Sunday, 21 January 2018
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Some capital market operators said on Saturday that activities in the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in 2013 would be dominated by the banking, consumer goods, food/beverages, and building material stocks. They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the market would continue on its recovery path in 2013 barring any unforeseen economic shocks.

Malam Garba Kurfi, the Managing Director, APT Securities and Funds Ltd., said that the banking sector would lead activities in the year as a result of financial sector reforms. Kurfi said that the reforms had impacted positively on the fortunes of the industry and investors made over 55 per cent returns in the sector in 2012. “We are still expecting it to do more because most of the banking stocks are still trading below their fair value and very liquid for both entry and exit of foreign investors,“ he said. Kurfi, however, called on market regulators to embark on aggressive investor education to increase local investor participation in the market which currently stands at 30 per cent.

Mr Emeka Madubuike, the Managing Director, Compass Securities Ltd., said that the construction sector and food/ beverages stocks would experience increased activity due to the country’s large population. “The food/beverages, building materials and oil/gas sectors would do well because we are still a developing economy with large population,” Madubuike said.

He urged the Federal Government and market regulators to provide the right environment for investment purposes. Madubuike said that local investors needed to be educated on market investment options, exit arrangement and when and where to invest to avoid repeat of past experience.
Mr Harrison Owoh, the Managing Director, HJ Trust and Investment Ltd., called for provision of more incentives by both government and market regulators to attract listing of more companies on the exchange.
 “The Federal Government needs to list all its privatized companies in the power sector and oil/gas to increase the depth of the market,” he said.
NAN reports that the Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index grew by 35.45 per cent or 7,348.18 points in 2012 to close the year at 28,078.81 from 20,730.63 recorded in 2011. Also, the market capitalization grew by N2.4 trillion to close at N8.97 trillion on Dec.31, 2012 up from the N6.53 trillion at which it opened in January 2012. NAN also reports that by the performance, the nation's bourse has been ranked as third performing stock exchange in Africa. Egypt led other African markets with 49.56 per cent on year-to-date return. It was followed by Kenya with 39.32 per cent growth rate.

 

Posted On Sunday, 06 January 2013 14:00 Written by

FORMER Governor of Bayelya State, Chief Timipre Sylva, Saturday, insisted that the 48 properties in Abuja, allegedly confiscated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, were not his, saying he had no 48 properties anywhere in the world.

According to him, he had only three properties in Abuja but said he and his wife acquired the three Abuja properties before he became governor.

He declared that the three properties were declared in his assets declaration form after he became governor.

In a statement in Abuja, through his counsel, Mr Benson Ibezim,  Sylva said the anti-graft agency was out to humiliate him just as he advised people not to jump to conclusion based on what they read in the media.

“We seriously frown at the practice of media trial and condemnation without getting to the root and substance of the facts. Trials are done in courts of law and not on the pages of newspapers where the general public is fed with all manner of falsehood, including imaginary 48 houses. We humbly and respectfully call on the media to exercise due diligence in their reporting”, he said.

“We were astonished to read from virtually all Nigerian Newspapers that 48 houses belonging to Chief Timipre Sylva were seized.

In the first instance, Chief Timipre Sylva is not having 48 properties anywhere in the world. The three properties he has in Abuja had been secured by an order of court granted by F.C.T. High Court and the Attorney General of the Federation and EFCC has been duly served since the 27th day of December, 2012”.

The former governor accused the Attorney General of the Federation and the Chairman of EFCC of  sinister plan to humiliate him by throwing him out of his house that he bought before he assumed the governorship office.

“It should also be mentioned that when Chief Timipre Sylva became aware of the sinister plan of  the EFCC to humiliate him by throwing him out of his house that was bought before he became the governor of Bayelsa State, we wrote a letter to the Attorney General of the Federation and the Chairman of EFCC. Till date both of them did not response to the said letters”.

Posted On Saturday, 05 January 2013 23:09 Written by

ABUJA— The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, seized 48 choice properties belonging to former Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Timipre Sylva, who is being prosecuted at a Federal High Court in Abuja for alleged misappropriation of N6.46 billion state funds when he was governor of the state.

The interim forfeiture of the property order by Justice A. R Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja was obtained on December 28, 2012.

Meanwhile, the embattled former Bayelsa State governor has condemned the action of the EFCC, charging them to respect the law.

Assets belonging to the former governor against which a forfeiture order was obtained by the EFCC are: a mansion at 3 River Niger Street, plot 3192 Cadastral zone AO, Maitama District Abuja; nine units (comprising six one bedroom and 3 two bedroom apartments) at 8 Sefadu Street Wuse zone 2, plot 262 Cadastral zone AO2, Wuse Abuja; and 2 units duplexes at 5 Oguta Street, plot 906 Cadastral zone Wuse 11 Abuja.

Others are: a duplex at Plot 1271 Nike Street Cadastral zone AO5, Maitama District Abuja; a duplex at Phase 1 Unit No. 1 (Villa 1) Palm Springs Gold Estate, Cachez Turkey Projects Limited, Mpape, Abuja;  10 units of one-room apartments at 8 Mistrata Street plot 232 Cadastral zone Wuse 11 Abuja;  5 units duplexes at Plot No 1070 Dakibiyu District Cadastral zone B10, Abuja; 16 units service apartments at Plot 1181 Thaba Tseka Crescent, Off IBB Way, Wuse 11, Abuja and  3 units of three- bedroom flats at No. 1 Mubi Close, Plot 766. Cadastral Zone A01, Garki, Abuja. Sylva was first arraigned on Tuesday June 5, 2012.

The Charges

The first three of the six count charge against him read: “That you, Timpre Sylva, as Governor  of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, sometime between October, 2009 and February, 2010, at various places in Nigeria, including Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court did conspire to commit a crime to wit: conversion of property and resources amounting to N2 billion belonging to Bayelsa State Government and derived from an illegal act, with the aim of concealing the illicit origin of the said amount and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 17(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act), 2004 and punishable under Section 14(1) of the same Act.

“That you, Timipre Sylva, as Governor  of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, on or about January 22, 2010, at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, converted the sum of N380 million property of the Bayelsa State Government, through the account of one Habibu Sani Maigidia, a Bureau De Change Operator with Account No. 221433478108, in Fin Bank, Plc, which sum you knew represented the proceeds of an illegal act with the aim of concealing the nature of the proceeds of the said illegal act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 14(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2004 and also punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.

“That you, Timipre Sylva, as Governor of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, on or about February 5, 2010, at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, converted the sum of N50 million, property of the Bayelsa State Government, through the account of one Enson Benmer Limited with Account No. 6152030001946, in First Bank, Plc, which sum you knew represented the proceeds of an illegal act with the aim of concealing the nature of the proceeds of the said illegal act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 14(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2004 and also punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.”

The substantive suit has been adjourned to  January 10, 2013, for trial.

….EFCC violating the law — Ex-gov Sylva

Embattled former Governor Sylva has reacted to the move by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to confiscate his property calling the anti-corruption agency to respect the law.

Sylva in a statement by his media adviser, Mr. Doifie Ola, said the Abuja High Court  never granted any temporary asset forfeiture order to the EFCC.

He said the court directed the EFCC to put Sylva on notice and the substantive matter is fixed for January 10, 2013.

The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to a statement purportedly issued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, announcing the seizure of a number of property alleged to be owned by Chief Timipre Sylva, former Bayelsa State Governor.

“The claims by EFCC are completely misleading. Not surprising, this style is in line with EFCC’s known bully-boy tactics and media hysteria. The houses in question do not belong to Sylva.

Sylva’s property are intact, and fully covered by the order validly issued by Justice M. Kolo of the Abuja High Court on December 27, 2012. Sylva had applied to the court for “an interim order of court for the service of the originating process on the respondent to serve as a stay of all actions in respect of the property – plot no 262, Cadastral Zone A02, Wuse 1, District, Abuja, plot 3192, located within Cadastral zone A06 Maitama District, Abuja, plot 232, Cadastral Zone A07,(No. 8 Mistrata Street; Wuse II, Abuja) – by the respondents, their agents, privies, representative or any other person deriving his/her authority from them; either by sealing off, confiscating, ejecting any person from the property, trespassing into the property or doing any other thing how ever so described relating to the said property pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”  This application was granted and hearing in the matter is fixed for January 4, 2013.

“Justice A. Mohammed never granted any temporary asset forfeiture order to EFCC on December 21, 2012. Rather he directed EFCC to put Sylva on notice and the substantive matter is fixed for January 10, 2013. EFCC as a creation of the law cannot be seen to be acting lawlessly and with impunity.”

 

 

Posted On Saturday, 05 January 2013 03:57 Written by

The Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Imo State chapter, has protested Gov. Rochas Okorocha’s refusal to reinstate local government chairmen in the state.

The Secretary of the chapter, Mr Enyinnaya Onuegbu, said during a protest march in Owerri that the protest was to sensitise the public “on the destruction of the third tier government in the state.”

“Today’s protest march is a peaceful protest in defence of democracy at the local government level.

“We want to call the attention of the Imo people to the governors’ contempt of court rulings on the tenure of the 27 council chairmen and the 305 ward councilors in the state.

“The governor’s action has crippled local government administration in the state and Imo people are suffering because of this.

“No democracy dividend is available at the local government level because of the failure of this administration to recognise the importance of the local government,” he said.

Onuegbu also condemned the continued release of local government allocations without Joint account committee meetings.

He called on the Federal Government to intervene in the matter urgently.

Reacting to the protest, the Special Assistant to the governor on media, Mr Ebere Uzoukwu, said the administration of Okorocha was focused and committed to the ongoing transformation of the state.

According to him, the state government will not join issues with the former PDP council chairmen whose suit on tenure elongation has been dismissed by an Owerri High Court.

“They have no business in the local government areas as their two-year tenure expired last year. They are only exhibiting desperation, apparently believing that it is still business as usual,” he said.

 

Posted On Friday, 04 January 2013 14:57 Written by

Former Governor of Oyo State, and national leader of Accord Party (AP), Senator Rasidi Ladoja, has had his fair share of the Nigerian dirty politics with his illegal impeachment in 2006. In this interview with the trio of FEMI ADEOTI, RAZAQ BAMIDELE and AKEEB ALARAPE at his Apapa, Lagos residence, he said his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has lost its steam and turned to a “casino.”

He also reflected on the state of the nation, politics of the South-West and prospects of his new platform, Accord, which is fast-gaining ground in the country. Excerpts:

State of the nation

The most important thing in any country is security. A situation whereby one doesn’t feel comfortable in his country. A situation where the populace, even the rulers don’t seem to have confidence in one another is worrisome. Or how do you explain that people are asking President Goodluck Jonathan to publish the disaster report of the plane crash that killed General Andrew Azazi and ex-gpvernor Patrick Yakowa? The people that are actually making the calls are the serving state governors.

Are they saying that they don’t have confidence in the Federal Government? It is unfortunate that the accident took place. Accident can come up anytime but a situation that the people are thinking otherwise is not good for the nation. I think it was an accident. But the situation is becoming very worrisome.

In the matter of Boko Haram, we don’t know when next the group will strike. The situation is affecting a lot of things. It affects even the economy. The people that went to do their normal ram buying business in the North for sallah were slaughtered. People said it was Boko Haram that did it. Anything that happens now, any disaster whatever, is attributed to Boko Haram, even armed robbery.

We seem to be turning round and round and round. I thought that since we negotiated with the Niger Delta militants and able to secure peace, the government should find a way of negotiating with Boko Haram and let us have peace, because insecurity affects investment. We should look at it and find solution to the security problem. I only pray government is not overwhelmed with this security situation.

Already, we have problem of infrastructure, which is not making our economy to grow. The government, or is it the PHCN recently published that we are generating about 4000 megawatts, which was what we have been generating for the past 10 years. Ordinary Dubai is already planning for 2050. Yet, we sink a lot of money into the power project without result. Only God knows how many billions of dollars were sunk by Olusegun Obasanjo into the power project, yet, we don’t feel it.

Most of the times, we politicians don’t face realities. We talk politics rather than face realities. We talk politics when we say, “by so time, water will flow.” Most of us seem to be deceptive. We just want to talk and we pay a lot of money for propaganda and not what we are elected to do.

Restructuring along regional basis

I don’t think so. Are you sure Ondo State would want to go with the rest of South-West? The major problem is the haves and the have-nots. People in the Niger Delta are calling for pure federation because they want to be the owners and managers of their resources.

But are you saying that if we want to carve the western region out, is it western region with or without Midwest? Western region with Midwest means Edo and Delta states with the six states of South-West. Would they want to share their oil with us if we are in the same region? Again, is Ondo State ready to share its oil with Oyo State that hasn’t got oil?

Most of these things are not practicable. Then, are we not the one calling for more states? If we really want regional cohesion, should we be asking for Ibadan State, should we be calling for an Ijebu State?

What is important for a nation is the good of the populace. How do we feed the people? How do we give them comfort? How do we give them electricity? How do we give them good water? How do we give them good health? How do we secure them?

Whoever wants to do anything let him make the proposal and give it to the National Assembly. Members of the National Assembly were elected by us and we should allow them to work. We have facilities to amend the Constitution. To me, economy is the most things for us today so that we can feed our people, give them good health, good roads, make railways airlines work. So that our people will feel that we are in the 21st Century.

Most of our people don’t understand that the essence of politics is the people. It is not a matter of how many edifices one builds. It is about the welfare of the people.

Dialogue with Boko Haram

Did we not negotiate with the Niger Delta militants? Were they not criminals also?

But the Boko Haram people have not come out to identify themselves.

When they started the crisis in Niger Delta, did they come to identify themselves? Was it not later that we started hearing that there is one called Tompolo; there is one called Government?

Modus operandi for dialogue

The security people should know who they are. Part of the problem is that our people do not have confidence in the security system. They think if they give information to the security agencies, the security will leak it back to the people concerned. That is part of the problem. So, they should be able to identify them. Today, the government would say it wants to negotiate; another time it would say it is no longer negotiating. I don’t understand.

Technocrats in government are our problem

Yes, I do agree. I remember one state commissioner recently said that. I agree with him. Who is a technocrat? If one doesn’t want to dirty his hands, how can such person do agriculture or farming? If someone doesn’t want to get into the muddy terrain of politics, yet he wants to be a minister. I don’t think it can work. If a minister or a government appointee cannot go round the country campaigning, seeing what the people in each of the areas are facing, how can such person or appointee know how to solve the problem?

I am not in support of categorizing some people as technocrats and others non-technocrats. Maybe, that is part of the failure of government. The man who made promises to us was Ebele Goodluck Jonathan not Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, not Ashiru, not Sanusi, not Adesina. We didn’t see all these people during the campaigns. It was Jonathan who promised us and he had people who came with him. Are those people not qualified to be appointed?

By the way, who is a technocrat? I was a technocrat. If I decided that I was not going to go into politics, I would still be considered as a technocrat. We should be able to know that the job of a technocrat ends with that of the director-general or permanent secretary. After that, it is the job of the politicians.

That was the mistake we made when we were shouting that Okonjo-Iweala would become the President of the World Bank. I knew it would never happen. The job of a technocrat in the World Bank stops with the position of the Managing Director. It is the President that decides where to put World Bank money and where not to put it.

That is where we are making a big mistake. The countries that survive most of the time are the countries that defy World Bank and IMF rules. Majority of the people of Venezuela under Hugo Chavez are happier because of the policy he laid down. He said the oil is for all of them.

Leaders should look at what is good for their people and do it not what IMF says they should do. If IMF is successful, should we have economic crises all over Europe today? Yet, we are not having that in China. We do not even have it in India! India has gotten a population that is four times that of Europe, yet they are managing themselves. China is the biggest lender to the world today.

Pressures in government

When we were going on campaign trips, I told the people of Oyo State in specific terms what our government was going to achieve. I told them that we would bring education to level it was during our days. I specifically told them that in our days at Ibadan Boys High school, we were 30 students per class and there is no reason any school should have more than 30 students per class in primary and secondary schools. The students are not there for lecturing but for teaching. That was one of the fundamental things we made because it is only when the class is manageable that the teacher can teach and the children can learn. That is where we started.

One of the problems of Oyo State at that time was guinea worm. We said in the four years of our being there we would eradicate guinea worm. We did it. We said we would change agriculture from hoes and cutlasses to a mechanized one; we brought in a tractor manufacturing plant.

We said we were going to give them safe water. Where we could not easily give them public water; we sunk hundreds of boreholes, particularly at guinea worm endemic areas of Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun and by the grace of God we were able to achieve them. Those are what I would call practical, people-oriented projects not gigantic projects like building hotels, teaching hospitals and the likes.

We designed three overhead bridges in Ibadan to solve the problem of traffic congestion. We designed one for Sango, one for Mokola and the third one at Challenge.

But when it comes to building teaching hospital for the state, what purpose would that one serve? Already, there is a teaching hospital in Ibadan, which is UCH, a federal hospital; there is a teaching hospital in Ogbomoso being run by Bowen University, that is Baptist teaching hospital and there is one teaching hospital in Ilorin. It means that within 30 kilometres we have three teaching hospitals competing with themselves. And there are a lot of things to do with little money.

Resist pressures in office

I was lucky in the sense that the people of Oyo State knew I was competent for the job. The only but was whether I would be able to resist my godfather. I remember I told them that on my honour, I am a father; I am a grandfather and I have made my life before coming into politics and I promised them that the buck stops at my table. With that promise and with the fact that I would be responsible for anything that happened in government.

My commissioners had free hands though some of them were not supporters of our cause. But if you understand that the buck stops on your table and that you would be held accountable for anything that happens, then that is enough recipe for resisting undue pressure. Of course, we faced the consequences and part of the consequences was my illegal impeachment. But I had no regret on that. If I have the same opportunity, I will still do the same thing. But maybe they will not succeed in impeaching me again.

Bid to become national secretary of PDP

I did not set out to be National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). What happened was that in the course of the negotiation, Dr. Dejo Raimi was actually harassing me. He was visiting me nearly everyday. One day, when it became public knowledge that Alhaji Bamanga Tukur might become the National Chairman of PDP, he said if Tukur at his age is set to become the national chairman and the national secretary has been zoned to South West, then the people in South-West must get somebody who has got his own clout to be national secretary so that he doesn’t just become a clerk to Tukur. With that there will be mutual respect between him and the chairman.

Raimi went out and told some journalists that Ladoja will be good as the national secretary of PDP. That was what happened. By that time, I was prevailed upon by Obasanjo, Jonathan, Tony Anenih and a lot of leaders of the PDP all over Nigeria to return to PDP. I was set out to go back to PDP if PDP was willing to do what we believe politics is supposed to be. That was what happened.

It was not that I set out to become the national secretary. My going back to PDP was virtually unconditional. We didn’t set out any condition. It was they (PDP leaders) that said that they had seen the results of the last election and that they were going to share the party’s structure in that proportion. That was all. But it didn’t work because of what PDP is.

They still don’t understand that politics is about service. They think politics is about self. Don’t get me wrong, there are still very good people in PDP who are ready for service but a lot of the people in the party still feel that they just want to occupy a position because there is power in it; there is money in it; there is connection there.

We negotiated together; we did the ward and local congresses together based on the agreement we reached. But what happened? What we agreed on in Ibadan, some people went to Abuja to change the names. When we asked them why, they said, “yes”, that we don’t know that in PDP they play games. Then, we said “ok, we don’t want to go to a party where they play games.” I said I want to stay in a party where the will of the people prevails.

After all those ones, some people of goodwill again intervened and advised us to negotiate more; we decided to but they shut the door. When they now opened the door and asked us to come, we then asked them to go undo and what they had done. We asked them to drop everything they had wrongly acquired, that is, party executives. That they should let us go back to the people to decide. They said “no”, they were not ready to negotiate what they had acquired and that instead they would go to court.

In PDP, Oyo State was not among the states that were said to have hitches in their congresses even though we knew that it got hitches. But the party executives that left before Tukur came in had already approved the congresses of Oyo State. We knew how it happened. But those people had gone. They had left the problem for the people behind.

It is only persuasion that Tukur can use in the case of Oyo State. He cannot use force if not it would degenerate to what is happening in Ogun State. In fact that of Ogun State is even better. During the congresses, the national headquarters of the party (PDP) put up an advertisement suspending all congresses in Ogun State. They didn’t do the same thing in Oyo State and the executives that left said everything was alright. If Tukur now said everything was not alright, they (Oyo PDP) would say he was not there. The people that had acquired privilege through the back door also feel that they have got it and they are going to keep it.

Nothing would change. If not, they said they would go to court and if they go to court, I don’t want to be in a party where people don’t realize their weaknesses. You are weak when you are not in government. What I mean by that is that the state government is not in their hands, yet they are fighting among themselves. How would confront the government in power? How would they, therefore, tell the people that they are the alternative government, when they are already fighting among themselves? They won’t have time for the main fight.

No negotiation with ACN

I did not negotiate with the ACN, but we negotiated with the PDP since 2007. After the impeachment and we came back to the same PDP, I escaped an assassination in Akure. Somehow, I managed to complete my term. But since PDP did not ask me to be a part of their campaign, I did not bother myself. When I went to Akure and I was nearly murdered, then I decided that I was going to face my work as governor rather than campaign for PDP.

But after I left office in 2007, PDP knew something was wrong. They knew there was a lot of crisis in PDP all over Nigeria, so they set up Alex Ekwueme Committee to reconcile everybody. The committee sat in Abeokuta and I appeared before it. We put our case across. When the committee wrote its report, they upheld almost everything we asked for. After that, the DP set up an implementation committee headed by Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun to implement the report of the Ekwueme committee.

Oyedokun came to Ibadan and stayed for two or three weeks. As far as I am concerned, Shuaib Oyedokun is an Ibadan man. He lives in Ibadan. He was the secretary to the government of Dr. Omololu Olunloyo and all of us know ourselves. So, he knew everything that was happening. That was the first time me and Akala met after I left office.

He proposed to set a group of five people from our group and another five people from Akala/Adedibu group. But the other groups asked whether we were the only two groups in the PDP. He then put up another amorphous group of five which comprised a nominee each from Richard Akinjide, Yekini Adeojo, Elder Wole Oyelese, Senator Lekan Balogun and he added Raimi to make five. We said no problem. It then became a committee of 15.

They met and at the end of it there was no cooperation between Akala/Adedibu’s group and the others. They wrote reports where one was signed by nine people while another report was signed by five people. Raimi decided to write his own report. All these were sent to the national headquarters.

After sometime, the party set up Ike Nwachukwu Committee.  Nwachukwu came to a conclusion to inaugurate an elders committee and implementation committee. That committee was headed by Yunus Akintunde, the immediate past commissioner for works in Ajimobi’s government.

We thought that the work was going to start but up till now nothing has started. So, when INEC announced that it was going to conduct election, we were expecting and we knew what PDP was doing was to play for time until Attahiru Jega, INEC chairman, would lock the door.

We then started thinking that by the time Jega closes his doors, we would either be persuaded or begged by PDP to stay on or we would start looking for a party to hibernate in. We then decided what should be our fallback position since we were not able to enter PDP. PDP headquarters then was not able to take any decision.

When it dawned on us that if the situation continued, Jega would close his door and we would be left stranded, we then decided to look for alternative.  A committee was set up and the recommendations were; one, to consider going to ACN; two, to look at Labour Party and three, to look at Accord Party.  I held meetings with my Egbon of blessed memory, Alhaji Lam Adesina, three times on how we could work together. His recommendation was that I should ask my people to come and register with the pledge that everybody would be given a fair chance during elections. I know the letter of ACN, I wanted a concrete assurance. Later, I was not disappointed the way the party made its choices of candidates.

About Labour, we tried to look at it but we didn’t see any attraction there. On Accord, in fact that was about the first time I would be hearing about the name. But I saw one attraction there; it was the number one on the ballot paper. That was the main attraction we had.

We then sent for the leaders of Accord. I knew that Senator Osakwe contested on the platform of Accord in 2007 to beat Ahmadu Ali’s wife in the senatorial election. I had a chat with Osakwe. The leadership of Accord was willing to accommodate us. They did new convention, new congresses so that we were really integrated into the party. That was how we became members of Accord.

Fear of Accord Party being deregistered

I was looking at the reasons given by the INEC. It is either the party has no headquarters, or it has no elected officer in the House of Assembly or House of Representatives. By the grace of God, we will not be deregistered. We are working hard to expand Accord Party. Today, across all the states of the South-West, the party is waxing stronger.

Beginning from Ekiti State, people are yearning for Accord. By early 2013, we are going to hoist our flag in Ekiti. Our intention is to say, yes, we are here because people have seen us in Oyo State. They know that we are the party that is the most workers-friendly. They know that we are honest in our approach to issues. We don’t play politics with the life of our people. They know us very well and they are happy to work with us. I will not be surprised that the wild fire that caught Oyo State will catch Osun and Ekiti states. They have seen the honesty of purpose in Accord.

In Osun, we contested during the last election. We contested nearly all the seats. In Ogun, we are already there. Some powerful people in Lagos State have come to request that Accord be established in the state and we are working at it.

PDP decampees in Accord

Yoruba have a saying that fish rots from the head. If the head is not rotten, the body will not rot. You can find people who are followers and who are the PDP because they are just there. Now they find a possibility of another party that can satisfy their aspiration. Some people were in the PDP because I was there. And if they want to come back to me when I am no more there, what is wrong in that?

They were impressed that we started a party in September and we made an impressive show in a general election in April of the following year. They were marveled by the dramatic change on the political landscape.  It is not how long, it is how good. Party is not people. People make party. If they come, we will welcome them.

At a local government in Oyo State, members of the PDP just woke up one day and said PDP is not our party. They just repainted their secretariat to Accord secretariat. Such scenario would continue. It is not only those from the PDP in Oyo State that are coming, people from other parties, even from the ACN, are also coming into Accord. This is contrary to what has been happening in the past when people troop to join the party in power. But in this case, people are joining a party that is not in control of the state. May be they believe that this party is the government in waiting. As far as I am concerned, PDP is dead Oyo state.

Governorship ambition

The last time I was going to contest, it wasn’t until September 26, 2010, that I made up my mind that I was going to contest. I just knew that the government we had in Oyo State then was not that of my dream. We were trying to use the internal mechanism of the PDP. But when that failed, we decided that, okay, we had to do something. The governor then was behaving in a way that suggested he wanted to tie me down with the EFCC. You cannot tie Ladoja down with anything. There is nobody that can tie Ladoja down. It was on September 26, 2010 that I declared that, PDP or no PDP, I would contest. So, why can’t you wait until September 2014 before asking me that question about 2015 governorship ambition?

Relationship with Adebayo Alao-Akala and Governor Abiola Ajimobi

Both of them are my ‘aburos’ (younger brothers). And they give me my respect as their ‘egbon,’ (older brother). Our relationship is very good and cordial. Our working relationship with Ajimobi was at his own leisure. He was the one who came to me. We discussed the term but he has not fulfilled his own side totally. He has his challenges. But I think he is now in better control of the party. Maybe, he would be able to fulfill the agreement better. But Yoruba has a saying that rain can chase somebody to a particular shelter thrice. So, we wait and see.

My own policy however is that when elections are over, we should support whoever won the election so that the people of the state would not suffer. Our working with him is on the basis of that. He has won the election; he has appealed to us to work with him, and we told him we are not dissolving into ACN.

Our working relationship is in government and not on party basis. And that is because we want him to have rest of mind to serve the people of Oyo State. The people of Oyo State had chosen him in preference of me and Akala. And the period of election is for four years. So, while he is there, we should give him all the support so that the people of Oyo State can enjoy. The failure of government is a failure of the people of Oyo State. But if the government is able to deliver, then it is good for all of us. What is good for everybody is good for me.

Dictating to Ajimobi

I don’t believe in godfatherism. One thing that you have to understand is that governor has got more information than everybody. He has got so many aides to address him. I don’t push myself on anybody. I allow people to take their decisions. If he needs my advice and he seeks it, I give. I won’t go out of way to say this is how you should run your government because I won’t accept it too. So, if he needs my advice, I will give him. But for now, he has not asked for my advice and I didn’t give him anything. That explains my position. He has a lot of security apparatus that give him security reports twice a day. They should be able to tell him the feelings of the people. Maybe the feelings of the people are different from what they are seeing.

Aregbesola, Amosun, Mimiko close to me

We are not in negotiation with ACN. But the mistake some people are making is that they don’t know I don’t play politics of bitterness. Aregbesola is very close to me just as Amosun is. Amosun and I were in the same party before. Even, Mimiko is very close to me. Mimiko was SSG to Agagu when I was also in government. We are still close. We still call one another.

All of them call me ‘egbon.’ I am ‘egbon’ to all of them. Fayemi is also very close to me. And Fashola is close to me also. Fashola was the Chief of Staff to Tinubu when my case was going on and he was very supportive. You know he is a very brilliant lawyer. People wonder when they see us sitting together, wondering what is the magic that binds these people who don’t belong to the same party together? Even Bola Tinubu is close to me. We were in the Senate together; we are in the oil industry together. That is enough ground to be together.

Any time Aregbesola knows I am in Ibadan, he will pass through the house. When Mimiko came to greet the late Lam Adesina’s family, he called me to say he was sorry he could not pass through the house because he had to go back to Akure. So, that is me.

People even say why should I allow Obasanjo into my house and I asked them, why shouldn’t I? I knew Obasanjo before he became President. We are close. He is a farmer, I am a farmer. That is the common ground between the two of us. And I was even one of the people that persuaded him to contest. We thought he would repeat the wonders he performed as a Head of State.

Our difference is political and not personal. He saw my impeachment from another view; I saw it from another view. He was then powerful because he was president and I was a mere governor. You know, 36 governors is equal to one president. He controlled the police and all the security apparatus. He used them at that time for what he believed in. I am sure today, he doesn’t believe in that again. We are very close. Even, he gave me a very big turkey for Christmas.

COURTESY: The Sun

Posted On Thursday, 03 January 2013 14:06 Written by

And so it is now official. Contrary to the thinking of a majority of local and foreign observers, the principal problem of Nigeria is not corruption but attitude. According to our President, what Nigeria requires most urgently in order to make progress is not an end to corruption but a change of attitude.  We have this on the authority of a newspaper report captioned 'Attitudinal change not corruption bane of Nigeria’s progress –Jonathan.' The report goes on:-

‘Most of the problems that Nigerians blame on corruption are not caused by corruption, but a wrong attitude among Nigerians, President Goodluck Jonathan has said.  The president, who made the remark in Yenagoa on Saturday during the burial of the former National Security Adviser, Owoeye Azazi, said that corruption was not the only challenge to good governance.  He stressed the need for attitudinal change among Nigerians for the country to make progress.

Mr. Jonathan made the statement in reaction to a remark made by the Catholic Bishop of Bomadi, Hyacinth Egbebo. The clergyman had attributed the cause of most accidents on Nigerian roads to bad roads created by corruption in government. Mr. Jonathan refuted the clergyman’s claim. “If Nigerians would change their attitude, you will realize that most of these issues being attributed to corruption are not caused by corruption,” the president said.

“Recently, I met with officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps who told me that they had discovered that majority of the road accidents are recorded on good roads. So you can see it is not a matter of corruption, it is an issue of the people’s attitude,” the president added.’    

Just a couple of days before the President made this startling ‘attitude-declaration’, the Governor of Kogi State in Nigeria was involved in a ghastly motor accident which claimed the life of his aide – de – camp and left him with a broken leg. Perhaps if we investigate a little bit we may discover that the accident occurred on a good road but that the governor’s driver had a wrong attitude.

A couple of weeks ago, the former National Security Adviser, Owoeye Azazi who the President went to bury when he made this ‘attitude-declaration’, together with the Governor of Kaduna State Patrick Yakowa, perished in a naval helicopter crash on their way from the burial of the late father of a presidential aide. Investigations as to the cause of the helicopter crash are still going on but if the Presidential declaration is anything to go by, the odds are high that we may discover at the end of the day that the naval pilot who likewise perished in the helicopter crash had attitudinal challenges.

The pilot’s assistant and the aide of Governor Yakowa who lost their lives in the crash presumably also had attitudinal problems. This is why the President went personally to sympathize with the Yakowa family in Kaduna and the Azazi family in Lagos without extending the same gesture even if for only five minutes each to the families of the other deceased persons.

We now understand that the reason why Nigerians cannot enjoy uninterrupted power supply in spite of the billions of Naira pumped into the electricity generation, transmission and distribution industry is because of our attitudinal inhibitions.  Our President who knows best has probably been advised by officials of our electrical utility that if Nigerians enjoy uninterrupted power supply, out of sheer exuberance we may misuse the opportunity and one would no longer be able to tell the difference between day and night in Nigeria.

 Wives and children would no longer see their husbands and fathers at night since most men would be ‘working’ round the clock thereby endangering their health. Politicians and businessmen who secretly visit witch-doctors in the cover of darkness to make sacrifices and swear to oaths about securing government positions, winning elections or winning contracts would no longer be able to move about freely at night since there would be light everywhere and all their movements might be tracked by inquisitive journalists working on 24 hour shifts. Even our good roads would suffer as they would not have 6 hours of rest from the relentless traffic of one day before being subjected to the restless traffic of the next day.

We equally now understand that the reason why Nigerians cannot enjoy standard world class health facilities is that we would abuse the gesture due to our poor attitude. The officials of our health ministry have probably advised the President that if we have standard world class hospitals, Nigerians would over-indulge themselves confident that if their stomachs get too enlarged and distended they can easily check in to a local hospital for a tummy tuck operation. Worse still they may have convinced the President that with excellent medical facilities, Nigerians particularly the wretchedly honest ones would refuse to die thereby stretching our population to unsustainable levels and consuming the space meant for conformable people.

Well Mr. President is entitled to his opinion. But he who feels it knows it. We who feel the lash of corruption on a daily basis cannot mistake the hand wielding the whip. In this matter of corruption we do not need anyone to tell us otherwise for we are very certain that as our Lord Jesus Christ declared, what has been hidden from the wise and the learned has been revealed to mere babes and sucklings.

One of the ways the President seduced gullible Nigerians in the last Presidential elections was to reveal that out of poverty as a child, he was forced to go to school without shoes. Well Nigerians are now beginning to appreciate why God in his infinite wisdom permits certain things to happen. Perhaps God had all along seen something which the seduced Nigerians could not perceive. Nevertheless, we should be grateful to God for if people, who went about barefooted in their youth and who are now in a position to change things, can look on unconcerned or persist in outright denial while their nation is reduced to its knees by greedy, capricious elements, what would have happened to the nation if such people did not know suffering even for one day?

Speaking of being in denial, we have it on the good authority of the pre-eminent psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) and his daughter Anna Freud (1895 – 1982), that denial is a psychological defense mechanism in which a person faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to be accepted, rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Three forms of denial have been identified (Wikipedia). In simple denial, the individual denies the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether. In ‘denial by minimization’, the individual admits the fact but denies its seriousness. In ‘denial by projection’, the individual admits both the fact and its seriousness but denies responsibility of the fact by blaming somebody or something else.

It would appear that Mr. President is victim of one of the latter two forms of denial. It can be argued with merit that his ‘attitude-declaration’ admits the fact of corruption but denies its seriousness in causing the socio-economic turmoil in Nigeria (denial by minimization). It could also be argued with merit that the President’s attitude-declaration admits both the fact and seriousness of corruption but denies its responsibility for socio-economic turmoil in Nigeria transferring the blame on Nigerians’ attitude (denial by projection).

Whichever may the reality of the President’s condition of denial, what is irrefutable is that his utterance has injected a massive energizing boost to the franchise of corruption in Nigeria. There is a popular proverb among the Igbo (?) or Yoruba (?) people of Nigeria (I am curious to know its provenance) which aptly describes the situation. The proverb has it that a young urchin whose father has assured that there would be no consequences were he to burgle a particular house, does not bother with the usual niceties of inserting himself gingerly into the house via the roof or through a back window. In his zeal to impress his father, he marches confidently to the main entrance and tears it down with his bare feet.

That is the prevailing situation in Nigeria regarding the corruption franchise. And so courage, rejoice I say to all the looters in Nigeria. Courage, rejoice I say to all the extortionists in Nigeria. Courage, rejoice I say to all the kidnappers in Nigeria. Courage, rejoice I say to all the petty and grand thieves in Nigeria. Courage, rejoice I say to all the terrorists in Nigeria. Courage, rejoice I say to all the rapists in Nigeria. Courage, rejoice I say to all the blackmailers in Nigeria. Courage, rejoice I say to all the 419ers in Nigeria. Courage, you who persist in evil acts, take heart I say my brothers and sisters.

Take heart I repeat. For when the history of Nigeria is written by future generations; when the annals of the strange happenings in Nigeria are recounted by future historians, it would be said of the period 2010 AD to 2015 AD (?) about you looters, about you extortionists, about you kidnappers, about you petty thieves, about you grand thieves, about you terrorists, about you rapists, about you blackmailers and about you 419ers, about all who persist in evil acts – it would be said that this was their finest hour.

Happy New Year 2013 and as always May God bless Nigeria – in – distress.

Engr. A. C. Konwea, P.E.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01 January 2013 16:21 Written by

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the Jonathan Administration of engaging in
governance by deceit, saying the administration has been overstating its achievements and making fake promises to Nigerians.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also slammed the President’s Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, for making himself a purveyor of blatant lies and for having the temerity to denigrate the country’s opposition for daring to criticize a non-performing government.

It said only a government that swims in corruption and lacks self-respect and decency can pick as its spokesperson a man who has been shown to be an epitome of corruption by collecting funds for contracts that were not executed.

ACN said the government’s claim, through Dr. Okupe, that it will generate 780,000 jobs in 2013 through the ‘Young Graduate Employment Scheme’ and 5,000 jobs in each of the 36 states through SURE-P is the latest example of the Administration’s lies.

”Our advice to the teeming young graduates who have no jobs is that they should not allow themselves to be hoodwinked by this promise. They should remember that this same Administration promised to create 10,000 jobs in each of the 36 states through SURE-P in 2012. The year is over, and all we have now are phantom jobs and more fake promises,” the party said.

It also urged Nigerians to ensure that their generators are in good working condition, as the government’s promise of stable electricity in 2013 is as unrealistic as it is deceitful.

”The Administration said it has generated an all-time high 4,500 mega watts and will increase the number to 7,000MW in 2013. What a celebration of tokenism! In the first instance, the government should be ashamed to tell Nigerians it has been able to generate only 4,500MW from a huge expenditure of 16 billion dollars!

”Also, no one needs a rocket scientist to know that 4,500MW cannot ensure stable electricity supply in a country of 160 million people, when South Africa, with less than a third of Nigeria’s population, generates over 40,000MW.

The ACN advised Nigerians not to throw away their generators yet just because of an imaginary power stabilitypromised by a government spokesman who has nothing but disdain for the truth,” ACN said.

The party also faulted the Administration’s claim that the bombings and killings in the north have decreased from January to December, calling it fabricated cold comfort and a disservice to millions of our citizens who are daily being subjected to terror attacks, while President Jonathan, now a professional mourner, resorts to endless lamentation instead of decisive action.

”Well, we are not surprised at the claim of reduced terror attacks by the Jonathan Administration. After all, the same Administration claimed that global anti-corruption body Transparency International acknowledged Nigeria’s progress in fighting corruption, when nothing like that ever happened.

”To set the record straight, 750 people have been killed in terror attacks in the north this year, a figure higher than about 570 who were killed in 2011, and not counting the latest killings in Borno and Adamawa states,” it said.

ACN advised the Jonathan Administration to level up with Nigerians by admitting its failings and rolling up its sleeves, so to say, to reverse the ‘transmogrification’ which the President’s Transformation Agenda has become, instead of relying on a hypocritical spokesman to peddle lies to citizens who are already reeling under the failure of an impotent government.

 

Posted On Monday, 31 December 2012 03:56 Written by

*’I am Biafran leader’s son'

It was an interview that had to be conducted. After the declaration that  the late Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Ezigbo Gburugburu’s Will had been announced and a lion share had gone to Bianca Odinaka Olivia Ojukwu, the deceased’s wife, Sunday Vanguard set out to get all sides of the story, especially after the statements by Emeka Ojukwu, one of the children.

Today, we bring you an extensive interview with Chief Debe Ojukwu, the disinherited first child of the late Biafran warlord.  He spoke about the Ojukwu Nigerians and Igbos never knew, just as he spoke about Bianca, his father’s wife, and her role as a small mother in the house.  This is a first part.
Excerpts:

By Charles Kumolu &  Gbenga Oke

How was it like growing up with you father,  Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, at the time when he was the leader of Biafra, particularly given that he had multitude of challenges to contend with as the leader of the Biafran nation?

My name is Chief Debe Ojukwu, I am the eldest child of the late Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu. I am a lawyer. I am a community leader.
I did not stay with him during the war just like every other person.

Where were you at that time?  Because it was  reported that you had to change from the school you were attending in Lagos to Government College Afikpo?
That was not what happened. I schooled in Lagos.

I had gained admission into some elite school in Lagos at a very young age of nine. Then the war interrupted that progress and we all had to relocate to the East.

I am telling you about 1965. I was born on August 3, 1956. By 1965, I was nine years old and had taken the common entrance examination. Because of the crisis that broke in 1965, I could not carry on with that, we had to relocate to the East.

You would have lost some years
Yes.  Most of us lost three years because of the war.
Most of us did not go to school between 1968, 1969 and 1970.
Where were you all these while?
I was all the time with my mum in Enugu.

Why your mum?
Yes because it was safer to be with her. Being with her shielded me from my father’s personality, because it would be easy to attack the son of my father during the war.

 After the war?
When the war ended in 1970, I got into Saint Mary’s Uwani. After that, I entered Government Secondary School Afikpo. Then the school was temporarily quartered in Enugu at the Institute of Administration, which is now Enugu State University of Science and Technology, because  soldiers were living at the premises of Government Secondary School Afikpo. We were there until 1973  when the soldiers left there. I left and traveled to see my father, who was in exile in Ivory Coast. I visited him  a couple of times. He asked me what I wanted to do; I told him I wanted to go to Harvard. I applied and they said I met their criteria. I took my London GCE in class three because I had lost three years because of the war and I wanted to regain those three years. I was always the first in my class. When I took it (London GCE) in class three, I entered for only five papers, which were English, Physics, Maths, Chemistry and Biology. Then in Afikpo, our pride was reading the sciences. My father okayed my going to Afikpo, after spending some time with him in Ivory Coast, I came back to Nigeria and discovered that I made four papers out of five. That was what hindered my going to Harvard. Since I couldn’t proceed along the line I’d wished for, I decided to join the Nigeria Police Force.

Police Force?  How were your days  in the police?
The aim of joining the police was to make money and pay for my private tuition because I felt that one could make it by dint of hardwork, instead of the stereotyped way. It was an adventure. I trained at Police College, Ikeja, after which I was posted to Aba. From there, I was posted to Afikpo. After that, I was called back by the Force to do the Inspector course because my four credits qualified me to join as a cadet Inspector rather than constable. I went to the college and had people like Hafiz Ringim, Saleh Abubakar, Audu Abubakar, Abinu Shawa and others as course mates. I could have stayed back with the four credits, but I went to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka,UNN, to study law in 1981. I got my LLB after four years as the first known name to do that without troubles. I finished my studies at the appropriate time. I went back to the police after graduation and at the expiration of my study leave.
How did the Force treat you?  Were there prejudices?
The Force was very cagey, I lost promotions on certain occasions because certain interests felt I was there to finish what my father could not accomplish. Because of that I was drafted to go for cadet training, which I should not have gone for  because I was already an officer. However, I proceeded and graduated as the best student.  I was the first police officer that got a presidential commission because of my performance. We were the first set of the Police Academy.

I was in police until I was now invited to come and manage my grandfather’s properties. Actually it is the management of the properties that is the cause of the whole hoopla.

Before we get to the issue of the hoopla, you just told us that you visited your dad in Ivory Coast on many occasions. Can we know how your father’s family operated while he was in exile in that country?
When he went on exile, he had a woman who was with him.
That was Emeka’s mum and people took her as the First Lady of Biafra. Her name is Njideka.
But while they were in exile, they fell apart and she came back to Nigeria.
She did not come back with her children. Emeka and his siblings remained with my father in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast.
It was when she left that Stella Onyedor stepped in.

He came back from exile with Stella.
He stayed with Stella and, after her, Bianca came in.
I had always stayed with my mum. And we occasionally visited dad.
Ideally, when a child is small, the custody is granted to the mother until the child becomes an adult. I always visited and stayed with my father in Ivory Coast, he stayed in Cocoordi and Benjaville. Then my grandmother was staying in Gwake. The family had always been there. It was like a war situation, the family was scattered like that until he came back in 1982 and started bringing the family together in Nigeria.

Coming back, can you recollect how it was for him in the early days of his return?
When he returned, he found out that most of his family things and issues were not well organised. You know what it means for a man to be away from home for thirteen years under those circumstances. That was why his children lived at variance – scattered.

 What was the relationship between you, your siblings and your father before Bianca came into the family?
It was a very cordial relationship. I did not suffer because my mother shielded me  and that is why I am very level headed. For the other children, my father started playing mother and father’s role until Stella stepped in.
Stella will pretend to play mother but it could not be like their own mother.
There could  always be friction under such circumstance. But my father has always been overtly protective of his children. So, I can figure that when Bianca came in, I was too old to start expecting maternal care, because I was like a big brother to her. When she came in there was this war of attrition.

Please give an instance of this?
The first one happened with Emeka’s younger sister.
I understood there was a day she and Bianca fought in the kitchen.

Fight! How?
Yes they fought in the kitchen, so I was made to understand.

Was your father not in?  How could that have happened?
He was in.
He came into the kitchen and took sides with Bianca and that was what made that girl to leave the house till date.
She was expecting her father to protect her, but the father turned and protected his wife. She could not understand that till date. That is the kind of attrition then, because all of them were age mates. Chukwuemeka was born in 1965, the sister Mimi, was born 1966 and Bianca was born in 1967, so it was easier for me to put in authority because I was much older than them.

This is a follow up to that question. Did Bianca’s coming create any frosty relationship between your father and the larger Ojukwu family?
It did not. The larger family was not united then for certain reasons.
My own father was the first natural child of my grandfather. That was the bone of contention. They were not of full blood. Based on that, there had always been petty jealousy among them. My father had always argued that they were not his brothers, but he went on to make a name for himself outside my grandfather’s name. That fame definitely attracted envy from some members of the larger family. So, during the war they could not talk to him.
But after the war, they started gaining their voices.
During the war, some of them were working with the Red Cross in Biafra.
He never betrayed his brothers because he was the Head of State. And that was the benevolent attitude he had.
But after the war, some felt that the giant had fallen and it was time they have their own pound of flesh. After the war, they did not make attempts to recover my grandfather’s assets in most parts of the country. They were only concerned with the ones in the East which they were using for their immediate needs. My father was writing letters from Ivory Coast to them, telling them to go and recover the seized properties. Maybe some thought he would die in exile, but God,in His infinite mercies, made it possible for the Federal Government to grant him pardon and he came back to Nigeria.

If you check, you will discover that most people that fought civil wars in history died in exile. Robert Lee of the United States of America and others died. But if you check, you will discover that my father led with justice, equity and kindness. And that contributed to making the pardon he received from the Federal Government possible.
For instance, history has it that sometimes he would  come to share relief materials to the populace because he felt that the officials were not doing enough.

When he came back, the issue at stake was the properties, but the properties were abandoned properties. And nobody did anything about  them in his absence until 1993 when then President Babangida released the properties to him.
It was after the release that the litigation started. And they started laying claim to them. After the war they started arguing about who was going to be the executor. They had running battle for the properties. The same people, who are with me in court today, were the same people fighting him in  court then.

So, the larger Ojukwu family had always had friction about properties.
And when the properties were released to him, he refused to administer them with the family. It was based on that refusal that they approached me, and said they trusted me.
They said they were going to surrender the ones they were holding and begged that I manage all the properties.
That was how I started administering it to preserve my grandfather’s legacy.
When I was doing it successfully, my dad was happy. They will come behind my father to instigate me against him, saying that he maltreated me and he did not pay my school fees, but I was not interested in that.
They will also go back to him to tell him that a child trained by a poor teacher could not be successful. Bianca was not instrumental to the quarrel in the larger Ojukwu family.
But when she now saw the problem brewing, she bought into it.

Could you expatiate on this issue of your father being a natural son of the late Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu?
There is a way natural issue comes up. Natural one is when you meet a woman and copulate with her in order to produce a child. That is a natural child. There are children you adopt from the motherless babies home. There are children your wife may have had before marrying you and you automatically become their step dad. The one you adopted is your adopted son; the one from your wife is your step son. There is also another one called foster child. There is even the one they call professional son. So the natural son is the one you had through the natural means of coitus. Even if you have a child through artificial insemination, people might say he is not your natural son. So when I say natural, I know what I am saying and DNA can confirm that. But no matter any means you get a son, once he calls you father, you should treat him as a son. That was why in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo was told not to have a hand in the killing of Ikemefuna because the boy called him father.
What would you say Bianca brought to the family, having known your father as a  man who fought hard and survived and needed comfort?
She brought comfort, youth and vitality. But then it drove my dad, because I had always been of the opinion that if my father had a woman of my mother’s age living with him, things would have been different and stablised.
But then when you marry  a woman of a certain age which is at variance with your age, the drive would be fast but it leads to accident.

 Accident, how?
For instance, the younger girl might want to go to a party and you will not have any option than putting on jeans and attending the party with her at the age of 60.
There was a day we went to Eko le Meridian Hotel. The hotel had a restaurant at the sixteenth floor. It was for  Valentine and other expensive dinners. I went with my wife, then she was my girlfriend and my father came in with Bianca. I hope you understand how I would feel in that situation. You know, ideally, I should not be running into my father with a young lady in a restaurant at that age.

On the issue of the Will, you will agree that since it was read in Enugu it has been generating a lot of controversies. Your younger brother, Emeka, does not also seem to reckon with the Will. Can we know if you have reservations on the contents of this Will?
I do not know why she conspired against me. The first reservation is that it is no Will.
That thing is a forged document.  I have already filed a caveat, so there is no Will.
It is when the caveat will go to trial and I give my voice alongside whomever that is championing it, then it would be tried.
On the surface, you will find out that it is a forged document.
In law, there is what we call Nemo dat quod non habet. It means that you don’t give what you don’t have.

But if Ojukwu shared his properties the way he wished, why should that be anybody’s problem?
It is your right as an individual to acquire and dispose property. If that is how he has chosen to dispose his properties, there is no problem.
My only reservation is some of my properties were among those shared. There was the one my grandmother gave me when she was alive.

 Are these properties located in Enugu or where?
I am talking about the one at Nnewi.
She told the whole family that she had given the land to me. She took about eight of us to her village and introduced us to her family.
Emeka was also there. I am her eldest grandchild from Nnewi, but I am not her eldest grandchild. She had three children.  One daughter and two sons!
The daughter had one son and three daughters. And Tom Biggard, who died during the civil war, had one daughter and three sons. Then my father is in the middle. So being the eldest of the grandchildren in Nnewi, she gave me the land she bought at Nnewi and she told everybody.

You have dismissed the Will as a forged document. Can you really tell us your position on how the properties were distributed in the document viz a viz who got what?
It is a forgery.

In law, Will is called Volonte in French. It means wish.
This question would have been okay if I was satisfied that what is contained in that document was the wish of my late father. It is someone’s Will, so it is left for that person to come and tell us how he acquired the property.
That is not my father’s Will because he could not have devised my property. That was my first reaction before I discovered that it is a fraud, which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Police should investigate because anybody that does that is a petty criminal. And there are pre-conditions for occupying public office.
If someone has been proved to have contravened any of the pre-conditions, that person should be stripped of whatever has been given to the person.

Courtesy: Vanguard

Posted On Sunday, 30 December 2012 14:29 Written by

But to counteract a phenomenon, we must first of all study and characterize that phenomenon. So far we have qualitatively identified the 80% base and 20% tip of corruption in Nigeria by applying Pareto’s Principle. Yet how do these two groupings inter-relate and interact?

Well once a while, when a promising or upwardly mobile suspected member of the 80% base catches the fancy of the knighted 20% tip of corruption, he or she, if found worthy, becomes “their man or woman”. He or she is appointed into a position of influence or secures a mind-boggling contract or is allowed to ‘win’ an election.  By so doing, this base practitioner of corruption is thrown a life line to climb into the inner sanctum or upper chamber of the infrastructure of corruption. This appointment then heralds one of the few public occasions of ‘extended corrupt family reunion’ when the knighted 20% tip meet and mingle with the base 80% in a uniquely Nigerian celebration of corruption.

One such mythical occasion held a couple of years ago. On that day the setting could not have been more auspicious. The venue at the Banquet Hall of the State House complex was filled to capacity with significant overflow into the adjoining streets of those deemed unworthy to gain entrance into the complex.

Outside in the streets, there was drumming. There was traditional music. There was dancing. There were trumpet blasts and clashing cymbals. There were men and women. There were otherwise busy people and there were jobless people. Inside the complex there were the gentry and there were also a few suave political urchins.  They were all gathered to witness the occasion of the swearing in of their sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, kinsmen, kinswomen,   old class mates, ex-work mates as Ministers of the Federation.

Every- one wanted to be a part of the joyous occasion. Many from the hinterland had crossed mighty rivers and traversed tiny brooks to grace the occasion. Others had climbed over the hills and gone down the valleys to be there. Many came with presents and congratulatory cards, some as high as pubescent children, others as wide as security gates.  While there was agitated commotion outside, most inside the banquet hall were seated and conversing animatedly while awaiting the arrival of His Excellency, to kick-off the occasion. The hot topic of discussion of course was the as yet undisclosed portfolios of the new appointees to His Excellency’s cabinet.

At the front row of seats to one side of the aisle sat the new appointees, behind them their immediate families and invited guests. On the other side of the aisle sat the movers and shakers of society a good percentage of who were acclaimed knights of the corruption industry and leading lights of the elite 20% cadre of corrupt activity in Nigeria.

All the ministerial appointees seated that day had scaled through screenings held at the senate a couple of weeks earlier but in a typical Nigerian sop to corruption, they were all screened without any body in the senate knowing their designated cabinet portfolios. Their actual postings were closely held state secrets known only to one man, His Excellency and maybe his wife, the first lady. Deciphering these soon to be revealed secrets was the subject of the heated conversations in the ceremony hall alluded to earlier.

Since the conclusion of the senate screenings and prior to this D-day, leaked cabinet portfolio assignment lists were being circulated and discounted by His Excellency’s office with the same regularity as the ticking of London’s Big Ben. Intensive horse trading was going on as competing captains in the corruption industry tried to out-maneuver and out-flank their rivals in order to secure more favorable cabinet postings for themselves or their wards. Now was the moment of decision, to see who was going to get what.

While the seated nominees tried in vain to contain their excitement, their sponsors on the other side of the aisle were furiously working their phones trying to make last minute contacts with staff and family of His Excellency and even His Excellency himself in order to establish the character of the final cabinet posting.

Finally His Excellency walked in. Everyone rose to their feet. The national anthem was played. A top official presumably the Chief of Staff or Chief of Protocol gave an introductory speech reminding everyone why they were gathered.   He briefly introduced the nominees who stood up and remained standing once they were called. Having completed his speech which those in the hall paid scant attention to, he asked His Excellency for permission to invite the nominees for the swearing in. And so they were called up one after the other. They stood before His Excellency and took their oaths of office still oblivious of their eventual postings.

Now the moment had arrived. The time for His Excellency’s much awaited speech. His Excellency did not disappoint his detractors. His speech outlined the giant strides his rogue regime had made over the years. He listed so many projects that had been started without mentioning any that had been completed.  His speech was mainly futuristic and as always, short on specifics but long on propaganda. We will do this, we will do that he vowed repeatedly. He could not mention one thing he had actually done in his many years in power.

He then made the normal noises about having zero tolerance for corruption and warning that any among the nominees found to be corrupt would be sacked and prosecuted. It would no longer be business as usual he vowed and I mean it he said as if trying to convince even himself of his seriousness this time. A few knights of corruption present in the hall yawned and muttered under their breadths “Get on with it man, we have heard all of this before. Announce the postings.” On and on His Excellency’s speech went without any mention of the cabinet postings.

Meanwhile even as he spoke, his Chief of Staff quietly issued out a press statement to the media outlets present, listing the much awaited cabinet postings. This was immediately flashed on live TV as a breaking news item even while His Excellency was still talking. As soon as His Excellency finished giving his speech, he received a warm though disappointed applause from the audience oblivious of the cabinet postings announced on live TV. The national anthem was played and His Excellency rose and left the hall as noisily as he came with his embarrassing retinue of fawning aides.

And there was bedlam. The media rushed to one re-appointee, a veritable and venerable knight of corruption who it had been strongly rumored would secure the lucrative Public Works Ministry. “Congratulations Sir”, they chorused. “It has just been announced on air that you have been appointed as the Minister of Internal Peace and Harmony”.  “Myself”? This was the shocked response of the reappointed Minister. “There must be a mix up somewhere, but I was assured that …..” he cut-off his speech as he recollected himself. “Em, eh,  no comments… I will speak to you later” he spurted as he stormed out of the venue in search of His Excellency for an explanation.

Immediately the countenance of his kinsmen and friends changed as they digested the implications of the tragedy of their man being assigned to the dry Ministry of Internal Peace and Harmony. The drumming by their accompanying musicians ceased abruptly and all without exception wore long faces as if in a funeral.

Meanwhile another appointee, a first time Minister, was beside himself with joy. All the political and media gurus present were unanimous that his was the shock appointment of the day. Against all personal and media expectations, he had just learnt that he had been appointed as the Minister of Exploratory Works. His mentor who had assured him of a wonderful surprise had not failed him.

His mind did a mental recollection of how far and how quickly he had risen in the industry (of corruption).  He remembered how he had kept very little to himself and channeled all the proceeds of his brazen corrupt practices to his mentor and other backers in his last very minor posting as a mere board member in a dry government parastatal.

His wife had called him a very foolish man who fails to make hay while the sun shines but he had assured her that he was a strategic thinker, a very patient man.  Apparently his lavish returns had not gone unnoticed in high places.

Today was his vindication. At such a young age, for he was barely above 40 years, he had become a full Minister of Exploratory Works in an oil rich nation.

He quietly vowed to himself, that going forward he had only three constituencies to satisfy. The first beneficiary would definitely be His Excellency, the man who appointed him against all odds and expectations. Yes he would get the lion share of future dividends of corruption.

The second beneficiary would be his mentor who had put his name forward, yes that old lion of corruption, of whom it was rumored that he once mentored even His Excellency himself many years ago and who had delivered on his promise today. The third beneficiary would be his very self.  Others would make do with scraps.

Yes he had arrived he thought to himself. He had become a full-fledged capo régime in the corruption industry. His strategic bent seized him as he allowed himself to think of the emerging possibilities. His zone of the country had never produced the President. Yes who knows, if he plays his cards well, he could even make a go for the Presidency after the Incumbent’s tenure. What an achievement this would be for you old boy he flattered himself only to be shocked into reality by the Reporter’s nagging question. “We are on live T.V. Sir; I was asking you about your reaction to your appointment as the Minister of Exploratory Works and your agenda for your Ministry”.

The young Minister’s response was immediate. “Oh I am sorry. I did not quite get you. I want to first of all thank His Excellency for deeming me worthy of this appointment” He switched swiftly into the coded language of the corruption industry with a message within a message. “And please quote me precisely here. I wish to assure His Excellency publicly that I would never disappoint him. Those who know me know my track record that I never fail in any assignment given to me. I will take some time to study my Ministry and establish what is on the ground; get clearance from His Excellency before I begin to implement my vision for moving my Ministry and the nation forward. Thank you. “

The young minister moved on pumping the hands and pressing the flesh of the adoring crowd that had gathered around him. His accompanying drummers and dancers raised the decibel of their performance to even higher levels as they set out for a huge reception party.

Watch out for Part 3.

Engr. A. C. Konwea, P.E.; Email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 Managing Consultant,

 Strategic Research Consortium Limited, Asaba, Nigeria.

 

 

 


Posted On Thursday, 27 December 2012 19:27 Written by

US President Barack Obama has cut short his holidays in Hawaii and is flying to Washington to try to reach a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

Unless a compromise is found, tax increases and huge spending cuts come into force on 1 January, threatening to tip the US back into recession.

However, Democrats and Republicans are still at loggerheads over the issue.

Meanwhile, the US Treasury has announced measures to prevent it hitting a legal limit on its borrowing.

Default warning

In an open letter to the Democrat US Senate majority leader Harry Reid, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the Treasury would enact a series of extraordinary accounting measures to free up about $200bn from the government's official borrowing figure.

He said that the measures should prevent the government from reaching the $16.4tn "debt ceiling" - the legal limit set by Congress on how much the US government can borrow - for about another two months beyond 31 December.

The measures include:

  • halting certain financial assistance provided by the Federal government to state and local governments
  • suspending government contributions to retirement funds for civil servants and postal workers
  • suspending contributions to an emergency fund that the government can draw on to defend the value of the dollar

He warned that without them, the government would run out of cash on Monday and "the United States would otherwise default on its legal obligations".

Legislation passed by Congress sets out how much the US government spends on the likes of social security and defence, whilst also legally defining how much the government can raise in taxes.

By imposing a third legal limit - the debt ceiling - the government faces a potentially impossible situation in which it must either disregard the debt ceiling, raise taxes without legal authority, or else default on some of its spending obligations.

The last time that the US government ran up against the debt ceiling, in the summer of 2011, President Obama negotiated a last-minute increase with the Republican-controlled Congress, from $14.3tn to the current $16.4tn limit.

That deal effectively created the phenomenon known as the fiscal cliff - $600bn in automatic tax rises and spending cuts due to come into force on 1 January 2013.

Republicans and Democrats agreed to these draconian measures to slash the government's rate of overspending - its deficit - as a fall-back position, on the assumption that a more sensible agreement on how to cut the deficit would be reached in the meantime.

'Silent corridors'

What is the fiscal cliff?

  • On 1 January 2013, tax increases and huge spending cuts are due to come into force - the so-called fiscal cliff
  • Deadline was put in place in 2011 to force president and Congress to agree ways to save money over the next 10 years
  • Fear is that raising taxes while massively cutting spending will have huge impact on households and businesses
  • Experts believe it could push the US into recession, and have a global impact on growth

Mr Obama is expected to meet Republican leaders again to try to negotiate a solution, although no new date has been announced.

Republicans oppose cuts to defence spending as well as the expiration of income tax cuts on the highest earners, which date from George W Bush's presidency.

Democrats want to maintain financial support for lower-income families - including a payroll tax cut and extended unemployment benefits - and oppose cuts to entitlements such as Medicare and social security.

Both sides are keen to avoid taking the blame for the sudden contraction in the government's rate of overspending that would result if no deal is reached.

Failure to do so could damage the US and global markets, and threatens to send the US economy into recession.

Brinkmanship over the 2011 debt ceiling negotiations prompted the rating agency Standard & Poor's to strip the US of its top-ranking AAA credit rating.

The two sides remain far apart, but analysts say a short-term deal may be agreed that will postpone the cuts until spring.

On Wednesday, the Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner called on the Democrat-led Senate to come up with legislation on how it would avoid the cliff, and pass it to the House for consideration.

However, a senior administration official said it was up to Republican leaders not to stand in the way of an agreement.

Despite this, there is little sense of urgency in the capital - the corridors of Congress are silent, the BBC's Zoe Conway in Washington reports.

 

 

Posted On Thursday, 27 December 2012 11:27 Written by

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