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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royal Wedding Official Portraits!

As the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were whisked by helicopter to a secret weekend destination, the palace released three official Royal Wedding photographs.

The images were taken by Hugo Burnand in the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace on Friday afternoon – shortly after Prince William made Kate Middleton his wife.

Of course, there is a main image of the newlyweds. But even more fun, is an adorable one with the children of the bridal party including: The Hon. Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Miss Eliza Lopes, Miss Grace van Cutsem, Lady Louise Windsor, Master Tom Pettifer, Master William Lowther-Pinkerton.

The now-merged family is featured in entirety in the final shot, with everyone from Queen Elizabeth II to Carole Middleton.

Flanking William and Kate are as follows. Front row (left to right): Miss Grace van Cutsem, Miss Eliza Lopes, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HM The Queen, The Hon. Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Lady Louise Windsor, Master William Lowther-Pinkerton.

Back Row (left to right): Master Tom Pettifer, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, HRH The Prince of Wales, HRH Prince Henry of Wales, Mr Michael Middleton, Mrs Michael Middleton, Mr James Middleton, Miss Philippa Middleton.

So very regal!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal wedding dress: Everything you wanted to know and more!

After weeks of speculation that at times has verged on the absurd, Kate Middleton emerged in a wedding gown by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. The wedding gown was classic-looking, in silk gazar with long, intricate Chantilly lace sleeves and a V-shaped neckline, and it represents the grandest British fashion gesture the young royal could have made.

British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, for one, has been campaigning for the designer for months, with plenty of other fashion insiders joining the chorus.

Burton has long been tipped to be the designer of the gown, but incredibly, the identity was kept a secret, with a new contender mentioned nearly every day. Middleton's choice was auspicious timing. A retrospective exhibition of work by McQueen, who died last year, is set to open at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on Wednesday. Burton was named as his successor in May 2010.

Photo gallery: Royal wedding coverage

"We knew she would wear something classic, but having Sarah Burton as the designer added something modern," said Darcy Miller, editorial director of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. "And that's really been the running thread with this couple -- that they bring modernity to the royal family but are respectful of tradition."

Middleton chose the British brand "for its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional workmanship and the technical construction of clothing," according to a statement on the official wedding website. Apparently, the bride worked closely with the designer in creating the dress, which pays homage to the Arts and Crafts movement.

McQueen began his career apprenticing on Savile Row, where legend has it he sewed a subversive message into the sleeve of a jacket destined for Prince Charles. His collections were often inspired by history, both the majesty and the macabre, including the Salem Witch Trials and the famous Highland Rape collection, inspired by the 1746 Battle of Culloden in Scotland.

Burton took over as creative director of the label after McQueen's suicide last year. She joined the brand in 1996 as an intern and was appointed head of design for women's wear in 2000. She showed her first runway collection for Alexander McQueen in Paris in October 2010 and during her short tenure has managed to temper McQueen's severe styles and tortured vision with a new femininity and ease.

The lace appliqué for the gown's bodice and skirt was handmade by the Royal School of Needlework, based at Hampton Court Palace. Individual flowers were hand-cut from lace and hand-engineered onto ivory silk tulle to create an organic design with rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock motifs.

The skirt was meant to echo an opening flower, and the bodice to draw on the Victorian tradition of corsetry. The train was just short of nine feet long. French Chantilly lace was combined with English Cluny lace to be hand-worked in the Carrickmacross needlework tradition which originated in Ireland in the 1820s. The workers washed their hands every 30 minutes to keep the lace and threads pristine, and the needles were renewed every three hours to keep them sharp and clean.

Like Princess Diana's, Middleton's dress is likely to be a force of pop culture for years to come, influencing fashion trends and reinforcing the sociological significance of the white wedding gown.

"The royal wedding legitimizes luxury and reinforces the princess myth," says Cele Otnes, a marketing and advertising scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and co-author of the book "Cinderella Dreams: The Allure of the Lavish Wedding." (University of California Press, 2003). "We get to have a piece of that myth, whether we consume it vicariously by watching it on TV, getting a knockoff gown or modeling our wedding after it."

The royal wedding will live on in the ways that people choose to democratize it. "Most of us can't have a princess wedding, so we have to tinker at the margins," she says. "We might be able to put trees in the church, or give a cool bridesmaid's gift like Kate's, or maybe even use a replica of her ring as napkin rings at a wedding."

The long-sleeved gown, which Middleton accessorized with a 1936 Cartier tiara borrowed from the queen, "will be a major shift in fashion. There are thousands of girls who will want to step into that fantasy," says Don O'Neill, creative director of evening and bridal wear label Theia, who created a $2,495 "Kate" gown with illusion sleeves before he even saw the big reveal on Friday. The style will be available in August at select Nordstrom stores.

JS Collections, another eveningwear label, expects to have a replica of the Burton for McQueen gown, priced under $1,000, available for pre-order early next week at Nordstrom and Nordstrom.com. (The gown will land in stores in August.)

Other designers already seemed to have the royal wedding in mind months ago, when they designed their fall collections shown in early April at New York's Bridal Fashion Week. Anticipating that Middleton would want to show a modicum of modesty in front of the Queen at Westminster Abbey, not to mention an estimated viewing audience of 2 billion, designers showed a lot of gowns with sleeves, as well as feather fascinators similar to the ones Middleton has popularized as part of her everyday wardrobe. "We even spotted a 12-foot train," says Heather Levine, senior fashion editor at TheKnot.com.

Priscilla of Boston created an exclusive line of tiaras in anticipation of the royal wedding. "When we first decided to do it, my merchandise director told me tiaras don't sell," says Kimberly Lee Minor, chief fashion strategist for the brand founded in 1945, which operates 19 bridal salons across the country. "We delivered them two weeks ago, and when girls come into the stores now, all they want to do is try on tiaras."

When it comes to fashion, royal weddings have always been influential.

"Princess Diana reinvigorated the idea of the big wedding," says Otnes. 'Before then, we were still riding the cusp of the ex-hippie wedding. She gave the industry a huge shot in the arm."

When she wed in 1840, Queen Victoria broke with the custom of wearing coronation robes and chose a white gown in keeping with the fashion of the day, helping to popularize the color white for brides.

Even the coronation of George VI and Elizabeth in 1937 influenced bridal designs, by introducing the idea of wearing tiaras.

In 1960, Princess Margaret's sleek, Norman Hartnell-designed wedding gown was a precursor to more modern-looking '60s styles.

And Diana's poufy, romantic David and Elizabeth Emanuel gown reverberated through the fashion of the 1980s, with the flamboyant, neo-romantic designs of Vivienne Westwood, Christian Lacroix and others.

But the iconic white wedding dress was really a creation of the 20th century.

Before that, weddings were typically arranged, and women married in the best dress from their closets. Around World War II, clothing manufacturers saw an opportunity to establish a bridal wear market, says Cynthia Amneus, a curator of costume and textiles at the Cincinnati Art Museum and author of the 2010 book "Wedded Perfection: Two Centuries of Wedding Dresses." "They actually went to Congress to lobby to have war restrictions on fabrics eased for bridal dresses. They framed it as, 'This is what our boys are fighting for, to come home and marry their sweethearts.'"

With that, the modern bridal industry was born, bridal magazines became popular, and the descriptions of brides began to change from "virginal" and "sweet" to "fairy princess" and "regal." (Walt Disney's animated film "Cinderella" was released in 1950.)

Postwar bridal designers began to romanticize historical dress styles. In the 1950s, women were enchanted by the real-life weddings of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and Grace Kelly. Bridal gowns followed the fashions of the times, with nipped waists and full skirts reflecting the feminine, happy-homemaker ideal that had become synonymous with the American dream.

In the 1960s and '70s, as women's roles began to shift with the dawn of feminism, bridal styles were equally transformed. A wide array of choices were available, from empire-waist gowns to chain-mail mini-dresses.

"Today, when a woman decides to get married, she's stepping into a marriage willingly, she's financially independent, educated and pretty much knows what she's getting into. The dress is an expression of her self," Amneus says. "But in any age, women of lower economic status look up to monarchs and aristocrats to see what they are wearing and dream about what they have." In the U.S. they sometimes look to Hollywood or the political arena — our own versions of royalty — as well.

In terms of influence, the closest we have come to Middleton's gown recently was the Vera Wang gown Chelsea Clinton was married in last year. "Everyone was so inspired by her modern spin on tradition, with that flouncy ball gown," says Levine from TheKnot.com. "But this is leaps and bounds more inspirational. Women look to Kate not just as a bridal icon but a style icon."


Wait nearly over as William and Kate's royal wedding day dawns!

The wait is nearly over for Prince William and Kate Middleton, who are to marry at Westminster Abbey on Friday in a dazzling display of royal pomp and pageantry set to draw a huge audience at home and abroad.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to cram the flag-lined streets of London to catch a glimpse of cavalrymen in shining ornamental breastplates, groomed horses and the ornate carriages that will carry senior royal figures from the service.
Some 8,000 reporters and support staff have descended on the capital to capture the occasion in words and images, and, while some question a British government estimate of a global audience of two billion, hundreds of millions are certain to tune in.
Die-hard fans camped out across the street from the abbey to ensure a front-row view of the royal couple and their guests, who start arriving at the abbey from 8:15 a.m. (3:15 a.m. ET) in time for the 11 a.m. start of the service.
"The atmosphere has been truly amazing, the crowd is buzzing," Canadian Jay Edmonds told Reuters as dawn broke outside Westminster Abbey on Friday. "I managed to catch just a few hours sleep in a doorway but I don't mind.
"Today is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I had to be there."
For others, it was an event to avoid, reflecting divided public opinion about the biggest royal occasion for nearly a decade and one which supporters hope heralds a renaissance for a monarchy that, following the divorce and death of Princess Diana, had seemed at peril from calls for a British republic.
"It's just a wedding," said 25-year-old Ivan Smith. "Everyone is going mad about it. I couldn't care less."
Among 1,900 guests at Westminster Abbey, the coronation site for the monarchy since William the Conqueror was crowned in 1066, will be David and Victoria Beckham, Elton John, royalty from around the world, politicians and friends of the couple.
No longer on the guest list, however, is the Syrian ambassador, whose invitation was withdrawn on the eve of the wedding in response to his country's violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.
The marriage between William, second in line to the throne, and girlfriend Kate, dubbed "Waity Katie" for their long courtship, has cemented a recovery in the monarchy's popularity.
A series of scandals involving senior royals, Britain's economic difficulties and Diana's death in 1997 aged 36 in a car crash after her divorce from Prince Charles led many to question the future of an institution rooted in the imperial past.
But William's image as a more rounded, less distant figure than his father, and the fact that Kate, 29, is the first "commoner" to marry a prince in close proximity to the throne in over 350 years, appear to have worked in the monarchy's favour.
In a surprise walkabout on Thursday evening, the groom reached into the crowds waiting on the Mall, the avenue leading to Buckingham Palace, shaking hands and chatting happily with delighted members of the public.
A Daily Mail survey showed 51 per cent of people believed the wedding would strengthen the monarchy in Britain, compared with 65 per cent who said the marriage between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005 would weaken it.
However, while the Queen, 85, exercises limited power, and is largely a symbolic figurehead in Britain and its former colonies, critics question the privileges she and her family enjoy, particularly at a time when the economy is so weak.
The monarchy officially costs the British taxpayer around £40-million ($67-million) a year, while anti-royalists put the figure at closer to £180-million.
Some estimates say the cost of deploying some 5,000 police officers on the streets on Friday, not to mention intelligence and military personnel, could exceed £10-million.
"I personally think it's a waste of money," said Ollie Sam, a 26-year-old London artist.
Tourism chiefs predict an extra 600,000 visitors to London for the wedding, bringing in up to 50 million pounds, but economists say the negative impact of the extra public holiday declared on Friday is likely to be far greater.
Palace officials have released many of the details of the service and subsequent events on Friday, but the big secret remains the identity of the designer of Kate's dress.
That closely guarded secret will only be known as she steps out of her car and walks into Westminster Abbey to become royal and begin life in the glare of the media spotlight.
William, 28, has deliberately tried to keep the memory of his mother alive – he gave Kate his mother's sapphire and diamond engagement ring.
During the service, to be streamed live on the Internet, Kate will not promise to "obey" William as part of her wedding vows, and he will not wear a wedding ring. Her ring will be made out of Welsh gold.
After the marriage, the couple leave the abbey in a carriage to Buckingham Palace, the Queen's London residence, where they will appear on the balcony and are expected to kiss before the crowd assembled outside the gates.
About 5,500 street parties will be held across Britain, in keeping with tradition, although they will be more common in the more affluent south of England than in the poorer north.
The weather is likely to have a bearing on the turnout, with the Met Office forecasting the possibility of heavy showers around lunchtime.

Tony oneweek mounagor wins house of assembly election!

Tony one week ,the popular musician from Anambra state has won the state's house of assembly election conducted on 26th of April 2011.      Tony of Action congress of Nigeria  representing Idemiili North constituency got 10,801 votes  and was announced the winner in Ogidi.He is reportedly the first to win an election in Nigerian entertainment industry. Tony oneweek  is popular for his Gyration songs.

Market women appeal to Oshiomhole over alleged extortion.

Market women who sell goods around the King's Square axis of Benin City have appealed to the Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, to save them from alleged extortionists.

The women alleged in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Benin that the extortionists usually operated in the night.

According to one of the women, who sells banana in front of the popular Bob Izua Park on Oba Market Road, she spends N350 daily to settle the "area boys".

The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the money was paid to three groups daily, with N300 going to two groups at the rate of N150 each, while the remaining N50 was paid to another group.

"If you refuse to pay the money, they will destroy your wares," she alleged.

Another woman, who sells apples and oranges, made the same claim of daily payments to these unidentified groups.

NAN reports that street trading is banned within the King's Square area, while wares of violators are seized and released by the government after payment of prescribed fines.

According to a NAN investigation, the "area boys" capitalise on the ban within the area to extort money from the traders.

The women, therefore, appealed to the governor to intervene, saying that they displayed their wares on the road only in the night and this could not cause any traffic hold-up.

They also said that they decided to trade in the night because they lacked permanent shops.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Wedding Schedule: Prince William and Kate Middleton's Wedding Day!

The following schedule of royal wedding events is in Eastern Standard Time.

3:00 a.m. - 4:00 a.m. -- The morning of April 29 will start with an announcement from the Queen's office stating the titles that Prince William and Kate Middleton will take.

3:15 a.m. -- General wedding guests will start showing up at Westminster Abbey. These guests will enter the church through the Great North Door.

4:50 a.m. -- VIPs, such as Governors-General and Prime Ministers of Countries under the Commonwealth of England, Diplomatic Corps and distinguished guests, arrive at Westminster Abbey. They will enter the church through the West Door.

Watch Live Video Coverage of the Royal Wedding

5:10 a.m. -- Prince William and best man, Prince Harry, depart Clarence House.

5:15 a.m. -- Prince William and Prince Harry arrive at Westminster Abbey.

Follow Prince William's Wedding Route to Westminster Abbey

5:20 a.m. -- Members of foreign royal families, including Prince Albert of Monaco and Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain, arrive at the church.

5:20 a.m. -- Kate's mother Carole Middleton and brother James Middleton, depart the Goring Hotel.

5:27 a.m. -- Carole and James Middleton arrive at Westminster Abbey.

5:30 a.m. -- Members of the Royal Family begin arriving at the Abbey.

5:38 a.m. -- Father of the groom, Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, depart Clarence House.

5:40 a.m. -- Prince Andrew (uncle of the groom) and his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie; Princess Anne (aunt of the groom), and her husband; Prince Edward (uncle of the groom) and his wife, arrive at Westminster Abbey and enter church through the West Door.

How Well Do You Know the Royals? Test Yourself with Our Family Tree

5:40 a.m. -- Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip depart Buckingham Palace.

5:40 a.m. -- Prince William and Prince Harry will move into St. Edmunds Chapel until moments before the royal wedding begins.

5:42 a.m. -- Prince Charles and Camilla arrive at the Abbey.

5:45 a.m. -- Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are the last guests to arrive at Westminster Abbey.

5:48 a.m. -- Kate's bridesmaids and William's pageboys depart the Goring Hotel.

The Wedding Dress: Explore Wedding Dresses of the House of Windsor

5:51 a.m. -- Kate Middleton, accompanied by her father, will depart the Goring Hotel in a 1978 Rolls-Royce from the royal state car collection and make her way to Westminster Abbey.

5:55 a.m. -- Bridesmaids and pages arrive at the church.

5:58 a.m. -- The bride, Kate Middleton, who will be officially be known as Catherine, and her father Michael arrive at Westminster Abbey.

6 a.m. -- The ceremony begins. The service is set to last just over an hour and will include vows and a sermon delivered by the Bishop of London, private clergyman to the queen.

7:15 a.m. -- Prince William and the new Princess Catherine will depart Westminster Abbey, by carriage, and process to Buckingham Palace. The carriage carrying the bride and groom will be followed by 4 other carriages carrying their bridal party, parents and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

Leave a Message for Kate and William in the Royal Guestbook

7:30 a.m. -- The Bride and Groom arrive at the Grand Entrance of Buckingham Palace.

7:40 a.m. -- Members of the royal family, foreign royal families, and other reception guests begin arriving at Buckingham Palace.

8:25 a.m. -- The married couple reappear on the balcony at Buckingham Palace with the Queen and their families for 10 minutes.

8:30 a.m. -- The Royal Air Force, where Prince William serves as a search-and-rescue pilot, will perform a flyover.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How Can You Tell Someone Is al-Qaida? Look at His Watch!

The U.S. military says Casio F-91W watches like this one have been used in terrorist bombings by members of al-Qaida, according to Guantanamo Bay files released by WikiLeaks.

It's a simple, water-resistant digital watch that retails for about $11. But beware: It could sell you out as al-Qaida.

A new batch of WikiLeaks files from Guantanamo Bay reveals a secret checklist U.S. investigators used to figure out whether detainees were really al-Qaida members. Among the criteria was the kind of wristwatch they were wearing.

The U.S. military lists the Casio F-91W model -- a cheap plastic watch available all over the world -- as a "suspicious item" on par with military transceivers, satellite phones, huge wads of cash and secret notes from al-Qaida facilitators. According to a confidential document distributed to American interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Casio model "is an indicator of al-Qaida training in the manufacture of improved explosive devices (IEDs)."

"The Casio was known to be given to the students at al-Qaida bomb-making training courses in Afghanistan, at which the students received instruction in the preparation of timing devices using the watch," the document states.

One-third of detainees captured while wearing the Casio watch "have known connections to explosives," it said.

The memo was used to train U.S. investigators on how to accurately gauge the threat level of certain detainees at the U.S. terror prison in Cuba. More than 50 reports about individual detainees mention the Casio watch, along with a slightly more expensive model, the A-159W, made of stainless steel.

Millions of innocent people around the world are believed to wear the Casio F-91W. But the idea that it could be used by al-Qaida was first revealed in 2006, after The Associated Press sued the U.S. government to make public transcripts of U.S. military tribunals at Guantanamo.

One transcript reveals how U.S. military interrogators kept questioning one detainee, a Kuwaiti engineer, about his Casio watch. According to the German newspaper Der Spiegel, which republished an excerpt of the transcript, the Kuwaiti man expressed surprise when told that his wristwatch could link him to al-Qaida.

"We have two watches in Kuwait: Fossil and Casio. This watch has a compass that shows the direction of Mecca. I am Muslim and pray five times a day," the man explained.

In fact, he said all four Muslim chaplains working at Guantanamo at the time of his interrogation also had the same Casio watch to identify the direction in which to pray.

"I swear I don't know if terrorists use it or if they make explosives with it," the Kuwaiti detainee said. "If I had known that, I would have thrown it away. I'm not stupid."

The man's name wasn't revealed, and it's unclear whether he was released or is still being held.

There's been no public comment from the Casio company about the U.S. allegations, and it's unclear whether they've affected sales.


Seyi Obakin: The Only Nigerian That Tops Prince Williams Wedding Guest List!

Seyi Obakin the only Nigerian on the Prince William's Royal Wedding official guest list released at the weekend by St James's Palace will receive the Royal Wedding Cake on behalf of Centrepoint.

Obakin, a chartered accountant and Chief Executive, Centrepoint, a charity organisation in London was listed alongside David Bekham, Sir Elton John, among others on the merit section of the guest list. He is one of the three Africans invited for the wedding and the only non African monarch after the Crown Prince of Morocco and King of Swazi in the list.

Prince William is a patron of Obakin's Centrepoint and has met many of the young people supported by Centrepoint over the years

Obakin joined Centrepoint as Finance Director in 2003 and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2006. He became Acting Chief Executive in May 2008 and was appointed to that role permanently in January 2009. The royal wedding cake will be donated to Obakin's Centrepoint.


A Brave Muslim Man Who Risked His Life For His Christian Neighbours!

This is a Must Read Story!

As the rampaging youth pursued the woman into the street, men dragged their wives and children inside and locked their doors. The rioters finally caught up with the screaming woman and began to beat her; they tore up her clothes and pushed her to the ground. Then they raised her up again and were dragging her off when a slightly built man in caftan and skull cap approached, shouting at them to stop, his arms flailing. Men looked out from inside their rooms in amazement.

"They said later that they thought I was out of my mind, approaching these boys, all drugged on something, carrying petrol and burning down buildings," said Adamu Bologi.

Mr. Bologi himself had not thought of the consequences of his action. He dragged the woman away from the boys and took her to a nearby mosque, hiding her by a side entrance through which the Ladan usually enters. Of course, he made sure she took off her shoes first.

When he came out, he saw another harassed woman running with two children, stumbling along the road. Her husband is the pastor of a church, the Conqueror's House, around the same area where the Christian Corpers Lodge and a church were burnt last Monday in Minna.

Mr Bologi looked around him. There was no one else apart from the rioters in the street.

"It was suddenly like midnight," he said. "The whole place was so quiet, not even a child could be heard, although it was just about 2pm. The world seemed empty and these boys were in charge."

He saw smoke from a burning church behind the crying woman on the opposite street; he saw some other miscreants approach; and he saw that soon she would run into them. Mr Bologi ran towards her and took one of the children. He tried to lead her to his house, but she was inconsolable.

"She kept screaming about her husband, saying, 'They are too many. They are beating him, please help him before they kill him.' She finally agreed to follow me home after I promised to go for the pastor afterward."

After he took her home, where another victim he took there earlier was already settled, watching a movie, he went back to check on the pastor but the place was unapproachable. The boys were breaking windows, destroying the building and stealing church equipment. How to approach such a scene?

Mr Bologi said the pastor fought valiantly; there was blood on his hands where he kept blocking the blows from the cutlass wielded by one of the boys as the rest hit him with hockey sticks. The whole place was full of smoke.

"I was alone," said Mr Bologi. "There was no way I could handle those boys. I had no stick, no knife, nothing."

Suddenly, someone pointed at him, asking where the woman was and some in the gang began to spread around to look for her.

"So I went back to look after my family and the woman. But when she saw me she started screaming about her husband again, asking me if he was dead already, begging me to help him. So I got out again."

But by the time he went back, the pastor was no longer there. The boys were still screaming, still stealing, still vandalising but there was nothing he could do. He went past the church searching for the pastor. The streets were deserted save for the urchins, and he was about to return home when he saw a man walking through some kind of haze.

"He had obviously been looking for his family," said Mr Bologi. "When I approached him, he stood there with bandaged hands, still defiant. 'Are you the pastor of the burnt church?' I asked. He said, 'So what if I am?' So I told him his family was in my home and that I could take him to them."

But that took a while because Mr Bologi couldn't just walk the bleeding pastor to his home – they would be seen. So they devised a way to get to the house by indirection, going sideways, like a crab's walk.

"When the woman saw her husband, I have never seen such joy," he said.

There was a police barracks near the place, perhaps 300 metres away. Mr Bologi told the pastor that soon the boys would come to look for him there and he won't be able to stop them, alone. He had to get them to the barracks; the pastor's family, and the woman he had ensconced in the mosque. On the way, they heard sirens, a vehicle filled with policemen approached and the motley crew of victims and their surrogate looked up in hope, but the policemen were on their way to the governor's residence nearby.

When Mr Bologi returned from the barracks, he saw that the boys have all gathered by his house.

"I thought, 'well, this is it.' The only thing standing between me and harm was my long dress," he said.

They were not after him, however.

"There is a building opposite where I stay and the whole people there are Ibos. The boys were attacking the place. They were breaking the windows, television, everything," he said.

The example to follow

Earlier on, the people had met Mr Bologi to seek permission to move into his compound, but there were too many of them.

"I suggested they all move to the police barracks and I followed them there to scout the road. They had to wait at the junction while I checked if the boys were around," he said.

When he saw that their rooms were under attack, Mr Bologi again pleaded with the boys to move on, that there was no one there. They ignored him. By this time, his brave efforts and constant imprecations had brought four other men from their homes and they helped in urging the boys to desist.

"That was when this man came running out of his room and they caught him. They began to beat him up but we went closer. We were shouting, 'don't kill him, don't kill him.' They said they would kill him unless he said, 'Laila la'ilallah.'

"The man tried, but he couldn't say the words. I told them this was unIslamic and they got more angry, accusing me of conniving with unbelievers, threatening me.

"It was during this back and forth that one of those wielding a machete went behind and hit the man on the neck, leaving a wide gash as the man crumbled to the floor…"

At this point in his narration, Mr Bologi's voice crumbled, and he couldn't go on. His eyes misted over.

"It is not right," he said. "It is not right to do that to another human being, and no religion I know permits such a thing. No religion says that for no reason you can machete an innocent man."

I asked Mr Bologi what happened after this.

"I started crying," he said.

"It was all too much. I saw the blow and for a second, the collar-bones were all white and then the blood started gushing. I became so weak."

When he rallied, Mr Bologi had attempted to push the man into the Mosque but the boys stopped him. So he dragged the man to his house.

"There was all this blood and my wife wasn't finding it funny. She said, "What are you doing? You bring some and you take them out and you go and bring others?"

So why did Mr Bologi, a young librarian at the state newspaper house, Newsline, a man without any obvious physical strength stand up to over 30 vicious young men, holding clubs and machetes?

"I kept remembering the prophet, Mohammed," he said. "He urged us to live our lives in such a way that other people would come to admire our way of life and become Muslims themselves. Is anyone going to become a Muslim with the kind of violence shown by those boys?"

And why did the rioters not learn the same lesson?

"They are mostly boys, you know, without families, without the kind of home training we got. Many of them are twelve, fourteen and fifteen-year-olds."

Afterward, Mr Bologi and some other neighbours, mostly Muslims, joined hands to put out the fires in the churches and to take all the injured to the hospital. Mr. Bologi still looked exhausted the day after.

"I kept thinking of the prophet," he said. "One day some men came to kill him and failed. As they fled, the prophet noticed that they were going in the direction of his more militant supporters, Saidi na Ali and such. So, he told them not to go that way, to avoid the route because they might get themselves killed. He helped them make good their escape. That is my example. That should be our example as Muslims."


Iyabo Obasanjo Gravely ill Flown Abroad For Treatment!

Iyabo Obasanjo, the daughter of Ex Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo is now in critical condition as a result of the shock she received from Nigerian Voters on April 9, 2011′s Election.

She has been flown abroad for emergency medical treatment.

Hope she gets better.


Africa looks up to Nigeria for good governance, says Ghana's VP

Nigeria has been challenged to continue its leadership role in the West Africa sub region as the entire continent of Africa is looking forward to her for good governance.

The call was made on Monday by Ghanaian Vice President John Dramani Mahama. He also congratulated Nigerians for the successful conduct of the on - going elections.

Mahama who spoke to journalists on arrival at the presidential wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, on his way to attend the closing Fela!, a Broadway show in Lagos, urged Lagosians to support the Babatunde Raji Fashola led administration, which he said had stimulated both cultural and bilateral relationship between the Ghana and Nigeria.

According to him, the whole of West Africa "is looking up to Nigeria to get its governance right to set a good example for other countries in the sub region to follow."

He explained his delight in visiting Nigeria anytime, even as he commended the Lagos State Government for partnering with the organisers of the Fela! show, even as he said the cultural ties between Nigeria ans Ghana was like that between two brothers .

The vice president said: "Fela Ransom Kuti brought me to Lagos, you know the show is going on today, I was invited as a special guest, I was brought here by the organisers of the programe in collaboration with Lagos State Government. I came to honour Fela with my presence, I am looking forward to the show. You know the relationship between Ghana and Nigeria, they are two brothers, that is why nobody should ask me why I am in Lagos. I can come to Nigeria anytime I like, after all we are brothers. I am happy to be here. I want to congratulate the government and people of Nigeria for the successful conduct of elections , we look forwards to the final one. I am sure that will be very successful, Nigeria has a natural leadership responsibility in West Africa, because it is the largest country and it has a large economy and so when Nigeria gets things right, the rest of West Africa follows. And so we are all waiting for the successful conclusion of these elections, and then we can continue from there."

Also speaking , the Lagos State commissioner for culture and home affairs, Tunde Lanre Balogun , who received the Ghanaian vice president on behalf of Fashola said: " Ghana and Nigeria have had historical bilateral relationship as well as the same colonial experience , we are working together as brothers and neighbours in West Africa. Lagos is the commercial hub of West Africa, with massive trade between Nigerians and Ghanaians."


CPC has no hands in North’s riots, says Pastor Tunde Bakare

Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Vice-Presidential candidate Pastor Tunde Bakare has said its presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, did not instigate the post-election violence in some northern states.

He told a congregation of his church, Latter Rain Assembly, Ikeja, Lagos, that Buhari did all he could to quell the riots.

Bakare blamed President Goodluck Jonathan for allegedly doing nothing to stop the mayhem.

He said: "I need to say something today because everything that is going on in our nation is being blamed upon the leadership of the CPC…I told him in confidential conversation.  

"I said, 'General, sir, you are the issue in Nigerian politics today and you are the hope of tomorrow. Go home and rest and let's leave it in the hands of God. Let's bombard the airwaves; let's strengthen the hands of those who still believe in righteousness and let's see what God will do with the governorship elections because we are not destroyers of lives and property'.  

"The man stepped out to go into Daura – not fighting, never instigating anyone. He was the first to get on Al Jazeera (a global cable television network) when the crisis broke out. He said: 'Stop this'; he spoke on BBC Hausa Radio; called the press. The chairman of the party spoke endlessly on Channels TV.  Yet, they are blaming us. 

"What did the President say? What has he done to stop the mayhem? Is he not the Chief Security Officer of the nation?  I think we are missing the point here. Everything they are trying to do is call a dog a bad name in order to hang it.  "You call him (Buhari) a Muslim fundamentalist; he has a Christian fundamentalist to run with him, to let you know it is not about religion but about the people, the suffering of our people…"

On the allegation that he (Bakare) refused to speak up on the violence that followed the elections, the pastor said it was inappropriate for him to do so when Buhari had been appointed to speak on behalf of the party.

He said: "They said at a news conference yesterday (Saturday), 'Pastor, you didn't speak all this time.' Many people don't have order and discipline. We met at the highest level of our party and the caucus decided the right person who should speak this time." 

On the fire that gutted his home, Bakare said his 

Bible, passport and Christian books were among the valuables that he did not lose to the fire.

He said his family was all right. 

Bakare said: "I want you to know that we are okay; we are not faking it; we are alright. God preserved things of value. My Bible did not get burnt. I am glad that it did not because it is so old. My passport did not; all my certificates are intact. God preserved my photographs.  

"All my law books went up in flames but my Christian books were preserved. I have only two shirts left but it will be replenished with better." 

He said he was alerted by a neighbour who saw thick smoke coming from the boys' room, adding that Seyi, one of his children, lost all his clothes except for the pair of shorts and T-shirt he had on.

He said the house was insured.

Bakare said: "They (insurers) asked me how much it was worth but I said I don't know, that they should check their books. He who has God has everything.  Thank God it wasn't at night, when everyone was asleep. There is nothing material that cannot be replaced , bigger and better." 

In his sermon, entitled: Jehovah is All Over, aired live on African Independent Television (AIT), Bakare criticised some pastors for saying the presidential election was peaceful, alleging that such people had been bribed.  

He said: "Do you know many people don't even know what is happening in this country?  That is some of the most notorious pastors can rise up and say 'Thank God for peaceful elections' because they don't really know and they don't really care because they partake from the table of Ahab.  Unfortunately for them, they don't know that even the money paid to them their serial numbers were taken down.  But this is not the time to speak. The time is coming.


Lagos State evacuates 222 corps members from the North!

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency has evacuated 222 corps members posted to different northern states who are indigenes of Lagos. The agency's general manager, Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, told journalists while receiving the corps members, who arrived over a two-day period, that more corps members who are in violent prone areas will be promptly evacuated. "When we received distress calls from the NYSC members serving in the northern states, especially Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, we sought permission from Governor Babatunde Fashola to activate our emergency response plan," he said. "As we speak, effort is on to move corps members from different locations to the nearest airport where they can be flown to safety."

Nowhere is safe

Jimoh Nonayon, one of the rescued corps members, said he had to call his friends in Lagos to get state government officials' phone numbers because nowhere, apart from military barracks, was safe in Kano State. "We were very afraid," he said. "I contacted some of my friends, who gave me some numbers of Lagos State Governor Fashola. I tried to send him a text on that Monday evening. So, I thank God on Friday. They called us back that they are coming to convey us."

Though, riots broke out in many northern states following the outcome of the April 16 presidential election, Mr Oke-Osanyintolu, responding to why it took days before any rescue plan could be implemented, said the state government had to monitor "the situation closely to see how it will pan out and when we saw the need to act, we did immediately ." "The evacuation process still continues," he said. "Our men are on the ground strategically at Jigawa, Gombe and Bauchi. We are not even talking about the indigenes of Lagos State alone. We evacuated those whose parents are in Lagos and others who want to come to Lagos for safety."

My experience

Mr Nonayon said he came out of his lodge one day and "saw some gang of guys coming with cutlasses and sticks." "We call them Almajiri," he said. "They were shouting as they came, all I could hear from what they were saying 'Sai Baba, Sai Baba, CPC Sai Baba'. A man riding bike told us to run back into the lodge. We were told that they were targeting non-indigenes, corps members and supporters of other political parties that are not really in support of CPC (Congress for Progressive Change). They believed that corps members rigged the election in favour of President Goodluck Jonathan."

According to him, some police officers came to their aid, hiding and locking them up in a room while the rioters went on a destructive rampage, burning almost every government structure. The rioters were said to have left with a promise to go and reinforce. The corps members were informed that the police station was no longer safe. The police authorities at the station ordered that they be moved to the Bokavo Barracks before the rioters' return. "A lot of corps members ran for their lives," he said. "Rioters pursued some of them; and some were stabbed. But presently, in Kano we have not really recorded any loss of life."

Uneasy calm

The corps members said National Youth Service Corps officials tried to persuade them not to flee to their homes but stay in the barracks. "NYSC officials came to address us but from the address, it was clear they have no plan for saving our lives," said Monday Alidumkwu, a corps member. "What they wanted was for us to stay back and finish the gubernatorial elections, but the rioters were saying that the violent outbreak of presidential election was a child's play. They said they decide who governs their state."

Mr Alidumkwu said he was supervising a senior secondary schools external examination when the riots broke out and had to flee with some of the scripts already submitted by exam candidates. "I did not even go back to WAEC office because doing so will be like dashing them my life," he said.

Electoral problem

Mr Alidumkwu, who also worked as a presiding officer during the polls, said he will not go back to conduct the gubernatorial election, even if offered N1 million.

Another corps member, who also worked as a presiding officer, Adekeye Oludare, said: "Even if I am still there, I cannot go out to conduct election. [Party] agents threatened us and the policemen attached to us were not armed. So, the policemen were just begging us to comply with their demands. In the last election, I was almost beaten. We were about to start counting the votes and some people came telling us they went to go and pray and they now want to vote. When I refused, they threatened to beat me. I called the police but they did not show up. I had to allow them because I was there alone in that village. So, after that election, I already told INEC officials that I will not show up for the gubernatorial election."


Monday, April 25, 2011

Oshiomhole Adopts Olympic Eagles!

Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has decided to retain the Under-23 football team in Benin City, following their superlative performance at the weekend in their Olympic qualifier match against Equatorial Guinea. The Sports Commissioner, Anita Evbuonwan, confirmed this development Monday. The team defeated the visitors 5-0.

Oshiomhole, who introduced new dance steps to football supporting at the weekend, and performed his moves each time the team scored, said it was part of the plan to rediscover true Nigeria's dominance in the game at the age group level in both the continent and the world at large. The governor also said he believes with the quality of play he saw last Saturday, the Olympic team was good enough for the gold medal at London 2012.

On his part, the coach of the team, Austin 'Cerezo' Eguavoen says his players really did enjoy the convivial atmosphere in Benin City and would be happy to stay back for future encores.

"The Comrade Governor has been wonderful, the Oba of Benin City as you all know, gave us royal blessings and the fans trooped out en mass to cheer us to victory, so what more can a team ask for? We're happy that we are remaining in the city to prepare for our next encounters and possibly play more games here," he said.

The Edo State FA Chairman, Chief Abel Ehigie, said the game against Equatorial Guinea, is to be looked at like a learning process for the new Edo FA board and he believes that with the success of the first match for the Under-23 team in the city, the next level is attracting the Super Eagles to the Ogbe Stadium.

Meanwhile, despite seeing his team score five un-replied goals against Equatorial Guinea, the chief coach of the Olympic team, Augustine Eguavoen, is not satisfied and has played Oliver Twist by asking for more from his attackers.

Yet, the ambitious coach has enough reasons to frown on the class performance of the side that made their visitors look ordinary because according to him, the numbers of missed chances during the game were almost like an abomination.

"Yes, what is so bad in scoring a dozen goals if you can. It can only end up giving a team a whole load of confidence in future encounters. My poachers have to do more and prove their title as poachers in future. When we make a chance, we need to take them. What is the essence of creating chances if you will not be taken them? Creating chances are hard nuts in the first place. So, when you create them and still squander them, I don't see the sense that makes. I'm telling them, 'guys, let's bury these chances that we give a lot of efforts to create.


Regina Askia’s Daughter, Stephanie, Becomes A Super Model in The U.S!

Regina Askia needs little introduction. The beauty queen became popular in the days of Zeb Ejiro's Fortunes-a popular TV series running on National TV in the early 90's where she played the role of an impudent gold digger Tokunbo Johnson. Before then, she has won the crown twice as Miss Unilag 1988 and Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria 1989. after a brief romance with Nollywood, the sultry and hazel eyed beauty who had in between had controversies trailing her here and there concerning her relationship and particularly her short lived marriage to business man, Charles Orie after which she found love in the arms of an Afro American, Rudolph Williams, who flew down to Nigeria and had a secret wedding with her.
Subsequent to this, she relocated to America and has been involved in so many things, she rode at the back of her beauty while in Nigeria and modeled for the likes of Visine Eye Drops and Kessingsheen Hair Care products and so it wasn't much of a surprise when she and her daughter Stephanie, co-modeled a 2000-N-Six Cleansing range of products.
Regina's teenage daughter, Stephanie Regina Idara Hornecker, the product of Regina's dalliance with her French business man lover, Patrick has effortly stepped into her mother's shoes. The gorgeous drop dead beauty, who now models in the United States of America, attends a French High School Lycee International des Pontonniers. Now she is one of those been touted as the likely face of Facebook a social networking site. Her mum Regina who is fully supportive of her and canvassing votes for her on facebook and who is now an independent beauty consultant for Mary Kay products is also studying to become a nursing practitioner. She has two other children for her husband, Teesa Olympia and Ruddy Jnr. And they all live in Staten Island in the United States of America.

Super Eagles Olubayo Adefemi To Be Buried 28 April In Lagos!

The corpse of late Nigerian footballer, Olubayo Adefemi is expected to arrive Nigeria tonight.
The defender passed on last Monday following an automobile crash in Greece on his way to the airport to catch a flight back to Nigeria.
Now, a week after his death, the defender's remains is scheduled to arrive the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
The body will be flown into Nigeria aboard an Alitalia Airline flight from Rome, Italy and is expected to touch down at about 8pm local time.
Family members, fans and sympathizers of the late football star will be at the airport to receive Adefemi's remains.
Officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), according to a statement from the Abuja secretariat of the football body, will also be at the airport to receive the remains of the late footballer which will thereafter be taken to a morgue in Yaba, a suburb of Lagos.
To be buried Thursday 
The statement from the NFF, also disclosed that the late international will be buried on April 28 in Lagos.
The statement further disclosed that Adefemi's remains will lie-in-state at the Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Lagos, while interment takes place later in the day at the Atan Cemetery, in Yaba.
"It has been confirmed that the player's corpse would lie-in-state at the Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere on Thursday morning before it is committed to mother earth at the Atan Cemetery, Yaba hours later," the NFF statement read.
The late Adefemi came into limelight six years ago when current Super Eagles coach, Samson Siasia led a group of talented Nigerian youngsters to a second-place finish at the 2005 FIFA Under 20 World Cup in the Netherlands.
Three years later, he featured in five matches of Nigeria's six-match run on the way to a second-place finish at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
He made his Super Eagles debut on May 29, 2009 in an international friendly against the Republic of Ireland, and played a role in securing a place for Nigeria at last year's FIFA World cup in South Africa.
He was playing for Greek side Skoda Xanthi and had made 24 appearances for the club before his death.

Fleeing robbers kill DPO in Lagos!

The Divisional Police Officer in-charge of Alakuko in Lagos State, Joseph Olatomokunm, was yesterday shot dead by a gang of armed robbers who were escaping with stolen vehicles.  Two other members of his team who were injured during the attack are said to be receiving treatment in an undisclosed  private hospital.

His death brings to three the number of policemen killed in Lagos State by rampaging armed robbers in the past 48 hours.

Police sources said the Police officer, a Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, was killed at Targent/Gulf pin-down point along Lagos/Abeokuta Expressway around 11.30 p.m. on Saturday, after he received a radio message that some armed robbers were escaping with stolen vehicles through the expressway.

It was gathered that the Divisional Police Officer swiftly swung into action after he got the radio message and mobilised his men to the pin-down point with a view to intercepting the fleeing robbers.

Vanguard learnt that when the robbers who were in about four stolen vehicles got to the point, they engaged the policemen led by the DPO in a gun battle which lasted for hours. Eyewitnesses said the DPO was shot in the scrotum during the exchange of fire and his men rushed him to hospital where he died later.

Two other members of the police team who received gun shot injuries were also rushed to an undisclosed hospital where they are said to be responding to treatment.

The fleeing armed robbers were said to be jubilating at their victory after they saw that the police team had withdrawn for them to have easy passage.

Lagos State Police Command spokesman, Samuel Jinadu who confirmed the attack and subsequent death of the police officer said a crack team of anti-robbery policemen are combing everywhere in search of the fleeing armed robbers.  He also assured that they would soon be rounded up.

It will be recalled that 48 hours before this incident, two police officers were also killed by a four-man robbery gang during an exchange of gun fire along Agege Motor road in Mushin, Lagos State.  The police officers were also killed at a pin-down point after the robbers who earlier dispossessed their victims of their valuables in Mushin area of the state engaged them in a gun duel.

Later the same day, the Assistant Cyberlife Editor of Vanguard Newspapers, Emeka Aginam was also attacked by another gang of armed robbers along the popular Unity Road, off Toyin Street in Ikeja around 10pm.  His Toyota 4Runner Jeep and other valuables including Vanguard identity card and a Lufthansa mileage card were snatched from him.  The Jeep was later recovered at Alapere area of the state.


Boko Haram vows to fight on!

A radical sect blamed for the killings in the Northeast has vowed to fight, until Muslims regain their freedom.
In a statement released yesterday, Boko Haram  (Western education is sin) called on the Federal Government to embrace Islam, drop the constitution and adopt the laws in the Qur'an.
The message came amid deadly post-election riots in the North in which  scores have been killed and many others injured. A lot of people in Kaduna, Kano and Bauchi states, among other places, have been displaced.
But Maiduguri, Borno State, where Boko Haram has mostly operated, has seen little of the vote-related unrest which happened in other parts of the North.
Boko Haram members have targeted police and clerics in a string of killings over the last one year. They have also attacked churches and engineered a massive prison break.


Attacks on youth corps members worry NYSC boss

The NYSC Director General, Maharazu Tsiga addressing corp members during his visit to the orientation camp at Iseyin in Oyo state.

The Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Maharazu Tsiga, has expressed worry over the attack on youth corps members who served as ad hoc staff to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in some Northern parts of Nigeria after the presidential election.

Mr Tsiga, who spoke to journalists at the weekend in Abuja during the wedding ceremony of his daughter, Lubabatu, said the NYSC has begun a head-count of all corps members in the affected areas in order to ascertain the number of victims in the crisis.

"I am celebrating my daughter today with mixed feelings because I have my youth corps members in all parts of this country who were involved in the post-election crisis and some of them may have lost their lives, though we are yet to confirm the numbers which shall be made public immediately we finish the head-count of our members," he said.

The NYSC boss said it was disheartening that despite all the commendations given to the corps members' participation in the exercise nationally and internationally, the rioters decided to attack the innocent youth.

Ondo evacuates indigenes

The Ondo State government at the weekend embarked on the evacuation of about four hundred of its indigenes that were stranded in the north following the violence that erupted in some states.

Out of the evacuees, 276 of were corps members serving the country under the National Youth Service Corps.

The first set of evacuees arrived Akure, the state capital yesterday and were subsequently transferred to their respective local governments and hometowns.

The Permanent Secretary in charge of emergency management, Kehinde Temikotan, said the state government could not close its eyes and allow indigenes of the state to be killed over political issues.

"Indigenes of the state residing in Kano, Katsina Kaduna and Borno states have been directed to converge on Bauchi for easy evacuation," he said.

According to him, some of those evacuated would be dropped at Abuja where some of them have their relatives, while others would be brought to Akure, the state capital.


Fleeing robbers kill DPO in Lagos!

The Divisional Police Officer in-charge of Alakuko in Lagos State, Joseph Olatomokunm, was yesterday shot dead by a gang of armed robbers who were escaping with stolen vehicles.  Two other members of his team who were injured during the attack are said to be receiving treatment in an undisclosed  private hospital.

His death brings to three the number of policemen killed in Lagos State by rampaging armed robbers in the past 48 hours.

Police sources said the Police officer, a Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, was killed at Targent/Gulf pin-down point along Lagos/Abeokuta Expressway around 11.30 p.m. on Saturday, after he received a radio message that some armed robbers were escaping with stolen vehicles through the expressway.

It was gathered that the Divisional Police Officer swiftly swung into action after he got the radio message and mobilised his men to the pin-down point with a view to intercepting the fleeing robbers.

Vanguard learnt that when the robbers who were in about four stolen vehicles got to the point, they engaged the policemen led by the DPO in a gun battle which lasted for hours. Eyewitnesses said the DPO was shot in the scrotum during the exchange of fire and his men rushed him to hospital where he died later.

Two other members of the police team who received gun shot injuries were also rushed to an undisclosed hospital where they are said to be responding to treatment.

The fleeing armed robbers were said to be jubilating at their victory after they saw that the police team had withdrawn for them to have easy passage.

Lagos State Police Command spokesman, Samuel Jinadu who confirmed the attack and subsequent death of the police officer said a crack team of anti-robbery policemen are combing everywhere in search of the fleeing armed robbers.  He also assured that they would soon be rounded up.

It will be recalled that 48 hours before this incident, two police officers were also killed by a four-man robbery gang during an exchange of gun fire along Agege Motor road in Mushin, Lagos State.  The police officers were also killed at a pin-down point after the robbers who earlier dispossessed their victims of their valuables in Mushin area of the state engaged them in a gun duel.

Later the same day, the Assistant Cyberlife Editor of Vanguard Newspapers, Emeka Aginam was also attacked by another gang of armed robbers along the popular Unity Road, off Toyin Street in Ikeja around 10pm.  His Toyota 4Runner Jeep and other valuables including Vanguard identity card and a Lufthansa mileage card were snatched from him.  The Jeep was later recovered at Alapere area of the state.


Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld from Glo Mobile.

Mass burial held for Post-Election Victims in the North!

Rural villages held mass burial in northern Nigeria on Sunday, the Red Cross said, raising the possibility that six days of post-election violence have provided heavy casualties.

People displaced by post election violence seek refuge at the Bukavu military barracks, in Kano, on April 21, 2011.


Civil Rights Congress president reports 500 burials

There is no official death toll, but witnesses report hundreds have died

Protesters in the mostly Muslim north charge the vote was rigged

Violence leads Nigerian officials to delay subsequent gubernatorial elections

There is no official death toll, but witnesses say hundreds have died. The government has provided few other details out of concern the violence could spiral.

Shehu Sani, president of the Civil Rights Congress and longtime civil rights campaigner, told CNN there have been 500 burials. CNN could not independently confirm that number. The Civil Rights Congress, based in Kaduna, has in the past been known to ally itself with pro-northern political groups.

The election of President Goodluck Jonathan, who is from the majority-Christian southern part of the country, sparked violence in the Muslim-dominated north last week.

Concerns about ongoing violence led Nigerian election officials last week to delay subsequent gubernatorial elections in two states.

Northern Muslims in some areas charged that the elections were rigged. Armed protesters in the region prowled the streets chanting the name of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, the main opposition frontrunner.

The last election four years ago was widely condemned for rampant vote rigging, violence, theft of ballot boxes and intimidation. While the Monday elections were marred by violence, reports of underage voting and other logistical problems, observers considered it an improvement.

World leaders have urged the west African nation to probe allegations of ballot stuffing and unusually high turnout in some areas.

After he was declared the victor, Jonathan warned perpetrators that persistent postelection violence could threaten the stability of the country.

"These acts of mayhem are sad reminders of the events which plunged our country into 30 months of an unfortunate civil war," Jonathan said last week.

Jonathan was referring to a period of unrest in the 1960s that spawned a civil war in Nigeria.

Muslims fearing reprisal attacks in Christian areas have fled to military barracks or neighboring states, the Nigerian Red Cross said.

More than 40,000 people are displaced in the north, according to the aid group. Government officials have declined to release the number of fatalities or injuries over fears it could prompt revenge attacks.

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer and its most populous nation with 150 million people.


What Nigerians Must Know About President Goodluck Jonathan!

*The story of a President's humbling disposition
*How Jonathan handles presidential politics
*Insider's story of how a president runs his day

This is the story of President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan as he prepares to run Nigeria for the next four years with his new mandate.  This report attempts to present the man who would rule Nigeria to Nigerians. Beyond the man in public glare, this is an insider's account of the man, Goodluck Jonathan.

His demure demeanour has become his greatest asset; Goodluck Ebele Jonathan that is.

The story starts from the dingy backwater settlement of Otueke 51 years ago.

When last October he told Nigerians that he went to school without shoes and carried his books on his head, he was not telling an unfamiliar story.

However, what made his story inspiring is his ascendancy to the exalted position of President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. There can be only one at any given time. He is the one.

Rewind to Friday December 11, 2005. His boss and former Bayelsa State governor, Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha, was being flown to the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, in handcuffs after his impeachment had been arranged.

But, while some aides to Jonathan savoured their new disposition as aides to a new governor, Jonathan, who had just been sworn-in as governor, locked himself away and broke down in tears. Here was a man he had served under as his deputy for seven years being whisked away while he took over his post.  The joke in some circles then was that Jonathan was perhaps the most subservient deputy governor in Nigeria. But subservience, the ugly twin of humility, has its rewards.

By February 2007, those who had despised Jonathan for being a willing tool in the hand of former President Olusegun Obasanjo were to lick their sore when Jonathan was picked by Obasanjo to become the vice- presidential candidate to Umaru Yar'Ádua.

And, if people were in doubt as to how luck works, Goodluck's mysterious rise to become Nigeria's president is an example.

But how lucky can anyone become?

Is luck transformational?  Is it a virtue?  Does it work easily?

Jonathan, who is married to Patience, developed the virtue of humility.  And, the luck that has worked for him is for the simple reason that humility radiates a positive aura which, in turn, attracts luck.

But, that seeming docility which some Nigerians are quick to point at is the very essence of  Jonathan's strength.  Every leader has had to contend with public opprobrium to his person.  While some are said to be brutish, some cunning, Jonathan's cross is that his demure demeanour is incongruous with the personality that Nigerians want.  But Obasanjo was quick to look mean and serious and his looks only succeeded in landing Nigeria where the country is today.

Handling treachery in high places

Yet consider:

After the late President Yar'Adua was flown-in in February 2010, a Tuesday night, the country was on edge.  Jonathan, who was vice- president, did not know his boss was being flown in.  Even after he was wheeled into Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Jonathan was not allowed to see him.  Another vice-president would have kicked.

The secrecy involved in the ailment of Yar'Adua, coupled with the governance-by-proxy which Nigerians were subjected to for some four months, got to a head.

While ministers waited for Jonathan to call the EXCOF meeting to order, on Wednesday, February 24, 2010, two security aides to then ailing President Yar'Adua walked into the council chambers. In fact, the two security aides posted sentry behind the seat of the president and commander-in-chief.   The signal they sent with their action was that they were waiting for their boss, Yar'Adua, to walk in and take his seat. Some of the ministers in the chambers saw that as an optimistic sign but they were mistaken.  It was a sign that Jonathan would not be allowed to sit on the chair and the aides to Yar'Adua wanted to ensure that.  They did because the EXCOF meeting of that day never held.  The trite argument in some quarters then, back and forth, was that as acting president, Jonathan ought not to have sat on the chair.  It was a humbled Jonathan who met with ministers, later that day to announce that the meeting would no longer hold.

Mind you, by the time all these were happening, Jonathan was already acting president, empowered by law. But, by the night of May 5, 2010, that argument became lost.
Bringing PDP  govs down to earth
Jonathan was to again shock the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, state governors late last year when he struck at the heart of  their conscience.

At a time when some governors were playing yo-yo with their support for Jonathan, the latter made a passionate plea.

A source  told Sunday Vanguard details of what the president  said to the governors at a meeting: "I have not been known by people to be a desperate individual.  Even after the president died, and the mantle fell on me, I attempted to carry everybody along.  It is not a do-or-die affair to become the president of this country.

"Whatever we do here," Jonathan reportedly said, "we should put Nigeria first and understand that whatever our party does will affect this country greatly.  I am ready to make concessions for all of us to have peace and move ahead as a people and as a nation."

Then the shocker: "If the party leaders and members say they do not want me as their presidential candidate, I would gladly accept it because I believe in God and I believe God Almighty is the one that gives power.  As a party, we should ensure that after the primaries, we do not leave ourselves too bruised to win the general elections".

After this solemn plea, the PDP governors came out to openly declare their support for him. That is not all.

Presidential Trickery: Between Jonathan & Sambo

Because Nigeria's political evolution had suffered so many idiosyncrasies, yet the politicians remained incrementally worse,  Jonathan was in a quandary when he was confronted recently with the dilemma of who to choose as his vice-president after the demise of  Yar'Adua.   Obasanjo and some other politicians of note wanted their wards to be picked. Even the Governors' Forum flexed its muscle.

Unknown to all of these individuals and groups, Jonathan had something up his sleeves.

He had had talks with Mohammed Namadi Sambo, the governor of Kaduna State.

While all the jostlings were going on, Jonathan equally consulted widely but had his choice very close to his chest.

In fact, Jonathan, it was gathered from an Aso Rock source, helped some politicians who thought they had so much influence to wield, to fan the embers of speculation in the direction of their own choice.

Sunday Vanguard was informed that Jonathan made it clear to Sambo that he wanted somebody who could be trusted and he found that person in him.

It was also agreed between Sambo and Jonathan that their discussions would be kept as a secret. Both men agreed.

Therefore, while the Senate came out publicly with what it described as its choice of nominee for Jonathan, the latter simply lapped it up.

On the part of Sambo, the Senate's choice of his predecessor, Senator  Ahmed Makarfi, as nominee to Jonathan, did not bother him.

Reason: Jonathan never requested any such nominee from the Senate.

Just as the Governors' Forum also flexed its muscle on a possible vice-presidential nominee, Jonathan never requested the forum to forward a name.

What Sunday Vanguard was, however, told was that Jonathan kept it very open. He consulted as widely as possible.

In fact, according to an Aso Rock  source, Obasanjo was made to "believe that whoever he presented to Jonathan would eventually get the job.  But that was a dummy."

The source further said  that "in truth, President Jonathan deferred to the former president but there was never a time that guarantees were made or given on the matter."

Therefore, when Sambo got the nod and his name was sent to the Senate, many could not understand.

However, what they could not understand was that "Jonathan and Sambo had struck a relationship which was nurtured into something wonderful.

"While both men were on the committee on power which the late President Umaru Yar'Adua instituted, they worked together and the trust and bonding was built.

"During the work of the committee on power, Governor Sambo and then Vice-President Jonathan forged a relationship that was based on trust and understanding.

"Even while some hawks were pushing Jonathan to do certain things while Yar'Adua was not around, good counsel from some quarters prevailed and you can guess from where.

"The trust was built so much so that there were times when the vice-president would not approve anything except Governor Sambo had vetted the bills as appropriate," an Aso Rock insider said.

Long suffering as a virtue

What Sunday Vanguard was told is that Jonathan can allow for as many people as possible to make presentations on any matter but his mind is always made up on what he wants.

One of his friends said: ''Whenever  you discuss with him and you think you have convinced him, he would come back to tell you that he heard everything you've said but he still thinks the matter should be handled in his own way.  At the end of the day, you'll see sense in what he wants you to do."

Jonathan is long-suffering.

While addressing the nation, last week, on the crisis in some parts the North, he said "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH."

The President said: "We are shocked by these horrific acts which strike at the heart of our nation. These disturbances are more than mere political protests.  Clearly, they aim to frustrate the remaining elections.  This is not acceptable."

He may be long-suffering but he does not suffer fools.

He could also get angry, as he demonstrated while presenting his manifesto at the PDP convention. Responding to former Vice- President Atiku Abubakar's tirade, Jonathan charged in exasperation: "So, what are we talking about; what are we talking about here?

To know more about how dead serious Jonathan could get, ask Mr. Emmanuel Ihenacho, the recently suspended Interior Minister.

For a minister who was also said to be in the Villa to rejoice with the President over his victory, suspending him some 24 hours later was cold.

But Jonathan's got a job to do and he did it.  For whatever political reasons adduced for the suspension, Ihenacho's well of luck went dry – his suspension came at a time when peace took flight from some states in the North.
Presidential Routine

How does Jonathan run his normal life outside the perquisites of presidential splendour?

Well, Jonathan lives a normal live in the magnificently abnormal place called Aso Rock Presidential Villa.

When does he go to bed?

When does he get up from bed?

What does he do once he's up?

How does he run his normal day?

As  president and commander-in-chief, the demand of his office dictates when he goes to bed and not the other way round – Jonathan does not believe the man should take advantage of the office to play god.

When he rises from bed, he comes downstairs for morning devotion with a handful of people including, of course, Madam Patience Jonathan, the First Lady.

For weekends, if the job permits, he plays his squash game in the evenings.

He also holds court with a few inner circle advisers in the Villa.

At such caucus meetings, Jonathan is said to allow people to bare their minds.

At one of such meetings when a few hawks wanted the president to device a means of whittling down the powers of state governors in preparation for the PDP convention, Jonathan kicked against it, pointing out that what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong.

For Jonathan, husband of Patience, blessed with two children, a girl and a boy (actually the girl is older), Jonathan loves his local meals.

Cocoyam, pepper soup and plantain are his favourites.

Does he gobble alcohol?  As an Ijaw man?  Well, let's take that as a presidential secret.

Jonathan can be lively and very jovial. Just last Tuesday evening, in the company of Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Abdurahman Mimiko of Ondo State, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, and Timpreye Sylva of his home State of Bayelsa, at the Villa, he  cracked jokes and exchanged  banters with the governors who had come to rejoice with him.

Vanguard Nigeria.

Man Who Tried To Hijack Paris-Rome Alitalia Flight Is Overpowered!

A man with a knife tried to hijack an Alitalia flight from Paris to Rome Sunday night, demanding it be flown to Libya, but was quickly overpowered and arrested when the plane landed, officials and witnesses said.

Witnesses said the man put a small knife to the throat of a female flight attendant and held her for a few minutes.

"The man grabbed the stewardess from behind her back and pointed the knife. She was in difficulty and tried to turn around," a passenger named Sofia told reporters.

Stefanie, a French woman who lives in Italy, said the man laughed when the stewardess asked him to go the front of the plane with her.

"He held her for just a few minutes and then the other flight attendants intervened and passengers helped hold the man to the floor," she said.

Italian media said police had identified the man as a 48-year-old citizen of Kazakhstan who worked in Paris.

A statement from Alitalia airlines said the man had "assaulted a flight attendant and asked that the plane be taken to Tripoli."

Other attendants on flight AZ329 then overpowered the man, who was "clearly agitated" and the captain radioed police, who arrested the man when the plane landed, the statement said.

The flight attendant was taken to a first aid station at Rome airport for treatment of minor injuries.


Sunday, April 24, 2011


On this awesome day, we'll spend time meditating on the cross, the empty grave and all that it has given us. But let's also meditate on the task this day calls us to "go and make disciples..." The pure gospel that Christ passed on to His disciples was the good news of a grace to be passed on, not just received. Jesus left His disciples equipped to make other disciples, to bear fruit. We can tell it worked because the people that they made disciples of were making disciples too. And so it has been passed on for two thousand years. But probably in every generation, certainly in ours, sometimes the gospel we spread mutates into something weaker. Instead of truly bearing fruit, we cultivate seedless grapes. As we spend time worshipping and thanking God today for the grace we have received, let us pray to be more challenged than ever to pass on that grace and to live out the Great Commission.

Youth corps revolt presents INEC with fresh headache!

The change had been swift. From an early apprehension that peaked following the postponement of the National Assembly polls and its subsequent acclaim as one of Africa's best in years, according to foreign observers, the 2011 elections have gained rapidly rising reputation in just weeks.

Now, after two polls that earned it praise, the exercise, in its final lap, faces the prospect of losing the bulk of its workforce - the youth corps members - who have threatened to boycott the governorship and state assembly elections scheduled for Tuesday following last week's riots in which many of them were targeted in some northern states.

For most of last week, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) played down the possibility of the withdrawal, and officials sought to de-emphasize its impact on the local elections.

"The chairman has said the commission is doing all it can to make sure, if there are shortfall in manpower, they will be made up for," said Kayode Idowu, a spokesperson of the commission on Friday, a day after a televised press conference where the chairman, Attahiru Jega, displayed similar optimism.

The electoral body maintained that besides Kaduna and Bauchi states, where elections have been moved by two days for security concerns, it does not expect the exercise to be marred by shortage of personnel in the other states where there had been violence.

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Jega himself, said the commission had trained more hands than needed for the elections and would deploy the extra ad hoc staff to fill in at locations without sufficient electoral officials. He said while the commission would be hopeful about the participation of corps members in the elections for the remaining states on Tuesday, provisions were however made for alternative personnel.

"Our hope is that many of them (corps members) will recognize what these people want to achieve. They want to scuttle the effort that we have made in the past elections," he said in condemnation of the violence that followed the outcome of the presidential election, dismissing reports that members of the corps had decided to withdraw their services as electoral officers.

NYSC officials too have denied corps members were pulling out and said the situation would be clearer after a tour of the affected states by the director general, Mahara Tsiga.

As at Friday evening, the deputy director, Public Affairs, Chinwe Ojukwu, told NEXT by phone that a position was being expected from Mr Tsiga.

Beneath the public façade however, officials speaking confidentially, say the speculated boycott of the exercise by the corps members has spawned mounting concerns within the leadership of the INEC and the NYSC.

"With what is going on, we all hope things will be fine, but naturally they may not be the same again as with the other elections," a staff of the electoral body said.

A Kaduna-based group, the Civil Rights Congress (CRC), also on Friday, said the total number of deaths has surpassed 200 while the wounded passed 500.

"In Kaduna alone, we have more than 20 deaths," Shehu Sani, executive director of the group told NEXT by phone.

No specific figures could be obtained of the actual number of corps members killed or injured in the crisis, as authorities appear keen on keeping public passion within control. The NYSC spokesperson said only Mr Tsiga, who could not be reached Friday, can give the actual numbers, if at all there was any. Rights groups such as CRC, said it is challenging to ascertain which victim was a corps member and which was not.

Earlier reports say four died in Bauchi State, which is one of the worst-hit states. In Kano State, although deaths of corps members could not be confirmed, serving members have narrated at least two incidents where rioters attacked their lodges before they were rescued by armed soldiers.

Officials say there are worries the impact of the attacks may transcend the northern region where it originated and may be felt elsewhere, as anxious parents dissuade their wards from taking a role in the remaining elections.

"Many people have travelled and don't plan to come back for the election," said Nty Ben, a serving member in Osun State. The state is reportedly calm, yet some corps members are apprehensive about the final elections expected to be more passionate and have left on the orders of their parents.

Much-praised youth

Accused of aiding election rigging by their attackers, and coming after the Suleja bombing the killed at least 10 of their colleagues, the recent violence has been particularly hard on the youth corps members who have been lavishly praised by foreign election observers.

After the presidential election, the European Union said as electoral officers, the corps members performed their duties with "courage and to the best of their capacity." The Commonwealth said they showed "dedication and courage that helped deliver a transparent process, often in difficult conditions. They are a source of pride and hope for Nigeria," the group said.

The National Democratic Institute applauded the corps members for their "dedication and neutrality" while the International Republican Institute commended them for their "dedication and hard work."

Despite the assurances that all is well, nothing illustrates the electoral body's frustration with the development as Mr Jega's remark that the commission will understand if the horror-stricken corps members stay off the exercise.

"Obviously people in that kind of situation should be afraid," he said. "If some of them are scared enough to stay away, we will understand. If they don't come out, we will understand." Mr Jega said while INEC feels their pains and sympathizes with the families affected; it will "understand should they choose not to participate again."


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