I thought this vblog by Toke Makinwa, a media personality was hilarious.
President Goodluck Jonathan has dismissed as “most reckless” and “unjustifiable” a fiercely scathing letter he received from former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in which Mr. Obasanjo accused him of lying, condoning corruption, and leading Nigeria to the brink of collapse.
A statement by the president’s aide, Reuben Abati, said the allegations by the former president were “baseless and indecorous.”
The statement said Mr. Jonathan has directed his aides not to respond to the barrage of attacks and allegations from Mr. Obasanjo, listed in an 18-page letter exclusively published by PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr. Jonathan will personally respond to the charges at the “appropriate time”, the statement said.
“While many patriotic, objective and well-meaning Nigerians have already condemned the leaked letter as self-serving, hypocritical, malicious, indecent, and very disrespectful of the highest office in the land, President Jonathan has directed that none of his aides or any government official should join issues with Chief Obasanjo over it,” Mr. Abati said.
“The president himself will, at the appropriate time, offer a full personal response to the most reckless, baseless, unjustifiable and indecorous charges levelled against him and his administration by the former Head of State.”
In the highly acerbic letter, Mr. Obasanjo laid out a series of allegations against Mr. Jonathan, accusing him of corruption and ineptitude.
Mr. Obasanjo lamented that Mr. Jonathan had become terribly divisive and clannish, destroying his own party, polarizing the country along regional and religious lines and ridiculing Nigeria in the comity of nations.
He blamed Mr. Jonathan for the crises tearing the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, apart, and accused him of lacking in personal integrity by consistently lying about his ambition for a new term of office.
Mr. Obasanjo also tackled Mr. Jonathan for allegedly being clannish. “For you to allow yourself to be “possessed”, so to say, to the exclusion of most of the rest of Nigerians as an “Ijaw man” is a mistake that should never have been allowed to happen. Yes, you have to be born in one part of Nigeria to be Nigerian if not naturalized but the Nigerian President must be above ethnic factionalism. And those who prop you up as of, and for ‘Ijaw nation’ are not your friends genuinely, not friends of Nigeria nor friends of ‘Ijaw nation’ they tout about.
“To allow or tacitly encourage people of ‘Ijaw nation’ to throw insults on other Nigerians from other parts of the country and threaten fire and brimstone to protect your interest as an Ijaw man is myopic and your not openly quieting them is even more unfortunate.”
The former president also accused Mr. Jonathan of placing over 1000 Nigerians on political watch list and “training snipers and other armed personnel secretly and clandestinely acquiring weapons to match for political purposes like Abacha and training them where Abacha trained his killers”.
The former President also called on the National Assembly to rise up and take decisive action over the allegation that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation failed to remit billions of dollars in proceed of crude oil sales to the federation account.
“This allegation will not fly away by non-action, cover-up, denial or bribing possible investigators,” Mr. Obasanjo told the President. “Please deal with this allegation transparently and let the truth be known.”
The Senate on Wednesday ordered an investigation. The senate committee on finance is to probe the allegation and make its findings known in seven days.
The presidency did not respond to any of the issues specifically beyond dismissing them as “provocative and unjustifiable.”
Mr. Abati said President Jonathan will respond personally. But the statement criticised the leakage of the letter to the media.
“We however find it highly unbecoming, mischievous and provocative that a letter written by a former Head of State and respected elder statesman to President Jonathan has been deliberately leaked to the mass media in a deplorable effort to impugn the integrity of the president and denigrate his commitment to giving Nigeria the best possible leadership,” the statement said.
Read the statement by the president’s spokesperson, Reuben Abati, below.
OBASANJO’S LETTER UNBECOMING, SELF-SERVING AND HIGHLY PROVOCATIVE
We have noted the publication on several websites today of a letter recently written by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
The Presidency acknowledges that it has indeed received the said letter from Chief Obasanjo.
We however find it highly unbecoming, mischievous and provocative that a letter written by a former Head of State and respected elder statesman to President Jonathan has been deliberately leaked to the mass media in a deplorable effort to impugn the integrity of the President and denigrate his commitment to giving Nigeria the best possible leadership.
While many patriotic, objective and well-meaning Nigerians have already condemned the leaked letter as self-serving, hypocritical, malicious, indecent, and very disrespectful of the highest office in the land, President Jonathan has directed that none of his aides or any government official should join issues with Chief Obasanjo over it.
The President himself will, at the appropriate time, offer a full personal response to the most reckless, baseless, unjustifiable and indecorous charges levied against him and his administration by the former Head of State.
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
December 11, 2013
Sahara reporters has published a raw copy of what is purported to be a letter from former President Olusegun Obasanjo to President Goodluck. Personally, I don’t believe this letter is real. I will go as far to put on record that IT COULD BE FAKE. You can call me naive, its my deep feelings. I have many reasons to believe that this epistle does not tally with the character of the former President that we all know. The Obasanjo that we all have come to know to a relative extent may be erratic, but extremely smart to want to put in words what appears to be his frustrations with President Goodluck. He has the means and influence to call Goodluck at any hour of the day for a personal audience, yet we are made to believe that he has typed and sent, not by e-mail, an 18-page letter to the President, a fellow PDP party member and ‘chosen one’. Finally, unless, he, Obasanjo has an ulterior motive to want to document his personal thoughts and frustrations for posterity, the letter could have been doctored and circulated to discredit both present and former Presidents. All shall be revealed soon. I can’t see Aso Rock not respond to this circulation. Over to you Reuben Abati and Doyin Okupe. Over to you both…
On 2nd December, this year, an apparently angry and frustrated ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan, a letter that clearly competes as one of the most acerbic in modern history, accusing him of ineptitude and of taking actions calculated at destroying Nigeria.
“Nigeria is bleeding and the hemorrhage must be stopped,” Mr. Obasanjo said in the 18-page letter he titled “Before It Is Too Late” exclusively obtained by PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday.
He said Mr. Jonathan has failed to deliver on his promises to the Nigerian people, stem corruption, promote national unity and strengthen national security.
He said that rather than take steps to advance Nigeria’s interest and up the standards of living of Nigerians, Mr. Jonathan had betrayed God and the Nigerian people that brought him to power, and has been pursuing selfish personal and political interests based on advice he receives from “self-centred aides”.
Once there was a boy so meek and modest, he was awarded a Most Humble badge. The next day, it was taken away because he wore it. Here endeth the lesson.
How do you practice humility from the most exalted throne on earth? Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly—young and old, faithful and cynical—as has Pope Francis. In his nine months in office, he has placed himself at the very center of the central conversations of our time: about wealth and poverty, fairness and justice, transparency, modernity, globalization, the role of women, the nature of marriage, the temptations of power.
At a time when the limits of leadership are being tested in so many places, along comes a man with no army or weapons, no kingdom beyond a tight fist of land in the middle of Rome but with the immense wealth and weight of history behind him, to throw down a challenge. The world is getting smaller; individual voices are getting louder; technology is turning virtue viral, so his pulpit is visible to the ends of the earth. When he kisses the face of a disfigured man or washes the feet of a Muslim woman, the image resonates far beyond the boundaries of the Catholic Church.
The skeptics will point to the obstacles Francis faces in accomplishing much of anything beyond making casual believers feel better about the softer tone coming out of Rome while feeling free to ignore the harder substance. The Catholic Church is one of the oldest, largest and richest institutions on earth, with a following 1.2 billion strong, and change does not come naturally. At its best it inspires and instructs, helps and heals and calls the faithful to heed their better angels. But it has been weakened worldwide by scandal, corruption, a shortage of priests and a challenge, especially across the fertile mission fields of the southern hemisphere, from evangelical and Pentecostal rivals. In some quarters, core teachings on divorce and contraception are widely ignored and orthodoxy derided as obsolete. Vatican bureaucrats and clergy stand accused of infighting, graft, blackmail and an obsession with “small-minded rules,” as Francis puts it, rather than the vast possibilities of grace. Don’t just preach; listen, he says. Don’t scold; heal.
And yet in less than a year, he has done something remarkable: he has not changed the words, but he’s changed the music. Tone and temperament matter in a church built on the substance of symbols—bread and wine, body and blood—so it is a mistake to dismiss any Pope’s symbolic choices as gestures empty of the force of law. He released his first exhortation, an attack on “the idolatry of money,” just as Americans were contemplating the day set aside for gratitude and whether to spend it at the mall. This is a man with a sense of timing. He lives not in the papal palace surrounded by courtiers but in a spare hostel surrounded by priests. He prays all the time, even while waiting for the dentist. He has retired the papal Mercedes in favor of a scuffed-up Ford Focus. No red shoes, no gilded cross, just an iron one around his neck. When he rejects the pomp and the privilege, releases information on Vatican finances for the first time, reprimands a profligate German Archbishop, cold-calls strangers in distress, offers to baptize the baby of a divorced woman whose married lover wanted her to abort it, he is doing more than modeling mercy and transparency. He is embracing complexity and acknowledging the risk that a church obsessed with its own rights and righteousness could inflict more wounds than it heals. Asked why he seems uninterested in waging a culture war, he refers to the battlefield. The church is a field hospital, he says. Our first duty is to tend to the wounded. You don’t ask a bleeding man about his cholesterol level.
This focus on compassion, along with a general aura of merriment not always associated with princes of the church, has made Francis something of a rock star. More than 3 million people turned out to see him on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro last summer, the crowds in St. Peter’s Square are ecstatic, and the souvenirs are selling fast. Francesco is the most popular male baby name in Italy. Churches report a “Francis effect” of lapsed Catholics returning to Mass and confession, though anecdotes are no substitute for hard evidence, and surveys of U.S. Catholics, at least, see little change in practice thus far. But the fascination with Francis even outside his flock gives him an opportunity that his predecessor, Benedict XVI, never had—to magnify the message of the church and its power to do great good.
The giddy embrace of the secular press makes Francis suspect among traditionalists who fear he buys popularity at the price of a watered-down faith. He has deftly leveraged the media’s fascination to draw attention to everything from his prayers for peace in Syria to his pointed attack on trickle-down economics, which inspired Jesse Jackson to compare him to Martin Luther King Jr. and Rush Limbaugh to wonder whether he’s a Marxist. When you are a media celebrity, every word you speak is dissected, as are those you choose not to speak. Why has he not said more about the priest sex-abuse scandal? ask victims’ advocates. (Just this month, he set up a commission to address the abuse of children by priests.) Why does he not talk more about the sanctity of life? ask conservatives, who note that in his exhortation, abortion is mentioned once, mercy 32 times. Francis both affirms traditional teachings on sexuality and warns that the church has become distracted by them. He attacks priests who won’t baptize children born out of wedlock for their “rigorous and hypocritical neo-clericalism.” He declares that God “has redeemed all of us … not just Catholics. Everyone, even atheists.” He posed with environmental activists holding an antifracking T-shirt and called on politicians and business leaders to be “protectors of creation.”
None of which makes him a liberal—he also says the all-male priesthood is not subject to debate, nor is abortion, nor is the definition of marriage. But his focus on the poor and the fact that the world’s poorest 50% control barely 1% of its wealth unsettles those who defend capitalism as the most successful antipoverty program in history. You could argue that he is Teddy Roosevelt protecting capitalism from its own excesses or he is simply saying what Popes before him have said, that Jesus calls us to care for the least among us—only he’s saying it in a way that people seem to be hearing differently. And that may be especially important coming from the first Pope from the New World. A century ago, two-thirds of Catholics lived in Europe; now fewer than a quarter do, and how he is heard in countries where being gay is a crime and educating women for leadership roles is a heresy may have the power to transform cultures in which Catholicism is a growing, even potentially liberating force.
These days it is bracing to hear a leader say anything that annoys anyone. Now liberals and conservatives alike face a choice as they listen to a new voice of conscience: Which matters more, that this charismatic leader is saying things they think need to be said or that he is also saying things they’d rather not hear?
The heart is a strong muscle; he’s proposing a rigorous exercise plan. And in a very short time, a vast, global, ecumenical audience has shown a hunger to follow him. For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world’s largest church to confronting its deepest needs and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is TIME’s 2013 Person of the Year.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Police in South Africa say retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s home was robbed while he was away to attend a memorial honoring Nelson Mandela.
A statement Wednesday from the South African Police Service said the robbery of Tutu’s home in Cape Town happened between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday. That was the day the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and foe of apartheid spoke at the memorial service at a soccer stadium in Soweto township of Johannesburg.
The statement said: “At this stage, we cannot give further details, as the investigation into the matter is still ongoing. No arrests have been made as yet.”
The 82-year-old Tutu had his home robbed in August as he and his wife slept inside. Both were unhurt.
Burglaries and home-invasions frequently occur in South Africa.
Could this be true? A fake sign language interpreter stood besides world leaders such as Obama to mislead the world? How was this allowed to happen? I do not want to believe this guy wasn’t officially chosen. If he wasn’t? and he managed to escape the top security put in place, then its much of an embarrassment to the South African Govt as it was an insult to the hundreds of thousands of deaf viewers. I await to read its not true.
The interpreter who signed Nelson Mandela’s memorial on Thursday for deaf viewers was a fake, according to experts.
The man, who signed for a portion of the ceremony including US President Barack Obama’s speech, was simply making up his own signs, the Deaf Federation of South Africa has said.
Deaf viewers in the stadium and those at home would have made little sense of yesterday’s proceedings, including Mr Obama’s speech.
President Barack Obama stands next to the sign language interpreter after making his speech (AP)
David Buxton, the CEO of the British Deaf Association, said the unidentified man, who was supposed to be signing in South African sign language, was “waving his hands around but there was no meaning.”
He said sign languages across the world share a similar structure and pattern, but his were just strange repetitive hand movements.
“It was hours of complete nonsense. He is clearly a fraud who wanted to stand on stage with big and important people. It’s quite audacious if you think about it.”
Mr Buxton, whose wife is South African and also deaf, said neither could not believe what they were watching.
“It is incredibly disrespectful and hurtful to the deaf community,” he said.
The World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI), Sheena Walters, also said the sign language used was not recognisable as any accepted form of international or South African sign language.
The man was seen on stage immediately next to the speakers, which included members of Mandela’s friends as well as world leaders, but seemed to be out of shot during Mr Obama’s speech.
Wilma Newhoudt, a member of the ruling party and the first deaf woman to be elected to the South African Parliament, said the man communicated nothing with his hand and arm movements.
She tweeted during the ceremony: “ANC-linked interpreter on the stage with dep president of ANC is signing rubbish. He cannot sign. Please get him off.”
I dare you not to be agitated after watching this video clip. Its incredibly frustrating to be a Nigerian. For a Nigerian to vow to burn a Nigerian passport could be viewed as the ‘mother of all frustrations’.
President Barack Obama delivered remarks Tuesday in Johannesburg at the national memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela.
Below is Obama’s full speech as prepared for delivery:
To Graça Machel and the Mandela family; to President Zuma and members of the government; to heads of state and government, past and present; distinguished guests – it is a singular honor to be with you today, to celebrate a life unlike any other. To the people of South Africa – people of every race and walk of life – the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us. His struggle was your struggle. His triumph was your triumph. Your dignity and hope found expression in his life, and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy.
It is hard to eulogize any man – to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life, but the essential truth of a person – their private joys and sorrows; the quiet moments and unique qualities that illuminate someone’s soul. How much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation toward justice, and in the process moved billions around the world.
Born during World War I, far from the corridors of power, a boy raised herding cattle and tutored by elders of his Thembu tribe – Madiba would emerge as the last great liberator of the 20th century. Like Gandhi, he would lead a resistance movement – a movement that at its start held little prospect of success. Like King, he would give potent voice to the claims of the oppressed, and the moral necessity of racial justice. He would endure a brutal imprisonment that began in the time of Kennedy and Khrushchev, and reached the final days of the Cold War. Emerging from prison, without force of arms, he would – like Lincoln – hold his country together when it threatened to break apart. Like America’s founding fathers, he would erect a constitutional order to preserve freedom for future generations – a commitment to democracy and rule of law ratified not only by his election, but by his willingness to step down from power.
Given the sweep of his life, and the adoration that he so rightly earned, it is tempting then to remember Nelson Mandela as an icon, smiling and serene, detached from the tawdry affairs of lesser men. But Madiba himself strongly resisted such a lifeless portrait. Instead, he insisted on sharing with us his doubts and fears; his miscalculations along with his victories. “I’m not a saint,” he said, “unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
It was precisely because he could admit to imperfection – because he could be so full of good humor, even mischief, despite the heavy burdens he carried – that we loved him so. He was not a bust made of marble; he was a man of flesh and blood – a son and husband, a father and a friend. That is why we learned so much from him; that is why we can learn from him still. For nothing he achieved was inevitable. In the arc of his life, we see a man who earned his place in history through struggle and shrewdness; persistence and faith. He tells us what’s possible not just in the pages of dusty history books, but in our own lives as well.
Mandela showed us the power of action; of taking risks on behalf of our ideals. Perhaps Madiba was right that he inherited, “a proud rebelliousness, a stubborn sense of fairness” from his father. Certainly he shared with millions of black and colored South Africans the anger born of, “a thousand slights, a thousand indignities, a thousand unremembered moments…a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people.”
But like other early giants of the ANC – the Sisulus and Tambos – Madiba disciplined his anger; and channeled his desire to fight into organization, and platforms, and strategies for action, so men and women could stand-up for their dignity. Moreover, he accepted the consequences of his actions, knowing that standing up to powerful interests and injustice carries a price. “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination,” he said at his 1964 trial. “I’ve cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Mandela taught us the power of action, but also ideas; the importance of reason and arguments; the need to study not only those you agree with, but those who you don’t. He understood that ideas cannot be contained by prison walls, or extinguished by a sniper’s bullet. He turned his trial into an indictment of apartheid because of his eloquence and passion, but also his training as an advocate. He used decades in prison to sharpen his arguments, but also to spread his thirst for knowledge to others in the movement. And he learned the language and customs of his oppressor so that one day he might better convey to them how their own freedom depended upon his.
Mandela demonstrated that action and ideas are not enough; no matter how right, they must be chiseled into laws and institutions. He was practical, testing his beliefs against the hard surface of circumstance and history. On core principles he was unyielding, which is why he could rebuff offers of conditional release, reminding the Apartheid regime that, “prisoners cannot enter into contracts.” But as he showed in painstaking negotiations to transfer power and draft new laws, he was not afraid to compromise for the sake of a larger goal. And because he was not only a leader of a movement, but a skillful politician, the Constitution that emerged was worthy of this multiracial democracy; true to his vision of laws that protect minority as well as majority rights, and the precious freedoms of every South African.
Finally, Mandela understood the ties that bind the human spirit. There is a word in South Africa- Ubuntu – that describes his greatest gift: his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that can be invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us. We can never know how much of this was innate in him, or how much of was shaped and burnished in a dark, solitary cell. But we remember the gestures, large and small – introducing his jailors as honored guests at his inauguration; taking the pitch in a Springbok uniform; turning his family’s heartbreak into a call to confront HIV/AIDS – that revealed the depth of his empathy and understanding. He not only embodied Ubuntu; he taught millions to find that truth within themselves. It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailor as well; to show that you must trust others so that they may trust you; to teach that reconciliation is not a matter of ignoring a cruel past, but a means of confronting it with inclusion, generosity and truth. He changed laws, but also hearts.
For the people of South Africa, for those he inspired around the globe – Madiba’s passing is rightly a time of mourning, and a time to celebrate his heroic life. But I believe it should also prompt in each of us a time for self-reflection. With honesty, regardless of our station or circumstance, we must ask: how well have I applied his lessons in my own life?
It is a question I ask myself – as a man and as a President. We know that like South Africa, the United States had to overcome centuries of racial subjugation. As was true here, it took the sacrifice of countless people – known and unknown – to see the dawn of a new day. Michelle and I are the beneficiaries of that struggle. But in America and South Africa, and countries around the globe, we cannot allow our progress to cloud the fact that our work is not done. The struggles that follow the victory of formal equality and universal franchise may not be as filled with drama and moral clarity as those that came before, but they are no less important. For around the world today, we still see children suffering from hunger, and disease; run-down schools, and few prospects for the future. Around the world today, men and women are still imprisoned for their political beliefs; and are still persecuted for what they look like, or how they worship, or who they love.
We, too, must act on behalf of justice. We, too, must act on behalf of peace. There are too many of us who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality. There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people. And there are too many of us who stand on the sidelines, comfortable in complacency or cynicism when our voices must be heard.
The questions we face today – how to promote equality and justice; to uphold freedom and human rights; to end conflict and sectarian war – do not have easy answers. But there were no easy answers in front of that child in Qunu. Nelson Mandela reminds us that it always seems impossible until it is done. South Africa shows us that is true. South Africa shows us we can change. We can choose to live in a world defined not by our differences, but by our common hopes. We can choose a world defined not by conflict, but by peace and justice and opportunity.
We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. But let me say to the young people of Africa, and young people around the world – you can make his life’s work your own. Over thirty years ago, while still a student, I learned of Mandela and the struggles in this land. It stirred something in me. It woke me up to my responsibilities – to others, and to myself – and set me on an improbable journey that finds me here today. And while I will always fall short of Madiba’s example, he makes me want to be better. He speaks to what is best inside us. After this great liberator is laid to rest; when we have returned to our cities and villages, and rejoined our daily routines, let us search then for his strength – for his largeness of spirit – somewhere inside ourselves. And when the night grows dark, when injustice weighs heavy on our hearts, or our best laid plans seem beyond our reach – think of Madiba, and the words that brought him comfort within the four walls of a cell:
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
What a great soul it was. We will miss him deeply. May God bless the memory of Nelson Mandela. May God bless the people of South Africa.
Preko became the fifth person to be convicted and sentenced in an elaborate case involving a number of people involved in corrupt activities during Ibori’s reign as governor of Delta.
Ibori is currently serving 13 years in a British jail after pleading guilty to at least 10 counts of fraud and money laundering in 2012.
Ibrori’s demise has been closely watched in Nigeria where his rise to power and fall from grace could be seen as a tale of the political corruption which has blighted the oil rich country for many years.
Preko who is 54 and a Harvard graduate, is the latest of Ibori’s associates to be jailed for assisting his corruption after the ex-governor’s wife, mistress, sister and lawyer were all convicted by British courts in previous trials.
A jury unanimously convicted Preko of two offences of money-laundering between March 2003 and April 2008 when he was arrested.
He was charged with assisting Ibori in channelling stolen money through a web of offshore trusts and shell companies.
“The evidence against you in this case was very clear. You knew what Mr. Ibori was doing and you were actively assisting him,” said Judge Anthony Pitts to Preko in his sentencing remarks.
“You are a man of considerable ability and intelligence, highly educated, capable of making lots of money perfectly legitimately,” he continued.
An ex-Goldman Sachs banker has been sentenced for four and a half years for laundering money on behalf of one of Nigeria’s most infamous politicians during the height of his power.
Elias Preko, helped James Ibori, the ex-governor of the oil rich state of Delta to launder his money and was convicted at London’s Southwark Crown Court.
The court had heard that in a decade at Goldman Sachs, where Preko was in charge of private clients in sub-Saharan Africa, Preko earned $12m (£7.3m, €8.7m).
Preko had left Goldman Sachs before he committed the offences and the bank is not accused of any wrongdoing.
“You had the ability to walk away (from Ibori). You chose to involve yourself with him as a professional man, against the code of upstanding conduct for men in your position,” Pitts added.
The judge noted that the sums Preko had helped launder were “relatively small amounts in a case where the amounts are almost beyond belief”.
Ibori was in his heyday a power broker at the heart of Nigeria’s ruling party when he was the Delta governor from 1999 to 2007
After he left office and lost immunity from prosecution his fortunes changed for the worse with political developments in Abuja until he was extradited from Dubai to Britain in 2011.
Detectives at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Yaba, Lagos, western Nigeria have intensified efforts to recover all the stolen babies allegedly bought by an Onitsha-based human trafficker who was arrested in Lagos last Monday for purchasing a stolen two-year old baby.
This followed the confessional statement made by the trafficker, Mrs. Grace Onye, 52. Onye told the police that she specialises in the illegal business of buying babies in Lagos for sale to those who required them.
In her confession, she admitted that it was not her first time of coming to Lagos to buy babies, adding that she had been coming to Lagos to buy babies in the past three years. She told the police that she sold all the babies to those in need, especially barren women.
She was arrested along with her customer, 45-year old Mrs. Ngozi Ikeh who is barren and needed a child.
They were arrested at Ikotun in the morning while going back to Ontisha with a stolen baby sold to them for N300,000 by their contact man who is now at large.
The suspects confessed that they had a contact man simply identified as Samuel who usually lodged them at Francis Inn Hotel located at Abiola Adeyemi Street, Igando Road, Ikotun whenever they are in Lagos to buy babies. Grace confessed further that it was in that hotel that Samuel brought the baby and collected N300,000.
Joy Olowolade, the two-year old stolen baby was allegedly kidnapped at 6, Oladunjoye Street, off Igando Road, Ikotun Lagos.
Samuel abducted the baby at the stated address in a dramatic form around 4 p.m. on Monday when he threw a banger in the compound where Joy was playing with other kids.
The sound of the banger caused confusion in the compound and the children ran away in different directions. When the dust settled, Joy was nowhere to be found.
Her elder sister, Eniola Olowolade, after a frantic search for her, alerted her parents, Ayodele and Funke Olowolade, of her disappearance.Funke explained that one of her neighbours confirmed that she saw the man who snatched the baby during the confusion that greeted the explosion of the banger.
Olowolade and neighbours later arranged themselves in groups to look for the missing baby. They searched for Joy in every house and street in the neighbourhoods but could not find her.
Narrating her experience, Funke stated: “It all happened like a dream, Joy told me she was hungry and I was preparing her food when she went out to play with her friends in the compound. Within the twinkling of an eye Eniola rushed in to tell us that somebody threw a banger in the compound and everybody ran away. She said she didn’t see Joy when the commotion died down.
“We searched all the nooks and crannies till midnight. She was nowhere to be found,” Funke said.
At about 4 a.m. the following day, the Olowolades and their neighours moved round the streets again looking for Joy. They saw a woman walking briskly and carrying a baby on her back with her friend. Somebody shouted the name of the missing baby and Joy answered ‘ma.’
Immediately the baby answered, the trafficker and her friend ran. They tried to drop the baby but they were caught by the rescuers. They were beaten and later handed over to the police at Ikotun division who transferred them to the SCID for further investigation.
—Cyriacus Izuekwe for PM NEWS
NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland
The Silicon Valley giants are taking the NSA snooping matter in their own hands. Fully aware about the damage on their reputation as US companies, done by what started with the inconspicuously named Patriot Act, and extended to overarching electronics surveillance by the NSA, they issued an open letter to President Obama and Congress with the following content:
An open letter to Washington
Dear Mr. President and Members of Congress,
We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. But this summer’s revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide. The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual — rights that are enshrined in our Constitution. This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It’s time for a change.
For our part, we are focused on keeping users’ data secure — deploying the latest encryption technology to prevent unauthorized surveillance on our networks and by pushing back on government requests to ensure that they are legal and reasonable in scope.
We urge the US to take the lead and make reforms that ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight. To see the full set of principles we support, visit ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com
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PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, on Sunday, looked at the qualities of politicians in the country, including himself, and concluded that not a single one could be regarded as great.
He was speaking during a memorial service organised at the Aso Villa Chapel, Abuja, in honour of the late South African leader, Nelson Mandela, who died last week Thursday at the age of 95.
The president observed that it would be easier for the camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for Nigerian politicians to be truly great in the mould of the late African statesman.
According to Jonathan, “if you listen to those of us politicians in Nigeria from all political parties, I am here, Senate President is here, the Deputy Speaker is here, incidentally, we are all from PDP (Peoples Democratic Party), but if you listen to those of us who are politicians, from all the political parties, the way we talk, some of us see as if Nigeria is personal bedroom they have control over.
“If you read the papers, listen to the radio and television, some of us even see ourselves as if we are tin gods. We intimidate, we threaten, we show hate in our communication. These are not the virtues of great men. They are certainly the vices of tiny men.
“Sometimes when I listen to politicians, the ones older than me, my contemporaries, and even the younger ones, I come to the painful conclusion that it is probably easier for the camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a politician to be truly great.
“I always look at the word great with some kind of spectrum, because making a great name is not just enough. You could see it, especially in the political circle. We have so many great names that are dictators, with repressive and oppressive governments that sent a lot of people to detention. Some people become extremely notorious, but they have made great names and so to be truly great is key.”
The president, who said he never met Mandela before his death, described him as a great man who everyone needed to emulate in order to build a better society.
He observed that the late former South African president was a very humble and rare leader, who had a forgiving spirit and selflessly served his country.
“Nelson Mandela was a rare character that those of us who are politicians need to learn from, so that we will imbibe some of these traits and do better for our country,” he said.
He said Mandela did well as a politician, as he showed that one could be a politician and still be truly great by putting the interest of his nation and the people first before his own interest.
Jonathan explained that the reason Nigeria was celebrating Mandela was because of the strong relationship that existed between both countries and the key role Nigeria played during the anti-apartheid struggle.
Noting that Mandela remained the symbol of the struggle, Jonathan added “we saw the pain of South Africans as our pain. We saw their struggle as our own struggle and when apartheid collapsed, we saw their victory as our own victory.
- Aderoju Bammeke helped Nigerian fraudsters evade bank safety mechanisms
- His girlfriend Jessica Ogunyemi helped him to launder proceeds of the scam
- It involved sending fake emails to customers of Barclays and Halifax banks
- When they replied with log-in credentials, gang would raid their accounts
A young British couple were part of a global internet banking scam which could have netted a phenomenal £19million after hacking the accounts of nearly 2,500 people.
Aderoju Bammeke, 22, and his girlfriend Jessica Ogunyemi, 20, both of Manchester, were the UK ‘platform’ for a Nigerian ‘phishing’ scam that made £41,000 in just two months.
The plot, masterminded by a gang in the West African country, involved sending fake emails to customers of banks including Barclays and Halifax.
The emails told recipients that their accounts had been hacked and asked them to complete a form with their log-in details.
But when victims obliged, Bammeke stepped in and helped the gang log in to steal money.
Fashion marketing student Ogunyemi, his girlfriend at the time, helped him launder the proceeds by putting funds in accounts, hiding cash and allowing him to buy her a £2,400 Vauxhall Corsa.
Bammeke has now been jailed for three-and-a-half years at Manchester Crown Court after admitting conspiracy to commit fraud and unauthorised computer use.
Ogunyemi admitted five counts of money laundering and was given a suspended prison sentence.
Investigators found evidence of the scam on seven devices at Bammeke’s home, which had accessed 181 accounts from his address.
But Barclays found 2,439 customers had been affected and investigators say the true scale of the fraud will never be known.
Bammeke admitted he had been involved in the scam for more than a year. He played a ‘key role’ as England’s ‘platform’ for the scam, the court heard.
He said if the gang had tried to log into accounts from Nigeria it would have triggered the banks’ alarm systems.
Simon Nichol, defending Bammeke, said he felt regret and remorse for his actions.
He said his involvement – which began in an effort to tackle student debt – was ‘sporadic’ and although the scam was large scale with international dimensions, Bammeke’s part was not.
He added: ‘They needed a platform in this jurisdiction and they needed someone to provide that platform. He allowed them to use his computer remotely. He expresses further regret that he got his girlfriend involved in this.’
DIDIER Drogba and Emmanuel Eboue face fines from the Turkish FA after displaying vests bearing tributes to Nelson Mandela.
The two Ivory Coast internationals unveiled their personal messages after Galatasaray’s game against Elazigspor on Friday, their first game after the death of South African icon Mandela.
Chelsea legend Drogba peeled off his shirt at the 2-0 win to reveal a tribute which said: ‘Thank you Madiba’ and former Arsenal defender Eboue’s vest said: ‘Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela’.
The Turkish FA (TFF) are planning to summon the Galatasaray pair to appear before the Professional Football Discipline Committee because they had not sought prior permission to display their messages.
It is in contrast to England where games this weekend have been preceded by a minute of applause in celebration of Mandela’s life and his role in ending apartheid in South Africa and transforming the international profile of Africa.
Plans to discipline Drogba and Eboue are certain to attract criticism and fuel debate in Turkey, where the TFF are trying to keep political imagery out of football as directed by FIFA, although it has proved increasingly difficult in a football-crazy nation beset by political tension.
EX-Nigeria international Sam Sodje also claimed he got himself sent off during a match between Oldham Athletic and Portsmouth this year after he punched a rival player in the groin twice.
Sodje, who was instantly red-carded while playing for Pompey in the League One clash, claimed in the secret recording he was fined £10,000 – but pocketed £70,000.
The former player also claimed he could “100 per cent” guarantee certain events could happen in games in return for hard cash.
Sodje began his career with Stevenage Borough before joining clubs such as Brentford, Reading and Charlton Athletic.
He is now a free agent after leaving Portsmouth this year.
The National Crime Agency confirmed to the Sunday Mirror they were looking into allegations that the ex-footballer also claimed he could throw Premier League matches.
A spokesman said: “We have received some information but because this is now a live investigation we cannot say anything more.”
Last month, the NCA announced it had started an investigation into what it described as “a suspected international illegal betting syndicate”.
Gambling on the matches is thought to have taken place on Asian-based betting services and so far investigators do not believe British betting markets are involved.
Speaking about the latest reports, Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey said: “We treat any allegations of criminal activity in our competitions with the utmost seriousness.
“Given that there is an ongoing police investigation into this matter, we cannot comment further at this time. Although, we would encourage anyone with any evidence to report it to the police.
Clash: Sam Sodje punches Lee Barnard in groin.
“We will be giving our full assistance to the police during their investigation.”
In a statement, the Football Association said: “The FA is aware of the National Crime Agency investigation and is working closely with the NCA and other authorities. We will make no further comment at this time.”
A Gambling Commission spokesman said: “The Gambling Commission has responded quickly in supporting this ongoing National Crime Agency investigation and continues to liaise with both the NCA and the Football Association.”
Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson has suggested that Robin van Persie has handed in a transfer request at Manchester United.
Lawrenson, who now works as a pundit for Match of the Day, made the claim on an Irish radio station whilst discussing United’s poor recent form.
He then added that he’d been told about Van Persie’s desire to leave Old Trafford – and that the Dutchman had asked for a transfer earlier in the week.
‘There’s all sorts of rumours coming out of the training ground at the minute,’ said Lawrenson.
‘I know one or two of the press boys that cover Manchester United, and they were saying there are whispers that Van Persie might have asked for a transfer the other night.’
The surprise news comes just weeks after David Moyes was forced to deny claims that he had fallen out with Van Persie in training, after they were pictured rowing during a session.
The former Arsenal captain has recently been linked with Real Madrid.
Let me start by saying, we sometimes avoid those touchy subjects because we wish to avoid “drama” but Cyber Bullying is one concept it seems we are yet to get a full grasp on its consequences. Currently, in America there is a full campaign launched against bullying in general, where different celebs have been actively campaigning to stop bullying. We have seen cases of young ones committing suicide because they couldn’t handle the bullying. I pray and hope things don’t get this far in my motherland, although I suspect it may have and we just don’t document it as much.
For the sake of time, I will try not to over talk but a lot has to be said to make my point very clear so kindly excuse the long read, (I tend to do that when im passionate about something). I know a lot keep quiet to avoid backlash but hey, it is what it is.
There is this ”trend” of making vicious comments about others that has become popularized by certain blogs. Overtime, its now seeming like the norm, with more people appearing to see nothing wrong with it. We even have corporate brands willing to identify with such sites irrespective of the damage or harm they cause.
I have seen it happen to celebrities and non celebrities alike, some notable names being Tonto Dikeh, Dbanj, and most especially Karen Igho, just to name a few. Its like the general mentality has become, if you ever become the topic on certain blogs, get ready to either grow thick skin or have a mini heart attack. We are not all built the same so lets hope those who will still be victim, do the former.
This trend of Vicious, Nasty, Bitter comments can make your skin crawl. Yeah, nobody holy pass and I am certainly not an angel, we tease each other all the time, some of us even enjoy a bit of fashion police when we see things outright wrong but we should also know where to draw the line. I am sure we can all make our point without being outright wicked. I have seen some comments about an outfit I wore to a concert on Bella Naija that made me laugh, like, these people got jokes for days. They were not what I would have liked to hear but they were also not wicked or cruel. but I digress!
They say as a celeb you are meant to have thick skin, but in the same token, as a human being we must all set good examples for those who look up to us. Imagine having a generation of people who see nothing wrong with hurting each other all in the name of fun.
Anyways lets fast forward to why we are here. There is a blog very notable for nasty comments, in fact more people visit the blog because of its comments than its content. The blog is owned and run by a lady named Linda. Please keep in mind, I have nothing against her, she is a hard working lady who has made a name for herself, but I also wont for the sake of status not call a spade a spade. I am not singling her out just for the sake of it, but she just happens to be the 2nd party involved in the issue I want to discuss.
I will make my case based on my observations about her blog or her (it gets confusing seeing as she approves the comments that make public view so if she wasn’t ok with it, we probably wouldn’t see it). You are probably asking yourself, as long as its not me being targeted, why should I be concerned? guess what, it is all of our business because God forbid what is being seen as “ok” now, may affect you someday.
Aside from being a simple to read source for news, overtime, the blog has grown into some sort of “haven” for anonymous commenters who wish to pour out the darkness inside them all in the name of commenting about others. They have even taken it several notches up and attack each other. Today, I saw tweets to the effect that Toke Makinwa was being attacked on a certain blog. One of the retweets took me to the source and my heart was like, something has to be said. If it changes something, fine. If it doesn’t, that’s fine too.
Toke may not say anything because she wishes to appear strong and non chalant, but damn, she isn’t made of steel and has blood in her veins and emotions like we all do. Last time I checked, most people that have been a victim of cyber bullying such as this are human too. Also, there is no age restriction on these blogs so your kids are reading and learning. To those who make these comments its “fun”, but when does fun turn into torment and emotional abuse?
Toke and I are not close friends so I have nothing to gain from defending her except calling a spade a spade. Everything beyond and above this point is my opinion and analysis of the situation. If I am wrong, my apologies in advance but I seriously doubt ill be far from the truth.
In my opinion I feel she(Linda) put Toke under the “hate” radar simply because she(Toke) made a statement on her radio show that “Linda was not a role model”. Linda took it very personal because she took to her blog to post one long epistle about bla bla bla. After that, its been Toke this, Toke that, knowing full well the type of readers she has and the type of comments it will generate (its like the same ol thing, different person).. ahh ahhh. If Toke doesn’t see Linda as a role mode, She(Toke) is entitled to her opinion and as long as she was not abusive when she said it, I see no harm in that. So why take it so personal to the point of being vindictive?
You see, the irony in the comment Toke made is that, by constantly putting her under attack from her readers, she is indirectly proving Toke right. I sure as hell would not want my child seeing someone who promotes hate as a role model and I am sure neither would you. Like I said, this trend did not start today, its been ongoing and has easily become what her blog is known for. Lets not get into the “Failed Model” comment from Tonto Dike that got Tonto 1st place “lets verbally bash her” position. At least Tonto can rest small as it seems Toke is the hot new “lets verbally bash her” in town.
If someone is having personal issues, offer words of support and move on, if she likes going to parties, free her because she is using her legs and not yours. If she wants to vlog about her life, take what you can from it and keep it moving. Try and distinct constructive comments from vicious ones. Try to distinct funny from wicked.
From the little I know about her, Toke Makinwa is a sweet lady. She is friendly, funny and down to earth so it leaves me wondering, what all these people raining hurtful abuses about her stand to gain. Even if she is not all these things, if they don’t know her personally, what do they stand to gain? You want to know the answer? Absolutely NOTHING!. They comment, laugh, and move on. To them its entertainment but to the person who is being picked on, its not close to funny. When it becomes a family member, its not close to funny. If it is your child someday, it will not be close to funny.
With that said, I hope people search their conscience before they comment. If not, no problem. We can’t see you as anonymous but God knows how its going down. Please keep in mind, I know some will try to make a mountain out of a molehill about what I just wrote no be today una don dey do am, I will not engage you so don’t waste your time. ps:Its easy to say American blogs do it to, but I ask, why must we copy the negative
Lastly if Linda decides to post another one of her “epistles” simply because I have said something a lot of people who smile in her face and a lot of celebrities, say behind her back. Its all good, free world. I write not to offend anyone. I understand that the truth can sometimes be a bitter pill to swallow. All the same, its all love.
I have had some deep discussions about this wieht a few big name celebrities and hopefully, as the years progress, something can be done to see a big reduction in cyber bullying. Lets aspire to love more and hate less.
Sorry for the long post, if there are any typos or grammatical errors, sorry for that too. God Bless
“This is Madiba…”
I still remember that Sunday morning of 11 February, 1990, when Nelson Mandela, holding Winnie, his later estranged wife, his steps measured, walked into freedom from prison , into klieglights and live television coverage all over the world. Everything else froze at this moment: Mandela’s walk to freedom was the only riveting show all over the world.
By Monday night, I was on my way to South Africa, via London, to report for The African Concord magazine, National Concord and Sunday Concord the expected developments in the yet racially fractured country, that the world hoped the freedom of one man and his associates would bring to the country.
Black South Africans were still in excitement when I arrived Johannesburg Airport and made way to Holiday Inn Downtown, from where, after I settled in, I tried to navigate my way to Soweto, where Mandela lived.
My mission was not just to report Mandela’s release, but to seek an interview with him. I was hoping then that Africa’s man of the moment, would share his experience in the apartheid prisons for 27 years and speak on the degeneration in Africa’s democratic space: at the time of Mandela’s release, many African nations were either under military rule or civilian dictatorship.
I tried to book an appointment for the interview, tried to impress his aides, why I should be given priority as I came all the way from Lagos, Nigeria. I was told I needed to wait as Mandela had a long list of journalists who had booked for some time with him.
It was a busy week for the old man, as he had meetings after meetings and also embarked on thank-you visits to neighbouring African countries.
I remember, I was at the airport, among some other journalists when Mandela arrived from one of such visits to Zambia.
He spoke to us, answering all manners of questions, giving tentative answers on what shape the new South Africa would take. Winnie was always by his side and there were rumours then, that matters between them would soon come to a head.
After several days, I got very impatient with Mandela as I didn’t plan to spend more than a week in South Africa.
One morning, while still lazing away on my bed at the hotel, my phone rang. I quickly dashed to pick it on the table. To my surprise, it was Nelson Mandela himself on the line.
“Is this Bayo…” he asked.
This is Madiba. ..“
I was stunned to even utter a response: Mandela calling me.
Not even waiting for me to gather myself, the man on the other side went on: “I got all your messages that you want to interview me. But I have been very busy.
I have arranged you speak with my colleague, Walter Sisulu. Just take it that anything he says, it’s as good as me saying it,” he said. Then he offered his apology for not being able to make himself available.
I still was stunned to make protestations about my disappointment that I would not have the interview after all. But I quite absorbed the message and a few hours after, I was on my way to the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg, to see another great South African, Walter Sisulu, Mandela’s prison mate and colleague in the struggle to free South Africa.
What struck me then was the humility of Madiba in making the phone call to me by himself and in offering an apology. Since then, I had learnt this to be the hallmark of the great man.
Africa will surely miss this great son.
Bayo Onanuga for PM NEWS
Onanuga is the editor-in-chief of TheNEWS magazine and P.M.NEWS, based in Lagos, Nigeria
President Goodluck Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday declared three days of national mourning for former South African President, Dr. Nelson Mandela, who passed away on Thursday.
According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, national flags would be flown at half-mast across the country during the mourning period.
The period will also feature special prayers in mosques and churches nationwide.
The mourning period is expected to be rounded up with a special inter-denominational memorial service to be held in honour of the deceased at the State House Chapel on Sunday.
The statement read, “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has declared three days of national mourning for former South African President, Dr. Nelson Mandela who passed away yesterday (on Thursday).
“Flags are to be flown at half-mast across Nigeria during the period and President Jonathan urges all Nigerians to unite in solidarity with the brotherly people of South Africa as they mourn the great liberator, freedom fighter and hero of the black race.
“The President also calls for special prayers in mosques and churches in Nigeria during the period of mourning which begins today, for the peaceful repose of Dr. Mandela’s soul.
“A special inter-denominational memorial service for Dr. Mandela will be held at the State House Chapel on Sunday.”
Jonathan had earlier in a statement on Thursday described the deceased as one of the greatest sons of Africa.
He said though his death came at an advanced age of 95, it would create a huge vacuum that would be difficult to fill on the continent.
He added that the deceased would be sorely missed by all who cherish love, peace and freedom all over the world.
Mandela’s intimate portraits show the indomitable spirit of smiling icon who reduced photographer’s team to tears just by his presence. A series of stunning photographs capturing Nelson Mandela strength of character have been released. The pictures were taken in September 30th 2011 as part of film-maker Adrian Steirn’s celebration of South Africa, entitled ‘21 Icons’. The freedom fighter reduced the crew to tears with his stories and jokes, according to Steirn. He told The Times: ‘At one point I looked up and everyone was just crying. If you’re a South African, you’re connected to Mandela. He represents the human spirit.’ But, Mr Mandela did try and keep everyone in good spirits by cracking jokes. Steirn said that when he asked him if he could adjust the mirror, Mr Mandela replied ‘You can adjust the size of my face,’ causing the whole room to break down laughing.
Two footballers from Whitehawk FC, a Conference South team in Brighton, have been charged over match-fixing allegations, the National Crime Agency said.
Michael Boateng and Hakeem Adelakun, both 22 and from the Croydon area of south London, were charged with conspiracy to defraud contrary to common law.
Two footballers have been charged with fraud as part of an ongoing police investigation into alleged match fixing.
Michael Boateng and Hakeem Adelakun, both 22, were among seven members of an alleged betting syndicate arrested on suspicion of fixing games last month.
They are accused of conspiring to defraud bookmakers by placing bets and then influencing the outcome of football matches.
Michael Boateng and Hakeem Adelakun both play for Brighton based Whitehawks FC. The pair were among seven men arrested as part of a National Crime Agency investigation last week.
Freedom fighter, statesman, moral compass and South Africa’s symbol of the struggle against racial oppression.
That was Nelson Mandela, who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead his country out of decades of apartheid.
Here are some of his inspiring quotes:
- “No one is born hating another person because of the
colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion.
People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate,
they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally
to the human heart than its opposite.
- “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and
many of us will have to pass through the valley of the
shadow of death again and again before we reach the
mountaintop of our desires.
- “Our struggle for freedom and justice was a collective effort…it
is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.
- “Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud.
- “We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom. We know it well that none of us acting alone can acheive success. We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.
- “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their
very humanity. To impose on them a wretched life of hunger and deprivation is to dehumanize them. But such has been the terrible fate of all black persons in our country under the system of apartheid.
- “People may say to spend 27 years in prison you have wasted your life. But the greatest thing for a politician is whether the ideas to which you’ve committed your life are still alive, whether these ideas are likely to triumph in the end, and everything that happened showed that we have not sacrificed in vain.
- “I came to accept that I have no right whatsoever to
judge others in terms of my own customs, however much I may be proud of such customs.
- “Only armchair politicians are immune from committing
mistakes.Errors are inherent in political action.
- “Until I was jailed I never fully appreciated the capacity of memory, the endless string of information the head can carry.”
Risk analysis company Maplecroft is releasing its 7th annual Human Rights Risk Atlas today. The Atlas analyses human rights risk trends in 197 countries across 31 different violations and provides the most accurate picture available of the state of global human rights.
- The Atlas reveals a 70% rise in ‘extreme risk’ countries since 2008 – from 20 to 34
- Since 2008 the countries which have seen the worst deterioration of their human rights environment include: Syria (ranked 1st and most at risk), Egypt (16th), Libya (19th), Mali (22nd) and Guinea-Bissau (74th)
- Key emerging economies to drop into the ‘extreme risk’ category include: Nigeria (10th), India (18th), the Philippines (27th) and Indonesia (30th)
- Factors in the 70% increase include: repression of freedom of speech; ethnic and sectarian conflicts; a lack of worker protection; and competition for land and water between local populations and industrial business users
- In 2014, the highest risk countries include: Syria (1st), Sudan (2nd), DR Congo (3rd), Pakistan (4th), Somalia (5th), Afghanistan (6th), Iraq (7th), Myanmar (8th), Yemen (9th), Nigeria (10th)
- Scandinavia is the best performing region, while UK is ranked 165th and low risk.
Following is the full text of South African President Jacob Zuma’s address to the nation on the death of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela on Thursday:
“My Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding President of our democratic nation, has departed. He passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 20h50 on the 5th of December 2013. He is now resting. He is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.
“Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world.
“His humility, his compassion, and his humanity earned him their love. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family. To them we owe a debt of gratitude. They have sacrificed much and endured much so that our people could be free.
“Our thoughts are with his wife Mrs Graca Machel, his former wife Ms Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, with his children, his grand-children, his great grand-children and the entire family.
“Our thoughts are with his friends, comrades and colleagues who fought alongside Madiba over the course of a lifetime of struggle.
“Our thoughts are with the South African people who today mourn the loss of the one person who, more than any other, came to embody their sense of a common nationhood.
“Our thoughts are with the millions of people across the world who embraced Madiba as their own, and who saw his cause as their cause.
“This is the moment of our deepest sorrow. Our nation has lost its greatest son. Yet, what made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves. And in him we saw so much of ourselves.
“Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together, and it is together that we will bid him farewell. Our beloved Madiba will be accorded a state funeral. I have ordered that all flags of the Republic of South Africa be lowered to half-mast from tomorrow, 6 December, and to remain at half-mast until after the funeral.
“As we gather to pay our last respects, let us conduct ourselves with the dignity and respect that Madiba personified. Let us be mindful of his wishes and the wishes of his family. As we gather, wherever we are in the country and wherever we are in the world, let us recall the values for which Madiba fought.
“Let us reaffirm his vision of a society in which none is exploited, oppressed or dispossessed by another.
“Let us commit ourselves to strive together – sparing neither strength nor courage – to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.
“Let us express, each in our own way, the deep gratitude we feel for a life spent in service of the people of this country and in the cause of humanity.
“This is indeed the moment of our deepest sorrow. Yet it must also be the moment of our greatest determination. A determination to live as Madiba has lived, to strive as Madiba has strived and to not rest until we have realized his vision of a truly united South Africa, a peaceful and prosperous Africa, and a better world.
“We will always love you Madiba! May your soul rest in peace. God Bless Africa. Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.”
Reporting by Reuters’ Johannesburg bureau; Editing by Andrew Heavens
(Reuters) – Here are some comments from notable figures about Nelson Mandela, made during his lifetime.
“Nelson Mandela gave 27 years of his life, walked out of prison, and included his oppressors in his government so that they could all be free. He taught us that none of us can ever be free at another’s expense.” – Former U.S. President Bill Clinton in 2008.
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“Anyone who wants to talk to me on the basis that Mandela is the leader of black South Africa can forget it.” – South African Prime Minister John Vorster in 1975.
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“As soon as he renounces violence and undertakes not to start violence in South Africa, government will release him.” – South African Prime Minister P.W. Botha in 1988.
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“He is at the epicenter of our time, ours in South Africa, and yours, wherever you are.” – Nadine Gordimer, South African writer and Nobel Laureate for Literature.
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“Nelson Mandela may be the most gentle, good-humored, even mischievous icon that the world has known. He is also one of the strongest. The world has seen how deeply he believes in freedom, human dignity, and the right of the individual to fulfill his or her dream.” – Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2007.
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“These are not saints. They are politicians in a complicated reality and it is the total picture that was decisive.” Francis Sejersted, Chair of the Nobel Prize Committee, on awarding the Peace Prize to Mandela and DeKlerk in 1993.
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“Mandela is my hero because he is a man of great personal honor, strength, and integrity, but he was always fighting for something greater than himself, and that was the freedom of an entire nation.
“He remains a hallmark of what it really means to give of oneself selflessly- which is, indeed, a gift for us all.” – Boxing champion Muhammad Ali in 2005.
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“He is a formidable survivor. We cannot ignore him.”
“The ANC has tried for years to remove me from the political landscape. I am sure that if anyone knows what it is like to be on the receiving end of so much antipathy, it is Nelson Mandela.” – Mangosuthu Buthelezi, former leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party, in 2005.
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“I do regard him as probably the most impressive person I’ve ever met. One of his most attractive traits is this wonderful – and slightly self-deprecating humor. But also the humanity of the man – being able to really touch you in a particular way, as he does for millions of people who’ve never met him,” Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson in 2012.
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“I find it obscene the way everybody and his or her partner, the ex-presidents and other vacuous and egomaniacal politicians, the starlets and coke-addled fashion models, the intellectually challenged and morally strained musicians, the hollow international jet set-treat you like some exotic teddy bear to slobber over.” – Anti-apartheid activist and poet Breyten Breytenbach in an open letter to Mandela on his 90th birthday in 2008.
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“Mandela has gone a bit too far in doing good to the non-black communities, really in some cases at the expense of. That is being too saintly, too good, too much of a saint.” – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in 2013.
(Editing by Angus MacSwan)
At his trial in 1964, Nelson Mandela closed his statement from the dock saying, “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I’ve cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Nelson Mandela lived for that ideal and he made it real.
He achieved more than could be expected of any man.
Today he’s gone home and we’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us; he belongs to the ages. Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, Madiba transformed South Africa and moved all of us. His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better.
His commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or in our own personal lives. And the fact that he did it all with grace and good humor and an ability to acknowledge his own imperfections, only makes the man that much more remarkable. As he once said, “I’m not a saint unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life. My very first political action—the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics was a protest against apartheid. I would study his words and his writings. The day he was released from prison it gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears.
To Graca Machel and his family, Michelle and I extend our deepest sympathy and gratitude for sharing this extraordinary man with us. His life’s work meant long days away from those who loved him most, and I only hope that the time spent with him these last few weeks brought peace and comfort to his family.
To the people of South Africa, we draw strength from the example of renewal and reconciliation and resilience that you made real: a free South Africa at peace with itself. That’s an example to the world, and that’s Madiba’s legacy to the nation that he loved.
We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again, so it falls to us as best we can to (forward ?) the example that he set—to make decisions guided not by hate but by love, never discount the difference that one person can make, to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice.
For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived, a man who took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice. May God bless his memory and keep him in peace.
Muhammad Ali on Nelson Mandela’s death: ‘His was a spirit born free, destined to soar above the rainbows. Today his spirit is soaring through the heavens. He is now forever free’ – statement via @NBCNews
Actor Morgan Freeman, who portrayed Nelson Mandela in ‘Invictus’: ‘As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we’ve come, but on how far we have to go’
Former South African President F. W. de Klerk, who shared 1993 Nobel Prize with Mandela, hails leader as ‘great unifier’ - The Telegraph
5 December 2013
South African President Jacob Zuma on Nelson Mandela’s death: ‘His tireless struggle for freedom has earned him the respect of the world’
South African President Jacob Zuma says Nelson Mandela will have state funeral, flags ordered to fly at half-mast.
South African President Jacob Zuma on Nelson Mandela’s death: ‘Let us reaffirm his vision of a society in which none is exploited’
‘Our nation has lost its greatest son,’ South African President Jacob Zuma says of Nelson Mandela.
Former US President George W. Bush: ‘President Mandela was one of the great forces for freedom and equality of our time’ – statement via @NBCNews
Along with grief, anger will be the dominant emotion when Professor Festus Iyayi is buried this week in his hometown, Ugbegun in Edo State. The two feelings have mixed, predictably with unsavoury outcomes, since the former president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, died on 12 November in an auto accident on the Lokoja-Abuja Expressway.
Iyayi was travelling to Kano in the company of three other ASUU members for a meeting on the ongoing strike by members of the union when a police escort van in the convoy of the Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State rammed into the bus the university teachers were travelling. Iyayi died instantly, while three his colleagues were seriously injured.
Wada, who was severely injured in an accident involving his convoy last year, was widely criticised by ASUU and the wider public for his failure to learn from his own experience and for allegedly failing to stop to assist the victims.
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An explosion rocked several buildings across from the offices of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation building in Abuja just now.
Eyewitnesses told SaharaReporters that a petrol tanker discharging gasoline exploded at the Conoil gas station opposite the NNPC building in Abuja.
The huge fireball could be seen in areas around Abuja. There is no immediate report of casualty caused by the explosion.
More than 8 fire fighting vehicles have exhausted their content but fire still rages on.
Mrs Joy Ifije, the widow who was insulted by Governor Adams Oshiomole is now a special assistant to the Governor according to NGtrends. I am unable to verify this. She is the perfect story of a supposed curse turned into an unbelievable out pouring of blessings. Ever since that day, her life has literally turned around, as she’s been offered support from all sides. In the photograph above, she can be seen with her children holding what appears to be a letter of appointment. It was also reported that She rejected a N250,000 gift from the Edo state chapter of the PDP. She however accepted N2million gift from Governor Oshiomole of APC.
What more can I write, except to pray that ….may those that laugh at you end up blessing you in Jesus name…..”can I hear a loud AMEN!”
Nobel laureate, Professor. Wole Soyinka, is not somebody you meet every time, not to talk of interviewing. But at one of the programmes of the just concluded Ake Art and Books Festival held at June 12 Cultural centre, Kuto, Abeokuta, tagged In the Shadow of memory: An audience with Wole Soyinka, afforded four undergraduates the opportunity to meet him and ask questions on his muse, activism, religious views, the Pyrates Confraternity and others. Vanguard Art was there too. Excerpts:
What kept you going during your 22- month incarceration during the Civil War and how were you able to write under such condition?
It took a while before I was able to smuggle in books. That was at a later stage, after I managed to corrupt my jailer. At the beginning I wrote on the ink pad, sheets of cigarette packs and at some stage, toilet paper. I didn’t eat much so I didn’t need too much toilet paper (laughs), so I wrote on them. Later on I was able to smuggle in some books; I was able to read and write in between the lines with the ink I had manufactured. That way I kept my sanity.
Did winning the Nobel Prize influence your writing?
I don’t think that winning the Nobel Prize affected my writing in any way. When I say that, I don’t mean it’s normal. For instance, somebody after he won the Nobel decided he’s not going to write anymore. It disturbed me in the beginning for the simple reason that you have to respond to all kinds of invitations. It was a nuisance at the beginning but I learnt to manage it and subsequently, I got used to writing more in (air)planes than I normally do in my sanctuary. So all it did was that it affected me in terms of my working methods but I don’t think for a moment it affected the intensity of what I wrote.
In the 1994 fight against military rule, how did you survive?
I had to take a most unusual route to exile which I felt was most undignifying. It wasn’t the first time I would ride on a motorcycle, as a rider and as a passenger but in this particular instance, I had to go through the bush, being lashed by branches at night. I felt that it wasn’t something that should be happening at my age during that period.
Having said that, … many people don’t understand my relationship with the military. The first thing that happens is that military rulers actually have no tails between their legs. (Normal just one head, two arms ) and many of them do think. And I should say some of them are even writers.
I have had a very easy relationship with the military from my student days and as some of you know from my biography I actually enrolled in the university’s officer corps because I thought it would be possible to go to South Africa and liberate South Africa so I never had any problem with the military. The problem is when they try to go outside their role and not only go outside their role as if they are gods and even goddesses because some female officers behave worse to civilians than male officers. Others retain their humanity. And don’t forget that this was a period when military rule was a way of life. Civilians would come out depending on who got in, have their expectations and hope. People would come out and applaud … but the moment they say, as happened with Buhari for instance, the moment they say we don’t even want anybody to discuss return to civilian rule, they become enemy number one, straight away I engage them. There are others who say we are just here to correct some anomalies and we will return to civilian rule by so so date and when that date is approaching, they find an excuse to delay. They say we haven’t got rid of all the money bags, give us a little more time. I get suspicious and all collaborations stops.
The continent and even the outside world accepted that military rule is a corrective arm of humanity. Well, I’m sorry but in most cases they very badly let us down. So it’s been a roller coaster kind of a relation but the moment there is a sadistic regime like Sani Abacha’s, the man whose record was known even when he was in the Army, then you know from the very beginning it’s war.
A youth actually posed the question that it may be time to invite the military back, may not have the worst memories of military rule.
A message for the youths to remind them why that’s not a good idea. Listen, if you want to have the military back, military rule or dictatorial rule of any kind, it’s really re-colonisation. That’s the first thing to remember. Military rule, dictatorship in any form, deserves no sense of moral superiority. Two, external colonial rule. You are denied of your volition, you are deprived of your civic dignity. One way or the other, you are under colonial rule. Yes, there was a time when indeed the civilians were exceedingly dictatorial, which means you have to treat the civilian government as no better than a dictatorial rule. What we have learnt from our experimentation with military rule is that they are just as corrupt, incontinent, unreliable, treacherous towards civilian existence as the very worst civilian rule.
Enlighten us on the Confraternity you set up while in school, its mission and vision. How has the society taken it?
This is a question I am always very delighted to be asked; can’t believe that the media conflates two words: cultism and fraternity.
College fraternity is a time honoured tradition. It exists virtually all over the world where there are tertiary institutions. In Germany, in Britain, college fraternity is a time honoured tradition… Many presidents of the United States belonged to fraternities in their universities and many of them attend reunions where they come with their wife and children and donate to their alma mater. They are part and parcel of university culture.
When the Pyrates were formed, I was one of the founding members, fraternities for at least two decades, didn’t have one negative word against them. But of course, society being what it is, fraternities became corrupted. They turned fraternities to somewhere where you can exercise macho instincts and bully the rest of society. Of course they were thrown out or else they were never admitted in the first instance which was our idea of the original fraternity. So they went out and set up their own organisations which were also called fraternities but which soon showed exactly what they were.
The Bucanneers, that was the first to break out. The Eiye Society, The Vikings and even today you have Daughters of Jezebel. The women who one acknowledges for gender struggles, equality and all that, unfortunately, this is one area which they never should have attempted to be equal. Daughters of Jezebel in some of the colleges today are the most vicious; more vicious than their male counterparts.
Then outside society, which also includes politicians, who wanted to recruit students into their own absolute decadent conduct began to seduce with money, cars. These ‘fraternities’ turned them to outright killers, glorified thugs. So instead of having youth divisions of political parties in the tertiary institutions, what evolved were thug societies. So the ‘fraternities’ became killers, they became corrupt, gang rapists, acid throwers etc and I can say categorically that you can never find a member of the original Pyrates Confraternity in these criminal and anti social activities. To mention — the Ife killings and how the culprits were flown abroad by their parents, children of the elites. They are the ones with total immunity, privileged — those who are supposed to be rotting in jail.
Cultists drink unbelievable potions. The only negative thing I can confidently tell you about Pyrates Confraternity, sometimes they get drunk (laughter). But they don’t molest you when they are drunk. They get drunk when they are ‘sailing’, they fall asleep totally drunk until the sun beats them where they are lying in the open.
You use a lot of Yoruba mythology in your works, has there been any negative reaction to the cultural aspect of your work?
This is a result of Western or Eastern orientations. Christians or Muslims think that they have the ultimate key to the kingdom of heaven and that if you don’t follow either scriptures, you are forever damaged.
This is my world, my created environment; the myths of my society. Christians and Muslims must accept this, that they also exist in mythical worlds but the thing is that they would not accept. Who would tell me that the angels and the saints of either Islam or Christianity are not mythological figures? Prove to me that they are not before you ask me to prove to you that mine are not decent, respectable and even creatively enabling mythological figures. So let all of us stick to our mythology. Don’t try and denigrate mine because if you do then I will denigrate yours. My myth does not require me to turn the other cheek and stop claiming knowledge of absolute truth. Stop saying there is only one way, path to the god-head. All religions are equal.
Liquor and collarless shirt
I’m against liquor; completely against liquor. Wine is not liquor (Laughter from audience). Even a good brandy is not liquor; single malt whiskey is not liquor, palm wine is not liquor. All the rest is liquor. Right from when I was a child — I started reading from an unbelievably early age — and it’s the same with medicine. I discovered very early, today people are talking about traditional medicine, acupuncture, since I was little I knew the medicinal values of palm wine (component of red wine), What the doctors are talking about I knew since I was three, intuitively. I recommend red wine for everybody.
Anything that is not liquor, I think hurts the productive system. Wine is excellent…what corrodes the body for me is water. I can’t imagine anybody being creative with orange juice, pineapple juice and all that. I can’t imagine it. It’s very difficult.
I think it was as a result of my abandonment of ties. I felt restricted by ties. Why on earth should somebody put a rope around my neck and at the same time they don’t like being hanged. Does it make sense to you?
Once I abandoned ties, the next thing was what was that tie doing around my neck. Nothing mysterious about it; straightforward practicality.
“Never have sex with a girl unless she’s sent you a text that proves the sexual relationship is consensual”
“Make no mistake, no woman — no matter how much she parties — is asking to be raped. But too often when heavy drinking is involved, the meaning of consent can be misconstrued on both sides.”
Controversial: Roxanne Jones says to avoid any doubt, young men and women should text consent before sexual encounters.
This is the world we live in. Its the ‘quick-fix’ generation where everything is expected not to go through due process of intelligence and diligence of waiting. Delayed gratification is no longer acceptable. You want it. You get it irrespective of how you get it, however, it must be quick. Just get it. Sex in this generation is not revered. Its no longer respected. Seeing ladies breasts that you rightfully ought not to see no longer raises the much anticipated excitement. Its all in your face now. Its as common as mosquitoes in Nigeria. This is why it has become increasingly difficult for rape cases to be judged, not that I will ever condone any thing to do with rape. Rape is rape and it is a violation and must be punished. However, when ladies go out and dress scantily in the name of being sexy, it is a recipe for disaster. There are already enough men out there that have problems with their sanity, why tickle it with an exposure of that part of the flesh that should be sacred. Its a mad world out there. As for Roxanne’s advice, which to many, may come across as absurd, it is what it is. This is how she knows how to protect her son. Enough said. In Nigeria, we will say “it-is-well”.
Columnist and mother Roxanne Jones has written a controversial piece for CNN detailing how she told her son to get a ‘text message of consent’ from a girl before he has sex with her.
Jones, also the founding editor of ESPN magazine, wrote yesterday she sent her college-age son off with a ‘duffel bag full of 300 condoms’ and told him to watch out for party girls – ‘stupid party girls’ to be exact who she calls ‘trouble’.
Jones then goes on to cite the number of alcohol-related sexual assaults in students – 97,000 each year – to back up her evidence.
‘It seems nearly every week, we hear news stories about sexual encounters at parties where everyone is drinking,’ she writes.
‘And a young woman says she was raped, and a young man insists the encounter was consensual.’
She did not however point out that only two per cent of reported rapes are discovered to be false accusations.
Jones also advises to follow the liaison up with some reminiscing sexts: ’And it’s a good idea to even follow up any sexual encounter with a tasteful text message saying how you both enjoyed being with one another – even you never plan on hooking up again.’
Jones is careful to point out that ‘no woman — no matter how much she parties — is asking to be raped’ but adds ‘But too often when heavy drinking is involved, the meaning of consent can be misconstrued on both sides.’
Twitter exploded with both support and outrage – mainly the latter – at the piece – and even a CNN anchor expressed doubts.
Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Aviation, Mr Joe Obi in a statement made available to Channels Television, has confirmed that flights into Abuja have been temporarily suspended to facilitate evacuation efforts to clear the runway.
This, according to Obi, is due to a Saudi Arabian B747 cargo aircraft which veered off after landing in Abuja last night at the maneuvering area of the runway and ran into a maintenance area and stopped.
Normal operations will resume immediately the aircraft is removed.
The statement adds that it must be noted that the incident is not a plane crash as the Federal Ministry of Aviation regrets all inconveniences this incident must have caused air travelers and airport users.
The statement further adds that concerted effort is being intensified to remove the obstacle and restore normalcy while the public will be updated as progress is made towards restoring normal operations at the airport.
Another statement by the Group Corporate Communications Manager of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Mr Yakubu Datti, said no casualty was recorded while plans are underway to move the air craft away following a preliminary assessment visit by AIPB, NCAA, FAAN and other relevant agencies.
President Goodluck Jonathan
Speculations were rife on Wednesday that the trip of President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience, to Germany which the Presidency described as “a private visit” might be on health grounds.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, had on Tuesday issued a statement indicating that Jonathan would leave Abuja for Germany en-route to Paris, France to participate in the Summit on Peace and Security in Africa.
Abati said the President would stop over in Germany for a private visit on his way to Paris and return to Abuja at the conclusion of the summit on Saturday.
The announcement of the “private visit” coming a few weeks after he fell sick in London, fuelled speculation that Jonathan might have decided to visit the same German hospital where his wife sought medical attention for about seven weeks last year.
Since he was accompanied by Patience, speculations were also rife that she might use the opportunity of the visit to undergo a medical check-up.
The fears were further confirmed on Wednesday when it was discovered that many of the President’s close aides, who usually accompany him on foreign trips, did not travel with him.
Our correspondent learnt that some of them might join the President in Paris later in the week.
The social media were on Wednesday awash with reports of the motive of President’s German trip.
An online news site, SaharaReporters, reported that Jonathan and his wife checked into a hospital in Germany on Wednesday.
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If you were unable to get a ticket this year, or you are outside London and want to join us on the day – we will be live streaming the entire event live on our website http://www.tedxeuston.com or you can go directly to the link below.
Click on this link for the live stream: http://www.livestream.com/tedxeuston
Click the ‘must watch’ video below to get into the Ted mood. I am already in the mood.
Vincent Enyeama: Enjoying a rich vein of form
Lille coach Rene Girard heaped praise on Vincent Enyeama after the Nigeria goalkeeper kept an 11th straight clean sheet in Tuesday night’s 1-0 Ligue 1 victory over Marseille.
The 31-year-old has conceded only four goals in 16 top-flight games this term and has not been beaten for 1035 minutes, meaning he is closing in on all the all-time record in France – 1176 minutes, set by former Bordeaux goalkeeper Gaetan Huard in 1992/93.
“Enyeama? So much has been said,” Girard said. “He was equal to everything, and made critical decisions.
“He is still going. His strength is that he attributes his success to colleagues, to the team. He knows he has players in front of him giving their maximum. He is grounded.
“We do not think about Huard’s record at the moment. We’ll see. It will be complicated. We do not put pressure on him. But, if he can continue like this until the end of the season, we will take it!”
Nolan Roux’s stoppage-time winner lifted second-placed Lille to within one point of leaders Paris Saint-Germain, rounding off a highly productive evening for Girard’s men.
“It was quite close in the first half, and a little more open in the second period, with perhaps a penalty that could have been given for a foul on Nolan, plus Vincent produced two or three important saves,” Girard said.
“I thought we were moving towards a 0-0 logically enough, but we kept going and managed to score in stoppage time.”
Girard acknowledged his side were “a little lucky” to have taken all three points, but was delighted they maintained their Champions League push.
“We must continue to work with tranquility. OM will be back, because they are strong,” he said.
“We’re on 36 points today and we have earned them. We were a little lucky (against Marseille).
“But football is so fast moving and so many things are happening that we must take advantage of the good times. We know that we will have more difficult (results to take) and must then remain humble, but let us be happy.”
Girard was pleased with the atmosphere inside the Grand Stade Lille Metropole, despite fears heading into the game over the reception in store for returning midfielder Florian Thauvin following his acrimonious summer switch to the Stade Velodrome.
“I saw the red and white, and a very good atmosphere in the stadium,” he said. “It was not as bad as some predicted. People are happy, even if we were not radiant or dominating the game. They see the boys on the pitch giving their all and the fans understand that.”
ONDO State Commissioner for Information, Mr Kayode Akinmade, has said that a special edition of the annual mountain climbing competition, popularly known as ‘Mare Festival,’ will be held this year to celebrate the life and times of the late commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr Deji Falae who, until his death, was the chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the event.
The late commissioner and 15 others died in a fatal crash involving an aircraft on the fleet of the Associated Airlines on October 3 this year while conveying the remains of the late former Governor Olusegun Agagu from Lagos to Akure for burial.
Akinmade, in a sober mood, told journalists that preparations for the low key celebration have begun in earnest for the 2013 edition of the annual fiesta where various artistes who had packaged interesting songs and short plays in honour of the late Falae would render them to the admiration of the teeming audience.
He noted that the 2013 edition of the event would further enable the people of the state to celebrate a man whose passion for the project in the last two years had attracted global attention to the state.
He said, “Ordinarily, the state government had thought of suspending the celebration of Mare festival this year because we are still mourning our dearly beloved brother, but his friends in the entertainment industry pleaded that we should allow them use the occasion to honour him this year with songs and short plays they had composed for him.”
Akinmade said government was perfecting every strategy to immortalise the late Falae by ensuring that the Idanre hills, which are the focal point of the annual fiesta, were listed by the United Nations Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organisation,(UNESCO) as one of the World’s Heritage sites.
He also said government was celebrating the Mare festival annually in order to showcase the Idanre hills to international tourists with the ultimate aim of attracting direct investments in the economy of the state.
Further, Akinmade said the world body had already approved the Idanre Hills’ nomination dossier and had dispatched independent inspectors to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the facilities at the site as contained in the dossier.
The commissioner said the current investment by the government to organise the annual festival was necessary in view of the fact that the event had already drawn global attention to Idanre.
He said the state governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, had vowed not to leave any stone unturned to make Idanre the best tourist centre in the country in order to attract foreign and local investors who will invest in the hospitality industry, to the state.
He said, “There are no other hills anywhere in the world that could be compared to what we have in Idanre. The lovely rock formations were a special gift to Ondo State and Nigeria in general.”
He commended the people of Idanre for their endurance and hospitality during the previous editions of the festival and promised that the 2013 edition which has been designed to have the full participation of the Idanre people would be more glamorous to reflect the dream of the late Commissioner for Culture and Tourism. He added that various activities including marathon race, cultural display and mountain climbing competition both by professional and amateur climbers, will, as usual, take place, while cash prizes and laptops would be presented to winners of various categories.