Minimum Wage in Nigeria is Now N18,000: Acting President Goodluck Jonathan’s Gift to Workers

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A new pay package for Nigerian civil servants will be operational in three months, Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, has said. When operational, the least paid worker would go home with N18,000 at the end of every month as against the N7,500 minimum wage that presently obtains.

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan
Jonathan while addressing workers on the occasion of the May Day celebration, pleaded with the civil servants to shelve their planned five-day warning strike scheduled to commence tomorrow, and assured them that the issues in dispute would be resolved within the next three months.

He also disclosed that he had directed the Minister of Labour, Chief Chukwuemeka Wogu, to ensure that negotiations with the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council achieves the desired results within the next three months.

“This important assignment of which I understand you are respectfully represented in the committee is nearing conclusion. The National Committee on Parameters for Wages in the public segment is also working assiduously to ensure that we have a mechanism that will make for adjustment on workers’ remuneration gradual.

“I sincerely plead with the civil service unions to negotiate with the government because of the warning strike they have presented to us. I believe very sincerely that Nigeria and indeed the rest of the society must develop to a point that workers will not negotiate for salary increase,” he said.
Jonathan said this year’s Workers Day celebrations coincide with the Golden Jubilee of the nation’s independence.

He gave the assurance that the federal government was working assiduously to address issues of employment generation, Niger Delta crisis, electoral reform, power supply and other necessities for national development.
“For me I promise honest service. I will give all my heart and mobilise every available talent of Nigerians wherever they are to meet the expectations of our people. As we are going into an election year, the issue of credible of election is top on my agenda to national liberation.

"I have taken the challenge of an inadequate power supply, peace and rapid development of Niger Delta, food security as well as overall security of all Nigerians and promoting credible elections as priorities in the concluding months of this administration," Jonathan said.

Jonathan also told the rally of thousands of workers that his government would give Nigerians free, fair and credible elections in 2011, compared with previous polls that were judged to be largely flawed by local and international observers, including the United Nations and the United States.
He also promised to improve security in the restive, oil-rich Niger Delta that has in the past three years been the theatre of kidnappings and attacks.

Jonathan expressed government's resolve to provide a conducive environment for the workforce.
He said his presence at the occasion was a demonstration of the administration's belief that to build a strong democracy, there must be a virile labour movement.

According to the Acting President, no nation can develop beyond what the collective efforts of its working population can present. "The rate and size of a country's development is dependent on the size of its economy and therefore the need for an expanded economy for the good of our people", Jonathan said.
He said there was an on-going effort by government to create a new Nigeria anchored on social justice, industrial peace and harmony, due process and the rule of law and thus called for a collective effort to achieve a solid and prosperous nation.

Jonathan promised to provide honest service on his part as government works towards ensuring transparency and accountability in the conduct of its business.

President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade Omar Abdulwaheed in his speech said the negotiation over the National Minimum Wage has dragged for several months. He said they were earlier hoping that the issue would have been concluded and that the government would announce it to the workers on May Day (yesterday) based on the agreement reached.

“In the same vein, we have followed the negotiations on relativity in the public service and the apparent lack of progress in the process. The distortion occasioned by the consolidated salary structure in the public service is not only unjust but against the principles of equity and social justice,” he said.

He pointed out that the tripartite committee had completed its work. “Your Excellency, the ball is now in the court of the executive arm to fast track the promulgation of the committee recommendations into a New National Minimum Wage Law. Nigerian workers will not accept any further delay on this matter,” he said.
President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Peter Esele, expressed disappointment that the civil servants were offered only a 10 per cent salary increment while the Police and other services got between 60 and 100 per cent.

He also called for sincere efforts to address the various problems of the country which have all contributed to hinder the country’s growth.

“TUC will support any action taken by the Association of Senior Civil Servants to address this injustice as we will not accept anything less than N18, 000 as minimum wage payable to Nigerian workers.”
The theme for this year's celebration is '50 years of Nationhood and the Working Class: Challenges of Good Governance, Unity and Credible Elections'.


Nigeria Election 2011: Jonathan’s ambition tears PDP apart

*ACF cautions against move

By Jide Ajani, Deputy Editor

Even after its no-victor-no-vanquished national executive committee,  NEC , meeting of last Tuesday, the leadership of the ruling PDP remains divided down the line over the widely speculated presidential ambition of Acting President Goodluck Jonathan.

Already the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has sent word to the Acting President to ensure that “the virtues of peace, fairness, equity and justice are the guiding principles of his administration”.

Acting President Jonathan
The ACF, Sunday Vanguard can also reveal, is insisting that the zoning arrangement of the PDP is a sure panacea for the evolution of equity in the country.

A source in the party’s Board of Trustees, BOT, told Sunday Vanguard that “what we are hearing is that the Acting President wants to contest the presidential election of next year and it is dividing the party.
“Although I have not heard it from him, that is the general story.

“The only problem is that when the National Assembly made its proclamation making him Acting President, we had thought that he would just focus on solving the immediate problems in the country which is power supply and security.

“But we are still waiting to see what happens because things are not very clear now; may be in a couple of weeks we would be sure of what is happening and at that time we can speak better.
“The other problem is that the north has made its position clear about the matter and they are not lying low.  They say they still want the issue of zoning which, to be fair, is their right”
Asked about the role of Obasanjo in the plot about Jonathan’s ambition, the source said, “we are watching events and if we discover that the Acting President will refuse to be his own man, then  we will have to leave him to his fate”.

North Kicks
Sunday Vanguard gathered that the ACF in making its position on the issue of zoning known to the Acting President, last week, was very clear: it must remain.

Already, three northerners, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd); National Security Adviser, NSA, General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau (rtd) and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar are in the race for the presidency next year – although Gusau and Atiku have not made their ambition public.
The numerical superiority of Northern PDP in any election is what the ACF is said to be banking on in its insistence that any attempt to disorganize the zoning arrangement would not be taken lightly.

Jonathan’s Base
Meanwhile, there are indications that the acting president may not have an easy ride in his reported presidential ambition in his South-South base.

Edo, Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta States are not known to swing in the way of Jonathan in the emerging political re-configuration for next year’s presidential election.

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State is a member of the Action Congress, AC, and, may therefore, remain indifferent; a large segment of the political leadership in Delta State does not share the Gestapo-style approach of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in its pursuit of the case against former governor James Onanefe Ibori of the state; and there is the challenge from his home Bayelsa State where the state governor, Timpreye Silva is at loggerheads with the Acting President.

Added to this is the concern in some quarters that Jonathan had never really mounted the rostrum to campaign in an election for himself and, therefore, may not have the political wherewithal to mobilize for himself.
For Rivers, Cross River and Akwa Ibom State, it would only be a matter of time for their hands to be played out.


Adams Oshiomhole in dilemma as Edo Action Congress (AC) splits

The news of division in the ruling Action Congress (AC), in Edo State has created deep tension in the party. Adibe Emenyonu traces the factionalisation story to Grace Group, a pressure group which comprises majority of the membership of the party.
At the twilight of the administration of former Governor of Edo State, Lucky Igbinedion in 2007 after the expiration of his eight-year reign in May 29, of same year, the hitherto dominant party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was sharply divided. The division attained a climax when party membership revalidation exercise carried out by the party’s national secretariat snowballed into crisis at the state, local government and ward levels.

At the end of that exercise, prominent members of the party at all levels were de-registered, thus culminating in the formation of new political platforms. One of such parties was the Action Congress (AC) which was formed by the disenfranchised members of PDP to serve as a platform for the pursuit of their political ambitions.

In Edo State, the deregistration in PDP also witnessed the constitution of a new political group, Grace Group, with the intention to challenge the existing political establishment. The group was founded by Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a former Secretary to Edo State Government. The group which has as its motto: “No Man is God,” was purely formed to challenge the Chief Tony Anenih’s perceived overbearing influence on the party (PDP).

The intra-party crisis in Edo PDP, according to investigation, started in 2005 when the PDP verification exercise commenced, but only escalated when it became obvious that it had lost many members of the party. Opportunities however, came when AC emerged as a registered political party and all the disenfranchised members decided to pitch their tents with AC.

Conscious of the necessity for a credible governorship candidate, if it must teach its rivals in PDP some political lessons, the AC opted to draft the former Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) president, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, into the party. Oshiomhole who came via a joint ticket of the Labour Party and Action Congress, fulfilled the desires of those who invited him as well as the masses as he lived up to his promise to defend their votes. Though he was robbed of victory at the polls, victory was eventually restored to him through the Elections Petitions Tribunal and the Court of Appeal which on November 11, 2008 affirmed the decision of the lower tribunal.

However, immediately victory was achieved and the time to share the “booty,” followed, prominent members of AC in the state began to fight one another over the method to employ in sharing the “cake.” Like a leopard that never changes its spot, the same insatiable appetites that are usually associated with Nigerian politics reared up their heads. While some are of the opinion that the doctrine of winners take all should apply, others are not disposed to such views of “kill and divide.”

Oshiomhole’s resistance started the war and today, the party is sharply divided. It was learnt that the battle to control Oshiomhole started the crisis amongst the “noble” group that saw him to power. A source close to the Government House, Benin, disclosed that just after his swearing-in on November 12, 2008, the big wigs called him to a meeting where they presented a list of political appointees to him. This signalled the first issue he had with them. The former Labour president was said to have shocked conveners of the meeting as he announced the appointment of Secretary to the State Government [SSG] and Chief of Staff (COS), contrary to the names on the list presented to him.

It took Oshiomhole’s power of persuasion to convince these AC leaders to accept his decision.It was reliably gathered that Oshiomhole openly told the party stalwarts what informed his decision to appoint Pally Iriase and Osarodion Ogie as Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and the Chief of Staff respectively. As active members of AC and foundation members of Grace Group which is made up of the present crop of AC in Edo State, some persons believed that the choice of the two shouldn’t create any disharmony, but that was not the case.

THISDAY learnt that the governor based his choice of the two on the ground of merit and commitments to democratic growth in the state. It was learnt that as the Chairman of Owan East Local Government area of the state, after serving as the Deputy Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly between 1999-2003, Iriase fought the cabals in PDP over his preference to use direct labour instead of contract awards to party men. As a result of this, Iriase was in 2006, summoned by the House of Assembly where he was asked to desist from such attitude or face suspension. However, his decision to continue with the use of direct labour as a means of saving money to enable him embark on more infrastructural developments of the council area not only earned Iriase suspension, but also an expulsion from the party.

Similarly, the current Chief of Staff, Ogie endeared himself to Oshiomhole because of the brilliance he displayed during the legal tussle which accompanied the April 14, 2007 governorship election in the state. Ogie, as gathered, was said to be the arrow head of persons dishing out information that the legal team used in nailing PDP. As a member of the team, Ogie was able to collate all the information needed by the team and was never slack for a second until victory was achieved.

Those opposed to the two appointments later soft pedaled on the ground that being his first major appointments, Oshiomhole had the priority to choose his personal staff.  The last straw that broke the camel’s back were the appointments of commissioners, special advisers and senior special assistants. With the mind set of division, a good number of them were alleged to have collected money from lobbyists, promising to ensure that they were given one political appointment or the other. The political acolytes, knowing fully well that their masters called the shots in the party obliged. Again, Oshiomhole disappointed them. It was then that some of them lost faith in the governor and swore to wait for him in the days ahead.

It was reliably gathered that Oshiomhole neglected the list presented to him by some prominent members of the party particularly those who believed in the “cake of office” and who thought they should be part of the sharing because they played significant roles to ensure his victory. Some of them were said to have sold out to the opposition at one time or the other by conniving with certain chieftains in PDP to persuade Oshiomhole to withdraw his case from the tribunal which he refused to do.

Not only that, some of them were alleged to have tampered with the N30 million that a former governor in the state brought to help prosecute the case in court. To Oshiomhole, it was only the likes of the SSG, COS and others within his team that merited such appointments and not those who behaved like the chameleon.

Additionally, Oshiomhole’s subterranean engagement of these elements stemmed from their recent contemplation to move back to the PDP with former Vice President Abubakar Atiku.  During the 60th birthday anniversary of Chief Tom Ikimi in Benin, which had in attendance Atiku, a nocturnal meeting was held at the country home of Igbinedion with AC chieftains in the state. One of the agenda of that meeting according to a source, was the plea by Atiku with his followers to return with him to PDP.

Another issue discussed as further learnt was the absence of Oshiomhole who was invited to the meeting but which he neither attended nor sent a representative. The governor’s refusal to attend, it was learnt, was based on his conviction that it was immoral to jump from one political platform to another. “This cannot deepen democracy in our polity,” the governor was quoted to have said.

Therefore, like the PDP, the AC government in Edo State is currently having its own share of crisis at the moment. As often said, when an organisation is faced with internal crisis, there is bound to be disequilibrium. When this happens, what normally happens is a cataclysm in form of disenchantments.

The disenchantments, sources close to the party say, have divided major elements of Grace Group, a pressure group that originally formed the bulk of AC membership in Edo State, into two fronts. The division occurs between those who are disposed to moving because their thinking is not in tandem with the governor’s style and policies and those who are committed to his dream and aspiration.

To this extent, those who feel aggrieved have started to romance the PDP, obviously to return, which will serve as a boost to Atiku’s recent visit to Edo State. THISDAY reliably gathered that those who had concluded plans to move to PDP have two jokers in their kitty, which they intend to play as the political momentum in the state gather.

The first option according to an insider within Grace Group, who preferred anonymity, is outright pull out from the party to PDP which formally rejected its members. To achieve this, members of the group is said to have concluded plans to join forces with the Samuel Ogbemudia faction of PDP to create a new political platform during the forthcoming 2010 local government election as well as the 2011 House of Assembly and National Assembly elections in the state in a bid to outwit AC.

To test the workability of the arrangement, the Ogbemudia faction of PDP which comprises Admiral Mike Akhigbe, former Chief of General Staff and Prince Solomon Aguele, pioneer chairman of the party in the state wrote Jonathan to consider its ministerial nominee after the acting president dissolved the federal executive council recently.

The second option THISDAY further learnt, is outright denial of Oshiomhole the AC ticket come 2012. And to achieve this is the subtle move to ensure that their preferred candidates scale through the local government, state assembly and National Assembly elections in the state.

Already, the 13 AC lawmakers in the state assembly are divided into three factions. While five have accepted the decision to return to PDP, five are vehemently opposed to the move, while two are sitting on the fence.


The Day Bella Adenuga Said “I Do” To Jameel Disu

Lagos stood still last Saturday April 17, as Bella Adenuga , favourite daughter of Chief Mike Anenuga, said the two precious words, ‘’I do’‘ to Jameel Olatokunbo Disu.
The star and celebrity studded ceremony took place at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina.
The bride resplendent in a gorgeous white wedding dress was all smiles beside an equally debonaire groom, Jameel, who simply glowed with pride. The parents of the couple were not to be out done, as they shone in the red Asoke for the men, and nude colour lace for the women.
It was indeed a fairytale wedding with no expense spared.
General Ibrahim Babangida played a prominent role, as he signed the register along with the Alake of Egba Land, The Awujale, Oba Adetona.

Pictured below are some guests at the Church service.
Pix by Oscar Ochiogu.


Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC): Why We Didn’t Arrest el-Rufai

Mallam Nasiru el-Rufai

•Ex-minister in heroic return after 2 years in exile

By Collins Edomaruse and Chuks Okocha

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said last night that it did not arrest former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) Mallam Nasiru el-Rufai, who returned to the country yesterday after a two-year self exile, because he returned to the country on a day the courts were not in session.

The action of the anti-corruption agency has, however, set a precedent for other former public officers it earlier declared wanted like Mr. James Ibori, former governor of Delta State.
EFCC had on December 21, 2008 declared el-Rufai wanted for abuse of office and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N32 billion.

El-Rufai who returned to the country yesterday morning through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, in a hail of glory was escorted by officials of the State Security Services (SSS) into the midst of a crowd consisting of scores of family members, friends and well-wishers.

Some commentators in Abuja yesterday wondered whether the same treatment given to el-Rufai will be extended to others who had been declared wanted by the anti-graft agency simply because they entered the country on a work-free day.

But as if trying to stave off criticism that the commission is partial, the spokesman, Mr. Femi Babafemi, told THISDAY last night that el-Rufai would “definitely be invited to our office on Tuesday”.

He said: “We could not pick him up at the airport on the day he returned to the country because it was on a public holiday. We cannot arrest him and keep him in our office; he must be taken to the court straight. And you know, the courts were not in session on the day he returned. The Commission will definitely invite him on the next working day and I believe that is on Tuesday.”

Babafemi also said the former minister, who he said is facing a 9-count charge at an Abuja High Court, is being expected at the EFCC office to make a formal statement on the sundry allegations against him.
El-Rufai has vigorously denied all charges, claiming that they were as a result of political persecution by loyalists of ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua.

In a statement he issued in Abuja to announce his arrival, el-Rufai said his first major pre-occupation was to clear his name “from the onslaught of political attacks and slander perpetrated against my person.”
He also commended Acting President Goodluck Jonathan for his plans to restructure the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as well as his achievements during his recent visit to the United States, which he said has opened a fresh vista in the Nigeria-United States relations.

El-Rufai further commended Nigerians for their insistence that the country must be better run. He explained that there were windows of opportunity for Nigerians to build a better society, where elected officials are accountable to the people and where the civil society groups become the guardian of the country’s democracy.

The full text of his statement titled, “I am Happy to be Home” is as follows:
“My dear Nigerians, it feels good to be back. I am delighted to return home after almost two years of absence. It is a period within which I enhanced my education and endured much vilification and persecution. Through it all, I have retained my faith in Nigeria, its people and its possibilities; and I have been encouraged by the appreciation my compatriots continue to show for my contributions in public service. It is also fitting that I thank all those groups and persons that have supported me in very trying moments.

“I salute Nigerians for their growing insistence that this country can and should be better run. This is further cause for hope because it shows that there is an abiding faith that this can yet become a great country in fact, and not just by aspiration. It is my hope that Nigerians in the Diaspora, spread across the world; Nigerians who love their country; who understand its vast potential, feel compelled to return to Nigeria.

“There is a small window of opportunity to build a new Nigeria – where the government is accountable to its people; where civil society becomes the guardian of its democracy.  There is an opportunity to have Nigeria open for business, but not business as usual.   There is an opportunity to take the reins of control from a small corrupt elite and return it to its rightful owners – the 150 million Nigerians.  There is an opportunity for the “agents of change” to take the arch of history and bend and shape it to their will.”

“We need to work with those “agents of change” to ensure a free and fair election in Nigeria.  Towards this end, I applaud the decisive actions of acting President Goodluck Jonathan in setting a new direction for good governance, and most recently, for paving the way for the re-constitution of the Independent National Electoral Commission.  I also commend him for his successful visit to the United States where he was able to reinvigorate Nigeria’s bilateral relationship with that major world power.

“It is already well known that I am working with like minded Nigerians to promote the robust participation of Nigerians in their own governance. Aside from this collective vision, please know that my first personal priority is to clear my name from the onslaught of political attacks and slander perpetrated against my person in the past two years. Many of the false allegations have since been dropped and it is instructive to note that only one criminal charge has been filed against me after over two years of extensive and endless investigations. It is my intention to vigorously defend the spurious charge and work within the legal system to exonerate myself.”

El-Rufai went into exile at the heat of the allegations that he mismanaged his port folio as FCT Minister and sold properties to his cronies and family members at give away prices. He was later declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Crommission (EFCC).

EFCC had preferred a nine-count charge of criminal conspiracy and abuse of office against the former FCT minister. A judge had ruled previously that the EFCC should paste charges against him on the wall of his residence at 12 Mambila Street, Maitama, Abuja, following his failure to make himself available for service of court papers.

Two other persons, who are being prosecuted alongside el-Rufai are Altine Jubrin, former Director General, Abuja Geographic Information Sys-tem (AGIS) and Ismaila Iro, former General Manager, AGIS. The summons against the duo had long been served on them.


Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Irregularities mar Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME)

Written by kunle Awosiyan, Lagos Clement Idoko, Abuja and Kehinde Adio

The conduct of the newly introduced Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination was marred with high degree of mismatch of candidates’ subject combination on Saturday.

Our correspondent who monitored the examination in some parts of Lagos observed a high degree of subjects’ mismatch, which threw the candidates into critical state of worry and anxiety.

The centres visited included, the University of Lagos , Akoka, Yaba College of Technology, Babs Fafunwa Millennium Grammar School and Omole Senior High School.

According to a candidate who identified herself as Miss Tomi Dedire, most candidates could not access their subjects’ combination. She said, “I have registered to study Medicine with subject combination of Biology, Physics and Chemistry, but it is unfortunate that I found Mathematics in place of Physics. I preferred writing Physics to Mathematics.”

She explained that the subjects’ combination that was later given to her could only be suitable for an engineering course rather than medicine. “I never bargained for this,” she lamented.

It was also observed that most candidates could not locate their examination centres as they ran from one venue to the other in search of their names.

Another candidate, Master Sulaimon Ayinde, told Sunday Tribune that JAMB had placed him at UNILAG to write the examination but he  did not find his name at the centre.

He told Sunday Tribune that the invigilator did not allow him to enter the examination hall because his name was not on the master list.

However, for Mr. Babajide Abe who wrote the examination at Babs Fafunwa Millennium Grammar School , Ojodu, the rate of subjects’ mismatch was not very high but he lamented the poor quality of the calculators supplied by JAMB.

He said, “few of us had problems with subject combinations but invigilators refused to allow us to bring in our own writing materials like pencils and calculator. Well I have done my best. JAMB should find a way of addressing the anomaly before it releases the results.

Reacting to the various anomalies, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Professor Oladapo Afolabi who also monitored the examination at UNILAG confirmed changes in examination centres, but said it had been resolved.

“Some candidates did not know that there were changes of centres so they had to rush here,  it was really a problem of anxiety and stress but those candidates have calmed down,” he said.

He also agreed that there were series of subjects’ mismatch, which he stated had since been addressed. “We also saw some degree of mismatch of subject combination of candidates choices and the paper script presented to them. We have resolved that quickly and all candidates have their correct subject combination without any deprivation in terms of time, anxiety or emotion, they were happy about this and even clapped”.

Speaking generally about the conduct of the examination, Afolabi said that it was fair and peaceful, adding that any candidate for the maiden edition of UTME should count himself lucky.

He said, “Well I must say that the general atmosphere at the examination centres is fair. Any candidate who presented him or herself here should actually consider it as an opportunity to take a fair and just examination. The sitting arrangement did not allow for cheating.

In another development, candidates who came from Lagos State to write the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) on Saturday in Ibadan, were disappointed, as majority of them could not sit for the examination due to their lateness.

According to Sunday Tribune’s investigation, in some centres, many of them arrived two hours after the examination had started, hence they could not write the examination, in spite of their pleading.

In other centres, some of them arrived an hour later, though they were allowed to write the examination with the condition that they would not be given extra time.

St. Gabriel Senior High School, Mokola, Ibadan, one of the examination centres in the state, was dominated by Lagos people, and Sunday Tribune gathered that majority of them slept in the school on Friday, so as  to write the examination on Saturday.

Some of the supervisors who spoke with Sunday Tribune on this year’s UTME examination, condemned the idea of candidates coming from one state to sit for the examination in another state. According  to them, there should be enough centres in all states in the country.

Mr. Joshua Arinoola one of the supervisors in Oyo State, appealed to JAMB to create more centres for Lagos candidates.

According to him, they had been constituting nuisance in Oyo State, as they would arrive late to examination centres and yet they would want to write the exam, which he described as impossible.

‘’We understand their plight that once they miss the examination, they will have to wait for another year. But there is nothing an invigilator can do to help a candidate who arrived late to exam hall,’’ he said.

Aside this development, everything went well in many of the centres Sunday Tribune visited during the examination  period,   though some phones were confiscated from some candidates.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government on Saturday announced plans to convene a special National Examination Summit as part of the initiative to raise the integrity of the examinations conducted by public examinations bodies as well as institutions in the country.

Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Rufai, who dropped this hint in Abuja, while monitoring the conduct of the maiden Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), conducted nationwide by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), frowned at the high level of examination frauds committed by both students in schools and candidates during public examinations.

She also revealed that plans were already on to standardise and ensure uniformity of the conduct of Post-UME, now Post-UTME by all tertiary institutions to reflect the present structure of UTME that allows candidates for multiple choice of institutions.

But the JAMB Registrar and Chief Executive, Professor Dibu Ojerinde, described the Post-UME as a mistake, saying, “It seems to me that the post UME may be tautological and redundant, but as of now, government says that there must be post UME .

“You see we have made a mistake of bringing in the Post-UME. Nobody can just wake up and stop it easily until everybody is convinced that the job that is going on in JAMB is ok.

The registrar and chief executive of JAMB described as unfortunate the exorbitant fees charged by various institutions, which have refused to abide by the federal government rule that the post- UME charges must not exceed N1000. Some charge as high as N20, 000, he explained.

However, the summit, according to the minister would provide opportunity on how to address the whole lot of issues bothering on the conduct of examinations by National Examination Council (NECO), JAMB and West African Examinations Council (WAEC) among others, stressing that candidates now prepare to cheat in examinations rather than prepare for it.

This factor, she said largely contributed to the poor quality of graduates and decline in the general performance of students in schools.

This, according to her, would prevent the economic wastages as well as forestall a situation where candidates would be forced to pass through the Post-UTME in all the six institutions of their choices.

The minister, who was at the Model Secondary School , Maitama, Abuja , as early as 8.05 a.m. to supervise the sitting arrangements for the examination before its commencement at 9.00 a.m. counseled the students against cheating.

As early as 7.00 a.m. candidates were frisked and thoroughly screened with the hand-held scanners acquired by JAMB for the conduct of the examination to curb the incidence of use of mobile phones as well as other communication gadgets in the examination halls to cheat.

In a bid to fight against examination malpractice and to ensure credibility of the examination, the Board had acquired 5,100 hand-held scanners and metal detectors to screen candidates during the examination.

A total of 1,375,642 candidates registered for the examination, showing a decrease of 149,696 candidates when compared with last year’s figure of 1,525,338 for both Universities Matriculation Examination (UME) and Monotechnics, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Matriculation Examination (MPCEME).

The examination was held in all the 2,705 centres and simultaneously in 321 examination towns in Nigeria and six foreign centres namely: Accra in Ghana, Duea in Republic of Cameroon , Cotonou in Republic of Benin , London in United Kingdom, Jeddah in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Johannesburg in South Africa .

The UTME examination centres were manned by security personnel’s from Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and officials from the ministry of education and its parastatals, the media as well as independent observers.


Domestic Abuse: A man who batters you once will do it again - Pastor Femi Faseru

Pastor Femi Faseru


Pastor Femi Faseru is the National Superintendent of Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) in Nigeria. Faseru studied botany at University of Ife, (now Obafemi Awolowo University) before proceeding to study computer science for his Master’s degree. 

After that, he commenced a career in mortgage banking in 1992, in Lagos for a while before going back to England where he became a member of the British contract society through certification in software quality assurance.

While in Britain he did consultancy work for GlazoSmithKline and subsequently set up his own software training school known as Be-A-Tester, where he trains people to do quality software assurance test and was very successful at it until when he started having the urge and the nudging of the spirit asking him to come back to Nigeria in 2002.

Responding to this inward urge, Faseru returned to Nigeria in January 2003 and set up an IT firm. Then at the end of the year he got the privilege to begin ministering as a pastor in KICC-Lagos, which he did for on part time basis for about two and half years. 
The through the power of the Holy Spirit, the membership grew to thousands couple with increased responsibilities, thereby compelling him to go into full time pastoral work. Interestingly, he was not drawing any money from the church.

“I didn’t request for salary, I just wanted to serve God and be relevant to the kingdom by putting in my best. When I noticed that my business was being affected because it was obvious I was not given it much attention, I knew I had to decide and after some meditation it was clear that God wanted me to move into the full ministry,” Faseru says, stressing that the attraction was money.

In the course of time, he has developed a passion for ministering on marriage. In this interview, he talks about marital problems that could cause a breakdown and possibly lead to one spouse planning to kill the other. Excerpts…

The marriage institution is now under great threat. Why are we seeing a steep rise in divorce rate?
Let me start by saying that marriage is one of my passionate areas of ministry. Whatever I teach, I relate it to marriage. if I teach about success, I talk about marital success; if I teach finance I talk about financial growth in marriage; so teaching about marriage is a passion for me. I have been married since 1996 and I know there are marital issues, which sometimes end in divorce.

The major reason is that a lot of people were not prepared before they got into marriage because they were busy buying suits, wedding dresses and arranging for engagements, but did not take out time to really prepare for marriage. So one of the things we major in this church is that before the intending couple are joined, we insist that the man and woman go for proper counseling during which we talk them through on the kinds of things that may likely show up in their marriage. 

Beyond that I always say that before you marry, you must look closely to see if you can find any of the things identified in your relationship with the person; we educate people and let them know that by themselves they can do evil and can cause trouble even without the external influence; I mean lets leave the devil aside, the in-laws and the ‘out-laws’ for now, the bible says that the heart of a man is desperately wicked. 

We can do some terrible things ourselves and so I educate you on how to understand yourself. I wrote a book “Married but Living Single” where I said that a lot of people are into marriage because of their interest. Even when the marriage is horrific they still remain there. 

They are living single because they don’t understand themselves or the spouse they are married to. But when there is an understanding of the marriage institution itself and understanding of oneself and of the spouse, you are able to come to a compromise and know what you should expect and what you shouldn’t expect. 

Disappointment leads to depression in marriage and it steals joy and peace too and basically we have this issue because people have not come to a point of understanding of marriage itself; the parties involved have not actually sat down to say this is what we want to achieve and these are the goals we are setting for this.

What are the life threatening issues in marriage?
There are different kinds of death, one can die spiritually, emotionally physically and even psychologically. In marriages, infidelity and unfaithfulness lead to breaking of the covenant made between the man and the woman. When such violation of covenant takes place, except the spouse involved retraces his or her steps, there is bound to be spiritual death or disconnection instead of becoming one in the marriage. 

There could be emotional death – that is when a spouse is being beaten or battered by the other party; in such a situationhen the sense of self-worth is lost. That is when you see someone in marriage looking so quiet and withdrawn and you think the person is just quiet but you wouldn’t know the person is as good as dead. There is also physical death in the case of abuse and when a man or a woman stays with an abusive spouse or short tempered, someone whose attitude is very terrible, he can harm the spouse.

What are the early signs of marital relationships that are headed for the rock?
When a marriage become argumentative – the couple argue over every little thing, that marriage is headed for destruction. Like I mentioned in my book, when couples are living like housemates, such marriage is headed for the rock. Couples should be committed to one another and when they are not, they live as housemates. 

As we know, housemates have different visions while inmates share common vision and direction. When there is no vision and there is no unity, the couple will not work together. In such situations, one vision contradicts the other with the result that they lead in opposite directions and uphold different values. When the value a father has for the children differs shapes itself, it becomes a challenge and there are bound to be problems in that marriage.

Can a marriage breakdown to the point that a spouse would begin thinking about taking the life of the other person.
A lot of things can happen in a man’s mind. In a man’s mind lies his future and anyone who is a barrier to whatever he wants to achieve, is stepping in as an enemy of the man’s future. The man would see the person as an opponent or an opposition to the attainment of the vision, which he considers paramount. 

Marriage is not an exception and so when the man begins to think that the spouse is an enemy and the man has a wicked heart, he then begins to look at the situation with the ‘enemy mentality’ forgetting that the person he is dealing with is a wife or husband as the case maybe; so the man will turn the whole of his being making moves in the physical. So the state of the man’s heart will determine how he wants to act over issues in his marriage. 

There are cases where a woman may just think that she is trapped and needs to get out of this marriage and even the man may lookout for a route to sneak out of a marriage. Depending on how the heart of the person is, a man is capable of anything, good or bad, the person may now think of either killing the other party or doing something drastic.

Don’t you think material things like money or quest for sexual satisfaction could lead to this issue?
We have seen all kinds of things in the world that we live in and nothing can really be an excuse and we have seen wives poisoning their husbands or husbands perceiving the kind of freedom they would have heard, and even the man killing the wife just because he has seen someone else to marry. 

We see all kinds of evil under the sun but it has gotten to the state where one needs to go back to the real essence of marriage, where one will love the other, cherish the other and be better like when they met. We need to understand that there is nothing that should warrant a man to kill his wife or the wife, her husband. Money is not worth it and nothing is worth it.

When marriage becomes a life threatening issue, what should a spouse do?
The bible says that two cannot walk together except they are in agreement. For a man who has come to a point where the marriage is being threatened, I believe they should learn to talk things over and if they are not getting the desired result, they should talk to a mature person, because in every relationship, there is always a mentor in as much as our elders try to discourage that but we need them. 

When a couple cannot reach a compromise, they should talk to someone maybe a pastor because the pastor is not supposed to be biased and the spouses are like spiritual children to him. So I advise that you talk to your pastor. Before he kills you, please speak out. A man who batters you once is bound to batter you again and if you can take it once, be ready to take it again and again. Therefore before you allow the man who slaps you to stab you, you better speak out.

At what point do you think any of the parties should leave the marriage?
Well the boundary for divorce is in the bible, but I think it is limited and when the spouses separate and one remarries, then that is a sin. So when you want to walk out of your marriage be ready to live as a single person for the rest of your life. 

When a man thinks his wife is cheating or the woman thinks the man is cheating, he or she can walk out but in doing that please remember you cannot remarry. So when there is infidelity and you know you can control your passion for it, you can walk out but it is better for you to resolve issues in marriage, and forgive your spouse so as to reach a point of understanding and commitment in marriage. It is better than pursuing the path of divorce in marriage.

Is it possible to re-inject romance in this kind of marriage?
The first love is different; when a man sees a woman or when a boy sees a girl, they are all over each other and we know that that kind of feeling cannot be attained in a marriage where there has been a lot of battering, unfaithfulness, infidelity, and where all kinds of words have been spoken.

It may not really be possible except with the grace of God. However, attempts can be made when sex is locked out of marriage then resuscitating it can be easy. Sexual intimacy between a couple will lead to appreciation of one another, and appreciation in turn leads to deeper intimacy. So don’t let anything hinder your sexual relationship and even before bedtime. Romance is the key to keeping couples together.

What are the necessary steps to prevent marriages from heading to the rock?
Seek to understand one another, it is important you know yourself; when there is an understanding, communication flows, don’t let it break down. Conflict has to be resolved with communication. Expressions matters a lot, you have to learn to express yourself to your spouse. So understanding, communication, commitment, care and preference, common grounds, win-win situation, endurance, peace, happiness and joy are all necessary for your marital success.

Why do we have a lot of marriage seminars and marriage counsellors yet there are lots of marital problems and people are walking out of their marriages?
Most of the challenges people have in their marriages are not learnt in marriage; they could be family background issues, you know the way a father treats his wife will determine how a son treats his wife and sometimes, when such a man sits in a seminar for an hour or with a counselor for some minutes, it may not really be enough to change what the young man has learnt early in life. 

So sometimes, it may take more than seminars and a lot of time spent with the counselor; it could take beyond one church service because we are all products of our upbringing. Parents should not expose their children to the experience they had in the past and one counseling session will not be a guarantee to stop that attitude. So it’s not really a shock that despite all this, we still have divorce cases and issues in marriage. Besides the couple should be willing to adhere to instructions given by the counselor, doing the Word of God and not being just hearers alone.

Last word
They way forward is for the couple to have an understanding of what marriage is, forget the mindset that I want my marriage to be like the one I saw in a in the movie somewhere or I read in a book. The couple should sit down and know the person they want to marry. Alternatively, they can read my book and apply the principles therein, they should identify the fundamental truth, and look at it from God’s perspective. There is no point in people having blood pressure, people dying young just because of contention and pride in marriage.

Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima's Paedophilia Tendencies.

Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima

Yerima’s love for baby brides
•Ex-governor must go to jail –Lawyers
By Jossy Idam, Toyin Akinola, Oge Okonkwo and Rita Napoleon 

Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima’s recent marriage to a minor has indeed stirred the hornet’s nest, with psychologists and lawyers roundly condemning his act.
A consultant psychologist at Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital, Osun State, Dr Oyewole Adeoye, says the behaviour of the former Zamfara State governor hints at a deeply seated psychological problem.

“He could be sick. He could be suffering from what we call manic disorder. The core symptom of that is sexual indiscretion or sexual dis-inhibition. It is the same condition that makes a man impregnate his house-help only to prostrate afterwards and blame the devil. It is a disorder where the sufferer loses all inhibitions (dis-inhibition)”

The psychiatrist further said Yerima’s behaviour borders on pedophilia. Asked to give a medical explanation to the term, he revealed that it “is a sexual behaviour where a man has a predilection for minors and they usually start by exposing their private parts to children. If a man prefers sex with minors, children, then he has a mental problem.”
Dr Oyewole also looked at it from social perspective and said men in Africa define their manhood through sexual prowess.

“In Africa, our sense of manhood has to do with sexual prowess. Men like to conquer and they see women they have had sex with as the ones they have conquered. That is why you hear a man boasting of how he ‘dealt’ with a girl even if he has erectile dysfunction. That is the way an African man thinks.”
Another psychologist and lecturer at Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Lagos, Dr Daudu Adedayo, described Yerima as a man with a psycho-pathological problem and high level of abnormality.
“There are so many mature girls including Muslim sisters. He could have taken any of them but he chose to go for an under-aged,” he said.

Miles apart
Looking at the psychological and physical impact of the relationship, Dr Adedayo said Yerima and his baby-bride would relate like father and daughter.
“Since the girl has not got to the stage of realization, differentiate things and make decisions in marriage, it will pose so many problems. For this reason, it would affect her in the home. It requires high level of maturity to make decisions,” he said.

Hinting at couple intimacy, Adedayo told Sunday Sun in a telephone interview that Yerima’s baby-bride is expected to be mature physically in the womb and reproductive organ.
“But, at her age, all these organs are underdeveloped in her. So, physically, sex will be a great problem in the house because she lacks the knowledge of intimate sexuality, and in no distant time, it will lead to frustration and lack of tolerance,” he said.

Exposed to VVF
Another medical expert, gyaenecologist and the chief medical director of Living Spring Hospital, Ikotun, Lagos, Dr Akinsola Akinde, expressed fear that Yerima’s little wife may end up with a disease popular with young people involved in early child-bearing, VVF (Vesico Vagina Fistula).
“At that tender age, the little girl is not psychologically and mentally mature for sex, marriage and child-bearing,” he said.
A human rights activist and initiator of Women Arise, an NGO, Dr Joe-Okei Odumakin, in strong terms condemned Yerima’s action.

Obviously bitter, she told Sunday Sun: “Yerima is supposed to be a role model. He is the same person that introduced Sharia law, which amputated offenders. Now he is committing an act that is condemnable. The affair does not give the girl the room for thorough education. So, the man deserves gross punishment.”

In a similar vein, a Lagos-based medical practitioner, Dr. Emmanuel Enabulele, corroborating the concern of the petitioners that protested at the Senate about the health implications of the minor in question, he said there will no doubt be negative medical consequences for the child, as she is not physically and psychologically developed to undertake the responsibilities that come with marriage.
“No doubt for a girl of that age (13), there will be negative medical consequences, even psychological. Physically she wouldn’t have developed enough, especially having an undeveloped pelvis, which could lead to complications when she is having a baby. In a case like that, there are usually incidences of prolonged labour, which could be harmful to the mother as well as the child, and may as well result into Vesico Vagina Fistula.”

Null and void
Princess Olufemi-Kayode, executive director, Media Concern for Women and Children (MEDIACON), an organization working for the reduction of sexual abuse of children and women, says though the laws are there, respect for them has been the problem in the country.
Noting that the Child Rights Act 2003, which was signed into law in the country that year, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, all stipulate 18 years as the legal age for marriage for any child. She said a violation attracts punishment.

“Nigeria, as opposed to what many believe, has laws. However, respect for the law is what is questionable. One of such laws is the CRA 2003 (over 20 states have also enacted their Child Rights Law), which both recognize 18 years being the legal age for marriage.
Section 21 of the CRA 2003 states: “No person under the age of 18 years is capable of contracting a valid marriage, and accordingly, a marriage so contracted is null and void and of no effect whatsoever.”
Section 22 – 23 further highlights that no parent, guardian or other person shall betroth a child to any person, stating that it is null and void.

Child trafficker
Lawyers are also up in arms against Yerima. Barrister Godwin Ewa of Adekunle Ojo and Associates frontally accused Yerima of child trafficking. “Before we get to his marriage with a minor, and by removing that baby girl from her parents through monetary inducement or whatever, Yerima is involved in child trafficking. Section 27 of the Child Rights Act prohibits that. The section prohibits the adoption and removal of a child out of the custody of his or her parents or guardian. The penalty is seven years imprisonment with no option of fine. When the facts are got, Yerima must be brought to book,” he intoned.
Activist lawyer, Festus Keyamo, did not spare Yerima either. Describing the senator’s action as irresponsible, bad, terrible example, he condemned it “as moral depravity which tarnishes the image of the Senate and the National Assembly as a whole.”

Playing the ostrich
As Yerima’s marital tie with an under-aged girl continues to gather dust, most of his male colleagues at the National Assembly prefer keeping mum. The Senate spokesman, Ayogu Eze, was even quoted as saying that the upper legislature is yet to verify the full detail.
“We think it is a private thing, and by the Constitution there is little or nothing that the Senate can do. It has to do with his personal life,” he had said.
But female senators have saved the day by rallying round Senator Ufot Eme Ekaette (PDP, Cross River State).

In a petition, Sunday Sun learnt they accused Yerima of marrying a minor and therefore wants him suspended. The group even threatened a seven-day “No-comment protest” at the National Assembly if the Senate fails to look into the Yerima marital mess.
But the Senate’s foot-dragging on the matter is understandable as Sunday Sun investigation revealed that some members of its leadership graced the tying of the knots at the Abuja Central mosque last month.
Unlike the inertia in the Senate, the House of Representatives directed its committee on public petitions last Thursday to quickly investigate the marriage tangle and report back to the House.

Choice of Abuja
The shaggy-bearded senator decided to uproot and marry his baby-bride in Abuja to evade Egypt’s stringent laws for foreigners angling to take a wife in the country. And going by that country’s law, Yerima went beyond his bounds. The official marriage age for girls in Egypt is 16.
Sunday Sun learnt the girl, Nadia, as she is called, was denied resident visa by the Nigerian Embassy in Cairo. She only was given a visit permit. After the “marriage” at the Abuja Central Mosque, she was hurriedly taken back to Egypt where she is still a student.

The 100,000 dollars (N15 million) dowry, which the senator allegedly paid, is well above the 6,500 dollars and average cost of marriage in Egypt. A study on the cost of marriage in the 1990s in Egypt reveals that the amount is even prohibitive “in a country in which average per capita income was 1,490 dollars in 2000.” Sunday Sun also found out that one-third of the household in that study were living below Egypt’s national poverty line.

Yerima not only broke a bank to marry his latest little wife, he airlifted 40 of his in-laws to the occasion and feted them stupendously. A source close to Yerima that also witnessed the event told Sunday Sun that the girl and her parents were given something beyond their wildest dreams.
“The display and splash of wealth is the catch. Looking at the faces of the girl’s relations, they were obviously swept off their feet,” the source, who wants anonymity, said.
If Yerima were to undertake his marriage in Cairo, Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Ministry would have insisted on a notarized, sworn statement that he is free to marry. If divorced, he would be expected to tender proof of the termination of his previous marriage. The authorities may even insist on a physical examination by an Egyptian physician.

International violation
Yerima also contravened the United Nations law by his act. According to its recent report: Fact sheet: Early Marriage, “early marriage unions violate the basic human rights of the girls by putting them into a life of isolation, service, lack of education, health problems and abuse.”
A UNICEF paper in the fact sheet sets the minimum age for marriage at 18. Any arrangement with a girl below that age is regarded as forceful and unlawful.

Knocking on jail gate
Put together to be in tandem with acceptable international conventions, which Nigeria is a signatory to, Nigeria’s Child Rights Act, Section 21 clearly states that any man who marries a girl below the age of 18 is liable to N500,000 or five years imprisonment and even both.
Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Roland Erunbare, has clearly stated that the commission will prosecute Yerima for his marital dalliance with the under-aged girl.

Above the law
The lawmaker, Yerima, is quoted as saying he has not broken the law of the land, and that any law outside his religion does not count.
In an interview with the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) Hausa service, Yerima broke his long, jarring silence on the matter Thursday evening. Translated into English, he said: “I don’t care about the issue of age since I have not violated any rule as far as Islam is concerned. History tells us that Prophet Mohammed did marry a young girl as well. Therefore I have not contravened any law, even if she is 13, as it is being falsely peddled around.”

As revealed in one of the petitions sent to the Senate, Yerima in 2006 enticed Hauwa’u, a 15-year-old girl, to drop out from school at JSS3 to marry him. The girl allegedly made a baby for him before he divorced her to add a fresh wife, Nadia, the Egyptian child bride to his harem.
Regardless, National Missioner of the Ansar-U-Deen Society of Nigeria, Abdurahman Ahmad, rose in defence of the man in the eye of the storm. He said that under Sharia, Yerima has done no wrong.

“Categorically, an older man is permitted in Islam to marry a younger girl. The only caveat is that if the girl is under-aged, the groom is expected to wait for her to attain puberty before the marriage can be consummated,” he said.
According to him, the yardstick for measuring the appropriate age for the girl in Islam is if she has attained puberty. At this stage, she could marry or could be married.

Noting that the onset of puberty could be as early as 12, he said there is really no big deal about the issue, so long as a case of rape has not been established against the older man.
“There is really no big deal; there should be no fuss about it, so long as a case of rape has not been established against him. Sharia recognizes the marriage of an older man to a younger girl,” he said.


Mallam Nasir el-Rufai returns, dares EFCC

Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai returned to the country in the early hours of yesterday after months of self-imposed exile characterized by shadow boxing with the Presidency in the active years of ailing President Umaru Yar Adua.

El-Rufai who spoke to reporters that besieged his Jabi, Abuja resident around 2pm yesterday said he returned to the country to see his family

El-Rufai said he is not afraid of any agency that may invite him for questioning over his tenure as the FCT Minister.

‘I am not rattled by any anti-graft agency. I am back in the country to see my family. I am still looking at what the Federal Government is doing, I will comment on it at a later date, I will address a world press conference when I settle down" he said

It could be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC had summoned the former Minister who has been out of the country since he left office to answer some questions.

He had been questioned over shady deals in Land Administration in the EFCC in the last days of his administration as the FCT Minister. El-Rufai said he is working with other Nigerians to promote fair participation of Nigerians in their own governance. He said numerous opportunities exist to take control from the corrupt elites and return governance to the people.

In a terse speech, he said "I am happy to be back." el-Rufai commended the steps taken by the Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan to sanitise the nation’s electoral system.

In another statement made available to The Nation, he said "Through it all, I have retained my faith in Nigeria, its people and its possibilities. I have been encouraged by the appreciation my compatriots continue to show for my contributions in public service. It is also fitting that I thank all those groups and persons that have supported me in very trying moments.

"I salute Nigerians for their growing insistence that this country can and should be better run. This is further cause for hope because it shows that there is an abiding faith that this can yet become a great country in fact, and not just by aspiration.

"It is my hope that Nigerians in the Diaspora, spread across the world; Nigerians who love their country; who understand its vast potential, feel compelled to return to Nigeria. There is a small window of opportunity to build a new Nigeria – where the government is accountable to its people; where civil society becomes the guardian of its democracy.

He said further "We need to work with those "agents of change" to ensure a free and fair election in Nigeria.  Towards this end, I applaud the decisive actions of acting President Goodluck Jonathan in setting a new direction for good governance, and most recently, for paving the way for the re-constitution of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

"Many of the false allegations have since been dropped and it is instructive to note that only one criminal charge has been filed against me after over two years of extensive and endless investigations. It is my intention to vigorously defend the spurious charge and work within the legal system to exonerate myself.


Timothy Mofolorunso Aluko passes on at 91.

Timothy Mofolorunso Aluko, popularly known as T. M. Aluko, the novelist and lefty famed for melodramatic titles and a sober prose style, passed on in the early hours of yesterday in a Lagos hospital. He was 91 years old and until his death, Nigeria‘s oldest man of letters.

Born June 14, 1918, Aluko was never ranked by critics among Nigerian greats like Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe, J. P. Clark. He was however popular as a second-tier author who captivated his generation with his novels and secured their place among the reading list in secondary schools across the country and beyind.

Aluko entered into the literary scene with his novel, One man one wife which was published in 1959. And in the spate of five decades, he churned out titles such as ‘One man One Machete’, ‘Kinsman and Foreman’, ‘Chief The Honourable Minister’, ‘His Worshipful Majesty’, ‘Wrong one in the Dock’, ‘A State of Our Own’, ‘My Years of Service’, and ‘The Story of My Life’ which was published four years ago.

And only last November, he formally presented his novel, Our Born-Again President, a satire on leadership in a troubled country. At that event which held at his residence in Ladipo Oluwole Street, Apapa, Lagos, T. M. as he is fondly called sat in a wheel chair, dressed in white buba and sokoto with a cap perched on his head, as he was surrounded by relatives, friends, and well-wishers, including Justice Kayode Esho, J. P. Clark Bekederemo, Onuora Nzekwu, Michael Omolayole, and Ambassador Segun Olusola,

Friends used that opportunity to talk about the man T. M. Aluko. While on holidays in 1940s, T. M, who was a student of Government College, Ibadan at that time, used to teach class two students in the grammar school at Ilesha. Justice Kayode Esho, one of the author’s student at that time recalled the author’s patience. "The author happened to be one of those who came to my class in class two in 1940. We gave him so much trouble and he pretended as if he did not know that we were troublesome," he said. "In the class, we had someone called ‘Ángel of Disorder’. There was nothing he did not do to provoke this old man," Esho said.

Describing Aluko as an iconoclast and citing the quick temper of the Ijesha people, 84-year old Esho went on to say, "as soon as he(Aluko) got to government and he rose, the first thing he did was to build a house in Ilesha which he called Ile Ibinu." Ile Ibinu in Yoruba language translates to ‘house of anger’. And as if guessing it would be the author’s last public event, Olusola had sang a farewell dirge.

Two of Aluko’s sons, Seye and Tayo, performed at the event. Seye sang, played the guitar and later played the Cello while Tayo performed excerpts from the novel, Our Born-Again President. Tayo had earlier described his father as conservative, saying Aluko refused to use his official car for family purposes such as taking his kids to church.

In 1987, Aluko suffered a stroke at the age of 69 in 1987 which left his right hand paralysed. This development saw him learning how to write with his left hand. Reflecting on Aluko’s recuperation after he suffered stroke, Tayo said, "When my dad had stroke and he flew to England, one of the things he wanted to be doing was to paint. And he painted such beautiful paintings. It is sad that I do not know where they are now."

Aluko’s latest novel, ‘Our Born Again President,’ is the story of governance in the country, Riveira, ruled by British colonialists. The story, narrated by Stephen Craig, a loyal civil servant a corrupt president who turns a new leaf.

Aluko studied Civil Engineering and Town Planning in Lagos and London and in 1960 was appointed Director of Public Works for Western Region. He received a Master’s in Public Health Engineering from the University of Newcastle in 1969 and a doctorate in the same subject from the University of Lagos in 1976, where he retired as Associate Professor in 1979.

Aluko was awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and an Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) in 1963 and 1964 respectively.

Aluko is survived by his children.


Governor Charlie Crist. helps trapped driver in Pensacola

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) -- A trapped driver has received some comfort from an unexpected source -- Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

Crist came across a flipped car while he was traveling to Pensacola Naval Air Station on Saturday. The driver still inside.

The governor calmly talked to the man until rescue workers arrived. He asked the man if his arm was OK and told him to relax. Crist told the man: "I was in an accident once in high school. I was in an SUV. It flipped and went into a ditch. You'll be OK."

Crist also offered water to the man, who told him that he worked at a Waffle House. When he returned to his vehicle after crews arrived on the scene, Crist said the man was "going to be OK."

Charlie Crist:Florida GOP Auctions Crist Portrait on eBay After Political Breakup

Florida GOP officials took down an oil portrait of Gov. Charlie Crist just hours after the governor they helped elect dumped the Republican Party to announce he would run for the U.S. Senate as an independent, senior staff members told Fox News.

If breaking up is hard to do, the Florida GOP isn't showing any signs.

Florida GOP officials took down an oil portrait of Gov. Charlie Crist just hours after the governor they helped elect dumped the Republican Party to announce he would run for the U.S. Senate as an independent, senior staff members told Fox News.

State party officials, who have removed any likeness of Crist, are auctioning the portrait they purchased for its headquarters in Tallahassee on eBay. Party officials say they paid $7,500 for the Crist portrait and another painting. Officials also removed his signatures from all party materials.
The move punctuates the shocking end of Crist's relationship with Republicans who once touted the Florida moderate as a possible 2012 presidential candidate. Crist was heavily favored to win the Senate primary last year. But his campaign quickly became a lost cause as the tea party movement embraced another candidate, Marco Rubio, and held up the governor's literal embrace of Obama last year as evidence that Crist was too liberal.

Crist's departure from the Republican Party means it will be tougher for him to raise money, he'll lose nearly all his campaign staff and he won't have the advantage of a party infrastructure for resources like voter lists and volunteers. The party that helped propel him to power will now do anything to defeat him.

Fox News' Serafin Gomez contributed to this report.

UK Election 2010: Woman in Brown 'bigot' row not to vote

Mr. Gordon Brown and Mrs.Gillian Duffy

The woman at the centre of a media storm after being called "bigoted" by Gordon Brown has said she will not be voting for Labour or any party.

Gillian Duffy told the Mail on Sunday she felt sorry for Mr Brown after he made the unguarded remark, minutes after she confronted him in public.

Mr Brown later visited Mrs Duffy's home in Rochdale to express his regret.
Mrs Duffy said she accepted his apology but declined his invitation to shake hands with her in front of the cameras.

Mr Brown's remarks - in which he described his discussion with Mrs Duffy on issues such as immigration and education as a "disaster" - were captured by a microphone he was still wearing
A life-long Labour supporter, Mrs Duffy has not commented publicly since the prime minister spent 40 minutes in her Rochdale home on Wednesday.

Immediately after she was told about Mr Brown's remarks, Mrs Duffy suggested she would not be voting Labour as she had previously intended.

After the incident, Mr Brown told Labour members that he "profoundly regretted" the remarks and has since acknowledged he has paid a "very high price" for them.

Motrin Recall: FDA and McNeil Consumer Healthcare

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and McNeil Consumer Healthcare is voluntarily recalling all lots that have not yet expired of certain over-the-counter (OTC) Children’s and Infants’ liquid products that were manufactured in the United States and distributed in the United States, Canada, Dominican Republic, Dubai (UAE), Fiji, Guam, Guatemala, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, and Kuwait.

Motrin, Tylenol and Zyrtec recall 2010: Johnson & Johnson Recalls Children's Medicines


Johnson & Johnson is recalling all lots of certain over-the-counter infant and children's products, including various formulations of Children's Tylenol, Motrin Infant Drops and Children's Zyrtec syrup.

The New Brunswick, N.J., company's McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit is withdrawing the products due to manufacturing problems, the Food and Drug Administration said in a news release. Some of the medicines may contain a higher concentration of its active ingredient than they should, while others may contain inactive ingredients at levels the company deems inappropriate or tiny particles, McNeil said in a news release.

The company said there haven't been any serious side effects reported, and both the company and the FDA said the potential for harm is remote. Still, the company and the agency said the products shouldn't be given to children as a "precautionary measure."

An FDA spokeswoman said all the recalled lots came from the Johnson & Johnson unit's manufacturing plant in Fort Washington, Pa. A routine FDA inspection at the plant turned up the manufacturing problems, which prompted the voluntary recall, the spokeswoman said.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a release that the FDA has launched an investigation into the "products and facilities associated with this recall."

"We want to be certain that consumers discontinue using these products and that they know what to do if they have concerns about a specific product," said Ms. Hamburg. "While the potential for serious health problems is remote, Americans deserve medications that are safe, effective and of the highest quality."


Tylenol Recall 2010

Tylenol medicines are produced by Mc Neil Consumer Healthcare of Johnson & Johnson and they have recalled their medicines from the market for an ‘unusual moldy, musty or mildew-like’ odor. The recall announced this Friday was broad based and includes several other over the counter drugs like junior strength Motrin, Motrin caplets, children’s Tylenol grape meltaway tablets, Benadryl allergy ultratabs, extra strength Tylenol PM geltabs, St. Joseph aspirin chewable orange tablets and extra strength chewable Rolaids fresh mint tablets. The smell in the pills may result nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and other illness.

CNN reports that the “recall drew the FDA’s wrath on Johnson and Johnson for not reacting quickly to customer complaints and its failure to fix the problem.” Deborah Autor, director of FDA’s compliance office, responded that the company should have acted faster as every company has a responsibility to ensure high quality, safety and effectiveness of their products and protect customers.

The recalled drugs are widely sold through a number of retail stores that includes large chain drug stores, supermarkets and independent pharmacies. McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the producer of these medicines has to report FDA on its efforts to address the problems and prevent the future violations in 15 days. If they fail to correct the legal violations, it may result legal action which may include seizure and injunction.

Many consumers are worried as there are many people who have already given the medicine to their children. There is also a reason to worry because there may be deficiency of Tylenol in the market for some time due to the recall.


Zyrtec Recall Added to Tylenol Recall 2010

Today a Zyrtec recall was issued along with the Tylenol recall 2010. The recall was issued because these products did not meet the quality standards, and may have more amounts of the active ingredients among other issues.

According to McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the recall was not issued because of medical hazards or concerns. They have said such events are remotely a possibility, but still recommend users to discontinue the use of these products.

Zyrtec Recall includes 5 products that were manufactured in USA and distributed in United States, Canada, Dominican Republic, Dubai (UAE), Fiji, Guam, Guatemala, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, and Kuwait.

Check out the list below for the products included in the recall. Consumers can contact the company at 1-888-222-6036 and also at
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