Sunday, 27 April 2008


Culled From UK Newspaper: Daily Indipendent

By Andy McSmith Saturday, 26 April 2008

A senior British Airways pilot reveals today the startling levels of casual racism in the flagship UK company, which once famously claimed to be "the world's favourite airline".
Captain Doug Maughan, who has 28 years' flying experience, including 15 years with BA, says that derogatory remarks about race by his colleagues are so common they are treated as normal.
Mr Maughan, a serving pilot who captains BA aircraft to all parts of the world, has decided to go public with his complaints after struggling to persuade BA's management to take racism among its senior staff seriously. He has complained by email to BA's chief executive, Willie Walsh, but says no action was taken.
His allegations are an acute embarrassment for the airline which carries 36 million passengers a year; operates out of airports in every continent; and could plausibly claim to be one of Britain's most high-profile companies. The airline is already threatened with a boycott by Nigerians flying to and from the UK.
Mr Maughan alleges that racism is a "generational" problem – common among middle-aged pilots, but rare among younger pilots.
He lodged his first complaint after hearing a senior training captain use the word "coon" during a training session on a flight simulator – but says that no action was taken.
"There was the time when we set off for Los Angeles with a large party of Saudis on board, who had joined us at Heathrow direct from the VIP lounge," he added. "In the cruise, my captain suddenly embarked on an extraordinary rant about 'rag-heads'. He got the word out twice before I stopped him by explaining he was going to be short of a first officer for the return sector if he carried on."
Mr Maughan, who lives in Dunblane, Perthshire, was on another flight when a fellow flight officer complained that there were too many Asians in Britain. "The captain turned to me and said: 'I don't suppose there are many of them up your way.' I replied: 'Well, there's my wife.' After that, they had the decency to fall silent," he said.
He has also complained about abusive emails sent to him by a fellow pilot, who is English. One of the emails said: "Come separation, will all Jocks F. off to that Welfare State (paid for by English middle classes)??? Please say yes."
Mr Maughan, 53, is so exasperated by what he sees as BA management's refusal to tackle the problem that he is planning a protest at this year's annual shareholders' meeting. "It's what I'd call a canteen culture," he said. "It seems to be accepted that people are going to make racist remarks and get away with it. The phrase 'institutional racism' has been so over-used as to be almost worthless, but I have to say that racism is as prevalent now in BA as it was in the RAF 25 years ago.
"What is common among white flying crew in BA is the use of mildly derogatory, sometimes jokey, language about other races, mainly aimed at black and Asian groups. Because it's so common, it's hard to tackle: it's ... the norm and rarely even noticed."
BA said: "All British Airways employees must adhere to our policies concerning dignity at work. Under these policies we encourage employees to report incidences of racism, sexism or any other behaviour that they deem offensive or inappropriate. Any reports of such behaviour are taken extremely seriously and investigated as a matter of priority. Captain Maughan has a duty as an employee to provide details of any alleged inappropriate behaviour direct to the airline."
Mr Maughan's revelations come as BA's treatment of Nigerian passengers threatens to have diplomatic repercussions. Robert Dewar, the British high commissioner to Nigeria, has been summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be warned that Nigeria expects its citizens to be treated with "dignity". And a meeting between BA representatives and the director general of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Harold Demuren, broke up when Dr Demuren objected that BA had slighted him by sending junior managers.
Nigeria's President, Umaru Yar'Adua, has ordered an investigation into an incident at Heathrow in which 136 passengers were turned off a BA flight to Lagos. It developed as immigration officers and BA staff were trying to force a man who was being deported to stay on board against his will. The deportee, Augustine Eme, is a member of Massob, a banned organisation in Nigeria campaigning for independence for the region of Biafra.
A fellow passenger, Ayodeji Omotade, from Chatham, objected to Mr Eme's treatment and was arrested. Mr Omotade's arrest triggered more protests, until the BA captain ordered every passenger in economy class off the plane. BA has defended the decision to empty the aircraft saying that it was legally obliged to carry passengers such as Mr Eme. It said a large number of passengers on flight BA75 on 27 March became disruptive; that it was not possible to pinpoint which ones were involved; and that the police and crew agreed it could pose a safety risk to allow them to stay on board.
BA's other troubles
BA's biggest disaster in recent years was the botched opening of Heathrow Terminal 5 on 27 March. More than 500 flights were cancelled after a hi-tech baggage handlinge system malfunctioned. The fiasco cost the airline £16m, and, combined with rising oil prices, caused its share price to fall to its lowest level in four years. Chief executive Willie Walsh resisted calls for his resignation.
*Gate Gourmet
In August 2005, the catering firm Gate Gourmet, which wanted redundancies among its full-time staff, brought in 130 temporary staff to handle the holiday workload. The firm's 600 staff went out on unofficial strike, and were sacked. About 1,000 BA staff walked out in sympathy.As a result, 900 flights were grounded and BA lost £45m.
*The crucifix
BA was threatened with a boycott by protesting Christians, after Nadia Eweida, a check-in worker, was suspended for refusing to remove her crucifix at work.
Interesting? Click here to explore further

Friday, 25 April 2008

Pastor Chris controversy, Church Members React


"Weber Ndoakor"
Hi there,

I have tested through the word of God the teaching of Pastor Chris and know by th Spirit of God that he is a genuine man of God. It's a shame that people like you put shame on Jesus Christ. Maybe you are blinded or a fool who is looking for a recognition of some sort or simply mad.

I suggest you find a better way of spending your time and find a honorable way of living. Repent or the Lord will keep you accountable for such stupid lies. Do you think we christians are kids or what.

Stay blessed anyway

From: Weber Ndoakor

Friday, 18 April 2008

Thank You Chief Gani Fawheninmi leading Nigerian Human Rights Lawyer

Thanks a great deal, I am a benefactor of Gani Fawehinmi and his generosity of spirit. When myself and 9 other students’ were charged before the Jos Zone of General Babangidas so called Miscellaneous Offences Military Tribunal. Gani it was without solicitation that took up the case with Barrister Kelvin Okoroafor. To fight on our side, not minding the days I spent in Jos Prison the idea of having Gani on our side gave us the reassurance that the state will not succeed in getting the life sentence they so desired.
I have lost count of the number of unwarranted expulsion by University authorities Gani overturned using the instrumentality of law, at least counting mine, three times I was expelled by the university of Jos on the foundation of student activism and three times Gani fought in court. We can’t say thank you enough to Chief Gani Fawhinmi and other lawyers he later inspired, Falana, Keyamo, Agbara and others.
Aturu what we can all do is continue in the spirit of unbending loyalty to the Nigerian people, that is one thing Gani is all about not minding his faults though and that is the only thank You He would forever appreciate.

N.B All efforts by those of us in London to assist Gani in one way or the other at his Corydon Residence has been politely turned down by the icon himself. That speaks volume of a true man of the people. If only others will take a cue from him. He was not doing good to the people for the sake of “investing” in followers like some in the political circle practice.

Kayode Ogundamisi


Chief Abdul-Ganiyu "Gani" Oyesola Fawehinmi (b. 22 April 1938) is a Nigerian author, publisher, philanthropist, social critic, human and civil rights lawyer and Politician.
His supporters have called him "the scourge of irresponsible governments, a thermometer with which the blood pressure of dictators is gauged, the veritable conscience of the nation and the champion of the interests and causes of the masses".
Fawehinmi, popularly called Gani, was born on 22 April 1938, into the Fawehinmi family of Ondo, in Ondo State.
His father, Chief Saheed Tugbobo Fawehinmi, the Seriki Musulumi of Ondo was a successful timber magnate, a great philanthropist, an opponent of excessive taxation of the poor and a deeply religious muslim leader. He was reported to have brought Islam to Ondo Town. Chief Saheed Tugbobo Fawehinmi died on 5 February 1963 at the age of 89 years. He was a polygamist.
Gani's grand father was the Late Chief Lisa Alujanu Fawehinmi of Ondo, who engaged in several successful battles for and on behalf of the Ondo people in the nineteenth century. Hence, the appellation the 'Alujanun', which means spirit. He died at the age of 92.
Gani's mother, Alhaja Muniratu Fawehinmi, nee Akinnibosun, is also a devoted muslim. She is the Iya Olori Egbe Adini of Ondo Central Mosque. Gani is her first child and the only son of her six children. She was aged 89 years at her death. Her father was Chief Yesufu Akinnibosun and her mother was Madam Rabiatu Akinnibosun, who died at the age of 96 years.
Gani had his early education at Ansar-Ud-Deen Primary School, Iyemaja - Ondo from 1947 to 1953 and his secondary school education at Victory College Ikare, a Christian School from 1954 to 1958, under the leadership of the Late Rev. Akinrele where he sat for and passed his West African School Certificate Examination in 1958.
On 8 December 1958, he was given a letter to his late father by the principal of the college, Rev. Akinrele. In it, the principal advised that Gani must be encouraged to study Law as a profession.
While in college, he was popularly known as "Nation" because of his passionate interest in national, legal and political affairs. He was an avid reader of Daily Times and West African Pilot, the most popular newspapers at that time.
In January 1959, he headed for Lagos to stay with his uncle, the late Mr. Olu Akinfe.He got his first job as a Clerk in the High Court, Lagos.
On 29 April 1961, he left the shores of Nigeria by sea on the M. V. Aureol Passenger Ship for the United Kingdom. He arrived in Liverpool on 12 May 1961. He travelled by train to London, arriving at Victoria Station in the evening of that day.
On arrival in England, Gani received the result of his General Certificate of Education (G.C.E) Advanced Level which he took shortly before he left Nigeria. He passed very well. He then enrolled in the Holborn College of Law for the LLB degree of the University of London (External) in September 1961. He was in part II of the three year degree programme when his father died on 5 February 1963 and the source of his finance dried up. All efforts to secure financial help failed. He was forced by financial circumstance to drop out of the Holborn College as a full time student. He took a full time job as a Toilet Cleaner in Russell Square Hotel in Southampton Row, London. He did other cleaning jobs which included working as a sweeper in the old Gatwick Airport between February 1963 and August 1964.
He literally taught himself Law for parts II and III of the LLB degree course and sat for and passed all his examinations. He came back to Nigeria in early September 1964 carrying a small suitcase containing: 2 pairs of trousers, 3 shirts, 1 pair of shoe (apart from the one he was putting on), 2 pants, 2 singlets, 2 pairs of socks and 2 black suits, all of low quality which he bought at rock bottom prices in general sale at Caledonia Road, North London.
On his arrival in Lagos, he enrolled in the Nigerian Law School at No. 213A, Igbosere Road, Lagos for the compulsory three months course which he successfully completed.
Chief Gani was called to the Nigerian Bar on the 15th of January, 1965.
In 1993 Fawehinmi was awarded the biennial Bruno Kreisky Prize. This prize, named in honour of Bruno Kreisky, is awarded to international figures who advance human rights causes. In 1998, he received the International Bar Association's Bernard Simmons Award in recognition of his human-rights and pro-democracy work. In 1994 he and some other notable Nigerians formed the National Conscience Party of Nigeria which exists till today and he stood for a presidential election in 2003 under the umbrella of the National Conscience Party.
Gani Fawehinmi became a holder of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) the highest legal title in Nigeria in September, 2001.
Gani is not everything to everybody. You either like him passionately or you hate him intensely. This is because of his boundless and sometimes suicidal energy with which he tenaciously and uncompromisingly pursues and crusades his beliefs, principles and ideals for the untrammelled rule of law, undiluted democracy, all embracing and expansive social justice, protection of fundamental human rights and respect for the hopes and aspirations of the masses who are victims of misgovernance of the affairs of the Nation.
As a result of his activities along these lines, he was arrested, detained, charged to court several times. His international passport was seized on many occasions. His residence and Chambers were crudely searched several times. He was beaten up many times and was deported from one part of the country to another to prevent him from being listened to by the masses. Some of his books which the Federal Military Government did not like were confiscated and one of his houses at Surulere where the books were kept was about to be set ablaze when the would be perpetrators were caught and apprehended by neighbours. Even his Chambers at Anthony Village, Lagos State, was violently attacked and invaded by persons suspected to be government security men on 26 August 1994 and they shot at the Chambers guard, seriously wounding two of them.
Consequent upon his crusades for the rule of law, the hopes and aspirations of the poor and the oppressed, he fought many battles against the military dictatorship as a result of which he had been arrested several times by the military governments and its numerous security agents. He had been dumped in many police cells and detained in several prisons between 1969 and 1996.
It is believed by many that Gani had been long overdue for the Senior Advocate of Nigeria award, but the jealousy of many powerful Nigerians in the Legal profession and outside stood against him. Many of Nigerias masses call him the people's president

Sunday, 13 April 2008

British Airways an Anti Nigerian Airline? How BA Kicked out over 100 Nigerians from Plane

Humilation of Nigerians on British Airways by Ayodeji Omotade

On the 27th of March 2008 at about 12:30pm, I boardedthe British Airways flight BA75 and I went straight toseat 53C. On getting to my seat, there were noises from anindividual being forcibly restrained but who was notvisible because some police officers and some plainclothes people held him down. The noise continued formore than 20 minutes and I was concerned because theindividual was screaming in agony and shouting inpidgin English "I go die" meaning, I will die. Ipleaded with the officers not to kill him and my exactwords were "please don't kill him". The BritishAirways staff said that the officers were doing theirjobs and that nothing was going to happen. The noisebecame louder and other passengers started gettingconcerned and were complaining especially about theirsafety. The situation continued for another 15 minutesafter I got on. Eventually, a member of the cabin crew announced thatthe passenger was going to be removed and thepassenger was removed from the plane and we allthought that was the end of the situation. Fiveminutes later, two members of the cabin crew arrivedwith about 4 police officers and told me to get offthe plane. I asked what the matter was and they saidthat I was not going to travel with the airlinebecause the cabin crew thought I had been disruptiveby questioning the noise being caused by the personthat was removed. I pleaded with them that I was goingfor my brother's wedding and that I had all his stuffwith me. I was dragged out of the plane as if I wasresisting arrest. As we got to the corridor thatlinked the plane with the terminal building, I wasslammed against the wall and made to sit on the floor.I was still pleading with them telling them that theyhad completely misunderstood me and that I was onlycomplaining about the situation regarding thedisturbances caused by the deportee they were tryingto restrain and subdue. I was on the floor for about20 to 25 minutes. Another passenger was brought to thecorridor as well and he was also pleading with theofficers. I was later put in the back of the police van at about1:50pm and I was locked up there for about an hour ormore still handcuffed. I was formally arrestedapproximately 2:30pm and my rights were read to me.Before the arrest in the van, I managed to reach formy pocket and brought out my mobile phone. I made somephone calls to my wife, sister and a friend while thelow battery sign was on because I was all alone andstill handcuffed.I was later driven to the police station where I wasformally checked in. I was in police custody foralmost 8 hours and later released on bail after theinterview with the duty solicitor and the detectives.I had £473.00 on me which was seized as well as £90.00sent to my mother in-law from my sister in-law and£1,050.00 given to me by my cousin who is a doctor forthe upkeep of his parents in Nigeria. All the moneytogether was £1,613.00. I was told that I would appearin a magistrate court to prove the money was not meantfor crime or proceeds of crime. The officer told methat they will like to see traceability and that Ineeded my payslips and bank account detailing mypayments and withdrawals as well as my cousin'spayments and withdrawals.I was released but without the money. I made my way toterminal 4 and arrived there at about 12:30am but theBritish Airways kiosks were closed. I was directed tothe staff room and told them that I wanted to rebookmy trip to Lagos. A lady told me to give her my ticketand she stated that British Airways has banned me fromtravelling with them indefinitely and that only themanagers can use their discretions because I was a'disruptive passenger'. I requested for my 2 pieceluggage and she told me that the section will beopened later at about 5:30am and I will be escorted into collect them. I slept on the chair and waited tillabout 5:30am and attempted to rebook my ticket but wastold that British Airways refused to take me. Idecided to go and pick up my stuff and I was told thatmy luggage were missing. I was handed a form withreference number LONBA90924. At this point, I becametotally stranded because I could not leave without myluggage because it contained my brother's weddingsuit, shirts and accessories. I was on the phone with my wife and she wanted to bookan alternative flight that departs at 10:15am so thatI could make it for the wedding. This was not possiblebecause British Airways refused to disclose where myluggages were and did not remove my luggage from theflight when they called the police to arrest me. On Monday 31st of March, I appeared at the Magistratecourt but was told that a decision was made about the£1,613.00 that was seized from me. The police had beengranted a further 90 days to hold on to the moneypending their investigation. I was given the officer'sdetails . He requested 12 months bank statements and 6months payslip to prove that the £473.00 that belongsto me was not proceeds of crime and also requestedthat the £1,050.00 that was given to me by my cousinfor his parents should also be traced to my cousin's12 months bank statement and 6 months payslip. DCWebster has promised to write me detailing theserequests.Still on Monday 31st of March 4 days after I was takenoff the plane, I made extra efforts to find out thewhereabouts of my 2 piece luggage (LONBA90924),because they have not been sent to my address aspromised by calling the lost baggage section at13:44hrs and spoke to a man called Neil who said that,it is difficult for them to trace my bags and thatthere is a strong possibility that they might be inLagos. He suggested that I should call back in 24hours. Eventually, one week and one day later, my bags werebrought to me at home. One was badly damaged and theother was intact. British Airways delibrately madesure I missed the wedding because if they were kickingme off their flight, they would have removed my bagsfrom the flight. They were all there when the policeofficers made me to sit on the floor and heard mepleading to allow me fly for my brother's wedding. Icould have made either KLM or Virgin Nigeria thefollowing Friday morning.I will not want to believe that the authoritiesinvolved in the situation deliberately or cleverlypunished me unnecessarily out of frustration for notbeing able to restrain or subdue a deportee or that Ias a fee paying passenger was accused of affray withviolence when I was voicing my concerns about thedisturbances caused by the deportees. I nevermentioned any abusive or swear words neither was Iphysically threatening anyone. My luggage mysteriouslywas lost and I have been banned on all British Airwaysflights without a chance to say my part of the storyto redeem myself. 135 passengers were asked to leavethe flight because they expressed displeasureregarding the disturbances caused by the deportees andthe officers trying to restrain him. My ticket waseven refused to be endorsed by BA to enable me to flywith another airline. I need full compensation of myloss and also a letter of apology from BritishAirways.
RegardsAyodeji Omotade
The British Mirror Newspaper Reports
A British Airways captain ordered 136 passengers offhis plane in chaotic scenes after they all startedcomplaining to cabin crew.As the flight waited to take off at Heathrow the rowwas sparked by the restraint of a man being forciblydeported.Many were distressed by his pitiful cries of "I godie" and one passenger, Ayodeji Omotade, 39, spoke upon his behalf.The deportee was taken off the Lagos bound jet byimmigration staff and police.But five officers returned and arrested Mr Omotade.This outraged the other 135 passengers in the economyclass section and they complained to cabin crew.Amid riotous scenes in the aisles, 20 police officersboarded to calm everything down.Then the BA pilot took the extraordinary decision toboot off everyone who had witnessed the arrest of MrOmotade, an IT consultant from Chatham, Kent.The captain took the view they were all guilty ofdisturbing the flight, although no more passengerswere arrested.After the economy class section was virtually cleared,the deportee, aged about 30, was brought back on andthe flight left.The passengers were booked on to later flights but MrOmotade was told by BA staff he was banned by theairline for life.English-born Mr Omotade, married with a daughter agedfour, was handcuffed and kept in police custody foreight hours after his arrest. He has not been chargedand is seeking an apology from BA.He was travelling from Heathrow's Terminal 4 to Lagosfor his brother's marriage and had in his luggage thegroom's wedding ring, shirt and suit. He missed theceremony.He told the Mirror: "There were agonising noises froman individual being restrained. It went on for 20minutes."I pleaded with the officers and my exact words were,'Please don't kill him.'"I was not swearing or threatening. BA staff said theofficers were doing their jobs and nothing was goingto happen. When he was removed we thought it was theend of the matter."But police officers came back and I was handcuffedand dragged off the plane."He claims his luggage has been lost and £1,600 cash hehad for relatives has been taken and not returned.Scotland Yard confirmed: "A man was arrested foraffray and causing a disturbance and was bailed."Ba said: "Police were called to the BA75 service toLagos on March 27 after a large number of passengersbecame disruptive.Many were removed."We take any threats against our crew or passengersvery seriously and this kind of behaviour will not betolerated."

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, Faith Healer or Fake Healer?

Pastor offered me R10 000 to sit in a wheelchair.... stand up and walk 04 April 2008SPECIAL
INVESTIGATION by Getrude Makhafola and Tebogo Monama

Faith healer or fake healer: Pastor Chris Oyakhilome

Related Content

Nigerian preacher and healer Pastor Chris Oyakhilome has been accused by a member of his own church of staging miracle healing sessions.

Some of his followers have said that he has been hiring people to pretend to be sick and disabled and then “be healed” during his television shows and public prayer meetings.
A man who did not want to be identified for security reasons said: “I was offered R10 000 to rehearse and pretend to be in a wheelchair three weeks before the all-night prayer called Night of Bliss at the Johannesburg Stadium.”

Last weekend Pastor Oyakhilome hosted an all-night prayer at the stadium. The source told Sowetan that he started attending Christ Embassy church in Randburg last year.
He was recruited by one of the pastors and told he would be paid if he helped to draw crowds. “The pastor told me that they were looking for people to work for the church.
He said that I was going to sit in a wheelchair and be wheeled around while pretending to be physically ill. I would then stand up and walk as soon as Pastor Chris stopped praying for me.”
The source also said that the people who are “healed” every time on stage are actually trained weeks before.

“Even children who are healthy are whisked around in wheelchairs. Some use crutches. “Everyone is allocated a person who tells the congregation about your background, your specific illness and suffering. “The pastor then raises his hands and places them maybe on your legs if you cannot walk, and a few seconds later you get up and walk around the room,”the source said. He said he called the church the day after their offer and turned them down.
“I just told myself that using the word of God to lie to desperate people is immoral, so I refused to take up their offer,” said the source.

A woman who went to the all-night prayer service, said: “When he started healing people, I did not see him call anyone from the audience. The people that he ‘healed’ came from a certain section of the audience and it looked like he came with them especially for the event.
“I saw a lot of people in wheelchairs leaving the venue who had not been healed. It was very sad.
”Lerato Moeketsi told Sowetan she was a loyal follower of the church and was disappointed that she could not make it into the stadium. “I had to turn back because the stadium was full. “There was no way I could go through to receive his blessing,” she said.
Thousands of followers jostled for space at the stadium.

The seriously ill, mostly disabled and in wheelchairs, went to the service in the hope of being healed by Pastor Chris’s powerful prayer. Another woman, Tshinanne Nemutudi, said she went to the all-night prayer service because she believed in Pastor Chris.
“I trust him the way I trust Jesus and God. ”She said she had problems with her ankle but Pastor Chris had healed her. “While he was praying, he said we should all touch our body parts that needed to be healed. He said that if we believed then we would be healed.”
Oyakhilome ’s website describes him as a pastor, teacher, healing minister, television host and best-selling author whose career spans 25 years.

He runs the church with his wife, Pastor Anita, who is the director of Christ Embassy’s international office and also preaches at the Christ Embassy churches in the United Kingdom.
Pastor Chris also hosts a religious programme on TV called Atmosphere for Miracles. At the Randburg branch, brother Onyeka Liozo said what the source and the followers said “was rubbish”. “We have a healing school in Randburg. People ask and get healed.
People must stop lying about this holy crusade,” said Liozo. He said that people come from outside South Africa for help.

Pastor Chris is both controversial and mysterious. The press is barred from taking pictures at his healing services.

Yinka Odumakin in the eye of Wale Adedayo

As usual, self-styled Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, was at his hypocritical best with his comments on our repeated attempts to run an open government in Ogun State. His review of His Excellency, Otunba Gbenga Daniel's, Mr. Governor Explains This, was characteristically a PhD affair (Pull Him Down). The quarterly programme, which is usually broadcast live on radio and TV ensures that residents of the state ask pertinent questions from the Governor without ANYONE acting as intermediary. But I'll reserve my comments about Odumakin's opportunistic remarks for now, while giving you the response of the Ogun State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Segun Awonusi.

Wale Adedayo

Cheap publicity in Awolowo’s name
Segun Awonusi
It is a shame that Yinka Odumakin could misread the import and the ideological mindset of the Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel’s, response to a public discourse. The truth must be said that Governor Daniel remains one of the few who hero-worships the late sage, Papa Obafemi Awolowo, in particular his free primary education policy at a time many other Nigerian premiers and their regions could not face the challenge of education liberalisation.

It must also be pointed that Papa Awolowo's free education was limited to PRIMARY level not because Papa did not wish to go beyond that level but the economic realities of the day did not allow it. The thesis therefore is that it a combination of ideological commitment and economic realities at a particular time that are the twin indices that determine policy costing or more specifically the freedom, a la limited or absolutus of free education.

Given the basic understanding of public policy philosophy outlined above, society should therefore praise the operators of the state apparatus like Governor Daniel who not only assured that PRIMARY education remains free, in spite of its collosal cost that even the federal Government had to come to the aid of states through UBEC (never mind the policy that over centralises fund adminstration in a federal context) and ensures that SECONDARY education is tuition free and in addition in the case of Ogun State, university education fee is kept at a very low level.

An example will suffice. In the last six months the Management of the Olabisi Onabanjo University had insisted that to maintain quality education which had become expensive, it would charge the actual cost (100%) that it takes to provide education as determined by the Nigerian Universities Commission. Governor Daniel said no and said OOU must consult with stakeholders which include students, staff unions, parents associations etc and the Stakeholder' brought the fee down by 50%. When the Governor still listened to the cries of the people he directed his Commissioner of Education (incidentally an academic who also benefited from Papa Awo's free primary policy) to reduce the agreed fee structure. Consequently Gov Daniel's administartion reduced that by another 25% such that at the end of the day the universiity is charging only 25% of the original fees which ipso facto translates into a governmental subsidy of 75% of the fees.

A similar reduction in student fees by Gov Daniel at the state oldest polytechnic (where N17,000 fee reduction was made to bring old students fee to Zero% increase over last year's fees) has suddenly forced the Government to see how it has to address a budget shortfall of over N150 million in that sector. A second example lies in the totality of what is being spent to maintain qualitative education in the state. Ogun State remains one of very few states in Nigeria where the Governor spends over 26% of her budget on education, a policy which clearly meets UNESCO recommended international standard in an age when even the Federal Government (that is awashed with a lot of money) has just moved from 8% to 13% in the 2008 budget.

It is therefore unrealistic to insist on education fees-freedom absolutus unless we want Gov Daniel to spend 75% of the state budget on education so that there will peanut provision for other equally demanding social services like health, environment, housing etc.

The issue of population explosion referred to by Gov Daniel can better be appreciated if one realises that by the projection of the founding fathers OOU was expected to have a population of 15,000 in 2007 but in reality has 62,000. This is apart from Tai Solarin University of Education which has over 8000 students apart from the 5020 NCE students in the same university. Faced with this shocking reality the State Government is committing enormous resources to education. Besides, the Government has employed over 7000 teachers in the last four years in counter distinction to the 600 employed by the previous administration in the same time-span or period. Government has invested a lot in computer education that 92% of secondary schools have computer labs, the years of decay and atrophy in structural dilapidation is now addressed through automatic monthly release of fund that totally eliminate rehabilitation needs within 24 months apart from the investment in tertiary students busary awards and payment of WAEC fees.

Odumakin needs to wake from the lull of unchallenged and economically-untested ideological lull and if has no courage to see and commend Governor Daniel for such giant steps, he should have at least the candour to keep mum in the face openly discernible progress.

Prof. Segun Awonusi is the Ogun State Commissioner for Education.

Wale Adedayo, Ogun State in the eyes of Yinka Odumakin

It is unfortunate that public discourse can make oneto violate an oath not to join issues with a scum likeWale Adedayo who has no credibility like Gbenga Danielwhom he serves. He talks about his days at The Punch. I have made mymark in that organization eight years before Adedayowas helped into the place because he had an ordinarypass in the University where he was more of a cultistthan a student. Let him go to Ife and check myacademic credentials and role as a students’ leader. This despicable character was working with Abacha’sman Friday Abiola Ogundokun’s Conscience Internationalwhen I was part of the proud team that resistedAbacha. He stole Ogundokun’s moneyin London and waspursued to Nigeria by the fellow when he talks ofbeing in detention under Abacha, it was because of hiscriminal activities. Post Ogundokun’s brouhaha, he relocated back to theslums of Mushin where he was living like an urchin andsurviving among touts and drug boys of Mushin untilDele Alake gave him a freelance job at The Concord. Even at The Punch where I voluntarily resigned in1992, this fellow was thrown out because he was usinghis desk to blackmail politicians and squeezing moneyfrom them. Tom Alaibe is one of such politicians. He was back in the gutter when Gbenga Daniel who has apenchant for surrounding himself with crooks who willdo his bidding because they can’t survive anywhere,picked him up for dirty jobs. If I may digress here, the Ogun State House ofAssembly is today filled with “Fayawo” guys. Out ofthe 9 members of the House
of Reps in Ogun State, only3 are graduates compared to Bauchi state where 9 out12 are graduates. A look at the compendium of theHouse will show this. So, looking at where this unfortunate character iscoming from one is not surprised at his antics. It isonly a Gbenga Daniel that can make such a joke aspokesperson. Because this boy was raised in the gutters of Mushin,he cannot appreciate the tenets of refined discourse.He is crude, uncouth and unpolished. His language isbase because of the “saje” culture of down townMushin where he was raised. Daniel has taken him outof Mushin but the gutters of Mushin cannot be takenout of him. Every argument for him must be laced with abuses. Hepicks on people vilifying them without any sense ofdecorum. His latest pick on Prof. Bolaji Aluko a finespecimen of humanity whose intellect cannot be matchedby the agbero Governor he calls “His Excellency” inAbeokuta is a pointer to this. I do not owe him any explanation on whatever might bethe disagreement within Afenifere because himself andDaniel are not members of the group. And no matter theamount of money Daniel is pumping into the pockets ofsome renegades, he cannot be a member of Afenifere inhis present constitution. Talking about anybody “doing anything” to him, it isjust a case of the guilty being afraid. Has thisviolent man forgotten that he told Popoola Ajayi inJanuary this year that he would ask his gangsters togo and tie me up. I’m still waiting for him. I knowhuman life means nothing to him and Gbenga Daniel whohas wasted uncountable lives in the process of wantingto keep power at all cost. Someday the full story behind the death of Adekogbewho was said to have financed his election to the tuneof N300m in 2003 would be
told. The guy diedmysterious before Daniel was sworn in. If Daniel thinks because he has bled Ogun State white,he can now purchase the soul of Yoruba nation he hasyet another lesson to learn. As to those the young ones should not look up to, isWale expecting the son of a Lagos business mogul whosewould-be bride was taken on a romp by Daniel few daysto their wedding, which almost affected the guy’smental balance look up to him as a role model? N.B: I don’t know what this crook knows about KSA. Weare friends till date since we first met in 1994. Ialso challenge him to bring out all the so-called“comrades” who go for shameless handouts in Abeokutato come up with their “expose”. There is no skeletonin my cupboard. I have never stolen funds anywhere Ihave served unlike those who have looted the purse oftheir state and are buying up every assets of
OduaInvestment. I don’t sniff cocaine and have never seendrugs not to talk of being a dealer. Please I amwaiting for your “expose”. By Yinka Odumakin

Thursday, 3 April 2008



Posted 3,Apr. 2008

Trial of MEND Leader Henry Okah Begins in Jos
Treason trial of Nigeria’s Militant leader, Mr. Henry Okah, begins today Thursday, at the Federal High Court in Jos, Plateau state North-Central of the country.
The trial of Okah, leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), according to the Director of Public Prosecution will commence at one o’clock this afternoon.
Also to be tried today, is Mr. Edward Atatah, the second person charged along with Mr. Okah in Angola.

On Wednesday, the MEND leader had asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside the order for his secret trial.
In the processes filed at the Federal High Court through their lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, Okah and Atatah urged the court to vacate the trial and make their trial open.
The accused persons alleged that they are yet to receive copies of the charges filed against them.
Okah and Atatah said the Federal Government was seeking the order for secret trial “to commit some atrocities during their trial.”

They added that since the government had told the whole world that the accused persons were gunrunners and planning to topple governments, it would be fair to make their trial open and allow the public conscience to judge the proceedings.
The Federal Government in a 14-count charge, accused Okah of treason, terrorism and also linked him with the disappearance of weapons in the Nigerian Army Central Depot in Kaduna, North Central Nigeria.

Prosecutors made the 14 charges public at the resumed hearing of the lawsuit filed on behalf of Mr. Okah and his co-detainee, Atatah at the Federal High Court Abuja, the nation's capital city on March 5.
Mr. Okah and Mr. Atatah were both accused of treason, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms.
The Prosecutor said that Mr. Okah bought over 6000 assorted rifles ammunition from some military officers who are currently in detention for missing arms at the Nigerian Army ordinance depot in Kaduna.
He was said to have provided the weapons to Militant Groups in the Niger Delta with the intention to intimidate and overawe the Federal Government.
The Prosecutor said that Okah and his co-accused were arrested on 23rd last year in Angola while trying to buy a Korean shipping vessel worth 670,000 US dollars for the purpose of transporting weapons to Militant Groups in the Niger Delta.
Okah and Atatah were extradited to Nigeria by Angolan authorities mid-Febraury after their arrest and detention on September 3, 2007.

In an e-mail statement to journalists the militant group accused both governments of carring out a secret illegal extradition of Okah back to the country at night.
The group claims Okah was beaten, shackled in ankle, cuff chained and blind-folded with a hood before being flown out of Angola under the cover of night to an undisclosed location.
Both Henry Okah and Edward Atatah were taken into custody, at the National Department of Criminal Investigation in Angola by security agents in Angola Mr. Okah for allegations of gun running though the militants claim their leader was being wrongly accused of the crime.
He was said to have been arrested at the Passport Control Area of the Luanda International Airport while discussing on phone and escorted to the SAA counter by two security operatives, after which he was taken into custody.

While demanding their release, shortly after the arrest, MEND said the allegations of gun-running against him were mere fabrications, and threatened the Federal Government for its role in the matter.
According to the militants, Okah had gone to Angola on a business trip to inspect a ship he was to purchase.

They also said the mandatory 106 days, which the government of Angola is authorized to keep a person in detention without bail, had expired.
On January 13 however, the militant group said in a statement that it would halt the attacks in Nigeria's Niger Delta region if its leader Okah was released.
MEND shot up to limelight two years ago after a series of kidnappings which targeted expatriates in oil multinational companies in the Niger Delta and sabotaging oil installations, cutting Nigerian output by nearly one quarter.
If convicted Okah and Atatah risk death penalty.

During the week, MEND disassociated itself from the proposed Niger Delta Peace Summit being planned for the month of April, 2008.
MEND said in an e-mail, that a summit without the basic ingredient of sincerity and the presence of key players such as Okah and others marked for arrest is unacceptable.
The Niger Delta militant group said that Mr. Okah must be in such a forum as an active participant and not on the agenda for discussion.
“Those so-called elders, compromised militants and youth leaders who are clamoring for hand-outs and recognition from Abuja, by accepting to attend are doing so for their own selfish interests,” the group said.

MEND says that if the summit does hold, it will be just another circus that will end in failure as key issues will not be addressed and those that will participate do not have the capacity to guarantee an enduring peace.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Challenging Hillary and Obama

Challenging Hillary and Obama By Edwin Madunagu

LET me start with a confession. I would have written this article several weeks ago, but for fear. Yes, fear - or something close to it. The subject is the forthcoming American presidential election which, because of the critical place of primaries in the process, can be said to have even started. My position on this matter is, to put it very midly, that there is no reason for us to be excited or emotional about the possibility of a blackman or a woman becoming the President of the United States of America - for the first time. I had feared that this position would be unpopular even with most of my remaining comrades. I was simply not in the mood to provoke another round of private rebukes.

On the other hand, there was no way I could "water down" this strong feeling that we are being diverted by an exercise whose result would make little or no difference - one way or the other - to the conditions of the wretched of the earth" - be they nations, peoples or individuals. So, I decided to shelve this article and rather continue to follow the interest generated by the historical possibility of either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton succeeding George W. Bush as American President in January 2009. I also decided to continue to follow the primaries and the debate on the relative chances of these two "makers of history" and the desirability of victory for one or the other. I watched as sharp divisions started to grow in the ranks of those who hope for a "historical change" in America. With time there appeared, in the Nigerian media, "Obama supporters" and "Hillary supporters". I continued to hope that something would happen to dissolve my fear of intervention.

As I waited I remembered what Samir Amin once said, namely: that there are no "separate Democratic and Republican parties". He recalled that Julius Nyerere, the first President of Tanzania, joked that what existed in America was "two single parties". Amin explained further: "Vote Republican, vote Democrat, it makes no real difference when your future does not depend on your electoral choice but on the uncertainties of the market". Nyerere and Amin were referring to American voters. But their conclusion applies even more forcefully to most of the people living outside America. I am not sure the term "two single parties" obeys the rules of English grammar. But historically and politically, it is an appropriate term.

The United States of America entered the Vietnam War in 1946 - after World War II. It entered the war as an ally of the colonial power, France. Harry S. Truman a Democrat, was the American President. The Vietnamese leader, Ho Chi Minh, wrote a passionate letter to President Truman urging him not to support the French but to extend the fruits of Hitler's defeat to the Vietnamese people. Truman ignored the letter. Ten years later in 1956, after the Vietnamese had defeated and humiliated the French colonialists in the battle of Dien Bien Phu, America took over the war. Dwight David Elsenhower, a Republican, was the president. John Kennedy, a Democrat, did not stop the war during his brief tenure as President (1961-1963). Lyndon Johnson, also a Democrat, who took over the presidency after Kennedy's assassination in 1963, did not stop the war. In fact the most savage battles of the entire war took place during Johnson's presidency.

Richard Nixon, a Republican succeeded Johnson. He too did not stop the war. The war came to an end under Gerald Ford, a Republican. The 1961 abortive invasion of Cuba, the "Bay of Pigs" invasion took place under President Kennedy, a Democrat, a genuine liberal and a Roman Catholic. The NATO war in the Balkans, led by Americans in the 1990s was directed by George Bush (Senior) (Republican), and Bill Clinton (Democrat). The First Gulf War was fought under Bush (Senior) (Republican), and continued by Clinton with unrelenting intensity throughout his tenure. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue after George Bush (Junior).
As I reflected on this segment of world history I continued to hope that an end to my fear would soon come. It came on Sunday, March 2, 2008. My fear vanished after reading an article posted in the internet. Written by an American, Kavila Mandini Ramdas, who is currently President of the Global Fund for Women, an organisation based in the United States of America, the article carries the title Leveraging the power of race and gender. The premise of the article is in its last two sentences: "What is at stake in this election is not merely the historic first that would be accomplished if either a black man or a woman became the next U.S. President. What is at stake is the fragile future of our shared world".

Before that, she had lamented: "There is something profoundly wrong when a conversation about qualifications to be President of the most powerful nation in the world ignores the reality facing most of that world's inhabitants". Reading through Ramdas' article, I saw that no self-respecting democrat or liberal in Nigeria or in America, would be able to publicly oppose her theses. The theses are "provocative", but they are not easy to oppose publicly. My fear disappeared and I recovered my voice.
My position on American elections has been the same since I become conscious of American imperialism. But with the emergence of the two "historic" Democratic contenders - Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama - I ask myself, again, if this position does not need a review. My answer is that, of course, it makes a difference - a symbolic difference - that either a woman or a blackman would become the Democratic candidate in the 2008 presidential election. But the real difference is the hope that for the first time, we have candidates, who, by the logic of their social and historical attributes, will be "naturally" inclined to challenge some of the worst inequalities that exist inside America or are promoted outside America by the rulers of America.
This expectation has so far, been unrealised in the campaigns of Hillary and Obama. Kavita demands in her article: "I want to hear from the woman running for President why being a woman and a mother matters to her and how it will inform her leadership. I want her to stand up for the millions of women who are not heard here or around the world. I want her to chat her course as the wisest, most humane President this country has ever seen, not to show us how much more macho she can have as our next Commander-in-Chief".

Further, Kavita says: "Women in the developing world are not re-assured when they see Madeleine Albright standing next to Hillary Clinton. They have not forgotten that this former Secretary of State, when questioned about the death of more than 500,000 children as a result of sanctions against Iraq, responded that 'this price had been worth it'. Kavita then urges "As a woman and a mother, Hillary Clinton could bring insights and perspectives no other President in U.S. history could have brought to the negotiating table of war and peace".
On Barack Obama, Kavita says: "Obama has his own powerful but underutilised tool: race. What prevents him, for example, from drawing analogies between the plight facing women - many of who live in subjugation simply by virtue of their gender - and the experience of slavery". Further: "What is happening when a truly multiracial candidate, whose first name means 'blessing' in Hebrew and Arabic, and whose middle name is Hussein, feels he must spend his moral capital proving his Christian credentials". She continues: "By owning the question of race on an international stage, Obama would have an amazing opportunity to reach out to people worldwide - who are in more need of hope than most American could imagine".

I hope that Kavita Ramdas speaks for many of us when she says: "As the stepson of an Indonesian Muslim and the son of a Kenyan and a white woman from Kansas, Barack Obama manifests what it means to be a global citizen"; and that she would like to hear from Obama that "when he looks at the United States or the world, what he sees are not Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews or atheists, but simply human beings desperate to be treated with dignity and respect."

In one of the editorials in its issue of March 1, 2008, The Economist warned that both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were becoming "worryingly populist" in their economic policies. That is blackmail, clear and direct. The paper followed with this cynical analysis: "Democratic candidates always veer to the left during primaries because that is where the votes are. But come the general election, the winner will tack back towards the centre, where the crucial independent voter resides".

Blackmail and cynicism: That is the response of the mainstream Western media to Hillary and Obama. So, while we urge these historic candidates to become more radical, the "kingmakers" are saying that they have already gone too far! Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama still have the opportunity to make their appearance truly historic - whichever of them eventually emerges as the Democratic candidate and whether that person goes on to win the presidential contest, or not.