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Monday, 30 December 2013

2013: Presidency Awards Self Pass Mark; APC: Okupe Feeding The Nation With Lies, Nigeria is Failing!

The Presidency yesterday reviewed its performance in 2013 and awarded itself a pass mark, adding that its achievement in the outgoing year is unprecedented.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, gave the presidential score card in a statement last night in Abuja.
In the statement Okupe said that President Goodluck Jonathan has moved significantly forward in many sectors than it was in 2011 adding that the transformation which took place in the economy, transportation, agriculture, power and other critical sectors were the routes which all developed nations had taken before now but which unfortunately had not been taken by Nigeria before now.
The statement read in part: “It is an incontrovertible fact that Nigeria under Jonathan has reduced its food imports by about 40 per cent and increased its local production of rice, cassava, sorghum, cotton and cocoa in percentages ranging from 25 to 56 in the last two years.
“For the first time since independence, the Nigerian agricultural sector is attracting unprecedented Foreign Direct Investment. Over the past  two years, the sector has attracted $ 4 billion in private sector executed letters of commitment to invest in agricultural value chains, from food crops, to export crops, fisheries and livestock.
“The number of private sector seed companies grew from 10 to 70 within one year. Over $ 7 billion of investments from Nigerian businesses have been made to develop new fertilizer manufacturing plants, which will make Nigeria the largest producer and exporter of fertilizer in Africa. It is also noteworthy that agricultural lending as a share of total bank lending has risen from two per cent to six per cent in two years.
“On the power sector reforms initiated by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010, Okupe explained that the major component of the reform which is the privatization of the generation and distribution power infrastructure was successfully accomplished in 2013 thus putting Nigeria on a sure path of steady power supply in a no distant future.”
However, the opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) denied the Presidency’s claims, saying the citizenry are worse off on account of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party’s alleged bad rule.
Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Joe Igbokwe who spoke on behalf of the party said all the indices of a failed state are present in Nigeria.
Igbokwe said: “What do you expect Okupe to say? You should not have expected them to score themselves low or to have agreed that they have failed. There is nobody in the presidency who will have the courage to say that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-led Federal Government is not doing well. I am not surprised. There is no need wasting time on Okupe’s claims. He is just earning a living, that is why he feeds the nation with lies.
“The fact is that the President is not in charge. All the indices of a failed state are present in the country at the moment. Our economy is not doing well, the hospitals are still mere consulting clinics, security is a luxury, while oil theft is on the rise. I was reading an article on Sahara Reporters and the author of the article listed all the contracts that have been awarded by the present administration and there is nothing to show for it. He specifically mentioned the Benin/Ore Highway which is still dilapidated and they award the contract yearly. Maybe they are claiming the glory of Lagos because the state is doing well. Same applies to all APC states. Maybe they are claiming the glories of the APC states,” Igbokwe added.

Shocker for PDP: Tambuwal to join APC

…opposition closes ranks to fi ght ruling party
Tukur denies dragging NEC to court
The fortune of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is set to deem further as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal is set to formally decamp to the rival All Progressives Congress, APC, in January.
The Speaker’s decision came as a shock to the leadership of the PDP, who earlier in December had extracted commitment from the House leaders that member’s defection will no longer be tenable.
This is as PDP’s National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur denied that he was filing a legal action to prevent the National Executive Council, NEC, of the party from removing him.
Our correspondent gathered that the Sokoto State chapter of the APC has mandated its Tambuwal Local Government chapter to formally present a membership card to the Speaker who has been asked by the state Governor, Aliyu Wamakko to formally declare his stand.
Tambuwal has been seen as a beautiful bride by both APC and PDP, and has attended meetings with both parties.
It was gathered, however, that Tambuwal would retain his seat as Speaker due to the numerical strength of the opposition party if he decides to decamp.
It will be recalled that the defection of some members of the House of Representatives elected on the platform of the ruling party into APC has brought the number of the federal lawmakers of the opposition party to 172. The PDP presently has 171.
The likely defection of Tambuwal will further alter the equation in favour of APC in the House, with its membership increasing to 173, with PDP coming down to 170.
It was being speculated that other members of the House were also planning to join Tambuwal to pitch tent with APC.
Tambuwal was elected on the platform of the ruling party from Sokoto State.
Already, his colleagues from the state have followed the path of Governor Wammako to decamp.
One of the principal officers of the House, who confided in our correspondent, told National Mirror that Tambuwal had perfected the plans to move into the opposition party.
“The Speaker of the House (Tambuwal) is moving into APC and that movement is sure. The speaker is to formally declare for the opposition party as soon as the House reconvenes from recess.
“But Mr. Speaker is going to retain his seat as he is set to tap the numerical strength of APC in the House to retain his seat. The defection of Mr. Speaker is going to alter the political equation in the House substantially because many other members of the House are likely to join him to move to APC.
“The speaker has made up his minds and he has perfected the strategies with the leaders of APC and he is not likely to go into APC alone as some of his colleagues in the House have also decided to follow him into the opposition party.
“The transition of Mr. Speaker is going to be smooth and his seat is not going to be threatened in any way. The movement of the speaker is going to deal a death blow on the ruling party. Just let us wait for the outcome of the suit challenging the defection of some House members into APC by the leadership of PDP.
“There is going to be exodus of members, including members of the National Assembly, out of PDP, if the court judgement allows defection,” added the federal lawmaker, who craved anonymity,” the source said.
Reacting to the defection plot, Special Adviser on Media to the Speaker, Imam Imam said that those reports remain rumours and as a matter of rules, they have refused to react to speculation.
He said: “The Speaker is in PDP, he remains a PDP member and there is nothing to suggest that he is moving to another party.
“All of those reports remain speculation and like you know as a matter of policy, we do not react to specualtions. The Speaker has not defected.”
In a related development, Tukur, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Prince Oliver Okpara, denied insinuation that he plans to sue the party’s NEC.
The national chairman disassociated himself from such move, describing it as unthinkable and unimaginable.
He wondered how he could initiate such an action against a body he is part of and an organ of the party that has the highest say and policy making body in the party.
His words: “How can somebody destroy his own house? The intended legal action only exists in the minds of the writers of the false story. I am a member of the PDP NEC and I respect the body and the members.”
Meanwhile, the Presidency has said that unprecedented policy decisions were taken and major projects executed for the good of Nigerians in spite of pockets of distractions during the year 2013.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe stated this in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday.
Okupe noted that contrary to impressions being created by the opposition, Nigeria under President Goodluck Jonathan has moved significantly forward in many sectors than it was in 2011.
The Presidential aide said the transformation, which has taken place in the area of transportation, agriculture, power and other critical sectors are the routes which all developed nations had taken before now but which unfortunately had not been taken by Nigeria before now.
Okupe said: “It is an incontrovertible fact that Nigeria under Jonathan has reduced its food imports by about forty percent and increased its local production of rice, cassava, sorghum, cotton and cocoa in percentages ranging from 25 to 56 in the last two years.
“For the first time since independence, the Nigerian agricultural sector is attracting unprecedented Foreign Direct Investment. Over the past 2 years, the sector has attracted $ 4 billion in private sector executed letters of commitment to invest in agricultural value chains, from food crops, to export crops, fisheries and livestock.
“The number of private sector seed companies grew from 10 to 70 within one year. Over $7billion investments from Nigerian businesses have been made to develop new fertilizer manufacturing plants, which will make Nigeria the largest producer and exporter of fertilizers in Africa.
“It is also noteworthy that agricultural lending as a share of total bank lending has risen from two percent to six percent in two years.”
According to him, the major component of the power sector reform, which is the privatisation of the generation and distribution of the sector, was successfully accomplished in 2013, thus putting Nigeria on a sure path of steady power supply in no distant future.
He explained that with the completion of the privatisation process this year, as well as the completion of 10 National Integrated Power Projects, NIPP, Nigeria for the first time, has moved away from vertically integrated state owned and poorly managed electricity industry to a modern private sector-led fully regulated market with the right incentives capable of attracting new investments to kick start the re-industrialisation of the country.
Other major achievements of the Jonathan administration in the outgoing year, according to the Presidency, include the recovery of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, which was made possible by a combination of sound fiscal and monetary policies as well as a transparent conduct of state affairs in a manner which has rekindled investors’ confidence in the Nigerian market.
Okupe said those who always seek to use the security challenges in some parts the country as the only barometer to measure the present administration are not being fair to the President, considering the fact that the war on insurgency and terrorism has never been a quick fix anywhere in the world.
While reminding the public that bombings and killings by insurgents happened in Kano, Kogi, Niger, Yobe, Borno, Sokoto,A damawa and the Federal Capital Territory in 2011 and 2012, the Presidential aide noted that terrorism has been largely contained and restricted to one or two states in 2013.
“Yes, we are not where we hope to be but it will be sheer mischief to insist that we are where we were or as some wickedly say we are worse than we were. Definitely, their position is not based on facts and so should be ignored by Nigerians” Okupe stated
While reiterating the determination of President Jonathan to remain steadfast in his pursuit of accelerated economic growth and stability, peace and development of all parts of Nigeria, Okupe said the Federal Government will consolidate on the growth recorded in the outgoing year by completing all ongoing projects as well as initiating new programmes and projects, especially in sectors that will create jobs and empower Nigerian youths.


Ireland’s electricity consumption falls from 2008 peak

By Christina Finn

Electric power consumption for Ireland has fallen since its peak in 2008.
According the World Bank figures, in 2008 Ireland consumed the most electricity. The electric power consumption stood at 28, 467, 000,000kWh.
Electric power consumption measures the production of power plants and combined heat and power plants less transmission, distribution and transformation losses and own use by heat and power plants.
Ireland’s figures show that in 2009, Ireland’s consumption fell to 26,976,000,000kWh, in 2010 it fell to 26,965,000,000kWh and in 2011 it fell to 26,093,000,000kWh.

New Regent of Akure installed

AKURE —  A new regent, Princes Adetutu Adesida Ojei was yesterday installed to fill the stool of the Deji of Akure which became vacant  on December 1, this year.
Princes Ojei, after the installation, assured all sons and daughters of Akure that she was ready for the big task ahead with God on her side.
Meanwhile, the family of the battered wife of the deposed Oba, Prince Oluwadare Adesina, Olori Bolanle, who is now late, has appealed to the state government and the council of chiefs in Akure to consider his reinstatement appeal.
*The new regent, Princes Adetutu Adesida Ojei
*The new regent, Princes Adetutu Adesida Ojei
The battering of late Bolanle by the deposed monarch on May 30, 2010, lead to his removal and banishment on June 10, 2010 by the state government.
However, the occupier of the stool that was vacant on December 1, the late Oba Adebiyi Adesida, joined his ancestors after reigning for three years and three months.
Princes Ojei, a pharmacist based in the United Kingdom, is the  first female child of the late Oba Adesida.
Speaking with newsmen after her installation, the regent said it was a privilege to step into her father’s shoes.
She, however, promised to continue where her father stopped in his effort to bring development to the town.
The regent said it was an open secret that the development witnessed during her father short reign is unprecedented in the history of the town.
Development to Akureland
She said: “I promise that during my short reign I will bring further development to Akureland. We are all witnesses to what happened during my father’s reign.
“Akureland witnessed unprecedented development and I will, by the special grace of God, do more.
She pleaded with the king-makers to seek the face of God in their selection of a new oba for the town.
Princes Ojei added that they should hasten the selection process to enable her continue with her life after the selection and installation of another oba.
Bolanle’s family wants deposed Oba’s reinstatement
Meantime, the deposed Oba, Prince Adesina last week wrote a letter to the state government and Akure Council of Chiefs pleading for reinstatement.
But the family of High Chief Ojumu Fadeyi of Owo, from where the late Olori Bolanle came from, in a statement said both families have since reconciled and viewed the incident of 2010 as blown out of proportion.
According to the statement, signed by the Head of the family, Chief Akinola Fadeyi and its Secretary, Mr. Olanrewaju Fadeyi, the family said it was aware of the letter written to the state government by Adesina and agreed with the content of the letter pleading for his reinstatement as the Deji of Akure.
It said: “We have read the said letter from the print media and we have also heard the comments on the letter from the public domain, particularly media discourse on same.
“We are particularly touched by the frank, honest and humble content of the said letter.
“We  are more touched by the gestures of forgiveness, godliness and love extended to our daughter even in her death and the dignity with which her memory has been treated by her husband.
“Our family has considered all the issues that ensued before, during and after the deposition and banishment of our in-law, Oba Oluwadare Adepoju Adesina, and we, by this forum (as we had done on many occasions before), appeal to Governor Olusegun Mimiko and the good people of Akure to please consider the appeal of our in-law.”
“We have since reconciled our differences and it is our belief that rescinding the orders of deposition and banishments would be more in tandem with the wishes of our late daughter – Olori Bolanle Adesina nee Fadeyi – who practically went about pleading with all that mattered for her husband’s reinstatement before her death.”
“It is our belief that reinstating our in-law to his position as the Deji of Akure will be a rare honour done to our family and the memory of our late daughter.”

Former F1 champion Schumacher injured in ski accident

Mercedes Formula One driver Schumacher of Germany attends a news conference in Munich, file
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* Schumacher suffers head injury while skiing in France
* Seven-times Formula One champion taken to hospital (adds details)
LYON, France, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Retired seven-times Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher suffered a head injury in a fall while skiing off-piste in the French Alps resort of Meribel on Sunday.
The 44-year-old German was wearing a helmet and was conscious while being transported to a local hospital in Moutiers, the resort director, Christophe Gernigon-Lecomte, told Reuters.
Schumacher was transferred to a better-equipped medical unit in Grenoble for further examinations and an FIA source said he had been placed under the care of Professor Gerard Saillant, a brain and spine injury expert.
Saillant is a close friend of Schumacher's and his former Ferrari team chief Jean Todt, who is now President of the FIA.
Le Dauphine Libere newspaper reported on its website that Schumacher's condition had worsened and that his life was now endangered. It did not disclose its sources.
Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm was unable to give any further information about his condition but confirmed he was on a private ski trip and had not been alone.
Gernigon-Lecomte said Schumacher, who has a vacation home in Meribel, had been skiing off piste.
"He fell around 11:00 am and hit a rock with his head," he added.
"It seems that he has suffered a head trauma, but I would not say how serious it is. He was conscious but very agitated while being taken to hospital."
Schumacher, whose birthday is on Jan. 3, is the most successful Formula One driver of all time with a record 91 victories among his achievements. He won his titles with Benetton and Ferrari.
He left the sport last year after a three-year comeback with Mercedes following an earlier retirement from Ferrari at the end of 2006. The German lives in Switzerland with his wife and two children. (Reporting by Catherine Lagrange and Alan Baldwin; Editing by Ed Osmond)

The men and women who will shape 2014

By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
The year 2014, being the last year before the next round of general elections is bound to be decisive as politicians from across different political hues take position. Some Nigerians who are bound to direct the pace of political activities in the country are mentioned underneath.
President Goodluck Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan will be the centre of action in the coming year. As president of the country eligible for a second term, the pace and posture of his politics would largely determine the pattern of political activities in 2014.
President Jonathan who had in the past pooh-poohed questions on whether he would seek re-election had said that he would make his plans known in 2014. With that year now at hand, the president can no longer wave aside a response to the issue. Will he or will he not?
Though his body language has all but indicated that the president would be contesting the election, it is not impossible for him to pull back.
A decision to run would heat up the polity to a level beyond the normal level of a presidential contest. A decision not to run could also pose serious threats to national security given the passion of the president’s Ijaw kith and kin who are determined to have their son return to office in 2015.
Another possible action of the president that would affect the polity would be how he treats the Council of Ministers. Presently, the council is short of about 12 ministers following the sack of a number of ministers earlier this year. It is expected that the president could reshuffle the council to plug in the vacancies. The public, in the event of a reshuffle, would be watching to see how the president treats controversial members of the council, notably the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah who was indicted by the House of Representatives over her role in the purchase of two armoured vehicles.
How the president responds to some of his bitter criticis would also define the way politics will play out in the country. Besides the usual tit for tat with the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, the president would also be expected to frontally confront his one time benefactor turned adversary, former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The president’s open reply to Obasanjo’s missive last week has inevitably taken their quarrel to the point of no return.
Obasanjo as Jonathan noted, has heckled all former heads of state who succeeded him in office as military head of state in 1979. However, Jonathan is not like any one of the others, given Obasanjo’s major role in the ascension of Jonathan to the presidency.
Given that this may be his last political fight, Obasanjo is expected to fight to the hilt in what is obviously now an ego fight between him and his one time surrogate.
The prospect of Obasanjo teaming up with the opposition in 2014 appears unlikely despite the recent visit to him by national leaders of the APC.
Speaker Aminu Tambuwal
Though the leader of the PDP in the House of Representatives, only fools still believe that the speaker’s heart is still in the party that is now a minority in the House. Speaker Tambuwal has handled issues maturely in the House despite his relative aloofness from the presidency and the party.
Of the major figures likely to affect the polity in 2014, Speaker Tambuwal is expected to make the earliest move given the gravitation of a substantial number of PDP members to the APC.
The question in many mouths is when, and not if Speaker Tambuwal would defect to the APC. When he does, it is not likely to affect his position, but could bounce on his prospects.
It would be recalled that former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida had earlier this year called on the Speaker  to aspire to higher office.  Many would be looking for gesticulations from the speaker on a possible presidential contest.
Even before the call by Gen. Babangida, Tambuwal had been the focus of appeals from several political stakeholders who believe that he is best positioned to challenge  Jonathan for the presidency within or outside the PDP. His friendly disposition towards the leadership of the APC has also made him the cynosure of many eyes.
Speaker Tambuwal is definitely going to be one of the major factors that would shape the politics of the nation in 2014.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu
ACN leader, Bola Tinubu and some ACN governors
ACN leader, Bola Tinubu and some ACN governors
As leader of the APC, Tinubu is expected to play a decisive role in the politicking that is going to produce the next governments at the central and state levels. His role is going to be overwhelming in the emergence of the next set of governors in the South-West.
How he plays politics of 2015 would, however, be another matter. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had in his open letter to President Jonathan accused him of mortgaging the interests of the PDP in the South-West through a secret deal with Tinubu in 2011.
The veracity of Obasanjo’s assertion remains an issue, but whether or not Tinubu cut a deal with Jonathan last time will bring the issue of Tinubu being a decisive factor into consideration.
However, except something goes awry, no deal would be expected in the year as the election is not expected to hold until early next year. Tinubu is thus going to be a decisive influence on the election.
tinubu-obasanjoGen. Muhammadu Buhari
The three time presidential candidate continues to be idolized by the grassroots in the North on account of his discipline and the perceptions of his aversion to avarice.
However, his influence outside the North and among the elitist class in the North has progressively ebbed.  Despite his negatives, Buhari has not ruled himself out of the 2015 contest, and is as such the cause of anxiety in the hearts of opposition partisans who believe Buhari is not electable.
Should Gen. Buhari decide to rule himself out from contesting for the APC ticket and decide to mobilize for a younger and more electable person within the party such as Tambuwal, then it would be a more serious battle for the PDP and President Jonathan.
Senator David Mark
Senator Mark may be  regarded as a systems man. However, set between President Jonathan and former President Obasanjo, his body would obviously move with Jonathan but his heart would definitely be with former President Obasanjo. It is no secret among leading political stakeholders that the once very cordial relationship between Mark and Governor Gabriel Suswam in Benue State has ruptured.
In an apparent bid to strengthen his hold on the local chapter of the PDP apparently for the benefit of enhancing his speculated move to the Senate and planting his successor, Governor Suswam is known to have become a strong apologist of the president, and in the process, won key federal appointments that had hitherto gone the way of the Senate President.
Senator Mark on the other hand is bound by the dignity of his office as Senate President not to be seen as overtly a lackey of the presidency, a situation that has seen him lose some patronage from the presidency to Governor Suswam. However, in the battle of strategies that is bound to ensue in 2014, Senator Mark is expected to move with his heart with a patriotic zeal above party sentiments putting more distance between him and the presidency.
Jonathan’s women
The women around the president would in significant ways affect him and the way he operates in 2014.
First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan has largely been out of gaze in recent times on account of reports of negative political fallout of her alleged incursions in the polity especially in her native Rivers State.
Mrs. Jonathan continues to mobilize support for her husband’s presidency through every opportunity available to her.
The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala would be a serious factor in the consideration of many given her hold over the nation’s purse. Her tact and thunders in the face of demands from politicians in government to loose the financial strings would be a critical issue in the year.
Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, the Minister of Petroleum has become the longest serving Minister of Petroleum since the advent of the Fourth Republic. She has almost stamped her personality on the politics of the sector and according to some sources, also become a defining personality in the inner caucus of the Jonathan presidency.
She would be a major influence in 2014.
Ms Stella Oduah, the minister of aviation won accolades in her first year in office following the renovations of the country’s airports. However, the accolades died down as eyes focused on the processes that led to the renovations and it became an issue for her when she was indicted by the House of Representatives over her role in the purchase of two armoured cars for her use by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.
Okonjo-Iweala, Diezani and Jonathan
Okonjo-Iweala, Diezani and Jonathan
Despite her indictment and the report of an internal investigation ordered by the president, Oduah has remained in her position. Her staying power is largely due to be said to be her role in mobilizing support for the president’s 2011 election. She is said to be one of the strongest women with influence in the inner caucus of the presidency and she would be a figure to watch out for in the politics of 2014.
Governors Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State and Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State would be significant political factors especially in their states in 2014 as they prepare for second term elections.
Also of interest in the year would be the emerging leader of the opposition in Ekiti State, Rep. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele who would stir the Ekiti polity as he battles the incumbent.
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State would also be of great interest in the polity given his recent appointment as chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum.

That Osu Caste May Die A Natural Death By The Rt. Rev.C. A. S. C.Hukuka

By The Rt. Rev.C. A. S. C.Hukuka
It is on record that the gospel came to Igbo land more than one hundred and fifty years ago. Today we can boast of cardinals who are Igbos capable of standing for the office of a pope. The Anglicans have produced a primate and many denominations, have several Arch bishops, Bishops, whereas others have general Superintendents/Overseers and such high ecclesiastical offices.  In the academic world, we have world class professors and consultants; some are even advisers to the president of America. Legal Luminaries and medical practitioners of international repute abound. In the business world, our people have taken immeasurable strides.  All these are evidences of civilization.  Thatched buildings have disappeared so much so that some of our children do not know what they looked like.  
The abolition of slavery was in our favor. The "white man'' fought the abolition and enforcement of abolition on our behalf. They have since become history. Such vices like nudity and killing of twins have also been a historic event. But one idolatrous, barbaric and wicked practice still throws mud of shame to our faces - the Osu caste in Igbo land. Barbaric, because some people who are regarded as Osu don't even know what it is? They just inherited the stigma. Idolatrous, because its origin is from idol worship - the ancient belief of our ignorant forefathers. Wicked because, we castigate and outlaw people who committed no offence - legal offence is not hereditary or transferable.
This is a very important question - what is an Osu? A young man asked his father that question and the father could not explain. The young man retorted, “Are you advising me not to marry an Osu girl yet you do not know what it is. This is wicked.” The father softly told him that he grew up hearing that they do not marry from Osu family and so they took it as a norm. Hopefully many readers may understand the origin of Osu from this write up. A few books and seminar papers have been written on this subject. What you will read from this write up is my  personal research and extract from such books written by personalities like Chinua Achebe, Ezeala Jol, Ogbalu F C, Arinze Francis, Obi Sebastine, Okpala Favour, Okigbo and Marnesschs  Ekere to mention but a few.
From every point of view Osu emerged from traditional religion. Somebody can become an Osu by dedication willingly or unwillingly. Prisoners of war, slaves or kidnapped people may be dedicated to appease an angry god to remove calamity from the land while some are dedicated as punishment for an offense they may have committed in the community. Others, in order to escape maltreatment, including being turned into slaves from powerful relations, dedicated themselves willingly by running into the shrine for protection. Those people become agents of the gods with marks and their hair uncared for.  There are still others who committed crimes punishable by death from the community, such people run to the protection of the deity and so lose every right of the society and serve the deity instead.
Others became Osu by marrying or sleeping on beds or having sexual relationship with an Osu. In some societies when one uses the same razor for barbing or eating with an Osu or helping to carry the corpse of Osu or cross the leg of an Osu. There are still others who became an Osu through suspicions and gossips. For example, if two women are quarreling and one calls the other Osu or even Ozu (death) which sounds like Osu; at later death, people will begin to associate that person with the Osu, and that's it.
In some communities females born on Eke day (Mgbeke) or on Orie day (Mgborie) become Osu by traditional belief.
From what has been so far noted, generations who are ignorant of these cultural and idolatrous practices are today suffering from this stigma; whether their forefather willingly or unwillingly became Osu. It is wicked and very unfortunate. Moreover all those stories are antiquated and heathenish. In some parts of  Igbo land these people are not even today allowed to participate in government elections, much less town union elections. In other places, they don't intermarry with those who are not. The later appears to be general in Igbo land.
I  make  bold  to  say  with  deep  disappointment  that  this  practice  is  a challenge to the enlightened  in  the  society  - the educated,  the traveled,  the Church as a whole, our leaders in the governments, our chiefs, Obis and Ezes, our legal luminaries, our senators and House of Representative members. What are we standing for? What is the church preaching? The "white man'' fought against slavery and our fore fathers were liberated. Early Christians (still the whites) fought against the killing of twins.
Today many twins who would have been killed are making their marks in the society. The Americans have voted a black man to become their president, thereby removing the past obnoxious segregation  of blacks from whites. Why should we come back to our land to enslave our brothers and sisters? I call upon the church, the human right activists, the youth, the government and all that abhor victimization to rise in every quarter and act. Remember, that in some communities they are called Oru, Uchu, Ume. Whatever name, caste is caste and should be abrogated. In some communities it is an abomination for a wife/husband to see the corpse of his or her spouse. Our government abolished it officially since 1956 and put it into law. Let this law be enforced. I call on all those authors who had written against it to now join us to see the total eradication of Osu in our society through legal procedures and whatever possible way within the law and human right procedures. May I congratulate some town unions that have abolished it in their towns. Let the youth rise up, ignore wicked uncouth advices and marry whoever they love and ignore the societal pressure not to do so. When the youths do so Osu will become a thing of the past sooner than later. God will be glorified and our generation blessed.
We, the Igbos have come of age. We cannot continue to listen to fables. We cannot continue to dance to the wimps and caprices of the ignorant and barbaric cultures. We are known to be pragmatic, contributors of developments and advancements in diverse societies and enterprises. We cannot be associated with people who wash their outside cups whereas the inside is full of dirt. This is the time to show that we have fully come of age. Osu caste system and the like must go. Liberty, freedom and enfranchisement for all.
The Rt. Rev.C. A. S. C.Hukuka
(Bishop Emeritus, Anglican Diocese of Isuikwuato-Umunneochi)


I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on

Few of the politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue how it actually works (and doesn't)
Hermes 450 drone
An Elbit Systems Hermes 450 drone. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
Whenever I read comments by politicians defending the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Predator and Reaper program – aka drones – I wish I could ask them a few questions. I'd start with: "How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?" And: "How many men have you seen crawl across a field, trying to make it to the nearest compound for help while bleeding out from severed legs?" Or even more pointedly: "How many soldiers have you seen die on the side of a road in Afghanistan because our ever-so-accurate UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] were unable to detect an IED [improvised explosive device] that awaited their convoy?"
Few of these politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue of what actually goes on. I, on the other hand, have seen these awful sights first hand.
I knew the names of some of the young soldiers I saw bleed to death on the side of a road. I watched dozens of military-aged males die in Afghanistan, in empty fields, along riversides, and some right outside the compound where their family was waiting for them to return home from the mosque.
The US and British militaries insist claim that this is an expert program, but it's curious that they feel the need to deliver faulty informationfew or no statistics about civilian deaths and twisted technology reports on the capabilities of our UAVs. These specific incidents are not isolated, and the civilian casualty rate has not changed, despite what our defense representatives might like to tell us.
What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day with limited cloud and perfect light. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. One example comes to mind: "The feed is so pixelated, what if it's a shovel, and not a weapon?" I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if we killed the right people, if we endangered the wrong people, if we destroyed an innocent civilian's life all because of a bad image or angle.
It's also important for the public to grasp that there are human beings operating and analysing intelligence these UAVs. I know because I was one of them, and nothing can prepare you for an almost daily routine of flying combat aerial surveillance missions over a war zone. UAV proponents claim that troops who do this kind of work are not affected by observing this combat because they are never directly in danger physically.
But here's the thing: I may not have been on the ground in Afghanistan, but I watched parts of the conflict in great detail on a screen for days on end. I know the feeling you experience when you see someone die. Horrifying barely covers it. And when you are exposed to it over and over again it becomes like a small video, embedded in your head, forever on repeat, causing psychological pain and suffering that many people will hopefully never experience. UAV troops are victim to not only the haunting memories of this work that they carry with them, but also the guilt of always being a little unsure of how accurate their confirmations of weapons or identification of hostile individuals were.
Of course, we are trained to not experience these feelings, and we fight it, and become bitter. Some troops seek help in mental health clinics provided by the military, but we are limited on who we can talk to and where, because of the secrecy of our missions. I find it interesting that the suicide statistics in this career field aren't reported, nor are the data on how many troops working in UAV positions are heavily medicated for depression, sleep disorders and anxiety.
Recently, the Guardian ran a commentary by Britain's secretary of state for defence, Philip Hammond. I wish I could talk to him about the two friends and colleagues I lost, within a year of leaving the military, to suicide. I am sure he has not been notified of that little bit of the secret UAV program, or he would surely take a closer look at the full scope of the program before defending it again.
The UAVs in the Middle East are used as a weapon, not as protection, and as long as our public remains ignorant to this, this serious threat to the sanctity of human life – at home and abroad – will continue.


5% of Nigerians Consume 40% of National Income

By Eromosele Abiodun

As the income disparity in Nigeria continues to widen, a report by BGL Limited has revealed that politicians, civil  servants, blue collar workers, directors in government parastatals, industrialists and top executives of companies, representing less than 5 per cent of the country's population, consume more than 40 per cent of the nation's total income.
The report indicated that over 70 per cent of Nigeria's working population are employed in agriculture, which remains largely subsistence and restricted mainly to rural areas whose earning capacity is low.
The Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala had recently warned that the Nigerian economy may be in danger if the private sector do not join hands with government to create jobs, and reduce the inequality in the country.
Okonjo Iweala, who accused the private sector of creating wealth for a few and not jobs, disclosed that the federal government created a total of 1.6 million jobs in 2012 and another 431 thousand jobs in the first quarter of 2013.
The earning capacity of majority of Nigerians, according to the report, is generally bound in a circle of subsistence, adding that economic interaction with the cities is highly tortuous, which creates large arbitrage opportunities for traders who take the risk of facilitating markets between the rural and urban areas.
"New sets of classes are created in the cities, made up of large poor urban immigrants with little or no skills who forcefully abandoned the villages to seek greener pastures. They form the large unemployed or underemployed population living in slums in cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kano, Enugu and Ibadan amongst others, barely earning more than the subsistence average income, earning barely $2 a day," BGL said.
On the reported growth in the nation's gross domestic products (GDP) per capita, BGL argued that using trends indicators like GDP hide the real economic situation of countries and could give misleading impression about the wellbeing of a nation.
"Focusing on other human development indicators (HDIs) such as the poverty level, access to drinkable water, unemployment rate, and health access indicators would help policy makers at targeting reforms. These measures do not only expand the inclusiveness of strong growth, they suggest sustainable capacity to keep growing while closing the gaps within the classes in the society, "BGL noted.