Monthly Archives: June 2009

Why the Price of Gas May Increase (Even More)

By Adeola Aderounmu

The activities of the Nigerian Militants have ensured that crude oil has almost stopped flowing in Nigeria. This means that tough days are ahead of Nigerians and the rest of us elsewhere in the world.

The pump price of gas may just continue to rise over the whole summer.

But in Nigeria the economy will suffer more dwindling fate. The cost of doing business will rise and the masses will pay more for transportation. Depending on the amount of reserves and the eventual severity of the situation, Nigerian workers must brace up for the worst.

This is the result of 49 years of absolute madness.

The illegal regime in Nigeria is working out an amnesty for the militants. It should actually be the other way round. The Niger Deltans should be the ones working out amnesty for the Nigerian govt and all the oil companies that have devasted the oil rich region. The govt should perhaps take a cue from SHELL that recently paid a token for some of its atrocities in the region.

The Nigerian government is one of the most corrupt in the world. Yar Adua is feasting and merrying with the most corrupt people ever known in Nigeria and he is telling us bullshits about the economy and he is committing genocide in the Niger Delta.

Yar Adua is a very corrupt man and he does not have the interst of Nigerians at heart. That is why he has surrounded himself with the likes of Ibori who has stolen all the money from the Niger Deltan people when he was a governor. Yar Adua has received loads of this money as a presidential candidate and it seems he is ready to get more and more. This is absolute madness and insanity.

In the meantime, Nigeria needs to go back to the days of old when Agriculture was our major earner of foreign exchange. We must stop depending on crude oil and we must stop destroying the environment in the Niger Delta. Until we focus and develop our agricultural systems/products, and until such a time that we remove all these looters who have destroyed the country by stealing more money than even what some african countries do have, we are not ready to move ahead in Nigeria.

Nigeria must also work hard to utilise the vast mineral deposits and resources in the country.

Nigeria’s Government WAR ON BLOGGERS and ACTIVISTS

Yar Adua’s government continues to arrest bloggers and activists. What kind of rubbish is that? Are we not free to express our opinions any longer?

I don’t understand why a civilian regime can undertake such a mission of arresting bloggers and activists. Are we under a military rule? Are we in the Stone Age when people are not free to express their opinions?

Yar Adua and his boys must be called to order. They must stop this mess. They should know that no one has the possibility to stop the flow of information and ideas. They must know that in this age of internet and advanced communication, there will be absolutely nothing they or anyone can do to stop BLOGGERS whether they like or hate the opinions expressed.

And if arresting, torturing, molesting or killing bloggers is what Yar Adua is telling the State Security Service to perpetrate, he is making one of the BIGGEST mistakes of his life. I have written before that this is one BATTLE he will NEVER win. NEVER!

My advice: Yar Adua should do his work and if he has no idea what he is doing, he should just get lost. We are tired of the molestation and harrassment. Leave Bloggers and Internet commentators alone.

Nonsense!

A case for the French Embassy in Nigeria

Written by David Udo Anwana

My name is David Udo Anwana, I am writing to request for a legal assistance for a case between me and the French Embassy that has been lingering in the karu magistrate court in Nasarawa state Nigeria, since 22nd of October 2007 till date.

I am a former staff of the French Embassy; I worked with them from 3rd of November 1997 till the date of my resignation on 30th of March 2007. (From Lagos and Later transferred to Abuja in November 2000).

I decided to resign from my appointment with the French Embassy due to the ill treatment I received for being a Nigerian and a black; on many occasions I was insulted and even called a black slave and was once called a kidnapper by the former 1st Counselor of the French Embassy, Mr. Dominique Raoux-Cassin, Time won’t permit me to relate all the ordeal I went through while working with the French Embassy.

I even wrote the syndicate CFDT-MAE in France explaining my ordeal, before I decided to resign, and nothing was ever done, a copy of translated version of that letter dated 15th February 2009. When I got the job with the French embassy in Nov. 2007,this was after I was asked to submit my resignation letter to Cameroon airlines in Lagos where I worked for four years , I was given a contract when to sign I read through the contract and was never for once told that if I serve the French Embassy in Nigeria and decided to resign from my job voluntarily I won’t be paid my entitlement for the period I served.

It was a surprised to me, when I was told the French government don’t pay gratuities to its staff, it was a surprise not only to me, to the entire members of locally employed staff.

After my resignation, I wrote to the French Ambassador requesting for my entitlement and my pension which was not remitted to the P.F.A. of my choice from 2004 – 2007 and kept at the custody of the French embassy till june 2008 , when it was finally remitted ,with a miscalculation.

I needed my money in order to look after my family of 4 kids and my wife, who was pregnant as at the moment I left the French Embassy, and to also settle my rent in Abuja and also start a small business to be able to sustain my family.

Some few months later, I got a response from the French Ambassador telling me that the French Embassy don’t pay gratuities to its staff, this was rather strange to me, since it has always been paid to former staff who also resigned voluntarily or for any other reason from the French Embassy.

Sir, the hardship and difficulty this situation put me and my family specially my wife who was expecting a baby, and my landlord also served me a quit notice at that moment, since my house rent was overdue and all my children were driven away from school, I could really not bear the whole situation any longer.

I then requested for the service of a lawyer, he wrote the French Embassy and they never responded and he personally went to the French Embassy to deliver a letter to the French Ambassador, he was rejected at the gate, when this news got to me I was really disturbed and frustrated and could not control the situation any longer, I was forced out of frustration to take the law into my hands by going to the French Embassy and cause some damages on two of their vehicles and was taken to Asokoro Police Station, this incident occurred on the 16th of October, 2007, while my wife was at the Asokoro General Hospital in the labour room and she put to birth on that same day being assisted by some friends and neighbors. I was koboless, frustrated, pushed to the extreme and acted out of frustration, I spent 7 days in the cell bitten mercilessly by the cell mates and was taken to the Magistrate Court on the 22nd of October 2007 and was bail out by two of my friends.

Since then I have been going to the Magistrate Court till date as regard the same case. I was given the chance to speak only twice, the police prosecutor handling the case kept on adjourning the case, for reason best known to him till date, I couldn’t appear once because my daughter was very sick I had to take her for treatment and the date escaped my memory, few days after I receive a call from one Mr. Danladi the prosecutor aid, to meet him at Kerra hotel in Mararaba, that he has a message for me, I had to go with some friends of mine getting at the spot, some 20 minutes later, i saw the police prosecutor coming in and we greeted each other and he asked me why I failed to appear in Court, I explain to him what happened, this was around 10pm in the night, and he then brought out a warrant of arrest, and said he is here to arrest me, I should follow him to Asokoro station or else he will deal with me, I gave him the full respect due to him, and pleaded with him to kindly follow me to my house, since I didn’t tell any of my family members where I was going, so when they are informed then I will go with him, he insisted that we should go from there, I then told him, it won’t be possible for me to follow him if my family is not informed, I asked him when is the case adjourned to, he said the following day, I told him, ok, tomorrow I will appear in Court.

His aid Mr. Danladi then approached me and said, I should discuss with his boss and settled him or else he will not allow me to go home, that the matter is very serious ,that they were sent by the DPO Asokoro police station to come and arrest me. I told him I can’t do give money to his boss as far as this matter is concerned, and moreover I don’t have the money, I have been without a job from March 2007, where does he expect me to take money from.

I pleaded with him to allow me go home, this pleading took us to about 11pm in the night, which I stood on my decision to first go home and inform my family, we dragged on that until my friends later told me that we should give them transport money for the fuel they burn in coming to Mararaba, since they came with bike. A sum of N2000 was given to Mr. Danladi and they finally left and I left with my friends to my house.

The next day I appeared in court, just for this same prosecutor who came to arrest me the previous day told the magistrate that he is on special duty and that the matter should be adjourned to another time and told the magistrate that I ran away, they have been looking for me severally and they arrested me yesterday and took me to their station and that they brought me straight from the cell on that day, I was shocked to hear such statement, but was not given a single minute to say a word, and suddenly I was asked to provide two guarantors since I jumped bail which I did, since then, the prosecutor aid have been calling me and asking me to meet him at odd hours of the night and at a specific location, I have never accepted to do so, and he has been telling me to cooperate with his boss or else I will regret. I don’t understand what he meant by that.

I had to write the French Embassy, explaining all my ordeal with the police and I have also written them series of letter of apology as regard that incident, in response to one of those letter, I receive this reply from the new Ambassador, a copy of the reply is attached to this letter, the French version and the translated version in english.

Currently I am without a job and my family is undergoing serious hardship and my kids are all at home, I can’t afford to pay their school fees, and my rent is due. I can’t settle it. I can’t afford to pay the service of a lawyer for my defense as regard this case, that is why I write to you sir/madam to request for a legal service and help, to enable me get my freedom and face my small business of teaching French Language and computer to people at home, which has been the only source of income for me and my family, but the incessant adjournment of this case has not allowed me to concentrate on my life, I need your help and I need the help of all good Nigerian and the international community to help resolve this matter.

I will be ready to accept your invitation for further explanation as regard this matter, the case was adjourned till 16th of June 2009 – The French Embassy has sent Mr. Dennis Emmanuel, the MOPOL who was on duty on the 16th Oct. 2007 to come and testify on this matter at the magistrate court, this is well after they might have sent me a letter telling me the French embassy neither any of their agent have ever taken me to any court of law.

I will be most grateful if my request is approved. I need your assistance and the assistance of everybody.

The French Embassy expatriate have on many occasion told us the local staff, specially the Nigerians, that there is no law in our country Nigeria, that we can’t do them anything and that we don’t have the money to get a lawyer, I am not the only one who must have experienced such, so many others were just sack for no just reason they are ready to be invited to talk about their own experience. Once you spend 10 years and above, they will look for a way to send you packing, you will be frustrated, insulted, mistreated until you resign, they don’t care because they know you can’t do anything.

They even told us that, are we treated better by your country why do we expect good treatment from them, after all your salary at the French Embassy is better than what your ministers and governors earn. So we should not even complain and that there are many out there waiting for our job, that has resulted to so many staff resigning without being paid, and others have been sack after 28, 15, 10 years of service without any compensation paid to them, putting head of families on untold hardship, it is really sad that such thing are happening in our country and nobody is aware of it.

It is really disheartening and painful and frustrating, I shed tears whenever I remembered all I went through at the Embassy in my own country and nothing is being done in this regard. I think this is this time for the world to know what we went through and what we experienced in the hands of the French expatriate in our own country Nigeria, It is really bad , I also plead to our government to look into this matter, we are really suffering in silence in the hands of the French people at the Embassy here in Nigeria even up till this moment.

They really hate us; they are here only for their own interest not ours.

Sir, I wouldn’t want to be push to the extreme any longer, if in the course of there hardship the police prosecutor who is cooperating with the French Embassy to put me to jail, succeed in doing so, since the prosecutor and his witness , the police inspector who handled the case openly told me they will do , because he even instructed the magistrate handling the case to jail me as this will serve as a deterrent to others, he has an many occasion ask for my financial assistance, personally and via Mr. Danladi, telling me that he is traveling for either marriage, or burial that I should find him some money, I told him I don’t have, this has angered him so much so that he told me I will see.

If he succeed in doing his will and I am put to jail and my children and my wife suffer for no just reason, I don’t believe this will be just, I and my family are suffering unjustly, after I must have spent 10 years of my youthful years only to be told bye bye by the French embassy, no compensation, it is rather very sad, they openly told us that even if you spend 35 years of service or have reached the retirement age, the French government won’t pay you, all you have is your pension , we have asked them to provide document in the Nigerian labor law to back their claim , they have never done so, from 2004 – 2007 my pension contribution was never remitted to any pension fund administrator.

After I wrote them severally asking for my money, my pension money, it was in June 2008 that my IBTC Pension Account was credited with a sum of N112,000 and I wrote the French Ambassador to request for a break down of this money, nobody every care to answer me, my last salary with the French Embassy between 2004, and 2007 was between 400 euro and 430 euro , how did they calculate 7.5% contribution by the employer & 7.5 % contribution by the employee calculated from this amounts to 112,000N only, they even cheated on me on their calculation, we are really helpless in our country, one of those who were sacked unjustly by the French embassy reported his case to the foreign affairs, nothing has ever been done, he spent over 15 years of service and was sacked unjustly without any compensation paid to him.

My question is what do we do, I was frustrated and took the laws into my hands and today the police prosecutor is using this as a mean of getting money from me, he told the magistrate on one of the hearings regarding this case, that he went to the French embassy with a copy of the letter that was sent to me by the French Ambassador to confirm if it was written by the French Ambassador and that he met with the French Ambassador who told him it was fake, I was so shocked and surprise, and wrote the French Ambassador about it, and he never responded. This is a clear evidence of his co-operation with the police prosecutor to cause an untold hardship to me and my family, we are asked to respect the rule of law, does obeying the rule of law give the French Embassy the right to mistreat Nigerians in their own country. I once asked the French Ambassador in one of my letters, if that is the way the Nigerian Embassy in Paris treats the French citizens.

Please you should all help me out this , I need my gratuities be paid to me and the police to allow me have my peace, I will be most grateful to you all.

David UDO A.
08036124282
Udo.david@gmail.com

Why June 12 Is Our ONLY Hope

by Adeola Aderounmu

June 12 1993 is a day that has refused to depart from our memories and to millions of witnesses it appears like it was just yesterday. Making it right once and for all is an enormous task and the fact that the successive undesirable governments in Nigeria continue to ignore this date is a very sad omen that will hunt this generation and the next. I do not see any ray of hope for Nigeria until the actualization of what June 12 represents. Call it superstition but Nigeria is worse now than it was in 1993. With the continuous denial of what June 12 represents and the non-actualization of the dream/ ideals, it can only get worse in Nigeria!
Though it’s been 16 years we must continue to tell and repeat the story so that the truth is not distorted and for those who didn’t know what happened then to know what transpired because until we learn from our common history and make amends for our avoidable mistakes we will most likely continue to rotate at the same point. We cannot move forward until we start doing the right thing.

June 12 was not about the contest between MKO Abiola and Bashir Tofa. June 12 is not about the junta and it is not about the military tropical gangster called Babangida. June 12 is not about these people. It was about democratic principles and the simple rule of law. On June 12 1993, millions of Nigerians voted in the best election ever conducted in the history of Nigeria. It was possible for the people to vote correctly because the elections were actually properly planned and well conducted.

As a result of the precedents to June 12-long years of wasteful and corrupt military rule, vain promises, crushed dreams, battered economy and complete hopelessness in the order of things-, the hope that came with June 12 elections was greater than that which Obama brought with his campaign and victory in the US. There were pre-election debates and it was easy to discern that one of the two candidates had a plan and promises of hope for a brighter future.

The people voted and the results were rolling in to the favour of MKO Abiola. When it became evident that Abiola would win, Bashir Tofa (the opponent) was said to have sent him congratulatory messages. I was humbled by that simple gesture of sportsmanship. It was supposed to usher in an era of politics without bitterness. Records have it that as the results were been announced, the prices of goods and services were dropping. There was a tailor who refused to be paid for the services he had rendered. He was so overjoyed that “at last” hope has come to the people. Even the cost of transportation went down drastically in those few hours of glory. There were numerous fine moments that accompanied the announcement of the results. Hope and a sense of belonging were in the air.

That was the spirit and mood until Nigerians received a rude shock from the nonentity called Babangida. This useless man cancelled or annulled the best election in our history. There were many hypotheses to this annulment including that Abiola was a creditor to the government, or that a few ignoble persons would not like to see him become the president of Nigeria. Some people said it was because of what he did when he was in NPN that he betrayed Awolowo. In democracy, these or any other fabrications are useless and thoughtless arguments.

The fundamental thing about June 12 was that a presidential election took place in Nigeria and Abiola won. The crime about it was that some cabal secretly plotted against Abiola and eternally denied him of the mandate that the Nigerian people gave to him. He was asked by the people to give them hope, but a few arrogant and selfish persons, a few of whom are unfortunately still around the corridors of power decided otherwise.

The annulment was resisted by many true democrats, some were killed and many went into exile. Prominent Nigerians chickened out and were back in subsequent illegal governments because they were simply opportunists originally. Kingibe who should have been the vice-president in a rare muslim-muslim ticket (which Nigerians were satisfied with) even had the guts to serve in the present lame government. Many Nigerian politicians are shameless. As looters, they never get enough, do they? They always stage a return to our lives and the implication is that since 1960, we have had a system of recycling sycophants in our government. Those that cannot be recycled stay out as godfathers-destroying the system to meet their own needs and selfish ends.

Many people died in vain in the struggle to actualize that mandate popularly called JUNE 12. May their souls find peace. They are more honourable than Babangida and the thoughtless cabal put together. Have we heard all concerning the brutal murder of MKO? He died under questionable circumstances while a delegate from the United States was visiting him. How did a cup of tea become a poison? We knew that a delegate from the US visited him in prison but is the story of the poisonous tea cup actually valid? Was he beaten to death? Is Mr. Abubakar Abdulsalam paying yet for the crime committed under his watch?

MKO Abiola was killed on July 7 1998 when many thought he would be released to claim his mandate after the death of one of the notorious generals called Abacha. The implication is that he was up against an evil cabal who will not mind travelling to hell just to deny him the honourable mandate. Indeed the cabal succeeded in their plots and 16 years after, Nigerians are paying dearly the price for the evil of a few men.

Why is June 12 our only hope? It is because unless we conduct a normal election where our votes are counted like that fateful day in 1993; there will be no democratic government in Nigeria. I do not believe that Nigeria is yet a democratic nation. What we still have are hand-picked sycophants and looters who are not answerable to anyone and who are above the laws of the land.

June 12 election was peaceful, free, fair and devoid of violence. If the election was not stupidly annulled it would have been the benchmark for electoral processes in Nigeria and indeed Africa. We lost that chance and we have not been able to regain it since 1993. Lowly countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia that are recuperating from recent wars did better in electing their leaders and making them accountable while the sleeping giant of Africa has failed to produce a credible election since 1959. What a real shame?

June 12 is not only a symbol of democratic struggles but also a symbol of the dignity of man. The dignity of the Nigerian masses has been perpetually rubbed in the mud. Today the masses still have no rights, no dignity and are not respected by the wicked leadership. The typical Nigerian man or woman knows very well that his/ her vote is not worthy. These people suffer from extreme low esteem and self-pity. It is pathetic and sorrowful.

The only way forward for this country is to set the records straight. The corruption, injustices and social inequality being perpetrated by the leaders and looters in Nigeria are the reasons for the poverty that prevails in Nigeria. It is the reason that 3 square meals is a privilege. It is the reason why the nation is making giant strides back to the Stone Age as the rest of the world continues to enjoy the fruits of the 18th century industrialisation and 21st century globalisation.

Those who disengaged us from the dreams of June 12 are among us and the time is now to bring them and their stooge to Justice. Anything short of justice means that peace, progress and prosperity will be an everlasting mirage for the common man in Nigeria. Justice must be done. Babangida must account for his deeds as a chief truncator of the hope of June 12. All the participants in that treasonable act in June 1993 should be brought to book.

It is not right that a country so blessed can also accommodate more than 90m people living desperately on less than 2 dollars a day and having no access to clean water, no proper housing and lacking a befitting standard of life. If the estimated 90m people living on less than 2 dollars a day in Nigeria stand up to be counted in a mass action, they will salvage the remaining days of their lives and secure the future for their children. There are more than 140m Nigerians and a solid resistant is needed to pull down the cabal and their antidemocratic bidding once and for all.

One thing is sure, in as much as we have refused to take the right steps and as long as we have not resisted those who are manipulating our country to a selfish end, millions of people will continue to live in poverty. This is not a curse; it is just what I call the unarguable reality of our lives. When is the truth going to set us free in Nigeria? When?

It is one thing for us to know the truth, acknowledge it, make amends and set Nigeria on the path of glory and it is definitely another thing to continue to deny ourselves the knowledge of the truth thereby allowing a few people to continue to enjoy the fruits of the land while leaving the helpless and resilient majority wallowing in abject poverty.

The way to GLORY will be a struggle on all aspects of our lives, social, economic…and so on. The way to prosperity and the good of all will be to seek the men and women who will be ready to serve selflessly and dedicatedly. In Nigeria, we need the rule of law above the rule of men. The present incapable government in Nigeria is the biggest joke of all epoch.

Each June 12 continues to unsettle the mind of the wicked. It will eventually bring judgment who those who spilled the blood of the innocents. The goodness of June 12 will bring milk and honey back to the Nigerians who are weak and poor, living on less than 2 dollars a day.

I will like to repeat and emphasize that June 12 is not about Abiola or Tofa. It is not about the cabal or a tropical gangster called Babangida. It is not about the unsolved conspiracy that killed MKO. June 12 is about the destruction of the everlasting foundation upon which the glory of Nigeria would have been built. It is about the confinement of Nigerians to a state of extremely low esteem and self-pity. Until the actualization of the ideals of June 12 this country will neither know peace nor make progress.

This is my personal opinion and that is the way that I see it.

The Most Corrupt People I know

By Adeola Aderounmu.

Mrs. Waziri said she is prepared to sacrifice her life in the pursuit of her job as the boss of the EFCC. I have heard or listened to many useless comments before and this is one of the most useless remarks you can hear from a Nigerian official. What about all the corrupt charges hanging on her neck plus all the sacred cows she has preserved for Umaru’s next campaign?

I have tried to raise my head high at all times-and I am still doing that. I wear clothes with N.I.G.E.R.I.A on the back and coats of arm on the front. I have a Nigerian flag standing on my parlour shelf and a big Nigerian flag is hanging conspicuously on my window in a white-dominated environment. Despite being torn apart between the choices of nationalities I continue to remind myself that I am Nigerian. I don’t know how much longer I can bear the huge cross. It comes with a lot of humiliation-accepting the responsibilities and bearing the shame for what some ignoble people have done and what others are still doing. Thank heaven for the game of football else there will be almost nothing positive about the green-white-green.

Everyday I rehearse at least 1 article in my mind yet I have written less than 7 in the last 6 months. This is because I long for real participation in the struggle that will emancipate Nigerians from the madness that has pervaded the country for 49 years. I thought about my (radical) activities and the plans I had just few weeks before I left Nigeria and I wondered if I would not have been forgotten in the prison by now. Maybe not…

Sometimes I ask myself: Is it just me? Maybe I am crazy. But the answers are quick to come. Human nature is besieged with greed, envy and insatiation. If you add this to the complete lack of cognitive ability in the crude men and women who control violent-takeover of power with ill-gotten wealth in the peculiar Nigerian political landscape, you will end up with probably the most unreliable collection of political aspirators in the universe. This is equals to extremely wicked and selfish people.

I have written on a number of occasions in this square that Nigeria is the most corrupt country in the world. I stand by my observation. In those articles, I have also argued and explained why. The amazing thing is that the situation remains the same. I know about the corruption in South America and South East Asia and elsewhere. The most corrupt people that I know are in Nigeria. I have compared the level of developments in Mexico and Thailand to that of Nigeria and I know that a European tourist will rather go to Mexico with Swine flu than to Nigeria. No amount of Tsunami or molestation of foreigners can derail the tourism industry in Thailand. It will bounce back-branding or no branding.

It is not that Nigeria does not plan. We do. It is not that we don’t have visions or missions. We do proclaim those. The very few sensible people among the leaders in Nigeria are very good with textbook versions of how things should be done. But the reality is that the mad act called corruption is the stumbling block to almost everything.

Nigeria as a country will not make progress. Not too soon anyway because the most corrupt people that I have ever known in my life are in charge in Nigeria. Mr Yar Adua is a symbol of corruption. He personifies corruption to the highest power. It is ridiculously shameful. It is one of the major weight hanging on my green-white-green curtain. I am not proud of the position of that office right now. It weighs me down than my personal burdens.

The guy has openly confessed that he was rigged into power. He has also insulted the intelligence of anyone who cares to know that he cannot prosecute all the corrupt people around him because literarily they are all the same. Men and women who have no honour! Altogether, these people have no integrity and their sense of judgments is clouded by greed, selfishness and the corruption that goes with power.

How can any plan, vision or mission work out in such a counterproductive country like Nigeria? The country makes monies that are shared among crooks, godfathers, opportunists, sycophants and extremely corrupt individuals. It takes madness to store money in foreign accounts when Nigerians are starving. In Yar Adua’s Katsina, thousands of women fetched dirty water to sell from deep wells. They make less than 1 dollar a day! Generally while Nigerian masses are classified among the poorest in the world, Nigerian politicians are the highest paid in the history of man. Paradox or irony?

Schools has dilapidated, hospitals are so unsecured that even Yar Adua himself depends on voodoo and foreign hospitals. Schools have been shut, opened and shut again. School fees are above the clouds, far beyond the sky and education is no longer for all. Billions of dollars are resting in private accounts and the deaths on the dilapidated roads are blamed on witches and wizards. The electricity supply is the worst in the whole world and the seventh largest producer of crude oil is now a laughing stock in the comity of nations. A nation of 150m people depend on less than 3 000 MW of electricity. Michael Faraday must be turning in his grave. The Niger Delta is now a killing field to the delights of the clique whose groundnuts have been grounded.

President Obama is visiting Ghana because Nigeria is so unbelievably corrupt that any attempt by Obama to visit Nigeria can destroy his political career. Nigerians have been deceived again that the economy will be among the greatest 20 by year 2020. Nonsense! How can that happen? What about the persistence of the crooks and political jobbers that are siphoning the money that we will use to build the economy and infrastructure. Even when I think about FIFA and the world cup saga, I just think that FIFA is simply stupid.

It is only in Nigeria that FIFA deals with government which is against the statutory procedures of FIFA. FIFA knows very well that Nigeria lacks the infrastructure and when we do have them, we don’t maintain them. Yet FIFA is still looking in the direction of Nigeria. Will it take a 10 year old boy (born in 1999 when we hosted the world) to inform FIFA that the corruption in Nigeria will not allow us to do anything right? FIFA is not even thinking about the heat in Nigeria and that matches cannot be played at night because of lack of electricity. How does FIFA think sef?

I simply do not understand why Nigerians are allowing all this rubbish. It beats me! Is this why the intelligence question is dangling over our head? How dull are we really? I was expecting a total revolt or some kind of revolution with the nonsense that took place in Ekiti. Was what an election? E gba mi o..! That was absolute rubbish and to think that it passed is unimaginable and unthinkable. What happened to the song we sang those days: how many people police go kill o, how many people police go kill…? What has happened to the resistance that pursued and hastened IBB to Abuja? Some people deserved to be chased to the bush right now.

The most corrupt people that I know are working with the Nigerian government headed by one unserious and incapable Yar Adua and the earlier Nigerians wake up, the better for the future of their children. I seriously do think we need to do something now. The time is now. We must enforced an appropriate electoral reform and pursue early elections. Let’s see if we’ve learnt any lesson. Our future is ruined. The future of our children is stolen..!

THE ROLE OF NUTRITION IN THE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF OBESITY

A review by Adeola Aderounmu (Written in May 2005)

Introduction
Obesity is a worldwide chronic disease affecting over 300 million adults. Excess body fat is the largest nutritionally related problem in the United States and many other affluent countries (Willet and Leibel, 2002). The prevelance of obesity in the United States continues to rise dramatically (Flegal et al., 2002) and the situation may represent an epidemic in such a society because of its widespread and prevalence (Kottke et al., 2003).Over the past decade, the obesity rate among French children has doubled, from 6% to 12%, and between 1997 and 2003 the percentage of overweight and obese adults jumped from 37% to 42%. That growth curve parallels the one in the US about 10 years ago (TIME Magazine, May 23 2005). This disease is not limited to industrialised countries as over 115 million people in developing countries suffer from obesity-related problems (Whitney et al., 2005).

Quite naturally, excess intake of food (carbohydrate, protein and fat) can lead to obesity or at least the maintenance of an overweight body. To a reasonable extent, body weight regulation depends on the balance between energy intake and energy expenditure (Jequier and Bray 2002). It is not clear if high-fat diets are in part responsible for the increased prevalence of obesity in several countries. Some questions are of interest, for example (1) why are several epidemiological studies in the United States showing that the prevalence of obesity is increasing at the same time that fat consumption is decreasing? (Willet, 1998); (2) why is the prevalence of overweight worldwide directly related to percent of fat in the diet? (Bray and Popkin, 1998). What is known however is that the ability of the different macronutrients to stimulate satiety and to suppress subsequent food intake is not equal. There is a hierarchy such that protein intake has the most potent satiating effect, carbohydrate has a less pronounced effect, and fat has the lowest capacity to stimulate satiety and to decrease the amount of food energy ingested at the next meal (Rolls et al., 1994 Stubbs et al., 1997 and Prentice 1998). Additionally, glucose is the preferentially oxidisable food nutrient in the cells and the processes involved in the storage of fats seems to consume less energy and therefore fats are easily stored.

High-fat diets are more energy dense than high-carbohydrate diets, and the former favor hyperphagia (increased food intake) (Jequier and Bray, 2002). With high-fat diets, which are energy dense, more calories are passively ingested than with high-carbohydrate foods. High-fat diets favor passive overconsumption and body weight gain (Blundell and Macdiarmid, 1997). It is difficult to correlate the known effects of food substances on the prevalence or incidence of obesity in various epidemiological settings. Nevertheless obesity remains one of the several chronic diseases that have been implicated or linked to dietary and lifestyle factors. Those who are obese are more likely to suffer from life-threathening diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

On the other hand, positive energy balance is not always undesirable. For instance, a growing youth (or pregnant woman) should be in postive energy balance, i.e consume more energy than expended, since they are growing / increasing in body tissues.

Etiology
There are controversies over the factors that lead to obesity. The major factors can be discussed under 3 major headings viz: total energy intake, lifestyle factor and genetics.

Total energy intake
There has been an inverse relation between dietary fat intake and obesity in the US over the last several decades: as the prevalence of obesity has increased, the percentage of calories from dietary fat intake has decreased, (Willet and Leibel, 2002). Despite the lower fat percentage in diets, there has been an increase in total calorie intake. The total energy intake is the primary contributor to obesity, [Bray and Popkin (1998), Jequier and Bray (2002) and (Forrety and Poston,(2002)].

Some investigators attribute part of this problem to the greater frequency of eating outside the home, particularly in fast-food restaurants (McCrory et al., 2000). Significant associations have been demonstrated between eating fast food and body weight (Binkley et al., 2000) and between consuming restaurant food and body fatness. For example, after controlling for age, sex, education, smoking, alcohol intake and physical activity, restaurant food consumption was significantly correlated with the total daily intakes of energy and fat; most importantly, it also was significantly related to body fatness (McCrory et al., 1999). Many full-service and fast-food restaurants and convenience stores offer “super-size” portions that contain 2 to 3 times more calories than regular-size portions.

Dietary fats as well as carbohydrates are probably important contributors to the excessive caloric consumption (Poston and Foreyt, 1999) and evidence has accumulated recently showing that high-fat, energy-dense meals favor passive overconsumption, a mechanism that very likely helps to explain the increasing prevalence of obesity in many countries ( WHO, 1998).

Lifestyle Factor. Physical Activity
There also is a consensus that high prevalence of a sedentary lifestyle in the United States plays a central role in the development of obesity (Barlow et al., 1995). Generally, the lack of physical activity can be an important contributor to positive fat balance and weight gain. Crespo et al., (1996) reported that the prevalence of little or no physical activity is 54% in the general American population and nearly 70% in African American and Mexican American women, a particularly disturbing figure because minority women also experience the highest prevalence of obesity (WHO 1998). Inactivity contributes to weight gain and poor health.

Genetics
Genetic influences do seems to be involved in some cases of obesity; at least researchers have identified an obesity gene called ob which codes for the protein leptin (Whitney and Rolfes, 2005). Even if these suspected genes do not cause obesity, genetic factors may influence the food intake and activity patterns that lead to it and the metabolic pathways that maintain it (Froguel and Boutin, 2001). Genetic factors may influence which individuals within a population will develop excessive adiposity but the rise in obesity observed in recent years cannot be down to genes, the environment is paramount.

As a sequel, in a very recent study University of Glasgow and Bristol researchers reported some findings that support the theory that early life environment could determine obesity:

• Birth weight
• Parental obesity
• Over 8 hours of TV a week at age 3
• Short sleep duration less than 10.5 hours per night at age 3
• Size in early life-measured at 8 and 18 months
• Rapid weight gain in the first couple of years
• Rapid catch-up growth up to 2 years of age
• Early development of body fatness in pre-school years-before the age at which body fat should be increasing
(Source, BBC News, May 19 2005)

Prevention
People with clinically severe obesity may need aggressive treatment options such as drugs or surgery (Yanovski and Yanovski, 2002). There are 2 drugs used to treat obesity: Sibutramine suppresses appetite while Orlistat inhibits pancreatic lipase activity in the GI tract. However, these drugs are side effects and some shortcomings. The challenge for obesity is to develop an effective drug that can be used over time without adverse effects or the potential for abuse. No such drug currently exist (Halsted 1999).

Surgical procedures effectively limit food intake by reducing the capacity of the stomach and suppress hunger by reducing production of the hormone, Ghrelin. This protein is secreted primarily by the stomach cells and act in the hypothalamus. It promotes a positive energy balance by stimulating appetite and promoting efficient energy storage (Kojima and Kangawa, 2002). Surgery to treat obesity involves very risky procedures.

Role of Nutrition
The important question for the prevention and treatment of obesity is to assess whether low-fat diets promote long-term weight loss or slow weight regain (Willet, 1998). Low-fat diets have been consistently shown to promote moderate weight loss over 1 year, and no study has reported an increased incidence of cardiovascular diseases with low-fat diets (Mensink and Katan, 1992). It has not been justified that low-fat, high carbohydrate diets lack the efficacy to elicit weight loss or that they have adverse effect in cardiovascular disease prevention. Instead, low-fat diets with more fruits, vegetables and fibres have also been shown to promote regression of atherosclerosis (Gould et al., 1995) and reduction in blood pressure (Appel et al., 1997).

Although low-fat diets have a significant effect on body weight of overweight individuals (Jeffrey et al., 1995), their long-term effect from a public health perspective is limited in the treatment of obesity (Prentice 1998). Nevertheless, promoting low-fat diet should be a priority in any programme for the prevention of obesity. The concept of a weight-maintaining diet is important and may be a realistic approach even in obese individuals, particularly after a successful weight loss after a hypocaloric diet or after gastric surgery in obese patients (Jequier and Bray, 2002).

Some researchers used a new simplified method to assess meal pattern among 2 groups of women in Sweden. Their findings revealed that the number of reported intake occasions across a usual day was higher in obese women compared with controls and the timing was shifted to later in the day. They suggested that these findings should be considered in the treatment of obesity (Forslund et al., 2002). Therefore, it is appropriate from a public health perspective to promote a reduction in total fat intake as an important goal for the prevention of obesity and obesity-induced diabetes because modest weight loss in obese subjects is usually accompanied by an improved insulin sensitivity and a decrease in impaired glucose tolerance (Appel et al., 1997; Ferrannini and Camastra 1998).

It will be reasonable that obesity treatment-related dietary modifications include suggestions to reduce total calories by reducing fat intake, particularly saturated fats and reducing intake of high-carbohydrate foods. In furtherance to this for example, the European Dietary Guidelines stipulated that the specified goal for dietary fat content as percent total energy is for the primary prevention of obesity (EURO DIET). Similarly, the current US incidence of overweight and obesity, and the chronic diseases to which they are precursors, will be mitigated and prevented only with major changes in national dietary policies and programs based on successful experiences and models (Gifford, 2002).

Finally, Physical activity is a necessary component of nutritional health. People must be physically active if they are to eat enough food to deliver all the nutrients they need without unhealthy weight gain (Whitney and Rolfes, 2005). A low level of daily physical activity is a factor that contributes to the positive energy balance, which leads to obesity. Exercise of moderate intensity will stimulate oxidation of fat (Smith et al., 2000). It seems considerable to compensate for the low-fat oxidation by not only promoting low-fat diets but also by promoting adequate daily physical activity.

This review paper was submitted to the Department of Bioscience at NOVUM, Unit of Preventive Medicine, Karolinksa Institure, Huddinge-Stockholm in 2005.

REFERENCES
References
Appel, L.J., Moore, T. J., Obarzanek, E et al., (1997). A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. N Eng J Med 336, 1117-1124.
Barlow, C. E., Kohl, H. W., Gibbons, L. W et al., (1995). Physical fitness, mortality and obesity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 19, S41-S44.
BBC News. TV ‘increases child obesity risk. http://www.bbc.co.uk/health. Published 2005/05/19.
Binkley, J. K., Eales, J and Jekanowski, M (2000). The relation between dietary change and rising US obesity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 24, 1032-1039
Blundell, J. E and Macdiarmid, J. I (1997). Passive overconsumption. Fat intake and short-term energy balance. Ann NY Acad Sci. 827, 392-407.
Bray, G. A and Popkin, B.M (1998). Dietary fat intake does affect obesity! Am J Clin Nut 68, 1157-1173.
Crespo, C. J., Keteyian, S. J., Heath, G. W et al., (1996). Leisure-time physical activity among US adults. Results from the 3rd National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arch Intern Med 156, 93-98.
EURO DIET (2001). Core Report. Nutrition and Diet For Healthy Lifestyles in Europe.
Ferrannini, E and Camastra, S (1998). Relationship between impaired glucose tolerance, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and obesity. Eur J Clin Invest 28, 3-7.
Flegal K. M and coauthors (2002). Prevalence and trends in obesity among US adults. J Am Med Ass 288, 1723-1727
Foreyt, J. P., Poston, W.S.C (2002). Consensus View on the Role of Dietary Fat and Obesity. The Am J Med 113, 60S-62S.
Forslund, H.B., Lindroos, A. K., Sjöström, L and Lissner, L. Meal patterns and obesity in Swedish women; a simple instrument describing usual meal types, frequency and temporal distribution. Eur J Clin Nut 56, 740-747.
Froguel, P and Boutin, P (2001). Genetics of pathways regulating body weight in the development of obesity in humans. Exp Bio Med 226, 991-996.
Gifford, K. D (2002). Dietary Fats, Eating Guides and Public Policy: History, Critique and Recommendations. The Am J Med 113, 89S-106S.
Gould, K. L., Ornish, D., Scherwitz, L et al., (1995). Changes in pyocardial perfusion abnormalities by positron emission tomography after long-term, intense risk factor modification. J Am Med Ass 274, 894-901.
Halsted, C. H (1999). Is blockade of pancreatic lipase the answer? Am J Clin Nutr 69, 1059-1060.
Jeffrey, R. W., Hellerstedt, W. L., French, S. A and Baxter, J. E (1995). A randomised evaluation of a low fat ad libitum carbohydrate diet for weight reduction. Int J Obes 17, 623-629.
Jequier E and Bray, G. A (2002). Low-Fats Diets Are Preferred. The Am J Med 113, 41S-46S.
Kojima, M and Kangawa, K (2002). Ghrelin, an orexigenic signalling molecule from the gastrointestinal tract, Curr Opin Pharmacol 2, 665-668.
Kottke, T. E., Wu, L. Aand Hoffman, R.S (2003). Economic and psychological implications of the obesity epidemic. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 78, 92-94.

McCrory, M. A., Fuss, P. J., Hays, N. P., Vinken, A. G., Greenberg, A. S and Roberts S. B (1999). Overeating in America: association between restaurant food consumption and body fatness in healthy adult men and women ages 19-80. Obes Res 7, 564-571.
McCrory, M. A., Fuss, P. J., Saltzman, E and Roberts, S. S (2000). Dietary determinants of energy intake and weight regulation in healthy adults. J Nut 130, 276S-279S.
Mensink, R. P and Katan, M. B (1992). Effects of dietary fatty acids on serum lipids and lipoproteins. A meta-analysis of 27 trials. Arterioscler Thromb 12, 911-919.
Poston, W. S. C and Foreyt, J. P (1999). Obesity is an environmental issue. Atherosclerosis 146, 201-209.
Prentice, A. M (1998). Manipulation of dietary fat and energy density and subsequent effects on substrate flux and food intake. Am J Clin Nutr 67, 535S-541S.
Rolls, B. J., Kim-Harris, S., Fischman, M. W et al., (1994). Satiety after preloads with different amounts of fat and carbohydrates: implication for obesity. Am J Clin Nutr 60, 476-487.
Smith, S. R., de Jonge, L., Zachwieja J. J et al., (2000). Concurrent physical activity increases fat oxidation during the shift to a high fat diet. Am J Clin Nutr 72, 131-138
Stubbs, R. J., Prentice, A. M and James, W. P (1997). Carbohydrates and energy balance. Ann NY Acad Sci 819, 44-69.
TIME Magazine, May 23 2005. Mon dieu! The French Get Fat. p14
Whitney, E and Sharon, R. E (2005). Understanding Nutrition. 10th edition. Thomson Wadsworth.
Willet, W. C (1998). Is dietary fat a major determinant of body fat? Am J Clin Nutr 67, 556S-262S.
Willet, W. C and Leibel, R. L (2002). Dietary Fat is Not a Major Determinant of Body Fat. The Am J Med 113, 47S-59S.
World Health Organisation (WHO) 1998. Obesity: Preventing and Managing the Global Epidemic. WHO, Geneva.
Yanovski, S. Z and Yanovski, J. A (2002). Obesity. N Eng J Med 346, 591-602.