Fashola presents N489.69bn 2015 budget proposals

Governor Babatunde Fashola of  Lagos State yesterday presented a 2015 budget proposal of N489.69 billion to the state house of assembly for consideration.

The amount was the same as that of 2014.

The breakdown shows that education got N82.11 billion or 16.6 per cent as against N77.42 billion or 15. 81 per cent recorded in 2014.

Environmental protection got a vote of N34.95 billion or 7.1 per cent instead of N39.72 billion or 8.11 per cent it was allocated in 2014.

Recreation, culture and religion got N3.12 billion or 0.6 per cent as against N3.48 billion or  0.71 per cent in 2014.

Housing and community amenities got N49.03 billion or 10 per cent  as against N50.54 billion or 10.32 per cent in 2014, while health was allocated N44.62 billion or 9.1 per cent instead of N37.81 billion or 7.72 per cent it was voted in 2014.

Public order and safety got N15.55 billion or 3.2 per cent instead of N17.98 billion or 3.67 per cent it got in 2014, while social protection recorded N1.59 billion or 0.3 per cent as against N2.47 billion or 0.50 per cent in 2014.

Fashola said that the budget size was retained in order to keep zero deficits for the incoming government.

Fashola will be leaving office in May 2015 after completing two terms.

“We have retained the same budget size of 2014 to keep zero deficits.

“This will give the administration the room to start up very quickly,” he said.

He said that the 2015 budget would focus on payment of contractors’ liabilities to enable the government to complete as many projects as possible before handing over to the next administration.

“For example, out of the 400 roads that we promised, we have completed over 190 in the last three years, with 210 at various advanced stages.

“The on-set of dry weather provides the opportunity to complete all of them,” he said.

Fashola said that the government had started compiling a list of another 400 roads that would be handed over to the next administration for consideration, adoption and implementation.

He said that this would help to accelerate reconstruction of inner city roads.

The governor said that the highlight of the budget would be settlement of outstanding pension liabilities.

“Without consultation with the states, the Federal Government has reviewed pensioners’ entitlements upwards by 142 per cent without a corresponding 142 per cent upward review of states’ revenues.

“Our government’s compassion for these pensioners has weighed more heavily on our minds than the legal misfeasance of the Federal Government.

“Our government now budgets for the 142 per cent arrears in addition to 12 per cent and six per cent recent reviews.

“This is the least that we think these public servants deserve.

“Apart from this, our contributory pensions have been largely up-to-date except for a few parastatals for which we are also making provisions.

“We want to substantially reduce pension difficulties in Lagos before the next administration comes in; even if we cannot totally solve them, we intend to leave behind a sustainable plan for their final resolution,” Fashola said.

Mr Adeyemi Ikuforiji, the Speaker of the assembly, said that when passed into law, the 2015 Budget Bill would receive strong and consistent fiscal management.

Ikuforiji noted that Nigeria was experiencing a fall in oil price.

“As legislatures, we recognise that some economic externalities greatly affect socio-economic growth and are sharp enough to influence budget re-prioritisation,” he said.

The event had in attendance various personalities such as the First executive Governor of the state, Alhaji. Lateef Jakande and his deputy, Alhaja Rafiu Jafojo.

Others were Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; All Progressives Congress, APC, members and stalwarts led by party chieftain, Chief Henry Ajomale; Senators Anthony Adefuye and Olorunnimbe Mammora.
 
Lawmakers approve N2b small scale enterprises loan 
Earlier, the House through a resolution granted an approval to Governor Fashola to access the sum of  N2 billion loan for small scale enterprises out of the N220 billion intervention fund made available for states by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN in response to an earlier request from Governor Fashola.

As each state in the federation has opportunity to access a maximum of N2 billion of which Delta state has benefited.

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NFF to send Keshi on refresher course abroad

President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick has given a hint that Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi won’t be fired by his board, but rather would send him for a refresher course abroad.

Upon announcing the sacking of Keshi a month ago, Pinnick revealed the coach and his assistant turned down the opportunity to go for refresher courses to be sponsored by the board.

However, events took a different turn when an order from the country’s president, Goodluck Jonathan forced the NFF to reinstate the coach and his technical crew.

According to Pinnick, his board is fully focused on ensuring the Eagles prepare well for the 2017 AFCON and 2018 World Cup qualifiers by sending the team handlers to new courses abroad to broaden their scope and knowledge.

“In the short term package to reposition our football we will send some of our coaches and ex internationals to England for refresher courses in match reading,” said Pinnick.

“They will also receive orientation abroad on crisis management and other related courses that would help us improve on the quality of information to be given the coaches before, during and after games.”

He also confirmed the Eagles will play most of their friendly games at home starting with the 25 March 2015 friendly against Brazil at the Uyo township stadium.

The idea of playing most of the proposed friendly games in Nigeria is to showcase the county’s huge tourism potential and culture as a way of putting the country on a positive footing in the eyes of the world.

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Invasion of Data Centre: APC blasts DSS

The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday lampooned the Department of State Service (DSS) for invading the data centre of the party in Lagos on Saturday.

It, however, described as “plainly implausible and a witless afterthought” the reasons given by the DSS, calling the security service a shameless apologist of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Similarly, the APC in Lagos challenged the DSS to produce copies of the cloned cards and show Nigerians the copies of the cards it claimed that APC was cloning in its Data Office in Lagos.

In a statement by its Lagos State Publicity Secretary, Joe Igbokwe, the party said the present leadership of the DSS has “turned what should be a viable state security outfit to an attack dog willing and ever ready to do the dirty biddings of the PDP.”

Operatives of the DSS and soldiers attached to the security unit code-named Operation MESA on Saturday stormed the APC data centre in Lagos and arrested 25 data agents and three security guards.

Addressing a press conference in Lagos after conducting journalists round the office, APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed wondered why a self-respecting intelligence gathering agency will rely on beer parlous gossips in carrying out its onerous responsibility, especially in a politically-charged environment like what prevails in the country at present.

He also called on Nigerians and the country’s international partners to condemn the “primitive action.”

Mohammed said: “The spokesperson for the DSS said the organisation had put the building housing the data centre under surveillance, and that it only acted after it was convinced that ‘unwholesome activities’ were taking place. What hogwash! If indeed they put the place under surveillance, would they not have been able to establish that it is an APC data centre? Even if they were not sure, what prevents them from obtaining a court order permitting them to enter and search the building instead of carrying out a Gestapo-like operation? Are security agencies above the law?”
 
Suspends membership registration

The APC spokesperson said following the damage done to the equipment at its data centre in Lagos, it has been forced to suspend its membership registration.

He explained that “the viciousness and barbarism of the attack on the data centre and the arrest of 26 innocent workers, which put a lie to the DSS claim, have disrupted and corrupted the continuous offline and online membership registration across the country.

“The over 50 security men who invaded our offices not only vandalised the offices, they pulled out and carted away the server and computer systems. Their activities have, therefore, affected the process of online/offline registration and data capture of APC members across the country, hence we are left with no choice than to suspend the process.”

While calling for an independent inquiry into the invasion, which he alleged has taken the impunity of the Jonathan administration to its worst level yet, he said it would determine the identity of those who sent the invading force and “meting out the necessary punishment to them, irrespective of their political status.”

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Sultan, Oritsejafor differ on war against Boko Haram

Two prominent Nigerian religious leaders the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, yesterday, openly differed on the war being waged against Nigeria by the Boko Haram insurgents.

Although the two religious leaders agreed that the Boko Haram sect had committed serious havoc against the country and its people, they disagreed sharply on why the sect has continued to unleash unabated violence on the nation.

The two men of God spoke at a roundtable meeting with special advisers on religious affairs drawn from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory held at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The programme with the theme “Toward synergising and interfacing in the religious sector for national development” organised by the Offices of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Islamic and Christian Matters was declared open by Vice President Namadi Sambo.

In effect, Abubakar had insisted that Islamic leaders had done their best to dissuade the sect from committing further destruction of lives and property while the CAN President punctured the claim, saying that the Islamic leaders had not done enough in that regard.

Muslim leaders have tried so much—Sultan

According to the Sultan, Islamic leaders have “tried so much” to preach against the activities of the sect but Oritsejafor said such effort was not strong enough to prevent the insurgents from further mayhem.

The Sultan maintained that there was no problem between Islam and Christianity in Nigeria, pointing out that if there was any problem between the two major religions, it would have been dealt with at that level.

Abubakar, however, blamed the rising level of insurgence on lack of education about religions which breeds lack of trust and sincerity.

He regretted that while Islamic leaders have continued to condemn the insurgents, they are still being accused of not doing enough. This, he said, was not fair to the religious leaders.

He said, he had personally gone across the globe to preach peace and uphold the fact that there is no problem between Islam and Christianity.

In his quest for peaceful relationship between adherents of the two religions, the Sultan said he had written two separate lengthy letters to the Catholic Pope and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

He said when people were asking Islamic leaders to sit with insurgents and discuss, they fail to note that the current situation could not be compared to the activities of militants in the Niger Delta.

Abubakar said: “In a situation where Muslim leaders condemn insurgents and they will still be told they have not done enough. That is not fair. We don’t tell ourselves the truth. Followers are not telling the leaders the truth, and the leaders will think they are doing the right things.

“If the governor in Sokoto is told that he should sponsor four people to Christian pilgrimage, so be it. It is government’s fund. If a land is needed in Kano for a church, they should get it after following the due process.

“Muslim leaders have tried so much. I have gone across the globe to say that there is no problem between Islam and Christianity.

We are not going deep enough —Oritsejafor

Oritsejafor said: “But if we would come together there must be sincerity, equality, fear of God and genuine love for one another. The problem with gatherings like this is that if we are not careful it becomes an occasion for good photographs, we shake hands, we talk very nicely, we are all politically correct. We don’t want to offend each other.

Please let’s offend each other, we need to. Because if we don’t offend each other, we will not tell each other the truth and that is part of Nigeria’s problem.

“If you come out to say certain things, there are those who feel you are rocking the boat, but God is in the boat, the boat will not sink. Let us talk to each other, let’s tell the truth to each other and let’s not sweep it under the carpet. When we finish the opening ceremony and you go into the close door session, lay all the cards on the table.

“It is truth your Eminence that Christianity and Islam have no problem but I’m glad you said, there could be problem between Christians and Muslims and the reason is because probably we are not going deep enough.”

Likening Nigeria to the boat in the Holy Bible that wanted to sink with Jesus Christ on board but did not sink, he noted that many things have happened in Nigeria that have rocked the boat, but the boat has remained standing.

He said: “Some are religious, political, tribal, but different things have happened that have rocked the boat. But let me still thank the Lord that the boat is still floating.”

Querying why a church in the North in the last 30 years have not been able to get a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) for land, he said any mosque or church should be able to get C of O anywhere in the country.

Letter to Boko Haram

He charged the Sultan to also write a letter to Boko Haram to stop their attacks and not just the letter to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

He said: “His Eminence said he wrote a letter to ISIS, I have to truly congratulate you for that because that was a very good move. I didn’t know about it until today and I am so glad it happened. But I want to appeal that you also write to Boko Haram because Boko Haram is worst than ISIS. They have killed more people than ISIS, they have caused more atrocities than ISIS. They need to be written to as well, it is very important it will help.”

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PDP blasts N700m budget for Aregbesola’s inauguration

Osun state chapter of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, queried what it called “bogus budget” for the inauguration of Osun state governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola for a second term.

Governor Aregbesola is due to be inaugurated for another term on Thursday, November 27, but the opposition party in a statement issued in Osogbo by Prince Diran Odeyemi, the party’s spokesperson, said the budget of N700 million for the swearing-in ceremony “amid hunger by workers, who have not been paid salary in the last three months tells much about the kind of leaders holding the reigns in Osun at the moment.”

The party reminded the governor on what he said in November, 2012, while addressing some bankers that “I can pay workers salary every 25th day of the month without monthly allocation from the federation account and I will not owe them a penny” but regretted that just two years after, the governor has found it hard paying workers, even when statutory allocations due to the state are still being given to him.

In another development, the Chairman, Osun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Ganiyu Olaoluwa has condemned the All Progressives Congress APC led government in the state for what it described as its lackadaisical attitude towards the plight of teachers in the state.

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Ebola: Ministry Warns Against Smuggling Of Frozen Chicken

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has warned Nigerians involved in the smuggling  frozen chicken to desist  from doing so as it could bring back the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) .

The warning was contained in a statement issued in Abuja by the Federal Department of Animal Production and Husbandry Services.

The statement noted that the importation of poultry and poultry products had continued to find their way into local markets through several land borders despite the ban on such products.

It quoted the USAID Agricultural Information Network as reporting that 90 per cent of frozen chicken in  come through Benin Republic and other West African countries.

It  also blamed the decline in the consumption of local chicken, loss of jobs provided by the poultry industry and decrease in national income generated from the poultry sub-sector on the illegal trade.

Although the statement acknowledged that the sale of frozen chicken had become a means of livelihood for some Nigerians, it stated that its continuous consumption posed a great health risk.

Some factors adduced by nutritionists for its health risk include the length of storage of frozen chicken before reaching Nigeria.

According to the statement the quality is usually very low due to the break in cold chain during several hours of land journey in Nigeria through illegal routes.

The statement also identified the absence of quality certification or standard of instruments used as another source of health risk.

Besides the above factors, the recent outbreak of EVD in some West African countries had shown that the handling of these products could transmit the disease, the statement said.

It said that people handling these frozen chicken were not known and as such, there were no checks on the storage facility and the mode of transportation.

The statement also claimed that the deaths caused by the EVD and burial places, may not have been properly reported in some of these West African countries.

It warned that Nigerians should not assume that all affected West African countries had achieved 100 per cent tracking and control of EVD as Nigeria had done.

“It is on this note that the Federal Department of Animal Production and Husbandry Services is calling on Nigerians smuggling chicken to desist from doing so.

“The department is also calling on the Nigerian Customs Service to step up surveillance to further curb this illegal trade.

“Similarly, agricultural and health watchdogs must keep a vigilant eye on poultry product to prevent contaminants in the product”, the statement further said.

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Court Frees Oguche, Suspected Mastermind Of Nyanya Bomb Blast

A federal court in Abuja has freed Aminu Oguche, the suspected mastermind of the Nyanya bomb attack in Abuja.

The court struck out a two-count terrorism charge against Ogwuche on Monday, after months of trial for the April 2014 attack which killed more than 70 people.

The court hinged its decision on lack of diligent prosecution by the state.

Ogwuche, a suspected Boko Haram member, was accused by the Nigerian government of being behind the attack.

The blast at the Nyanya Motor Park occurred during morning peak hours as residents were hurrying to work.

The government said Ogwuche fled to Sudan after coordinating the attack.

He was later repatriated to Nigeria to face charges.

More details soon..

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Chelsea’s Mourinho faces ex-Blues boss Di Matteo

Jose Mourinho comes up against the only coach to have steered Chelsea to the Champions League title when the Blues travel to Roberto Di Matteo’s Schalke 04 on Tuesday.

Victory will confirm Chelsea’s place in the Champions League‘s knock-out phase, but the focus will be on Mourinho’s opposite number on the Schalke bench.

Chelsea coach Mourinho, the self-styled ‘Special One’, won the Champions League title as Inter Milan coach in 2010 and Porto boss in 2004, but the European crown has so far eluded him in his two stints at Stamford Bridge.

Premier League leaders Chelsea are unbeaten in their first 12 league matches — a club record — and strolled to a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at home on Saturday with goals by Diego Costa and Eden Hazard.

Chelsea face Schalke in Gelsenkirchen as Group G leaders, three points clear of their second-placed German hosts, but the Premier League side have a much better goal difference.

Di Matteo has won all four of his home matches since taking charge of Schalke last month and is in his first role since being sacked by Chelsea in November 2012, just six months after winning the Champions League title.

Mourinho clearly did not like to be reminded that he will be up against the only coach to bring the Champions League to Stamford Bridge and insisted it is Chelsea against Schalke, not him against Di Matteo.

“I don’t play against him,” said Mourinho dryly.

“If I play against him, he wins because he plays better than me. Unless I am fitter, which I don’t know, but normally he wins because he is much better than me.

“It is Chelsea against Schalke, it is not me against Di Matteo.”

Schalke earned a point at Stamford Bridge in September, before Di Matteo took charge, when Cesc Fabregas’s early goal for the hosts was cancelled out by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s second-half equaliser.

Mourinho said his team’s aim is to finish top of their group and have their place in the knock-out stage confirmed as quickly as possible.

“The group is easy to analyse, we can finish first, second or third,” he said.
“To finish third and go to the Europa League should be something that would be against the evolution of this team.
“This team wants to be a very good team and to be a very good team you have to play against the best teams in the best competitions.”

Di Matteo’s Schalke enjoyed a 3-2 win over Wolfsburg on Saturday, which ended Wolves’ eight-match winning streak and pushed the Royal Blues up to seventh in the table.

The Italian, also a former Chelsea player, said there will be no room for sentiment on Tuesday.

“For me personally, I’ll just concentrate on my work of trying to win the game for Schalke. Chelsea also played on Saturday and they are in the same position as us in terms of recovery,” he said.

“We have the Champions League game on Tuesday where everything is still open and anything can happen, but we want to take at least a point from the home game.”

Di Matteo has said he is considering using the 5-3-2 formation which worked well against Wolves, with full-backs Atsuto Uchida of Japan and Austria’s Christian Fuchs given licence to attack.
It paid off initially as Schalke raced into a 3-0 lead with Cameroon striker Eric Choupo-Moting scoring twice and Fuchs firing home a free-kick before Wolfsburg fought back.

Chelsea have Costa back to full fitness with the 11-goal striker saying he is “totally recovered” from nagging groin and hamstring injuries after a fortnight of rest during the international break.

“It’s easy to see the difference in him now. He can run, he can sprint, he can get behind people, he can challenge for every duel,” Mourinho said.

“It was very important for him to have these two weeks to recover properly.”

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Killer Squad’ Back in Ekiti‎, Says APC

The All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State has raised the alarm over threats to the lives of state lawmakers and accused the Nigeria Police of playing partisan roles in the state crisis.
A press statement by the state Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatubosun, said the party was shocked by the police undisguised support ‎for Governor Ayodele Fayose so far in the crisis rocking Ekiti State House of Assembly.

Olatunbosun, who alleged the return of a killer squad to the state urged the police to l‎ive up to their constitutional responsibility of providing security instead of helping to turn Nigeria into a killing field.

He criticized the police for providing protection to the seven Peoples Democratic Party members in the Assembly when they sat to illegally ratify the list of Commissioner nominees and the Local Government Caretaker members, as well as the purported removal of the Speaker, Dr. Adewale Omirin.
He wondered that the Police at the same time denied the APC lawmakers access into the Assembly Complex while allowing non-lawmakers to sit with the PDP seven.
Olatubosun also frowned on the police for taking Fayose’s accusation as its official intelligence report over allegation of a plan by APC to storm Ekiti with thugs recruited from a neighboring state to cause mayhem.
The APC spokesman in the state added that everyone knew that Fayose was planning to do what he was accusing the opposition of.
He said,  “why would a governor ask the APC lawmakers to return to Ekiti to cooperate in state’s development and at the same time lay landmines on their way to cause mayhem.
“As we talk, PDP thugs are under the tree close to a police post within the Assembly Complex smoking Indian Hemp but the police and DSS are doing nothing about it,” he added.

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Alleged Cloning Of PVC: DSS Raids Building In Lagos, Arrests Suspects

The Department of State Services (DSS) on Sunday said it has arrested some suspects in Lagos, allegedly cloning INEC’s  Permanent Voters Card.

A statement issued by the spokeswoman of the service, Ms Marilyn Ogar in Abuja said that it raided a building located at No.10, Bola Ajbola street, Allen Avenue, following a petition it received alleging “unwholesome activities’’ there.

“The petition alleged that those behind the activities were cloning INEC Permanent Voters Card with the intention of hacking into INEC data base, corrupting it and replacing them with their own data.

“Based on this information, the service placed the building under surveillance and having been convinced that some unwholesome activities were going on in the building, it undertook a raid of the premises.

“In the process, some persons were arrested, while a Server, three hard drive and 31 Ghana must go bags of hard copy document were recovered and taken away for further investigation’’, she said.

According to her, the said location had no sign post indicating whether it was a private or government office.

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2015: I Will Never Give Up My Presidential Bid – Atiku

Former Vice President and a presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on Sunday , said that he would not give up on his bid to become the president of this country now or in the future.

Atiku made this declaration in Dutse, Jigawa shortly before holding a closed-door consultation with Gov. Sule Lamido in Dutse.

He said he was determined to continue to vie for the office of President if he lost the present bid until he eventually scaled through in the near future.

Atiku, however, said that his chances of winning his party’s primary on Dec. 10 were bright.

He also said he was ready to support whoever emerges at the primary election to ensure that person’s victory at the 2015 presidential election.
Atiku had earlier told newsmen that he was in Dutse to interact with his party delegates ahead of the Dec. 10 presidential primary of the party.

The former Vice President criticised the alleged swoop on APC data office in Lagos by security operatives.

Atiku met with Lamido for one hour 30 minutes in his personal residence.
Newsmen were barred from covering the meeting as it was said to be “private’’.

Late Registration Of UPN Will Not Affect Its Performance In 2015, Says Chairman
The Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) said on Sunday its late registration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would not affect its performance in the 2015 general elections.

The acting National Chairman of the party, Dr Maiwaazi Abubakar, said this in an interview in Abuja.

He said that many Nigerians across the country had accepted the party because of its ideology and its belief in giving in to superior arguments.

“It is not a party like other peripheral, non-ideological political formations; it is a party where the social components of party formation is fully operative.“

He added that with the achievements recorded by the founding fathers of the
party, UPN was sure of victory in the forthcoming general elections.

“It must be said of Pa Awolowo, a founding father of the party, that when the political arrangement limited the organisation’s option to regional level, he made the Western region, which he presided, a pacesetter in virtually all developmental endeavours.

“He was in league with the mature democracies in America and Europe. It must be said of Pa Awolowo that he introduced television to Africa even before South Africa did as a country.

“So, I will tell you that with these veritable backdrops, UPN will be able to conquer the so-called dominant political formations in the country.

“This will be done because of our history, pedigree, and the glorious era of Yoruba race, which Pa Awolowo encapsulated,“ he said.

The National Secretary of UPN, Abubakar Sokoto, also expressed optimism that the party would strongly contest elective positions with the major political parties irrespective of when it was registered by INEC.

“We started activities about six months ago but we have gone a long way to make a difference and people now see UPN as a party ready for serious business.

“We are already making moves and progress across the federation. In fact, we are already discussing with people who might want to contest for the presidency under the Unity Party of Nigeria,“ Sokoto said.

He said that the party already had governorship aspirants in states such as Ogun, Zamfara and Kano.

Sokoto described UPN as a strong political party that could provide the kind of change desired by Nigerians.

“UPN is an alternative for anybody who wants to contest election and make change in this country.

“We are sure that after the dominating parties finish their conventions, people will begin to troop to UPN because of the justice and democratic principles guiding us,’’ he said.

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NFF Must Sit up, says Rafiu Ladipo

President of the Nigeria football and other sports supporters club, Rafiu Ladipo has expressed grief over the non-qualification of the Super Eagles to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations billed for Equatorial Guinea.
Stephen Keshi’s men needed just a win against the South Africans but were stunned as Rantie’s brace denied the African champions a place in the next edition of the biannual Africa football showpiece.
In a no hold barred chat with the gaffer of the supporters club said something severe needs to be done to ensure the country qualify for the next edition of the competition.
“Wednesday was a sad day in the history of Nigeria football especially the followers of the game in the country. It was a day we had every opportunity to pick the ticket to the Cup of Nations. Unfortunately, our players messed up and threw everybody into mourning,” Ladipo lamented.
“This is not a good development for Nigeria football and I want to say that something drastic has to be done.

“Drastic in the sense that having failed to qualify, there will be another competition in the next two years and we have to start preparing.
“Are we going to wait for the eleventh hour to start preparing? Or are we going to wait till when the competition is near to start assembling the best legs?, I think we should start now.
The seasoned football administrator also fingered the Super Eagles players for their lackadaisical attitude against Bafana Bafana which nailed the country’s hopes of featuring in Equatorial Guinea while also advocating that the NFF should start preparing for the nest edition of the championship.
“Those players did not play with commitment. How on earth will a striker be free with the goalkeeper on three occasions without scoring?, he queried.
“If you create chances without converting them, then how do you win a match? The South Africans had two good chances and they convert them and that was all. For me, the players failed us.
“Also, the technical crew are also culpable because they cannot be exonerated. The way forward is that the Nigeria Football Federation should sit up and start preparing for the next African Cup of Nations, the 2018 Fifa World Cup.
“We need players who can do us proud. It is clear we have good materials across the world and even if they are average players, they can be turned to world beaters. We equally have players in the Nigeria Premier League that can be assisted to be world’s best.
“Something has to be done now because you cannot toy with the fate of every Nigerians. Nobody is happy. Anyway, we have the opportunity to rebuild because if you go with this kind of players to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, we will be out rightly disgraced,” he concluded.

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Enyimba Emerges Nigeria Federation Cup Champions

Kadiri Ikhana’s side put up a commanding display against the Pride of Rivers for their fourth Federation Cup triumph
Enyimba have emerged the Nigeria Federation Cup champions after defeating Dolphins 2-1 in a breathe taking final played at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.
Second half strikes Mfon Udoh and Chinonso Okonkwo were all the defending champions needed to lift their fourth title in six years.
Dolphins were the better side in the first fifteen minutes of the game but could not break the deadlock as the Peoples’ Elephant’s defence line stood resolute with goalkeeper Femi Thomas making some brilliant saves.
First, it was Chidiebere Okolie who in the second minute forces Thomas to a top class catch before man of the match, Emem Eduok ensured the former Ocean Boys’ goalkeeper spill his wicked right footed drive.
Stanley Eguma’s team went into the half time break with heads held high as they proved to be the better side though their major undoing was missing glaring goal scoring attempts.
On resumption of the second half, Kadiri Ikhana’s side took charge of possession and were rewarded in the 52nd minute after Udoh opened the floodgates of goals.
He got the ball in the midfield from Markson Ojobo, breezed past three Dolphins defender before unleashing a rocket past helpless Sunday Rotimi who was in goal for Dolphins.
With less than 20 minutes to the end of the game,  Okonkwo doubled his side’s lead as he converted from a very close range.
Though, Eduok pulled one back for the Pride of Rivers in the 80thh minute but that proved as consolation as the Aba Millionaires successfully defended their trophy to the excitement of their fans.

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IGP Warns Youths Against Cultism

Worried about recent reports from some States of the Federation, on the involvement of youths in cult activities and ‘thuggery’, the Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, advice youths to be law abiding and desist from any activity that will cause them harm.

 In a statement signed by Ag. CP Emmanuel C.S. Ojukwu, the IG said as a parent himself, the IGP is concerned about the wastage of young human lives in the unworthy exercise, and feels the hurts of parents whose children and wards are following the ways of destruction.

He enjoined youths to appropriate the many opportunities of development in the nation, obey the laws of the land, face their academics and vocations, and prepare adequately to lead the nation in the years ahead.

While advising youths to embrace good virtues, the IGP warned that the full weight of the law would be applied on recalcitrant, wayward and delinquent youths.

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Italian doctor contracts ebola in Sierra Leone

An Italian doctor has contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone and is being flown back to Rome for specialist treatment, the health ministry said on Monday.

The ministry said the doctor, the first Italian to contract the disease, would arrive in Rome late Monday or early Tuesday and be hospitalised at the Lazzaro Spallanzani national institute for infectious disease.

The doctor was working for NGO Emergency at a clinic for Ebola victims when he contracted the disease, which has killed more than 5,000 people in its latest outbreak in West Africa.

“We can reassure his family that the doctor is feeling well,” health minister Beatrice Lorenzin said in a statement.

“He did not have a fever or other symptoms during the night and this morning he had his breakfast.”

The NGO said the doctor had developed some unspecified Ebola symptoms but was in a “good general condition.”

The more serious symptoms of Ebola can take weeks to develop.

Emergency said all its staff in Sierra Leone had been trained to avoid contamination.

“However no healthcare in such a serious epidemic can be considered completely risk-free,” the NGO said in a statement.

“The situation in Sierra Leone is alarming: the epidemic is still widening with 100 new cases a day. According to the World Health Organisation there are more than 5,000 people with Ebola in the country but the real figures could be much higher.”

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FG bans telephones, indecent dressing in prisons

The Federal Government, weekend, gave Nigeria Prison Service 30 days ultimatum to withdraw all telephones from inmates and prisons officials in prisons nationwide.

Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, gave this ultimatum during an interactive meeting with senior officers of the Nigerian Prisons Service in Abuja.

The minister said the order also included indecent dressing by inmates, adding henceforth, no inmate should be allowed to wear their choice of clothes or shoes, no matter how highly placed.

He said: “I have visited some prisons in other countries as the Minister of Nigeria, nobody, no matter highly placed, you don’t come to prison with your phones, not even the Minister of Interior or the supervising minister over the prisons. So, why are you an exception?

“Henceforth, no matter who you are, including myself, nobody goes into prison with telephones. And so, there should be a platform where all the officers submit their phones on arrival at work and collect them when they close.

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Obasanjo’s administration groomed Boko Haram -Kashamu

A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Chairman, Organisation and Mobilisation Committee of the party in the South West, Prince Buruji Kashamu, yesterday, said  the wave of insurgency being witnessed in the North Eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe  states  started during the administration of former President  Olusegun Obasanjo.

Kashamu also said Obasanjo should have nipped Boko Haram in the bud when he was the President few years ago, saying,  he chose to look  away and down played  the issue of sharia criminal codes.

While reacting to the statement credited  to the ex-President  that President Goodluck Jonathan has performed below average, Kashamu described  Obasanjo’s comment as “self-serving, unjustifiable and totally unwarranted”.

Kashamu said, contrary to Obasanjo’s claims, Jonathan has performed above average and deserves a second term.
Obasanjo spoke weekend during an encounter with book writers in Abeokuta, Ogun State, as part of activities marking the popular Ake Festival.

When asked of his view on Jonathan’s administration, he said, “His performance is below average. I will not accept responsibility for his performance. There is nobody that gets such a position without being helped.”
The statement reads, “It is utterly nauseating how he catches on the slightest opportunity to publicly cast aspersion on the President Jonathan, with the intent of inciting the people against the President and swaying public opinion against him.

“If this occasional outburst is how he wants to regain his lost political relevance in the South West, then it would be counterproductive. We thank God that since he turned his back on the PDP, the party has been repositioned and we have been winning elections fair and square.

“It is high time Obasanjo is reminded that he is not the only former leader in this country. If he is not content  with tending to his chicken and farm, at his age and level, he should commit himself to courses that would outlive him.

“He should be told to shed off the implacably cantankerous image that he has cut for himself and take on a more ennobling character trait. After all, the Yoruba would say “T’eyan ba dagba, o ma yogun ja ni (an aged person stops going to the battle field).

“Obasanjo should have nipped Boko Haram in the bud when he was the President but he looked away and down played it when some Northern states adopted the Sharia criminal codes saying it was “political sharia”, now, Boko Haram says it is fighting to have country governed with the same Sharia criminal codes…”

Kashamu said despite the orchestrated security challenges, the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration had achieved so much in various areas.

He said the present administration has set Nigeria in the right direction making her to be one of the 26th largest economy in the world and the largest in Africa, with half a trillion naira Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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Rape: Stephanie Okereke urges prosecution of brother, pledges support for victim

Actress Stephanie Okereke-Linus has reacted to the alleged RAPE INCIDENT involving his brother, Prince Daniel Okereke as reported by Vanguard Newspaper over the weekend.

I am distraught and devastated to hear of the recent allegation of rape brought against a relative of mine, Daniel Okereke (my brother).

While it is a very difficult time for me, and my family; I feel the need to make clear my position, lest there be any doubt. Rape is rape, regardless of who the face of the accused is.

Indeed, the irony is not lost on me. I have spent my lifelong career advocating and living my conviction that women around the world should be able to live free of violence, sexual harassment or any form of abuse against their persons. This conviction led me to be involved in numerous initiatives combating violence against women in several countries including the U.S, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The conviction also led me to place much of my energy on my work with Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF), a passion that dates back to my time at the University of Calabar.

As a student, I heard a story about young girls who had been forced into early marriage and were suffering the negative and embarrassing effects of VVF. The story stayed in my consciousness and drove me, for years, to seek ways to raise awareness on the condition; leading to my work with a team of dedicated doctors to carry out repair surgeries for VVF victims across the country; and my self-produced, soon to be released movie, ‘DRY.’

So, again, it is indeed heart breaking for me to receive and deal with news alleging a family member of mine is an alleged perpetrator of sexual violence against a woman. I am devastated.

This case is now in Nigeria’s criminal justice system as the accused awaits arraignment. I have also encouraged and assured the alleged victim of my stance against rape and applaud her for her bravery to upset the culture of silence, in Nigeria; even as I accord deference and patiently wait for the criminal justice system to determine the guilt or innocence of my brother.

For Nigerian press and blogs; I call on you to please report this case in an ethical manner. I am a married woman living my life. The alleged transgression of my relative does not make it mine.

The focus should be the impact of rape on the alleged victim, and resources for other alleged victims, not me.

Some members of the press and blogs have turned me into the accuser; using my name for sensational headlines and putting my images, exclusively, in their stories. This is a form of victimization of me as a woman, its unethical and extremely hurtful. I am not the alleged accused.

I therefore please ask all bloggers and the media who have placed my pictures and name to this story to refrain from further using me to sensationalise this story.

I thank my fans and all well-wishers for your continued support and ask for your continued prayers.

God bless.

Vanguard

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Taraba Assembly Speaker resigns

The Speaker of Taraba House of Assembly, Mr Josiah Kente has resigned his position.

Kente told journalists on Monday in Jalingo said he had forwarded his resignation letter to the Clerk of the assembly.

The speaker said he took the decision in the interest of peace in the state.

Kente was elected speaker in November 2013, following the death of his predecessor, late Mr Haruna Tsokwa.

He thanked the people of the state and members of the seventh assembly for their cooperation during his one year tenure as speaker.

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PDP clears Maku , others to contest primaries for 2015 governorship election

The immediate past Minister of Information, Mr Lararan Maku, has said that political parties should not be seen as mere platforms for capturing political power, but foundation for building nations.He said this on Sunday in Abuja after being screened to contest the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Dec. 8 primaries in Nasarawa State.

Maku was screened along side other aspirants from the North Central by the PDP screening panel, led by FCT Minister of State, Mrs Olajumoke Akinjide.

The aspirants were asked relevant questions regarding their academic qualification, tax clearance and their conformity with PDP electoral guidelines, among others.

Maku, who came out smiling after the screening, told newsmen that he would remain in the PDP because of his political persuasion.

Brandishing his clearance certificate, the former minister said: “Look at my clearance certificate, very fresh; I contested for the ticket in 2007 and somehow I didn’t get it.

“But I stayed in the party, unlike others who migrated to other parties, looking for platforms to contest. I believe that people should be in the party as a matter of principle.’’

Maku said that political parties should be seen as a philosophical foundation for construction of democracy and the development of states.

Other aspirants that were screened included Gbemi Saraki, Mr Stephen Lawani, Dr Sam Odeh and Mr Felix Atume.

The aspirants would contest for the party`s ticket at its primaries slated for Dec. 8 across the country.

Whoever wins the party`s ticket at the primaries becomes its candidate for the February 2015 governorship election.

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Man City on brink ahead of Bayern test

Manchester City are teetering on the brink of a third Champions League group-phase elimination in four seasons ahead of Bayern Munich’s visit to the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

City’s dismal 2-1 loss at home to CSKA Moscow in their previous outing left them bottom of Group E with only two points and they will be knocked out if they fail to beat Bayern and there is a winner in the Russian champions‘ home game with Roma.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side can draw some solace from the fact that Bayern, who shaded September’s reverse fixture 1-0 thanks to a last-minute goal by former City player Jerome Boateng, are already guaranteed to qualify as group winners.

City will also take inspiration from their 3-2 win away to Bayern in the group phase of last season’s competition, although the circumstances then were quite different, with the visitors having already secured a place in the last 16.

City’s hand has been weakened by suspensions to Yaya Toure and Fernandinho, both of whom were sent off — the former for a petulant shove — during the defeat by CSKA Moscow on November 5.

And although City came from behind to beat Swansea City 2-1 in the Premier League on Saturday, midfielder Samir Nasri knows that Pep Guardiola’s ruthless Bayern side will be a very different proposition.

“We are really lucky to still be in with a chance of qualifying because, with two points and two games left, normally you are out,” said the former France international.

“Now is our chance. We have to take it and play with nothing to lose. We can take a lot (from beating Swansea), but a game against Bayern Munich will not be the same as a game against Swansea.

“No disrespect to Swansea, who are a great team, but Bayern Munich have world-class players in every position.”

Bayern have gone 18 games without defeat since losing to Borussia Dortmund in the German Super Cup on August 13, winning all four of their games to date in the Champions League.

The 2013 European champions extended their lead at the Bundesliga summit to seven points by crushing Hoffenheim 4-0 at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

Bastian Schweinsteiger made his first competitive appearance since starring for Germany in the World Cup final, coming on as a late substitute, and Guardiola has hinted that he could feature again at City.

“It’s good news for him and for us. I have seen how important Bastian is for the club and the fans,” said Guardiola, who is bidding to win his third Champions League title as a coach after two previous successes with Barcelona.

“With Philipp (Lahm), David (Alaba), (Javi) Martinez and Thiago (Alcantara) out, we now have a super midfielder back, but he has only trained for a week with us.

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I’m the right man for Eagles, says Keshi

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi is adamant that he is the right man to lead the Super Eagles into the future.

Disaster struck last week for Nigeria when they failed to qualify for Africa Cup of Nations, a tournament they won in its most recent edition, 2013.

Keshi, who was relieved of his duties before being recalled for Nigeria’s last two qualifying matches, does not feel that firing him again would be the way to go.

“If a team fails, sacking the coach won’t solve the problem. The authority should look beyond the coach to find solutions to the problem.

“I can’t deny it is a shame that we failed to qualify. On my part, I failed the nation but my players took South Africa for granted, a match they needed to win,” Keshi said.

Keshi’s agent, Emma Addo, also feels that the former Super Eagles AFCON winning captain is not to blame for the team’s current failure.

“No explanation will be acceptable now by Nigerians, but Super Eagles problems go beyond coaching. If some issues are not resolved, no one can succeed for long with the team,” Addo told the sl10.ng website.

“We shouldn’t forget where Keshi picked this team from in 2012, almost same place like they are now, but nobody cared about how they got there, that is why it happened again,” Adoo added.

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FG to cut petrol subsidy by half in 2015

The Federal Government has said it plans to cut subsidies on petroleum products by half next year after sharp falls in global crude prices, spurred a reversal of its 2015 budget downwards.

President Goodluck Jonathan submitted the revised budget figures to lawmakers last week, proposing to spend 458.68 billion naira ($2.59 bln) on petrol subsidy in 2015, down from 971.14 billion naira presented for 2014.

It also assumed further cuts to petrol subsidies in 2016 to 408.68 billion naira and 371.18 billion naira for 2017.

The Minister of finance and Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has proposed lowering the assumed benchmark oil price for the 2015 budget to $73 per barrel from the $78 proposed in September, after global crude prices collapsed.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told Reuters last week that declines in the price of oil, which has lost almost 30 percent since July, would impact the economy, requiring the government to cut non-essential spending and raise more revenues.

Recall that the FG tried to end subsidy in 2012 in efforts to cut government spending and encourage badly needed investment in local refining, doubling the price of a litre of petrol overnight to about 150 naira ($0.93) from about 65 naira.

The budget proposals assumed an exchange rate of 162 naira to the U.S. dollar for 2015, weaker than 160 naira assumed for 2014. It expects the naira to weaken further to 163.50 in 2016, reaching 165 in 2017.

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Return To The Trenches To Salvage Democracy, Says Falana

Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has called on those he described as democratic forces to return to the trenches in order to salvage the nation’s democracy.

Falana’s call in a statement on Sunday, was against the backdrop of “the ongoing politicisation of the security forces, the unprecedented wave of official corruption and the subversion of democratic institutions by the Federal Government.”

Falana said, “In spite of the threat of terrorist and other nihilist groups to balkanise the country, I strongly believe that the rickety democratic process can still be salvaged by all the genuine democratic forces who led the Nigerian people to fight against unending military rule and who equally defeated the cabal that attempted to take advantage of President Umaru Yaradua’s ill-health to seize power from the then Acting President, Dr. Jonathan.

“As time is not on our side the forces of democracy ought to return to the trenches now to halt the imposion of fascism on the nation by the President Goodluck Jonathan Administration.”

He cited as one of the grave instances of incidents of politisation of security forces the invasion of the National Assembly by the police last week, which he said was part of plots to stage a coup against the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal.

He added, “In a reckless display of partisanship the police ensured that the Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha and a few other legislators were not subjected to any form of harassment.

“Meanwhile, the Presidency and the police have turned round to blame the Speaker and his colleagues for assaulting security operatives who were discharging their “lawful duties” at the National Assembly complex.”

He lamented that as security forces were being used to disrupt the proceedings of the National Assembly, President Jonathan was also prevented by a former militant, Mr. Government Tompolo, from attending the inauguration ceremony of the $16bn EPZ project n Warri, Delta State last week.

Falana added, “Thus, through sheer negligence and official impunity on the part of the Federal Government the country has become a failed State where security forces are competing with criminal gangs in the wanton infringements of the civil liberties of law abiding citizens.

“Like the terrorists who attack communities while ill-equipped soldiers vamoose, armed thugs are allowed to threaten the life of the President of the Republic without any reaction from the Police.

“But unlike terrorists who abduct school girls in the night, militants kidnap journalists, lawyers and others during the day. Unlike coup plotters who overthrow legitimate governments at night security forces collude with anti-democratic forces in broad daylight to remove elected leaders of legislative houses. “Having been enriched by the State and allowed to acquire weapons without any license some ex-militants have set up armed gangs for the 2015 general election.”

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Group Accuses Ex-Ekiti Speaker, Omirin Of Planning To Invade Assembly With Armed Thugs Today

The Ekiti Movement for Good Governance (EMGG) has accused the ousted former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Dr Adewale Omirin of planning to invade the House of Assembly with over 100 armed thugs today (Monday).

EMGG said the armed thugs will arrive Ekiti from Lagos, Ibadan and Osogbo on Sunday night.

In a release issued on Sunday by the EMGG and signed by its Secretary, Dr Abiodun Aina, the group warned that any attempt by the All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers to throw the State into chaos will be resisted by whatever means.

It advised Omirin and his colleagues in the APC to embrace peace, adding that no political party will be allowed to hold the State down because it lost power.

The EMGG, which described the APC planned invasion of the House as a declaration of war against Ekiti people, added that; “The people installed Ayodele Fayose as their governor and they are ready to defend this government, even with their blood.

“Omirin and his co-travelers in the APC should therefore know that even if they bring their party’s militant wing, the Boko Haram to Ekiti, they won’t succeed in their plans to truncate Fayose’s government.

“This is because Ayodele Fayose’s governorship in Ekiti is an idea whose time has come, all the armies in this world with all the modern weaponry cannot stop it.”

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Arsene Wenger Frustrated Over Loss to Man Utd

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, has expressed his frustration after
Arsenal dominated the game against Manchester United, but lost 2-1.

Antonio Valencia saw his cross-shot deflected off Kieran Gibbs, before
Wayne Rooney made it 2-0 from a counter-attack. Olivier Giroud pulled
one back for the Gunners in injury time, but it was too late.

“It was one-way traffic and we lost the game, we have to take it on
the chin. I know we’ll be criticised for it but you have to respect
the energy levels we put in,” Wenger said.

“We paid for the slightest mistake and it’s very frustrating to come
away with nothing.

“We had the best chances and we could have finished better. At 1-0 we
should have been more cautious not to give the second goal away. There
was plenty of time to come back and that’s where we made the mistake.

“In our job when you don’t win, you’re very concerned but there are a
lot of positives in this team. If we can keep this going with the
quality and the energy levels we have, we can bounce back very
quickly.”‎

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Osun: After Two Weeks of Cross-examination, Omisore Yet to Prove Case

Things seems to be getting tougher for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the August 9, 2014 election in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore as he is still struggling to prove the allegation that his defeat was manipulated.

It would be recalled that Omisore had alleged that the election in the state was manipulated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to favour Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

During one of the sittings, both his principal witness, his forensic expert among other were unable to proof that the election was rigged, irregular nor manipulated to favour Aregbesola.

“Even at a point under cross examination, one of Omisore’s witnesses created some ridiculous entertainment when he said that, by mutilation of the result sheet of INEC deposed to in his statement presented to the court, he meant that he was ‘forced to sign’ the document‎; leaving the entire court roaring in laughter,” Gazelle said.

Omisore’s case appeared to start unravelling from the very first witness he presented, Prince Bola Ajao, PDP state secretary, who told the court that he did not observe any rigging.

According to him, he was duly accredited in his ward, he voted, but did not observe‎ any irregularity and did not leave his ward until after the election.

But he was in court to give evidence that the election was rigged, based on what he was told by the PDP’s agents.

Also, one of the party’s agents who told Ajao that the election was rigged happened to be the same man who, in court, said that by ‘mutilation of INEC’s result sheet‎’ he meant that he was ‘forced to sign’ the result sheet.

However, most contradictory to Omisore’s claims so far, was that of his forensic expert who, after examining all the election papers, he gave evidence in court to the effect that there were no discrepancies in the papers he examined.

The expert said: “in the election results I examined for my principal, Omisore, there were no discrepancies”.

He told the court that he used the certified true copy (CTC) and the duplicates for his analysis, but he could not find any discrepancy‎.

Gazelle reports that “However, the coup-de-grace came under cross examination when this Omisore’s expert admitted to the court that he is not a registered statistician and that in two similar cases he had been involved, he lost.

“So, how Omisore intends to win this case will be determined in weeks ahead as the PDP’s candidate has until Wednesday this week to supply the critical evidence‎ to support his claim.‎”

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Win N1million naira in the #Salamadancecompetition [@Drizzledmoney]

Yes people! Drizzle dmoney (TerryG’s younger brother) is giving out
N1,000,000 to who ever wins the salama dance competition!

STEPS TO WIN THE CASH PRIZE

(1)Download salama by drizzle dmoney DOWNLOAD HERE

(2)Make a dance video alone or with your friends!

(3)upload it on youtube with the hashtag
#Salamadancecompetition

(4)Then tweet the video link to @Drizzledmoney
with the hashtag
#Salamadancecompetition

THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON THE 21st
OF DECEMBER 2014

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FG to link state capitals with rail system, says Jonathan

President  Goodluck Jonathan said all  state capitals would be linked with rail transportation to boost the nation’s economy.

Jonathan stated this in London at the 17th meeting of the Honorary International Investment Council (HIIC) with the theme: Rail Transportation.

He said that with such nationwide rail coverage, roads and highways would be better maintained, adding “if we do not link state capitals by rail, our roads will not last.’’

On upgrade and expansion of the nation’s  public infrastructure,  the President said, “we cannot mould the economy of the country without good infrastructure.

“Quite a number of companies construct roads to their sites. This is not supposed to be so. We are committed to addressing this, we have been working hard and we have improved our road networks significantly.’’

He expressed optimism that government will resurface all federal road networks across the country within the next three years.

“We intend to initiate some new ones that are very critical especially to link up Port Harcourt city and Bonny the major gas exporting terminal of our country’’, Jonathan said.

The President also informed the HIIC members of government’s commitment to securing the nation’s air space and improving the quality of airport terminal buildings.

Jonathan assured that government was determined to end security challenge facing the country.

“We are improving in the area of security, for about a week now, no new story of Boko Haram holding territories.

“Instead, we are reducing them by the day, before now, many local government areas  in Borno State  were  taken by Boko Haram, but now it has reduced.

“We are working to put an end to the holding of territories by Boko Haram’’, he stressed.

Baroness Lynda Chalker, HIIC Coordinator, said the council had focused on various sectors of the economy since inception.

“But this 17th meeting will focus on rail transportation given its critical role to the economy.’’

She held that positive news about Nigeria was over shadowed by what is happening now. “We must work together to project positive news and achievements.

“It is not in anybody’s interest to run Nigeria down’’, she said.

Chalker lauded the nation’s response in tackling the Ebola disease and paid tribute to the late Dr Stella Adadavoh.

She said her action stopped what would have been a terrible devastation for Nigeria, “but unfortunately, she died.’’

The Ministers of Transportation, Power, Works, Aviation Finance, National Planning, Trade and Investment as well as Defence made presentations.

The HIIC, made up of prominent investors around the world, advises governments on economic development.

The areas of the Council’s partnership with Nigeria include reducing corruption, attracting foreign direct investment and promoting private sector  driven economy.

(NAN)

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2015 elections: INEC to engage Air Force, Navy – Commissioner

The Independent National Electoral Commission said it would engage the services of Nigerian Air Force, Navy and other security agencies for adequate security during general elections in 2015.

Mr Austin Okojie, the commission’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in Taraba, disclosed this while addressing Batch B corps members at NYSC Orientation Camp in Jalingo on Sunday.

Okojie explained that the move was necessary given the level of insecurity in the country.

“The commission is making arrangements with the Nigerian Air Force, Navy and other security agents to ensure safety of lives and property during the 2015 general elections.

“We expect Nigerians to understand that the engagement of security agents to maintain law and order is to enable us to conduct free, fair and acceptable elections’’, he said.

Okojie advised corpse members to be patriotic in the elections.

Mr Freeman Tumba, the State Coordinator of NYSC, commended the role of corpse members in the country’s electoral process so far.

He said corpse members were the best set of Nigerians to bring credibility to the nation’s electoral process.

(NAN)

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PDP’s NWC Reviews Sack of Adamawa, Ebonyi Excos

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reviewed the sack of Adamawa and Ebonyi states party executives to suspension.
 
A statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said the review was in the light of the appeals and interventions of critical stakeholders together with the remorse demonstrated by the executives.
 
It will be recalled that the PDP had on Wednesday, November 19, sacked the party executives in the states and set up caretaker committees to manage the affairs of the party in both states.
 
The statement said that the NWC commuted the dissolution of the Adamawa and Ebonyi State Executives Committees to one-month suspension of the authors of the offensive publications, in particular, Chief Joel Madaki, State Chairman and Mr. A. T. Shehu, Secretary of the party in Adamawa State; Uche Ali Ega, State Secretary and Amaechi Oken, State Organising Secretary of the party in Ebonyi State and one Mr. Ben Akpa.
 
Accordingly, “The Caretaker Committees earlier set up for the party in Adamawa and Ebonyi states are recalled.
 
“The Deputy State Chairman of the Party in Adamawa State, Jingi Rufai is to serve as acting Chairman, while Fatai Ornah will be acting Secretary.
 
“In Ebonyi State, Onwe Joseph Onwe is to serve as acting Chairman and Simon Anyigor is to serve as acting Secretary.
 
“Furthermore the NWC has cancelled the ward congresses in Lagos, Cross River and Oyo states. Repeat ward congresses in the three states will hold on Monday, November 24, 2014.
 
“In the case of Cross River, all suspensions by the state chapter have been lifted and all members of the party in the state are now free to participate in all party activities including our congresses.”
 
Also the party has called for full investigation into the fracas that erupted at the House of Representatives.
 
PDP said, “In the light of accusations and counter accusations, over the unfortunate incident that led to the shutdown of the National Assembly on Thursday, the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Inspector General of Police to institute full enquiry to unravel the circumstances and facts surrounding the development within the next 72 hours.”
 
Metuh in a statement on Friday said the “sanctity of the National Assembly as an arm of government and citadel of democracy must be upheld at all times, adding that the matter should not be shrouded in controversy, sinister plots and mundane accusations.
 
“Whilst we acknowledge that due to the security challenges in the country, the security agencies are within their constitutional powers to search individuals and ensure that only responsible and duly accredited persons gain entrance into the National Assembly complex, we wish to  state in strongest possible terms that the PDP is fully with the President in not condoning any act that might indicate that the police went beyond their bounds in the incident.”
 
“The PDP is known for its unwavering stand in upholding the tenets of democracy. Our stand for justice, fairness, and equity at all times remains undiluted. In the same vein, President Goodluck Jonathan has been very humble and forthright in upholding these principles and rights of citizens. He has instituted free, fair and credible elections and remains unwavering that his ambition does not worth the blood of any Nigerian.
 
“We therefore believe that there is no need to shroud the development in controversy. In this regard, we call for a full investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident within the next 72 hours”.
 
Nigerians deserve to know the truth at all times”, the party said.

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PDP has higher chance of winning in Oyo State in 2015 – Funke Adesiyan

Funke Adesiyan, a Yoruba  actress who has done her own good share of blockbuster movies is as active as anyone vying for elective office in the coming elections. She ‘s contesting for a seat in Oyo State House of Assembly to represent Ibadan South East Constituency II and I as a PDP candidate.

“Politics has always been in me and I have been involved underground, but I decided to come out now to represent my people” she told newsmen at her formal declaration ceremony.

Speaking on why she opted for PDP instead of the ruling APC, Funke posited that PDP has a better chance of winning in Oyo State than APC come 2015.

“ Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has higher chance of winning the election in Oyo State come 2015. furthermore, I am very close to my people. Some people even think I live in Ibadan. I have never detached myself from them and I will never detach myself from my people.

There is hardly a week that I don’t spend at least four days in my community” she said.

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90% of Nigerians with mental disorders do not go to hospital – Psychiatrist

A Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Femi Olugbile, on Friday said 90 per cent of Nigerians with mental disorders did not visit their healthcare providers for attention.

Olugbile, who is also a former Chief Medical Director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, said this in an interview in Lagos.

According to him, such attitude will have detrimental effects on both the individual and the society at large.

“90 per cent of people, who have mental disorders in our country, whether major or minor, do not get to see any healthcare provider at all for relief of their symptoms.

“So, they are not diagnosed or treated which is a shame, because they have a detrimental effect, not just on the individuals, but on our society.

“Most people who have mental illnesses carry them about; it is like they are working wounded. So, they go to work and live their lives.

“They are not disturbing other people, but they are under-performing at their tasks or they are making wrong decisions as a result of the illness.

“So, untreated mental illness, whether major or minor, carries a cost both for the individual and the society.“

Olugbile said that, at least, one in five people would some time in life experience one or other types of mental illness.

According to him, most of the illnesses that people have are not psychotic such as hallucinations, schizophrenia, they are   anxiety and depression.

“They are very common and often missed, because people do not even recognise them as mental illnesses, and they do not present themselves to healthcare providers.

“They do not present, sometimes, out of ignorance or just because the facilities for intervention are not available or within their easy reach.

“Those constitute the overwhelming majority of mental illnesses, “ he said.

Olugbile said that there were approximately 100 psychiatrists in Nigeria due to brain drain which had continued to be a challenge.

“Many Nigerian psychiatrists practiced abroad because conditions of work in many Western countries are obviously more attractive than locally.

“Also, many young doctors prefer to specialise in areas they consider more ‘lucrative’ such as obstetrics and gynaecology rather than psychiatry.

“Efforts are ongoing to get more young doctors to show interest in psychiatry as a career.“

Olugbile said that it was a challenge and the country has to think of how to creatively provide mental health services to substantial number of the people.

(NAN)

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Zambia’s President Scott suspended as ruling party leader

Zambia’s ruling Patriotic Front on Friday said it had suspended President Guy Scott as acting head of the party.

Malozo Sichone, PF Central Committee member, said on Friday in Lusaka that the central committee of the PF had decided to suspend Dr. Guy Scott as acting president of the party for unconstitutional conduct and for abrogating the party constitution.

He said the PF was divided over the contest to replace Scott with supporters of frontrunner Edgar Lungu saying the 53-member central committee should pick the party’s candidate.

Sichone said Scott, wanted a vote by a general conference, made up of thousands of delegates and he was therefore suspended for the unconstitutional conduct and a bitter power struggle ahead of a January election.

Scott had been due to meet the central committee this week to decide on the selection process.

Questions about the stability in Zambia arose when Scott fired Lungu as PF Secretary-General on Nov. 3 without explaining why.

He reinstated him a day later after Lungu’s dismissal triggered street protests.

Sata, who was nicknamed “King Cobra” because of his sharp tongue, died in a London hospital from an undisclosed illness last month at the age of 77.

Sata’s son Mulenga Sata, the mayor of Lusaka, and his widow Christine Kaseba are among 10 candidates who have said they will run for the PF presidential ticket.

(Reuters/NAN)

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Fashola seeks amendment to constitution to enable states appoint judges

Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos on Friday advocated constitutional amendment to allow states nominate and appoint judges without seeking National Judicial Council’s approval.

Fashola made the call after administering oath of office to the four newly appointed judges of the Lagos State High Court.

The new justices were Iyabo Akinkugbe, Serifat Sonaike, Abdulfattah Lawal and Abisoye Bashua.

He said that the addition of four judges to the existing 50 in the state was inadequate to meet the demands for justice by its citizenry.

“We submitted seven names to the NJC for consideration; regrettably, only four were approved.

“In a federation, who should determine the number of judges that a state needs? Is it the state that needs it or national agency?

“If we can pay the remuneration of our judges, provide official cars and houses for them, nobody should prevent us from appointing more judges,’’ he said.

Fashola said that he participated in the recent International Bar Association Conference in Tokyo, Japan, but no judge from the state was in attendance.

“When I asked, they said they needed permission from the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) in order to travel, and I said that was news to me.

“The last time I checked, the Supreme Court where the CJN preside has only appellate jurisdiction over subordinate courts.

“I didn’t see that there was administrative jurisdiction over state high courts,’’ he said.

The governor urged the new judges to be incorruptible, adding that there was no corrupt judge in the state judiciary.

“I must say that in the last 16 years, issues of corruption in the Lagos State judiciary are heading toward the museum and that is a proud record to have.

“I think that we can say confidently today that there is no corrupt judge in the Lagos State judiciary.

`Our judges have stood up to be counted; to give judgment according to their knowledge and conscience,’’ Fashola said.

He urged them to emulate legal jurists like the late Justices Kayode Eso and Charles Oputa, whom he said, displayed exemplary courage and stood on the right side of history.

“We must move now, not only to be incorruptible judges, but to become very courageous judges who apply the law irrespective of whose ox is gored.’’

The state Chief Judge, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade, urged the judges to adhere to the ethics of the profession and conduct themselves properly at all times.

“I urge you all to live up to your callings and be faithful to the oath you have taken today,’’ Atilade said.

On his part, Mr Ade Ipaye, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, said that the appointment of the judges was necessitated by the recent vacancies in the judiciary.

Akinkugbe, who spoke on behalf of the new judges, said that they would discharge their duties with dedication, fairness and the fear of God.

(NAN)

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2015: Tambuwal picks APC guber nomination form in Sokoto

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal on Friday paid N6.5 million to purchase the gubernatorial nomination form of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Sokoto state.

Tambuwal presented N5 million for the purchase of the nomination form, N500, 000 for expression of interest form and N1million for administrative charges.
He was issued with the forms by the state Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bala Hassan.

Speaking at the event, Tambuwal said, “my purchase of the nomination form today has put to rest some recent speculations that I am going to contest for the governorship position in the state or not.

“I am aspiring to become the governor of the state to consolidate the achievements of our amiable leader, Gov. Aliyu Wamakko,” he said.

The speaker described Wamakko as a ” dogged, committed and patriotic democrat who stood for the peace, unity and development of the state, the North and Nigeria in general.’’

Tambuwal said his priority if elected as a governor of the state in 2015 was to work toward ensuring the even socio-economic development of the state and Nigeria in general.

“We shall continue to respect and uphold the values of the people of the state and Nigeria generally.

“When elected as a governor in 2015 in sha Allahu, I will carry all the members of the party and the people of the state along while at Government House, Sokoto,” Tambuwal, promised.

The chairman of APC said while issuing the nomination form to Tambuwal that “God gives and takes leadership’’.

”I am however calling on all the members of the party across the state to render total support to Tambuwal and unanimously ensure his victory at the polls,” he urged.

NAN reports that Tambuwal was accompanied to the event by some of his colleagues at the House of Representatives.

Sen. Ibrahim Gobir (APC-Sokoto), who currently represents the Sokoto East Senatorial Zone on Friday in Sokoto submitted his completed nomination form seeking for re-election in 2015.

(NAN)

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Siasia to screen 116 players in Abuja from Sunday for Olympic team

Coach Samson Siasia has called up 39 players to open a screening camp in Abuja, with another set of 39 and a final set of 38 to follow in batches.

In a statement in Abuja on Friday by Ademola Olajire, the Assistant Director, Communications, Nigeria Football Association (NFA), the screening camp would open on Sunday.

Siasia, a former Super Eagles’ captain and coach, has the assignment to raise a new national under-23 men’s squad.

The squad is expected to qualify Nigeria for the Men’s Football Tournament of the 11th All-Africa Games holding in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo in July 2015.

It is also to qualify for the CAF U-23 Championship taking place in DR Congo from Dec. 5 to Dec. 19, 2015.

Success at the DR Congo event will qualify Nigeria for the Men’s Football Tournament of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.

But its first hurdle is an All-Africa Games qualifying fixture against Gabon, with the first leg away in Libreville in February, and the return leg in Nigeria early March.

The winners of that fixture will take on the winners of the fixture between Zambia and Madagascar in late March.

The team will then take on the winners among Ghana, Liberia and Congo in the qualifying race for the CAF U-23 Championship in July.

Nigeria has an averagely rich record at the under-23 men level, winning the Olympic gold medal in Atlanta, U.S. in 1996.

It faltered at the 2000 Games in Sydney, where it had an average performance, and failed to qualify for the Athens 2004 Games.

The team however won silver medal in Beijing in 2008 and failed to qualify for the London Games in 2012.

Speaking on the building process of the new team, Siasia said each batch of invited players would spend only three days in camp before the other.

“The selected ones among the lot will convene for a proper camp late in December,’’ he was quoted as saying by the statement.

The statement added that all the called up players are to report at the FIFA Technical Centre in Abuja.

It said the first batch of 39 players, comprising two goalkeepers, eight defenders, nine midfielders, nine forwards and 11 others, would be screened from Nov. 23 to Nov. 25.

The second batch, which will train from Nov. 26 to Nov. 28, has three goalkeepers, eight defenders, seven midfielders, seven forwards and 14 others.

The statement also said the third batch of invited players will be screened from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, comprising three goalkeepers, nine defenders, nine midfielders, nine forwards and eight others.

(NAN)

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Legal practitioner commends reinstatement of impeached Dep. Gov.of Taraba

Mr Duben Ugwunweze, a legal practitioner on Friday, commended the Supreme Court for reinstating Alhaji  Abubakar Danladi, former Deputy Governor of Taraba.

Ugwunweze, who made the commendation in an interview in Abuja, said that due process was not taken before he was impeached.

He said that the legal victory that Danladi had was because he did not take law into his hands but filed his case at the law court.

“There are laid down procedures to be taken before impeachment can happen, that did not happen, there was breached of procedure in the impeachment of Danladi.

“The action taken by the Supreme Court is proper; because the removal of the deputy governor said did not pass through due process of the law.”

The deputy governor challenged it in the court of law and the case was judged in his favour.

Commenting on the impeachment of the Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Dr Adewale Omirin, the lawyer said that the impeachment process did not pass through due process.

He stressed the need for the proper impeachment and removal of political officer holders to ensure social justice.
Danladi was impeached on Oct. 4, 2012 on allegation bordering on fraud and abuse of office.

He was said to be guilty of using his office to divert the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) projects to Yagai Academy, his private school.

Ugwunweze described the incidence at the National Assembly on Thursday as “a show of shame’’, adding that the honourable members ought to have adopted proper way of addressing their grievances.

He said that the action of security agents at the National Assemble was to ensure restoration of law and order and prevent reoccurrence.

He said that the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, was expected to vacate his seat due to his defection from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to All Progressives Party (APC).

Quoting the 1999 Constitution, Section 68 (1) A, the lawyer said that “a member of the House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the house of which he is a member if he becomes a member of another legislative house.”

“Tambuwal is no longer a member of National Assembly,  that is what the supreme court says as far back as 1979 in the case of Micheal Oloyo and Benson Alegbe, Speaker of old Bendel State.

“The section adds that if a member moves from the party that elected him or her before the expiration of tenure, the member will lose his or her seat.’’

(NAN)

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Assembly Crisis: I-G Must Appear In Person

The House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs on Friday insisted that Suleiman Abba, the Inspector General of Police, must appear in person before the committee to explain Thursday’s police action.

The committee had summoned Abba over the takeover of the National Assembly by armed policemen which led to Thursday’s confusion.

The committee declined audience to Sotonye Wakama, a Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations.

Abba had in a letter with reference CB:3380/IGP.SEC/ABJ/VOL8/806 and addressed to the Chairman of the committee, Rep. Usman Kumo (Gombe –PDP) explained his absence.

The letter reads: “Due to exigency of duty, the Inspector General of Police will not be able to appear before the house.

“Meanwhile, he has directed the deputy inspector general of police, operations to represent him.”

The letter was signed by Austin Iwar, a Principal Staff Officer and Commissioner of Police.

In his reaction, Kumo insisted that Abba should appear in person before the committee on Nov. 26.

He said that Abba’s presence would be required to give explanations to the chaotic situation recorded in the National Assembly on Thursday.

“The constitution empowers the house, through its committees, to summon anybody to appear before it.

“It is in view of this that the committee is fixing this hearing for Nov. 26 at 2 p.m. for the I-G to appear for this interactive, question and answer session,’’ Kumo said.

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Buhari And ATiku should Step Down for Kwankwaso- Sen. Gaya

The Senator representing Kano South Kabiru Gaya and also one time governor of kano has called on Buhari and Atiku to step down for Kwankwaso and allow him to be the APC 2015 presidential candidate. The Sanetor who stated this at Abuja while speaking to news men said Buhari and Atiku as the country’s eldest men should allow a young and vibcrant person like Kwankwaso to contest.

According to the Senator, the achievements recorded under the Kwankwaso administration in kano is a clear indication that the governor would do more better to the country’s economy if elected as president. The Sanetor stated that kwankwaso presently spends over 75% of the state budget on Capital projects in the state.

No doubt Kwankwaso has the required potentials to lead the country.

Factors that define my kind of music– Mike Aremu

Nigeria’s most recognized and celebrated Jazz artiste, Mike Aremu who has performed alongside top jazz artistes across the world is set to take the centre stage of the music world with his ‘Sax Appeal’ concert holding on Sunday.

Speaking about his concert (the fourth edition), the renowned saxophonist took the time out to speak about music and bemoan the inability of most musicians of today to play musical instruments. Hear him:

What are you working on presently?

I am presently planning the fourth edition of my musical concert “Sax Appeal” which is slated for November 23rd, 2014. It’s going to feature artistes like Mexican saxophonist Jessy J, Yinka Davis, Kunle Ayo and Timi Dakolo and it will be held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

Why Abuja?

We’ve always wanted to do the concert in all parts of the country. Why we decided to choose Abuja is because Abuja residents hardly have live shows brought to them like the Lagos residents. In Lagos, shows are always happening all over the place. Though I started the concert in 2009 and the response and turn-out has been huge, but this time around we are looking to explore Abuja and have Abuja residents feel us.

Why Timi Dakolo among other Nigerian popular artistes?

In ‘Sax Appeal’ concert, we try our best to look for people who are really talented, people who are true musicians, not mere singers. I also looked at the fact that Timi has done a song for the nation and because we are taking the concert to the capital city, we felt he should have a place in it.

Going by the turn-out of people in Lagos, how sure are you about getting the same response in Abuja?

I have a good feeling about the Abuja people but you should note it is not permanent. I just believe that people who have been hearing this kind of music in Abuja would love to watch the artistes performing it live on stage. Jazz is not what they get to watch regularly and I promise to give the best by bringing one of the best female saxophonists, Mexican Jessy J, Yinka Davis, Timi Dakolo and Kunle Ayo on to the stage.

When you just started you were more of a gospel musician, but now you have deviated to jazz music, why?

If you look at the industry, you will notice that music itself is revolving, but that hasn’t changed anything about my personality. And it hasn’t changed who I am as a Christian.

If you listen to my music you will notice that there are three major factors you can’t take away from my song, which are; God factor, jazz factor and African factor. These three things show that my music is for everyone. What matters most is the melody and not religion.

About your last album “Coat of many colors” how is it doing in the market?

It’s doing well. I even had six nominations from the album in a gospel award and I titled that album ‘Coat of Many Colors’ because it has different genres of music and different artistes in it.

Why is jazz not accepted like other genres of music in Nigeria?

It’s because Jazz is a kind of music that selects its own audience. But personally, I am trying my possible best to make it more acceptable by organising jazz shows that can bring people closer to jazz musicians. I believe jazz is a choice music people can relate with in several spheres.

Has there been a time you felt like totally abandoning jazz or gospel music for secular one?

I have been invited to different kinds of functions that have no connection with Christianity. Christianity is just a way of life but we tend to define everything by religion here and it is one of our problems in Nigeria today. They don’t look out for what people can deliver. Like I said earlier, three factors; God factor, African factor and jazz factor define my music and my life. Whether I do secular music or gospel music, you are still going to find all these factors in my music.

What’s your view about musical artistes not being able to play music instruments?

I personally don’t believe everybody should play an instrument, but whatever you do just do it well. In Nigeria, there is no music in our curriculum unlike abroad where you have to learn some kinds of instrument before you can become a musician.

IYABO AINA

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“We Have An Upper Hand Over Ebola But Support Must Continue” -Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said on Wednesday that her government has the upper hand in the fight against Ebola, but warned international partners against complacency or any reduction in their support.

 

Liberia’s death toll from the worst Ebola outbreak on record is higher than any other country at over 2,800. But the World Health Organization said last week that the number of new cases there is beginning to slow, and Liberia is not extending its state of emergency imposed to fight the disease.

 

“The sustaining of anti-Ebola measures over the last two months has meant that in Liberia we now have the upper hand,” Sirleaf said in a statement sent to Reuters.

 

“But our government remains concerned that progress in this battle will lead to complacency on the part of the international community,” she added. “We must not interpret gains as an outright victory – nothing could be more dangerous.”

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Assembly Currently In Anarchy – Rotimi Makinde

A lawmaker from Osun State at the House of Assembly, Rotimi Makinde has said lawmakers are presently facing anarchy at Abuja.

 

This was contained in a message sent him to some of his constituents.

 

It was gathered that the speaker, Aminu Tambuwal has been taken to a private room by security operatives.

 

‎The security operatives had stormed the Assembly over an expected emergency sitting on the extension of emergency rule in some northern states.

 

He said, “Anarchy….. The present situation at the Federal House of Assembly is unprecedented. There are SSS, Police officers and Soldiers all around. It seems like the country is about to go into a state of Anarchy. 

 

“Everything seems to be on standstill as we do not know the fate of the federal lawmakers herein present, the speaker, Hon Aminu Tambuwal has been taken into a room.. Sent in by Hon Romiti Makinde. My simple question… Did this happen during Mimiko and the assembly member’s defection?”

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ARG Berates FG Over Delta $16bn EPZ

The Afenifere Renewal Group has expressed concern that national interest and Rule of Law were sacrificed to massage clannish chauvinism in the proposed commissioning of $16bn Export Processing Zone in Ogidigben, Delta State.

The group, in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Kunle Famoriyo, said it sounds quite ridiculous that Mr. President bowed to threats from an ethnic group and consequently withdrew from performing an official function, which he publicly declared he would do.

By this act, the statement said, the presidency is telling the entire country that the Gbaramotu warlord can override presidential declarations.

“This is unsettling because it openly endorses militancy as the preferred language of socio-political engagement, instead of the Rule of Law and established democratic structures, like the Boundary Commissions and Courts of Law, through which the grievance(s) of any individual or groups could be peaceably resolved,” the statement said.

“Rather than condemn the extrajudicial means employed by the Gbaramotu group, it is disheartening that the presidency actually condoned it. What has this warlord done to merit this special protection that is not guaranteed by the country’s Constitution? This preferential treatment reminds us of Mr President’s quickness in absolving MEND of complicity in the October 1, 2010 bombing, even when the organisation has claimed responsibility for it.”

“Mr. President, such condoning act has grave implications for national security, an example of which is the temerity to kidnap of 14 journalists, in a country where there is constitutional law and order.”

“ARG advises Mr. President to reassure the entire country of his impartiality and readiness to uphold the Rule of Law by performing the commissioning ceremony without any further delay and ensuring justice is served as appropriate.”

“ARG advises its kith and kin in Itsekiri land, in the spirit of peaceful coexistence that Yoruba nation is known for, to desist from engaging in provocative acts and protests since there are legal ways of resolving the complaints.”

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Nigeria Fails To Qualify For AFCON 2015

The African Champions, Super Eagles failed to pick AFCON 2015 ticket following their two-all draw with South Africa at the Akwa Ibom International Stadium on Wednesday.

Nigeria finished a disappointing third in Group A with eight points, while Congo advanced on 10 points after they won 1-0 in Sudan, with a second-half goal by Francis Nganga.

Tokelo Rantie gave South Africa the lead in the 42nd minute, when he sped past Azubuike Egwuekwe from the left flank before he fired past goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

Rantie scored his second goal in the 48th minute, when he sliced through the entire Nigerian defence before slotting home.
Nigeria pulled a goal back in the 68th minute through Sone Aluko after a rebound from a shot by Ike Uche, which crashed against the post.
In stoppage time, Aluko salvaged a draw for the home side with a powerful shot.
Bafana were reduced to 10 men in the 72nd minute when Reneilwe Letsholonyane was sent off.

The Super Eagles knew they had to match Congo’s result – away to Sudan – to guarantee their place at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, a tournament they won in 2013, incidentally in South Africa.
The Africa Cup of Nations begins next year on January 17 in Equatorial Guinea, with the final to be played on February 7.‎

FOI: SERAP gives PDP, APC 14 days to disclose elections budget

A civil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has sent requests to Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and All Progressives Congress, APC, asking them to urgently provide information about the spending and sources of such funds on their electoral campaigns and other operations linked to 2015 general elections.

It said: “If the requested information is not provided to us within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information Act to compel you and your party to comply with our request.”

In the two letters by SERAP’s Executive Director, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, dated November 18, to PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu and APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the group expressed “serious concerns about the risks of corruption during electoral campaigns for the February 2015 general elections, especially the role of money in politics and the persistent failure generally to comply with national and international law on political party finance.”

The group said: “By virtue of Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information, FoI, Act 2011, SERAP is entitled to request for or gain access to information being requested.

“Under the FoI Act, your party is under a binding legal obligation to provide the applicant with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within seven days after the application is received.

“By Sections 2(3)(d)(V) & (4) of the FoI Act, there is a binding legal duty to ensure that documents containing the necessary information are widely disseminated and made readily available to members of the public through various means.

“The information being requested does not come within the purview of the types of information exempted from disclosure by the provisions of the FoI Act.”

Alleged submission of false voter’s card: Court decides Obiano’s fate today

The Federal High Court sitting in Awka, Anambra State, presided over by Justice Isah Gafai, will today, deliver judgment in the suit filed against Governor Willie Obiano by an Onitsha-based human rights lawyer, Jezie Ekejiuba, seeking to disqualify and nullify Obiano’s election over alleged submission of false voter’s card ahead of the November 16, 2013 governorship election in the state.

Justice Gafai had, after hearing and adopting the submissions and written addresses of both the plaintiff, Ekejiuba who stood in for himself and counsel to Obiano, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, adjourned sine-die, noting that the judgment day would be communicated to them as soon as it was ready for delivery.

But on November 18, the court informed both parties that the judgment date had been fixed for today, November, 20 at 1pm for delivery.

Ekejiuba had dragged Obiano, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Professor Chukwuemeka Onukogu, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to court asking for the disqualification of Obiano, as the candidate of APGA and the nullification of his election of November 16 and 23, 2013 because he gave a false information by submitting a false Voter’s Card in his INEC’s Form CFOO1 with a sworn affidavit, contrary to Section 31 (1) to (6) of the amended Electoral Act, 2010.

Also in his submission, Ekejiuba contended that Obiano had allegedly submitted false voter’s card in his Form CF 001 sworn affidavit, arguing that the Supreme Court judgment submitted by counsel to Obiano, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu in support of his defense was aimed at stalling the court’s proceedings.

I don’t know how bullets left my AK-47, dismissed DPO tells court

A former Divisional Police Officer, DPO, Segun Fabunmi, attached to Pen Cinema Division of Lagos State Police Command, on Wednesday, told a Lagos High Court that he could not explain how the ammunition allocated to him left his rifle.

Fabunmi, who had been dismissed, is standing trial for allegedly killing one Ademola Daramola and injuring others during the mass protest on fuel subsidy, organized by Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, of Nigeria, in January 9, 2012.

The alleged offence was committed at Yaya-Abatan, Agege, during the protest.

At the resumed hearing of the trial, Fabunmi said the AK-47 rifle was opened, while on his way to the scene of protest, adding that after Daramola died, he could no longer remember how many rounds of ammunition were left in the rifle until he was about being detained.

Fabunmi, who was being cross-examined by Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, Mrs. Olabisi Ogungbesan, told Justice Olabisi Akinlade that he neither chased anybody, shot nor injured people.

He said: “I did not run after the late Ademola Daramola, may his soul rest in peace. I do not know him. Why would I chase him? It is ridiculous.

“I never ran to anywhere neither did I fire any shot at anybody.”

The defendant also told Justice Olabisi Akinlade that on January 9, 2012, he received a distress call that hoodlums at Yaya Abatan Junction, Ogba Agege area, were breaking people’s windscreens and holding innocent people hostage.

He said when he got there, there was break down of law and order and that immediately the hoodlums saw him and the other seven police officers, they started throwing bottles, sticks, cutlasses, stones and Molotov Curtails.

When asked if he knew that some ammunition got out of his gun, Fabunmi said: ”Yes. I knew that some ammunition got out of my gun when the hoodlums were trying to dispossess me of my rifle, after I sustained injury.

“It took the grace of God for them not to have collected the rifle from me. The other police officers all ran away.”

He said he had only been DPO of Pen Cinema Police Division for two months and that he went to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital for treatment, but that he could not remember the name of the doctor that treated him.

However, Justice Akinlade adjourned the matter to February 18, 2015, for the adoption of written addresses.

Military Recaptures Gombi, Pelia, Hong In Adamawa

Nigerian military operating in the North-East had taken full control of Gombi, Pelia and Hong communities in Adamawa State.

The communities had in the past few weeks fallen under the control of Boko Haram insurgents resulting in the displacement of many persons.

The information is gleaned from the website of the Defence Headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday.

“The Nigerian troops in their daring exploit have taken full control of more communities in Adamawa State, including Gombi, Pelia and Hong.

“The ongoing military operations in the North-Eastern Nigeria is to clear all areas infested by terrorists.’’

The statement also said that many terrorists were captured while some died during confrontation with the military.

“Weapons and equipment are also being recovered while mopping up exercise is ongoing in the areas’’, it added.

Bez Confirms He and Wife Are Expecting First Child

It’s now been confirmed that multitalented singer and instrumentalist, Emmanuel Bezhiwa Idakula, popularly known as Bez is expecting his first child with his wife, Bolatito Ladoja Idakula.

 The reports were confirmed yesterday by NET.ng as they got in contact with the artiste’s’ manager who confirmed the reports, saying he put a call across to Bez and ‘He says its true.’

Bez got married this year, 4th  January 2014 to his longtime girlfriend  and daughter of former Oyo State governor, Senator Rashidi Ladoja.

Congratulations to them…….

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