Saturday, 21 October 2017
Items filtered by date: October 2017
Saturday, 14 October 2017 13:32

Liverpool 0, Manchester United 0

Liverpool were held to a frustrating draw despite dominating Manchester United at Anfield and have now won just once in eight games.

The Reds were on top for long periods and peppered the United goal with 19 shots, but a combination of outstanding goalkeeping by David de Gea and poor finishing denied them a decisive moment.

The most noteworthy incident of an uneventful first half was De Gea denying Joel Matip from close range with a brilliant reflex save with his outstretched left boot, before Mohamed Salah fired the rebound wide.

United offered very little quality in attack although Simon Mignolet had to smartly parry Romelu Lukaku's fierce attempt before the interval.

Liverpool dominated even more after half-time but Emre Can wasted their best chance when he volleyed over the bar from eight yards after being picked out by the impressive Joe Gomez's precise cross.

The point was enough to take United - with nine clean sheets in their past 10 league games - to the top of the table, one point ahead of Manchester City, who host Stoke City at 15:00 BST.

History repeats itself

It's almost a year to the day Liverpool and United played out a goalless and drab stalemate in the same stadium, with the hosts subdued by a vintage Jose Mourinho masterclass in defensive organisation and discipline.

Twelve months on, this game was only marginally better despite Liverpool taking the match to United after the break.

A year ago, United were grateful for two fine second-half saves from goalkeeper De Gea to dent Can and Philippe Coutinho.

This time the Spaniard produced a magnificent save with his foot to keep out Matip from close range on his way to his 18th Premier League clean sheet of 2017.

This was only Liverpool's third clean sheet in 13 games this season but Mourinho will have been the happier manager at the final whistle.

The visitors had just 38% of possession - a 3% improvement on their last visit - yet they produced a dogged defensive display to stop Liverpool from scoring for only the second time this season in the Premier League.

 

Published in Business and Economy
Saturday, 14 October 2017 13:16

By Gbenga Adebambo: Hire your boss!

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” —Jim Rohn

There are two things you need to ensure before starting to read this: the first is the conviction that you really want to be your own boss; the second is to be so sure that your present boss is not aware that you are reading this! Though you have been hired by your boss, but you can systematically turn this around for more financial freedom and control. You can flip the coin around and hire your boss! Yes you can, whether directly or indirectly.

I am writing this piece not just for subordinates to ‘triumph’ over their bosses but also for CEOs, Directors, proprietors and business owners to avoid the major pitfalls that can sink any man into oblivion. Every ‘fall’ is avoidable and any ‘rise’ is possible!

One of the books that molded my formative years was the one written by Thomas Hardy, The Mayor Of Casterbridge. The book illustrates the pitiable rise and fall of the Mayor of Casterbridge- Michael Henchard . The book which centers round a strong-willed and self-made man, Michael Henchard, whose rise to and fall from a high state form the core of the tragic tale of his life. Henchard’s rise to prominence in Casterbridge stems from his business acumen and unparalleled savviness. He would later seal an ominous fate for his competitors by employing a Scottish manager, Donald Farfrae, whose skills and charisma later became a source of insecurity and threat to his boss.

As the rift and friction between Farfrae and his boss grew, it became obvious that he was becoming larger than his boss. Farfrae’s diligence, business-skill and popularity among people arouse feelings of jealousy in Henchard’s mind, who, after some provocation, turns him out of the job under him. Farfrae starts his own business, and prospers much in it.

The rivalry in business between Henchard and Farfrae leads finally to the immense flourishing of the latter’s business and the ultimate ruin of Henchard’s. Henchard ultimately finds himself again at the bottom of fortune’s wheel, while Farfrae now occupies a station at the top. Things come to such a pass that Henchard is reduced to a state of bankruptcy, this will later force him to sell his palatial house to the highest bidder who turns out to be Farfrae! The ill-luck got so much on his way that he sold virtually all that he had amassed in his years of toiling and has to work as an ordinary labourer in Farfrae’s establishment! Farfrae, on the other hand becomes the Mayor of Casterbridge, a position occupied formerly by Henchard. Thus, there is a complete reversal of fortune in Henchard’s case as well as Farfrae’s.

There is an old saying which says that, “No condition is permanent, only fools do not know”. You are not destined to live the rest of your life from paycheck to paycheck. Don’t build your destiny around your pension. You can actually be your own boss by following some principles that have been fool-proofed:

BUILD YOUR OWN DREAM: In life, it is either you build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs. If you don’t have big dreams and goals, you’ll end up working really hard for someone who does. One of the greatest minds of our time, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the former President of India said, ”Your dream is not what you see in sleep, your dream is that thing that keeps you from sleeping”.

DESIGN YOUR OWN PRODUCT: I have come to discover over the years that the poor chase after money while the rich attract money. People that attract money will always employ those that chase after money. Until you sit down with an idea to design a product that can sell, you will continue to run after money! Don’t chase after money; attract money. Steve Jobs once said, ‘’Apple’s goal isn’t to make money. Our goal is to design and develop and bring to market good products…. We trust as a consequence of that, people will like them, and as another consequence, we’ll make some money. But we’re really clear about what our goals are.’’

HIRE PEOPLE THAT ARE SMARTER THAN YOU! : Steve Jobs once said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do, we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do”. One of the greatest undoing of Michael Henchard was letting go of Farfrae to hire a new manager that he could probably control. We must be willing to surround ourselves with people that are smarter and more intelligent than us.

BUILD YOUR INNER SECURITY: I have often said that bosses that are insecure are threats to their organization. An insecure boss will always short-circuit the growth and advancement of his subordinates. Michael Henchard started spiraling down in his business the moment he started feeling insecure with his manager’s success. Ultimately, people that have good self-esteem and inner security will always end up ‘employing’ their insecure boss! One of the most fascinating stories of secure bosses raising a generation of excellent subordinates was that between Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.

As a young man, Ford took a job at the Edison Illuminating Company, working his way up to become chief engineer. One day while Thomas Edison was taking a stroll around, he met Henry Ford who was working on a novel idea while still working under Edison. Ford was introduced to Edison and showed Edison his plans for a gasoline automobile, Edison encouraged him to pursue those plans. The impetus Ford got from his boss’ encouragement was all that was needed for Ford to revolutionalise the automobile industry.

INVEST IN YOUR OWN PERSONAL GROWTH: Craig Handley said, “You can’t grow a business past your own personal growth”. The greatest hindrance to personal development is personal neglect. Success is about learning to become the person capable of succeeding. Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become.

VALUE FEEDBACKS AND CRITICISMS: Andy Stanley said, “Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.” Surround yourself not only with people that say what you want to hear, but with people that say what you ought to hear! Criticisms and feedbacks are the lifelines of leadership. A leader that is beyond confrontation will self-destruct himself. Great people see confrontation as checks and not as effrontery.

TREAT YOUR EMPLOYEES WELL: Sir Richard Branson said, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”. Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients. Henry Ford once said, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay”. You don’t build a business, you build people and then people build the business.

PURSUE YOUR PASSION: People that chase their passion ultimately employ people that chase after money! When you follow your passion, the universe would open doors where there were only walls. Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Real financial security and freedom is not in your job but in your passion.

CHANGE YOUR CIRCLE OF FRIENDS: They say if you surround yourself with nine losers you’ll soon be the tenth! Do not expect positive things in your life if you surround yourself with negative people. When a man continually struggles on a spot without hope of advancement, then his circle of friends is indicted! Jim Rohn, in his law of Averages said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. Pay any price to be in the midst of extraordinary people.

VALUE FAMILY MORE THAN BUSINESS: Family is everything; you must never sacrifice family for business. Those that succeed at home will eventually employ those that struggle at home. Walt Disney said, “A man should never neglect his family for business”. One of the mistakes that later hunted Henchard all his life was his sole act of selling his wife (Susan) and child (Elizabeth-Jane) while under the influence of alcohol (rum-laced furmity) at a fair. Henchard’s story illustrated that neglecting the family is a horrible sin that no amount of penance can undo even after so much repentance!

Published in Parliament

David Moyes says he did not want Marouane Fellaini to be his first Manchester United signing and tried to buy Nemanja Matic first.

Fellaini moved to Old Trafford on deadline day in 2013 at the end of a summer that had seen Moyes replace Sir Alex Ferguson as manager.

A calamitous transfer window got Moyes' reign off to a rocky start and he was sacked before the end of the season.

He told the BBC: "I never wanted Marouane Fellaini to be my first Manchester United signing, that is the last thing me and my staff wanted.

"We looked at Nemanja Matic first. He did not do well at Chelsea and had gone back to Benfica.

"He was a consideration and we did need a more defensive type who could make passes from the middle of the park. We did not get a lot of the things we hoped for and got Fellaini on deadline day."

Marouane Fellaini played under David Moyes at Everton and Manchester United.

Fellaini was the only signing Moyes managed to make in his first summer at United.

But the former Everton manager also said he tried to hijack Gareth Bale's move from Tottenham to Real Madrid and almost convinced Cesc Fabregas to leave Barcelona.

He added: "I spoke to Gareth Bale a couple of times and tried to convince him to join us, we even offered Tottenham more money but he had his heart set on joining Real Madrid.

"I spoke to Cesc Fabregas on the phone too and he was not sure of his place in the Barcelona team. He said: 'I will join you if I do not start my first game of the season at Barca' ... and he did start.

"They were the only two who looked like Manchester United players.

"If Sir Alex Ferguson took over from Sir Alex Ferguson he would have found it tough."

Published in Sports

Anthony Martial has been picked to start Manchester United's clash with Liverpool at Anfield.

Jose Mourinho has handed the France international just his second Premier League start of the season with Marcus Rashford dropping to the bench.

Phil Jones is in the team despite pulling out of the England squad with a knee injury ahead of the international break and Romelu Lukaku also starts after recovering from an ankle injury.

 

Mourinho is without Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba so Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera start in midfield.

Antonio Valencia is named in defence along with Jones, Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian, while Ashley Young also starts for the fourth game in a row and Henrikh Mkhitaryan maintains his record of starting every Premier League game so far this season. 

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Eric Bailly is not in the squad after picking up an injury in training on Friday while Victor Lindelof is on the bench for just the second time in the Premier League since his move from Benfica in the summer.

Meanwhile, Philippe Coutinho looks set to start as a left forward for Liverpool, in place of Sadio Mane, who is out for up to six weeks after sustaining a hamstring injury during the international break.

In total, Jurgen Klopp has made two changes from Liverpool's last match in the Premier League, with Roberto Firmino and Emre Can replacing Mane and Daniel Sturridge.

Full Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno, Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho, Salah, Firmino.

Full Manchester United XI: De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Young, Darmian, Herrera, Matic, Mkhitaryan, Martial, Lukaku

Published in Sports
A group, known as Concerned Professionals Initiative for Good Governance (CPIGG), is asking the Nigerian Senate to "totally and overwhelmingly reject the nomination of Aisha Ahmad as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the grounds that she is not qualified  to hold that office since she is lacking in experience and  integrity.
 
The CPIGG, with its headquarters in the North-Central city of Jos,  is just one of the many voices that have so far spoken against last week's appointment of Mrs. Ahmad, a former staff of Diamond Bank Plc by President Muhammadu Buhari, for the position of deputy head of the country's apex bank.
 
"As responsible and law abiding citizens of Nigeria, who are fully conscious of the powers of the Senate as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, we are writing to draw the attention of the Senate to the abnormality surrounding the nomination of Mrs. Aisha Ahmad as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN)" and  "to appeal to  the Senate, through your good offices, to reject the nomination forthwith," it told the Senate President, Bukola Saraki in  protest letter submitted on Wednesday.
 
In the petition, titled "Wrongful Appointment of Mrs. Aisha Ahmad for the position of Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN): Appeal for intervention of the Senate,"  the group explained that as an organization committed to the promotion of good governance, equity, justice and fairness and the fight against corruption in the administration and governance of the country,  "we  are compelled to   seek the intervention of the Distinguished  Senate to reject the nomination of Mrs. Aisha Ahmad  pending before  Senate for confirmation as Deputy Governor of CBN."
 
According to the group, the petition, dated 10th October, 2017 and signed by its Convener/Chairman, Ebah A. Idikwu, Esq, was anchored on "the obvious aberration, fraud, injustice and abuse of office, which the  nomination of Mrs. Ahmad represents."
 
Outlining the "facts of the matter" for consideration by the Senate, the petitioners alleged that the nominee was not qualified for the exalted office of Deputy Governor of CBN because "less than a week before the announcement was made, the nominee was Head of Consumer Banking at Diamond Bank on the substantive rank of Deputy General Manager(DGM). The CBN Act however provides that to be appointed Deputy Governor of CBN, the candidate must have attained the rank of at least an Executive Director in a reputable financial institution. In the past, those appointed Deputy Governors were Managing Directors/ CEO of Deposit Money Banks. One example is Mr.  Tunde Lemo who until his appointment as Deputy Governor, of CBN was Managing Director of Wema Plc."
 
"Aware that Aisha Ahmad was not qualified for appointment as Deputy Governor, CBN, her sponsors hurriedly caused a highly fraudulent and unusual promotion to be made catapulting her from DGM Status to Executive Director on October 6, 2017by 5.22 PM, the same day her purported appointment was announced  by the Presidency (See attached circular marked Annex A). It means therefore, that the promotion was made after her appointment was made public, an after-thought to salvage a bad situation," the petitioner noted.
 
The petitioner further argued that the Diamond Bank Annual Report for 2016 contained the names and pictures of all Executive Directors on P. 32. "However, Mrs Aisha Ahmad’s name was conspicuously missing, which confirms that she was not an Executive Director of Diamond Bank and therefore, not qualified for the position of Deputy Governor of CBN for which she has been nominated."
 
"Our checks on the organogram of the Diamond Bank have revealed that apart from the seven superior officers of the bank, there are other seven Heads of Units and Departments placed in order of relevance and seniority out of which Mrs. Aisha Ahmad is the sixth. Therefore, it is unthinkable for Mrs Ahmad to overtake six other senior officers to be promoted to the rank of Executive Director. If the question must be asked, what special feat did she accomplish that merited her such an unusual promotion?," they added.
 
The petitioners further informed the Senate that Mrs Aisha Ahmad’s astronomical promotion at Diamond Bank was not approved by the CBN as required by law. "This evident is the circular announcing her appointment was fraudulently silent on CBN approval just as it was silence on whether the board of Diamond Bank sanctioned the applicant as required by the best corporate governance procedures."
 
"Most Importantly, the nomination of Mrs. Aisha Ahmad amounts to a gross violation of the Federal Character principle as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria since Niger state where Mrs Aisha Ahmad hails from produced a Deputy Governor of the CBN in the person of Mr Maiyaki who served for 10 years. In addition, Mrs Aisha’s Mother comes from Kwara state which also produced a Deputy Governor of CBN in the person of  Mrs Sarah Alade, who also held the position for ten (10) years. Going by the Federal Character principle therefore, the other North Central states of Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa and FCT should also have the opportunity to produce a Deputy Governor of CBN," the petitioner posited.
 
The petitioners contended that from the foregoing, "it is clear that Mrs. Aisha Ahmad’s appointment as Deputy Governor of CBN was fraudulently conceived and made for purposes that are clearly far from the objective of ensuring the good management of the nation’s economy."
 
They warned that as a beneficiary of the skewed process of her promotion to qualify for appointment into the CBN, there was every reason to believe that Mrs. Aisha Ahmad would be morally unsound to defend skewed or corrupt process if allowed to function as Deputy Governor of CBN, saying, "she will be dangerous to the integrity of the CBN and the highly sensitive functions carried out by the apex Bank for the good of the economy."
 
"From the facts above, there are obviously very powerful interests behind the nomination of Mrs Aisha Ahmad as Deputy Governor of CBN. If the powerful interests could influence her abnormal promotion at Diamond Bank to pave way for her nomination as Deputy Governor of CBN, the same interests would work though her to compromise economic policies. To put it succinctly, Mrs. Aisha Ahmad will be an economic Saboteur. Nigeria can do without her," the petitioners said.
 
Insisting that  te appointment of Mrs. Ahmad was illegal, unconstitutional, null and void and must not be allowed under whatever circumstance, the petitioners warned that it would be a negation of the anti-corruption stance of the Federal Government if Mrs Aisha Ahmad is allowed to manipulate her way to attain the high office of Deputy Governor of CBN, and that it would  not only set a bad precedent, it will destroy the integrity of the CBN and by extension destroy the nation’s economy.
 
 
 
 
Published in Headliners

Partial results from Liberia's presidential election show former football star George Weah has taken an early lead.

Figures from the National Elections Commission (NEC) put Mr Weah ahead in 11 out of 15 counties, although most votes have yet to be counted.

His main rival, incumbent Vice-President Joseph Boakai, leads in one county and is second in most others.

A candidate needs more than 50% of the votes for outright victory.

If no-one achieves that, a second round will be held in November.

The election is to choose a successor to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - Africa's first elected female president and a Nobel Peace laureate.

As the results came in, the manager of Arsenal Football Club, Arsene Wenger, was apparently duped by false reports that Mr Weah had won.

Arsene WengerImage copyrightGETTY Arsene Wenger coached George Weah in the 1990s when he was in charge of French club Monaco

"I would like to congratulate one of my former players, who became president of Liberia," Mr Wenger told reporters.

"It's not often you have a former player who becomes president of a country. So well done, Georgie."

NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya hit out at false reports and said his officials were doing their best to get accurate official results out as quickly as possible.

"This commission has not declared any winner," he stressed.

International election observers said they had not identified any major problems with Tuesday's voting.

However, parties supporting three of the 20 candidates have alleged irregularities and said they would contest the result, Reuters reported.

Joseph Boakai at a polling station in Monrovia on October 10, 2017Image copyrightAFP
Vice-President Joseph Boakai says the Liberian people want to see more development

Ms Sirleaf, 78, who is stepping down at the end of two terms, hailed the election as a success.

"We believe that all Liberians are ready for this process. I thank them for participating in this process," she said.


Meet the frontrunners

George Weah, 51:

  • Former Fifa World Footballer of the Year
  • Arsene Wenger, now at Arsenal, was Weah's coach at Monaco in 1990s
  • Has the political backing of jailed warlord and former President Charles Taylor
  • Taylor's ex-wife, Jewel Howard Taylor, is his running mate.

Joseph Boakai, 73:

  • Nicknamed "Sleepy Joe"
  • Denies it is because he is often caught napping at public events, says it is because he is a dreamer
  • Vice-President under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf since 2005
  • Has distanced himself from her record, saying "a lot more needs to be achieved".

Liberia, which was founded by freed US slaves in the 19th Century, has not had a smooth transfer of power in 73 years.

Ms Sirleaf took office in 2006, after her predecessor, Charles Taylor, was forced out of office by rebels in 2003, ending a long civil war.

Taylor is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence in the UK for war crimes related to the conflict in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

Mr Weah, 51, has chosen Taylor's ex-wife Jewel Howard Taylor as his running mate.

 
Published in Business and Economy

Two protesters were shot dead Friday as opposition supporters clashed with police in western Kenya, with hundreds defying a ban on rallies to express their anger over an increasingly uncertain presidential election.

In the town of Bondo, the rural home of opposition leader Raila Odinga, a large crowd confronted officers outside the police station, scattering as live shots were fired.

Witnesses told AFP two people were shot dead. “One person had his head shattered by a bullet while the other was hit on the chest,” said eyewitness Sam Oguma.

Police commander Leonard Katana said the demonstrators were shot after attempting to “attack” the police station.

Regional security official Wilson Njega confirmed the two deaths, saying a full report would be issued once the circumstances of the killings became clear.

In the main western city Kisumu, 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Bondo, 20 people were admitted to hospital with serious injuries, four of them with gunshot wounds including one man in a critical condition who had been shot in the neck, said hospital chief Juliana Otieno.

Several nursery school children were also hospitalised after police fired tear gas into the Mt Carmel Academy in the Nyalenda slum.

“There was tear gas all over the school and more kept being fired by the police,” said Mary Ochieng, a witness.

The protests come as Kenya is mired in confusion over a presidential election that is due to take place in less than two weeks.

Friday’s violence was the worst since clashes in the days after the August election which left 37 dead.

A local human rights group said 35 of them were shot dead by police.

A new election?
In early September, the country’s Supreme Court annulled the results of an August 8 election — won by President Uhuru Kenyatta — citing irregularities in the counting process and mismanagement by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

And it ordered that a re-run of the vote be held within 60 days, with the date set for October 26.

But Odinga on Tuesday announced he would not take part, accusing the IEBC of failing to make fundamental reforms.

Odinga has argued that his withdrawal from the race should force the IEBC to cancel the election and begin the whole process from scratch — allowing more time for his reforms.

But the IEBC appears to be pushing forward with plans for the vote, saying only that Odinga had yet to submit the required form to officially pull out of the race.

Kenyatta on Friday signed a supplementary budget allocating 12 billion shillings ($116 million, 98 million euros) for the new election.

Chaos in Kisumu
The government ban on protests has further angered the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition.

Security Minister Fred Matiangi on Thursday banned rallies in the centre of Nairobi, Mombasa and the western city of Kisumu after property was destroyed, passers-by robbed or assaulted, and business disrupted.

However, the opposition pushed ahead with protests Friday, and plans to stage daily rallies next week.

In Kisumu, the main city in the west and Odinga’s stronghold, there were chaotic scenes as police fired teargas and gunshots rang out as protesters pelted them with stones.

Published in Headliners

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday responded to allegations that the Igbo were under-represented in his government, saying that the South East region was not marginalised in appointments into his cabinet.

Receiving some leaders from the region who visited him at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday, President Buhari said there are “four substantive ministers” from the South East region while seven states in the North only got appointments as ministers of state.

Buhari said: “I gave the South-East four substantive ministers in the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Investment, Science and Technology and Labour.

“Seven states in the North got ministers of state. And of the two ministries headed by your sons, I cannot take any decision on foreign policy and investments without their input.”

President Buhari also assured stakeholders from the South East, who were led by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, that the region would benefit more from roads and coastal rail projects, which he said are of critical importance to the economy.

The President, according to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, declared that the 2nd Niger Bridge, the East-West Road and the Coastal rail project were receiving utmost attention from his administration.

He said that counterpart funding from the Chinese government would substantially fund the projects, which when completed would improve the welfare, well-being and economy of the people in the region.

The President said: “I know the Chinese are very competent in handling such projects and we will ensure that we get the money for the projects to take off.

“I thank you for articulating your demands, and I want to assure that we are doing our best for the country.

“If we can stop people from stealing, then there will be more resources to put into projects that will create employment for Nigerians.”

The President also promised the leaders, comprising governors and ministers from the region, the President of Ohanaeze, Chief Nnia Nwodo and representatives from the National Assembly, that he will visit the states in the zone soon.

“I want to assure you that I came into government with a clear conscience and I will also leave with a clear conscience,’’ he said.

Earlier, the President of Ohanaeze, while articulating the demands of the zone to the President, highlighted the issue of state creation, restructuring, federal projects in the South East, namely Enugu-Onitsha Road, Enugu-Port Harcourt Road and Aba-Ikot-Ekpene Road, among others.

Nwodo also demanded urgent presidential interventions on the Enugu Airport, reticulation of the gas pipelines in the South East and the standard gauge plan for railway construction.

Commending the President’s remarkable achievements on security and the fight against corruption, Nwodo said: “We are ready to work with you. We are determined to work with you. We know you are a decisive leader and we know God will continue to give you the wisdom to govern Nigeria.’’

Also speaking, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State expressed satisfaction on the outcome of their discussions with the President on critical issues and topics affecting the region.

“You have no hatred for any state. You have treated all states with equality. What one state gets in the north, the other gets in the south,’’ the governor said, referring to budget support facility and stabilisation fund released to states and local governments since the inception of the administration.

Published in Headliners
Saturday, 14 October 2017 01:11

By Anthony Chuka Konwea, P.E.: DANCE OF SHAME

A common joke on the Nigerian street has it that if all Nigerians were miraculously transplanted to Germany while all Germans were reciprocally transplanted to Nigeria, within five years Nigeria will look like Germany with well paved roads, 24/7 electricity and a disciplined society, while Germany will look like Nigeria with nonexistent roads, epileptic power supply and an entropic citizenry.

The moral of this idle speculation lends credence to Shakespeare’s observation speaking through Cassius: “the fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

As the wheels come-off President Muhammadu Buhari’s apparently ill-fated administration, it is apropos to point out that the fault lies not just in the vehicle and the overweight passengers but more so in the driver and the driving style. And I am not referring here to human biology over which no man but only God has total control.

You see with his eyes wide open President Muhammadu Buhari made some rookie mistakes from which no political administration in history has ever recovered. His may not be an exception.

On assumption of office, the President, not one to learn from History, labored and tragically still labors under three fatally misconceived notions. The first was that his own Fulani ethnicity was getting a raw deal socio-economically and deserved to be propped up using the instruments of the State at the expense of other sub-nationalities.

The second was that God and fate had given him an opportunity to deal with his erstwhile enemies using the administrative tools placed at his disposition by his new position. The third of course was a morbid dislike for the uber-competitive, republican, proud and increasingly garrulous Igbo ethnicity who ideologically, temperamentally and spiritually represent everything his beloved Fulani are not.

But critical observers make a mistake when they judge the President by normal standards believing that this will spur him on to improve his administrative performance. The President of Nigeria is not a Nigerian patriot. To suggest or imply that he is one, is a grand illusion designed, packaged and sold to the unsuspecting Nigerian public for the sole purpose of obtaining and retaining power. The President only masquerades and presents himself as a Nigerian patriot which he is not. A true patriot will love and act in the best interests of his country not just his ethnic nationality always.

The President is in effect an unrepentant Fulani ethno-patriot who administers Nigeria only from the prism lens of what he can obtain from the rest of the country for his ethnic Fulani people and not necessarily for what is best for the entire country irrespective of ethnicity.

And so, it is perfectly okay for him to be considered a failed Nigerian President provided his Fulani ethnicity (his base) are empowered to retain and maintain their chokehold on progress in Nigeria and provided the Fulani still consider him as a savior, walking in the foot-steps of the revered late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello.

From a critical view-point therefore, apart from age, religious and ethnic differences (one is Fulani, the other is Igbo) and the fact that the younger is a creation of the older, there is precious little to differentiate between President Muhammadu Buhari on the one hand and the youthful leader of the separatist Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu on the other hand.

Both are not Nigerian patriots. Both are unrepentant ethno-nationalists cum ethno-patriots and believe this or not, both are actively working in their own ways to ensure that Nigeria as we know it today ceases to exist. On this score alone, the actions or inactions of President Muhammadu Buhari are far more consequential to the future demise of Nigeria than the antics of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB.

It beats one hollow therefore to imagine that while the one, President Muhammadu Buhari is lionized (although he was chased out from his den in the Aso Rock Presidential Villa by mere rats!!!), the other Nnamdi Kanu is demonized for essentially doing the same thing – seeking the end of Nigeria.

In the typical hypocritical Nigerian fashion, while most commentators are busy condemning the speck in the neo-Biafrans’ eyes i.e. Nnamdi Kanu, they fail to see the log in Nigeria’s eyes i.e. President Muhammadu Buhari. They focus on the Divider, Nnamdi Kanu but are oblivious of the Divider-In-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Igbos are not fools. They know who serves their best interest. If President Muhammadu Buhari on assumption of office had reserved his administrative venom for judicially proven criminals such as kidnappers, armed robbers, ritualists, rapists, drug-barons, murderers, human traffickers and looters whosoever they might be, no sane person would criticize him.

If 100 proven kidnappers and armed robbers were caught, tried fairly and made to face justice, the Igbos would not cry foul if all the criminals essentially prove to be Igbo. Indeed, many Igbos resident outside Igboland who are fearful of returning home for brief vacation would be the first to sing the President’s praises to the high heavens.

Operating from the jaundiced view-point of ‘Fulani empowerment at-all-costs’ and ‘Igbo emasculation by-all-means’, the Buhari Administration failed to recognize that ‘transplanting all Nigerians to Germany and all Germans to Nigeria would only make the current Germany, the new Nigeria and the current Nigeria the new Germany’.

You cannot give what you don’t have and you cannot sustain a lifestyle without the requisite means. Indeed, as has been repeatedly proven by history, the administrative style of favoritism sets back the recipient much more than it does the non-recipient especially if the latter chooses to react by working harder.

However, the tragedy of the way Nigeria is currently structured is that progress and development is too often dependent on the whimsical caprices of the nation’s leaders. President Buhari bears a very significant share of the historical burden for the current state of Nigeria. Let us recall a few of these whimsical caprices which involve him.

During the seventies around the time when he was Federal Commissioner of Petroleum, a decision was taken by the Federal Military Government to build the nation’s third petroleum refinery in Kaduna in the far north far outside the crude-oil producing zone. There was no economic basis for this decision. It was purely political. To make matters worse, allegedly the refinery could only refine ‘heavy’ crude oil. Nigeria reportedly lost millions of dollars pumping ‘heavy’ crude up north for refining in Kaduna. Talk of ‘One Nigeria’.

When he assumed power as Nigeria’s elected President in 2015, President Buhari decided to embark upon the reconstruction of the North-Eastern part of the country ravaged by the Boko – Haram insurgency. This was fair enough. The only problem was that the insurgency had not been completely crushed even though the insurgents were gleefully declared as tactically defeated. You do not claim to have killed a snake until you have crushed its head.

Beyond that in a strategic move to prepare the core northern region of Nigeria for the potential disintegration of the country (One Nigeria?), and against all reasonable advice, he unilaterally proposed to sink millions of dollars in petroleum exploration within the vicinity of the Lake Chad region – the very hotbed of the Boko Haram insurgency.

At a time when the world was moving very rapidly away from fossil fuels (representing the past) and into renewable energy like solar and wind energy (representing the future), President Buhari unilaterally chose to invest Nigeria’s hard currency earnings at a time of depression in the past rather than in the future.

This poorly contemplated presidential directive was abruptly terminated when the supposedly ‘tactically defeated’ Boko Haram insurgents staged a dramatic come-back. They attacked and massacred almost the entire exploration team as well as their Nigerian army security detail. They took some members of the team into captivity in which they are still held to this day.

Talk of a whimsical presidential directive motivated by ethno-patriotic reasons, meeting a disastrous end at great cost in irreplaceable human lives. No one talks of petroleum exploration up north anymore.

The sole arrow in President Buhari’s bow, the anti-corruption drive has not fared better. As this writer pointed out in the past, you cannot claim to be fighting corruption (loosely defined as appropriating what does not belong to you or what you do not merit) when you are ipso facto engaged in corruption (unfairly empowering your own ethnic nationality at the expense of other ethnicities without recourse to merit and other acceptable national standards).

It is not surprising therefore that people around the President are being accused of corruption. The Secretary to the Federal Government, the Chief of Army Staff and the Inspector-General of Police all appointees of the President have recently been accused of corruption. The tardiness with which these allegations have been investigated has been noted by critical observers.

Contrasting this with the zeal and propaganda with which corruption allegations against members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party were handled is indicative of the fact that the anti-corruption drive of this Administration is currently mortally wounded.

On the human rights front the case of the illegally detained Shiite Sheik Ibrahim El Zakzaky, the case of the hapless Colonel Sambo Dasuki and the case of the neo-Biafrans currently in detention are some of the most glaring examples of socio-economic injustice and persecution in Nigeria perpetuated by the Buhari Administration. To this day no one has satisfactorily explained to the public the offence committed by Ibrahim El Zakzaky to warrant his continued incarceration.

When the reputation of this same President Muhammadu Buhari was savaged by the very same institution he served i.e. the Nigerian Army, during the run-up to the last election, this writer publicly rose to his defense in an opinion piece published under the ‘A Nation in Heat’ cycle of essays. I would do so again if I establish that he is being unfairly persecuted in future by his opponents. By the same token, I would be lacking in my patriotic duty if I fail to voice out my opposition to the tragically misguided decisions of this administration.

The current national pre-occupation with the antics of IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu is uncalled for. Nnamdi Kanu is a creation of the failed policies of the Buhari Administration. He shall disappear from the national radar when the failed national policies associated with the Buhari Adminstration, which led to his emergence in the first place, disappear. What are those failed policies?

The unnecessary escalation of national tension by the illegal detention of people with contrary opinion, religious beliefs or political views (refer to the comments above); the confliction of the Nigerian space by the tacit support given to murderous Fulani herdsmen; as well as the criminal marginalization of the Igbo heartland are some of the failed policies of the Buhari Administration which led to the emergence of Nnamdi Kanu as a national phenomenon.

To buttress the last point, apart from favoritism, nepotism and marginalization what makes the extension of a modern railway to Daura (President Buhari’s hometown) more strategic and important to the national economy than the extension of railway from Enugu to Onitsha and from Aba to Onitsha.

More insidiously, at a time when the Nigerian Army should be mobilizing more reinforcements to the North-East theatre to crush the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency once and for all, it is engaged under a futile whimsical Presidential Directive (a.k.a. Operation Python Dance II) to harass and intimidate the peaceful people of the South-East region. Who is the President of Nigeria and the Nigerian Army trying to impress or intimidate with this shameless exercise of raw-power? Unarmed citizens? Unarmed peaceful agitators for Biafra?

It is cowardly and would prove counter-productive. If anything, it would only strengthen the Igbo resolve to secede from Nigeria. Indeed, only cowards and brutish thugs resort to violence when they are defeated by superior arguments by their opponents. Refined peoples, governments and institutions face facts with counter-facts not with bullets or dancing pythons.

It bears repeating that the only way IPOB can lose in this battle of wits with the Buhari Administration (I have chosen my words very carefully) is if it allows itself to be provoked into descending into the shameful gutter of violence within which the Buhari Administration and the Nigerian Army is currently dancing. No matter the provocation, IPOB should maintain its discipline and immediately return to its denial-of-target command (DOT COM) phase. This is not cowardice, it is strategy.

Even though I currently do not support the IPOB agitation for outright secession, I support and will defend their right to peacefully express their views and opinions as bona fide citizens of Nigeria, neither superior to nor inferior to other Nigerian citizens. I will also fight for the equal treatment of all Nigerians and their homelands regardless of ethnic origins.

Nigeria is bigger than any one person no matter how highly placed. Nigeria is far bigger than the ego of the current President of Nigeria. The President of Nigeria should humbly acknowledge to the nation that his administrative policies have failed.

If the President loves his Fulani ethnicity more than he loves Nigeria (I do not criticize him for this), it is more honorable for him to resign his position as President of Nigeria and become the President-General of the Fulani nation. Otherwise he should act like the President of all Nigerians while realizing and conceding that like himself, other Nigerians have their own individual ethnicities which they may equally love and be proud of.

Right now the sound we want to hear from the Federal Government is the sound of bulldozers and workmen repairing the dilapidated roads and infrastructure in the Igbo heartland, not the sound of tanks, armoured personnel carriers and troops dancing shamelessly like devilish pythons on the nonexistent roads of the South -East region.

THE END -

Published in Parliament

Florence Otedola, “ DJ Cuppy’’, has confirmed split with her boyfriend, Victor Anichebe, Nigeria’s professional footballer and a striker for Beijing Enterprises.

Cuppy, a disc jockey, music producer and the daughter of Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola, made this known in a recent interview.

She cited distance, time difference and their tight schedule as the reasons for the breakup, but that they are both friends.

Cuppy recently moved back to Nigeria and Anichebe lives in China.

Cuppy featured on Channel 4, a British public-service television documentary, `Lagos To London, Britain’s New Super-Rich’ in 2016.

‘People saying “this DJ is his so and so’s daughter” it doesn’t bother me anymore as I love what I do.

‘I only worry I am not going to make the impact I want to make,” she said as her gigs have included DJing at the inauguration of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.

‘I am scared of always being his (Otedola’s) daughter and not getting past that, for me that means not being successful enough.

‘ ‘I am still masked by my dad’s success. If I didn’t try and make it outside Nigeria I would be unhappy.’

Cuppy is keen to be famous in her own right as a DJ and has been securing gigs around the world at venues including Privé, Jalouse, District and Funky Buddha.

While Cuppy admits her father’s fortune has opened doors and helped her network, she said she has to prove her talent behind the decks to secure more work.

‘I think I am a great DJ. Network comes into it but if I don’t do well I won’t get asked back no matter whose daughter I am.’

Cuppy, who recently graduated from King’s College, University of London, with a degree in business and French, said she wants to become renowned around the world as a DJ and make it into Forbes 30 under 30 Rich List.

She said she does have to deal with criticism from those who think she has only had the opportunities in her career she has had so far due to her father’s connections and purse strings, but she said this doesn’t concern her anymore. (NAN)

Published in Arts & Culture
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