Sunday, 25 February 2018

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Wednesday, 20 February 2013 15:02

Nolloywood actor, Justus Esiri, is dead

Justus Esiri, a veteran Nollywood actor, is dead. The death of Esiri, an actor since the 70s, comes less than a week after the Nigerian entertainment industry lost hip-pop artiste, Goldie to the cold-hands.

Esiri is most popular or his role as ‘Headmaster’ in the nationwide series Village Headmaster which aired on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in the 80s.

One of the actor’s sons – the very popular pop singer Sidney ‘Dr SID’ Esiri put up a photo of Esiri on his Twitter avatar and updated his bio as ‘RIP Dad‘.

Dr SID did not pick up our calls or reply our text message to confirm the story as at the time of this report.

 

 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:52

Family of 7 kidnapped in Cameroon, near Nigeria

Seven French tourists, members of the same family—three adults and four children, were kidnapped Tuesday by unidentified men in northern Cameroon, near the border with Nigeria, a source close to the French embassy in Yaounde said.

President Francois Hollande of France believed the Nigerian Ansaru terror group, the same group that kidnapped seven foreigners at a construction site, run by SETRACO in Jama’are, Bauchi state of Nigeria, was behind the latest abduction.

“Seven French tourists were captured today by men, apparently on motorbikes, in the Cameroonian locality of Dadanga on the frontier with Nigeria,” the source said. “Clearly the tourists were returning from the Waza natural park.”

A security source in the area told AFP the kidnapping “involved three adults and four children,” adding that security forces were hunting for the kidnappers the length of the border with Nigeria.

An anonymous source in Waza park said the tourists went to visit the park yesterday. “They slept in the park’s tourist camp where they left this morning,” the source said.

It’s the first time that Western tourists have been kidnapped in Cameroon, although hostage taking frequently occurs off the Cameroonian coast, the last incident dating back to February 8.

President Francois Hollande confirmed that seven French tourists from one family, including four children, were kidnapped Tuesday in northern Cameroon and said he suspected a Nigeria group was responsible.

“What is most probable is they were taken to Nigeria,” Hollande said, adding that they were seized by a Nigeria-based “terrorist group that we know well”.

Thank God Almighty, per chance Nigerians may at last get rid of the PDP in 2015. Yes, we all want the ravaging PDP out of power and out of our lives. You do not need to talk to thousands of Nigerians to realize this fact; just meet a few people in the streets of any part of the country and the same narrative will inevitably keep coming back at you – Nigerians today want the PDP out of power even more than they had wanted the military out in 1999. The reason is simple; the PDP has wrecked the country in its 13 years in office even more than the military did in its 29 years in power – whether it is on our national unity, politics, economy, corruption, insecurity, infrastructure, crime, dishonesty in leadership, theft, looting of public funds, or any other aspect of our national life, the PDP has done worse than the military. So, Nigerians understandably want them out.

But wanting the PDP out will not get the PDP out unless and until concrete and determined steps are taken. I see in the formation of the All Progressive Congress (APC) such determined step. However, while Nigerians are ever ready to support the mega party achieve this noble objective, the APC itself must on its own take the necessary measures if it really means to win fair and square in the presidential elections of 2015. Naturally, the best step the APC will take to win the election is by fielding in candidates with mass public support. To this end, it is in my considered opinion that fielding in of General Mohammad Buhari (Rtd) and Sen. Bola Tinubu as its Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates respectively is the surest way of guaranteeing an electoral victory. The political calculation is simple, and the electoral mathematics is easy; Buhari, more than any politician in the North, commands the support of the Northern populace. Therefore, fielding in any other candidate than Buhari will turn off the North against the party in the same way as how CPC’s fielding in of a South-Westerner other than Tinubu as its Vice Presidential candidate in the 2011 presidential election turned off the zone against the CPC; because Tinubu, more than any politician south of the Niger commands the support of the Southwest zone. Therefore, it is common sense that if APC now fields in Buhari and Tinubu in 2015, victory of the party is assured. Mathematically, the electoral forte of the two geopolitical zones of Northwest and Southwest alone put together constitute 46.3% of the national electoral strength, based on the 2010 voter’s registration. Driving from the voting pattern of these zones over the years, once APC puts in the above joint presidential ticket, PDP has not a chance in the presidential election come what may?

The South-west zone currently has a total number of 14,296,163 registered voters, which represents 19.44% of the total number of voters nationwide. In terms of national electoral strength, the zone is number 2. Taking into account the electoral behavior of the South-west since independence, the zone has proven itself, without exception, of incapable of voting anyone other than its own. In the 1st Republic it voted mainly Action Group in favour of Chief Obafemi Awolowo with about 69% voters’ turnout. In the 2nd Republic, it voted 78.75% of its total votes cast for UPN in favour of Chief Awolowo, with 70% voters’ turnout. In the June 12, 1993presidential election, the pattern was repeated more or less the same, except that the total percentage of SDP’s votes in favour of Chief MKO Abiola rose up to 84.5% in the zone. In the 1999 presidential election, mainly because the only two candidates for the presidency were both from the South-west, the zone’s voters’ turnout was abysmally low (48.09%) with about 68% of the votes cast to ANPP in favour of Chief Olu Falaye. 2003 also recorded poor voters’ turnout with 71% of votes cast to Obasanjo’s  PDP. In 2011 the South west voted PDP when a functional alliance with the North failed to field in Sen. Tinubu.

Like the South-west, the electoral pattern of the North-west too has shown, without exception, that it does not elect anyone other than its own. This trend includes the much celebrated June 12 presidential election where Chief Abiola was given an average votes cast of 42.9% by the zone. Even this score was unusually high, and can be attributed to the personality profile of Chief Abiola, including his faith. For the record, it should be pointed out that the North-west zone always led the nation in terms of number of registered voters. For the 2011 elections, the zone has 19,803,689, representing 26.93% of the national electoral strength, the highest in the country.

With a total of 10,749,059 voters in the 2011 polls, representing 14.62% of the national voters, the North-east zone is the 4th in terms of electoral strength in the country. Most often it votes its own, but where absent it goes with the North-west. Although ethnically heterogeneous, it largely shares common history, faith and cultural values with the North-west. These may have accounted for the often common political stand between the two zones. On this score, we can confidently assert that the zone will go not less than 65% for Gen. Buhari, as the 2003, 2007 and 2011 polls showed. Added to the fact that Buhari was once the governor of the entire zone, there is a sentimental political attachment to the man that somehow remains through the years. If every vote will count, as the nation expects it to count in 2015, then APC with Buhari as its presidential candidate is very much at home in the zone. Also, there will very high voter turnout.

The North-central has 11,627,490 voters representing 15.81% of the total electoral strength of the country. It is the home of about 70% of what is generically term as “Northern Minorities”. But about 50% of the populace is historically and politically affiliated to the ‘Northern Caliphate Establishment’; and over the years this affiliation has translated into electoral votes to the establishment. Barring any other consideration, this factor is also likely to reflect in the 2015 presidential election in favour of the APC. Likewise, the fielding in of Sen. Tinubu as the Vice Presidential candidate will guarantee the votes of the Southwest to the new party. How therefore can PDP, with Jonathan and Namadi Sambo as its flag-bearers, win the election? Even if Sambo, with no electoral value to his party, as the 2011 general elections had shown, has been dropped as the PDP’s Vice Presidential candidate, it would still not help the party’s electoral fortune.

On the other hand, the fielding in of Buhari/Tinubu by the APC as its candidates will force PDP to seriously consider dropping Jonathan and Sambo as its Presidential nominees in 2015 so as to bring in a Northerner and South Easterner as it’s Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates respectively in an effort to split the Northern votes and guarantee the Southeast votes to the party. But even this plausible strategy cannot help the PDP win the election in the sense that the Southeast has the least electoral strength in the county, with a total of less than 8,899, 438, which cannot upturn the votes of the Southwest. Besides, on the other hand, the Politics of fielding in or dropping off President Jonathan and Vice President as its Presidential nominees will further breakdown the PDP and weaken it to the point it cannot win the election, whichever way its ticket goes. The power tussle will be such that it will become apparent to the nation that the PDP is finished, and this perception will be irreversible and will determine the outcome of the general election.

On the other hand, the fielding of General Buhari as the Presidential candidate will be of tremendous advantage to the APC on one fundamental front; unarguably, Nigerians are all agreed that the foremost problem of the country is dishonest leadership. Nigerians are also agreed, arguably, that Buhari is the most honest politician in the country, judging from his past leadership antecedents. If therefore Nigerians want to resolve the nation’s fundamental problem, then fielding in of Buhari is the logical solution; it will be like placing a round peg is a round hole.

To validate Buhari’s leadership honesty, let’s take for comparison, his peers in the leadership circle. For example, it is an indisputable fact that former president OlusegunObasanjo is stupendously wealthy, Gen. Ibrahim Babaginda is stupendously wealthy, Gen. T. Y. Danjuma is stupendously wealthy, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar is stupendously wealthy, Alh. Atiku Abubakar is stupendously wealthy, Gen. Aliyu Gusau is stupendously wealthy, Gen. Sani Abacha died stupendously wealthy, Gen. ShehuYar’adua died stupendously wealthy, to mention but a few of his peers. But Gen. Buhari is nationally acknowledged to be a poor man, relative to these men. All those abovementioned made their stupendous wealth by leveraging on public offices (i.e. trading on official influence) for a fee and investing the proceeds, thereby guaranteeing them a control and command of a particular sector of the National economy and living a stupendously wealthy life thereafter. Unlike MKO Abiola who never was a public servant, none of the above wealthy men made their money outside public service. Also, unlike Sen. Bola Tinubu who joined public service as a wealthy private sector man, none of the above listed wealthy men went into public service wealthy; all of them went into public service as poor men from very poor backgrounds.

In contrast to them all, Gen. Buhari went into public service poor and came out relatively poor. Interestingly, Buhari held more strategic and lucrative public positions capable of turning him, if he so desired like others, a stupendously wealthy or even wealthier man than each and every one of them. He was governor of Northeastern state for almost a year; he was Minister of Petroleum and Chairman of NNPC Board for three and half years; he was Head of State and Commander -in-Chief for almost two years; and he was Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund, (PTF) for three years. All these are public offices that could turn a man into a multi billionaire overnight for life, but Gen. Buhari went into them and came out of them without amassing wealth for himself or members of his immediate family. This is a clear proof that he had given honest leadership; a fundamental solution to the current problem of our country. And, as the universal dictum goes, honesty is the best policy. As Nigerians, faced with the dear problem of nation-building, we will be better off with a little bit of honesty, in accessing our potential leaders, in fielding them up in public offices and in them rendering leadership. But if we fail to do so and become misguided by our sentiments, emotions or selfish interests, then we are dooming not only our generation but the generation yet to come.

My position therefore irrevocably stands on a Buhari/Tinubu candidacy as the surest presidential ticket to give APC and Nigerians the desired victory. Once I get some little money in my pocket and I hear that APC has started registering members, I will be off for Imo State, heading to Owerri-West LGA, and straight to my Ndegwu/Amakohia-Ubi Ward to register as an APC member so as to vote for the Buhari/Tinubu presidential ticket thereby ensuring that this all important joint ticket of the party materializes.

Bye bye PDP.

Long live APC,

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

 

For Dame Patience Jonathan, wife of Nigeria’s President, Sunday 17 February, was a day of thanksgiving and praises to God over the still mysterious illness that took her away from the country for many weeks last year without any official explanations by the Presidency.

Though the first lady did not lift the lid on the nature of her affliction during the thanksgiving which began at Aso Rock Presidential Villa on Sunday morning, she however left no one in doubt that it was life threatening as she revealed that she was dead for a week and had nine surgeries within one month at the German hospital she was treated.

In her testimony during the thanksgiving service attended by her husband, members of the Nigerian cabinet and bigwigs of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mrs. Jonathan said she would have been dead but for God’s intervention.

The wife of Nigeria’s President added that her condition was so critical that she was the one asking for the surgeries while her travail lasted. She added that God gave her a second chance and sent her back to earth even after she gave up the ghost because she has not completed the assignments He gave her.

Mrs Jonathan who likened her case to that of Biblical Lazarus said but for the divine intervention, her corpse would have been brought back to the country like that of Stella, the late wife of former President Obasanjo who died in Spain where she went for a tummy reducing operation.

“I am not Lazarus but my experience was similar to his. My doctors said all hope was lost. A black doctor in London who is with us in this service was flown in when the situation became critical. It was God himself in His infinite mercy that said I will return to Nigeria. God woke me up after seven days”, Mrs Jonathan said.

“I know that some people somehow leaked the information that I was dead. They are people that I trust and rely on; to them, I was dead and I would never return to the country alive. Some of them even sold my things off. “I won’t say everything here. It is the Lord’s doing that I returned alive. When God says yes, nobody can say no”, she added.

Mrs. Jonathan said her experience has now made her more committed to serving humanity: “The day I came back, I said God I have nothing to say, I offer myself to you. I will be doing things that will touch the lives of the less privilege”, she said.

The thanksgiving was rounded off with a session of praise and thanksgiving at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa Abuja attended by President Jonathan, former Head of State Yakubu Gowon and Ernest Shonekan, Vice President Namadi Sambo and his wife, Christian clerics led by Pastor Ayo Oritshejafor, President, Christian Association of Nigeria, members of PDP, technocrats, ministers, businessmen and others.

Speaking at the event in which notable gospel musicians like Yinka Ayefele, Asu Ekiye and Onyeka Onwenu performed, Mrs. Jonathan thanked her husband, friends and her staff for standing by her during the period of her illness. While thanking Nigerians whose prayers, she said contributed to her healing, Mrs Jonathan however asked Nigerians to continue to pray for inhabitants of Aso Rock presidential Villa.

The First Lady who also reiterated her commitment to continue to serve humanity, especially doing things that will touch the lives of the less privileged in the society implored Nigerians to continue to pray for their leaders at every level.
Significantly, the Presidency had insisted that Mrs. Jonathan was not ill, but only resting abroad when it became public knowledge that the President’s wife, Patience has been evacuated to Germany.

Mrs. Jonathan’s spokesman, Ayo Osinlu, told journalists on 3 September 2012 that the President’s wife travelled out of the country to take a “moment’s rest”, though he refused to disclose her whereabouts: “If you look at her itinerary in August, you would be wondering how she was able to accomplish that. In the course of this week, she will be back home. But remember, it all depends on her plans,” he said.

Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, curtly told reporters that the story “was a rumour and there is nothing like that”, when he was asked to confirm if the First Lady was taken outside the country for treatment.

Sunday, 17 February 2013 14:38

Ijeh Patience, girl who writes with Toes!

By FEYI BANKOLE

Her tale is eccentric! What could have made her live her entire life in obscurity, total dependence and waste has turned her into a celebrity. Usually, we hear of such only on the big screen and hardly see it happen before our very eyes. Patience was born with deformed hands, but unlike most persons with disability, she was not immune to self-worth.

Like every normal child, she desired to be fulfilled in life, and therefore continued to strive towards accomplishment despite the odds. After her Senior School Certificate Examination in 2001 however, all attempts to clear her General Certificate of Education (GCE) examination ended in futility. After giving up on all for two years, she finally had her breakthrough when she decided on a final trial and this awarded her a scholarship, employment and accommodation. Ijeh Patience, in this inspiring encounter, shares her tale.

Her dream of furthering her education and becoming a lawyer was hindered for ten years by no fault of hers- her birth 31 years ago at a hospital in Delta State encountered some complications.

“I was not properly positioned in the womb, so, I was already coming out with my hands. As the nurse pushed me in and tried to reposition me to come out normally, my hands got deformed because I was being turned all over and nobody knew of it”, she explained.

Writing with toes

Miraculously, Patience did not have to attend a special school like most handicapped children because she intuitively found an alternative the first time she came across the chalk and slate- she placed the chalk between her toes and began learning to write just as her peers at Ikeliki Primary School, Delta State, placed the chalk between their fingers.

To her, this wasn’t abnormal, especially as other children didn’t stare at her, except for some adults who looked at her embarrassingly as she grew up. She soon began to fold her arms in shame as soon as she became self-conscious.

Amazingly, she was doing well at school, Patience dreamed of becoming a lawyer and never hesitated to tell anyone who cared to listen. “Education will be difficult for you because of your disability. Look for something simple to do. Learn a trade. Something small and easy”, many told her pitifully, but she wouldn’t let her disability obscure her aspirations.

Regular GCE candidate

Trouble, however, brewed when 2002 SSCE results for Saint Roses Girls Grammar School, Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, which she sat for, were withheld. That heralded a new beginning for her struggles, and she became a regular candidate for the General Certificate of Education. Her scripts were continuously seized without explanations. “Perhaps they were suspected for being slightly dirty and rumpled”, she thought.

Mastering the computer with toes!

A few years later, she moved to Benin-City, Edo State from Delta State to reside with an elder brother, being the last and only daughter of five children. An ambitious Patience didn’t want to be idle, so, she immediately enrolled for a diploma at TCM, a computer training institute in Benin City. Guess what!! In few months, she had gained mastery of the computer, using her legs!

“I explained to them when I was enrolling that I would have to use my legs, and they understood. I competed very well with the other students, except that I had to put my own keyboard on the floor”, she recalled.

*The toes that write

*The toes that write

Rejected by employers

As she moved to Lagos in 2007 to reside with another elder brother,  Patience was excited she could now operate the computer, and she went in search of a job. Sadly, she was turned down by a couple of employers who claimed they couldn’t put their keyboard and mouse on the floor because of her.

Frustration sets in

The thought of her inability to clear her A’ levels coupled by this rejection by employers soon began to wane her optimism and she doubted if she could ever become an undergraduate, not to mention being a lawyer.

“I began to lose hope on my dream, especially two years ago. I considered accepting my fate and settling for less. Maybe education wasn’t for me like I was earlier advised. I began to ponder on small and easy things that I could try my hands on like people had advised me”.

Victory for Patience!

Last year, however, as she heard news of her peers making diverse progress, her sanguine spirit came alive once again. Patience, now 31, who had decided three years ago to accept her fate and stop further trials, suddenly decided to enroll for the 2012 GCE examination.

Being a member of the Living Faith Church, Ota, throughout the annual Shiloh last December, she decided to sit outside the auditorium, calling on God to intervene in her case, and, this time, He showed up. Patience came out with her six credits: C5 in Biology and C6 in Literature in English, Economics, Government, Mathematics and English Language! What beautiful reward for Patience who soon became the joy of many as she was given a job, scholarship and accommodation by Swiss Biostadt Limited, a famous healthcare company in Lagos.

“I’m grateful to God and to Swiss Biostadt for the opportunity to further my education. Getting education is my dream because I want to prove to the world that no matter how one was born, one can still make a difference. My advice to other people who might have one form of disability or the other is to never give up”, she enthused.

Courtesy: Vanguard

 

At least six foreign workers have been seized and a security guard shot dead by gunmen who attacked a construction company site in northern Nigeria, officials say.

One of the workers seized was Italian, one was Greek and two others Lebanese.

But UK officials could not confirm a report that another was British.

No-one has admitted the abductions but the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, has staged a series of attacks in northern Nigeria.

A security guard was killed as the attackers targeted the workers' camp at Jama'are in Bauchi state.

Correspondents say it is the biggest kidnapping in northern Nigeria in recent times.

Police station attacked

Lebanese foreign minister Adnan Mansour said two of those held were from Lebanon.

An Italian and a Greek national were also abducted from the site run by Lebanese-owned firm Setraco, the foreign ministries in Rome and Athens confirmed.

Another of those seized was a Filipino, a union leader at Setraco told the BBC.

The Italian ambassador in Abuja said, "Italy's absolute priority is the safety of its compatriot," Ansa news agency reported.

A UK foreign office spokesman said it was investigating reports of a Briton being kidnapped.

The raid was preceded by an attack on the local police station, when two vehicles were blown up, in the town of Jama'are, some 125 miles (200km) north of the state capital, Bauchi.

The attackers then moved on to a camp belonging to Setraco, killing a guard and seizing the workers. Setraco is currently expanding a major road in the area.

The state capital has itself been attacked several times by Boko Haram, which wants to impose Sharia (Islamic law) across Nigeria.

Earlier this month, nine polio vaccinators were shot dead at two health centres in northern Nigeria.

Some Nigerian Muslim leaders have previously opposed polio vaccinations, claiming they could cause infertility.

The BBC's security correspondent Gordon Corera says Boko Haram has emerged as one of the most prolific militant groups in West Africa, carrying out a large number of low-level attacks but also some more sophisticated attacks.

Saturday, 16 February 2013 22:07

Goldie Died Of Drugs— Sources

Nigeria’s music diva, Susan Oluwabimpe Harvey, popularly known as Goldie, who died Thursday night may have died as a result of doping complications, close sources to her said.

She died last night at Reddington Hospital, Victoria Island, Lagos, and barely few hours after she arrived from Los Angeles, United States of America.

Goldie’s death was confirmed yesterday by her management via her Facebook Page and Twitter handle. The post reads: “It is with heavy heart that I have to announce to you all that Goldie passed on this night (last night) shortly after arriving Lagos from Los Angeles. May her soul rest in the eternal peace of the Lord… Amin.”

The main cause of her death is still sketchy as at time of filing this report. Goldie was said to have been rushed to Reddington Hospital by close friend, Denrele Edun from her Park View residence after she complained of headache.

But a source close to the music star confided in P.M.NEWS that Goldie died of complications from the use of drugs. “She had complications from the use of dope. I guess things went wrong this time around.”

Another source also told P.M.NEWS this morning that “she had been into this drug stuff for some time now. I believe that contributed to her death.” Goldie, who represented Nigeria at last year’s Big Brother Amplified (BBA) in South Africa, is signed to Kennis Music.

Keke Ogungbe, the President of Kennis Music, confirmed the death of the songstress in a statement this morning. “On behalf of Kennis Music, I’m sad to officially confirm the shocking and untimely passage of Nigeria’s pop star, Goldie Harvey. With a deep sense of loss, we announce the shocking death of our darling music star, Goldie Harvey. Goldie, 31, died on Thursday after she complained of a severe headache at her Park View residence shortly after her arrival from the United States where she went to witness the Grammy Award.

“She was rushed to her official hospital, Reddington, Victoria Island, Lagos, where doctors pronounced her dead on arrival. We consider this period a gloomy moment for us and the entire Nigerian music industry in view of the circumstance Goldie passed away, the abundance of talent she has exhibited in her but eventful music career and the various opportunities her trip to the United States of America would have availed her. She is survived by her father, step- mother, brothers and sisters.”

The remains of Goldie, who hails from Ekiti State have been deposited at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital mortuary.
The deceased attended Green Springs Montessori Primary School and St. John’s College, Palm Grove before moving on to the University of Sunderland where she studied Business Management.

She joined Kennis Music in 2010 and had her debut album, Gold. Some of her hit songs are “You Know It”, “JawoJawo” and DTMB (Don’t Touch My Body).

In her music career, Goldie received 10 awards, including Exquisite Lady of the year, Best Female Artiste award and City People Best Female Artiste of the year.

Goldie became the final celebrity to exit the BBA7 star game house in 2012 as the 3rd runner up.

 

Friday, 15 February 2013 19:38

Nigerian pop singer, Goldie Harvey is dead

Fast-rising Nigerian Singer and BBA star, Susan Oluwabimpe Harvey popularly known as Goldie Harvey, is dead.

According to reliable sources, she passed on after she returned from a trip to the United States where she went to attend the 55th Annual Grammy Awards which took place in Staples in Los Angeles.

Goldie was pronounced dead in the late hours of Thursday shortly after she was rushed to Reddington Hospital,Victoria Island, Lagos.

“It is with heavy heart that I have to inform you all that Goldie passed this night shortly after arriving Lagos from LA. May her soul rest in the eternal peace of the Lord"

This was the most recent post on her twitter handle by one "admin".

The singer’s corpse has since been taken to the General Hospital, Ikeja morgue.

Says promotion, recruitment, deployment devoid of ethnic, religious colouration

ABUJA—Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika gave a shocking revelation Monday on the bomb attack at Jaji Cantonment last year which killed an Army General and several others when he disclosed that the then Commander, Infantry Corps and Centre, Jaji, General Mohammed Isa had security report 24 hours earlier of the plot to bomb Jaji but he chose to ignore the warning.

The army boss gave startling information at a briefing at the army headquarters. His words, “our Intelligence and Military Police departments had gotten information of a plan by terrorists to attack the Jaji Cantonment and the intelligence was immediately relayed to General Isa. The same report that Gen. Isa got was received by the GOC 1 Division on the day before the attack.

“The GOC had to immediately cancel his trip and returned to base. Isa did not act on the report. Isa did not give instruction to his subordinate. I was surprised when I saw Isa at the annual COAS Conference and I asked him, what he was doing in Asaba when his house was on fire”.

The Army Chief disclosed that as a result of the in-action of General Isa then, the Nigerian Army lost a General in the bomb blast apart from those who were killed in the military protestant church.

Vanguard had also reported that an Air Commodore of the AirForce, who was the Chief Instructor of the Air Force Wing at AFCSC, was also killed in the blast.

Lt. Gen. Ihejirika disclosed that the detailed investigations have commenced to determine whether Maj. Gen Isah’s inaction was due to negligence or a demonstration of further involvement in the bombings in which several officers and others were killed.

Meanwhile, the Army  Chief declared that the recent retirements, promotions, recruitment and deployments in the army were done devoid of ethnic and religious colouration, pointing out that the Army does not discriminate against any person on the basis of ethno-religious background.

He explained that the delay in the retirement of many officers in the last exercise who were due for retirement, months before last December 2012, was caused by the inability of the Army Council to sit over recommendations of the Board on promotions and retirements.

According to General Ihejirika, the Army Council comprising, Mr. President as Chairman, minister of Defence, Permanent Secretary, Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Army Staff, has to approve the retirement of any officer of the army before such officer can be asked to go.

His words, “The type of allegations making the rounds (allegation of lopsided recruitment, promotion, retirement and deployment in the Nigerian Army), are not unfamiliar to the Nigerian Army”.

“Every nation has its frontlines and I can say it is these frontlines that are being exploited by faceless groups to cause more problems for Nigerians. I believe they (groups) would have identified that the Nigerian army is one of the few institutions that will stand in defence of this country; come rain, and come sunshine.

“Why do I say this? When we commenced operations in Maiduguri against the Boko Haram terrorist’s sect, text messages were sent round, to the fact that the Chief of Army Staff (Ihejirika) has deployed a General of ‘Igbo’ extraction to avenge the killing of Igbo’s during the civil war. But it is on record that the Boko Haram sect claimed that they were fighting to avenge the death of their leader and other members killed in various encounters”.

“From the operations that are taking place, are people being killed as alleged? Even though the operation being conducted is coordinated by leadership of the Defence Headquarters, but it is being interpreted wrongly to whip up sentiments by making reference to the civil war fought and resolved many years ago. In fact, before some of them were born”.

“They choose to orchestrate the promotion and appointment of some Igbo officers, but they did not bother to talk of appointment generally. I believe that most of you here have come to find out whether the army is still intact or whether there is turmoil in the army as alleged by the faceless groups. You have seen the hierarchy of the army and you can speak for yourself that the army is intact. I believe that while the officers were being introduced, the crème de la crème of the army, what I call the chief executives of the Nigerian army, I believe some of you were taking notes, on the number of Igbo officers”.

“Some of my officers have told me on a lighter note that they would start answering Igbo names soon, so that they become properly Igbonized as alleged. I had a lot of experience before becoming the Chief of Army Staff. I happened to have served in the Military Secretary department. The department that handles promotions, postings and retirements. One of the things we sought to achieve while in that department was to ensure that promotions in the army are made very objective and they are merit based”.

He also dismissed allegations of sending officers from South-East to the North-North on the current operations to stem the Boko Haram insurgency, as according to him, there was no iota of truth in the rumours.

“Each time there was crisis in any part of the country, we know the consequences of such crisis. Before you know it, rumours will be awash that people of certain extraction and religion have been killed and killing will start at the other end. These are issues we must overcome.  The Nigerian army has come a long way. So when I said my vision for the Nigerian army is to turn the Nigerian Army into a force better able to meet contemporary challenges; I also took the Nigerian frontlines into consideration. I want to assure you that the Nigerian army of today is not the type that dragged the nation into war in the 1960’s?

“You might wish to know that in my deployments, I have General Gani Wahab in 1 division, Kaduna, I have Brigadier General M. Ibrahim in 1 Brigade and Brigadier General Iliya Abbah in 2 Brigade. And I seat here, very comfortable with that posting. Concerning General Olayinka Oshinowo (former GOC 92 div, Enugu), who happened to have been mentioned in one write up as one of those short changed, it might interest the public to know that General Oshinowo had missed his promotion before I became the Chief of Army staff and that he was promoted to the rank of Major General under my watch”.

Earlier, Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Attahiru read a statement dealing wholly responding to the allegations saying, ‘The attention of the Nigerian army has been dawn to spurious misleading and faceless publications in some national dailies on a baseless allegation of lopsided recruitment, promotion, retirement and deployment of some senior officers of the Nigerian army’.

“It is however surprising that some few media chose to celebrate this calculated attempt of some frivolous, unpatriotic and unscrupulous elements aimed at insinuating that the recruitment, promotion, retirement and recent deployment of senior officers in the Nigerian army were ethnically motivated. For the avoidance of doubt, there is no ethnic or religious consideration in this routine exercises in the Nigerian Army’.

“The motive of the writers appear to be to destabilize the Nigerian army and negatively affect its cohesion thereby, creating chaos in the country. it is a great disservice to the nation for anyone to choose through deliberate falsehood to link the routine activities of promotions and postings of the Nigerian army with ethno-religious consideration. This faceless groups if they had no ulterior motives would have sought to air there grievances through official channels of communications which are available for redress by any genuinely aggrieved person(s) over any policy or actions of the Nigerian Army”.

“The Nigerian army continues to provide aid to civil authority in its counter terrorism effort. We all agree that the Nigerian army has made remarkable achievements with the support of other security agencies in combating terrorist’s activities which is evident in its nationwide deployment of troops. The activities of violent extremist organizations have been seriously curtailed”.

“For instance, on the 6th February 2013, the Nigerian Army conducted a raid at the hideout of suspected terrorists in the Dorayi Quarters in Kano state leading to the arrest of the alleged mastermind behind the attack on the convoy of the emir of Kano . There are likelihood that violent extremist organizations will be intent at using all sorts of subterfuge to counter the coherent and focused fight by the Nigerian army and other security agencies in the fight against terrorism”.

“It is on record that the number of Major Generals promoted since the coming of the present leadership increased from 2008 to date in line with Nigerian army order of battle. This was a view to not only enhancing our force structure, fighting efficiency and cohesion but also to boast the morale of personnel. While 8 and 12 Brigadier Generals were promoted in 2008 and 2009 respectively, 26 were promoted in 2010, 25 in 2011 and 22 in 2012’”.

“So the Nigerian army does not discriminate against any person or group of persons notwithstanding their ethnic callings. We focus on merit and that is the guiding principle. Make no mistake about it. There are very fine officers from each geo-political zones of the federation. For the records, in the last army promotions and posting, there is no zone that was not represented by well qualified senior officers”.

 

As investors remain bullish in their expectations of improved Full Year (FY) 2012 financials from quoted companies, if anything contrary becomes the case this earnings’ season, it may likely result in a slowdown in the rate at which the market currently moved.

While investors add to their portfolio ahead FY12 and Q1’13 results, market watchers are advising on the need to remain cautious about the current run, particularly following observations that while many stocks are now trading at fair value, others also trade above fair value.

Analysts at Partnership Investment Company in their recent outlook say: “The current rally is sustainable given the expectation of results which indicate positive. We however advise cautious trading, based mainly on strong fundamentals. Intermittent profit taking will only give way to new price discovery and create opportunity for new price discovery.

“Portfolio basket with a mix of fixed income instruments is recommended. Equities are the dominant instruments at this time. Significant appreciation on buying price is incentive to sell and lock in gains in order to explore opportunity in other equities.”

“High expectations of corporate profits for the 2012 financial year whetted investors’ appetite, as market sentiments stayed positive. Investors sustained recent buy pressure towards active and value stocks with strong market fundamentals. This week, performance indicators of traded equities may further swing northwards, as rising investors’ confidence and foreign portfolio investment inflows continue to induce buoyant mood in the equities market,” says Tony Monye-led team of economic intelligence at Access Bank plc.

Analysts at Financial Derivatives Company recently asked whether this rally is supported by fundamentals or whether it is another awaiting asset bubble driven by irrational exuberance.

“Another stock market rally has started with the market gaining more than 18 percent year-to-date; that is five-weeks (annualised at 187%). Current run is backed by fundamentals and global fund flow to equities and emerging markets. Many stocks are now trading at fair value or above fair value, as investors add to their portfolio ahead FY12 and Q1’13 results. Consumer goods sector showing signs of overpricing. Future earnings of many consumer goods company can no longer support their share prices,” they added.

“A great month in January may be consolidated in February. However, we remain cautious about the current run. Global markets have also risen to pre-crisis level, although risks still remain. Little headroom to manoeuvre if US debt ceiling is not avoided in March and Eurozone crisis comes flooding back. We expect a few misses when earnings’ season start. A disappointing earning season may dampen the market run. Market making activity must be closely watched to ensure an asset bubble is not built up again,” the Financial Derivatives Company analysts, say recently at the Lagos Business School executive breakfast meeting.

Meanwhile, analysts at FBN Capital recently note that the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All Share Index (ASI) soared by 19 percent year-to-date (ytd), as investor sentiment has turned still more positive for frontier markets in general, and Nigeria in particular.

“The comparable index in Kenya, the second largest equity market on the continent outside South Africa, has risen by 9 percent in the same period. The global context is that the accommodative monetary stance in the US and other developed economies has fuelled portfolio inflows into emerging and frontier markets. We could explain the out-performance of Lagos in terms of the stronger growth prospects. GDP rose by a provisional 7.1 percent year-on-year (y/y) in Nigeria in Q4 2012, compared with 4.7 percent in Kenya in Q3,” the analysts add in their report titled “An unsustainable pace on the Lagos bourse.”

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