Thursday, 13 June 2013

REAL MADRID WAITING TO SEAL LUIS SUAREZ DEAL


ABOVE: Luis Suarez has made no secret of his desire to leave Liverpool
“
Liverpool are playing hard-ball and say they won't sell their prized asset
”
13th June 2013

By Jack Wilson

REAL MADRID are wavering in their confidence of signing Liverpool ace Luis Suarez - and are already making back-up plans so they aren't left short of strikers.

The Spanish giants are poised to sell Gonzalo Higuain, who also attracted interest from Arsenal and Tottenham, to Juventus for £18.7m.
But that seal won't go through until an agreement is made with Liverpool for Suarez, according to Spanish newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Carlo Ancelotti, who is due to be named as Madrid boss shortly, is adamant that he wants to sign another centre forward to compete with Karim Benzema.
Suarez is their No.1 target and he's expressed a desire to move to the Bernabeu.
But Liverpool are playing hard-ball and say they won't sell their prized asset.
It means Higuain's future is hanging in the balance too, as that deal won't be made official until Madrid's signing of Suarez is set in stone.

REAL MADRID WAITING TO SEAL LUIS SUAREZ DEAL


ABOVE: Luis Suarez has made no secret of his desire to leave Liverpool
“
Liverpool are playing hard-ball and say they won't sell their prized asset
”
13th June 2013

By Jack Wilson

REAL MADRID are wavering in their confidence of signing Liverpool ace Luis Suarez - and are already making back-up plans so they aren't left short of strikers.

The Spanish giants are poised to sell Gonzalo Higuain, who also attracted interest from Arsenal and Tottenham, to Juventus for £18.7m.
But that seal won't go through until an agreement is made with Liverpool for Suarez, according to Spanish newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Carlo Ancelotti, who is due to be named as Madrid boss shortly, is adamant that he wants to sign another centre forward to compete with Karim Benzema.
Suarez is their No.1 target and he's expressed a desire to move to the Bernabeu.
But Liverpool are playing hard-ball and say they won't sell their prized asset.
It means Higuain's future is hanging in the balance too, as that deal won't be made official until Madrid's signing of Suarez is set in stone.

REAL MADRID WAITING TO SEAL LUIS SUAREZ DEAL


ABOVE: Luis Suarez has made no secret of his desire to leave Liverpool
“
Liverpool are playing hard-ball and say they won't sell their prized asset
”
13th June 2013

By Jack Wilson

REAL MADRID are wavering in their confidence of signing Liverpool ace Luis Suarez - and are already making back-up plans so they aren't left short of strikers.

The Spanish giants are poised to sell Gonzalo Higuain, who also attracted interest from Arsenal and Tottenham, to Juventus for £18.7m.
But that seal won't go through until an agreement is made with Liverpool for Suarez, according to Spanish newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Carlo Ancelotti, who is due to be named as Madrid boss shortly, is adamant that he wants to sign another centre forward to compete with Karim Benzema.
Suarez is their No.1 target and he's expressed a desire to move to the Bernabeu.
But Liverpool are playing hard-ball and say they won't sell their prized asset.
It means Higuain's future is hanging in the balance too, as that deal won't be made official until Madrid's signing of Suarez is set in stone.

Joe Hart and his Manchester City teammates may trade in their supercars for Daihatsus

ABOVE: Joe Hart and his Manchester City teammates may trade in their supercars for Daihatsus
“
The club’s stars, who will film a TV ad for Daihatsu later this year, will be offered free cars
”
13th June 2013

By Daily Star Reporter

MANCHESTER City star Joe Hart, 26, and his teammates face trading in their supercars for Daihatsus.

The Premier League club yesterday revealed a sponsorship deal with the Japanese firm which specialises in budget city cars and vans.
The club’s stars, who will film a TV ad for Daihatsu later this year, will be offered free cars.

CRISTIANO RONALDO PONDERING MEGA-MONEY MONACO OFFER


ABOVE: Cristiano Ronaldo has been offered a huge deal by Monaco
“
Monaco are ready to table an £85m bid to Real for the Portugese star
”
13th June 2013

By Jack Wilson

CRISTIANO RONALDO is weighing up a move to Monaco which would see him handed a huge salary of £17m a year.

According to sources in Spain, the Real Madrid star is "carefully evaluating the offer that has been put on the table by Monaco".
Rich Monaco have already spent £110m on Radamel Falcao, Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez - but the signing of Ronaldo would be one of the biggest in football history.
Monaco are ready to table an £85m bid to Real for the Portugese star, £5m more than they paid Manchester United to sign him back in 2009.
Ronaldo, 28, is out of contract in 2015 and the incredible wages that he's being offered by Monaco eclipse anything that Madrid could match.
It would make him one of the highest-paid players in the world alongside Cameroonian Samuel Eto'o.
Eto'o, 32, is on a deal worth £19.9m-a-year for Russian side Anzhi Makahchkala.
Monaco, who are managed by Claudio Rainieri, were promoted into Ligue 1 last season and want to immediately challenge Paris Saint-Germain for the title.

ARSENAL MULL MOVE FOR BENFICA LEFT-BACK LORENZO MELGAREJO


ABOVE: Lorenzo Melgarejo has caught the attentions of Arsenal and Fenerbahce
“
Arsenal and Fenerbahce have enquired about Melgarejo
”
Melgarejo's agent
13th June 2013

By Jack Wilson

ARSENAL have enquired about the possibility of signing Lorenzo Melgarejo - ANOTHER left-back.

The Gunners already have Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal tied down on long-term deals, while they have so far been unable to bolster their frontline.
Moves for Gonzalo Higuain and Stevan Jovetic both haven't materialised but it hasn't stopped Arsene Wenger looking at other areas of his squad.
Paraguayan Melgarejo, 22, helped Benfica reach the Europa League final this season and is valued at around £5m.
Turkish giants Fenerbahce are also interested in signing him.
Melgarejo's agent told Paraguayan radio station Radio Monumental: "Arsenal and Fenerbahce have enquired about Melgarejo - but so far there has been nothing concrete."

ARSENAL MULL MOVE FOR BENFICA LEFT-BACK LORENZO MELGAREJO


ABOVE: Lorenzo Melgarejo has caught the attentions of Arsenal and Fenerbahce
“
Arsenal and Fenerbahce have enquired about Melgarejo
”
Melgarejo's agent
13th June 2013

By Jack Wilson

ARSENAL have enquired about the possibility of signing Lorenzo Melgarejo - ANOTHER left-back.

The Gunners already have Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal tied down on long-term deals, while they have so far been unable to bolster their frontline.
Moves for Gonzalo Higuain and Stevan Jovetic both haven't materialised but it hasn't stopped Arsene Wenger looking at other areas of his squad.
Paraguayan Melgarejo, 22, helped Benfica reach the Europa League final this season and is valued at around £5m.
Turkish giants Fenerbahce are also interested in signing him.
Melgarejo's agent told Paraguayan radio station Radio Monumental: "Arsenal and Fenerbahce have enquired about Melgarejo - but so far there has been nothing concrete."

TOTTENHAM AND ARSENAL URGED TO MAKE QUICK DAVID VILLA MOVE


ABOVE: Barcelona want to sell David Villa
“
Andre Villa-Boas has prioritised strengthening his White Hart Lane frontline
”
13th June 2013

By Jack Wilson

BARCELONA are desperate to sell David Villa to Tottenham or Arsenal so they can continue their summer spending.

Spurs are the favourites to land the 31-year-old Spain star, who is currently on international duty at the Confederations Cup.
But no deal has been sorted with Spurs - or Arsenal - and Barca are eager to get a move done.
They want to spend the cash on a new striker but first need to sell Villa and his team-mate Alexis Sanches, according to sources in Spain.
Both are said to have no future at the Nou Camp.
The two transfers should net Barca around £30m, with Villa valued around the £12m mark.
Andre Villa-Boas has prioritised strengthening his White Hart Lane frontline while the Gunners too are looking at attacking options.
They had planned moves for Gonzalo Higuain and Stevan Jovetic but look likely to miss out on both of them.

XABI ALONSO COULD MOVE TO CHELSEA AFTER SLOW REAL MADRID CONTRACT TALKS


ABOVE: Xabi Alonso signed for Real Madrid in 2009
“
Alonso already has Premier League experience having spent five years at Liverpool
”
13th June 2013

By Jack Wilson

REAL MADRID are trying to convince Xabi Alonso to sign a new contract in a bid to end speculation linking him with a move to Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho is a big fan of the Spain midfielder, who has a year left on his current deal.
And Madrid chiefs are wary that the Special One may try and tempt the 31-year-old to Stamford Bridge.
Alonso's representatives have been in discussion with Real president Florentino Perez for some time but have still not agreed a deal, according to sources in Spain.
Mourinho worked closely with Alonso - a virtual ever-present in the Real line-up - during his reign at the Bernabeu.
The Portugese tactician played Alonso in 42 games last season and knows his passing range could be a massive asset for Chelsea.
Alonso already has Premier League experience having spent five years at Liverpool before making the £30m move to Madrid in 2009.

MICHAEL LAUDRUP VOWS TO STAY AT SWANSEA DESPITE AGENT FALL-OUT


ABOVE: Michael Laudrup guided Swansea to Capital One Cup glory this season
“
Bayram is my agent and that's not going to change
”
Michael Laudrup
13th June 2013

By Jack Wilson

MICHAEL LAUDRUP insists he will not walk away from Swansea despite the club severing ties with his agent.

Chairman Huw Jenkins and Laudrup's representative Bayram Tutumlu have been embroiled in disagreements and the Swans will now no longer deal with him.
It was feared that the Dane would leave the Liberty Stadium because of it - but he's reiterated his desire to stay at Swansea.
"I have repeated it so many times in the last three months - my intention is to stay," Laudrup told the South Wales Evening Post.
"Bayram is my agent and that's not going to change.
"If the club do not want to work with him, or Bayram does not want to work with them, it's their problem not mine.
"The only thing I care about is to have the best players possible at Swansea who are within range of the economy of the club.
"It will not change my relationship with Bayram one centimetre.
"The only thing I am interested in is having the best players at Swansea within the budget that is possible.
"That's what I have been fighting for every day, last year when I arrived and this year as well. That will always be the most important thing for me wherever I end up in the future."
It's understood that the initial disagreement with Tutumlu was over the amount of money available for Laudrup to spend on new players.
But the club were also unhappy at the agent's desire to put forward his own list of proposed transfer targets.
Tutumlu attempted to become involved in the potential sale of defender Ashley Williams too, despite Swansea making it clear they had no intention of selling the Arsenal target.

MICHAEL LAUDRUP VOWS TO STAY AT SWANSEA DESPITE AGENT FALL-OUT


ABOVE: Michael Laudrup guided Swansea to Capital One Cup glory this season
“
Bayram is my agent and that's not going to change
”
Michael Laudrup
13th June 2013

By Jack Wilson

MICHAEL LAUDRUP insists he will not walk away from Swansea despite the club severing ties with his agent.

Chairman Huw Jenkins and Laudrup's representative Bayram Tutumlu have been embroiled in disagreements and the Swans will now no longer deal with him.
It was feared that the Dane would leave the Liberty Stadium because of it - but he's reiterated his desire to stay at Swansea.
"I have repeated it so many times in the last three months - my intention is to stay," Laudrup told the South Wales Evening Post.
"Bayram is my agent and that's not going to change.
"If the club do not want to work with him, or Bayram does not want to work with them, it's their problem not mine.
"The only thing I care about is to have the best players possible at Swansea who are within range of the economy of the club.
"It will not change my relationship with Bayram one centimetre.
"The only thing I am interested in is having the best players at Swansea within the budget that is possible.
"That's what I have been fighting for every day, last year when I arrived and this year as well. That will always be the most important thing for me wherever I end up in the future."
It's understood that the initial disagreement with Tutumlu was over the amount of money available for Laudrup to spend on new players.
But the club were also unhappy at the agent's desire to put forward his own list of proposed transfer targets.
Tutumlu attempted to become involved in the potential sale of defender Ashley Williams too, despite Swansea making it clear they had no intention of selling the Arsenal target.

TOTTENHAM AND ARSENAL URGED TO MAKE QUICK DAVID VILLA MOVE


ABOVE: Barcelona want to sell David Villa
“
Andre Villa-Boas has prioritised strengthening his White Hart Lane frontline
”
13th June 2013

By Jack Wilson

BARCELONA are desperate to sell David Villa to Tottenham or Arsenal so they can continue their summer spending.

Spurs are the favourites to land the 31-year-old Spain star, who is currently on international duty at the Confederations Cup.
But no deal has been sorted with Spurs - or Arsenal - and Barca are eager to get a move done.
They want to spend the cash on a new striker but first need to sell Villa and his team-mate Alexis Sanches, according to sources in Spain.
Both are said to have no future at the Nou Camp.
The two transfers should net Barca around £30m, with Villa valued around the £12m mark.
Andre Villa-Boas has prioritised strengthening his White Hart Lane frontline while the Gunners too are looking at attacking options.
They had planned moves for Gonzalo Higuain and Stevan Jovetic but look likely to miss out on both of them.

EXCLUSIVE: CHELSEA STRIKER FERNANDO TORRES WANTS TALKS WITH JOSE MOURINHO


ABOVE: The striker is aware of shock reports in Spain about a £17m bid for him by Barcelona
“
We are ignoring the rumours. Fernando has a contract with Chelsea. This is the reality
”
A source
13th June 2013

By Paul Brown

FERNANDO TORRES is seeking showdown talks with Jose Mourinho about his future at Chelsea.

The striker is aware of shock reports in Spain about a £17m bid for him by Barcelona, while Napoli are also keen on the 29-year-old.
And Torres wants to find out in the next week exactly where he stands under new Blues boss Mourinho.
Torres refused to answer questions about his future yesterday in New York, where he is with Spain preparing for the Confederations Cup, which kicks off this weekend in Brazil.
But a source close to the player said: “We are ignoring the rumours. Fernando has a contract with Chelsea. This is the reality.”
Mourinho could leave Torres sweating on a meeting with a hard-line approach, just as he has with club captain John Terry.
It is understood his stance has not changed since he gave a lukewarm response about the Spaniard at his press conference on Monday.
Torres, who still has three years left on his current deal, said: “I will wait until the end of the Confederations Cup, then I will speak with him.
“I think he deserves that respect from me.
“That respect starts by speaking with him face to face and deciding what is the best for all of us.”

EXCLUSIVE: UNITED'S LEW BLOW


ABOVE: Dortmund want £25.5m for Lewandowski, even though he has just one year left on his contract
“
United could have to stump up extra cash to persuade Bayern to rip up their agreement with the striker
”
13th June 2013

By Adrian Kajumba

MANCHESTER UNITED may be forced to pay Bayern Munich AND Borussia Dortmund if they want to land Robert Lewandowski.

United could have to stump up extra cash to persuade Bayern to rip up their agreement with the striker.
Lewandowski, 24, is believed to have promised last summer that he would move to Munich – but Dortmund are defiantly refusing to deal with Bayern, having already lost star midfielder Mario Gotze to their big domestic rivals.
United boss David Moyes is out to exploit the situation with Lewandowski’s future up in the air.
But sources in Germany believe that a complicated deal could be required to capture the forward.
United would first have to pay European champions Bayern a compensation fee. Then they would have to negotiate a deal with Dortmund.
Dortmund want £25.5m for Lewandowski, even though he has just one year left on his contract.
He is convinced he will still leave the Champions League runners-up in this transfer window.
But Dortmund haven’t given up hope of keeping him for next season and are preparing to treble his £20,000-a-week wages for the final year of his deal.
If the complex deal is the only way forward, United will almost certainly end up paying significantly more than the £24m it cost to sign Robin van Persie last summer when he also had just 12 months left on his Arsenal contract.
Whether Bayern would be interested in taking the consolation cash while letting one of Europe’s top strikers slip through their fingers remains to be seen.
They could stick by their agreement and bag Lewandowski on a free next summer.
A similar deal featuring fees paid to two clubs has been done before, with United also involved.
Chelsea paid United £12m and Norwegians Lynn Oslo £4m to sign John Obi Mikel in 2006.
Mikel claimed he was pressured in to signing a deal with United without his agent present but actually wanted to join the Blues.

TAMARA'S WEDDING ON THONG


ABOVE: Tamara Ecclestone showed off her blingy diamond wedding ring
“
Guests are believed to have included Jason Statham, Sean Connery, and Paris Hilton
”
13th June 2013

By Paul Brown

SEXY F1 heiress Tamara Ecclestone looks all white as she celebrates getting wed.

The babe is toasting her £12million wedding to ex-City trader Jay Rutland, 31, with a four-day French Riviera bash.
Tamara, 28, was snapped showing off her blingy diamond wedding ring.
The daughter of F1 supremo Bernie looked stunning in a pale minidress as she supped wine in the sun.
She was then seen boogying on stage – before getting her new husband to join her. The pair are thought to have tied the knot on Tuesday in front of 150 guests at the Grand Hotel in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
Bernie – worth £2.5bn – reportedly spent £650,000 hiring 73 rooms at the hotel.
Guests are believed to have included Jason Statham, 45, Sean Connery, 82, and Paris Hilton, 32, while entertainment included a 30-minute fireworks display and an Elton John gig.
Yesterday the couple relaxed as they mingled at the exclusive all-white beach party.
Beaming Tamara was seen puffing on an e-cigarette made by top brand 5 Colors as she headed to the shore.
Tamara and Jay met in January and got engaged in February. They were spotted at a London register office last Friday.

Baby Factory Saga: Police Hunt For Sold Babies, Proprietress



Imo State police command has commenced a manhunt for buyers of babies who were sold by the proprietress, ‘Madam one thousand,’ of Ahamefula Motherless Babies Home, where 17 pregnant teenagers were rescued recently.
 
According to a reliable police source, about three of the babies whose ages range from one year to two months, who were sold outside the state had been rescued.
The source said two of the buyers have also been arrested and are currently assisting the police in their investigation, while one of them, a woman, lives abroad.
According to the source the police authorities have also declared the fleeing ‘Madam one thousand’ owner of the home, wanted.
When contacted, police spokesperson, Joy Elemoko, confirmed the story, saying investigation was still on. “The woman has been declared wanted,” she added.
RELATED ARTICLE: Baby Factory: Operators Go Into Hiding

Jonathan Moves To Resolve PDP Crises



There were indications in Abuja on Tuesday that the Presidency had set up a secret committee to look into the crises rocking the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and proffer solutions to them.
photo There were indications in Abuja on Tuesday that the Presidency had set up a secret committee to look into the crises rocking the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and proffer solutions to them.
It was gathered that the idea was mooted by some close aides of President Goodluck Jonathan, who advised him to take keen interest in the crises because of his political career and the determination of opposition political parties to merge and wrest power from the PDP in 2015.
The President was said to have also been told by the aides that the gale of suspensions in the PDP was capable of derailing the party.
Those believed to be  in the committee are the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Ogiadohme; the Political Adviser to  the President, Ahmed Gulak;  and some governors.
A Presidency source said the committee would pay specific attention to the suspension of two governors – Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) and Aliyu Wamakko(Sokoto) – and  the effect of the report of the Independent National Electoral Commission, which queried the manner majority of members of the  PDP  National Working Committee emerged.
Before   the committee was raised, the President was said to have also been told that the suspension of the governors within a spate of two weeks was an indication that the party was not healthy.
Amaechi was suspended because of his refusal to intervene in the State House of Assembly decision to suspend the   executive council of Obiokpor Local Government Council of Rivers State. Wamakko, on the other hand, was suspended because of his alleged insubordination to the PDP National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur.
A governor, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said the leadership of the PDP might have been advising the President wrongly on how to enforce discipline among members.
He said the President might have realised that and that that could be the reason why he set up the committee.
The governor said, “There is no President who fights during his first tenure. Not even former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who we all knew was a ‘strong man.’
“Obasanjo did not fight even when his deputy, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, was almost snatching the PDP ticket from him. He did not fight until he got the second term ticket of the party and was also elected.
“The fear among the governors is that if the President could do this to some of us when he is still seeking our cooperation for a second term ticket, what will he do when he gets it and he is eventually elected?
“We have let the President know this and he is acting on it.”
The governor particularly frowned on the reasons adduced for the suspension of Amaechi and Wamakko, saying they were not convincing enough.
He said that the suspension of Wamakko could also send wrong signals to the governors in the North-West, adding that “we all knew what Obasanjo did to bring the zone to the PDP.”
The governor said it would be wrong to allow the zone, which has the largest number of states in the country, to be snatched by the opposition again “due to the misadventure of few people in the party.”
It will also be recalled that the INEC report on the PDP convention, which produced the national officers of the party, had become a source of worry to the Presidency.
Those whose elections were ratified by affirmation instead of election as expected by INEC    were the Deputy NationalChairman, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja; National Organising Secretary, Abubakar Mustapha; National Youth Leader, Alhaji Garba Chima; Deputy National Youth Leader, Dennis Alonger; and Acting National Secretary, Solomon Onwe.
Others were   Senator Umar Ibrahim (deputy national auditor); Hanatu Ulam (deputy national woman leader);  Kema Chikwe (woman leader);  Okechukwu Nnadozie (deputy national treasurer);  Victor Kwom (national legal adviser);  Olisa Metuh (national publicity secretary); and Binta Goje (deputy national publicity secretary).
Eight of these officers are members of the NWC, which sees to the running of the party on a day-to-day basis.
The President was said to have been advised by the governors that it might not be wise to allow these officers to conduct the next presidential primary of the PDP as its result could be a subject of litigation.
This problem, it was also gathered, was one of the reasons why it had been difficult for the PDP to hold its National Executive Committee meeting.
The last meeting was in July 2012, whereas the party constitution stipulates that NEC meeting must be held at least in every quarter.
When contacted, Gulak told one of our correspondents that he had yet to be informed about the workings of the  newly constituted committee.
He said, “Where did you get that from? I am yet to be contacted. I do not know anything about it. If I am a member, I should be contacted.”
Meanwhile, the party has described as a basket of empty shells, the unfolding of All Progressives Congress blueprint by a former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, at the British House of Commons in London on Tuesday.
A statement by Metuh described the agenda as grossly lacking in essentials, in fundamentals; deep in cosmetics and devoid of originality.
According to him, the blueprint is   laced with half truths and outright lies and grittily divorced from the substance and incidentals  that ginger national growth.

School Proprietor Caught Having Sex With 11-Year-Old Pupil



A 40-year-old school proprietor in Ado Ekiti , the Ekiti State capital, Mr Tunde Ibitoye, has been nabbed by the police for allegedly having canal knowledge of 11-year-old pupil .
Ibitoye, owner of  God is Great Nursery and Primary School located in Kajola area of Ado Ekiti was caught in the act at a location in Agric Olope, Ajilosun Area, Ado Ekiti by a mechanic, one Mr Kayode Ayeni.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the state command, Mr Victor Babafemi, confirmed the arrest, saying the randy proprietor had taken the victim to bed on four different occasions.
The police image maker said the suspect was detained at the Criminal Investigation Department of the Police headquarters, to assist police in their investigation.
According to the image maker, the suspect was a regular caller  at the new market being constructed by Governor Kayode Fayemi administration, which had become a hideout for criminals in recent times.
He further revealed that the suspect was conveying the victim and one other pupil to their respective homes, Monday, in his private car, and suddenly stopped at the new market on the pretext that he wanted to defecate, but with  alleged intention to defile the girl.
He said: “After five to 10 minutes in the bush, the proprietor called the pupil to bring tissue paper for him. But unfortunately for him, someone was watching. And out of curiosity, the man went there and met the two of them naked. He then raised alarm, which attracted people to the spot.”
The girl, according to him, was taken to University Teaching Hospital for check-up, saying the outcome is being expected to guide them on the next line of action.
The PPRO said further that;  “The  man had continually denied ever having canal knowledge of the pupil but we are not buying such from him.”
He said the father of the victim confirmed that the pupil had come home several times with bloodstains, which he said was mistaken for monthly menstrual flow.
“All other pupils in the school will be quizzed and critically examined to ascertain the level of sexual relationship between them and the suspect.

Unbelievable!: Supporters Prevent Tambuwal’s, Wamakko’s Plane From Landing In Sokoto



There was a near air mishap in Sokoto yesterday when stalwarts of the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  caused a stir at the Sultan Muhammadu III International Airport, preventing two chartered aircraft conveying top politicians from landing.
Those on board include Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and all members of the National Assembly from Sokoto State. This happened as Hon. Tambuwal said Wamakko’s suspension from the PDP is illegal.
The state chapter had organised a rally to show solidarity to the governor over his recent suspension by the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) over alleged insubordination.
Trouble started when the first aircraft had attempted to land at about 4:15pm, but was unable to do so when the supporters in their thousands unconsciously occupied the runway.
The supporters who were drawn from the 23 Local Government Areas had defied security arrangement at the airport to welcome the governor, who had just returned from overseas.
It took the plane about 20 minutes, hovering in the air before the pilot was forced to change his mind for safety reasons.
Frantic efforts made by the pilot to relocate the runway was prevented by the surging crowd on the tarmac. n airport official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Daily Sun that the communication unit had briefed the pilot to divert to Kaduna Airport for emergency landing.
He, however, described the development as ‘embarrassing’, noting that “politicians should learn how to observe safety at any given time. Someone can imagine the pilot forcing the aircraft for landing without getting its bearing, that could have resulted to a tragedy or perhaps air mishap.” He said.
One of the party supporters, who simply identified his name as Musa, said he came from Yabo Local Government Area and was given N1,500 by a party leader to join the train to the state capital to welcome the governor.
Meanwhile,  Hon Tambawal said yesterday that there is nobody in the party that can intimidate Governor Wamakko because people of the state are solidly behind him.
“Wamakko is the leader of our party in the state and nobody can touch him. Any finger that touches him, touches the whole people of Sokoto State”, he said.
Tambuwal noted that he has cross-checked the party’s Constitution and did not  find any reason that would warrant Wamakko’s suspension from the party.  According to him, the suspension is unconstitutional. The action should be condemned.”
He said, “they should leave Gov. Wamakko alone to exhibit the principles of liberty and freedom of choice. He urged the people not to relent in showing their support and loyalty to the governor.
He quoted a British Member of Parliament as saying, “all politics is local,” wondering why should people not allow politicians to be responsible to their local people.
He also said that political leaders from Sokoto including the Sardauna, the late Ahmadu Bello and former President Shehu Shagari have all offered themselves for selfless service and good leadership which Gov. Wamakko is toeing their path of legacy, so they should allow him offer selfless service to the people.

Nigerian Oil Tycoon Ordered To Pay British Ex-Wife N4.2 Billion In Divorce Settlement



Nigerian Michael Prest has lost a legal battle with his estranged English wife Yasmin over a £17.5m divorce settlement.
The Supreme Court judgement marks the latest round of a lengthy legal cash dispute between the couple over the oil tycoon's fortune.

photoIn October, the Court of Appeal ruled that a High Court judge had earlier wrongly ordered Mr Prest to transfer properties, worth millions of pounds and held in the names of companies he controlled, to Mrs Prest.

She then asked the Supreme Court - the highest court in the UK - to assess the case, where seven judges on Wednesday unanimously allowed Mrs Prest's appeal.

Mr Prest, founder of Nigerian energy company Petrodel Resources, claimed to be worth about £48m. But Mrs Prest said he was worth much more than than that - "tens if not hundreds of millions" of pounds.

She said after the decision:
"I'm delighted and relieved that the Supreme Court has ruled as it did.'m grateful to the judges for the care and thought they gave the case."It is more a case of satisfaction and relief than celebration."None of this would have been necessary if Michael had been sensible and played fair."
Judges heard the couple - in their early 50s - married in 1993, spent most of their time in London, had properties in Nigeria and the Caribbean and lived to a "very high standard".

Lawyers said the new ruling could have significant implications for divorcing couples.

The challenge concerned the position of a number of companies belonging to the Petrodel Group which are "wholly owned and controlled" by Mr Prest.

One of the companies is the legal owner of five residential properties in the UK and another is the legal owner of two more.

The question the Supreme Court had to tackle was whether the court had power to order the transfer of the seven properties to Mrs Prest, given that they legally belonged to his companies, not him.

Allowing Mrs Prest's appeal, the court declared that the seven disputed properties vested in the companies were ones that Mr Prest was "entitled, either in possession or in reversion".

Mr Michael Prest, 51, and his wife, who met twenty years ago in London, enjoyed the fruits of the fortune he amassed, sending their son and three daughters to public school, and alternating their time between a multi-million pound house in London and homes in the Caribbean and Nigeria, where he was born the son of a Itsekiri chief before moving to the UK as a child.

After their separation in 2008 Mr Prest, who lives in Monaco, refused to pay the multi-million pound settlement to his 50-year-old ex-wife - a British-born IT consultant who has dual Nigerian nationality like her husband. The High Court, describing the husband as a manipulative and a “wholly unreliable witness”, ordered the transfer of 13 properties from his companies as part payment

Mr Prest was not in court to hear the judgement being delivered.

Military Designed June 12 To Fail – Maku



ECHOES of the June 12, 1993 presidential election that was annulled by the ex-dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, reverberated round the country on Wednesday with government and activists reliving with regrets the event that occurred 20 years ago.
photo ECHOES of the June 12, 1993 presidential election that was annulled by the ex-dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, reverberated round the country on Wednesday with government and activists reliving with regrets the event that occurred 20 years ago.
While President Goodluck Jonathan described June 12 as a unique day in the history of the country, his information minister, Labaran Maku, said the election won squarely by the late business mogul, Chief Moshood Abiola, was designed to fail by the military government of Babangida.
Maku, who spoke at the 20th anniversary of the annulment of June 12 election organised by the Save Nigeria Group, entitled, ‘Democracy Audit 2013’ in Lagos, said, “June 12, 1993 was a drama foretold. Every politician, every actor that was involved in June 12 knew that the processes leading to the election were propelled to self-destruct. In a week preceding the election, as a political editor in one of the national newspapers, I wrote in my column that the election even if it was held would be nullified.
“Even before the election, there was an alternative transition programme that had been unveiled. In 1993 when we saw that the drama taking place was the drama of the deaf, we decided to form the Campaign for Democracy. The late Gen. Sani Abacha regime was also foretold.”
Maku was sacked as an Assistant Political Editor at the Champion newspapers, Lagos, in 1994 as a result of his reportage of the crisis that followed the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election.
The minister extolled the virtues of the symbol of June 12, Abiola, saying the election embodied the collective aspirations of the country to move forward.
While submitting that the country has made progress in the last 20 years, Maku said, “If we want to change Nigeria, we must hold leaders of every institution responsible for failures in their sectors. Development cannot come from top but from below. The top only makes policies.
“The problem with our country is that our values have turned upside down. A nation is sustained by a set of values by its leaders and the led.”
While speaking shortly after inaugurating the re-constituted Police Service Commission at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Jonathan said June 12 had changed the country’s political history despite the fact that the Federal Government had not recognised the day as a public holiday.
He said, “Today is a unique day. June 12, a date that has changed the political history of this country in one way or the other.  In some parts of the country, some state governments have declared public holiday to mark today but at the centre, it has not been formally recognised as a public holiday.
“We appreciate what happened on this day, that you are being inaugurated on this date, I think is a unique date.”
Former American ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, at the Freedom Square, Osogbo, Osun State, also gave an insight into why Babangida annulled the June 12 election.
 Carrington said the election was annulled by military politicians who feared that Abiola would return them to the barracks.
“The mandate the whole country, North and South, had bestowed upon the President-elect was suddenly stolen from him at the behest of military politicians who feared that he would return them to the barracks where they belonged,” he said.
Professor of Molecular Biology, Sola Adeyeye, delivered the former ambassador’s message. Carrington was in Nigeria during the June 12 crisis that paralysed activities and turned Nigeria to a pariah country.
Convener, Save Nigeria Group, Pastor Tunde Bakare, urged the Federal Government to honour Abiola with a monument in Abuja such as the National Stadium.
He said 20 years after the hopes and aspirations of Nigerians were dashed, the leaders still lacked the will to develop the country.
He said there was the need to audit the nation’s democracy because things were not moving normally.
President, Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, demanded posthumous declaration of Abiola as the past President of Nigeria.
“We want MKO Abiola’s portrait to be where the portraits of former presidents are. June 12 remains our Democracy Day, not May 29,” Odumakin said.
Abiola’s son, Kola, said the June 12 election was detribalised and called on Nigerians to promote unity in whatever they do.
He said 20 years after the country was still beset with leadership problems, urging the leaders to provide effective governance to the people.
He urged the civil society organisations to be consistent in their struggles, insisting that until that was done, activism would not achieve its objectives in the country.
Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, called for investigation into the manner of Abiola’s death, saying Nigerians deserved to know what killed Abiola.
He said, “The June 12 election must be de-annulled and MKO Abiola must be accorded full posthumous recognition as president. Nigerians must know the manner of his death.”
Abiola died on July 7, 1998 after drinking tea while in custody of the late dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha.

Woman Murdered In Her Matrimonial Home 10 Days After Wedding



A newly married woman, Zainab Yusuf, has been brutally murdered in her matrimonial home in Sabuwar Gandu Quarters, behind the City Science Academy in Kano City.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the woman, recently married to Inuwa Idris, the Director of Information in the Kano State Ministry of Information, Internal Affairs, Youths, Sports and Culture.
Speaking on the incident, the spokesman of the Kano State Police Command, Magaji Majiya, confirmed that some suspects were arrested during a raid of the quarters after the incident.
“We have made some arrests and the suspects have given us clue that may lead to the arrest of the perpetrators,” he said.
“The husband reported the case to us on June 11 and we went to the scene and took her to the hospital where she was confirmed dead on arrival.
“The police command is doing all it can to put a stop to this criminal cases and we shall continue to rely on members of the public to give us information to rid the state of crimes and the criminal elements in our midst,” he added.
Already, members of the state’s executive council, ministry staff, as well as friends and relatives have continued to pay condolence visits to the bereaved on the loss of his wife of only 10 days.
This is the third case of a newlywed bride being killed in the area which is suspected to be a hideout for hoodlums.

Why We Formed APC – Oshiomhole



Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, yesterday, said  Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and other opposition parties came together to form All Progressives Congress, APC, to enable Nigerians have a robust choice from which to choose in the governance and development of the country.
Speaking in Benin City, Oshiomhole said: “If a democracy is not capable of bringing a change of parties that can form government at all levels that democracy is not on course.
“The good news is that in  neighbouring countries, they have shown that it is possible for a government to recognise the ultimate right of the people to determine who governs them. They have been able to have different parties at different time, forming the federal and other levels of government.”
The governor, who spoke when members of Igbo Community Union in the state paid him a courtesy call at Government House, Benin, said: “Nigeria cannot continue to claim  leadership of the African continent if we do not get our politics right and it is also the business of those in the other parties to recognise that when we pull resources together, it is better to be a small fish in a big pond than to be a big fish in a small pond in which you cannot even swim.
“I am hopeful that all of us will continue to commit ourselves to democracy and in all recognise that power without purposes is meaningless.”

Another Nollywood Marriage Crashes



We have from good authority that the marriage of popular Nollywood actor, Robert Peters has finally crashed.
photoThe lanky actor, who travelled to the United States of America (USA) some years ago, is no longer with his wife, Marie Solo, a source told Nigeriafilms.com

According to further information made available to us by our source, the marriage reportedly crashed due to some 'irreconcilable differences'.

"Robert Peters' marriage to his American wife (Marie) has ended," the source told us. "The guy is now single and is enjoying his life like a bachelor," the source further said.

Robert Peters was very popular in the Nigerian movie scene some years ago when he was the darling of many Nollywood faithfuls. He adorned many movie jackets back then until he relocated to the US

Governing Council Stops Transfer of UNIABUJA Medical Students


The Governing Council of the University of Abuja has stopped the planned transfer of the institution’s medical students to other higher institutions.
photo The Governing Council of the University of Abuja has stopped the planned transfer of the institution’s medical students to other higher institutions.
It has also set up a three-member Ad-hoc Committee to probe the accreditation crisis in the university and recommend appropriate sanctions for those that might be indicted.
The committee has Prof. Anthony Adegbulugbe as chairman while Hajia Aisha Babangida and Prof. Ediga Agbo are members.
Addressing journalists on Wednesday, Agbo, who spoke on behalf of the Council Chairman, Dr. Sam Ogbemudia, said the decision to stop the transfer  was reached at the council’s 27th extra ordinary meeting in Abuja.
Agbo said the Ogbemudia-led council had contacted eight other universities with medical schools in search of space for the students but the move was not successful.
 He said, “Right now, medical colleges are carrying a little above their carrying capacity. If the students should be transferred to other schools, there will need to apply to the NUC, which means the fate that befell them in UNIABUJA will still befall them there.”
The National Universities Commission had last year withdrawn the accreditation for Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and all Engineering courses in the university.
 The institution, however through the approval of the NUC secured transfer for its engineering students to other universities.
The medical students, whose department is awaiting the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria’s verification, last week disrupted the first semester examination of the Distance Learning Students of the university.
The protesters, who claimed that they had spent eight years in the school, also demanded N10m compensation each.

Governing Council Stops Transfer of UNIABUJA Medical Students


The Governing Council of the University of Abuja has stopped the planned transfer of the institution’s medical students to other higher institutions.
photo The Governing Council of the University of Abuja has stopped the planned transfer of the institution’s medical students to other higher institutions.
It has also set up a three-member Ad-hoc Committee to probe the accreditation crisis in the university and recommend appropriate sanctions for those that might be indicted.
The committee has Prof. Anthony Adegbulugbe as chairman while Hajia Aisha Babangida and Prof. Ediga Agbo are members.
Addressing journalists on Wednesday, Agbo, who spoke on behalf of the Council Chairman, Dr. Sam Ogbemudia, said the decision to stop the transfer  was reached at the council’s 27th extra ordinary meeting in Abuja.
Agbo said the Ogbemudia-led council had contacted eight other universities with medical schools in search of space for the students but the move was not successful.
 He said, “Right now, medical colleges are carrying a little above their carrying capacity. If the students should be transferred to other schools, there will need to apply to the NUC, which means the fate that befell them in UNIABUJA will still befall them there.”
The National Universities Commission had last year withdrawn the accreditation for Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and all Engineering courses in the university.
 The institution, however through the approval of the NUC secured transfer for its engineering students to other universities.
The medical students, whose department is awaiting the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria’s verification, last week disrupted the first semester examination of the Distance Learning Students of the university.
The protesters, who claimed that they had spent eight years in the school, also demanded N10m compensation each.

PHOTOS: Naked Man Attacks People At Train Station



A naked man went crazy and began alternately fighting people, assaulting commuters and doing gymnastics.
The man ran amok inside the train station in the San Francisco Subway, frightening passengers including a young woman who ended up falling over in herself in an attempt to get away.
Then the naked nuisance takes on a member of BART staff (Bay Area Rapid Transit) as he is chased around the concourse before turning his attentions to an older man who was making his way through the ticket barriers.
photo
In between there are some impressive acrobatics as the man bounced off the turnstiles and the ticket machines of the 16th Street BART station in the city's Mission District.
One passenger even kicks him in the butt as he walks his bike along the stations landing whilst another customer is wrestled by the man for no apparent reason.
Some passersby stopped and stared, others jumped in to help, but the vast majority seemed to do their best to ignore the unfolding situation completely.
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ESUT Sacks 5 Lecturers Over Alteration Of Students Grades



The Governing Council of Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT, Wednesday, terminated the appointment of five staff of the university for alleged alteration of students’ grades.
photoThe four lecturers and the staff who is a computer operator,  according to a statement by the Director, Public Relations of the institution,  Mr. Ossy Ugwuoti,  were from the department of Computer Engineering of the university.
Ugwuoti said one of the sanctioned lecturers (names withheld), who had served as Head of the Department of Computer Engineering, had engaged the others in the alteration of the grades submitted to him by lecturers during the computation of final year results.
He recalled that ESUT Governing Council had at its 129th meeting, warned that severe disciplinary action would be visited on any staff of the university involved in any form of academic fraud.
The disciplinary action against the affected staff was said to be part of efforts  to sanitize the institution of corrupt staff whose activities had negatively affected its image.

ABU Students Lambasted Presidency Attack On Ribadu



Students of the Ahmadu University, Zaria, Kaduna State, on Wednesday lambasted the Presidency for attacking former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, over a statement credited to him.
photo Students of the Ahmadu University, Zaria, Kaduna State, on Wednesday lambasted the Presidency for attacking former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, over a statement credited to him.
Specifically, the students said they noted with utter consternation and disappointment, the reaction by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati.
They said the way and manner the presidential spokesman attacked the former EFCC boss was “disheartening and uncivilised”.
The students statement read, “With all due respect to the revered Presidency, the way and manner the presidential adviser came out and launched his characteristic campaign of calumny against perceived opponents to his boss, this time against Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, in the national dailies, is very disheartening.”
The President of the ABU’s Representatives Council, Abubakar Rafindadi, in a statement in Kaduna on Wednesday, said government should learn to be tolerant of the opposition in order to move the country forward.
Rafindadin said a situation where the government viewed every criticism as a way to bring the administration down was unacceptable.
He said it might sound paradoxical for a government that took pride in saying that it “consistently (upholds) the rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights” to berate Nigerian, who lawfully expressed his opinion, as guaranteed by the law of the land.
He further argued that if Nigeria would move forward politically, leaders would need to learn to tolerate the opposition, allow the freedom of expression to be exercised and look at things in proper perspectives.
He said, “Decontextualising issues for personal and/or political reasons will not help our drive for a more prosperous, egalitarian and united Nigeria.”

ABU Students Lambasted Presidency Attack On Ribadu



Students of the Ahmadu University, Zaria, Kaduna State, on Wednesday lambasted the Presidency for attacking former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, over a statement credited to him.
photo Students of the Ahmadu University, Zaria, Kaduna State, on Wednesday lambasted the Presidency for attacking former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, over a statement credited to him.
Specifically, the students said they noted with utter consternation and disappointment, the reaction by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati.
They said the way and manner the presidential spokesman attacked the former EFCC boss was “disheartening and uncivilised”.
The students statement read, “With all due respect to the revered Presidency, the way and manner the presidential adviser came out and launched his characteristic campaign of calumny against perceived opponents to his boss, this time against Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, in the national dailies, is very disheartening.”
The President of the ABU’s Representatives Council, Abubakar Rafindadi, in a statement in Kaduna on Wednesday, said government should learn to be tolerant of the opposition in order to move the country forward.
Rafindadin said a situation where the government viewed every criticism as a way to bring the administration down was unacceptable.
He said it might sound paradoxical for a government that took pride in saying that it “consistently (upholds) the rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights” to berate Nigerian, who lawfully expressed his opinion, as guaranteed by the law of the land.
He further argued that if Nigeria would move forward politically, leaders would need to learn to tolerate the opposition, allow the freedom of expression to be exercised and look at things in proper perspectives.
He said, “Decontextualising issues for personal and/or political reasons will not help our drive for a more prosperous, egalitarian and united Nigeria.”

Jonathan Blames Judiciary For ‘Slow’ Corruption War



The Nigerian presidency has distanced itself from the highly criticised anti-corruption record the Goodluck Jonathan administration has been faulted for, heaping the blame instead upon the judiciary which it said has failed to speed up efforts of bringing offenders to justice.
photo
Presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, said President Goodluck Jonathan has worked hard to improve, or at worst, sustain the tempo he met on corruption, but those efforts were constantly suppressed by Nigeria’s lethargic judiciary.
“If you feel that the process of bringing persons to justice is slow in your estimation, don’t forget the fact that the process of conviction and of bringing people to justice after government has initiated it, is that of the judiciary,” Mr. Abati said in an interview with the Nigeria Pilot first published Monday. “The onus is on the judiciary to make sure that those cases are expeditiously treated. But what we get to hear is that the wheel of justice in Nigeria still grinds slowly.”
He, however, said the president was overseeing an ongoing reform that would see the judiciary working faster.
“However, judicial reform is something also that President Jonathan is looking at to make sure that the justice administration system is fast tracked and that justice is done and is seen to have been done.”
The remarks from the presidency, apparently indicative it was sifting the buck, on a touchy subject it has faced unending criticisms for, drew immediate condemnation from corruption activists.
Critics have accused Mr. Jonathan of not only retarding the pace of campaign against official graft, but also of reversing the minimal gains made by the previous administration.
Three months ago, Mr. Jonathan reversed the indictment of a former governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, convicted in 2006 on charges of enriching himself with state funds totaling into billions of naira, and granted the ex-governor state pardon.
Despite a huge backlash, the president held on to the decision. In a statement on Sunday on a separate subject, Mr. Abati castigated the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu, who oversaw Mr. Alamieyeseigha’s prosecution. Mr. Abati accused Mr. Ribadu of maltreating suspects when they were yet tried by the courts. He said Mr. Ribadu engineered the impeachment of Mr. Alamieyeseigha over the matter.
Under Mr. Jonathan too, Nigeria has performed consistently poor in global rating on corruption. The government has repeatedly discarded the indices as not reflecting the reality.
In the interview with The Pilot, Mr. Abati said the administration was not only winning the corruption war, it was preempting fraud through policies that make it difficult for officials to steal.
“There have been concrete convictions of persons involved in corruption cases since this government came in. We are aware of the celebrated case of the man that was involved in the pension fund scam. That has been one high profile conviction. And only last year, the EFCC made it clear that it had secured over 200 convictions in 2012 alone and that number must have gone up by now,” he said. “Nobody wants to take special notice of this, and I think that it is something that should be stressed. It will be wrong to say that there have been no convictions. The other thing is that in terms of the fight against corruption, this administration has taken a lot of result-oriented steps to strengthen processes, institutions and block wastages and leakages within the system.
He cited reform in pension, petroleum subsidy, fertilizers, reduction in number of government offices, amongst such policies.
“Government is perpetually giving account; ministers are required to make presentations, to subject themselves to peer review in terms of what monies they collected and how much they have spent,” he said.
“This government is always saying, this is what it is doing and it is open to assessment. It is in that spirit that today, the budgeting process has been become more transparent so that anybody can comment on the budget.”
Mr. Abati also rejected public impression that the president endorsed the governor of Plateau state, Jonah Jang, as the victor of the controversial governors’ forum election. He said the president merely received Mr. Jang, he did not endorse him.
“As President, he receives guests everyday including governors and members of the National Assembly. If a group of governors say they want to see him, there is no way he can refuse them audience. So, it is a case of people reading meanings to that meeting. And if the people who have come to see him describe themselves in a particular manner, it is not for the President to argue against that, because he is the father of all.
“If another set of governors come tomorrow and they want to see the President, he will grant them access. If he denies them audience, that could be a problem because what Nigerians would then be saying is that the President is denying governors access to his office. Don’t forget that the President is also a political leader, if you say this is what you are and you want to see him, he will grant you audience. That does not amount to an endorsement because as I said earlier, he is not a member of the NGF.
It is the governors who should put their own house in order because they are political leaders in their own right,” the spokesman said.

S’South Wants Presidency, Not Vice-Presidency - Ex-Deputy Speaker



A former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Prince Chibudom Nwuche, in this interview with journalists bares his mind on the Nigeria Governors’ Forum chairmanship election and other issues. 
Excerpts:
photoRivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi has said he was suspended because of the dissolution of a local government by the state House of Assembly. How will you react to this?
The point is that when you are the chief executive officer of a nation or a state, the buck must stop somewhere. To blame the House of Assembly is not proper. We know that in this country governors are very powerful. Very often, Houses of Assembly are rubber stamps. Let us be sincere. I watched the debate of the constitution reform; the Senate debate, at the conference centre, where a state assembly speaker opposed autonomy for state Houses of assembly. Is that natural? In the states, the houses, local governments and the governors are all the same thing. All governors control the houses of assembly.
That is part of why I always argue that we should devolve to regionalism to have robust houses of assembly in the regions; with different ethnic nationalities to check the governor or premier as the case may be. When you have the governor and the state assembly, it is a clear mis-match. The governor has a lot of money. The House of Assembly has no funding.
What can they do?
You must listen to what the party is saying. You cannot undermine the party even if you are a governor of a state.
What led to the crisis in Rivers State? Does it have external influence?
The problems are entirely within the PDP in Rivers State. It began from the elections when many power blocks in the state; individuals representing different ethnic nationalities came together to give Amaechi support to emerge as governor of Rivers State. In politics, people have interests they would like to protect and politicians would often demand a stake; to know why they should support or defend a particular government. The parties came together to support the governor. That was why he could win overwhelmingly because no matter how popular a governor is, he is from an ethnic nationality called Ikwere. He would not be in my area; I will be in the area to deliver him. The same thing with Ogoni area.
Even in Ikwere, we have people like Sergeant Awuse, who are influential. You find that after the elections, as it is usual with people who are clever, those parties who had a stake in his emergence could no longer access him. He began a journey of his own that nobody understood. People, who had a stake in the state felt left out. Often, they say they want to share money. I have heard that before. That is a fallacy. People want to make input in policies; in governance. They want to be consulted because they are stakeholders. For the governor, if he had proper advice, this issue would have been averted. There was nobody who could tell him that. People around him were people who were much junior working for him; people who will listen and say yes to whatever he says.
He wanted to retire any politician of note in the state; People like Celestine Omehia, Awuse, Austin Opara. He wanted all of us to be irrelevant. These problems are not caused by the President or the First Lady. Don’t forget, that people feel that the state has not developed as much as it could, given the amount of resources it has had in the last six years. Yes, he can point to schools and health centres. Does that really account for the amount of money released so far? I think the national media are not looking at the issues correctly. There is a misconception going on.
The PDP has been accused of high-handedness in the suspension of the governor…
What is intriguing me is the level of outcry from the opposition parties. All the outbursts over the suspension are not from the PDP. The bereaved are not crying at all. It is those who are outside that are crying. The noise from the APC is a lot. What is their interest? If these people are organizing themselves to displace the PDP, they should focus on that mission. They should not be concerned about our internal affairs. If the PDP is going astray, they should not be the ones to remind the PDP. That will help them in the polls. Party members must be loyal to the party. I am in the PDP. I can’t remain in a party and undermine the party. If at a point I feel that the PDP is not meeting my aspiration, I should have the boldness to leave the party and go somewhere else. As long as I stay in the party, I must abide by its discipline and constitution.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum has shown that there is no discipline in the PDP. What is your comment?
On the issue of lack of discipline among members of the party with regard to the election of the chairman of the NGF, I think if the party had taken a position, if anybody goes against it, that would be anti-party. I don’t have all the facts on that matter. But if the party had supported a candidate to emerge, as the largest block in the NGF, if anybody goes against such a candidate that would be anti-party.
The party should have the courage to act against such a person. The governors’ forum is not our problem in Rivers State. Our problem is lack of empowerment of our teeming youths who are destitute; who are jobless; people who have not had any democratic dividend, lack of infrastructure in Rivers State; lack of roads, water, light…lack of development. The concern of our governors in the South -South should be to develop and apply the funds from revenue derivation properly and prudently and empower people. Why is it important to be its chairman? If a region produces President, should that region produce chairman of the NGF? That is not right. For us, we like our governors to apply money from revenue derivation properly for development. There should be a difference when your state that has much money from a state that does not have much money. Our people are the poorest in the country and unemployment rate is very high in the state. Governance should be about the people and their welfare. Whoever the party backs should be the chairman of the NGF.
At a dinner hosted by the President for PDP members, Chief Tony Anenih, canvassed automatic ticket for the party’s political office holders. Would you subscribe to that?
There are strong points for that position. A party has the right to have guidelines and constitution to regulate its activities. It may not be democratic. The argument is that in the PDP, we dispense so much resources and energy on our primaries. By the time elections come, people are exhausted. Is it justifiable? We should put our energy towards elections, not in intra-party dispute. There could be automatic tickets in deserving cases. It will reduce rancor. What I have said is that every party has the constitutional rights to regulate itself and to devise means to reduce acrimony within its ranks. In that particular light, Chief Anenih is correct. What the party must do is that it must have meetings and consultations with all interest groups. After they have discussed, they will take care of interest groups. When that is done, I don’t see any problem with it.
The crisis in Rivers State, some have said, has to do with the 2015 ambition of the President…
For us in the South-South, we think that the President has done well and deserves a second term. We don’t believe people should proscribe his constitutional rights because he is a minority. Anybody in the South-South, a governor or member of the National Assembly, who goes against that general interest, will have problems with our people. For the first time, since independence, we have our son as President; a God-fearing man who is doing well. People of the South- South like the President to continue. They are fully behind him. They will talk to other Nigerians to support his ambition. The President has done his mid-term report; it shows that where he met Nigeria in 2011, from all objective indices, Nigeria has improved. The report indicates that inflation has dropped. Our people want Presidency, not Vice-Presidency. We are going to appeal to Nigerians to support his (Jonathan) ambition. We shall move round the country. We shall go to the North. We shall go to South-West. I don’t see his ambition as a problem.
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