PAGE 40—SUNDAY VANGUARD, APRIL 8, 2018 SENATOR BEN OBI BAGS HONORARY DOCTORATE AWARD Sen. Ben Obi (left) receiving the certificate of honorary doctorate degree from the Chancellor of UniZIK, Dr. Jacob Buba Gyang, while the Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Ahaneku (FAS), looks on. Sen. Ben Obi, flanked by the President-General of Awka Development Union, Chief Tony Okechukwu, and some Awka king-makers, after receiving the award. Sen Ben Obi with Professor Osita Ogbu at the occasion. Sen. Ben Obi being congratulated by Professor A B C Nwosu (left), Chief James Ibori (2nd left), Chief Lucky Igbinedion (3rd left) and Chief Peter Obi. From left: Sen. Ben Obi, Rear Admiral Joe Aikhomu and Dr. Okey Anueyiagu. BABCOCK UNIVERSITY'S 21ST INAUGURAL LECTURE President/Vice Chancellor, Prof Ademola Tayo (left), congratulates the inaugural lecturer, Prof Sunday Owolabi, after delivering his lecture at the Babcock University's 21st inaugural lecture held in Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State. L-R: Prof Rufus Akintoye, HOD, Accounting, Prof Iheanyichukwu, Okoro, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, Prof Sunday Owolabi, inaugural lecturer, Prof Ademola Tayo, President/Vice Chancellor and Prof Patrick Enyi, Dean, School of Management Science. L-R: The inaugural lecturer, Prof Sunday Owolabi, ICAN President, Mr. Isma'ila M. Zakari ,and President/Vice Chancellor, Prof Ademola Tayo. President, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Mr. Isma'ila M. Zakari (left), presents a cheque of one million naira in support of the inaugural lecturer, Prof Sunday Owolabi.
What is fuelling your aspiration for the Senate? There are two interests if you nurse a Senate ambition. First is the interest of the Nigerian state while the second is the interest of your own people (district). At the national level, there is urgent need for people with experience in the legislative chambers to guide the process of transition. Without the legislature, there is no democracy; because it is usually the first casualty any time there is change of government. So we need experienced hands to initiate constructive engagement with the executive arm of government. We need people with the requisite experience to address the Igbo question. What are the specific interests of the Igbo man? The average Igbo man does not really care who the president is. He cares about that person who will create an enabling environment for him to carry on with his trade, his politics and his social activities. This is because we are upwardly mobile nation. Then there is the problem of lack of development in the South- East. So, we need legislators who will engage deeply with the leadership of the National Assembly and the leadership of the executive; to be able to do key life-enhancing projects in the zone. We talk about power stations, major railway trunks, major highways and, above all, river transportation. Take where I come from, Ihiala-the Ose-Akwa in Ihiala, and Ose- Moto in Odekpe in Ogbaru are the deepest natural harbors in Nigeria and lie only 28 nautical miles to the Atlantic Ocean. Yet it is not dredged. So, you need to have a vision to open up the Urashi basin and link it up to the Atlantic Ocean; and open a new vista of trade and development in the area Is not surprising that neither the local/state government nor any of the several persons who had been representing these areas had drawn any attention to these gaping realities? Well, it depends on the strategic vision. It depends on those who seek to represent us. Because if you are committed to service, if you have the need and drive to serve your people, you will look for those areas where your people have comparative advantage. And be able to present it in the various fora to the executive and the National Assembly for them to see the need to invest in these sectors. It is really nobody’s fault if your legislator do not project and highlight those areas of your need. And beyond that, you must have a vision on how to solve these problems. That includes -how do I attract the federal government’s attention and the need to invest huge money to build up our rice fields, irrigation projects and the dredging of the Niger. Dredging of the Niger has remained topical for years; every federal administration has spoken about it. Ironically nothing serious appears to have been done to open up the river to trades, transportation and other maritime activities. I will certainly make it a priority area when Nigeria unjustly denies Igbo of 80 local governments – Hon. Nzeribe By Olalekan Bilesanmi Atwo-term member of the House of Representatives representing Ihiala Federal constituency, Chuma Nzeribe is eyeing the Senate to represent Anambra South. In this interview,Nzeribetalks about his plans for his senatorial district and the nation if elected. OSHIOMHOLE: THE ANATOMY OF A STATESMAN BY I OSAGIE EDOSOMWAN n the 2007 gubernatorial election in Edo State, the people needed a leader who is bold, courageous, serious and determined to unearth the roots of the profound problems of structure that faced them. Then came the quintessential, brief in stature, intellectually robust and extremely popular labour leader, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who decided that he would cut off the toes of the powerful and offend the poor in order to bring about a transformation in Edo State by seeking to restore the Edo State master plan. In doing this, he dismantled the apparatuses of privilege replacing it with a dynamic social organization that was designed to provide the channels of opportunity for those who desired to engage in genuine enterprise and in so doing create an atmosphere of equal worth and a sense of pride in all the streams of the ethnic origins of Edo people. The people saw in a very short time how one man could completely change the character of a state and the industry of its people. In the past, Edo people had leaders who lacked the political will, the inclination, and the confidence to tackle very simple problems in the state and they were genuinely amazed that there were indeed solutions to their Somebody has to constantly supervise and strengthen the institutions that have the responsibility to *Oshiomhole I get elected into the next Senate. In other climes, active lawmakers are encouraged to stay on in the Senate or the House of Representative because it encourages being ranked. How and when do we begin to see it like that? I was in the government of Anambra and also a two-time member of the House of Representatives. So I see myself as experienced enough to go to the Senate. More so, if you look at the politics of the South-East, it’s not actually dominated by career politicians as such. But you see a lot of people with vast experience in industry and commerce coming to make huge impact in the nomination of their friends and cronies as candidates. That seems to impact negatively on the quality of those who aspire to the National Assembly because these rich big men stay four years, and even insist that their wives, friends, cousins and other relatives be nominated for elective offices. This is unlike the North where you see career civil servants being encouraged to move up to represent their people. And you hardly see businessmen aspiring for political offices. Look at the likes of Dangotes, you don’t hear of them fielding their brothers, wives, cousins or in-laws as members of any of the legislative houses or even governor. But it is virtually the norm in the South-East. But I believe that with time, we would overcome the norm. problems. Adams Oshiomhole often stated that the worst thing about poverty was its cyclical nature in which the children of the poor frequently inherited their parent’s lack of opportunities in life and so were themselves practically condemned to a life of poverty. His postulation which caught the fancy of the people was that this cycle of poverty would go on with the talent of millions of people going to waste with an endless continuation of the suffering that poverty brings leading to the establishment of a dynasty of the poor with products of the dynasty usually found in motor parks as SUNDAY VANGUARD, APRIL 8, 2018, PAGE 41 Nigeria has been under the APC for three years; can you say it’s been so far so good, compared to PDP’s first three years? Given the circumstances, I believe Mr President has given his best to the office. But in our peculiar circumstances, his best is not good enough because the core issues of governance like the economy and security need careful attention. From the circumstances of the rising insurgency, militancy agitations and the likes of Boko Haram/herdsmen menace, Nigerians are not happy that they have not been given adequate attention. Bill Gates the other day told us we need more investment in human capital. You need to develop your educational sector, as much as the infrastructure. So, it is for the government to really sit down and look at our frameworks for drawing up the budget to see whether they are addressing the needs of the nation. And in this area, I am going to make very visible contribution in the Senate. Fight against corruption is one of the key promises on which the APC rode to power in 2015. Are you happy so far with the achievement of that fight? Corruption is like cancer. It has eaten real deep into the fabric of this nation. It tends to diminish the quality of life, as well as the improvements we made in our national economy over the years. It sucks away a lot of economic energy from the system by transferring substantial public resources to private hands. You cannot build capital; you cannot talk of going to bank for loan if the rate of savings and investments in your economy is very low because stolen funds have been taken out of the country. So the government has experienced a lot of challenges in this regard which I believe the next administration would have to put in sharper focus. Let us deal with corruption and poverty and see the nexus between the two instead of always shouting ‘anticorruption’, ‘anti-corruption’. Because the word anti-corruption in this regard is a misnomer, hence the need to make a clear distinction between that. The attention the present government is giving to these issues is not adequate. It’s probably not that they are unable to fight corruption. But that we need greater attention. Somebody has to constantly supervise and strengthen the institutions that have the responsibility to fight corruption. Some days ago, the PDP dared the government to name the alleged looters of the national treasury after the party apologized for its missteps when it was in power. Consequently the names of some PDP leaders and even non-members were released. This has ignited another round of controversy. The list drawn up by the APC-led Federal Government and read out by the Minister of Information is misguided. None of those on that list has been convicted for corruption. And if government continues to label mere suspects or people who were called in for one interrogation or the other as being corrupt, that will jeopardize the judicial process. Government is making unnecessary intervention in matters that are clearly in court. Boko Haram and herdsmen problems appear recurring and Continues on page 42 touts and ready thugs for use during elections. He attempted to break this cycle of poverty with various youth empowerment schemes and the creation of a conducive environment for private enterprises to thrive. In the eight years that he served governor of Edo State, the people were relieved of the recklessness and arbitrariness that characterized previous administrations in the state. There was a better tolerance of political opposition and the expression of alternative political viewpoints. In the process it was certainly not an easy task to clean up the state which suffered from decades of neglect and misgovernance. The achievements recorded by the Comrade governor in the state did not come as a surprise to many people considering his eight year tenure as the number one labour leader in Nigeria, a period which was characterized by purposeful leadership, an insistence on good governance and a reinvigoration of the Nigerian workforce to a level never witnessed in recent history. As president of the Nigerian Labour Congress, he demonstrated a thorough understanding of the collective yearlings of the Nigerian Continues on page 42