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Archive for May, 2012|Monthly archive page

Re-marriage: 96-yr-old Dragged to Court by Son

In Uncategorized on May 31, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Father says he is re-marrying to get somebody to cook and assist him in keeping the compound clean while Son says Dad should have discussed it with him before taking the wife!

A United States-based Nigerian, Emeka Mazie, on Wednesday dragged his 96-year-old father to court for insisting to re-marry after the demise of his wife eight years ago.

The suit with number HU/54/2012 filed before the Umuahia High Court 4, is presided over by Justice Agwu Kalu.

Counsel to the defendant, Ebere Orji, told the court that her client, Israel Mazie, (father of Emeka), had contracted a marriage with Ebere Ndubuka under the Marriage Act, maintaining that the plaintiff (only son of Israel) with his sisters was duly informed before the marriage was contracted.

On the other hand, the Counsel to the Plaintiff, Ann Uchendu, told the court that Israel and Ndubuka had yet to consummate their marriage traditionally, noting the defendants secretly obtained a marriage certificate from Bende Local Government Area of Abia State.

Israel told the court that his decision to re-marry was to get somebody to cook and assist him in keeping the compound clean.

“Since my wife died eight years ago, nobody cooks or assists in cleaning the compound for me. All my children live in America,” he claimed.

The plaintiff told the court that he received with shock the plans of his father to re-marry at his age. He said: “if my father must get another wife, he ought to discuss it with me.”

The Judge on listening to both counsel urged the parties to respect the views of each other, noting that at the plaintiff’s age he would never wish away his first son or the son abandon the father.

Kalu added that resorting to alternative dispute resolution became imperative as there was no serious dispute to judge on the case. He adjourned the matter to October 24 for report on settlement.

GAMBLING IN NAIJA: LOTTERY OR ROBBERY?

In ESSAY on May 16, 2012 at 11:36 am

The Wretched Game

As a habit and an escape from poverty, a large numbers of Nigerian youths have sought solace in gambling and mother luck  

TAYO OLANIPEKUN

The taxi driver almost caused an upset as the passenger alighted from the cab just at his destination. Wale, the driver was lost in thoughts and of course, so hard on himself because of an omission the day before. He had failed to stake at least N200 on a ‘2-sure’ lotto game he played a day before. And thus, the hope of treating his entire family to a feast during the 2012 New Year celebration from the N48000 largesse he would have won was dashed.

A few weeks later in Lagos, were he to be there, the unlucky cab operator would definitely envy a posse of gamblers in Lagos who were in a frenzy mood, throwing fire crackers after cashing millions of naira from Baba’Jebu, the way he did of his friends in the ancient city of Ibadan after that grave miss. That December in Ibadan, over N200 million was paid in winning with some defaulting agents allegedly on the run, for either having failed to remit players’ entries, thinking the winning numbers wouldn’t come out or considering the enormity of their indebtedness.

In February of this year alone, players around Mushin are said to have won billions of Naira in the National Lotto, a lottery firm  based in Ghana as well as Premier Lotto, with Adebutu Kessington, popularly known as Baba’jebu as its Nigerian founder. Hailed from Iperu, a rural town in Ijebu dialect speaking part of Ogun State, Adebutu’s appellation, Baba’Jebu is now emblematic of everything gambling in the country.

However, the calibre of people playing the games transcends all social strata. Apart from the market women and those in pariah who also stake as little as N50 on the game from time to time, there are also those who play by proxy, trying to save their faces and conceal their source of fortune. Interestingly too, personalities like Oba of Mushin, the Oloto and the DPO of Daleko police station were said to have won several millions of naira in the much talked about Mushin boom. It is this name-dropping, appeal and fantasy of winning that make millions of Nigerians spend significant percentage of their earnings on lotto with majority nevertheless, going home with their tails between their legs after every draw. But the enticement is so powerful that even secondary school pupils have also joined the fray of players with money meant for their schooling.

The Game Plan

The practice that had its origin in Malta in 1923 has metamorphosed over the years and the Nigerian variant has a lot of aspects to it. To win in any of the lotto games ubiquitous in the country, a player has to predict correctly a set of numbers that will pop up from the gambling machines of the operator during the draws held after each game, -as quickly as two hours in some games. The winning numbers comprising the first few digits on the machine, grouped into five, each made up of one or two numbers. The remaining five groups are known as machine numbers -waste products. The player has the choice of a “2-sure” play in which four numbers paired in twos are predicted, e.g. 83, 45. In this case, if he plays with N1, 000, he earns a whooping N240, 000 if he wins (i.e. select 2 numbers drawn) N1000 X 240. A player can opt for a “three” direct game, a rare occurrence whereby a measly sum of N500 turns to N1.05million in winning (i.e. select 3 numbers drawn) N500 X 2100.

It increases geometrically depending on the amount of money betted with. A caveat to this is that, considering its potential of running the lotto company aground, a player has to break his stakes into smaller sums played from various agents otherwise, a single agent will decline such huge payment on one voucher upon winning and he is so empowered by some internal regulations. A game can be perming too – that is, disintegration of numbers into one digit from 1-99 with a two digit, for example, 16, used as the anchor. This anchor must come out in order to win. The chances of winning are high here but the amount that could be won is pocket-sized.

And for an experience, National Standard also played two “two-sure” games of N50 each and a perming of N60.It all returned non-winning though—more appropriately, the magazine lost.

Choosing a number to stake is a bit of rocket science too. Antecedents are the rule. Lotto chat, a weekly publication of all the past winning entries with dates, serves same way as do past questions for exams. Taking into cognizance the nine digits of numbers on each of the columns of the machine and how they tend to behave over a specific time, a player will permutate when 23 will turn to 32 and 78 to 87 at the same time, to win a 2-sure game as it did in December of 2011 around Alagbado, a suburb of Lagos. Players won over N20 million with numbers 32, 87. These same numbers were set as 23, 78 some months back as the winning. Also, lunatics are a good source of gambling numbers as they are thought to have a link to the extra-terrestrial realm. If the number volunteered by a madcap wins, he may be given a stipend to help himself. But if it doesn’t-as is often the case-he may get the beating of his life as if it’s not a mishap enough for him to be mentally deranged.

Just about any numerical inscriptions can pass for a Baba’Jebu betting number- foreign phone numbers on Tokunboh automobiles, house addresses, among many. In fact, a conductor retrieved a N100 note balance he gave a passenger few minutes earlier and replaced with another because he suddenly remembered the note had a set of numbers scribbled on it, suitable for his gambling trade.

 

Intrigues and Tricks

All sorts of means are devised by the lotto companies with their numerous agents to outwit the players. On the parts of the operators, they sometimes rely on their principal agents who serve as informants, advising them on the particular numbers majority of betters have played by collaboration among themselves. The operators, especially those outside the country, during their draws will be wary not to announce such numbers so as not to be drained out with the resultant multiple winnings.

On the part of the agents, they resort to Banker to Banker, a process in which a person’s entry is yanked out from the terminal, thus not reflecting in the office data base. As a result the person will not be able to claim any money in the event of winning. In addition, this ploy involves writing misleading winning numbers on the notice board, making players–mostly illiterates–conclude that their numbers did not come out, and will be encouraged to shred their vouchers thereby foreclosing any outburst of anger. This no doubt is possible because of agents’ defiance of section 13 of the commission’s code of conduct which says that names off all the winners should be documented i.e. published in at least one newspaper of wide circulation.

These methods are employed when the agent has not remitted the money to the office with the hope that the numbers will not set. This has always been greeted with violence anytime the stakers find out they have been short-changed, resulting in knocking down of the agent’s kiosk and beating him black and blue if he is ever found.

The head office also has a measure of its own under-handed dealings. When forecast has come to a point that the numbers cannot but set on the screen during the next draw, it sometimes comes under anxieties. Sources claim the same machine, that has been used for the draws over time, remaining to drop the numbers that forecast gurus have predicted and would have distributed among players for a fee, will not be used this time around, even though the draws will be held in the full glare of everybody, in compliance with section 11 of the Code of Conduct of National Lottery Commission. The trick is that the sticker bearing the name of the game awaited would have been fix on a different machine and in the end players will be led to conclude that their numbers are not out again.

Conspiracy and Fetish Means

The lotto game has another stratagem to it. There are forecasters who have a way of predicting numbers and selling them to a wide array of players. A notable example is a young man simply identified as Ibukun in Mushin. He was the brain behind the much talked about Mushin winning spree. His name is now an advert buzzword on notice boards describing him as Water Boy, Wonder Boy etc. He sold out to players, the forecast numbers he was sure of, and he is said to have gone into hiding because he is now wanted for “questioning” by Adebutu Kessington. Desperate lotto players have also employed the services of juju priests to boost their winning chances, even so, as they are always warned that no efficacious voodoo can outwit that of Baba’Jebu’s and according to a source, their efforts are usually to no avail.

For those who win, they hardly stay a few months before going broke again. Apart from a habit that is hard to break which makes them plow back-hence the catch phrase: Da pada, Owo Baba’Jebu (meaning: return to the source, it’s Baba’Jebu’s money), reckless spending and lack of good investment are their lots. Even when they invest, you don’t call Jack before it starts to ebb. No thanks to the allegedly cursed baskets with which the claims are paid. The same quandary can befall a sub-agent; despite his regular commission of 25%. Many a sub-agent is given to excessive gambling and extravagant lifestyle. Hakeem who lives around Mushin that was able to set up a daily-needs shop for his wife from Baba’Jebu swag has also succeeded in draining the store, supporting his gambling lifestyle. Motorcycle, commercial buses, electronics and many other articles have been acquired from gambling proceeds but ironically, they are usually sold to play lotto in an unending cycle.

Thus, money has been made and it has also been lost. Only time will tell if the players in this current fad will ever realize how much of their money is given to Baba’jebu, to receive little or nothing in turn. And of course, it’s uncertain if we will ever have a generation of moneybags with Lotto as the source of their wealth.

The Best Car Money Can Buy?

In ESSAY on May 16, 2012 at 11:13 am

The Best Car Money Can Buy?

With a 40-mpg gas mileage rating, a sleek look and tremendous value for money the 2012 Hyundai Elantra apparently has left the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla behind.

Bayo Akinloye

“If it’s possible, a single car shows exactly how far Korean automakers have come, and how much trouble they’re causing for Japanese car companies. That car is the Hyundai Elantra, one of the best compact sedans available today, and one of the strongest new-car values in recent memory,” said Marty Padgett, a juror for the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards.

With the influx of Korean cars in Nigeria, the 2012 Hyundai Elantra strolls in with all the bragging rights. With its redesign in 2011, Hyundai cut back on the Elantra’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to 1.8 litres, though still as strong. With 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque, the car performs well. According to a review “quality is excellent, though, and the Elantra soaks up road noise as well as, or better than its competitors, with noise levels about as low as some mid-size sedans”.

The 2012 Elantra has changed “the order that held true for most of the past 25 years”. According to an automobile specialist, the default recommendations of Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla no longer hold true. The Elantra is much improved in gas mileage, roomier, and better refined.

As Padgett reviewed: “From some angles, the Elantra looks like it’s about to leap ahead; the rear door cuts in particular seem to keep the body in constant visual motion. The interior could be even a little more successful, as it tames some of the swoopy lines that could look overdone in the Sonata. In particular, the hourglass shape of the center console is fresh and distinctive, a purely Hyundai design cue from a brand that’s had few visuals all to itself in the past. It’s a look that brims with confidence”.

The car’s inside has plenty of handy cubbies and storage bins, plus a covered one that sits ahead of the shift lever: it also contains the aux jack, a power point, and the USB port in an easy to reach module, perfect for connecting smartphones.

“All Elantras come with those features, and others that make it one of the best-equipped base vehicles in the segment. Even the base GLS has power windows, locks, and mirrors; keyless entry; and (on automatic models) air conditioning; cruise control; and telescopic steering. Options can turn the Elantra into a luxurious sedan; the navigation system has one of the largest LCD touchscreens in the class, and it’s beautiful to look at and to use, with voice recognition for phone, audio, and destinations, plus real-time traffic and weather. Bluetooth and audio streaming are standard, too; a rearview camera comes with the navigation system, and to top it all off, the Elantra earns the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick designation,” Marty Padgett concluded in his review.

SEX AND POLITICS: Oiling the Promiscuity Industry

In ESSAY on May 16, 2012 at 11:06 am

Politicians and promiscuity

Iain Dale thinks politicians tend to be more promiscuous than most individuals but he’s not sure why. He should read (or re-read) Matthew Parris.

In Chance Witness, his autobiography, Parris claims that MPs have a higher than average chance of being philanderers – and he has two explanations.

First, he thinks that the people who end up getting into parliament are people with a higher-than-average appetite for risk.

Nobody without a gambling streak, a taste for uncertainty and a belief in his own luck would embark on a Commons career. Statistically most must ‘fail’ within their own terms, which are (usually these days) the achievement of high ministerial office.

The hours and conditions are arduous and the salary no more than what the majority of politicians could have hoped to attract in a career outside. For many it is less …. However regular a guy a candidate may present himself to his electors as being, no unadventurous family man in search of security is likely to want a career in politics.

Second, he thinks that once people become MPs then the sheer powerlessness that most of them experience encourages them to do something reckless, out of frustration.

You know you are there only because your party association chose you and few have ever voted for you as an individual, or ever will. You know, too, that your power at Westminster is almost zero, the whips humiliate you privately and your influence in the constituency derives not from your skill or the real respect you command, but from the portcullis on your notepaper …. It is not surprising that [MPs] sometimes try to escape this, sometimes in a manner that to the rest of us looks desperate.

When I first read this a few years ago, I thought Parris was spot on. Reading it again, I think he’s definitely on to something, although I don’t think his theory is complete.

Regarding Parris’s first explanation, it may be true that the people who become MPs have a higher-than-average appetite for risk. But if they are willing to spend 10 years or more hunting for a seat and struggling to get elected they also have higher-than-average willingness to tolerate rejection.

Is there a link here with promiscuity? If a man makes a pass at one woman, she’ll probably say no. But if he makes a pass at 20, someone’s likely to say yes. What MPs and philanderers may have in common is the capacity to cope with rejection.

And regarding Parris’s second explanation, I’m just not convinced. For every MP driven to promiscuity by the pointlessness of their job, there may be just as many who are cowed into good behaviour by the fear of exposure.

A more obvious explanation, if Dale and Parris are right about politicians and promiscuity, may just be the old one about the aphrodisiac effect of power. Alan Clark, I seem to remember, referred to the central lobby of the House of Commons as the best pick-up spot in England and I think that’s why.

Incidentally, if you haven’t read the Parris book, you should. He never held high political office, but he writes brilliantly about political psychology, and particularly what it’s like to “fail” as an MP.

One of Mckinsey’s Top Dog

In ESSAY on May 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Dr. James Manyika is a director of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), McKinsey’s business and economics research arm, and a director (senior partner) at McKinsey. He is one of the leaders of McKinsey’s High Tech, Media, and Telecom practices where he serves many of the leading companies.

At MGI, James has led research on areas including, growth, productivity, competitiveness, labor markets, and technology and its impact on business and the economy. Much of this work has appeared in journals, books and the op-ed pages of leading news papers and business publications. He has also published a book on distributed networks and decentralized decision theory and numerous academic papers.

James has spoken at various global technology, business and policy forums and on radio and television. He serves on the firm’s global committee that reviews and elects McKinsey directors (senior partners).

In 2011, James was appointed by the US Secretary of Commerce to serve on a 15-member innovation advisory board to advise the Secretary and report to Congress on US economic competitiveness and innovation. James is a non-resident senior fellow of the Brookings Institution, and a trustee of the Aspen Institute, the World Affairs Council of California, and SFJazz.

He is on the advisory boards of the Oxford Internet Institute and UC Berkeley’s School of Information, and an advisor to the Global Philanthropy Forum and a member of the research council of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. A Rhodes scholar and a Smith-Rippon senior scholar, James has served on the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee for California. A native of Harare, James lives in San Francisco.

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