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Fifty Years And Still Standing...
[January 03, 2010]

Fifty Years And Still Standing...

( Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Three days into the New Year, the euphoria is yet to peter out. Wishes for better things to come continue to pour in from all sides. While the air is laden with a whiff of festivities and expectations... Nigeria's golden jubilee anniversary looms. This is as many Nigerians would rather reel out a litany of their unfulfilled dreams. Corrupt and inept leadership, epileptic power supply, the parlous state of the infrastructure, the dying industries and the poorly organised elections are but a few among the many blights on the nation's report sheet. So why is a country that is close to 50 still stumbling like a toddler? they scoff. What indeed is there to celebrate? But not even these cynics would deny the landmark achievements of some prominent Nigerian citizens in all sectors. Hence THISDAY board of editors, after a painstaking debate, has shortlisted 50 remarkable Nigerians - living or dead - to be honoured during the newspaper's 15th annual awards ceremony. The honourees were selected for their indelible impact on the national psyche under the following six segments: New Tigers and Builders, Visionary Leaders and Fighters, Champions of Democracy and Governance, Emerging Leaders, Business Leaders, Entrepreneurs and Corporate Champions and Culture and Society. The Board of Editors believes that prospects of a better future Nigeria be based on the template provided by contributions of these outstanding citizens.

Nigerians in 1960 celebrated the efforts of a few nationalists, who valiantly fought to wrench the country from colonial stranglehold. Even as they moan about visionless leadership, they would concede - albeit grudgingly - the hopeful moments under certain administrations. Then there was the courage and probity of another few, which kept the flame of democracy aglow. In the just concluded decade, Nigeria experienced a revolution through the efforts of a group of leaders and business moguls. And besides, the efforts of yet another few have earned them international accolades.

Nigeria's march to nationhood has admittedly not been without its own challenges. Having survived the First Republic electoral and post-electoral crises as well as a 30-month long Civil War, it is further haunted by the demons of ethno-religious conflicts and the restive militants of the oil-rich Niger Delta. Plodding on against all odds is something the optimists would want to celebrate. This would be a reason to celebrate the landmark 50 years of existence. And the celebration of these 50 years would be incomplete without acknowledging the landmark contributions of these 50 citizens...

TITANS AND BUILDERS Late Sir Adetokunbo Ademola A prince of Egbaland, Sir Adetokunbo Adegboyega Ademola was the first post-independence head of the federal judiciary. He laid the foundation for a solid court system, which produced the best jurists and legal minds in the Commonwealth of Nations. The judiciary under Sir Adetokunbo Ademola brilliantly resolved the legal disputes arising between different political parties, political leaders and other individuals. It is for the pioneering role of Sir Ademola in establishing a judiciary, which exported judges to establish the judicial systems in other African and Commonwealth nations that THISDAY Board of Editors selected him post-humously as one of the 50 builders of modern Nigeria.

Sir Ademola was born on September 1, 1906. He was educated at the Selwyn College, Cambridge University where he obtained the B.A. degree. He later got an M.A. degree. He was called to the Middle Temple Bar in 1934, and became the only African ever appointed a bencher of the Inn. He started his career on the bench as a magistrate. In 1949, he was appointed a puisne judge. Nigeria. He was Chief Justice of Western Nigeria in 1955 and became Chief Justice of the federation in 1958. He retired from the post in 1972. He died on January 29,1983.

Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo A biographical sketch on one of the websites on Chief Obafemi Awolowo, former premier of the Western region between 1952 and 1960 read: "a Nigerian nationalist, a political leader and a principal participant in the struggle for Nigerian independence journalist, teacher, clerk, taxi driver, produce broker.

This terse description summarised the bio data of late Awolowo, popularly known as Awo. Since 1945 when Awolowo wrote the book "Path to Nigerian Freedom," he has come out as one of the most intellectually sound titans and builders of modern Nigeria. He was the most avowed exponent of Nigerian federalism. Between 1952 and 1960 that he was premier of Western Region, his party the Action Group implemented free and mandatory primary education and also free health care for everybody the age of 18 and below.

His government achieved infrastructural development of the region. Examples of this are the first television in Africa, WNTV, first stadium in West Africa, Liberty Stadium, and building of the first high rise building in West Africa, Cocoa House, among others.

It is for the achievements he recorded in the Western Region with free education and his treatise on federalism in Nigeria that THISDAY Board of Editors selected late Awolowo as one of the Titans and Builders of modern Nigeria. Awo lived between March 6, 1909 to May 9, 1987.

Late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe Born on November 16, 1904, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was one of the leading figures of Nigerian nationalism. With his group of newspapers, Zik was a major torn in the flesh of the colonialists. Alongside Sir Herbert Macaulay, he co-founded the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC) which later became National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC). In 1947, Zik was elected into the Legislative Council of Nigeria and in 1951, he became leader of opposition in the Western region. In 1954, he became the premier. On November 16, 1959, he became the ceremonial president of Nigeria.

TITANS AND BUILDERS Sir Ahmadu Bello The late Premier of Northern region, Ahmadu Bello is one of the few political figures whose influence in Nigerian politics today is still as potent as it was before independence. He participated in the negotiations for independence where he constantly raised issues about the place of the North in post-independence Nigeria.

Popularly known as the Sardauna, his administration as premier of northern Nigeria between 1954 and 1966, touched on all aspects of life in rebuilding the largely rural North to compete with its counterparts in the South.

One of the legacies of the North under Sardauna is in educating people who could help in the administration of the region after the exit of the colonialists. This led to the establishment of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU). He was also a self-less leader who though was from the royalty lived a frugal life. Sir Ahmadu Bello won a place in the list of titans and builders of modern Nigeria compiled by THISDAY Board of Editors based on his pioneering role in transforming the northern region.

Mallam Aminu Kano Mallam Aminu Kano was a member of the group of Nationalists who fought for independence of Nigeria. He was initially a member of the Bauchi Discussion Circle from where he launched attack on the British Indirect Rule system in northern Nigeria. He led a splinter group of young radicals out of the Jamiyyar Mutaran Arewa which later became the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC).

Kano later formed the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU). He was deputy whip of House of Representatives. He symbolised the opposition to the aristocratic and feudal actions of the Native Authorities in the North. The late Mallam was an advocate of equality of all men and women, fiscal system that favours heavy taxation of the rich and equal rights for women. Mallam Kano died an extreme materially poor man on April 17, 1983 as he was preparing for the 1983 presidential elections in which he was a candidate. He was 63 years old.

His Spartan discipline, his fight for the interest of the common man in the North (the talakawa), his idea on fiscal policy and his dogged fight against the feudal system in the immediate post-independence north recommended him to the Board of Editors who named him as one of the titans and builders of Nigeria.

VISIONARY LEADERS AND FIGHTERS Emeka Anyaoku Chief Emeka Anyaoku, who will be 77 in two weeks, was the third Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations. Born in Obosi, he attended the University College, Ibadan, then a college of the University of London, from where he obtained a honours degree in Classics. Following Nigeria's independence, he joined Nigeria's diplomatic service, and in 1963 was posted to its Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.

In 1977, the Commonwealth Heads of Government elected him as Deputy Secretary-General before joining Nigeria's civilian government in 1983 as Foreign Minister. After the overthrow of the government by the military later that year, he returned to his position as Deputy Secretary-General with the support of the new government in Nigeria and the endorsement of all Commonwealth governments.

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Kuala Lumpur in 1989, Anyaoku was elected the third Commonwealth Secretary-General. He was re-elected at the 1993 meeting for a second five-year term, beginning on 1 April 1995. He is currently President of the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Anyaoku has been a worthy ambassador of Nigeria in International Circles and therefore one of the visionary leaders the nation has produced in the past 50 years.

Ibrahim Babangida General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) ruled Nigeria from August 27, 1985 to August 27, 1993 as a military Head of State. He introduced the concept of military president into the Nigerian political lexicon and till date remains the country's only military leader addressed by that title. He maintained a firm grip on power and tried to abrogate the unpopular policies he inherited in office.

Babangida's regime was popular for its liberal economic policies. He tried to introduce the culture of debate into the polity, with the open deliberations that preceded his launching of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF)-supported Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP).

He administered an eight-year political transition programme that, though did not culminate in the enthronement of civil democracy but succeeded in throwing up new crop of leaders in the various spheres of the country's political life.

Born on August 17, 1941 in Minna, Babangida is of the Gwari ethnic group.

For the far-reaching effect of his regime on the polity, THISDAY Board of Editors considered him worthy of honour as a Visionary Leader and Fighter.

Muhammmadu Buhari Muhammadu Buhari, 67, was the military ruler of Nigeria between December 31, 1983 and August 27, 1985 and later became leader of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), contesting and losing presidential elections to the ruling PDP candidates in 2003 and 2007 elections. Buhari first came to limelight in 1975 when he became the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources under then-Head of State General Olusegun Obasanjo. Before then he was the Governor of the newly created North Eastern State of Nigeria during the regime of Murtala Mohammed. He later became head of the newly created Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in 1977.

Major-General Buhari was selected to lead the country by middle and high-ranking military officers after a successful military coup d'etat that overthrew civilian President Shehu Shagari on December 31, 1983. Buhari justified the military's seizure of power by castigating the civilian government as hopelessly corrupt, and his administration subsequently initiated a public campaign against indiscipline known as "War Against Indiscipline (WAI)." Despite authoritarian tendencies, the campaign is still lauded by many to have instilled the most orderly conduct of public and private affairs in Nigeria since its independence in 1960.

His transparent and efficient handling of the PTF under Abacha endeared him to Nigerians.

Yakubu Gowon General Yakubu Gowon, who was military Head of State from August 1, 1966 - at 32 - to July 29, 1975, remains the youngest person to have ruled the country. His government fought to keep Nigeria one during the civil war (1967 - 70), which broke out in the aftermath of regional tensions arising from the January and July 1966 military coups d'etat.

A Christian from Kanke Local Government Area of Plateau State, Gowon was a thoroughbred career officer before the circumstances of the time thrust upon him a leadership role. He fought in Congo (Zaire) as part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in 1960 to 1961 and in 1963.

Highlights of Gowon's nine-year old government included development of the country's former capital, Lagos; creation of 12 states; and expansion of government bureaucracy. He is also remembered for his indigenisation policy in 1972, which sought to expand local participation in the economy.

Gowon is currently founder and leader of a non-denominational Christian group, Nigeria Prays, which is dedicated to seeking the face of God for the good of the country. An elder statesman in African politics, he is involved in the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme and the HIV Programme with Global Fund of Geneva.

THISDAY Board of Editors considers him a Visionary Leader and Fighter, for his efforts to keep Nigeria united during his nine year rule as head of state.

Olusegun Obasanjo Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is a man of many firsts. He was the first military leader in the country to hand over power to a civilian government. Obasanjo also conducted the country's first civilian-to-civilian handover on May 29, 2007. He is the only Nigerian to have ruled the country twice, as military and later, as elected leader. Obasanjo was military Head of State from February 13, 1976 to October 1, 1979, when he handed over to Alhaji Shehu Shagari. He became elected civilian president on May 29, 1999.

The division he headed during the nation's civil war, the 3rd Marine Commando, helped bring the war to an end, when it took Owerri, in the then Eastern Nigeria heartland.

Obasanjo's first time in power was marked by improvement in education, through the Universal Primary Education policy and other programmes, and attempts to expand the country's industrial base with the huge revenues from the oil boom at the time, and the Operation Feed the Nation, a programme designed to encourage farmers in the country. As civilian president, Obasanjo took one of the boldest steps to resolve the Niger Delta crisis with an increment of the derivation principle to 13 per cent, from 3 per cent, and establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

His administration also achieved the debt cancellation by the Paris Club of Creditors. á»Å’basanjá»ç was born on March 5, 1937 in Ogun State. He grew up in Owu, Abeokuta, and enlisted in the Nigerian Army in 1958. He trained at Aldershot, a military city and centre in Hampshire, Southern England.

THISDAY Board of Editors considered him worthy of honour as a Visionary Leader and Fighter for his many courageous deeds for his fatherland.

CHAMPIONS OF DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE Cont'd Shehu Shagari Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Nigeria's Second Republic President, was the first elected president of Nigeria to exercise full executive powers. He ruled from October 1, 1979 to December 31, 1983, when his government was overthrown in a coup. Shagari rose from very humble origins to the highest political throne in the country. He taught briefly before going into politics in 1954 as elected member of the federal House of Representatives.

He made housing, industries, transportation, and agriculture the major goals of his presidency, launching large scale housing programme that built estates, like the "Shagari Estate." In industries, Shagari completed the Delta Steel Complex in 1982, and invested heavily on the Ajaokuta Steel Complex and the Steel Rolling Mills. Shagari initiated an Economic Stabilisation Programme meant to protect the country against any shortfalls in oil revenue after the highs of the 70's and to guide the economy towards positive growth. Key objectives of the programme included reduction of import licences and government spending and the upward review of custom duties.

He was born on February 25, 1925 in Shagari town, Sokoto State.

Shagari was considered a Champion of Democracy and Governance due to his interest in programmes targeted at improvement of the lives of the great majority.

Wole Soyinka Professor Wole Soyinka, academic, writer, poet, and playwright, is a social critic and pro-democracy activist. He was a prominent voice against military dictatorship during the last military interregnum, when he lived in self-exile. Soyinka's secret attempts to negotiate peace and avert war during the pre-civil war ethnic tensions earned him 22 months imprisonment, which ended with the30-month-old war.

In 1986, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and became the first African to win the coveted award. In 1994, he was designated United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of African culture, human rights, freedom of expression, media, and communication.

Soyinka has been one of the spearheads of Pro-National Conference Organisation (PRONACO) since 2005. PRONACO seeks a sovereign national conference to discuss the country's common problems and find solution to critical national questions.

Born at Abeokuta, Ogun State, on July 13, 1934, Soyinka has taught in tertiary institutions in Nigeria, United Kingdom, and United States.

THISDAY Board of Editors picked him as a Champion of Democracy and Governance for his battles for social justice.

NEW TIGERS Godswill Akpabio Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State is widely credited with leading an administration that has turned the state into a "big project site." Massive construction works in the state are matched with excellent supervision and monitoring, making the state a model in both performance and prudent management of resources. The state has an automated project tracking system as part of the monitoring process.

A lawyer, Akpabio was born on December 9, 1962 at Ukana Ikot Ntuen, Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. He attended University of Calabar and Nigerian Law School. He had served in various capacities, including as commissioner, in the administration of his predecessor, Obong Victor Attah.

Adamu Aliero Until his appointment, the 52-year-old minister of the Federal Capital Territory was a former governor of Kebbi State in Nigeria from 1999 to 2007. He also served as a senator elected under the umbrella of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in 2007 in Kebbi State.

A native of Aliero Local Government Area of Kebbi State and alumnus of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, the former bureaucrat commenced his political career in 1998 on the platform of the now defunct United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP) where he contested and won a Senate seat to represent Kebbi Central district. The results of the election were annulled soon after they were announced following the death of military dictator Sani Abacha. A brief period of transition, and new elections were held, Aliero contested and won the gubernatorial elections in Kebbi State under All People's Party (APP).

Aliero is championing the urban development of the FCT and consolidating on existing facilities. For his efforts in ensuring the nation has a befitting Federal Capital Aliero emerged as one of the New Tigers of modern Nigeria.

Donald Duke Donald Duke, born September 30, 1961 in Calabar, was the Governor of Cross River State, between May 29, 1999 May 29, 2007.

An avid music lover, Duke, who received his LLB degree in 1982 from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and his L.L.M. in Business Law and Admiralty in 1984 from University of Pennsylvania, focused on two major areas during his tenure as governor - agriculture and the multi-billion naira Tinapa project.

And the reason for this can be found in one of his comments made during his tenure as governor. "What got the military out of power was not democracy but the dreadful state of the economy. If we, the democratic government, cannot deliver food for the mass of people we can forget about democracy," he said.

Duke has been praised for his administration's programmes in the areas of agriculture, urban development, government, environment, information and communication, investment drive, and tourism. Through his work, Calabar is seen as the "cleanest city in Nigeria." In an effort to further attract tourists to his state, Duke increased the profile of the already famous Obudu Cattle Ranch, by inaugurating the Obudu Ranch International Mountain Race. The race has subsequently grown to become one of the most lucrative mountain running competitions in the world under his stewardship.

However, despite initially announcing his decision to contest the 2007 Presidential Elections, Donald Duke then decided to step aside in favour of the eventual winner, Umaru Yar'Adua. His achievements in Cross River State during his eight years as governor earned him a place in the corps of emerging leaders of modern Nigeria.

Nasir el-Rufai Although Mallam Nasir el-Rufai may appear to have been placed in the bad books of the current government, el-Rufai, who turns 50 on February 16, was once one of the most influential people in the country during the presidency of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Born in Daudawa, Faskari Local Government Area in Katsina State, el-Rufai attended the prestigious Barewa College, where he graduated at the top of the class, winning the coveted "Barewa Old Boys' Association Academic Achievement" Trophy in 1976. Incidentally, in Barewa College, the present President Umaru Yar'Adua was the House Captain of Mallam Smith House which was Nasir's dormitory as a junior.

Perhaps the fact that he earned a Bachelor in Quantity Surveying degree with First Class Honours at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, put him in good stead to tackle the numerous man-made problems which had distorted the master plan of Abuja.

It was his quest to sanitise the FCT which may have led him into conflict with many powerful forces in the society.

Since leaving public service, Nasir has completed an LL.B degree from the University of London, graduating in August 2008 with Second Class Honours, Upper Division, and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in June 2009. He also received the Kennedy School Certificate in Public Policy and Management, having spent 11 months as an Edward A. Mason Fellow in Public Policy and Management from July 2008 to June 2009.

Babatunde Raji Fashola Forty-six-year-old Babatunde Raji Fashola has impacted massively on the lives of Nigerians living in the country's former capital city, Lagos.

No one can deny the fact that the lawyer turned politician has been working to uplift the infrastructure as he tries very hard to realise his pet project of turning Lagos into 'a mega city'.

Fashola, was born in Lagos on June 28, 1963. He attended Birch Freeman High school Lagos and He studied at the University of Benin from where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws, LL.B. (Hon), degree in 1987.

He was called to the Nigerian Bar as a solicitor and advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in November 1988 after completing the professional training programme at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos which he undertook between 1987 and 1988. His legal career of over one and a half decades, commenced in the law Firm of Sofunde, Osakwe, Ogundipe and Belgore, where he cut his legal teeth as a litigator.

However, the visible improvement of the state has clearly shown what government can do if the political will is there. And that is why the Board of Editors named him as one of the leaders to watch in Nigeria of the present decade.

David Mark A military man who was governor and minister and commander in a military administration, but David Mark has turned out to become one of the staunchest defenders of the democratic process.

Born 62 years ago, Mark has ensured that stability has existed in the Senate since he assumed the Presidency on June 6, 2007 taking over from Ken Nnamani.

A keen golfer, the Senator representing Benue South constituency of Benue State and influential member of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), Mark has ensured that the Upper House has an almost friction free relationship with the executive arm of government in the past two and half years.

He is obviously one of the emerging leaders of modern Nigeria.

NEW TIGERS Cont'd Ken Nnamani Once the number three citizen in the country by virtue of his position as Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani clearly showed where his loyalties lay, when rather than joining those pushing for a third term for former president Olusegun Obasanjo, he stood resolutely against it.

Nnamani was born on November 2, 1948 in Enugu. He studied at the University of Ohio, where he obtained a Master of Business Administration. He later worked for Du Pont De Nemours International, Geneva and Nova Chemicals International as marketing executive.

He was elected to the senate for Enugu East in 2003. He became president of the Senate from April 5, 2005 to May 29, 2007, taking over from Adolphus Wabara.

Since leaving office the former senator has switched his attention to other things. On May 6, 2008, the Ken Nnamani Centre for Leadership and Development was launched in Abuja, with the goal of facilitating qualitative and transformative leadership and development in Africa.

With his action, which depicts him as a consummate democrat, Nnamani is one of the emerging leaders.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Noted for her promotion of African fabrics as against western dressing, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was one of the most powerful women in the country during the tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The 55-year-old of Delta State origin made history when she first held the position of Finance Minister and then Foreign Minister - thus becoming the first woman to hold either of those positions in Nigeria. She served as finance minister from July 2003 until her appointment as foreign minister in June 2006, and as foreign minister until her resignation in August 2006.

However, it was while she was finance minister that she scored her biggest point in modern day Nigerian history, when she led other members of the economic team to successfully negotiate the cancellation of the nation's huge debt with the Paris Club.

An indication of how respected she is on the global scene, Okonjo-Iweala was considered as a possible replacement for former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz. However, on October 4, 2007 she was appointed as Managing Director of the World Bank by World Bank President Robert Zoellick. As Nigerian ambassador in the Bretton Wood institution, Okonjo-Iweala is an emerging tigress of Nigeria.

Adams Oshiomhole One of the nation's best ever labour leaders, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, clearly showed his doggedness in the pursuit of his governorship mandate, which was denied him after the last elections.

But rather than calling people out into the streets as he used to do when he was labour leader, Oshiomhole showed his democratic traits when he headed to the law courts in a bid to realise his dream.

On March 20, 2008, the Edo State election tribunal nullified the election of Oserheimen Osunbor (PDP) and declared Oshiomhole of the Action Congress as the winner. On November 11, 2008, the Appeal Court sitting in Benin City upheld the ruling of the state's elections petitions tribunal, declaring Oshiomhole to be the Governor of Edo State.

Oshiomhole began his career as a shop steward in a textile factory. He studied labour, economics and industrial relations at Ruskin College in Oxford in the UK and attended the prestigious National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies.

His role as labour leaders and his fight through democratic means to be governor make him a new tiger in an emerging Nigerian nation.

Nuhu Ribadu A very passionate anti-corruption fighter, Nuhu Ribadu was the nation's pioneer head of the country's number one anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) having been appointed by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003. President Obasanjo was so impressed by his work that he re-appointed him for a second term in 2007.

On October 20, 2006, Nuhu Ribadu told the BBC that over 380 billion dollars had been stolen or wasted by Nigerian governments since independence in 1960. He said he was determined to check the trend. Under Ribadu's administration, the EFCC arraignged prominent bankers, former as well as serving State governors, ministers, Senate presidents, high-ranking political party leaders, commissioners of Police, and advance fee fraud ("419") gang operators. The EFCC issued thousands of indictments and achieved about 270 convictions. One notable case was that of Ribadu's former boss, the then Inspector-General of Police, Mr Tafa Balogun, who was convicted, jailed and made to refund £150 million under a plea bargain arrangement.

Some of Ribadu's achievements in the EFCC included the delisting of Nigeria from the FATF List of Non-Cooperative Countries & Territories, admission into the prestigious Egmont Group and the withdrawal of the US Treasury advisory on Nigeria by the FINCEN. He helped to make the EFCC a reference Law Enforcement Agency around the world, earning Ribadu the reputation of being a foremost and respected anti-corruption crusader in international circles. Mr. Nuhu Ribadu's evidence helped in prosecuting foreign businesses who offered bribes while doing business in Nigeria.

In December 2007, Inspector-General of Police Mike Okiro ordered Ribadu to report at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, Jos, Plateau State for a mandatory one-year course. The decision was criticised by many Nigerians, as being politically motivated and likely to set back the fight against corruption. On December 22, 2008, as widely predicted, he was dismissed from the Nigerian Police Force by the Nigerian Police Service Commission (PSC).

Ribadu's efforts in tackling corruption in our body politic earned him a placed in the group of Tigers.

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi Appointed the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria June last year, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has shown that he is a reformist determined to bring sanity back to that important sector of the economy.

Previously the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of First Bank Plc, Nigeria's oldest bank and one of the biggest financial institutions in Africa, Sanusi had barely settled down in his new seat when he sent shock through the banking sector by sacking the management of a number of banks.

In order to assure depositors that their money was safe he also injected over N400 billion into them to ensure they would be able to meet their obligations to their customers.

Sanusi graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, in 1981, after attending St. Anne's Primary School, Kakuri, Kaduna (up to 1972) and King's College, Lagos (1973-1977). On graduation from ABU, he performed his national service under the National Youth Service Corps scheme in the then Gongola State.

Sanusi began his working career in academics, teaching undergraduate Economics at ABU (1983-1985). He then embarked on a banking career, first with Icon Limited, Merchant Bankers (now the Intercontinental Bank Plc).

Sanusi is widely recognised in the industry for his personal contribution to the development of a Risk Management culture in the Nigerian banking sector. He had, in his capacity as Executive Director, Risk & Management Control of First Bank, championed remarkable developments in the Bank's enterprise risk and management control mechanisms. His post consolidation reforms of the banking sector is a credential that earned him a place in the New Tigers list.

Chukwuma Soludo: Charles Chukwuma Soludo, born in 1960 - Nigeria's independence year - is an economics professor and the immediate past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Love him or hate him, Soludo's place in the annals of Nigerian history has been assured, as he initiated and implemented a banking consolidation exercise that raised the minimum capital base of Nigerian banks from N2 billion to N25 billion; a feat many thought impossible.

In the process, he reduced the number of registered commercial banks from 98 to 24. The results are evident as he has ensured Nigerian banks are now major players on the global stage. Despite the current state of eight banks which had to be rescued by the current CBN regime, many believe Soludo's consolidation exercise put banks in good stead to weather the current global financial storm.

Soludo is a core professional in the business of macroeconomics. He obtained his three degrees and then professorship at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, Enugu State. He graduated with a First Class Honours degree in 1984, an M.Sc. Economics in 1987, and a Ph.D. in 1989, winning prizes for the best student at all three levels.

Soludo joined the federal government in 2003. Prior to his May 2004 appointment as the CBN governor, he held the positions of Chief Economic Adviser to former President Obasanjo and Chief Executive of the National Planning Commission.

NEW TIGERS Cont'd Bola Tinubu: Once a leading player in Nigeria's private sector, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is now a leading political figure in Nigeria. Emerging as Lagos State governor in 1999, Tinubu has left landmark achievements for history to judge him by. One of his many successes was his ability to galvanise the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of Lagos state from less than a billion naira in 1999 to more than N20 billion, thus making the state one of the few that can survive without Federal Government allocations.

Born in 1952, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was elected Senator for the Lagos West constituency in Lagos State, in 1993, just before a military take-over in November of the same year. After the return to democracy, he was elected governor of Lagos State, holding office from 1999 to 2007.

Tinubu attended St. John's Primary School, Aroloya, Lagos and Children's Home School in Ibadan before he went to the United States in 1975, where he studied first at Richard J. Daley College in Chicago, Illinois and then at Chicago State University. He graduated in 1979 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Accounting.

He has worked for American companies Arthur Andersen, Deloitte, Haskins, & Sells, and GTE Services Corporation. After returning to Nigeria in 1983 Bola Tunubu obtained work with Mobil Oil Nigeria, becoming an executive of the company.

Tinubu became a founding member of the pro-democracy National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), which mobilised support for the restoration of democracy and recognition of the 12 June election results after the election results had been annulled. He went into exile in 1994 and returned to the country in 1998 after the death of military dictator Sani Abacha, which ushered in a transition to civilian rule.

Asiwaju Tinubu has proven to be a visionary leader as can be seen from his choice of successor, Babatunde Fashola. The current governor has continued the good work and empowering policies initiated by the Asiwaju.

Udoma Udo Udoma: Presently chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, served for two - terms in the Senate (1999-2007), and distinguished himself as Chief Whip, Leader of the South-South Caucus and Leader of the National Assembly Debt Relief Campaign Team. He has been acclaimed for being one of the first senators to oppose the alleged third-term plot during the tenure of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo.

The son of an eminent lawyer and former justice of the Supreme Court, Senator Udoma left his mark on the senate as he was chairman of the appropriation committee as well as leading several other senate committees set up for particular purposes. An expert in Company, Securities and Capital Market Documentation and Constitutional Laws, he was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1978.

Senator Udoma attended St. Catherine's College, Oxford University, where he obtained a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Jurisprudence in 1976, a Bachelor of Civil Laws Degree in 1977 and a Master of Arts (Honoris Causa) in 1981. He attended the Nigerian Law School and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1978.

Emmanuel Uduaghan Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan, 55, is the current governor of Delta State, a position he attained after he had served as Commissioner for Health, Delta State and the Secretary to the State Government.

Uduaghan attended the Federal Government College, Warri and the University of Benin, where he earned a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) degree, and a Diploma in Anaesthesia. Uduaghan began work in 1983 at the Delta Steel Company, as a medical officer and afterwards worked in a number of hospitals including Westend Hospital, Warri; Benoni Hospitals, Benin City and Shell Hospital, Ogunu, where he was a Consultant Anaesthesiologist. In 1994, he set up his own private medical practice.

A low-key individual who prefers his actions to speak for him, the governor of one of the states in the oil-rich Niger-Delta region has been thrust into national limelight due to the strategic importance of the area.

His administration has also embarked on aggressive infrastructural and manpower development programmes with a view to creating jobs for the residents. For these and more, the THISDAY Board of Editors have decided to include him in the list of the 50 New Tigers of today's Nigeria.

BUSINESS LEADERS, ENTREPRENEURS AND CORPORATE CHAMPIONS Mike Adenuga and Globacom Group Mike Adenuga, oil baron, bank executive, and telecoms magnate, according to reports, is worth $6 billion. He etched himself into the consciousness of Nigerians when his telecoms firm, Globacom introduced per seconds billings at a time other telecoms operators had dismissed the possibility of such customer-friendly deal. Other operators had no choice but to follow suit Adenuga has only one listed company, Conoil, despite his known vast business interests. In fact, most of Mike Adenuga's wealth, including his ownership in Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB), is outside the stock market. He has interests in real estate in Nigeria and around the globe, with property all over Western Europe, North America, and the Middle East.

His most ambitious project is by far the construction of a $1 billion undersea fibre optic cable, Glo-1, to link Africa with the rest of the world. The aim, according to Globacom, is to ensure that telecommunication services reach the people of Africa at the most affordable rates. It was based on these far-reaching contributions to the economy that informed his choice as a business leader and corporate champion by THISDAY Board of Editors.

Born on April 29, 1953, Mike Adenuga got his secondary school education at the Ibadan Grammar School, Ibadan. He studied Business Administration at Northewestern University, in Oklahoma, and Pace University, in New York.

Fola Adeola, Tayo Aderinokun and GTBank Plc Guaranty Trust Bank Plc was incorporated as a limited liability company licensed to provide commercial and other banking services in 1990 through the enterprising spirit of its founding Managing Director, Fola Adeola and his then deputy now Managing Director, Tayo Aderinokun. The bank commenced operations in February 1991, and has since then grown to become one of the most respected and service focused banks in Nigeria.

In September 1996, the bank became a publicly quoted company and won the Nigerian Stock Exchange Presidential Merit award that same year and subsequently in the years 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. In February 2002, the bank was granted a universal banking licence and later appointed a settlement bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2003.

GTBank was among the first few banks that reached the threshold of the N25billion bank recapitalisation in 2005 and it was not a surprise that it was among the first set of banks given a clean bill of health by the apex bank during last year's momentous banks' audit.

In 2007, it entered the African business landscape history books as the first Nigerian financial institution to undertake a $350 million regulation Eurobond issue and a $750 million Global Depositary Receipts (GDR) Offer. The listing of the GDRs on the London Stock Exchange in July that year made the bank the first Nigerian company and African bank to attain such a landmark achievement, thus justifying its listing as one of the corporate champions of the past 50 years in the country by THISDAY Board of Editors.

Joseph Arumeni-Ikhide and Arik Air Ltd From the onset, Arik Air founded by Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide, was determined to rebuild the former Nigerian Airways facilities in Lagos, which it took over in April 2006.

The airline, at inception maintained its fleet of two new Bombardier CRJ900s - the first new aircraft to arrive into the country for more than 20 years three CRJ200s (2003) and two former United Airline Boeing 737s (1990).

At the initial stage, it plied domestic routes throughout Nigeria but later expanded its scope outside the country.

In 2002, with the national airline in liquidation, Arumemi-Ikhide decided to buy a Hawker jet aircraft for his own safety and convenience. The word got out, and before long his contacts in the gas and oil industry were hiring his aircraft to fly around Nigeria. So, he bought another one and before long Amrumemi-Ikhide had a Corporate Jet business.

He then set out to find the best people and the best aircraft to build an airline that would set new standards and change the face of the aviation industry in Nigeria - an airline that 'Nigeria and the rest of the world would be proud to fly.' For its leading role in the Nigerian airline business which was revolutionised with its purchase of brand new aircrafts, Arik Air is hereby listed by THISDAY's Board of Editors as one of the corporate champions that shaped the Nigerian economy.

Subomi Balogun and FCMB Plc The Asiwaju of Ijebu Christians, Otunba Subomi Balogun, is fondly referred to as the Baron of the Nigerian Capital market. Balogun started the First Nigerian fully owned Merchant Bank, First City Merchant Bank in 1982. FCMB and its securities arm, City Securities served as training centres for today's leading players in the nation's financial sector.

After 18 years of unbroken success the bank has since changed its name to First City Monument Bank and is one of the leading post-consolidation banks in Nigeria today.

Born in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Balogun read law in England, the philanthropist is better known for his trailblazing exploits in the financial sector.

From pioneering activities in stock broking, he went on audaciously to start his own Merchant Bank all alone. In the early 1980s going it alone without a foreign technical partner was, well, a dicey proposition. The odds were very much against this sort of impetuousness. The arguments were quite straightforward: the level of capital formation was too low and then where was the technical expertise? How are you going to get the right sort of personnel? Confounding a skeptical audience, he made a success of investment banking, showed a can-do ethos and built up a financial services supermarket. He is therefore listed as one of the business leaders of post-independence Nigeria by THISDAY's Board of Editors.

BUSINESS LEADERS, ENTREPRENEURS AND CORPORATE CHAMPIONS Cont'd Hakeem Bello-Osagie, Tony Elumelu and UBA PLC UBA was established one year after Nigeria's independence as it was incorporated to take over the affairs of the British and French Bank (BFB). Today, it is a product of the merger of the old UBA and the erstwhile Standard Trust Bank Plc (STB), and a subsequent acquisition of the erstwhile Continental Trust Bank Limited (CTB). The banking institution has a history of leading and pioneering innovations in the Nigerian banking sector.

It was the first Nigerian bank to be quoted on the London Stock Exchange after the efforts of former Chairman Hakeem Bello-Osagie. He handed over the baton to Tony Elumelu who has continued the good work by managing the merger of Standard Trust Bank Plc and United Bank for Africa Plc in a union that created the largest financial services group in West, Central & East Africa.

Today, United Bank for Africa Plc is one of Africa's leading financial institutions offering universal banking to more than seven million customers across 750 branches in 14 African countries. With presence in New York, London and Paris and assets in excess of $19bn, UBA is the global partner for banking services for Africans and African related businesses globally and this is the reason why it featured in the list of corporate champions of Nigeria in the last 50 years.

Aliko Dangote and Dangote Group The ubiquitous Dangote Group today ranks second to the Federal Government as the highest employer of labour in the country. The company, owned and presided over by multi-billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote, has a staff strength of 12,000 but on completion of its on-going projects, the figure is expected to hit 22,000.

Aliko Dangote, the founder, was born on April 10, 1957. He was ranked first in Nigeria in the Forbes 2008 list of the richest people in the world with a fortune estimated at $3.3 billion.

Apart from having substantial investment in the National Salt Company of Nigeria at Ota, Ogun State, the group has salt factories at Apapa and Calabar, a polypropylene bagging factory which produces required bags for its products, over 600 trailers for efficient distribution network and goods meant for export can also efficiently be transported to the ports.

His products are in most homes across the country. Those who may not use his products would have passed some of his trailers by the way. He is into export, import, manufacturing, real estate and philanthropy. All these are rolled together into what is known as the Dangote Group.

Today, the business mogul sits atop the Nigerian Stock Exchange as President, in what economy watchers described as a compensation for his massive investments in the country. He thus merits the listing of the conglomerate as a corporate champion by THISDAY Board of Editors.

Alhaji Aminu Dantata Aminu Dantata's involvement in the building of a virile economy base for the country started with his election as a member of the Northern House of Assembly in 1961 and his subsequent appointment as a commissioner in the Kano State Government from 1967-73.

Following the promulgation of the Nigerian Enterprises Promotion Decree, he resigned to participate fully in commercial and industrial development in the private sector. In 1979, he was a Member of the Constituent Assembly Drafting Committee for the Second Republic Constitution of Nigeria.

Born on May, 19, 1931, Alhaji Alhassan Aminu Dantata began his career in business as a produce buyer in 1949 and in 1951; he became a Produce Manager in the family business (Alhassan Dantata and Sons Ltd.).

Today, the name, Dantata is associated with several reputable commercial and industrial companies where he has presided. The list includes : Dantata Organisation Ltd; Dantata Investment and Securities Company Ltd; Bebeji Oil Mils and Allied Products Ltd; Funtua Cotton Seed Crushing Company Ltd; Grand Industrial Company Ltd; Fertilizer Processing Co.Ltd; Express Petroleum and Gas Company Ltd; and Kano Kiln Ltd to mention just a few.

He is therefore eminently qualified to be listed as a business leader and entrepreneur in Nigeria by THISDAY's Board of Editors.

Pascal Dozie and MTN On May 16, 2001, MTN Nigeria, which is part of the MTN Group, Africa's leading cellular telecommunications company, became the first GSM network to make a call in Nigeria.

With the groundwork fully done by its chairman, Paschal Dozie and other like minds, MTN launched full commercial operations beginning with Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.

Since launch in 2001, MTN has steadily deployed its services across the country. It now provides services in 223 cities and towns, more than 10,000 villages and communities and a growing number of highways across the country, spanning the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Many of these villages and communities are being connected to the world of telecommunications for the first time ever.

Today, almost all aspects of our daily lives revolve round telecommunications and it is for this reason that THISDAY Board of Editors has listed MTN as a corporate champion in Nigeria.

Late Henry Fajemirokun Late High Chief Henry Oloyede Fajemirokun was one of the foremost Nigerian business executives post-independence. A philanthropist per excellence, who bestrode the Nigerian business and economic landscape like a colossus, Fajemirokun called the shot at the highest level of commerce and industry in Nigeria before his demise.

For instance, he presided over the affairs of elite business groups like the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, British-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, Federation of West Africa Chamber of Commerce, where he held the position of president. He was also the vice-president, Federation of Commonwealth Chambers of Commerce, among others.

The late business icon was said to have served at the British Constabulary during the Second World War after which he returned to Nigeria to work with Postal and Telecommunications (P&T), which was the biggest corporation in Nigeria then.

From there, he became the President of the P&T Union and became the most powerful union leader in the country. Chief Obafemi Awolowo made him to represent Action Group on the board of ECN, now Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). That was his first major exposure. From then onwards, he decided to go on his own to form a company called Henry Stephens.

He was said to have plunged into the uncertain world of business in the country by investing in buying and exporting bones from Kwara and Niger states. Bones are used for plates and other things. He started small but was putting back virtually every penny into the business. Later on, the banks had confidence in him and assisted him. He had his downturns around 1959, but he was a tough man who could face any problem. He is therefore listed as a business champion by THISDAY's Board of Editors.

First Bank Plc First Bank has been through many seasons since 1894, from being the only bank in Nigeria for decades and weathering the "banking explosion" of the 1930s to 1950s The bank existed the an era of government ownership and control to a flurry of consolidations and then gradual growth in number of banks up to the early 1980s.

First Bank also has a unique record of having to supply two governors of the Central Bank, Joseph Sanusi and the incumbent, Lamido Sanusi.

Because of the leading position of the bank in spite of the old age, the Board of Editors of Thisday has therefore listed the bank as a corporate champion in the country as Nigeria marks its golden jubilee anniversary.

All through the seasons, First Bank has remained resilient, dependably dynamic and "truly the first." It is said that if First Bank sneezes, the nation's economy will catch a cold.

Olorogun Michael Ibru Michael Ibru, the head of the Ibru Organisation, is an entrepreneural figure who created one of the largest modern Nigerian owned groups.

After engaging in general trading with some success, in 1957, Michael Ibru ventured into the frozen fish market with his ability to deliver returns above the market rate. To trade in seafood, he established an importing company; he also rented and built cold storage facilities across the country.

Though, he had other profitable interests such as transportation and construction, fish trading helped him secure financing and other forms of capital to engage in large scale trading. He established a partnership with a Taiwanese Company, Osadjere Fishing Company, which provided trawlers and other accessories for trading. By the end of the 1960's, he branched out fully into other areas of the economy like tourism, brewery, timber and poultry.

Michael Ibru, who is listed among business leaders, entrepreneurs and corporate champions of post-independence Nigeria by THISDAY Board of Editors, attended Igbobi College, and acquired a school certificate in 1951. After secondary school; he joined the United African Company, as a management trainee. In 1956, a few years after joining U.A.C, he dropped out of the company and started a partnership, which he called Laibru.

Late Adeyemi Lawson Adeyemi Olusola Lawson was a president of the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, (NACCIMA) between 1978 and 1984 and of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce in 1975. In the 1960s, he was chairman and chief executive officer of West African Breweries.

Prior to that, he was a member and later chairman of the Lagos Town Council from 1954-1960.

He is also known as one of the chief promoters of Agbara estate in Ogun state and the Nigerian Grail Movement. He was a businessman of a liberal free market economics bent who also favoured the indigenisation policies of the 1970s.

He was made Queen's Counsel in 1963. In 1964, he helped with the establishment of West African Brewery, a million pound investment jointly financed with the Western Nigeria Development Corporation, Dizengoff, (Israel), Henninger (German) and Leventis. He later left the law practice to concentrate on business.

Lawson was born on May 15, 1924. He got his start in education at the private Caxton House School, Lagos. He later transferred to the Baptist Academy, Lagos finishing his primary education in 1935.

He finished secondary studies at C.M.S. Grammar School, before leaving for the University London in 1945 to study law. For his pioneering role in the field of business, Adeyemi Lawson is listed by THISDAY Board of Editors as one of the nation's business leaders, entrepreneurs and corporate champions that shaped the Nigerian economy.

Atedo Peterside and Stanbic IBTC Plc Investment and Banking Trust Company Limited was pioneered by Atedo Peterside, the custodian of an enviable record as one of the most experienced and successful investment bankers in Nigeria. He was assistant general manager, NAL Merchant Bank Plc in 1989 before pioneering IBTC as CEO in 1989 and the company rose to become a major player in mergers and acquisitions.

In 1996, it was responsible for 80 percent of the major mergers and acquisition transactions in the country totaling N10.5 billion. Top on the list of these are the N1.64 billion acquisitions of CWA Holdings Limited (a Unilever subsidiary), remaining shares in Nigeria Breweries by Heinnekan Buouwerijen BV; and the N5.97 billion merger of Thermocool Engineering Company Plc and Paterson Zochonis Industries Plc.

In 1996, IBTC's response to favourable changes to the tax, exchange control and Nigerian Stock Exchange regime in 1995 and 1996 inspired the N2 billion IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund through its subsidiary IBTC Asset Management Limited. The fund offered portfolio investors a vehicle to participate in the Nigerian Stock Market against the backdrop of a relatively stable exchange rate regime and falling domestic interest rates.

Investors responded enthusiastically to this product and in spite of poor growth of the economy, IBTC's balance sheet grew by 17 percent from N4. 87 billion to N5.7 billion. Loan portfolio also rose by 126 percent to N1.61 billion, and deposits jumped more than four times from N314.32 million to N1.81 billion. The professional expertise with which it delivered on these previous deals and raised its authorised share capital to N600 million in the process meeting the new equity for banks played a huge role in inspiring its merger with Chartered Bank Plc to form IBTC Chartered Bank. It later merged with Stanbic Bank Nigeria by way of the first ever-tender offer in Nigeria and a $525 million FDI, the largest in Nigerian financial history, which gave birth to a new entity now known as Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC; a part of the Standard Bank Group.

This banking acumen and long list of achievements by his indigenous company in the banking and pension management realm are the reason for its selection by the THISDAY Board of Editors for as one of the Corporate Champions of post independent Nigeria.

BUSINESS LEADERS, ENTREPRENEURS AND CORPORATE CHAMPIONS Cont'd Ernest Shonekan and UACâ-àGroup The 74-year-old British trained Nigerian lawyer, industrialist and politician was born and raised in Lagos and received his early education at the C.M.S Grammar School before proceeding to the University of London where he received a law degree after which he was called to bar. He soon joined U.A.C in 1964 and was sent to the Harvard Business School for further managerial training. At UAC, he pursued a legal path and would go on to become assistant legal adviser and deputy adviser before joining the board.

In 1980, he was made chairman and Chief Executive of U.A.C and in his early reign as the head of UAC, he was the Chief Executive of the largest African controlled company in Sub-Saharan Africa. Shonekan was later appointed as interim president of Nigeria by General Ibrahim Babangida on August 26, 1993 before a palace coup by General Sani Abacha saw his transitional administration last for just three months. A seasoned and proven businessman with wide contacts across the Nigerian landscape, in corporate leadership he still plays huge roles in national growth and development. These are premises for his selection by the THISDAY Board of Editors for the 2010 awards.

Wale Tinubu, Mofe Boyo and Oando Plc The proudly Nigerian company commenced services as Esso West Africa incorporated in 1956 before morphing to Ocean and Oil Services Limited in 1994 with the Wale Tinubu and Onamofe Boyo-led group handling strategic expansion and operations respectively.

The two lawyers are currently executive directors and their expertise at the helm of affairs has seen the company grow in leaps and bounds to become one of the country's leading integrated energy solution providers that boasts a myriad of operations. The catalyst was its acquisition of 30 percent shares in Unipetrol Nigeria Plc in 2000 and a 60 percent stake in Agip Nigeria Plc before both companies merged and were re-branded Oando Plc in 2002. The company's journey has seen it evolve from a traditional downstream company to become sub-Saharan Africa's largest independent and privately owned oil trading company. The transformation that the oil company has gone through is a major reason for its selection by the THISDAY Board of Editors as a recipient of its award in corporate leadership of modern Nigeria.

Apart from being a pioneer of private sector piping and the distribution of natural gas to industrial and commercial consumers, Oando PLC also has a track record of 100 percent delivery via Oando Supply and Trading which has positioned it as the supplier of choice for products supplies (c) 2009 AllAfrica Global Media. Provided by an company

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