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Continued from page 1 met with the President at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja. The meeting, described by sources as private, lasted several hours. Details of what was discussed at the parley were unclear at press time, although it was learnt that it was not unconnected with the crisis plaguing their party – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Sunday Vanguard was made to understand that the five governors insisted on the removal of the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, as their condition to be at peace with the party and the Presidency. The President and the governors held the crucial talks just as sources said the Presidency was banking on the seeming popularity of recently freed exChief Security Officer (CSO) to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza AlMustapha, in his home region of the North to initiate subtle moves to recruit him into Jonathan’s reelection campaign. The sources said case was also being made for a role for the exCSO in the Jonathan government. The overture to Al-Mustapha by the pro-Jonathan elements was, however, causing a row among some northern leaders.

Appeasement

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unday Vanguard sources said the Aso Rock meeting with the five northern governors was initiated by the President to enable him listen to their grievances with a view to appeasing them and preventing them from joining the opposition. The crucial meeting, said to have started around noon, was held under closed doors and the outcome not made known to journalists. During the meeting, Jonathan was said to have pleaded with the governors to sheath their sword and promised to personally look into the sources of their anger. Jonathan reportedly assured the governors that he was aware of their face-off with some influential people close to him and the PDP and was poised to address them in the interest of the party and the country. But the governors allegedly gave the President the condition under which they would support him and the PDP in the 2015 contest, which is that he must sack the PDP National Chairman, Tukur, with immediate effect. The governors, according to the sources, said Tukur was their major headache and they did not

‘Our condition for peace’

curity challenge in the North to an end. The politician said that he was aware of the clout Al-Mustapha has among northern youths and how he could use same to help the administration to overcome the crisis in the North.

‘North never united in elections’

From left: Chief Alex Akinyele, Mr. Alphonsus Ekon, Mr. Alexander Osho, the groom, his wife, Edikan Ray Ekpu, Mr. Sam Amuka, Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Soji Akinrinade, Mr. Dan Agbese, Mr. Yakubu Muhammad and Mr. Ray Ekpu, bride's father, all veteran journalists, at the solemnization of Holy Matrimony between Edikan Ray Ekpu and Alexander Oshiniyi Osho, son of Hon. Fidelis Olukayode Osho, at The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Victory Chapel, Magodo, GRA, Phase II, Lagos. Photo: Bunmi Azeez see how they could continue to work with him. They allegedly insisted that they would never have anything to do with the PDP as long as Tukur continued to preside over it’s affairs.

Dictatorship

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ne of the sources said,”The clear message delivered to the President was that the National Chairman of the PDP, Bamanga Tukur, must be sacked urgently. ”The governors made it clear to Mr. President that the leadership of Tukur has brought an era of dictatorship to the party and alienated the major stakeholders, leaving those who do not have the interest of the party to hold sway. ”It is either the President sacks him to appease the governors and others who are with them or keeps the Chairman and loses them”. Sunday Vanguard learnt that the governors had earlier met for 45 minutes at the Sokoto State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro to take a common position on what to discuss with Jonathan. After the meeting, they proceeded to the Villa at about noon. The governors had, last week, expressed anger with the Presidency and the PDP leadership over the way things were going in the party and the country. They met with three former heads of state - Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar – in Abeokuta, Ogun State and Minna, Niger State, and

SOLUTION

complained to them about how they were being alienated and maltreated by the Presidency and the PDP despite their enormous contributions to the party. Although the outcome of their deliberations with the former leaders was not made public, IBB lauded the five governors and described them as ‘real patriots’. Lamido is said to have been singled out by the Presidency for isolation for daring to declare to contest against Jonathan in 2015 while Aliyu is seen as being penalised for saying that Jonathan signed a deal with northern governors to run for only a term. Nyako is being castigated and kept at bay for trying to contest the control of PDP structures of Adamawa with Tukur. The Political Adviser to the President, Ahmed Gulak, described the five governors as agents of the opposition and warned them to stop heating up the polity.

Wooing Al-Mustapha

Meanwhile, banking on the seeming popularity of AlMustapha, especially in his home region of the North, the Presidency was said to have initiated subtle moves to recruit him into the re-election campaign of Jonathan. Sunday Vanguard investigations revealed that political strategists have, however, cautioned the President not to be directly involved in the effort to woo the former CSO to the late Abacha to his side but to use sundry northern and southern groups to do the job. It was learnt that, based on a well-coordinated strategy to draw the Abacha era strong man into the Jonathan’s campaign, several northern groups, which had hitherto voiced opposition to the reelection of Jonathan in 2015, had been approached by top government officials and asked to work with Al-Mustapha, who is now seen as a hero in the region. As part of the innocuous campaign, the erstwhile CSO is said to have been encouraged to meet with top government officials in the country, particularly governors, ministers and leaders of ethnic groups, whose support is considered relevant to the attainment of the set political target in the 2015 presidential poll. The government, it was

learnt, has facilitated the meetings of Al-Mustapha with top government officials in the North and the military high command in Abuja with a view to quickening his return to the army and promotion. A military source said that the former CSO was scheduled to meet with the Chief of the Army Staff on Friday but did not say whether the two men actually met and what transpired between them. The plan, according to a source, is to return to the army, retire him with full benefits and give him a role in the government of Jonathan.

The kite

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pparently acting the script, the Presidency is reported to have made the first move to test the water by mobilising some northern groups to fly the kite that it was the active support of key government officials that enabled the former CSO to regain his freedom. As a first step, former Abacha Minister of Education, Dauda Birmah, on Friday, led some groups to the National Chairman of the PDP, Bamanga Tukur, in Abuja and adopted Jonathan as their choice for the Presidency in 2015.The groups said that they were grateful to the Presidency for ensuring the release of the former CSO from prison after 15 years, adding that they were convinced that the release would not have been possible without the support of the President and the PDP Chairman. Among the groups that went with Birmah to see Tukur were the Northern Elders Forum, North/ South New Nigeria and Fresh Air Continuity Group. Coincidentally, while the Birmah-led groups were meeting with Tukur, some other groups opposed to the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) issued a strong statement in Abuja condemning any attempt by some northern leaders to work against the return of Jonathan in 2015. Another group, believed to have been recruited into the 2015 campaign-Coalition of Concerned Northern Youths, CNY- carpeted NEF for daring to insist that power must return to the region in 2015, asking the protagonists to apologise over their failure in the past. A top northern politician, who pleaded anonymity, supported a role for Al-Mustapha in the Jonathan government, saying the involvement of the former CSO could bring the current se-

But the spokesman for the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Anthony Sani, said that it was wrong for anybody or group in the North to insist that the area should vote for a particular candidate in any election, arguing that the region has never been united in elections. He cited the case of President Shehu Shagari contesting against Mallam Aminu Kano in the 1979 elections and winning against all calculations of the N o r t h . Sani said, “I’ve never seen the North united politically and don’t even see the basis of such unity. ”We don’t want the North to be divided along political lines. What I know is that we must work together for the progress of Nigeria because neither all the votes of the North alone nor that of the South alone can make Jonathan to win the next election”. The ACF spokesperson said the North supported Al-Mustapha’s release because of the monumental injustice of his incarceration for about 15 years.

Word of caution for Abacha’s CSO

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he Secretary General of

NEF, Prof Ango Abdullahi, took a swipe at Birmah, saying that he was speaking for himself and not the North as he was not mandated to do so. Abdullahi, a former VC of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, told Sunday Vanguard that while the former minister was entitled to his opinion as a northerner and Nigerian, he should avoid the temptation of acting any role not assigned him by the North. The NEF scribe also warned AlMustapha to be wary of the carrots being dangled before him by government and individuals so as not to burn his fingers and run into avoidable disaster. ”Al-Mustapha should be careful so as not to be used as a pawn by the political predators in the land and dumped at the end of the day. If I were him, I would have been very prayerful to God and take time to acquaint myself with issues in the country after 15 years of isolation,” Abdullahi said. ”It is up to him to accept that his popularity is principally borne by the sympathy that Nigerians have for him for being unduly incarcerated”. A top government official in Kano also warned the former Abacha CSO not to mistake the sympathy of Nigerians over his unjust imprisonment for political popularity. ”Al-Mustspha does not have what it takes to be a politician and those who are goading him to replace some government officials should watch out for the consequence,” the official said. Although the Presidency has not reacted to the development, the PDP National Chairman, Tukur, on Friday, asked northern groups to stand solidly behind Jonathan to develop the countr y. Tukur said,”Don’t be intimidated by anybody in speaking out your mind because Nigeria is your only country. It is a thing of joy for us that you have come to openly identify with the solid achievements of President Jonathan when others in the North are giving the erroneous impression that all is not well.”


PAGE 6 —SUNDAY VANGUARD, JULY 28, 2013

2015 Presidency: ACF comments threaten national unity — BDU L

BY OLAYINKA LATONA

BY SIMON EBEGBULEM

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HE Benin Development Union (BDU), a socio-cultural organization in Edo State, yesterday, accused the ACF of heating up the polity through what it described as “unnecessary inflammatory comments” that the Presidency must shift to the North in 2015. The group said the ACF comments were capable of causing another civil war and therefore urged the Federal Government to arrest the ACF leaders. They also urged Governor Adams Oshiomhole to remember the support he got from Binis in the last gubernatorial election in

Edo State by handing over to a Bini man in 2016, just as they called on the chairmen in the seven local government areas in Edo South senatorial district, to ensure that they provide basic amenities such as hospitals, markets, electricity and pipe borne water for their people. The group made their position known through a communiqué signed by its National Facilitator and former Edo State Representative in the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Mathew Iduoriyekemwen, Aiyemenkhue Edokpolo Secretary and Jefferson Uwoghiren, after a meeting in Benin-City.

While frowning at the threats from the ACF, BDU said: “They are making it look as if heaven will fall if power does not shift to the North. We do not only view the statement as reckless, undemocratic and unfortunate but promoting ethnicity and polarisation of the polity. Nigerians of that status as statesmen should be encouraging the younger generations to imbibe the principles of meritocracy rather than mediocrity. “We however hail the Arewa Youth Forum (A.Y.F) for disassociating themselves from the few self seeking leaders who are bent on plunging the Nigerian – state into topsyturvy”.

AGOS State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners held a prayer and fasting session over non-payment of its members by the state government. The state chairman and South-west coordinator of the union, Alhaji Nojeemdeen Ibrahim, said the union decided to embark on fasting and prayer because they had embarked on several strategies to demand their entitlements from the state government but their efforts proved abortive. “We are dying. That is why we resorted to fasting and prayer in the belief that God will touch the heart of government,” Ibrahim s a i d . According to him, the union had made several

PENSIONERS CRY OUT OVER NON-PAYMENT

‘We are dying’ efforts to demand for the gratuity of its members who retired 13 years ago but the state government turned deaf ears to it. His words: “We have held several meetings with the government but the people in charge are playing politics with our demands.

Many times, they told us that they had taken it to the state executive council, but we know they are just trying to play pranks. “Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun and Oyo governments do not owe it pensioners; it is only Lagos and Osun that are stubborn in this regard.”

Ekaette mourns First Lady’s mother

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IFE of the pioneer Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Senator Eme Ufot Ekaette, has condoled the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, over the untimely death of her mother, Madam Charity Oba. In a condolence message, Ekaete, who is the immediate past Senate Committee

Chair man on Women Affairs, described the death of Madam Oba as unfortunate and a colossal loss to her community and Nigeria. Ekaette noted the pains the sudden death must have caused the First Lady and her family and the vacuum the demise had created in her community and Nigeria.

Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke(2nd left) flanked by Chairman Planning Committee of the Institute of Technology and Management, Prof Ivara Esu(l), Commissioner Special Projects, Mr. Bassey Ika Oqua and Deputy Governor Mr. Efiok Cobham(R)examining the building plan of the proposed Institute in Ugep, Yakuerr local government area, yesterday.

Why Globacom is sponsoring African Fashion Week

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ATIONAL telecoms o p e r a t o r , Globacom, says it was inspired to throw its weight behind the African Fashion Show holding in London from 1st to 4th August because of the lofty aim of the organisers to promote talented African budding designers and artists In a press statement, the telecoms company stated that it identifies with the objectives of the organisers to “celebrate our unique and diverse African cultural heritage”. Globacom added that the Fashion week was a laudable platform for promoting the work of African and African inspired designers and fine artists globally. The telecoms company also promised to continue to be associated with the development of Africa’s rich culture, its works of art and its priceless body of literature. Part of the activities lined up for the four-day show is the African Arts and Fashion Banquet which comes up on 4th August at Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, London. Glo stated that it was impressed with decision of

the organizers to set up an endowment fund for talented student designers/ artists and emerging designers/artists. It added that Globacom, being an indigenous African company is committed to youth empowerment. The platform is expected to create opportunities to foster partnerships with business communities globally, thereby creating jobs, generating wealth and eradicating poverty in Africa. Meanwhile, the company has put in place a promo that will see subscribers on Glo Infinitizer package winning an all-expense paid trip to the African Fashion week in London. Globacom said that in addition to the subscribers who are already on the Glo Infinitizer platform, other postpaid subscribers who use N3000 and above also stand a chance to win the golden tickets if they migrate to Glo Infinitizer. Glo Infinitizer is an amazing postpaid product launched recently which allows subscribers on the platform to call any of the 26 million lines on the Glo network free.


SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013—PAGE 7

Gov. Peter Obi of Anambra State (left) and Sen. Ben Obi, during a meeting to settle the crisis between Catholics and the Umudioka Awka community over cultural matters at Umudioka Village Hall, yesterday

L-R: Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Suraj Adekunbi; Guest Lecturer, Prof. Is-hak Oloyede; Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; and his wife, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun, during the 2013 Special Ramadan Iftar/ Lecture in Abeokuta...yesterday.

APC REGISTRATION CONTROVERSY

‘We will take over Abuja if …’ BY JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU

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LL Progressive Congress, APC, has vowed to occupy all public places including the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Abuja, the Federal Capital, and the National Assembly if after July 31, the electoral umpire refuses to register it as a political party. A source in INEC allegedly hinted that as a result of pressure from ‘the powers-that-be’, APC may not be registered as the Commission use the court case brought against INEC by the rival African Peoples Congress, which is also laying claim to the APC acronym, as the reason. Reacting to the alleged plan, a member of the disbanded Joint Merger Committee and National Deputy Secretary of Congress for Progressive Change, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, dismissed it saying the INEC committee that inspected the APC office and the documents presented to it gave the merger of political parties a pass mark. Obono-Obla told Sunday Vanguard: “There is no iota of truth in that story. It is speculative because my information from INEC is that APC scored 98 per cent when the INEC team went to inspect our secretariat and look into our documentation. They gave

us 98 per cent and the committee recommended strongly that we have met all the requirements and we should be registered. “INEC met on Thursday to confirm that report and indeed all the reports were approved, so this one you are saying is strange because that case by the phantom APC (African Peoples Congress) has nothing to do with us and it cannot be used as a guise to deny us registration. If that is done, we will know that truly INEC is an appendage of the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party). “I do not believe that INEC is an appendage of PDP but if they try to deny us registration, then, I will know that there is no hope for Nigeria again. The only option for the country will be what is happening in Egypt, what is happening in Turkey what is happening in Brazil. “We must mobilize all our supporters all over the country to come to Abuja and embark on hunger strike until it is registered because there is nothing we have done that will deny us registration”. The CPC chieftain and a former governorship candidate on the platform of National Conscience Party, NCP, in Cross Rivers State, said that APC had applied to INEC to be registered as a political party on June 8th, after fulfilling all the requirements and was deemed to have been

registered going by the law after 30 days of the application. He however said that INEC claimed that the 30 days started counting from July 1st when the names of the interim national officers were submitted to the Commission and that after July 31st, APC by law would be deemed as being registered.

Obi, Umeh have failed us—APGA BY DAPO AKINREFON

ATIONAL Working Committee of the All N Progressive Grand Alli-

ance, APGA, says the moves to reconcile Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State and APGA’s National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, does not enjoy its support. In a statement by APGA’s National Publicity Secretary, Benard Akoma, the NWC expressed worry over what it described as the refusal by Obi and Umeh to involve them in the truce bid.. The committee said failure to address the internal problems that has plagued the party will prolong the crisis in APGA. The NWC said: “We the eighteen members of the National Working Committee of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, have noticed with dismay

Experts blame quacks for avoidable deaths, seek Jonathan’s intervention BY ADENUGA

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ADEOLA

R E S I D E N T G o o d l u c k Jonathan has been urged to use his office to eliminate quacks in the medical diagnostic laboratory sector to save millions of human lives facing the risk of death due to unprofessional practice. In a statement issued in Lagos, the Initiative

for Medical Diagnostic Awareness (IMDA) said several cases of deaths across the country are linked to amateur operators of medical laboratories that issue wrong diagnostic results to patients. The Executive Director of IMDA, Mr Julius Abimbola Adekoya, a medical laboratory expert and an alumni of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), said the Minister of Health, through

Also reacting to the alleged plan not to register APC, the National Publicity Secretary of CPC, Rotimi Fashakin said that it was unethical and out of place to react to rumour but added that the law governing political parties in merger arrangement was clear likewise the law for a new party registration.

the Medical Laboratory Council of Nigeria, should map out strategies to shut down medical laboratories operated by unqualified personnel. IMDA said it supports the motion of Hon Patrick Ikhariale in the House of Representatives in support of an effective diagnosis monitoring mechanism. “Nigeria’s Primary Health Care cannot succeed without an effective diagnostic mechanism."

recent purported reconciliation romance on APGA crisis between the Executive Governor of Anambra State and the embattled National Chairman of our party, Victor Umeh, filtering into our ears. Though none of them has made any effort to get us involved in their moves, we wish to state unequivocally that the move does not enjoy our support and both parties are on their own.”

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ORTHERN States Governors Forum (NSGF) has commiserated with the family of the late journalism icon and public affairs commentator, Alhaji Alade Odunewu, Alias Allah De, who died on Thursday at the age of 85. Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, described the late former Chairman of the Nigerian Press Council as a thorough bred journalist who touched the lives of many in a positive way and helped to strengthen freedom and democracy. The forum described his death as a great loss to the journalism profession and humanity in general. “From his days as a newspaper columnist, through his membership of the Federal Electoral Commission(FEDECO), to his appointment as the Chairman of the Nigerian Press Council, and his life in retirement, the late Odunewu remained with the people ,” said a statement signed by Governor Aliyu’s Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo. Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) expressed deep

Northern govs mourn journalism icon, Alade Odunewu •He was a shining star — ACN sadness at the death of Odunewu, saying he will forever be a shining star of the journalism profession. In a statement in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the ACNdescribed Odunewu as a strong moral icon not only for members of his profession but for all. “While we are deeply saddened by the exit of this journalism great, we take consolation in the fact that he left behind an everlasting legacy, thanks to his strength of character and patriotism, which many have attested to, his decency and commitment to higher values, his uncommon professionalism in his chosen career and, above all, his humanity,” the statement said.

Africa is a kaleidoscope of beauty — Obioma Liyel-Imoke BY YETUNDE AREBI, DEPUTY WOMAN EDITOR

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FRICA is a kaleidoscope of beauty, the wife of the governor of Cross River State, Mrs. Obioma LiyelImoke, has said. According to a press statement signed by Mr. Kammonke Abam, Director of Media, Office

of the First Lady, Mrs. Liyel-Imoke stated: “Africa has pristine beauty. It is the richest and one of the most colourful continents. In fact, it is God’s expression of splendor ”. Speaking at the Grand Finale of Miss USA Africa in Baltimore, Maryland, USA where she served as Co-chair, the First Lady described Africa as a rainbow. “That is why all

Rivers crisis: NUJ warns of threat to democracy BY SIMON EBEGBULEM

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HE Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Zone F, South South, has expressed concern over the protracted political crisis in Rivers State and pleaded with stakeholders, particularly the Presidency, to find solution to the crisis in order to save democracy in the country. The union also commended the developmental strides of Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State , asking other governors in

the zone to emulate him to achieve accelerated development in the Niger Delta. This was contained in their communiqué signed by the Vice President of the Zone, Seiyefa Uzaka, and Secretary, Comrade Eddy Ogwude, at the end of a twoday zonal meeting of the NUJ in Benin-City. While commending the comments made recently by the Presidency on the issue, the communiqué warned that the crisis, if not settled urgently, might lead to a break down of law and order in the Southsouth.

of us whose roots are traced to this great continent need to be very proud of our hallowed ancestry ”, she said. “I am and will always be proud of Africa. For many of us, we have only one continent and that continent is Africa” she added. Represented by the Commissioner for Social Welfare and Community Development, Mrs. Patricia Inyang Endeley, the governor’s wife praised the organizers of the pageant for taking beauty “beyond the ephemeral display of fleshly and curvy endowments to a deep soul searching, cultural affinity and self-discovery project”. She revealed that she initiated the Carnival Calabar Queen, as part of the annual Calabar Festival, a 32-day celebration of art, culture, drama, friendship and love in my state Cross River State, Nigeria as a platform to address the unacceptably high spate of teenage pregnancy and child abandonment in Cross River State.


PAGE 8—SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013

Lagos: Deportation is lawless, vexatious

Dare to pray

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OES every body pray? Sounds like a stupid question and most people will answer “but of course”. Or perhaps the question should be are we expecting our prayers to be answered? I listened to a sage (Dr Christopher Kolade) a while back and he asked a question that was inspirational and faith building. He said “I know you believe in God but do you believe him?” Its a question that calls to the deep and he had me musing for quite a while. I believe in God, but that’s hardly any work or stretch or faith. Most people believe in God, we have been conditioned to do so by our parents, our experiences and environment but believing God requires a spiritual, emotional and physical transformation. I am prayerfully in the process of transformation, trying to build up a

deep reservoir of faith that would help me believe God, believe his integrity, his truth, his divine nature and His unshakeable and unrepentant love. If and when I fully believe God then I would pray, I would believe and finally receive. Believing God is the greatest act of faith, its stepping off the edge of a cliff without any safe guards. Its a calm acceptance of anything and everything; its the stillness in every storm, peace in war, strength in weakness, no worries, no anxiety, no cares! A situation unfolded that had me awe struck by the greatness and absolute sovereignty of God. We all mouth religious platitudes; God is awesome, God is great, God is powerful but when these traits of God manifest, words are lost. There are no words to capture the very essence of God. Let

wealth. By its action, the government of Lagos ethnicizes the residency rights of Nigerians, and makes those who choose to pursue their constitu-

The forced deportation of Nigerians from any part of Nigeria denies Nigerian citizens their right of domicile, and threatens or questions the very existence of Nigeria as a commonwealth

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tional rights to live in any part of the federation insecure and potential targets of xenophobic violence and official discrimination. It also usurps the power of the federal government and disregards the constitution of the Federal Republic in a willful and egregious manner. It is as though Raji Fashola’s administration is challenging the Federal government under whose protective power

troops to enforce their recall and rehabilitation. It has happened in a different clime: when the state of Mississippi, in disdain of the laws of the United States sought to maintain discriminatory laws, it took the Kennedy administration to enforce the rights of American citizens by deploying the National Guard. It might have to come to that in Lagos. This is the second time that the administration in

me share with you an experience of the miraculous and provoke you to transform into believing God and living in the realm of possibilities. Prison ministry is something I am really passionate about. I like spending time sharing the word with hearts that are genuinely thirsty for living water. I also like giving my time to the rehabilitation and even

men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” Time and chance determine where we end up; some have ended up in palaces, some in the grave, some in prison. So back to my experience. I am not intimidated by prison. I don’t think that all disciples are called to the limelight or to lead large congregations. Some of us work deep in the trenches showing Christ’s love to those the world despise or even resent. There is no applause or gratification but it’s so very worthwhile. It's not for every one and some people are genuinely appalled by

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of the federation as shared national space; the powers of the federal government, and the rights conferred on the Nigerian citizen by the constitution of the federation of Nigeria. It challenges the core principle of nation and nationalbelonging. Never mind that the constitution that the Lagos state government flouts so cavalierly is the very same document or authority from which the entity of Lagos also derives its own legitimacy. The Fashola administration, in embarking on these illegalities; in threading this route in solving a clearly sensitive social problem, subverts a key or cardinal provision of the constitution of this republic that guarantees every citizen of Nigeria protection and equal residency in any part of the federation. The forced deportation of Nigerians from any part of Nigeria denies Nigerian citizens their right of domicile, and threatens or questions the very existence of Nigeria as a common-

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NCE again, the Lagos state gov ernment deported Nigerians from a Nigerian state; an action that is as lawless as it is vexatious. Newspaper reports last week indicated that the Lagos authorities out of possibly excessive enthusiasm, and certainly out of pitiable ignorance and overreach, rounded up all manners of the city poor from the streets, sixtyseven of them, put them in a vehicle, and transported them across the bridge to Onitsha, Anambra state. The Lagos state government crossed two state lines to dump its human cargo. The question of course is, why Onitsha? It is provocative, both as a question and as an action. It underlines that the Lagos state government is in the care of those who think the immigrant poor should not be seen, and who promote an active policy of xenophobia. These deportations have become a ridiculous challenge by the government of Lagos on the validity

lives every Nigerian citizen, by saying, “ what can the federal government do? Lagos state can act above the laws of the republic and nothing can happen!” Something ought to happen, and very quickly to forestall this extremely discriminatory and narrow-minded action against Nigerian citizens by its constituent part. The federal government must restore the rights of these Nigerians deported from Lagos, and enjoin these rights, even if it takes the deployment of federal

It is human to try and explain the miraculous with logic but God can’t be explained. This act of release was undoubtedly a miracle

recreation of prisoners. I recognise that the difference between them and us is just grace. To quote the greatest sage that ever lived, King Solomon “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to

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prison but to each his own. I didn’t expect to get as attached to the inmates as I have become and praying for and with them is an experience. A few weeks ago I wrote about an inmate who was sentenced to death. I had been in awe of her faith. This lady embodied faith and believed God for her

Lagos is conducting this ritual of mass deportation of Nigerian citizens from Lagos, on the rather scandalous claim that people migrate from other states to Lagos. Duh! Migration is the oldest human pastime: people seek new pastures; new dwellings; new economic and social life. Intranational migration is the reality of shared nationhood, and the constitution of the Federal Republic guarantees that Nigerians shall have the right to live anywhere it so pleases them in this republic. There is no abridgement to that right in the letters of the law. For the avoidance of doubt, let me cite the very words of the Nigerian constitution to which the Lagos state government pays very scant regard: “Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby, or exit therefrom.” There is no part of the laws of Nigeria that empowers a state - its governor, or its state Assembly, or any of their agents - to forcefully remove any Nigerian, against their will, to another state. Chapter 2 of the Nigerian constitution that spells out the fundamental objectives and principles of state policy holds that “…national integration shall be actively encouraged, whilst discrim-

ination on the grounds of place of origin, sex, religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association shall be prohibited.” 3(a) in fact notes unambiguously that the state is obliged to “provide adequate facilities for, and encourage free mobility of people, goods, and services throughout the federation.” The Lagos governor, who apparently ordered such a deportation has therefore acted with utter malice and in utter disdain of the laws of the federation. We are told, that he is to boot, a senior advocate of Nigeria even though he is busy advocating and applying a Third Reich solution to urban poverty. The Lagos state government is indeed creating a very dangerous precedent that not only questions the sovereign basis of the Federal Republic, but threatens its very meaning. The solution to urban poverty in Lagos is not to haul the poor to other states, but to design and create effective social programs, that require deeper thinking, rather than abrasive, knee-jerk policies that tend to perpetuate class and ethnic ostracism and divisions. To put this very mildly: Lagos was built by Nigerians with massive Nigerian resources, and it is a migrants’ city. Fashola’s administration cannot hide its dirt-poor under the carpet and by forced deportations.

freedom. I prayed about her freedom especially as her case was before the supreme court but I can’t say that my faith was anywhere near hers. Truth be told, her faith encouraged me. I asked every person around me to pray and we had a prayer chain that stretched across the globe. Vivian, the lady in question had entered prison at 24 and she was now 36. This was a total of 12 years, most of it on death row. In prison she continued her education and was not dismayed by her condemnation; she began her postgraduate (masters’) programme and continued with life like she was preparing for it to begin when she left prison, not if. Her faith in my view showed what it is to not just believe in God but to believe Him. She left reality of condemnation to live in the realm of possibilities of deliverance and freedom. I daresay many prisoners would have laughed at her position, even friends and family; reality was not looking good. Her belief was justified and come Friday, the 12th of July, 2013, 12 years and 12 days after her incarceration began, she was set free, discharged and acquitted of all charges by the Supreme Court of the land. On the 16th of July,

she walked out a free woman, a most emotional sight! I watched her roll on the floor as she began to give thanks to the God of possibilities and we all began to sing. It was an awesome experience. It is human to try and explain the miraculous with logic but God can’t be explained. This act of release was undoubtedly a miracle. I believe it to be a Nebuchadnezzar type experience and still expect even greater things for Vivian. So back to my question; what do you expect when you pray? Are you praying out of desperation or frustration? Such prayers are forgotten and never backed by faith. Do you think God is a sugar daddy or magician who does instant tricks? Do you think you can receive without waiting for as long as it takes for God to move? It took Vivian 12 years to get her answer and she stayed rooted in faith, believing God all that while. Knowing her and being just a little part of her journey has been a blessing. It validates my convictions and I believe God more for it. I am choosing to be transformed day after day, to live above reality and live in the realm of possibilities. I dare to pray, to believe God, to accept that with God, nothing shall be impossible.


SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 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: sunvanguardmail@yahoo.com

Our under-age girls need quality education not forced marriage Dear Sir,

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NIVERSALLY,a minor or under-age is someone under a certain age who is not emotionally independent enough to initiate or bear responsibility for certain or critical decision. At such age he/she should be aided,equipped through parental upbringing and state institutions to prepare her for future challenges and contribute her quota to her immediate family,community and societal development. In the event that her parents are deceased or incapable of discharging their paternal obligation,the state or orphanage home can take full responsibility for her upbringing till adulthood. Though marriageable age of a person and the prerequisites vary according to jurisdictions. But if I am not mistaken,the acceptable universal age is 18 years.In fact,Nigeria is amongst Fifty-five countries that are signatories to the Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage, and Registration of Marriages, which require them to specify a minimum marriage age by statute law‚ thus overriding customary, religious, and tribal laws. When the marriageable age under a law of a religious community is lower than that under the law of the land, the state law prevails. However, some religious communities do not accept the supremacy of state law in this respect, which leads to child marriage or forced marriage. Thus the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery adopted by United Nations in 1956

requires minimum age for marriage to prevent forced marriage for women and girls. But the recent debate in the House over under-age marriage bill in Nigeria is akin to perverts and paedophiles making laws to energize their libido. Our vulnerable under-age girls don't need marriage now but free,qualitative education,social security and stringent laws to protect them from oppressive religious dogma,rapists and sexual predators disguising as guardians, parents,family friends .e.t.c. The task

before our legislators is not to expose these under age girls to the whims and caprices of mischievous sexual mercenaries but to enact enabling laws that will make them competitive,dynamic and competent to face the challenges of a knowledgebased world.By the way,what is wrong if we have a law which makes it mandatory for our under-age citizens to acquire minimum of secondary education or at least posses a skill in any field of human endeavour before attaining the age of adulthood (18

years old)? Securing the future of our youths is the primary duty of the state and which is enshrined in our constitution. To act contrary is abdication of duty,responsibility and lack of timely intervention is tantamount to criminal negligence. Posterity will not forgive this generation if we fail collectively to protect the fundamental interest of our citizens that are weak and vulnerable. Akinola M.A. Writes from Verona,Italy

Mutu: Model of politics without bloodshed Dear Sir,

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HE people of Bomadi/Patani Federal Constituency represented by Hon. Nicholas Ebomo Mutu in the National Assembly deserve to continually enjoy their right to the dividends of democracy, which is the parameter for quality representation. The high political ideals exhibited by Hon. Nicholas Mutu represent the demands of the people in their quest for genuine development, which we as a people of the zone cannot afford to compromise. Political consideration is based on how best a leader is able to imbibe the basic norms that connote the yearnings and aspirations of the people. Mutu has long learned this and deployed same to the benefit of his constituency in the field and his sterling performance remains a challenge and the albatross of his political detractors and competitors. In the face of Mutu’s scholarship programmes and infrastructural projects resulting in the visible advancement of the people/terrain, it is ridiculous and pointless to embark on a campaign of

calumny, libel and outright character assassination as some non-performing politicians are wont to do and did against Hon. Nicholas using unruly youths in Bomadi recently. It is a gimmick that cannot fly! Their tricks cannot fly because over the years during contests for elective positions, Hon. Mutu has always engaged his opponents in a healthy contest devoid of bloodshed, kidnapping, which distinguished him from many politicians in the zone. He did not need these vices to record his impressive run of victories once as a council chairman in 1997 under the United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP) and three times now to the National Assembly where he is silently touching lives. In all these electoral contests, it is significant to point out that no life was lost. It is therefore ridiculous to think that he would need to kill or kidnap anybody to achieve victory in 2015. What with his growing impressive performance on the ground! It is reasonable to believe that the years ahead hold a lot of promise for the people as Hon. Mutu grows as a representative

with a milky heart. The years ahead encourage belief that he would continually justify his mandate of working at “the greatest good for the greatest number ”. The people and landscape of Bomadi/Patani federal constituency would attest anytime that Hon. Mutu by some deft political finesse added the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), an interventionist agency as a tool, in transforming the people and region. In holding the foregoing view, the model of the American Parliament, which many African countries including Nigeria adopted, is our guide. It permits a lawmaker to return to the House for as many times the lawmaker is willing to serve his people. This is because the longer a lawmaker serves, the more experienced he becomes in the legislative business and the better the people are represented. Therefore, calling on Hon. Nicholas Mutu to step down, not only amounts to disservice to the people of Bomadi/Patani Federal Constituency, but also, an attempt to mete out injustice to them. Comrade Ebiyekefe Stow is President Niger Delta Liberty Movement (NDLM)


PAGE 10—SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013

“After that incident, he called the chairman of Okrika Local Government and sacked him for holding a reception in our honour; that boy was the first victim”. Mrs Patience Jonathan, PUNCH, July 18, 2013, p.2.

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FTER all the lies and denials by the presidency, Mrs Patience Jonathan had revealed the truth; which most people knew anyway. She and her husband are at loggerheads with the Governor of Rivers State. She, on account of her wish that parts of Okrika be spared from demolition. Those with any memory at all will recollect the incident. Contrary to what Mrs Patience Jonathan told the visiting bishops from the Southsouth, the incident which created the bad blood between her and the governor occured, not four years ago, but in September 2010 – not even three years ago. She had gone to Rivers State, just four months, after her husband became the President. At a public gathering, while the Governor was delivering an address, Mrs Patience had got up; snatched the microphone from Amaechi and SHOUTED, “Listen to me; you should stop using the word must. I am from Okrika. You MUST [capital mine] use diplomacy”. Apparently, MUST is a word only to be used by president’s wives. Although I supported

her for exercising her rights to free speech, I condemned her total breach of protocol and good manners. The Governor of any state does not take instructions from the wife of a President in a federation. He is subject only to those who voted for him and nobody else. I had also, in September 2010, warned the President to keep his wife at home. She might do more damage than good to his cause – given her temperament which was on display that day. A visitor, no matter how highly placed does not insult her host in public. That is only good manners. The person urging the governor to “use diplomacy” obviously does not know the meaning of the word herself. Where was the diplomacy in her open outburst? Now we have catastrophe staring us in the face in Rivers State. Instead of leaving the matter to her media spin-doctors to handle, she receives bishops from the Southsouth and literally claims to be involved in the fracas. Mr Ayo Osinlu, Mrs Jonathan’s spokesman, Doyin Okupe and Reuben Abati now have a whale of a job to do maintaining that the presidency is not involved in the Rivers State crisis after that revelation. H o w e v e r, one word, BOY, reportedly used by Mrs Jonathan, with regard to the former Chairman of Okrika Local Government, should attract the attention and condemnation of eve-

Can the real Nigerians please stand up? “The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all.” -Aung San Suu Kyi

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HE emotive assault in the last couple of days has renewed the debate for the rights of women in Nigeria. I am not going to rehash the high voltage of sentiments of the current protest movement but what I am going to say is that the current debate has open old wounds and it is high time we lanced the boil and let the healing and progress begin. It is a known fact that Nigeria is not alone when it comes to the discrimination, violence and other injustices against women. We should though, not pride ourselves that we are not alone. When something is wrong, it is wrong, no matter how many people do it or practise it. We should in-

stead, work towards readdressing the prejudices and imbalance against women. So without the proper and sensible dialogue, we will perpetuate the ever increasing inaction and nefarious acts against women in terms of poverty, deprivation and the deterioration of the quality of life for majority of Nigerian girls and women folk. We cannot afford to let the same old chestnut of this is “our culture and our religious” reasons to colour our sense of decency and morality to condemn half of our nation to the rubbish heap. The facts are there for all to see: Nigeria ranks 118 of 134 countries in the Gender Equality Index. And according to the 2012 Gender in Nigeria report indicates that gender inequality not only exists in our country but it is at an alarming and worrying level. The country’s lawmakers can best spend their valuable time (which we pay

ryone. Neither the Queen of England, nor the wife of the US President will call a public official, even gateman, over 40 years old “boy”. Was it arrogance of power or inadequate mastery of the English language or something else best left unsaid that dictated the use of the word? Later her spokesman announced that she called grown ups, almost as old as herself, her “sons”. In which civilized area of the world does the President’s wife, the wife of a public servant, go about calling her husband’s em-

,

Did Patience Jonathan call a grown man “boy”?

asking her to advise her husband to resign voluntarily and hand over to VicePresident Jonathan. My reason was simple, the man would only return to Nigeria in a vegetative state and IN A BOX. Well, he came in an air-ambulance, which is only a decorated box and never resumed office for one day. However, I also wrote that there are two names that should not be on the 2011 ballot box – Yar’Adua and Jonathan. The late President should not have been a candidate for obvious reasons – despite the efforts of some people to represent him if he had survived the illness. With respect to Jonathan, the following was the position. “His name should not be on the ballot papers; but, if

Poor Ngozi will have no trophy to carry to her new assignment – whatever that might be in life. She slammed the World Bank door in her own face when she contested the position of President with the American nominee in 2012

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ployers as “sons” and “daughters”? Is this the sort of language she uses abroad on state visits? ADVENTURES IN PROPHECY – 11 “It is unthinkable that wisdom should ever be popular”, Johann Goethe, 17491832. (VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p 275). As we add another to our growing list of disasters, all manmade, in Rivers State Nigeria, it is probably time to remind us again of the warnings that were given on this page in 2009; and which were ignored by the vast majority of My Fellow Countrymen. Shortly after Yar’Adua was packed off to Saudi, I wrote an Open Letter to Mrs Turai Yar’Adua,

he uses the power of incumbency to get elected, disaster would follow”. The public can be forgiven because the second part was not published by the Sunday Editor at the time who considered it too apocalyptic. I wish he had. Today, real disaster stares us in the face as a nation. Below is one of them. WHEN WILL NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA DEPART? “No man steps into the same river twice”, Chinese proverb. The former World Bank Managing Director, two times Finance Minister, gambled with her career at the Bank to accept the job for the second time. She achieved at least two suc-

them so handsomely for!) to addressing the lack of gender balance in the economy, education, politics, health, access to justice and almost all areas of human development. The longer they look for distractions and more the citizens revert to their respective religious and tribal trenches and the less likelihood it would be for Nigeria to take its pride of place in the league of productive and civil so-

ills by marrying them young, they are being economical with the truth. In fact, they are being delusional and uncaring. These young girls are too young, physically and mentally not ready to be at the beck and call of these men who should know better. These young impressionables are treated with kindness or respect and definitely it is not done out of altruism or selflessness. On the contrary,

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We should be doing something to improve the lots of women, not reducing their rights and marginalising their opportunities in life

ciety. We have been in denial for far too long and so often we encourage such incorrigible attitude and discriminatory practices towards young girls and women in our country for peace of mind and to avoid disagreements. We are only storing problems for the future. The opportunity of a better and inspirational choice should not be for the rich and the educated, it should be for all irrespective of their religion, tribes or gender. When the elite and the powerful lay claims to “saving” the virtues of the young girls from societal evils and

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these girls are traded like cattle and commodities, the life that awaits these young, naive and helpless girls is a life of servitude; making babies, keeping the households, rearing children, taking on responsibilities way beyond their capabilities. They often die in childbirth, or left with damaged bodies, physically and emotionally damaged. When they no longer serve their purpose they are often tossed aside for a young and newer models. So what happens to them after? They live a life of poverty, destitution and abandonment because they are dependent on the whims of their husbands.

cesses during her first tour of office. First, she got Nigeria out of the debt trap – at a steep price; it must be added. Then she started the monthly publication of federally allocated revenue to states – giving us the first inkling of what our governors were carrying home to be “shared”. I welcomed her when she came; while drawing her attention to the risks she was taking for very little, if anything to show, at the end of her stay this time around. The Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who on Tuesday, July 16, 2013, raised the alarm that 400,000 barrels a day of crude is being lost and that “the Federal Government may not be able to implement the budget”, sounds like somebody asking for deliverance from an incredible burden. Of course, she is right. The 2013 Budget is already a burst and she will receive a lion’s share of the lashes; quite unjustly I might add – when the funeral of that document is officially announced. Next year might be worse. In 2003, she came in when the price of crude oil was on a rising escalator; today, the future points to declining crude oil prices and lower daily exports by Nigeria. The 2014 Budget will constitute a resounding slap in the face to Nigerians who for too long had depended on oil and she will be blamed. Poor Ngozi will have no trophy to carry to her new assignment – whatever that might be in life. She slammed the World Bank door in her own face when she contested the position of President with the American nominee in 2012. It was an ill-advised challenge; which had no chance of succeeding. The US is not prepared to leave its currency, the global reserve currency, in the hands of any foreigner – especially from

Africa. Certainly, she will go. And these are my best wishes for her on her future endeavours. HEN-PECKED HUSBAND IN ABUJA SAID: “I am the head of this household; and I HAVE MY WIFE’S PERMISSION TO SAY SO”. REQUIEM FOR PDP –1 “Politicians are their own grave diggers”, Will Rogers, 1879-1935. “All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies”, Dr. John Arbuthnot, 1667-1735. (VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p 191). The PDP commenced its journey to the graveyard of political history the day the leaders of the party, especially Dr Alex Ekwueme and his Board of Trustees and Chief Solomon Lar, the Chairman of the party accepted General (rtd) Olusegun Obasanjo, as the presidential candidate of the PDP for the 1999 elections. The leaders surrendered the conscience of their party to two forces – the military which was determined to install one of their own as civilian president and money, truck loads of money, which was largely provided by General T.Y. Danjuma. (Read Danjuma’s personal revelations in my book PDP: CORRUPTION INCORPORATED. At the time I warned that “inviting Obasanjo to head the PDP was akin to putting a fox in the same shed with chickens. None of the chickens will survive the error ”. That step, which was taken in absolute disregard for the party ’s constitution, was so fatal that it still amazes me how many experienced and extremely intelligent political leaders could have made the mistake. Rivers State wahala is only the latest; it won’t be the last crisis… V i s i t : www.Delesobowale.com

This road leads to nowhere as we all lose out on the potentials of what these young women as they could have been educated, learnt a trade, given an opportunity to access adequate health care. The law should do more to protect the needs of girls and women. As it stands in Nigeria, the 80.2 million women and girls have a significantly worse life chances than men and also their sisters in comparable societies; 60-79% of the rural workforce is women but men are five times more likely to own land. In eight Northern states, over 80% of women are unable to read compared with 54% for men. 70.8% of young women aged 20-29 in the North-West are unable to read and write and only 3% of females complete secondary school in the northern zones. We should be doing something to improve the lots of women, not reducing their rights and marginalising their opportunities in life. So enough of this disdain towards women, we must address the inequality and allow people to work their way out of poverty and penury. These are the salient issues that need to be addressed instead of physically and emotionally abusing young and vulnerable children. Unless we look at the way we treat females in our society, we will continue to

look for scapegoats. That is the case, where the men, women and the system continue to mistreat our womenfolk and further regress our society. We cannot afford not to educate our girls, and there has to be a conscious effort in order to remove the obstacles that may hinder their education and their development. Otherwise, the barriers to progress and wealth will continue to elude us. The World Bank stated, that in Nigeria, if young Nigerian women had the same employment rates as young Nigerian men, they would add 13.9 billion Naira to annual GDP. We need to encourage our young women to live up to their full potential. The sad fact is one-quarter to one-half of girls in developing counties become mothers before age 8 according to the United Nations Population Fund. The focus should therefore be on health and human rights of girls and women. It is the rights of all Nigerians all without exception to live up and be given the opportunity, to live up to their potential. Let’s not look only to our law makers, as they say charity indeed begins at home. So what are we doing as individuals, families and communities to better the lives of our women and young people? We are the ones to make the changes and nobody else.


SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013, PAGE 11

Where then are the Benins? This was the core issue I sought to address in November 2011when I was invited by a Benin group to deliver a lecture titled “Benin: Time to sow the seeds of resurgence”. There, I expressed regrets that the in-

heritors of the famous Benin Empire of old have since become exceedingly lukewarm about their own continuous growth and development. I recalled for example, how for no less than 4 decades, other tribes took advantage of the nonchalance of the Benins to gang-up each time and prevent a son of the soil from becoming the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University located in Benin City. For long, the Benins rationalized the development by arguing that heading a university was a purely academic choice and not an ethnic matter. Are Benin professors comedians? I also took a look at the catholic faith which came to Benin over one hundred years ago and in which no Benin priest has been able to become Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of the city. To the Benins who rationalize this as a matter ordained and directed by God I ask a second question- Can God the Almighty, the epitome of justice and fair play disapprove of members of only one tribe moving up to the apex of their occupation-if a Benin man cannot be the Bishop in other peoples’ homelands, why can’t he in his own home?? I did not expect my questions to be taken seriously because the posture of some Benin politicians concerning the governorship election which was around the corner at the time portrayed a people who pre-

ferred others to themselves. There was the slogan that there were non Benin politicians with proven Benin interest! Indeed, the incumbent Governor was proclaimed an “Honorary-Benin man”. One interesting story of the time was that of a prominent Benin Chief who proudly announced that he sought to abort the visit of a Benin citizen to the Oba of Benin to seek the Royal Father ’s blessing for his governorship ambition. What motivated this Chief to work assiduously for the success of a non-Benin governorship candidate and to despise his own son? Some said it was material inducement but he tried to bamboozle the rest of the world that it was the proclamation of the ‘oracle’ making me to become cautious about what our chiefs say. Thus, when the media reported last week that some Benin chiefs had cried out against the continued stay in their city of an ‘imperialist’ Catholic Arch Bishop, I had to read the story over and over again. What I gathered was that a particular foreign tribe now lords it over the Benins in anything catholic. For instance catholic institutions in Benin are now being allegedly managed by that tribe and that there is a conscious effort to downplay the use of the Benin language in the church. But we all saw it coming yet, we were as usual complacent.

In a similar situation in old Anambra, the late Governor C. C. Onoh did not just cry, he acted. Although he was not a catholic, he travelled to Rome to lobby the Pope to install a ‘wawa man’ as Catholic Bishop for his people. Onoh recognize that competitive ethnicity was an imperative in a multi-ethnic developing society like ours where every ethnic grouping has its own agenda. The Benins must therefore stop destroying their own under the guise of being rational. Thus those who voted against a Benin candidate in the last Edo Governorship elections with the argument that their own son who ruled before did not govern well actually missed the point. The poser for them is this; Is it because successive Governors of Benue State have been wonderful that the Tiv who are the majority tribe in the state continue to vote for their own son as governor? While agreeing that ethnicity has not been programmed to be a blessing to our nation, any group that ignores it at this point in time does so at its own peril until Nigerians are identified not by where they are born but where they live. At that point, the nation would belong to us all and centrifugal ethnicity would wither away. Until then, this is obviously not the best time for the Benins to shed crocodile tears

suffering. There is a connection between the stoic doctrine of indifference and its metaphysics of predestination, the view that God has ordained all happenings in the world according to a preconceived plan. Of course, one can accept a moderate version of indifference without subscribing to predestination. Similarly, it is possible to adapt Buddha's recommendation that one should suppress desires without accepting his doctrine of karma. In

Like everything else in the world, indifference can be taken too far - for instance, when someone who can render assistance is indifferent to the sufferings of others. However, by practicing a certain degree of indifference to some of the distractions which people experience every day, especially those events that are not basic to survival and productive living, one can maintain some degree of equanimity. If someone brushes your car or you are held up in traffic which caused you to miss your flight, stoic teaching recommends that you should not fret and worry - you should be calm and take it as one of those things. Experience

something or other. In addition, we can dispense with the mystical idea of nirvana, which marks the end of suffering. Nevertheless, Buddha's assertion that the cause of suffering is the propensity of humans to seek permanence in an impermanent world contains some elements of truth. Human desires are insatiable, and when we get the objects of our desires, we tend to cling to them unnecessarily. People and the things they cling to change with time. As a result, what we think is important today we might lose tomorrow. To illustrate; imagine a man who desperately desires a luxury car. He gets the car he wanted and eventually becomes seriously attached to it. One day, on his way to the office, armed robbers snatched the vehicle from him at gunpoint. Certainly, his attachment to the vehicle, borne out of desire, will cause him considerable stress and suffering. The same thing, mutatis mutandis, applies to a woman who desperately desired a husband, only to face the emotional turbulence of divorce less than a year after a lavish wedding. Therefore, in order to lead a good life, Buddhism teaches that we should moderate our desires. Even if we cannot suppress all our desires and cravings as Buddha prescribed, we can at least control them and learn not to cling too much to material things. In a materialistic environment which dominates the world, some dose of Buddhist philosophy is an antidote to the profound disappointment of illusory happiness associated with material possessions. Too much money and possessions create problems.

The best way to avoid the futile vanity of avaricious materialism is to avoid deep attachment to the changing realities of human existence. Bertrand Russell, one of the supreme intellects of all time, defined the good life as one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. But how can philosophy help in the attainment of the good life as defined by Russell? Before we can answer that question satisfactorily, we should first clarify what love and knowledge mean and identify a connection between them, which constitutes the essence of the good life. The concept of love, or more precisely the feeling designated by that word, is so subtle, so elusive that psychologists are yet to reach a consensus on it. H. Gleitman, A.J. Fridlund and D. Reisberg, in their book Psychology, assert that love involves many elements: a feeling, a physiological upheaval, a desire for sexual union, etc. So complex is love among humans that, according to some authorities, psychologists might have been wise to have abdicated responsibility for analysis of 'love' and left it to poets. That said, psychologists have said many insightful things about this strange state of mind that has perplexed sages and poets from time immemorial. The father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, approached love from a sexual perspective which is unsuitable for our purpose. Erich Fromm's work, The Art of Loving, as informative as it is, takes us too far afield in the domain of love. Nevertheless, we can extract from Fromm the idea that love requires discipline, concentration and patience. TO BE CONCLUDED.

Crocodile tears in Benin over-all decider of all matters of public interest. The nation exists on fundamentals like the quota system, federal character principle and the zoning of political offices. In addition, many people who criticize ethnicity are in the forefront of its adherents. The only exceptions are perhaps my people-the Benins of Edo State who have an ambivalent disposition

the majority tribe both in population and landmass. The State Governor, the Minister representing the state in the federal executive council; the Chief of Staff to the President; the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the ruling party who also chairs the Nigerian Ports Authority and even the State Chairman of the ruling party are all Edos but none is Benin.

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HIEF Olusegun Obasanjo as Presi dent of Nigeria lived in the Presidential Villa for 4 years (1999-2003) in the first instance. While seeking reelection in 2003, he left his residence in Abuja for his home in Abeokuta to vote. Could that be a sign of ethnic jingoism? Even if so, it appears acceptable hence President Goodluck Jonathan left the same Villa in 2011to vote in his home-Otuoke. Meanwhile, nothing hinders any of our first citizens from voting at the Villa polling station. In actual fact, our electoral body encourages all eligible Nigerians to register and vote at the election centres nearest to them in view of the restriction to movements on voting day. Many other Nigerians similarly head for home at every election and other auspicious times to underscore their preferences for the ethnic than the nation. They can hardly be blamed because ethnicity is one of the settled issues of Nigeria’s federalism. It is the

The nation exists on fundamentals like the quota system, federal character principle and the zoning of political offices. In addition, many people who criticize ethnicity are in the forefront of its adherents

towards

the

subject.

Like every minority group, the Benins are marginalized by the majority ethnic groups of the federation. At the same time, they are marginalized in their own State-Edo, where they are

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PhD, Department of Philosophy, University of Lagos,

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HILOSOPHY, since its academic canon isation in ancient Greece more than two thousand five hundred years ago, has had a chequered history. Aside from being a relentless quest for wisdom and for the ideal life, philosophy provides the intellectual backbone for momentous events in history. One needs only recall the influential role the philosophies of Francis Bacon and René Descartes during the renaissance period and John Locke's philosophy in the emergence of the constitution of the United States. In addition, the communist revolutions that swept through the defunct Soviet Union and other parts of the world would not have taken place without the theoretical foundation provided by Marxist philosophy. Therefore, a society that desires positive social transformation must embrace philosophy, especially at the leadership level, since the philosophical enterprise, by it's peculiar nature as the fountain and foundation of knowledge, is equipped to illuminate the complex interstices of human existence. That is why the ancient Greek sage, Plato, proclaimed rather too optimistically I am afraid, that the world would not be peaceful until philosophers become kings, or, kings, through providential inter-

vention, become philosophers. Our discourse today will not focus on the importance of philosophy in nation building or social transformation, although the topic is interesting and crucial in its own right. Our primary focus is on the individual, that is, on how philosophy could help an individual who takes it up seriously to lead a reasonably good and fulfilling life. At the outset, we must clear up a misunderstanding. When we say an individual who takes up philosophy seriously, we are not talking about studying it in a formal educational institution like a university. Instead, we mean getting thoroughly acquainted with the writings of iconic philosophers like Buddha, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, St. Augustine, Spinoza, John Locke, David Hume, J.S. Mill, Bertrand Russell, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, M.A. Makinde, S.B. Oluwole, C.S. Momoh, Olusegun Oladipo, Jim Unah and so many others - and applying some of the ideas in daily life. Certainly, the theories and doctrines formulated by these thinkers contain serviceable roadmaps that one can use to navigate the treacherous waters of daily existence. Consider, for example, the stoic philosophy of indifference and Buddha's advice on how to end

Ordinary people are suffering unspeakable deprivations because members of the ruling elite are wicked and stupid. The level of corruption among the leadership is heart-rending

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Philosophy and unceasing quest for the good life

Nigeria, the human condition is becoming increasingly worse, particularly for the masses. Ordinary people are suffering unspeakable deprivations because members of the ruling elite are wicked and stupid. The level of corruption among the leadership is heart-rending. While millions of Nigerians are steadily dehumanised by poverty, disease, and premature death, members of the ruling and business elite are swimming in oceans of excessive luxury. Thus, the stoic doctrine of indifference to external influences, if wisely applied, is a plausible advice to anyone living in trying conditions such as we have in Nigeria now.

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shows that it is stultifying and self-defeating to bother ourselves over some of the situations and circumstances that cause us mental stress, especially those beyond our control. It is not easy to cultivate the attitude of indifference advocated by stoic philosophers. The benefits from trying to do so, however, are definitely worth the effort. With respect to Buddhist philosophy, its emphasis on suppression of desire as the key to cessation of suffering is unrealistic. There is no way a human being can eliminate desire completely since it is an essential part of human nature for a person to desire


PAGE 12—SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013

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N the run up to the November 16, 2013 governorship election in Anambra State, virtually all the political parties and aspirants seem yet to find their rhythm. The election holds barely 90 days away to elect Gov Peter Obi’s successor. Analysts blame the scenario on the delay by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in releasing the guidelines and timetable for the election. The aspirants had been cautions not to run foul of the laws, or be seen as jumping the gun when the Commission had not given the green light to start campaigns. The green light finally came some three weeks ago. The contest is characterised by intrigues and scheming by the various political blocs and camps. The PDP is one of the most visible parties in the state, but grapples with efforts at selfrediscovery. The party is besetted with crisis over whether or not President Goodluck Jonathan will seek re-election in 2015. The North says he should not. Anambra must be high on the PDP agenda as it remains the arrowhead to determine where the South-east geo-political zone goes in the 2015 polls. So, with the state’s governorship election fast approaching, the party must stand firm, for obvious political reasons. Now, those who have not been part of the politics in Anambra for many years are said to have stormed to the Wadata House headquarters of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to pick the Expression of Interest(EOI) form. The fee went up from the N250,000 in 2009 to N1 million for the Anambra guber ticket.

MASSIVE PURCHASE

But this has not dampened the spirit of the about 27 aspirants jostling for the PDP ticket, even as more than half are said to be women, one of them a hairdressing salon operator in Awka. At least two aspirants have been accused of massive purchase of the form for their respective camps. Alleged abuse of the free access of the PDP female aspirants to the nomination form is also said to be generating ripples and may force the party to review the policy. Wadata Plaza sources said the fee for the nomination form could go up as high as between N10m and N20m for each aspirant. The hike, it is believed, would help keep unserious aspirants, proxies and stooges out of the race. Primary election will obviously determine who picks the PDP ticket for the Anambra guber race. But the allegation that two aspirants have acquired the nomination form for about ten of their supporters is causing tension. Analysts say the move may be a design to put a clog in the wheel of the primary election stated for August 24. The game plan was to put the PDP in a situation whereby there will be a repeat of the primary. “In the end, they would use their

ANAMBRA 2014: One office, multiple contenders

Chris Ngige contacts at the Wadata Plaza to settle for a consensus candidate option, hoping that that would favour them more, having already watered the grounds well in that direction,”a source familiar with the race for the PDP ticket in the state said. “Alternatively, they would bamboozle the party headquarters into inviting all the ‘aspirants’ to Abuja where the matter would be resolved through internal mechanism. This includes but not likely to be limited to asking the ‘aspirants’ to vote among themselves to choose who they want to fly the party ’s flag at the Nov 16 governorship election in the state. Of course the outcome

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BY CHINWEOKEAKOMA

1995. His businesses are domiciled in the Niger Delta. He was said to have been paying to the governments an annual tax in the region of millions of naira, as against other contestants who pay peanuts and only for the sake of the gubernatorial election process requirement. He is reportedly married from either Bayelsa or Rivers. While Obiogbolu reportedly has what it takes to govern the state, the larger section of Anambra’s 177 communities is said not to be favourably disposed to someone from his area due to social reasons. But he is seen as capable and qualified with immense

Primary election will obviously determine who picks the PDP ticket for the Anambra guber race. But the allegation that two aspirants have acquired the nomination form for about ten of their supporters is causing tension

would be foreclosed as each ‘aspirant’ would simply vote for his/her sponsor.” Some of the guber aspirants, especially in the PDP, are reportedly being sponsored by some northern elements with a view to using them to attempt to scuttle President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 agenda. Analysts say Aso Rock may consider backing the aspirant without political blemish or baggage.

TOP ON LIST

The analysts said of all those jostling for the PDP ticket, only Walter Ubaka Okeke and Alex Obiogbolu are exciting the party’s big wigs. But Okeke, according to them, remains top on the list as he fits perfectly into the battle to pick the PDP ticket because he is said to be well-heeled with a deep pocket, well-read, psychologically very stable, and a key player in the Nigeria’s big oil/gas services sector since

Andy Ubah

Walter Ubaka Okeke

RELIGION FACTOR

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administrative experience in government business. Obiogbolu is a reputable medical officer and successful businessman who has a lot of enduring legacies to his credit in the state’s civil service. Chief Sylvester Okonkwo, a close confidant of a South-south governor, is said to be among those who have not visited the state in the last 10years. It seems his only reason for picking the form is because one of the key players in the PDP politics urges him on. Unfortunately, the present political equation of the state does not favour his aspiration, as he comes from the Central zone like the outgoing Governor Obi and former Gov. Ngige.

NASS MEETING

undemocratically. He was alleged to have held meetings with his ‘aspirants’ in Abuja. Some serving and former members of the House of Representatives including Ben Nwankwo, Fort Dike, Eucharia Azodo and Lynda Ikpeazu allegedly attended the meetings recently. These meetings were described as historical as it was the first to be held between the senator and Reps as a group since their inauguration in the National Assembly. Chief Mike Okoye, a successful legal practitioner, was alleged to be relying on his friendship with the former Governor Diepreye Alameseigha to grab the PDP ticket. Unfortunately his political traducers are quick to point out that he once held sway in Hope Democratic Party but let go of it when it mattered most, hence political watchers wonder what he really wants this time around.

For Senator Andy Uba, it was said that he has been working against the emergence of the PDP candidate based on primary election. Sources accused him of moving to upstage all other aspirants

Dr Obinna Uzor remains a close friend of former President Gen Ibrahim Babangida, and also does not hide his penchant to cling to anything Catholic. That’s why he has been going round building parishes for his beloved faith. Analysts say he may at the end of the day realise why the holy book warns that in heaven, there is no Catholic, Anglican or Pagan. Elders of the party in Anambra State are said to be rooting for a holistic review of the input each of the aspirants has made to the growth or otherwise of the party in the past ten years. Some of the aspirants were alleged to have sowed confusion and crises in the PDP only to run into another party. It is feared that they are on the familiar move again, knowing fully well that the Bamanga Tukur-led PDP is not kidding on enthroning internal democracy and discipline. Anambra is among the few states to have about four citizens in the party ’s Board of Trustees(BOT)-Dr Alex Ekwueme, Senator Onyeabor Obi, Chief Maxwell Okudoh and Mrs Iyom Josephine Anenih. They cannot be indifferent about who runs their state as governor, hence must be interested in this contest.

GRASSROOTS SUPPORT

Any serious contender for the Anambra governorship ought to go round the state to express his/ her interest to run in the

November 16 election. Investigations show that only Walter Okeke, Obiogbolu and Tony Nwoye have done so. Analysts believe than when all the factors are considered, the PDP may end up with a dark horse like Walter Okeke, said to be surefooted and firmly etched in business and politics of the state. He is said to be miles ahead of the Ubas, the Ukachukwus and the Soludos as he has in the course of his 326 ward tours displayed an unusual mastery of the state geography and political idiosyncrasies of the various zones. And going by the pronouncements of the party ’s national chairman during the inauguration of Gov Seriake Dickson-led PDP Reconciliation Committee, they are very prepared to reclaim Anambra among other states the party lost.

INSIDE APGA

Gov Obi is believed to have President Jonathan’s ears. Yet he is said to be rooting for Prof Charles Soludo, a former CBN Governor, who apparently left the PDP because he failed to get the nod of Mr President, as the APGA candidate. This is clearly an ambush for whoever Mr President’s PDP nominates. As he counts days to his departure and after working so hard to dismember his APGA, Obi is said to be playing church politics card. He wants his Catholic faith to dominate others with mind-boggling ratio in virtually everything in the state. To achieve his aim this time, he is said to be reconciling with his embattled national chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, a fellow Catholic, using Soludo, also a Catholic, as the bargaining chip. Soludo too is said to be ready to reconcile with his sister in-law, Prof Dora Akunyili, also a Catholic, to upstage the looming political volcano APGA being foisted by the elements in PDP. It was for this reason the former Central Bank chief recently dumped the PDP for APGA, just like Akunyili. They are Catholics, and are all very qualified, no doubt. They fit properly into the out-going governor ’s ‘all-Catholic’ profile agenda. Close watchers of events in Anambra contend that the lack of geo-balance and respect for the sensibilities of the electorate by the key players in the newly formed All Progressives Congress(APC) is the greatest headache its most visible aspirant, Dr Chris Ngige, would have. In addition, many of those who were close to him have vowed to oppose him,this time. Their reasons are similar and personal- they allege he underrates loyalty. His upcoming APC is equally accused of lacking sense of fair distribution of anything, not even the party positions.

MANY WARS

Ifeanyi Ubah is an energetic young man with visible burning zeal to better the lot of the masses, but the Nigerian factor is alleged to have become his greatest undoing. He may have issues of security clearance ahead of the election. He has too many wars on his hands with federal agencies.


SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013, PAGE 13

Senator Femi Ojudu, a journalist, represents Ekiti Central Senatorial District in Senate. He spoke to Sunday Vanguard in his Abuja office on several national issues.

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HEN you wake up in the morning and you look at the Nigerian situation, what comes to your mind? What comes to my mind is that things could be better and ought to have been better if we have taken Nigeria seriously. How do you mean taking Nigeria seriously? I have a feeling that those of us who are leaders have not taken Nigeria seriously and there is a need for us to do so, quickly, before things got out of hand. There are so many problems that need to be solved quickly. And I look at the environment and see most of our people moving around without hope; that does not portend a society that will create a future. Today, the young ones do not even have any compass as to where they are going, and we are not assisting them to know. So, how do we have a future that is going to be better than today? When you have a problem and you have a solution, you are happy that things will get better. But we have so many problems today and nobody seems to be addressing them or, do I say, they are not being addressed seriously. There is no hope for a better future if we continue this way. When one observes the Nigerian situation so well, it is possible to see a disconnect between the leadership and followership, which makes it difficult for anybody to want to believe that there is any good leader left in the country. What is the problem with Nigeria and the leaders? It is true that there is a gulf between the leaders and the led. And this is due to the fact that the masses lost hope in the leaders. Anybody in the position of authority, either at the executive, legislative or the judicial level, is seen as a thief. And why it is so is that the people have been betrayed over the years by the leadership. You believe in somebody and you sing his praise to high heavens, he gets to the position of power and he begins to do things contrary to what you have known him to profess. Under no circumstance would you then believe in such person again. So, we need to work very hard to return that credibility into the person because if you are not trusted by those that you are leading, there is no way they would follow you. We must work hard to return that credibility. You were one of those who had it rough under military regime. But given our current experience under civil rule, some people have been tempted to say things can be better under the C M Y K

Dialogue with Boko Haram is inevitable – Senator Ojudu

Senator Femi Ojudu.... We are too concerned about immediate survival. Obasanjo is not good.” But now military. What do you think? that Obasanjo is not there, they Under no circumstance say, “Oh, Obasanjo was much would I glorify military better than Jonathan.” Today regime. I believe that what they say Jonathan is not good we have today, as and may be tomorrow somebody unfortunate as it may seem, comes in and they say, “Ah, is much better than the Jonathan was much better than military. Again, we have to be this.” It is so because, by our cognizant of history. How did attitude to life, our today is we get to where we are? always better than our tomorrow History will show you that we and our yesterday always better

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BY BASHIR ADEFAKA

The problem with the country is that our yesterday is always better than our today and our today, the way things are going, will always be better than our tomorrow. But we have to stem the tide of this abnormality.

were brought to where we are today by the military. The few years that we had civil rule before and after independence showed the giant strides the country made. Suddenly there was military intervention till 1979 when soldiers handed over power briefly and they came back again up till 1999. So, all of the things you are seeing today are symptoms that came into being when we were under the military. Therefore, glorifying the military is not going to help. The problem with the country is that our yesterday is always better than our today and our today, the way things are going, will always be better than our tomorrow. But we have to stem the tide of this abnormality. But what it should be is that today should be better than yesterday. But it is not so here! That is why somebody, during Obasanjo administration, say, “Oh,

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than our today. And by that, you can explain that we are not planning and we are not progressing. We are not thinking of development. If we are thinking of development, why should we stop our national planning process? For more than 27 years ago now, we have stopped the national planning process. We suddenly stopped and nobody cares. Budgets do not get announced in January any longer and budget for a year gets announced or starts to be implemented mid-year. That is why we are in this state of ass and why our people are becoming so despondent. They are becoming cynical about society. I am saying now that we all have to come together and say enough is enough and put a stop to this drift. People like you have always spoken about the way out of our problems but none of those in positions of authority to make things work seems to be

interested. What new thing is the opposition putting together to ensure that, whatever it takes, 2015 would be the time to really come together and say enough is enough? People are worried, they are concerned and, as a result of that, they are organizing to ensure that there is change in Nigeria. What I cannot assure you is whether this is enough or not enough. We again may have to wait and see how it translates. But I can assure you that in our different level we are organizing. Nigerians as a people don’t seem to know what they want from the leadership. And I think this is part of the problem facing us generally as a people. I disagree. I do not believe that Nigerians do not know what they want. I have my reason for that deduction. For instance, when President Jonathan removed subsidy in January of 2012, he and his lieutenants promised heaven and earth as to how funds from the removal would be reinvested for the good of Nigeria. Today, even the buses that were said to be part of the measures to mitigate the effect of the subsidy removal in Nigerians have been withdrawn from the roads without anybody talking. And when Mr. President directs FERMA to patch a portion of a road, you hear people singing his praises. It also happens in the case of the governors. Again, it is the failure of leadership at different levels. And when we talk of leadership, we are not just talking about those in positions of president, governor. Although we have leadership at the levels of social organizations and families, it is about lack of vigilance at all levels. We are too concerned about immediate survival. We want to eat good food, we want to live in good houses and we want to ride good cars. And that is what we are focusing on. We are not focusing on building a society that will ensure where all of us can live a comfortable a life; where all of us will leave legacies for those who are yet to be born. That is why we are not often consistent in our assessment of things; that is why you have people say, “Oh, this system is good because I have benefited from it and that one is bad because I have not benefited. If I support this, may be I will benefit in future.” Look at the type of trivialities we are all concerned with. People who change societies do not look at ‘ what do I gain’ from this thing? They look at it from the collective interest. Even if I die in the process of

pursuing this, I will have left the society better than I met it. People who are real and true leaders, that is the way they think and that is the way they look at life. But here, we are too short-term in our approach to matters. Senator Ben Obi, Special Adviser to President Jonathan on Inter-Party Affairs, has called on all parties in the opposition to come and join hands with Mr. President to enable him move Nigeria forward. What is your comment? That is calling for one-party state and, when you have one-party state, you do not have a democracy. When you talk of democracy, you talk of having choices to make as to whether I have to go for Party A or Party B. When it comes to a point whereby everything becomes come and chop, then we do not have democracy. And that is the wish of the PDP, that Nigeria should become one-party state. But that is not going to happen. That is why some of us raise up our voices in the Senate to say, “Look, some of us are in opposition and we should carry out the role of opposition.” We cannot continue to be robots that must be led on. So, no matter the lamentation of people like Obi, Nigeria cannot become one-party state. This democracy must stand. There must be progress in Nigeria. There must be plurality of political parties and there must be plurality of views. How workable is the emergency rule as solution we all long for in the North to the insurgency there? From information from the military chiefs who came to brief the Senate Committee on Defence of which I am a member, on how far they have gone in the course of the emergency rule in those three states, what they told us was reassuring. They said they had recovered all the grounds seized by the insurgents and that normalcy had returned to those places. People are now moving freely. If we have been able to achieve that, I think we must commend the military officers and men on ground and those who are managing the emergency process. How does that affect the issue of call for dialogue by leaders like Prince Bola Ajibola, Chief Olu Falae? In fact, if the report given by the military chiefs to our committee is anything to go by, it is about time to dialogue. You dialogue at a time when your enemy is at the weakest position. You do not dialogue when the enemy is as powerful as yourself. But when you have pushed him to a point of surrender, you can then invite him for dialogue.


PAGE 14—SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013

2015: We will surprise those predicting crisis in APC – Edebiri same house to vie for one ticket. Many people think the primaries could actually be the beginning of the end of APC eventually? Contest is contest, it has nothing to do with unity of the party. The party is one but when one, two, three, four begin to have an interest in a particular position, of course the party will be divided along that line. The party would be split into four interest groups, in fact into five because there is going to be a group that is neither here nor there. Once the contest is over and one person emerges as the candidate, everybody will rally together to give him total support.

BY BILESANMI OLALEKAN

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C M Y K

Solomon Edebiri .... What the people want is what they will take. a group tries to make the nation ungovernable, of course the commander-inchief of the armed forces rose to the occasion. I believe he should have taken the decision earlier, but, as I said earlier, every government has its style. The style of the president may be to explore all options until when all options seem not to be working, he can now take the inevitable one which was the emergency rule. And I hope it corrects the situation at the end of the day. But, beyond that, I think we should look for a permanent solution to insecurity in the country, I believe it should be addressed permanently. People cannot just wake up one day and start taking the people for a ride just because

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Solomon Edebiri contested the 2012 governorship election on the platform of All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP, in Edo State. His party is teaming up with other parties to form the now All Progressives Congress, APC, for the forthcoming elections. In this interview, he says the emergence of APC is good for Nigeria, democracy and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, controlled Federal Government even as he returns to the drawing board for the next election in 2016 in Edo State. O you think the APC experiment can work? Yes, it will work. Let ever ybody, the Federal Government, PDP support it because it is only by doing so that they can help the polity . it is going to stimulate the polity in a positive direction, it is going to create healthy competition in the polity, it is a complete exercise of domination where one party tends to dominate the others. If you look at the polity today, you will see that it is one national party which is the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Other parties are regional. ACN is merely a regional party, known in the West. If you look at ANPP, it only won election in the North-east and West of the North. And you know certainly well that if you go to APGA, it is a mere eastern party. The CPC only won election in the North. What the merger has come to do is to put these regional parties together, so that we can have a true national party so that while you are saying PDP is a true national party, you can be saying the same of APC. Of course other parties like Labour, Accord and the rest will still be around. Secondly, having multinational parties would make the ruling party to be on its toes so that it can sit up, because once you know there are other parties which can remove you in the next election, you will work hard. This is a positive development, we should pray for its success, and we should allow it to work, Your party appears not to see any tangible merit in the emergency rule in some parts of the North. Do you agree? I don’t think there is any time too late to impose emergency rule in these troubled states. It is better to act late than not acting at all. The decision of the president is well taken. We cannot have two governments in a nation. You cannot have two military authorities in a country. When

govern Edo State was faulty was not correct. Two things worked against us. First, the mentality of the people. We have not completely taken away the personality rather than party away from our electoral system ,but we are gradually getting to that. Second is the incumbency factor. The performance of the governor aided the election in favour of the governor. Knowing fully well that from where Edo was before coming to office after about 10 years of PDP administration, of course Oshiomole was making the difference and it was even a visible difference. People will naturally say, ‘oh, this man has done this, let us vote for him again’. But a lot of people called us at the end of the election saying, ‘don’t worry’ Edebiri, you are the best candidate in this

Having multi-national parties would make the ruling party to be on its toes so that it can sit up, because once you know there are other parties which can remove you in the next election, you will work hard

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they feel they have arms and become lords unto themselves. It is like those who are kidnapping people for a million naira and above which has suddenly become free-for-all trade. I think the president must rise up to these challenges. You contested under the ANPP platform during the last election, though some have argued that it was a good man contesting on the platform of a wrong party, One problem we have in politics is that when you lose election, you go back to sleep. I think that is immaturity. As soon as the election was over, I called my people that we should go back to the drawing board and start strategizing for 2016; so we have started on the road to 2016. That the platform I sought to

contest but please let us allow this man to finish his second term so that he can conclude all that he has started’. I know that you can never conclude anything in governance. The only thing is that one must sustain that continuity factor, so that somebody must be able to continue from where the immediate person stops. That was another factor that didn’t help our case. And if you look at it, they are germane factors because nobody would have done otherwise in the face of these factors. Now we are going to 2016, there will be no incumbency factor as everybody is going to be coming on a level playing ground and a lot of us will go into the primaries as APC, not ANPP against ACN or CPC. All of us are going into the

Are you sure they will? Of course, there is no reason why they should not. You talk confidently about a party that is not fully on ground? Yes I am confident of the party because I have been part of the process, all through. And the way we arrived at the name of the party ,the logo, constitution, manifestoes, the way decisions have been taken so far by the committee, shows that it is a party that is united. I have been part of the internal machinery right from the very day the idea of the merger was mooted. I was and still part of the merger committee, sub-committees, part of my own party committee, I was the vice deputy chairman, South–south of my party. So I am equipped enough to know what is going on. The way we have come along in the last six months from February when we said we should form the merger shows that, yes, there would be political divide when the time comes, particularly during internal election, but as soon as it is over, we shall put it behind us. Like when we were coming up with the logo, we were divided, may be four different camps, but, as soon as decision was taken on the type of logo we wanted, everybody came together and accepted it. But we have seen how ambitions of members divide parties. For APC, ambitions should be put aside until we have fully consummated. A lot of the leaders who are ambitious have said they are willing to say yes and no;. they are willing to step aside for the party to carry on. What the people want is what they will take. That is one of the decisions that have been taken by a lot of the leaders. So I don’t see a situation where at the end of the day if you are given a position, you will decamp, decamp to where? PDP? You won’t go to PDP. A political party must have people with ambitions, but all of them cannot be in one office. If 10 people are interested in being a governor, of course we all know that it is only one person that will emerge eventually. We must learn to develop accepting favourable results so that if you win, to God be the glory and if you lose, all the same, you just move closer to

them in order to move the state forward. So it is not a do-or-die for you? No, no. If the people say they don’t want me, fine. We will rally round whoever emerges for the good of the state. The people is the issue here, not me or the other person contesting. We must do everything in our power to continue to protect their interest. I have my work. I don’t live on politics to survive. I am a professional. If they give me the opportunity to help my people, fine, if it turns out the other way, fine, I return to my office, just as I did in 2007 and just as I have done now. You contested the last election, and you intend to contest the 2016 election, is it compulsory you contest for the office of governor? I need a position where I can help my people and the only position where you can effectively help your people is the executive position. I have been around many countries of the world and I have seen a lot of things and I know that there are lot of things still lacking in Edo State and the only way I can be of help is to go for an elective position; without that, it will be difficult to achieve all those things. Yes, as senator, you can have impact but not as immediate as that of the office of the governor. Do you have the war chest to execute this ambition? No, I don’t. But it does not end there because politics is changing. You must not have all the funds to execute the project. We are working and we are earning money and we are sure that between now and 2016, we would be able to put in a lot of resources to execute the project. Because of the way the people have accepted us, we are not going to spend that kind of money others will be spending for the same project at the end of the day. We are going to ride on the good will of the people because they have already seen us, they know our capability and they know that their money will be safer after Oshiomhole in the hands of Edebiri; so they will be willing to give us their support. Already we have grassroots support. Can you objectively assess governance in Edo State? I have said it before that this government’s performance is a good departure of the previous. And the governor has done quite a lot but, given what is on ground, I think he still has a lot to cover. But I can say that the good work he has laid as foundation will help subsequent governments coming. He has done very well, no doubt about that. As a matter of fact, his performance is now going to be used as benchmark for the in-coming government because you must perform better than him if you must be taken seriously at the end of the day.


SUNDAY

Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013, PAGE 15

Osun needs quality leadership – Akinbade, ex SSG Alhaji Abdulfatai Akinbade is the Chairman of Golden Tulip Hotel, Ibadan, former Secretary to Osun State Government and one-time Chairman of Osun State chapter of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). He speaks on why he wants to be the governor of Osun State among other issues.

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Alhaji Abdulfatai Akinbade....I believe so much in God and God that has done it up till this level will make it to succeed. of the second month, he asked ernment and, today, ask any- even say this is where I made me to start being the one to body in the state, nobody will money to achieve what I have announce it. My boss was tell you that this is what Al- been able to achieve today. I from the old Bendel (Edo) and haji has done to circumvent just found out that God is he had a funny way of adverdue process. I have never tak- blessing me. Today, I’m happy with my governor. Some people don’t believe we can even greet again, but I told them that the fact that you have your own interest does not mean we cannot be together tomorrow. You see, it depends on the way you chose because if you want to hustle and make it, you may, but if you really want to stay with God and be straight forward, you will make it. It is the easiest thing to do in life. To make money is the easiest if you are faithful. Your hotel is a beauty to been bribe from anybody and I tising the drugs because he have never bargained for any- hold. What informed the citcould not speak Yoruba fluthing with anybody and, to ing in Ibadan and what are ently. So, each time he asked those that passed through me the chances of its survival? me to do the advertising, I I believe so much in God or I have passed through, we spoke exactly like him and have always been together. I and God that has done it up people were just wondering if have been in the corridor of till this level will make it to I could not speak Yoruba and government for long and I’m succeed. There is no secret it was a good experience. interested in the affairs of the there because the architecture Now that you are conteststate. I led the PDP in Osun is something you can access ing to be the next governor State when we had only one and, like I used to tell people, of Osun State come 2014, House of Assembly member; most politicians, when they how do you see your chancincidentally, that member acquire ill-gotten wealth, you es? came from my constituency. see them taking it to Europe I look at myself as someone That was in 1999 and, when I and other places and, before who can easily win election became the Chairman in 2000 you know it, they lose the anytime because I have lived or so, I sat down and I started money. I started building this all my political life in Osun. I looking for a way out and God hotel when I was not in govhave served in different caassisted me. I tell people not ernment. I was in government pacities. I was not too lucky to steal because it is not what for four or five years as Comto be a local government you steal that will make you missioner for Works, and I chairman because I contested anything in life, but only what make bold to say I never put and lost. But since then, I God wants you to be. I cannot one block on another. My have been in and out of gov-

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AN you share with us your experience while growing up? Well, I thank God for my life because when I finished Modern School, in those days, when you are unable to be through Modern School, they will take you to Lagos to do house help job, but, in my own case, I was lucky to have completed Modern School and, at that time, you are already somebody to reckon with. So, I decided to look for factory job. One thing I have noticed is that people do underrate me. In those days, you don’t just start to hawk in the Molue, you must have a master who was already known; not a conductor this time, but a senior hawker. At that time, the traffic used to be so much in Lagos. Carter bridge had not been expanded then,there was always congestion on bridge between Ido and Idumota and also Obalende, Tinubu and Ijeh. The senior hawker will enter the Molue from the front door, I will enter from the back as an apprentice and I began to learn. But my tribal marks exposed me to the people that I was new in Lagos and on the job. Don’t forget that it was the desire to have three Pounds to pay at the factory gate that made me to look for the hawking job, but, eventually, I discovered that there was more money in hawking than the factory job. In the factor y, they were paying, I think, one naira per day and my boss then loved me so much because anytime I went out with him, he would sell so much and after he must have given me transport money, he will still give me one or two naira depending. In those days, we used to eat yellow eba at Ebuto Ero and I was saving so much money from the hawking in Molue because I always managed not to pay for transportation. I remember that by the end of the first month when I showed my friend who wanted to help me to get the factory job how much I had saved from hawking drugs inside Molue, he said “Fatai, don’t border to look for the factory job again because those of us doing the factory job normally pay for transport and other things.” And because my boss then loved me so much, by the end

I have been in the corridor of government for long and I’m interested in the affairs of the state. I led the PDP in Osun State when we had only one House of Assembly member; incidentally, that member came from my constituency

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house in Ogbagba was completed and commissioned in 1988. The one in Ibadan where I was living before I became Commissioner was completed in 1991 and, during that period, what I did was to fence my only house in Ogbagba and the fence was not even plastered. That was only what I did for four and a half year. I bought this place in 1994. Though I was a Commissioner then, I bought it because I had been planning for it since 1991 when I was working in Exide. The place was owned by one Justice Omoebo from Edo or Delta State when Western Region was in place. I could not do anything on it until when we lost election because I contested the governorship election in Osun State along with Dr Olu Alabi in 1999. When we lost, I went to Abuja to start looking for contracts and when after six months I discovered that nothing was coming, I decided to start the project because I was based in Ibadan. When I got another job from Exide, I said the time was ripe to start the project. We started with the design and it was actually the third design that we used and I started it when I was not even in government. After starting it, I became a party chairman in Osun and by the time I became the Secretary to the State Government, the place had already reached roofing level. I asked my governor, do I stop this thing? He said I should go ahead because this was where we normally had our party meeting. On sustainability I want to believe Ibadan deserves this kind of hotel. Ibadan is the largest city in West Africa and the capital of the Western Region; if it is only now that we are having a five-star like hotel, that is too bad for us. It is not that people don’t have money to do it but just that many are running away and I want to say that the market is huge anywhere in Nigeria. Go to China, any village in that country, you will see a fivestar hotel. When you talk about Ibadan, we have a huge market for businesses to thrive. For instance, about a month or two ago, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar came to Ibadan to deliver a lecture at University of Ibadan and wanted to spend the night and could not find anywhere to stay, but when he learnt that Golden Tulip had been commissioned and he knows me very well, he came two days ago before the programme and left after. If this place was not ok for him, he would not have stayed here.


PAGE 16 — SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013

Why I am spearheading cash transfer intervention for women – Dangote BY ADEOLA ADENUGA

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TUDIES show that when women are supported and empowered, all of society benefits. Their families are healtheir, more children go to school, agricultural productivity improves and incomes increase. It is against this background that Dangote Foundation, a multi-purpose vehicle; through which the Dangote Group carries out its corporate social service, two years ago, designed a micro-grant programme, programme, in conjunction with state governments, to assist vulnerable women across the 774 local governments of the country. The grant, disbursed in Kano to the tune of N1.04 billion and Jigawa N270 million, is meant to lift the women and reduce poverty

at the grassroots. Last week, it was the turn of Kogi State women to benefit under the scheme. The event began with a special session of the State Executive Council, EXCO, during which Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the president of the Dangote Group, was appointed an honourary member because of his contributions to the economy of the state through his vast investment in cement and the plan to establish a sugar refinery. Dangote was formally introduced by Governor Idris Wada as a member of the EXCO and got a certificate of membership at the Council; Chamber. He recalled Dangote’s intervention during the deadly flooding last year which swept across the state. The governor then announced that the state was offering Dangote 20,000 hectares of

land to establish the sugar refinery. Dangote thanked the Kogi government for the honour and promised to attend the EXCO meeting at least once a month to make his contributions to the ideas and efforts at taking the state to the next level. He said he had always believed that one of the surest ways of alleviating poverty is through job creation and that the kind of jobs that the masses in Nigeria need could be created through agriculture. When companies are established; he said, jobs would be created but not on a large scale because the machines are automated and would only require few hands but in agriculture the opportunities are massive. He said that was the reason he is investing in sugar plantation and refinery where thousands of people can work and earn a living.

Eye disorders: All you need to know T

HE role of the eyes in the human body cannot be over-emphasised. Everyday, the eyes are exposed to adverse risks due to the rigours of modern daily living. The high incidence of light emitting screens of mobile phones, Digital tablets, LCD television sets and many more have all increased the susceptibility of the eyes to wear and tear. There are various symptoms of eye disorders. When these symptoms are experienced, much attention should be given to them as they may be indicators of an impending eye disorder. The symptoms to look out for include: (1)Itchy eyes (2)Tearing (Dropping of tears from the eyes) (3)Pus in the eye

(4)Boil-like growth around the eye lid (5)Unusual swelling of the eyes (6)Increase in the size of the eyeball (7)Eye irritation (8)Hotness of the eyes (9)Dryness of the eyes (10)Difficulty in reading small letters or characters (11)Inability to drive at night due to poor night vision (12)High sensitivity to bright light (13)Uncontrollable squinting (blinking of eye lids) (14)Turning in of eye lashes (15)Cloudy vision (16)Inability to differentiate colours correctly (17)Short-sightedness (seeing only near objects) (18)Long sightedness (see-

ing only far objects) (19)Inability to see side view (20)Eye and head pain (21)Drooping of the eyelids SOME COMMON EYE DISORDERS (1)GLAUCOMA It is sometimes called “the sneak thief of sight” because most people do not bother because vision loss is often side or peripheral (that is, Patients of glaucoma may not see side way). Before the patient realizes it, the disease is already quite advanced. So watch out for the following:(a)Hazy or blurred vision (b)eye and head pain (c )Nausea (d)Loss of side or peripheral vision Glaucoma occurs as a result of increased intra-ocular pressure due to blocked drainage canals of the eyes. (2)CATARACT: This is the clouding of the lens of the eye. This reduces vision. It is the commonest cause of blindness.

(3)TRACHOMA: This is an infections eye disorder caused by chlamydia trachomatis bacterium. This bacterium causes a roughening of the inner surface of the eye lid. It’s symptoms are as follows: (a)Eye discharge (b)swollen eye lids (c )Turned in eye lashes (d)sensitivity to bright light (e)swelling of the lymph nodes C O M P L E M E N TA R Y HERBAL REMEDY TO EYE DISORDERS Africa is richly blessed with diverse herbs, shrubs and roots that have great beneficial effects on eye disorders. Through scientific advancements, specialized formulae have been developed by highly professional herbal practitioners to tackle eye disorders. So, do not lose that eye to blindness, meet the experts today. For comprehensive eye test/screening and treatment, call 08033017350


SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013, PAGE 17

Nigerian Christians are treated as second class citizens—Oritsejafor zOn Boko Haram: We should be more concerned about the victims zSays gay marriage legalisation will not happen z‘We should mobilise against child molesters marrying underage girls’ This is a two in one interview. LUKA BINNIYAT met the President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, in Abuja. SAM EYOBOKA ran into the CAN leader in Lagos. Both encounters produced this interview in which Oritsejafor bared his concerns on what he described as the treatment of Christians as second class citizens in their own country. He also spoke on Boko Haram, amnesty for the Islamists, their victims, and gay marriage. Excerpts:

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OU are now in your second term as the President of Christian As sociation of Nigeria (CAN). What were the challenges you faced during your first tenure and what is your agenda for the second? One major challenge was to try to reposition the Church in Nigeria to make sure that it is at par with other religions in this country. This is because what I saw was a situation where Christians were like second class citizens in a country where probably more than half of its citizens are Christians, yet Christian were like second class citizens. So it was a big challenge and it is a challenge that we must continue to tackle. It is also a major goal that I intend to work on, to ensure that Christians are treated as true citizens of this country. Because of my efforts to address this challenge, I am probably one of the most misunderstood persons in Nigeria today. I faced it for three years and I am hoping that in the next three years, probably many people will begin to understand me in this respect, especially when they gradually begin to discover the reality of the things that are happening in this country. For example, the most recent one is when the Chairman of the so called Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North came out to say that they had met and struck a deal with the Boko Haram Islamic sect and I said ‘which Boko Haram?’ We have had experiences in the past where Boko Haram will come out to say they will stop the killings and the next day people were killed! When I heard what the Chairman of the committee said, I said, ‘Let us wait and see because Shekau (the leader of Boko Haram) is going to come out to tell us what the real thing is, whether they had a deal or not’. It didn’t take time; Shekau came out and contradicted everything the Chairman of the committee said. e said they are working in the vine H yard of Allah and that they will continue (with their attacks) until they establish Islamic state in Nigeria. My believe is that with time, they will begin to see that I have no hatred for any group of people in Nigeria. Anything I say is not coming out of hatred, it is coming out of love and love does not hate truth. Love is a foundation for truth. The Bible says “tell the truth in love”. So I believe that within a short time, a lot of those who really thought I hated some people would begin to see that I have no hatred for anybody. I will love to work with Muslims, live together and do

Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor....There are provisions for Sharia for Nigerian Muslims, there is customary court, what is the provision for Christians? things together but that should not negate truth. There are few things we are doing in CAN. We are building a Jubilee Centre that will have 50 bedrooms where people can come and pay a little money to be able to spend the night while in Abuja. At the same time, it will make some money for CAN because the association needs money to run its affairs. The Centre has a conference hall and different kinds of facilities. We believe God that, this year, we would be able to dedicate the Centre. We will continue to strengthen Christian unity among us because, as Christians, that will not stop until Jesus returns. ou spoke about Christians being Y treated as second class citizens in Nigeria. In what ways are Christians treated as second class citizens?

Actually, in my opinion, Christians are being treated as second class citizens in virtually every way! Let me give you some examples because if I begin to tell you everything, you will not even have space to publish it. In the education sector, Almajiri schools are being built everywhere in many states of the North. I don’t know how many of such schools, but everybody knows that in 2012, the Federal Government spent N5 billion to construct Almajiri schools. The Almajiri schools are exclusively for Muslim children. There are millions of Christian children who cannot go to those schools. How are we giving those Christian children the same opportunity to be educated? So automatically they have been made second class citizens. Don’t forget that the schools which Christians used their money to build were taken over by government and the same government is using public funds to build special schools for Almajiri Muslims. That shows that Christians are just second class

citizens. Government is running all those schools taken from Christians the way they want. Both Christians and Muslim go to those schools but the Almajiri schools are exclusively for Muslim children only. When you go to the judiciary, it is the same story. I read what a lawyer, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, said in the newspapers recently. He noted that the constitution is being reviewed and there are provisions for Sharia for Nigerian Muslims, there is customary court, what is the provision for Christians? The general courts are shared by both Christians and Muslims. When Christians have very knotty issues that are purely Christian in nature, where will they go to? The regular courts may not have clear solution to such cases. So Agbakoba has come out to say he may sue the Federal Government and the National Assembly. This, to me, is a very interesting move. I just hope that our Muslim brothers will appreciate what I am trying to explain. In the Sharia courts which are funded with public funds, only Muslims are employed there. From the cleaner to the judge, no Christian can be employed in the Sharia court. In the regular courts, there are both Muslims and Christians as well. From the lowest level of the court, to the highest level, they are there. They are the ones that head the Supreme Court and most of the courts with the Sharia court exclusively for them. What is the judicial system for Christians? It is not there, so they are second class.

Nigeria Television Authority Go to the government owned media houses and see what is happening there, especially the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). I don’t know now because some of them retired at a point, but, before their retirement, the seven directors out of eight

were Muslims. Turn that around and see what will happen. What do you call that? Second class citizens. A judge in Abuja came out to say Islamic banking is illegal, but he added a caveat by saying that his hands were tight, he could not do anything about it because it was not the right people that came to court. I am still wondering who the right people to come to court are! But the important thing he said was that Islamic banking is illegal.

Islamic banking t is illegal but it is functioning at its I peak, established and financed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), not Central

Bank of Islam. The Governor of the CBN almost seems to be working for a section of the country and nobody can say anything about it. Yet it is something that is supposed to be illegal. What the CBN ought to have done was to have one unified system for non-interest banking, but, instead of doing that, what it did is to specifically come out with a set of guidelines for Islamic banking, saying they had another set of guidelines for others. And who are these others? They are the Christians. It is amazing when you see these things happening. Every area you look at, it is the same story.

Admission into tertiary schools Go to higher institutions of higher, especially in the North, there are courses that Christians will never be offered admission to study, that is if you even get admission at all because you are a Christian and that automatically makes you a second class person.

Continues on page 18

C M Y K


PAGE 18— SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013

‘We should mobilise against child molesters marrying underage girls’ Continued from page 17 Ban on teaching of CRK and preaching on NTA In some northern states, the teaching of Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) in public schools is prohibited. Why do you allow for the teaching of Islamic studies, but you cannot allow the teaching of CRK? I am puzzled. Let me even go further, if I go to NTA Sokoto today and say here is my money, I want to preach on NTA that is funded with tax payers’ money, they will throw my money away and say you cannot preach Christianity on NTA Sokoto. We know that in some of the northern states, there is an unwritten law that you cannot sell land or building to be used for church or a brothel. So the church and brothel are put on the same level! How do you describe that? In the last 20 years, there is no church in some of these northern states that has Certificate of Occupancy (C of O). This is one Nigeria, but it is like animal farm. Some animals are more equals than others. That is what we are seeing in this wonderful country called Nigeria.

Abduction and forceful conversion of Christian girls They can abduct your daughter and forcefully marry her. They literally kidnapped people’s daughters who are Christians and give them out for marriage but they will never allow their daughters to marry Christians. Imagine a pastor going to abduct an Imam’s daughter; do you think we will still have one Nigeria? In some of the northern states, the government spends millions of naira to sponsor Muslims on pilgrimage to Mecca without extending same gesture to Christians who are even indigenes of those states. We are aware that in some of the far northern states, foreigners, who are Muslims from Niger and Chad republics, are more accommodated and are accepted into the scheme of things than Nigerians who are Christians from other states of the federation.

Qualified Christian denied ABU VC Chair

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ou recall how a Christian was reject ed for appointment as the Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria some years back even when he emerged as the most qualified during the interview for the position. There are so many of these injustices against Christians, we can go on and on. That is why, in my own opinion, Boko Haram is just the latest manifestation of this same process of marginalisation and oppression that had taken place through the years. It has reached a point where it appears like we accept it. I believe that the time has come for us to say NO!, it cannot be that way. This is not because anybody has hatred for anybody. You cannot call standing up for what is right hatred. We all have equal rights as Nigerians; I have a right to ask for my right. That does not mean that I hate somebody. I am only demanding that I should be treated equally and fairly like others. So these are some of the few things that made me see Christians literally as second class citizens in their own country. There is agitation for amnesty for Boko Haram in some quarters. But some other people are suggesting that victims of Boko Haram should be given succor first. What is your thinking here? It is very unfortunate because, in any C M Y K

Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor....Islamic banks illegal but functioning situation, I almost used the word conflict, but it is not a conflict because what we have is genocide. I call it religious cleansing. That is what we are actually experiencing. In any situation where lives are lost, number one and overwhelming interest should always be about the victims. Look at the so-called Dialogue and Reconciliation Committee that was set up! There are 28 people, five are Christians, so who is representing the people who are the victims or the people you are supposed to be reconciling? Who are you reconciling with whom? It is difficult to comprehend. I think the approach is very wrong. You can’t even talk of amnesty; it is not something to be discussed at all! What we should be talking about are these wicked people who have made orphans out of so many children, widows out of so many women. They should be able to come out when they realise that what they are doing is wrong and publicly say ‘ we are wrong and we are so sorry, forgive us’. If they come from that point, then you are ready to talk of reconciliation, you are talking of forgiveness, then there can be genuine meeting of minds, we can discuss and say, ‘since you feel this way, we can now start to talk because Christianity is a religion of peace, love and forgiveness. That is what the Bible taught us. In fact, that is why Nigeria is so peaceful because more than half of the people in this country are a group of people who believe in love, peace and forgiveness. If they come from that angle, then we can now start talking and, at that point, there could be a discussion of any other thing that will take place, but not where we are now. here we are today is that we are having a group who are killing inW nocent people and coming out to boast

about it and saying ‘ you who want to give me amnesty, I am the one to give you amnesty’. So which amnesty are you giving them? I don’t think there is room for that discussion right now. I think government should strengthen the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) which is doing its best to curb this thing and reduce it to the barest minimum. They military should be encouraged and empowered the more to address the situation. But they must be encouraged to operate within the rules of engagement. We can see that since the state of emergency was declared in the three states, there has been tremendous improvement in so many areas, although we know that killings are still going on. So I am more concerned about the victims of the kill-

The Almajiri schools are exclusively for Muslim children. There are millions of Christian children who cannot go to those schools. How are we giving those Christian children the same opportunity to be educated? So automatically they have been made second class citizens ings and I think anybody else should be, not about these criminals, these wicked people who are going out there and killing innocent people. Look at those school children they killed in Yobe. Shekau came out excited about it and said they will do more. What he is saying basically is that, the fact that these children who are Muslims are sent by their parents to acquire western education, it automatically made them infidels. People must always remember to connect this with Christianity because when they say they are against western education, they are against Christianity. It is Christianity that brought western education. They are against it and they are fighting it because western education has its foundation in Christianity.... That is why they are against Muslim parents that want their children to compete in the global village that we are today..... These are serious crimes that these people have committed against God and against man. he Senate just voted to endorse child marriage in the country. What T is your take?

I think it is one of the greatest shames of the century for Nigeria not just the National Assembly because the National Assembly is a reflection of Nigeria. I feel ashamed to call myself a Nigerian. I saw

something in the newspapers; if it is true, where a senator said he was prepared to give out his six-year old daughter in marriage. These are child molesters that should be put behind bars. They should not be allowed to walk on the streets of this country; but what do you do? I’m just talking because I don’t know what is the solution to this now. I think the only solution is for Nigerians to cry out. But I don’t know whether we have suffered too much that we have no voice anymore to cry out, because it’s like we are so used to wrong things that everybody just accepts it when it comes. Children don’t know anything; they can’t fight for themselves, so we’ll fight for them. May God save us. When you say may God save us, that is begging the issue. Is there no way out? Is there nothing the Church can do? I think what we can do and I believe we should do is to mobilize ourselves to protest. I don’t want to go further than that until I have consulted with my people, but I don’t think this is something we should sit down and accept. Nigerians, across religious lines, should mobilize against this. ne of the ministers admitted a few O days ago that the international community is putting pressure on the

Nigerian government to endorse gay marriage in the country… I can assure you it will not happen. There are many reasons it will not and cannot happen. President Goodluck Jonathan was not voted into power by Americans, or by the British people, or by any other person except Nigerians. The only people that can put that kind of pressure on him are Nigerians. Even as the British prime minister threatened to stop aid to the nation? They can keep their aid. Nigeria does not need it. The aid that is going to be tied to changing the structure of this country: our culture, our belief system and our religious thinking, it’s not worth it. They should keep it, we’ll survive without it. Like I said, I believe the National Assembly will jointly put it together and send it to the president for his assent. And when it gets there, we will make sure he signs it. The political crisis in Rivers State has degenerated to the extent where members of the House of Assembly resorted to fighting. How do you feel? Again that is another shame. It’s as if we are heaping up shame upon shame in Nigeria. Obviously, there are people fueling this for political gain. They want to watch this drama play out, but they seem to forget that sometimes this kind of thing consumes everybody. It does not end with the actors, it extends to those who are watching and cheering on. At the end of the day, who’s going to remain standing? We are not talking about President Jonathan or Governor Amaechi now; we are talking about Nigeria. My prayer is that the principal actors will look beyond themselves and think of the overall picture of Nigeria. We don’t need this type of thing in this nation. I plead with politicians to stop for a moment, put their politics aside and look at Nigeria. What do we want for this country? What is our idea about the tomorrow of this nation? Or we don’t want Nigeria to exist? If we don’t want, why not gather those who are Nigerians to discuss it so that we agree that we don’t want Nigeria or we agree that we want Nigeria. To me, it’s taking us to that point. These two actors are from the same region. I plead with them to forget themselves and think of the region where they come from and then think of Nigeria as a nation. Nobody is bigger than Nigeria.


SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013, PAGE 19

Jonathan is disgracing Nigerians —Oyegun

*2015:’My fear is more for the presidential nomination’ *Says concessions made by APC leaders are mind -boggling

BY SIMON EBEGBULEM, BENIN CITY Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the first civilian governor of Edo State, is one man who craved, long ago, for an alternative national political party that can check the seeming arrogance of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at the federal level. Today, he is one of the Action Congress of Nigeria, CAN, leaders working for the registration of the All Progressive Congress (APC). In this interview, he discloses how the leaders of the opposition have been able to bury their personal interests to ensure that the APC merger becomes a reality. He describes the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP as a failure, just as he notes that the activities of the First Lady of the nation, Dame Patience Jonathan, are making the President more unpopular. He speaks on other national issues including Edo State politics. Excerpts:

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ome of the leaders of the opposition have been busy trying to register the APC. What impact do you think the party will make if eventually registered? I think that the day after we get the official letter, registering the APC, the political dynamics of this nation will totally change, because it will be a move nearest to a two- party system. Secondly, we will be creating, from day one, a credible national party which will have root in every state, every geopolitical zone of the country. We will be offering, from that very day, a choice between the PDP and the credible alternative, the APC. We will be offering the people a choice between two proven entities, the record of the PDP is there and I think it is one great endless list of mismanagement, bad governance and extreme level of corruption, as against an APC which

also has a record; fortunately, when you think of the record set by the South-west governors, when you think of the record set by the only APC government in the South-south, which is Edo, when you think of the Nassarawa governor who knows that he has an Assembly that is controlled by his opponent but he has been able to make a landmark achievement in the short time he has been there, you know we have an edge over the PDP. And, of course, you must think of the ANPP contribution in terms of its strength in the Northeast. Also coming into the fold very strongly is Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, and you have to count Anambra where we control one senatorial area, and, but for electoral manipulations, we would have won the governorship there. So we have a party that is evenly spread all over the country. The one component of the

Secondly, we will be creating, from day one, a credible national party which will have root in every state, every geopolitical zone of the country party in the North, the CPC, their candidate in the last elections garnered about ten-eleven million votes; by the time we add to that the massive votes that are to be harvested in the South-west, in the South-south, South-east, I think the voting public will now see that, truly, they have an alter-

native with performance that can be the ruling party at the center. So it is going to be interesting, it is going to be challenging and i think the course of political events in this country will dramatically alter. I don’t want to go into the endless crises and the threat of implosion within the PDP which, of course, can only rebound to the advantage of the APC. Several governors of the PDP will be lining- up, knocking at the gates of the APC in the not too distant future; so the future is absolutely bright for the APC. Many people think that the same crisis you spoke about in the PDP may tear the APC apart due to personal interests of the leaders? It does not worry me. I have seen miracles happen since the negotiation for the merger of this party started. I have seen politicians accept what I never thought

politicians will accept. I have seen politicians making sacrifices that I never thought politicians were capable of making. I have seen the hand of God in what is happening now; we have already set up an interim executive to meet up with the requirements of INEC. We have three major parties each of which has an executive already, almost the same number of positions. There were three, four chairmen, but we now have only one; so there are chairmen today who are just playing the role of ordinary members and they have accepted the situation. Nobody has had to make extraordinary promises of anything whatsoever. In a political circle, I think that is nothing short of a miracle. God loves this country. I have no doubt about it and what is happening now is God’s way of saying, ‘look, I wish you people well, I want to give you another chance,’ and, thank God, the various leaders of the parties, have been modest enough, sacrificing to make what has happened possible. Yes, there will be disagreements here and there, but the pattern is already set on how to spread the offices between the various interest groups and the minute the APC is recognized, all the barriers of ‘I am CAN’, ‘I am CPC’, ‘I am ANPP’, will be totally broken down; we will now have one single national party. But how optimistic are you that APC will take over the Federal Government come 2015? I am not a gambler but, on this particular issue, I am ready to wager anything. The discontent in the country is palpable, you can see it, you can feel it, even touch it. The hopelessness in the country is very high and you can see that the people are waiting for a way out. What they have been doing in the past is based on the fact that they did not perceive that they

Continues from page 20 C M Y K


PAGE 20— SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013

think that in this age, it will be possible to do, with INEC, the police force, the totality of the security agencies, what happened in President Obasanjo’s time. The world has moved on including the Nigerian world. Of course the opposition has learnt very bitter lessons and, but for the courts, some of its victories could not have been achieved, only a few were snatched back from the seizure by the PDP. So it is clear that we have to be better prepared for 2015 and any other election for that matter, because the first election is coming in October, Anambra State. And we are going to have elections in Ekiti, Osun, and the rest; we are not going to take chances. The only people who would want to fake the elections will be those who want to be self -destruct, be*Chief Odigie-Oyegun cause things won’t

‘Concessions made by APC leaders are mind-boggling’ Continued from page 19 had a credible alternative so that they can punish a non- performing Federal Government. Now that the alternative is here, I have no doubt that the long suffering Nigerians will know where to dismount and back the party that will restore hope to their lives. What do you think about Rivers political crisis/ factionalization of NGF? I don’t know if there are words harsh enough to describe the developing situation in Rivers State . It is disgraceful, it is shameful. Not only before Nigerians, we are also dancing naked before the international community. 35 responsible leaders, the second layer of governance in this country could have such arguments over an election in which only 35 actors, leaders, executives governing millions of people participated. The situation is also very alarming because it is a precursor to what is happening, it has now degenerated to such an extent that the consequences are going to be enormous if it continues. The whole nation cannot be behaving as if this is kindergarten politics, as if this is student union politics. Minister, Honourable members, police commissioner, the Presidency, behave as if there is a cult war in a university. Five people trying to impeach a Speaker and a governor; if it were a fairy tale, it would still have been very outlandish, but to think it is disgraceful that supposedly responsible people are fighting for something the end of which they may not live to see, and the nation is tense. They don’t even think of the consequences, they are so myopic and so blinded by events which are yet to come, two years from now. Everybody keeps saying power belongs to God, so why have they decided to play God at this very early stage of the process? The issue today is nomination, the election is not even an issue, but when people are pontificating and talking, they bang the table, ‘if this one does not become this, Nigeria will cease to exist, we heard that from the South-south and from the North’. What kind of rubbish is that? Let them talk within their parties, concentrate on making sure that those they favor get nominated, we have not come yet to voting and we have to trust the Nigerian people, put their case before them, and stop beating war drums and promising bloodshed if A or B is not returned as President, not even to be nominated as a candidate. I find it astonishing. It is as if normally responsible people are taking leave of playing ordinary common sense. So one can only appeal that they should go step by step; everybody should shift his belt and carry the battle to his party, get nominated; when campaign time starts, we can start the game. I don’t see reason for this kindergarten type of overheating the polity and endangering the corporate existence of the nation. Let these people keep quiet and not play God, when the time comes, God will show the people what to do. C M Y K

How do you view the recent war of words between the President’s wife and the Nobel laureate, Prof.Wole Soyinka? Normally, the President’s wife should not be doing what she is doing, out of respect for her husband, the President, out of respect for the position she holds. But she is a Nigerian, she has a right to a party card, she has a right to aspire for whatever she wants to be politically in this nation but that has a price. From her exalted position, immediately she decided to be involved in political combat and political conflict, then she should be ready for the consequences. I find that very sad indeed because she was a pinnacle, but she has abandoned that pinnacle and decided to be a politician like every other person. That is unfortunate and that is of course the reason for the comments that we observed recently. I read some of the comments and they were surprising. I even listened to a few radio programs and some people said ‘you should not talk to the First Lady that way’. I agree, you should not even talk to the President like that, but if any-

I don’t know if there are words harsh enough to describe the developing situation in Rivers State. It is disgraceful, it is shameful body, President or the First Lady, decides to go into the mud of politics, then he/she must expect the mud to be thrown at him/her. Even though I am in the opposition, I admire the President’s wife because she is a very strongwilled lady, but there is a lot of good she can do without descending into the murky waters of political conflict. It is easy to make that deduction that she could be the cause of the crisis in Rivers State because she was in Rivers for ten days, the whole place was virtually locked down and days after she left, this conflagration started. Well, this is a case of putting two and two together. Wole Soyinka and Ben Nwabueze are respected Nigerians and she cannot ignore their advice and it will be very unfair for her to condescend to a level of trying to insult such great men. But are not surprised that the President has not been able to caution the First Lady and stop this national embarrassment? The President probably thinks and his advisers have probably convinced him that these things serve his political interest. May be they are right, may be they are not. But like I said earlier, the fight should not be something that involves the total population of Rivers State. It should be something to be carried out within the structures of the PDP. It should not affect the House of Assembly. If you want to induce members of the House quietly, whatever you need to do, do it, but carrying thugs

there, with the police supporting them one way or the other, that is not the best way to convince anybody. This is something for persuasion, inducement, not something for breaking heads. It is unfortunate, I would have expected that the President will be more presidential both as the issue relates to the Nigeria Governors Forum that is a disgraceful show of ineptitude at too high a level of governance in Nigeria. The NGF problem and also this Rivers angle, the President should step out as a statesman, he is the father of this nation, he is the number chief executive of this nation, the governors are chief executives of their states, they have a common interest outside politicking. He should now take whatever else he wants to do within the PDP family and not allow the kind of show of shame we are witnessing today. His position must be clear, must be firm, he must put himself at the right side of history and posterity and his own personal reputation. What do you see ahead of 2015? The fear I have for the country is the nomination process. Once the candidates emerge, the political battle lines will be very clear and will be decided. And that won’t be subject to structures any more, it will be subject to your ability to convince the people that you have performed in the past and you will even be able to do better in the future. And I don’t

be like they used to be because we too will be prepared. How do you view the battle for the presidency between northern leaders and the South-south? Sometimes I think I am over simplifying issues but I could go back to what I said before, it is for the Nigerian population to decide who will be their president. The day will not come when all those contesting will be northerners or where all those contesting will be southerners; there will be a mix of North, South, East and West contesting in 2015. It will be left to the good sense of the Nigerians voters to know what is in their best interest. I have got calls from strange people who say I am one of Jonathan’s supporters and I said no, that is not the issue. The issue is that he has fundamental constitutional right to contest and you cannot take that away from him, just like it is the fundamental constitutional right of the Nigerian voter to decide who governs him. To me, the issue is simple; all the people over heating the polity and shouting it must be a northerner or a southerner; that does not arise. President Jonathan is entitled constitutionally as a Nigerian to contest the election. It is for him to convince the PDP. Any other person is also fully entitled, it is for him to convince his party, then we meet at the political battle ground. I hate people creating arguments and difficulties where there are none. Of course they are initial drums of political excitements leading to the big event, but if they can do that without endangering the political health of the nation, the better for us. But I don’t think Nigeria will collapse for any reason. You were one of the Southsouth leaders who fought for a president from the region which eventually produced Jonathan. Will you say you are satisfied with his performance today? That is a difficult question be-

cause I am in the opposition. I am in a totally different party, but I do not think the economy is doing well in spite of all the good things that they quote. When capital flows into Shell, into Chevron, and when the banks shuffle their papers and money is being made and exchanging hands, we are said to be going at six, seven per cent. I am an economist, my career was basically at the Ministry of Economic Development, Economic Planning, but until that word, development, reaches and touches the average Nigerian, until I see stability in power, until I see growth in employment, until I see graduates who have hope that even after three years they will get jobs, governance have not been effective. My attitude is that it does not matter where the President comes from, those are the basic indicators of a successful government. I think it is clear that there I nothing on ground to show that this government has performed. Coming to your state, Edo, the battle for Governor Oshiomhole’s successor is already on. Do you not think that may tear the coming APC apart in the state? The only surprise to me is that the struggle for his successor started so early and such an intense manner, and I think it was wrong. We still have a lot of catching up to do in Edo and I mean that seriously we don’t want anything for at least two years to divert the energy both of the government and of the people. There is a lot of time for that, the advice one wants to give in a situation like this is that those who get into the ring too early are likely to fight themselves to a state of exhaustion by the time the real fight comes and you will allow a third party to run away with the prize. It is even in the interest of all those that are involved to back down and let the proper time come. It was really threatening to destabilize the party, and, if the party is destabilized, government will also be destabilized and we don’t want such thing. I was very upset about that and I think at the appropriate levels we all made that very clear. Edo PDP is strategizing also ahead of 2015 and 2016. Do you think the APC will have the fire power to check the PDP since Oshiomhole’s tenure will come to an end in 2016? I don’t see the PDP featuring in the struggle. The real struggle will be who will satisfy the people within the ACN and being capable of continuing at the same level that Governor Oshiomhole was operating; not whether the PDP will feature of whether they are re-organizing. I know human memories are short, but the last ten fifteen years is also short and people remember what they lost in twelve solid years of PDP governance in Edo State. And the excitement that the last five years has brought, the hope, the change, will always be considered, not the PDP. So the real issue is going to be who will replace Oshiomhole rather than whether or not the APC as it is will retain office. I have no doubt about that in my mind. Oshiomhole has made us proud and Edo people will always be grateful to him and reward him with their continued support.


SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013 — PAGE 21

Blood, tears in Oturkpo as Senate President David Mark’s men, villagers go to war! BY EMMA UJAH, ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF

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David Mark.....A peace meeting was reportedly held with the Alapa group on June 21 to secret locations outside Otukpo to seek medical help. Two weeks after the attack, leaders of the village, it was learnt, sent an emissary to Alapa, the alleged leader of Mark’s representatives, to express their disappointment over the attack on Asa III. A peace meeting was reportedly held with the Alapa group on June 21. The Chairman of Otukpo Local Government Council, Dr. Innocent Onuh, was one of the leaders that attended the meeting. That meeting was held at the palace of the Ad’ Alekwu of Asa III, Mr. Inalegwu Onche, where the villagers claimed to have told Mark’s representatives that due

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ENATE President David Mark’s quest for a vast land where he is said to be planning a university in his native Otukpo, Benue State, has pitted him against peasant farmers in Asa III, who claim that the retired military officerturned- politician wants to deprive them of their farm land, their only means of livelihood. The move was said to have started in the first quarter of the year when a delegation of the nation’s number three citizen, led by one Chief Obogo Alapa, met some Asa III elders to inform them of the proposed university which, it stressed, would bring development to the area. It was learnt that the villagers told the delegation that they welcomed the development, but that they needed to know the exact size of land and in which area of the village before they could give their terms. Consequently, it was agreed that the delegation should take representatives of the villagers to the area and show them the location and size. This was later undertaken, with a bulldozer setting out what represented the area of interest for the proposed institution. The said land, according Mr. Sam Obochi, measures about “4 x 4” km, covering the farmlands of many families. The area demarcated alegedly extended from Asa III to their boundary with Akpegede village on the one hand, and their boundary with Otobi on the other. However, trouble started when the villagers discovered that bulldozers were sent in to clear the vast farmland without any further discussions with them. “The Alapa delegation that went to show the villagers the area to be taken by the university project did not return to give the villagers any feedback”, the villagers claimed. Some of the villagers went to their farms and asked the bulldozer operators to stop work on the grounds that the said land belonged to their families and that at no time did they hand over the land to anybody for any project. As learnt, the workers ignored the villagers which led to protests during which the villagers blocked the main road that passes through Asa III in their efforts to attract public attention to their plight.

If the villagers expected any form of sympathy, what they allegedly got was a rude shock as, rather than coming for negotiations, those taking their land were said to have mobilized persons from Igbanomaje, Otukpo, to attack them

Attacks

If the villagers expected any form of sympathy, what they allegedly got was a rude shock as, rather than coming for negotiations, those taking their land were said to have mobilized persons from Igbanomaje, Otukpo, to attack them. The assailants were said to have invaded Asa III and shot six of the villagers, burnt down houses of those considered as the arrowheads of the alleged land-grab opposition, and looted every store in sight. The villagers ran into the bush and kept away from their homes for four days. Those who ventured into the village were said to have been arrested by gun- wielding vigilante and policemen brought in from Otukpo. 18 persons were allegedly arrested including three minors. 15 were detained in Makurdi Police Station while the minors were detained in the Juvenile Detention Center, Gboko. As learnt, six men were shot by the attackers and had to be rushed to the General Hospital Otukpo. But even at the hospital, the police went after them and attempted to arrest them. It took the resistance of the hospital staff to stop further action against the villagers who then sneaked out of the hospital that night

Vanguard was told, the police started firing into the air to disperse the crowd. In the process, one of the police constables was shot due to accidental discharge by a fellow police man. This was said to have infuriated the policemen the more as they insisted on arresting as many of the villagers as they could. But the policeman behind the shooting allegedly reported himself to the police authorities in Otukpo. He was said to have declared that he could not bring himself to accuse the villagers of a crime they did not commit. The policeman was arrested and detained, then transferred to the Benue State Police Command headquarters in

process should be followed if the Senate President wanted to acquire land for his university project.

Killing

The following day, the villagers said policemen from Otukpo Divisional Police Headquarters invaded the village at about 5.30 am to arrest some youths. Those who noticed the arrival of the policemen were said to have alerted others by phone. Those who could not get the information on time were arrested while those who escaped arrest had their Okadas (motorcycles) taken away. The villagers then mobilized and insisted that every villager must be taken to the police station. Overwhelmed, Sunday

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Makurdi where he was detained, pending his orderly room trial. In spite of truth about who shot the deceased policeman, the team that left the village only reinforced with more officers, soldiers and armed vigilante, and stormed the village later that day. The raid was unprecedented, according to the villagers, as they could not resist the large armed team that stormed their little village. Several villagers were arrested with others running into the forests. At the end of the day, many houses were allegedly burnt down and shops looted, creating a scenario of a village at war.

Strangers

After the raid, Mr. Obochi, a senior civil

servant in Makurdi, but whose family land is part of the parcel in dispute, decided to meet the Senate President’s representatives in Otukpo. He was arrested and detained for one week, in Makurdi, along with those earlier arrested. Obochi told Sunday Vanguard, in an interview in Makurdi, that what was happening in Asa III since the beginning of the year was a clear case of intimidation of the peasant farmers. He said he was arrested in the process of trying to resolve the issue between the Mark group and his brothers and sisters in his village. According to him, “my offence was that I bailed those who were arrested by a combined team of policemen, soldiers and vigilante”. Narrating the situation, Obochi said, “The Mark group claims that the villagers are strangers and as such will not receive any compensation for the land and their crops. Rather, they said that compensation will be paid to Otukpo indigenous people. Their informants misled them. They told them that those farming on the land in question are ‘Aalala’”. Those referred to as ‘Aalala’ are those from south of Idomaland, especially Ogbadibo and Okpokwu Local Government Areas. Obochi insisted that those who own the land and even currently own farms on the land in question are aboriginal Otukpo people. He added that most of the houses destroyed and the looted shops belonged to indigenes of Asa III and not strangers which made it difficult for any reasonable member of the society to comprehend. Obochi said the villagers had no intention of fighting Mark but that they won’t allow anyone to forcefully take away the land which they inherited from their ancestors. Effort to see Mark Asked if the aggrieved villagers made any effort to meet the Senate President in person, he said, “I met Adakole Elijah ( an aide of the Senate President) and requested to see Sen. Mark. He promised to facilitate my meeting him. That was before the arrest and that was the last time I saw the man. I also had a chance meeting with one Onyilokwu Ekwo (said to be very close to the Senate President) and I told him that we don’t want bloodshed in our village and that he should arrange a meeting for us to meet Mark. There was no response and I cannot just walk to Senator David Mark’s house”.

Demand

According to Obochi, the demand of the owners of the farm land is, “the Senate President should follow due process by coming to the owners of the land. If a dirty man has something which you need, the person cannot look dirty to you. “He should come to us and make a request, then we will decide whether to give him the land or not; or give him part of the land; but certainly not the whole land as demarcated. We don’t have any personal problem with Mark He chose the wrong process. Those he is working with are not representatives of the farmers who own the land. He should stop further work on the land in question until the issue is resolved”. Neither the Senate President’s media team nor his family members responded to inquiries by Sunday Vanguard, in spite of repeated calls and text messages.


PAGE 22 — SUNDAY VANGUARD, JULY 28, 2013

Should I leave this girl to my brother? Dear Rebecca

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Why keep virginity when the man may not? Dear Rebecca

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OMPIMENTS of the day. In your reply to a girl’s letter, you mentioned that you will never be tired of telling young people that a girl’s body is the most precious thing she possesses and she should hang on to her virginity until marriage. Well, that is a good advice but my argument is this: If I were a girl and I kept my virginity until I got married, that means I’d lose it to my husband. Now, I will sincerely feel cheated because the probability that my husband will also be a virgin may be equal to zero. It will be excellent when two of us are virgins. I have no intention of hanging on to my virginity for someone who has deflowered other girls. So, I see such a girl or lady as cheating herself. If it were in those days of our parents, that was just .okay because the people were morally upright, unlike now that it is very hard to find a bridegroom that is a virgin, unless you believe that it is only the girls that are meant to be virgins. But please, do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the girls should go wayward. I didn’t say they should start hopping from one man to the other. Absolutely, not! If I were a girl, I would have a boyfriend who really cares and loves me and I will be ready to lose my virginity to him. If in the end, he does not marry me, then it is just the way God wants it.

Losing my virginity to him does not in anyway make me a flirt or anything else, so long as I keep to one man and he sticks to me. Many of such relationships lead to marriage. So. that’s the way I see it. Keep up the good work. CURIOUS, Ebonyi State REPL Y REPLY

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IRST I commend you for your good grammar and choice of words. Now, the way God has made the sex act, the man brings out and the woman receives. The one who puts out is not as emotionally involved as the one who receives, and that is why a man can make love to a stranger in the dark and enjoy it; whereas, most women want love before sex. Also, to satisfy his sex urge, a man can go around relieving himself with as many women as he can find, but a woman cannot do that without feeling cheap and dirty. This is because she is not meant to receive men anyhow. I’m glad you don ‘t believe in sexual promiscuity. However, a girl who has sex before marriage stands to lose more than the man, because she is emotionally involved in the act and she feels bad when she is cast aside by a man she thought loved her and would marry her. If you haven’t had sex with a man, you would naturally feel bad when he leaves you, but not as bad as you would feel if you had al-

lowed him sex. You would still have your dignity intact since you had not given him your body. Yes, loss of virginity does not make a girl a promiscuous person, but why give away such a precious thing, outside a loving commitment like marriage? It is in your own interest to respect your body and preserve it. Some men have no respect for girls who allow them sex even though they were the ones who pleaded, threatened or bribed with presents and money in order to have their way. A sensible girl would never say that since the man she’s likely to marry would not be a virgin; she need not be a virgin too. I’ve never heard of girls looking for a male virgin to marry, or a girl rejecting a man she’s had sex with, who wants to marry her. A man has nothing to lose if he has sex before marriage unless he is a born again Christian and it troubles his conscience. There’s nothing to determine his state of virginity and he doesn’t feel used, cheated or dirty if girls allow him sex and move on. In fact, he’s glad to have a variety of sex partners. It’s exciting for him. Unwanted pregnancy and likely abortion are not his headache. To prevent these and veneral diseases, he would gladly use the condom and continue having sexual adventures. A woman’s body is precious and that’s why God uses it to carry human beings until they

are born. She is expected to respect it and protect it from receiving illegal things like sex before marriage. The consequences of the wrong use of sex affects the girl more than the man. She gets pregnant, carries around the evidence that she has had sex, and she delivers the baby at great risk to her life. She then has to nurture the baby whether the man claims responsibility or not. That baby will affect all her life, but it is not so for the man. He’s involved only if he chooses to be. Men hardly get a bad name for sleeping around, but girls do. Also, most girls don’t go around saying they’ve had sex with such and such a man, but men do. If your policy is that since the man you will marry may not be a virgin and as such, you need not be a virgin, it could mean you would commit adultery in your marriage if your husband commits adultery. Again, it is the woman who loses out in this. Also, we all will have to account for the way we lived our lives here on earth. You won’t deliberately sin against God by committing adultery simply because your spouse is being sexually unfaithful, would you? There is nothing old fashioned about a girl respecting her body and remaining a virgin until marriage. It makes good sense at any age. In the U.S. more and more young people, male and female, are taking oaths, to remain virgins until marriage. That is real civilization.

am 20, hoping to gain admission into the University. I’m in love with a girl who’s already an undergraduate. It started last year when I visited my village. It took quite some time and pressure for her to agree to a relationship with me. The problem now is that my blood brother wants this same girl. He happens to be in the same university as she is, and she told me that he had asked her out. My brother has gone to the extent of telling our parents about her. Please, I need your help because my brother is really interested in this my girlfriend. I have not yet had sex with her. Should I call it quits with her or continue with the relationship? I really love her. Upset boy. REPL Y REPLY

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ORRY, I don’t see any great rela tionship here for you to lose any sleep about. She is merely a girl who is your friend. You didn’t say how old she is, but she is already in a university while you are yet to gain admission. In western countries where people put fondness before educational qualifications or status, there would no problem in you and this girl becoming girlfriend/ boyfriend. But in our society, a girl who’s already in a higher institution is unlikely to remain long in a relationship with a boy who’s trying to get in. This doesn’t mean that the girl is a snob, but rather, it has to do with the reality that when this girl would have completed her studies and is ready for marriage, the boy may still be very far from being ready to settle. We know that it won’t be in the interest of such a girl to keep waiting for him to get his act together, because if she

does, at the end of the day, due to the long wait, he may consider her too old for him to marry, and would then go for a younger girl. That would hurt her terribly. However, if the man is on his way to being established in business, and there’s hope that he would be ready by the time she completes her university education, she would stay in the relationship, whether or not he’s a graduate. However, in your case, right now, this is a friendship situation; not courtship. Your main pre-occupation right now should be to do all you can do legitimately to secure admission into a higher institution of learning, so that you can embark on a future career. Don’t waste your time confronting your brother about his supposed toasting of the girl, or, his telling your parents about her. Don’t let a girl bring a quarrel between you and your brother. Show her that you love and respect your brother. Even if your brother was trying to be mischievous by asking a girl he knows to be your friend, out on the campus, when he sees that you are not bothered about it and you continue to treat him as a brother, he would be ashamed of himself and may leave her alone; or he may not. That’s their business, not yours. As undergraduates on the same campus, they are bound to be friends anyway, since they come from same village. When next she tells you about his advances, tell her to do what she feels best in her heart and that if she’s interested in dating him, she can go ahead. Frankly, it doesn’t matter in the least if they announce that they are going to get married. You’re not ready for that at all, and you have many years ahead to fall in and out of love until you meet your God-chosen girl to marry.

•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: dearrebecca2@yahoo.com


SUNDAY VANGUARD, JULY 28, 2013, PAGE 23

Holding on to your lover’s letters could be dangerous

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Y dearest,” the letter read. “I will call you my lady because that is what you are. Your breasts, your thighs, the way your eyes seemed to scream across the room, bidding me to seduce you, pulling me erect, drawing me, like moth before the flame, towards fire and abandon - are all the things about you. I touched you - No. Before I’d even touched you, before I’d even seen you, I felt the presence of you. It was as if hands, many hands on fire and invisible, were running through my hair, across my skin, lower and lower, encircling my maleness I turned and you were walking towards me, smiling; your body, glowing through the confines of your dress, enfolding me in you. “We talked, sipping our drinks and exchanging pleasantries, whilst our bodies engaged in a conversation of their own. I came without touching you. And later, in the bed (our love nest), I was aware of nothing except your breath across my face, your lips upon my flesh and the feel of your body locked tight against me. I slept and in my sleep I dreamt of you .... “ The letter nearly burnt holes in my hand - it was that scorching. If, for a

minute you readers think I was the one being ‘seduced’ by such lustily crafted letter,: then, you are wrong. What I had in my hands was a photocopy of the original letter purportedly written to a married woman by a close relation of mine. The wronged husband had phoned me about this startling discovery, threatening mayhem! “You mean Kunle (my relation) wrote a letter to your wife” I asked incredulously as he read the letter on the phone, “and your wife brought it to your matrimonial home?” “I’ll send you a copy so you could believe,” he snapped and banged the phone. I’d hardly finished reading the letter when my phone rang again. “You tell that randy goat relation of yours that he’s had his last affair ”, threatened Lateef, the wronged husband. “And I have lots more incriminating letters. I intend to start embarrassing him by sending them to some of these soft-sells. By the time I’m through with him, he would run a mile any time he comes close to another person’s wife”. I phoned Kunle, my letter-writing relative. He was quite unrepentant when I told him why I phoned. “So I wrote love letters,” he

sneered, “is that such a crime?” “But you are married and the so-called love letters, were to another man’s wife. Not only that, the silly adulterer had more or less chronicled all your escapades in her diary - the days you gave her money, the first time you made love to her and such silly nonsense! She even referred to you as her one-and-only!” “Well, doesn’t that tell you something?” Kunle said almost proudly. “If my letters hadn’t touched her where it mattered, she wouldn’t have kept them, not to mention her taking them to her matrimonial home! That husband of hers is a poor excuse for a husband. Instead of him to harness his energy into

making enough money for his family, he goes about the house looking for evidence of his wife’s unfaithfulness. Well, if you look for something hard enough, you’ll find it! You know where he found those letters? Inside a packet of sanitary towels where his wife had hidden them! I mean, how low can you sink? “He’s phoned me here too and you should hear the names he called me. He promised to send copies of my letters to my wife and I promised him I would embarrass him by sending copies of the letters his wife wrote to his friends. I warned him he wouldn’t like to read what his wife had to say about his sexual prowess. I also told him that if he as much as made the

mistake of sending his wife out of their matrimonial home, he would never call her his wife again. That shut him up and he hung up.” Today, writing love letters is almost a forgotten art. We prefer to convey our passions in person. Or, if our love is away, by telephone or send a card or an e-mail. And the nearest most of us get to actually writing is a few hastily scribbled endearments on the bottom of a Christmas or birthday card or funny abbreviated texts on the mobile. “Yet love letters can enrich our lives,” confesses a diehard romantic. “They give an added dimension to our current love affairs, they help us conjure up lovers who have moved on, and if our latest flame has left us feeling bitter, we can always use them to blackmail or embarrass the bugger!” But love letters to a married lover, giving lurid details of what you’d done with each other and lots more other things you intend to do, is taking romance on a dangerous bend! As I write, the dust has settled somewhat on the love-letter saga, but I am sure the rippling effect will soon surface. The best way to cover an affair? Get rid of the evidence: At least that’s

what Tinu said she always does. A happily married legal practitioner, she told me of the day her bit-on-the-side called at her office to personally drop an item she requested his driver to bring” She told me. “I was at a loose end and just thought I would pop in,” he said, handing me a letter he’d already written which he intended the driver to give me. I read the note, amused at the quick jokes in it and promptly tore it to shreds in his presence. Force of habit. Only, I should have waited for him to conveniently leave before I tore his letter. “Why are you tearing my note to pieces?” he asked, puzzled and hurt. “I’m sorry dear,” I said smoothly. “I’d been shredding some memos since I came in. I did it out of reflex!” I’m sure he didn’t buy the story, but what could he do? Ask me to put back the jigsaw puzzle?” To you philanderers reading this, the best way to conduct an affair is to always get rid of the evidence. A fling is not meant to last but documented evidence does. So, shred those letters, use those gifts if you conveniently can and give away or sell the ones you can’t. A word is sufficient for the wise!

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Body management

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OMETHING I read once ran this: Of all the creatures in the world, the human being has the least sense of body management.” At first I was in doubt. I thought, “we have come up with all sorts of medication to heal diseases of all kinds; we have created all sorts of dishes to make each meal a bit of a return to paradise; we have all types of clothing to help us live through the changes in weather. So, what could we be doing wrong to merit such a sweeping indictment. ‘As I read on, I gradually began to understand what the writer meant. We eat wrongly, we breathe wrongly and we also don’t seem to realise that the body has a mind of its own and that allowing the body’s own mind to be in charge could signal the beginning of the end to most of our afflictions. Mastering the art of deep breathing, for instance, can make us overcome respiratory problems such as asthma. The right type of exercise will see us quickly C M Y K

through a running nose or congested sinuses. Even persistent headaches can be overcomed with the right exercise and breathing technique. It may come as a surprise to many that learning to relax properly leads to a reduction in cholesterol levels, heart rate and blood pressure. This is suggestive that the body can put thungs right on its own. We only must help it along, adhering to the right habits and eschewing the wrong ones. Remember that a thousand and one things can go wrong with the body of a youngster as well as that of an adult if the living habits lack proper direction. For example, the body of a young person who refrains from exercise or the healthful games his peers engage in will soon find that he lacks the stamina and the sheer joy of living as expressed by his active friends. In the same way a grown-up who spends his days with a belly full of wine and flesh will soon find he can’t keep

pace with his colleagues after just a few months of such inordinate indulgence. But then health soon radiates from a person as he attempts to mend his ways. The way to great health is self-commitment. Once the resolution has been made and stuck to with tenacity of purpose it’s only a matter of time when the body will begin to show marked improvement. Here are some postures to improve lung capacity increase strength and flexibility. LEG RAISE (against the wall) Technique: Lie flat on your back and raise both legs up against the wall. Interlace the fingers and place the back of the head on the hands. Now breathe out completely and begin to inhale slowly but deeply. First let in the breath by extending the belly to the fullest. Then, still breathing in expand the sides and breathe in yet some more and then breathe in further more to fill the upper chest by drawing a heavy sigh.

Hold the breath for about 5 or 10 seconds and begin to breathe out slowly letting out the air in the upper chest, the mid-section and finally contracting the abdomen expel all the breath you can. An inhalation, retention and exhalation make up one round of deep breathing. Benefits: This exercise aerates the lungs properly and helps asthma and other respiratory problems. HEAD TO KNEE Technique: Sit down with the feet stretched out in front of you and close together. Now raise both hands overhead and gently lowering the trunk and hands as far down as you can and then return to the upright position with the hands still overhead and then go back down again. Do this for a couple more times to limber the back and hamstrings for the full head to knee pose. In the final stage of the posture, you form a ring with the forefinger and thumb around the corresponding big toes with the forehead resting on the knees and the elbows touching the floor.

For beginners it maybe impossible to assume the full posture so it will do to hold as far down the legs as you can and lower the trunk the furtherest down you can go. Duration: Stay in the position for about 10 seconds and gradually go up to a minute or two. Lie down on your back when you’re through to allow the circulation stabilise. The head to knee tones up

the muscles of the back, the arms and hamstrings. The ‘doubling up’ lends gentle massage to the digestive organs improving the way the body handles nourishment. In the women-folk this posture is said help & painful periods and eventually stop it completely. It’s also a great exercise for long distance runners as the hamstrings are where the long distance runner is most likely to develop muscle pulls.

* The Reed

Yoga classes at 32 Adetokunbo Ademola, Victoria Island, Lagos, 9.10am on Saturdays


P AGE 24—SUND AY Vanguard , JUL Y 28 , 2013 SUNDA JULY

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An abusive wife speaks from the grave of her emotional torture

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T is disheartening to still find hundreds of women clinging to their abusive partners under the guise of being blinded by love. Omodolapo Olotu-Jagha, aged 42 died a few months ago, a broken woman with her heart thoroughly shattered into smitterins by a husband she professed to love but who shamelessly abused her physically and emotionally. Here, in her own words, is her unedited obituary written on the 27th of April and posted on the net immediately after she died ... I am grateful to God that I will rest in His bosom and I am more grateful because I have always wanted this opportunity to speak my mind even unto death. I guess you are surprised that even the dead can air an opinion; in my case I really wanted to because I knew that God was preparing a place for me and that is where I will be. Do not weep for so long because I found eternal peace in Him. The very peace that has eluded me in about twelve years of my God given years (at the time of this writing I am forty-one years of age and I have been married for twelve years). This is my story ... I am Yetunde nee Olotu as I am fondly called by my immediate family in Nigeria but here I am being referred to as Omodolapo Jagha as named by the love of my life. Now, I am Dolapo GoodGod, the surname I adopted when I realized that I no longer have a husband who will be there for me. The very man 1 should expect to be in the master of ceremony at my ‘burial, the man you think would miss my departure the most but unfortunately not. 1 believe my ‘estranged husband is glad that he is now free from the bondage called marriage. Noble Jagha, 1 hope you feel so happy now that your prophesy to Maryam Hassan and other girlfriends of yours that 1 will soon die so you can marry them is now fulfilled. The truth is that my body may be dead but my hope of glory in heaven is constant as God lives. I may not be here again but 1 am so sure

you will never find anyone to love you the way I did ... You were my first love, the very man who deflowered me but turned his back on me years after that 1 was not good on bed (not sexy enough for you), I was not good at cooking but 1 managed to learn and cook your local meal of starch and banga. He said, “I was so paranoid” because 1 complained that you are only comfortable making phone calls in the car and returning home at midnight. You finally abandoned me and the children in December, 2012 after all the mental and physical abuse 1 suffered from you. You could not face the wrath of law as 1 got a safety and protection order against you because 1 was afraid that you would eventually take my life. While you lived with us, you were of no use, as you were not readily available to do your matrimonial and fatherly duties. How painful it was to take the twins to school walking all the way from Ongar to Little Pace, sometimes after getting a chemo. Even when 1 pleaded with you to look after the kids when 1 had appointments at the hospital you refused. Thank God for the Irish government (HSE) that provided me with home help (Margaret), my cousin, grandma Ode lade, Sola and S. Bimbo (my wonderful sisters in church), my friend, confidant (Gbemi) who stuck to me like a sister, she is known in all our kids’ school as their guardian because you were not there. You found solace in your numerous, “ your attraction” as you referred to the choir leader and probably your new sizzling romance Sheila Luxembor whom you kept my kids with without my consent. I hope she told you I rang her and made peace with her when I did no wrong (Yeah, I did this to secure my heaven). Hhhhmmmm .. .the Lord is my strength. Oti, how do you feel after physically and mentally tormenting me? You can now be happy that “the living corpse” (as you often referred to me) in your home has finally gone to be with God. You no longer have to hit me or pounce on me

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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: sunlovenotes@yahoo.com Please mark your envelope: “LOVE NOTES"

Ladies not for experiment

A guy who truly loves his girl doesn't need to unbutton her blouse to get a better view of her heart or

Late Mrs. Omodolapo Olotu-Jagha( 1971-2013) anymore. In death I have for- stop me from getting a given you because I loved separation that I so longed you but I hope you are able for. On my dying bed I to forgive yourself...? I can- made copies of telephone not forget in a minute how I bills showing his immoral felt so let down that I took to communication with a my heels and sought refuge worker in the church at in that sister ’s place and Athlone but there was still later on at the women’s ref- no sufficient evidence ... uge. I am sure your defence The church that should be is that I died as a cancer pa- a place of refuge became tient but I believe I could live a place:of torment for me. a day longer if you were there I hope you can also enjoy for me ... I went through the your new relationship with pains of cancer lonely! Sheila, I learnt you told Rather than supporting, you some of your church memrejected me. Isn’t marriage bers that I asked her to meant to be for better or for look after my kids because worse ... ? I hope when I re- I was sick in the hospital member how childish you whereas she keeps malice were for taking the boot you with me just because of bought for me and returning your sex romp with her. the wrist watch I bought for Oti, you left my children you I can peacefully sigh a at home for two days and relief for leaving this cruel went to sleep with your world. You were so mean to girl friend in Athlone: You me! Oti, you were really also asked my under-aged mean to Emmanuella too. children to travel on bus How could you ill-treat your to Athlone by themselves own children because they while I was on the hospiare girls? I have all the hor- tal bed. I loved you but you rible text messages you sent failed me and you know to me documented; psycho- it. The bitter pill that I have logically you killed me beto swallow is the fact that fore my death. Pastor Jagha, a man of I can no longer be there God! The church has failed for my lovely girls. Their in their duty to help you from beloved father despised falling, they have pampered them so because I could you for doing wrong in or- not make a male child der to save their face and in- (you claimed that I was variably they have failed me. unable to have a boy child Church is meant for sinners because I did not drink irrespective of their position from the anointing oil and as such no one should which you asked me to be above chastising. I hope drink and that makes you after my demise our father detest me too). I am deeply in the Lord would have sorry that I did not drink enough evidence to correct it; maybe that would have the wrong of my beloved spared me of some lashes. husband. No wonder my so- Our lovely first daughter called husband was able to at age twelve said, trick the church who also “Mummy I don’t think I lured me to take off the safety will get married”. This is and protection order and as a result of the abuse that pull her skirt down in the name of so-called LOVE! I pray that there will come a time in your life when you realize that the most important thing in your life is not sex before marriage, money or good lifestyle gained through immorality but honour, respect, love and above all to please God with your body. A woman is not a sex object or laboratory for experiment. Ladies love yourself enough to say no and you will attract a man of integrity. Chris Onunaku dekris4real@gmail.com 08032988826/08184844015.

Never change my love for you

I may love to change many things in my life but I will never change my love for you, for you have planted and nourished a giant seed of love in my

my child suffered from our marriage ... If you are a loved one and you know my daughter, please help me say to her that marriage is to be enjoyed and not endured .. J want her to be married and make me proud! Oti, why do you always run away from your problems rather than resolving them? You left Nigeria because of your involvement in fraud at the bank which you never resolved. As I speak you owe my mother a sum of one million, two hundred thousand naira which you have no plan to repay. How come you had issues even with your own sibling in the U.K. to such an extent that you poisoned her ... ? That is the more reason why I was so scared for my life. You are such a difficult person, the community welfare officer, our GP, Olive at Hartstown, the Child protection unit at Finglas and our father in the Lord tried their best to advise you to no avail. You were not ready to make me happy. Noble Jagha, you wanted me dead as soon as possible. I still wonder why you refused to come with me for separation times and again when I asked that we should part ways. I know your intent may be to make gains from my years of labour at Anpost. I worked so hard to pay the rent, to feed us and even paid some of your fees to pursue your MBA. Despite all my effort you were never satisfied, even on my sick bed you demanded for money ... I hope you are happy that you have them all and you can feed your numerous girlfriends with them. I plead with you and I besiege all who read this to appeal to you that you do the following after my demise which is of utmost importance (I hope you will heed advice for once). 1 That you may put in trust/fixed deposit for my daughters all monies raised from my burial and benefits from my workplace having paid all expenses incurred and other personal loan taken from my friends during my period of illness. My daughters need to know I care for them even in my grave.

2. That, I have a will in which I have named the executors to my will and joint custodians of our children. The lawyer will keep you posted in due course, please adhere! 3.Oti you can also pay any money that you owe from the monies before the account is opened. 4.Kindly pay my mother the money you owe her too before the account is fixed. 5.I want my mother to be a part of my children’s life, please don’t deprive her. 6.Oti make peace with my family and friends (stop making enemies out of the.people that helped me). Oti, it may surprise you but I have to let you know that I have the password to your face book account and e-mail accounts! How come I am not on your friend list? Why did you also refuse to tell me the cause of your mother ’s death? I know she died of cancer! Hmmmm I hope my mother can forgive me for not heeding her advice in respect of my choice of marriage and I pray that God gives her and my father the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss. It is too late to cry when the head is off. Thank you for not leaving me alone in my time of troubles and needs my sisters, thank your sister for going to Olive’s school, please follow up with Emmanuel as planned, I don’t want my children to suffer. I am so worried ... I am tired. I don’t want you people to go, don’t leave me alone. I want someone to sleep here with me tonight... . As I read Omodolapo’s pathetic story, my blood boiled. Anger welled through me not towards her husband’s seemingly heartlessness, but at her contribution towards her abuse. Why didn’t she walk away for goodness sake? Why did she allow her husband to strip her of all dignity? I could go on and on, but it would all be my opinion. Readers are to please wait till next week when Omodolapo’s dad’s heartrending oration at his daughter ’s graveside is published to let other readers know what they think of this bizarre story ...

heart. Infact, you are indeed the very phenomenon that add spices to my life and give it the real flavour that flows in it. And if I am to live a million years,I will still love and cherish you. Akachukwu Ferdinand. aka5forever85@gmail.com 08063819314

Afraid to lose you

When I first saw you I was afarid to talk to you, When I first talked to you I was afraid to like you When I first liked you I was afarid to love you Now that I love you I'm afraid to lose you! Cent Obama, centobama@gmail.com +2348061379003


SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013 — PAGE 25

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DOWN WITH BAD ANUS! 5-yr-old boy needs lifeline

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or the family of Mr. Chukwuma James, the battle to keep their five-year-old son, Ferdinard Chukwuma, alive has become a race against time, two years after futile attempts to restore his blocked anus in Nigerian hospitals appear to have hit brickwall.

After several harrowing experiences, Ferdinard urgently requires surgery in India, for which his parents must cough out N6million otherwise the boy dies. The boy has had to endure living without intestines for six months part of measures by medical experts to keep him alive. Already robbed of the pleasure of infancy, due to his stay in and out of hospital in the last two years, Ferdinard is hanging precariously to life, hoping his already over stretched parents are able to come with the money required to save his life. Narrating his ordeal, James, the father, said, “When my son was born, we discovered that he found it difficult to pass stool. We reported to the hospital where he was born and we were asked to begin Enema, a process where soap and water is passed through the anus, to forcefully bring out stool and we were doing it. “We went for scanning at General Hospital, Suleja when he was two years old and discovered he had intestinal obstruction. First, surgery was carried out there, but, after three months, his stomach C M Y K

started swelling up; we took him to a private hospital where he was treated and he was fine.” Ferdinard’s condition, according to the father, however, took a turn for the worse, when, at four years , last year, the intestinal obstruction resurfaced, once again making it impossible for him to pass stool. The boy was sent back to the operating theatre, but with no visible improvement to his health condition. Rather, James lamented that that things went from bad to worse.

“On May 16, 2012, the doctors sent a message to me, because I was not around, that they will cut his intestines to bring it out. I felt bad but they had to save his life; so they cut it and brought the intestines out

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BY VICTORIA OJEME

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According to him, “ When he was four years old, last year, he started complaining of stomach ache and found it difficult to pass stool again. We started Enema again but, for six days, he couldn’t pass stool.

“We took him to General Hospital, Maraba, when the nurses there tried Enema but it didn’t work. He was admitted and after referred to General Hospital, Gwagwalada. “On 16 May, 2012, the doctors sent a message to me, because i was not around, that they will cut his intestines to bring it out. I felt bad but they had to save his life; so they cut it and brought the intestines out. “Two days later, the doctors said we should give him whatever he wanted to eat. We did. Days later, his stomach swelled up again. “On 21 May, 2012, the second operation was performed on him by Dr. Eniola and we were asked to bring him back after after months for his intestines to be returned into his stomach. “On December 3, 2012, the third operation was done, which they said was corrective surgery. The cost of managing him is not easy. My wife is always monitoring him. “After the corrective surgery, I thought he would be fine; so I traveled. While I was away, my wife called to say the operation was unsuccessful, the stomach was leaking and that feaces was pouring from his body. “The room where he was kept in the hospital was stinking, people couldn’t come

close. It was like he was abandoned, I wasn’t happy that my son’s condition deteriorated like that. “They said we had to get pints of blood; we did. On 25 December, they were in the theatre from 12.30 pm to 8 pm,, all all they could do after was to bring out his intestines again.” James, a civil servant, is desperately in need of help to raise the N6million required to take Ferdinard to India for corrective surgery. “Now they have referred him to India. The doctors reports here have been sent to the Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, India where he is expected to be treated”, the embattled father said. “After converting the amount in dollars to our money here, it amounts to about N6m and he will spend two and a half months there. They said three major operations will be carried out on him” He added, “As a civil servant, I don’t have that kind of money. They did their best here but I think we don’t have enough and standard hospital equipment in Nigeria. “ Nigerians should please come to our aid, we need help. Fedrinard has just about two months to undergo this operation or suffer severe problems. Please we need help”.


PAGE 26—SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013

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Rebellion in the Church! zBinis at daggers drawn with Catholic Archbishop over indigenous bishop zWhy Akabueze won’t quit – Senator Owie, others

Augustine Obiora Akubueze

By SIMON EBEGBULEM, Benin-City

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ince he was appointed as the Archbishop of the Benin Metropol itan See on 18 March, 2011, Augustine Obiora Akubueze has not had peace. Prior to his installation on 28 April, 2011, a group of Binis, under the aegis of the Edo Liturgical Group,agitated for a Benin bishop, accusing the hierarchy of the Catholic Church of marginalizing the Binis, especially their priests from emerging as bishops. Attempts made to stop Akubueze’s installation through the courts and the Benin Traditional Council met a brick wall since the Vatican had spoken. In Catholic Church, the making of an archbishop or a bishop is a difficult process that requires divine guidance. One of the key leaders of the Edo Liturgical Group, Pa Vincent Osakue, a Knight of St Mulumba, led the opposition to the installation of Akubueze who also doubles as the Vice Chairman of the Catholic Bishops Conference, to the palace of the Benin monarch, Oba Erediauwa, through petitions. Meanwhile, Osakue’s action attracted the wrath of the top hierarchy of the Knight of St Mulumba. He was suspended from the Knighthood as his action was tagged anti-Catholic. However, the Benin monarch intervened in the matter and urged the parties to sheathe their sword while he looked into the matter. His intervention brought cessation of hostilities between the parties until Akubueze, an Igbo man from Anambra State, was installed. In 2012, the archbishop led a delegation to visit the Oba who gave him gifts from the palace. But unknown to Akubueze, more trouble was to come!

Agitation for Bini bishop Sunday Vanguard learnt that the battle for an indigenous bishop started when Archbishop Patrick Ekpu, the immediate past Archbishop of Benin, was nearing retirement. Various groups such as the Afemai (Edo North), Esan (Edo Central) and Bini (Edo South), started praying for the C M Y K

creation of more dioceses to foster development. Sunday Vanguard gathered that before the Auchi Diocese was created, a prominent Esan son advised Ekpu to ensure that indigenous bishops were installed in the three senatorial districts of the state. After the creation of Auchi Diocese, an indigenous bishop, Gabriel Dunia, emerged. But when Uromi Diocese (Esan) was created, Akubueze, who was then a priest at Iselle-Uku Diocese, was posted to Uromi, where he was ordained bishop on 25 February, 2006. Having found him worthy due to his performance at Iselle-Uku and Uromi and, particularly due to the universal nature of the church, he was moved to Benin Archdiocese to head the Metropolitan See. According to the rules of the church, the choice of who becomes archbishop in Benin Archdiocese is not limited to Benin indigenous priests because, as a Metropolitan See, the Benin Archdiocese comprises of worshippers from almost all tribes in the country including foreigners and it supervises other dioceses in Uromi, Auchi, Bomadi,Warri, Kogi and Ondo. These dioceses are known as the Suffragan Dioceses under Benin. On Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, members of the Edo Liturgical Group, resumed their agitation, demanding the removal of Akubueze and a Benin priest made the bishop in his place. The group, led by its Chairman, Andrew Ayemwenre, also accused the archbishop of meting out punitive measures against the Benin people since their demand started for an indigenous bishop which, according to them, will help achieve proper evangelization in their land in accordance with the recommendation for the church by Pope Benedict XV. They alleged,“In less than two years of Archbishop Akubueze’s coming, there appears to be a design by him to replace our people, priests and laity in the Catholic Church. The Edo Liturgical Group visited him on more than four occasions to find the way forward. Among issues raised were one Edo Mass for parishes at prime time in the entire diocese, that copies of Edo Bible and Missal be made available in the church,

use of Edo songs at Mass, priests in the archdiocese to learn to celebrate Mass in Edo language, the re-instatement of Pa Vincent Osakue to the Knighthood which was withdrawn by Akubueze and Mr. Chris Aghimien as Secretary of the Laity Council of the Archdiocese of Benin and the retention of the name, Edo Liturgical Group”. They claimed that despite the peace moves made by the group to sort out the issues with the archbishop, “ he failed to accede to any of our requests and even refused to approve the one Mass on Sunday for the indigenes in all parishes in Benin-City. Holy Cross Cathedral as a Parish has 28 Sunday Masses in a month while only one Mass is said in Edo language for her indigenes. This means that, of the 364 Sunday Masses in a year, only 12 is in the native tongue. Meanwhile, in Onitsha and the entire Eastern Nigeria, the reverse is the case. The use of Edo language as part of the Mass is a taboo by Archbishop Akubeze”. While insisting that the name Edo Liturgical Group be allowed to remain, they said that they have been under threat and pressure from the Archbishop to change the group just as they added that some Benin Priests have been forbidden from saying Edo Mass and have refused to associate with them for fear of victimization”. Loyalty But 24 hours after making their statement public, indigenous Bini priests, led by their chairman, Rev Father Felix Igbineweka,

Sunday Vanguard learnt that the battle for an indigenous bishop started when Archbishop Patrick Ekpu, the immediate past Archbishop of Benin, was nearing retirement

described the call as unfortunate and urged those aggrieved to work in harmony with the authorities of the church to avoid unnecessary crisis. While disassociating the Benin priests from the call for the removal of the archbishop, Igbineweka pledged their loyalty to Akubueze and urged any aggrieved person to channel complaints to the relevant authorities rather than attempting to rub the name of the church with mud.

Scheming out

Tension further heightened in the archdiocese when some prominent Benin chiefs, led by the Iyase of Benin Kingdom, Chief Sam Igbe, insisted that the archbishop must go. They accused Akubueze of doing things contrary to the Papal policy of promoting indigenous language and customs of the people which, they said, the Roman Catholic Church leadership believed would lead to winning more converts. The Iyase said there was a deliberate attempt to shortchange Benin speaking priests in the scheme of things by deliberately sending them abroad in the guise of training and replacing them

with Igbo priests.“Because Archbishop Akubeze has exhibited hatred for the people of Benin and their language, he has to go and a Benin priest has to be installed bishop/ arcbishop of our diocese”. Igbo reminded Akubueze that, in Mbaise, the people rejected a non-indigene as bishop and vowed to mete out the same treatment to him.

Religious matter

But former Senate Chief Whip, Senator Rowland Owie, and a Benin priest, Rev. Father Palmer Ikponmwosa, disagreed with them and described the call as ungodly, retrogressive and diversionary, saying “Binis don’t forbid visitors and this is purely a religious matter and has nothing to do with tribe”. “I do not blame the chiefs who are treading where angels fear to tread, throwing stones at the consecrated ones of the Most High God. Is there any true believer of the Catholic faith who will take doctrinal and ecclesiastical matters for adjudication in a secular environment?”, Owie said. “The most painful wounds, the worst affronts which the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Benin has received up till now, have come from her own children. We lambast our local priests as if they are our mates. When the sons or brothers of these people who are priests are retained in urban parishes, then the archbishop is doing well but when any of them is transferred to the rural area, oh, archbishop is not good, he must be transferred. Let any one of them challenge me to a public debate on the stewardship of Archbishop Akubueze. Apart from Archbishop Gbuji, the evangelization efforts of Archbishop Akubueze in Edo South senatorial district, which is the Archdiocese of Benin, is unprecedented in the Catholic Church. Let us assume that Bini Mass is approved for all 70 parishes and over one hundred Mass Centers in the Archdiocese of Benin, where will these agents of destabilization find the Bini priests to say Mass?”

5-star hospital

Also joining issues with the anti-Akubueze campaigners Palmer, an indigenous Bini priest, asserted that the archbishop had impacted positively in the lives of indigenous priests and the Binis in general since his arrival contrary to the allegations against him. His words: “When he came, 27 parishes were handed over to him but today we have 64 parishes in Benin Archdiocese, excluding Mass Centers and these have opened up Benin villages. Even a five-start hospital is about to be built in Igbuogo village before Okada and that hospital will take care of women and children. Is it not our people the Binis that will benefit from it? This was made possible by the archbishop. And let me also tell you, the cry among the Bini priests earlier was the issue of extra training for our people. And when the archbishop came, he agreed that it was necessary for the Church to build the capacity of the priests by using the advantage of Fidel Donum priests, which were graciously given to the archdiocese through the request made by Archbishop Gbuji who was overseeing affairs here before the coming of Archbishop Akubueze. And this request was made in order to promote evangelization”. Sunday Vanguard learnt that contrary to the allegation that Bini priests were not being trained, several of them are undergoing training abroad in courses that will lead to the emergence of a Bini bishop in the future.


SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013 — PAGE 27

FLOODS

How trees protected Lagos—Fashola BY EMMANUEL EDUKUGHO

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ecause trees absorb rainfall and prevent flooding, Lagos was spared the floods that swept through the nation last year, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola said in a keynote address at the 5th anniversary of the Tree Planting Campaign which took place all over the state. According to him, “ it was not by coincidence, it was result of our collective efforts at preserving nature to prevent her wrath.” The theme of 2013 campaign is ‘Green Peace,’ in recognition of the fact that the absence of green, especially trees, is a threat to the survival of all creatures which depend on oxygen while green leaves are often used to signify peace. Fashola said, “We need trees to absorb the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and prevent people from suffocating”. The governor explained that trees are germane to human existence, saying they are a direct and indirect source of food for man and animals.

L-R: Mr Bola S. Disu, Registrar, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), Otto/Ijanikin, Lagos State; the Provost, Mr. Bashorun Olalekan Wasiu; a member of the Governing Council, Mr. Adesanya Adeyemi; the representative of Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Ajiniran Collins; and others during the 2013 Tree Planting Day. “The absence of greens results in vegetal degradation, impoverished ecosystem and decreased biological productivity that lead to food shortage,

ill heath and lower per capita income – all situations we want to avoid in Lagos.” He disclosed that since the planting

ABANDONED ROAD PROJECT

Lagos residents battle council chairman BY ADEOLA ADENUGA

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*Send SOS to Gov Fashola

he chairman of Egbe-Idimu Lo cal Council Development Area of Lagos State,Mr Adebayo Wahid Bello, aka Sunshine, is in the eye of the storm after some of the residents of the area accused him of non-performance. The residents, under the aegis of Olaifedun Community Development Association, Isheri Olofin/Idimu, specifically alleged that the LCDA chairman abandoned the construction of Ifelodun Street, off Oladun Street, which his administration started some four years ago. “The construction (of the road) started early 2009 with a promise of completion within six months. But four years after, the road has merely been dug up with no sign of completion in sight”, the association said in a letter dated March 13, 2013 to the LCDA boss. The residents would have taken it in their strides were it only the road construction abandonment that is the problem. Now, they said the digging up of *The road to nowhere in Egbe/Idimu LCDA many parts of the road is a source of danger to them. the road construction, residents of If“One of the dangers we encountered elodun and adjoining streets now park was reported to your office vide letter their vehicles by the road as against reference OCDA/08/006/12, dated 06/ inside their compounds thus making 08/12 when somebody was to be elec- the vehicles and accessories prone to trocuted due to a high tension pole theft. falling as a result of the digging of The letter was acknowledged as remany parts of the road”, they wrote in ceived in the LCDA chairman’s office the letter. on March 20, 2013, but the residents They lamented that because of cul- association claimed they got no reply verts broken up during the course of while Ifelodun road construction reC M Y K

mained abandoned. The residents association wrote a reminder letter to the chairman on July 8, 2013 which they also claimed was not acted on, prompting them to send a ‘save our soul message’ to Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, last week. “We seek the intervention of Governor Fashola as we have come to our wit’s end on the abandonment of Ifelodun road construction in the last four years. The LCDA claims to have paid the contractor so that he can complete the road project but the contractor claims otherwise. We are suffering. Electric poles, which sides have been dug by the contractor, are falling while thieves are all over us as uncompleted culverts mean we no longer park our vehicles in our premises. We need the governor to intervene”, one of the residents said. The chairman of Olaifedun CDA, Mr V. A. Abiodun, during the CDA familiarisation tour/ inauguration on July 18, 2013, echoed the same sentiment, pleading for the deflooding of Sikiru Yusuf Street, Yomi Sotimehin Street, Chief Sunday Ashama Close, Jubril Street, Alhaji Adewale Street, while there should be culverts to connect Ifelodun Street with Sikiru Yusuf, Alhaji Adewale and Ologometa (through Powerline) streets.

exercise was launched in 2008 with the target to plant one million trees in 10 years, “ we have successfully planted over 4 million trees in just six years.” He attributed the achievement to the people of Lagos State who embraced the tree planting initiative. The Provost of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), Otto/Ijanikin, Mr. W.O. Bashorun, on behalf of the governor, launched the 2013 Tree Planting Campaign in the college. The occasion was attended by representatives of the Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, Commissioner for Home Affairs and Tourism, Mr. Oyinlomo Danmole, traditional rulers, Registrar of the College, Mr. Bola Disu, College Librarian, Mrs. Oluwole, Bursar, Mr. Ipaye, Deans, Directors of Schools, Heads of Department, academic and non-academic staff, and students. The Provost said the launch was symbolic because as human beings, a nation, communities, religious groups and individuals, we need to show discipline in our relationship with our environment.

Oil spill: Delta community appeals to govt, Chevron for help

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HE people of Opia oil producing community in Dibi Field, Warri North local government area of Delta State, have called on Chevron Nigeria Limited, federal and state governments to urgently send medical team and relief materials to the community. Mr. Benjamin Ogbudu, chairman of the Opia community, Mr. Ebi Eyemin, chairman Opia/Ekyan bloc of communities and Chief Moses Odibo, chairman Dumok Bloc of communities in a statement, said there was an incident of oil spill as a result of pipeline explosion that occurred on 17th July, 2013, which has affected Opia and neighbouring communities. They maintained that the incident has been reported to management of Chevron Nigeria Limited, but that Chevron was yet to send relief materials to the people and communities affected by the unfortunate incident. According to them: “We are calling on Chevron, federal and Delta State government, federal ministry of environment and other appropriate agencies to come to our aid as the people of Opia community and others were seriously affected by the pollution caused by the incident.


PAGE 28—SUNDAY, Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013

Nuptial bliss for the Amukas and the Adebanjos

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ritseweyinmi Obiamaka, daughter of Mr Sunny Amuka, and Temitope Bamidele Adebanjo, son of Mr Babatunde Adebanjo, have consummated their romantic relationship in a holy matrimony before their families, friends and menthof God. The nuptial bliss began on Thursday, July 4 with a traditional marriage at the bride’s parents’ residence in Ilasamaja and continued on Saturday, July 6th with the ‘White’ wedding at Christ Embassy, Loveworld Conference Centre, Ikeja, Lagos. Reception of guests followed thereafter at the Martinos Events Centre, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. Photos by Joe Akintola, Photo Editor

The couple: Mr and Mrs Temitope and Oritseweyinmi Adebanjo at the church

The couple with bride’s family (L-R):Mrs Offiong Obiyan, Majemite Amuka, Alero Bori, Mrs Vero Amuka, Mr Richard Okotie, the couple, Mrs Tobi Odunaya, Mr Sam Amuka, Mrs Rita Amuka, Mrs Evelyn Pemu, Mrs Julie Amuka and Mrs Mercy Okotie The couple at the traditional wedding

Mrs Vero Amuka, bride’s mother, with the couple

Mr and Mrs Babatunde Adebanjo, groom’s parents, with the couple

The couple with bride’s siblings (L-R): Jolomi Amuka, Majemite Amuka, Alero Bovi and Ndidi Amuka C M Y K

The couple with Mr. & Mrs. Sunny Amuka

The couple with officiating ministers of Christ Embassy.


SUNDAY VANGUARD, JULY 28, 2013 —29

Mrs Obioma Liyel-Imoke honoured at Miss Prof. Akinkugbe joins Africa USA pageant the oct octogenarian ogenarian club

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ross Rivers State showed its presence at the just concluded Miss Africa USA pageant in Maryland, USA. One of the participants at the pageant was Miss Calabar Carnival Queen, Sofia Dijen. Enugu State-born Kathy Onwu, ran on the Platform of raising awareness and fighting breast cancer in Africa and won the pageant. And Mrs Obioma Liyel-Imoke was honoured with ‘Community Empowerment’ award.

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hree past leaders of the country don’t come under the same roof often and to get them talking glowingly about a personality means the person in question must be outstanding. General Yakubu Gowon, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Ernest Shonekan joined wellwishers as Emeritus Professor Oladipo Akinkugbe celebrated his 80th birthday witha thanksgiving

service at the All Saints’ Church, Jericho, Ibadan, Oyo State.Photos by Dare Fasube

Founder, Miss Africa USA, Lady Kate Njeuma, announcing the presentation of a gift from her organisation to Mrs Obioma Liyel (1).

L-R: celebrant, Prof. Oladipupo Akinkugbe, wife, Folasade and son, Dr Olumide Akinkugbe.

Carnival Calabar Queen, Miss Sofia Dijeh L-R: Lady Kate Nguema, Kathy Onwu, Amb. Archibong, Miss Sofia Dijeh, and Barr. Patricia Endeley.

L-R:former interim Head of State, Chief Ernest Shonekan, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, his wife, Bola, and former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon.

CEO, Miss Africa USA,Lady Kate Nguema, and others

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Miss Sofia Dijeh,Barr. Patricia Endeley and Kathy Onwu,

Prince Oni-Omoregie honoured

rince Idehen Oni-Omoregie of Ewaise Quarters in Benin City was recently honoured by His Royal Highness, Emma Kalu Nelson, the Uga 1of Ovu ancient kingdom in Bende, for his contributions to trans-cultural exchange between the Binis and the Ovu kingdom.

Prince Idehen Oni-Omoregie (kneeling down) while undergoing the traditional protocol before being made the Ogbuhereuzo C M Y K

L-R: Prof. Olufemi Bamiro, Dr. Felix Ohiwerei and Prof. Oladipupo Akinkugbe.

HRH Kalu Benson, congratulating Prince Idehen Oni-Omoregie

L-R: Chief Lateef Oyelade, Alhaji Azeez Arisekola and Oloye Lekan Alabi.


AY PAGE 30 — SUND SUNDA

Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013

By BASHIR ADEFAKA Sokoto people live their lives based on the Qur ’an injunction, “Obey Allah, His messenger and those in positions of authority among you.” This manifested the moment I arrived the seat of the Caliphate. This domain midwifed Islam in Nigeria when Sheikh Uthman Dan Fodio came from Futajalon in the year 1800. The people fashion their lives around the fear of God as prescribed by Islam. Therefore, they follow the leader who guides them on the path ‘ordained by Allah, sub’ana huwa ta’ala’. The reason for the love the people have for the sole leader and administrator of the Sultanate, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, is, as you can imagine, not far-fetched. When I arrived in Sokoto around 12 midnight of Monday, the day prior to the commencement of Ramadan, there was no sign that it was dark. The roads were well lit, thanks to the many street lights supported by security lights in front of most of the houses and shops on both sides of the roads. There was no reason for the stranger just entering the seat of the Caliphate to entertain fear of any sort as taxi cabs and commercial motorcycle operators, jostling for his patronage, showed uncommon hospitality and warm reception. Their hospitality was not basically because of the drive for patronage but because it is the natural attitude of Sokoto people to visitors. Inside the palace day with the Sultan, the leader of the seat of the Caliphate, further threw light on why and how the people are deep in selflessness, accommodation and hospitality when I was caused to relocate from my N5,000 per night hotel room to the Sultan’s palace mind you, I had passed my first night in a hotel in Sokoto metropolis. In many parts of the world, especially Nigeria, some monarchs do not sleep in their palaces. They operate in the palace during the day time but relocate to their private homes in choice areas of town in the night to sleep. This is attributable to the remote areas in which the palaces in many towns are located. But for Sultan Abubakar III, he does not only choose to relate with his people at the various levels, he also sleeps in the palace located in the heart of Sokoto metropolis. The Sultan’s neighbours are not those you can refer to as the cream of the society or the affluent; they are peasants. “We are okay with where we are and who we are. We may not be rich, or so rich, but we are highly comfortable,” one of the neighbours, who simply wanted to be addressed as Amisu, said. These are people whose houses could not ordinarily be said to be of befitting standard beside the palace of the revered head of Muslims in Nigeria and Africa’s fourth most influential monarch. Abubakar III is the younger brother of the late Sultan Ibrahim Muhammadu Maccido Dan Abubakar, often, in his lifetime referred to as Muhammadu Maccido, who died with his son, Badamosi Maccido, and many others, aboard ADC Flight 53 that crashed in Abuja on October 29, 2006, at the age of 78. Sa’ad and Maccido are both sons of former Sultan, Sir Siddiq Abubakar III. Husband of Hajia Nabila and father of four (Fatimah, Amir, Wali and Amira) Sa’ad Abubakar, a disengaged BrigadierGeneral of the Nigerian Army, was called home to become the 20th Sultan, on March 3, 2007, at a ceremony attended by then President Olusegun Obasanjo and several former Nigerian leaders, including Alhaji Usman Aliyu Shehu Shagari. The Sultan is a leader with multiplicity of responsibilities. Apart from being a monarch overseeing the seat of the Caliphate, he is also

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ONE LEADER, MANY CONSTITUENCIES

Kick-starting Ramadan with Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar III

zA rare conversation and hospitality zInside the Sultanate you never knew The Sultan’s neighbours are not those you can refer to as the cream of the society or the affluent; they are peasants

naturally the President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA; Co-chairman, Nigeria InterReligious Council, NIREC; and President-General, Jama’tu Nasiril Islam, JNI. He is also the permanent Amirul Hajj and leader of the Federal Government delegation to Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj operations in Nigeria. All these, coupled with the wealth of experience he acquired in the course of his military career, came together to make him one of the most influential monarchs in Africa. And all these responsibilities notwithstanding, Sultan Abubakar 111 does not deny his subjects in the Sokoto Sultanate the attention they need. The Muslim leader

and moon- sighting y trip to the Sultanate coincid ed with the eve of the com mencement of Ramadan 1434 AH when Muslims were expected to look out for the new moon. Muslims were given telephone numbers -including that of the Sultan -to be called in case the new moon was sighted anywhere in the country. That night, the Sultan had been engaged in a series of meetings with members of the National Moon-sighting Committee charged with the responsibility of directing the deployment of gadgets and human resources in moon-sighting and collating information from outside Sokoto for announcement by the Sultan. It happened that this year, new moon was not sighted on the evening of that

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Monday as envisaged; that day had coincided with Sha’ban 29, 1434AH. Sultan Abubakar III, if he wanted to act on an agreement that Muslims all over the country reached three years ago, should ordinarily have announced the commencement of the Ramadan that day. According to the agreement, if new moon was not sighted or there was no information to that effect till 8.30pm that day, it meant the month of Sha’ban would be counted to complete 30 days and Ramadan will follow. Instead of that, however, the Sultan and members of the moon-sighting committee, coordinating from Abuja, did not close that night until 11.30pm. It was at that time that the Sultan passed information to the media that Sha’ban should be counted to complete 30 on Tuesday, and that Wednesday, July 10 would be the day Ramadan fast should start. Sultan Abubakar III did not have his dinner until after the rigorous moments had passed. And he was so concerned because, like he told Sunday Vanguard in a private talk in the palace after he had taken the regular morning greetings by his subjects, he wanted to ensure that Muslims in a nation- state as complex as Nigeria were

Continues on page 31


SUND AY SUNDA

Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013 — PAGE 31

A peep inside the Sultan’s palace Continued from page 30 not misled. In spite of the stress passed through by the Sariki Musulumi of Nigeria in ensuring standard and accuracy in the moon-sighting, some Muslim clerics, under the aegis of League of Imams and Alfas, in Yoruba land, went outside the Sultan’s directive to call on their congregations to begin fast on a day that Sha’ban was supposed to be 30th. Abubakar III, however, said that the issue had been resolved and that section of Muslim community in Yorubaland had made a u-turn to the status quo that was based on his leadership’s directive. That was a great deal of achievement as Muslims had a uniform commencement of the fast this year unlike the year before. That gives an insight into how the Sultan administers the affairs of Muslims in Nigeria as President-General, NSCIA. His day or such a busy man as the Sultan, what does a typical day in his life look like? The first thing he does when he wakes up in the morning is to say, “Alhamdulillahi llazi ahya’na ba’da mo amaotana wa ilayhi nushuur”, meaning, “Praise be to Allah who has given us life after he made us a dead and unto Him shall be we return”. He then performs ablution and goes to pray around 5.00am according to the prevailing weather. In a nutshell, his day starts with worship and ends with worship of Allah. Even at a time when media reports said a plot to kill him was foiled, Sultan Abubakar111 does not alter his daily schedule, going outside the comfort of his palace to observe his prayers with the rest of the people in the neighbourhood. He then returns to the palace, relaxes a little in his room where he attends to his family till about 8.30am when he comes down to his office where he engages in official matters till 10.00am. A large number of his subjects usually throng the palace as early as 8.30am when he enters the office to attend to them. To those people, leadership is a great deal not because of what they want him to give them but also because they love their leader with passion and want to see and exchange greetings with him before they go about their daily activities. At 10am, the Sultan leaves the office for the palace auditorium which is spacious enough to accommodate a large number of his subjects. Inside the auditorium, the monarch sits between turbaned chiefs on two lines to his left and right frontward. Two officers of the Department of State Services, DSS, stand at the main entrance of the auditorium. They are assisted by two turbaned palace guards (Dongaris) dressed in red-green light-stuff babaringa. The DSS officers and the Dongaris, it was gathered, are there mainly for crowd control and organization. As heavily guarded by the police, the DSS and Civil Defence Corp officers and men as the Sultan’s Palace is, the unwritten rule is that no subject of the Sultan should be deprived the opportunity of seeing him. So, everybody is allowed but to do only one thing, “Enter, go down on the carpet and just greet. No extra talk and then come out”. When a subject enters, he utters, “Salam alaykum Sariki”. And the Sultan lifts his arm and thumbs up in acknowledgement, answering, “Amin wa alaykum salam.” The chiefs seated on his two sides join in answering the greetings. The greeting session that has become

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*Sultan Abubakar III ... administers the affairs of Muslims traditional since Abubakar III mounted the throne six years ago is well managed such that under 20 minutes, the hundreds wanting to see and greet the leader have taken their turns one after the other and gone away. On the Tuesday of the first week of Ramadan, the palace auditorium ritual was performed. On beholding the crowd of the subjects on queue to greet the Sultan, my initial fear was that the crowd would engage the monarch so much so that I might be denied access to him, prompting a text message to inform him that I was already around in the reception area of the auditorium. Moments thereafter, two turbaned palace officials and a DSS officer came into the reception and bellowed, “Come, mallam, come, come. His Eminence said you

ensure that no religion is favoured over another in terms of reportage. Our brothers and sisters in the media should do their job diligently in a way that no religious group would have a feeling that a particular media outfit is anti its faith. “How did you get to that hotel that you went to lodge in? Do you know the people?” Sunday Vanguard: “Because I arrived late in the night due to the fact that when my Chachangi plane landed in Abuja, there was no flight to Sokoto and I had to come by road, which was the reason I had to exchange text messages with you when it became clear that I would not arrive in time yesterday evening. So, when I came, I just picked a motorcycle which took me to a hotel.” Sultan: “But it is dangerous for you to,

And he was so concerned because, like he told Sunday Vanguard in a private talk in the palace after he had taken the regular morning greetings by his subjects, he wanted to ensure that Muslims in a nationstate as complex as Nigeria were not misled should come in!” Inside the inner-room where he had retired after attending to the multitude in the auditorium was the Sultan seated on the throne. On his right were seated four turbaned chiefs. They were clad in all-white attires. On his left were seated two palace officials who were there mainly to note whatever decision His Eminence would make as a result of my meeting with him. The conversation ultan: “You wanted an interview and I have said the time is not ripe.” Sunday Vanguard, “Yes, Your Eminence but I have seen enough to write about. I am not necessarily here to do an interview but also to study what happens around here and report it. However, I am here to also report your message to Muslims and Nigerians as Ramadan fast begins.” Sultan: “What other message do you want me to pass across? I have always passed my messages to the people of Nigeria that Nigerians should abhor violence and live in peace and tranquility. That has always been in the press. Except that I would advise the media, to

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having come in at that time, just pick a motorcycle to lodge in just any hotel. You should have come to the palace and take money to lodge in a better and more secure place. How much did you pay in that place?” Sunday Vanguard: “I paid N5,000 for the night.” Sultan (a short silence): “When do you want to go back to Lagos?” Sunday Vanguard: “I want to leave with the last flight this evening.” Sultan: “There is no flight to Lagos from Sokoto this evening.” Sunday Vanguard: “Or I go to Abuja and fly from there to Lagos.” Sultan: “There is no flight even to Abuja even now (11.00am) except you want to go by road and, if you go by road, ah! You would not arrive there until 10pm and that will be too late.” Sunday Vanguard: “Okay, I will wait and go back tomorrow morning.” Sultan: “There is a direct flight by AERO from Sokoto to Lagos. Now, I want to go and commission a project. How do we do it?” He stood up and the four turbaned chiefs filed past shaking hands with me and then

the Sultan also walked past and I bowed, saying, “Your Eminence!” One of the palace officials held me and said, “His Eminence has asked us to change your hotel to a better and more secure place and do other things.” That was how I enjoyed the hospitality of the Sultan for the rest of the visit. Prayer Anytime he had a function outside the palace, he would come out through the entrance of the inner-room into the open arena of the compound where his convoy was stationed. As he stepped out, a big shout would rent the air, to be followed by the traditional Fulani trumpeting of majesty. Amid the trumpeting, the convoy would drive out. For Sultan Abubakar 111, every day is full of activities. After receiving all kinds of visitors from the high and mighty to the low - he never underrates anybody - he breaks away from official duties for Suhr, afternoon prayer time, when he worships with fellow Muslims. He emerges from Suhr prayer to have lunch, sometimes with visitors. He returns to the office until it is time for Asri, late afternoon prayer. He does same for sunset prayer, Magrib. Ishai is his last of the five daily prayers after which he has dinner and goes to sleep. His Assistant Private Secretary, Ali Maccido, told Sunday Vanguard, “The Sultan does not differentiate whether you are rich or poor. All people are the same before him. They eat and after eating they sit down to talk based on situations within the neighbourhood, the state and generally as they affect the people. Some of the people you saw yesterday were among those that had dinner with him. Where there is the need to assist the needy, he gives to them.” Welfare package Maccido went on, “You could see that people were falling over one another to have audience with him. It is not because of any welfare package they expected from him but because of the love they have for him. Since over six years ago that he became the Sultan, it has always been like that. People would come every morning for no more than greeting him and go their way. “On several occasions like today now that we are starting Ramadan fast, he gives out to people. During Sallah, he gives out. When he takes out Zakat from his wealth, he distributes it to his people and whoever it reaches always has cause to glorify the name of the Lord. Sometimes not even on occasions or Sallah, he could just feel like assisting people and then he gives out - it could sometimes turn out to be an every day affair. “Somebody may come to greet him and he just feels he has been seeing him around for a while and suspects that he is in need. And he would just call me, ‘Ali, go and give something to that man.’ Appreciation The personal secretary went on, “I will take it from the angle of we that are his staff or insiders. When you do something right, he would continue to work with you. But he does not open his mouth to say, ‘Oh, Ali, you have done well’ or that the ‘private secretary, you have done well.’ No. He avoids doing that not to spoil you. Some people, when you praise them for doing well, it is then they will change and begin to do wrong. May be that is why he chooses to do it that way. When you work well, he will call you and give you another work. That is how he shows that he appreciates your work because he does not believe in words of appreciation. “And when you do something bad, he would call you and say, ‘Why have you done this? I did not give you directive to do it. So, do not do it again.’ So, when you go wrong, he does not leave you to it. He would invite and direct you. And I appreciate him because I have learnt a lot from him for the six years I have worked with him. And having worked with him this way, I believe I can work anywhere.”


PAGE 32— SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013

Email: woman.vista@yahoo.co.uk

The senate and child-wife as adult

View-Point

Helen Ovbiagele Woman Editor

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ome time ago, a male teacher and his fifteen year-old pupil began a romantic relationship. It was reported that the affair was not exactly a clandestine one as members of staff and other pupils were aware that they spent much time t o g e t h e r, e v e n o u t s i d e school hours. No-one thought much of it until they both went missing, and were later discovered some months ago to be living together in France. There was a huge outcry in the entire country as the teacher was called a paedophille and accused of seducing and then abducting the young girl. He was arrested in handcuffs and brought back to Britain, and was charged to court. The girl who’s now 18, cried her eyes out and explained that she had not been seduced nor abducted, but that they fell in love and had been dating normally. She said they were going to get married on completion of her education. The law took its course a n y w a y, and recently, her teacher/lover was sentenced to five years in prison. She vowed to wait for him, and pay him visits. The man who’s now 30, also says he will marry her when he’s out of prison. Tough luck, you may say, because, if it were in this country, some families would have allowed the couple to marry, and that would have been the end of the matter. But that’s not what happens in a place where the child’s rights are truly protected. The teacher ’s case was made worse because it came at a time when several adults came out to claim that the late Sir Jimmy Saville (the seat belt ‘click clunk’ man, and

presenter of Top of the Pops for the BBC,) had, for decades in his life-time, sexually abused them when they were children,. The fondness and respect most citizens had for Saville quickly turned to dislike and condemnation, and the BBC was criticized for ‘turning a blind eye’ to the acts. Saville died last year in his eighties, and since the accusations began to surface only after his death, nothing could be done to punish him for taking advantage of those young admirers of his who hung around his studio, sought audience with him at events, etc. His knighthood from the Queen for philanthropy,

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If none of our law-makers would want to give out their under-aged daughters in marriage, then why are they contemplating this law? raising funds for the n e e d y, a n d s e r v i c e i n broadcasting was withdrawn. Saville’s case has led to several other popular public figures in Britain being investigated at present for sex offences that took place years ago. That’s what happens in a truly democratic setting when a child is abused. His/her rights are protected by the law, no matter how old or high-up the offender is, and how old the offence is. If he’s f o u n d g u i l t y, h e g e t s punished! We c l a i m t h a t w e ’ v e embraced democracy, yet, our upper House is pushing a law which gives full right for male adults to sexually abuse very young girls, under the guise that

a married girl, no matter the age, is considered an adult! Personally, I’m shocked that with all the enlightened law-makers we have in the Senate, such a retrogressive law is being considered. Unlike the incident above where a fifteen year old fell in love with her teacher, and went off willingly with him, in Nigeria, parents are very much involved in all marriages. I challenge any of those Senators who think that would be a good law, to give out their under-aged daughter in marriage, like the poor people do! I doubt if any of them would have daughters who are not as well-educated as she’s capable of. The elite from areas where underaged marriage for girls is the norm, make it a point to educate all their children – both male and female – outside the countr y. I can’t see their daughters being given out in marriage while they ’re yet children. If none of our lawmakers would want to give out their under-aged daughters in marriage, then why are they contemplating this law? I think it’s an attempt to further oppress and keep in subjection, the poor of

the land. It’s only the poor and the uneducated who would give out their daughters in marriage in the girls’ childhood. Why would they do this? Because they ’re told by those who lead them that it’s the right faith thing to do! Also, giving out children in marriage, for them, is a way out of abject poverty, because it’s one less mouth to feed and body to clothe. In addition, the son-in-law will help the family financially. One gets this picture of ‘big men’ cruising around in their vehicles, looking for ‘pretty-young-things’ to snatch from their cradles before other men get them. They approach the parents of the girls, who of course would eagerly give out their daughters to a big man. The girls are too young to be asked whether they want to get married yet, and to the big man. Some of them are yet to attain puberty and start their periods. So, the decision is made for them and then they are taken away to be raised by their husbands. How can such children be considered adults? There is much danger to a girl’s health and general well-being if she’s married off at a very tender age, and

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forced into early childbearing. Her reproductory system is not yet ready to carry pregnancy and deliver babies, so, many of them have the dreaded VVF ailment later; where a woman leaks from her uterus uncontrollably. The smell she emits, which attracts hordes of flies, makes her a social outcast, as the husband sends her a w a y, a n d s h e ’ s a l s o rejected by her family and the community. She ends up by the roadside as a beggar; eventually dying in the bush when the condition deteriorates. Over the years, I’ve attended and reported on many conferences/ seminars, dealing with the condition. Thanks to the good NGOs we have on women’s health, and some cooperative government officials, there are hospitals around the country where surgeries are successfully carried out on victims. Apart from the health aspect of underaged marriage, what about the girl’s general well-being. We talk of the Rights of the Child, and yet we want marriage to happen so early in a young girl’s life, that she has no way of contributing meaningfully to national development. Aren’t we taking away her rights to choose a life for herself if we give her parents the right to marry her off as a child, and the husband the right to sexually assault an underaged girl, and force early womanhood and parenthood on her; all in the guise of being her husband?

Senate in session: Nigerian women should say no to abuse of womanhood, no to childmarriage.


SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013, PAGE 33

Email: woman.vista@yahoo.co.uk

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outh & Passion is designed to mould the lives of young people, so as to make them better future leaders who will be focus and dynamic in carrying out leadership roles. We are concer ned about shaping youths who will stand firm to defend the integrity of this nation, youths who will say ‘No’ to drug abuse and illicit trafficking of any substances, youths who will say ‘No’ to any form of crime and immorality, youths who will emulate good character and participate in sustainable development projects in the land.

Societal decay

It’s sad that our society is in a state of decay while antisocial behaviours amongst the youths seem on the increase. Anti-socials such as cultism, violence, drug abuse and trafficking, are becoming global problems. The rapid spread of youth involvement in drug trafficking and the use of hard drugs in Nigeria too, is overwhelming. Today, a wide variety of drugs are commonly abused all over the world. Hard drugs such as cocaine, heroine, cannabis and opium, of which youths are more vulnerable, have also spread their roots to our children who sometimes practice cigarette smoking through the wrapping of paper. “Youth & Passion” is therfore very much concerned about creating awareness on drug abuse and other social vices common amongst young people. Hence, the programme is targeted at students and pupils to enlighten them on the dangers inherent in drug abuse, drug trafficking and other vices. To successfully achieve this, in all of our programmes, we invite guest speakers from the National Drug Law Enforcement AgencyNDLEA, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration ControlNAFDAC, educationist and social workers to address students on topical issues.

Lack of education

proper

The issues of drug abuse/ addictions, drug trafficking and other form of vices, their effects on the individual and the society, cannot be over emphasized. From indications, they could be traced to the lack of proper education on their

It hurts me to see our society in decay — Judith Eyegho, Chairperson, Youth & Passion BY JOSEPHINE IGBINOVIA To restore sanity to the educational sector and teach youths to emulate reputable role models who have served the nation credibly, Shalom Vineyard Initiative, a non-governmental organisation, established “Youth & Passion”, a programme designed to sensitize and educate young people from across the country. Here, the Executive Director of Shalom Vineyard Initiative, Ms.Judith Eyegho, cum Chairperson/Producer, Youth & Passion, speaks about the programme. Hear her:

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About the programme

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The rapid spread of youth involvement in drug trafficking and the use of hard drugs in Nigeria is overwhelming

any Nation. In most cases, it has led to the death of the trafficker when swallowed or provoked sanctions on a nation. It was actually because of this critical analysis and research that we started our q u a r t e r l y programme six years ago in collaboration with the Silverbird Cinemas where the recording takes place, to sensitize young people. For the first quarter this time, t h e programme w i l l comprise different schools f r o m a c r o s s L a g o s State, and it is Judith expected to f e a t u r e

guests from all works of life. It will also produce two episodes which will be aired.

Importance

The programme is targeted at young people in the society, ranging from age six to thirty-five years of age, and parents. Government indirectly benefits from it in both ways, as it helps to enlighten the citizenry on the dangers and effects of drug abuse/trafficking and how they could hamper national development.

Background

I’m a graduate of Sociology from the University of Abuja, currently running a Master programme in Public and International Affairs-MPIA at the University of Lagos, Akoka.

Passion

I’m passionate about good governance. I’m therefore a social crusader and an advocate for youth empowerment, with focus on leadership management and entrepreneurial skills for self-development.

effects. Research shows that youths are more prone to crime because they are usually being used either as political thugs, higher assassins, for armed robbery, violence, and various crimes under the influence of drugs. Sadly, most youths are either ignorant or lack vital information about the dangers of the substances they are being introduced to by their peers. The side effect of these substances therefore make them indulge in heinous crimes.

Dangers of hard drugs

Drug trafficking could hamper the development of

A cross-section of pupils at a recent edition of Youth & Passion in Lagos.


PAGE 34—SUNDAY VANGUARD, JULY 28, 2013

Ndubisi Ifeanyi Nwokoma is Professor of Economics and Head of the Department of Economics, University of Lagos. He is a Fellow, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers. Until recently, he worked at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa , Ethiopia, as Chief of Financing, Industry and Investment in the Economic Development and NEPAD Division on a Leave of Absence from the University between 2010 and 2012. He also worked with Nigerian Stock Exchange, Lagos as the Special Assistant to the Director General/Chief Executive Officer. He has a PhD Economics degree from University of Ibadan, with specialisation in macro econometric modeling and policy analysis. He participated actively in the construction and maintenance of econometric models for the Federal Government under the auspices of the Center for Econometric and Allied Research, CEAR, University of Ibadan. He speaks on the need for President Goodluck Jonathan to adopt the techniques of inclusive growth to enhance rapid economic transformation and sustainable development.

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HE Federal Government has said that the economy is growing at 7 per cent. As an economic expert, will you say Nigeria is doing well in the second quar ter of 2013, considering that the rate of poverty currently stands at 70 per cent? I will say yes and no. Can you explain what you mean by yes and no? First, let me start with yes. The indicators at the macro level shows that government is doing well in some areas. For instance, in term of foreign reserve, the government is recording positive increase because we have a good foreign reserve, which is needed to cushion our transactions with the world. Currently, Nigerian foreign reserve is estimated at the monetary value of about N$40billion. This reserve helps to provide a cushion for the country’s international trade and other transactions. Aside from a robust foreign reserve, the growth rate of the economy stands at about seven percent, which is quite high and among the fastest growing in the world. Nigeria also has a robust banking sector that has been cleaned up through various reforms to sustain the real sector of the economy by giving loans to the entrepreneurs. At present, Nigeria ’s foreign debt is at a manageable level because the country is not heavily indebted with foreign loans. When talking about foreign debt relief, we must acknowledge the effort of the Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who worked hard for the debt relief, years

Growth of Nigeria’s economy is a paradox—Prof. Nwokoma

.Says Jonathan needs inclusive growth to tackle poverty, create jobs ago. The Telecommunication sector is doing relatively well and it is among the fastest growing in the world. This has paved the way for e-payments and electronic transactions across the country, which is quite good for our economy. For example, the cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is thriving in some states of the Federation due to improved telecommunication services in the country. Also, there is positive outlook in the oil and gas sector of the economy, which is our major source of revenue at the moment. So, these are the areas I can say yes the economy is doing relatively well. Now, coming to the side of no. I said no, because there are a lot of issues to be addressed in terms of growth at the micro level. For instance, the high rate of economic growth at about seven percent has not helped to reduce the rising rate of unemployment in the countr y, at least, not as expected. What we have now is like a jobless economic growth situation. The poverty rate is also very high. Unemployment in the country is at the crisis level already. We are currently facing challenges of poor infrastructure as well as an

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BY UDEME CLEMENT

Professor Ndubisi Nwokoma....Unemployment in the country is at the crisis level already. of the Center for Econometric and Allied Research CEAR, University of Ibadan . What will you advise government to do in tackling these persistent challenges in the economy? The solution is quite simple. We need inclusive growth in order to create jobs for the citizens. Now government is saying we have low

Government should use income from oil to assist the people in their productive activities to generate more growth. Else, we will just be fighting for allocation of revenue

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unending crisis in the power sector, which has affected the entire economy with the multiplier effect seen in virtually every sector of the economy. What I am saying in essence is that, the existence of high growth rate, high unemployment and high poverty rate is a kind of paradox in the economy. At the macro level we are doing well but down the lane, we are not doing well because the growth rate has not reflected in reducing the high rate of poverty and unemployment in the economy. You participated actively in the construction and maintenance of econometric models for the Federal Government under the auspices

and stable inflation rate. But the issue is, if we have low rate of inflation and high level of unemployment, it is a big problem. Corruption is another major problem that government must tackle for the economy to thrive and achieve the desired results. This also implies that government must ensure zero tolerance to corruption and government officials should live by example, such that individuals found guilty of corrupt practices must be made to face the full wrath of the law. Can you give more insight into what you mean by inclusive growth? Inclusive growth is one in which growth benefits all economic agents. The growth we have in Nigeria now is not inclusive

because it does not reach people at the grass-root. Government should use income from oil to assist the people in their productive activities to generate more growth. Else, we will just be fighting for allocation of revenue. For us to achieve inclusive growth, it means the people must be directly involved in various economic activities and the actual production process in order to generate wealth. This implies that the policies and programmes of government must be peopleoriented and should revolve around the people. That is why I called it inclusive. The term inclusive means all sectors of the economy and people must work in synergy to optimise outputs for greater productivity. What is the difference between inclusive growth and development? Growth is an aspect of development, which is about increase in the size of the economy, while inclusive development is a wider concept. Development has to do with improved living standard of the people, the efficiency in social services, the state of infrastructure and provision of social amenities in the country, life expectancy rate, the education system and health condition of the people among many other services. Government must give attention to the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), as this subsector is also capable of creating jobs. This implies that electricity must be constant for small scale businesses to spring up in various places across the country. Is China , Nigeria bilateral business agreements a step in the right direction? Well, China is the second largest economy in the world. The Chinese investors are everywhere in the International business arena.

China has interest not only in Nigeria but in Africa generally. For example, the African Union building in Addis Ababa , Ethiopia was donated by China . So, you can see the interest and connectivity. My advice is for the Nigerian government to exhibit strong bargaining power to reposition our economy for greater prosperity. We must ensure a winwin situation because there is no free lunch anywhere. The Chinese investors are here because they have their own interest. So, we must protect our economy as well. For instance, we need investment in cassava and other areas. So, the Chinese investors can be of great benefit in these aspects. His background After completing his B.Sc Economics degree programme in 1980, with a second class upper honours division, emerging among the top three in the graduating class of over 100 students, he was invited back, as a university scholar to undertake his M.Sc. and PhD Economics programmes, which he completed in record time, in 1982 and 1984 respectively. In the course of his programme at the University of Ibadan , he participated actively in the construction and maintenance of econometric models for the Federal Government of Nigeria under the auspices of the Center for Econometric and Allied Research CEAR of the University of Ibadan . Prof. Nwokoma also qualified professionally as a capital market operator, obtaining the associateship of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers of Nigeria as well as the licensed dealership of the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2002. He was elected Fellow of the Institute in 2012. The professional qualifications have enhanced his operational knowledge as well as teaching and research capabilities in financial markets. He started his university teaching and research career at the Ogun State University , AgoIwoye, where he worked between 1984 and 1985 and subsequently at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri between 1985 and 1988. He joined the banking and finance industry in 1988 and served as special assistant to the Chief Executive Officer of Progress Bank Nigeria Plc. (in liquidation) between 1988 and 1990 as well as Head, Corporate Planning and New Products Division of ABC Merchant Bank Nigeria Limited (in liquidation) between 1990 and 1994. He moved on to the ESUT Business School Lagos (affiliate of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT, Nigeria ) where he was Assistant Director and Head of Training and Consultancy between 1995 and 2000. He returned to the formal university system when he joined the Department of Economics of the University of Lagos , 2001.


SUNDAY VANGUARD, JULY 28, 2013, PAGE 35

BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE

Steady power supply: Will privatisation do the magic?

Mr. James Olotu

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200 investors jostle The road-show appears to be yielding dividends as about 200 foreign and indigenous investors are reportedly jostling to buy the NDPHC plants. Expression of Interest (EoI) for the power plants closed by 5pm on Friday, July 19, 2013 and 110 private investors’ companies beat the deadline. The BPE is expected to announce a shortlist of successful bidders for the power plants on August 8, 2013. And barring hitches, the power plants would be transferred to successful bidders between June and July 2014. Said Olotu: “All the plants are in top condition and have gone through precommissioning and reliability tests to ensure optimal performance in the hands of the operators, who would be selected through a rigorous process to ensure that the full objectives of the NIPP projects are realised.” The exercise, he said, would draw lessons from the privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) successor companies and introduce improvement in the auctioning of public

One of the power plants in Nigeria. sector assets in the country, adding that President Goodluck Jonathan would soon commission the comprehensive NIPP projects while Vice President Namadi Sambo, who heads the NCP, lauded the NDPHC management over “the manner it handled the successful completion of the 10 power plants.” What is on offer? On the auction block are the 80 per cent shares belonging to the three tiers of government in the 10 power plants. During the road-show, Mr. Olotu explained that the three tiers of government have agreed “to divest 80 per cent stake in each power plant as valued by our financial advisers/ valuers. We will retain 20 per cent in order to assure potential investors of our confidence in the plants we are selling.” For the particulars of the facilities on offer, Mr. Olotu said the Alaoji Power Plant in Aba, Abia State has four gas and two steam

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HE joint effort of the three tiers of government to increase power generation, transmission and distribution capacities on a significant scale through the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) enters its final lapse as the government offers the 10 power generating plants built by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) for sale to investors. Set in motion with the Electric Power Sector Reforms Act of 2005 and the incorporation of the NDPHC in that year as a limited liability company to serve as the legal vehicle to build, hold and manage NIPP’s assets using private sector-based global best business practices, the process has delivered 10 new power generating plants as mandated by the Act. Currently, the NIPP generation portfolio comprises 10 gas-fired plants with a combined design capacity in excess of 5,453 megawatts (mw) at International Standard Organisation (ISO) conditions and 4,774mw (Net), all of which are now on offer to private operators for effective management via competitive bids as announced by the government through the NDPHC in collaboration with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE). To handle the sale of the power plants in line with due process and laid down procedure, the three tiers of government have set up three committees namely, the Joint Evaluation Committee, whose work is to evaluate the expression of interest for the power plants; the Joint Transaction Committee of the NDPHC headed by the Managing Director, NDPHC, Mr. James Olotu; and the Joint Technical Committee, headed by Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam. A final approval of what the three committees would do shall be given by a board of NDPHC and National Council on Privatisation (NCP). Towards this all-important last leg of this power reform phase, the NDPHC, alongside the BPE and other stakeholders in the power sector, recently launched a road-show in Lagos, which train also moved to London, Hong Kong (one of the Asian Tigers) and New York, United States, to provide needed information to potential investors on the 10 power plants.

380.7mw (ISO) and 338mw (net) power generation output. It is designed and built to accommodate three additional gas turbines and future conversion to combined CCGT configuration. Near Yenegoa, Bayelsa State is the 253.8mw (ISO)/ 225mw (Net) Gbarain Power Plant. With two GE Frame 9E gas turbines, this open cycle gas turbine power plant is also built to accommodate future conversion to CCGT configuration. Also up for sale is the Geregu II Power Plant at Ajaokuta, Kogi State. An open cycle gas turbine power plant built to accommodate future conversion to CCGT configuration, Geregu II has three Siemens V94.2 gas turbines with 506.1mw (ISO) and 434mw (net) capacity. The fully operational Sapele II Power Plant is the seventh facility the NDPHC has put for sale. It has four GE Frame 9E gas turbines of 507.6mw/451mw (net) capacity and is located in Sapele, Delta State.

The investors are seeking to capitalise on the growth opportunities in the Nigerian electricity market where demand far outstrip current supply and the potential for strong economic growth is high

turbines with current capacity of 1,131.4mw (ISO) and 961mw (net). It is designed as a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) facility with duct firing its heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs). 831.3mw (ISO) and 706mw (net) of the Alaoji Power Plant are anticipated by its date of sale to private investors.” There is also the Ihovbor Power Plant in Benin City, which has four GE Frame 9E gas turbines of 507.mw (ISO) and 451mw (net) capacity. It is an open cycle plant built to accommodate future conversion to combined CCGT configuration. Prospective investors can also buy into the 634.5mw (ISO)/562mw (net) capacity Calabar Power Plant, which is also an open cycle plant built to accommodate future conversion to combined CCGT configuration. The Egbema Power Plant near Owerri, Imo State has three GE Frame 9E gas turbines capable of

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Investors may also wish to buy into the Olorunsogo II Power Plant in Olorunsogo, Ogun State, which has 754mw (ISO)/ 676mw (net) output capacity, provided by four GE Frame 9E gas turbines and two GE Steam Turbines. There is also the Omoku II Power Plant, near Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Designed and built to accommodate two additional gas turbines and future conversion to combined CCGT configuration, this plant is powered by two GE Frame 9E Gas Turbines of 264.7mw (ISO) and 225mw (net) capacity. Lastly, there is the Omotosho II Power Plant in Okitipupa, Ondo State. The four GE Frame 9E Gas Turbines at the heart of this sprawling facility have the capacity to generate 512.8mw (ISO) and 451mw (net). It is also an open cycle gas plant built to accommodate future conversion to combined CCGT configuration.

Investors scramble With Nigeria’s population of over 160 million people, the country is without doubt the largest market for investors in Africa. To be sure, the meteoric rise of hitherto unknown telecommunications company in global reckoning following their entrance into the highly rewarding Nigerian telecoms sector has put both indigenous and foreign investors on the alert for any investment opportunities in Nigeria. It is against this backdrop that over 200 investors have indicated interests in acquiring the NDPHC plants. The investors are seeking to capitalise on the growth opportunities in the Nigerian electricity market where demand far outstrip current supply and the potential for strong economic growth is high. Moreover, some foreign investors are interested in the plants because they want to establish a strong presence in West Africa, using Nigeria as a platform for acquiring further assets in the region. The NDPHC plants are also being sought after since they are all newly constructed and as such are fuel efficient with low operating costs, thereby relieving investors of pressure from construction-cumcommissioning costs. Investors are also expected to benefit from a Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) designed to be a cost-reflective tariff that accounts for operating cost and capital recovery. They would benefit from a Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with the Federal Government owned entity – the Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) – which will act as the bulk buyer of electricity in the early stages of market liberalisation. Equally, there is the opportunity to benefit from the 10-year term Gas Supply and Aggregation Agreements with Nigerian oil producers. Recouping costs for NIPP Phase II At the Hong Kong road-show, Governor Suswam disclosed that the three tiers of government have, so far, invested well over $8 billion in the building of the 10 power plants on offer for sale. However, the government expects over $6 billion (about N936 billion) in revenue from the on-going moves to divest 80 per cent of public sector interests in the 10 new power stations. The revenue receipt, according to officials of the Ministry of Power and Mr. Olotu, would be ploughed back into the sustained capacity development in the power sector, specifically to build a number of hydropower dams across Northern Nigeria in line with the aspiration to drive the country’s economy up to the biggest 20 in the world by the year 2020. Also during the road-show, Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, stressed that “the power sector will thrive in the hands of the private sector and drive the Nigerian economy. We will give maximum support to investors to take over the sector. “The entire process of privatisation of the power sector is irreversible and what happened in the telecoms sector is about to repeat itself in the power sector. We expect that the achievement in the power sector will dwarf the telecoms sector. We expect this to revive our economy and revive our SMEs, which are currently moribund.” Speaking in the same vein, Chairman, Presidential Task Force on Power, Mr. Dagogo Jack, stated: “This project is consistent with government’s policy to push the plants to the private sector, which can manage it better. Government will create incentives for investors in the power sector.” Also during the road-show, DirectorGeneral, BPE, Mr. Benjamin Dikki said the sale of the power plants fell within the context of President Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda, “which seeks to create a conducive atmosphere for private capital inflows.”


PAGE 36—SUNDAY VANGUARD, JULY 28, 2013

Brand Communication will always bring in focus, the ordinary reference to advertising. In other words, the street level understanding of brand communication would be advertising for consumer awareness and patronage. To that end, so many people are engaged, for so many targeted objectives. For instance, that simple understanding of brand communication supports activities of a wide range of engagement/participation in the business of advertising. To the trained and professional mind, however, the simple understanding is taken from the position of telling a brand’s story. As we have always stated in our presentations, the place of creative brief forms is, and will remain fundamental in the engagement of professionalism in brands management. The Creative Brief Forms endear professionalism, ensures systematic approach and discipline in brands management. The Creative Brief Forms challenges the average practitioner in the area of research and planning and ensures strategic derivation, in the creative process; it does not permit assumptions and carelessness. It asks all the questions that compel articulate application of all that needs to be taken into consideration, for what we refer to as functional creativity. That quickly brings to mind another very important distinction between two categories of engagements in the creative process. Basically, there is this quiet but very important distinction in pattern of creativity that is largely undermined, but has remained the reason between success and failure in creativity for purposes of advertising - creativity is purpose-driven. From the perspective of the artist, for instance, the commonly exciting and/entertaining value of art works, blinds the ordinary person from deducing purpose from works on display. That is why many artists will talk of abstract works. Abstract art leaves the public to make their meaning of what is on display. It same blankness that advertising messages are mostly considered; not much is given to purpose, unfortunately. Professionalism in creativity and creative engagement emphasizes purpose and functionality. That is the difference between

such as Rights Issue offer. To the specifics, Rights Issue offer is commonly indicative of financial distress – though it is not always the case. However, since the offer is a direct request for increased funding from own-investors, it has become a face-saving initiative for corporate concerns in distress. In such cases, the issuing company turns to the familiar friends for bail-out instead of subjecting itself to external ridicule. But far from that, most companies will engage in Rights Issue to enable its investors the privileged opportunity to be the first to benefit from recorded growth or financial success. In which case, equities are issued as of Rights, to existing shareholders.

Brand Communication When the TA is Internal

that creative product borne out of professional engagement and that which is a product of chance or bland assumption. So, for us, there is a need for consumers of advertising products to always consider FUNCTIONALITY in creativity. In demonstrable terms, functional creativity is objective-driven, focused and single-minded in purpose and intent. Functionality I creativity is not given to chance and assumptions. Therefore, the principle of derivation comes to play in the creative process of creating advertising messages or products. That also supports the purpose of the CREATIVE BRIEF FORMS. The creative brief forms ensure every single input or information is processed in agreement with set marketing and advertising purpose and objective (remember we mentioned these elements above). It is towards achieving set purpose and objective, that the process is focused and structured. So, the principal element in the consideration of product quality in the appreciation of advertising products should always be FUNCTIONALITY. It is enough to assemble words and pictures, if the effort is not primarily and expressly enabling the intended mind-influence, on the target audience, without prompting. So, to the trained mind, the ideal advert message has no room for ambiguity. Advertising messages should be clear in message delivery, purpose/ intent and single-minded in focus. All of the above are only possible when professionalism is brought to bear. Now, it is not that the professional resource person is an exceptional being in ensuring all is well, the difference is the discipline, training and experience that come to play in the process – and it all starts with the CREATIVE BRIEF FORMS.

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or the purpose of this piece, we shall focus on the place and influence of the TARGET AUDIENCE in the advertising creative process as a duty of the CBF. Secondly, we shall tilt our reference from Brand Communication to Corporate Communication. While Brand Communication refers to advertising messages structured for brands/ products, the Corporate Communication is designed to work for the corporate entity or individual. That distinction is important at this point, because we shall be considering those imperatives

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n other circumstances, Rights Issues could be an expression of improved market performance, requiring of capacity enhancement, to enable the company take advantage of identified market opportunity or competitive advantage; in which case, it turns to its investors, for a unique opportunity of investing in a future of growth and financial reward - for existing shareholders only (issue as of RIGHTS). for creating advert messages for corporate entity, when the target audience is internal. It sounds like somebody talking to his or herself. Our interest is on when brands need to sell itself to itself, and the objective is to raise funds RIGHTS ISSUE capita market engagement.

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ights Issue is a capita market engagement by corporate bodies/companies, for purposes of funding; it is one of the ways companies that are publicly listed or quoted

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ET us begin by putting in perspective, the concept of Brand Communication, in order to properly enjoy this piece. In so far as it is open to different interpretation, it is primarily important to take a position on the perspective from where we shall be considering the concept, for reason of agreement.

considerations here are (1) the objective - to raise funds (2) the target audience. As provided by the CBFs, advertising messages are target audience driven. To the extent that they achieve the function of TA persuasion in its entirety, and with particular reference to a specific brand or corporate person, for identified reason(s) or objective, the target audience remains important in the development of communication messages for RIGHTS ISSUE offer.

Advertising messages are easier to derive when the target audience is not privy to the inner characteristics of the brand or corporate person. But when the target audience is internal, he/she knows the plusses and negatives without prompting

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in the Stock Exchange, raise funds for various reasons. The peculiarity in this case, is that Rights issue offers are directed at or focused on those who are already shareholders of the given corporate entity. Technically this group of people forms the target audience for messages developed for the above-stated purpose. As an advertising assignment, the key

Advertising messages are easier to derive when the target audience is not privy to the inner characteristics of the brand or corporate person. But when the target audience is internal, he/she knows the plusses and negatives without prompting, and has some topof-mind impressions that require greater effort to change. That is the challenge in creating communication messages for assignments

For its peculiarities, handling assignment on advertising support for Rights issue offer requires the following: 1. Articulate Corporate Campaign - communication or telling corporate stories for purposes of raising funds, boarders on strength of equity. As a call to investment, the first challenge is to create the image of a financially viable corporate personality around the issuer. Therefore, the first challenge is to attract the attention/interest of the target audience – through a property conceptualized corporate campaign. 2. Explicit Invitation - the announcement of offer must be explicit, in stating terms of investment, promise in return of investment and assertive in building (investors’) confidence. At this point, a product campaign to complement the corporate campaign effort is essential. The brand communication should play up the company’s strength - centered on the best performing brand in the stable. That will enable confidence building among the prospective investors. It is the extent of such persuasive level of investors’ confidence that will drive patronage (achieving set advertising objective). The CREATIVE BRIEF FORMS remain the professional’s guide – towards functional creativity and effective corporate and brand communications. Clients should leave nonprofessionals out of this.


SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013, PAGE 37

ECOMOG REMINISCENCES

I outwitted coup leader’s forces to drop troops in Sierra Leone – Ararile, air force pilot-turned-monarch BY GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE, BENIN

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IR VICE MARSHALL LUCKY ARARILE (rtd) is the Owie of Abraka Kingdom in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State. In this interview, the former Nigeria Air Force (NAF) pilot speaks on his life as traditional ruler, his involvement in internal and external operations including ECOWAS Monitoring Group in Sierra Leone and Liberia, among others. He also speaks on the Amnesty Programme to Niger Delta militants which he coordinated at inception.. the Air Force had about 30 men Excerpts:

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How have you been coping with life after disengagement from the military? It has been quite an experience and challenging. It demands different approaches and competencies in dealing with human beings. Let’s look at the regimental life. How was it? I served for over 35 years, from the age of 20 years. So a very substantial part of my life was spent in the military. I went to the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) for the basic military training and thereafter went to flying training schools including those of the Royal Air Force as well as the United States Air Force. Subsequently, I participated in military operations within and outside the country. I participated in the OAU peace keeping operations in Chad in 1980, ECOMOG operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone from 1990 to 2000 among others. Internally, I was involved in the Joint Task Force, Operation Restore Hope in the Niger Delta and then the amnesty programme... So it was a very busy engagement while it lasted. Can you recall some of those memorable moments while serving in the Nigerian Air Force? Easily the most memorable experience for me was the operation to insert Nigerian troops in Lungi airport to counter the coup by Major Johny Koroma in Sierra Leone. It fell on me to take the Air Force C130 airplane, with a crew of nine, to airlift some troops from Liberia to Lungi. At the time of the coup, only

on ground. We had moved our war planes to Guinea immediately the coup was announced. We used to operate from Sierra Leone to Liberia. The situation on ground was dire. The Air Force personnel was low on ammunition, food and other supplies. The Sierra Leonean Army occupied the southern end of the airport including part of the runway while the Nigerian Air Force personnel occupied the northern end. As a result, we had to use half of the runway that was occupied by our troops; landing and taking off in opposite directions in order not to overfly Sierra Leonean positions. We deceived the Sierra Leonean Army into believing we had authority

*Ararile ...Military doesn’t like advertising its role

As a result, we had to use half of the runway that was occupied by our troops; landing and taking off in opposite directions in order not to overfly Sierra Leonean positions. We deceived the Sierra Leonean Army into believing we had authority from Major Koroma to land at the Lungi airport

from Major Koroma to land at the Lungi airport. By the time they realised what we were up to, we had inserted a company of troops led by then Lt. Col. Kwaskebe, with two MOWAG armoured fighting vehicles, four jeeps and enough ammunition and food to sustain operations for two weeks. The same night we completed the mission, the Sierra Leonean Army attacked our troops. Their barracks by the airport was overrun by our

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soldiers and the airport was secured for subsequent operations by Brigadier General Kobe. Without that airlift by the Air Force, it would have been impossible to overthrow Major Johny Koroma. I was happy to have participated in that operation. If you look at your role at that point you were a game changer, will you say that you are happy today? Yes I am happy about our

contribution, even though it was unrecognized. It is not in the nature of the Air Force or indeed the military to advertise the roles they play, but we all have our stories to tell. Let us come back to Liberia. Tell us all that really happened. Reports had it that many Nigerian soldiers died. And can you tell us what really happened to Samuel Doe before Nigeria took over? I was a pilot. I flew in from Nigeria; sometimes I spent a week or more in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, depending on the nature of operation but I was not directly involved the operation carried out by the army on ground. So, those who were responsible for physical security and the fighting on ground will avail you with the facts more than me. I am aware of what happened, but I cannot be categorical. As a pilot, are you sad that Nigeria still experiences air crash?

A lot of things can lead to air crashes; it can be pilot’s error, it can be technical problems, it can be procedural errors, it can be problem with inadequate infrastructure; no radar, no radios, control procedures, et cetera. So each crash must be investigated and the causes or findings released to the public for the benefit of all. To tell the truth, things are much better now than in our time. How can you best advise those in charge of our airspace to improve? Honestly, we cannot reinvent the wheel. What is other countries doing right that we are not doing? There are copious regulations guiding aviation. The major problem I think has to do with enforcement. We learnt that you were supposed on the flight of the Air Force Dornier plane that crashed in September 2006, carrying military personnel...

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‘I never thought I could be a royal father’ Continued from page 37

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Those were my pilots. I was their commander at 81 Air Maritime Group .So I knew them. They were fine pilots and gentlemen. At the time the accident happened, I had left the unit and was in Abuja. Were you surprised when you heard of the crash? And you must have been used to that aircraft, could the crash have resulted from a technical error? There was no problem with the aircraft; that particular accident was weather related, it had nothing to do with technical fault and the pilots were okay. They ran into very severe weather which led to the crash, it had nothing to do with the condition of the airplane or the competence of the pilots. When you run into stormy weather like that, what advice do you have for the pilots of today? There are regulations concerning weather. When the weather is severe, the pilot has the options of diverting to another airport, making an air return, circumnavigating or entering a hold and waiting for the weather to improve. Whatever choice he makes would ultimately be influenced by his experience and the circumstance of the flight. For example, in military operations, some of these options will not be available to the pilot. You started the Amnesty Programme. Can you tell us how you got involved with the programme? Are you satisfied with the programme today? Since I left the Amnesty Programme in 2010, they have made quite an effort. The second phase, which is demobilization and reintegration, is very challenging. One thing is to train the ex-militants, the other is to get them employed and we are talking of about 30,000 persons. When I finished the disarmament, we had 20,000 plus, but subsequently more ex-militants were added to make them about 30,000. We are only talking about people who carried arms or purportedly carried arms. We have a lot of youths, millions of them that are yet to be attended to in the Niger Delta. And if they are not taken care of, they might think the only way government responds to issues is when they get violent. That message needs

*Ararile ... As king, I am not under restriction to be avoided, the youth problem must be addressed holistically in the Niger Delta and indeed Nigeria. Can you tell us the challenges when you started the Amnesty Programme? There were serious logistics problems. For example, there were no camps to keep the exmilitants. Funds were not released on time to pay their stipends until they started to riot. It appeared to me that those that thought out the programme did not believe it would work. There were even deliberate attempts to sabotage the programme. Some preferred the military option instead. These were the contending forces one had to out-manoeuvre to achieve whatever level of success we were able to achieve. When you entered the creeks, were you apprehensive that anything could happen to you? Of course, anything could have happened. We were ready for anything. It will interest you to know that three of the four helicopters belonging to the Nigerian Navy and OAS which we used during the Amnesty Programme have crashed. Let me use this opportunity to condole the families of these gallant pilots who displayed

exceptional courage during the disarmament exercise. The crashes could have happened then and that is the risk of the job. As a military man, you helped to secure peace for other countries. Now, as a traditional ruler, Nigeria is facing security challenges. What is your advice to Nigerians on the Boko Haram issue? I am happy that President Goodluck Jonathan has gone ahead to declare state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. However, if I were to advise, I would have recommended that Bauchi, Kano and Gombe be included. This is because as the operation in these three states progress, there will be relocation of Boko Haram elements to these other states. Having said that, I think it is necessary for us to really analyse Boko Haram. After the fall of Hissen Habre in Chad, some renegade Chadians occupied Bama and Baga areas where coincidentally the Boko Haram is concentrating their efforts in the latest insurgency. Gen Buhari led the operation to flush them out. The Maitatsine sect, with similar religious and operational doctrines, unleashed mayhem in Borno,

When I wake up, I still wonder how I got to this place. I have retired almost a year before I was called to be a king. It is a noble and humbling experience

Adamawa and Kano. President Shagari, at the time, ordered the military to deal decisively with them. Subsequently, the whole of the North-east became insecure due to the activities of nomadic Chadians and others. So, it appears to me that Boko Haram, by their modus operandi, are not Nigerians. There may be a few Nigerians who are in nominal leadership positions. I do not believe that Nigerians will indiscriminately be killing Muslims, Christians, burning down schools and hoisting flags. People who are taking this as a religious are missing the point, so I support the President’s action completely. But for his decisive action, Boko Haram would have spread to Sokoto, Kebbi, Taraba, Kogi, etc by 2015 and most of the so-called northern elders would have been dealt with by Boko Haram. The best strategy really in dealing with Boko Haram is to cut off their sources of funding and target the leadership. How are you coping with people now as a monarch, which is quite different from your life as a regimented person? Leadership in whatever form, whether as a monarch or a commander, is all about people and use of resources. In the military, you have what is called institutional power, you have the power by law, the authority, but, as a monarch, the people themselves give you the authority, you don’t have any coercive instrument; so you must persuade. Once you are able to explain to them, you don’t have problems. I don’t take any decision on my own. Is this not affecting the life you have been used to? Not at all. In the palace, I am not under any restriction. There is nothing that I am forced to do. I still go and play

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my golf, visit my friends and, if my friends want to visit me, they visit; no restriction whatsoever. Did you have the premonition that one day you will be a traditional ruler? NO, NO, NO, when I wake up I still wonder how I got to this place. I have retired almost a year before I was called to be a king. It is a noble and humbling experience. What is the message to the people of your community and Nigeria in general? For Nigeria, I think we are facing very serious challenges: economic, political, social and even spiritual. We have to pray for our leaders. We have to pray for President Jonathan, he has done very well. The President’s media team is not doing a good job. It is not showcasing his achievements. He has done better than President Obasanjo. Can you imagine President Obasanjo, an engineer, building power plants without gas supplies? President Jonathan has almost rebuilt Sagamu-Benin Road. Work has been going on since President Shagari’s time. I remember, as a young pilot in 1980, we had to fly people going to the East for Christmas to Benin because of the bad road. 1980 to 2013, how many years now? how many heads of state and Presidents? From Abuja to Abraka now takes less than seven hours. It used to be a minimum of nine hours. I think the President’s media handlers have to be more creative, they should wake up to their responsibility. He has achieved so much, but he is not getting the credit he deserves. For Deltans, we should pray that the governor finishes strong. I thank my people for their support. We will work together to make Abraka a model community.


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SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013, PAGE 41

PDP: Shadow boxing for 2015 “Before people decide what they think of your message, they decide onwhat they think of you” – Harvard Business Review (July-August, 2013) By JIDE AJANI

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o, what do Nigerians think of People’s Democratic Par ty, PDP, and its message to day? Ask its leader, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan! He can speak for the party. Or, better still, ask the owners of the party! Almost all of them would echo and ape Mr. President. Leaders and owners of the party would say the useful things; yet they go ahead to do the useless things – that is the way of the organised chaos under the umbrella called PDP. First, how did the party get to a point where the President is heading for the hilltop whereas some other leaders in the same party are speeding down the valley? What thinking goes on in a party where there is no love lost between some state governors and their President? But there is something inescapable and binding still: wealth and power. The roots of the dog-eat-dog syndrome

that manifests in every aspect of PDP’s modus operandi can be located in the quest for and retention of wealth and power. From elbowing one another out of electoral contests, breaking limbs and bruising heads, to inflicting maximum embarrassment, and allegations and threats of assassination and assassinations, leaders of PDP, nevertheless, still find common ground. And that is why every contestation for power is derisively termed a family affair. Members of that family run on the steroids of distrust for one another and treachery against same. The latest in this never-ending saga is the open confrontation between some state governors and President Jonathan. Threats of decamping from the PDP are again in the air. It is all too familiar. In 2002, 2006, 2010 (almost always on the eve of any general election), there were similar threats – some were seen through and many of the socalled decampments have since been reversed. However, democracy in PDP

lost its soul sometime after Monday, February 13, 1999, immediately after Matthew Okikiolakan Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo emerged as the party’s presidential candidate in Jos, Plateau State. In choosing his running mate, a decision, which had favoured a consensual agreement was unilaterally ignored by Obasanjo in Abuja. Leaders of the PDP, who had scheduled a meeting where the choice of running mate would be made, were stunned when Obasanjo presented them with a fiat accompli. That was the first error by the then presidential candidate. But the PDP itself had committed the first blunder by not sticking to its own electoral guideline, one aspect of which was that for any individual to qualify to seek the presidential ticket of the party, he must have delivered his ward, local government area and state – Obasanjo neither delivered his polling booth, his ward, local government nor his OgunState base, yet, the

leaders of the party, with scornful disdain to their own guideline, permitted him to seek the ticket. That was an error of gargantuan proportions. Obasanjo’s next onslaught was against state chairmen of his party. Rather than flow with the structures on ground, structures which saw to his emergence and the emergence of the governors’ elect, Obasanjo, just out of prison some seven months earlier, misdirected the loyalty base from party structures on ground, to newly elected but yet to be sworn-in state governors. State party secretariats were relocated to the residences of the governors’ elect. From February 1999, Obasanjo shifted the paradigm from party politics to personal loyalty to individuals. PDP has not recovered since then. And it is not about to recover.It was on that template that every other public office holder in PDP sought, demanded and grabbed loyalty for himself and not the party – the cancer obtains in other parties. Today, whatever goes on in the PDP is a product of the seed Obasanjo sowed. The former president may not be the major problem of the party, but the negative aura he radiated then and still radiates, in alliance with other dark forces of democracy, continue to pollute the air in the polity. Unfortunately for Nigeria’s warped democracy, we now have a President and state governors who believe in and subscribe to the influence of less than a dozen individuals to hand them power in 2015, thereby relegating the delivery of the general good to the largest sum of Nigerians, which is the raison d’etre of participatory democracy, to the background. Whatever is going on now in the PDP, between state governors and Mr. President, is nothing more than braggadocio in shadowboxing.


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z Lamido

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PDP: A jolt from the North What do five Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governors from the North hope to achieve by constituting themselves into a ‘consulting group’ and challenging the leadership of the party and the Presidency at a time they should be working as a team to move the party forward ahead of the 2015 elections? The action of the governors has, indeed, rocked the boat of the ruling party. BY SONI DANIEL, Regional Editor, North

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t’s a bump that nobody expected to erupt so soon. But it descend ed like a volcano on the landscape all the same. The torrents flowing from the ill-feelings of the men have tended to disfigure the political landscape, which has been under the firm grip of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP., for the past 14 years.There’s irony in the emerging scenario: Five PDP governors, who had hitherto been celebrated as the beautiful brides of the party, staged a ‘coup’ at a time they were all expected to fall in line and mime the mantra of the ‘biggest party in Africa’ to douse rising discontent among the members, who appear to have grown bigger than the ‘’umbrella”. Unlike the claim of unanimity of strength of the past, which they flaunted to ward off the opposition parties, the aggrieved five seem to be united in their battle against what they consider as injustice perpetrated by the leadership of the party against them. Their audacity flows from the fact that they are serving out their second term and may not be desperately looking out for something more. Apart from Governor Sule Lamido (Jigawa), who is said to be nursing presidential ambition, Governors Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) may just be trying to prove a point to the leadership of the PDP and the Aso Rock Villa that they have borne enough of their ‘dirty politics’. While Nyako has been stripped of the party’s structure in a

state he has administered for over six years by the Abuja forces loyal to the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and President Goodluck Jonathan, Wamakko and Aliyu had a turbulent relationship with the Presidency and the party leadership. After wielding the big stick against the Sokoto governor for allegedly ‘disrespecting’ his Akwa Ibom State counterpart, Chief Godswill Akpabio, who doubles as the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Wamakko spurned

Their audacity flows from the fact that they are serving out their second term and may not be desperately looking out for something more several attempts by the powers-thatbe to make him recant his verbal remarks about the ‘uncommon transformation’ governor of Akwa Ibom State and a core loyalist of Jonathan. He got a warning sign from the party which suspended him. But angry supporters of the governor raised the alarm and threatened to dump the PDP if the clampdown on the man was not

lifted.

The gaffe

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hen it dawned on the party leaders that they had committed a gaffe by axing Wamakko while the ripples over the suspension of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State was still generating ripples, they recalled the governor of the Caliphate. The party cited the intervention of Akpabio, who ‘pleaded’ for Wamakko’s pardon, as the reason for his recall. But the Sokoto governor appears unimpressed by the afterthought of the PDP leaders to bring him back to the party’s fold without first addressing the fundamental cause of his gripe. Wamakko is yet to make any avowal either applauding the leadership for his recall or vilifying those responsible for his suspension. The recalcitrance by the governor seems to have left those who wanted his recall to be seen as an act of benevolence tonguetied and somewhat frustrated. But the real trouble lies in the realisation that rather than pushing him towards reconciling with his traducers, Wammako is bent on taking a pound of flesh from them by aligning forces with those within and outside the PDP, who share his political thinking. Not even his party men can decipher his next game plan, a situation that has now put him at loggerheads with the PDP and also put paid to any genuine peace move. The disappointment of Abuja with Wamakko stems from the fact that until the party moved against him, he was among those the PDP frequently hailed as having the magic wand to win elections for it in the North-west, after he secured two

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straight victories for the party in 2007 and 2011. The first victory though remains shrouded in controversy, a subject of litigation and has truncated the career of the former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami. In effect, the 2007 ‘victory’ of Wamakko in Sokoto has produced its victor and victims. The PDP, which controls 23 of the 36 states, has proved that it is not in a hurry to let go the governance of the country and does not pretend that it can stomach any voice of dissent, especially from its belly. That is why Aliyu, who is also the Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, NSGF, may pay a price for trying to prove that he is not only stubborn but also outspoken.

One term deal

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t is not likely that the forces with in the PDP will forgive him for his audacity in broaching the controversy that President Jonathan signed a deal with some northern governors and political stakeholders to do just a term and hand over to the North in 2015. Although the Presidency has continued to skip any discussion on the ru-

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SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013, PAGE 43

Continued from page 42 moured Jonathan’s second term bid, Aliyu’s temerity in challenging him over the matter will not go unreplied by the forces loyal to the Presidency. The reason is not farfetched: The governor ’s expose has not only embarrassed the Presidency but has also triggered a barrage of negative reactions against the President and fuelled opposition against his suspected second term bid. But the Niger governor bulges not, insisting he had to speak the truth no matter whose ox is gored. The system not only frowns at that ‘betrayal’ by a man considered as a member of the inner caucus but also sees the governor as a pawn being raised by some political elements to foment avoidable political crisis. He is even lucky that the forces have not confronted him on the scale of the treatment meted out to his Rivers counterpart, Amaechi, who they voted for on May 24, 2013 as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF. While it is difficult to understand how Kwankwaso, the Kano governor, boxed himself into the bad book of the PDP and the Presidency, Lamido’s rumoured presidential ambition is the main cause of his crisis with the Presidency and party loyalists.

Game plan

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nd, just as Jonathan has not officially made his ambition known, the Jigawa governor is keeping his game plan close to his chest. So far, it is unlikely that the Presidency and its minders will just stand and watch anyone considered a threat or even a potential one to the return bid by Jonathan come 2015. That is why it has been fighting to keep Amaechi at bay over the NGF chairmanship but failed. After the defeat at the NGF polls, the Presidency and the PDP suspended the Rivers governor and attempted to change the leadership of the state House of Assembly preparatory to sacking the governor from his seat. Meanwhile, the northern governors have taken their battle against the Presidency and the PDP to different parts of the country. After meeting with Amaechi in Port Harcourt in a show of solidarity with him, the quintuplet approached General Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami

PDP: A jolt from the North The presidential aide insisted that the President never signed any agreement with any governor or group to do one a term and challenged those who claimed to have been part of the deal to produce the minutes of any such meeting where the pact was made or shut up forever. “If there was any such agreement, I would have been part of the process given my position as the SA Political to the President”.

‘Jonathan unhappy’

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z Jonathan...unsettled

by his party’s govs

IBB even added more trouble for the governors when he described them as real patriots in search of genuine answers to the nation’s crises Abubakar and reported their frustration in the PDP to the two former Nigerian leaders.

Robbing the North

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lthough the details of their discussions have not been made public, it was understood that their complaint centred around the purported attempt by Jonathan to jettison the agreement to run for one term, thereby robbing the North of the opportunity to take over the Presidency in 2015. While that remained the subject of their meeting, the governors came out in the open to say that they merely went to the Hilltop Mansion to ‘consult’ with the former leaders. “We have held consultations with former heads of states on the need for them and other major stakeholders to save the party from dying”, they said. “We will continue to make our efforts to save the party. But if our efforts do not work, we have no alternative than to fold our arms, and see PDP

die and we help in burying it.” The Presidency has not taken the governors’ confrontation lightly especially given the warm welcome granted them by IBB and Abubakar in Minna. IBB even added more trouble for the governors when he described them as real patriots in search of genuine answers to the nation’s crises. “I just want to commend the governors and some of their colleagues. I am very impressed because they see the problems of this country as their problems and they have taken the right steps to make sure that they consult widely in trying to find solutions to some of the nagging problems. It shows they are real patriots and I am very happy with them,” IBB said while receiving the governors in his palatial home in the Niger State capital.

‘Never truly PDP govs’ The Presidency does not believe that the governors vis-

it to the former heads of state and Amaechi was for mere consultation and altruistic purposes. The Political Adviser to President Jonathan, Ahmed Gulak, described the five governors as agents of the opposition in the PDP. Gulak also said that two of the governors-Wamakko and Nyako - were never truly PDP governors. Describing them as All Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP, governors, who were admitted to the PDP with open arms, the presidential adviser lamented their lack of respect for the President and the PDP leadership, which gave them the platform to run for office. He accused the governors of trying to instigate the people against Jonathan with the aim of getting him out of office so that one of them would take over. “The grandstanding of the five governors is nothing but a ploy to chase out President Jonathan so that one of them can take over. But I can assure you that their agenda has already failed since the Nigerian people are aware that they have nothing to offer the nation,” Gulak said. “They (the five governors) cannot bury PDP, as the party is above them. “Their agenda is not to bury PDP but to get President Goodluck Jonathan out, but they will certainly fail. I can assure you that all those in that group and sharing their agenda will also fail woefully, as Nigerians are wiser.”

lthough Gulak admitted that Jonathan was unhappy over the action of the governors and the seeming implosion within the party, he is said to be optimistic that the party was solid and capable of surmounting its challenges ahead of the 2015 polls. The only worry of the President, according to the aide, is the wrong signals and image problems the PDP crisis was sending to the international community at a time Nigeria was battling to ward off its corruption toga. Many have predicted that the PDP, which has been running the affairs of Nigeria since the return to popular democracy in 1999, may be on its way to doom given the high level of intrigues and manipulations that has, of recent, attended its ranks. The irony of the emerging drama is that while the five governors, who are all from the North, may be seen as pursuing personal interests, they may actually be spearheading a holistic agenda of the region, which has not hidden its disdain for being shut out of power for over a decade. Whether they are pursuing a personal agenda or group interests, events in the next few months leading to next year, when Jonathan is likely to formally announce his second term bid and possibly be adopted as the sole candidate of the PDP, would clear any doubt as to where the governors and their teeming supporters would be heading in 2015. When the chips are down, Jonathan and his loyalists are sure to carry the day or kiss the dust. But in reality, what the governors have succeeded in doing is a shot fired from the least expected quarters that is set to jolt the overstretched ‘umbrella’ as the gathering political storm reaches its crescendo.


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Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013

UNDERAGE MARRIAGE

PROLOGUE

Building Nigeria On Deceit SEN. ABUBAKAR SADIK AR’ADUA

BY IKEDDY ISIGUZO, Chairman Editorial Board

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HE Senate loves itself too much to care about Nigerians. Senators are out to destroy Nigeria with their arrogance and greed. They believe they are above reproach by Nigerians, as they set out to ruin Nigeria today, and its future. Defences of the intention to make a constitutional provision that would allow girls to be married off when they are five years old – without a prescribed age, they can be married at five months - show the Senate’s ignorance of the possible impacts of the decision. We are discussing our country’s future, not the length and width of a bridge that can widened or taken down with minimal consequences. We are dealing with the lives of millions of Nigerians and their right to life as human beings, not commodities for the profane pleasures of some twisted adults. Some female senators voted for child marriage! Limiting the contest to the rights of the girl child introduces a minimalist approach to the issue. One of the consequences of early marriage is fistula, a condition that leaves a hole between the rectum and the vulva. The woman is incontinent, smells from inability to manage her bowl. In time her husband abandons her in search for his next victim. Nigeria has more than 800,000 fistula cases, the highest in the world, all resulting from child marriages, which also contribute to high maternal deaths. Senate President David Alechenu Bonaventure Mark waffles, exposing C M Y K

SEN. HADI A SIRIKA

SEN. ISAH MOHAMMED GALAUDU

SEN. JIBRILLA MOHAMMED

SEN. UMAR ABUBAKAR

SEN. GUMBA ADAMU IBRAHIM

SEN. ABDULLAHI DANLADI

The deceit that is mounted as defence for the abnegation of Nigeria’s future has to be resisted. The Senate has the effrontery to defend itself instead of apologising to Nigerians for abandoning the oath to protect the rights of all Nigerians – including girls

the flimflam on which the Senate operates. Mark said senators were blackmailed to pass the provision. He used religion and culture as excuses for the vote. Nigeria does not have a state religion, according to Section 10. Mark’s brief is to provide leadership that would sustain the plurality the Constitution proposed in its preamble “We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Having firmly and solemnly resolve,.… to provide for a Constitution for the purpose of promoting the good government and welfare of all persons in our country, on the principles of freedom, equality and justice, and for the purpose of consolidating the unity of our people Do hereby make, enact and give to ourselves the following Constitution.” How would a discriminatory Constitution cater for the “welfare of all persons in our country, on the principles of freedom, equality and justice? The proposed amendment would circumscribe the rights of women, from birth. Our Constitution in Section 42 forbids discrimination on basis of origin, belief, or sex. At what age would a woman retrieve her abrogated rights? Would a girl once married be eligible to vote even if she is 10? Can she stand as guardian and sign legal documents for

SEN. IBRAHIM MUSA

SEN. ABU IBRAHIM

,,

SEN. KABIRU IBRAHIM GAYA

SEN. ABUBAKAR ATIKU BAGUDU

her children? The girls among them could be married before they are six! How would a society of fistula-ravaged women, who are divorced, abandoned, still in their teens, raise its new members? Exactly what should this law achieve? How would it enhance the liberties our Constitution grants? Nigerians should contest this matter until it is resolved in their favour. We cannot build a nation on deceit, as has been the case with the Child’s Rights Act (2003) and the Freedom of Information Act (2011). Both laws protect personal liberties the Constitution awards. The National Assembly watches disinterestedly, as State Houses of Assembly manacle the two laws claiming they are domesticating them. Our Constitution prescribes domestication only for treaties between Nigeria and other countries. According to Section 12 (1) the National Assembly should domesticate

SEN. ABDULMUMIN M. HASSAN

treaties for them to have effect. Our Constitution has no provision for State Houses of Assembly to amend federally made laws. It is deceit that permits this illegality. Section 4 (5) is clear on what State Assemblies cannot do. “If any Law enacted by the House of Assembly of a State is inconsistent with any law validly made by the National Assembly, the law made by the National Assembly shall prevail, and that other Law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.” Where do the States get their powers? Each senator swore to this oath, “I, do solemnly swear/affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that as a Member of the Senate, I will perform my functions honestly to the best of my ability, faithfully and in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law, and the rules of the Senate and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will strive to preserve the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and that I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria….” The deceit that is mounted as defence for the abnegation of Nigeria’s future has to be resisted. The Senate has the effrontery to defend itself instead of apologising to Nigerians for abandoning the oath to protect the rights of all Nigerians – including girls.


SUNDAY

Vanguard, JULY 29, 2013, PAGE 45

UNDERAGE MARRIAGE

Playing games with child’s rights BY FUNMI AJUMOBI

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he endorsement of child marriage by the Senate through constitutional amendment is generating ripples. Sunday Vanguard learnt that Senate considered Section 29, which deals with renunciation of citizenship for amendment. Section 29(1) provides that any citizen of Nigeria of full age who wishes to renounce his Nigerian citizenship shall make a declaration in the prescribed manner for the renunciation.’ Section 29(4) (a) and (b) provides, ‘For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section: (a) “full age” means the age of eighteen years and above; (b) any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age.’ The Senate voted to remove the latter, that is, Section 29(4)(b). Then, Senator Yerima, a former governor of Zamfara State - who had married a 13 year-old Egyptian girl -raised an objection on the grounds that the removal of the provision was ‘un-Islamic,’ citing Second Schedule, Part 1, Item 61 of the constitution entitled, ‘The formation, annulment and dissolution of marriages other than marriages under Islamic law and Customary law including matrimonial causes relating thereto.’ The senator mobilized his colleagues and got the amendment put to vote again and those who earlier supported the removal could not muster the two-thirds majority votes required to seal the removal. By not being able to get two-thirds majority votes, Section 29(4)(b) remains in the constitution. Meanwhile, Nigerians, through social and conventional media, have continued to express their opinions on the issue. Some of them are reproduced hereunder:

The world is watching us – Dr. Princess Olufemi-Kayode

Ashoka FELLOW & Executive Director Media Concern Initiative - for Women & Children It is sad and disgraceful that at this time in the 21st century, we are voting for marriageable age for the girlchild in our Senate during a constitutional review.. It is shameful and does not portray our governance system as a serious one. We continually make a mockery of democracy - the government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is obvious that this is all about a one-man riot squad: Yerima. He married a 13-year-old and nothing happened. If I recollect, the Senate called it a personal issue. We need to know that the world is

Uwais, Akinlami...Speaking out against child marriage watching us.

A life of diminished opportunities, by Maryam Uwais

It is certainly not mandatory in Islam that girls must be married off as minors; so to keep insisting that this practice must remain sacrosanct, given the background of the needs in northern Nigeria, is incongruous, even under Shari’a. Where a practice is determined to be merely permissible and not mandatory, it is considered practicable and entirely feasible within Islamic jurisprudence to discourage or prohibit it, where it is found to be so harmful to individuals and to the community. Countries such as Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Somalia and Bangladesh, with majority or high Muslim populations, have set a minimum age for marriage as 18, in the acknowledgment that there are serious social, physical and mental health risks associated with child marriages. This progressive step became necessary, given that these indisputable facts placed a heavy burden on the accountable and God-fearing leadership in majority Muslim countries, to protect the vulnerable in their midst.

Shariah objectives

It is, therefore, not unreasonable to expect that educated elite and public figures, such as Senator Yerima, being conscious of their grave responsibilities to prohibit harm and to enjoin good in our own context, should actually discourage this devaluing and belittling practice of early marriage, in the public good, for the protection of the vulnerable and the realization of social benefits. To enable our girls attain their fullest possible potential is definitely a target that Senator Yerima should also be working passionately towards, along with the rest of

Nigerians who yearn for a better future. Indeed, the overriding objectives of the Sharia include the promotion of human dignity, justice, compassion, the removal of hardship, the prevention of harm, the realization of the lawful benefits of the people, and the education of the individual by inculcating in him a sense of self discipline and restraint, which aims are by no means exclusive. All else may be adapted to achieve these ends, which measures may encompass matters of concern not only to law but also to economic development, administration and politics. For those that reflect, the hardship that these little girls experience, where married off and divorced soon after, so wantonly, is certainly unacceptable within the faith. It is important to commend the thinking behind the decision to delete the constitutional clause that seeks to lumber even an ‘intellectually immature’ girl, where married, with the grave responsibility of the power to renounce her citizenship, thereby elevating the subject of citizenship to the level whereby both men and women have similar responsibilities, without discrimination. It is hoped that ultimately, members of the Senate would reflect deeply on the implications of their recent action and revisit their decision to retain the contentious clause, if only to ensure that every Nigerian citizen of full age, without distinction, is subjected to similar standards and responsibilities under the provisions of our Constitution”.

Best interests of the child

As a Muslim woman (without pretensions of scholarship) forever striving for knowledge, research into these matters has revealed that in matters of social interaction (mu’amalat), there is a lot of latitude in what is permitted, unless it is expressly prohibited by a clear text. The

Continues on page 46

SENATORS WHO VOTED YES 1. SEN. ABDULMUMIN M. HASSAN (JIGAWA SOUTHWEST, PDP) 2. SEN. ABDULLAHI DANLADI (JIGAWA NORTHWEST, PDP) 3. SEN. ADAMU ABDULLAHI (NASARAWA WEST, PDP) 4. SEN. AHMED BARATA (ADAMAWA SOUTH, PDP) 5. SEN. AKINYELURE AYO (ONDO CENTRAL, LABOUR PARTY) 6. SEN. ALKALI SAIDU A. (GOMBE NORTH, PDP) 7. SEN. BAGUDU ABUBAKAR A. (KEBBI CENTRAL, PDP) 8. SEN. DAHIRU UMARU (SOKOTO SOUTH, PDP) 9. SEN. GALAUDU ISA (KEBBI NORTH, PDP) 10. SEN. GARBA GAMAWA (BAUCHI NORTH, PDP) 11. SEN. DANJUMA GOJE MOHAMMED (GOMBE CENTRAL, PDP) 12. SEN. GOBIR IBRAHIM (SOKOTO EAST, PDP) 13. SEN. GUMBA ADAMU IBRAHIM (BAUCHI SOUTH, PDP) 14. SEN. HADI SIRIKA (KATSINA NORTH, CPC) 15. SEN. IBRAHIM BUKAR ABBA (YOBE EAST, ANPP) 16. SEN. JAJERE ALKALI (YOBE SOUTH, ANPP) 17. SEN. JIBRILLA MOHAMMED (ADAMAWA NORTH, PDP) 18. SEN. KABIRU GAYA (KANO SOUTH, ANPP)

19. SEN. LAFIAGI MOHAMMED (KWARA NORTH, PDP) 20. SEN. LAWAN AHMAD (YOBE NORTH, ANPP) 21. SEN. MACCIDO MOHAMMED (SOKOTO NORTH, PDP) 22. SEN. MUSA IBRAHIM (NIGER NORTH, CPC) 23. SEN. NDUME MOHAMMED ALI (BORNO SOUTH, PDP) 24. SEN. SADIQ A. YARADUA (KATSINA CENTRAL, CPC) 25. SEN. SALEH MOHAMMED (KADUNA CENTRAL, CPC) 26. SEN. TUKUR BELLO (ADAMAWA CENTRAL, PDP) 27. SEN. UGBESIA ODION (EDO CENTRAL, PDP) 28. SEN. UMAR ABUBAKAR (TARABA CENTRAL, PDP) 29. SEN. USMAN ABDULAZIZ (JIGAWA NORTHEAST, PDP) 30. SEN. YA’AU SAHABI (ZAMFARA NORTH, PDP) 31. SEN. ZANNAH AHMED (BORNO CENTRAL, PDP) 32. SEN. AHMAD RUFAI SANI (ZAMFARA WEST, ANPP) 33. SEN. AHMAD ABDUL NINGI (BAUCHI CENTRAL, PDP) 34. SEN. BELLO HAYATU GWANO (KANO NORTH, PDP) 35. SEN. IBRAHIM ABU (KATSINA SOUTH, CPC). HOW DID THEY EVER GET TO OFFICE AS SENATORS?


PAGE 46—SUND AY 46—SUNDA

Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013

THE UNDERAGE MARRIAGE IMBROGLIO

SEN. MOHAMMED SHAABA LAFIAGI

SEN. ABDULAHI ADAMU

SEN. AHMED ABDUL NINGI

the first place. Consequently, 70.8% of young women aged 20-29 in the North West zone are unable to read or write. Due to the fact that these girls are deprived so early of an education (including the access to information and knowledge) they remain bereft of the purchasing power necessary for an adequate diet, healthcare,skills, or even recourse to support in emergencies, all of which would enable them rise above the circumstances of abject poverty. It is paradoxical that Muslims like Senator Yerima would rather their wives and daughters be treated by female medical personnel if they fall ill, and yet they are, by continuously advocating for child marriage, deliberately closing the avenues for girls to aspire to such professions. Deprivations of formal and non-formal education translate, at such an early age, into restrictions on mobility, domestic burdens, the denial of sundry freedoms in respect of survival, development and participation, as well as the loss of adolescent years. Indeed, children of young, uneducated mothers are also less likely to attain high levels of education, perpetuating cycles of low literacy and limited livelihood opportunities. Child marriage, therefore, ultimately deprives societies of the intellectual and financial/livelihood contributions of girls, and of their offspring. It is no wonder then that the North continues to portray such poor ratings in almost all aspects of human endeavour.

The imperatives of child’s rights – Taiwo Akinlami,

SEN. AHMAD MUHAMMAD MACCIDO

SEN. UMARU DAHIRU

SEN. MOHAMMED DANJUMA GOJE

Continued from page 45 rules are certainly not so definitive. What is also evident is that the ‘best interests of the child’ is a paramount consideration within Islam, along with the principle of public good (maslaha or istislah). The operational rules are not defined (probably deliberately, in my humble view) and the determination of such issues is best left to the experience, custom and context of the particular society. The Qur’an provides that the predominant consideration in matters relating to children would depend on the point at which they can be said to not be ‘sufaha’ (mentally immature) anymore, in the context of that particular community. Facts are that nearly half of all the children under five years of age are malnourished in the North-east zone, with women and children in the nutrition ‘high-burden’ states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe andZamfara suffering the most from malnutrition, wasting and stunting. This singular factor remains the underlying cause for 53% of under-five deaths. If the child is stunted in its first 1,000 days, that condition is irreversible, so the future of these children, and the larger population, is permanently shortchanged. The health and nutritional needs of mothers, new-borns and children are closely linked, with young mothers accounting for a majority of severely malnourished children.

Multiple health risks

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ultiple health risks arising from child marriage include the sexual exploitation (including forced sexual relations) that she is subjected to, as well as limited access to reproductive health services, despite the real and present danger of contracting diseases such as HIV/AIDS, STIs (sexually transmitted diseases) and the debilitating ailment of VVF/RVF (VVF-a tear in the flesh between the vagina and the urinary passage, usually due to prolonged labour, resulting in uncontrolled urine or feces in the case of recto-vaginal fistulae-RVF), including the abandonment that comes with such ailments. Nigeria, with 2% of the world’s population, has 10% of VVF patients. Three-quarters of those with VVF/RVF are young girls who are not yet physically mature but have suffered trauma in their first pregnancy. Statistics show that stillbirths and deaths are 50% more likely in babies born to mothers younger than 18, as against babies born to mothers above that age. Each day, 144 women die in childbirth in Nigeria, with the North East alone having 5 times the global rate of maternal mortality. The lack of information and access to support ultimately results in psycho-social and emotional consequences, domestic violence, abandoned (street) children, with the attendant deprivations of their rights and freedoms, whose wellbeing is severely compromised.

Child marriage, from available statistics, ultimately hampers the efforts of these young adolescents from acquiring an education, as sooner than later, they find it difficult to combine the onerous responsibilities of being a wife and mother, with schooling The prevalence of the abuse of the right to the exercise of divorce by Muslim men has only compounded the situation, leading to so many negative social deviations such as substance abuse (that has become so rampant), commercial sex work and the complete loss of values in the entire family set up.

Community loses out

Many of these adolescents are married off to men much older than they, and because of the associated power differentials, this singular factor impedes communication between them, with the girl having no negotiation skills in crucial decision-making that may affect her life. Having lost out on these critical life opportunities, these married adolescents can never aspire to living as meaningful and productive members of society. Not being able to participate actively in the community translates to their losing out completely on benefitting from economic activity and earning a decentincome. Many of these girls remain excluded from community life, having been separated from peers and family members by marriage. Depression sets in. A life of diminished opportunities. The community loses out completely; the economy cannot improve where half its population is stuck in this rut. Child marriage, from available statistics, ultimately hampers the efforts of these young adolescents from acquiring an education, as sooner than later, they find it difficult to combine the onerous responsibilities of being a wife and mother, with schooling. They drop out, if they have not been removed for the purpose of marriage, in

Consultant to UNICEF on Child Protection and the Implementation of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003 The Senate does not have final power when it comes to the amendment of the constitution. Section 9(2) of the Constitution provides, ‘An Act of the National Assembly for the alteration of this Constitution... shall not be passed in either House of the National Assembly unless the proposal is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of that House and approved by resolution of the Houses of Assembly of not less than two-thirds of all the states.’

My submissions:

*That the issue before the Senate was not child’s rights or child marriageable age of the Nigerian child. *That Section 29(4)(b) has always been part and parcel of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic and the Senate has not passed a new law legalizing child marriage as it is being widely circulated. *That in furtherance to the immediate paragraph, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has never legalized child marriage. *That in furtherance to the foregoing, that the Child’s Rights Act, which was passed into law in July 2003, which by virtue of Section 12 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the domestication of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 is the foundational law today, recognized by the constitution, relating to Child’s Rights in Nigeria and the Act has criminalized Child Marriage in Nigeria. *That in all matters relating to children in Nigeria, the provisions of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003 supersedes the provisions of all other enactments on children and other matters by virtue of Section 274 of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003. *That by the express provision of Section 277 of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003, which defines a child as anyone below 18 years of age and Sections 21 and 22 of same Act, child marriage and betrothal is not only outlawed but criminalized in Nigeria.

Domestication

*That for the Child’s Rights Act to be enforced in the 36 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Houses of Assembly of each state must pass (domesticate) it into law, considering the fact that most of the matters relating to children are under concurrent legislative list and that as at today 24 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have passed the Act into state Laws. The 12 states that are yet to pass the Act into Law are: Enugu, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Kebbi, Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Adamawa, Bauchi, Katsina, and Zamfara. *That as it is today, the states, which have not passed the Child’s Rights Act into state laws, are core northern states and one of the major issues is their disposition towards child marriage and related matters. *That by virtue of Second Schedule, Part 1, Item 61 of the constitution, known as ‘Exclusive Legislative List,’ which states the areas the National Assembly can make laws on to include, ‘the formation, annulment and dissolution of marriages other than marriages under Islamic law and Customary law including matrimonial causes relating thereto,’ the best option of stakeholders in

Continues on page 47


SUND AY SUNDA

UNDERAGE MARRIAGE: ‘SENATORS CANNOT IMPOSE ISLAMIC LAWS ON US’

Vanguard, JULY 21, 2013, PAGE 47

meaningful social engagement, aimed at achieving the best interest of the child through a well articulated agenda”.

Senate action unacceptable – Child Protection Network (CPN), a coalition of NGOs,

SEN. IBRAHIM ABDULLAHI GOBIR

SEN. AHMED IBRAHIM LAWAN

SEN. BUKAR ABBA IBRAHIM

CBOs, FBOs, and government agencies in 31 states and FCT working in the area of Child Protection in Nigeria. CPN decries in very strong terms the removal of Section 29(4) (a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the retention of Section 29(4) (b) of the same on Wednesday 17th July, 2103 by the members of the National Assembly. This action is a complete violation of Article 21(2) of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child which prohibits Child marriage as well as Article 6(b) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights which provides that the maximum age of marriage for women is 18 years. This act of the Senate also contravenes Section 21, 22 and 23 of the Child Rights Act which states that no person under the age of 18 is capable of contracting a valid marriage and accordingly a marriage so contracted is null and void and of no effect what so ever. It is also an aberration to all the International Human Rights legislations for children which Nigeria is a signatory to, had ratified and domesticated. This action is generally unacceptable and not in the best interest of the Nigerian girl-child. We urged all right thinking Nigerians to strongly condemn this action and urged members of the house to revert this despicable and shameful action.

Early Marriage Will Retard Nigeria’s Development – Dr Uche Bialonwu SEN. ALKALI ABDULKADIR JAFERE

SEN. SAHABI ALHAJI YAU

SEN. SAIDU AHMED ALKALI

Continued from page 46 the life of the child is to put pressure on the states governments of the northern states, which have not passed the Child’s Rights Act into the state laws to do so. As it is, it appears the National Assembly does not have power to legislate on the issues relating to the formation, annulment and dissolution of marriages contracted under Islamic Law and Customary Law.

Alternative

That in the alternative, stakeholders should agitate for the amendment of Second Schedule, Part 1, Item 61 of the constitution, known as ‘Exclusive Legislative List,’ to read ‘the formation, annulment and dissolution of marriages.’ *That, though the Child’s Rights Act, 2003 is not a perfect piece of legislation, it has gone a long way in providing a formidable legal and social frameworks for the protection of the rights of the Nigerian child in the spirit of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 and African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. There are spacious rooms for improvement but the Child’s Rights Act, 2003 is supreme in all matters relating to children except in relation to express provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which is the supreme law of the land, from which every other law receives their validity. *That Section 29(4)(b), which provides, ‘any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age’ is in relation to renunciation of citizenship and taking a keener look at the minds of the drafter of the 1999

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I believe Section 29(4)(b), creates a leeway for a child either born in Nigeria or become a Nigerian by marriage to renounce her citizenship of Nigeria before she is eighteen years old and either seek asylum in another country or return to her country of birth. Please note that in reaching my queer conclusion on Section 29(4)(b), I have decided to take my liberty in considering the Mischief Rule of interpretation of statute, which tries to consider the mischief the drafter of a particular law may be trying to correct.

Means to an end

Enlightenment is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end. The goal of enlightenment is Child Protection Social Policing™. Child Protection Social Policing™ happens where every primary and secondary custodian within the four (4) institutions (Family, Community, State and International Community) responsible for the protection of the child are equipped with Knowledge (what to do), Skills (how to do it) and Attitude (wisdom and inner strength) to professionally and effectively protect, preserve and defend the rights of the child, even at the cost of personal discomfort. The United Nations recently supported the position that is Superior to Enforcement™ as it submits, ‘to child abuse cases is four times expensive as child protection and protecting children against violence and abuse...’ I hereby rest my case here, calling all of us, who are genuinely interested in matters relating to the well-being of our children to redirect our struggle in the direction of

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aving reviewed all the write-ups by various newspapers making a case against EARLY MARRIAGE, realizing that the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria deliberately chose to ignore all existing laws on the issue of early marriage and went ahead to endorse it against both national and international laws, acts and conventions, i.e., The Convention on the Rights of the Child, CRC, The Nigerian Child Rights Act, 2003, The African Charter on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women sealed up (to which Nigeria is signatory)etc., I wish to propose as follows: That the Senate cannot impose Islamic laws, practices and tenets on millions of Nigerians who are not Muslims. That the Senate cannot over-rule the wishes of 24 states out of 36 which have domesticated and passed the Child Rights Act, 2003!That Nigeria is a secular state and cannot pander to religious sentiments. That the Nigerian Constitution is a Federal, national document and cannot pander to any sectional interests: the amendment, repel of the Age of Marriage legislation should be expunged from the constitution, with immediate effect! Each state should thereafter legislate on that issue at their own level since the country as a whole cannot agree on a common framework. The amended constitution should be subjected to a nation-wide referendum, an Egypt! AlhajiYerima and his supporters should learn a lesson from the fate of the Muslim Brotherhood manipulated constitution that has bitten the dust in Egypt. The people of Nigeria, those who do not want their girls to indulge in early marriage should rise up and refuse this latestincursion into the abuse of children’s rights. Early marriage is a denial of children’s rights, abuse of their privileges and an exposure of children especially girls to physical, psychological, health, danger and backwardness which does not augur well for our national development. Nigeria should resist this negative backward looking legislation with all their power.

A FINAL WORD ON CHILD MARRIAGE By Femi Fani-Kayode

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ccording to the respected Islamic scholar, Professor Ishaq Akintola, there is ‘no age restriction in Islamic marriage’. He may well be right and I honestly believe that Islam, like Christianity, is a humane and compassionate faith which seeks to protect the weak and guide its adherents on the path of righteousness and light. I must however point out that Nigeria is not a Muslim or indeed a Christian state. She is a secular state and she is governed by secular laws. Religious laws have no place in our land or constitution.Our constitution is a secular docuement which specifically says that the state shall not adopt any religion. This must remain so if we do not want a divided country and if we do not want continued controversy, strife and possibly even a fully blown religious conflagration and conflict. We should all keep our religious sensitivities out of certain matters if we want continued peace. Paedophilia, child sex, child slavery, child rape and child

marriage cannot be justified under any circumstances in any civilised country. It is not a matter of religion. It is a matter of human rights, civil liberties and basic morality. There is nothing more repugnant to the natural mind and wholesome soul than the prospect of a fully grown man mounting, defiling and having carnal knowledge of a child that is between the ages of 6 and 18. Every child, whether she be a Christian, a Muslim, a pagan, an atheist or an agnostic has the right to be fully protected by the state and by the laws of our land from sexual predators, sexual deviants, statutory rapists, unrepentant perverts and child molesters. That much we ought to be able to achieve and we ought to insist on. We are meant to protect our children and not bed them. Like I said earlier elsewhere in this debate, even animals don’t sleep with their own infants. Some may hate me for these words today but I speak nothing but the truth and tomorrow people will thank me for them. This is my final contribution to this heated debate. Outside of this, I have nothing more to say on this vexed and contentious issue. Shalom.


PAGE 48—SUNDAY VANGUARD, JULY 28, 2013 sameyoboka@yahoo.com

08023145567 (sms only)

S-A-C-R-I-L-E-G-E: Child marriage amounts to abuse of underaged girls---CAN A By CALEB AYANSINA

BUJA - THE Chris tian Association of Ni geria (CAN) has expressed worry over the inability of the Senate to expunge the provision of Section 29 (4) (b) of the 1999 constitution which states that, “any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age”, by the Senate. The umbrella body of Christians in the country said the retention of the controversial section in the constitution by the apex legislative body is sacrilegious as it amounts to legalization of sexual abuse of underaged girls, just as it criticised Senator Ahmed Yerima (Zamfara State) over his comments, saying he is justifying his marriage to an Egyptian minor. Senator Yerima, a former governor of Zamfara State on the floor of the Senate had argued that the proposal for the deletion of section 29 (4) (b) from the constitution, during the clause by clause consideration of the review of the 1999 constitution, by the Upper Chamber was at variance with Islamic Law. National President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor who was irked by Yerima’s statement “finds that argument offensive, because it presupposes that Nigeria, a secular state, is populated only by Muslims”. Oritsejafor, in a statement noted that “Yerima is again, advertently stirring up another controversy about the supremacy of Islamic Law over the Nigerian constitution after the one he raised, when he introduced Sharia, the Islamic Legal code, in Zamfara State. “I think the problem is that

*Senator David Mark people like Senator Yerima are approaching Qur’anic teachings from extremes and disturbing the balance. It makes me wonder the source of their emotions and thoughts that nurture them. “As a Senator whose case of marrying a 13-year old Egyptian girl is still fresh in the memory of Nigerians, Yerima should only be seen and not heard in matters of this nature. If now he is commenting on a case in which he has interest, it can only mean the action of a man frenziedly trying to get himself out of the hook through some undeserved legislation. “I appeal to those individuals who have been educated along this line in the Senate not to use their rights as Lawmakers to harm children below the age of 18, but to choose the interest of these children above their own. These girls should be allowed to develop, individually because this resolution, if implemented, would hound girls

*Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor below 18 years into marriages they know nothing about. This is only one dimension of this tragic resolution. “I feel that when individuals attain a certain way of thinking and understanding and reach certain status in life, they should be able to comprehend that it is necessary to adhere to conventions in line with best practices the world over and not harm other members of society, no matter their ages within the same society. “This is why I consider the resolution of the Senate to retain section 29 (4) (b) selfish, delusive and a contravention of all known international conventions, protocols and ethics on the rights of the child to which Nigeria is a signatory. Child bride should not be encouraged or allowed in Nigeria. With over 12,000 women quoted by the National Demographic Health Survey as living with the Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) every year in Nigeria, fine tuning laws that would enable desiring Nige-

rians to marry primary school pupils is not what our legislators should be involved in. Rather, the Senate should strengthen the nation’s constitution by protecting all citizens’ rights, especially those of children from abuse. This would amount to legalization of sexual abuse of underaged girls. “CAN rejects this resolution of the Senate and calls on the upper chamber to be more reasonable by revisiting the issue while it calls on all Nigerians of good conscience to resist this provocative resolution before our female children are dehumanized. By the grace of God, I will, personally mobilize Nigerians and lead the street protest against this oppressive and dehumanizing resolution. Why would the Senate after voting recoil simply because a point of order premised on religious basis was raised. We Christians also have Canon Law which frowns on marriage of girls Continued on Page 47

Priesthood is not bed of roses, Martins warns By OLAYINKA LATONA T was a joyous moment as The Redemptorist Vice Province of Nigeria, an arm of the Catholic Church ordained 13 ministers into the office of priesthood and deaconate recently. The ordination cere-mony which took place at Saints Michael, Raphael and Gabriel Catholic Church, Satelite Town, Lagos was witnessed by a large crowd of faithful, relations and well wish-ers who all waited patiently to see their relatives decorated and inducted either as a priest or

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deacon. The Arcbishop of Metropolitan See of Lagos, Most Rev. Adewale Martins who presided over the ceremony, in his homily, advised the ordained men of God to be steadfast, diligent, and prayerfully serve God with all humility; reminding them that life as a priest is not bed of roses as there are thorns and challenges that come along ministerial duties. He further advised them to preach against selfishness, love of money, inordinate amb-itions and greed which,

he said, have eaten deep into the Nigerian society. In his words: “You will encounter crises and challenges in your journey and to overcome you have to remain firm in Christ, be willing to make sacrifices because the life of a priest is not a bed of roses. There are challenges and thorns. It is only when you have personal relationship with Christ on a daily basis that you will overcome any challenge that rears its head”. Appreciating the ord-ained priests and deacons family

members for sparing their sons to venture into such a noble profession, Archbishop Martins urged the families not to put the priests under any form of pressure but continually pray for them that they be sources of joy to the church, society and nation at large; as they will be bringing the knowledge of Word of Christ to mankind. He advised adherents to correct the priests with love when necessary; explaining that priests are like clay pots that carry immeasurable treasures.

Primate berates Amnesty International over capital punishment comments By CALEB ANYANISA

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BUJA – PRIMATE, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh has berated Amnesty International (AI) for condemning Edo State government over the recent execution of death sentence on four inmates in Benin. The primate who urged the Federal Government not to allow itself to be gagged by anybody, also called for the imposition of capital punishment on perpetrators of crimes, including rape and killing. In June, after their death warrants were signed by the Edo State Gov. Adams Oshiomhole, Osaremwinda Aigbuohian and Daniel Nsofor---whose lawyers have been struggling to obtain a stay of execution on the death sentence; and two other convicts whose identities are yet to be ascertained were hanged in Benin. The act has generated criticisms by both local and international bodies. Okoh who was speaking at a press conference in Abuja noted that the human rights body had no justification to criticize the government’s action, as they were neither directly nor indirectly affected by the action of those inmates. He warned that the government should not allow anybody or organization to teach it what morality is, insisting that, “the law of capital punishment for those who rightly deserve it should be enforced. “It is not true to say that punishment does not deter crime! It does. The difference between our society and society outside is that, we have laws which are not enforced. Nigerians outside obey laws, but as soon as they come back here, they feel above the law. “So, punishment must be effected and that is the essence of government. The Bible supports it, and the government cannot abdicate from punishing crime in the name of Amnesty International,” he said. On insecurity, Okoh maintained that insecurity persists in Nigeria because politicians are playing politics with it. The primate also advised young ladies to refrain from indecent dressing and nudity in order to avoid being sexually harassed. He called on religious leaders to emphasise the teaching of morality.


SUNDAY VANGUARD, JULY 28, 2013, PAGE 49

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IMMY Peters was on his way back to Lagos from a wedding in Benin City. Suddenly, the road ahead was blocked. Before he could say “Jack Robinson,” some armed men sprang out of the bushes. Instinctively, Jimmy’s wife hid their baby on the floor of the backseat of the car; quickly throwing a cloth over him. The armed robbers were professional and clinical. They rapidly stripped them of their money and valuables. They hit the jackpot when they found N35,000 in the boot of the car. But just as they were about to leave, the thing Jimmy ’s wife feared happened. The baby cried out; not surprising, since he was practically smothered by the cloth thrown over him. One of the armed robbers stopped in his tracks. “There’s a baby, there’s a baby,” he exclaimed. He removed the cloth for confirmation. There indeed was the baby, cooing away, totally oblivious to the tension in the air. The armed robber was very angry. He turned to the mother; scowling. “You people are very strange,” he said. “Do you think I would hurt a baby?” Then he went further: “I want you to know that I am a Christian, so I would never hurt a little baby like this.” To demonstrate this beyond reasonable doubt, he decided to give the baby N20 out of the N35,000 he had stolen from the parents.

Sunday-Sunday Christians

CHRISTIANS INDEED This story is not fiction. It actually happened; and it serves to underscore the widespread confusion that now exists among those of us who call ourselves Christians. Christians are now a motley group of very strange bedfellows. It would appear that virtually anybody can claim to be a Christian without fear of contradiction. But who exactly is a Christian? Today, Christians are often identified by church affiliation. We are people who go to church on Sundays. We are people who “read their bible and pray every day.” We are people who pay tithes. We have a tendency to quote the scriptures. We like to pepper our speech with “hallelujahs” and “praise the Lord.” But we are also people who fail to show compassion when it is required. We are people who despise Moslems and people of other faiths. We are people with deep hatred for homosexuals. We are people who insist on retributive justice, even to the point of going to war. We are those who go to church on Sundays but also beat our wives on Mondays. We are those who pray down the rain but also use our tongue to lie, deceive, insult, abuse and curse. Of such

How does reckless driving testify to the lordship of Jesus Christ? is not the kingdom of God. Some church workers came to a high-rise building to ask for “Sister Mary.” But nobody seemed to know her. “What does she look like?” the residents asked. The visitors gave an elaborate description of her, from her favourite hairstyle to her preferred manner of dressing. “That sounds like Mary Ikejiani,” somebody replied. “Is it Mary Ikejiani you are looking for?” “Yes,” replied the visitors. “We have it on good authority she lives in this building.” “Why didn’t you say that in the first place?” the residents chorused. “Instead, you asked for ‘Sister Mary.’ Do you mean to tell us Mary is a Christian?” Mary was a SundaySunday Christian. At church, she was the epitome of holiness and virtue. But at home, she could not continue the lie. Had the people asked after “Quarrelsome Mary,” instead of “Sister Mary,” there would have been no difficulty in identifying her.

ODM publisher joins Elite club By SAM EYOBOKA

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OPULAR Lagos Pe n t e c o s t a l preacher, Rev. Chris Kwakpovwe, the publisher of Our Daily Manna, ODM, a devotional booklet for champions and General Overseer of Manna Prayer Mountain, Ogudu, Lagos recently joined the elite club of bishops. He was ordained as an international bishop by

creme de la creme of Pentecostal ministers led by Lagos State secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Archbishop George Amu. The consecration ceremony took place at the church auditorium last Sunday and was conducted by Archbishop and other bishops including Bishop Isaac Nworji, Bishop Peter Okoduwa, Bishop Charles Okpodu and Bishop Charles Taiwo

Ajose. Taking his text from I Timothy 3:3, Archbishop Amu said: “I have done a research about the newly elected bishop, Dr. Chris Kwakpovwe and discovered that we are birds of the same feather that can flock together. I thank God for the assignment." Amu added: “I know it will be a new beginning for the new bishop,” he said.

Christian hypocrisy Jesus asked his disciples: “Who do men say that I am?” Let us turn the question around. Who do men say Christians are? Are we known by virtues or by vices? Does the designation, “Christian,” denote someone of sound character who is honest, godly and peace-loving? The truth is it does not. When Jesus sees Nathanael coming down the road, he says about him: “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit.” Jesus refers to Nathanael as a real Israelite, thereby differentiating him from Jacob; the man to whom God first gave the name Israel. Jacob, of course, was a liar and a cheat. But Jesus identifies in Nathanael that the real Israelite (or Christian) is a man of proven integrity. If Nathanael is a real Israelite then there are fake Israelites. If Nathanael is a true Christian then there are fake Christians. Indeed, many professing Christians are much more dishonest and deceitful

than the average unbeliever. We seem to forget that people are supposed to be drawn to Christ because of what they see of him in us. A lady asked me to pray for her. When I asked what her petition was, she said she was the Chairperson of the Armed Forces Officers’ Wives at a particular military cantonment. Her colleagues kept a certain amount of money with her for safe-keeping, but it now appeared she had misplaced the money. “What happened to the money?” I asked her. “I tampered with it,” she said. “What does that mean?” She said: “I spent the money. I didn’t know they would want it back so soon.” “So what do you want me to do now?” “I want you to pray that God should have mercy on me,” she replied. But what about the money with which she was entrusted? Disciples of Christ are called to follow his example. Why then do Christians steal, cheat, fight, lie, fornicate and commit adultery? Surely we know that the kingdom of God is only for those who stand in the righteousness of Christ.

Foolish faith Have you ever had the

In his acceptance speech, Dr. Kwakpovwe, a pharmacist thanked the College of Bishops in attendance, saying "this is the time I need prayers more than ever before", urging the congregation to pray for him. Kwakpovwe is a dynamic man of God with strong prophetic, healing, preaching and teaching ministries. Since he met the Lord on February 3, 1976, as a student at the prestig-

experience where a man literally drives you off the road and, as he speeds away, you see the inscription on his windscreen declaring: “Jesus is Lord?” How does reckless driving testify to the lordship of Jesus Christ? Some cars were waiting at a railway intersection because a red light indicated a train was approaching. But one driver felt all the others were daft. He was convinced he could quickly cross over before the train arrived. So rather than wait on the queue with others, he decided to drive across quickly at top speed. Onlookers shouted at him to stop, warning him of the danger in his line of action. But he ignored them, accelerating all the more. At the last minute, he suddenly saw the train. It was much closer than he had anticipated, but it was now too late to slam on the brakes. If he did, he would be crushed for sure. So he had no choice but to continue on his suicidal path. Somehow he managed to get across unscathed. But just as he was about to breathe a sigh of relief, the train hit his back bumper and sent him on a tailspin. His car went through several somersaults but finally ended right side up. Dazed but uninjured, the man opened the door and came out of the car. “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus,” he cried. But was it Jesus who told him to take such an idiotic risk? Was it Jesus who led him to presume all other drivers were daft but he alone was smart?

ious Government College, Ughelli, Delta State of Nigeria, he’s been preaching in creeks, villages and cities with signs following. He is a qualified pharmacist (1983) from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife and founder of the various Manna Prayer Mountains worldwide.

'Declare only the counsel of God'

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LORIN---CLER GYMEN have been described as the mouthpiece of God who must not fail to declare what God told them concerning any government, reports DEMOLA AKINYEMI. Overseer of the Elevation Christian Centre,

Ilorin, Tope Ajetunmobi said this at the dedication of a new church auditorium. He urged religious leaders to always be courageous enough to speak the truth when commenting on the state of affairs in the country, stressing that clerics

should always resist the temptation to lie. Ajetunmobi urged clerics to always remember that they are accountable to God, stressing that they should, without fear or favour, say the truth on the manner and effects of administration of people in government.

*Archbishop George Amu (left) leading other bishops during the consecration of Rev. Chris Kwakpovwe (2nd left) as bishop at Manna Prayer Mountain Church in Lagos last Sunday.


PAGE 50—SUNDAY VANGUARD, JULY 28, 2013

BY BEN NANAGHAN VIEWPOINT IN BRIEF Why the President will be in the 2015 contest

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HE drumbeats of the 2015 presidential elections are very clear and even deafening on the side of the amalgamated but yet unregistered opposition party. However the Peoples Democratic Party is treading, cautiously, as a result of the President’s ban on political campaigns ahead of the next general elections. President Goodluck Jonathan has warned his ministers and officials to resign if they want to participate in the politics of 2015 and some have complied. This disciplined approach to governance is to ensure the administration’s focus is not derailed or dimmed by early politicking for 2015. This is the first time a sitting President would restrict politicking to a specific period to allow the government-in-power to concentrate on governance without distraction. In previous civilian regimes, politics and campaigns for the next elections take off immediately the government inpower is sworn-in. And this is the one of the disadvantages of the double tenure system as against the six year single tenure which Jonathan proposed in 2011. This fine proposal was killed by the National Assembly especially the Tambuwal-led House of Representatives which attacks any proposal or bill originating from the presidency. The anti-Jonathan plot is thickening by the day just as the federal administration is scoring high on economy, infrastructures, security, education and good gov-

Run Jonathan run ernance. But the plot will crumble like a pack of cards because it is the people who will elect their President, not Tambuwal and definitely not the new messiah of southwest politics. And of course not Prof Ango Abdullai, the chairman of the Northern Elders Forum who just threatened that the North will not accept Jonathan

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VIEWPOINTS

million school age children were already out of school in northern Nigeria alone. With the recent wanton wastage of the lives of pupils/students in Yobe State and other Boko Haram states in the North, the withdrawal from school will almost double. In 2010, Adamu Ciroma and his associates tried all the tricks in their political bag but Jonath-

The Jonathan administration is working to earn international trust and confidence and this has made Nigeria the highest foreign investment destination in Africa with $7bn Foreign Direct Investment

as President in 2015. I did not expect anything less from the Prof who has for long been sidelined in northern politics and only ascended into his political eldorado recently. It is unfortunate that the professor has never commented on the lack of education in northern Nigeria. About a forthright ago, the Director General of the Nigerian Teachers Institute (NTI), Kaduna, Dr. Aminu Ladan Sharehu said less than 20% of teachers in the North are qualified to teach. This means more than 80% of teachers in the North are themselves illiterates with mainly certificates in Islamic Studies. The figures on education in the North are mind-boggling. Before the Boko Haram insurgency, 10

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an won in all the geopolitical zones including Katsina State which is the home state of his main opponent. That same year, many associations sprang up aiming to defeat GEJ at the polls,but they all failed because of Jonathan’s promises and candidacy. Today, Nigeria is better for it as GEJ is on course in his efforts to take Nigeria out of the woods. A critical look at the President’s transformation agenda showed that out of the 14 pointsprogram he has achieved reverberating success in sight. Our GDP has recorded encouraging growth and this has stabilized our exchange rate at between N150 to N160 per dollar. In May 2011 our inflation rate was 12.4 percent but today it is

about 9.1%. The domino effect of this on the economy is inestimable. Our external reserve also rose from $38.08bn in May 2011 to #48.4bn in May 2013. Our External Crude Account (ECA) went from $4bn in May 2011 to $9bn in December 2012 and in May 2013 we recorded $6bn. This is because our projected crude oil production fell from the 2.53 million bdp to between 2.1 and 2.2mn bpd. Government annual borrowing was also drastically reduced from N852bn in 2011 to N588bn in May 2013. The Jonathan administration is working to earn international trust and confidence and this has made Nigeria the highest foreign investment destination in Africa with $7bn Foreign Direct Investment. Many foreign investors have openly praised the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan administration due to his transparence and absence of covert and personal pre-agreement conditionalities and kickbacks as in some previous regimes. In agriculture, the administration blocked loopholes in the procurement and distribution of fertilizer. On rail and road transportation, the Jonathan administration has made giant strides. These were infrastructural facilities that were pronounced DEAD, but it resuscitated them. In the road sector government has made Nigerians proud with the refurbishment of the LagosOre-Benin Road, Kano-Maiduguri Road, Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Road. Even most of the eastern roads which were hitherto gullies

are now pleasurably motorable. The much publicized East-West trans state road linking the West with the East is also progressing as planned. Petrol queues have vanished. The usually quarterly deregulation tango is now a thing of the past. Electricity has improved. And the President is not losing focus as electricity will be one of his legacies. Many Nigerians are impressed with the President’s handling of the Boko Haram issue. A few critics have lambasted Jonathan for handling the insurgency with kid gloves instead of using the bulldozer approach which leveled Odi on Nov. 20, 1999. The North has never hidden its disdain for the right of southerners to govern this country. From 1957, the North ruled Nigeria till 1999 apart from Gen. Obasanjo’s three years military rule. The North after ruling for 38 years now felt very sorry for the South and ceded power to the Southwest due to Obasanjo’s support for President Shehu Shagari in the 1983 122/3 saga that nailed Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s ambition to make Nigeria a nation to be reckoned with in the comity of advanced nations. And so the North has ruled Nigeria for 41 years while the South in 2013 has ruled for only 15 years from 1957. The North will still vote the President into power inspite of the Ango Abdullais and the now sidelined Adamu Ciromas. Jonathan may not be a strong, military, bulldozing President but nothing will deprive him of his constitutional right to contest the 2015 presidential election. He will run for the presidency in 2015 and there will be no “shaking” about this by the special grace of GOD. *Nanaghan lives in Lagos.

President: Changing times and tide BY DANIEL ALABRAH VIEWPOINT IN BRIEF Why notable Nigerians want the President to recontest

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N the past few weeks, groups that had hitherto stood on the fence or had distanced themselves altogether from President Goodluck Jonathan, who had declared that they would look elsewhere for another candidate in the presidential poll in 2015, have suddenly turned in a new verdict: Dr Jonathan will be the man to beat in 2015 if he decides to re-contest! They are even asking those not in their new camp to join them. To be sane, they are seeing what others do not see. I am referring to the South-west politicians, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership, the South-east, the North-central, the South-south, and the North-east among several others who have unanimously endorsed Jonathan for the 2015 presidential election. Another prominent group, the Southern Nigeria Peoples

Assembly (SNPA), led by the respected former Vice-President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, has endorsed Jonathan for a second term. The group declared recently after a two-day meeting in Lagos: “ ...the Assembly passes a vote of confidence on Mr President and notes that within the realm of constitutionality, nothing inhibits him to seek re-election if he so desires.” Also, founder of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr. Frederick Fasehun, has joined those calling for a second term for the President. He had been critical of the administration but, today, he says Jonathan “should be given enough time to prove his mettle.” Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and respected Second Republic senator, Bode Olowoporoku, have also thrown in support for an encore for Jonathan in 2015 with the latter saying: “Jonathan’s adoption (for 2015) is a good omen for the country ... This is the first time the minority will have the opportunity to rule the country. Therefore his adoption for a second term would be a welcome development ... It is the minority who do not want Nigeria to scatter. The other major ethnic groups had one time or the other threatened

the unity of Nigeria. Therefore giving him the opportunity of second term is a good one.” These groups and notably the prominent individuals, who are not given to frivolity, would not risk their hard-earned names if

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VIEWPOINTS

Let us admit that Jonathan is operating in a warlike situation where the gains you make are only discernible after you have contained the enemy

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they did not believe in Jonathan. So what are they seeing that is moving them to put complete trust in Jonathan’s Presidency? First, let us throw away our skewed thinking caps blocking us

from noticing the positive changes in our nation under this government. Secondly, let us desist from misanthropic criticism that seeks to throw the baby out with the bathwater. And, thirdly, let us admit that Jonathan is operating in a war-like situation where the gains you make are only discernible after you have contained the enemy. Those who laud the President have exorcised these demons from their souls and are now able to see the grounds the country has covered under the present administration. Today, the amnesty deal for former agitators in the Niger Delta is being applauded as highly successful. Prior to this scheme, youths bent on fighting the state with the last drop of blood because they believed they had nothing to lose, have, today, thanks to the Presidential Amnesty Programme, being executed by the Jonathan administration, being given hope for a better tomorrow. Rail transportation, which had been abandoned by successive governments, has been revived. How about power? The Federal Government has commenced plans to generate additional 4,000 megawatts of electricity from coal. This will eliminate our

dependence on the erratic traditional sources of hydropower and natural gas. The agriculture sector has also witnessed pacy developments with immense benefits to millions of farmers. The two biggest initiatives are the move to repeal the Land Use Act of 1978 to free land for massive investment in agriculture as well as the revolutionary plan to launch “Nagro-preneurs” to involve about 760,000 young commercial farmers (graduates) from the universities. It is policies of this nature that recently earned Nigeria an international award in the war against hunger. Serious-minded observers have noted them as salutary developments and interjections that cannot be ignored. Those who see these with unbiased eyes, who previously sat on the fence, are now jumping into the field, saying the man behind these transformation projects deserve to be saluted not condemned. They cannot be wrong in the face of the overpowering evidence e v e r y w h e r e .

* Alabrah is Head of Media and C o m m u n i c a t i o n , Presidential Amnesty Office, Abuja.


TRIBUTES

SUNDAY VANGUARD, JULY 28, 2013, PAGE 51

The Anenih that I know TRIBUTE

him. But what keeps them in his sphere is his peculiar ability to make them see themselves not as they are but as they should be in the society. He advocates, guides,

BY ALBERT IYORAH TRIBUTE IN BRIEF What Nigerians can learn from the PDP Bot chair as he clocks 80

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hief Tony Anenih and Chairman, Board of Trustees of the PDP is a blessing to Nigeria and Africa at large. I say this because it is true that his political exploits and sound sense of judgment, which have become legendary, have earned him disciples even outside Nigeria. You may never fully appreciate his leadership traits until you have cause to be close to him. This is why I sympathize with those who stand far off from him and seek to denigrate him. If and when they really get to know him, they want to choke on their

Tony Anenih words. Many who make this mistake often come to him for forgiveness. ‘Leader’, as we fondly call him, is a politician whose daily concern is the creation of a better society where everyone has a sense of belonging, a society where there is common will and resolve to continuously develop and make progress. This is what draws people to

Chief Tony Anenih is a mentor and leader with a heart so large that he easily forgives, no matter the injury

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directs and corrects not in so many words but by practical examples and by giving assignments, the execution of which will equip you for higher assignments. I recollect when I went for his blessings

to run for governorship of Edo State; he had this to say: “You are like my son, I was told you are doing very well in your business. Politics is a game of 24 hours. How ready are you? I advise you go back to your business”. Chief Tony Anenih is a mentor and leader with a heart so large that he easily forgives, no matter the injury. He strongly believes there is no permanent enemy in politics. He has an abiding love for his country and has made the unity and progress of Nigeria his major concern. This is why he has never turned down any opportunity to play whatever role in the task of nationbuilding. He believes in his country and is confident that the nation is on the best in his followers. He may be a man of few words but he hates laziness and lying. If you are lazy or a liar when you get to

know him, you are soon purged of the vice. Sometimes, just a reproving look or his weapon of silence causes your guilt to overwhelm you. He has a very keen understanding of human nature. This is why he is able to relate with people at different levels and this also is maybe why, even at 80 years old, he keeps expanding his political horizon. The truth must be said, Nigerians have a lot to learn from Chief Anenih, the Iyasele of Esanland. Many of us are seriously learning and I fervently pray for the wisdom and ability to replicate him where possible. May God bless him with more tens of years, good health and grace to continue to serve mankind. *Iyorah is the Osobase of Uromi

Chief James Oboko Edewor (1923-2008 ) BY OBIRE MEVAYEN TRIBUTE IN BRIEF Late James Edewor's enduring legacy for humanity

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HIEF James Oboko Edewor (JP) was an icon of all times and quintessential personality. He was a man who at an early age

stood tall among his contemporaries and peers as a glowing symbol of all that is desirable in life.

The Obo-Risi of Urhoboland and Omor ’vie R’urinrin, there live a few people in our world of today w ho can measure height and size and name with him. A distinguished man who was living an equally distinguished life. He was born on the 21st October 1923 into the illustrious family of Chief Ogboko Edewor of Eku and Mama Onorievbe Ikokodje of Samagidi, Kokori in the present Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State. The title of Olokun of Eku he, however, renounced later after committing himself wholly to the service of God and mankind. In its place he was honoured by the Anglican Church, Eku as the Omor ’vie R’urinrin of Urhoboland. As Shakespeare stated in Macbeth ‘ who can look into the seed of time and say which grain will grow and which will not’. From the rural and humble beginning of Eku, he grew like the mustard seed into a large family, immense fame with enviable personal wealth uncommon on these shores. At an early age, he lost his father, but with a head unbowed he made it with the love and support of her mother to Warri

Late Chief James Edewor to begin a new life under the care and tutelage of his uncle, Pa Akpoteheri Edewor, a veritable merchant. Chief James Oboko Edewor learnt the ropes of the trade between 1932 and 1939. His education started late in life, he attended St. Andrew’s (CMS) School, Warri, where Mr. Ugokwe was the Headmaster, a strict disciplinarian. He noticed the potentials of the young James Edewor and made him the senior prefect of the school in his final year. He effectively carried out his duty and was respected by students and teachers. Chief Edewor commenced his own business in timber and rubber between 1948 and 11950.He left the produce business for textile from 1951 to 1964. By this time he had begun to add other types of businesses to his stable. It was as a result of his association with United African Company (UAC) that he made contacts with other expatriates who identified his vision, business acumen and hard work. These encounters not only broadened his business but also increased his enlightenment and widened his world-view. This led to his first overseas business trip in August 1962. In 1964, he went into property development. Today, he

has become the owner of vast estates, shopping centre, industrial layout, vast water fronts and warehouse. 1973 witnessed the establishment of the factory for the extraction of palm kernel oil known as Edewor Vegetable Oil Company Limited, which was one of the largest in West Africa. Thereafter, branch office of the Edewor Group was opened in Lagos and London in 1975. Between 1964 and 1988, Chief Edewor became a shareholder and executive director of several companies, name-

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From the rural and humble beginning of Eku, he grew like the mustard seed into a large family, immense fame with enviable personal wealth uncommon on these shores

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ly: Edewor International Limited, Edewor Timber Co. Limited, Edewor Vegetable Oil Co. Ltd., River Valley Hotel limited, Nigerian Services and Supply Co. Limited (NISSCO), Edewor Brewery Limited, West African Communications Co. Limited, Gulf Crane Services Nigeria Limited, Niger-Spain Nigeria Limited, Ogboko Hotel, Eku. How should this colossus of a man be described? A miracle, an enigma, a code? To some, he was revelation of both the mundane and spiritual. To others he was beyond

description and a superlative entity. While making his mark in business, he also made his impact in politics. He was one of the pillars of (NCNC) National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon, GNP P and SDP. His contemporaries were, amongst others, Chief (Dr.) Nnamdi Azikwe, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, Chief S. Akintola, Dr. Michael Okpara, Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh, Chief T.O.S. Benson, Alhaji Maitama Sule, Alhaji Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Mallam Aminu Kano, Hon. Chief Oweh, Hon. James E. Otobo, Hon. Barr. Weber Egbe (SAN), Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim and others. Till his death his love for politics remained, but he was no longer into partisan politics. He became a father to all political persuasions. Between 1968 and 1970, he was the chairman of Western Urhobo District Council with the Headquarters at Orerokpe and also a member of the Bendel Development and Economic Recovery Advisory Council (BDERAC). He was a member of the Federal Government Board of Revolving Loans for Industry from 1962 to 1964. He was also a director and shareholder of Niger Pool Co. Limited, a federal and state government owned venture from 1963 to 1966. In appreciation of his generosity and philanithropy several titles and awards were bestowed on him. He was the Olokun of Eku, the Obarisi of Urhobo land, the Olorogun of Ewu clan, the Olorogun of

Olomu clan. The Olorogun of Jeremi clan, the Olorogun of Iyede, The Oloualogbo of Olomoro, and the Okakuro of Agbon. He was appointed a justice of peace (JP) on the 1st of December 1989. He was conferred with a Honorary Doctorate Degree of Business Administration by the City University, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. Today, it will not be immodest to brand Chief James Ogboko Edewor. as one of the world’s most dynamic and successful entrepreneurs and inspiring leader, Chief James Oboko Edwor was blessed with three wives, Chief (Mrs) Patience Ndidi Edewor (deceased), Chief (Mrs) Comfort Erubanegbe Edewor (deceased) and Chief (Mrs) Beti Edewor. Altogether Chief Edewor had nine children: Chief Bernard Ighosotu Edewor, Mr. James Obukowho Edewor, Mrs Juliana Edewor-Thomas, Barr. Richard Edewor, Mrs Florence Edewor-Itaje, Chief Alexander Edewor, Mr. Onome Edewor, Mrs. Ese Edewor-Idisi and Mr. Ogheneovo Edewor. What kudos shall we offer him, who has given us such a worthy legacy? We can give honour to whom honour is due. We shall forever remember him because he gave himself as a compass, a key, pioneer, progenitor, role model and much more. Chief James Ogboko Edewor was certainly an incredible gift from God to us, his immediate and larger family and the rest of the society. We thank God for His immense mercies. Amen.


PAGE 52—SUNDAY VANGUARD, JULY 28 28, 2013,

By JAPHET ALAKAM

chimeena@yahoo.com 08056180157

LECTURE

Americanah:

A tale of three continents

By JAPHET ALAKAM DOCUMENTARY

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he Benin kingdom is one of the oldest institutions in Africa, noted for its rich cultural heritage and ruled by great Kings known as Oba of Benin. Presently, the city is ruled by Omo N’ Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa, the 38th Oba of Benin and head of the traditional state of Benin. Since he ascended the throne, many great reforms have taken place in the kingdom and recently he celebrated his 90th birthday in style. As part of his mission to celebrate this great man while alive, a veteran TV Producer and son of the soil embarked on a TV documentary account of the Oba Erediuwa. The 55 minutes documentary tagged Oba Erediuwa;the Iconic Reign of a legend, is a compelling television documentary produced by Intratainment IQ in collaboration with AIT. Viewres will through the documentary see the very essence of Benin culture showcasing the fascinating story of the reign of the Oba of Benin. In clear and crisp pictures, the documentary captures the most remarkable achievements of the custodian of the revered Benin tradition, gauge the impact of his reign, and see his over three decades on the throne through the voices and also present views of some celebrated Nigerians, the citizens of the Benin kingdom within the monarchy and in the Diaspora. In a chat with Nosa, the veteran TV Producer revealed that his latest project, which will span the next five years, is producing a series of TV Documentaries showcasing the achievements of well known Political leaders, Monarchs and Past Heads of State in Nigeria beginning with the Oba of Benin, a program slated for broadcast on AIT International on Sunday. His personal mantra is, “ why not celebrate them now that they are still alive?”

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ccording to him, from the conceptualization through production and debut, this must see Television phenomenon, “Oba Erediauwa, the Iconic Reign of a Legend” proves to be the impeccable model for future television documentaries. The production was flawlessly executed with uncompromising touch of excellence in compliance with standards comparable to world renowned television shows. The opening sequence features past Igue festivals and official palace functions, a compelling documentary with content professionally coordinated, showcasing never before seen footages of the Oba of Benin’s nation-wide thank you tour of 1982, his coronation of 1979, and other memorable events in the palace of the Benin Monarch, such as the role the Oba played in endorsing Governor Oshiomhole during his bid for a second term. A revealing interview, where Oshiomhole shares some of his personal experiences with a monarch whom he says he is very much indebted to. Viewers will also see his romance with many great Nigerians, like Former military head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, how Gowon lauded the him for his contribution to nation building as Crown Prince while serving as a Permanent Secretary of the Federal civil service during his tenure as mili-

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•Oba of Benin

a b O g n i t Celebra ; The Iconic Erediauwa legend reign of a tary head of a young Nigeria. Former President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari romance with the Oba when he was a Minister and his visit to the Palace when the Oba ascended the ancient throne of his ancestors as the 38th Oba of a single lineage that spans over 800yrs. The Sultan of Sokoto and the Head of the Caliphate, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar’s admiration for the Oba for the role he is playing in the preservation of the culture of the Benin people in-spite of the Oba’s western Education (Erediuwa is a law graduate from the University of Cambridge). The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi

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The production was flawlessly executed with uncompromising touch of excellence

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III, a friend and great admirer of the Oba of Benin, in his usual expressive self, decries the role the British played in the Benin massacre, while the Obong of Calabar, describes the efforts his people’s made in ensuring the exiled king, Oba Ovonranwe was well taken care of in Calabar. The Emirs of Kano and Zaria both relived their experiences during the Oba’s thank you tour in 1982, three years after his coronation ceremony. It also features the journey to the throne, the proclamation of the pass-

ing of Oba Akenzua II and the rituals which culminated in the crowning of the Edaiken of Uselu as the Omo ‘N Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa, the 38th Oba of the ancient Benin Kingdom in 1979. This bold initiative which took a little over a year to complete, took the producer and creator of this project, Mr. Nosa Ajayi, a veteran TV Producer to different parts of the country for unprecedented interviews with an amazing line up of guests. It is a well documented piece that showcased the activities of thge great monarch and the rich culture of Benin city. Mr Nosa Ajayi, a Nigerian and US trained broadcaster is a graduate of English and Television Journalism who relishes challenging projects. He started his broadcasting career in the eighties. Has worked in many organisations and created many reality based programs which includes a television documentary series titled, “The Untold Stories of Africa”, a show that took him to several parts of Africa such as Kenya, Ivory Coast, Tanzania and Cameroon.

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mong Nosa’s most recent works is a Documentary titled “Benin Past and Present”, showcasing the relics of past Benin while examining the impact New Benin made on the Old Benin. It was produced for the Edo State Government and broadcast in Sweden as part of Edo State Government’s contribution to a Swedish festival in 2010.

ith two highly successful novels under her belt, it is perhaps unsurprising that with her third novel, Americanah, Chimamanda Adichie has scored a hattrick. Adichie is adept at speaking to her readers through authentically created characters, weaving a tale that captivates, from the first chapter till the very last sentence. Literature enthusiasts, and especially Adichie fans, are welcome to a Rainbow Book Club discussion of Americanah this Friday, July 26, 2013 at 11.30 a.m. at Le Meridien, Ogeyi Place. Adichie beautifully captures current trends in the average African country where migration to distant shores seems to be everyone’s dream. The story begins when two high school teenagers fall in love and, although focused on their present relationship, dream of educational and professional success while dealing with the frustrations of unstable educational systems and unpredictable economic conditions. Ifemelu, the story’s main female character, is an unlikely candidate for a life in the West, having come from a poor background. As fate would have it, she makes the first venture to the United States, leaving her lover Obinze behind.

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n arrival at America, a country previously hyped up by her classmates, Ifemelu is shocked to discover how bland and somewhat dismal life there is, especially because she initially lives with her aunt in a poor neighborhood in New York. Her every experience of America is relayed onto Obinze who, on the other side of the world, is always eager to hear about a country he idolizes from a girl he adores. In time, Obinze makes his way to the United Kingdom, by which time his relationship with Ifemelu is fractured. Living in two continents, both of them arrive at new understandings of racism, loneliness and rejection in their quest for better fortunes. In Americanah, Adichie presents such heavy topics as race with simplicity, allowing for a greater understanding of identity. Readers are given insight as to how social issues like race are manifested in both Western countries. The public is invited to a discussion on Friday on the various themes present in this intriguing work.


SUNDAY VANGUARD, JULY 28 28, 2013, PAGE 53

A poetic appraisal of the state of nation an only son after his wife passed away, due to bad economy. Instance of this is found in; ...Now, I looked up in my impoverished state and demanded...of scarcity, of poverty, of my inability... Even though destiny at this point was identified as one of the major factors responsible for pit falls in people’s lives, Nigeria leaders since independence were largely accused of throwing the nation into the doldrums. Participants regretted that while Nigerians are hunted by a blur future, the present has become too perilous for them to feel safe in their fatherland.

By PRISCA SAM-DURU &VERA SAMUEL ANYAGAFU READING

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he literati especially lovers of poetry were treated to a special reading of some selected poems during the July edition of “Read-It-Loud”, a reading initiative established by the United States Public Affairs Section in collaboration with U.S-Africa Literary Foundation for positive change in literary world. The reading which brought out some of the ills of the society took place at the Public Affairs Section of the Consulate, Lagos. A total of four poems written by four different poets were read to an audience comprising poets and other writers in different genres of Literature. And as it is customary during the programme, the poems were analysed by the audience. The selected poems were coincidentally, intertwined in a single theme w h i c h centered a r o u n d lamentations on the prevailing circumstances in the country. All the arms of government particularly the show of shame that took place recently at the Rivers State

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One of the poets reading his poem to the admiration of the audience Assembly, were heavily criticised for their involvement involvement in disgraceful acts. In Scoundrels of the Senate written and read by M a c a u l a y Akinbami who also moderated the entire session, the audience was confronted with the state of the nation. And through the use of elements of sarcasm, mockery, criticism, personification and very strong language, the poet communicated his state of mind.

The poem begins on a very tensed note, portraying the poet’s feelings of pain, anguish and displeasure

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The poem begins on a very tensed note, portraying the poet’s feelings of pain, anguish and displeasure. But towards the end of the poem, the poet’s feelings of despondency shifts to hope as he sees light at the end of the tunnel. His belief is that the masses will someday and soon for that matter, revolt against bad leaderships and begin benefiting from the resources of the nation.

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nother poem, Inner Conversa tion by Adelabu Faida, though underscores role of destiny in determining what a person becomes in life, bad governance was not spared. The poet lamented his inability to cater for

nner Conversation in no small way, ignited heated debates, controversies and arguments at this juncture and the house was divided. Religion was called all sorts of names as few blamed Nigeria’s predicament on its impact on the people. This group maintained that the people’s religious differences make it absolutely difficult for them to rise up in one accord and fight corrupt leaders. Others disagreed, positing that tribalism has been the bane of the country. Some others accused the character in Faida’s poem of not being smart enough to recognise opportunities and making the most of them. Many however, declined to tow this line, stressing that even when the individual makes effort to utilise available opportunities, lack of an enabling environment ends up frustrating such efforts. Other poems read were, The Stranger by Ifeoma Akobi and Lady Kuku written by Ayo Omoyeni.

Panel of Judges for Etisalat Prize for Literature announced E

tisalat Nigeria has assembled a strong panel of judges for the maiden edition of its pan-African prize for literature tagged “Etisalat Prize for Literature.” The panel of four is chaired by Pumla Gqola, an associate professor in the department of African Literature at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. Gqola is one of South Africa’s most influential public intellectuals and feminists. She is the author of What is Slavery to Me? Postcolonial/Slave Memory in PostApartheid South Africa and A Renegade Called Simphiwe. Other great minds in the literary panel include Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Zakes Mda, and Billy Kahora. Manyika, a literature teacher at the San Francisco State University, comes with a repertoire of published essays, academic papers, book reviews and short stories. An alumnus of the University of Birmingham and Bordeaux, she completed her doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley.She is the author of In Dependence.

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da is a prolific novelist, poet and playwright. He is also a founding member and serves on the advisory board of African Writers Trust. He has won major literary awards for his novels and plays including the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of the University of Cape Town for his contributions to world literature and was a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Ohio. Kahora is the managing editor

of the literary Journal Kwani. He completed an M.Sc in Creative Writing with a distinction as a Chevening Scholar at the University of Edinburgh in 2007 and was in 2012 announced as one of the shortlisted writers for the 2012 Caine Prize for African Writing. He was also a Regional Judge for the 2009 Commonwealths Prize.

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ommenting on the choice of judges for the award, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Steven Evans explained that Etisalat is breathing life into the pan-African vision: “bringing together high profile writers, book critics and academics from Africa and beyond gives credence

to home grown talent and encourages further participation in the world of literature.” Entries opened June 5, 2013 and would close on the 30th of August 2013. The panel will unveil their shortlisted entries in January 15, 2014, while winners will be announced in February 2014. The Etisalat Prize for Literature is poised to celebrate new writers of African citizenship whose first book must be over 30,000 words and published within 24 months of the period of the award. Entries are now open and details on how to enter and entry forms are available online.

*Sarah Ladipo

Three female writers begin Ebedi residency programme

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hree female writers, have begun the 6- week July/August 2013 Residency Program at The Ebedi International Residency Program in Iseyin, Oyo State, Nigeria. The Ebedi International Writers Residency Program now in its third year of operation is an initiative that allows writers to complete their works in a conducive atmosphere at no cost. It also enables the writers to mentor aspiring young writers drawn from several secondary schools in Iseyin. A press statement from the residency management said the first resident, Bilqisu Abubakar holds a Masters Degree in Literature and teaches English Language at the College of Basic Studies, Kaduna State University. Bilqisu attended the Queen Amina

College, Kaduna, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. She has taught in different schools in Sokoto and Kaduna.

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he second writer, Iquo DianaAbasi Eke holds a BSc degree in Industrial Relations from the Lagos State University. A Writer, Actress and Performance poet who renders her words to the accompaniment of folklore, typically embellished with instruments such as traditional drums, flute and /or strings. As a Poet, she has performed on various platforms including: The Macmillan Literary night, The Lagos Black Heritage Festival, PLAY Poetry Festival, Word slam, The Lagos Poetry Festival, Poetry Potter, Word and

Sound Her collection of poems; Symphony of Becoming, was published in 2013. She resides in Lagos where she is currently working on a Novel, as well as a collection of short fiction. She will be using her time in Ebedi to complete work on her novel.

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hioma Iwunze-Ibiam the third writer is an Enugu based fiction writer. Apart from completing work on her novel ‘His Fake Fiancee’ Chioma’s community service will include teaching students about the art of blogging, organising small reading and writing contest for the secondary school students in Iseyin . She will also give books and encourage the youths to read more.


PAGE 54—SUNDAY VANGUARD, JULY 28, 2013

Mba: I am back to my best

Oliha left me empty—Widow

•Thanks Warri Wolves

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UPER Eagles midfielder Sunday Mba said that the settlement of his worrisome transfer to Rangers from Warri Wolves has made him up his game. Mba, a home-based player had a fantastic 2013 Nations Cup, scoring the winning goals for the Eagles in the semi-final against Cote d’Ivoire and final against Burkina Faso. But when his value in the transfer market skyrocketed, Nigeria Premier League sides Rangers of Enugu and Warri Wolves rowed over his club status. However, Warri Wolves established true ownership of the player who they claimed to have been loaned to Rangers. Recently the transfer saga was laid to rest with Mba remaining on loan to Rangers till the end of the season, while Wolves are expecting a big pay day on the likely transfer of Mba to a Eurpean club. “I must thank Warri Wolves led by Pinnick Amaju and the consultant, Emmanuel Ibru for thinking about me to allow me play for Rangers without any inhibitions,” Mba said. “The fact that they sat down to think of my career is something good. And I must also thank my lawyer and agent, Barrister Chike Onyeacho for the way he worked out the new deal with the War ri Wolves management. “When I received the call that the Warri side and Barrister Onyeacho had worked

out something for me to play regularly, I was happy and I jumped up for joy. It shows that Warri Wolves and my law-

yer meant well for me and want the best for me. This is the time for me to improve on my game and I know that they are also working out something good for me to join

Sunday Mba

Blessing Okagbare wins in London Continued from back page The winner was Blessing Okagbare in 10.79 seconds. Okagbare is also ranked fourth in the world this year in both the 200 and the long jump. The fastest American on Saturday was a woman who didn’t make the world championships team – Barbara Pierre. Pierre matched her personal-best 10.85 in the final, the same time English Gardner clocked to win na-

tionals in June. ‘’Blessing is Nigeria’s greatest sensation now and needs the support of the whole country,”celebrated Solomon Ogba, the President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria who was at the stadium yesterday. “I congratulate Blessing and I thank Governor Uduaghan for all his tremendous support,”Amaju Pinnick, Delta’s Sports boss said last night. “Blessing is the pride of Af-

Eguavoen, Iroha, Okorowanta, others mourn Oliha JOHN EGBOKHAN, Benin City

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ORMER Super Eagles Coach, Austin Eguavoen has described late Thompson Oliha as a great midfielder, whose contributions to Nigerian football were immense. Speaking at the weekend Sunday Vanguard sports during the burial ceremony for the former assistant coach of the Kwara Football Academy, Eguavoen said that the deceased was a rare and kind breed, who touched a lot of people during his short stay on earth. “Oliha was a great player. He was a rare person. He did not behave arrogantly. He was a down to earth and honest person. He would be greatly missed by all”, said Eguavoen, after the novelty match played in honour of the deceased C M Y K

a European club in no distant time. When you look at the way I played against Cote d’Ivoire in the CHAN qualifier, you will realise that I am back to my best,” Mba sounded off.

at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium. He said that the only way that Oliha can be immortalized was for the Edo State government to see to the welfare of the children and wives he left behind. Also speaking on the deceased, another teammate of his, Benedict Iroha, who also featured in yester-

day’s match, said that the late Oliha was the best midfielder of his generation. “He was the only midfielder of our time who could use both feet. He was such an astounding player, great soul and a team-player. He was just too good on the pitch and we are all going to miss him”, said Iroha, an ex-Eagles defender.

rica at the moment and Nigeria is lucky to have such an athlete,” Godwin Abigor, chairman of Warri Wolves and an ardent sports enthusiast said. “She is absolutely sensational. She is unbelievable. Breaking African record two times in one event is sensational,” Dare Esan, Editor of Complete Sports said. Usain Bolt wrapped up the London Anniversary Games with a no-doubt-about-it anchor leg on the 4×100-meter relay at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday. Bolt and his Racers Track Club won the event in 37.75 seconds, easily beating France (38.45). The 4×100 world record set by Bolt and Jamaica at the 2012 Olympics is 36.84. This was Bolt’s first appearance at the Olympic Stadium since his triple gold performance at the 2012 Games.

D’Tigers play Venezuela in USA

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HE Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF has endorsed a three games series between D’Tigers and the Venezuelan national Basketball team preparing for the Fiba Americas Championship in different locations in USA. They opened the series with

a game on Friday in Sarasota, Florida while the second game comes up tomorrow in Orlando, Florida and lastly on Wednesday July 31 in Miami, Florida. According to the President of the NBBF, Tijjani Umar, the national team are expected to play additional preparatory

games during their Afrobasket final training camp in the USA and on their way home for the championship in August.T he Nigerian camp has since been practicing as more players settle in including Ben Uzoh and 2013 NEC Player of the Year, Jamal Olasewere.

NE of the widows of Thompson Oliha, Ajara has spoken of the grief of losing her husband to the cold hands of death on June 30 in Ilorin Kwara State, reports JOHN EGBOKHAN. Speaking to Sunday Vanguard sports Friday at the burial of the former Super Eagles midfielder in the ancient city of Benin, Ajara, who bore an eight year-old son for the former Bendel Insurance and Heartland star, said that she has been left empty with Oliha’s demise. “His sudden death has left me empty”, Ajara said as tears welled down her face. Continuing, Ajara, who hails from Auchi in the northern part of Edo State, said that since Oliha passed on, loneliness has crept into her world. “I feel so terribly lonely since he died”, she said in a spasm of tears. The inconsolable widow of Oliha said that her late husband was the best thing to have happened to her and wondered how she would live without his presence. “He was my father, brother, husband, friend and everything good that you could think of. I do not know how life would be again without him around. This is a loss too much to bear ”, Ajara told our c o r r e s p o n d e n t . She however, added that she would be consoled by the fact that the deceased left behind two wonderful children, who she prayed would carry the memories of their father. Oliha’s other widow, Iris, an Ibo woman, is the mother of his second child, Paris, who is four years old. They were also at the burial.

Aigbovo escapes death

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ORMER Super Eagles goalkeeper, David Aigbovo on Friday night escaped death by the whiskers in Benin city. The former 3SC player who was in Benin city for the burial of Thompson Oliha was in his car on Airport road when he was hit at the side and back by a drunk driver. But for his seat belt and air bag, Aigbovo would have lost his life as he came out of the accident with serious injuries to his legs and body. He suffered fracture in his legs and was taken to the hospital for treatment. Aigbovo come in from his base in Ibadan.


SUNDAY VANGUARD, JULY 28, 2013 — PAGE 55

Bayelsa, Ondo lead in women free-style wrestling STORIES BY SOLOMON NWOKE, Warri

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AYELSA and Ondo states were so outstanding in the female free style wrestling of the Chief E K Clark wrestling championship concluded yesterday in Warri, Delta Sate. Bayelsa emerged tops even as they shared equal number of gold and silver medals with Ondo who finished second. Both states won three gold medals and a silver apiece, but Bayelsa came tops with two bronze medals. Cross Rivers State placed third with two gold medals while Delta was fourth with a gold, a silver and a bronze. The Nigeria Army and Imo state were fifth and sixth respectively. Speaking shortly after the championship, the coach of Bayelsa state wrestling team , Ebikebina Sunday said he was elated that his girls were able to live up to their expectation and promised that in the subsequent competitions, they would put up a better perfor-

mance. In his usual manner of speaking, he said he expected nothing less than eight gold medals from the men’s free style wrestling. ”I’m expecting nothing less than eight gold medals because I know the calibre of the male wrestlers

that I brought here. They are tested wrestlers with much experience and exposure to international wrestling. So we are much grounded in free style wrestling than the Greco Roman wrestling”, he said.

Uduaghan promises new gymnasium Federation board, Dr

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OVERNOR Emman uel Uduaghan of Delta state has promised to build a befitting wrestling gymnasium for the growth of the sport in Warri even as he congratulated the South South elder statesman, Chief Edwin K Clark in whose honour the championship was put in place. He said, “as you know, Delta state is the home of wrestling hence we decided to honour you with a sport our people are identified with and for us from Delta, we are, as it is said in football, an ‘all rounder’. Here we take every sport seriously “. He urged the president of the Nigeria Wrestling

Daniel Igali to ensure Nigeria wins gold medal in the 2016 Olympics as he pledged to assist the federation in all their aspirations.

Ladipo tasks deaf footballers to win World Cup BY OSARETIN EMUZE

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RESIDENT General of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Dr Rafiu Oladipo has tasked Nigeria’s deaf footballers to go and conquer the world at the forthcoming world tournament for deaf footballers, Deaf Olympia. Speaking with Sunday

Thank you Maigari but.... D

URING the week, the Aminu Maigari-led Board of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF came out with a decision most Nigerians expected from them as sanctions for those who brought odium to Nigeria’s football via scandalous scorelines over desperation to gain promotion in the lower rung of the amateur league. When scandalous scores were recorded in the past in the Premier League, the outcry was not as vociferous and the media too did not do enough to expose the clubs involved at the time. May be it was for this reason that the worst happened this time. Shockingly too, an official of one of the clubs, Bala Yayari, coach of Bubayaro FC of Gombe is defending the scandal. He told Nigerians that the score

of his side was not 67-0 but 13-0 as if that was also acceptable from a team that has never won a game by 3-0 or 4-0 before the game in question. After the committee that investigated the scandal recommended various sanctions for those involved, the NFF through its Disciplinary and Organising Committee headed by Chief Mike Umeh, himself the First Vice President of the federation announced the sanctions. These ranged from life ban for the players, the match referee and his assistants as well as the Match Commissioner while the four clubs involved namely, Police Machine, Bubayaro Football Club, Plateau United Feeders and Akurba FC bagged 10 years ban each. The NFF was however silent on the administrators of the clubs such as chairmen, coaches and their

The Cycology Cycling Club in conjunction with PathCare engaged in race last Saturday in Lagos as a force to wage war against high rates of terminal diseases and mortality.

assistants and the officials of the respective FAs, especially those of the host states. The football body added that the culprits will also have their passport photos sent to CAF, FIFA as well as security agencies for effective monitoring but was silent on whether criminal proceedings will brought against them. If those indicted by the investigation are only banned and no criminal case is brought against them, the same people, especially the players could just sneak out of the country into neighbouring countries, change their names and nationality and continue with the game. Nigerian players who in the past could not make it into any of the countries teams or were denied the opportunity when the duly deserved to be selected moved over to Benin Republic and Togo with new names

Vanguard in Lagos he said the deaf footballers will be the country proud ambassadors in Bulgaria. The team left Nigeria for Sophia Monday night after they were held to a sumptuous send forth lunch by Dr Ladipo, a patron of the team. The Nigerians will play in Group C and the patron expressed optimism that the players are going for

the trophy. “I have watched these boys and I can confirm that they are as good as the able bodied players. They are the champions of the West African sub-region after lifting the 1st President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Deaf Football Cup recently,” he stressed. Ladipo said he would have loved to go with the team to Bulgaria but two

major assignments in Cote d’Ivoire this weekend and South Africa two weeks later have made it impossible, adding “But I can put my money on the team to do well.” He stressed that the deaf players need motivation and encouragement having chosen to engage themselves in positive things rather than line the streets and beg for alms.

and are today Togolese and Beninoises, how much more those who have scandals and bans hanging over their heads. That is why the NFF must ensure the photographs of all those involved are circulated worldwide through all the Football Associations as well as CAF and FIFA as it is the only sure way to see that the sanctions are not mere smokescreens.

nominated as a stakeholder even if he runs a basketball club. He was supposed to come on Board as a member of the International bodies of a sport, in this case basketball. If he was found not to have met the criteria for coming through the international ranks, then, for God’s sake, how is that my business. I didn’t draft the guidelines and definitely not the electoral officer who disqualified him. Coming to my position, I have covered sports, including basketball and Dodan Warriors for the better part of 22 years. During these years too, I have reported stories on Col Ahmedu, especially his fight with either the NBBF Board or the sports ministry and in those years he saw me as a stakeholder in the sport. But years after when I was considered good enough to contribute to the development of the game as a Board member, Col Ahmedu is kicking. What is shocking to me however is that when the Board election was being held, some members who are Col Ahmedu’s friends were the ones protesting his disqualification, a case of crying more than the bereaved. No wonder

their protest was struck out by the Appeals panel. Because his friends failed at the Appeals panel, Col Ahmedu took his case to the Natioonal Sports Commission, NSC and the Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC, the right places to seek redress of course. But rather than wait for the outcome of his appeal to these bodies, he has resorted to the court of law, not necessarily to seek redress but to grind the activities of the federation to a halt. A case of if I’m not there, then nobody else should. Col Ahmedu has been on the Board of the NBBF and some other basketball buffs who could not make like him then did not resort to disrupting the activities of the federation. So if he is not there today, it does not mean he could not have another chance tomorrow. Therefore he should allow his friends, that he is now pushing to distract Tijjani Umar and his team, to take their seats on the Board and join in moving basketball to the next level, especially after the historic qualification of the senior Men’s team, the D’Tigers to the London 2012 Olympics.

Col Ahmedu and me

Ordinarily I wouldn’t have bothered to say a word on the challenge of my membership of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF Board by retired Colonel Sam Ahmedu, proprietor of one of the teams in the Dstv Basketball League, Dodan Warriors. During the sports federations election in Abuja last May, I was told that Col Ahmedu complained about my nomination into the Board while he was dropped. I wondered why he was particular about me until someone told me he said I was not qualified to be nominated as one of the stakeholders. In the first place I was not the only sports journalist nominated as a stakeholder. Secondly Col Ahmedu was not


SUNDAY Vanguard, JULY 28, 2013

Blessing Okagbare wins in London, sets new African record •Uduaghan congratulates her, Ogba, Pinnick celebrate BY ONOCHIE ANIBEZE with agency report

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igeria’s Blessing O k a g b a r e yesterday wiped out her

London 2012 Olympic tears when she returned to the same venue at Olympics Stadium in Strafford and

CHAN RESULTS CIV Rwanda Uganda Bostswana Niger

2 0 3 1 1

Nigeria Ethiopia Tanzania Zambia B/Faso

0 1 (Pen) 1 1 0 (Pen)

Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria (2-r) stretches to cross the line in the womens 100 metres event during the London Anniversary Games International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League International Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium in London yesterday.

2014 CHAN: Eagles survive Elephants’ stampede •Qualify despite losing 2-0 •Keshi sets another record

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igeria’s home-based Super Eagles yesterday in Abidjan qualified for their first ever CAF African Nations Championship when they survived a first half stampede by the Elephants of Cote d’ Ivoire. It was no doubt a cliff hanger ordeal for the Coach Stephen Keshi-tutored team and when the referee sounded the last blast of the the whistle it was like huge relief for a team who went down in the first-half with Today’s CHAN Qualifiers

Guinea vs Cameroon vs Congo vs Sudan vs Mauritius vs Mozambique Namibia

Mali Gabon RD Congo Burundi Zimbabwe vs

two goals from Kevin Zougoula. The loss notwithstanding, the Eagles sailed through on a 403 aggregate, having won the first leg 4-1 in Kaduna a little over a fortnight. This makes Keshi the first coach to qualify Nigeria for this competition created for African players plying their football trade on the continent. Cote d’Ivoire kept up the pressure as the Eagles sat back to look for counter attack opportunity, which barely came. The Ivorians were in firm control of the game. At the break Keshi made changes that shored up his team and they were able to contain the forays of the Ivorian who desperately looked for a third goal to thwart Nigeria’s ambition to play in the tournament

billed for South Africa in February 2014. Nigeria Football Federation, NFF officials, who at one point said Nigeria had decided not to take part in the qualifiers because of a lack of money, will now be happy that they later re-

versed that decision. Other countries that have qualified for the CHAN tournament include Ethiopia who were group opponents to the Super Eagles at the last Nations Cup. They beat Rwanda on penalties after the both legs ended in a 1-1 aggregate score.

Uganda also qualified for the finals with a 3-1 win in Kampala over over Tanzania on Saturday. It completed a 4-1 aggregate victory for coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic’s side in the tournament for locally-based players. Other nations who have also qualified are Mauritania, Morocco, Angola, Ghana, Libya, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.

sensationally beat the world to win the 100m, setting a new African record in the process. It was at the venue where she raised hopes of Nigerians but crashed them at the Olympics, getting to the final but placing last. Before more than 80,000 spectators, the new Africa’s Queen of the tracks first broke Gloria Alozie’s 14 -year old record of 10.90 record when she returned in 10.86 seconds in the heats. She further lowered that in the final to produce what is now the talk in town, a sensational feat of 10.79 seconds. “I see a world champion in her and I pray she makes it in Moscow during the World Championships. Setting a record is always a great thing. I congratulate her,”quickly reacted Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan who has been supporting Nigeria’s elite athletes especially Okagbare. It was a strange afternoon in what was the deepest sprint field of the second day of the London Anniversary Games. Reigning world champion Carmelita Jeter withdrew from the final with a quad injury, according to Flotrack, after running a season’s best 10.93 in her heat. Jeter missed the U.S. championships in June due to a quad injury. With worlds just two weeks away, this is a situation to monitor. Two -time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce put up a very smooth world-leading 10.77 in her heat. But Fraser-Pryce was never a factor in the final, running a 10.94 for fourth place.

Continues on pg 54

CROSS WORD PUZZLE ACROSS 1. Nigerian state (5) 3. Snarled (7) 7. Of the dark race (5) 8. Respond (5) 9. Consumed (5) 10. Wit (3) 11. Church part (5) 13. Entrance (4) 15. Stitch (3) 17. Deed (4) 19. Hope (6) 21. However (3) 23. Thanks (2) 25. Curve (3) 26. Class (5) 29. Important (5) 30. Before (3) 31. Revise (4) 34. Mate (4) 36. Italian City (4) 39. Push back (5) 40. Heed (4) 42. End of day (5) 43. Exposed (8) 44. Halt (5)

DOWN 1. Rubbish (7) 2. Go in (5) 3. Proceeding (5) 4. Eye-socket (5) 5. Fortune (4) 6. Faculty head (4) 14. Newt (3) 15. Heavenly body (4) 16. Damp (3) 18. Keen (4) 20. Treaty (4) 22. Goad (4) 24. Always (4) 25. Beer (3) 27. Grow old (3) 28. Stray (3) 32. Lucifer (5) 33. Fashion (5) 34. Schemes (5) 37. Leer (4) 38. Otherwise (4) 41. Pup’s cry (3)

SOLUTION on page 55

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