Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 Carnival Calabar

2012 Carnival Calabar: More sights and surprises

by Esther Eshiet

The streets of Calabar witnessed its annual influx of spectators and Carnival lovers as the 2012 edition of the Carnival Calabar was held on the 27th of December 2012. Dubbed Africa’s biggest street party, thousands of costumed revelers stormed the 12 Kilometre Carnival route to entertain its teaming spectators. Also, it was a public holiday in the state which gave an opportunity for workers in the private and public sector to come out with their families in other to cheer their favorite Carnival bands to success.
With the 2012 theme being “Celebrating a new dawn” the 2012 carnival featured the regular competing bands namely, the Passsion4 band, in its delectable green colour, the Seagulls band, in its magnificent red colour,  Bayside band, in its aquamarine blue colour, the Master Blaster band a.k.a. the band for the hip, bold and beautiful, who looked gorgeous in their orange colour, while the Freedom band in its yellow colour added a sparkle of sunshine to the event.

At 11.20a:m the kick-off tape for the event was cut by the Deputy Governor of Cross River State,  Barr. Effiok Cobham, in the company of other dignitaries and sponsors. Leading the revelers were colourful girls on multiple coloured costumes swinging flags of the various sponsors of the carnival. They were closely followed by the Passion4 band. If you are a strong follower of the carnival, the Passion4 band are a band to watch as they have won six editions of the grand price of the festival, almost consecutively. The fiesta girls of the passion4 band led the procession while other sections of the band followed closely.
After the Passion4 Band came, the Seagulls Band in their red colour, showcased their dexterity in costumes and choreography; led by Senator Florence Ita-Giwa who was flanked by her guests from Nollywood – an annual culture for the band to bring Nigerian actors and actresses on its float, the band did the same this year with Emeka Anyiocha playing its Adult King.

Following the Seagulls Band was the Masterblaster Band, whose performance, was definitely a great improvement from its previous performances, the costumes were good, the choreography was mind blowing and its band membership was the highest this year, a position that was previously held by the passion4 band.
The Bayside Band were next, displaying what in my opinion was the worst performance of the band, this is coming from their winning record a few years ago, the costumes were less sophisticated, the choreography? Just okay. But their membership has also dwindled over the years.

The last competing band to have performed were the  Freedom Band, this band used to be one of the not-so-great band, but this year, they had really stepped up their game, with better costumes, creative choreography and their truck decorations were also nice as compared to their performances over the years.
The 2012 Carnival Calabar, also had a spice of the Latin American Carnival culture as the Sao Paolo Vai Vai Samba Carnival Band of Brazil, winners of the 2012 Brazilian Carnival were invited to attend and perform at the event, they displayed their traditional Samba dance which got the crowds cheering, though many had reservations about their costumes.  At the end of the day, the Masterblaster Band came tops on the winner’s table clinging the price of N10m, while Passion4 band came second place wining N5m, and Freedom Band went home with N3m.
Esther Eshiet blogs at

Failed promises, dashed hopes in 2012

 failed promises, dashed hopes in 2012

29 Dec, 2012
Olalekan Adetayo reviews the various policies of the government as they affect Nigerians in the outgoing year as well as the promises of a better year in 2013
In August 2012, Nigeria was named the second ‘most religious’ country in the world with 93 per cent of its people believing in one form of religion or the other. The country came behind its West African neighbour, Ghana, where 96 per cent of the people in that country were said to have professed their belief in religion.
This was based on poll results released by the Win-Gallup International Religiosity and Atheism Index. The poll, conducted between November 2011 and January 2012, was based on interviews with 52,000 men and women from 57 countries in five continents.
The country’s position in the survey probably explains why Nigerians, especially Christians, come up with different slogans at the beginning of every year to express their desire for a better New Year than the outgoing one.
Slogans such as ‘My Year of Divine Visitation,’ ‘My Year of Signs and Wonders,’ ‘My Year of Total Recovery’ and “My Year of Total Breakthrough” among others are not in short supply in many of the Pentecostal churches to usher in a New Year.
But 2012 has been unique. It has been unique in the sense that these slogans did not remain too long on the lips of Nigerians. The reason is not far-fetched. Having endured the rigours of keeping vigil for what has come to be known as the ‘Crossover Nights’ in many churches to usher in the New Year, Nigerians woke up on Jan. 1, 2012 to the ugly reality of a total removal of fuel subsidy by the present administration.
The policy led to an astronomical increase in pump price of petrol from N65 per litre to N140 per litre.
The situation sparked off a series of mass protests in many parts of the country with Lagos taking the lead. While the protests and industrial action by labour unions lasted, economic activities were paralysed in the country, forcing the Federal Government to resort to a partial deregulation, which led to the pegging of the pump price of petrol at N97 per litre.
That initial decision, no doubt, rubbed off on any other government’s move or decision in the year, with citizens becoming so quick in criticising every government’s move.
Such criticism followed the move by the FG to build the vice-president’s official residence with N16bn. Although N7bn was initially budgeted for the project, the cost was hiked by N9bn along the way, therefore leading to harsh words for the government.
Another of such projects that did not go down well with Nigerians was the proposed new Banquet Hall for the Presidential Villa. Despite that there is an existing Banquet Hall in the seat of power, the Federal Executive Council during the year approved the construction of a new one, which is expected to gulp N2.2bn. Nigerians again would not hear any of that.
To worsen matters, fuel scarcity, resulting in long queues by motorists seeking to buy petrol, hit many parts of the country, including Abuja and Lagos, during the year. The situation again led to astronomical increase in pump prize by a few marketers, who had fuel to sell.
The FG, through the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, promised Nigerians that the fuel queues at petrol stations would disappear before the Christmas celebration. But like a typical government promise, that vow fell in its face like a pack of cards. The scarcity marred celebrations in Abuja and Lagos, as well as other parts of the country.
But for the FG, it is not all about tales of woe in the outgoing year. From statistics released by the government, appreciable achievements were recorded in the agriculture, transport and aviation sectors.
In the agriculture sector, the government succeeded in transforming the process of distributing fertilisers and seeds to farmers. In aviation, many of the nation’s airports were upgraded and of course in the transport sector, some rail lines, including that of Lagos-Kano, were rehabilitated.
So, for Nigerians, the outgoing year is of mixed blessings: some promises on the part of the FG were kept, while several others were left hanging.
Apparently aware of some of his government’s shortcomings in the year, President Goodluck Jonathan has again been promising Nigerians a better deal in the New Year.
The renewed promise started penultimate Thursday during the 2012 Presidential Christmas Carol held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Jonathan, at the event, gave Nigerians an assurance that despite the mirage of challenges currently facing the country, 2013 would be a better year for all.  He, however, urged them to embrace peace and be ready to make a few sacrifices. He said although the nation was facing challenges, there was hope for the country.
He said, “I urge all Nigerians to embrace peace. The wars will not save us. The wars that were fought by David never saved the Jews otherwise the Romans won’t have captured them back. Christ brought peace to liberate everybody, so let us embrace peace. As long as we embrace peace and make sacrifices, I believe that Nigeria will be greater. We have challenges as a nation, no doubt about that, especially security issues. As a government, we are making progress in infrastructural development and others and as we progress, you will continue to see changes at the airports, seaports, roads and the power sector. I believe that with prayers of Nigerians, if we can embrace peace and make little sacrifices, surely 2013 will be a better year for all of us.”
Apparently poised to show Nigerians that he is sincere with the promise, Jonathan, a few days after, appeared at another forum and insisted that his administration would perform better in 2013. He said in the coming year, the government would better the lot of Nigerians in all aspects.
The President gave the assurance while speaking shortly after he laid the foundation stone of the Living Faith Foundation’s Bible College in Kaduna. “Let me assure all of you and indeed all Nigerians that 2013 will be better for us than 2012 in all aspects of the nation’s history. The New Year shall be better for us in terms of job creation, wealth creation and improved security among others,” the President told the worshippers.
Jonathan urged Nigerians not to lose hope because he and members of his team had resolved to make significant changes in the country during his tenure. He said although the changes might seem to be slow in coming because of the tedious processes involved, they would soon be manifesting in the form of a better wellbeing for the people.
As if he was reading the minds of Nigerians who are already tired of endless promises, the President said he was aware that the people found it difficult to continue to believe the government because of the challenges they were facing. “Sometimes, challenges make people doubt the sincerity of the government, but I am confident that God knows everything,” he added.
Like a man who wants a second chance, Jonathan resorted to begging Nigerians to learn to trust him and his administration in the coming year in his Christmas message to the nation. “As we celebrate Christmas, the ultimate significance of which is the fulfilment of God’s promise of a saviour for mankind, I urge you all to continue to trust in our unwavering commitment to fully achieve the objectives of our Agenda for National Transformation for the benefit of all Nigerians. No one should doubt that we have the political will and determination to deliver on our promise of positive changes in the living conditions of our people in the shortest possible time,” he said.
Again, when he attended the Christmas Service at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp, Gwarinpa, Abuja, Jonathan explained to Nigerians that his administration was slow in taking major decisions because he wanted to avoid mistakes that would be difficult to correct.
As the year 2013 replaces 2012 in a few days, it is the hope of Nigerians that Jonathan would do everything within his powers to ensure that the New Year is better than the outgoing one in all its ramifications as he has consistently promised.
- Olalekan Adetayo
Read original article via Punch

Barth Nnaji and the tragedy of government in nigeria

Sidenote: Barth Nnaji and the tragedy of government in Nigeria

*Nnaji is a YNaija Person of the Year 2012 finalist
by Stanley Azuakola
On August 27, Barth Nnaji hit the road.
In this season of lists, perhaps we should just put it out there that the question of whether he was fired or resigned as power minister ranks among the top 10 unknowns of 2012.
But here’s one thing that became clear soon after his departure: If most Nigerians had been consulted on which federal ministers should be dropped, Nnaji’s name would certainly not have made the list, at least not the very week after Nigeria achieved record power generation of 4,447MW.
[Read 'YNaija Editorial: Aliko Dangote is YNaija Person of the Year 2012… Let’s tell you why' HERE]
It’s a Nigerian paradox – more so, because it was predictable.
When Nnaji promised that by today, the last day in 2012, Nigeria would be generating 5,400MW, then 9000MW by 2013 and 18,000MW by 2015, this writer had predicted on YNaija that “considering [how] ministerial appointments in Nigeria have short life spans (unless you are Ojo Maduekwe or Hassan Lawal,) it’s unlikely that Prof. Nnaji would be around to implement all of these.”
Two months later, Nnaji was gone.
Make no mistake, the ex-minister was not a radical; not by any stretch – but he was different.
For one, he wasn’t vague. “We said that by October of this year, privatisation will be concluded, and it is a certainty,”he said in a June interview. By October, it was concluded. Promise delivered. He had left by then, but the breakthrough was the result of structures put in place by him.
An obvious peg suited for his hole, international accomplishments undisputable, under his watch there was a steady increase in the number of hours consumers were supplied with electricity. And let’s be frank, a man much hated by the corrupt electricity union must have been doing something right.
But the technocrats’ cross is not easy to bear, especially if one desires to live above board.
When Nnaji accepted to serve as minister in a sector in which he had considerable interests, how much sacrifice was expected of him? How much did he reckon?
He resigned as director in all companies in which he had interests and put his shares in those companies on blind trust. But Nigerians expected more. They expected that the two companies in which Nnaji had interests should not have participated in the privatisation process, a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity.
Inevitably, the thinking was that Nnaji’s previous association with the companies (one belongs to him, the other had been a contractor for his firm) gave them an unfair advantage and should have bared them from seeking to expand their portfolios while he was minister. Nnaji’s explanation that he’d opted out of the selection process to avoid a conflict of interest was not enough.
Thus was he caught between Scylla and Charybdis: banned by law and morality from touching public funds and banned by public perception from competing and making profit in his business, no matter that he was, as he put it, no longer involved day-to-day.
Nnaji had to make a choice. He chose to go. That’s if you believe him.
There are other scenarios. Perhaps Nnaji had simply lost out in the power play between him and his successor as chairman of the presidential task force on power, Reynolds Bekinbo Dagogo-Jack. Perhaps the power cabal had finally gotten something on their foe. It could also bethat he’d sought to corruptly influence things in favour of the two firms.
Mostly likely, it was all of the above, though Nigerians were clearly willing to buy the Nnaji official rendition that he “had to voluntarily resign to retain my integrity, which has in recent days come under scurrilous attacks by powerful vested interests that were hell-bent on besmirching the integrity and reputation that I’ve painstakingly built over the years.”
Not one to be held back, the maverick professor has returned to his firm, Geometric power, which – if everything goes according to plan – should begin supplying 188MW of power from its Aba plant in two months time.
And the ministry he left behind? There is still no substantive minister in place. The man pulling the strings is Reynolds Dagogo-Jack, the new chairman of the Prbesidential Task Force on Power, who in December bragged that Nigeria is now generating “its highest power yet at 4349MW.”
Of course, if Dagogo-Jack had done a simple Internet search he might have noticed that this so-called record power generation is almost 100MW less than the 4447MW we were reportedly generating in the final days of Nnaji’s tenure.
This simple announcement was ample notification that Nigeria was almost certainly back to pre-Nnaji darkness. And it might take a while before we find the switch again.

Unforgettable year of subsidy protests

Unforgettable year of subsidy protests,

29 Dec, 2012
The outgoing year was laced with many sad national events. The Federal Government set the year rolling on a negative note when President Goodluck Jonathan announced the total removal of subsidy on petroleum products on Jan. 1. There were plane crashes, widespread killings by the murderous Boko Haram Islamic sect, high profile kidnappings, and death of prominent Nigerians. As if this was not enough, the country had its fair share of natural disasters as floods ravaged several states, killing many and leaving many homeless. Many houses collapsed and Nigeria put up a dismal outing at the London Olympic Games. Saturday PUNCH attempts to capture the major events of 2012 hereunder:
Fuel subsidy removal palaver
Jan. 1 – The Jonathan Administration announced a controversial – and total – removal of fuel subsidies. The announcement sparked an immediate protest involving Nigerians from all walks of life. It gave rise to the Occupy Nigeria protests, which were staged in different parts of Nigeria on a day-to-day basis. Many prominent Nigerians spoke against the removal of fuel subsidy by the administration, which later reviewed the price per litre from N141 to N97. The strike was suspended after the President agreed to cut the cost of petrol following over a week of protests.
Ravaging floods across Nigeria
July – The floods that began in early July initially killed about 137 people and had displaced over 120,000 people as at Sept 9. No fewer than 363 people were killed, while over 2,100,000 were displaced at the last count. The floods, which affected Kogi, Adamawa, Taraba, Plateau, Imo, Bayelsa, Anambra, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Benue states, was caused by heavy rains and overflow of dams from Cameroon.
July 2 – Coastal and inland cities experienced heavy rains, which resulted in heavy flooding, especially in Lagos, causing gridlock on major roads.
Governorship elections
July 14 – Edo governorship election
Adams Oshiomhole was declared winner of the July 14 governorship ballot in Edo State. The returning officer, Prof. Osayuki Oshodin, said Oshiomhole scored a total of 477,478 votes (or 73 per cent of the total votes cast) to beat his closest rival, Charles Airhiavbere of the Peoples Democratic Party, who scored 144,235 votes (or 22 per cent of the total votes cast). The third position went to the All Nigeria Peoples Party candidate, Mr. Solomon Edebiri, who scored 3,642, while the Congress for Progressive Change candidate, Roland Izevbuwa, placed fourth.
Oct. 20 – Ondo governorship election
Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party emerges the winner of the Ondo State governorship poll. According to the final results by the Chief Returning Officer and Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Prof. Adebiyi Daramola, Mimiko got the highest number of votes in the election. Mimiko polled 260, 199 votes; Olusola Oke of the PDP came second with 155, 961 votes; Action Congress of Nigeria’s Oluwarotimi Akeredolu got a total of 143, 512 votes, putting him in third place.
Air crashes
June 3 – A Dana Air passenger plane flying from Abuja to Lagos crashed into a residential area, three minutes from landing, killing all 153 people on board and no fewer than 10 residents at the crash site.
Oct. 25 – The governor of Taraba State, Dambaba Suntai, was involved in a plane crash; he was piloting the plane himself. The crash happened at Yola Airport in Adamawa State. Although there was no death, all persons aboard were seriously injured. The governor was later flown to Germany for better medical attention from the National Hospital Abuja, where he was initially receiving care.
Dec. 15 – A Navy helicopter flying from Bayelsa to Port Harcourt crashed in Bayelsa. The governor of Kaduna State, Patrick Yakowa, and a former National Security Adviser, Gen. Owoye Azazi, and four others were killed in the crash that happened in a forest in Ogbia Creek around 3.30 pm. Others killed were Yakowa’s aides Dauda Tsoho and Mohammed Kamal, and two Navy pilots, Muritala Mohammed Daba and Adeyemi Sowole.
Boko Haram attacks in 2012
Jan. 20 – A coordinated, simultaneous bombing spree that targeted seven police stations and other security formations killed at least 180 people in Kano. Among the dead was Enenche Akogwu, a reporter with Lagos-based Channels TV.
Jan. 21 – Boko Haram killed more than 140 people during a series of blasts, including a suicide bombing, and shootings in Bauchi. Boko Haram claimed credit for the attacks, which targeted police and immigration buildings in Bauchi State.
Feb. 3 – The industrial town of Ajaokuta in Kogi State was in the early hours of Feb. 3 thrown into pandemonium as armed men bombed a divisional police station and a bank in the state. The police station, which was completely burnt down from the explosions, was the first point of attack by the terrorists before they launched a similar attack on the bank.
Feb. 26 – A Boko Haram suicide bomber killed six Christians during an attack at a church in Jos, Plateau State.
March 11 – A Boko Haram suicide bomber killed three civilians in a bombing outside of a church in Jos. The suicide bomber was stopped before he could enter the premises of the church.
April 8 – Boko Haram killed 36 people and wounded dozens more in several bombings outside of a church in Kaduna on Easter Day.
April 26 – A bomb blast rocked the ThisDay office in Jabi, Abuja. It was carried out by a suicide bomber who drove into the media house before detonating the bomb, blowing off the roof of the building. Another blast was also reported at the ThisDay office in Kaduna the same day.
April 30 – A Boko Haram suicide bomber killed 11 people and wounded more than 20 in an attack on a police convoy in Jalingo, the capital of Taraba State.
June 3 – A Boko Haram suicide bomber kills 15 people in an attack on a church in Bauchi.
June 8 – A Boko Haram suicide bomber kills four people in an attack outside a police station in Maiduguri, Borno State capital.
June 10 – A Boko Haram suicide bomber kills three people in an attack outside a church in Jos.
June 17 – Boko Haram men kill 48 people in suicide attacks on churches in Kaduna and Zaria. The terror group claimed credit for the attacks. Three other churches were bombed same day. During the month, more than 100 people died in attacks on three churches in Kaduna, a city on the border of the Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south.
July 13 – A suicide bomber kills five people in an attack at a mosque in Maiduguri.
July 30 – A suicide bomber kills a policeman in an attack at a government office in Sokoto.
Aug. 3 – A Boko Haram suicide bomber wounded several people in a failed attack outside of a mosque in Potiskum, Yobe State.
Aug. 5 – A suicide bomber kills five soldiers in an attack in Damaturu, Yobe State.
Aug. 15 – A suicide bomber kills three civilians in a failed attempt to target a vehicle belonging to the Joint Task Force in Maiduguri.
Sept – The group attacks mobile phone masts belonging to nine telecommunications companies. The Army announces it has killed at least 35 suspected members of Boko Haram.
Sept. 23 – A suicide bomber kills a woman and a child in an attack at a Catholic church in Bauchi.
Oct. 5, 6, 8 – An online report quotes the Nigeria Security Tracker, a research project of the United States independent think tank as naming October 2012 as Nigeria’s deadliest month in the 16-month period since June 2011 in terms of terror attacks. “In that month, three days of ongoing attacks by Boko Haram in the northern state of Yobe left at least 30 people dead, including a former government official. In Borno State, the military went on the rampage after a bomb attack injured two soldiers, killing at least 30 civilians.” The NST added that in Benue, communal conflict resulted in the deaths of at least 30 people and the destruction of homes and farmlands.
Oct. 28 – A Boko Haram suicide bomber drives an explosives-packed jeep into a Catholic church in Kaduna, killing at least eight people and wounding over 100.
Nov. 25 – A suicide bomber drives an explosives-packed bus into a church at a military base in Kaduna, followed by a suicide bomber in a car outside the church; the blasts killed 11 people and wounded over 30.
Dec. 22 – Suicide bombers attacked the offices of South Africa’s MTN and India’s Airtel in the city of Kano.
High profile kidnappings
Dec. 9 – Gunmen abduct Prof. Kamene Okonjo, 82, mother of the Minister of Finance, in Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State. The wife of His Majesty, Prof. Chukwuka Aninshi Okonjo Agbogidi, and the reigning Obi of Ogwashi-Uku kingdom was kidnapped at about 1.30 pm at the Obi’s palace at Ogbe-Ofu quarters in Ogwashi-Uku by eight gunmen in two Audi cars. She was rescued five days later.
Dec. 11 – Wife of retired Brig.-Gen. Oluwole Rotimi, Titilayo, was kidnapped in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. She was abducted at about 6.30 pm in front of the gate to her company, AOK Logistics Ltd. She was said to have been kidnapped by four armed men while retiring from her office. Meanwhile, she was released on Dec. 21.
Dec. 16 – Fair skinned Nollywood actress Nkiru Sylvannus, who was kidnapped on Dec. 16 in Owerri, Imo State, was released by her captors after her family paid a ransom of N8m.
Dec – Similarly, Kenneth Okoli, the first runner-up of Mr. Nigeria 2010, was kidnapped in Owerri, Imo State. His family was contacted for a ransom of N100million for his release. Okolie has since been released by his captors.
Aluu Four killings
Four students of the University of Port Harcourt were lynched in Aluu Community, Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State for allegedly stealing phones and laptops in an off campus hostel. The students, who were identified as Lloyd, Tekena, Ugonna and Chidiaka, were beaten and later set ablaze by the mob suspected to be members of the community.
Photographs of how the four suspects were killed were immediately placed on the social media, even as most commentators condemned the act and described it as jungle justice.
Probes and shows of shame
June 14 – The House of Representatives removed Rep. Farouk Lawan (PDP-Kano) as Chairman the House Ad hoc Committee on fuel subsidy regime over alleged $620,000 bribe from Femi Otedola, founder of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd.
March – Oteh accuses the Chairman of the House of Rep Committee on Capital Market, Herman Hembe, of demanding N44m bribe from her. Oteh, Hembe, and others later faced the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Nov 2 – Oronsaye, Oti, Ribadu fight openly before Jonathan
Right in the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Chairman of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task force, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, and two members of the committee – Mr. Stephen Oronsaye and Mr. Ben Oti – openly disagreed about the process that produced the report and its reliability.
Economy and CBN policies
Jan. 1 – Last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced cash-lite economy, aimed at reducing the volume of cash in circulation. With the kick-off of its pilot scheme in Lagos, the banks licensed by the CBN had commenced the use of alternative e-banking channels to boost online financial transactions. The CBN had concluded plans for Nigeria to go cash-lite by licensing 11 Mobile Money operators to start a pilot scheme on cash-lite, beginning with Lagos.
The CBN announced the introduction of new currency denominations of N2,000 and N5,000. The bank also made plans to convert N5, N10, N20 and N50 into coins from notes. The policy, it said, would make it easier to move large quantities of cash around with little exposure to risk. The idea however generated reactions from Nigerians many of whom argued that it negated its initial intention for the economy to go cash less.
Failure in London 2012 Olympic Games
July/August – Nigeria’s contingent to the London 2012 Olympic Games in England returned without winning a medal, though the Special Olympics contingent did better two weeks later by winning six gold medals in London.
by Bosede Olusola-Obasa
via Punch

Stephen Keshi betrayed me"

Stephen Keshi betrayed me” – Osaze Odemwingie

by Isi Esene

Osaze Odemwingie, the Super Eagles of Nigeria striker has expressed regrets over his twitter outburst against team coach, Stephen Keshi for not including him in the provisional list of players invited to camp in preparation for the African Nations Cup.
Osaze explained that he directed disparaging remarks at Keshi on his twitter page because he felt the coach was unfair to him.
Apart from Keshi, the striker also directed abusive comments against former Eagles coaches, Samson Siasia and Lars Lagerback.
Also on his target was former Eagles striker, Victor Ikpeba, Chris Green, and Nigeria Football Federation officials.
“I remember it was Green who settled my case with Siasia then, but I was too angry when he called me over this matter, and was impatient to listen to him,” he said in a comment published by
“My comment was not directed at him (Green) personally, but to those who made the decision, but I think I overreacted then.”
While explaining his grouse against Stephen Keshi, he said, “I called the coach two or three times within that period, maybe two or three days before the list was made public and told him of my commitment to be part of the Nations Cup, and have told my (club) coach I will be going to the Nations Cup.
“I told the coach I was ready to report to camp by January 3, even before other professionals start reporting to camp, if I were in his programme for the Nations Cup, and even told him to feel free to drop me, if I were not in his programme.
“I felt betrayed after that seeming heart-to-heart discussions with the coach few days to the release of the team list and he could not hint me I was not in his plan for the Nations Cup.
“I am human and open to errors by the way I may have taken the issue, and regret the whole controversy, and want to put all this behind me now and focus on my club career, while wishing the team the best of luck as a Nigerian,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, players have started reporting to the Super Eagles camp at Faro, Portugal in preparation for the continental tourney.
Coach Keshi had said that apart from Ikechukwu Uche, who has been given January 6, January 5 remains deadline fo

My problem with D'bang

My Problem With D’banj–By Kikiowo Ileowo

In loving memory of those who died during the Occupy Nigeria protest between the 2nd and 13th of January 2012.
Contrary to the notion you probably have of the title of this piece, the aim of this write-up is not to analyse D’Banj’s singing prowess, neither is it to debate his somewhat nose-diving music career recently resuscitated by the much-hyped Koko Concert 2012.
I have followed D’Banj’s music career from its rise till date. Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo, popularly known as D’Banj, had a humble beginning. He moved from one Nigerian military barrack to the other before relocating to England, failing to follow in his father’s footstep as a military man.
Fate shot him into limelight, shortly after leaving 419 & JJC squad to form the now-defunct Mo’Hits record label with erstwhile business partner, Micheal Collins, popularly known as Don Jazzy.
D’Banj, in collaboration with Don Jazzy, released hit songs from their first album, No Long Thing in 2005, which had the hit track, Tongolo, on it. They subsequently released Run Down in 2006, which had hit tracks such as Funk U Up, Why Me, Tongolo Remix. In the years 2007 and 2008, he released Curriculum Vitae and The Entertainer respectively. Oh, who could forget those melodious tunes like Gbono Feli Feli, Olorun Maje, Kimon, and the others?
D’Banj is an entertainer, a good: one with lots of energy, but he is a typical example of everything wrong with Nigeria.
Hold it; don’t hurl your stones yet(alasejus). I was once a fan like you; in fact a loyal one, but now, you can remove the prefix ‘loyal’. I think too much money and stardom got into the Koko master’s head and regrettably, he lost it completely.
His journey into the abyss started when he turned himself to Jonathan’s scapegoat, and went ahead to remix that beautiful tune ‘Scapegoat’ in support of the same.
Having seen the Dr’s cluelessness in office for about one year before the 2011 elections, I knew without an iota of doubt that nothing could come out of Jonathan’s ‘Nazareth’. During D’Banj’s ill-fated interview with the ‘PhD’ holder, he failed to ask why he wouldn’t hold a live televised debate with other candidates. He simply played the script so well, an action which, as some rumoured, fetched him an oil well.
As pardonable as that goof was, D’Banj iced his cake with idiocy by standing aloof during the Occupy Nigeria protest. Anyway, he couldn’t have voiced his support for the oppressed because his tent was and is pitched with the oppressors. He wines and dines with the sons of Allison-Madueke, the corrupt ‘witch’ overseeing the oil industry. It’s commendable that he has made millions in the entertainment industry, but by taking sides with those flying in jets all over the world, using Nigeria’s commonwealth which they stole, he lost me as a fan.
During the protest, He claimed he was tucked away in London, working on his new song; I am sure the song he was working on is the flopped ‘Oyato’. “D’Banj, how come you were so unattached to the suffering of your fellow citizens? Anyway, we all know that was a lie you concocted to save face.”
In a somewhat surprising move though, D’Banj’s erstwhile partner, Don Jazzy, tweeted quoting he regrets supporting Otedollar’s friend for the presidency, but D’Banj kept mute, and went ahead to insult the collective psyche of his remaining fans on Thursday, 27th December, 2012, at his Koko Concert by asking them to apologise to the rich because they ‘sponsored’ the show… I must confess, it is a rare talent you have; insulting your fans, yet smiling to the bank at the same time (apologies to Omojuwa).
My cross with D’Banj is the oppressive mentality he possesses, considering his humble beginning at the military barracks he grew up. He has simply shown, through his remarks at the Koko Concert, that he is one and the same as his mentors like Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Allison-Madueke, Otedollar, and others who daily inflict torture on Nigerians, they simply loot them dry, and then say “I don’t give a damn.”
Can Mr Oyebanjo tell us one thing his Koko Foundation for Youth and Peace Development has achieved? D’Banj is only a UN Youth Ambassador for Peace for publicity sake. All the same, it is not his fault; I only blame some Nigerians who celebrate mediocrity daily. It is the fault of every sycophant around him who has decided to side with the idiocy he represents.
The only way out of this quagmire is for D’Banj to change all he symbolises, and start using his ‘stardom’ positively, else he would end up where he began.
D’Banj can start by stepping up the activities of his foundation, and also start conducting himself like a peace ambassador he was selected to be.
In the same vein, all entertaining artistes who owe their ‘stardom’ to the Nigerian masses should come out and identify with them like many did during the Occupy Nigeria protests, or else they would have no guaranteed place in the New Nigeria.
Happy Year 2013!
Follow me on twitter @ileowo4ever for a direct engagement.

Of David Mark, His Legislature and the challenge of arithmetics

Of David Mark, His Legislature And The Challenge Of Arithmetics – By Chinedu Ekeke

Nnukwu Ife emee Naijiria!
When the history of Nigeria will be written, the Jonathan presidency will take more space than, say, Ibrahim Babangida’s – the first billionaire ex-Head of State whose only multi-billion naira personal business was the vault of Nigeria’s Central Bank. Historians will find it difficult not to thoroughly highlight the peculiarity of the Jonathan government in so many fronts, chief of which are the flawed logic that led to his ascension, and the tendency of his regime to steadily surpass itself in corruption and profligacy.
But that’s not all. History will also beam its light on the characters of individuals that presided over key institutions of state under President Jonathan, and the roles they played in either strengthening the health of the state or undermining its potentials. Here, the complicity of David Mark and the National Assembly he heads in the collective rape of Nigeria will become the focus.
Having successfully ensured they pay themselves the highest remunerations in the world – against the dictates of common sense and reality – one would have thought that the avaricious legislators would pity this same nation they daily bleed by protecting the little that is left of its funds for, even if infinitesimal, efforts at infrastructural development.
But that expectation was just out of place. The assembly of conspirators in Abuja are way too irresponsible to protect the nation which continuous existence they, ordinarily, should owe their access to power, privileges and sudden wealth to. This explains why, two weeks ago, this National Assembly hurriedly passed a curious supplementary budget of N161b for the payment of fuel subsidy for just three weeks remaining in 2012.
As usual, Mr David Mark claimed they passed the budget “to save Nigerians from suffering the effect of fuel scarcity during this festive season”. That was a blackmail expected. The president inserted that line of blackmail in the letter he wrote to the mischievous Senate and the bark-and-no-bite House of Representatives requesting the extra money.
I took on Senator Bukola Saraki on Twitter, shortly after they passed the budget, on why they toed that path. He could not defend it. I wasn’t expecting him to. That action by the Senate was indefensible. It was a clear demonstration of mischief by those elected to represent Nigerians.
Now, we must be clear on this. First, before Mr Jonathan happened, no government in this country had spent as much as N300b in the payment of fuel subsidy. Secondly, before Jonathan happened, no government in Nigeria approved up to 30 fuel importation licenses to. President Goodluck Jonathan converted fuel importation licenses to ‘thank you’ recharge cards dished out to his friends and cronies. Even in the opacity that characterizes his administration of the oil sector, some accounts say Mr Jonathan jerked up the import licenses to 66. It could be more. It wasn’t because Nigerian population suddenly took a leap, neither was it because Nigerians started bathing with fuel instead of water, it was because our president believes access to public office is a means of enriching, or ‘creating wealth’ for, his friends.
The foregoing therefore was the genesis of the bazaar we call subsidy regime under Jonathan which saw us over-spend our budget for subsidy payment in 2011 by well over 300% even before we got to September, the night month of a twelve-month calendar year for which the budget was prepared. The original budget for subsidy payments for that year, based on what obtained the years before, was N240 billion only.
To accommodate for Jonathan’s bazaar to those he wants to ‘create wealth’ for, this same legislature passed for 2012 a budget of N888.1b – a bit below four times that for last year – for subsidy payments.
Then, while defending his budget for 2013 before this same legislature, Mr Reginald Stanley, the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) testified that the government had already spent N679b in subsidy payments from January to October this year. Being a ten month period, it means that the government spent an average of N67.9b every month, leaving us with excess of N209.1b for the month of November and December. And at N67.9b per month, we needed just N135.8b to cover for the two months. If we subtract N135.8b from N209.1b, we will be having excess of N73.3b which the President and his subsidy team should refund to Nigerians.
But instead of performing these minor computations, and asking for our refund from the president, the Senate (which is known for being the first of the two legislative chambers to always protect the ignoble) quickly approved the request for an extra N161b which was not needed in the first place. Which raises the question: are the senators suggesting that they lack a basic knowledge of arithmetics or did they simply choose to be mischievous as they are wont to?
It is unbelievable that 109 people will lack the ability for critical thinking at the same time. Worse still, even those from opposition parties didn’t put up any fight.
While responding to my questions on Twitter, Bukola Saraki claimed they didn’t know how many litres Nigerians consume in a day, a sad tale to the centre of laziness that the Nigerian Senate, nay the entire legislature, is. It is exactly one year since Nigerians almost brought down this government – an effort that David Mark’s senate effectively thwarted – because of the monumental corruption in the oil sector, yet their clear lack of respect for Nigerians has ensured they’ve never made any efforts to verify the exact quantity of fuel we consume.
And then in his regular moment of sermonizing, David Mark charged “the nation” (whoever he is referring to) to take a decision on fuel subsidy. He said, “If they cannot eliminate or stop the corruption in the industry, then, the other alternative will be to stop the whole exercise of subsidy and we will take the one that is easier…”
In the league of falsehood where David Mark plays, it is always convenient to say “they”. By deceitfully refusing to name those who should be named for promoting criminality in the land, David Mark is smartly etching a space for himself in Jonathan’s good books to be considered for a higher political office, which is, by our culture, a near proximity to the CBN vault. The ‘they’ David Mark wants to stop corruption in the oil sector must be my father in the grave, the struggling mother preparing her garri in Ijebu Ode or the Fulani herdsman grazing the plateau for his cattle. Mr Mark doesn’t know who should stop the corruption, that’s why he wants ‘they’ to do so.
But if ‘they cannot’ eliminate the corruption in the industry, Mr Mark will want to opt for the one that is easier. That has been the Nigerian case: we tend to do the one that is easier.
For instance, it is easier for one man in government to go home with N600m in one year as salary, and then hand over our development to God who will pour money from heaven for the building of roads.
It is easier to jet out to Germany for medical treatment than to build good hospitals in Nigeria. It is easier to fly in Naval choppers than to bother ourselves with fixing of roads. It is easier to have 40 SAs, SSAs, PAs and other whatever A-s who’ll hail you, ‘His Excellency’ three times a day, than to make conscious efforts to create jobs for millions of Nigerians.
In a similar manner, it is much easier to yank off subsidy than to sack Diezani Madueke, prosecute her, get her accomplices arrested and prosecuted. It is also easier for David Mark to croon “they” when he should call the corruption-breeding president Jonathan to order, and possibly deploy the powers of the legislature to cause him to seat up. A responsible Senate president would have used the opportunity the supplementary bill presented to cause the president to sack and prosecute the key culprits in the subsidy fraud who still work with the president. David Mark can’t do that, he can only rally his senate to give express approval for money the president never needed.
Meanwhile, those David Mark referred to “they” are the same people he clicks glasses with every now and then and toast to Nigeria’s doom. He knows their names. He knows their positions.
And while they claim they didn’t “want Nigerians to suffer fuel shortages”, maybe I should remind them that the queues are still here, and that nobody buys fuel for N97, the official price. “They” should wait on “they” to monitor the filling stations and force them to comply.
Nnukwu Ife emee Naijiria! In Igbo land, nnukwu ife emee, means that a great calamity has struck. Nigeria, as a nation, has been struck by a great calamity. And nothing demonstrates that more than the combination of Goodluck Jonathan, David Mark and his legislature as leaders, men and women who define life only in terms of naira, pounds and dollar.
follow me on twitter @ekekeee for more direct engagement

Moving Nigeria at the speed of Jonathan by Jude Egbas

Moving Nigeria At The Speed Of Jonathan–By Jude Egbas

Given Nigeria’s precarious state, at what speed do you draw upon to pull her from the brink? The speed of light, sound, the tortoise, the snail or the speed of Jonathan? ( SI Unit =Jon; where 1 Jon=any period of time from three years to eternity).
Hunched over a bowl of ice cream on Christmas night and flipping through the TV Channels for any sign of good cheer from the seat of power, I stumbled across the most depressing Christmas message I have ever heard from the pulpit since the fourth grade:
“Sometimes, people say this government is slow. Yes, by human thinking, we are slow, but I can say that we are not slow.
“Government must think things properly before it acts. When you don’t think through things properly, or when you rush, you will make mistakes.It is more difficult to correct errors. You can ask those who build houses.“Government will not, because of the perception, begin to rush. But where we are required to act very fast, we will do so, just like we did during the recent flood disasters….”
Coming from President Jonathan, who should be rallying the troops heading into the New Year, the above homily from the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Gwarinpa, Abuja, first sounded shocking, thenhollow and will subsequently gnaw at me as plain insouciant.
It wasn’t the characteristic infantile candor of the President that disgusted, it was the blithe and carefree manner he uttered the words, that riled; as though we should all go to sleep as he takes slow, tentative steps towards re-building Nigeria.
“ But where we are required to act very fast…”, the President cooed.
Isn’t it obvious that we are required to act very FAST, NOW? No, I wasn’t even shocked: I was embarrassed for the President.
As Nigerians trooped to the polls to elect Jonathan President in the spring of 2011, what no one told them was that they were entrusting their destiny in the hands of a man who will take two years to “think things properly before he acts”. Against the backdrop of the biting poverty in the land and the several socio-economic woes sapping the citizenry, moving Nigeria at the speed of Jonathan would not do anymore. As the President dithers and foot-drags daily in Aso Rock, terrorists strike at the heart of the Nation, sending hapless Nigerians to their untimely graves. As Aso Rock hobbles along, Nigerians lose their lives daily on deplorable road surfaces. As the President and his team take forever to articulate what it really means to implement a ‘transformation agenda’ not worth the paper it was written on, scores of Nigerians are losing faith in the Union. The nation however hobbles on, at the suicidal speed of Jonathan.
At the speed of Jonathan, no one fights corruption. At the speed of Jonathan, stacks of files on several probe committees litter the corridors of power, none of them touched. At the speed of Jonathan, cronies of the Government rape the people mindlessly without any fear of being brought to justice. When a man you elected President publicly declares that corruption is not Nigeria’s problem (in the face of all the evidence to the contrary), you just learn to cut your losses and accept you have ‘entered one chance’.
As we amble along into the New Year with President Jonathan still “thinking through every process to avoid making mistakes”, it will be worth reminding the President that at this period in Nigeria’s history, speed in tackling our myriad woes was exactly what the doctor recommended. Two more years into a four year term thus far littered with inaction, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan may have to swap his slow moving pair of loafers for the spikes of Usain Bolt, because he will need them to put Nigeria back on track.
This country has suffered long enough at the feet of Presidents who will rather go about the business of governance at the ‘speed of Jonathan’.
Your favorite column, ‘Beehive’, Insha Allah, will make a return next year. Best of the year in prospect
The writer is on Twitter @egbas

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The man who would have been president

The Man Who Would Have Been President, Articles

Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili
The first thing that struck me on opening this 511-page book was that I attended the same primary school - Sacred Heart School, Odoakpu, Onitsha - as the former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili. Incidentally, Dr. Odili was admitted into the next-door secondary school, the famous Christ the King College, (CKC) Onitsha, where I lived all my early life in the staff quarters with my uncle J.O Aginam who was a CKC teacher. So all the names Dr. Odili mentions in the book about his college life, like the legendary CKC principal, Rev. Fr N.C Tagbo, and the teacher Nwishienyi who gave the youthful Odili a slap that nearly led to a school riot, were personages who “brought me up by hand” as Charles Dickens put it in Great Expectations. On that familiar platform, Dr. Odili’s story happens to be my story too.
Dr. Odili would go on in the course of time to live a very public life in Nigeria as Rivers State Deputy Governor, then Governor and nearly capped it all up with becoming the Nigerian President but for some bewildering gang-up and plot that stopped him short at the eleventh hour. In the run-up to the 2007 presidential contest, Odili was without question the front-runner amongst the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aspirants. The bystander that would eventually gain the PDP candidacy, to wit, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, was not even in the contest, and the man who was shooed in into the vice-presidential slot, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, was equally not interested in throwing his hat into the ring.
Odili’s campaign drive, led by the irrepressible Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, was in full rev towards the end of 2006 until, as Dr. Odili writes in Conscience and History, “12th December, a spurious and anonymous petition was posted in the internet from a questionable ‘source’ alleging corrupt practices against the Rivers State Government under me. These allegations were converted into a petition by the EFCC under Nuhu Ribadu’s hand, to the President same day.
On the 13th of December 2006 Mr President directed EFCC to investigate. On December 14, 2006, EFCC submitted a so-called ‘interim’ report to the then President who promptly minuted (sic) for my response on the same December 14, 2006, but forwarded to me on December15, 2006, a day to convention vide ref. PRES/44. I assembled what was left of my cabinet team, a few having been arrested and kept at the EFCC office in Lagos within these few days of urgent dramatic action.
We submitted our response on the 15th day of December, 2006 by which time it had become clear what the whole exercise was about – ‘Get Odili out of the race for the Presidency, at all cost.’ … This became lucidly clear with the instant release of my staff that were being detained in Lagos by the EFCC as soon as I voluntarily and wisely withdrew from the contest. There was jubilation at the EFCC office immediately the news of my withdrawal broke and all my staff were asked by EFCC to go home immediately.”
After withdrawal from the PDP presidential primaries Odili was then summoned to Aso Villa on the morning of December 16, the day of the PDP Convention, by then President Olusegun Obasanjo. The promise Odili got after the morning prayers at the Villa with Obasanjo was that he would be made the running mate of Umaru Yar’Adua. It happened that when Odili went to meet Yar’Adua he ominously discovered that conversation amongst the gathered party wigs such as Chief James Ibori, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and Nassir El-Rufai immediately seized. Yar’Adua took Odili upstairs to introduce him to his wife Turai “and assured me of his happiness at the prospect of our working together”.
Then Yar’Adua and Odili went together to the Eagle Square, the venue of the Convention, and walked round the square. Odili was even privileged to see the typed copy of Yar’Adua’s prepared acceptance speech where “it was clearly stated that he had nominated Dr. Peter Odili as his running-mate for the Presidential race.” It was in the ungodly hour of around 3.30am that Odili was informed that some fresh information just received from the selfsame Nuhu Ribadu would lead to his dropping as the running mate.
In the end Yar’Adua read a handwritten acceptance speech that excluded Odili’s name, only adding that further consultations were being made on the vexed matter of his running mate. It was later in the evening of December 17, 2007 that Dr. Jonathan’s name manifested as the running mate of Yar’Adua.
Odili’s book Conscience and History is indeed momentous given the countrywide angst about governance in the country and the news flying fast and free that Obasanjo had fallen out with President Jonathan. The offering of Odili in Conscience and History is indeed an object lesson in political brinkmanship.
Even so, Odili’s autobiography transcends politics to encompass love in its natural flora and fauna. Born on August 15, 1948 in Ndoni of the now Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni LGA of present-day Rivers State, Odili showed leadership qualities from very early in life. He was the Senior Prefect and College Captain of the esteemed CKC Onitsha, where he had his secondary school education. According to Odili, “From cradle, through primary school, and admission into one of the best secondary schools of our time, I can say without any shred of doubt that the foundational impact of secondary school education is the fulcrum of anyone’s life later. That’s what CKC did for me. I won’t be who I am if I did not pass through the walls of CKC.”
He suffered as a refugee during the civil war and had to submit to being recruited as a soldier. He took top position in the army course and was deployed as an instructor in the school of infantry instead of being sent to the warfront. After the war he began schoolwork as an indigent medical student at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. A driven lad, he embarked on the holiday trade of travelling abroad to earn some money which immediately turned him into a campus big boy.
It was fateful afternoon, about 1.30pm, in 1972 that Odili espied the beautiful Mary who became the love and anchor of his life. Three girls had entered a lecture in the bid to “colonise” some seats when the young Peter saw the dashing damsel. When the girls left Peter opened one of the books of the girl of his adoration and saw her name: Mary Nzenwa. He had to wait all of three years before an old CKC friend Papp Alumona fortuitously brought Mary into the young Peter’s world through a birthday party. Peter and Mary got married on August 26, 1977 at Oredo Local Government Council Registry, Benin, whist he was a house officer and Mary was in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. Odili’s father-in-law, the great HRH Eze (Barr) BSC Nzenwa, who played pivotal roles in the founding of Rangers Football Club of Enugu and Spartans of Owerri, generously waived the expensive Mbaise marriage for a later date which the couple undertook in grand style in 1982. Blessed with four children and five grandchildren, Dr Peter and Justice Mary Odili are the one example of a marriage made in heaven.
Odili founded PAMO Clinics and Hospitals in Port Harcourt in 1982, growing it in leaps and bounds as the very best in Rivers State despite the sabotage of a trusted associate named Idigo. A Catholic to the core, Odili is a Knight of St. John International and Knight Commander of St. Gregory the Great (Supreme Papal Knighthood).
Odili’s exploits in politics, notably as Deputy Governor of the old Rivers State in 1992/93; leader of the Rivers State Delegates to the Constitutional Conference 1994/95; Rivers State Governor from 1999 to 2007 etc. stood in him good stead to stand for the coveted Presidency of the country in 2007 which was thwarted through underhand means. He then headed to the courts to clear his name. He won justice against the EFCC through a thorough court trial as documented in Conscience and History as opposed to the “perpetual injunction” against his trial as peddled by his traducers.
In an uncanny twist of fate, Odili became estranged from his protégé Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi who emerged as Rivers State Governor through a landmark Supreme Court ruling. Governor Amaechi set up the Kayode Eso Rivers State Truth and Reconciliation Commission which Odili saw as “clearly conceived, designed and programmed to permanently indict and incarcerate Dr Odili.” Once again, Dr Odili went to court and got deserved justice.
Ambassador Dr. M. T. Mbu in an August 11, 2008 letter to Dr. Odili reproduced at the back of Conscience and History quotes Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” and states: “Nigeria at the moment is operating laws that are equivalent to the laws of the jungle. Nemesis will catch up with evil doers. The just in the end will be vindicated.”
Through the efforts of High Chief Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, Dr. Odili and Governor Amaechi were reconciled on Good Friday, April 22, 2011. This way, Odili and his beloved wife Justice Mary made a grand appearance at the May 29, 2011 inauguration of Governor Amaechi for his second tenure. Of course the family celebrated the promotion of Justice Mary Odili to the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Dr Odili has shown the good example that Nigerian leaders ought to document their lives and doings for the benefit of posterity. Going through the words and pictures of Dr. Odili’s achievements in the power sector, education, labour, agriculture, sports etc. helps to put into context the works of his successor and the accomplishments of other governors elsewhere. The more than a hundred pages of pictorial testimonials are lasting joys to behold.
There are a few editing errors in the book such as the misspelling of “Achievements” as “Achivements” in the Table of Contents page and the putting of Prof Wole Soyinka’s name in the index as appearing on page 475 without the Nobel Laureate’s name or face appearing on that page. I wholeheartedly volunteer to do the re-editing for a second edition free-of-charge since Dr. Odili and this poet attended the same primary school, to wit, Sacred Heart School, Odoakpu, Onitsha!
Be that as it may, Dr. Odili has written a very insightful book in Conscience and History. He bears epochal testimony to Uthman Dan Fodio’s saying: “Conscience is an open wound; only truth can heal it.” Principal characters such as Obasanjo and Nuhu Ribadu who played paramount roles towards the forging of Nigeria as we have it today should step forward with their own books. Dr. Odili’s Conscience and History is a well-packaged rendition of our recent history, which ought to lead to other writings and sundry publishing.

Friday, 28 December 2012

13 ways to step up your in life in 2013

13 ways to step up your life in the year 2013

from YBW
Years seem to fly by faster than the speed of light.  This year was no exception, since we’re probably still getting accustomed to 2011 (let alone 2012).  But as the years come to an end, we are usually reminded that the following year presents a host of new possibilities.   At Your Black World, our team is committed to celebrating the diversity that is black America, while simultaneously seeking a better, stronger collective reality.
So, in order to commemorate the start of 2013, the YBW team came up with a list of 13 things that black people should do in 2013:
1) Find a way to own something:  Ownership is the key to financial prosperity.   Don’t spend your life waiting for a paycheck. Find a way to be the person who writes paychecks for other people.
2) Learn something new:  You should never stop growing and learning, no matter what your age.  The Internet is the greatest university in the history of the world and provides a tremendous opportunity for you to become an expert at anything.
3) Find a reason to stop drinking or using drugs:  Drugs and alcohol are among the primary causes for most tragedies and addictions.  Free yourself from the poison that has kept our people oppressed for hundreds of years.
4) Eat something healthy:  Grandma’s soul food might taste good, but that could also be the reason that grandma had a heart attack last year.  Try to avoid fatty, sugary, greasy foods and try fruits and vegetables instead.
5) Go to the gym:  We don’t care if you just got your hair done.  You still need to exercise so that your hair isn’t being done by your mortician.
6) Stand up for something:  Become politically engaged and active in the world.  There is a lot going on that concerns you, and you can’t sit on the sidelines.   Get politicians elected and then protest them to make them do their jobs.  Join a community group.  Mentor a child.  Do something to improve your community.
7) Kill the violence:  Too many black children are dying every year.  If we don’t care, then no one will.  Even if you don’t participate in the violence, take the time to speak on the violence and try to aim for violence reductions in your own community.  We can solve this problem by working together.
9) Stand up for our children:  Mentor a child today and let them know that somebody loves them.  Love is enough to move mountains when it comes to saving a child.  He/she might be the next Barack Obama.
10) Venture out of your comfort zone:  Consider traveling the world, learning a language or starting your own business.  This is your year to be great, so don’t let it pass you by.
11) Go to the doctor a get a check up: We can all be more health conscious and visiting the doctor is a great place  to start.  Don’t live in denial.
12) Get educated about your history:   Black people are more than just former slaves.   We have a very rich history that was probably not taught to you in school.
13) Love yourself and forgive someone:  Most of us have something about ourselves that is less than perfect.  We also have people in our lives or our past who’ve hurt us.  There is nothing more powerful than forgiveness, and today is the right day for you to give it a try.  It’ s not hard to forgive; you simply DO IT.

7 things that can save your marriage from financial stress

Shola Okubote: 7 things that can save your marriage from financial stress

by Shola Okubote
Money plays an important role in marriage, and an overwhelming financial stress can create strains that affect the expression of our love, not always because we want to be materialistic or selfish, but because we innately desire an all round stability in our relationships. The extent we can go to meet this need and the maturity at handling associated issues however differs.
The question to ask is, “There may not be the desired financial buoyancy now, but is there love, teamwork, focus, determination and hard work towards success?” If you think your relationship is worth rescuing from the claws of financial tension, here are five recommended ways you can work it out;
Be On The Same Page: Communicate clearly to each other about your fears and concerns for your finances and together analyze your financial situation and agree on the financial future you want for yourselves. It is important that you both understand each other’s financial expectations.
Have a Plan: Strategize on how you want to achieve your financial dreams, don’t just wish and desire, you need to map out a practical and realistic way for you to make enough money for the kind of life you desire and to stay out of debt. Devise ways that can work best for you. For example, you can decide to do a professional course that will give you a better chance at getting a better job, or you may decide to relocate to another state where you can have better job prospects, or even start a business.
Make No Room For The Lazy One: It could be really frustrating to have a laid back partner who isn’t giving 100% commitment to your financial future. You both have to get out of your comfort zones and take actions to make your dreams become reality, discuss and agree on what each person’s contribution to your financial success would be and be committed to it.
Don’t Bite More Than You Can Chew: You will need to curb unnecessary spending, and together set financial priorities, make periodic budgets and stick to it. Don’t accumulate debts and put your financial future in jeopardy because you want to keep up with The Jones’. What is more important at every point in time? Ask yourselves important questions, be realistic and stay on course.
Let The Owl Do The Night Watch: While both of you should be actively involved in your financial decisions, it is important to let the person who is more competent at handling it take charge. Don’t take it up if you are not disciplined with spending or if you find it difficult to keep account and balance the sheets.
When Lost Ask For Directions: Don’t hesitate to seek professional help and counsel when you think you need to. Remember you are not alone in this situation, there are couples who have been in and out of the financial mess you are. No matter what you are experiencing you can find help somewhere.
Stick Together: Through the tension that financial stress can bring on marriage it is important that you stick together and work things out as a team. Believing in each other and in your future together will give you the strength you need to make things work.
Writer: Shola Okubote blogs at and tweets as @femmelounge

The oppotunity cost of corruption

The Opportunity Cost Of Corruption – By Chinedu Ekeke

Nasir El-Rufai on Friday: Young Voices: Apart from being young – with their ages ranging from 20 to early 30s, all our young voices have a few qualities in common. They are all honest, passionate, patriotic, detribalized, intelligent, thoughtful and angry about the Nigerian condition. Our last young voice for the year – Mr. Chinedu
Ekeke has these qualities and more, and for many requires no introduction. His blogging site is one of the top three platforms offering Nigerian youths an outlet to articulate, debate and express their diverse views. When presidential mouthpiece Reuben Abati wrote about ‘collective children of anger’, he was probably referring to Chinedu and these youths whose conscience cannot be purchased with the gift of contracts, money or positions in a hapless federal government whose decisions and actions are daily compromising their future!Chinedu trained as an accountant and works as one, but following the footsteps of accounting graduates Adamu Adamu and Ijeoma Nwogwugwu, applies his writing talent to draw attention to what need doing to make our nation better. His articles have been published by Sahara Reporters and many old and new media platforms. His more recent and extremely popular pieces include ‘The Audacity of a Rogue Regime’ and ‘Echoes from the Niger Delta’. Today, he writes about the opportunity cost of corruption.It is my singular honour and privilege to present Chinedu Ekeke to you, with our best wishes and prayers that the insecurity, fraud and corruption we have been subjected to in 2012, will end with this horribly Jonathanian year! Amen.
- Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai
The Opportunity Cost Of Corruption – By Chinedu Ekeke
First, corruption and national development are mutually exclusive. But I’ll get back to that.
The first sense necessary for leadership in any clime is the sense for common good. With such mindset, the dictates of common sense no longer assume the rigours of rocket science. The simplicity of having enough funds for investment in massive infrastructure no longer becomes an issue to be explained away.
Twisting of facts becomes unnecessary. Seeking the validation of courtiers becomes unimportant to leadership. The secret is when leadership is burdened by the desire to work for the common good.
Without the love for country – and not loving Nigeria has been the single qualification for attaining leadership here – no suggestion, no matter how patriotic, will be taken by those who call the shots in the seats of power. That is why this article will not be taken seriously by those who need it most: the president and his team. They don’t run a government of common sense. They run a regime of miracles.
They squander billions in subsidy fraud, dubious budget for cutleries and banquet halls, and then ‘trust’ God with our national development. For leaders who love their country, an understanding of opportunity cost, a basic concept in Economics, helps in economic decision making.
The opportunity cost of anything is the highest valued alternative that must be forgone when a choice is made. It is the cost of any choice made, or activity involved in, measured by valuing the next best alternative not chosen or taken.
In my days in secondary school, faced with the trouble of having to reel out in full length the definition outlined by my Economics teacher, and to save myself the trouble of having to cram it for the purpose of passing exams, I resorted to just making do with the other phrase that sums it up; “Alternative forgone”.
Yes, opportunity cost is alternative forgone. It is actually a cost, like a loss. The ‘loss’ here means the loss of benefits derivable from the alternative not taken.
When we make the choice to erect corruption as a national monument, we have chosen to lose the benefits derivable from the national assets we would have built with the funds stolen.
When I did an essay on the ‘Time Value Of Corruption’, I highlighted what we are losing today, in monetary terms, by having allowed people steal our billions 20 years ago without making them pay back, and possibly go to jail. I went ahead to do a projection on the future value of the current billions and trillions that the Jonathan regime’s friends are stealing with reckless abandon. In analyzing the opportunity cost of corruption, I may not get absolutely quantitative to be able to pass my message, but I will be as expressive as I can to make my point clearly known.
As I said in my opening line, corruption and national development are mutually exclusive.
Recently, a Sunday Punch report revealed that over N5 trillion belonging to Nigerians has been stolen under the watch of president Goodluck Jonathan since he ascended the presidency. I wouldn’t have been as worried as I am if there has been any effort to bring the culprits of the earth-shattering criminality to book. The government is carrying on as if all is well, while Nigerians, who have become victims of over three decades of state-promoted roguery, languish under grinding poverty and unemployment, unable to afford even the most basic needs of life in a country so blessed by God.
As the president makes – and shows much comfort in – the choice of allowing his cabinet members, friends, and ‘privileged’ fraudulent business men fritter away our petro-naira unquestioned, it is critical we call his attention to the opportunity cost of that choice. We are forgoing many infrastructural developmental alternatives.
Let’s look at housing. The federal government hasn’t shown that it understands the need for housing for our huge population, that’s why slums abound in the cities with the slumlords boldly ripping helpless citizens off. With N5 trillion, and through direct labour involvement, we can build exactly 2.5million units of 2-bedroom flats at N2 million per flat. The houses do not need sophisticated designs or exquisite materials: just simple designs with simple but durable building materials. My interaction with builders has assured me that N2 million can build a 2-bedroom apartment through direct labour. Do note that we will not need to buy land because the land belongs to the government. Government will simply make land available. We will not also need to include the cost of contractors, because we will be using direct labour.
The staff of Federal Housing Authority can, in conjunction with the staff of ministry of environment, supervise the project. The houses will be spread across major cities in the six geo-political zones with huge populations. This will help provide accommodation for people, lessen the pressure on the badly built and poorly maintained houses, and help clean our cities of slums.
So the opportunity cost of N5 trillion stolen under President Jonathan’s watch is 2.5million units of low cost housing for the urban poor and middle class.
But that is if we choose to invest the money in housing. We could choose to concentrate on electricity.
With N5 trillion, we can build more power stations to increase significantly our electricity generation. If we had done that within the period we watched the privileged ones steal the money, by today we will not be gloating over 4500 megawatts of electricity that cannot serve even counties in the United States, let alone states. We will be talking about 15,000 megawatts or more, generated and distributed nationwide to revive moribund businesses and productive activities.
The opportunity cost of our stolen N5 trillion under President Jonathan is constant electric supply.
We may also choose not to face any of the mentioned opportunity costs in absolute terms. We may combine them in a certain proportion, building a portion of this and a portion of that with the N5 trillion.
Even at that, the impact of each would have been so visible that it will be impossible for even the president’s enemies to deny him the deserved credit.
If we chose to build just 1 million housing units with N2 trillion and used the remaining N3 trillion for power stations, then the opportunity cost of the N5 trillion stolen under President Jonathan would have given us 1million units of 2-bedroom flats and say, about 15000megawatts of electricity.
We could, instead, choose to focus on health care. Instead of bearing the shame of having privileged Nigerians jet out in droves, every day, to India and the West to treat minor and major ailments, we could build world-class hospitals with state of the art equipment for the treatment of all kinds of ailment. In such cases we will not need to take emergency health cases off the shores of our country.
The opportunity cost of the N5 trillion stolen under the watch, and official inaction, of President Jonathan is the needless deaths of millions of Nigerians who cannot afford the cost of foreign medical treatments, the loss of money we incur from those who can afford it, and the loss of jobs we would have created for our people if we had built quality hospitals that can treat ailments qualitatively.
But it is not just about the stolen funds. There’s also the opportunity cost of profligacy and waste in government. For instance, in one very shameful demonstration of insensitivity, the president and his mediocre ministers approved the construction of a new banquet hall in Aso Villa. This is in spite of an existing banquet hall for the presidency. No serious president with about 112 million people in his country living in squalor will dare tolerate a mere mention of a new banquet hall from either a minister or an aide.
Every serious leader runs his country like a family. Responsible families do not stretch their expenses beyond their means. Our rulers are both irresponsible and mischievous, that’s why an issue as an unneeded banquet hall will even become a subject of discourse.
But the opportunity cost of that presidential banquet hall is well funded tertiary institutions that can compete with the very best in, at least, Africa, or well paved roads in some distant lands forgotten by the federal government.
There are even more.
The opportunity cost of spending N16billion to build a house for the VP is the pipe-borne water that should run through our houses.
The opportunity cost of paying N6.5billion – unaccounted for – to state governors as security votes is well-funded and reformed police with adequate personnel to protect our lives and property.
The opportunity cost of letting David Mark pay himself N600million per annum – an amount that will pay for ten years the United States presidents’ salary – is millions of jobs that we would have created for our teeming youths.
Equally, the opportunity cost of paying a Nigerian legislator more than the British Prime Minister is the millions of good jobs we would have created with the inexplicably huge amounts.
Because money is stolen in Nigeria – legally and illegally – with impunity, we have lost the opportunity to develop our country, and compete with the rest of the world.
Corruption and national development are mutually exclusive, that’s why you should ignore the government official who comes on national TV to promise you development. The money for our development is the same money they have stolen.
We will only commence our journey into national rebirth the moment we take the stealing of government funds seriously. We can’t watch people empty our treasury and then still pretend we will build infrastructure. It is the money for infrastructure that has been stolen.
Corruption and infrastructural development are mutually exclusive.
Chinedu Ekeke can be reached on Twitter as @ekekeee.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

One burial and six funerals

Simon Kolawole: One burial and six funerals

Beware of Boko Haram this season! It is very predictable that the militants will try to carry out attacks during this festive period. That is a no-brainer.
Life is nothing but unpredictable. As I arrived at the Port Harcourt airport on the morning of Saturday, December 15, 2012, I met the former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Timi Alaibe. Obviously, we were headed for the same place – Okoroba, Bayelsa State – for the burial of the father of presidential aide, Mr. Oronto Douglas. I asked Alaibe his plans. He said he was going to ride in a chopper with former National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Owoye Azazi, whom he was expecting to arrive “shortly”. I told him I was going with two of my friends and that we had arranged to get to Okoroba via Nembe by speedboat.
My friends and I eventually couldn’t make it to Okoroba as a result of a terrible mix-up in our plans. Around 4pm, I was back to the Port Harcourt airport waiting for my return flight to Lagos. Then the rumour filtered in that there had been an air tragedy involving Azazi and the governor of Kaduna State, Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa. I began to make calls. My first instinct was to call Alaibe. His two phones were switched off. I panicked. I called Yakowa’s spokesman, Mr. Reuben Buhari, who was completely oblivious of what had happened. In fact, I was the one who broke the sad news to him. Even Yakowa’s aides, who were waiting in Port Harcourt and with whom Buhari had been communicating, were not yet aware of the disaster.
I finally got through to Alaibe, who told me the crash story was true, and said he eventually didn’t travel with Azazi. My mind began to spin in torment and sadness. I had just written an article, due for publication the following day, on road accidents in Nigeria. And now, another aircraft had dropped from the skies. When I began to get more information on the circumstances surrounding the crash, I became more saddened, not just by the deaths of Azazi, Yakowa and four other persons on board the Navy Augusta chopper, but also by certain inevitabilities in life. Life remains largely a mystery, no matter how much philosophy we bring into it.
The Douglas family, I was told, had made private arrangements for choppers to transport their guests from Port Harcourt to Okoroba. The Navy made its own chopper available, mainly for military VIPs coming for the event. Azazi and Yakowa went to Okoroba in private choppers, but when Azazi (a retired four-star general, former Chief of Defence Staff and former Chief of Army Staff) was offered a ride in the Navy Augusta helicopter back to Port Harcourt, he persuaded Yakowa to ride with him, saying there were still two places available. Perhaps unknown to Azazi, the spaces had actually been taken. But the original “allottees” could not complain as Yakowa and his aide took their slots and flew away.
I have listened to comments on this unfortunate incident, many of which I find bemusing. One, there are insinuations that the flight was sabotaged, either by Boko Haram or by some Northern enemies of Yakowa and Azazi, and by extension, haters of President Goodluck Jonathan. I know that anything can happen in Nigeria, but I don’t believe this speculation. It was, in my own opinion, an accident. The Navy chopper was not even part of the duo’s original commuting plans. Two, some Nigerians are rejoicing over the tragedy in the belief that “corrupt people” have died. This is sickening. All of us, clean or corrupt, will die some day. Every day, good people die, bad people die. And it is even ridiculous for anyone to believe that those of us outside government are the saints while those in government are the only sinners.
Three, someone said if a road had been constructed to Okoroba, the VIPs would not have taken choppers and, therefore, Azazi and Yakowa would not have died. Really? Statistics at my disposal show that people die in road accidents too! People die in boat mishaps! In fact, this year alone, more Nigerians have died in road accidents than in the history of air crashes in Nigeria! Accidents do happen. It doesn’t even matter if it is a military or commercial craft – crashes happen to all. In 2006, a Donnier 228 aircraft belonging to the Nigeria Air Force crashed in Benue State, killing top military officers. They were all on official duty. Last year, an OAS chopper crash killed Mrs. Josephine Damilola-Kuteyi, former CEO of Bacita Sugar Company. Tragedy does not discriminate.
The most important issue being raised, however, is on the deployment of a military chopper for civilian use, as it happened at the burial of Pa Tamunoobebara Douglas. This is a very valid question. But I think it would be better asked by anyone who has never taken a free ride in an official vehicle before, either in the public or private sector. It is a point better made by those who have never used office stationery for personal correspondence, or allowed their spouses and children to use their official cars, or made personal calls with official lines, or printed personal documents with the office printer, or sent personal email using the office computer. We need this debate as we seek to clean up Nigeria, but we should give priority to commentators who have never been beneficiaries of these perks all their lives.
Dear God, how I feel for the bereaved families! I was told that the two pilots were among Nigerian military’s best. What a shame. I also sympathise with Oronto, a man I have known for close to 18 years. He is a fantastic Nigerian who harbours no ethnic or religious discrimination in his bones. He has been enjoying tremendous global goodwill right from his time as an environmental rights activist. It is unfortunate that this sort of tragedy would choose his father’s burial to strike – but this can happen to anybody. When we buried our grandfather last month, one prayer I kept praying was that all who came to the village would return to their stations in peace – no accidents, no robbery attacks, no police attacks, no kidnap. I must have prayed for journey mercies a million times!
My wish for those who are gloating and pontificating at this very difficult moment is simple: may life never humble them to the level that they will be forced to eat their words. Life could be very poetic and ironic, you know.

And Four Other Things…

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is unrelenting in its effort to de-democratise freedom of association. The continuous deregistration of parties, because they are yet to win any election, remains unacceptable. For as long as the parties are not demanding funding from INEC, I don’t see why the body should continue on this wrong path, which I am very sure would be upturned by the courts. I would rather INEC devotes its energy to delivering electoral materials on time during elections. That is a major hindrance to credible elections, not the number of parties in the land.
May I repeat this warning? Beware of Boko Haram this season! It is very predictable that the militants will try to carry out attacks during this festive period. That is a no-brainer. However, I implore Nigerians to be more cautious about their security. Parties and church services will easily be targets. The attacks on telecoms companies’ offices in Kano yesterday are a timely reminder that these guys are still around and plotting every day. We should not be deceived into taking our security lightly and going to sleep with both eyes closed.
In order to get back at the DG of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms Arumna Oteh, over the N44 million bribery affair, the House of Representatives, in July, asked President Goodluck Jonathan to sack her. The president refused. Well, the return match is here. The House says it has barred the Federal Government from financing the activities of SEC in 2013 by refusing to pass the commission’s budget. “This means that the commission will not be able to pay salaries and embark on some expenditure as from January next year if Oteh remains the DG,” House Chief Whip Ishaka Mohammed Bawa gleefully announced. Are we about to cut our nose to spite our face?
Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) is one Nigerian who draws extreme passions. You either love or hate him. You cannot be indifferent to him. I was a young secondary school student when he became head of state on December 31, 1983. His government brought some sense of discipline and pride to being a Nigerian, but when he was overthrown in 1985, we rejoiced, saying he was too harsh. Today, many of us look back and conclude that it was a rare opportunity to change this country for good. We lost it. We will continue to pay for it. As he clocks 70, I wish him more beautiful years ahead.
This piece was first published on ThisDay Newspapers