Thursday, 31 January 2013

Baale Docked For Assault  

By Kazeem Ugbodaga
The Lagos State Government has arraigned in court a Baale in Alimosho area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria for allegedly assaulting an official of the Land Use Charge, LUC.
The Baale, Chief Isiaka Banmeke, was arrested by officials of the taskforce at Shasha area of Alimosho after he was alleged to have attacked a government official, Adeola Olawunmi, who was distributing LUC bill to houses in the area.
Banmeke was slammed with a three-count charge at the Special Offences Court in Alausa, Ikeja where he was docked.
He was charged with unlawful assault on Olawunmi, an offence contrary and punishable under Section 170 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2003.
Banmeke was also charged with unlawfully obstructing the official from carrying out his assignment, an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 27 of the Environmental Sanitation Law, 2003.
The last charge was that he held hostage the said government official, thus conducting himself in a manner likely to cause breach of public peace.
Banmeke pleaded guilty and was granted bail in the sum of N200,000 and two sureties who must not be a staff of the Lagos State Government. He was also asked to produce three years tax clearance certificate.
The case has been adjourned to 26 February, 2013.
Chairman of the taskforce, Bayo Sulaiman, said Banmeke was arraigned to deter others from attacking a government official on official duty.

Nigeria’s oil exports hit by US reduced demand  

Nigeria’s oil export faces a difficult 2013 as America’s policy of relying on domestically produced shale oil slashes demands for Nigeria’s crude.
The Financial Times, quoting Togo-based Ecobank reported today that Nigeria’s crude oil exports to the US could fall by over a quarter this year, from 800,000bpd in 2012 to as low as 580,000bpd in 2013.
Already in January there were signs of stress, said the FT.
Crude oil shipments from Nigeria have, Ecobank says, declined from 75 cargoes in January to a scheduled 59 in March, and there is an unsold overhang of 21 out of 65 February cargoes. This is an unusual situation given that the cargoes contain Nigeria’s premium grades of sweet and light crude, which are usually very much in demand.
As Rolake Akinkugbe, head of energy research at Ecobank, explained to beyondbrics, refiners in Asia are increasingly capable of handling larger volumes of sour crude oil grades, while European refiners are facing pressures on their margins and seeking lower-priced inputs. Neither are looking as favourably upon Nigerian oil grades, which are priced at a substantial premium to the sour grades from the Middle East.
“Nigeria and other oil producers in west Africa had a window of opportunity during the Libya crisis when their [Libya's] supply was taken off the market”, she said. “There was a great switch to African crude grades, which partly accounts for their pricing premium at the moment.”
Libyan oil is now coming back online, but the major problem for Nigerian crude is the soaring volumes of shale oil being produced in the US. The US is still Nigeria’s biggest oil export destination, but the relationship can no longer be taken for granted.
US reduction in the demand for Nigeria’s crude was first hinted by President Barack Obama in May 2012 in a radio-internet broadcast to Americans.
The P.M.NEWS then reported Obama as calling for an end to America’s dependence on foreign energy sources — and to the multi-billion-dollar subsidies given each year to oil companies.
In 2010, Nigeria exported an average of one millions barrels daily to the US, making it Americas’sixth largest supplier after, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Venezuela and Russia.
“What we can’t do is keep being dependent on other countries for our energy needs,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.”In America we control our own destiny,” Obama added. “So that’s the choice we face – the past, or the future.”

David Beckham set for PSG move  

PARIS, Jan 31, 2013 (AFP) – Former England captain David Beckham was on Thursday set to join Paris Saint-Germain, according to reports, fuelling hopes of a celebrity boost for French football as it faces up to an exodus of top players.
The 37-year-old midfielder — one of the world’s most recognisable sportsmen with a pop star wife and an estimated net worth of 190 million pounds ($300 million, 220 million euros) — has been without a club since leaving Los Angeles Galaxy last year.
David Beckham: joining PSG
David Beckham: joining PSG
But the BBC and Sky Sports News both said that the ex-Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan star was due to be unveiled by the French league leaders later on Thursday after routine health tests.PSG sporting director Leonardo had no comment to make about the reports when contacted by AFP but the player was seen leaving the city’s Pitie-Salpetriere hospital that the club uses to conduct medicals.
News of Beckham’s pending arrival lit up the final day of the January transfer window, a year after the former Old Trafford playmaker was first linked with a move to the Parc des Princes, amid reports that he could sign up to an 18-month contract.
Whatever the terms of the deal with “Becks” — who is married to the former Spice Girl turned fashion designer Victoria — PSG’s Qatari owners have signed a celebrity brand with the clout to tap new markets for the club, particularly in Asia.
As a Manchester United player, Beckham was mobbed like a rockstar on visits to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand while in the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, his distinctive mohawk hairdo sparked legions of imitators.
One Bangkok fan placed a sculpture of his idol in a Buddhist temple while a three-metre (10-foot) chocolate image of the Old Trafford playmaker was even created in Japan.
“He’s more than a player. He’s a brand, a pop star,” said Leonardo in 2011 after making an initial approach to the player, who has a host of lucrative advertising and endorsement deals and is seen as much on on red carpets as in the corridors of power.
France coach Didier Deschamps on Thursday said Beckham could provide a much-needed filip to Ligue 1, which lags other major European leagues for star power and this January has seen a glut of transfers to English clubs.
“It’s not yet official but if it’s the case it’s a very, very good thing for the media profile of Ligue 1,” said Deschamps, who played for Chelsea in 1999/2000 while Beckham was at Old Trafford.
“He’s a player whose personality goes beyond football like Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It gives a greater visibilility to our championship internationally.”
Former AC Milan striker Ibrahimovic was brought to PSG in the close season last year as the club spent more than 200 million euros on the transfer market but is one of the few players of undisputed world class in France’s top division.
Beckham, capped 115 times for England — a national record for an outfielder — first came to prominence at Manchester United and in 1999 helped the club win the coveted “Treble” of the English Premier League, FA Cup and European Champions League.
Renowned as a dead-ball specialist for the quality of his delivery from free-kicks and corners, Beckham rose through the ranks as one of a crop of talented young players including Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville.
He made his United debut aged 17 in 1992 and went on to win six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the Champions League with the English giants.
His England debut came in 1996 and two years later he was sent off during a last 16 defeat by Argentina at the 1998 World Cup in France, making him a brief hate figure for many England fans.
Beckham’s relationship with United boss Alex Ferguson soured towards the end of his time in Manchester, with the veteran manager concerned about his increasingly high profile after his glitzy wedding to “Posh Spice” Victoria

Nigeria’s ‘yahoo yahoo’ boys arrested  

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arrested twenty suspected internet fraudsters, otherwise called yahoo-yahoo boys.
The arrest which was carried out in a joint operation with officers of the 4 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Benin, followed intelligence report on their activities.
They were nabbed in a surprise raid on their Caber office tucked in an old building located on Silk Road , Benin City .
20 Internet Fraudsters
At the point of arrest, the fraudsters had in their possession forty five (45) laptops of different make, twenty eight (28) telephone sets, eight (8) internet mobile modems and one Nissan car with registration number USL 375 AG.
The suspected fraudsters who are mostly in their twenties includes: Idehen Obabueki, Adesa Lucky, Usuagu Uche, Eloghosa Olikiabor, Larry Edomwonyi, Amowie Maike, Francis Ezegbede, Itua Samuel and Endurance John Egbeifo. Others are Amego Ovenseri, Iyen Ighodaro, Philip Agbodori, Lucky Robinson, Nnadi Obinna, Osabuohien Osahon, Chinenu Eze, Peter Sunday, Solomon Ogu, Niyi Femi and Osagie Aghedo.
The suspects have made useful statements.
Most of them confessed to be engaged in online dating of foreigners particularly widows.
They also confessed to using different pseudo names and faces to deceive their prospective victims.
EFCC said they will be charged to court as soon as investigation is concluded.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Abductors Of Nkiru, Nollywood Actress Unveiled  

Nnamdi Felix / Abuja

Six suspects involved with the kidnapping of Nigeria’s Nollywoood actress and Senior Special Assistant to Imo state Government, Nkiru Sylvanus were on Tuesday paraded at a joint press briefing conducted by the State Security Sercice, SSS and the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, at the SSS headquarters in Abuja.
suspected kidnappers of Nkiru Sylvanus
suspected kidnappers of Nkiru Sylvanus
The suspects, Ndidi Nwakoma Cletus, Stanley Asonna, Aminu Musa, Mohammed Abubakar, Obinna Okwuolisa and Sampson Chinedu Onwuka were said to have been arrested following joint operation by security operatives at the sister agencies.
They were also arrested in connection with the kidnapping of Mr. Uche Okoli and Kenneth Okolie on 15th December, 2012 at Nworie street, Akanchawa roundabout in Owerre, the Imo state capital,
Ndidi Nwokoma Cletus, 30 years old dismissed Mobile Police Constable, is said to be an indigene of Umuokedinma Awara in Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area of Imo state. He confessed to being the leader of a notorious nine man armed gang which carried out the kidnap.
The Nollywood actress was released after a ransom of N8 million was paid. She spent six days in the kidnapper’s custody.
The suspected kidnappers admitted to other kidnapping incidents some of which include the kidnapping of one Okoro Okechukwu, an Electrical materials dealer on 15th October who was later released after a ransom of N1. 025 million was paid, Nkiruka Okwuosa, a civil servant who was kidnapped on 14 October, 2012 who was also released after a ransom of N3 million was paid, among others.

Balotelli quits City for AC Milan  

Mario Balotelli’s chequered career at English champions Manchester City came to an end on Tuesday when the temperamental Italian striker signed for AC Milan in a deal thought to be worth 20 million euros.
“Mario Balotelli to Milan, the player will come tomorrow for his medical and sign his contract,” the Milan Channel announced.
City paid Inter Milan £22 million ($34.5 million) for the Italy striker in August 2010, but his time at the club has been peppered with controversy both on and off the pitch

College provost jailed for 4 years over N3.3m fraud  

A day after Nigerians expressed outrage over the light sentence given to a former director of the Police Pension Fund,John Yakubu Yusuf over a N27billion theft, a court in the Western Nigerian city of Ibadan has demonstrated the partiality of justice in Nigeria, with the jailing for four years of the Provost of the Federal Cooperative College, Eleyele, Ibadan over a N3.3million fraud.
The provost Ruth Aweto, was jailed without the option of fine by the state High Court sitting in Ibadan. Justice Mohammed Talba of the Federal High Court Abuja gave Yusuf two year jail sentence, with the option of fine.
Also sentenced to four years imprisonment without option of fine was the Bursar, Adekanye Komolafe.
The duo were sentenced by Justice Moshood Abass who found them guilty of four out of the eight-count charge of fraud leveled against them by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The judge, however, said the sentence would run concurrently on each of the four-count charge.
The convicts between October 2005 and January 2006 were said to have conspired to mislead the Federal Government by submitting a defective budget proposal for the year 2006.
In the budget proposal, the convicts claimed that 41 casual workers were permanent staff of the college and entitled to N7million rather than the N3.7 million they were genuinely expected to collect.
Delivering his three-hour judgment, the judge said the prosecution had proven that both principal officers of the college betrayed the trust vested in them by government.
“You have used your positions to mislead and defraud the government of the money put under your custody for the smooth administration of the college,” he said.
The convicts had told the court that they agreed to present and submit the misleading budget proposal of N7million based on the fact that an interview had already been conducted for the said 41 casual staff.
The said interview was purportedly conducted under the leadership of one Mr Ubedie in preparation for the conversion of the casual workers to full staff of the college.
The convicts, however, admitted not returning the balance of N3.3million to the coffers of the government, saying it was used to off-set the outstanding salaries of 2004.
Abass, however, said that the convicts failed to show any document or give the name of a superior officer of the Federal Government who might have given them the authorisation to convert the balance as claimed.
The convicts committed an offence contrary to Section 26 (1) ( c ) and punishable under Section 17 (1 ) ( c) of the ICPC Act 2000.
The judge said that although the offence carried a five-year jail term without an option of fine, he took into consideration the fact that they were both first time offenders.

College provost jailed for 4 years over N3.3m fraud  

A day after Nigerians expressed outrage over the light sentence given to a former director of the Police Pension Fund,John Yakubu Yusuf over a N27billion theft, a court in the Western Nigerian city of Ibadan has demonstrated the partiality of justice in Nigeria, with the jailing for four years of the Provost of the Federal Cooperative College, Eleyele, Ibadan over a N3.3million fraud.
The provost Ruth Aweto, was jailed without the option of fine by the state High Court sitting in Ibadan. Justice Mohammed Talba of the Federal High Court Abuja gave Yusuf two year jail sentence, with the option of fine.
Also sentenced to four years imprisonment without option of fine was the Bursar, Adekanye Komolafe.
The duo were sentenced by Justice Moshood Abass who found them guilty of four out of the eight-count charge of fraud leveled against them by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The judge, however, said the sentence would run concurrently on each of the four-count charge.
The convicts between October 2005 and January 2006 were said to have conspired to mislead the Federal Government by submitting a defective budget proposal for the year 2006.
In the budget proposal, the convicts claimed that 41 casual workers were permanent staff of the college and entitled to N7million rather than the N3.7 million they were genuinely expected to collect.
Delivering his three-hour judgment, the judge said the prosecution had proven that both principal officers of the college betrayed the trust vested in them by government.
“You have used your positions to mislead and defraud the government of the money put under your custody for the smooth administration of the college,” he said.
The convicts had told the court that they agreed to present and submit the misleading budget proposal of N7million based on the fact that an interview had already been conducted for the said 41 casual staff.
The said interview was purportedly conducted under the leadership of one Mr Ubedie in preparation for the conversion of the casual workers to full staff of the college.
The convicts, however, admitted not returning the balance of N3.3million to the coffers of the government, saying it was used to off-set the outstanding salaries of 2004.
Abass, however, said that the convicts failed to show any document or give the name of a superior officer of the Federal Government who might have given them the authorisation to convert the balance as claimed.
The convicts committed an offence contrary to Section 26 (1) ( c ) and punishable under Section 17 (1 ) ( c) of the ICPC Act 2000.
The judge said that although the offence carried a five-year jail term without an option of fine, he took into consideration the fact that they were both first time offenders.

Nigeria, Burkina Faso qualify for q/finals, Zambia out

Nigeria, Burkina Faso qualify for q/finals, Zambia out  

Bamidele Olowosagba
Nigeria finally took its place in the elite league of African soccer, by qualifying for the quarter finals of the African Nations Cup, by defeating Ethiopia 2-0.
The two goals via penalties were scored by Victor Moses.
Zambia, the defending champions failed to make it, having earned only three points from three matches. It played a goalless draw in its last game with Burkina Faso, which qualified, along with Nigeria in the group.
Both Nigeria and Burkina Faso ended up with five points, but Burkina Faso led the group with goals advanatge, having netted four goals against Ethiopia in the second game of the group.
Victor Moses: brace saved Nigeria
Victor Moses: brace saved Nigeria
Nigeria's Echiejile struggles with the ball against Ethiopian players
Nigeria had waited for the last game of the Group C to make its qualification, having wasted its lead in two previous matches, against Zambia and Burkina Faso, conceding late goals to
Nigeria’s Echiejile struggles with the ball against Ethiopian players
Nigeria started on a bright note as the Eagles made two incursions into the Ethiopians’ defence within the first two minutes of the match.
The first attack came through Celtic of Scotland defender, Efe Ambrose, who connected with a header a free kick taken by Victor Moses from the far left of the field, but his shot went over the crossbar.
In less than a minute afterwards, Chelsea’s Victor Moses took a free kick, about 35 yards outside the Ethiopians’ penalty box, only to be deflected by the opponents’ wall into the waiting hands of Ethiopian goalie.
Biyadglign Eliase of Ethiopia was the first player to be cautioned by the centre referee when he got yellow carded in the 21st minute after he fouled Emenike.
With over half of the first 45 minutes already played with no serious threat from the Eagles, the Ethiopians increased in confidence and after getting their first corner in the 17th minute, threatened the Nigerian goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama in three quick successions but to no avail.
In the 33rd minute, Nigeria responded well to the Ethiopians’ threats as some swift exchange of passes among the attackers saw them go beyond Ethiopia’s defence for the first time in the match, but the final pass from Elderson Echiejile was too poor for Ike Uche to connect.
In the last seven minutes of the first half, caution was thrown to the dogs by both teams and this resulted in counter attacks from both teams.
Ethiopia got their second caution of the match in the 42nd minute when defender Degu Debebe was cautioned for a foul tackle on Mikel Obi, just outside their 18 yard box.
Nigeria could not utilize the resultant free kick as Moses’ kick was blocked into touch.
Nigeria’s brightest chance of the half, surprisingly, came the way of Eagles’ defender Kenneth Omeruo, who had a half chance inside the Ethiopians’ half, but his half volley went over the crossbar.
With few infringements and substitutions in the match, the centre referee ended the first half after the expiration of the one minute added time.
The second half started with both sides coming out to attack. Interestingly, the first real chance to score in the second stanza came the way of Omeruo, whose header from 12-yards out was way over the crossbar.
Nigeria’s desperation for goals began to show on the players as the players got three cautions within ten minutes through needless tackles by Godfrey Oboabona, Sunday Mbah and Fengor Ogude.
The Eagles got two goal scoring chances, in quick succession, in the 61st and 62nd minute through Emenike and Moses, respectively. In both cases, the Ethiopian goal keeper cleared the ball.
Both teams made their first substitution of the match, with coach Stephen Keshi bringing in Ahmed Musa to replace Ikechukwu Uche in the 66th minute, while Ethiopian coach Bishaw Sinet replaced Yusuf Saleh with Berhanu Bogale in the 68th minute.
With less than a quarter of the match remaining, Nigeria made their second substitution with Brown Ideye coming in for Emmanuel Emenike.
The substitutions inspired the Nigerian side as the two time champions increased their attack, though with some holes at their backline.
In the 78th minute, Nigeria were awarded a penalty after Moses was brought down by an Ethiopian defender in the box.
Moses took the resultant spot kick that beat the Ethiopian goalie to record Nigeria’s first goal of the match.
In less than a minute later, the Ethiopians almost got their equalizer but Nigerians had goal keeper Enyeama to thank as he parried the shot from Ethiopian striker into touch.
Nigeria’s Mikel and Ethiopia’s Alula Girma were cautioned in the 79th and 84th minute of the match.
When Nigerian fans inside the Royal Bafokeng Stadium were already calling for the Eagles kill the remaining time of the match, Nigeria got another penalty in the 86th minute, again through Moses who was brought down by the Ethiopian goalkeeper after he rounded him inside the box.
After about three minutes of delay after the referee sent off the Ethiopian keeper, Sisay Bancha, and was replaced in goal by a player because they had completed their maximum number of substitutes, Moses converted the penalty to record the second goal for Nigeria.
In the 94th minute, Ethiopia had a great chance to pull one goal back, but Kebebe fired over the Nigerian crossbar from close range.
After the seven minutes of injury time were exhausted, the centre referee ended the match with Victor Moses of Nigeria selected as Man of the Match.
Nigeria finished second in group C behind Burkina Faso who topped the group after they played a goal less draw with Zambia.. Nigeria will play the winner of Group D, Cote d’Ivoire in the quarter final.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Messi-Ful: Barcelona Ace Creates Double Record In One Night

Leo Messi
Setting and breaking records just happen to be Lionel Messi’s hobby beside scoring goals and mesmerizing his football opponents. Messi made history again by becoming the first player to score in 11 consecutive Spanish La Liga matches when he netted four goals in Barcelona’s 5-1 demolition of 10-man Osasuna Sunday.
Messi, who is the first soccer player to haul in four consecutive Ballon d’Or trophies, proved once more why he’s undoubtedly the greatest soccer player of all-time following another record-smashing feat.
The 25-year-old Argentine also by his feat last night became the youngest player in La Liga history to surpass the 200 (Messi has scored 202 La Liga goals) goals thresh-hold.
The Argentine now has 33 La Liga goals, twelve more than his arch rival, Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid who also scored his 19th La Liga hat-trick following their 4-0 thumping of Getafe on Saturday. But his achievement appeared to be dwarfed by Messi’s superlative performance.

Emir Of Kano Attack: Kano Govt Donates Three-Bedroom Flats, N1m To Families Of Slain Aides

Although no amount of money can bring back the dead, it can at least help to offset some burden occassioned by the loss of a loved one. Perhaps that was what the Kano State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso had in mind when he donated a three-bedroom flat and N1 million each to the families of three members of staff of the Kano Emirate who lost their lives protecting the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, when gunmen attacked his convoy one week ago.
Also benefitting from the governor’s largesses are three other staff of the Emir, who suffered gunshot wounds during the attack. They were given the sum of N250,000 each while their medical bills will be offset by the state government. The governor’s Special Adviser on Emirate Council Affairs, Alhaji Tijjani Mailafiya Sanka, who announced the gesture Saturday, said it was made out of Kwankwaso’s sympathy and concern for the victims who had demonstrated heroism in protecting Bayero.
Beneficiaries of the houses and N1 million are families of the Bayero’s orderly, Ado Bala, 34 (Dan Morin Sarkin Kano), the monarch’s driver, Kabiru Shuaibu, 35 (Barde Sarkin Ruwa) and Ahmadu Magayaki (Maji Dadin Dan Rimi), the rider of the emir’s horse-driven carriage.
The wounded victims are Garba Zagi, Musa Umar Zagi and Abubakar Zagi who are assistants to Bayero and two of his wounded sons, Alhaji Sanusi Ado (Chiroman Kano) and Alhaji Nasiru Ado (Turakin Kano) who accompanied their father to the United Kingdom for medical check-up after the attack.

Nigerian Army Reshuffles, Appoints 4 GOCs, Redeploy Others

Nigerian Army LogoThe Nigerian Army, Saturday night, released a list of new postings affecting the ranks of lieutenant-colonel to major-general. The postings also affected four General Officers Commanding (GOCs) while only the GOC 1 Division, Kaduna, Major-General Abdul Wahab, was unaffected as he retained his position.
Not unaffected in the reorganisation are Principal officers at the army headquarters.
The new postings saw Major-General A. T. Jubrin, a former Director, Military Intelligence, appointed as GOC 2 Division, while General E. B. Awala, former commander, Armoured Corps, Bauchi, was appointed GOC 3 Armoured Division.
Major-General A. A. Olaniyi,  former commander, Engineering was appointed GOC 82 Division, while Major-General Obi Umahi, former brigade commander, Benin City, became  the new GOC 81 Division.
The former GOC 2 Division, Major-General M. D. Abubakar, was transfered to Army Headquarters as Chief of Administration; former GOC 82 Division Major-General Olayinka Osinowo proceeded on retirement, while the GOC 81 Division, Major-General Kenneth Minimah, was appointed Commander Infantry Corp, Jaji.
Also, the former GOC 3 Armoured Division, Major-General Jack Nwaogbo, moved to the army headquarters as Chief of Training and Operation (CTOP).
Former Director, Army Public Relations, Major-General Mobolaji Koleoso, became the chief of military-civil relationship; Major-General Bitrus Kwaji became Managing Director, Nigerian Army Holdings Ltd; Major-General Lawrence Ngubane moved to Defence Headquarters as CTOP, while Major-General T. J. Isang became the Chief of Standard and Evaluation (CASE), among others.

UTME: Over 1 Million Candidates Have Registered -Ojerinde

Registrar of the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Dibu Ojerinde, has disclosed that over one million candidates have registered for the 2013 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), with about half that number expected to further register.Ojerinde made this known on Saturday, at a press conference in Lagos, while outlining the achievements of the board, especially the e-testing method that will debut this year.
According to Ojerinde, JAMB had secured 77 centres where the Computer-Based Testing (CBT) would be held.
Accoring to him, the CBT was not compulsory, as every candidate would have the opportunity to choose either the paper-pencil testing (PPT) or the dual-based testing (DBT), where candidates would read the question on the computer and answer on the paper with pencil.
He, however, noted that by 2015, the CBT would become mandatory for all candidates, adding that out of the over one million registered candidates, only about 4,000 had registered for the CBT so far.
“The idea is that 30 minutes after a candidate has finished his or her examinations and left the hall, a graphical result of the test will be sent to the candidate’s phone, while the specific scores will be released in four days.
“By graphical result, I mean a text will be sent to the candidate stating the subjects he or she passed averagely, which is between 50 per cent and 59; above average 60 and above; and below average, which is 49 and below,” Ojerinde said.
The PPT and DBT would be held on April 27, after which if the PPT and DBT centres become exhausted, other candidates would have no other option but to take the CBT.
The JAMB boss also reiterated the examination body’s resolve to encourage reading culture among Nigerian students, by ensuring every candidate read, at least, two books, with questions to be set from them.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

MR IBU — I was once a butcher, photographer, hair stylist

They say John Ikechukwu Okafor, aka Mr Ibu is an incurable comedian. That is not too difficult to believe knowing how hilarious he is in his movies.
What most people do not know, however, is how intense he is; and how comedy largely controls the life of John Okafor. When Jungle Journalist met him, little did they know that the man seen everyday on thescreen is the everyday John Okafor.
Trust Mr Ibu, while telling the pathetic story on his journey from suffering to stardom to Jungle Journalist, he punctuated the tale with comics to otherwise serious questions. The interview was a  rib-cracker:
When did you begin your career as an entertainer?

This industry has been there. We were just waiting for an eye-opener. Great productions began in 1993 with Living in Bondage. Living in Bondage, as am talking to you still sells. It is not where I started. The entertainment industry was there even when I was in the elementary school. I was entertaining people even from elementary school days. Everything I do in entertainment I learn from my grandfather.
Your grandfather was also an entertainer?
My grandfather was one of the greatest comedians in his days. My grandfather was a better comedian than myself. It makes me happy to think about him. Whenever I think of him and remember the funny things he used to do, I am inspired to do more than I have ever done before. I love him so much. He was a replica of Charlie Chaplin. He wasn’t actually a clown but whenever he talked, people laughed. He did not know how much he made people laugh.
So, can we say comedy runs in your family?
It is only my grandfather and I. All others do their things seriously. As I talk to you now, it has been me alone in my local government in comedy. I tried to train some of my kinsmen in what I do but many could not cope. May be they are not destined to be part of it and it will be wrong to force people do what they have no talent for.
Did you foresee yourself becoming who you are today back then?
Am I a witch? How would I have known that this thing is coming to me? You should have asked if I know when am going to die. Honestly I never ever saw myself coming this way, not at all. If a soothsayer had told me, I wouldn’t have believed him. It is one of the miracles in my life. One day I saw myself going to London. Me, London? (laughs) even traveling to neighbouring countries, what am I going to do there? I was nominated alongside other comedians in the category of best comedy actors in English in Africa. That was 2003. There were 11 or 12 of us contesting, including Nkem Owoh and a whole lot of others. They came from Ghana, Egypt, South Africa, Ivory Coast, Kenya and a whole lot of other nations. They were handpicked from around and only Nkem Owoh was absent, but he sent a delegate. I won the best comedy actor for the first time in my life. It was my first time I was going to London and the first time I got nominated. It was my first time of winning an award. I never knew people appreciate our stupidity here. If there is no stupidity in you, there is no comedy in you.
Do you deliberately try to make people laugh, or does it just come out?
The truth is that in everyone’s profession, there are reasons for you to be natural, if you are really serious about what you do. There should be very obvious contrasts between you and your profession. That is professionalism. Outside my acts, I think am tactical. I am a normal human being in all ramifications of life. Ironically, people mis-interpret my anger sometimes. When I try to express annoyance about an issue, they think am making fun. They will be laughing. Nonsense.
The truth of the matter is that your every action provokes laughter. How do you explain that?
That is the natural in what I do. I have been stereotyped into comedy. I don’t see it as a problem.
Stumbling, yes. I like that word stumbling. I did. I appreciate people who act on television and based on that, I normally go out to watch them shoot. I do not feel the effect of the weather because I enjoy it so much. I was watching some actors one day in Benin and there was scarcity of manpower. I was told to stand in place as a farmer. Although my face did not come out, I appreciated it so much. That was my ignition. I picked up the spirit from there in 1978.Did you stumble into professional acting?
What was growing up like?
My growing up was so rough. I remember. I lost my father in the process. I remember that we became poorer at that point. I also remember that after his death, hurricane removed our roof one night and the rain beat us, eight of us and my mother till morning. My mother was busy trying to use her wrappers to cover us, huddled there in the rain. I will never forget that incident until the end of the world. We became tenants in our own village, among our kindred. The absence of my father in the whole system contributed immensely to the mess-up that devastated us back then. I remember that I used one school uniform all through elementary school because it was so hectic for my mother to carry our burden. I also remember that there were so many of our relatives who refused to assist us. Openly, verbally, they declared there disdain for us. I also remember that during that time, no other person came into our lives to assist in our training up. We did petty things to keep us going. I also remember that no one among our kindred ever came up with any money whatsoever to say “John or anybody else in my family, go and start a trade”. I also remember that when I came into Lagos in the name of movie production, I stayed in Ajao Estate, from where I regularly trekked to Surulere. I also remember trekking once to Iyanoba, Iba town. I also remember that once, for our days running, I didn’t eat anything, just water in Lagos. I remember that the very moment I needed my friend to assist me with shelter, he ejected me. He ejected me on 18thDecember 1997. I also remember that I was walking along the street searching for a good place under a car or bridge where I will be sleeping till I get a place. I met a girl called Sandra who requested I walk her to a place. I met a friend of mine there who had initially told me to come to Lagos stay in his place. I had looked for him before but he had gone to Germany. But that day, I met him because he had returned the previous night. When I met him, my property was still lying outside. I remember what he said to me, “Anywhere you are living in this Lagos, you move your things into my house today”. That is another miracle. He brought out his car, a Honda Legend 1997 model. On the way, I lied to him I was to travel so he won’t know I was ejected. He said am not traveling and we went and moved my things to his house. He gave me a room and I went into the toilet and shed tears. I remember he set up a football team to contest for Nnewi end of year football championships. He handed the team overtop me as technical adviser and chief coach. I assembled the boys, put them into the pitch, traveled with them to Nnewi in time and we lifted the cup. I remember we lifted that cup 1997, 98. The dimension changed immediately after he went back to Germany. His younger brother was no longer happy with me. He stopped me from using anything in the house and from eating in the house. But I do not have to blame him. I was patient enough to make all sacrifices in this industry I order to lay a formidable foundation for those coming up to begin functioning in the industry.

When I left their house, I opened a place in Agboyin, that hotel called Ecowas Hotel- I single-handedly powered the awareness of the place to artistes and they diverted from Winnies Hotel to Ecowas. I remember I was paying N100 unlike the normal room fee of N500 and N800. They were taking that because they didn’t want it to look like I was staying there for free. Water and electricity was always available but the only problem is that the hotel is not the best place to live.
From that moment, God answered my prayers. I did a couple of movies which were hot in the market- Agony, Jealousy, Uncle Wayward- they cliqued into the market. They gradually began to ask for my services in the system. Whenever am acting, I put in everything. Finally, I did some stuff, Bora.As the producer, I gained not a kobo but it bought me into awareness. I really enjoyed the company of those I worked with on that set. They all became my friends. As I was finishing that work, another one came and people began to rely on me to get work. Sometimes, I helped but sometimes I told them it was not easy. I was actually like a father to so many of them who relied on me, like Jim Iyke. I took so many from Lagos to Jos. I know that I contributed over 70% to his presence in the industry. Then for Genevieve Nnaji, I contributed 80 to 90 % to her presence in the industry. Georginia Onuoha, I contributed positively about 75% to her being inthe industry. Muona Obiekwe, I contributed 90 to 95% to his presence in the industry. These are just a few. Why I brag about it is that, if I had treated them badly, it would have boomeranged on me by now. But I try to do what is right. I increased my ideas of creativity in the area of football. I became a players’ agent and was taking them across the country. I coach and take people across to play abroad. Then somebody discouraged me. I took a player out after signing an agreement with him. After he got hired, he refused to pay me. But the funny part of it was that I had not desired to take that money from him. I did not do anything and he played very well that year. One time he sneaked into the country and went to train somewhere. During that training, he broke his leg into two. Well, I did not deserve that kind of treatment and I feel he was getting his reward. I never cursed him but when I get angry, it extends to so many areas. In my house, the moment my mother notices am angry, she does all in her power to placate me because something usually goes wrong if it persists. I try to avoid getting angry against anybody.
You mentioned doing odd jobs. Can you tell us some of these odd jobs you did?
I was a hairdresser, a stylist. I was very good at it and I did perfectly well. I did it so well that my customers relied so much on me. Whenever they came around and I am not there, they will wait. I had also worked in a crate industry. I assembled crates in those days when crates were made with wood. I also did photography. I went to inter-house sports, convocations, parties. I was always going to cover occasions at schools. I was once a butcher too. All these added up to my training.
Why did you keep moving from one trade to another?
 I did not rally leave any. I allotted time to them. I went for the crates in the mornings of Tuesdays and Thursdays, and went to the saloon in the evenings. Then weekends, I went to the saloon too. I also did photography at weekends. I segmented my time so there were no clashes.
What about your education?
It was really hectic. Whatever I was toiling for was mainly for my education, my mother and younger ones. My elementary school- I did not attend primary school, then it was elementary- ended in 1974. The headmaster then died in early 1975 to motor accident.
That means you were in school during the Biafran war?

Yes. I started school 7th January 1966 and the announcement of war came on 15thJanuary. My school was Community Central School Isiokwe Amuri. We were in school then until My 11 1966. We were at the assembly- Mr Ngene was my headmaster and he said that if the distant explosions that kept coming does not stop in the next one week, then we would stop coming to school. We said okay but so many children were happy. That day we all left and never returned the next day. Shortly, the war came. The first attack came and stopped and we were called back to school. We stayed about two weeks or thereabouts then the main war came and everybody absconded. We came back 1970. I was supposed to start from two then but I don’t know what happened as I got registered as a primary three boy. I left school in 74. I remembered that in 1973, naira and kobo were introduced. Primary four, five and six took one test in which those who passed were to get the calendar and pamphlets with the new currency. First to tenth would pass while the rest would fail. In my class five, I took third and in the whole overall exam I took sixth and I was honoured along with the other nine in front of the whole school. My father was very happy and he said that the honor brought to the family would be a standing legacy. And then he died in 1976.After that, it was a big problem. Five of my kindred died alongside my father the same year.
What happened?
Poison. One-person was busy killing them. My father revealed the killer after he died…
What was your war experience during the Biafran era?
I was seeing it as fun, running in the bush. There was no hunger because my father was actually there for everybody. Even my village people, most of them ran to my house and my father found good places where to hide them in the bush. We were providing food for them and I remember that we were eating all kinds of meat – lizard, crocodile, chicken was an essential commodity. We had plenty of chickens then and once in a long while, we would kill one and everybody would share.
That means you never had the misfortune of being forced to flee?
No, no, no. We had enough bushes in our place which we have been sharing with snakes, bush dogs and lizards (laughs).Even some snakes sympathized with us. Sometimes snakes will just come into the room where we are sleeping and lie down. Only God knows whether that snake was once a human being to turned to snake. Then  there were some strange dogs, they probably were semi-human beings. You cannot tell. I sympathized with them too (by now, he and the reporter are laughing their heads off while he continues). Strange animals, my mind was telling meback then that they were all humans and something forced them into animal forms. There were so many of them coming around then, you know. All that period, nobody ever complained of a snake-bite or anything like that. We finally discovered we could eat them and that was when they began to hide. They even hide pass oke(rat). We ate a lot of oke o, ebe odudu ya anunwa, o na ato ka eke ogwugwu (the tail area is very tasty). We hunt ngwere (lizards), we hunt ngwere to every point, gbuo ya, bunata ya (we kill it and take it home). If youopen our bags they are full of ngweres. You will hear all those elderly people commending us very genuinely.

So how did you prepare the ngwere for eating?
Funny enough, up till this moment I don’t know how to cook. There was one of my brothers then who was an expert in preparing it. He is late now. He uses scent-leaves and plenty of pepper. We avoid the head, whether red or brown. People usually say that if you prepare the lizard along with the head, when you open the pot, it will be full of snakes. (We are still laughing)
So you never tried it?
I dey crase?
You believed it?
Ah, ngwere has a lot of meanings. Even snakes. As dangerous as snakes are, we nearly began to understand their language. Okwa, this bush okuko (goose) will come out and be asking us for help. Nobody hears the language, but you could see that they need your help. The war affected everyone. The very animals knew there was no chance for anybody.
Do you remember losing any close relative to the war?
I did not really see the war as anything then. I saw it as fun. I know somebody died but it was not because of bullets. The only son of my grandfather died during the war. The man that killed him is dead now. He killed him through diabolical means because of land.
People refer to you as Mr Ibu, a stage name. How do you feel bearing the name you earned from the stage?
Ibu is not a stage name. It has been my name from childhood. I bear all my grandfather’s names. I had that name long before the script for Mr Ibu was written. Because they wanted me to play the role, they decided to use my real name, Mr Ibu.
So it was maybe his (grandfather’s) surname?
No. It was one of his aliases. They called him so many good names- Hinhinhin, a proverb meaning that you can only grumble behind a great man; Agbata-nkpu-onwu-asaa-aka-na-abo, means that no matter the alarm at the deathof a loved one, you can’t really do anything about it; Ogodo-dibia-karu-onye-ajo-chi-egochie-ya, meaning that when a sorcerers clothesgrow old, an unfortunate man buys him a new one; Ekee-nwanyi-ibuo-ewerum-ngbada, meaning that if you cut a female into two halves, I will chose the lower half. What am I going to do with the upper half than press and press? One outgrows that. You take the main thing from the lower half. My grandfather allows life to flow even when things are tough with his jokes. No matter how much he makes the joke, you will never see laughter on his face. His was a more professional thing than what I am doing.
What do you do apart from acting?
Singing. I have my first and second LPs, This Girl 1 and 2 in the market. The third is coming. When am not acting I stay with my family, I play with my friends or I go and play draughts. I like laughing.
What are your expectations for the future of Nollywood?
I am not a soothsayer. God in heaven knows what is the future. But I know that all things are possible, with Him. We need a better government, production houses. Nollywood as I talk to you now is hot all over the world. The film production is an alien to us but we will get there. We are far off from others but we will get there. I just shot a movie in Berlin where I was supposed to act with Jackie Chan. But he monitored the stunts which we did, from which I sustained injuries. I did it and I failed. As I talk to you now, I still feel the pains. Jackie Chan? He is an animal, a monkey. That guy is a jumper. His hands and legs gum to the walls as if he is a spider.
Was he in the movie?

He was supposed to play the part I played but he came late. He came with a karate team and taught us stunt tricks.
So it is an international movie?
It is. It is a movie that has to do with the best comedy actors from each continent. Only Iwas picked from Africa. They picked Jackie Chan from Asia. There is also the Nigerian part and Mama Gee is involved.
When are we expecting the movie in the market?
It is for the big screen, the cinema and that is all. It was not meant for the market.

Fan Accuses Omotola Jolade Of Refusing To Marry Her Dad

No secret is secret; this expression will sure make an impression in the lives of those who do good and bad as well.
One of the fans and followers of the pretty Nollywood star, Omotola Jolade-Ekeinde has just accused Omosexy, as the mother of four is fondly called, of refusing to marry her dad when he proposed to date her during her time as at Command Secondary School, Kaduna.
The fan by twitter name MssJami tweeted “@Mssjami: @Realomosexy buh ma dad wanted 2 date yhu den nd yhu rifuse den u wia stil @ command kaduna”
Jamela barbie Kure@Mssjami @Realomosexy asyd frm dat ma sis was ya mate den @ csskd wit yhur long octupus house check.”
Whatever that means, only Omotola can understand!

Plans Underway For Medical Students To Study Herbal Medicine – Chukwu

Traditional medicine practitioners can now heave a sigh of relief as their long drawn battle for formal recognition and acceptance just like orthodox medicine practitioners, has yielded fruits as the Federal Government, through the ministry of health, has begun the process of integrating alternative medicine into medical school curriculum.
This was disclosed last Wednesday by Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, who said that his ministry was in the process of integrating traditional medicine practice into medical school curriculum.
The health minister also announced that following the rising abuse of codeine syrup – a remedy for cough and other nasal/bronchial congestions, especially in the northern part of the country, the ministry was taking drastic steps to regulate use of the drug, stressing that it would henceforth be treated as a narcotic that should not be sold over the counter.
Chukwu, however, premised the gobvernment’s veiled official recognition of herbal medicine on the need for practitioners to go to medical school to equip themselves with the requisite expert knowledge.
He also promised a level playing ground for all stakeholders in the health sector.

Why Top Boko Haram Commander Escaped – Police

Contrary to the straight face put up by the Nigeria Police Headquarters that no detainee by the name ‘Muhammed Sani’ was in its custody or any of its detainees was on the run, fresh facts have emerged over the weekend that indeed, a top Boko Haram commander by that name escaped from police custody in November 2012.
It was confirmed at the weekend that a police document sent to the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) B Department by the leading investigator of the escape, Superintendent Saidu Sani, confirmed that Mohammed Sani, said to be connected to a number of bombings in Abuja and Niger State, actually escaped from police custody on 10 November, 2012.
The investigation report further confirmed that the failure of some men on duty, led to the escape of the suspect who has since disappeared into thin air.
Commander of the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Saidu Sani, who reported the escape from police custody, said that his men who were on Mohammed Sani failed to monitor the man closely.
He said having placed Mohammed under scrutiny, his men failed to strictly follow the measures he put in place to stop the escape.
He, however, said that he needed time to look for the man and that he would re-arrest him within 14 days.

Cough Syrup With Codeine Will Soon Be Restricted To Hospitals Only – Minister

It is not uncommon this days to see empty bottles of cough syrup with Codeine and Benylin lying carelessly around our environments because such syrups, which are often obtainable over the counter and are meant for the treatment of cough, has been abused. Young persons especially those who don’t want alcohol to be perceived in their breathe, find this syrup a veritable alternative – it can’t be perceived in its user’s breathe but supposedly gives the ‘highness’ associated with alcohol consumption.
This much was attested to by Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, an Orthopaedic Surgeon and Minister of Health in an interview culled from The PUNCH.
According to Prof. Chuwkwu, “This has been one source of abuse in the country. A lot of our youths, and even some adults, have been abusing it. I am told that it makes them high. That is why they are all buying all the cough syrups with codeine.
“Before the next two weeks, you will hear a pronouncement which will say clearly that those syrups with codeine will now be treated like other narcotic drugs, in which case, it will only be accessed the way narcotic drugs are accessed. This means that you can’t find them in any ordinary shops. It will be found in hospitals only.”

Amnesty Programme To End In 2015 – Kuku


The Presidential Amnesty Programme for repentant militants in the Niger Delta which was initiated by the late President Umar usa Yar’Adua to restore peace in the region and guarantee uninterrupted crude oil supply, will soon come to and end as it is set to expire in 2015.
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta who is also co-ordinator of the programme, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, disclosed that it would officially terminate in 2015. He, however, disclosed that some elements had been finding ways to abuse the programme, even when it had since been declared close in 2009.
Kuku alleged that some members of the military Joint Task Force were in league with some of such individuals, claiming they were militants and were ready to surrender their arms and embrace the amnesty programme.
But Kuku while reiterating that the amnesty programme would not run forever said, “It should end in 2015,”.

2015: Tinubu, Jonathan Test Popularity With Burnt Alaafin Of Oyo’s Palace

tinubu-jonathanThe major gladiators in the race to 2015 – President Goodluck Jonathan and Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, have commenced subtle but heightened battle for the control of the South-West geopolitical zone.
Although President Jonathan has on countless occassions stated that he would make a definite comment on whether he will contest in the 2015 elections in 2014, not a few already know that he is interested in contesting.
The duo used the recent fire disaster that affected 21 rooms in the 640-acre 200-year-old palace of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, to test their popularity in the South-West region.
While preisdent Jonathan not only sent a high-powered delegation, led by the Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Fredrick Akinruntan, to convey his sympathy to the Oyo monarch over the incident, he also invited the Alaafin to the Villa for a closed-door meeting that lasted a few hours.
The president, it was gathered, told the Alaafin to engage a contractor and forward a quotation for the rebuilding of the palace to him for further action.
But the ever foxy and deciphering Senator Bola Tinubu, whose party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), is the largest opposition party in the country, sensed the high-level political intrigues at play, decided to play his own cards by leading a high-powered ACN delegation to the Alaafin’s palace on Wednesday.
In Tinubu’s entourage were the national chairman of the ACN, Chief Bisi Akande; its chairman in the South-West, Alhaji Tajudeen Olusi; national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; and the governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
In his speech, Tinubu, who sympathised with the Alaafin over the incident, described the paramount ruler as a honest, courageous, constant and effective leader in Yorubaland.
Making veiled reference to President Jonathan’s meeting with the Alaafin and the pledged assistance to rebuild the palace, Tinubu said, “Kabiyesi, you are not a chicken that anybody can bait with grains of corn. We in the ACN are here to tell you that we are with you.
“Kabiyesi, fire did not burn your palace; you only sent us a message and we have got the message and interpreted the signal accordingly. You are not known for jumping ship. You are a constant and dependable leader,” Tinubu said.
After the visit, the Alaafin led Tinubu and his entourage round the burnt portion of the palace with the bespectacled former governor pledging the assistance of the ACN leaders and well-meaning Yoruba indigenes to rebuild and modernise the palace, with a view to preserving the culture, tradition and customs of the Yoruba people.

Revealed: Why Asari Dokubo Is Mad At Jonathan

asari-jonathanMore light has been shed on the reasons behind a former militant lord, Alhaji Mujahideen Dokubo-Asari’s recent outburst against the administration of his perceived principal and President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan. Although the reasons are not coming as a surprise as most could quickly discern, it was learnt that the former militant was angry over the revocation of his multimillion naira contract with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Information Nigeria recalls that Dokubo-Asari had, at a recent press briefing, descended heavily on the Federal Government, rubbishing the the present administration and decrying some of the government’s policies, even though he had at some time in the past, sang high praises of the same government.
Fresh facts, as revealed by  the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Honourable Kingsley Kuku, indicates that the former militant leader was hard hit by the decision of the management of the NNPC to revoke the contract it awarded to some of the former militants for the security and protection of oil pipelines and installation in the Niger Delta area.
According to Kuku, Dokubo-Asari was well notified of the decision to revoke the contract and the reason behind the action. The government, he said, wanted to ensure equity and proper protection of oil pipelines and not just to give patronage to some individuals in the Niger Delta because they are former militants.
Honourable Kuku, who is also the chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme, at a media interaction at the weekend, disclosed that the revocation of the contract by the NNPC was not punitive, but meant to restore sanity into the entire operations.
“It was taken to bring order to the entire programme. For instance, Dokubo-Asari, who is my friend, was told to register his organisation with the Corporate Affairs Commission. Upon registration of a proper company, he would, of course, have his staff working for him. If he had done that, he could then reapply for the same contract,” Kuku stated.
He further added that government felt the need to properly channel security activities in the Niger Delta by ensuring that those given the contract to secure pipelines had full control of their areas and that they were from the particular area the pipelines passed through.
Therefore, it would be improper for Dokubo-Asari, “who is from Kalabari, in Rivers State,” to take the contract to secure pipelines in Bayelsa ahead of a native of Bayelsa, just as it was doubtful if Tompolo (another notorious militant) would secure Kalabari area better than Dokubo-Asari.
“Government felt that the security of the pipelines should be well spread, for maximum effects and that people from a particular area should secure the facility in their area. That way, we would have effective protection for these facilities,” he stated, adding that government wanted to do things the right way and not just appear to please some individuals.
“What If another government comes tomorrow and decides to discontinue with the arrangement? I believe the decision was taken to even protect the interest of the like of my brother, Dokubo-Asari,” Kuku said.

Lone Driver Of Bus That Plunged Into Lagoon Identified

Yesterday, a Toyota Sienna bus, skidded off the Third Mainland Bridge and plunged  into the lagoon. The incident which happened around 11 a.m., shortly after the monthly environmental exercise, sent jitters down the spine of many as reports claimed that the bus was fully loaded with passengers, a claim that is yet to be ascertained as at the time of filing in this report.
However, a lone victim identified as Shola Oladimeji, was rescued by local divers and rushed  to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja by men of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).

Politics changed my dress sense – Jimi Agbaje


Jimi Agbaje has a courteous facade and gentle mien that questions his decision to embrace politics. Just as you ponder on this, he interrupts your thought: “People generally play politics for self or service. For me, it is service primarily and the belief that you can make change possible; that you can make your community a better place; that there are opportunities out there that people can leverage on and be better citizens. It is the belief that you can develop your environment.”
A 1978 graduate of pharmacy from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), he is quick to say he was not bored practising as a pharmacist for over three decades.
He doesn’t mince words on his choice of career. “I am still a pharmacist and I remain first a pharmacist before any other thing. I started my pharmacy on the shopping floor, which is about the community- people, customers, and patients. Therefore, you find that you are dealing with your environment. So, going into politics is just an extension.
“By the time you succeed in community practice, it means you have become beacon of hope in the community. People come to you for everything. As a pharmacist, apart from being in the community, I was involved with my professional body, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, and others,” he says.
So at what point did politics crop up?
The former Lagos State governorship candidate, who contested on the ticket of the Democratic People’s Alliance, reminisces: “It had to do with the Abiola/Tofa election. I saw the annulment as a personal insult and an assault on my person. It came at a time others felt the same way. We had the concerned professionals and my first entry into what I would call activism, was through the concerned professionals. I was in one form of resistance group or the other and I did not realise I was getting deeper and deeper into politics. I went on to the socio-political organisation, Afenifere, but it was not with a mind that I was going to run for elective post.
“Again, during Tinubu’s second term, we sat down to deliberate on who will take over from him. Names were bandied and it got to a stage that we felt this was not our dream. These people were not going to deliver the way we wanted them to. Somewhere along the line, someone threw the searchlight on me. I think that was how the lot fell on me.”
And his family? What was their reaction? He smiles and recalls: “Due to my activities with Afenifere, it was not totally strange to my family. We had to discuss it. Fortunately, my children were young adults and it was easier for my wife and I to explain to them. Maybe if resistance came, it was from one or two of my siblings. My mother was scared of politics. But because you have seen politics from the engine room and you know the risks which is also in every profession, what matters is that you do that job properly and leave the rest to God. To me, they were calculated risks.”
Agbaje had to make some behavioural adjustments to fit into his new role since politics is not for reserved people. “If you want to play politics, you must be ready to mix. You have to be a lot more patient and be more of a listener,” he adds.
Did he feel bad losing out in the governorship election of 2007? Agbaje answers that he was not bitter but that those around him found it difficult to overcome the loss. He is a staunch believer that the best team does not win sometimes.
“I had learnt in school that you may have the best team but it does not guarantee you victory. during the election, we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly but it is like every game – you either win or lose. You can lose because you actually lost and you can lose because you were actually cheated,” he states.
Now, does he still nurse the ambition of becoming the governor of Lagos State?
This elicits another round of laughter.
He says, “that is a very difficult question for a politician to answer. Let me just say that I have remained in politics although I do not belong to any political party. If you want to remain in politics, the constitution recommends that you should belong to one party or the other. To that extent, I am beginning to look at what party I want to join. Time will tell.”
Agbaje believes that he has not achieved much as a politician.
According to him, one should go into politics to make a difference which he has not been able to do. He considers himself more accomplished as a pharmacist than as a politician.
He proudly launches into the history of his successful practice as a pharmacist.
“Jaykay Pharmacy was born in 1982 and I was a relatively young pharmacist. I worked in an outlet for a nice boss of mine and when it was time, I decided to set up my own pharmacy. My dream then was along the line of a company in England called, Boots. They have a manufacturing concern and a retail outlet chain. I cannot say that I have achieved the dream because over the last six years, I can say I have been distracted and therefore the expansion has not gone on, as I would have loved. We have people who run the business; so I have been able to step back a bit. In 2005, when I started politics, I left as managing director and became the chairman of the company,” he says.
Married for 31 years and still counting, he talks enthusiastically about his wife who he met at the University of Ife. They dated for eight years before they got married. “We were young when we got married because there was really nothing to wait for after graduation. The union has produced two gentlemen and a lady,” he states.
Politicians are considered to be very social but Agbaje says he is ‘a bit social.’ “I like a good intelligent discussion. You find that I am happy in a good environment. I like a weekend that is free and I do not have to be anywhere. I like to watch TV and I am a news freak. When I have time, I like to read and I love my sleep,” he adds.
Born and bred in Lagos, he fondly relives his childhood days: “I think the only time I left Lagos was to go to University of Ife. I was born into a Christian home and I’m the second surviving child. My father was a career banker and he taught us to work hard like himself. He did not spare the rod; so we were not spoilt. If you were rascally, you paid the price. My mother was teacher.”
Now, one topic he shies away from is fashion, which he admits, is not his forte.
“You are talking to the wrong person because unbelievably, my wife dresses me up. Whatever you see on me, just give the credit to my wife. Can you believe that I don t even know my tailor but I get clothes sewn for me? I just like to dress comfortably, simple and clean. Of course, I changed my dressing from the moment I got into politics. If you met me before I went into politics, I was dressed in good shirts and trousers. Then, my friends advised that if I was running for governor, nobody would take me serious unless I looked gubernatorial; which meant wearing agbada but I did not see myself wearing that. We settled for buba and sokoto but if I do have a proper event, I wear agbada.”

Sad Memories: I still miss my late wife — Anslem Madubuko

Apostle Anslem Madubuko is the General Overseer of the Revival Assembly. In this interview, the 54-year-old widower from Ihiala Local Government area of Anambra State speaks on his late wife and other sundry issues
Were there inklings while growing up that pointed to the fact that you will end up a pastor?
Yes, I remember my mother once told me that she had three children before me and all of them died. While pregnant with me, she unconsciously made a vow to God to return me to Him if I didn’t die. I was named Chukwudi. We were Catholics and I was a mass server. During the war, I stayed with the village parish priest but I didn’t have a personal encounter with Christ. When I was to go to the university, my parents advised against joining any cult. But I did. At the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu campus, I went in search of the pirates’ confraternity. I went through the grueling interviews and eventually became a member. In my last year in school, I became the capone of the secret cult. I was also a club DJ; I used to work with Radio Nigeria, presenting musical programmes. I got into the university at 17. By 18, I was already the director of socials. I beat an older opponent to clinch that position. God showed me life too early; I was exposed to booze, women, drugs etc. I was a rich student with a car on campus. In my fifth year, I found out that a Christian fellow would be my roommate and I simply stayed off campus the entire year! That was how rebellious I was to the things of God. But by my youth service year, I was already getting tired of all the vices I was involved in and I didn’t know what to do. A young man, who worked at Tom Ikimi and Associates, an architectural firm, where I also worked after my youth service, spoke to me about Jesus. No one had ever spoken to me about Christ because I didn’t give anyone a chance. Eventually, I gave my life to Christ.
As a pastor, are there peculiar challenges in running the ministry?
I haven’t encountered anything that I couldn’t deal with or which gave me sleepless nights. I didn’t beg for this job, in fact, I never prayed to be a pastor. Yes, I love the Lord but my plan was to be an evangelist- keep my business running and do crusades. My late wife, Connie, wasn’t a people person; she was an introvert and it didn’t look like it was going to work. But God assured me that He was going to take care of everything and He has been faithful. I have had problems, no doubt; betrayals and all sorts but not one was strong enough to make me think it was the end.
How did your parents feel when you eventually toed the pastoral line?
They felt quite disappointed that I ended up carrying the Bible around instead of pursuing the bright future that was ahead of me. My father was a very strong Catholic and he disowned me. He wrote me a letter saying he has only one son as against the two he has. My sisters, whom I tried to convert, were afraid because of my father’s wrath. But I wasn’t moved because I figured that if I was doing what was right, time would tell. Eventually, they understood me and got to know the Lord better.
What fond childhood memories can you recall?
I had a most memorable childhood. I grew up in GRA, Enugu in those days. My father was the registrar of the College of Technology before the war. My mother used to work with the Agricultural Development Authority. They made sure they gave their children the best. They made sure we didn’t lack. Life was good at that time.
As a very stylish pastor, what does style mean to you?
Well, I am an architect, so it is inevitable. I have no particular definition of style.
So what determines what you wear?
I do not plan what I wear until I am just about to dress up. But I am most comfortable wearing Kaftan even outside the country. Suits make me look too official and I found out that most times, people are more interested in me more than what I am saying. They want to know the brand of suit I am wearing. But with Kaftans, no one really cares.
Outside of the church, what would you say has been your greatest regrets?
Not having time with my three children as they grew. I was gone most of the time. It is only now that I am getting to know them; if I had my way, I would have turned that around but I thank God that they turned out well.
How soon do you plan to experience marital bliss now that your wife is late?
I can’t tell but of course, one of these days. I don’t want to say too much about my eventual marital status because a lot has already been said.
How have you been able to cope with widowhood?
Well, God has been faithful. I am immersed in my job and the good thing is that I am usually very tired by the time I get home. I do miss her though.
How do you unwind when you aren’t shepherding your flock?
I like to just stay indoors. I am either at home or ministering somewhere. When I’m at home, I like to watch football, surf the Internet, etc.
You said you studied architecture; why the preference for the course?
I found out that I liked technical drawing and designing since I was in high school. It was only natural that I followed that path. Besides, I was also good at drawing. I like to build. I didn’t have a second choice and I’m glad I studied it. Initially, I tried running the business alongside the ministry but I realised they were both too rigorous to handle at the same time. I miss designing but I still do some designs for close friends.
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