"Trust in Nigeria's Future"

"Trust in Nigeria's Future"

Friday 15 November 2013

GUO Motors boss kidnappers nearly forced him to join in bank robbery –

ONITSHA  — The Chairman of G. U. O. Motors Limited, Chief Godwin Ubaka Okeke, yesterday, told an Onitsha High Court in Anambra State, presided over by Justice Chudi Nwankwo, that his kidnappers nearly forced him to join them in a bloody bank robbery operation which they carried out while he was still their hostage.
This came a day after they kidnapped him for ransom in Onitsha on Sunday, August 23, 2009.
At a resumed hearing of his evidence-in-chief, yesterday, Okeke who said he was later released on Monday evening between 7 and 8 p.m, a day after his abduction, gave a blow-by-blow account of his encounter with them in their various camps.
Godwin Okeke
Godwin Okeke
Okeke told the court: “Few hours after my breadfruit meal with them on that fateful Sunday afternoon at a bungalow between Adazi-Enu and Neni, when I offered them N1 billion, as against N100 million they demanded, which made them to have a special joy and went into a relaxed mood, I now settled down for  serious negotiation with them.
The CBN directive
“I reminded them of the newly introduced CBN policy which stated that all those who were heavily indebted to various commercial banks in the country would have their names published in the national dailies and at the same time, have their accounts in the banks frozen.
“I told them that it was left for them to accept whatever amount my wife could mop up before the bank could freeze all my accounts in the bank since I was actually heavily indebted to many banks in the country.
“I specifically told them that my wife could mobilise at least something in the neighbourhood of N30 million for now.
“On hearing me mention something like N30 million only, the second defendant, Anthony Ifeanyi Okafor, became furious at once and hammered an enlarged photograph on my head. Not satisfied with that, Okafor picked up a machete and pierced my left hand and blood started gushing out and I used his handkerchief to tie the wounded hand, just like I used my shirt to tie my bullet wounded leg.
“At that point, a woman carrying a child on her back entered the compound to visit the owners, but her entry rattled them so much so that they wanted to grip her but she managed to wriggle herself out of the compound and in an attempt to track her down, Okafor’s gun dropped on the ground and started firing by itself.
“Following the bangs from the firing gun, the gang leader blamed Okafor for his carelessness and at once, all of them hurriedly packed their weapons into their vehicles and left the compound for another, somewhere in Adazi-Nnukwu.
“They remained there for few hours and  left again for Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of the state, driving through Nnobi/Nnewi road where they snatched at least three vehicles. On getting to Ozubulu at about 10 p.m, I requested them to allow me time to sleep and they did and I dozed off.
“About 1 a.m, on Monday, they woke me up, drove off again and landed at a very big farmland at Amenyi, Awka around 4 a.m. At about noon, I requested them to give me lunch and my blood pressure, BP, drugs to take.
“They asked me what I would like to eat for lunch and what type of drug and I told them fried rice and chicken and Venox drug for my BP. They quickly arranged for the food and drug which I took.
They nearly involved  me in bank robbery
“After that, the kidnappers, numbering up to 16, gathered, brought out a liquid substance mixed up with roots, herbs and native hot drink which I suspected to be protective charm (Odieshi) and started taking  shots one after the other and I asked them to give me and they asked whether I knew what the substance was all about and I replied yes and they gave me and I also drank.
“While they were taking the substance, they were discussing how to carry out a  bank robbery operation at Awka that same afternoon. They told me that with the Odieshi, I could join them for the operation but I told them that if the police and soldiers happened to confront them, I would join the police and army in disarming them and their leader now directed that I should be left out of it.”
Ransom payment  and release
On how ransom was paid and his eventual release, Okeke said: “They squeezed me inside one of the vehicles with four of them, while the rest took off for the bank robbery. The four of them with me were patrolling around Agulu/Nibo/Nise road inside the vehicle.
“While  on patrol, they were establishing contact with my family members over the ransom and at the same time establishing contact with those on bank robbery, until they now told my family where to drop the ransom. They even gave me phone to listen to the blasts at the bank premises during the operation and I actually heard the heavy sound of weapons.
“Before my family members arrived the designated venue which was close to Neni police station to drop the ransom, some of their members who went for the bank robbery operation had returned. When eventually my family members arrived with the ransom at about 7 p.m., they shoved off my driver from the wheel and collected the money, my Toyota SUV with which the ransom was brought and zoomed off, telling me and my driver to go home with one of the vehicles they snatched from someone else.
“As they left with my SUV and the ransom, they forgot one of their rocket launchers inside the snatched vehicle and I decided to drive straight to Neni police station to make an entry. Policemen actually admitted hearing the sounds of the guns but pleaded that they don’t have enough manpower and matching sophisticated weapons to confront the kidnappers.
“I now pleaded with the policemen to escort me home which they did by driving me and my driver to my residence at Onitsha with the snatched vehicle while they took the vehicle and the rocket launcher back to the police station.”

Would the Mafia target Pope Francis over Vatican reforms?

(CNN) -- "I don't know if organized criminals have the capability to do something to the Pope. But they are certainly thinking about it."
These words, uttered in a recent interview by an Italian anti-Mafia prosecutor, don't quite justify the alarming worldwide headlines they provoked, but at the same time it would be rash to dismiss them out of hand.
The new Pope represents a serious threat to some established criminal interests at a critical moment in the long history of the Mafias' relationship with Catholicism -- a past marked by both intimacy and violence.
John Dickie
John Dickie
Italy's Mafia problem is as old as the Italian state. The three major Mafias -- the Camorra, the 'Ndrangheta, and Cosa Nostra -- originated in the political violence that led up to Italian unification in 1860. But only in 1993 did a Pope explicitly denounce the Mafia. Speaking in Sicily, John Paul II warned mobsters that God's judgement was at hand. Cosa Nostra's own verdict on the Pope's words came two months later, when it planted bombs that seriously damaged two ancient churches in Rome.
Before that epoch-making rupture, mafiosi and priests had rubbed along pretty well. The reasons were political. The Church loathed the new Italian state because its unification had robbed the Pontiff of his earthly kingdom, leaving him only with the Vatican City. So the Church looked elsewhere for pious sources of authority. And Mafia bosses have always been good at dressing up as devout paladins of order.
The local saint's day, when a statue is carried through the streets amid prayers and singing, is the focal point of the calendar in many Italian towns and villages. All too often, the local capo would place himself at the head of the parade. The 'Ndrangheta even used a religious festival as cover for its annual general meeting. Since the 1890s, the bosses from across Calabria have gathered in early September at the Festival of the Madonna of Polsi.
Pope Francis leads the charge on reform
Pope Francis wins over the web
Photos: Pope embraces disfigured manPhotos: Pope embraces disfigured man

During the Cold War, the Church stood firmly in the anti-communist camp. Mafia bosses had every interest in posing as bulwarks against the red menace because it helped them cosy up to the Christian Democrats -- the Catholic political party that held power until 1994. In 1964, the Cardinal Archbishop of Palermo denounced any talk of the Mafia as a Communist plot to besmirch Sicily. In 1982, John Paul II visited Palermo in the middle of an underworld war that saw hundreds killed, and he did not once use the M-word.


Besides the acclaimed lesbians and bi-sexuals who barely hide their identities do you ever stop to ponder the fact that Nigeria, today is literally crawling with lesbians from left, right and center? Even high society Nigerian ladies who are supposed to be role models are also lesbians and most times lure younger ladies into the devilish acts.
Risabi LesbianThis investigation carried out bywww.myemag.net reveals that, unlike adultery, it is easier for marriedNigerian women to engage in lesbianism, since husbands hardly suspect that anything is amiss when their wives hangout with their female friends. Did you know, for instance that a leading Nigerian woman, whose husband, Umoru, a politician who fell sick and died on the seat of power is a lesbian. Another top lesbian, Duku, once fought another northern female top shot, who she learnt had slept with Umoru’s widow.
Again, the daughter of a South South governor, we heard is also in the club. Named Maria, she graduated from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. When the fire on the mountain crooner, who reportedly slept with her female manager when she visited Asaba sometime ago, both women we gather shamelessly fornicated in the musician’s hotel suite.
Don’t also forget Abolore’s sister-in-law. We heard she also swings both ways.                 Still in the West, a popular Erelu, believe it or not, is a raving lesbo she allegedly does it with some high society ladies in her class and some young ladies who aspire to be like her.      Back to Abuja, there’s the story ofAishatu who made the costly mistake of double dating two lesbians. When they found out (because we hear that lesbians are a very jealous lot) this young lawyer had to scamper out of the FCT pronto. Heard she now lives in the U.S.A.
Consider also the following young ladies who ply their trade in Nigeria’s film industry. Her name sound like that of a popular magazine edited by a top broadcaster’s wife, but her friends call her Genie.  This dark Nollywood queen is a champion in this game. She is not alone in this because the likes of thatOnyibo looking Yoruba actress who shares surname with the brothers who invented the Airplane is also in that train.
Remember the hot and sexy Ebube, wow! This hot sex machine that should have been a blessing to men’s world also enjoys doing her follow babes. Even though she ‘does men’, www.myemag.net was informed that she also enjoys her fellow ladies too.
There is also an Emem in a cabal, she sings like a song. In this cabal there are a group of ladies inNollywood who do not give a damn about the men’s piston and the miliki it gives to women, they do everything together and this includes kissing each other and caressing each other’s water-melons, if you know what I mean, their names are Uche, Nse and the very yellow complexioned beauty who shares a name with one of Da Vinci’s famous works. What of Nollywood’s weeping child? Ah, she too is involved although her case is different from that of the cabal, she swings between men and women, I mean madam Sylva… you should know her of course, the yellow lady that was a given a juice park to suck on TV, wonder if that is the way she sucks her fellow babe? Ah, na you know oh… The rest areFathiawho shares same surname with a former Inspector general of Police. There is also, Dike,whose bed partner is also a Nollywood gal whose surname is Abubakar. We also hear that Anitawhose body looks like that of Hugan is also super when handling her fellow woman on bed. Others areElfredaMariam who might have Appolo, Linda, and madam Lepa .Please don’t be angry if your name wasn’t mentioned, na dis ones we know for now…more later.

Thursday 14 November 2013

Governor Obi Receive the best Performing Govenor Award Polio Eradication

From left Anambra State Governor Peter Obi, Alhaji Aliko Dangote
and Mr. Bill Gate as the Governor Receive the best Performing Govenor
Award Polio Eradication from the South East at the Meeting of
Presidential Task force on Polio and Recognition Award at the State House Abuja today

From left Anambra State Governor Peter Obi Alhaji Aliko Dangote
and Mr. Bill Gate President Goodluck Jonathan at the
Award Polio Eradication from the South East at the Meeting of
Presidential Task force on Polio and Recognition Award at the State House Abuja today

Imo Rewards Indigenes, Coach in Victorious Eaglets Team With Money, Land

The Imo state Government on Wednesday, November 13, 2013, hosted hosted four members of the under- 17 FIFA World Cup winning team who are indigenes of Imo State. At the occasion, the state governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha assisted by his deputy, Prince Eze Madumere rewarded each of the four players of the Golden Eaglets with a N1 million Naira gift and a plot of Land while their assistant Coach and indigene of Imo State, Emmanuel Amuneke got a N2 million reward and a plot of land. The Governor also promised that the state government will undertake to pay the school fees of the four Eaglet stars until their graduation from the university. The Eaglets from Imo were: Kelechi Iheanacho, Eze Chidera, Nwakali Chidiebere, Francis Odinaka Ozoho.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Ngige linked to secret agreement to build Mosque in Awka . . . in return for campaign funding

All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the November 16 gubernatorial election in Anambra State, Senator Chris Ngige, has been accused of receiving a large sum of money for his campaigns on the condition that he would build a magnificent mosque in Awka as part of efforts to promote Islam in Anambra if he wins the election.

“In fulfilment of this agreement, Senator Ngige is expected to build a mosque in the sparsely populated Agu Awka area, in the outskirts of Awka, the Anambra State capital, within one year of assuming office,” a New York, US-based Professor of Medicine currently on a visit home said in Awka over the weekend.

The source, who is also a prominent leader of the Igbo community in the east coast of USA, described the money involved as running into billions of naira, from some Muslim Arabs desperate to see Islam gain a foothold in Igbo land. He alleged that the agreement was brokered and signed with the knowledge of the leadership of Ngige’s party, APC, saying this is not surprising because “APC looks very much like a Muslim party as everyone from its Chairman, Chief Abdulkareem Bisi Akande, to its Northern and Southern Leaders, General Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Ahmed Tinubu, respectively are Muslims. APC’s National Secretary, Deputy National Secretary, National Publicity Secretary, National Youth Leader, National Legal Adviser, National Women Leader, National Financial Secretary, National Treasurer, National Auditor and two Ex-Officio members are all Muslims.”

Continuing, the Professor of Medicine, who pleaded anonymity, said: “We have a saying that Anambra bu isi Igbo (Anambra is the leader of the Igbo race). So, their calculation is that once they subdue Anambra, the rest of Igboland will be a piece of cake. That way, they would be fulfilling Uthman Dan Fodio’s 19th Century plan of dipping the Koran in the Atlantic which translates to a comprehensive Islamisation of Southern Nigeria.”

He said he was not surprised that Senator Nigige would accept such a condition for funding because “he desperately wants power and is ready to do anything for power including a negotiation with the devil himself if that is what it takes. It is well known that he can turn his back firmly on the agitations of his people in order to gain access to power. He did it when he sealed a pact with Chris Ubah before a deity in Okija. He did it again when he defended Fashola’s deportation of his brothers in exchange for power. He also turned deaf ears to all the complaints from Onitsha people and their Obi and went on to violate their Ofala Day recently.”

By Okike Ozoemena, www.newsexpressngr.com, on 11/11/2013

Saturday 9 November 2013

Nigeria became the most successful team in FIFA U-17"

U-17 WINNERS: Nigeria players celebrating after winning the 2013 Fifa U-17 World Cup at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, in Abu Dhabi, Uae... on Friday
Nigeria  on Friday became the most successful team in FIFA U-17 World Cup history with a 3-0 win over  Mexico at the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Nigeria  beat defending champions  Mexico  to win the  FIFA Under-17 World Cup title for the fourth time and made history by being  the first country to win the junior world trophy four times.
By far the most exciting team of the tournament, the Eaglets were always the bookies favourites to emerge champions after a scintillating  display that had seen them score 23 goals in six games.
The Golden Eaglets arrived in UAE boasting three title triumphs in the cadet tournament like South American powerhouse Brazil.
Nigeria were champions in 1985, 1993 and 2007, and runners-up in 1987, 2001 and 2009.  But   an own goal from Erick Aguirre after nine minutes  followed by  a tap in from Kelechi Iheanacho  and   Captain Musa Mohamed’s free kick helped Nigeria leapfrog  Brazil, who won the competition in 1997, 1999 and 2003.
The Eaglets flew out of the traps with Iheanacho and Taiwo combining well to torment the Mexican defence. The 2011 champions, who lost to their opponents 6-1 in their group match,  responded  by drifting to the side for counterattacks but  Abdullahi Alfa provided the needed cover with Sam Okon and Muhammed nullifying their threats.
Nigeria goalkeeper Dele Alampasu did well to deny Ivan Ochoa when he tipped his goal-bound header over the bar.
The Eaglets  took the lead in the ninth minute after the North Americans lost the ball in  the Nigerian half.
The ball fell to Awoniyi, who laid for Iheanacho to set up  Musa Yahaya. As Yahaya was  preparing to shoot, Aguirre attempted to clear but only put the ball into his own net.
Despite being a goal down, the  Mexicans continued to threaten with Ochoa’s rampaging runs forcing the Eaglets to retreat to  their own half.
Yahaya came  close to doubling Nigeria’s lead on several occasions, as he hit the crossbar in the 39th minute, just moments after Awoniyi had struck the side netting after rounding  Mexico goalkeeper Raul Gudino to ensure Nigeria hold their slim advantage going into the break.
The Mexicans came out strongly in the second half probing for a quick goal to throw the encounter open but it was  Nigerians who doubled their lead   when Gudino parried  a long range shot into the path of Iheanacho to  tap home  for his sixth goal of the championship.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, the Mexicans had a great chance to put pressure on Nigeria but  Ochoa headed wide.
Nigeria sealed the title when  Mohammed weave  a free kick round the wall and past Gudino from the edge of the area with just nine minutes left to play.
Earlier in the day Sweden defeated Argentina 4-1 to win the third-place. Valmir Berisha scored a hat-trick  to win the Golden Boot with seven goals in the championship.
Iheanacho was the second highest scorer with six goals. Although Brazil’s Boschiilia also scored six goals, Iheanacho was rated due to his seven assists against the Brazilan’s three.
Iheanacho was voted the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, winning the Golden Ball for his efforts.  Brazil’s Nathan was voted second followed by   Mexico’s Ivan Ochoa in the third place.
Alampasu won the Golden Glove award. Nigeria also won the Fair Play Award. The Eaglets were the best attacking side in the competition after scoring  26 goals. Brazil were second with 19 followed by Sweden with 15. New Zealand did not score a single in the tournament.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan will on Sunday (tomorrow) host a grand reception for the victorious Golden Eaglets at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
This was contained in the President’s congratulatory message to the Golden Eaglets on their 3-0 triumph over Mexico in the final match of the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Soccer Championship played on Friday  in Abu Dhabi.
According to the statement by presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, the reception is in fulfillment of the President’s promise of a heroes’ welcome for the players.
“In fulfillment of his promise of a heroes’ welcome for the triumphant Golden Eaglets on their return home, President Jonathan will host a grand reception for the team at the Banquet Hall of the State House at 1900 Hours on Sunday, November 10, 2013 in appreciation of the great honour and glory they have brought to their fatherland,” the statement read.
Jonathan, on behalf of himself, the Federal Government and all Nigerians, congratulated the players on their victory for an unprecedented fourth time which he described as a glorious achievement.
He commended the young Eaglets for “the exemplary commitment, dedication, resilience, determination, patriotism and unity of purpose they displayed through-out the tournament to make Nigeria the World’s Under-17 Football Champion once again.”
The President also urged the leadership of the Nigerian Football Federation to strive to ensure that the world-conquering Eaglets, who have shown such immense potentials as youngsters, are  properly nurtured, trained and developed to represent the nation at higher levels in future international football competitions.
He wished the Golden Eaglets and their coaches a safe journey home and looks forward to receiving them in Abuja on Sunday. Also, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has congratulated the team  for winning the cup for a record fourth time.
Oshiomhole in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Peter Okhiria,
said, “I heartily congratulate the Eaglets for doing Nigerians proud in far away United Arab Emirates; the Eaglets displayed the can do spirit of the Nigerian, the will to excel even in the face of excruciating challenges.
“The boys represent a new generation of Nigerians whose faith in the country remain unwavering as they forged a formidable team to win the coveted trophy despite coming from different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
“I urge the authorities of the Nigerian Football Federation to keep this talented team together as the boys have the potential of even bringing greater honour to the country.
“The government and good people of Edo State give kudos to the Golden Eaglets for this great feat.”
More reactions trailed the victory of Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets at the just-concluded FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
A former coach of Nigeria Super Eagles, the country’s most senior football team, Adegboye Onigbinde, described the victory as “well deserved.”
The Eaglets  beat El Tri of Mexico in the final of the 15th edition of the tournament to win the trophy.
Onigbinde said Nigeria started well at the competition and ended in a similar fashion.
“It’s a good one for Nigeria because they started very well and ended very well. The end justifies the means.  Results are the ways to measure success so I’m happy for them because it’s a well-deserved victory. There are no controversies over all the matches they played because they own all of them clearly.”
The former Nigeria coach also called on the government to invest more in developing sports talents.
He said, “Let’s fish out sports talents and develop them; this is what I’ve been advocating for years.”
In a related development, the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Kalu, has congratulated the Golden Eaglets on their victory at the world championship, beating 23 other teams to the cup.
According to a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Oyekunle Oyewumi, Kalu said the team made Nigeria proud by winning the title and becoming the first team to do so four times.
The statement read in part, “In the midst of so much gloom in the country, it is heartwarming that the boys and their Coach, Manu Garba, did not lose focus but concentrated on the task before them to make the country proud.
“The victory is even sweeter when considered against the backdrop that the boys are certified to be truly under-17 and can conveniently graduate into the senior teams in the years ahead.” SOURCE: PUNCH

Thursday 7 November 2013

Achebe, Anambra And The People By O’mezie Ekwudu

By O’mezie Ekwudu
Earlier this year, Professor Chinua Achebe was given a state burial, a colourful one. That is good. But beyond giant obituary billboards, beautiful eulogies, great funeral orations, stylishly-penned tributes and probably a well-written epitaph there is no greater respect and honour than to keep building the Anambra of Achebe’s dream. Achebe’s Anambra is one that typifies what we stand for as a people. It is one that will be representative of our industry and resilience, which propagates the use, development and exercise of the intellect, and one that does not shy away from our acclaimed love for money which we make by trading; buying and selling. Achebe’s Anambra is one where the godfathers will be shamed and where the people will take their rightful place and decide who leads them.
But what do the godfathers want? It is the Anambra that will look within and resolve her problems without yielding to the ill cravings and manipulations of external hands or in the words of Nna anyi Achebe ‘renegades openly boasting of their connections in the high places and turning my homeland into a bankrupt and lawless fiefdom’. That was 2004. Nine years after, there is a multiplicity of godfathers in different guises. This is disturbing. But worse than that, there is a growing population of de-educated people that are inveigled by cheap sentiments, who ignorantly brag about non issues and unfortunately seemed to have carved their views into stone.  Their unwillingness to divorce the culture of pettiness and mudslinging is worrisome. They choose to run after the bones they throw at us leaving the issues at stake. This is diversionary. Never before has our dear state witnessed such an outrageous public display of wilfull ignorance, pseudo-intellectualism and at best beer-induced intelligence. This is pitiful. I did notice a glaring lack of calculation and careful political instinct from us the people.
I am struck by the lack of canniness among able-bodied men and women, even the certificate-clutching ones. Now, these are the people that will vote, they are everywhere, and they are on social media. Let us grow up, embrace reason and challenge the politicians with ideas. We can puncture their spurious claims, rubbish their vaunt, and see through the specious arguments they present. This is a call for us to search for facts, dispassionately analyse observed events and attempt plausible explanations based on solid evidence of the happenings around us. Gossiping and rumour-peddling will change zilch, emphasizing on individuals while leaving policies smacks of narrow-mindedness. While the streets of Ekwulobia, Nnewi, Awka and Onitsha are agog with the excitement and madness that comes with campaigns, let us not be carried away and drown in the noise. Let us not be blown away by the cheap talk of their ill prepared propagandists. Slogan-chanting touts that exert themselves obtrusively should be taken less seriously.
I believe that whether or not the outcome of the November elections will benefit the people will be predicated on the actions of the people, mostly the Anambra people. Truly, we cannot be somewhat copacetic on all issues but it is needful that pertinent questions be asked and answered. It is the prerogative of the people to instill a certain political direction which the government has lost. Our hollow enthusiasm for individuals should not get ahead of a more reason-based assessment of the policies they advance. Not just questions about abandoned projects in our communities but about policies that birth these projects. Let us not judge people by their vocal pitch, their body build, or the amount of money they claim to have in the bank. Let us not form opinions based solely on their political parties or which part of the state they hail from.
Those are secondary in importance. Let us keep asking the right questions and demanding answers. By asking these questions we will sooner than later truly find out whether their allegiances are to us the people or to their cronies and sponsors. Yes, let our moot be on matters with a basis in reason and in fact. Let us talk security, education, health, transportation. Let our debates focus on the state of civil service and its working conditions, housing. Let our arguments be about the quality of our primary schools in UmuOba-anam, Owelle-Ezukala or Isseke and the secondary schools be it in Abatete, Awgbu or Ohita. Let it be about effective funding of our dear state university to enable the indigent parents get the best for their wards. Are there plans for teacher re-certification exercises and continuous refresher trainings? Such questions like does the state government play any roles in power supply and transmission within our state, in our local communities?
The potholes in our roads, especially on the different stretches of the federal trunk. How can they be remedied? What policies will guide the feasible and equitable means of revenue generation where not only pitiable government workers pay tax but where many traders, industrialists and business moguls are properly checked? Which government agencies are empowered to collect the landlord / tenant / building rates? What are they for? What is ANSEPA, what do they stand for? Is it possible for them to carry out their duties without intimidating and molesting poor people? Will the rights of women be enforced? Will there be decent ways of treating market women or should they be left at the mercy of fierce-looking tax collectors be it at Eke-Awka, Afor-igwe, Oye-olisa or Nkwo-Igbo to mention but a few. How much does it cost to run government? What due processes are involved in awarding contracts? How come government functionaries and political appointees own the many hotels and student hostels in our state? How much do they really earn? Which policies are in place to see to the establishment of government-owned factories?
While we agree that hotels are businesses, major steps should also be put in place to favour small and medium scale industries and encourage owners of small businesses. How has the government encouraged the manufacturing sector? Government should intervene in student accommodation issues which are exploited by mostly politicians. In what tangible ways will unemployment be tackled? Are there government policies that answer to joblessness? What happens to those on the margins of the society? Will those in power ever create a system that will encourage the place of role models for the teeming population of the youth? Anambra and indeed Nigeria present a line-up of gallant men and women, living and dead, who fared and excelled in different endeavours in all facets of life; academia, trading, business, medicine, sports, writing, law and even in politics. It is not a dirty game after all. What is the role of the ministry of education in ensuring that our school curricula is robust and all-encompassing?
The school curriculum must be revised continuously to accommodate and reflect changes in global trends of learning. Our pupils should be conversant with names like Kenneth Dike, Chinua Achebe, Cyril Onwumechili, Alex Enukora Animalu, Chike Obi, Chukwemeka Ike, Martin Aghaji. You know the list is endless. This will de-emphasize the wanton lust for material wealth and pass on Sallust’s message that the renown which riches and beauty confer is fleeting and frail; mental excellence is a splendid and lasting possession. How free is education? They should not just mouth free education but must be absolutely clear on how it will be funded. Which policies will deliver it? How can the tourism potentials of our dear state be activated and enlarged? We refuse to be fooled by the campaign of calumny which is commonplace. They are all intended to divide us.
Let us keep asking questions, every type of questions. What is happening with the Orient group? Is there any hope of exploration soon? Can the state invest in building a refinery? What about agriculture? Can Anambra feed her people? What portion of our revenues are agriculture based? Can we find out whether the coming government will treat people with fundamental respect?  Will it be out of place to build toilets in our market squares, public schools, and motor parks? And how will it be managed? Will it be a taboo to fill our libraries with real books and computers? Can qualified librarians be employed and allowed to run them? Can the government provide counselling centres for young people across the state? Not just big signposts and empty buildings but centres that will be staffed with qualified guidance counsellors for students and young school graduates who constantly roam the streets scouting for the next available means to make quick money.
Beyond the hot air, can we ask them to tell the people what will form the criteria for appointments into their cabinets? Can they tangibly explain how they will be accountable to the people, will there be town hall meetings in designated places and at specified times in their tenures where people can take them on practical questions. What about security? Town vigilantes, who are they?  What legislation brought them to be? What powers do they have and what are the limits of their use of firearms? How can their services be more people–friendly while still helping police to fight local crime? What priority projects are they categorically targeting in the next four years if elected? Even if not announced, are their top security strategies that are specially put in place for kidnapping? Let us know these men and women better. Can we ask for their history, what have they been doing in the last twenty years of their lives, what experiences do they have, where have they followed and where have they led?  
Can we find out from the police whether they have criminal records? Basic biology defines mutation as an alteration from the natural state of the hereditary material of life. It is safe to add that a bad mutation turning out to be good is rare and hardly observed in the natural world. Let us know what people are made of and know that they rarely change. Do we need an expert to tell us that a huge proportion of our people buy and sell? Ours is a state with unquantifiable numbers of traders, entrepreneurs, manufacturers and artisans etc. What plans do these office seekers have for the multitude of young men that troop out from Mgbuka Obosi or Onitsha main market at the end of each market day? Not to talk of Nkwo Nnewi. What do traders gain from government? What measures will government take to better the thousands of able bodied young men at Ose Okwoodu, Mgbuka Obosi, Ogbo efere, Nkpor New parts, Building materials Ogidi, Electricals Obosi.
This is just a few. The many article traders on all the corners of our beloved state. What do they benefit? How will the merchants clear their containers with ease? What plans do they have for the gigantic refuse dumps that spill into the roads around our state? Is environmental management a top priority of government? Are there green policies that will protect our environment? Upper Iweka is safe both at night and day. How safe is it to make that assertion? Let us push them to organise their manifesto presentations in smaller units where they will be accessible to the people. What package do you have for our judiciary? Will seniority and competence be maintained in all appointments? What arrangements do they have in the event of emergencies; flood, fire, public health concerns, will our women go to vaccinate their newborns in nearby states like it happened some time ago? Our argument should be that unemployment be classified and treated as a public health emergency.
Let it be seen as an unmitigated disaster and likened to an impending ebola virus invasion? Lest we forget, we must elect leaders we can respect. In times where everyone pours contempt on leaders, when foul language is ripe on the cyberspace courtesy of the social media platform and when people vent their anger, and sometimes their stupidity, by abusing those in authority forgetting that the natural capacity to show respect is indeed a marque of maturity. It is not enough to point fingers but let us give a hand while we criticize constructively. We can choose to walk away in indifference or even with the distinct impression that the electorate will never decide who wins. The ‘I don’t care’ attitude is evil. Our inability to profit from past experiences is distressing.
The state has had different leaders since 1993. Some tried. Others tried more. For each administration, there were high points. We celebrate the good. For the bad, the taste as we all know, lasts longer. Chinwoke’s ‘it is well’ mantra left us all unwell. His administration’s contemptuous disregard for poor people especially teachers, his disdain for civil servants and scorn for pensioners will soon be off our memories. The fight between Chris and Chris left us knee-deep in crisis. It exposed us to arson. And Gregory sitting in the Sanhedrin, surrounded by overzealous disciples that mock the gentiles will soon give way for us to score him. People vying for seats at the state assembly should be subjected to such scrutiny and made to answer same questions too. How wonderful our dear state will be when both the executive and legislative arms are filled with men that genuinely care about the people. If we do those, the vote will reflect an opinion we will all have and posterity will judge us kindly.
The only power we have to make our opinion count is our vote. But how can we vote aright if we are not genuinely furious with the political class and the complete dog’s breakfast they serve us. Having thought over the lessons of our past elections, I have little doubt that the power lies with the people and that no candidate can reject the rejections of the people. It is the friendship of yesteryears that makes the owl perch on the dry tree without fear, our fathers say. Let us stand for the truth as was in yore, when the treetop was land for squirrels, when safe pathways existed under breadfruit trees and when the lizards were not seen in pairs. We must keep building our Anambra, Achebe’s Anambra. For now and in the words of Samuel Ekwunife Ekwudu, let us keep Rome and Canterbury at bay and leverage our limited resources to the best effect. The love of Anambra must always come first. Anything less will compare us to the words of David Suzuki; we are in a giant car speedily heading towards a brick wall and everyone’s arguing over where they are going to sit.
Ndi banyi, it is possible, come November 16, to let the oha make their own eze.
One last thing. Let us not mock the dead in a bid to score cheap points. We are all bereaved.
O’mezie Ekwudu is from Anambra State

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of FOA

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Aluu4: Gone but not forgotten

Yep, we are still on it! And we will continue until they get justice. Continue to rest in peace Tekena, Ugonna, Chiadika and Lloyd.

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Ruggedman vs Abuja promoter part 2. Promoter tells his side of the story

You guys already read Ruggedman's version of events (If you missed it, check on it HERE) Now it's the turn of Abuja promoter, Ejiro Okhipwo. He just sent me a statement. Read below....
First of all, I'm embarrassed that this man, Ruggedman, could bring himself so low by exposing his own shame publicly in the media. I'm embarrassed because no artiste could have done what this guy did to us even when we felt we were doing him a big favour. Look, I have organized several editions of this event, and different artistes have graced our event, but we have never been swindled before.  This is our first experience, and unfortunately, it's an artiste who has lost audience appeal that did this to us. I had wanted to let this pass, but since he has gone to humiliate himself in the media, I will follow this up. I'm consulting with my lawyer at the moment, and we may be suing ruggedman for defamation of character, and his failure to heed to our earlier agreement with him.
It's amazing the way Ruggedman misbehaved. As a supposed respected elder in the business of entertainment, we never expected that from him. No wonder he had a fight with his boy, 9ice who became bigger and better than him in the music game.
Now my story:
Quite frankly, what we do when we are bringing an artiste to our show is to pay the person upfront, you give us your most convenient time to travel, and we book your return ticket. It's laughable and extremely ridiculous that Ruggedman is claiming we were to pay him honorarium of N100,000. I couldn't have paid him N100, 000 when he was the one who begged us for the show. He said he wanted an award to get himself acquainted with his Abuja fans. This is not what we would have loved to say in the public domain, if not that he has gone public, because we respect all the artistes we deal with, no matter the status. Having called me personally to beg for the award, we told him, look, we will appreciate your appearance after our event as we did not put you in our budget earlier. We then booked for his flight, we sent him the tickets reference number and he came into Abuja on Friday, the 25th of October, 2013 and was picked up from the airport without delays. He was also checked into a classic hotel with a four star value as agreed, with food and drinks on ground for him to enjoy a day before the event.
Ruggedman refused to pick up his calls: He had over 30 missed calls from us.
 Unfortunately for the MBGA organizers, Ruggedman refused to pick up calls placed to him. In fact, He went ahead to even show some other artistes that were in the hotel with  him , that "see, see, see, the organizers of the event are calling me, but I will not pick, I will make them go through hell since they have refused to see me since yesterday that I arrived’’ How could he have made such claims. Who picked him up from the airport then? The pack of lies is clearly childish and pointless.
Our Bewilderment
We wondered at the change of agreement and his refusal to pick up calls. The question was why was our own Ruggedman disgracing himself over N50, 000 that we agreed to pay him after the event? At list, we expected him to pick up his calls and give us his new terms, but he never did. Information got to us that he was to have a meeting with some people that time over his album, the reason he used our show to transport himself to Abuja. We never believed that in the first place, but it got clearer to me the next day, when this guy showed no remorse towards his actions. Funny enough, he was waiting for his return ticket, and his honorarium, and we kept wondering ‘’ what are we honouring him for?’’. Appreciating him for eating our food, drinking our bear, wasting our ticket money, time and energy? Appreciating him for rudely and unapologetically denying that we brought him into Abuja, appreciating him for ignoring over 30 missed calls? These were the series of questions begging for answers. Ruggedman, even at that, had the guts to take our case to the media; the world is very funny.
Why only Ruggedman? Why not other artistes?
If we can invite all the Nollywood acts, artistes and comedians like him, why should we not want to pay him a little amount of N50, 000 only?
His unbearable attitude and its effect on his career
With an apology, I want to say that Ruggedman is really not a good role model, and that has resulted to his poor performance over time. I think the name rugged is influencing his life and his career. He needs to redefine his name, and what he represents as an artiste. You cannot continue to fight people who try to make you relevant as an entertainer. It's sad.
Why did we invite Ruggedman and not an A-list artiste?
We knew this guy was not an A-List artist, yet we went ahead to invite him to be awarded, Just to have him get on track. He attested to the fact that we were creating visibility for him, but we were shocked at what we received from him; insults, by putting up a very sad news just to tarnish the good name and record of MBGA event.  We won't just let this pass. We will ask some legal questions on why he should come out to castigate us without reasons. We are very sorry for him, because he is going to pay the MBGA for all damages he had caused the event.
Why we abandoned him in the hotel after the event
We admit that we abandoned him at the hotel in Abuja after the event because he refused to perform his own part of the gentlemen agreement we had. would it have been nice to pay him even when he refused to pick up our calls to perform at the show? Had he performed at the show and we refused to pay him, then his media query would have been a little reasonable. How would he have expected the MBGA to pay for his fare back to Lagos? He is a very nonsensical element and should be treated as such. This same Ruggedman stayed in that same hotel on our bills from Friday, a day before the event till Monday; that is two days after the event. So, we told the hotel to check him out once its 12noon on Monday, the 28th of October 2013. What kind human being is he?  How could he be talking about God, when God is already angry with him? This God don suffer for people mouth  jor.
Our legal war!
Rugged man will hear from us very soon. Our lawyers will serve him for damages and he will pay from his nose.  It’s funny and unfortunate that he can't even afford to answer a case at a competent court of law. I think he needs some help, but he is yet to realize that. How can an artiste be fighting all through his career? Is that supposed to be his own calling?
Who threatened who?
I did not threaten him, nobody did that, instead, he was using different people to threaten us. I think the guy wants to use us to promote his album, but we won't let his gimmicks distract us, as we will continue to pull great events for Abuja people."
Our appeal
We sincerely appeal to all our fans to remain calm and focused, believing that we have better things for them. Everybody is a partner in what we do. We do not have any police bosses as claimed by ruggedman. He just deleted me from his Blackberry contact; else, I would have copied all the chats I had with him for you. He did that purposely to conceal our gentleman agreement.
Whoever feels  so concern can call me on 08034523698 to hear more.
I Thank you.
Mr. Ejiro,
Organizer, MBGA.

Gov. Obi Shakes Anambra State University: Val Obienyem:

* Changes name to Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu University (COOU)
*Presents N5b Cheque for continued infrastructural Development
*Presents 4 new security vehicles to the School and 2 buses to SUG of both campuses

As part of Gov. Peter Obi's final push towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which saw him doling out Billions of Naira for diverse projects in the State, the Governor today announced the change of name of Anambra State University to Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu University, during the Posthumous anniversary celebration of the 80th birthday of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu at the permanent site of the University at Igbariam.

Gov. Obi who recalled the change of the name of the most critical road in the State- Head Bridge- to Odumegwu-Ojukwu Boulevard, said the decision for change of name of the university was informed by the heroic contributions of Ojukwu to the Igbo people. Insisting that no honour is too much for him, the Gov. thanked the Federal Government for the honour accorded Ojukwu when he died and called for naming of more institutions after him.
The occasion which witnessed an unprecedented crowd, which only Ojukwu, dead or alive, would pull, also witnessed the presentation of the Cheque of N5 Billion Naira to the Management of the school for continued infrastructural development of the University as well as the paying back of about 500 Million Naira borrowed from the bank by the school. "We have done a lot of work in the University's both campuses. We started this Permanent Site of the University from the scratch. We did the perimeter fencing, Gate's building. “We built the imposing Faculty of Agriculture building; the Senate Building, the on-going Faculty of Management building; the Faculties of Law, Social Sciences and Mass Communications all at Igbariam Campus. We also built the Library and renovated the class rooms. We completed the road to Uli campus and we are presently doing the one to this campus. Through our intervention, the Central Bank is Building 1.5 Billion Naira Hostel here, among others”, the Governor said.
Speaking further, the Governor who presented four security fitted patrol vehicles to the University and two new buses to the Students’ Union in both campuses – Uli and Igbariam- announced the increase in the monthly subvention of the University by 15% starting from January.
In his own remarks, the National Chairman of APGA, Sir Victor Umeh said the renaming of the University and the provision of tools to make it a centre of excellence befitting Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu’s name, was a right decision. “This gesture has added to the immortality of Ojukwu”, he said.
Also speaking at the event, Ojukwu’s wife and the Nigerian Ambassador to Spain, HE, Bianca Ojukwu thanked Gov. Obi for the gesture. She said it was the continuation of the love the Governor showed to her husband even when he was still alive. She called on the people of the State to vote for Dr. Willie Obiano, for having the same temperament as the Governor for great and lofty leadership.
In his Vote of Thanks, the Son of Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, Emeka, thanked Nigerians, Anambra people and Gov. Peter Obi for the love for his father. Calling on the people of the State to vote APGA, he said “If APGA fails, Ojukwu fails; If Ojukwu fails, Ndigbo fails.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Fidelis Okafor said the University community was overwhelmed by Obi’s gesture. He said that Obi had paid the greatest attention to the University than any other Governor since the school was founded. “Before Obi, people hardly choose us as first choice University, but now, like other universities, we have far more number of people applying to us than we can take. He increased our subvention many times. He started the development of the Igbariam Permanent Site; he built a brand new University Teaching Hospital and College of Medicine for us. He was instrumental to the accreditation of many courses in the University. Today, he gave us a cheque of 5 Billion Naira, which no University has got in one full swoop in recent times. We shall reciprocate these gestures by doubling our efforts,” the VC said.
Speaking to the press after the event, the Governorship candidate of APGA, Dr. Willie Obiano, accompanied by his running mate, Dr. Nkem Okeke assured the students that they would review their school fees on assumption of office. They also said that they would continue all the developmental efforts of the APGA government in the University.