Suleiman Muhammad Odapu

Obama’s visit to Ghana was the front burner of discuss especially in the media and one would be forgiven to conclude that Ghana would be the eighth wonder of the world. Weeks after the visit, I phoned a Ghanaian friend to enquire after the post Obama Ghana. Guess what? It is still the same Ghana.

Many a Nigerians felt our country has lost a lot for not hosting the President of the United States then came what others may see as compensation, the visit of the US Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton. If Ghana got diamond for Obama’s visit, hers to Nigeria should give us gold. However, Ghana never saw diamond and so we too saw nothing.

The comments by Mrs. Clinton and the reply by some Nigerians led by the President of the Senate, Sen. David Mark has again brought the question of patriotism to fore. It has also generated aftermath commentaries. Hillary made her point, it is not wrong if Sen. David Mark or Alh. Balarabe Musa or anyone else replies her.

Patriotism is not loyalty to leaders, ruling parties or public officers and I think the respected Balarabe Musa knows this well thus his response to Clinton. Mark’s comments is patriotism and not necessarily because he heads the red chambers.
Nigeria must not fall; it is only when we realize that our problems as well as solutions are at home and patriotism is the tonic for national development.

I was not there when Clinton made her remarks on Nigeria, neither was I at the Airport when the President of the Senate gave his reply, me, like many, relied on what was reported.

According to media reports, Clinton blamed our woes to leadership problems including our electoral laws, adding, “You (Nigerians) are the ones with the opportunity and responsibility” while Sen. Mark maintains that we are a sovereign state and be allowed to decide what form of government to practice. Our problems are not with our laws, Mark added. If you ask me, it is the same point. Why then the furor about the latter’s’ point?

It is a fact that all is not well here, but tell me of where all is well and I will tell you of a dead living man. What is Mrs. Clinton’s deal? America’s stance many a times reminds me of the saying that when the sympathizer mourns more than the bereaved, it surely raises an eyebrow. it is time we woke up and see reason in Mark’s reply and view it as patriotism, let us raise our eyebrow to America’s seemingly “love” for us. After all, it takes two to tangle in a corruption, if Nigerians are corrupt, America provides the accomplice. It is the case of the pot calling the kettle black.

For God sake, what is wrong in reminding those (Americans) who missed to colonize us (off course USA was nowhere during the scramble and partition of Africa) that we are a sovereign nation. Her visit and comments is but neo colonialism and not an avenue for us to do politics or settle scores, as some faceless paid people are doing by attacking the person of David Mark.

There are times that a people rise up to their challenges, wrangle within, unite against a common foe and forge ahead. This is the time. Equally are times we dismiss charlatans who use pen names castigating individuals and undermining our national sovereignty. This is what The Palladium column of The Nation Newspaper, 16th August 2009 deserves.

We cannot forget so soon the controversial Florida election result, which brought in former President George Bush to power. Did Americans shout to the outside world? We all know that we need to change for good and we know very well of the dictum that he who preaches justice must come with clean hands. Why are these faceless persons calling the dog a bad name in order to hang it.

Me thinks that such writers should go beyond personalsing national issues or finding fault were there is none; in issues like this, charlattans who parades themselves as pundits should at least discuss ideas not individuals.

Of course there are some best practices from the US, we could study and fine-tune, just as they too can study from us. Not all that is from abroad is gold. The Late comedian, Afolabi (Jagwa) once said “wetin you de go find for Sokoto, nayi de for your Shokoto) what you want to go and search in far away in Sokoto is readily available in your shokoto (pocket)” Like Sen. Mark told reporters at the Airport, our problems and solutions are within.

Odapu is of the Office of the Special Adviser, Political and Governmental Matters to the President of the Senate.

David Mark Golf Tournament


The David Mark Foundation (DMF) has secured an opportunity for two young Nigerian golfers to play with the legendary, Tiger Woods in one of the US Open Golf championships, scheduled for October this year.

Coordinator of the David Mark Foundation Development Golf Tournament, Mr. Mike Omeri said as a prelude to the US Open, the DMF is organising a pre-selection tournament, where the two young golfers that emerge champions would play at the US Open with the golf prodigy.

Omeri stated that the young golfers will be camped at the IBB Golf Course, Abuja between 16th – 19 August 2009 while the competition proper will hold on the 20th and 21st August, 2009.

According to the Coordinator, invitations were sent to all Golf clubs in the country to nominate two golfers not above 19, years with at least SSCE as qualification to participate in the tournament adding that 31 young golfers were nominated by their respective Golf clubs will slug it out at the IBB Golf course, Abuja.

“When young golfers of their age are given opportunity to play with world renowned golfers, like Tiger Woods, the future of the game in the country is assured and that is why the DMF is taking full responsibility of this tournament and the sponsorship of the young golfers to the US Open” the Coordinator said.

“By exposing our young golfers, it will be a matter of time before Nigeria joins the comity of renown golf nations that will produce the likes of Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Michelle Wie among others,” he added.

The Chief sponsor, Senator David A.B Mark said he intends to expose young Nigerian golfers to the international rudiments of golf, in a bid to foster friendship and encourage cross cultural relationship amongst citizens of the world.

Suleiman Odapu
David Mark Foundation Youth Development Golf Tournament


It all began in Adamawa

The year Nelson Mandela was sentenced to prison was the very year Michael Omeri Agbo Omeri was born. The year was 1964 and the place was Adamawa province (present day Adamawa state.)

Born to the family of Mr. Agbo Omeri and Mrs. Christiana Agbo Omeri, Young Mike had his early education at Saint Patrick’s Primary School Maiduguri, Government Teachers College Gindiri and Government Teachers College Zawan from 1970 to 1982.

Mike taught briefly at Keana South Primary School from 1982 to 1983, impacting knowledge to young Keanaians most of who are well established in their various endeavours today.
The parlance that “If you want to be made, come to Uni Maid” is true. He wanted to be made and so he went to the University of Maiduguri where he bagged a B.A in Mass Communications with second class (Hons) Upper Division, perhaps one of the early Alagos to study the new dynamic course in a Nigerian university. In 1990, Mike also attended the Centre for African Family Studies in Kenya.

Even at the time that degree was revered than it is today, Mike was not satisfied with a degree and his quest for knowledge led him to enroll for a Masters in International Law and Diplomacy at the University of Jos from 1991 to 1992.

Mike worked in so many places, including Jos Steel Rolling Company as Industrial Relations Officer from 1989 to 1990, Programme Officer (Promotions) of Parenthood Federation of Nigeria, (PFN) Jos from 1990 to 1992, and was later promoted the State Manager of the PFN.
In answering his calling, Mike was the Head of Publicity, Arewa House in 1994. He also served as Director of Press Affairs in Plateau and Nasarawa states from 1994 to 1997.

In 1997 he was appointed Nasarawa state Commissioner of Social Development, Youths, Sports and Culture. He also served as Commissioner of Information and later, commissioner of Works, Housing and Transport. It is worthy of mentioning here that it was during his tenure as Commissioner of Housing and Transport that the only two government housing estate in Lafia were built, Nasara Estate and Abdullahi Adamu Estate ( a federal government project). The famous “on the move” or what we call in Keana “Moto ko foooo” the state government’s transport company’s commercial bus came on board when he was member of the state executive council.

It was during his tenure as Commissioner of Housing that new houses were constructed at the Workers Village Lafia and the old ones were renovated, the Dalhatu Specialist Hospital Lafia, and the Government House along Shendam road Lafia were constructed.

He also started the Nasarawa Broadcasting Service (NBS) as Commissioner of Information.
It was in recognition of his immense contribution to Keana community that the Osana of Keana, the amiable Emmanuel Oyatikpo Elayo in 2006 turbaned him as the Obowu kha Keana, (shelter for Keanaians) and true to the meaning of the title, Obowu as he is fondly called today is providing shelter or shade to the people of Keana.

Michael Omeri Agbo Omeri had a taste of the banking sector as he served as the Public Relations Manager of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria from 1999 to 2002, State Controller of the same bank in Lafia from 2002 to 2003 and Manager Secretariat at the bank’s headquarters in Abuja from 2003 to 2004.

Mike was a partner (consultant), in the firm of Gulf of Guinea Consulting Ltd Abuja with varied experience in Sao Tome, Gabon, Angola and other countries in the region since 2005, until his recent appointment as Special Adviser to the Senate President on Politics and Governmental Matters.

The office of the Senate President is the third in hierarchy in the country. You will agree with me that the office is not only an exulted one but also strategic that requires expertise, wisdom, brilliance, hard work, statecraft and commitment.

It was against this background that the President of the Senate, our own distinguish and amiable Senator (Dr) David Mark GCON, in his own wisdom appointed an alumnus of Unimaid, a PR practitioner, a banker, a former class room teacher, consummate politician, a technocrat and a lover of his community, Mr. Michael Omeri Agbo Omeri as SPECIAL ADVISER ON POLITICAL AND GOVERNMENTAL MATTERS.

Omeri is a member of many professional associations like the Federation of African Public Relations Association (FAPRA), Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) and the Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM)

He has traveled to United Arab Emirates, Sao Tome & Principe, Gabon, Isreal and Kenya.
Omeri has served in about eleven committees including Assets Determination Committee for Nasarawa state from Plateau.

This man standing speaks Alago, English, Hausa and Swahili.

Written by Suleiman Odapu, Personal Assistant to Mr. Mike Omeri