not even covered in the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS. For projects like PEACE, a brain child of Dr. Peace Okonkwo, the founder of WGI, there is need to educate women particularly on early detection and diagnosis of silent killers that can easily be treated thus improving maternal mortality rate. Flagged off on June 9, 2012, the project, which rolled out its 12th edition, last weekend in Lagos, according to Bishop Okonkwo, wife of presiding Bishop of TREM, came into being following the burden in her heart on how to reduce the number of women dying of cancer in Nigeria. “It all started when I attended a conference and in that conference they showed women that were dying of cervical cancer. After that I have a burden in my heart to be able to know how to help women,” she said. “So the PEACE campaign was established to celebrate my 60th year and our target is to screen 10,000 women of cervical and breast cancers. As at date; we have been to villages and screened 4,500 women out of which 510 presented with early stage of cancer.” PEACE campaign is also out to discourage and encourage Christians to do away of rejecting medical situation because knowing that you have a disease does not bring death. “The objective of P.E.A.C.E is to create awareness for cervical cancer, provide free checkup at designated places and assist in the treatment of
Medical volunteers attending to participants at the 2013 PEACE program held in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
infected women. The mission is to reduce maternal mortality rate and to positively affect and torch the lives of women in particular for the better, enabling full realization of a women’s potentials and helping national development through empathy, trust, motivation and non-discriminatory support initiatives. “There is need for Christians to go for health screening. On yearly basis every women should go for screening especially in this time of cancer. It is ignorance and fear that makes people to keep on rejecting it. Don’t live a life of lie. It is God that gave the doctors wisdom, when you know what is wrong with you; you will now know how to direct your prayers. I suggest that people should go for medical treatment because our faith is not equal.” She called on government to invest more resources into health adding, “You can have everything in the
world but if your health is not intact you cannot be happy.” Grace Agbe, one of the 1,500 beneficiaries of the programme, who could barely contain her excitement, said: “I never knew I was hypertensive. With tears rolling down her cheek, she added; “I had been experiencing frequent headaches for which I have continued to take Panadol Extra. I am being rushed to hospital now for further treatment. Is that how I would have died?” Fifty – six year old Mrs. Margaret Obioha was no less excited as she hinted that she had been planning to screen for cervical cancer but she could not afford the money. I am happy today I was offered an opportunity. I am glad I am okay.” Rev. Oluwayomi Uteh, National Coordinator, PEACE Campaign, was overwhelmed by the testimonies of the beneficiaries.
Lagos issues yellow card to ‘Keke Marwa’ BY OLASUNKANMI AKONI
ugust 2, 2012, Governor Babatunde Fashola signed Lagos State Road Traffic Bill into Law. The law restricted the activities of commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as ‘Okada Riders’, from about 475 roads in the state. The measure, it was posited, was part of efforts to restore sanity to the roads away from the menace which the operators had constituted as well as tackle the rising wave of security challenge and health hazards posed to residents. Recently, rumour was rife that the state government was set to ban tricycle operators, otherwise called “Keke Marwa,” too from the roads following their recklessness. However, the state government debunked the allegation. Commissioner for Transportation, Comrade Kayode Opeifa, said there had never been any time that the state government announced that it had banned tricycle or motorcycles in the state. He cited Section 3 of the Lagos Road Traffic Law 2012, which says, ‘No person shall ride, drive or propel a cart, wheel barrow, motorcycle or tricycle on any of the routes specified
*Tricycles ... now restricted in parts of Lagos in Schedule 11 of this Law’. According to him, motorcycles and tricycles were only ‘Restricted’ on 475 roads out of 9100 roads in the state including highway and bridges. Tricycle Opeifa, however, said that tricycles and the use of unpainted vehicles were, of recent, restricted on Victoria Island, Government Reserved Area (GRA) Ikeja and Ikoyi due to request from residents as a result of the threat that tricycles and unpainted vehicles posed in, the area and the increase in the number of armed robbery attacks. Opeifa who said that the restriction
is well known to tricycle operators in the state, urged them to disregard the rumour and continue their operations in unrestricted areas in accordance with the law. He, however, warned that if the operators are found wanting in complying with the road traffic law, government would not hesitate to apply appropriate sanctions against them. “They have invaded Victoria Island axis and, as we discovered this, we have asked them to leave. The reason was that some people are financing those tricycles. We will be moving into
the next phase and we will be embarking on the redistribution of vehicles on the road. One will see that residents of Lagos don’t walk longer distances before they get vehicles plying their destinations,” Opeifa said. “There is also the aspect of the law that states that every commercial vehicle should register. We haven’t commenced enforcement on that. The entire sections of the law are not meant to be enforced at the same time. The level of enforcement will depend on the section that will be enforced. “In terms of public compliance, we went on road show and did several media adverts to enlighten the public. The result was high level of compliance and we don’t measure based on enforcement but on compliance. “As we move into the second phase of the law, we have been able to achieve what we set out to do in the first phase. What we wanted in the first place was buying and acceptance of the law. “ The second phase, according to the commissioner, would demand closing on areas that required additional regulations and putting up structures to enhance their implementation.
PAGE 28—SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013
Glamour and glitz as Wisdom Aminu’s daught er w eds daughter weds
L- R: Mr Amodu Shaibu, Ex. Super Eagles' coach, Amb .& Mrs Wisdom Aminu, bride's parents, High Chief & Mrs Raymond Dokpesi, the couple, Mr & Mrs Clement Onyia and Nze Marcus Onyia, groom's dad
t was a marriage that had all the trappings of a high-society event when Ambassador Wisdom Aminu, former Nigeria’s Ambassador to ECOWAS gave his daughter, Chioma in marriage to Clement Chijioke Onyia, son of Nze Marcus Onyia. Chairman of occasion was High Chief Raymond Dokpesi of Daar Communications. The wedding took place at Ojodu, Lagos penultimate weekend. Photos by Diran Oshe
L-R:Pastor Femi Kayode with Mr& Mrs John Ozenua.
L-R: Sen. Adeseye Ogunlewe and Amb Wisdom Aminu, former Nig. Amb. to Ecowas, bride's dad
L- R: Mrs Aigbokhaode Aloagbaye, Mr Kehinde Ogungbe with High Chief & Mrs Raymond Dokpesi, Chairman of the Occasion
L- R:Mr Mevilit Bilici , Squadron Leader Olusegun Coker and Hon. Oladapo Habeeb
Sandy and Alex
r Alexander Emo Tadaferua, and former Miss Sandy Inioluwa Awomolo, were joined as man and wife at Grace Assembly , National Christian Centre, Abuja on Saturday, July 27, 2013. Photo by Kehinde Gbadamosi
From Right (behind); Mr Austine O.Tadaferua, Director of Finance and Acctounts and Mrs Mercy Tadaferua, groom's parents; Chief Adegboyega Awomolo and Chief (Mrs) Victoria Awomolo, bride's parents; with couple; Mr and Mrs Alexander Emo Tadaferua
From Right (behind); Mr Austine O.Tadaferua and Mrs Mercy Tadaferua, the couple, groom’s parents; Chief Adegboyega Awomolo and Chief (Mrs) Victoria Awomolo, bride's parents.
The couple; Mr & Mrs Clement Onyia Dancing into a new life
L- R: Madam Regina Onyia , Nze Moses Udoh and Mr Fomonus Aneke.
Recognition ALEX Eyengho received a certificate in ‘Best Journalism Practices in the Digital Age’ from the United States Consul General, during a training programme jointly organised by the Pan-Atlantic University and the United States Consulate General, Lagos.
President of the Association of Nollywood Core Producers (ANCOP) and Vice President of the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF), France, Comrade Alex Eyengho receiving his certificate in ‘Best Journalism Practices in the Digital Age’ from the United States Consul General, Lagos, Mr. Jeffrey Hawkins while Prof. Lucinda Fleeson of the University of Maryland, USA looks on
SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 29
Vanguard , AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 30
Amnesty Committee members weep openly in Kano *Visit bomb victims, share their pains *Head of suicide bomber found at site BY JIDE AJANI
his is the report of the visit of the Victims Support SubCommittee of the Presidential Committee on the Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts in Northern Nigeria, otherwise known as Boko Haram amnesty committee, to those affected by the suicide bombing which took place in Kano, penultimate week. The report is revealing and presents a very emotional side of members of the committee. From the outset, it was agreed that names of victims would not be mentioned but that does not in any way detract from the substance of this exercise in compassion. Because of the loss and harrowing nature of the pain, names have been withheld. The man did not know he was trying to lift a lifeless body - the body of his wife. She was on her knees; as if offering prayers to God. In fact, that was the first thought that crossed the mind of her husband; that his wife was either praying; or that she was having problems standing on her feet. This was minutes after the explosions that rocked the Sabon-Gari area of Kano penultimate week tore through the serenity of the evening. Once the first wave of explosions rocked the area (more like a drinkingcum-relaxation joint), the man simply voted with his feet. His wife was actually standing by him. And, according to him, he thought his wife took after him as he ran off. He was wrong. After berthing in a place of safety, he discovered his wife was not with him; ostensibly, he thought the woman had taken off in the other direction. As the dust kicked off by the explosion began to settle, he walked back to the spot from where he took off – his wife’s shed. There, he found his wife on her knees. It was in an attempt to lift his wife up that the horrific reality of what had happened hit here like another bomb. As he tried to lift her up, he discovered that the bomb had actually blown off the face of his wife of many years. His story is just one of the many that members of the Victims Support SubCommittee of the Presidential Committee on the Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts in Northern Nigeria were treated to last
Monday afternoon at the Police Station, Sabon-Gari, Kano. There was another young man who was actually planning his wedding - he was billed to get married in 48hours. But the wedding was never going to hold. The Kano bombing saw to it. Some others lost their entire means of livelihood; some lost buildings. There were many more tales of horror by affected family members who had been invited for a parley with the Committee members. The team was led by Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, former Foreign Affairs Minister; it also had Hajia Naja’atu Mohammed, Abubakar Sodangi and the Adamawa State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice. Community leaders and some police officers were also on hand. The Committee members’ day started with a visit to the palace of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero. The members arrived there at 10 in the morning. The members got to Kano the previous night so, punctuality and a sense of purpose was the order of the day. At the Emir’s palace, the members were received by the WaanBan Kano, the next in command to the monarch. Not that the Emir considered the visit of the Committee members as beneath him.
The man did not know he was trying to lift a lifeless body - the body of his wife. She was on her knees; as if offering prayers to God. In fact, that was the first thought that crossed the mind of her husband; that his wife was either praying; or that she was having problems standing on her feet
Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Chairman, Victims Support Sub-Committee of the Amnesty Committee for Boko Haram (above) in tears after listening to tales of woe from victims of penultimate week’s bombing in Kano. Below (left) Akinyemi, Alhaji Tahir and Senator Abubakar Sodangi in a mournful mood; and (right) Hajia Naja’atu and Sodangi, expressing deep inner pain and concern as a result of the sad stories. Sunday Vanguard gathered he was just not on hand to receive them. Palace sources made Sunday Vanguard to understand that his royal highness had some other very personal challenges to attend to. Two things were on the agenda but inexorably linked to mortality. First was the commiseration for the bombing; and second, for the death of the Wakilin’ Kano, who passed away just two days earlier. From the Emir ’s palace, the train moved to two of the hospitals where some victims of the bombing were still
receiving treatment – Murtala Muhammed Teaching Hospital and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital. At the Murtala Muhammed Teaching Hospital, there were six patients while three more were being treated at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital. The members went round the intensive care department of the hospitals where they interacted with the patients. Emotions It was a sight that created an outpouring of emotions.
Continues on page 31
Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013 , PAGE 31
Boko Haram Committe visits bomb victims, share their pains Continued from page 30 The members spoke with the patients offering words of consolation that “there is still life and, therefore, there is hope for them”. Akinyemi and his team stood ramrod in some cases as the victims recounted their tales of woes and how the bomb hit them. There at the hospitals, the team came across a woman who, though had two sons receiving treatment and convalescing in bed, had lost a few other members of her family. One woman on sick bed told the Committee members how she lost consciousness when the bomb exploded. The next thing she discovered was that she was on bed in hospital, one leg already amputated while the second one was heavily strapped with bandage. Sunday Vanguard gathered that even the other leg would require massive reconstructive surgery for it to remain useful. There was another man who narrated how he lost his only son to the explosion. They also met a man who lost three children at once and he himself was badly injured One by one, the tales of woes began to weigh heavily on the minds of the members. For Akinyemi and Hajia Naja’atu, the tales were becoming a bit unbearable. Hajia Naja’atu, being a woman, made it all the more unbearable. Their grief was no longer concealable as the expression on the faces of the members betrayed the inner pain which, in due course, gave way to heavy hearts and eyes filled with tears. As they walked through the aisle, the members came to terms with the somber reality of the grief domiciled among the victims. Not able to bear it any longer, the team members turned their back and left. But not after they made donations to each of the victims; it was just a gesture. It was money as part of running their work and not for donation to bomb blast victims but who want to pull the issue of due process from the bag when Nigerians are in bed, in excruciating pain? The Committee is not expected to make donations but they just could not but act because of what they saw, first-hand - Government money spent on behalf of government. From the two hospitals, they moved to three sites of the bombing. Human head One of the police officers investigating the bombings told members of the Committee that, in the early hours after the explosion, a human head was found in the debris. The head is believed to be that of one of the suicide bombers. There, you could see what photo journalists would love to refer to as ‘people without people’, a description of the tell-tale signs of what had happened: broken window glasses, burnt cars, debris, bombed shops, and C M Y K
bewilderment written all over the faces of residents of that area of Sabon-Gari where the explosion took place. Indeed, it was risky business for the Committee members as some people still had hostility written on their faces. However, the members made it clear to residents that they had come to commiserate with them and look for lasting solutions to the issue of insurgency. The last lap of the visit was the DPO’s office in Sabon-Gari, where the Committee members met victims and their families. Now, this was meant to be an interactive session. Members of the families of the victims had been pre-informed; so they turned up in large numbers. After the opening prayers, Akinyemi gave a speech. Sad visit He reminded his audience that the
members of the Committee of the whole came just a fortnight ago and were not praying to be back in Kano on another sad visit. “But here we are”, he said, “the Committee felt that this time, the Victims Support Sub-Committee should come and meet with you because our work is not over yet – it’s a long-drawn outing. Therefore, we have come in order to demonstrate how sorry we are and that even sorry is not adequate to express or convey the sorrow or compassion that we feel inside. “The whole Committee, the President and all Nigerians sent us to say how sorry we are and to let you know that we feel your pain”. Akinyemi spoke extempore and his message resonated with his audience. Continuing, he said, “this is a test of the will of all Nigerians. Evil is testing our will and if we allow what has happened to provoke retaliation, we would have succeeded in allowing evil to triumph. We must let those whose job it is to do the investigation take their necessary steps and let them do their job. ‘Be vigilant’ “Everybody is a security man and should be a security man in Nigeria because we cannot put policemen everywhere. Each of us can hear conversations or see some things that are suspicious around”.
Pix (Above, L-R)Leader of Igbo community (in his full regalia), Prof. Akinyemi and Justice Commissioner, Adamawa State, Alhaji Tahir, while adressing members of the families of the Kano bombing (Pix below) last Monday in Kano
At an earlier stage, while heads were being put together to structure the modus operandi of the interactive session, some of the family members of the victims thought the members had just come to talk down on them without getting responses. Indeed, this created its own tension but it was doused. After the speech and prayers, Committee members went into the midst of the audience to mingle and offer words of compassion. The leaders of the Igbo and Yoruba communities also spoke, admonishing their people to be very vigilant. One of the victims, who recounted his of tale of woe, sent shocks down the spine of everyone there when he disclosed that he lost all he ever had including family. Whereas the team was at the Emir ’s palace for almost 30 minutes, and about the same time at each of the hospitals, the interactive session with the victims’ family members took so much time – almost two hours. Was the visit meaningful? Of course yes. The interaction with members of the families of the victims of the bombing demonstrated that government, not minding its shambolic missteps, some times, still cares for he people.
However, the war on militants is not one that works like just switching on a bulb. It takes time. In fact, at best, Nigeria can only contain terrorism as it is now; it cannot eliminate it. In Northern Ireland even after the Good Friday Agreement, and inspite of the fact that members of the Irish Republican Army, IRA, are in the government of the day, there are still those who create their nuisance value by insisting that things must happen their own way. What that should tell Nigerians is that a policy of containment, aggressively pursued, can begin to stem the tide of insurgency. Another level of engagement by government ought to take cognizance of the need for caution in negotiating with the insurgents such that the former does not open itself to needless blackmail by appearing to be too desperate for a deal. No stop gap measures Addressing the root causes of insurrection in Nigeria is not and should not be limited to stop gap measures. At the end of the day a national conference may have to be factored into the long term engagement. There are too many grievances that need to be addressed in Nigeria today. The Fulani pastoralist issue, the Nasarawa killings, militancy in the South and the Boko Haram insurgency weigh too heavily for a 26-man Presidential Committee on the Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts in Northern Nigeria – mind you, the Committee’s initial period of operation was three months before another two months was added. As sun began to set last Monday, the Committee members headed back to Government House, Kano.
PAGE 32— SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013
competition, even if the competition has changed from time to time. We are in the business of entertainment and you will agree with me that we are not the only one in the entertainment business or pay TV business in Nigeria. MCN, like I said, is a company with a long-term vision and it believes in investment, particularly in infrastructure, which we have done quite a lot, and in people. Our strongest asset is our people and it is the same way we treat the talents, which abound in the entertainment industry in Nigeria. If you look at our development of the contents of the Africa Magic Channel, with most of it coming from Nigeria, you will see an attempt to develop something that will be lasting, as well as to be able to leave a strong legacy for the future.
BY LEKAN BILESANMI
ultichoice, pay-TV operator (DSTV), is 20 years old. In this inter view interview view,, the managing dir ector director ector,, Mr John Ugbe, speaks on the milestone.
our company is 20 years old. Looking back, how has the experience been? It has been interesting, particularly if we have to look back to when we started which predated the advent of democracy in our country. We started at a time that was difficult; a time when Nigeria was not the most popular for investors. Most investors came after the advent of democracy. In spite of the uncertainties of the period, , MultiChoice saw the great future Nigeria held and realised that a big part of that future would lie in entertainment given that the country has rich culture, human resources and the ability of its peoples to develop. So, the company has grown with Nigeria over the last 20 years and, to a large extent, we have kept the country entertained and helped build family bonds during that period. What made Nigeria appealing to MCN? If we look at the heritage of MCN, you will see that it is an African company that started in, and believe in Africa. Nigeria was and remains appealing to MCN because it is one country you will come into and find everything you need. The company has been able to bring international entertainment into Nigeria and has taken Nigerian entertainment to Africa and the world. We have shown a focus to develop contents from within the country and placed it on an international pedestal. I will say that if you go around Africa, now, you can see that DSTV and, now GoTv, have impacted on the image of Nigeria and the understanding of her culture. From the economic point of view, Nigeria is a big market and, as the country develops, the middle class grows and we believe that we cannot tell Africa’s story without Nigeria because it is the heart of Africa. The key thing for MCN is that we believe in the Nigerian story. Doing business in Nigeria must definitely have challenges. What are those challenges and how have you been able to surmount them? We try not to focus on the challenges. No nation, including those you will say
•Mr John Ugbe
20 YEARS AFTER
The perception that we are a monopoly is wrong — Ugbe, Multichoice MD
•Explains company’s long term vision
•Says ‘we spent N55bn on content technology devt’
are perfect, is immune from some inherent challenges. Like I said, we came at a time when Nigeria had not become democratic and getting a license to operate then was not easy. Nigeria has always had infrastructure problem. However we tend to see how we can work around the challenges. Also, being an African company means that we experience those challenges in few of our markets and our strength, as a company, is to understand those challenges and, very early on, develop strategies on how we can achieve what we set out to achieve even around those challenges. So I think growing a business in the country requires a lot of understanding on how to overcome the infrastructure problems and
Nigeria is a big market and, as the country develops, the middle class grows and we believe that we cannot tell Africa’s story without Nigeria because it is the heart of Africa. The key thing for MCN is that we believe in the Nigerian story we have done so to the best of our knowledge and experience. There is the tendency to view business investments with suspicions and given that MCN has dominated the satellite-to-home television market in Nigeria, some see you as a near monopoly monopoly.. How have you managed this?
I think a lot of it is perception and we have been haunted by those perceptions, which have not helped the image of the company. However what has kept MCN going is that the company was not built and it is not built for immediate profit. MCN is a company with a long-term vision and the perception that we are a monopoly is wrong. At every point, we have always had
Aside what you have said, what can you point at other tangible contributions of MCN to Nigeria and Nigerians? We can look at that from different angles. You cannot tell the story of where Nigerian music has gotten to today without Channel O. A lot of people who visit other African countries are amazed about the popularity of Nigerian artistes presently compared to where the old masters in Nigerian entertainment were. Another example is the development of the Africa Magic channel. Not only that, we have also invested in sports through our present sponsorship of the Nigerian Basketball League, as well as ensuring that Nigerian football league are shown on live television through our Super Sports channel. For instance, the Nigerian team at the Africa Cup of Nations had a good number of home-based players and nobody would have known those guys and even the coach would not have been able to see all of them, if not that we showcase them by broadcasting their games live on television. It is a massive investment, which has kept Nigerian football, live on air. We have high definition OB vans, which are handled by our Nigerian engineers, to ensure that those events are shown live. We have also invested in studios in Nigeria and we are currently building additional Continues on page 33
SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 33
Continued from page 32
ones. I can say that a part of our biggest investment is in our distribution chain, which we developed a long time ago. We have been able to create a distribution chain through an entrepreneurship programme, and we call them the ‘super dealers’. From a little chain, it grew bigger and we have been able to create large businesses, which are owned by Nigerians and they have provided employment for thousands of Nigerians. What we did was that rather than creating branches, we ensured that Nigerians owned part of our business and they have in themselves become large employers of labour. We do a lot of training and development and we have been supporting the chain to see that it keeps growing. In terms of our workforce, the guy putting up a satellite dish on someone’s house is an extension of our workforce, even if he doesn’t work directly with us. Our approach has not always been to hire everyone directly, but to let people create businesses, which are closely tied to what we are doing. Basically, we encourage partnership, which gives opportunities to people. For us, it is a matter of continuing investments, because we have not even started yet. We want to ensure that we invest more and grow the contents. Statistically, what is your contribution to the growth of Nigeria’s economy? It is not easy to say what the exact figure is in terms of our contribution to the economy. But if you have to compare what the value of the entertainment industry was 20 years ago and now, you will see that billions of dollars have been invested. It will help you appreciate the development we have had to do over the years. For instance, some of the biggest directors in the entertainment industry today came out of the New Direction, which was an initiative of MNet over ten years ago. Some of the said directors who were part of that programme own their own TV channels today; an example is Tajudeen Adepetu of Sound City. So, you can see an initiative that centred on directing and producing turning into owning a television station. Also, we have also impacted on the quality of Nigerian artistes. Many of the artistes, who go to, say Uganda or other African countries, to perform and are paid millions of dollars may not have been known in those countries but for DSTV, and we can take the fact that Nigerian films are now being hawked on the streets of Kenya and other African countries as the
‘How we spent N55bn on content technology devt’ communication with the source broadcasting to you through your decoder. Let me give an analogy here: ‘If you buy a ticket to watch a film, which, say, has been hyped to be the best movie in the world and you are dissatisfied with it after getting into theatre, do you get a refund?’ That is the scenario with the digital satellite broadcasting. We are an aggregator of contents and the owners of the contents don’t expect to know from me the number of people watching it at a particular time in order to give a refund. It is contents aggregation business, in which we buy so many contents, aggregate them and buy a library, so that the clients can get what they want from what I have put together. That is the model of pay television worldwide. It is a different kettle of fish from telephony, which has no original content, but left to the users to create the contents. Telephony is a large spectrum that can be broken into pieces, making it possible to attach a cost to it.
•Mr John Ugbe
evidence of our investment and all these impact on the Nigerian economy. And in terms of the quantum of our direct investment, MCN has spent over N55billion in the development of content technology and people in the last ten years. For us, it is like sowing seeds, which the most important aspect of, is seeing and moulding what germinates from of it. Despite the fact we have a bright future, we are not concentrating wholly on profit-making because we are an African company first and foremost and it is not as if we came to Africa to make money out of Africa. Taking a peep into the future, where do you hope MCN will be in the next 20 years? I can say that the next 20 years will be exciting and entertaining. We are the number one pay television company in Africa, which has been providing lots of entertainment and we hope to be bigger and the best in the world. We believe that we can achieve that because we have the human capital, culture, idea and young vibrant people who are learning from our different initiatives. We are doing a lot of work on improving the quality of production in movie making and, if you look closely, you will see continuous improvement in sound and
And in terms of the quantum of our direct investment, MCN has spent over N55billion in the development of content technology and people in the last ten years direction in our movies. Everyone thinks we are only in the business of entertainment, but we also do other things. We collaborate with CNN to organise training for journalists and the African Journalist of the Year award. So, there is a lot we are doing to contribute to learning, development and investment. Many Nigerians believed that they are robbed by having to pay for DSTV subscription even when they are not watching. When should Nigeria expect a pay per view payment plan, like it is done in South Africa? We don’t operate any pay per view in South Africa and it is not possible to do that technologically. Although many expect that it should be like it is done when you make a call, but that is where we have to separate telephony from broadcasting. Unlike communication, broadcasting technology is one-way in the sense that there is no direct
If a subscriber to a pay television is not watching a particular channel, someone else is. It is a business in which different pay televisions buy the same contents, show the same content, sometimes at a very big loss. I think there is confusion about what pay per view is. Pay view is done for special events. For instance, if a big boxing match is to hold and it is advertised on a particular DSTV channel, everyone who desires gets to watch it. In the US and other parts of the world where they practice pay per view, you have to pay a special cost, in addition to your regular subscription, for that privilege. If you pay and one of the boxes decides to do what Mike Tyson used to do by knocking his opponents out in the first or second round, you will definitely not get a refund. Basically, there is no technology to support pay as you go broadcasting that now. If there is, you will have seen it pop up in other
parts of the world. How has DSTV been able to export Nigerian culture to the world? For us, that is our biggest joy. If a Nigerian flies into any African country now, what he hears is “oga”(master) or “bawo ni” (how are you?) and he is shocked and wondering why. That is the impact of DSTV. That is the beauty of what we have been able to do in terms of promoting and exporting our cultures, value, language, lifestyle as a strong-spirited people, as well as exporting them to the outside world. To a large extent, we have been able to project a larger understanding of our culture and an aggregation of it in the eyes of the world and the story of that cultural export cannot be told without MultiChoice or DSTV. I think Africa Magic has been a huge success through which we have managed to arrest the attention of the whole continent. Considerably, we have managed to present a different story about Nigeria apart from what is broadcast on the news channel. Given that DSTV has been around for long before the introduction of GoTv. What have been the responses to it? GoTv is a new product from the MultiChoice management and it is available all around Africa. It is a milestone for MultiChoice being the first company outside the US to deploy digital mobile television. So, for us the digital story started with DSTV a long time ago and I can say that a lot is still coming. For instance, we will be launching a new decoder soon, which is a special one for Nigeria and that will give us an opportunity to be where we have not been. Talking about technology and innovations, to what extent do you involve experts from Nigeria in all of that? Innovation is one of our core values and many Nigerians are involved in the innovative products we have made. For MultiChoice, innovation is key and people are encouraged to participate in achieving that. Our products have a local appeal and many of them are developed locally for that purpose. We train and retrain people and I can say that Nigeria is right there in technological developments. DSTV was the second television, outside America, to be launched on digital satellite in the world ahead of Europe and Asia. Our dualview decoder is the first in the world and our belief is that Africa deserves nothing but the best in entertainment.
PAGE 34— SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013
Bill of Rights will protect air travellers – NCAA D-G BYKENNETH EHIGIATOR Fola Akinkuotu is the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority )NCAA). In this interview, Akinkuotu speaks on the imminent dispensation under the Passenger Bill of Rights in the aviation sector. ASSENGERS have complained persistently of abuse by airlines. How does the new Bill of Right for Passengers address this exploitation? I always demand for value for my money; maybe because I come from a humble background and I believe that, in my entire career, as far as aviation is concerned, it is something to be happy about. The passenger should be given a good experience from the moment he boards a flight to the moment he disembarks. A good experience naturally makes one to desire another experience, so if you have a good experience in flying, the tendency is that you would want to come back. One of the very first things that became obvious to me when I joined the aviation industry was that profit in aviation is made in pennies; so for you to have a profitable venture, you have to collect a lot of pennies. How are you going to collect a lot of pennies if you don’t make the consumer happy? We started by allowing over booking. If you are allowed to over book, that means you are hedging your bet that I have a 200-seater aeroplane, I am going to sell 226 tickets in the hope that some people may not show up. The airlines devised that as a way of hedging their business; hedging their bet; so shouldn’t somebody also think about the consumer? This is a concept that could be described as, what is good for the airlines should also be extended to the consumer. This essentially informs why the consumer should have right. It didn’t start from here. It is a global thing. The issue of delay of flights and the benefits goes back to 2005. If airlines are allowed to overbook and nobody is saying they can’t, in the same extension, if I have paid you and you have taken my money and I show up before the flight for what I perceive is a contractual deal and we cannot consummate it because you have decided to over book, shouldn’t I as a passenger get some benefit? If for some reason I, looking at it in a holistic manner, I want to go to Abuja to meet my friend and he said, when can you come and I say I will be in Abuja 12 o’clock. It is one-hour flight, so I say there is a flight a 11 o’clock. I have planned the totality of my travel. I have conditioned myself and I will buy a ticket before I get to the airport. Let’s say I planned these two days before and I told my friend we will have a business launch by 2 o’clock and I asked somebody to buy me a ticket that leaves here at 11 and I will be in Abuja at 12 and it will take me one hour to get to town. But I get to the airport and the flight is delayed and nobody thinks that I have the right to ask questions. Do you think that is fair? This bill take into cognisance the rights of the operators, the rights of the
airlines. This bill is intended to checkmate some abuses of rights of the passenger. What is the sanction regime going to be like? What is the plan to sensitise passengers to know their rights ahead of the time? Everything is supposed to be process-driven. Ideally, we will prefer that the airlines are selfpoliced. Let us say that today we have people who are gathering refuse and there is a law that says anybody who dumps refuse on the street will be fined. As the head of the household, I can be selfregulating. I can tell my kids,
was presented to the airlines last year. I don’t accept that there has been a romance between the NCAA and the airlines. I recall that, as somebody who came from the industry, in 2010 or 2011, NCAA called us and highlighted this issue and wanted the airlines to do something. I was in an airline at that time. So the NCAA has always made efforts. The question sometimes is, having put these laws in place expecting that the airlines will be self-regulating, but since they refused to be self-regulating, somebody has to tell them a law is there.
Everything is supposed to be process-driven. Ideally, we will prefer that the airlines are self-policed don’t throw refuse on the street. The essence is to make it easier for us if we are all selfregulating. So the first step is that the NCAA will want each airline to have a customer service unit that looks into customers’ complaints. So it is not just a question of we just want to throw the laws out and we are going to wield the big stick at the airlines. We want them to be self-policing to start with. It is when that fails that you will have a right of redress; you can have the right to complain. You can complain to the NCAA and we are setting up a portal that will handle complaints on the net. So you can make your complaints either in textual form or you complain to us in writing or by filling of form online. There have been efforts in the past to check the exploitation of the passengers by airlines, but it never worked. There has always been a romance between the airlines and NCAA which seems to shut the passengers out. Why has customer protection failed to work in the past? First of all, I will like to say the alleged romance is an assumption. Consumer protection was made a directorate in 2010 and the bill
From experience, we know that some airlines are protected by some highly placed individuals and we fear that these airlines may not comply with the law. So, how you are going to enforce it is important and that is what we want to know. The National Assembly last year directed some international airlines to bring down their exorbitant fares. The airlines have not complied with that directive; so we also want to know NCAA relationship with the National Assembly to ensure that the foreign airlines do not want to have any escape route this time around? The NCAA is a regulator. Laws come into being based on what we see and or what we are advised and approved by the legislature. The NCAA is supposed to work hand in hand with the legislature and I intend to do just that. I will like to give the benefit to the legislature that they have the best interest of this country at heart. I am not going to start by disbelieving for one moment that the legislature is not on our side. Lobbying is practised all over the world. There are people with different interests, so the airlines will have their interest; the passengers will have their interest. Any time you want to
make a law in America, lobbyists will come up, each group trying to protect an interest. We will always see things from different perspectives. We have to accept that. The issue of fare disparity is not something government has put to bed. About two weeks ago, the Minister was trying to make sure that the issue is addressed to the level that will be acceptable. The airlines are business people, so I expect that they would want to keep their fares as they like, but we also have a responsibility to highlight what we believe is unfair to the Nigerian air travellers. The legislators are our representatives, so they can see NCAA’s point of view, they can see the media point of view and they can see other people’s point of view. Enforcement is always an issue in this country and I believe NCAA has put in place an internal mechanism to enforce this bill. I wish to emphasise on time frame. There is a saying that justice delayed is justice denied. What mechanism has NCAA out in place to ensure that passengers’ complaints are addressed promptly? Quite often, we advise people to be short on promises and long in delivery. I am not going to quote any time frame. But there is no point in trying to do what we have planned to do if we are not going to actualise our set objectives. We are going to use the internet to quicken the process; so we are going to adopt the e-platform. We are going to ensure that when a complaint is made, we respond quickly to it. The consumer department has a whole lot of staff at the airports that are unseen. We will make sure that they are seen very soon. When these officials get any complaint, it will be flagged off immediately. We know that some of the complaints might not have merit. I suppose that if a passenger loses his luggage or got his luggage torn, he will first complain to the airline. If he does not get the response he expects, he will complain to NCAA. If the passenger fills a form online, we see it immediately. The supervisor sees it and transfers and if it does not have merit , it is either approved or disproved. If you file a complaint, the NCAA is a custodian of the law, it will look at it. If it has to do with landing; that the flight was supposed to land in Benin but landed in Asaba, we will talk to the airline to explain to us why they did not land and we confirm from FAAN why they did not land. If it is weather related and they could not land at the designated airport, we will sympathise with the passenger but there is nothing NCAA can do on that. However, if your complaint has merit, then the internal mechanism of NCAA will start looking at it. Of course, we will look at the airline in order to get the issue resolved. We are going to be online and it will have a reference so that there will be, ‘no, I lost your paper; I lost your complaint’. We are interested in a robust monitoring of our aviation industry to see how we are doing. There is performance factor in
the industry. If we are not losing baggage; if we increase consumer confidence and happiness in our flights, don’t you think it will bring more joy to us? This policy is intended to be holistic. I wish to look at the issue of baggage damage you talked about, and baggage; often times, for both domestic and international carriers, it has become a major issue and the passengers involved often complain that they did not get the redress that they sought. How do we ensure the inclusion of all stakeholders and passengers so that no one feels excluded from this process? The portal that NCAA has established has all stakeholders name on it; it is a big platform, from airlines to baggage handlers, including the aviation agencies and Customs, Immigration and others. Now, the NCAA is the regulator; this means it has the right to go to anybody. The job NCAA does is difficult, but the fact that it has enormous task ahead of it in terms of this Passenger Bill of Rights will not weigh it down because the Authority has decided to take it. I have challenged my people to take it on. All we need to do is not to believe that problems will not have solutions. I once travelled with XYZ airline and when my baggage arrived it was ripped open. And I complained to XYZ airline that my baggage was ripped open. I did not need to complain to the baggage handler because I did not give my baggage to the baggage handler. The airline is the one that contracted the handling company, so it has to go to the company it contracted to handle its services. The airline gave me redress; it also can go to the handling company to seek redress and this is where NCAA can come in. When it comes to us, we investigate. At any time, we have to know where to put the fault and where to seek redress. The passenger may not see the behind-the-scene efforts. Many years ago, there was a big problem at the airport where virtually every baggage that came into this country was ripped open and I was a victim. I remember when Nintendo first came out; I bought it in the US for my son and put it in my box. When I got home, I carried the bag, I was coming from New York and my son was waiting for me. He did not go to school. I told him I bought the Nintendo for him; he said where is it? I, full of confidence, opened the box, and lo and behold the Nintendo was not there. In this same airport, there was a time when there were thieves everywhere. That is why when long haul aircraft is leaving the airport to the runway, there is a truck that follows it to ensure that nobody gets near the aircraft. These are measures that have come up in response to the challenges at different points at the airport. So there will always be efforts in trying to redress these issues. The passenger’s problems will be addressed. We make sure that he is fairly treated and that he is protected.
SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 35
From left: Chief Tony Anenih, President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Gov Adams Oshiomhole. End of politics with bitterness?
Jonathan,OBJ,Oshiomhole,others bury differences to honour Anenih F
AMILY, associates and even foes of Chief Tony Anenih, chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), last Sunday, stormed the nation’s capital for the newest member of the octogenarian club. Abuja became a beehive of activities as vehicular movement to Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro Cathedral and the International Conference Centre, ICC, was virtually impossible. It was the day drums were rolled out for dance and songs for Anenih, the son of a village farmer, a retired police officer, an administrator, an astute politician, the man who was robbed of teacher training education because of six pounds, and the master strategist. Anenih, having been born to the late Anenih Oguese and Madam Obhafuoso on August 4, 1933, turned 80 that Sunday. There was a church service at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro Cathedral where the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, called on politicians to remember the poor in their day -to -day activities and let the not -well -to -do in the society see why the rich and the highly placed in the society must celebrate. Present to assist Onaiyekan were the Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Benin, Bishop Augustine Akubeze; President, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor; Catholic Archbishop of Kafanchan, Joseph Bagobiri; and Bishop of Sokoto, Rt, Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah, among others.
Onaiyekan, who challenged politicians in the country to imbibe the true virtue of selfless service in their leadership roles, said that what Nigerians need was peace and prosperity, adding that many Nigerians currently were amassing wealth which they do not really need. ”Those who pursue political power with the intention of honouring God and improving the lives of others are doing His will. As we celebrate Anenih at 80, let us also make our other brothers to see reasons and cause to celebrate”, he said. Present at the church service and reception were President Goodluck Jonathan; his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan; Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; Senate President David Mark; General Ibrahim Babaginda; General Abdulsalami Abubakar; Gen. Theophilous Y. Danjuma and wife, Senator Daisy Danjuma; Chief Alex Ekwueme; Chief Edwin Clark and wife; GovernorAdams Oshiomhole of Edo State; the Esama of Benin, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion; Chief Sunny Odogwu; Prince Uche Secondus; Isaiah Balat; Chief Christopher Akala; Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Peter Obi of Anambra, Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo, Liyel Imoke of Cross River, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom and Ramallan Yero of Kaduna. One significant aspect of the birthday celebration was that it brought together President Jonathan and former President Olusegun Obasanjo both of whom were said to be having some political differences. At the church service, Jonathan and Obasanjo sat
together, talked and laughed. Obasanjo stole the show when the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission, NCPC, John Kennedy Opara, came out to give the vote of thanks and when he acknowledged the former President and thanked him for coming, for over five minutes, he received a standing ovation from the congregation. Also when Oshiomhole was introduced, it was the shout
BY HENRY UMORU
Jonathan, who described Anenih as a leader who has remained very relevant in the political landscape, said, “To pass through one winter is a tug of war; to cross 80 is worth celebrating. 80 years of bad health is like punishment to the body. For all the period I have known Anenih, he has been very vibrant. ”To be relevant politically for all these years is not easy. It is not easy for a politician to stay on top for a long time. I
Tony Anenih has shown that he is a nationalist; he has not shown that he belongs to one tribe or one religion. So in spite of the challenges of politics, the unpredictable political environment, he continues to stand tall
of ‘Oshio Baba’. Many people were surprised seeing him there being the governor of the rival Action Congress of Nigeria, A C N, to Anenih’s PDP in home state of Edo. The governor told journalists he was there to honour Anenih, whom he described as a father to all. At the birthday reception, President Jonathan urged political leaders, stakeholders and elder statesmen in the country to stop making provocative statements capable of dividing the country, just as he stressed the need for comments and statements that will build Nigeria. According to him, it was unfortunate that some of these highly inflammable statements were coming from elders who witnessed the civil war, saying we must begin to see ourselves as one Nigeria.
see something in him which is a little advice I will give to all us. Tony Anenih has shown that he is a nationalist; he has not shown that he belongs to one tribe or one religion. So in spite of the challenges of politics, the unpredictable political environment, he continues to stand tall.”. Akpabio, the Chairman, PDP Governors’ Forum, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, hailed Anenih, stressing that with the quality of people present in the hall, the birthday could be used to discuss the unity of Nigeria as well as address all her problems. Abdusalami, who said he did not belong to any political party, said he first met Anenih in 1964 in Agbor. Ekwueme presented a card on behalf of members of the PDP BOT to the celebrant and welcomed him to the club of
o c t o g e n a r i a n s . When it was time for Anenih, who dressed in white flowing gown( Babaringa), white and black shoes, to thank everyone, he pleaded with Obasanjo, Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Danjuma, among others, that Nigeria needs peace, adding that with them it was possible for the country to have it. According to him, if past leaders can genuinely advise Jonathan, there will be peace in the country and the Boko Haram insurgency will be a thing of the past. ‘’If you look round, you will know that Nigeria is here, we must forget the past and move forward. I was thrilled when I saw former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the church today. His being here is, to me, forgiveness,” Anenih said. “I want to appeal to IBB, Abdusalami, Danjuma, Obasanjo that Nigeria needs peace, if they can give us peace and Jonathan is genuinely advised, he will move forward; if these men come together and advise Jonathan, the dreaded Boko Haram will die. ‘’Nigeria is turn by turn; we should wait for our time. Jonathan is there now, it will get to another person; we should talk less, let us put our hands behind the President; time flies, today he is the one, tomorrow it will be your turn.” Amidst his recognition of personalities present, the PDP BoT Chairman burst into tears when it was time to say ‘thank you to for coming’ to the wife of his political associate, the late President Umaru MusaYar ’Adua, Hajia Binta Shehu Musa Yar ’Adua, who was around throughout the event Shehu Yar ’Adua founded.
PAGE 36—SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013
BY DAPO AKINREFON OTUNBA Gani Adams, a leader of the Yoruba ethnic group, Oodua People's Congress, OPC, adds a twist to the purported scramble for Major Hamza AlMustapha ahead of 2015 when he says Al-Mustapha can't be an asset to the new Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) being floated by Dr. Fredrick Fasheun, the OPC founder.
THE NEW UPN
‘Al-Mustapha is no asset to Fasheun’s political party’
But the OPC was there shepherding Al Mustapha about when he was discharged. It’s not correct to say OPC was accompanying him. It was Dr. Fasehun that you saw. We have two different organisations under two different leaders. Fasehun runs his own organisation in Century Hotel while our own secretariat is at Palmgrove. Both of us are not operating on the same principle. Normally OPC could have been one but the old man never allowed it. What is he looking for? Mustapha said he paid a visit to Prophet T B Joshua after he was
OW do you feel about the court judgment that freed Major Hamza Al Mustapha? With our experience on June 12, I am not happy with the judgment. Perhaps people have forgotten that it was not only Kudirat Abiola that died as a result of the struggle; what of people like Pa Alfred Rewane, Sola Omotehinwa? They were killed. Alex Ibru was shot and he didn’t really get out of the effect of the shooting before he died. In the process also, Pa Abraham Adesanya was shot.. Later, the symbol of the struggle, Chief Moshood Abiola, died in mysterious circumstances. It was tragic enough that both husband and wife died in the struggle. The judge said that there was no strong evidence to link Al Mustapha with Kudirat’s murder; so the question remains: Who killed Kudirat Abiola? She was gunned down in broad daylight and Sergeant Rogers confessed that he shot her on the orders from above. That was during the regime of General Sani Abacha and Al-Mustapha was a very powerful figure in that government. Supposing MKO died but his wife Kudirat survived, do you think his business empire would have gone down just like that? That is why it is so painful that the family was left empty handed without justice. I am sure that Chief Gani Fawehinmi would have filed a case immediately Al Mustapha was set free if he was still alive. Unfortunately, those who benefitted from June 12, apart from Dr. Fasehun, kept quiet, they didn’t condemn the judgment. I condemned the judgment immediately even though I don’t have any issue personally with Al Mustapha. I was made by June 12 because, if not for it, there wouldn’t be anything like Oodua Peoples Congress. The election was annulled in 1993 and OPC was formed in 1994. Fasehun was one of the beneficiaries of June 12. How many people knew about Fasehun as a figure in Yor uba land before the annulment of the June 12 election?
You can’t be portraying yourself as leader of OPC and working against the interest of Oodua. Kudirat and her husband MKO were descendants of Oodua. What Fasehun is doing negates the struggle in every way
• Gani Adams..... Why should Fasehun, who benefitted from the woman, now work against her? released, did the prophet follow him to Kano? He said he visited some Yoruba leaders in Ibadan, did he mention their names? You cannot compare me with Dr. Fasehun. I have never done anything against the wish of the Yoruba race since we started this struggle in 1993. I have never compromised the interest of the race even when things were very rough. Even when Fasehun was in detention, I refused to compromise; a lot of people wanted to hijack OPC, but I did not allow them. It’s so unfortunate that Dr Fasehun is behaving the way he is doing now. What does he want? I don’t know why he turned himself to Al Mustapha’s bodyguard. Fasehun is floating a political party, the Unity Party of Nigeria. Maybe he hopes to use Al-Mustapha on the party project. If that is so, he is making a mistake. A typical Hausa/Fulani would not join a core Yoruba party. We have tribal sentiment with us in Nigeria and we should stop deceiving ourselves. Why did the northerners refuse to join the Action Congress of Nigeria until they called for merger? He is deceiving himself if he thinks he can use Al-Mustapha’s release to sell his UPN. If you watched the event in Kano very well, the crowd was not cheering him but their son, Al-Mustapha. Maybe Mustapha has promised to help him in politics but I know that there is more to it. Dr. Fasehun is saying Yoruba should forgive and forget; if it was his wife that was murdered, will he easily forget that? Mind you, he has been doing something like this in the past. During the 10th anniversary of the death of Sani Abacha, he was in the same Kano where he said Abacha could have been the best Nigerian leader if he did not die. This is Abacha that has been adjudged the most corrupt Nigerian leader. This is the same Abacha that gave instruction that everybody that proclaimed anything about June
12 should be shot or detained. I was lucky to interact with the late Kudirat Abiola; she remained the pillar of the struggle when her husband was detained. She was the one sponsoring the struggle and Fasehun cannot come out to say he did not benefit. The woman was the one coordinating the struggle and that was the reason she became the target and was killed. Why should Fasehun, who benefitted from the woman, now work against her? People think OPC may dis-
solve into UPN because the leader of the organisation founded it. It is Dr. Fasehun’s group, not me and my followers. If you go to Century Hotel now, there is no structure of OPC there anymore. The only people you see with him are the UPN people, and he still claims he is the founder of OPC. You call yourself the founder of OPC, yet you are the chairman of UPN, how will you run the two together? If he wants to go into politics, let him renounce the struggle. You can’t be
portraying yourself as leader of OPC and working against the interest of Oodua. Kudirat and her husband MKO were descendants of Oodua. What Fasehun is doing negates the struggle in every way. A friend spoke to me a lot about Al Mustapha and I told him I would not work against my race even with trillions of naira. Another prominent football coach equally approached me about Al Mustapha and I told him to leave me out of it. Yoruba will not forget those who are against them; they have not forgotten the issue of Awolowo and Akintola or those who worked against them during June 12. Supposing God did not use me to keep up the struggle, where will OPC be today? Perhaps Fasehun is doing this because of the pipeline security contract What does becoming the bodyguard to Al Mustapha have to do with the pipeline contract? How much would they pay him for the pipeline security? Most of the young boys who got contracts worth billions of naira have not compromised the demands of their race. Why would Dr Fasehun do so and this is a contract that has not even been awarded. How much of the money can he spend before he dies? This is a man close to 80 years. I don’t pray for his death but he is an old man and should borrow a leaf from his contemporaries like Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Ajayi Olanihun and Chief Fasoranti. Yoruba value what people think about them more than money. The children of Obafemi Awolowo are benefiting from the legacy of their father today.
‘ Some people are misleading Gov Gaidam’ BY BALA AJIYA
Dr Yerima Ngama is different because he has sympathy for the people.
Alhaji Bomboy is an associate of Dr Yerima Ngama, Minister of State for Finance, and the PDP Youth Leader in Yobe State. He spoke to journalists at an event to flag-off the distribution of relief materials to people of Yobe as part of the efforts of President Jonathan Goodluck to cushion the effects of emergency rule in the state.
RE the grains distributed by the PDP meant for only members of the PDP? The grains are meant for all the people of Yobe irrespective of political affiliation. It is a gesture from Mr President in order to assist the people of Yobe because of Ramadan fast and emergency rule. Previously we brought 300 trucks of fertilizer on the request of the state government and on delivery we were made to understand that they were no more interested just because of party differences. Was the fertilizer you brought to the state government request for sale at subsidized rate? You can go and ask the director
Dr. Yerima Ngama of protocol to the governor. The fertilizer would have helped farmers in the state and it was going to be highly subsidized, but, because of their selfish interest, they rejected it. Look at this grains that were allocated to Yobe by Mr President and to be distributed free to the people, the state government approached us to demand we should sell each truck to them at 3 million naira each and we have about 222 trucks,but we declined because the grains are not for sale. In the past, some people conspired to sell whatever was allocated to Yobe, but the leadership under
Why did the state government reject the fertilizer that would have been beneficial to farmers? The issue bordered on subsidy, we wanted the state government to pay 1,000 naira per bag as subsidy since the Federal Government already paid 1000 naira and the Waziri Ibrahim Foundation paid 200 naira which amounts to a subsidized rate of 2200 naira, but Governor Gaidam said they could not pay the money. However, the same government spent over 1 billion naira to sponsor over 600 politicians to Mecca. Some people are misleading Gaidam because of party differences. These political jobbers are creating a gap between government and the masses. Look at the grains we distributed, it is for everybody not only PDP members. Arrangement is in top gear for the president to bring over 50 tractors for farmers in Yobe State and soft loan to enable them have a bountiful harvest.
Following the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the emergence of All Progressive Congress, APC, Tolagbe Animashaun, a PDP senatorial aspirant in Lagos Central District, in this interview, explains how the PDP can resolve issues facing it. Excerpts: IVE northern governors burying the PDP? They can threaten hell and brimstone. What we need to do is to sit down at the round table and settle issues like adults, because PDP is a very big party that will outlive other parties; what is happening is expected of a party that is as massive as the PDP. If you remember, during the 2011 general elections, there were issues that sounded as if they were not going to be solved but they were ironed out. I am positive that the PDP is going to survive the tumult that is going on now because there have been re-conciliatory moves by all forces involved; that is the major reason the party is going to surmount the challenges. Do you envisage the PDP making any head way in 2015? There is absolutely no party like the PDP in Nigeria, one million parties can merge and endorsed by the court, but what you put into consideration first is the caliber of those coming together, you will realize that they are people bent on
‘Buhari is dining with people who deceived Ribadu’ manipulation and dribbling of the masses. I have a very high regard for the former head of state, Gen. Buhari, but, eventually, he will realize that he is dealing with deceitful people. If you also remember, in 2011, they deceived and used former chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, who was their presidential candidate, and dumped him. We are going to put our house in order and I am sure we are having this storm in order to have a calm. Is PDP democratic enough in selecting its key officers? I am yet to see any political party that is as transparent as the PDP in Nigeria. Recently, we were supposed to have our convention for the purpose of electing our national officers but the court restrained us and we obeyed. So, which other way can we be more democratic as compared to other political parties that just appoint families and friends. How soon will PDP put their house together ? Reconciliation is in process. A committee has been set up to look into the matter. The committee is headed by the Governor of Bayelsa State Seriake Dickson. I am sure all the parties involved in this
President is aware of this and There is absolutely no we have shouted the roof top party like the PDP in on that he is not Nigeria. One million being fair to us in South-west. It parties can merge and the may interest you be endorsed by the to know that are court, but what you put Lagosians fed-up with taxation into consideration first multiple in Lagos, bad is the caliber of those roads and motor cycles being coming together seized. If the party can give us our own minister, we have a authorities. Whatever grudges good chance of winning you may have can be sorted Lagos for PDP in 2015. Also out within and not on the pages we believe that we were of newspapers. In all sincerity, robbed in the last local he is a Nigerian and he has government elections by the every right to nurse an Action Congress of Nigeria, ambition, but he has to put his especially in Eredo local government area of Badagry; ambition in check. Chances of PDP winning Ikoyi - Obalende, Agbado any seat in South-west come Okeodo where we won the Chairmanship election and 2015? Currently the present the courts gave the mandates administration has not been to the ACN. So, all we need fair to us in the South-west and is to have the backing of our we have made representation formidable party in 2015. For to the government. Lagos also instance, the vote Mr. does not have a representative President garnered during in the Federal Executive last presidential election was Council (FEC) and it is as a result of the efforts of seriously affecting the fortunes what the PDP did in Lagos. I of the party in the state believe we can do the same because we don’t have a again if he recognizes that minister that will speak on our he needs our support to behalf in Abuja. The emerge in 2015.
BY OL A YINK A AJA YI YINKA AJAY
Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 37
Tolagbe Animashaun crisis will come to the table to talk including the governors that are threatening to bury the PDP. You must realize that people talk when their horses are goaded, and it is better to be together than to be apart Plans to impeaching Gov. Rotimi Amaechi? This party has made many people and I don’t see anybody biting the finger that feeds him, but that does not mean that nobody is hindered not to have aspirations, you can aspire to be the president or whatever you want to be but you ought to respect the authority of the president of the nation and also the authority of the party. As far as I am concerned, there is some level of indiscipline on the part of the governor of Rivers State towards the
Between Shema and Katsina people BY USMAN ALIYU
the very reason he is in government. The governor sees education as the instrument to transform Katsina. “We believe that education is
OU don’t have to be a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for your child to enjoy free education in Katsina State. You don’t have to lobby anybody for your child to be sent abroad to read medicine, phar macy, nursing or environmental engineering, or indeed get free medicare for yourself and family in government hospitals”. This was part of the declaration Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema made to the people of Katsina State at the outset of his second tenure. Shema had made a pact at the inception of the first tenure which he kept, and which earned him the second tenure. Now, in his second tenure, the governor is building on the solid foundation he laid during the first tenure. In Katsina, Shema builds bridges of understanding that there should not be discrimination on the basis of political affiliation. That is why he pointed out at his second inauguration that government services shall not be dispensed on the basis of whether you belong to the ruling PDP in the state or the opposition. Indeed, government should serve all the people without discrimination. C M Y K
Gov Ibrahim Shehu Shema But this is a society where government services are sometimes dispensed according to party loyalty. This sets the politician apart from the statesman. The politician continues to play politics after election has been won and the government formed by taking care of only his loyalists. The statesman does not know the difference between his loyalists and the people once government is formed. He takes care of all the people without recourse to political affiliation .Shema demonstrates that he is a statesman. He has passion for the people. He believes they are
We believe that education is the key to social mobility and the general transformation of the lives of people in any society the key to social mobility and the general transformation of the lives of people in any society. This is our concept of fairness and justice to all political zones, justice to all strata of the society – the poor, women, children and rural dwellers”, he once said. Indeed, all strata of society are being educated in the state. All hands are on deck by the Shema administration to, particularly, educate the girl-child. Societal culture inhibits the education of the girl-child. To break this barrier, the state government gives allowance to parents who
sent the girl-child to school. Several girls schools have been built across the 34 local government areas of Katsina to make this a reality. The Almajiris – child – beggars – are also being educated and they get allowance to encourage them to stay in school. The Almajiris being sent to school is a process to make them useful to themselves and their state in future. The children have, in the past, constituted public nuisance. There is even the claim that being idle, they were ready instruments to be used by those seeking to forment trouble. Taking these children off the streets is a plus for social security in the state. Shema’s massive investment in primary and secondary education has shotup school enrollment at the primary school level from about one million in 2005 to close to 1.5million in 2011 – about 50 percent increase – and, at the secondary school level, from 142,729 in 2005 to 280,973 in 2011. “This was achieved through free education up to secondary school and payment of WAEC, NAPTEB, NECO and NCAIS (National Colleges of Arabic and Islamic Studies) fees which motivated children from humble backgrounds with an assurance that they will write
their final examinations for free”, the governor said. The icing on the cake of the Shema giant strides in the education sector in Katsina is the completion of the Umaru Musa Yar ’Adua University Project started by his predecessor and mentor, the late President Yar ’Adua. Not only that, he gave out more than N1b(including land, school buildings and hostels) to the newly federal university in Dusinma as part of the state government contribution to its successful take off. And for the youth disposed to learning trades, Shema built the craft village. In this village, there is virtually all the trades that you can find under the sun for anybody to learn. From GSM and computer repairs to tie and dye, welding, carpentry, etc. This human development project has produced so many graduates that today contribute to the socio-economic development of the state. Mechanics produced by the village have been the ones taking care of the governor ’s two official cars that he has used since his first term. Shema is a believer in the age long saying that health is
Continues on page 38
PAGE 38— SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013
'Why Okorocha embarked on infrastructure revolution in Imo' BY MIKE EBONUGWO
R Nick Oparandudu, the Commissioner for Works and Transport in the recently dissolved cabinet of Imo State, comes across as a highly cerebral and articulate individual who is not afraid to speak his mind on any subject of personal interest or concern, especially that bordering on developments in his state under the watch of Governor Rochas Okorocha. The former banker- turnedpolitician was in his element in this regard during an encounter in Lagos. Oparandudu did not hide the fact that he was disturbed by what he perceives as lack of appreciation in some quarters of the on-going revolution to bring development to all parts of Imo State. The situation, he said, has largely been sustained by the fact that the press, especially the print media, has under-reported the many development strides in the state, arguing that the state government had done quite a lot to deserve more than passing commendation in the media. Strongly enamoured of this conviction, he had boldly challenged all doubting Thomases to visit Imo and see things for themselves, adding that unlike what obtained in the immediate past, a visit to the state today will clearly reveal concrete development in every sector. Speaking then as the Commissioner in charge of Works and Transportation, he proudly declared that infrastructural transformation is the new development slogan in Imo, saying that the commendable achievements recorded so far is attributable to the various interventionist initiatives conceived and faithfully implemented for that purpose. He explained why this became a major focus of the Okorocha administration from inception. According to him: “When this government came into office , we met a state that was significantly, as far as infrastructure is concerned, in a state of disrepair. A lot of the roads were left unattended to. For those of you who are conversant with the capital city, Owerri, you will find out that most of the city roads were in different stages of dilapidation”. He did not stop there. He continued: “Also, several parts of the state, since it was created in 1976, never really had the opportunity to have modern infrastructure, particularly roads. And, as a result, we found ourselves in a situation where some parts of Owerri metropolitan areas were gradually turning into slums. I can mention some of the areas. There is the AkwakumaAmakohia axis. This part of the town, especially the stretch of the road leading to Orlu, had never
C M Y K
Mr. Nick Oparandudu been tarred since the state was created in 1976. What you had were tracks here and there. There is also an area called Prefab bordering the Aladinma Housing Estate, most of the roads there had never been done over the past 30 years or so. Even the real Owerri capital area, most the roads there were also not done. This was even against the backdrop of the fact that Owerri has a masterplan that provided for all these areas and all these routes. Yet, nothing was done by successive governments over the past decades,” he said. Rescue mission Oparandudu informed that disturbed by this prevailing situation, government was prompted into embarking on a rescue mission. “What the government did was essentially to begin a process that will lead to the provision of basic motorable roads and other infrastructure in the Owerri capital area,” he said, adding that in areas like AkwakumaAmakohia government has since provided about eight to ten kilometres of roads such that a
The erosion challenge in Owerri is as bad as what you have in Anambra and some other South East states but this has not been really brought to the attention of the public
lot of these areas have been opened up. Same applies to the Prefab area as a lot of the roads there are currently under construction. “As a matter of fact, this government has awarded a total of 180 road contracts for various streets in Owerri. If you are also conversant with the geography of Owerri, you will find there is what I will call this imaginary divide between the New Owerri and the Old Owerri. The Old Owerri has streets like Wethdral Road, Douglas Road, Royce Road and so on. The New Owerri is where you have the Concord Hotel and other hotels that have sprang up there in recent years. If you want to go to the New Owerri from the Old Owerri, you have to go to where we call the Port Harcourt Road or the Assumpta Cathedral.... and then head towards Owerri, whereas the distance between the New Owerri and the Old Owerri is less than 200 metres. But this part of town is divided by a River called
Nworie. You find that over the years this Nworie River crisscrosses most of Owerri and divides the New Owerri from the Old Owerri... Yet nobody had thought of making any connection between them. It’s to the credit of this present government that that connection has been made. As we speak, two bridges have been constructed across Nworie such that the journey you have to do in what I consider as circuitous manner before ....you can now do across Nworie and that will not be more than 300 metres,” he informed with pride. Source of bottleneck “If you’re also conversant with Owerri, you find that if you coming into Owerri from Aba, you have to get into Emmanuel College. It’s from here that you now head to Douglas Road, Wethdral Road so on and so forth. And that has always been a source of bottleneck if you’re coming in from Aba. What this government did, and this was accomplished within its first 12 months in office, was to construct a bye-pass so that if you’re coming from Aba, you can cut off the Emmanuel College axis of the town and get into Wethdral Road ....This has significantly alleviated the traffic crisis in the area. “We’re also in the process of providing the basic ring roads around Owerri. This was something that was started by the previous government, but we’re improving on this and doing so fast. That ring road will start from Onitsha road, to Orlu Road and then to Okigwe road. That road is estimated at about
five kilometres and it will be completed before December”. Floods One of the greatest challenges we have in Owerri is the issue of floods. The erosion challenge in Owerri is as bad as what you have in Anambra and some other South East states but this has not been really brought to the attention of the public. If you go to area of Owerri called Works Layout, virtually every street that area over the years have been ravaged by erosion. The Hardel and Enic Estate owned by Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, which has well over 40 buildings, have literally been abandoned by the occupants because of flood. But as we speak today, around the Works Layout area, we have adopted a programme called Operation Rescue Works Layout. We’re constructing a sevenkilometre road with drains. And hopefully this road will be ready in the next four to six weeks. The road infrastructure revolution is not limited to Owerri, he said. Okigwe and Orlu are also scenes of massive road construction or reconstruction. “If you go to Orlu, it has witnessed massive infrastructural transformation. Most of the streets in Orlu are today dual carriage ways. And even as we speak, the government of Owelle Rochas Okorocha is dualising the road from Orlu town to Akokwa moving toward Anambra State,” he stated. Another of concern to government, according to Mr Oparandudu, is education. In fact, he waxed most passionately eloquent while speaking on this. “Government is building 305 model secondary schools, out of which as we speak, we have completed 120 of them. The plan is that before the middle of next year, the final 305 schools would have been constructed. So, we are providing one of these schools in each of the 305 wards in Imo State,” he said.
Between Shema and Katsina people Continued from page 37 wealth. All that has been done in the health sector since 2007 when the governor took office is geared towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the sector including cutting the child and maternal mortality rates by 2015. The star projects of the Shema administration in the health sector include a multi-million Naira 250-bed orthopaedic hospital, the best(in terms of infrastructure) in the countr y presently, rehabilitation of General Hospitals across the state and construction of six comprehensive health centres in addition to the renovation and upgrading of nine healthcare centres to comprehensive health centres. Agriculture is the major occupation of the Katsina people and the sector has a pride of place under the Shema administration. This is one state where farming goes on all-yearround because of the attention the governor pays to irrigation. So whether it rains or not,
farmers have no problem watering their plants. There are several irrigation dams across the state supporting large scale agriculture, one of which is Jibia Dam which increased yield from 100 hectares of land in 2007 to 3,500 in 2011. So prudent is his management of the state resources that his administration has not borrowed any money whether internally or externally to execute its projects. Rather, he has generated interests on funds placed in banks to execute some projects. The new Government House is one of the projects being built from the bank accrual. Shema, a successful corporate lawyer, has come a long way since he joined the administration of then Governor Yar ’Adua in Katsina as attorney-general and commissioner for justice. From being a commissioner, he was seconded to the PDP national executive as national vice chairman, North-West. Shema acquitted himself in
that job and would have been returned to Katsina from Abuja to become the secretary to the state government (SSG). But he believed that the opportunity should be given to another person. He eventually became the governor in 2007, thanks to the vision of Yar ’Adua, his mentor, who, as it has turned out, made no mistake in putting him at the helm of affairs in Katsina. There is another attribute most people do not know about Shema. After Allah, the closest word to his mouth is “thank you”. There is no deed, errand, greetings or gift, however so minor, Shema would appreciate you. Said he:( The holy books also confirm it. When you appreciate a good deed, you not only endear yourself to the person, but it also helps you in your future endeavors. It is inconsequential but it is a moral booster particularly if you are leading people. It does not take anything from you, rather it makes you accessible and approachable”. Apart from Fatimah (a graduate of Ahmadu Bello
University, ABU - same with her hubby) and, until last month when Yamani, his first son, a Harvard graduate, wedded, very little was known about his family. It is deliberate, he says.” They prefer to be indoors and with their friends. They may not be known everywhere like children of other governors, that is their lifestyle. I think that is our nature generally. If not for public office, I am sure my name would not have mattered to you, because I would just be your average next door neighbor”. Shema is a loyal party man. This was aptly demonstrated recently when he subsumed his ambition to be the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) under the PDP leadership position that the chairmanship position should go to Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State. But beyond chairmanship of NGF, Shema is contented, not only as chief executive office of Katsina State but more importantly, grateful to God for using him as a channel of development in his state.
SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 39
y c n e g r e m e f o e Stat r o f y t s e n m a d an e r a m a r Boko Ha ry o t c i d a r t con u w a b i u G — Hon ’How Borno civilians fight insurgents’
47, overtake him and subdue him. To the people of Maiduguri, it is a miracle, it is divine intervention.
BY EMMAN OVUAKPORIE
Some people have been calling on government to honour these youths and their leaders. Do you share that view? I have received messages to that effect. Some people from Maiduguri even came to my place in Abuja with a letter recommending some of the youth leaders for national honours awards. I believe that, as their representative, as a responsible member of the National Assembly, if there is any person in the year 2013 that deserves national honour, it should be
aka Kyari Gujbawu, a member of the Green Chamber representing Maiduguri Metropolitan Council (MMC), Borno State, under the aegis of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in this interview, speaks on the state of emergency imposed on Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, describing it as a blessing.
ometime ago, the JTF said it had achieved 80 per cent of its mandate in Borno State. Do you agree? Yes. If the military operatives who are the people in charge of the operation said it is 80 per cent, then it is gladdening. For them to say 80 per cent was a responsible statement. We have never heard this kind of statement in the last three years. We are happy with all the sacrifices they have made. But we should also be charitable to them because they were humble enough to admit that the civilian JTF or the youths in Maiduguri my constituency answered to their civic responsibility when they came out in large numbers and offered assistance against Boko Haram. The raid worth mentioning is the one carried out in Bulabulin and surroundings where the JTF showed to the world the slaughter slabs, the mass graves of victims of Boko Haram. That raid was carried out in partnership with the youths whose only weapons were sticks and cutlasses. The president described them as the heroes of Nigeria. The irony of the situation is that a man with just a stick or a staff would be running after a man with AK
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Hon. Guibawu is what I call the humane face of the state of emergency. I am part of the committee that sat down to draw the modality of sharing the grains in line with the president’s directive that it should reach every community and almost every house-
The state of emergency has not only been effective, it is also some kind of divine intervention to restore peace that has eluded the people of Maiduguri for the past three to four years. the leadership of these youth because that will go a long way to showing example to other youths of this generation and the future that no sacrifice will go unrewarded in Nigeria. The president also gave out about 500,000 bags of 50kg of assorted grains to be shared to the displaced people of the three states. Yobe, got about 100, 000, Adamawa also got about 100 ,000. This
hold in Borno in the holy month of Ramadan. And no government assistance has ever come their way before. So Mr. President has started implementing the three Rs of reconstruction, rehabilitation and re-engineering our socioeconomic life in Borno. You represent in the House of Representatives the centrestage of the Boko Haram sect violence. Since
the declaration of state of emergency by President Goodluck Jonathan in May, can you tell us how far the implementation has gone based on the information you get from your constituency? The state of emergency has not only been effective, it is also some kind of divine intervention to restore peace that has eluded the people of Maiduguri for the past three to four years. We give a lot of credit to whom credit is due and in this case, the President, for refusing to play to the gallery at a time where everybody was talking about amnesty and dialogue. Of course, most of us spoke about dialogue but people like me were not talking about amnesty, we Kaka Kyari Gujbawu, a member of the Green Chamber representing Maiduguri Metropolitan Council (MMC), Borno State, under the aegis of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in this interview, speaks on the state of emergency imposed on Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, describing it as a blessing. But many have argued that the declaration of emer-
gency was belated as it ought to have been declared long before. No. The so-called many still were angry at the President for proclaiming amnesty for Boko Haram. Amnesty and state of emergency hardly go together although Mr President said both would be explored, that it will be a multitracked approach. The Turaki committee came out to tell us that, they had some kind of understanding with the Boko Haram group on the amnesty issue and the rest. The same Maiduguri youths at the receiving end of this crisis came out and gathered at the Ramat Square, the largest square in Maiduguri, and said no to amnesty for these people. Now the so-called many that said it was belated said Mr President should proclaim amnesty. This is a contradiction. So, why are you against amnesty? Why did the youths come out to protest against amnesty for Boko Haram? Even Boko Haram insurgents themselves said they don’t want amnesty. If they don’t want amnesty, why should you them? Giving amnesty and accepting it is a two-way affair.
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SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013 — PAGE 41
Igbo and the governance of Lagos BY KAYODE SAMUEL
hree fashionable fallacies lie at the root of prevailing Igbo outlook to Lagos, the former federal capital. The first is that Lagos is a no-man’s land with no indigenous population. The second is that Federal Government money was used to build Lagos into the huge metropolis that it has now become. This argument goes further to claim that since the “federal money ” allegedly belonged to all Nigerians, the political control of Lagos should, willy-nilly, be open to just about anyone and everyone who claims to be a Nigerian. The third fallacy is that Lagos is a hunting ground, a jungle city where all being “joiners”, the predatory instinct must rule. By this pernicious thesis, Lagos is a place in which regardless of one’s roots – or the lack of it – one can seize the trophy. It is an el-Dorado where anything goes and in which everything, including political authority, is up for grabs since the place does not belong to anyone anyway! These are erroneous claims, now being given new life in the current debate on Igbo participation and representation in the politics and governance of Lagos. Granted, the continued perpetration of these fallacies is not restricted to Igbo elements. Others, including some Yoruba (especially those that Lagosians refer to as ara oke– upland people), are equally guilty of the first if not all of these fallacies. But the current debate marks the first time that an institutional claim to the governance of Lagos would be made by a nonYoruba group. The commentators, Joe Igbokwe and Uchenna Nwankwo, among others, have done well in marshalling the arguments from the Igbo perspective. Spokesmen of Eko Pioneers, a group of Lagosians, have answered back from the other side. It is a debate that should be encouraged rather than stifled. The fallacies are, of course, easily dismissed. The Yoruba identity of Lagos is not in doubt, regardless of its ethnically mixed composition. If the “no-man’s-land” claim were to be true, then Lagos must be the only metropolis anywhere in the world without an indigenous population. Concerning the use of “federal money” to develop Lagos, four points need to be C M Y K
Lagos Island, just a part of the mega city
The current debate marks the first time that an institutional claim to the governance of Lagos would be made by a non-Yoruba group. made. First, Lagos was a thriving metropolis even before the British created Nigeria, its prosperity being due more to its strategic location rather than its administrative designation. Second, it is doubtful that the people of Lagos were consulted before their city was made the Nigerian capital, or that they were forewarned that being conferred with such a status would mean that they would lose their city to stranger elements. Third, rather than invoke the “federal money” argument to dilute a people’s right to control their land, the rest of Nigeria, and, in particular, the Igbo, should be grateful to the people of Lagos for availing them of a conducive environment in which lives and property are relatively safe and in which the throats of settlers are not
routinely slashed by sponsored zealots as happens elsewhere in Nigeria. Fourth, and perhaps most tellingly, only a fraction of what is now Lagos State was ever under the central government. Strictly speaking, only four of the present twenty local government areas in Lagos State – Lagos Island, Eti Osa, Lagos Mainland and Surulere – were in the then Colony of Lagos. The rest belonged, first to the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria and subsequently to the Western Region, before the state creation exercise of 1967. Lagos was also not the only city on which federal money was spent. (Calabar was once the capital and so should also qualify as a recipient of “federal money”.) As for Lagos being a hunting ground, the self-defeating logic of this argument is clearly
brought home to all of us – aborigine and settler alike – by the frightening crime statistics in the state. Perhaps before I go further it is appropriate that I state my qualifications for pronouncing on this matter, aside of course from my rights as a citizen of Nigeria. From my father ’s side, I am a Yoruba of Awori descent with strong Egba links. My mother however happens to be Igbo from Owerri in Imo State. Based on these affiliations, I can claim a fair measure of familiarity with the issues in the current debate on both sides. I understand the feelings of Lagosians on this matter. I am also fully apprised of the passions and pressures that drive Igbo into internal economic exile and which impel their push for a place in Lagos. While I empathize with the Igbo condition, I share the interest of all trueborn Yoruba people in maintaining and possibly deepening the Yoruba character of Lagos. And no one should have to feel apologetic about that. The Igbo, perhaps more than any other Nigerian group, are in a vantage position to appreciate a people’s attachment to their soil and the unbreakable linkage between a people and their land and language. A critical aspect of that linkage
is the exercise of cultural and political authority over a land space to which one has aboriginal claim. More than any other group in Nigeria, save perhaps the Fulani Bororo, the Igbo move around the country a lot for considerations of geography and economics. Unlike the Fulani, however, the Igbo often become sedentary in large clusters in the lands they move into, including Lagos. This naturally raises an interest in participation in the public affairs of their places of domicile. Yet, a legitimate interest in participation cannot translate into a contest for control, which is the way the current claims are being canvassed and construed.
Advocates of the Igbo claim to Lagos often refer to the putatively halcyon era of panNigerianism spanning the 1930s to the 1950s. It was a time, we are told, when all Nigerians lived as one and when it did appear that all ascriptive barriers had dissolved in the ferment of nationalist politics. This period has become a favourite reference point for people with all kinds of agenda. But was the reality not indeed less glamorous? There was, no
Continues on page 42
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Igbo and the governance of Lagos Continued from page 41 doubt, a fortuitous convergence in those times. An emergent commercial and educated elite needed to come together in the nationalist struggle to send the British away and so the city of Lagos, which was the hub of that struggle, seemed to have become a melting pot overnight. Yet, the hometown unions remained strong and affectations to unity were soon exposed as only skin-deep as the struggle to ensure the departure of the British transitioned into the struggle over who would succeed the departing oligarchy. This is the reality that we continue to live with to date. And it would be asking a lot to expect that Lagos should offer itself as the guinea-pig for experimenting with the possibility of a new pan-Nigerian vision. Especially since there is as yet nothing on ground to suggest or guarantee that such a gesture would be reciprocated. As things now stand, the Igbo in Lagos must decide what they really want from the state: participation, or representation, or control. Currently, their spokespersons seem to be using the three terms interchangeably, raising the spectre of a hostile takeover. This approach is bound to be resisted by a people barely recovering from the debacle of the June 12 annulment and the devastations of the Abacha persecution in which they saw the Igbo – with some admirable exceptions – as having played a less than salutary role. The attitude and outlook of a majority of Igbo political elite and indeed common people to the June 12 crisis was mercenary if not malevolent. Many Igbo seemed to have approached the crisis with a revanchist agenda borne of deep-seated animosity and illwill. How so?
It is a well-known fact that some Igbo still blame the Yoruba for having “pushed” the Eastern Region into the civil war only to back out at the last minute. This line of argument further raised and reinforced the unfounded stereotype of Yoruba people as unreliable. It has been peddled for so long that many have come to believe it. As Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler ’s Minister of Propaganda once famously said, tell a lie persistently over a long time and people start to believe it to be the truth. Anyway, hostile interests within and outside Nigeria C M Y K
With the defeat of Biafra, many Igbo in secret (and sometimes not too secretly) wished that the Yoruba too should receive a similar treatment someday soon
that have reason to fear the rise of a southern solidarity of the type that was emerging with the UPGA party of the 1960s have also invested strenuously in promoting and perpetuating this lie. Yet, without seeking to diminish the harrowing and often heroic sacrifice that the war entailed on the Biafran side, the truth is that the Nigerian Civil War was largely the consequence of a North and East alliance of brinkmanship whose cardinal objective and principle was the isolation of the West. It is said that the falling out of friends is often the most vicious. So, Igbo political elite are in no position to seek to build a cult of victimhood around themselves or to sermonize about the politics of bad faith that led to the war. Beginning with the NCNCNPC coalition, through the Action Group crisis, to the declaration of a state of emergency in Western Nigeria, the creation of the Mid-West Region, all through to the treasonable felony trial, many Igbo political leaders of the time seemed to have deliberately lent a hand or at least acquiesced in stoking the northern brazenness that eventually resulted in the pogroms and the war. Nor should it be forgotten the games that were played with the status of Lagos, with the establishment of a Federal Ministry of Lagos Affairs
Gov. Babatunde Fashola under northern headship but with copious NCNC concurrence.
But not to digress. With the defeat of Biafra, many Igbo in secret (and sometimes not too secretly) wished that the Yoruba too should receive a similar treatment someday soon. That day seemed to have arrived with the June 12 annulment and the crisis it unleashed. For some, the June 12 crisis appeared to have presented the Igbo with a perfect opportunity to get back at the Yoruba and permanently cut them down to size. In executing their now famous exodus from Lagos at the time, many Igbo had said that they feared (hoped?) that another war was afoot, this time with Yorubaland as the theatre. Igbo political elite seemed to have offered themselves all too eagerly to bringing about such a confrontation. The role played by the likes of Sam Ikoku, Uche Chukwumerije, Walter Ofonagoro and Clement Akpamgbo, to mention a few, in adding fuel to the fires of the crisis would for a long time be remembered in the annals of infamy. No doubt, the annulment and the ensuing crisis sorely tested the political maturity of Yoruba people and their elite. Fortunately, the Yoruba
refused to bite the bait and managed to come out of the annulment crisis without a shooting war. There were, of course, several battles and notable casualties along the way. But, in the end, there was no war of the scale that had been feared – or hoped! How this was accomplished remains a tribute to the leaders of the pro-democracy struggle, a struggle that is yet to come to an end and of which Lagos remains the epicenter.
Igbo in governance
Feelings still run deep and memories of what many saw as malevolent undercutting could remain for long. It is partly in this context that many Lagosians situate current calls for expanded Igbo presence in the governance of Lagos. Many will shudder to contemplate the fate of the June 12 struggle if during that struggle political power in any part of the South-West had been in the hands of people hostile to Yoruba interests. What extent of damage would Chukwumerije have wrought if he had just one kinsman as an ally sitting in a sensitive local government chairmanship or governor ’s office in the South-West in those terrible days? Still, the work of building a united Nigeria must continue as we cannot afford to dwell
for too long on past injuries and grievances. The Igbo input into this great work can be both positive and progressive, but not necessarily involving their ruling Lagos. Indeed, I think they have their work cut out for them. My view is that the Igbo are barking up the wrong tree in this whole matter over who rules Lagos. What do I mean by this? The Igbo are such a leading and (hopefully) enduring part of the commercial landscape of Lagos. At this point in time, what they should be doing is lending their voice and energy to advocating for a reversal of what appears like a deliberate federal abandonment of the former capital, which has made doing business in Lagos all the more difficult. The movement of the seat of the Federal Government to Abuja was ostensibly meant to unclutter the environment of governance and deepen our country ’s unity by giving everyone a sense of belonging in the nation’s capital. But the move soon fell victim to elements whose knack it is to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in every good policy. The movement has been implemented as a punishment for the Yoruba and possibly as a reprisal for the central role that Lagos played as the seat of the pro-democracy opposition. Against this background, the attitude of many Lagosians to the Igbo quest for control is that they should commence it in Abuja and its area councils. After all, they say, Abuja is the only Federal Capital Territory that we have.
But speaking seriously, Igbo claims to an expanded role in the governance of Lagos cannot be pursued in an atmosphere of intentional federal abandonment of Lagos. Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos State has been making a case for renewed federal investment in Lagos, given the peculiar heavy demands on the state and its role as home to all. Rather than fantasizing about taking over the Alausa seat of government or occupying commissionership positions, the Igbo in Lagos should lend their weight to the push for special federal recognition for the needs of Lagos, to further enable the state continue to play its role as a safe, liberal and prosperous home for all. Samuel, a former columnist with Vanguard, had caused this article to be published (in two parts) in Vanguard of 3 May 3 and May 10, 2002.
SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013 — PAGE 43
read with a lot of amusement the piece of clap-trap circulated through the Nigerian blogosphere last week titled ‘The Bitter truth about the Igbo” authored by Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode. I thought for a minute: but they said the guy went to Cambridge! Then again, take a scallywag to Cambridge, he merely becomes a Cambridgetrained scallywag. There were many things Kings College Lagos and Cambridge University could have taught, and might have failed to teach Mr. Fani-kayode. One of such things is felicity with truth. He does write about “bitter truths” and about the “Igbo” and his submissions were in fact more bitter than true about the Igbo. For one, Femi FaniKayode who claims to be “halfLagosian” has not quite explained what that “half ” means after the genomic mathematics that also locates and divides the Fani-Kayodes of Ife in another instance into “part Fulani” in the general scheme of things in Nigeria. I will not dwell on FaniKayode’s identity politics. I’m yet to understand it. It will require one to be quite high on something to tease it all out, and so I leave that part to Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode. But I suspect that in situating himself to be “half-Lagosian” he means that part of his ancestry may be found among the “owners” of Lagos, that is, the indigenous settlers of Lagos. For purposes of context, let me summarize Femi Fani-
Kayode’s argument rendered in two parts, starting with the first titled “Lagos, the Igbo and the Servants of Truth”: to him the Igbo have basically no claim on Lagos and have made hardly a contribution to its development. According to FaniKayode“The Igbo had little to do with the development of Lagos between 1890 till today and that is a fact. Other than Ajegunle, Computer Town, Alaba and buying up a few market stalls in Isale Eko where is their input? Meanwhile the Yoruba and Lagos were very gracious to them and not only allowed them to return after the civil war to claim their properties and jobs but we welcomed them with open arms and allowed them to flourish in our land. This is something that they have never done for our people in the east. Now some of them have the effontry (sic) to call our land and the land of our forefathers (I am half Lagosian and was brought up in Lagos) ”no-man’s land” and others have the nerve to assert that up to 50 per cent of the development in Lagos came as a consequence of the input of the Igbo. This is utter rubbish.” These are the very words of Femi, hot under his collars because Igbo Lagosians are staking their own claims to a part of the Nigerian commonwealth to which they have made enormous contributions both in material and in blood. Fani-Kayode may deny it, but Lagos is nothing
The bitter truth about Femi Fani-Kayode
if not the result of an agglomeration of forces; a diversity of people from across the world and across the modern nation gathering at the epicenter and the margins of the metropolis in what Homi Bhabha calls “dissemination.” But Mr. Fani-Kayode is still hung up on sterile nativism of the sort that makes it impossible for him to think clearly or rationally; he chooses to levitate on the illusory baloney that inspires him to declare Lagos to be the “patrimony of the Yoruba.” No. Lagos is the patrimony of every Nigerian who steps in it. Lagos belongs as much to the ethnic Igbo as to the Yoruba, Ijaw, Hausa, Fulani, Efik, Idoma, Urhobo, Itshekiri,
act of charity nor kindness. It was pragmatic. The Igbo had the skill and the industry, and Lagos was the seat of the Federal government of Nigeria and its major port. The Igbo have lived in Lagos since the 15th century when the Aro and other Igbo first settled in good number in a place we now call “Oyingbo” in the era of Benin and the Portuguese trade. Igbo have been in Lagos, in other words, long before the first Fani-Kayode knew the road to Ilesha. So, when Femi Fani-Kayode writes that the Yoruba were “kind” to the Igbo because, in his words, “ we allowed them to return to Lagos” after the civil
Lagos is the patrimony of every Nigerian who steps in it. Lagos belongs as much to the ethnic Igbo as to the Yoruba, Ijaw, Hausa, Fulani, Efik, Idoma, Urhobo, Itshekiri, Edo, and so on who live in it, pay tax, identify with it, and settles in it
Edo, and so on who live in it, pay tax, identify with it, and settles in it. That compact was made the moment Nigeria became a single nation, and a successor power to the old principalities who were subdued and who ceded their sovereignty for the new commonwealth of Nigeria. The Igbo did not beg to be Nigerians. First they fought for its freedom. When the Nigerian kitchen became too hot, they chose to leave. But a war was levied on the Igbo that forced them back to Nigeria. That war was fought to preserve “One Nigeria” even if the Igbo had had enough of “one Nigeria.” That war ended in 1970. The Igbo returned, and their return to Lagos and other parts of Nigeria was neither an
war, he is not being a servant of truth. In any case, about kindness, he might wish to talk to the likes of Eze Okpoko N’Oba, whose property in Lagos was appropriated to this day by a prominent Yoruba as “abandoned property” after the war. I do not wish to insult the intelligence and regard of the many honorable Yoruba people I know who do not buy into Mr. Fani-K ayode’s views, and so I will keep this simple: nobody, even of average intelligence, can deny the impact and contribution of the Igbo in the political, cultural, and economic development of Lagos as a great Nigerian city; the greatest of them in fact, in the modern era. The arrival of Azikiwe to Lagos
in 1937 from Accra after his studies in the United States, stimulated the political and cultural environment of Lagos as no other has before or after him. Zik literally resurrected the wizard of Kirsten hall from political death. Zik represented Lagos in the western house. The NCNC was the power in Lagos, and not the Action Group. The Igbo were prominent in the governance of Lagos in the Lagos City Hall. The institutional development of Lagos – the railways, the ports and ship yards; the education and research facilities; the Banking and Commodities Exchange, the development of towns like Yaba, Sur ulere, Ebutta-Metta, Festac Town, Victoria Island, and now Increasing the Ajah-Lekki axis, and of course, the ghettoes along the Orile-Badagry axis, have profound Igbo imprimatur. The circulation of the image of Lagos is to date best reflected in the cosmopolitan Igbo imagination of one of the greatest African writers of the 20th century, Cyprian Ekwensi, a thorough Lagosian if there was any. Igbo have built industries in Lagos and have been drivers of commerce and exchange. Side by side with their Yoruba, Efik, Itshekiri, Urhobo, etc. neighbors, they have continued to negotiate the complex evolution of this city. The development had not much to do with the Western government; even then, Mr. Fani Kayode often forgets that the Igbo were part of the Western Region when it extended, until 1963, to the bridgehead at Asaba. Lagos is not the patrimony of the Yoruba. If any should make such a vicarious claim, it might be the Oba of Benin, to whom Lagos paid tributes up until its annexation and colonization in 1861. Fani Kayode should read more and be driven less by sophomoric enthusiasm and braggadocio.
The bitter truth about the Igbo BY FEMI FANI-KAYODE
ERMIT me to make my second and final contribution to the raging debate about Lagos, who owns it and the seemingly endless tensions that exist between the Igbo and the Yoruba. It is amazing how one or two of the numerous nationalities that make up Nigeria secretly wish that they were Yor uba and consistently lay claim to Lagos as being partly theirs. Have they forgotten where they came from? I have never heard of a Yor uba wanting to give the impression to the world that he is an Igbo, an Ijaw, an Efik or a Hausa-Fulani or claiming that he is a co-owner of Port Harcourt, Enugu, Calabar, Kano or Kaduna. Yet more often than not, some of those that are not of Yoruba extraction but that have lived in Lagos for some part of their lives have tried to claim that they are bonafide Lagosians and honorary members of the Yoruba race. Clearly it is time for us to answer the nationality question. These matters have to be settled once and for all. Lagos and the Southwest are the land and the patrimony of the Yoruba and we will not allow anyone, no matter how fond of them we may be, to take it away from us or share it with us in the name of ’’being nice’’, ’’patriotism’’, ’’one C M Y K
Nigeria’’ or anything else. The day that the Yoruba are allowed to lay claim to exactly the same rights and privileges that the indigenous people in non-Yoruba states and zones enjoy and the day they can operate freely and become commissioners and governors in the Niger Delta states, the North, the MiddleBelt and the South-east, we may reconsider our position. But, until
thoroughly candid and brutally frank in this essay. And I am not too concerned or worried about what anyone may think or how they may feel about what I am about to say because I am a servant of truth and the truth must be told no matter how bitter it is and no matter whose ox is gored. That truth is as follows. The Yoruba, more than any other nationality in this
I am not involved in this debate for fun or for political gain and I am not participating in it to play politics but rather to speak the truth, to present the relevant historical facts to those that wish to learn and to educate the uninformed then, we shall not do so. Lagos is not a ’’no-man’s land’’ but the land and heritage of the Yoruba people. Others should not try to claim what is not theirs. I am not involved in this debate for fun or for political gain and I am not participating in it to play politics but rather to speak the truth, to present the relevant historical facts to those that wish to learn and to educate the uninformed. That is why I write without fear or favour and that is why I intend to be
country in the last 100 years, have been far too accommodating and tolerant when it comes to their relationship with other nationalities in this country and this is often done to their own detriment. That is why some of our Igbo brothers can make some of the sort of asinine remarks and contributions that a few of them have been making in this debate both in the print media and in numerous social media portals and networks ever since
Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola ‘’deported’’ 19 Igbo destitute to Anambra State a while ago. In the last 80 years, the Igbo have been shown more generosity, accommodation, warmth and kindness and given more opportunities and leverage by the Yoruba than they have been offered by ANY other ethnic group in Nigeria. This is a historical fact. The Yoruba do not have any resentment for the Igbo and we have allowed them to do in our land and our territory what they have never allowed us to do in theirs. This has been so for 80 long years and it is something that we are very proud of. As I said elsewhere recently, to be accommodating and generous is a mark of civilisation and it comes easily to people like the Yoruba who once ruled empires. It does not come so easily to those who never had any history at all and who never even had monarchs or structured, properly-organised hierachial societies that placed value on tradition and culture. The reason why many of our people take strong exception to the apparent outrage of the Igbo over this ‘’deportation’’ issue and the provocative comments of my friend and brother Chief Orji Uzor Kalu when he described Lagos as being a ‘’no man’s land’’ is because the Igbo have not only taken us for granted but they have also taken
liberty for licence. Trouble in the North We cannot be expected to tolerate or accept that sort of irreverant and unintelligent rubbish simply because we still happen to believe in ‘’one Nigeria’’ and we will not sacrifice our rights or prostitute our principles on the altar of that ‘’one Nigeria’’. Whether Nigeria is one or not, what is ours is ours and no-one should test our resolve or make any mistake about that. ‘’One Nigeria’’ yes, but no-one should spit in our faces or covet our land, our treasure, our success, our history, our virtues, our being and our heritage and attempt to claim those for themselves simply because we took them in on a rainy day. It is that same attitude of ‘’we own everything’’, ‘’we must have everything’’ and ‘’we must control everything’’ that the Igbo settlers manifested in the northern region in the late 50s and early and mid-60s that got them into so much trouble up there with the Hausa-Fulani and that eventually led to the pogrom in which almost one hundred thousand of them were killed in just a few days. Again it is that same attitude that they manifested in Lagos and the Western Region in the late ’30s and the early and mid40s that alienated the Yoruba
Continues on page 44
PAGE 44— SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013
Continued from page 43 from them, that led to the establishment of the Action Group in April, 1951 and that resulted in the narrow defeat of Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe in the Western Regional elections of December, 1951. As a matter of fact, they were the ones that FIRST introduced tribalism into southern politics in 1945 with the unsavoury comments of Mr. Charles Dadi Onyeama who was a member of the Central Legislative Council representing Enugu and who said at the Igbo State Union address that ‘’the domination of Nigeria and Africa by the Igbo is only a matter of time’’. This comment made in that explosive and historic speech did more damage to southern Nigerian unity than any other in the entire history of our country and everything changed from that moment. To make matters worse, in July 1948, Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe made his own openly tribal and incendiary speech, again at the Igbo State Union, in which he spoke about the ‘’god of the Igbo’’ eventually giving them the leadership of Nigeria and Africa. These careless and provocative words cost him dearly and put a nail in the coffin of the NCNC in the Western Region. This was despite the fact that that same NCNC, which was easily the largest and most powerful political party in Nigeria at the time, had been founded and established by a great and illustrious son of t h e Yoruba by the name o f M r. Herbert Macaulay. Macaulay, like most of the Yoruba in his day, saw no tribe and he happily handed the leadership of the party over to Azikiwe, an Igbo man, in 1945 when he was on his dying bed. How much more can the Yoruba do than that when it comes to being blind to tribe? Can there be any greater evidence of our total lack of racial prejudice and tribal sentiments than that? If the NCNC had been founded and established by an Igbo man, would he have handed the whole thing over to a Yoruba on his death bed? I doubt it very much. Not mere traders Again when northern military officers mutineed, effected their ‘’revenge coup’’ and went to kill the Igbo military Head of State, General Aguiyi-Ironsi, on July 29, 1966 in the old Western Region, his host, the Yoruba, Col. Fajuyi (who was military Governor of the Western Region at the time), insisted that they would have to kill him first before taking Aguiyi-Ironsi’s life and the northern officers (led by Major T.Y. Danjuma as he then was) promptly obliged him by slaughtering him before killing Aguiyi-Ironsi. How many Igbos know about that and how many times in our history have they made such sacrifices for the Yoruba? Would AguiyiIronsi, or any other Igbo officer, have stood for Fajuyi, or any other Yoruba officer, and sacrificed his life for him in the same way that Fajuyi did had the roles been reversed? I doubt it very much. Yet instead of being grateful, the Igbo continuously run us down, blame us for all their woes, envy our educational advantages and resent us deeply for our ability to excel in the professions and commerce. Unlike them, we are not mere traders but we were (and still are) major industrialists and investors and when it comes to the professions, we were producing lawyers, doctors, accountants and university graduates at least three generations before they ever did.
The bitter truth about the Igbo
Femi Fani-Kayode That is the bitter truth and they have been trying to catch up with us ever since. For example, the first Yoruba lawyer Christopher Alexander Sapara Williams was called to the English Bar in 1879 whilst the first Igbo lawyer, Sir Louis Mbanefo, was called to the English bar in 1937. Again the first Yoruba medical practitioner, Dr. Nathaniel King, graduated in 1875 from the University of Edinburgh whilst the first Igbo medical practitioner, Dr. Akannu Ibiam, graduated from another Scottish University in 1935. Suspicion Despite all these and all that they have been through over the years and despite their terrible experiences in the civil war, we are witnessing that same attitude of ‘’we must control all’’, ‘’we must own all’’ and ‘’we must have all’’ rearing its ugly head again today when it comes to their attitude to the issue of the deportation from Lagos State and when you consider the comments of the Orji Kalus of this world about the Igbo supposedly ’’owning Lagos’’ with the Yoru b a a n d supposedly ’’generating 55 per cent of the state’s revenue’’. It is most insulting. And I must say that it is wrong and unfair for anyone to lay the blame for the perenniel suspicion and underlying tensions that lie between the two nationalities on the Yoruba because there is simply no evidence to substantiate such an allegation. We are not the problem, they are. Pray, tell me, in the whole of Nigeria, who treated the Igbo better than the Yoruba after the civil war and who gave them somewhere to run to where they could regain all their ‘’abandoned property ’’ and feel at home again? Who encouraged them to return to Lagos and the west and who saved the jobs that they held before the civil war for them to come back to when the war ended? No other tribe or nationality did all that for them in the country- only the Yoruba did so. And the people of the old Mid-West and the Eastern minorities (who make up the zone that is collectively known as the ‘’South-south’ today) have always viewed them with suspicion, have always feared them and have always resented them deeply. From the foregoing, any objective observer can tell that we the Yoruba have always played our part when it comes to accommodating others. This is particularly so when it comes to the Igbo who we have always had a soft spot for and who we
have always regarded as brothers and sisters. It is time that those ‘’others’’ also play their part by acquiring a little more humility, by knowing and accepting their place in the scheme of things and by desisting from giving the impression that they own our territory or that they made us what we are. Igbo firsts Now let us look at a few historical facts and one or two more Igbo ‘’firsts’ that many may not be familiar with to butress the point. The Igbo people were the FIRST to carry out a failed coup on the night of Jan 15, 1966 under the leadership of Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna, Major Chukuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, Major Christian Anuforo, Capt. Ben Gbulie, Major Timothy Onwatuegwu, Major Donatus Okafor, Capt. Ude, Capt. Emmanuel Nwobosi, Captain Udeaja, Lt. Okafor, Lt.
Maimalari, Brigadier Samuel Ademulegun, Colonel Ralph Shodeinde, Lt . Colonel James Yakubu Pam, Lt. Colonel Abogo Largema and numerous others. They did not just kill these reverred and respected leaders but in some cases they mocked, tortured and maimed them before doing so, took pictures of their dead and mutilated bodies and killed their wives and children as well. For weeks after these horrific acts were carried out, the Igbo people rejoiced and celebrated them in the streets and markets of the North, openly displaying pictures and posters of the Sardauna’s mutilated body with Nzeogwu’s boot on his neck, loudly playing a famous and deeply offensive anti-northern song in which northerners were compared to goats and listening to it on their radios, jubilating that they had brought an end to what they described as ‘’northern rule and Islamic domination’’ and openly boasting that they themselves would now ‘’rule Nigeria forever ’’. Though the first coup failed, the matter did not end there. At gun point The very next day after the Jan.15 mutiny and butchery had failed and did not result in Ifeajuna taking power in Lagos, The Igbo people set their ‘’Plan B’’ in motion and they were the FIRST to carry out a successful coup in Nigeria just one day later on Jan. 17 1966. This was when the Igbo Major-General J.T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi (who was Supreme Commander of the Nigerian Army and who had inexplicably and suspiciously
The Igbo and their Biafra fought Nigeria and killed Nigerians for three hard and long years in that brutal civil war in which over one million courageous, loyal and faithful sons and daughters of the Federal Republic lost their lives at the war front trying to stop the Biafrans from succeeding Okocha, Lt. Anyafulu, Lt. Okaka, Lt. Ezedigbo, Lt. Amunchenwa, Lt. Nwokedi, 2nd Lt. J.C. Ojukwu, 2nd Lt. Ngwuluka, 2nd Lt. Ejiofor, 2nd Lt. Egbikor, 2nd Lt. Igweze, 2nd Lt. Onyefuru, 2nd Lt. Nwokocha, 2nd Lt. Azubuogu and 2nd Lt. Nweke in which they drew FIRST blood and openly slaughtered and butchered leading politicians and army officers from EVERY single zone in the country except their own. I should also mention that even though this was clearly an Igbo coup, there was one Yoruba officer who was amongst the ringleaders by the name of Major Adewale Ademoyega. It was a very bloody night indeed. Amongst those killed were the Prime Minister, Sir Tafawa Balewa, the Premier of the Western Region, Chief S.L. Akintola, the Premier of the Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Federal Minister of Finance, Chief Festus OkotieEboh, Brigadier Zakari
not been murdered by the young Igbo officers in their violent mutiny and killing spree the night before), in collusion with the Igbo Acting President Nwafor Orizu and the entire Igbo political leadership of that day, invited the remnants of Sir Tafawa Balewa’s cabinet to a closed-door meeting, threatened their lives and took power from them at the point of gun. AguiyiIronsi did not just ask them to give him power but he took it from them by force by telling them that he could not guarantee their safety if they refused to do so. Meanwhile Orizu point blank refused to do his duty as Acting President and swear in Zana Bukar Dipcharimma as the Acting Prime Minster when the members of the cabinet and the British Ambassador (who was also at the meeting) implored him to do so since by that time there was a power vacuum because the Prime Minister, Sir Tafawa Balewa, had gone missing and had probably been
murdered. It was in these very suspicious circumstances and as a consequence of this murky and deep-seated Igbo conspiracy that General Aguiyi-Ironsi came to power. Amongst those that were present at that famous ‘’meeting’’ that are still alive today are Alhaji Maitama Sule, Chief Richard Akinjide and President Shehu Shagari who were all Ministers in Balewa’s cabinet. Those that doubt the veracity of my account of this meeting would do well to ask any of them exactly what transpired during that encounter. Yet the seeming success of the conspiracy was short-lived. Only six months later, on July 29 1966, General Aguiyi-Ironsi and no less than 300 Igbo army officers reaped the consequences of their actions and plot when they were all slaughtered in just one night during the northern officers revenge coup which was led by Lt. Colonel Murtala Mohammed, Major Abba Kyari, Captain Martins Adamu, Major T.Y. Danjuma, Major Musa Usman, Captain Joseph Garba, Captain Shittu Alao, Captain Baba Usman, Captain Gibson S.Jalo and Captain Shehu Musa Yar ’Adua as they then were. Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon was put in power by this group after that and a few weeks later between September 29th 1966 and the middle of October of that same year, approximately 50,000 Igbo civilians were attacked and slaughtered in a series of horrendous pogroms in the north by violent northern mobs as a reprisal for the killing of the northern leaders, including Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sarduana of Sokoto, by Major Nzeogwu, Major Ifejuna and other junior Igbo officers on the night of Jan. 15, 1966. Please note that despite the fact that a number of Yoruba leaders were killed on that night as well, no Igbo civilians were massacred anywhere in the west by mobs in reprisal killings throughout that period. The Igbos understandably left the North in droves after those terrible pogroms and fled back to the East from whence they came. And perhaps that would have been the end of the story but for the fact that they also declared secession and sought to dismember Nigeria. They then made their biggest mistake of all by provoking a full scale military conflict with Nigeria when they launched a vicious and unprovoked attack against the rest of the South by conscripting the eastern minorities , overwhelming the M i d - W e s t and attacking Yorubaland in an attempt to capture and enslave it. Thankfully they were stopped in their tracks by the gallant efforts and courageous fighting skills of Colonel Benjamin Adekunle’s Third Marine Commando (which was primarily a Yoruba force) and who repulsed them, stopped them from entering the Western Region, drove them out of the Mid-West, forced them back into the East, defeated them in battle after battle and eventually brought them down to their knees and forced them to surrender to the Federal forces in Enugu in 1969. The Igbo and their Biafra fought Nigeria and killed Nigerians for three hard and long years in that brutal civil war in which over one million courageous, loyal and faithful sons and daughters of the Federal Republic lost their lives at the war front trying to stop the Biafrans from succeeding from the federation, from taking our land.
*Fani-Kayode is a former aviation minister REACTIONS TO THESE ARTICLES WOULD BE WELLRECEIVED AND WOULD FURTHER ENRICH THE DISCOURSE - Editor
SUNDAY VANGUARD, AUGUST 11, 2013,PAGE 45
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PAGE 46—SUNDAY VANGUARD, AUGUST 11, 2013
Ifeanyi Ubah and Anambra governorship election BY NKEMJIKA VIEWPOINT IN BRIEF The man to beat in the Anambra gubernatorial poll
T will be a Herculean task wrestling the Anambra State governorship seat from whomsoever Mr. Peter Obi decides to support in the November 2013 governorship election in the state. This has to do with the awesome “power of incumbency” at the disposal of Mr. Peter Obi as the sitting Governor of Anambra State. However, whatever may be the case, the main obstacle to the realisation of the gubernatorial ambition of whomsoever becomes the anointed candidate of Obi in the election is the declared interest of Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah, the Chairman of Capital Oil & Gas Industries Ltd, in the
race. Many people resident in Anambra State believe that Ubah is the candidate to beat in the electoral contest. They hinge their main position on a recent development where almost all the members of the Anambra State House of Assembly, many traditional rul-
Most women in Anambra who are likely to vote in the election are said to be rooting for Ubah because his Kero-Direct Scheme ensures that they buy kerosene at the subsidized price of N50 per litre. Most of Okada and Keke Napep transporters are said to be behind
Almost all the citizens of Anambra are said to have adopted Ubah as their candidate in the election because the spirit of all self-respecting Igbo appears to be rooting for an Ubah candidacy
ers, presidents- general of town unions, including the main influential stakeholders in the affairs of Anambra State that cuts across political persuasions, abandoned a state sponsored tree-planting exercise by Obi, to attend the wedding ceremony of Ubah’s junior sister in far away Lagos.
Ubah because he has been supplying them free fuel for their business concerns every Monday for the past five years. Also, traders, who arguably constitute the largest segment of the voting population in Anambra, see Ubah as their choice for the tenan-
cy of the Government House, Awka, in 2014, because of the many life-saving assistance and philanthropic gestures he has extended to them. Now, if traders, women, students, artisans, farmers, transporters, etc, who are rooting for an Ubah candidacy in the November 2013 governorship election in Anambra State, are the children, brothers, sisters, and mothers of the political stakeholders who shunned Obi and attended the wedding ceremony of his sister in Lagos, nobody needs the services of any prophet to tell him that most Anambra voters are headed to Ubah’s political camp. As a matter of fact, most people (teachers, professionals, workers, etc) are said to see Ubah as the only man with the demonstrated capacity to embark on the industrialization of Anambra State, as well as developing its crude oil resources for the employment and empowerment of the teeming idle hands in the state’s labour
market. Most importantly is that almost all the citizens of Anambra are said to have adopted Ubah as their candidate in the election because the spirit of all self-respecting Igbo appears to be rooting for an Ubah candidacy. It will therefore take a counter-directive from the late Dim Emeka Ojukwu to stop the political train called Ifeanyi Ubah from occupying the Government House, Awka, after the tenancy of Obi. Interestingly, the living representative of the late Eze Gburugburu of Ndi-Igbo, Emeka Ojukwu Jnr, has this to say about Ifeanyi Ubah : “I see in Ifeanyi Ubah, hope for Anambra State.” With the awesome people’s support for the gubernatorial ambition of the Chairman of Capital Oil, not even Obi himself will stand a chance against the moving train called Ifeanyi Ubah. • Nkemjika is a research writer and media consultant.
2015: The case for greater Awgu division BY JOE I. ORJI VIEWPOINT IN BRIEF Only one zone is yet to produce governor in Enugu State.
T is worrisome that a handful of government appointees and political gerrymanderers from the three local governments in Greater Awgu: namely Awgu, Oji River and Aninri, could sign documents and make reckless representations on behalf of the people to Governor Sullivan Chime to surrender the political freedom of our people in Greater Awgu to aspire to the governorship of Enugu State come 2015; without consultation. Such a suicidal plunge was said to have been initiated to please the powers-thatbe in Enugu State. These fellows who did this have no mandate and cannot speak or represent the people of Greater Awgu who have continually appealed to the conscience
of the various administrations in Enugu and our brothers from Nsukka and Udi/ Enugu Divisions to ensure equity, justice and fair play by recognising the cultural, homogenous, and contiguous group known as Greater Awgu, for socio-economic and political sharing and responsibilities in Enugu State. Although the Chime administration has done well by bringing back peace and tranquillity, with infrastructural developments which had eluded the state in the recent past, the governor cannot be stampeded into making political statements or taking political steps which are inimical to good conscience and political tranquillity in the state. Chime cannot unilaterally bar a cultural group with legitimate agitations for political space and contest, because of the so-called zoning arrangement which had never been obeyed or accepted as a norm by all the divisions/ zones in Enugu State. It is on record that candidates from Nsukka Division
had always come out and keenly contested every election for governor in the last 30 years. Chime should understand that Greater Awgu Cultural Group has always supported his government, and see him as a man of immense courage and forthrightness, and cannot imagine him being part of injustice at this point. He should continue to live by what the majority of us know him for in Greater Awgu
before the civil war in 1965. Nsukka, Nkanu and Udi have each produced the governor, leaving Awgu as the only one yet to produce. It makes therefore to search for the next governor of Enugu State in all political parties, especially our great party, the PDP, from Greater Awgu to meet the principle of justice, fairness and equity. My appeal to Governor Chime as a product of and
I am confident that as we move towards 2015, the PDP, in her wisdom and ability to make informed judgments, would see merit in encouraging Greater Awgu to produce the candidate who will carry the party’s flag in the election
i.e. as a man of peace, humility and forthrightness. It is historically correct that what is now known as Enugu State was constituted by four major divisions created along homogenous, contiguous, cultural lines made up Awgu, Nsukka, Udi and Nkanu just
child of faith and God is to allow the hand of God shape the future and the people of Enugu State come 2015. The governor and his associates should encourage the Greater Awgu people on this mission, and we can later talk about who the candidate
should be even as foreclosing the eligibility and participation of any particular person as a deliberate policy will harm the flow of natural justice and challenge the hand of God in our selection process for 2015. I am confident that as we move towards 2015, the PDP, in her wisdom and ability to make informed judgments, would see merit in encouraging Greater Awgu to produce the candidate who will carry the party’s flag in the election. Chime needs to disregard the so- called denunciation of the aspiration of Aninri people, nay Greater Awgu people in the gubernatorial race as the authors of the documents are favour seekers who cannot speak for or represent the people of Aninri Local Government Area. They have only justified their patronage by your government individually.
*Orji is a retired group captain of the Nigerian Air Force and Uhueze Nenwe Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State.
SUNDAY VANGUARD, AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 47
Senator Adefuye at 69 BY LEKAN BILESANMI TRIBUTE IN BRIEF Counting a politician's blessing almost seven decades after
ENATOR Anthony Ogungbemi Adefuye is several things rolled into one; a business mogul, a career counsellor, a pan Africanist, a champion of popular causes, a mechanical engineer. He turns 69 on August 14. He represented Lagos East District in the Senate in the aborted third republic. Looking back to how he has lived his life over the past six decades, he must be grateful to God that He has been so good to him. Adefuye was born into the family of the late Pa Christopher and Madam Rebecca Adeola Adefuye in 1944. His parents were highly successful in business. As a matter of fact, his father was one of the first few privileged Nigerians to own a car in Lagos. That was as far back as 1952. The young Adefuye made no pretensions right from his
childhood days that he is a man of vision and mission. His journey to prominence began in 1952 when he attended St. Mathias Catholic Primary School, Lafiaji. Immediately thereafter, he gained admission into Yaba College of Technology Secondary Technical School because of his burning desire for science and technology education. He later obtained the GCE “O” Level and the junior diploma in technical education in 1963 and was sponsored to Ibadan Polytechnic by the Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (ECN), later known as NEPA, now PHCN. In 1968, Adefuye was admitted to study mechanical engineering at the University of Lagos. For his brilliance, John Holt Limited offered him scholarship. He graduated from the university with B.Sc. (Hons.) in mechanical engineering. Today, Adefuye is a distinguished Fellow, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (F.N.S.E). He began his career with A.G Leventis Limited, as an Apprentice Technician. He also worked with the then
Senator Adefuye NEPA as a clerk. He rose to the position of a Technician Officer before resigning from the organization. He later joined John Holt Limited now John Holt Plc. as Workshop
gineering Services and Construction Company Limited (ARESCO). Today, ARESCO is one of the most successful engineering and construction companies in Nigeria. Adefuye, a philanthropist, holds “Human Clinic” every Wednesday, a day he chose to assist the poor. He awards scholarships to students at all levels. In politics, Adefuye is a formidable force. The defunct UNCP, which he chaired in Lagos State, was the most suc-
Adefuye, a philanthropist, holds “Human Clinic” every Wednesday, a day he chose to assist the poor. He awards scholarships to students at all levels
Manager in 1972. He moved to Blackwood Hodge in 1975 as Sales Manager – Special Products. In 1980, he resigned from Blackwood Hodge to establish his own company, Arawa En-
cessful party in both organization and acceptability through his tireless efforts and the cooperation of the state executive members. Some people describe him as a political “juggernaut”, the
“bulldozer”, a political “fieldmarshal” and a “man of the people”. His political mentor is Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He began his political career while at the University of Lagos when he was elected treasurer of the Students Union in 1969. At the advent of the second republic politics in 1978, he, together with a group of friends who identified with the free education programme of Awolowo, formed the “Tribune Group” which championed free and qualitative education in Nigeria at all levels. The group also campaigned for Awolowo as Nigeria’s President. Adefuye later became the president of the group. He was a senator of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) representing Lagos East in the aborted third republic. He was a Board member of Crest Medical Services Limited, 1996-2006, and Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited, 20002003. He worked hard for the realisation of June 12, and he is presently a chieftain of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). He is happily married with children.
Gesi Asamaowei, a true Nigerian TRIBUTE BY STEVE AZAIKI TRIBUTE IN BRIEF Celebrating a detribalised personality on his birthday
and many others, Bless ing Apuloma, Henry Mic ah, Austin Opara, Minister of Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade, Timi Alaibe, Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson, President Goodluck Jonathan, have chosen Gesi Asamaowei as our friend, for he is a jolly good fellow. Today, we celebrate a man who has distinguished himself in the academia and business. As he adds another year to his time on earth, we salute his generosity of spirit, his friendship and love. I have known Gesi for many years. Since that first meeting, which was instantaneous, our relationship has grown and we have become brothers; we have aged from that youthful party-
My good friend has prospered in business, believing only in hard work. Unlike many Nigerians who outsource everything to God even what they can do and need to do, Gesi believes you must work hard to play hard. What has endeared Gesi to me more than anything else is his choice of friends; he is not afraid of competition and out shinning. He has a mix of friends, high and low, rich and poor, educated and not so educated politicians, fools, the
Gesi is an all rounder, well educated, detribalized and politically grounded. He has deliberately refused to play partisan politics. He prefers the thankless job of a kingmaker
ing and booging into more complex personalities in academia, politics, business and, of course, service to our fatherland.
wise, all of us. His friends are from the North, West, South and East. In retrospect, Gesiye has im-
pacted on his people in the Niger Delta positively. His insistence on peaceful resolution of the crisis in the region, his capacity to help, his constant call for education of the youths, his support for the Jonathan presidency all count. He understands the dynamics of time; he accepts knowing that time waits for no man and that only change is constant. Gesi is an all rounder, well educated, detribalized and politically grounded. He has deliberately refused to play partisan politics. He prefers the thankless job of a kingmaker. Gesi has contributed to producing senators, governors, and, of course, the Niger Delta road to Aso Rock. It is in recognition of his effort at making peace and his contribution to economic growth of our nation that Mr. President appointed this true son of the Niger Delta from Odi, Bayelsa State as prochancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of University of Port Harcourt. Gesi obtained a B.Sc degree in industrial engineering from
Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, US in 1976, and a master’s degree in management science and construction engineering in 1979 from the same institution. Gesi left as Head, Planning and Engineering Service in the Estate and Works Department, University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, to start his own business, Pelfaco Limited. Today, Pelfaco is a reputable name in dredging, canalization, swamp construction, shore protection and a recognizable name in the oil and gas sector not only in Nigeria but also the entire Gulf of Guinea. Gesi is married to Brenda (nee Waritimi) and the union is blessed with two girls and two boys. Happy birthday to a brother. *Azaiki, Coordinator of the National Think Tank, Nigeria, sent this piece from Johannesburg, South Africa.
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Adeboye anoints 886 pastors to end RCCG's 61st convention By SAM EYOBOKA & OLAYINKA LATONA
IGHT hundred and eighty-six persons who have been screened, tested and proven will this morning have the rare privilege of being specially anointed as pastors by one of the two most influential religious leaders in the world today, Pastor Enoch Adeboye to end this year ’s annual convention of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG. The number of pastors is 171 above the figure of last year when 715 full pastors were ordained to end that year's convention. The process of ordination in RCCG is simple but very profound. It entails the pouring of anointing oil on the head, laying of hands and the proclamation: 'In the name of the Father, Son and Holy
Spirit, I ordain you pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God..." The 886 candidates who have been thoroughly prepared are expected to file out at 8.30 this morning for the once-in-a-lifetime exercise that will qualify them for pastoral ministry even if some of them have already been acting in that capacity. That ordination exercise will immediately be followed by the farewell service; and at about 10.00 a.m. participants can begin to head to their various distinations. The General Overseer will this morning lay hands on the 886 candidates as part of the expansion programme of the church which had continued to grapple with manpower challenges for the numerous number of parishes springing up in every nook and cranny of the country and beyond. The vision of Pastor Adeboye
is to plant parishes of the RCCG within five minutes walking distance in every city and town of developing countries and within five minutes driving distance in every city and town of developing countries. “We will pursue these objectives until every nation in the world is reached for the Lord Jesus Christ,” he has said. The harvest is big but the labourers are few, which is why more and more ministers are required to cater for the huge number of converts attending the church's numerous programmes. Attempts by our reporters get the number of persons who made decisions for Christ on a daily basis during this year's convention proved abortive as counsellors and other senior pastors approached declined information in that direction despite the FoI law.
The theme of this year's convention, which has been described as the most unique event in over 60-year history of the church, is ‘JESUS’ and going by the few testimonies that were allowed, indeed it will go down in the annals of the church history as the most impactful spiritual fiesta ever. The event featured a variety of programme for the development of the total man. There were special seminars, group seminars, special events for different grades, deliverance service, service of songs, holy communion and the flagship of the convention, the Holy Ghost service on Friday night which was attended by over seven million people. Pastor Adeboye had earlier assured all and sundry that the 2013 convention would be an unforgetable moment for those who are focussed, prayerful, determined and who would avoid sinful acts.
50 years of silent
PRELATE of Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Sunday Ola Makinde has described the late Alhaji Ibrahim Ademola Fashola as “a quintessential gentleman in every sense of the word.” In a condolence message to Gov. Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State which was made available by the church’s Media and Public Relations Officer, Rev. Oladapo Daramola, the cleric described Pa Fashola as a jovial, prayerful, peace-loving and amiable man. In his words: “I knew Alhaji Ademola Fashola personally being an old boy of our school, Methodist Boys’ High School, Lagos which he attended between 1949 and 1954 which afforded us several interactions over time. "I can say that his unassuming nature is one of the most striking features of this deeply religious man who despite his reputation as a disciplinarian, was loving, large-hearted, gentle, respectful and easy-going. Let me assure the entire Fashola family, that in this moment of grief over the loss of their scion, I and all Methodist people are praying for and with them.
Ositelu urges politicians to redirect ship of state
revolution at Presbyterian
Church By SAM EYOBOKA & OLAYINKA LATONA
ESPITE its strategic lo cation near the famed Yaba Bus Stop very little is known of the Lagos Presbyterian Church beyond its imposing unique and attractive structure which cannot be ignored. The stated mission of the church is to lead people to Christ, guide members to matured Christian life so that they are able to stand firm in the ministry within the church and in the world, while empowering them to contribute to the spiritual development and economic transformation process of Nigeria, Africa and the world. If, however, the success of a churh is determined by visitation to orphans and widows in their troubles, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world in addition to aggressive evangelical work, then the Lagos Presbyterian Church is a monumental success even if it's too modest to blow its trumpet. The Lagos Presbyterian Church (LPC), was born on May 5, 1963 under very unique circumstances and since then God’s hand had been overwhelmingly mighty upon the church as her her growth has been considerably phenomenal. From a parish in 1963, it is now credited with the establishment of over 35 parishes,
Makinde condoles with Fashola, NUJ
*The Presbyterian Church, Yaba, Lagos. Inset: Current Minister-in-charge, Rev. Nnanna O. Odege. 42 congregations and church engages in various church made donations to the outstations spanning the types of social work to establish Ikeja Cantonment Bomb blast victims in Lagos in 2002, just entire South West, Edo, its value to the society. Different arms and as it embarks on medical Delta and parts of Benue State as well as Benin organisations of the regularly evangelism outreach where Republic, Togo, Burkina pay visits to old people’s medical professionals includhomes and orphanages ing doctors who attend to the Faso and Mali. The church has also had during which donations are various health challeges of a tremendous impact on made in cash and in kind to members of the society. uplift the lives of the inmates Its prison ministration is the Nigerian polity. carried on a quarterly basis One of the cardinal points of the homes. It also responds to the needs and it is involved in National of the church’s vision is to be a socially relevant of those affected by some Celebration such as on church. Accordingly, the disasters. For example, the Continued on Page 47
THE Primate of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide, Most Rev. Rufus Ositelu has urged Nigerian leaders to be courageous and firm to redirect the country on the path of progress and moral rectitude, reports OLAYINKA LATONA. Speaking in Ogere Remo during a press conference heralding the church 2013 Tabieorar convention scheduled to begin yesterday and run till August 22 with a theme; “It is well” Ositelu said government has all the powers to secure lives and property of Nigerians. According to him thousands of lives and properties have been lost due to religious bigotry hence the need for government at all levels to take the issue of security of lives and property much more seriously. He maintained that thous-ands of lives and property have been lost due to various crises in the country; esp-ecially in the North. The bane of positive and developmental progress in Nigeria since independence have been and still remains corruption, religious bigotry, insecurity, impunity and federal char-acter amongst others. "Government at all levels must rise up and tackle this serious challenge confronting us as a nation," he appealed. The cleric also appealed to Nigerians to always do the right thing in order to ensure peace, stability and progress in the country. The Aladura primate also used the occasion to condole with the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, families and friends of the three national officers of the union who recently lost their lives in an auto accident.
SUNDAY VANGUARD, AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 49
HEN I started editing my book, Doctor Strangelove in 2005, I had over 30 chapters to work with. But then the Lord said to me: “Femi, this book will have 18 chapters.” I took that as a prophecy. I kept my eye on it and was excited when, through editorial work, the book finally shrank to 18 chapters. I had run with the vision and fulfilled it. Or so I thought.
Dilemma However, I later discovered that two of the chapters did not work. It appeared I had squeezed them in just for the sake of fulfilling the prophecy. So I was caught on the horns of a little dilemma. Should I ignore the prophecy and make the book 16 chapters, or insist on its fulfilment, and keep the book as 18 chapters? In the end, I decided to remove the two “inappropriate” chapters, even at the expense of the prophecy. After all, I reasoned, it was my business to be faithful to the writing of my book and not to fulfil God’s prophecy. The two chapters did not work, so I said goodbye to them. Then, and only then, the Holy Spirit spoke. The Lord showed me two other “chapters” I had written a long time before then that were just perfect for my book. There they were, tucked away neatly in the inner recesses of my computer. And suddenly, out of the blue, the prophecy was fulfilled. Doctor Strangelove ended up as an 18chapter book, just exact-
RUNNING FROM GOD’S PROPHECIES ly as the Lord had said it would.
Back to Habakkuk I then began to wonder what the Lord was trying to show me in all this. So I went back to him: “What is this all about? Habakkuk says when you have a vision, run with it: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.” (Habakkuk 2:2). And yet, the vision you gave me was fulfilled when I decided to ignore it.” The Lord used a question to answer my question. He asked me: “What was the vision I gave to Habakkuk?” I took my time to study the text again in the bible. What I found was even more baffling. God told Habakkuk he was going to raise a fearsome people to decimate the nation of Israel. He said: “I am bringing the Babylonians to power, those fierce, restless people. They are marching out across the world to conquer other lands. They spread fear and terror, and in their pride they are a law to themselves. Their horses are faster than leopards, fiercer than hungry wolves. Their horsemen come riding from distant lands; their horses paw the ground.
Everyone who believes in the word of God must be committed to its fulfilment; whether good or bad They come swooping down like eagles attacking their prey. Their armies advance in violent conquest, and everyone is terrified as they approach. Their captives are as numerous as grains of sand.” (Habakkuk 1:6-9). My next question followed logically. How does one run with a vision of impending calamity? Immediately, it became clear to me that the Habakkuk text has been largely misunderstood. You do not run with this kind of a vision: you run away from it. You run, because you are determined to avoid it. Of course it will be fulfilled whether you run or not. But you have to make sure in its fulfilment, it is inapplicable to you.
Wait and run When God gives a prophecy, he does not depend on man to fulfil it. He fulfils it himself. But when God gives us a vision and tells us to run, he intends that we
should run away from it. This is because, as in the case of Habakkuk, the vision is a “burden.” (Habakkuk 1:1). It is about impending calamity. But with every calamity, God makes provision for the salvation of a few. (Isaiah 10:21-22). Whenever we see God’s prophecies of gloom and doom in the bible, we better believe and run away from them. We must not just say: “God forbid bad thing.” God will not forbid his own prophecies. Thus, Job asks: “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10). But then God says to Habakkuk: “These things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” (Habakkuk 2:3). We are knee-deep in kingdom dynamics here. Why would anybody wait patiently for calamity? Do we wait or do we run
THRIVE empowers business owners for leadership
HOUSANDS of business owners and leaders recently gathered for THRIVE, a business seminar organised by the Harvesters International Christian Church (HICC), Lagos. The event was put together to address the information gap in the quest for profitable business ventures in Nigeria. The clinic session featured a panel led by the co-founder and executive director of Sahara Group, Tonye Cole; Jude Anele, a senior executive of Diamond Bank and Ope Filani, general manager, Forbes Africa. Others include entrepreneur, George Agbonlahor Jnr and an agriculture entrepreneuer and former United Nation Environment Protection (UNEP) consultant, Shadrach Madlion. The lead guest speaker, Dr. Sam Chand, a renowned speaker, author and leadership guru, capped the sessions with truly outstanding insights on how to grow and
*L-R: Jude Anele, Tonye Cole, Ope Filani and George Agbonlahor at the business seminar. lead in business. Chand charged business owners to increase their leadership capacity, pain capacity, exposure capacity and risk capacity. He and other speakers pointed out that weak character, and not competence, is a major reason why a lot of people fail in business. They emphasised that risk
takers gain the most in their generations and enjoined business owners to continuously seek knowledge of their immediate and extended environments. Participants shared their experiences, challenges and success stories during the interactive sessions, exchanging vital ideas on how to conquer the Nigerian business terrain.
away? We wait because God says we should. We wait because everyone who believes in the word of God must be committed to its fulfilment; whether good or bad. We wait because our salvation is in the very calamity itself. But even as we wait for the calamity, so must we run away from it. There is salvation for those who run from God’s impending calamities. “Therefore wait for me,” says the LORD, “until the day I rise up for plunder; my determination is to gather the nations to my assembly of kingdoms, to pour on them my indignation, all my fierce anger; all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the LORD, to serve him with one accord.” (Zephaniah 3:8-9).
A living parable In 1995, the Lord told me to break up my business partnership with my brother, so I set up a meeting with him. On the way, the Lord said to me: “Femi, you will get to your brother's place at 12 p.m.” I did not know the significance of this
IFE of presiding bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission, TREM, Bishop Peace Okonkwo had joined other Nigerians to condemn the attempt by the National Assembly to legalize underage girl-child marriage, describing it as “complete child abuse and inhuman”, reports CHIOMA OBINNA. Speaking at a one-day free medical fair organised by Women of Global Impact, WGI, in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to screen at least 1,000 women for breast and cervical cancers among other health checks, Okonkwo queried; who among those championing the underage marriage could give out his girl child at the age of 13 years. She further described it as inhuman to give out a child who is still forming out for marriage at a tender age of 13. “I do not support child marriage one bit. It is completely child abuse and I believe no good Christian should support child marriage. These children are still forming and have not fully grown. And you
but I believed it. But suddenly, I realised it did not make sense. There was no traffic on the way. At the speed we were going, we would get there before 12. Then something strange happened. The driver took a wrong turning. I looked up to find him driving on an unfamiliar road. We had to go round and double back before getting back on track. As we stopped the car in front of my brother's house, the digital clock in the car switched to 12 p.m. The Lord himself had fulfilled his vision by his own power. “Then the LORD said to me: ‘Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people. Send them away from my presence! Let them go! And if they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the LORD says: Those destined for death, to death; those for the sword, to the sword; those for starvation, to starvation; those for captivity, to captivity.’” (Jeremiah 15:12). We must run from such prophecies, determined to be part of the few God has earmarked for salvation. There is always salvation in God’s proclaimed calamities. Indeed, without the calamities there would be no salvation. God says: “I will spare a few of their men from the sword, from famine, and from pestilence, that they may declare all their abominations among the Gentiles wherever they go. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 12:16).
Okonkwo condemns child marriage are giving the child out for marriage? I don’t support it.” “It is painful that when it comes to other people’s children, we will know what to do but we can never ask ourselves one simple question, can I give out my child that is 12 or 14 years to a man to marry? As a mother, she said; “I cannot do that. So I advise that the National Assembly should put a stop to such Bill. I should allow my child to go to school and get educated. "Marriage is what you do for life. Why should I say she should marry at 13 or 15? At least, you can talk about marriage as from 20 years if God wishes so,” she added. On the one-day she said it was part of her PEACE Campaign flagged-off in 2012 to create awareness as well as assist in the treatment of infected women.
PAGE 50—SUNDAY VANGUARD, AUGUST 11 11, 2013,
By JAPHET ALAKAM
STORIES BY JAPHET ALAKAM DRAMA
HE high rate of corruption in the land can be attributed to the inability of people to do their duties well and worse still those who fail to obey the law are not punished. It is a binding duty for all to pay their taxes, partake in environmental sanitation exercise, use the pedestrian bridges while crossing the express ways and other civic duties. But to many, the Nigerian factor where anything goes has taking the upper side to the extent that when you see one who wants to follow due process, the person is regarded as not normal. But, one fact remains that things will not continue like that, and based on the need to change the system, the FIRS in partnership with seasoned actors came up with a drama series titled Binding Duty. The informative and educative drama series seeks to sensitise the public on the need to perform their civic duties especially on issue of compliance to payment of taxes. The drama which is produced by Ohi Alegbe and directed by Ihria Enakimio tries to bring to the fore of the intended viewers of the message of the popular adage that everyday is for the thief, but one day is for the owner of the house hence they subtly warned that there is no getting around the law without serious consequences. Parading a cast made up of seasoned actors like, Nobert Young, Tyna Mba , Bimbo Manuel, Gloria Young, Eric Obinna, Langley Evru and Tony Afokhai, amongst others the drama is warning to those who had benefited from the ‘system’ that it is no longer business as usual. During the preview of the drama at Ikeja last week, the drama which is split into six storylines and spread over 13 episodes, portrays itself as an effective medium employed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS) campaign to change the system. To them there is need to be careful in
t was another credit to Nigeria es pecially music lovers as one of the country’s Choir group, the Lagos City Chorale which participated in the first European Choir Games ,Austrian Open Competition for choirs worldwide made the country proud by carting away the highest number of awards at the event held in Graz, Austria . The Choir directed by the maestro, Sir Emeka Nwokedi won two Gold and two Silver Diplomas which made Nigeria the only participating nation with the highest number of awards. The group which celebrated its 25th anniversary recently contested in four categories (Folklore, Music of the Religions, Music Contemporanea and Mixed Choir) in the competition . As part of this global choral festival, the Lagos City Chorale also participated in two friendship concerts in Murau, a typical Austrian village with great antiquity and Schloss Eggernberg in Graz. The group performed in Songs of Spirit Festival in Minoritensaal, Graz (met the Mayor of Graz) and in
FIRS’s Binding Duty harps on tax compliance forcement agents, and the sister attempt to bribe the officials which was turned down. After spending a night in detention but eventually got released , he plots to make it at all cost and leaves his sister’s home, stealing her two thousand dollars and some documents of her company. As usual he engages the services of a tout to procure a fake tax clearance certificate in the name of his sister’s engineering firm with the intention of bidding for a contract in a federal government agency but was eventually arrested by the police.
• Nobert Young as the FIRS investigating team leader confronting the CEO of Midas Ventures Taiwo Obileye whatever one does as ignorance of the law is not an excuse. In a very clear language, the drama opens up the minds of many to the dangers that lie ahead of those who connive with touts to achieve their aim. For example in the first episode titled Short Cut, the series which is spread into two, takes the viewer to the typical Nigeria way as practised in many tax offices. The CEO of Midas Ventures (Taiwo Obileye) gets caught in the FIRS net because his accountant patronises touts even though the company is known to pay its taxes regularly. Of course, ignorance of the law is no excuse so the CEO, his accountant and the company must pay for their sins with fine and perhaps jail term.
nother episode of Short Cut also reveals the role played by the
eanwhile, an FIRS team led by renowned actor Norbert Young has been trying to unravel the puzzle as to why a company that has been tax compliant would suddenly apply for a contract with a fake tax clearance certificate. The trail eventually leads them to the CEO, who through her husband
In a very clear language, the drama opens up the minds of many to the dangers that lie ahead of those who connive with touts to achieve their aim
CEO’s wife’s in the way and manner she used her position to detain the two male National Youth Service Corps members who allegedly “assaulted” her impertinent daughter at the district’s police station. An action which the community ’s landlord association condemned as the young men are held in high esteem. In another title Born to Win, also in two episodes, the story of a young graduate, Charles (Joachim Keke) who refused do things right and was arrested for traffic violation by law en-
understands why the FIRS team paid her a visit. Other episodes are Borrowed Time (3&4), To Have and to Hold (5&6), Ostrich Syndrome (9&10) and Double Jeopardy (11,12&13). It is a very bold and good attempt by the production crew, except for the frequent FIRS commercials in the series that somehow interrupts the storylines, the drama is rich. I commend them for the well-scripted episodes and pray that the move be extended to other organisations in Nigeria.
Lagos City Chorale wins at global contest Heiligenkreuz a. Waasen. The Song of Spirit Festival is designed to bring together people of different religions and to foster peace and unity amongst them using the medium and potency of harmonious choral music. Lagos City Chorale was also invited and they lead the service in a Catholic Church at Heilingenkreuz a. Wassen on Sunday July 22. The 10-day event brought together over 50 choirs from different countries to contest in the Austrian Open Competition.
standard by the international jury, hence the top awards. They were specially selected with other choirs to perform at the closing concert at Congress Graz. The festival was brought to a climactic close with colourful parade of participating nations which commenced at Stubenberggasse, Graz through some major streets to Congress Graz.
Lagos City Chorale has in the past few years been showcasing Nigeria’s positive abilities in the world’s center stages through participating and winning laurels for Nigeria in global chorale music festivals and competitions. In July 2012, the group participated in the 7 th World Choir Games in Cincinnati Ohio, USA and won 3 Silver Medals in three different categories of the Champions Competition.
ach choir displayed the best of her country’s culture through indigenous choral music, costume and choreography. Nigeria’s Lagos City Chorale being the only choir from Africa in attendance was the cynosure of all eyes. The sparkling and varied costumes in National colours did not go unnoticed as they were cheered with loud ovations in public places and after each performance. Their performances which attracted large audiences were adjudged to be of high
• Sir Emeka Nwokedi (m) with other members of the winning Lagos City Chorale on their arrival
SUNDAY VANGUARD, AUGUST 11 11, 2013, PAGE 51
fter the successful host ing of the Open Door Series Project WS79 in Lagos, Ogun and Osun where the 2013 project for the 79th birthday of the grand inspiration behind it, Prof. Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka aka WS, kicked off, the train moved to London. The venue was the Africa Centre in Convent Garden, Central London, where about 200 guests, mostly children, teenagers, youths in their early 20s as well as a handful of adults gathered to witness the presence of the project on an international stage. Billed for 3pm; the hall filled up by 2pm, with the ‘birthday boy’ and his wife, Folake, seated and receiving endless stream of young admirers. He was soon joined by a surprise guest, the wife of the Governor of Ogun State, Mrs Ibikunle Amosun resplendent in her beauty and charm. The event took off with a ‘drum call’ parading three talking drummers, who thrilled with their deft manoeuvring of the drum strings. In the trail of the drum libation came successive entertainment shots including a solo contemporary dance by a teenager, Nathaniel; a wind duet on sax and trumpet featuring the Ogunjobi siblings; and another dance duet by choreographer, dancer, Stanley Amah and white female partner, among others. The highpoint of the proceeding was the Youth Summit, which like the Nigeria version, had select youths speaking on the theme of the 2013 WS79 project, MEMOIRS FOR OUR FUTURE. Shortly before the summit, Mrs. Amosun, as she did in Abeokuta a week earlier, mentored the gathering of young and old on the signifi-
Kongi @79 celebration ends in London older folks, assured the young ones, that the adults have heard their yearning; and would work harder and conscientiously to ensure that the sanity of the world is preserved to ensure that the young ones grow into a society that is sane, and caring for the young. Before the mentoring, Soyinka had formally presented the book, “That the Future May Live” — a collection of the winning essays in the past editions of the Open Door Series since 2010 when the programme was birthed as Project WS76 to mark the 76th birthday of the Nobel laureate.
cance of education and cultural patriotism. She encouraged the young people to always dream quality dreams, especially about their future. Before the audience, the young ones spoke about the future they envisaged; the tomorrow they desired; and the sort of progressive society they
The children asked among other things, for a society that cares for the wellbeing of its children
wished their parents — the adults, the political, economic and society leaders — would bequeath to them.
hrough poetry, short story, extempore speeches, the young Africans in the Diaspora, asked, among others, for a society that cares for the well-being of its children; a nation that gives quality education, health and environment to its young ones; a society where religious and political tolerance thrives, a world where racial differences dissolve such that terrorism, extremism and violence are alienated; a universe where the young ones are given the opportunity to dream their
•Prof Wole Soyinka presents the book to the children
dreams, realise their desires and are free to explore the depth of the many possibilities that their talents and acquired skills could push them. Essentially, the young ones urged the adults to make the world a livable place for them. They demanded a qualitative living space that is untainted by religious and political strives and the varied, many factors that lead to abuse of the young ones and the mort-
gaging of the future; their tomorrow.
mpressed by the submis sion of the young summiteers, the South African High Commissioner, who was a special guest said his hope on the bright future of the continent was rekindled by the depth of thought by ‘the children of our continent’. Professor Wole Soyinka speaking for the rest of the
Prof Egwu’s antidote to mass failure in Mathematics out By PRISCA SAM-DURU PRESENTATION
oncerned citizens of Ni geria who have hitherto been perturbed by the woeful performances of students in Mathematics in their external examinations can now heave a sigh of relieve as a new book written to improve students’ result in external examinations, was last week, at the Lagos Resource Centre, presented to the public. The new book with title, Stop Mass Failure in Mathematics authored by Prof. (Engr) Sylvester Asamakaku Egwu, a Howard University School of Engineering trained Mechanical Engineer is aimed at eliminating current trend of poor performance by Senior Secondary School candidates in WAEC/NECO Mathematics examinations. What stands the book out from every other work on mathematics according to the author who has lectured at various institutions of higher learning including University of Science and Technology,
Port Harcourt, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, and a fellow of the University of Lagos, is that, “It was carefully and deliberately put together as a new approach to Mathematics problems and solutions covering relevant and difficult topics with the problems arranged in a simple manner.” With 15 chapters and 85 pages, the book which is on rescue mission according to
the author came because, “over the years, West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) as well as other examination bodies have recorded abysmally poor results in Mathematics due to poor performances by candidates. The poor performance has led to unacceptable mass failure in Mathematics”, adding that the book is based
on extensive research and study by the author, of the past WAEC and other examinations q u e s t i o n s . The author believes that this new approach to mathematics will eliminate the mystery surrounding mathematics as difficult and an impediment to progress and also failure of young people in Nigeria. Mr Dozie Irrechukwu who described the author as a rel-
he book also contained rare photographs of Soyinka in his younger age, as well as an introduction by him, and comments by some of the key operatives of the Project WS, is published by Bookcraft Ibadan for the Zmirage Multimedia. In his presentation, Prof. Soyinka stressed on the importance of young people committing their thoughts and desires to permanent form in the form of publications. He encouraged them to always document their observations and experiences through writing as this would serve as part of their literary assets in the future. This, he said, was the way he started his own literary career. The London wrap of the WS79 ended on a celebratory note with the young people giving WS a resounding applause for the goodness he did them by personally making an appearance at the event.
evant Nigerian and personal friend pointed out that the book is relevant to all Nigerians since every individual including traders encounter mathematics in their daily b u s i n e s s . Mr Irechukwu who commended the author for his contribution to the society, recalled that there was a time when corporate bodies in Nigeria insisted on employing only graduates with credits in mathematics stressing that, that singular prerequisite produced a lot of professionals.
AWF set for September Writing Workshops
•AWS creative writing class in session
he September Writing Work shops, organized by the Abuja Writers Forum (AWF), as part of the AWF Creative Writing School initiative, is designed to give those with a genuine interest in writing the requisite skills in Fiction, Poetry and Drama. Participants will over four Saturdays in September get the opportunity to develop their writing skills in any of the aforementioned genres. They would be working with a group of dedicated resource persons. The workshop which will be in threephases per set (introductory, intermediate and advanced) is a preparatory class for a certificate course in
creative writing that the literary group is set to run in partnership with the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ), Abuja. It will be handled by seasoned authors, they are, Bob MajiriOghene - poet, short story writer and public commentator who will handle the Fiction module.
The Drama module will be handled by Anthony Abu, Abu is a Development Communication Expert who has worked on development projects of the UKaid, British Council, Action Aid and others. hile Dr Emman Usman Shehu who has taught creative writing over the years including during his stint at the Usmanu Dan Fodio University, Sokoto will take care of the Poetry module.
PAGE 52 — SUNDAY VANGUARD, AUGUST 11, 2013
Malawi can’t beat Eagles, Umeh vows •Says their coach only playing mind game •Thinks Maigari deserves second term
HIEF Mike Umeh is the First Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation. In this chat with Jacob Ajom, he speaks on NFF’s plan for Super Eagles participation in the 2014 African Nations Championship,CHAN, the achievements of the Aminu Maigari-led board and other sundry issues. Excerpts After securing the CHAN 2014 ticket for the first time, what next is on the NFF agenda regarding the championship? We will ensure the Super Eagles are well prepared for the tournament. We have always prepared our national teams very well before all the tournaments they have qualified for. This will not be different. The technical department will work closely with the technical crew of the team to ensure all the weak points noticed in the team during the qualifiers are taken care of. We do not believe all members of the team that qualified us for CHAN can make it to South Africa. There will be a long period of camping, there will friendly matches along the way and every player will come under scrutiny to ensure we get the best for the tournament. As you know, we are always well prepared for tournaments. Our teams have always won continental tournaments in South Africa, would you conclude that the home-based Eagles will win CHAN come January 2014? Going back to South Africa is like a blessing to our teams. It will give us a psychological boost. However, after our girls won the AWC there, they failed to defend it in Equatorial Guinea. That is past. But fortune has always smiled at us in South Africa. Would you say Coach Stephen Keshi has delivered? Keshi ...He is doing his best. But I must add that we are not there yet. So far, we are in the right direction. We will get there someday. Once we qualify for the 2014 World Cup, I will then tell you that we have arrived. In Kaduna the other day, youths were carrying placards that read: Maigari for second term. If you were asked to assess the present board of the NFF, which you are a member, would you say you have performed? Yes, we have performed creditably. If Maigari is seeking a second term, he deserves it. We did not only qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations, we won it for the first time in 19 years. We are about to qualify for the 2014 World Cup without the usual tension; no panic – no task force. We have qualified for CHAN for the first time. In fact under Maigari, Nigeria qualified for all the FIFA organised tournaments – U-17, U-20 and senior competitions. Obuh just
•Chief Umeh returned from Turkey. If the fans are rooting for Maigari, they are right. He is a lucky man. Back home, Rangers had their appeal on their disqualification from the Confederation Cup overturned by the Confederation of African Football, CAF. How can the NFF assist Rangers, particularly now that they have tak-
en the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sports(CAS)? When a matter is before any judicial inquiry it won’t be healthy to make comments on such a matter. Anything said now could be misconstrued as the stance of the NFF. Rangers, as an entity have every right to seek redress. In sports, CAS is like our god. Let
them go so we can see how it goes. I won’t say anything than that. Recently, there was an embarrassing incident in the domestic game that tended to stain the name of the country. Four amateur clubs involved in match fixing where the teams recorded scandalous scorelines. You headed the panel that investigated and passed judgment. Critics say, it was wrong for your panel not to have extended punishment to club owners. We made sure only those who were physically involved were punished. We could not find the club owners culpable. It was those who were on the pitches – the players, referees, coaches, the match officials including the match commissioners. We did not go beyond what we had as evidence. But there are fears that even these players and officials punished could return to playing without being noticed? It won’t be easy for any of them to beat the long arm of the law. They are in the Nationwide League. They are all registered and licensed players. We have their pictures and every data on them. The media department will publish their pictures in national dailies and that will also be sent to all the security agencies. If you change your name, you cannot change your face. Why have they not been published? Well, that is a question that can only be answered by the media
aking MTN Lagos Street Soccer: Six yyear earss of ttaking ear soccer ttalents alents of tree ts offf the sstree treets T HERE’S no doubt that Ni geria as a sports loving nation is blessed with an array of talents who live in every nook and cranny of the country. Notwithstanding this repertoire of gifted young men and women, the recurring decimal that has stunted the growth of Nigeria and deprived it from being a world giant in sports, has been the inability to discover these budding talents from wherever they may be. It is no secret that soccer remains an abiding passion for Nigeria and Nigerians. When it comes to sports, the contact game has been considered as one of the greatest unifying platforms, which is used to harmonise the country’s dichotomies. With the setting up of different football academies, all over the country to fish out soccer stars, standards have been compromised. It has become an uphill task to get the desire results accordingly. Meanwhile, in the streets abound rare gems and football stars in the making. This is evident in many Nigerian accomplished footballers who were discovered on the streets. Popular names like former Head Coach
of the Super Eagles, Samson Siasia, Emmanuel Amuneke, Jonathan Akpoborie, goal-king, late Rashidi Yekini, Haruna Lukmon, Brown Ideye, Taribo West, are a few of those who started from the streets and made it into the country’s national teams, through hard work, dedication and sheer talent. Lagos State, noted for its cosmopolitan status and being the melting-point of various Nigerian identities, the state rightly becomes a home for budding football talents who dominate its countless streets. Consolidating on these opportunities, the administration of Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), the Executive Governor of Lagos State, came up with an idea to get the streets together in a battle of soccer artistry which crystallised into a football tournament. Hence, the Lagos Street Soccer Championship. A project which has over the years, enjoyed the corporate sponsorship of the largest telecommunications company in Nigeria and Africa, MTN. Going to its sixth consecutive season this year, the Lagos State Ministry of Sports has teamed up
with the brand to deliver the MTN Lagos Street Soccer competition. The partnership has also gone ahead to establish MTN Lagos Street Soccer Championship as the premier non-professional football competition in Lagos, Nigeria and the entire West Africa. In addition to the existing categories, this sixth edition is initiating a new developmental group tagged: “U-15” junior category for male players, which is in line with the determination of the Ministries of Youth, Sports and Social Development and Education to develop school sports, in the state. This new innovation is based on the philosophy of “catch them young”, a veritable platform for the discovery of new generation of players and promotion of academic excellence. To many soccer analysts and pundits, the initiative is on the threshold of revitalising age-group competition, not only in empowering and making the youngsters realising their dreams, but also setting a formidable platform for them to hit the global stage. In this, MTN has continued to restate its brand ideology of enriching lives.
department. Mine was to spell out the punishment and how to go about it. The media department is in charge of publishing their pictures. The Super Eagles will be meeting Malawi in Calabar in September. Malawi team coach, Tom Saintfiet met with other coaches to plot the fall of the Eagles. What do you have to say to this? That is mind games. What they are doing is propaganda. We are playing on our soil and remember, we have never lost a match in Calabar. The least result Eagles require is a draw and they will qualify for the final round. We will ensure we get the right result. Saintfiet was almost employed by the NFF and the entire process collapsed in the last minute. It is said the man volunteered to steer Malawi against Nigeria as his own way of punishing the country that denied him a job. Saintfiet is only a coach. He cannot think that way. It does not mean that we cannot employ him tomorrow. Keshi was interviewed once and did not get the job, but today he is in charge of the Eagles. Saintfiet is only the coach, he can only pass instructions and will not do the playing. But we have nothing to fear. We are African champions. If they could not beat us in their home, is it in Calabar that we will lose to them? That won’t be possible.
Okagbare good for long jump gold Continued from backpage Okagbare who will run in the heats of the women 100m along side Stephanie Kalu this morning only needs to hold her nerves leading to the final show down. It was good that she didn’t have to do much work on the pit yesterday. Other Nigerians who will be on duty today include Regina George and Omolara Omotosho who will run in the semi-final of the women 400m. George clocked 51.01 seconds in the heats yesterday she was second to defending champion from Deagu 2011, Amantle Montsho of Botswana who did 50.75seconds. In the men’s 800m, Nigeria’s Leoman Momoh wasn’t up to scratch as he placed seventh in his heat with 1.49.25 seconds his season best. Ogho-Oghene Egwero also failed to find his way out the heats of the men 100m. He ran 10.26 seconds, he was fifth. In some of the finals decided yesterday, British Mo Farah lived up to expectation by claiming the men 10, 000m with a time of 27.21.71. Ethiopian Ibrahim Jeilan was second with 27.22.23. Kenya’s Paul Kipgetich was third with 27.24.39.
SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 53
C M Y K
U S N D â€” 4 5 A P 2 0 Y 1 3 d ,G E V n rg u a A U 1 ,G U T S C M Y K
SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013, PAGE 55
C M Y K
SUNDAY Vanguard, AUGUST 11, 2013
Okagbare good for long jump gold BY BEN EFE
IGERIA’s medal hopeful at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia, Blessing Okagbare yesterday put herself in a good position
to land the women long jump gold after she recorded the second best jump in the qualifying rounds. Okagbare jumped 6.83m to book an automatic qualification for the final
All eyes still on Usain Bolt •As Blessing Okagbare speaks about Moscow 2013
By ONOCHIE ANIBEZE
HE Olympic Games are for all International Olympic Committee accepted sports. The games are not only known for great victories but also for large participation. The more athletes and fans the grander. These make the difference between the Games and the World Athletics Championships that began yesterday in the ancient city of Moscow in Russia. The World Championships are not for everybody. It is about the few best in athletics. The best in track and field begin yesterday to vie for honours in the 14th edition of the World Championships which promises a $100,000 bonus for any athlete that breaks a world record. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt broke two in Berlin in 2009 and has set himself the target of breaking one in Moscow. He hopes to lower the 19.19 seconds he ran in Berlin where he also set an amazing record in the 100m with 9.58 seconds, a time he would have reduced if he didn’t start celebrating about five metres to the end. Bolt was the name at the Beijing Olympics, the Berlin and the Daegu World Championships, the London Olympics and will be the name in Moscow. He is not up to 30 years but already a legend. That’s what great performance and victory turn an athlete into. Bolt competes against the world in Moscow where Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare is poised to win a medal and make up for the disappointment of the London Olympics last year where the whole country banked on her to place Nigeria on the table. Blessing failed and Nigeria failed. She began the heats in the Long Jump yesterday, an event where she won
bronze in Beijing and which she had the potential to improve on in London. She was not well managed and she concentrated in the sprints, performing well at the pre-games leagues but failing when it mattered most. She has done well at the pre-Moscow leagues even setting an African record in London three weeks ago. She returned to the Bradford Stadium where she placed last in the Olympics final and won in 10.79 seconds. Shelly Ann Fraser, the Jamaican girl who won in Beijing and in London but who suffered a poor start when Blessing won, according to veteran coach, Tony Urhobo, is still the athlete to beat in Moscow. But this is a great and perhaps the last chance for Blessing to outpace the Jamaican in a world event. The reason is simply what age does to athletes. Fraser won her first Olympics gold at 16 in Beijing. She repeated the feat in London only at 20. And in Rio she will still be only 24 when our Blessing should be 28. To some, it may not matter. But to many, four years are a lot in sports. But these games are not only about the 100m for Blessing. She also features in the 200m where experts say she even possesses greater potential because of her slow starts in the 100m. She wins most of her 100m races in the last ten metres. Her start is always slow but she powers home amazingly. That’s why she is better rated to do well in the 200m than in the 100m. But the 100m has it’s glamour and that’s largely why all sprinters stick to it. So, Blessing will compete in Long Jump, 100m, 200m and possibly the 4x100m relay. What an iron lady. And like she did at the London Olympics, she steps on the tracks
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billed for this evening, she was second best to British Shara Procter who leapt 6.85m. Volha Sudarava (6.71m) from Belarus and Darya Klishina (6.70m) of Russia are the top women from the group B qualifier. For defending champion, Brittney Reese of the USA, it was a struggle to make startlist of the final as she could only manage 6.57m to earn the last spot in the list of 12 finalists. Continues on pg 55
*Usain Bolt *Okagbare with the weight of the whole nation on her shoulders. Time is no more when many Nigerians will boast of A standard in the Olympics or World Championships. Cast your mind back to when Nigeria boasted the likes of Mary Onyali, Tina Iheagwam, Falilat Ogunkoya, Beatrice Utondu, Faith Idehen, the Aladefas, Fatima Yusuf, Rufina Uba, Charlton Ehizuelen, Bruce Ijirigho, Innocent Egbu-
nike, Sunday Uti, Moses Ugbusien, Olapade Adenikan, the Ezinwa brothers, Davidson and Osmond, Henry Amike, Yusuf Ali, Paul Emordi etc. That’s long ago. Now, Nigeria is in Moscow with some athletes but only one name, Blessing Okagbare. She is being backed by Delta State government. If she wins any medal in Moscow, she will dedicate it to Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, the governor
of Delta State who has been backing elite athletes but with special attention on Blessing. Blessing has promised him a medal either here in Moscow or later in Rio. But athletes prefer to go one at a time and Moscow is a good place for Blessing to fulfil her promise to Uduaghan. ‘’I want to be quiet now. I want to concentrate. I won’t run any other race until Moscow. I don’t even want to talk. I just
want to concentrate. I know what Nigerians expect of me. I know how hard I have trained and I know how hard I have equally prayed. Every thing is in the hands of God. Let’s not talk now. Let’s talk after the events in Moscow. For now, let’s have peace,’’ Blessing told this reporter in a conference talk with Amaju Pinnick, the Delta State sports boss who carries out the instructions of Dr Uduaghan on athletes in the state.
CROSS WORD PUZZLE ACROSS 1. House of Reps Speaker (8) 5. Assistant (4) 7. Praise (5) 8. Upright (4) 9. Lantern (4) 11. Tradition (6) 13. Lagos masquerade (3) 15. Exclamation (2) 16. Pig’s nose (5) 18. Agent (3) 20. Glitters (6) 24. Forward (5) 25. Nigerian state (6) 27. Boring tool (3) 29. Ghanaian fabric (5) 31. Perform (2) 32. Oshiomhole’s state (3) 34. U.S. currency (6) 36. Vow (4) 38. Musical quality (4) 39. Inclination (5) 40. Eager (4) 41. Damages (8)
DOWN 1. Sample (5) 2. Niger state town (4) 3. Observe (5) 4. Lecture (6) 5. Everyone (3) 6. Use (6) 10. Inquires (4) 12. Carpet (3) 14. Colour (6) 15. Resistance unit (3) 17. Coax (4) 19. Rollicked (6) 21. Hatchet (3) 22. Satisfied (4) 23. Nigerian state (3) 26. Cry of derision (3) 27 . African country (6) 28. Endure (4) 29. Child (3) 30. Spoke (6) 31. Adorn (5) 33. Baking chambers (5) 35. Asterisk (4) 37. Possessed (3)
SOLUTION on page 55
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