Tuesday 26 February 2013

Fayemi’s N5m donation tears church apart

Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State
do-Ekiti—THE N5million donated to the Millennium Anglican Church, Odo Owa Ekiti by Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, is allegedly tearing the church apart.
It would be recalled that Fayemi donated N5 million to the church during the burial of its late primate, Most Rev. Abiodun Adetiloye  on January 19, 2013.
Shortly after the donation, the leaders and clergy of the church were said to have met where the issue of the donation was discussed.
Members were said to have resolved on how to utilize the money among others.
 It was gathered that they agreed that among others, it would be used to renovate the church, buy a bus for evangelism while N1million would be put  into a special account.
However, the Bishop of Ekiti West Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Oludare Oke, was said to have told the members including the vicar, Reverend Mike Ogunniyi, that the N5 million was deposited in a fixed Account because it was an endowment fund and not a gift to the Church alone.
For allegedly failing to heed the advice of the Bishop, the Bishop was said to have ordered the demotion of the vicar from Archdeacon to Canon for alleged insubordination.
Dissatisfied with the  demotion,  members in Odo Owa Ekiti were said to have last Sunday sealed off the Church auditorium  donated to  the town  by the late  Archbishop Adetiloye  and prevented  leaders of the church  and members from gaining access to  worship.
The closure of the church was said to have created tension in the community, prompting the  town’s traditional  ruler to intervene to forestall breakdown of law and order.
A concerned member told Vanguard that “The Archdeacon having got the support of the Church members bought a new bus at the cost of N3 million, while a sum of N1 million was used to renovate the Church. The remaining N1 million was kept in the Church’s Account. The Bishop was not happy with the action of the Archdeacon and this led to his demotion to the rank of a Canon.”
But a statement by a member of the Church Council, Mr George Ogunjeta,  yesterday  the church denied any crisis, saying “the cash donation has not created any crisis  in the Church.”

BoT: How Anenih bounced back

ABUJA— SIX years after he was removed as Chairman, Board of Trustees, BoT, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Tony Anenih on Monday bounced back to the position through a consensus.
Vanguard gathered that members of the BoT were not prepared for the election because the meeting was held primarily to receive and deliberate on the Professor Jerry Gana’s report to structure the membership of the board.
It will be recalled that on June 27, 2007, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo emerged the new Chairman of BoT where he took over from the then Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih.
 Chief Obasanjo was, however, absent at Monday’s meeting where Anenih whom he took over from then, was brought back to take over from him as his successor.
Vanguard also gathered yesterday that immediately after the discussions of the report, some members called for a date to be fixed for the election of a new Chairman, but this was rejected by majority of members who insisted that the election must be held immediately.
Those who were against the election being held argued that this was not the time for the party to go into an election to elect a Chairman for BoT because if an election was conducted, it would polarise the PDP. They also contended that members agreed that since BoT was simply advisory and not Executive, there was no need to go into such stress and rigour.
Having agreed to hold the election same day, Vanguard gathered that governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State was immediately nominated to be the returning officer.
It was at this point that the aspirants went out after leaders of the party had spoken with them of the need to be guided by the precedent set in March 24 National Convention where all the aspirants stepped down for Bamanga Tukur. All the aspirants for the position of BoT chairman then came in and announced that they were stepping down.
The aspirants before Anenih’s emergence were former Vice President Alex Ekwueme; former National Chairman, Dr. Amadu Ali; former Deputy National Chairman, Alhaji Shaiubu Oyedokun; Chief Don Etiebet; former Senate President Ken Nnamani; and Chief Emmanuel Iwuayanwu, among others.
After they all stepped down, the returning officer, Governor Ibrahim Shema then announced Chief Tony Anenih as the consensus candidate which was greeted with applause by members.
‘’We all agreed that there should be a consensus candidate and there should be no need for election to avoid overheating the polity and at the end of the day, all the aspirants stepped down and Chief Tony Anenih emerged and everyone was happy including the President. The whole process was smooth and very lively.” the source said.

Monday 25 February 2013

New Political Movement, ‘Kickout Siddon Look 2015,’ To Mobilize Nigerians To Rise Up For Their Country

A new political movement, ‘Kickout Siddon Look 2015,’ has emerged to mobilize Nigerians to address the country’s leadership deficit at the topmost level of decision making.

Led by a formidable group of Nigerian intellectuals and professionals, including Tunde Fagbenle, Pius Adesanmi, Okey Ndibe, Tunji Ariyomo and Modupe Debbie Ariyo, OBE, the group noted in a press statement today that Nigeria’s vicious cycle of political crises, corruption, and abject poverty has rendered her citizens “shuffering” and “shmiling” spectators, while a plundering cadre of oligarchs appropriate the people’s national resources for themselves.

“With silent acquiescence, we have traded the jackboot of military despotism for the mal-governance of a faux democracy,” they said.  “We have sat with folded arms and allowed a cabal of looters, united in chicanery, to divide us along ethnic and religious lines. While we kill each other over tribal and religious differences, those who induce division are laughing all the way to the bank.”

They identified this phenomenon as “Spectocracy,” and stressed that the time has come to bring it to an end. 

“It is high time that we, the people, became drivers of our national progress and masters of our destiny. It is time we stopped being spectators whilst hoping for pittances from the table of our politicians.”

“KickOut Siddon Look 2015,” they said, will mobilize grassroots support for a capable leader, one “with the right level of Education, Experience, Exposure and Integrity, as well as a proven history of standing on the side of the people,” to emerge as President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces in 2015.

The primary objectives of “KickOut Siddon Look 2015” are as follows:

1.    Sensitize the masses ahead of the 2015 presidential election to the critical need to coalesce behind a new type of leader capable of improving the standard of living and the quality of life of the Nigerian people and laying a solid foundation for the future of the nation;

2.    Sensitize Nigerians to the deliberate landmines planted in the nation’s constitutional framework and ancillary laws that have made the attainment of good governance and true democracy near impossible tasks;

3.    Sensitize Nigerians to the need (and their right) to be more engaged in the political processes, not as an audience, but as the most important stakeholders whose decisions must count at the time when flag-bearers are being selected to the time when they would be subjected to public votes on election day;

4.    Mobilize our brothers and sisters, our parents and friends across ethnic, social and political lines to accept, and support, a candidate that fits the earlier stated profile as the new leader of the government of Nigeria; and

5.    Educate, and empower, our people – ahead of the 2015 general elections – to make a choice between having the choice(s) of selfish individuals imposed on them and ratified by a few of us in sham elections AND support for a candidate who has a history of standing on the side of the masses, has a proven track record of achievement and, also importantly, scores high on the 3 Es and I (namely Education, Exposure, Experience and Integrity).

Beyond the 2015 project, KickOut Siddon Look will continue as a mass-movement of action for the entrenchment of meritocracy in the society, as well as serve as a platform dedicated to educating, coordinating and galvanizing Nigerians towards civic actions targeted at strengthening democracy and institutionalizing a merit-based democratic process.

“The time for “siddon look” is over,” the group appealed to Nigerians.  “Stand up for your love of country and let us work to make Nigeria great again.”

Full text of the statement: Press Statement From ‘Kickout Siddon Look 2015’
If one takes the liberty to paraphrase the great Wole Soyinka, it is safe to conclude that ‘the man dies in anyone who keeps silent when his people are being plundered’ while Thomas Paine, at a time when America’s prospect for freedom was grim, said: “these are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Nigeria’s seemingly never ending vicious cycle of political crises, corruption, and abject poverty has rendered her citizens “shuffering” and “shmiling” spectators, while a plundering cadre of oligarchs appropriate the people’s national resources for themselves. With silent acquiescence, we have traded the jackboot of military despotism for the mal-governance of a faux democracy. We have sat with folded arms and allowed a cabal of looters, united in chicanery, to divide us along ethnic and religious lines. While we kill each other over tribal and religious differences, those who induce division are laughing all the way to the bank. This, fellow Nigerians, is what our “Spectocracy” has wrought and it is time we put a stop to it. It is high time that we, the people, became drivers of our national progress and masters of our destiny. It is time we stopped being spectators whilst hoping for pittances from the table of our politicians.

Therefore, we convened the “KickOut Siddon Look 2015” group as a political movement devoted to mobilizing grassroots support for a capable leader to emerge as President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces in 2015. This will be a leader with the right level of Education, Experience, Exposure and Integrity, as well as a proven history of standing on the side of the people. The primary goal of repositioning the nation, by frontally addressing the core issue of leadership deficit at the topmost level of decision making in Nigeria, is the main driver for birthing this political movement.

Beyond the 2015 project, KickOut Siddon Look will continue to function as a  mass movement of action for the entrenchment of meritocracy in the society, as well as serve as a platform dedicated to educating, coordinating and galvanizing the people towards civic actions targeted at strengthening democracy and institutionalizing a merit-based democratic process.

Our primary objectives are as follows:

1.    Sensitize the masses ahead of the 2015 presidential election to the critical need to coalesce behind a new type of leader capable of improving the standard of living and the quality of life of the Nigerian people and laying a solid foundation for the future of the nation;

2.    Sensitize Nigerians to the deliberate landmines planted in the nation’s constitutional framework and ancillary laws that have made the attainment of good governance and true democracy near impossible tasks;

3.    Sensitize Nigerians to the need (and their right) to be more engaged in the political processes, not as an audience, but as the most important stakeholders whose decisions must count at the time when flag-bearers are being selected to the time when they would be subjected to public votes on election day;

4.    Mobilize our brothers and sisters, our parents and friends across ethnic, social and political lines to accept, and support, a candidate that fits the earlier stated profile as the new leader of the government of Nigeria; and

5.    Educate, and empower, our people – ahead of the 2015 general elections – to make a choice between having the choice(s) of selfish individuals imposed on them and ratified by a few of us in sham elections AND support for a candidate who has a history of standing on the side of the masses, has a proven track record of achievement and, also importantly, scores high on the 3 Es and I (namely Education, Exposure, Experience and Integrity).

Fellow Nigerians, we seek compatriots who share these goals - who believe in the right of our people to take charge of their political destiny. We seek such men and women, young or old, educated or not educated, to join us and team up with us as we embark on this task. Please visit us on facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/kickoutsiddonlook2015, follow us on twitter @siddonlook2015 and email us via kickoutsiddonlook@gmail.com. The time for “siddon look” is over. Stand up for your love of country and let us work to make Nigeria great again.

 Tunde Fagbenle
 Pius Adesanmi
 Okey Ndibe
 Tunji Ariyomo
 Modupe Debbie Ariyo, OBE
 Soni Akoji
 Ndubuisi Victor Ogwuda
 Safiyah Musa
 Kingsley Ewetuya
 Anozie Ebirim
 Yommi On

Northern Governors Appeal To Terrorists To Give Peace a Chance

The Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) has appealed to terrorist groups in the country to give peace a chance, saying a situation where aggrieved individuals take the law into their hands will not advance the cause of peace.

The Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, said the senseless killing of innocent citizens from Thursday last week through the weekend in various parts of the North negated all efforts to restore peace to the region.

In a statement signed by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo, the NSGF expressed serious concern at the renewed attacks on citizens, including a fire incident caused by a bomb blast at Gamboru Market in Borno State on Thursday, and the killing of 10 people at Kogom Village in Plateau State on the same day.

The forum also expressed alarm at the killing of five young men who were playing a card game in Gombe town on Friday, and another five deaths and arson in Wukari, Taraba State on Saturday when Hausas and Jukuns reportedly engaged each other in a bloody combat.  Yet another incident identified by the forum was the violent death of five persons on Sunday in Zangon Kataf Local Government of Kaduna State.

The NSGF decried the rising wave of murders of innocent Nigerians and the increasing propensity of citizens to resort to violence to settle their differences, saying that the surest way to resolve differences is through dialogue.   It challenged aggrieved Nigerians, wherever they are, to follow this path.

The forum commiserated with the families of those killed or injured during the blast and called on the security agencies to redouble their efforts in the discharge of their responsibilities of protecting the lives and property.

The Northern Governors were working closely with the federal government to ensure that normalcy returns to the region, the statement said.

Maina to resurface today if…

Abdulrasheed Maina,
ABUJA — The embattled Chairman of Pension Reforms Task Team, PRTT, Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina, who has been on the run, may resurface today as his N1.5 billion suit against his arrest commences at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Maina, it will be recalled, was relieved of his appointment by the Federal Government, following the dissolution of the controversial agency and the return of pension management to the Office of the Head of Service, HoS, of the Federation, OHCSF.
Government had also returned the entire PRTT staff to their various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, with immediate effect. The dissolution was confirmed to Vanguard in Abuja, yesterday, by the HoS, Alhaji Bello Sali.
The HoS, who spoke through the Director of Press and Public Relations, Mr. Tope Ajakaiye, explained that the preparations and payment of pensions had been taken over by the OHCSF since last November.
We won’t join issues with Maina— HoS
Sali said he would not join issues with Maina, as his PRTT had since been dissolved and all the members returned to their respective agencies.
Sali said: “The President has approved the dissolution of the Pension Reforms Task Team and all the members were issued with letters to return to their various agencies.
“The Office of the HoS will not join issues with Maina or any member of the dissolved task team on pension payment. Our position on payments for now is that genuine pensioners are being paid from this office since November 2012 and we have told any pensioner with any form of complaints to come to our office for redress.

Tony Anenih elected PDP BoT Chairman

ABUJA- THE National leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday described the  election of former Chairman of Board of Trustees, BoT,  Tony Anenih into the office of Chairman of the board  as a bold step towards ensuring peace and harmony within the ranks of the Party.
In a statement  signed by PDP  National Publicity Secretary,  Chief Olisa Metuh, the PDP however  expressed confidence that Chief Anenih’s antecedents as a mobilizer and consensus builder over the years will contribute to the long term stability of the Party.
Metuh said,  “Chief Anenih’s tireless participation and critical role in the formation of the PDP places him in good stead to provide wise counsel and direct the influential Board of Trustees to follow the noble ideals of the founders of the Party.
His wealth of experience and acclaimed reputation as a democrat and consensus builder are assets that the Party needs at this critical point in our democratic evolution.
” Chief Anenih’s unanimous election by all members of the Board of Trustees has disappointed opposition elements and doomsday prophets who expected the process to result in rancor and acrimony.
 “This  is yet another signal that the PDP is ever united and ready to overcome all perceived obstacles in our drive to provide focused leadership and service to the people of Nigeria.
“PDP calls  all Party members across board to give maximum cooperation to the new chairman of the BOT who has himself pledged to broaden the spread of the umbrella to accommodate all tendencies.”

Friday 22 February 2013

Jonathan, Clinton, Fashola, others laud Eko Atlantic City project

Jona_clintonTRIBUTES to the human will and intelligence to conquer nature reverberated in Lagos Thursday as leaders stood in awe of the Eko Atlantic City, located inside the Atlantic Ocean-end of the state.
The Eko Atlantic City was described as a project equal to any other of its type from any part of the world.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who was at the laying of the dedication stone for the five million square metre-Eko Atlantic City project, explained that the corporation would be driven by a Public Private Partnership that would also involve international financiers.
On the occasion, Jonathan announced the launch of a national mortgage finance corporation to address the country’s over 16 million housing shortfall.
He disclosed that the World Bank had already provided  $300 million to kick-start the company even as major stakeholders involved in the project would include Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria (MBAN), local and foreign bodies such as Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the World Bank.
“We believe this will provide the much-needed liquidity that has been lacking in the mortgage sector as well as solve the problem of high interest rates. The housing sector has its peculiar challenges and that is why the Federal Government, a few weeks ago, organised a private sector retreat where it was agreed that the revival of the mortgage sector was paramount to solving the national housing problem.”
The Federal Government, according to him, has been meeting with all the states in the country so as to fast-track the process of land titling which has also been a drawback to housing.
The event, which drew a large audience, comprising captains of the industry, policy makers and traditional rulers, was hosted by the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, who was elated to see the project becoming a reality. According to the governor, nature has lost again to the supremacy of human spirit and intelligence.
Also at the event were former governors of the state, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande and Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who initiated the project in 2003. The business community was led by Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Oba Otudeko and others.

Security Operatives Surround French Nationals, Kidnappers in Borno

Nigerian-Army-Peace-Keeping.jpg - Nigerian-Army-Peace-Keeping.jpg
Operatives of the Joint Task Force (JTF) and other security agencies surrounded the area where seven French nationals were held hostage Thursday in a bid to rescue the distressed family believed to be prisoners of Boko Haram.
Reuters quoted a security source as saying that the Nigerian military had located the hostages and kidnappers between Dikwa and Ngala in Borno State.
French, Nigerian and Camerounian officials had earlier denied French media reports that the family, comprising a married couple, four children and an uncle, who were seized in Cameroun and taken across the border, had been freed.
Dikwa is less than 80 kilometres from the border with Cameroun where the French family was taken hostage on Tuesday.
So far, Camerounian military officials have avoided making further statement about the incident.
Citing a Cameroun army officer, the French media reported earlier Thursday that the hostages had been found alive in a house in northern Nigeria.
“This is a crazy rumour that we cannot confirm. We do not know where it is coming from,” Cameroun Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary told Reuters by telephone from the capital Yaounde.
“What is certain is that the French tourists who were abducted are no longer on our territory. However, we are in touch with the government of Nigeria to intensify measures to continue the search for them along our common border,” he said.
French gendarmes backed by special forces arrived in northern Cameroun on Wednesday to help locate the family, a local governor and French defence ministry official said.
Spokesman for the JTF, Lt. Colonel Sagir Musa, earlier also said the report on France's BFM television of the hostages being released was “not true,” while Didier Le Bret, the head of the French foreign ministry's crisis centre, said the information was “baseless.”

vate Jet Craze

OVER the past couple of years there has been an upsurge in the number of private aircraft acquired by Nigeria’s “high and mighty”.
Gone are the days wealthy Nigerian expressed their “arrival” in the exclusive club by flying first class or business class in commercial airlines. Many of them have upgraded to owning private aircraft.
Most of these new aircraft owners bear the additional fantasy of chartering commercial airlines to ferry their friends and other guests to private events such as weddings, funerals and other social engagements.
Last December, the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, NIESV, disclosed that the number of private aircraft in Nigeria leapt from 50 in 2009 to 200 by the end of last year, thus sparking off keen interest of aircraft manufacturers and vendors on Nigeria as one of the world’s emerging most lucrative markets.
An analysis pins the jet craze list down mainly to those who have access to large pools of public funds. These include top bank executives and directors, preachers, politically connected individuals and people handling illegally or corruptly acquired funds, otherwise known as funds from unverifiable sources.
While it is also true that quite a good number of private jet owners are engaged in legitimate economic activities in manufacturing, banking, telecommunication, and the oil and gas industry, the challenges people in genuine businesses face due to difficulties in the policy environment do not permit most of them the luxury of owning private aircraft.
One of the biggest defences of private jet owners is that their time is too precious to be wasted on uncertainties of commercial air travel. They have business executives elsewhere as their reference. This argument raises the issue of legitimacy of businesses that create the funds for purchase of these private jets. Do the proceeds of the businesses support the splashes on private aircraft?
The Nigerian constitution generously provides for freedom to acquire properties, under which private aircraft fall. Nobody can deny people their right to enjoy their wealth, as long as they are from legitimate sources.
Severe social inequalities, where only a few individuals are enjoying the benefits of our modest economic prosperity, while the masses are wallowing in abject poverty, unemployment and exposure to decaying public infrastructure have worsening impacts where the rich display their wealth.
The growing poverty and desperation among the youth have spawned social vices across the country, such as kidnapping, violent robberies, killing of innocent citizens for money-making rituals and terrorism.
Security agencies should pay more attention to the legitimacy of the resources Nigerians flaunt. Nobody should be witch-hunted.  Appropriate taxes on consumption of luxury items could raise more funds to finance more public infrastructure.

Keshi issues World Cup warning

Coach of the Nigerian football team Stephen Keshi speaks to journalists at the airport in Abuja on February 12, 2013. The newly crowned African champions Nigerian Super Eagles arrives in Abuja to a warm reception by fans and government officials after defeating Burkina Faso to win the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa. AFP PHOTOCoach Stephen Keshi has said that his all-conquering Super Eagles side were going to be the target of all African teams when the second round of qualifying race for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil resumes next month.
The Super Eagles returned to the summit of African football a fortnight ago, when the team defeated Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final of the 29th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, at a packed National Stadium in Johannesburg.
It was the team’s third taste of soccer glory after previous wins in 1994 and 1980. More remarkably was that the victory in South Africa came as a huge surprise given that the team was not amongst the top five favourites to win the trophy.
They also did it without the over-hyped foreign based stars, most of whom, were left out of the 23-man team by Keshi.
Going into the tournament, the Nigerians were considered as outsiders but with their conquest of Africa, Keshi feels that the continent’s attention would be firmly fixed on them.
Nigeria are drawn in Group F, comprising Namibia, Malawi and Kenya, who they open their campaign against on March 22 at the U.J Esuene Stadium in Calabar.
None of Nigeria’s opponents were at the last Nations Cup, leaving the Eagles to fancy their chances of progressing from the pool but speaking during the week, Coach Keshi said that he was not taking anything for granted when the race to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil begins in earnest.
“The eyes of the continent would be fixed on us when the race to qualify for the 2014 World Cup starts next month..We are the African champions, so I expect that other teams would be bidding to get the better of us when they meet us. It is going to be tough race and I am wary of our opponents.
“I believe that there are no longer minnows in football, so I expect stiff competition from our opponents. They deserve to be where they are now and the fact that we are the champions of Africa has made us the team that others want to beat. They know that if they defeat us that the world would notice them the more.
“We are mindful of these things and are going to approach all the games with the highest sense of professionalism. It is not going to be easy but we are equal to the challenge and hope that at the end of the race that we would be the ones smiling”, added Keshi, who is the only Nigerian coach to win the African Cup of Nations as a player and coach. He is also the second African to win the competition as a player and coach.
Mohammed El-Gohary, an Egyptian, is the other African, who won the competition, as a coach and player, with the same national team.

Thursday 21 February 2013

Pastor nabbed over alleged rape of 12-yr-old housemaid

ABEOKUTA — Members of the outlawed Odua Peoples Congress, OPC, in Abeokuta, yesterday, arrested a Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, pastor for allegedly raping a 12-year old housemaid.
Vanguard gathered that the pastor, who was an interpreter with the church committed the crime in his home at 6, Shamusideen, Oke-Sokori area of the town while his wife was away.
Luck,  however, ran against the randy pastor when the girl reported the incident to her parents, which prompted his arrest.
Vanguard also gathered that the victim’s mother who could not stomach the incident informed the Ogbe unit of OPC and subsequently effected his arrest.
The embattled pastor, who is also a commercial photographer, confessed to the crime, saying he was influenced by devil.
When contacted, the Zonal Coordinator of OPC, Akeem Bakenne, confirmed the arrest of the suspect, adding that investigation has commenced. He said they would hand over the suspect to the police.
Explaining how he committed the offence,the alleged rapist said he used cloth to cover the victim’s mouth before he could have  carnal knowlege of the girl. He further confessed that after the act, he warned her against revealing the secret while he gave her pain killer tablets.
Reacting to the incident, the mother of the victim said: “My daughter came home crying and telling me she was no more interested in staying with daddy Favour.”
The woman said she reported the case to her husband, who decided that the alleged rapist must be arrested and face prosecution.
However, at press time,  the church was said t be making moves to cover up the crime as emmisaries were said to have been sent to the victim’s parents and OPC.
It was leant that  the victim had been taken to a private hospital located at Totoro area of the town for medication, while a laboratory investigation was also conducted at a private diagnosis laboratory in Ogbe.

Atiku Denies Preparing His Son For Adamawa Governorship Seat

Former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has said there is no iota of truth in the speculation that he is preparing one of his sons to become the Governor of Adamawa State.

Atiku flayed his political opponents in Adamawa State for trying at all cost to tarnish his image.

According to him, “All my children are content to pursue professional lives in their various callings and I have no business imposing my choices on them. ”

“Such allegation could only have come from idle minds and busybodies looking for cheap publicity or finding someone to blame for their political problems.”

Atiku, who was a presidential aspirant on the platform of the ACN in the 2007 general elections, said he is not the kind of father who will force his career on his children, adding that his responsibility is to give them good education to set them up in life.

“I wish to advise those spreading such mischievous falsehood to desist and find something more useful to do with their time than planting the seeds of discord and acrimony among the peace-loving people of Adamawa State,” he said.

Atiku Denies Preparing His Son For Adamawa Governorship Seat

Former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has said there is no iota of truth in the speculation that he is preparing one of his sons to become the Governor of Adamawa State.

Atiku flayed his political opponents in Adamawa State for trying at all cost to tarnish his image.

According to him, “All my children are content to pursue professional lives in their various callings and I have no business imposing my choices on them. ”

“Such allegation could only have come from idle minds and busybodies looking for cheap publicity or finding someone to blame for their political problems.”

Atiku, who was a presidential aspirant on the platform of the ACN in the 2007 general elections, said he is not the kind of father who will force his career on his children, adding that his responsibility is to give them good education to set them up in life.

“I wish to advise those spreading such mischievous falsehood to desist and find something more useful to do with their time than planting the seeds of discord and acrimony among the peace-loving people of Adamawa State,” he said.

'If A Governor Can’t Get Justice, What Is The Hope Of A Tomato Seller?' – Oshiomhole

Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, of has once again tasked the police to unmask the killers of his Principal Private Secretary, Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, saying if a governor can’t get justice, then the ordinary man has no hope of getting same.

Governor Oshimole made this statement while receiving the new Commissioner of Police in Edo State, Mr Foluso Adebanjo, in his office. Comrade Oshiomhole said: “I cannot pretend, I remain aggrieved and I believe it’s a shame, a national embarrassment that a governor can’t get justice. If a governor can’t get justice, what is the hope of a tomato seller? What is the hope of a roadside mechanic? What is the hope of an okada rider? The police will not rest, I will not rest until the police get the killers of Olaitan.”

The governor noted that the police, as law enforcement officers, must recognise that they have a duty to protect the citizens: “All of us must recognise that we are trustees of the Nigerian people. We must earn the position that we are privileged to occupy. Anywhere I see a police officer, I will keep saying it, you must produce who killed Olaitan and explain why they bungled the investigations… I have said it to the IG, I have said to the president and if I have the opportunity I will say it to the UN”.

He also explained further that his insistence on the police to produce Olaitan’s killers was to entrench the rule of law, noting that “if the rule of law collapses, even men in uniform can’t walk free because those outside uniform are more in numbers. So help me tell the IG that I still renew my demand that he has to produce those who killed Olaitan.” He however acknowledged that the police was providing invaluable services to the country, saying he would not stop relating with the police as an institution.

nians Paid Me To Execute IBB, Dasuki, Others – Shocking Confession By Cleric

A Nigerian Islamic scholar has told how an insurgent group based in Iran contracted him to spy on and assassinate prominent Nigerians including former military president General Ibrahim Babangida and former Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki as well as American and Jewish citizens.

The State Security Service, SSS, yesterday paraded Mallam Abdullahi Mustapha Berende, a 50 year old Islamic cleric from Kwara State, who  was tracked down by the service operatives while  he and his lieutenants  were gathering valuable information for the Iranian insurgents.

But for the keen alertness of operatives of SSS the suspect, a Shiite Islamic Sect scholar in Ilorin, Kwara State, would have carried his plot to assassinate former President Ibrahim Babangida and former Sultan of Sokoto, Ibrahim Dasuki in order to cause havoc in the Western part of the country.

The Shiite leader, along with three of his accomplices, were said to be collaborating with some unnamed Iranians, known to be operating a high profile international terrorist network, to carry out the killings.

The suspects were also said to have been plotting against and spying on American, Isreali and some other Western countries’ interests in the country and had plotted to attack such facilities.

Berenda relocated from Ilorin to Lagos and with money running into several millions gotten from the Iranian insurgents planned to expand his tentacles to other South West states.

Briefing newsmen on the development, deputy director (Public Relations) of the SSS, Marilyn Ogar, explained that for six months, the service was on the trail of the suspects so as to determine their probable course of action and to stop them from executing their plans.

Berende, who looked sombre and forlorn when he was brought in before newsmen, admitted having carried out the acts, but pleaded for forgiveness and leniency.

According to him, “I regret what happened. It is embarrassing to me and everyone around me. I still plead for forgiveness; the whole nation and my family should forgive me and I really regret my actions.

When people who are not known to you display friendship, one should be careful because you may not know the person’s motives.  There are people out there hunting for people to exploit and use to achieve their objectives.

Is It Time For The First African Pope?

Cardinal Peter Turkson
Earlier this week Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would resign from his role as the leader of the Catholic Church on 28 February. Many are now speculating that the next pope might be from Africa.
Ghanaian cardinal Peter Turkson, at a relatively sprightly 64 years old, is a widespread favourite for the job. Betting house William Hill has named Turkson as a 3/1 favourite, while he is also the favourite at Ladbrokes.
Other African cardinals that have been listed as possibilities for the job are Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria, the 74-year-old Archbishop of Kinshasa Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of DRC and 69-year-old Nigerian John Onaiyekan, 69, the Abuja archbishop.
Reports that the next pope may come from Africa rise from the growth of the Catholic faith in the southern hemisphere, particularly Africa and Latin America.
As much as many people would like to see an African pope elected, the demographics of the College of Cardinals makes this extremely unlikely. The college is made up of 117 members, of which only 18 are from Africa.
In an interview with with The Associated Press earlier this week, Turkson humbly fielded suggestions that he might be the next pope, saying: "I've always answered 'if it's the will of God', being the pope of the church is not going to be an easy task." The Ghanaian added: "We need to repair our credibility. Our pastors need to be believed in again and recognised and taken seriously. If we say we are celibate clergy, we need to live faithfully to that celibacy. There's one thing we can't compromise on and that's our credibility."

SSS uncovers plot to kill Babangida, Dasuki

Department of State Security (DSS) on Wednesday paraded an alleged Iranian-trained Nigerian terrorist who was allegedly planning to kill former military President, Ibrahim Babangida, and former Sultan of Sokoto, Ibrahim Dasuki. The suspect, named Abdullahi Mustapha Berende, an Ilorin, Kwara state-born 50-year-old local leader of Shiite sect, was also accused of espionage.
Two of his lieutenants, Sulaiman Olayinka Saka and Saheed Aderemi Adewunmi, were also paraded.
According to the DSS, Berende made several trips to Iran where he interacted with some Iranian elements known to operate high profile international terrorist network.
Deputy Director of Public Relations of the DSS, Marilyn Ogar, addressed a press conference on Wednesday where Berende and his lieutenants were paraded.
She said the suspects had made confessional statements.  Berende allegedly confessed that he gained admission to study a six-month course in Modern Shi’a Islamic Teaching (Da’awa) at Imam Khomeni University, Iran, in 2006, and was subsequently recruited by some Iranian elements when he returned to Iran for further studies in 2011. He confessed to being trained on the use of AK 47 assault rifle, pistols, production and detonation of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
He disclosed that he was mandated to provide specific details on targets like USAID, Zim International Shipping Company, A.A. Consulting, Peace Corps and the Jewish Cultural Centre (Chabad) in Lagos. Babangida and Dasuki, he added, became prominent targets for execution when he was tasked to provide names of prominent Nigerians who, if attacked, could unsettle the West. He disclosed further that his Iranian handlers formulated codes for targets with names like Uncle (Israel) and Aunt (America) to conceal and secure their communications. Lagos, he said, was chosen as point of attack, because his handlers believe that the Israelis have an intelligence facility there that is being used in spying on Iran.
Meanwhile, the Plateau State House of Assembly Speaker, John Clark Dabwan, on Tuesday night escaped death by the whisker when some unknown gunmen attacked an evening church crusade in the Jos South Local Government area of the state.
Daily Independent gathered that about nine other worshipers sustained gunshot wounds.
The incident took Jos South residents by surprise.
The wounded are currently receiving treatment at the Plateau Specialist Hospital, Jos.
According to eyewitnesses, the gunmen entered the Christian Rural and Urban Development Association of Nigeria (CRUDAN), wielding dangerous weapons and demanding the whereabouts of the Speaker.
It was said that Dabwan drove into the church premises and shortly after, the attackers came looking for him.
It is still not clear if the attackers were armed robbers as being claimed by government officials, or kidnappers.
It took the timely arrival of members of the Special Task Force (STF) to scare the attackers away.
The STF men from the Lomay Hotel area later conveyed the wounded to the Plateau Specialist Hospital. No arrest has been made.
Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, Nandak Shingle, confirmed to Daily Independent that he (Speaker) was at the church when the gunmen struck.
State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Emmanuel Onuigbo, could not be reached on his GSM phone.

Revealed: How Then Governor Goodluck Jonathan Gave Obaigbena $1 Million From Bayelsa’s Poverty Alleviation Funds For Beyonce And Jay Z's Visit To Nigeria

SaharaReporters has uncovered a document indicating that a million dollars of Bayelsa State’s poverty alleviation fund was spent by then Governor Goodluck Jonathan on bringing American entertainers Beyonce and Jay Z to Nigeria in 2006.

In a letter stamped and signed by Bayelsa officials, N150 million (approximately a million dollars in 2006) was released from the state’s poverty alleviation fund for the first ThisDay Music Festival in Lagos.

The document came to light after a controversy was ignited over how much money American “reality TV” star Kim Kardashian was paid for a brief visit to Nigeria.

Ms. Kardashian, star of a US TV show about her idle rich family and who shot to international fame after a sex tape featuring her and her rapper boyfriend went viral, was reportedly paid half a million dollars for the 24-hour-visit last week.

The sources who provided the 2006 document for Beyonce and Jay Z’s visit told Saharareporters that there was a shady financial link between the producers of some high profile entertainment events and the governors and other officials who control budgets at the state and federal levels. Mr. Obaigbena’s newspaper, ThisDay, is a major sponsor of entertainment events that brings US music stars as well as top public figures for flying visits to Nigeria in exchange for gargantuan paychecks.

“Mr. Obaigbena often lines up financial bonanzas from numerous governors, ministers and other top government officials to finance his jamborees,” said one of the sources who is based in the UK and is knowledgeable about such deals.

SaharaReporters obtained a letter from Mr. Obaigbena to the Bayelsa State government soliciting funds from the oil-producing state ahead of Nigeria’s 46th independence celebrations in 2006. The publisher wrote, “We invite you to partner with us as co-hosts of the festival.” The letter added: “With a total budget of $10 million, the co-host is expected to contribute a minimum of $2.5 million (two million five hundred thousand USD).”

At the bottom of the letter, minuted by hand and signed by then Governor Jonathan’s aides as well as the Bayelsa State accountant general are the words, “Release N150,000,000.00 (One hundred and fifty million naira) only to be drawn from the poverty alleviation subhead.”

One source told SaharaReporters that Mr. Obaigbena sent similar letters to other south-south states. 

SaharaReporters could not ascertain how much of the released funds was paid directly to performers at the festival. There is no indication that Beyonce, one of the few entertainment stars internationally famous enough to only need one name, was aware that her performance was being subsidized by the poor people of Bayelsa.

But during Beyonce’s celebrated rendition of the Nigerian national anthem, pictures of Bayelsa State were projected onto the wall of the Lagos concert venue.

According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, 47% of Bayelsans live in poverty. The World Bank says that per capita gross domestic product in the Niger Delta is significantly below the country’s average. According to the state’s own 2005 development strategy, 80% of rural communities have no access to safe drinking water, a key indicator in judging poverty. In Yenagoa, the state capital and Bayelsa’s largest urban area, an estimated two out of every five residents do not have access to safe drinking water.

In 2005, as part of its UN-approved strategy to combat poverty, the state promised to make a fund of N100 million available as soft loans and micro-credit to Bayelsans. The allocated fund was N50 million less than Mr. Jonathan approved for Mr. Obaigbena’s music festival. That promise was made in the Bayelsa State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy, published by the United Nations Development Program and signed by then Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. A civil rights activist in Yenogoa told SaharaReporters that the state “has been a woeful failure in its poverty reduction program.”

The letter from Mr. Obaigbena to then-governor Goodluck Jonathan said the concert was necessary to show that the news from Nigeria was “not just…HIV/AIDS, conflicts, poverty, kidnapping, strife and riots.”

The publisher added: “This is the longest ever period of democracy in Nigeria, over seven years and counting! And a stable democracy means more investment and economic prosperity for all.”

The publisher went on to give reasons why the state government should contribute to the concert.

The stars’ performances would “tell the world, through music, that Nigeria’s time has come,” Mr. Obaigbena wrote. The letter added, “And once the good news catches on with the young and upwardly mobile, music loving new generation it will catch on with the world of investments and bountiful opportunities.”

In 2006, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan had just become governor of Bayelsa after his boss, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, was impeached and convicted on corruption charges.  Mr. Jonathan was then elevated to Vice President to then President Umaru Yar’Adua. Mr. Yar’Adua's death in 2010 enabled Mr. Jonathan, a zoologist whose PhD focused on tropical fish, to assume the presidency.

Since 2006, Mr. Obaigbena’s parent company, Leaders & Company, has produced a number of high-profile events that have seen such American stars as Rihanna, R Kelly, and Usher perform for Nigerians. The ticket prices for these concerts are usually out of reach of the “average” Nigerian. The events feature tickets that cost many tens of thousands of naira, usually reserved for “VIP access.” ThisDay has also hosted political luminaries like former US President Bill Clinton and former economic adviser to the Obama presidency, Lawrence Summers. At an Africa Rising concert in London, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell came on stage and danced to the popular Naija jam “Yahooze” by Olu Maintain.

Delta State Student Leaders Say They Were Attacked For Questioning Bursary Scam

Several student leaders in Delta State have accused officials of the Delta State Scholarship Board, including the board’s current head, Hope Eghagha, of threatening them and instigating physical attacks on them after they opposed ongoing fraud in the board’s disbursement of bursaries.

One of the student leaders, Orhe Erhiga, showed a citizen reporter affiliated with  SaharaReporters bruises on his body from what he described as a severe assault. Mr. Erhiga, a senator in the Delta State Students’ Union, said he faced an attempt on his life. He insisted that the attack on him arose from the resolute stand he took against the perpetration of fraud by the scholarship board.

Mr. Erhiga accused the current National President of the National Association of Delta State Students Union [NADESSTU), Godwin Ovuomaraini, of conniving with members of the scholarship board in their illicit activities. Mr. Erhiga said Mr. Ovuomaraini physically assaulted him on May 11, 2012. One eyewitness said Mr. Ovuomaraini used broken bottles in a vicious attack on Mr. Erhiga.

He accused Mr. Ovuomaraini of doing the board’s bidding, including complicity in siphoning bursary funds released by the state to Delta State students at various institutions of higher learning across the country.

Several other critics of the scholarship board also fingered Mr. Ovuomaraini as the mastermind of the threats and assaults on them. “The board and its chairman, Professor Hope Eghagha, are using Godwin to attack us,” said one of the targeted student leaders.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Bizman rapes mentally-ill teenager

LAGOS — Policemen attached to Igando Division have arrested a business man who allegedly raped a recuperating mentally ill teenager, where she was chained in an apartment at Egan, a Lagos suburb.
The suspected rapist  identified as Gowo Ewhe, sneaked into the teenager’s apartment (names withheld) located on 14 Akindele Street, Tuesday, after her parents and other occupants had gone out and allegedly had carnal knowledge of her.
But the bubble burst  following the  discovery of  the teenager’s blood stained underwear by her mother on arrival in the evening. Out  of curiosity,  she asked  what happened only to be informed by her daughter of what transpired earlier.
Her mother, a petty trader at Igando market, reportedly raised alarm,consequent upon which the alleged perpetrator who at that time was resting in his room with his wife and  three children was apprehended and handed over to the police.
At the station, the suspect reportedly claimed he was tempted beyond his capability.
The case, was  thereafter charged to Ejigbo Magistrate court, yesterday, from where the 42-year-old  suspect was remanded in Kirikiri prison custody till February 27,2013.
Meantime, gunmen numbering three, yesterday, stormed an eatery located at First Avenue, Festac Town, shooting a Police Corporal , identified simply as Levi, for attempting to save a Lebanese from being kidnapped..
The gunmen, reportedly stormed the  at about 9.30 pm and made straight for where the owner,  a Lebanese, was.
During the scuffle between the kidnappers and Lebanese, the Police Corporal  said to have been deplored to the eatery, suspected danger and intervened. But he was taken by surprise as one of the kidnappers reportedly opened fire on him.
During the shooting spree, the Lebanese was said to have managed to escape.
Although an unconfirmed report said the Corporal died on the spot, with his riffle taken away by the kidnappers.
Effort to get the reaction of the Lagos State Police Public Relations officer, Ngozi Braide as she was said to be conducting an interview when Vanguard called her line.
But Police sources at Area ‘E’ simply confirmed that there was shooting at First avenue but could not state whether any arrest was made

Power privatisation: FG signs agreements with bid winners

To sustain investors’ confidence in the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan, the Federal Government said it will sign most of the agreements with the bid winners of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, successor companies today.
The contracts include those for generation, Gencos and distribution, Discos companies, for which bank guarantees were recently verified by Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, which handled the privatisation exercises.
The newly appointed Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, disclosed this on the sidelines of the on-going Nigerian Oil and Gas, NOG Conference, in Abuja, yesterday.
President Goodluck Jonathan
He said: “Hopefully, by Thursday, most of the contracts will be signed in a very significant function. Agreements with most of the companies that won the bid to purchase the Gencos and Discos will be signed.”
The minister reassured investors that government will ensure that all outstanding debts owed by its ministries, departments, and agencies, MDAs will be settled by mid-year.
He added, “We will also ensure that regulatory agencies, market operators, system operators and MDAs are consistently delivering on their respective mandates and to ensure that payments are made as at when due.
“It has always been a problem that many of the government agencies are owing billions of naira. This is not going to continue as the privatisation enters its concluing phase.”

Plateau Speaker escapes death as gunmen storm retreat

JOS — Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Mr. John Clark Dabwan, Tuesday night, narrowly escaped death when gunmen, suspected to be robbers, stormed a Christian retreat he attended in the state capital, demanding to see him.
About nine worshippers were reportedly injured as the gunmen shot into the crowd at the retreat held at the Christian Rural and Urban Development Association of Nigeria, (CRUDAN) Guest Inn at Sabon Barki in Jos South Local Government Area of the state capital.
Eyewitnesses said the suspected robbers came in shortly after the speaker drove into the premises and started ordering the people around at the top of their voices, demanding to see the speaker.
Apparently determined to demonstrate that they meant business, the gunmen fired shots into the congregation inuring many, which resulted in a stampede, a source said.
The source added that the speaker on sensing trouble quickly made his exit before the gunmen could fish him out from the crowd.
Men of the Special Task Force (STF) were said to have arrived the scene after some time, forcing the gunmen to beat a retreat. They subsequently conveyed the injured to the Plateau Specialist Hospital for treatment.
Confirming the incident in a statement, the speaker’s Press Secretary, Mrs. Nandak Chingle said the gunmen struck at the scene between 9 and 10 pm when the speaker and some church ministers were holding a retreat.
She said her boss narrowly escaped unhurt but that the robbers made away with personal effects and other valuables from the retreaters.
Neither the STF Media Officer, Captain Salisu Mustapha nor the police spokesman, Mr. Emmanuel Onuigbo could be reached for comments at the time of this report.

Kidnappers kill two Mobile policemen, abduct four Agip staff

WARRI —  UNKNOWN gunmen, Monday, killed two escort mobile policemen and adopted four other staff of Agip Oil Company in Okpai, Kwale in Delta State.
The gunmen, numbering about six, were reported to have accosted the coastal bus conveying the workers  back home from work at the Agip Okpai/Beneku field operated by Agip and Sterling at about 4 p.m. and short dead the two mobile  escort policemen before carefully selecting about four members of staff from the bus and taken to an unknown destination.
The identities of the two dead mobile policemen and the four abducted Agip staff could not be ascertained
Though no contact had been made at press time, no ransom had also been demanded by the abductors.
Delta Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, ASP Famous Ajieh could not be reached for confirmation but security sources and staff confirmed the abduction of some of their colleagues.

Friday 15 February 2013

Jonathan Won't Spare Maina, Says Okupe

The Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, has said his boss will not spare the controversial Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Force, Abdulrasheed Maina.

Okupe, who spoke with journalists in Abuja on Thursday, pointed out that it was the President that ordered the Inspector General of Police to declare Maina wanted following his refusal to appear before the Senate.

Yesterday, the Upper Chamber gave Mr. Jonathan a two-day ultimatum to boot Maina from the Federal Civil Service, describing him a “liar, rascal and a criminal.”

Senate President, David Mark, made the remarks following a debate on a motion entitled, “Dismissal of Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina for refusal to appear before the Senate.”

Mr. Mark said the Senate had been patient with Maina in an effort to allow fair hearing in view of several pension theft petitions against him as well as his counter-allegation of a N3 billion bribe demand by the Senate Committee investigating him for fraud.

Responding to questions by journalists as to whether Jonathan would yield to the demand of the Senators, Okupe said Jonathan, who is in a parallel battle with the Upper House over the 2013 budget, would not allow the Maina issue to affect the rapport he has with the Senate.

Curiously, Maina travels around Abuja with over armed 35 security personnel, despite the claim by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, that his whereabouts are unknown to the Police.

"Let me say categorically clear that President Goodluck Jonathan will not condone any act of insubordination or lawlessness or any act that tends to undermine the Senate and indeed the National Assembly,” Okupe said.  “Under Sections 88 and 89 of the Nigerian Constitution, the National Assembly has the power to summon any officer of state, for questioning or investigation, whatsoever.”

He underlined that that is why Ministers and the heads of their Ministries and parastatals have always obeyed such summons.

"In the case of Maina, the repeated invitations which he flouted led Mr. President to instruct the Inspector General of Police to declare him wanted and I think this was done last week.

"The relationship with the leadership of the Senate and the President of the Senate, David Mark, is such that cannot be tampered with on the altar of favouritism to anybody.”

In language which seemed couched to please the Senate, Okupe added, "The President and the Presidency hold the leadership of the Senate in the highest esteem and will not do anything to spoil that relationship.”

He further stated that the issue of Maina has been referred to the Head of Service, noting that Maina is a civil servant and that he believed the matter will be thoroughly investigated and disciplinary action taken.

It would be recalled that the Senate Probe committee on Pension Reform, which submitted its report in May 2012, was in a dogfight with Maina over allegations of corruption.  Sani Shu’aibu Teidi, a suspect on trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja for the looting of the pension funds, alleged that he and other accomplices paid the Senator Aloysius Etuk-led Senate Committee a N3bn bribe in United States dollars to forestall their prosecution.

The N3 billion was said to have been contributed by corrupt government officials who embezzled the funds and allegedly offered the money to the committee to cover up the fact.

When the committee submitted its report to the Senate, it immediately called for Maina to be probed. 

But Maina found support in the House of Representatives which, in a memo to the Head of Service of the Federation, criticized the Senate report and urged President Jonathan to ensure adequate protection for Maina in carrying out his assignment.

That would explain the huge protection team that Maina enjoys in Abuja.  But if the presidency is responsible for that protection, it would be interesting to see how Mr. Jonathan intends to throw him to the wolves, as Mr. Okupe seemed to indicate on Thursday.

Mr. Okupe’s choice of language suggests that Maina may well be the sacrifice Jonathan is seeking in his battle with the Senate over the budget.  A meeting in Abuja on Wednesday between the executive and the Senate failed to resolve the differences, and Finance Minister/Coordinating Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said afterwards that Mr. Jonathan will not sign the budget this week. 

The budget is the subject of the executive-legislature warfare because each side has loaded it with items that are of financial benefit to its members, in a loot-sharing kind of struggle.  One of those items, a N4billion vote for the First Lady to build a “Mission Office,” was the subject of a public demonstration in Lagos today by Nigerians who are angry that the nation’s resources continue to be in a perpetual-sharing match by top public-office holders.

Thai couple win World’s Longest Continuous Kiss

Thai couple Ekkachai (R) and Laksana Tiranarat (L) kiss in a competition for the "World's Longest Continuous Kiss" during Valentine’s Day in Pattaya resort on February 14, 2013.  Ekkachai and Laksana make the new World's Longest Continuous Kiss at 58 hours 35 minutes 58 seconds. AFP PHOTOBANGKOK (AFP) – A kiss lasting nearly two-and-a-half days propelled one determined Thai couple to a new record for the world’s longest smooch on Valentine’s Day, organisers said Friday.

Hospital security guard Ekkachai Tiranarat, 44, and 33-year-old housewife Laksana locked lips for 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds, smashing last year’s Guinness World Record by more than eight hours.
Thai couple Ekkachai (R) and Laksana Tiranarat (L) kiss in a competition for the "World's Longest Continuous Kiss" during Valentine’s Day in Pattaya resort on February 14, 2013. Ekkachai and Laksana make the new World's Longest Continuous Kiss at 58 hours 35 minutes 58 seconds. AFP PHOTO

Thai couple Ekkachai (R) and Laksana Tiranarat (L) kiss in a competition for the “World’s Longest Continuous Kiss” during Valentine’s Day in Pattaya resort on February 14, 2013. Ekkachai and Laksana make the new World’s Longest Continuous Kiss at 58 hours 35 minutes 58 seconds. AFP PHOTO

The romance of the clinch may have been marred by competition rules requiring contestants to remain on their feet throughout, slurp food and liquids through a straw and even go to the toilet while continuing to press their lips together.

“They were very exhausted because they did not sleep for two-and-a-half days, they had to stand all the time so they were very weak,” Sompron Naksuetrong, vice president of event organiser Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, told AFP.

The “kissathon” ended shortly before midnight on Valentine’s Day, with the male couple who won last year unable to maintain their smooch, collapsing just two minutes before Ekkachai and Laksana.

The pair won 100,000 baht ($3,300) cash and two diamond rings.

Organisers said they did not plan to hold another competition next year after three straight years of bettering the record in Thailand and will wait for a challenge in another country.

Goldie: How she died – Kenny Ogungbe

CEO of Kennis Music, the label Goldie was signed on, Kenny Ogungbe has issued a statement detailing the final hours of the late singer.

“With a deep sense of loss, we announce the shocking death of our darling music star, Goldie Harvey. Goldie, 31, died on Thursday after she complained of a severe headache shortly after her arrival from the United States where she went to witness the Grammy Award. She was rushed from her Park View, Ikoyi, Lagos residence to her official hospital, Reddington, Victoria Island, Lagos, where doctors pronounced her dead on arrival at exactly 7:30pm in the evening.

We consider this period a gloomy moment for us and the entire Nigerian music industry in view of the circumstance in which she passed away; the abundance of talent she exhibited in her short but eventful music career and the various opportunities her trip to the United States of America would have availed her.

She is survived by her father, step- mother, brothers and sisters. We deeply sympathise with her family and fans all over the world and very grateful to all and sundry, especially, the vibrant Nigerian media for their concern and prompt reportage. We shall keep everybody informed as events unfold as we are devastated by the sudden loss.”

Goldie’s remains has been deposited at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital LASUTH mortuary.

Singer Goldie is Dead!

Former Big Brother housemate and  sensational singer,  Goldie Harvey is dead.

According to reports, Goldie, who just returned from the Grammy awards in US,  Thursday night, suddenly fell ill and was taken to the Reddington Hospital, Victoria Island , where she died a few hours after, in the arms of her close friend, Denrele.
“She was full of life upon her return, but suddenly, something went tragically wrong,” a source, said.

Goldie’s management announced on her Facebook page and on her twitter handle, Thursday night, “It is with heavy heart that I have to inform you all that Goldie passed this night shortly after arriving Lagos from LA. May her soul rest in the eternal peace of the Lord – Admin!!”

Details later.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

'TB Joshua proposed to me 45 minutes after we met' - wife opens up

Prophet TB Joshua's wife of 23 years, Evelyn Joshua, granted a rare interview to The Spectator and talked about how she met and married TB Joshua at the age of 17 in 1990 and her role in his ministry. See excerpts below...

I visited a sister somewhere at Ikotun-Egbe and they were all talking about a particular man, a prophet. Half of the people in the room had all met him and they were saying a lot of good things about him. After everything, I asked my sister if she could take me to him. I needed a spiritual guide at the time. A counselor. So we went there but unfortunately didn't meet him at home. Some months later I visited him again alone, that was in 1990.

TB Joshua proposed to her 45 minutes after they met. Sweet, huh? lol..
Before this time, the idea I had about this prophet was that he was an old man, with a long white beard. So on that day I was reading a novel that I came with when I suddenly saw someone come into the room, pick one or two things and went back. The person I saw wasn't an old man so I didn't pay him any attention. But when he went back to the consulting room, one of the people also waiting to speak with him said 'that's him'.
When it eventually my turn to see him, we sat opposite each other. He was gazing at me for a few minutes, and I was also gazing at him. Transfixed as I was, I saw him write something on a piece of paper, 'Ejide' (means twin has come). I'm a twin.
Then we started talking and he told a lot of things about myself, both things I knew and the ones I didn't know. He told me about my family, about my past, about my future. Altogether we spoke for about forty five minutes. At the end of the whole thing he spoke to me in Yoruba. He said (translated in English) Please don't be annoyed. Don't think this is how I talk to everyone that comes to me. I don't have a concubine and I don't want to have a concubine. But will you marry me?
Just like that. It was strange, but that gives me an insight into what the scripture says that the spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. That was how I met him. When he proposed to me my heart agreed with it instantly. Some months later I asked him why he thought it was right seeing a lady for the first time and proposing to her. He said he had seen me four days before that day. I don't know if it was in a dream or a revelation. We had our traditional and church wedding a few months later.

Report links Ondo commissioner with acid bath

AKURE — POLICE authorities in Ondo State have swung into action to unravel the mystery behind the pouring of acid on a former member of the state Task Force on Forest Reserve, Mr Adetutu Ajisafe, by some hoodlums.
Already, the police have quizzed some staff of the Ministry of Natural Resources over the incident, but no arrest has been made by the Police.
Police image maker, Wole Ogodo, confirmed to Vanguard that the victim was still unconscious and had not been able to finger those behind the dastardly act.
Ogodo described as false report that the victim, who is still unconscious, had accused some Labour Party chieftains in the state and the state Commissioner for Natural Resources, Alhaji Lasisi Oluboyo of masterminding his attack.
Oluboyo denies allegation
Meanwhile, the commissioner has in Akure denied any involvement in the attack of the victim. Oluboyo promised to assist the police in fishing out the attackers.
Describing the action as barbaric and inhuman, the commissioner said he was embarrassed by the report linking him with the attack and promised to assist the security agents in fishing out the perpetrators of the attack.
According to him, the victim was a member of the former task force dissolved by him when he assumed duty as commissioner in the state in 2011.
He noted that it took the ministry two months to retrieve government property in Ajisafe’s possession after the task force had been dissolved.
He recalled writing a petition to the state Commissioner of Police over impersonation by Ajisafe even after he had been disengaged from the task force.
The commissioner said Ajisafe was arrested by the state police sometime ago when he illegally arrested some timber drivers and was discovered not to be a member of the task force.
He said: “Ajisafe illegally arrested some timber lorries and took them to the security agents where it was discovered that he was not a member of the state task force.
“I have never set my eyes on him for a long time. I don’t have cause to call him and wondered why he was claiming that I called him on phone to threaten him. Let the security investigate this.”
“I strongly have faith in the security agents that the perpetrators of the crime will be brought to book”

NHRC probes teacher’s turturing of his 10-year-old son

ABUJA — The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, yesterday, said it has commenced investigation into the reported assault and torture of a 10-year-old boy, Stephen Ogbeun, by his father.
Reacting to the action of Mr. Christopher Ogbeun, who allegedly tortured his son with a hot pressing iron at Lokoja in Kogi State, Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, condemned the act as “inhuman, barbaric and wicked.”
Ogbeun, who is the Principal of Government Day Secondary School in Oshokoshoko community in Lokoja Local Government Area in Kogi State, was alleged to have assaulted his son after accusing him of destroying documents that gave his school approval to conduct external exams.
Angwe said the commission had already waded into the matter, describing the act as “unacceptable in the 21st Century Nigeria.
“The action of the perpetrators of all forms of violence contradicts Section 34 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 which prohibits torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.”
He maintained that the commission would hold a stakeholders’ meeting to address issues of domestic violence and enjoined various stakeholders, including community leaders, civil society organisations, the academia and faith based organisations, to collaborate with the commission in this regard.

Governance: Witch doctor to the rescue?

THE villagers have a better way of expressing the same feelings. They will quickly tell you that there is no royal road to geometry and that life has no short-cut. Some will keep drumming it into your ears that you shall only reap whatever you sow
Many may not want to put up with all the inconveniences of going to school. Going to school is seen as punishment with hard labour. And in the end, you even graduate into unemployment.
Life in Lagos may be different. Each time I visit this friend of mine, I also feel the inconvenience. Those innocent kids of theirs must wake up as early as 5 am to prepare for school. Their parents drop them off on their way to work in the Island.
My friend can only pick them up as from 6 pm after balancing the books at the bank. On the days of light traffic, they would be lucky to get to their home at Ikeja around 10 pm. This routine is replicated every working day of the week.
A cheaper alternative to this ordeal of going to school would be to leave the children at home to play football and gradually develop into area boys.
The only irony in all this is that those who opt for this alternative would wake up one morning, wanting to become the President of the country. If they do not succeed in becoming president, then it is home trouble and witches in the village that are after them.
By the time we shall be reading this piece, a witch doctor of sorts shall have resumed duty in the power sector. Somebody is certainly bringing a complete innovation to governance; call it government by voodoo, if you wish.
On Wednesday, January 23, 2013, the Senate confirmed the nominations of Alhaji Tanimu Turaki and Prof. Chinedu Osita Nebo as Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Prof. Nebo is bringing a wealth of experience and a lot of wizardry into office.
Hear him: “If the President deploys me in the power sector, I believe that given my performance at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN, where as a Vice Chancellor, I drove out the witches and demons, God will also give me the power to drive out demons in the power sector.”
To drive away the witches presupposes that you know their covens. At the UNN, locating such covens might not have been too difficult. The same may not be easily said of the power sector, where some of the covens may be located in high places, even in Aso Rock Villa itself.
Those suspended investigations and the unimplemented probe reports are in the coven. Who will dig them out? Therein lies the litmus test.
We hope Prof. is not underestimating the areas in government where his expertise will be urgently required. Recent events indicate clearly that the areas are legion: when President Goodluck Jonathan visited the Police College, Ikeja, we wonder what he expected to see.
He could as well have been expecting to see the type of buildings they have at West Point or Sandhurst. What right had the President to expect so much? Couldn’t he have provided for the fact that, that was a clear abode for the witches, wizards and demons over the years?
By the time the fat flies and beautiful cockroaches from the pit latrines came out to mount a guard of honour for the President, it dawned on him that all he had been hearing about the level of corruption in the police domain were not fairy tales, after all.
Year after year, heavy budgetary outlays have been devoted to the police but turn after turn, many Inspectors General of Police have come out richer than the Federal Government.
Each time, the king carries a stick in readiness for war, what should the palace attendants do? Whenever the IG took the big chunk, his subordinates swallowed the balance. So down the line, we may soon find that everyone in the system is a demon, deserving to be chased out.
It is now very clear the real justice in Nigeria can only be obtained in foreign courts. Recently, it took a far away British Court to jail Governor James Ibori for the crimes over which Nigerian courts had set him free.
He could even have been awarded medals here as a mark of honour for doing great things.
On Wednesday, January 30, 2013, it took a Court in The Hague, Netherlands, to rule that the Royal Dutch Shell’s subsidiary in Nigeria, Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, was responsible for the terrible oil pollution in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria. Nigerian courts have consistently given the SPDC a clean bill. Clearly, there are lots of demons to be chased out of our judiciary.
You must be well to be able to say you are not well. We keep considering only the small items. John Yakubu Yusufu must be wondering why people are demonstrating when he “stole only N23 billion of the Police Pensions Fund”.
After all, he has been sentenced to a whole two years imprisonment with a huge option of N750, 000 fine, which he promptly paid.
Meanwhile, most of the owners of the pension money have died in the process of waiting for their money.
Again, Yusufu’s takings merely form an infinitesimal fraction of the entire haulage. Yusufu must be complaining that at least we got something from him. And don’t forget, he still has the right of appeal.
What of a former governor who allegedly stole his state blind under immunity? As soon as he left office and lost his immunity, he rushed to the court and slapped a perpetual injunction on the people barring them from asking him any question.
It is all happening in our time; in the 21st century Nigeria! And the world is watching us! Holy Ghost … Fire!

No retirement for me – Obasanjo

LAGOS—Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has pledged to continue doing good so long as he had the breadth of God in him and capacity to do so.
Obasanjo in an interview monitored on the newly debuted international television station, Arise TV, called on the international community to mobilise funds to help the international coalition forces in Mali, affirming that the intervention was launched for the benefit of the global community.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
The interview was recorded in London where the former President recently arrived for the launch of his Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation scheduled for tomorrow.
Asked if he was not tired and when he would retire from the international stage, the former president said:
”There is no retirement in doing good in life and so long as you have breadth, you should continue to do good,” Obasanjo said in the interview monitored in Lagos.
Commending the efforts of the international coalition forces in Mali, Obasanjo said the Malian troops must be bolstered through increased training to be able to handle the critical situation, he said  if not checked, could affect the whole world.
“The point is that if we have a situation anywhere in the world that affects the whole world, the world must be able to raise the needed money in order to deal with the situation,” adding “if the will is there, it would be done.”
The former President said his efforts in good works which, he said, were also being channeled through his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, were in the line of American presidents who set up presidential libraries after leaving office.

2015: Atiku, Obasanjo now friends – Irek, Atiku Coordinator

Not too long ago the two men and their proxies were at each other’s throats. Now, a confidant of Atiku Abubakar, is claiming that the former vice-president and his one time number one foe, Olusegun Obasanjo are now the best of friends.

Chief Ernest Irek a former member of the House of Representatives and one time coordinator of Atiku’s presidential campaign in Cross River State, is debunking allegations of dissimulation and secret animosity between Obasanjo and Atiku.
Atiku and Obasanjo
Chief Irek in a telephone interview with Vanguard following a meeting with some of the former vice president’s associates in Calabar reiterated the determination of Atiku’s undying followers to realize their long but often imperiled dream of enthroning their man in the presidency.
He said that the impression in some quarters that there was acrimony between Atiku and Obasanjo was wrong, claiming that the two leaders had resolved any form of misunderstanding they may have had while in office.
“They have been talking to themselves, they have been visiting themselves. Chief Obasanjo has not openly declared his support to Atiku, we know his support is paramount, but for now he does not have any problem with him.
“There was the time Atiku visited him in his Otta farm that was the beginning of the peace meeting and Atiku said this man was my boss, my elder brother, I respect him. In African culture once someone gives you that respect, you are bound to resiprocate, I don’t think he has any problem with Atiku for now,” he said.
Commenting on the outcome of the Southern Nigeria’s Peoples Assembly held recently in Enugu, Irek advised that Nigerians should always bring equity and justice to play in whatever they do.
Irek explained that in one of the meetings held in Warri, Delta State, a prominent politician and an elder statesman from the area had canvassed support for President Goodluck Jonathan, but the Enugu meeting was for the stakeholders to chart a way forward as the 2015 was fast approaching.
The former coordinator said it would be unfair to deny the North the right to take their turn, citing the case of 1999 when the presidential field was left for only southern candidates but wondered why the South should usurp the turn of the North because former President Umaru Yar’Adua died.

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Boko Haram:SSS raids FCT suburbs, arrests 2 clerics, others

Some residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)suburbs have come under alleged harassment in the hands of some security agencies under the guise of cracking down on Boko Haram suspects, Blueprint investigation has revealed.
In three separate cases, our correspondent learnt that security agents, mostly the State Security Service (SSS) and the military have variously invaded houses of some of the affected residents at odd hours without warrant of arrest.
One of the victims, Abdulkareem Isah, a resident of Dagiri in Gwagwalada area council, said he was arrested on January 10, 2013 and taken to an undisclosed location.
In a similar case, a retired deputy superintendent of  Immigration (DSI), Usman Nababa,  a resident of FCDA Owner-Occupier Estate, Kubwa, was also subjected to the harrowing experience by the  SSS.
In a petition dated January11, 2013,  obtained exclusively by Blueprint, entitled, ‘Illegal arrest and detention of Malam Abdulkareem Isah…..over unfounded accusation of being a member of Boko Haram – demand for release forthwith’, Dawud Sulayman of J.O. Oluwale & Co,  stated; “On January 10, 2013 at about 3am at Dagiri in Gwagwalada Area Council, Abuja, men of the SSS and some military men allegedly invaded   the house of Isah who is the chief imam of the central mosque in Dagiri.
When asked if he knew one Suleiman, whom they suspected to be  a member of Boko Haram in Dagiri area, the petitioner said he  told the security agencies that he did not  know Suleiman and he (Isah) had never been a member of Boko Haram. Thereafter, he was arrested and whisked away to an unknown destination.
The  petition,  addressed to the SSS Director General and copied to National Security Adviser,( NSA), Director General, National Intelligence Agency, (NIA), Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, (NHRC) and the Attorney General of the Federation noted,   “We believe that no one is above the law,  when there is perceived breach of law or peace, but the state apparatus should not be used for oppression of innocent citizens, else the state will be a violator of the right of individuals capable of breaching peace.”
In a similar tone, Nababa, who spoke exclusively to our correspondent, claimed he got a call from a neighbour who alerted   him of the presence of armed robbers in the area. This call, he said, prompted him to look out through his widow.
The retired immigration officer, alarmed by what he saw, disclosed that about 12 well-armed men, dressed in black and some in helmets, invaded his neighbourhood.
“When I came I didn’t see them, but one of my neighbours saw them and called me. He said, ‘Chairman, please help us, there are so many armed robbers around us, so you can call the police to help us, because they have surrounded us. So, when I got the call, I looked through my window and I saw men in black with sophisticated weapons.’
Explaining how the suspects were arrested around 3am, Nababa said: “They collected my handset, took it to their big van vehicle which had some gadgets and whatever they did  to it I don’t know.
“They later asked to know if I knew one Ishaq Abbass, one of our Islamic teachers to which I replied yes.  I told them he was in the Islamic school alongside others sleeping. Upon asking if I could  show them the place, I said yes after which I asked a friend, (name withheld) to join me. The SSS asked me to enter their vehicle and I declined. I walked there because it was not far.”
Upon getting there, he said he knocked on the door and called on Ibrahim, another occupant, stressing, “When Ibrahim and Ishaq came out, the security agents ordered them to lie down and instantly tied Ibrahim and Ishaq’s hands to their back.
“Then, they blindfolded them. This was done to some other occupants of the mosque like Abdullahi and Aliyu. And then I saw SSS people put gun on their heads. At that point, I cautioned the officers, that they should please not kill them here. And we don’t know what they have done,” he further explained.
Although another victim Yakubu Mohammed, popularly called Maigemu, who was lucky to have been released by the security agents, however said his in-law, Murtala, was yet to regain freedom.
When contacted, the spokesman of the SSS, Marylyn Ogar, did not respond to phone calls put to her cell phone. A text message sent to her to respond to some matter was not responded to either as at the time of filing this report.

Friday 1 February 2013

Is CAN still relevant?

IT is a common knowledge that before the Christian Association of Nigeria was formed, Protestants and Roman Catholics in Nigeria were not on  best of terms, as far as inter-religious dialogue is concerned.
This lack of cordiality among native believers from different Church denominations could be traced to the era when western missionaries migrated into Africa.
Eventually, when the missionaries came, bitter rivalries erupted among them over mission territories. Protestant missionaries often settled this among themselves through agreements. But where the rivalry involved Catholics and Protestants, no such territorial agreements were made.
Consequently, there appeared to be more tension between Catholic and Protestant missions than there was among the different Protestant missions.
Then there was the Vatican II – one of the most important councils in the history of Christianity – since the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
The Vatican II, the 21st Council of the Roman Catholic Church, began  in 1962 and ended in 1965.
At this council, one of the major things that took centre  stage was  the discussion on the relationship of the Church with other Christian faiths and with Jews and people of other religions. This was a watershed in Christian history.
From this point on, the Catholic Church began to warm up towards other faithful from other denominations. Therefore, Vatican II prepared the ground for the emergence of CAN, and it gave the Nigerian Catholic church a better platform to foster cooperation with non-Catholic Christians.
Also, the emergence of the World Council of Churches, All-Africa Council of Churches, Christian Council of Nigeria, Tarayar Ekklisiyoyin Kristi a Sudan – The Fellowship of the Churches of Christ in the Sudan (And later, in Nigeria), New Life For All, and the Northern Christian Association, prepared the minds of many Nigerian Protestants to embrace other Christians.
CAN’s coming into limelight was influenced by the activities of the post-independence Nigerian government with the take-over of many mission schools and hospitals in the country, and elsewhere: Ghana and Guinea.
Besides the anti-mission activities of the post-independence Nigerian government, the growing fear of Islamisation was a critical factor in the formation of CAN, to protect the people from unnecessary religious dominance.
Eventually, CAN was born on the 27th August, 1976 as a Christian pressure group and, euphemistically put, a Christian ‘interest-protection’ association, made up of five blocs: the Christian Council of Nigeria, the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, the Organization of African Instituted Churches, and the Evangelical Fellowship of West Africa.
Today, CAN is better known for its role of defending Christianity rather than uniting them to a level of spiritual fellowship, collaborating with the Bible Society of Nigeria in the translation of the Bible into local languages, as well as rendering some health services.
Unfortunately, a number of issues continue to hamper the body from engaging in genuine ecumenism. Point one:  Many Protestants within CAN still look down on other faithful from the orthodox churches. They consider them as  not being ‘born again’ and therefore, not pious Christians. They hinged their argument on the belief that orthodox churches are more engrossed in traditional Christian worship at the expense of Pentecostalism.
Some Christian group often decry the Catholics for allegedly not considering some Protestant clergymen in CAN as properly being ordained – they feel that the ordination of such church leaders do not share historical link with first-century Christianity – as such, Protestant clergymen are not qualified to lead ecumenical worship services.
The quest for power is another obstacle to genuine Christian ecumenism. This  problem is almost endemic in CAN, and it has a long history. For example, during the 2004 election of the National Secretary of the Association, ‘sectional politics was played out’ that at a point, some delegates threatened to stage a walk out.
The issue of control seems to be the over-riding concern in many CAN elections. Every denomination wants to take control of the affairs of the body, at all cost, just the same way that politicians behave in the secular world. Undoubtedly, the budding and genuine Christian ecumenism will remain elusive amidst this inordinate struggle for power by church leaders.
Perhaps, these divisive factor and superiority greatly contributed to the change in the constitution of the Association, from its initial clause which states that “The Association is a fellowship of churches, working together to promote the glory of God by encouraging the growth and unity of the churches, and by helping them to salvation and all its fruits”.
On the contrary, the amended version of the constitution says, “Christian Association of Nigeria is an Association of Christian Churches with distinct identities, recognizable Church structures and a system of worship of one God in the Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This Association makes Christ the centre of its entire works and shall promote the glory of God, by encouraging the growth and unity of the churches, and by helping them to lead the nation and her people to partake of Christ’s salvation and all its fruits”.
From this modification, it is easy to deduce how the word ‘fellowship’, a more appropriate word for Christian ecumenism, is replaced by the word ‘association’, a rather loose term that has further widened the gulf of oneness.
The growing corruption, decadence and lawlessness in the land continue to make the people wonder whether CAN is still relevant in nation building, as cases of Christians indicted for corruption seem to be on the increase.
Mr.  ADEWALE KUPOLUYI, wrote from Federal Varsity of Agric., abeokuta, Ogun State.

How to avoid Nigeria’s breakaway in 2015 – IBB

Former Military president, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (rtd), yesterday undertook a critical view of the predictions made by soothsayers, including the United States of America that Nigeria will disintegrate in 2015 and suggested ways to ensure the predictions do not become a reality.
General Babangida spoke  where he was the chairman of the public presentation of two books in honour of former External Affairs Minister, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Said he: “As Nigerians, we are aware of the great doubts that have been cast about what 2015 portends for the continuing existence of our nation. I am aware that Nigerians have taken great umbrage at these predictions. Even Lord Lugard who founded what has been called Nigeria gave it a life-span of 100 years.
*Two Books titled 'Perspectives on Nigeria's National and External Relations: Essays in Honour of Professor Bolaji Akinyemi' and 'Nigeria and the World A. Bolaji Aknyemi Revisited' by Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, former External Affairs Minister were publicly presented at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos on Thursday. Pix from right Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Author; Dr Olusegun Mimiko, Governor of Ondo State and Guest of Honour; General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, former President and Chairman of the Occassion and Major General Ike Nwachukwu (rtd) at the Book Presentation. Photo by Lamidi Bamidele
“I regard it as a challenge to our intelligence to ensure that these portends and prophesies do not become self-fulfilling. We should engage these predictions on an intellectual level, testing whether the facts justify the conclusions.

“But on a practical and public policy level, we must import honesty into our public policy assessments. Firstly, we must identify the problems that need to be addressed. Secondly we must address these problems honestly.

“Thirdly we must identify the most current and the most appropriate mechanism for addressing these issues.