Friday, 20 December 2013

Ronnie Biggs said his share of the haul had been £147,000
British criminal Ronnie Biggs, who took part in the 1963 Great Train Robbery, has died aged 84, his spokeswoman has confirmed.
Biggs was part of the gang which escaped with £2.6m from the Glasgow to London mail train on August 8, 1963.
He was given a 30-year sentence but escaped from Wandsworth prison in 1965.
In 2001, he returned to the UK seeking medical help but was sent to prison. He was released on compassionate grounds in 2009 after
IT contracting pneumonia.
Biggs, who died early on Wednesday, was being cared for at the Carlton Court Care Home in East Barnet, north London.
He could not speak and had difficulty walking after a series of strokes.
He was last seen in public at the funeral of his fellow Great Train Robber, Bruce Reynolds, in March.
Christopher Pickard, ghost writer of Biggs’s autobiography, said he should be remembered as “one of the great characters of the last 50 years”.
He told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme his friend was “kind and generous” with a great sense of humour, which he retained to the end.
Biggs was the first product of the “media age” who “inherited fame while running around the world”, he said.
Biggs, Reynolds, Ronald ‘Buster’ Edwards and the other gang members wore helmets and ski masks to carry out their crime, which took place near Cheddington, Buckinghamshire.
They made off with 120 bags of money totalling £2.6m – the equivalent of £40m in today’s money.
Speaking to Nicky Campbell on Radio 1 in 2000 – before his return to the UK – Biggs said his share of the money had been £147,000.
“I squandered it totally – within three years it was all gone,” he said.
Since then he had been “living on my name only,” he added.
He said it was “totally regrettable” that train driver Jack Mills has been struck over the head during the robbery.
“I regret it fully myself – I only wish it would not have happened but there’s no way that I can put the clock back.”
Mills, who never worked again, died in 1970.
But Biggs said he did not regret the robbery and, referring to comments made by the judge in the trial, he said: “I’m totally involved in vast greed, I’m afraid.”
Peter Rayner, a former chief operating officer for British Rail who worked with Mills, said: “My view is that whilst I was, and am, critical of the Great Train Robbers and the heroes’ welcome they got, especially in light of the death of Jack Mills, my sympathies go out to his family.”
Biggs, who lived in Spain, Australia and Brazil while he was on the run, had been in prison for 15 months when he used a rope ladder to climb over the prison walls.
He had initially fled to Paris, with his wife Charmian and two sons, Farley and Chris.
In 2011, his son, Michael, told the BBC News website his father had a final wish that his ashes be spread between Brazil and London.
The BBC said two film dramas about the robbery – A Robber’s Tale and A Copper’s Tale – scheduled to be broadcast on BBC One on Wednesday and Thursday, would still go ahead.
Writer Chris Chibnall said the programmes did not focus on Biggs. The first is from the point of view of Reynolds, while the second tells the story of the police investigation.
“With anything like this your thoughts have to be with the family on a day like today,” Chibnall said.
“He has children and obviously it’s going to be a very difficult day for them.”

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olisa Metuh
There   was  confusion in the leadership of  the Peoples Democratic Party on Thursday as it made two conflicting demands  from  both the House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal , and  the  Federal High Court, Abuja on the defection of 37 of its  members to the All Progressives Congress.

While  the PDP  released a statement  in which it requested Tambuwal to  declare the defectors’ seats in the House vacant,  in the court, it asked  for an  order   compelling them  to return to its fold.
In the statement by its National Publicity Secretary,  Olisa Metuh, the  party argued that  since the 37 lawmakers  had   renounced their membership, the Presiding Officers of  the House must declare their   seats vacant without any further delay.
The PDP  said that a court order  which the 37  lawmakers  referred to while announcing their defection on Wednesday  was wrongly interpreted.
Metuh’s  statement    reads,  “The attention of the PDP has been drawn to claims by 37 defecting members of the House elected on the platform of the PDP to the APC that they obtained an injunction restraining the leadership of the National Assembly and the party from declaring their seats vacant in line with provisions of the  1999 Constitution.
“We have, after a careful review,  discovered that this claim is false. For the avoidance of doubt, the order of the court clearly says that ‘status quo’ be maintained which means the affected members shall remain members of the PDP.
“The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in section 68 (i) (g) clearly spells out the consequences of defection when there is no division in any Party. We wish to re-emphasise here that the courts have pronounced, and INEC has concurred, that there are no factions in the PDP.”
Metuh said this shall be in adherence to our grund norm, which is the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
But  at  the  FHC, Abuja,  the PDP asked   that  the 37  lawmakers ‘ defection should be declared  “null and void.”
It  warned  that  their defection could  lead to a breakdown of law and order in the National Assembly and the entire polity if not reversed.
In the suit filed by its counsel, Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN), on Thursday,  the PDP maintained that the defection contravened the order made by the Abuja FHC on December 17, 2013, when counsel to the 37 lawmakers tried to move a motion for interlocutory injunction, seeking to stop  a plan to declare their seats vacant.
According to the PDP, the  FHC had on December 17 ordered the 37 lawmakers to revert   to the status quo, pending the hearing and determination of the motion for interlocutory injunction.
The party  therefore  wants  “an order from the court  declaring the defection, on December 18, 2013, by 37 of the plaintiffs from the  PDP  to the  APC  as null and void and contrary to the order made on Tuesday, December 17, 2013.”
The PDP  also asked for “a mandatory order that the 37 legislators revert to the status quo pending the hearing of the plaintiffs’ motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.”
As an  alternative to the mandatory order directing the lawmakers to revert to  the status quo,  the PDP asked for “an order setting aside the earlier order on parties to maintain the status quo pending the hearing of the motion for interlocutory injunction.”
In an affidavit in support of the motion, which was deposed to by one Tajudeen Ayeni,  the ruling party  averred that the subject matter of the suit bordered on the alleged “intention” by the plaintiffs  to defect to the APC.
It added, “The plaintiffs were worried that the defendants would declare their seats vacant in the House of Representatives on account of their proposed defection and so instructed their counsel to file a motion for interlocutory injunction before this court.
“When this matter came up for hearing on December  17, 2013,  counsel  for  the plaintiffs sought to move a  motion for interlocutory injunction but this was resisted by the 1st and 4th defendants/applicants counsel. The honourable court then made an order suo moto that status quo be maintained.”
The PDP  argued that in spite of the order,  the 37 legislators decamped to the APC . It  stressed that the defection was aimed at putting it(PDP) at a huge disadvantage  ahead of  the next hearing date in the matter, which is January 22, 2014.
The party said, “It is necessary for this  honourable court to reverse the action of the 37 plaintiffs which is clearly in   disobedience of the order of this court.
“The action of the 37 plaintiffs, if not reversed, is capable of dissipating the res in this matter and may also lead to a breakdown of law and order in the National Assembly and affect the entire polity.”
Gadzama had earlier  in a letter  informed  Tambuwal of the suit filed by the party in a bid to reverse the defection of the 37 lawmakers.
In the leter, he said, “We have today filed a motion on notice, which has already been served on your office, seeking to overturn the purported movement of the 37 plaintiffs to the APC.
“It is in the light of this that we enjoin you to act in obedience to the order of court and direct the plaintiffs to revert to the status quo ante bellum.
“Anything contrary to this will send out wrong signals to Nigerians and the world that federal legislators have no regard for the law and constitution which they have sworn to uphold.”
The letter added that the action of the 37 lawmakers “if not contained, may lead to a state of anarchy.”
The defection of the lawmakers had given the APC a simple majority in the House, increasing its numerical strength from 135 to 172, against PDP’s  171.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Inspector- General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar
IT is no revelation to say that political power contest is often bloody, whether within political parties or among them, in the country. As Nigerians prepare for another presidential election in 2015, fears already abound that violence will spike as it has been doing in the previous polls since 1999. Yet, not many people factored in the possibility of a return to state-sponsored violence as part of the unfolding power contest. Troublingly, this is one of the grave allegations a former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, levelled against the Goodluck Jonathan administration in an 18-page letter that has just been made public. It is a matter of life and death and should be fully investigated.
To many, especially in the Presidency,  Obasanjo’s letter cataloguing the ills currently plaguing the nation, should not be taken as anything serious beyond an unwarranted distraction from a fading political figure still fighting hard to preserve his relevance. But much as the Presidency would wish that the letter should be ignored in its entirety, it would be a mistake to think that it can be wished away, given the weighty nature of its contents, especially those bordering on the security of the nation.
Among other things, which may be of little or no interest to the apolitical, Obasanjo, in his letter, accused Jonathan of  “keeping over 1,000 people on political watch” and  “training snipers and other armed personnel secretly and clandestinely acquiring weapons to match for political purposes like (the late Gen. Sani) Abacha and training them where Abacha trained his own killers.” If it is true, Obasanjo warned, it cannot augur well for the initiator, the government and the people of Nigeria
So far, the official response to the weighty allegations has been lethargic. Apart from describing the letter as “self-serving, hypocritical, malicious, indecent, and very disrespectful of the highest office in the land,” the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben 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.” It is a promise that must be kept.
Nigeria is a country run by a corrupt and brutal oligarchy. For those who can easily recall its catalogue of horrors, life during the dark days of the Abacha regime, with the series of state-sponsored killings that characterised it, is not what anyone would wish for the country again. It was a period when bombings were experienced in unusual places, and snipers got a free rein to showcase their skills, with the resultant loss of valuable lives of citizens.
Nigeria has had her fair share of state-sponsored terrorism, spanning a period well before the advent of the Abacha regime and right into the civilian administration of Obasanjo himself, during which many unresolved murders, believed to be state-sponsored, occurred.
It is necessary to recall the murder in cold blood of  Pa Alfed Rewane, in his residence in Lagos and many others like the Ibadan-based female politician, Suliat Adedeji; the bombing to death in Kaduna of a journalist, Bagauda Kaltho, who was later framed as the bomber; the broad daylight shooting and killing of MKO Abiola’s wife, Kudirat, in Lagos; the shooting of Toyin, the son of Abacha regime’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Olusoga Onagoruwa; and the killing of Rear Admiral Babatunde Elegbede (retd).
 There were also the attempted murders of the National Democratic Coalition chieftain, the late Abraham Adesanya; and the late publisher of The Guardian, Alex Ibru. While Adesanya escaped with his life intact, but with the windscreen of his car shattered, Ibru had to be flown abroad for treatment to save his life. He, however, lived the rest of his life with just one functional eye, having lost the other to the gunmen who were after his life. These were some of the high profile killings of citizens that defined the Abacha era. Not surprisingly, they were either politicians opposed to Abacha or those who had been working with him but had reasons to later fall out with him.
But even when it was thought that, with the passage of the military regimes, the last had been seen of such acts of gratuitous waste of lives, it still continued when the civilian government of Obasanjo took over in 1999. Prominent Nigerians such as the Lagos politician, Funso Williams; the sitting Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Bola Ige; and South-South politicians, Harry Marshall and Aminasaori Dikibo, were among the casualties of the Obasanjo era. Most of them were killed right at their homes while their killers vanished without trace. But the evil ball was set rolling with the murder through a letter bomb of a top journalist, Dele Giwa, in 1986, during the regime of Ibrahim Babangida. 
So, what is happening again? Historically, governments that have lost legitimacy often resort to death squads to hold on to power. But it has never lasted. It should not be forgotten that the emergence of militancy and Boko Haram has also been traced to government sponsorship of private security outfits who, after being disengaged, later decided to take up arms against the society. This is why any allegation of training a death squad should be an issue of concern to Nigerians.
Since such a thing has happened before in the country, it is Jonathan’s duty to reassure Nigerians that there is no such recrudescence. The main reason for the existence of government anywhere is to ensure the welfare and security of citizens.  Otherwise, the tension raised by that allegation is never going to disappear, just like that.

recently, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, accused President Goodluck Jonathan of paying lip service to the fight against corruption. He basically indicted the President of fraud and venality. And then there was, in tow, the venerable Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Lamido Sanusi, who claimed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation diverted $50bn, being crude oil sales proceeds between January 2012 and July 2013. These are serious allegations. And now, former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s ‘bomb’ to the President!
What we have in that 18-page treatise is, amongst other things, a window into Jonathan’s Presidency and the problem and challenges confronting Nigeria. So far, a good number of commentators have been critical of Obasanjo.  While some do not think he was the right person to make such remarks, others pointed to a hidden agenda on the part of the former president. And of course, there are those who have argued that he had no right to level such criticisms. Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (retd.), Annkio Briggs of the Ijaw Republican Assembly, and Chido Onumah, a public intellectual and PUNCH columnist, represent these three schools.
But of course, all the three patriots and three schools of thought got it wrong! Did Obasanjo lie? Well, we have no way of knowing this unless (a) there is a full-blown investigation by the National Assembly or other competent authorities; (b) Jonathan offers a line-by-line rebuttal; or (c) Obasanjo recants. But so far, the allegations appear valid; hence, we can infer that Jonathan’s actions have adverse national security implications. These acts can lead to the erosion of the nation’s fragile foundations and capable of fragmenting the state. These offences, if true, are prosecutable and impeachable.
When Obasanjo’s letter entered the public domain, my initial reaction, which was posted on my Facebook page, was this: “Even amongst thieves and scoundrels there should be honour. There should be a code of conduct. But not for former president Olusegun Obasanjo who is now accusing President Jonathan of corruption, ineptitude, marginalisation, laziness, etc. The failed has no right accusing the falling of incompetence.” Now, having read the entire treatise and having taken the time to reflect further, I must admit that I was wrong.

Dr. Ngozi Iloh
The National Welfare Officer of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Dr. Ngozi Iloh, is still undergoing surgeries and according to her, going through traumatic pains, at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin, Edo State.
This is contrary to reports that she was treated and discharged in Lokoja, Kogi State, shortly after the accident, which was said to have been caused by the convoy of the Kogi State Governor, Mr Idris Wada, on November 12.
The widely condemned accident, which happened while members of the union were on their way to Kano for a meeting, claimed the life of the former National President of ASUU, Prof. Festus Iyayi.
Iloh, who recalled her ordeal during online chats with PUNCH Metro, said she had been traumatised for weeks following the discovery that Iyayi died in the accident.
It was learnt that she had so far undergone two major surgeries, one on her right leg and another on the left hand.
When our correspondent enquired about a deep tear in her left hand, Ilo was not specific if there was any medical report that the injury was a bullet wound.
There had been some speculations as to the cause of Iyayi’s death until a medical examination showed that there was no evidence of bullets.
In the chat,  Iloh said, “We travelled in a convoy from ASUU Benin zone. We stopped at a filling station to refuel on the way to Kano. The travelling team was from University of Benin, Delta State University, Abraka, and Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma.
“The UNIBEN bus took off and I asked the driver to slow down so the others could catch up with us. My saving grace was that I kept looking back and the rest is history.”
Iloh added that she was shocked to hear that she was discharged from the hospital in Lokoja after being treated for minor bruises.
I am still in hospital. My injuries are not minor,” she said.

Jide Ojo
Opposition is true friendship. The man who tells you that you have a stinking rear is your friend. He is only drawing attention to your bodily filth and asking you to do something about it. He is better than a sycophant who says you can always come out of the sewage tank and smell of roses!
—Aristotle, in his Analytics
in the last one week, former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s December 2 letter to President Goodluck Jonathan which was leaked to the media on Wednesday, December 11 has generated a lot of furore and brouhaha in the media. Opinions are divided on the propriety or otherwise of the 18-page missive. While many believed that it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black and that the ex-president has ulterior motive rather than patriotic reasons for writing the memo; others have also recalled the many woes of the Obasanjo administration while some others said he should not have made the communication public.
Yet, there are those who say “focus on the message and not the messenger”.  I belong to the latter group. There is a saying in Yorubaland that, ‘eni jin si koto ko ara yoku logbon’, which literally translates as, ‘he who falls into the pit serves as a moral lesson to other passersby’. While it may be true that Obasanjo committed quite a lot of missteps during his cumulative 11 years as Head of State and President, it should be instructive to his successors’ to learn from his mistakes. For those who think the letter should not have been made public, Obasanjo gave 10 reasons why he chose to make it an open letter.
I have twice read the letter from Obasanjo and should say that the Ota farmer should be commended for being courageous enough to say the truth that many people on the corridors of power would not want to tell the President. Indeed, Obasanjo’s antecedent as a military General robs him of diplomacy. He is always frank, blunt and fearless when saying his mind. This is not to say that the former president is always right. Yes, his record in office may not be as impressive as we may wish as Nigerians. Of course, if he had performed creditably, perhaps he could have won the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. However, whatever may be his governance or performance deficit, he is still very popular and is a sounding board for the international community who continues to engage his services as head of election observer mission and international mediator, among other international assignments.
I found the contents of the controversial letter didactic and instructive. It is an eye-opener on many national issues. The former president has put the issue of President Jonathan’s promise to do one term in office beyond speculation. It will be recalled that Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and several others had said that the president promised or even signed a pact to do one term in office. Now, Obasanjo has come out boldly to mention the communication on the matter between him and Governor Gabriel Suswam and the confirmation of President Jonathan to him to do one term.  Lest we forget, it is this second term ambition of President Jonathan that is at the heart of the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party. As chronicled by Obasanjo in the letter, it is the second term aspiration of the President that is making him to do deals with opposition parties in the South-West Zone particularly in Lagos State during the 2011 elections and in Ondo and Edo states during the 2012 governorship elections as well as in Anambra State during the November 16, 2013 governorship poll.
On the issue of insecurity which Obasanjo said is very discomforting, it is only someone living in a fool’s paradise who will deny that assertion. I have said previously that Nigerian leaders, past and present,  have failed signally to secure lives and property of the citizens as enjoined by Section 14 (2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended which says “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”. I therefore couldn’t agree more with the analysis of Obasanjo that  “Drug,  indoctrination, fundamentalism,  gun  trafficking,  hate  culture,  human  trafficking,  money laundering,  religion, poverty, unemployment, poor  education,  revenge  and  international terrorism are among the factors that have effect on Boko Haram”. Prescription of a multi-pronged approach to dealing with the menace of insecurity cannot also be faulted.
The former president was also on point when he said, “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”.  I shudder at the mere thought that Jonathan’s government may have put about 1,000 people on political watch and that snipers are being trained surreptitiously to deal with perceived enemies of the federal government. Like Obasanjo said,” If it is true, this cannot augur well for the initiator, the government and the people of Nigeria”. The insinuations that the Presidency may have remotely controlled the judiciary to allow someone to evade justice also leaves a sour taste in the mouth and further erode people’s confidence in the judiciary.
The former president was as well on point when he observed that:” Most  of  our  friends  and  development  partners …are worried about issue of  security  internally  and  on  our  coastal  waters,  including  heavy  oil  theft, alias  bunkering  and  piracy.  They  are  worried  about  corruption  and  what we  are  doing  or  not  doing  about  it……    They  are worried  about how we  play  our  role in  our  region  and,  indeed, in the  world”. There is no gainsaying that the world has become a hamlet and events in one country have implications on others. If it is true that some of Nigeria’s   development  partners  were  politically  frustrated  to  withdraw  from  the Olokola  LNG  project, and that the  major  international  oil  companies  have withheld  investment  in  projects  in  Nigeria or divesting,  then it’s a real cause for concern. .
 It is also bothersome to note that   the Port Harcourt water project, originally initiated by the Federal Government and to be financed by the Africa Development Bank, is being put in the cooler by the former because of the Amaechi-Jonathan face-off. Obasanjo said a director in the ADB informed him about this. If it is true, it goes a long way to confirm what Governor Rotimi Amaechi has been saying that all the Federal Government projects in Rivers State have been put on hold because of the misunderstanding between him and the President.
I find no fault in Obasanjo’s assertion that the most dangerous ticking bomb is youth unemployment, particularly in the face of unbridled corruption and obscene rulers’ opulence. Obasanjo was also spot on when he admonished that, “We  must  all remember  that  corruption,  inequity  and  injustice  breed  poverty, unemployment,  conflict,  violence  and  wittingly  or  unwittingly  create terrorists  because  the  opulence  of  the  governor  can  only  lead  to  the leanness of the governed.” I have said time and again that 10 aircraft in the presidential fleet, the countless bulletproof cars of the elected and appointed political office holders and ostentatious living of our leaders have contributed immensely to the worsening security situation in the country be it in terms of kidnapping, oil theft, pipeline vandalism, armed robbery and other acts of terrorism. We cannot continue to celebrate growth without development and watch as unemployment and poverty soar.
I do hope President Jonathan will adhere to the worthy counsel of Obasanjo when he urged him to, “Move  away  from  culture  of  denials,  cover-ups  and  proxies  and  deal honesty, sincerely and transparently with Nigerians to regain their trust and confidence.

Former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar
As part of its membership drive, the leadership of the All Progressives Congress has concluded plan to woo former Vice President Atiku Abubakar into its fold.
Atiku, a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, was the presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, a party that was among the three political  parties that merged to form the APC.
The other two political parties were the Congress for Progressive Change and the All Nigeria Peoples Party.
The former Vice- President however returned to the PDP shortly before the presidential primaries of the PDP in 2010, which he lost to President Gododluck Jonathan.
Atiku was also a member of the aggrieved members of the PDP that walked out of the PDP mini convention in Abuja few months ago to form the New PDP.
Investigations by our correspondent showed that Atiku would receive the leaders of the APC at his residence in Asokoro, Abuja.
The spokesperson for the former Vice-President, Mallam Garba Shehu, confirmed  the visit in a test message to our correspondent.
He said, “Yes, the leadership of the APC would visit Turaki at his residence in Asokoro tomorrow (today) at 11am.”
If the leadership of the opposition party succeeds in wooing Atiku from the ruling party, he would be joining five other governors from the PDP to have defected to the opposition party.
Governors who have left the party are Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Rabiu Kwankwanso (Kano); Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto); Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara); and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa)

Thursday, 12 December 2013

ASUU calls off five-month-old strike
•NLC brokers peace between FG, lecturers
A silver lining yesterday emerged in the five-month-old face-off between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) intervened with both parties signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The lecturers went on strike on July 2 this year over conditions in the universities, among other issues.
The NLC negotiation team led by its President, Abdulwahed Omar supervised the signing of the MoU which detailed modalities for the distribution of the N200 billion deposited by the Federal Government into an account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN.
The deal also included the non -victimisation clause and payment of the lecturers’ salaries.
However, ASUU failed to announce the suspension of the strike. Its president, Dr. Nasir Fagge, said the signed document would be presented for further deliberation at their National Executive Council (NEC) meeting which will be convened this week.
The Supervising Minister for Education, Nyesom Wike, while reading out the MoU terms,said, “let me say clearly that today is not just historic, it is one of the happiest days of my life since I became the Minister of Education.
“As you are all aware ASUU had been on strike for well over five months on account of their resolve to bring about a new lease of life to all public universities, following Mr President’s personal intervention with the marathon meeting we held on November 4, 2013.
“With the executive of ASUU and other labour union leaders where all residual issues were resolved, Nigerians from all walks of life had expressed optimism that the strike would soon be called off.
“Unfortunately and sadly too, this was not to be due to ASUU’s insistence that the Federal Government must take further practical steps to show good faith and commitment to the implementation of the agreement.
“As a responsible and responsive government, we have a duty to restore normalcy to our university system so that our children can resume classes and pursue their educational careers. Consequently, the vice chancellors of the federal universities were directed by the pro-chancellors to immediately re-open the universities for academic activities while the minor discrepancies are sorted out.
“Today, I am very pleased to announce that all contending issues between ASUU and the Federal Government have been resolved to the satisfaction of the parties.
“Let me emphasise that we recognise and appreciate ASUU’s patriotic role and commitment towards ensuring that our universities are well funded to the point that they shore up to their counterparts in other parts of the world.
“Thus, we are all partners in progress and there are no victor, no vanquished in the struggle of this nature for as long as our goals remain noble not actuated at parochial interest and targeted at moving our nation forward”, Mr. Wike said.
Responding, ASUU president expressed gratitude to all involved in brokering the truce. He said: “I really want to thank all of us that are gathered here for ensuring that we came this far, I think it’s important to first acknowledge the intervention of Mr President because he was the one that made it possible to ensure that we came this far.
“Honourable minister, if what we had agreed on at that 13 hours meeting had been judiciously documented and our members were convinced that it would be implemented, we wouldn’t have wasted this time because we have a lot of respect for the office of Mr President.
“Our members are intellectuals and it’s simply because over the years particularly since the signing of the 2009 Agreement, we have been pursing government to get that agreement implemented we only succeeded in getting implemented a portion of that agreement and here we are over four years, but I think it’s never too late.
“If we ever think that not placing high premium on our university education out of the doldrums, I want to assure all of us that we will be deceiving ourselves because other countries that are ahead have made sure that their universities are making cutting edge research” Dr. Fagge said.
Village head tussle: 3 killed, 18 houses burnt in C’ River community
From JUDEX OKORO, Calabar
Three persons have been reportedly killed and 18 houses burnt over the struggle for the village headship of Ofodua-Adun community in Obubra Local Government Area of Cross River State.
Besides, over 30 persons were said to have sustained injuries with their property destroyed just as farm lands and crops worth hundreds of thousands of naira were destroyed.
Daily Sun checks revealed that the two communities of Iva Egbe and Iva Egba of Ofodua Adun had been locked in a succession battle in the last three decades leading to alleged incessant attacks on Iva Egbe by Iva Egba natives.
While the Iva Egbe paternal royal family among the other four traditional families claimed to be vested with the exclusive right to produce the village head, the Iva Egba and three communities of Iva Enang, Iva Obeten and Iva Awonokwe , were insisting on rotation of the Ofodua traditional political organization.
This development had pitched the warring communities against each other as well as sowing seed of discord and disharmony between the hitherto two communities.
It was learnt that the battle over who would take over the traditional stool got to a climax penultimate month when the Iva Egba, Iva Enang, Iva Obeten and Iva Awonokwe communities allegedly invaded the farm lands of the Iva Egbe family members, destroyed their crops and attacked the people physically.
The invaders later moved from the farm land to the village and attacked Egbe family members killing three in the process and pulled down over 18 houses just as over 30 persons were wounded.
In a petition addressed to the state police commissioner and made available to Daily Sun, Iva Egbe traditional leaders decried the incessant attacks on their families because they had refused to let go their traditional inheritance.
In the petition dated December 6, 2013 and signed by Ovarr Ignatius Egba, Felix Abeng and Patrick Abeng Egbe, the community said the latest attack was an ethnic cleansing sort of and wanted government to intervene in the crisis.
Speaking on the crisis, one of the youth leaders, Sunday Attan, said: “We have suffered in the last three years in the hands of our brothers from Iva Egba because of village head. Look at me now; I have lost everything I laboured for years to build. What are we struggling for and for how much?”
When Daily Sun visited the state police command at Diamond Hill, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Hogan Bassey, was not around for comment, but an officer in his office, said: “It is true that Ofodua community in Obubra local government has reported to us and the command is still investigating
Take-over of Rivers Assembly by NASS illegal, says court
• Faults its directive on IGP
From GODWIN TSA, Abuja
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has declared as unconstitutional, null and void, the decision of the National Assembly to takeover the functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed who delivered judgment on the matter accordingly stopped the Senate, its president, the House of Assembly and its speaker from assuming the law making functions of the Rivers Assembly.
The suit which was instituted by two lawyers, Tamunoteim Asobari and John Kpakol, had as defendants, the Senate, its president, the House of Assembly and its speaker, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Senator Kabiru Gaya (chairman, Senate Committee on States and Local Government).
The attorney general of Rivers State, Rivers House of Assembly and its speaker later applied to be joined and were made defendants by an order of the court made on October 9.
Justice Mohammed also faulted the directive by the National Assembly, directing the IGP to redeploy the state’s commissioner of police.
He specifically declared that by the provisions of Sections 11(4) and (5) of the constitution, the Senate, its president, the House of Assembly and its speaker could not assume the law making functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly when there were no facts that the House of Assembly was unable to carry out its functions.
The judge further stated that there were no facts placed before him that the Rivers Assembly was unable to discharge its functions as provided under the constitution.
The court agreed with the submissions canvassed by the plaintiffs that after the July 9 fracas in the Rivers Assembly, the House reconvened under the former speaker and passed the states 2013 budget.
The judge held that his decision to believe the claim that the House still conducted some businesses after the purported impeachment of the Assembly’s speaker which resulted in the fracas, because the defendants failed to specifically deny the claim.
Justice Mohammed, in faulting the redeployment of the Rivers’ commissioner of police, declared that by the provisions of Sections 215(2) and (3) of the constitution, the  Senate, its  president, the House of Assembly and its speaker did not have the power to direct the IGP to redeploy the Rivers’ commissioner of police or any officer under the command of the Nigeria Police Force.
The judge also declared unconstitutional, the resolution passed by the Senate, mandating the Senate Committee on States and Local Government Areas to investigate the sticky situation between the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi and the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State, Joseph Mbu and the crisis in the state’s Assembly.
Justice Mohammed dismissed the objections raised against the suit by the defendants on the ground that they lacked merit.
The plaintiffs asked the court to determine among others whether the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the exercise of their oversight functions as provided for in Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) could conduct an investigation into the manner in which the state Commissioner of Police discharge his official duties.
Edo proposes N159.213bn for 2014

Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday presented a budget estimate of N159.213 billion to the House of Assembly for the 2014 fiscal year.
The budget christened, Budget of Renewed Hope, is made of N85.6 billion (53 per cent), capital expenditure and N73.6 billion (46.2 per cent) recurrent expenditure.
The 2014 budget is about N5 billion higher than 2013 budget, which was N154, 125, 498.26 billion.
Presenting the budget, Governor Oshiomhole explained that the N1156 billion recurrent revenue component of the budget would be financed from statutory receipt of N65.3 billion; internally generated revenue of N25.095 billion; aids and grants of N4.9 billion; value added tax of N8.2 billion; share of excess crude account of N6.4 billion and capital receipt of N5.6 billion.
He said the N73.6 billion recurrent expenditure component of the budget that consisted of personnel cost, N31.2 billion; overhead cost,N16.4 billion; pension and gratuities, N5.0 billion; statutory office holders salaries, N0.250 billion and public debt charges, N20.6 billion.
Sectoral allocation of the budget indicated that road construction had the lion share of N24 billion; education, N15 billion; environment, N10.3 billion; health, N8 billion and agriculture, N1.5 billion.
Governor Oshiomhole said the goals of the budget was to complete ongoing infrastructural projects; provision of qualitative and affordable education and healthcare delivery services; creation of investment-friendly environment for a private sector driven economy; pursuit of human capital development; development of agriculture for employment generation, self-sufficiency and self-reliance in food and raw material production and intensification of internal revenue generation, collection and administration.
“The outlook for our state in 2014 is very promising, despite the drop in inflows from the Federation Account and Internally Generated Revenue, we have witnessed in 2013. We have a sound development strategy and we have drawn important lessons in the process of implementation of our projects and programmes over the years. We also have in abundance the political will, and critical mass of support to drive our development agenda, sustain the gains we have so far made and break new grounds,” the governor said.

Friday, 6 December 2013

•People paying their respects outside the house of the late former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg... on Friday.
Mourners thronged late Nelson Mandela’s former Soweto home, Johannesburg, South Africa, on Friday to pay their last respects to the former South African president just as his burial plans were also announced.
President Jacob Zuma announced that the anti-apartheid hero would be buried in a state funeral on Sunday, December 15, 2013, in his ancestral hometown of Qunu in the Eastern Cape province, alongside three of his children who had been deceased.
Zuma also stated that an official memorial service would be held for Mandela on December 10, 2013, at the First National Bank Stadium in Johannesburg.
Earlier, Zuma had announced ten days of national mourning following  Mandela’s death, which had drawn tributes from across the world. World leaders, politicians, celebrities and others have expressed condolences on the death of the statesman. His death was also said to have brought traffic to the social media.
In his speech on Friday,  Zuma said the day Mandela would be laid to rest would be a “national day of prayer and reflection”, in which the country’s citizens would gather in religious houses to pray and meditate on the life of the African icon.
The burial arrangement also stated that Mandela’s body would lie in state at the seat of government in Pretoria from Wednesday, December 11-13, 2013.
But in spite of the profound sense of sadness that had befallen the nation, mourners at Mandela’s home danced and sang freedom songs in honour of the late anti-apartheid crusader.
Some mourners placed flowers near the home, while others carried photo posters of the late freedom fighter.
In Soweto township, where Mandela lived before he was imprisoned for 27 years, posters of his face adorned streets. Residents surrounded his former red brick house, chanting songs of freedom and the National Anthem.
Two men made a shrine of flowers and candles. “He came here to Soweto as a lawyer and he led us. When he came out of jail in 1994, after 27 years, he did not come out a bitter man and encourage us to fight. No, he came out with a message of peace,” said one of them, Mbulelo Radebe, 37.
At Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton neighbourhood of Johannesburg, people gathered at the foot of the famous 6m bronze statue of Mandela, paying homage to the leader.
A white mourner, Sonja Pocock, who was in tears, said, “For 23 years, I walked a path with this man since he was released. I’m from the old regime. He’s like my grandfather. He is my grandfather.”
Another mourner, Krezaan Schoeman, said, “I admired him. He stood for something, for freedom and equality. Even if some say he was a terrorist, he stood for his beliefs. Everybody’s got a right to life. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, black or white. That’s what he stood for. And for forgiveness.”
Also, near Mandela’s home in the Johannesburg suburb of Houghton, children spelled out with rocks “We love you Mandela.”
Some mourners wept as they lit candles, but still, others danced and sang in celebration of a life that has been widely described as “well lived.”
Indeed, the celebration of Mandela’s life was on an international dimension as memorials popped up from Los Angeles to Chicago, where mourners placed flowers and candles in front of murals bearing his likeness. In Washington, crowds gathered in front of the South African Embassy.
Thousands of miles away by the steps of South Africa House on Trafalgar Square, London, were flowers, which had been placed by mourners.
In his Thursday address, Zuma said, “Our nation has lost its greatest son, our people have lost a father.”   He said, “Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss.”
Meanwhile, Mandela’s eldest grandson, Mandla, said his family has been overwhelmed by the global outpouring of support since the passing on of the 95-year-old former president.
Mandla, whose full name is Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, said he was “deeply saddened,” by Mandela’s loss. He, however, added that he was “strengthened by the knowledge that he is now finally resting.”
“All that I can do is thank God that I had a grandfather who loved and guided all of us in the family. The best lesson that he taught all of us was the need for us to be prepared to be of service to our people,” Mandla said in a statement, the first public comment from Mandela’s family since his death.
Mandla said his grandfather displayed a fighting spirit during his protracted battle with lung infection in the months preceding death.
He said, “He is an embodiment of strength, struggle and survival, principles that are cherished by humanity. As a grandfather, we have all known him as a kind hearted, generous and wise person who was always prepared to offer us advice on how to be good members of our communities.
“Celebrating his long life is the best accolade we can give him. Celebrating his contribution to society will make him smile in his resting place. We look forward to continue our interaction with him as one of our beloved ancestors.”
A retired archbishop, Desmond Tutu, said, “He transcended race and class in his personal actions, through his warmth and through his willingness to listen and to empathise with others.

Prof. Festus Iyayi
A cross-section of members of the academic community, joined by members of civil society organisations, booed one the officiating clergymen, during the lying-in-state ceremony held for late former President of the Academic staff Union of Universities, Prof. Festus Iyayi, which held on Friday, at the Akin Deko main auditorium of the University of Benin.
Rev. Fr. Andrew Obiyan, one of the seven officiating priests at the ceremony, which was attended by a record that continued to swell as the programme wore on, drew the ire of the virtually all in attendance, when he veered of his main business, to tell ASUU about having a rethink about their over five month-old strike.
The priest said many of the lecturers were already wary of the “fight.”
Reading from portions of the bible, Obiyan praised Iyayi’s tenacity of purpose, courage and sense of dedication to duty, all of which he said contributed to the “hero” he became, both in life and in death and went on to call on ASUU members to consider their position in order that they not continue to be at the receiving end.
He said, “The death of the faithful is precious in the eyes of God, so I want to admonish the family not to think of the pain of death, but think about the bright promise of immortality.”
Threading on what was to irk the crowd, he said, “Finally, I want to thank God because (ASUU) you have become the voice of the voiceless today. May that voice never die. But I want to remind you that there is no success without sacrifice; for Jesus to gain the whole world he had to give up his life. We give up to go up.
“My humble appeal to you as a minister of God is to kindly request you in the name of God to please surrender the tool of power. Do not give the federal government the privilege of satisfaction of fighting and defeating you. I encourage you to surrender first in this fight. You have made your point eloquently and clear enough.
“Sincere and intelligent Nigerians will consider will consider what you have done and will forever appreciate you for it. Your surrender at this time as a tool of power is the sign of strength, it’s not a sign of weakness. Our relationship with God our father shows that faith and trust navigate.
“We may not trust the federal government owing to their antecedents, but I humbly request you to please trust them now.”
Speaking with journalists at the end of the ceremony, ASUU President, Dr Nasri Fagge said reaction from the crowd was enough attestation to the mood of majority of union members on the matter.
He said, “We were told here at this gathering there were some fundamental issues that bother the mind of our late comrade, as to the future of the struggle. For me, it is left for us to rally round those ideals and advance his legacies. You saw the reaction of the crowd to what was said about suspending the struggle, and that to me said it all.”
Recalling some of his past encounters with the late professor of business administration, Governor Adams Oshiomhole said, “Iyayi spoke truth to power, just as much as he spoke truth with his colleagues.”
Oshiomhole offered to support in building of ASUU secretariat at UNIBEN, as a way of immortalising Iyayi.

L-R: President Goodluck Jonathan; his wife, Patience; little Miss Awele Njokama, who presented flower to the president; Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed and Nigerian Ambassador to France, Hakeem Suleiman, during the arrival of the President at the Le Bourget Airport, Paris  for the Elysee Summit on Peace and Security in Africa… on Friday.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday arrived Paris, France after his two-day private visit to Germany.
Jonathan, who arrived in company with his wife, Patience, is in the country to participate in the Summit on Peace and Security in Africa.
Although the nature of his private visit to Germany was not disclosed, there were indications during the week that he and his wife would undergo medical checks. An online report claimed that they both checked into a German hospital.
The President and his wife, who were both decked in winter jackets, were received at the airport by the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Dr. Muhammed Nurudeen.
They were accompanied by some presidential aides and security chiefs.
They did not show any sign of ill-health.
Spokesman of the President’s wife, Mrs. Ayotunde Adesugba, later issued a statement indicating that Mrs. Jonathan attended First Ladies’ meeting at the Elysee Summit for Peace and Security in Africa with the theme “Acts Of Sexual Violence Against Women In Africa” hosted by the First Lady of France, Ms. Valerie Trierweiler.
The statement quoted Mrs. Jonathan, in her remarks at the event, as describing the late President of South Africa, Dr. Nelson Mandela, as an icon of peace for humanity.
She said Mandela’s life as an epitome of peace and compassion reflects the principles of the African First Ladies Peace Mission which she chairs.
The statement read, “Dame Jonathan  stated that the late South African President, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 jointly with Frederik Willem de Klerk, was a great bridge for promoting peace because of his forgiving spirit and also because he lived his life in a way that respected and enhanced the freedom of others.
“She stated that as a proponent of peace, justice and social inclusion, Dr. Mandela was a towering iconic figure in life and an even greater figure in death.
“The AFLPM President  noted that the late Dr. Mandela is indeed a hero of all time who was held in the highest esteem by not only people on the African continent, but the entire world.
“She said that Dr. Mandela would be greatly missed but observed that his impact would be felt forever. She added that the activities of the AFLPM would continue to draw inspiration from the remarkable life of Dr. Mandela.”
The African First Ladies Peace Mission, which is open to all first ladies of Africa, has the mandate of conflict prevention and management, as well as the making, keeping and building of peace through various means including civil, humanitarian and diplomatic action.

National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur
The Peoples Democratic Party has begun plot to halt the defection of its members to the All Progressives Party so as to retain the leadershi of the House.
Investigation by Saturday PUNCH in Abuja on Thursday showed   that the PDP was already plotting to frustrate moves by some of the reps who might want to toe the line of their governors and defect to APC.
Part of the way to frustrate potential defectors, Saturday PUNCH   learnt, was to engage the services of   the police and other security agencies  to “harass and intimidate” PDP members who chose to join the APC.
A source who pleaded anonymity told Saturday PUNCH  that PDP was not comfortable with the relationship of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, with the APC.
Tambuwal  reportedly met behind closed doors with leading members of the opposition on Wednesday at the Kano Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja.
At the meeting were a former head of state, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, erstwhile Lagos State governor, Ahmed Bola Tinubu,  Governors  Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso [Kano], Aliyu Magartakada Wamakko [Sokoto], Rotimi Amaechi [Rivers], Ibikunle Amosun [Ogun], former Governor Ali Modu Sherrif of Borno State, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, Malam Nuhu Ribadu and the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Bello Masari.
On Thursday, a senior lawmaker, whose governor joined the APC, confided in Saturday PUNCH that part of the plot against the defectors was to stop the members from attending sittings.
He said, “We have heard that they   are planning to stop those of us who have identified with the APC from attending sittings of the House. They are also planning to use police and other security agents  to stop us from entering the premises.
“This means that the harassment will include stopping us from attending sessions of the House.”
The source claimed that the idea was to “coerce” the members to remain with the PDP.
However, Saturday PUNCH learnt that as the PDP was plotting to  thwart the defection of its members to the APC, the opposition party  had also  intensified its efforts to gain upper control of the House.
The party had continued to lobby PDP members to join it even as it   compiled   a list of prospective defectors.
Saturday PUNCH further learnt that the opposition party was planning to vote out the leadership of the House except the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, if it got the required majority of House members on its side.
The PUNCH had on November 28 reported that the APC caucus in  the House  was preparing to unveil 186 members as its latest numerical strength in the House of Representatives.
According to the report, the figure  is made up of the original APC members of 137 and the “49 members of New PDP” that have reportedly joined the caucus.
The APC caucus was reported to have requested each defecting PDP member to sign a list, which would be used to arrive at the final numerical strength of the party.
Sources within the APC  had claimed last week that the party’s membership had increased to 176 from 137 following the defection of  five PDP governors to the party.
About 39 PDP lawmakers from the states of the affected governors (Kano, Adamawa, Rivers, Sokoto and Kwara) were said to have joined the APC, taking after the example of their governors.
However, none of the said 39 has defected formally on the floor of the House till date.
Although, APC sources had hinted that the party would unveil 186 members this week, preparatory to taking over the majority leadership of the House, nothing of such happened.
The Minority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, confirmed that APC was working towards taking over the leadership of the House.
He told Saturday PUNCH on Thursday that the APC was still working on the issue.
“We are still working; very soon, we will be through with this issue. We are working; we are taking our time,” he stated.
But, the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, PDP,  Mr. Victor Ogene, was optimistic that the opposition would not succeed in controlling the House.
He said  that so long as the APC did not control simple majority in the House, it could not take over the control of the leadership.
“A party should have at least 181 members before you can talk of changing the leadership,” he added.
When contacted,  the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisah Metuh, said the party was not aware of any lawmaker planning to leave it.
Metuh said, “Our party is based on ideals. People in the PDP have   principle and ideals. It is an ideal based on the promotion of national interests and promotion of unity of this country.
“We do not believe that our elected officers are about to leave our party. We are completely unaware of members of the House of Reps about to leave our party.”
The PDP spokesman declined to comment on Tambuwal’s presence at the APC meeting in Abuja on Tuesday night.
He said, “Before I answer the question, go and ask the speaker if he attended the meeting. I have no comment on it. We are not   aware that he attended the meeting.”
Meanwhile,  APC has said that the PDP will not succeed in its plot to frustrate defecting members of the House.
It said that no amount of intimidation would prevent the members from joining the APC.
The spokesman of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who stated this  in an SMS to one of our correspondents, said, “They won’t be able to frustrate the defecting members.”
He recalled that the PDP for several days   laid siege to the National Assembly in its attempt to stop Tambuwal from entering the chamber, but it did not succeed.
Five out of the seven rebel governors that left the Peoples Democratic Party  had on Tuesday formally merged with the opposition     APC.  The decision was taken at a meeting between   leaders of the APC and the New PDP at the Kano State Governor’s residence in Abuja.
The National Chairman of the New PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, announced the decision which was described by the Presidency as a welcome development.
But the New PDP said its members, including the rebel governors, were elated to “have abandoned PDP’s sinking ship.”

Kora award winner and Ex Project Fame winner, Chidinma Ekile
Kora award winner and Ex Project Fame winner, Chidinma Ekile, tells ‘Nonye Ben-Nwankwo how she has been able to manage the recent controversies surrounding her
You won Kora Awards last year and this year again, you were nominated for an international award, Channel O Awards. Did you ever imagine that you would get to this stage?
No way. I never imagined it in any way. All I did was just to be focused. I knew this was what I loved doing and I decided to just keep doing it. I didn’t expect that it would get this big. Sometimes I sit back and I think back of how it started.
But did the awards have any impact on your career?
Oh yes. When I won the Kora and got back to Nigeria, it was a whole different experience. People started treating me differently. They wondered how ‘small’ Chidinma could go to Cote D’ivoire and bring the Kora home. It added to my profile. Being nominated for the Channel O Award is a big deal for me even if I didn’t clinch the award.
How has it been since then?
It has been good and challenging. It has been a lot of work.
Did you go back to school?
Oh yes. I am managing my career and my studies. I don’t have a choice. I wake up every day and I realise I have a lot of things to do. This is really the best time to tidy up my education. This is my youth. I get busier by the day. It will get tougher. I have to do what I have to do before time gets tougher.
Are you not scared or intimidated competing with other bigger female artistes in the industry?
I have never been a competition person even though I am a product of a competition. But I didn’t see Project Fame as a competition. I was doing what I love doing. In the industry, I am not in any competition. I am just Chidinma. I have tried to carve a niche for myself. I try to be different all the time. I don’t like a situation where somebody will say ‘Chidinma sounds like this person or that person.’ When that comes, competition arises. I am not in for that. I just want to be me and I always try to improve. I want to be versatile. I don’t want to be put in a box. I am here to have fun and make money at the same time.
But you must look up to some of the female artistes…
Definitely. Most of the time I was preparing for the Project Fame competition, I listened to Omawumi a lot. I followed her right from the time she came out of West African Idols. I just loved her kind of music. It is African and she has lots of messages at the same time. I love Onyeka Onwenu as well. I can learn from any one. I am still able to talk and ask question. I am still their baby.
Do you owe Project Fame all you have achieved?
I owe it to Project Fame to a reasonable extent. I don’t think I would be here if not for Project Fame. I didn’t take music seriously. I felt it was something I could do during my leisure. I didn’t know it would become a profession.
If you hadn’t won, you wouldn’t have been bothered?
It wouldn’t have mattered. I didn’t even know I was going to win. I felt I was having fun and if I got money, it was okay. I didn’t want to be the winner. I didn’t want everybody’s eyes to be on me. But it happened and I didn’t have a choice. I decided to give it a trial. That is why I am here today.
You eventually came into the spotlight and it opened doors to controversies and scandals…
I have been in the news lately. My manager told me that I am a balloon on top of lots of needles. People want me to drop on those needles and get deflated. He told me to be careful. The first time was when my nude picture went viral. I actually went for a photo shoot for my friend. I wore a tube dress. Some mischief makers actually cropped off the lower part of the picture and posted it on the Internet. It was as if I was nude. I wasn’t happy at all. I had that picture. I had to post the real picture on the net and people now got convinced the nude picture wasn’t original. I thought that was the end, I didn’t know a bigger scandal was coming…
You mean the sex video?
Oh yes. I woke up one morning and I was greeted on the internet with ‘Chidinma and sex tape’.  I was worried primarily because of my mother. I didn’t let her see the video but I had to show her the photos. I didn’t want to go out that day. I couldn’t go out. But my mum felt otherwise. She told me to ignore the mischief makers. I almost took some actions but I thought against it. I met Sound Sultan on a set. He told me, ‘Babe, you are now a star. I welcome you officially into the industry.’ I trended for three days. Even people who didn’t know me got to know me. My fan base grew. And then, I was happy because more than 90 per cent of the public didn’t believe I was the one in that video. There were people who didn’t need to see the video to believe I couldn’t have done such thing. I am just grateful to everyone who didn’t believe the story. My twitter account was hacked and the people created another account. They kept releasing nasty pictures and they were even responding to the tweets as if I was the one doing it. I was just watching and laughing. It put me in the spotlight. I used it for good.
But such scandal shouldn’t be good for your career…
Ever since I started, I have been scared of scandals. I didn’t want to have any. But I realised that I cannot run away from it. It is just normal. It is not everybody who is happy seeing me rise. Some people are trying to do something to stop me. But sex tape is not enough to stop me. They should bring up something else. The sex tape just took me to another level in my career. It moved me up. This is no more ‘little’ Chidinma. It didn’t bring me down in any way. I am still doing a lot of things.
One of the Skuki boys said he is in love with you and would want to marry you…
Oh yes. Everybody wants to marry me but I am not ready for marriage.
But the boy came out publicly and declared his love for you…
I laughed when I saw that story. I have not considered his request. I still have to make more money before I consider marriage. He is actually my friend and he never told me something like that. I have been linked with so many people. People cannot imagine me being a saint. They are just looking for something to attach to me.
How does it feel like being a star?
It is a lot of work. People see me and envy me and say ‘ohhh, she is now a star and she must be enjoying’. I am not enjoying. The more you are there, the more you do things. The expectation is now so high. Being a star is not so much fun because you have to do more work. You have to please people. You have to smile even when you are not in the mood. It is so frustrating. But then, you owe it to some people, you have put yourself out there. This is what I have signed for. Nobody begged me to do this.

Funmi Akingbade
Even though a penis is controlled by the nervous system, it also has a mind of its own. Erections can occur at random due to some impulses firing from the brain during sleep and that is why most mornings, men experience ‘morning glows.’ The penis is turgid without a prior sexual arousal trigger. In fact, the penis does not need the man’s brain before it climaxes. It is basically the function of the penis than the brain of the man. Orgasm actually starts with the spine; the signal to ejaculate is the result of muscle contractions in the spinal cord and pelvis, not the brain. But amazingly, simple things like having a rough day at work can lead to a man not gaining an erection for a week.
On average, adult penis typically measures between four and six inches when flaccid and six to nine inches when erect. So typically, most penises are created equal in almost all men. Human penis still weighs and looks bigger than that of other animals. Many men worry so much about the look of their penis but the truth of the matter is curves are common in penis. The vast majority of penises lean ever so slightly to the left or right when erect (you are probably just too distracted to notice). However, some bend so dramatically (or curve up or down) that having sex is almost impossible. This is known as Peyronie’s Disease and it happens when the penis doesn’t expand evenly during a hard-on.
The structure of the penis does not help men to finish slowly; rather they are programmed to finish quickly. So wives, don’t take it personal. One of the purposes of intercourse for men is pleasure, then procreation. In fact, 85 per cent of men think of pleasure first before procreation while having sex.
 Penile rupture is very real; it tends to happen mostly during vigorous sex and also overly enthusiastic solo action like masturbation. Most men who have experienced this unthinkable breakage always report hearing a cracking noise, followed by excruciating pain.  It is always advisable to get treatment on time because an untreated fracture can lead to permanent erectile dysfunction (ED).
Penis size, thickness and shape are not genetic. Penises are actually formed in uterus when the male hormones are in active service. Penises have a ‘seam’ as all men have a line going down their penis and over their testicles. It’s more a ‘seam’ on the underside of the penis. It forms when the foetus is in the uterus. In women, the seam becomes the inner lips of the vagina. In men, the seam encloses the urethra along the length of the penis. Penises contrast in colour to other body parts; penises are generally darker in colour than the bodies they hang from. Why? It’s part of the sexual maturation process. Every penis experiences a degree of shrinkage on a daily basis, especially when it is very cold. In other words, cold weather and cold water are a penis’ mortal enemies. A typical testicles need to be warm to effectively make sperm and testosterone.   So when you stay too long in a chilly air-condition room on a daily basis, try to take a ten minutes’ walk in a warm environment away from the cold. But there is no correlation between penis size and shoe size, hand size or wallet size. And the worst exercise for the penis is masturbation.  Masturbation is not healthy at all. Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs; it is also bad for the penis. It’s no secret that smoking clogs the arteries, including those that fill the penis with blood, especially at the initial stage of ejaculation. This means the penises of smokers may have a harder time rising to its full potential at the occasion of sexual activities. Also, men will go limp if they drink too much.
Men really do get ‘blue-balls, technically called ‘prostatic congestion which is caused by ‘trapped’ blood in the testicles. It has been discovered that a lukewarm shower or aspirin will also do the trick. With a vasectomy, a man can still be a father because some sperm cell can still hang around, ready, willing and able to cause a woman to be pregnant two weeks post operation. So, it’s important to use some kind of protection until your family doctor says the coast is clear.
Please note that if an erection comes on and refuses to go away, this is not a miracle, but a medical emergency. This means that the blood flow that causes an erection doesn’t eventually leave the penis. Serious complications can result, like blood clots and some major damage.
Questions and Answers
Should I or should I not?
 Seven months ago, my wife of 11 years suddenly left my home unannounced with my seven-year-old last child. I was so worried I had to report the case to the police who after series of searching, eventually discovered that she actually moved to the house of one of my church members, a wealthy business tycoon. This became a court case and when she was asked why she left without traces, she said it was on the basis that I do not satisfy her sexually. Now, she is begging to come back. Should I take her back? Her insatiable sexual craving has been a big issue since the inception of our marriage. I can’t satisfy her even if I over try.
Peter Ajukochi
This is a case of libidinal mismatch leading to unfaithfulness, I think you both can still sit and talk things over. There are quite a lot of things to do together when couples’ sex drive do not match. Amazingly, every human being has untapped sexual potential in us. If she has been complaining from the outset of your union, what have you done to rectify the situation? Bear it in mind that your low desire affects your wife immensely; so you must stretch yourself to take time to enhance your libido. This will bond the two of you together the more and grant you some discoveries about your own sexuality. Take quality time to discover your wife’s sexual peculiarities. It is very wrong and unethical for your wife to abandon her matrimonial home in search of a momentary pleasure. But I would also plead for your forgiveness. Since she has discovered her mistakes, I am sure she will make it up to you.  Please take her back and in future, don’t ignore her complaints.
Why should I be careful about semen analysis?
 I have done quite a number of semen analyses, yet I can’t make my wife get pregnant. Why should I be careful about semen analysis or continue to carry out the same test?
Matins Matins
Are you sure you are carrying out the necessary test? Frankly speaking, semen analysis is not a measure of fertility; rather, it is a measure of sperm production and sperm delivery. So, a single semen analysis really does not mean everything is normal or abnormal. It just means there’s normal production, normal delivery of sperm. Most men, when there are concerns about fertility, will be told to get a semen analysis. It is a good thing but it is important that if a man has concerns over fertility, he has at least two and probably three separate semen analyses, each one after three days of abstinence, each about six to eight weeks apart. And then, and only then, can you say you have successfully completed the test.
Is it advisable to send a spy after my partner?
If a husband or wife notices some suspicious moves, activities and behaviour in the life of his or her partner especially sexual life, Is it advisable for the suspecting partner to send spies to get adequate information before taking necessary action, If no, why?
Simian Jubilee
I do not think it is a wise idea. One thing is certain, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed over a period of time. And from observation, when you are not too sure of something, it is either you patiently wait for a proper timing or you wisely confront your spouse. And if he or she denies the confrontation, you can just keep your calm. Things will definitely reveal themselves sooner than you think. But if you start sending spies here and there, searching for information, digging up stories, you may end up destroying the very thing you want to protect. Where mistrust, doubt, and suspicion reign, every air that blows is a potential danger bomb.
Can erectile dysfunction prevent pregnancy?
 Apparently yes but this depends greatly on the degree and level of the erectile dysfunction challenge. If it is a chronic erectile dysfunction, it has 75-83 per cent of preventing pregnancy, especially when the erection is not hard enough for effective ejaculation or when the man ejaculates just at the tip of the vagina. If it is an acute erectile dysfunction [ a sudden event of either premature ejaculation or quick ejaculation], there may be a likelihood of the man being able to impregnate his wife when  the man is treated on time.


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