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The Public Enemy Number One (1)

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When he came to power he realized that the Nigeria Police was overwhelmed by the challenges of policing the vast Nigerian territory. The Nigeria Police was forced to bite more than it can chew!

He also realized that Nigeria was not ripe for the state police concept.

He created some agencies with specialization in some areas of law enforcement. This way the size of the chunk than the Nigeria Police was forced to chew was reduced to a manageable size.

The newly created specialized law enforcement agencies, were each given enough to bite and chew while at the same time relieving the Nigeria Police of some of its burden.

Thus, agencies like the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control came into existence to address challenges to law enforcement in the areas of road traffic, drug trafficking and adulteration of food and drugs.

This way he not only establish specialized agencies to tackle the challenges, he left the Nigeria Police with a sizeable chunk to bite and chew as well as creat employment opportunities.

Yet, to most Nigerians he remains the public enemy number one!

PS: his attempt to create the National Guard, to provide an intermediate layer of defence between the Police and the Armed Forces, suitable for tackling the insurgency and banditry we are experiencing today, was frustrated by some shallow thinking Nigerians who ‘imagined’ that he is planning to use it to perpetuate himself in power till thy kingdom come.

Aliyu Ammani 
U/Shanu Kaduna
18/04/19

Re: Senate Presidency: Arewa rejects Lawan

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Ahmed Lawan

You Can’t Speak for Northern Youths – Lawan Group Replies AYCF

The attention of the Senator Ahmed Lawan Media Support Group has been drawn to a statement exposing desperate antics by agents of those that have lost out in the ongoing democratic process ahead of the election of presiding officers of the ninth National Assembly.

We have been foretold of plots to sponsor political jobbers in the garb of youth associations to disparage the person of Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan and to also berate the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on its decision to endorse Senator Ahmed Lawan as President of the ninth Senate.

Such predicted desperate approach manifested in a statement issued by a group in the name of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) which has a well-known reputation as opportunist and political hireling. The group in a statement by its National President, Mr. Yerima Shettima has once again arrogated itself an erroneous claim of representing the northern youth. This is a self-delusional claim as ACYF cannot be said to represent Arewa youths going by its antecedents, especially in the just concluded election, when it rejected President Muhammadu Buhari.

While we would have preferred to ignore Shettima and his sponsors to their agony of imminent defeat, it is however pertinent to draw attention to some of the salient points raised in the AYCF statement.

The choice of Senator Ahmed Lawan as president of the ninth Senate is beyond the decision of a single individual leader of the APC. Contrary to claim by Shettima, as at the last count various levels of the party have expressed support to the candidature of Lawan including the National Working Committee, the Presidency, majority of APC senators-elect and governors of the party. These are the critical stakeholders of the party and they reserve the right to intervene in affairs of their party.

AYCF should also be aware that aside his endorsement by the party, Senator Lawan has been actively engaging all senators-elect across party lines with the view of securing popular support. At the moment, he has succeeded in garnering the support of majority of senators elect. This may not go down well with the Shettima’s of this world and their ilk but that’s the reality.

The question should have been, is Ahmed Lawan qualified for the position and the answer would be an emphatic YES. We challenge Mr. Shettima to controvert the fact that Lawan remains the most experienced of all the other aspirants for the position, including his paymasters. We challenge him to controvert the fact that Lawan is by academic standing higher than his paymaster and above all, Mr. Shettima should tell the world how and why it must be his paymaster and not Senator Lawan. We also challenge Shettima’s paymaster to address a press conference where ten (10) other APC senators are in attendance.

In addition, if APC should not interfere in its own affairs, which angers Mr. Shettima, why should a Mr. Shettima and his group that are known to be supporters of the minority Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) enjoy such right. We are glad to note that while shouting ‘imposition’, the AYCF also arrogated itself the powers to impose Senator Ali Ndume on the ninth Senate. This is a clear indication that the APC leadership was right by not trusting a member that hobnobs with groups sympathetic to the PDP, while trying to benefit from APC’s hard won electoral victory.

Mr. Shettima should wake from his slumber to the reality that the Senator Lawan project is a popular moving train. A simple survey would have cleared Shettima’s doubt. We call on the AYCF and indeed all politically active groups across the country to key into the Lawan project for a productive ninth Senate. Shettima should not allow his group to become one that is perpetually on the losing side.

The truth remains Shettima and his co-travelers are mere masquerades dancing to the tune of an unseen drummer- a desperate political rebel trying to hijack the leadership of the ninth Senate. No amount of statements and endorsements by self-centered middle-aged men parading themselves as youths can change the resolve of the APC on Senator Ahmed Lawan.

THE MODIBBO KAWU ICPC INDICTMENT: SHINE YOUR EYES ABUBAKAR MAHMOUD AHMED

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When the Director General National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, was called into the dock, at the Federal High Court, on Wednesday this week, it was the culmination of high wire politics, of the dirtiest type. For most people, the more they saw, the less they understood; and that was precisely the whole idea. Those who schemed the plot, have a central agenda. It was to REMOVE Modibbo Kawu as DG of NBC, by all means, but most especially, the most foul, but with a complicit media, but most especially, Premium Times, as the preferred social media outlet. This story started, not in 2018, but actually in 2016. When President Buhari announced the DGs to head media parastatals and the NBC, he caused the first level of shock. The announcement of Modibbo Kawu as NBC DG SHOCKED the political team from the Southwest, that had primed the position for Dele Alake, the former Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Lagos State. Lai Muhammed, as Minister of Information, was said to have shouted in his office, that: “this is unacceptable. Modibbo Kawu is not one of us”! He was very unhappy that he had no imput whatsoever, in the appointment of all the DGs announced on that occasion: DG NBC; DG FRCN; DG NTA; DG VON; DG NOA and MD NAN. He then vowed in the VP’s Office, that he was going to make life difficult for all these appointees. This background is very vital to understand what is unfolding at the NBC.
The last DG of NBC, Emeka Mba, had actually been the writer of the petition that ICPC had used, as the basis for questioning the payment that NBC made to Pinnacle Communications Limited, using a set of members of staff of the NBC, to get official papers of the Commission, for his petition to the ICPC. Emeka Mba had been a very good benefactor of Lai Muhammed, in the few months that he was still DG NBC, after the 2015 elections and the inauguration of the Buhari administration. Emeka Mba had used NBC’s funds to finance the Jonathan campaign and he looked the other way, when NTA and AIT, were broadcasting hate materials, against then candidate, Muhammadu Buhari. But soon as the APC won it’s victory, like a chameleon, he began to change his posture. He immediately handed over a brand new Toyota LandCruiser Jeep to Lai Muhammed, and began to pay money through Lai Muhammed’s son and his aide Williams Adeleye. He also got access to Bola Tinubu, through his friend, Toyin Subair, whose company, INVIEW, he had unilaterally appointed as the middleware provider for the Nigerian Digital Switchover (DSO). The company had been DISQUALIFIED in the bid process; but Emeka Mba, met Toyin Subair in London, and agreed that he would set aside the thorough work that DIGITEAM NIGERIA did in its search for a middleware provider. He dropped the Nigerian company that won the bid, and appointed the DISQUALIFIED INVIEW. Not only that, he paid INVIEW N1.7b, three months BEFORE it was registered to do business in Nigeria. It should not be forgotten that Emeka Mba had received presidential approval to sell frequency, which fetched NBC N35billion from MTN. Emeka went on a spending spree, encouraging his friends and associates, to set up shell companies, through which the money could be taken out. The NBC had initially emphatically stated, that Set Top Boxes would not be subsidized. But Emeka and friends, needed to corner the funds, so he got Sir Godfrey Ohuabunwa, to lead an elaborate process of a subsidy regime, not known to the White Paper on the Transition from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting. Billions of Naira went into that. Ohuabunwa was later to confess that Emeka Mba owned 100,000 of the 200,000 boxes that he fronted, that took billions of Naira from the N35billion.

In the meantime, Emeka Mba had a major battle on his hands, and that was the stubborn resistance of Pinnacle Communications Limited. They had won an open, transparent and competitive bid, in 2014, and were subsequently licensed as the Second National Signal Distributors for the Nigerian DSO, after paying the bid sum of N685 million. Emeka Mba extracted all the money-making elements from the license he gave Pinnacle Communications. He then licensed CCNL, partly owned by himself, Toyin Subair and Godfrey Ohuabunwa. Pinnacle Communications Limited went to court, and were in court, till the Jonathan administration was defeated. In the heydays of Diezani Allison-Maduekwe’s powers, Emeka Mba would brag that he had Diezani’s backing; and vowing to turn Pinnacle Communications Limited’s license, to a worthless piece of paper! It became a condition to get any look in at the NBC, by strictly following Emeka Mba’s order that they must NEVER have anything to do with Pinnacle Communications Limited. The broadcast stakeholders were encouraged/threatened to treat Pinnacle like a leper, and at the forefront of the propaganda machinery that Emeka oiled with NBC’s funds, was Godfrey Ohuabunwa. He was regularly on television and the pages of newspapers, extolling Emeka MBA’s “ingenuity “. It was clear, that Godfrey Ohuabunwa, a man of very limited financial means, had suddenly hit a jackpot, through Mba. He had to protect his new found wealth. At the IBC conference in Amsterdam, he saw Dipo Onifade of Pinnacle Communications Limited, and told him that the gravy train had left Pinnacle behind.

Having spent so much money, and receiving the assurances of Lai Muhammed and Toyin Subair’s support, that he would get Bola Tinubu to ensure he was retained, the propaganda was spiked, that the DSO was going to collapse, if Emeka Mba was not retained as DG NBC. Even Lai Muhammed, whose greed for money had been lavishly indulged by Emeka Mba, assured him that his tenure, was going to be protected. A notorious PDP financier, had spread so much money within a segment of the new APC administration, that the Minister of Information, Lai Muhammed and his political group, was prepared to forget all he did against President Muhammadu Buhari. The Pinnacle Communications Limited Chairman, Lucky Omoluwa, had supported the Buhari campaign, and had thought the change of administration, would offer an opportunity to rectify the injustice they faced under Emeka Mba. Lai Muhammed pretended he was going to offer a platform of genuine settlement, while he was always on Emeka Mba’s side. But Emeka was to prove his own worst enemy. The directive that all funds be put into the Federal Government’s TSA, became his Achilles Heel. He hid Ten Billion Naira, which was eventually revealed by a whistle blower. He became an orphan, because Lai Muhammed and the Lagos political machinery, quickly abandoned him to his own devices. He was removed from the NBC. And on his way out, he handed over to one of his most gung-ho minions; the only NBC Director that was part of all his secret schemes, Armstrong Idachaba. He was so loyal to Emeka Mba, that he was reportedly given some of the shares of CCNL, and a few thousands of the Set Top Boxes, that Emeka Mba turned into freebies.

This was the explosive situation that Modibbo Kawu inherited as Director General of the NBC. It was almost akin to a poisoned chalice. But he set out to systematically make the system serve Nigeria’s interest. Pinnacle Communications Limited that had been in court, was encouraged to accept an out-of-court settlement. They were appointed Signal Distributor for the Abuja Switchover. They delivered within 90 days, including airfreighting 9tons of equipment into Abuja. They provided the very best facilities that were commissioned by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, on December 22nd, 2016. Their Kaduna center was commissioned a year later, by Governor Nasir El-Rufai. These events were broadcast live on television, and attended by all the stakeholders in broadcasting. It was for their services, that five months after commissioning of the Abuja center, NBC paid them the N2.5billion, that has become the source of controversy, and the basis of the ICPC indictment. It should be noted that the Honourable Minister of Information, Lai Muhammed, approved the payment; just as he approved all the payments made to Set Top Boxes manufacturers; CCNL; Call Center operators, and others. The White Paper is the instrument used to justify these payments. Yet, the ICPC accepted Emeka Mba’s “petition”. Emeka Mba had never reconciled himself to the fact that he is no longer the NBC DG, given the money he spent, to retain the position. And he still has the billions of Naira that came from the Set Top Boxes payments, that NBC made. Similarly, his team within and outside the NBC, all of a sudden, we’re no longer calling the shots, with Modibbo Kawu’s emergence as DG.

The NBC itself is an institution that is badly skewed, over the years. The majority of the staff recruited by Mba, were from the Southeast, and for the majority of those, Modibbo Kawu is an alien, as far as they are concerned. They regularly release NBC’s secret papers, to external forces, while Emeka Mba brags, that his boys inside keep him abreast of any, and every development. In the last elections, most NBC staff were reported to have voted for PDP, because they wanted President Muhammadu Buhari to lose, since that would mean that Modibbo Kawu would then be removed as DG. One of the most entrenched cabals inside the NBC, is the licensing cabal. It was the ruling mantra, that Southerners can, and must be given licenses in the North, but Northerners are ALWAYS denied licenses in the South, especially the lucrative Lagos market. Well, Modibbo Kawu ensured that for the first time, in the 25 year history of the NBC, Northerners got several licenses in Lagos, and there was a far more just and even spread of licenses, with the licensing round that President Muhammadu Buhari approved in September 2018: the single largest round of licensing in Nigerian history. But there were people who were also angry outside of the NBC about the licensing, and these include Lai Muhammed and the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo. The applications that went to the NBC from his people, had initially requested for Ibadan, and these were offered. Unfortunately, he later wanted approval for Lagos, but NBC could not give him. The reason was simple. There were 45 approvals for Lagos, but there were only 15 available frequencies. NBC gave them out on a first come, first served basis. Similarly, Lai Muhammed’s son was on the list that NBC took to the Presidency, but he was not given an approval. Even when he was the one that endorsed the list to the Villa, and was said to have endorsed, only when he was sure that his son was present on the list, he nevertheless blamed Modibbo Kawu, for being responsible for the fact that his son was denied a license. He then began a propaganda campaign against Modibbo Kawu. First, he told the VP, that Modibbo Kawu deliberately denied the VP licenses in Lagos, just as he denied his own son. Not only that, he began spreading the ludicrous tale, that Modibbo Kawu gave himself 65 licenses. With the least license being N15million, if true, Kawu would have needed almost a billion Naira, to pay the license fees for 65!

But the Emeka Mba petition, suddenly took a life of its own. It became a very useful instrument to serve an original agenda: to get Modibbo Kawu out of the NBC. There’s a strong Lagos and Redeemed Church connection to this agenda. The first person that took on the battle was the Head of Operations, at the ICPC, a certain Hakeem Lawal from Lagos State. He was working directly on this project with Ade Ipaye, the VP’s Chief of Staff. They decided this was an opportunity too good to lose. To make things even better, the new ICPC Board is headed by another VP sidekick, Bolaji Owosonoye, who also belongs to the Redeemed Church. The plan is to bring into the NBC, after they might have removed Modibbo Kawu, their original candidate, Dele Alake, who also belongs to the Redeemed Church. VP Yemi Osinbajo has stealthily implanted his Redeemed people into leadership in the Consumer Protection Council as well as NAFDAC, but for him and his team, NBC, is the ace of cards. Modibbo Kawu is giving Northerners licenses in areas that they were long banned from. They cannot allow that to continue. Media power, including but especially, broadcast media power, MUST remain a Southern monopoly. With Modibbo Kawu in position, there’s danger. So Willy-Nilly, he must be removed, even if the basis is spurious. There’s Premium Times, to help spin the story, plus a complicit traditional media too.

The Ministry of Justice set up two committees to examine all the details of the NBC payment to Pinnacle Communications Limited. The committees reached a verdict that there was no wrongdoing in the process and the payment. They then issued an advice to ICPC to step down the plan for indictment, and carry out further investigations, including visits to the Pinnacle DSO project sites, since no ICPC investigators have ever done so. Bolaji Owosonoye refused to acknowledge the letter, nor listened to other members of the ICPC Board. He was on a mission to ensure that Modibbo Kawu is arraigned. And that actually is their simple plan: arraign Modibbo Kawu in court, then begin a campaign that he should step aside. But the first step was to leak the information to Premium Times, that the AGF is pressuring the ICPC to drop the “corrupt payment” case against Modibbo Kawu. The idea is to ensure that the Ministry of Justice won’t then be able to intervene, in their well-orchestrated plan to remove Modibbo Kawu, and replace him with Dele Alake, a fellow member of the Redeemed Church, like the promoter of this campaign, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, through his Chief of Staff, Ade Ipaye and ICPC Chairman, Bolaji Owosonoye.

Lai Muhammed has his own personal grouses against Modibbo Kawu. The most contemporary, had to do with the politics of Kwara. He was unhappy that Modibbo Kawu participated in the gubernatorial race last year. Lai vowed that he was going to ensure that Modibbo Kawu didn’t get the ticket, and at the same time, he would make sure he never returned as DG NBC. Well, Modibbo didn’t get the ticket, but Lai Muhammed has not abandoned the plan to remove him, as NBC DG. Lai Muhammed, in fact, was said to have written the letter requesting Modibbo Kawu to step aside, until it was pointed out that only the SGF, could issue such a letter.

To sum up, what appears to be an issue of so-called “corrupt payment”, is actually high wire political intrigue. Those who have a genuine sense of justice, and especially Northerners, must “shine your eyes”; you are about to lose one of the best opportunities to have an equitable period in the history of the NBC. That is what Modibbo Kawu has worked for, in almost three years. If you don’t rally round him, and allow them to remove him, you would discover that the imbalance in broadcast media power, would be deepened. And not only that, you would have used your indifference, to assist VP Yemi Osinbajo and his team, to further the entrenchment of the Redeemed Church in the Nigerian political space. The choice you make today, will have consequences tomorrow. Northerners Shine your eyes.

Senate Presidency: Group Hails APC Governors, Senators-Elect over Lawan’s Choice

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Ahmed Lawan

The Sustainable Democracy Agenda (SUDA), a pro-democracy group has commended former governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the ninth Senate for endorsing the present Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan as President of the incoming Senate.

A statement by the convener of the group, Ibrahim Haruna Usman said the endorsement by former and serving APC governors is a vindication that the Adams Oshiomhole led National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC did not impose Lawan on senators-elect as alleged by the camp of one of the contestants for the senate presidency.

The group said “We commend the highly influential APC governors block for this support and by this endorsement the group confirmed that the choice of Lawan by the party leadership was a culmination of broad based consultations with various organs and levels of the party.

“This endorsement as revealed by the Borno State Governor, His Excellency Alhaji Kashim Shettima should put to rest any remaining hope by the minority Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to infiltrate the majority APC for the purpose of hijacking the leadership of the National Assembly as it did in 2015.”

The statement said “As a group that is interested in the growth of democracy all over Africa, SUDA commends the proactive approach of the Oshiomhole led APC in ensuring that lawmakers elected on the platform of the majority party avoid a division that could be devastating to the progress of democracy and good governance in Nigeria.

“By this decision of the APC governors, the party has effectively moved away from the indecision of 2015, which led to the power tussle that affected the productivity of the present Senate. We call on the APC leadership to sustain the ongoing dialogue with all its senators-elect to bring them on board towards actualization of this resolution.

“The APC should also monitor the activities of any member of the party that may be working to jeopardize its resolve at consolidating its majority in the legislature. SUDA is against any move at reenacting the 2015 scenario, which didn’t augur well for growth of democracy and development in the country.”

SUDA also called on the APC consensus candidate, Senator Ahmed Lawan not to relent in reaching out to all senators-elect including his opponents, as well as those of the PDP towards engendering a stable and democratically productive ninth Senate.

“It is time for all the incoming senators to key into the Lawan Project and own it, as a way of creating a united atmosphere needed for actualization of their collective and individual legislative agenda. Rebellion as has been seen in the eight Senate only led to self-destruct and institutional retrogression,” the group said.

Experts decry budget delays, seek quick passage of 2019 budget

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By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma

Financial experts on Monday called for speedy passage of the 2019 budget saying incessant delay in the approval of budgets over the years contributed to the downturn in the economy.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews in Lagos that the legislature needed to fast track the passage of the budget to kickstart economic activities in the new year.

Prof. Sheriffdeen Tella, Professor of Economics, Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye, Ogun, said perennial delays in passing yearly budgets showed that the legislature was ignorant of its responsibility.

“The perennial delay in passing budgets indicates that the legislature is either ignorant of this responsibility or deliberately frustrating the efforts of the executive arm to perform,” tella said.

He said early passage of the budget would promote economic growth and development.

“The Nigerian economy depends on government’s budget to function properly. The private sector particularly needs to see government direction to plan and execute their plans.

“Early passage of budget helps in this regard. The private sector is the major participant in the capital market.

“Growth enhancing activities in the capital market are negatively affected by the delay in passing the budget,” tella said.

He noted that passing the federal budget in good time was capable of promoting economic growth, assisting private sector for optimal business performance as well as energising money and capital market activities.

Tella explained that early budget passage would promote planing in the lower levels of governments and the private sector.

Mr Sola Oni, a chartered stockbroker and Chief Executive Officer, Sofunix Investment and Communications, said delay in the passage of the budget was highly injurious to economic growth and development.

“Budget sends signals to stockbrokers and other investment advisers on the sectors to watch and where to raise red flags annually.

“This enables them to advise their clients on taking positions and reviewing their portfolios accordingly.

“At macro level, early passage of the budget implies prompt implementation of capital projects. This is critical to the growth of the economy as it has impact on growing the Gross Domestic Products (GDP),” oni said.

He emphasised that the executive and the National Assembly should be on the same page in terms of timing.

“It has become a recurring decimal for both parties to be enmeshed in controversies either politically motivated or genuine,” he stated.

Also speaking, Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd., said the budgeting cycle of Nigeria was already a problem and concern for Nigerians as business plans were affected with late submission and approval.

Omordion said the delay and implementation style had made the budget less meaningful and impactful.

He said capital projects must wait for approval before commencement of work, while recurrent expenses would be running.

“For our budget to make meaning and drive economic activities, the executive and legislature need to have a re-think and restore the nation’s fiscal year to January and December.

“In the last 11 years, the only year the budget was approved early was in 2013, Feb. 26, because that was the earliest time the budget was submitted on Oct. 10, 2012,” Omordion said.

Nigeria to host 5th Agro-food expo – official

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By Itohan Abara-Laserian

Eight countries are expected to participate in the fifth Agro-food and Plastprintpack Nigeria 2019, aimed at providing solutions to the challenging needs of the entire agricultural value chain.

Mr Akin Alabi, the Managing Partner, Corporate Farmers International, made this known in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.

The countries to participate in the event scheduled to hold from March 26 to March 28 in Lagos are Belarus, China, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Turkey.

The statement quoted Alabi as saying that Nigeria was fast becoming Africa’s largest food market, according to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

“Nigeria invests heavily in its food production increasing import of food processing and packaging machinery by 15 per cent in 2017, amounting to about 262 million Euros.

“This amount makes Nigeria the second largest importer of packaging technologies in sub-Saharan Africa, while imports for packaging technologies increased by 34 per cent in 2018.

“This double digit growth in 2017 and 2018, according to the German Engineering Federation, and the Federal Government’s forecasts will also cause a double-digit growth in 2019,” he said.

Alabi said that the event would comprise three sub-brands; Agro-Tech Nigeria, Food and Beverage Tech Nigeria, and Food and Hospitality Nigeria.

“Agro-Nigeria has been organised by Fairtrade Messe and DLG German Agricultural Society since 2015, focusing on crop and animal production, agricultural engineering and bio-energy.”

Osinbajo turns ‘Drummer Boy’ in Ado Odo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has put the chopper mishap in Kabba, Kogi state behind him as he hopped into Ado Odo, Ogun state, to continue his Next Level campaign, towards the 16 February presidential election.

And he shocked his entourage when he showed his dexterity on the drum.

In the town, he was warmly received by the people and he also had a family chat with  Alhaji Jamiu Sanusi.

He was accompanied by the APC Governorship Candidate in Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun; Senator Babafemi Ojudu and other top government officials.

Osinbajo and APC governorship candidate with Alhaji Jamiu Sanusi’s family
Osinbajo with the wife of Alhaji Jamiu sanusi
A woman explains a product to Osinbajo
Osinbajo salutes women of Ado Odo

Lassa fever, Meningitis claim 26 lives in Nigeria -NCDC

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Lassa fever and cerebro spinal meningitis (CSM) have claimed 26 lives and infected 88 others in 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in its report  captioned Week 04 (January 21 – 27, 2019), 77 new cases of the fever were recorded in 13 states and Abuja.

A breakdown itemised the tallies as Edo (24); Ondo (28); Ebonyi (five); Bauchi (three); Plateau (five); Taraba (three); Gombe (one); Kaduna (one); Kwara (one); FCT (one); Benue (two), Rivers (one); Kogi (one) and Enugu (one).

The centre noted that there were 11 new deaths in Edo; two in Ondo; one for Benue and one also in Rivers.

Others were Plateau (two); Taraba (one) and Bauchi (one).

According to the NCDC, from January 1 to 27 this year, 538 suspected cases of the ailment were reported in 16 states, with 213 incidents confirmed positive, two probable and 325 negative.

The disease centre noted that since the onset of the 2019 outbreak, there had been 42 deaths.

It said 16 states (Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Plateau, Taraba, FCT, Adamawa and Gombe, Kaduna, Kwara, Benue, Rivers Kogi and Enugu) had recorded at least an incident.

Moussa Dembele shines as Lyon end PSG’s unbeaten run

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Moussa Dembele scored and won a penalty as Lyon stunned Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 on Sunday to end the runaway leaders’ hopes of an unbeaten Ligue 1 campaign.

Angel Di Maria fired PSG into a seventh-minute lead, but Dembele equalised and Nabil Fekir scored the winner from the spot three minutes after half-time.

The reigning champions remain 10 points clear of second-placed Lille at the top of the table, with two games in hand, while Lyon strengthened their grip on third spot.

All eyes will now turn to the Champions League for PSG, with only a French Cup tie at third-tier Villefranche and a home game against Bordeaux to come before the last-16, first-leg clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford on February 12.

Man United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his assistant Mike Phelan were both in attendance at the Groupama Stadium on Sunday, just hours after their side’s 1-0 Premier League win at Leicester.

The pair would have learned plenty from watching Lyon regularly slice through the PSG defence against seemingly little resistance.

On paper, this looked the toughest test remaining for PSG in their bid to go through the league season unbeaten, having won on just two of their previous 13 Ligue 1 visits to Lyon, losing seven.

But Thomas Tuchel’s men almost forged ahead inside the first two minutes, as Kylian Mbappe raced clear only to shoot tamely at Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

The away side did not have to wait long to strike, though, as Houssem Aouar carelessly gifted possession to Julian Draxler, who strode forward and teed up Di Maria to slot in his 10th goal of the season.

– Lyon dominate –

But Lyon, on a six-match unbeaten run in the league themselves, quickly improved and twice wasted clear-cut chances to level, as PSG ‘keeper Alphonse Areola denied Bertrand Traore from point-blank range before Dembele nodded wide.

Areola had to be alert again, springing to his right to tip away a vicious long-range drive from Nabil Fekir, before producing a wonderful double stop from Traore and Memphis Depay.

However, just seconds after another excellent save to deny Fekir, Areola was totally at fault for Lyon’s 33rd-minute equaliser.

The 25-year-old misjudged Leo Dubois’ cross, allowing Dembele the simplest of tasks to head into the net.

PSG almost snatched a half-time lead against the run of play, but Lyon centre-back Jason Denayer made an incredible diving header to keep out Draxler’s close-range shot.

Lyon, who face Barcelona in the Champions League knockout stage, continued to dominate after the restart, and were awarded a spot-kick when Dembele was brought down by Thiago Silva, with Fekir doing the rest.

That provoked PSG into life, and Lopes made two brilliant saves from Mbappe in the space of just 20 seconds.

Mbappe was PSG’s best hope of salvaging their unbeaten record, but he saw Lopes divert away a low drive, before former Celtic striker Dembele wasted a golden opportunity to wrap up the points as he was again foiled by Areola.

But Lyon held on anyhow, ending their opponents’ 21-game unbeaten run in the French top flight.

World Wizkid Day: Fans eulogise music star

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By Anita Eboigbe

Thousands of fans have taken to Twitter to list Wizkid’s achievements under the hash tag #WorldWizkidDay.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that #WorldWizkidDay is the number two trending topic on Twitter at the time of this report with fans eulogising the ‘Ojuelegba’ singer.

The trend started after videos of his interview with a US radio station went viral. The hosts of the show were starstruck and attempted to take photographs with Wizkid while the interview was ongoing.

Following that, more videos of his career milestones flooded the timeline. These included his O2 show, his major interview as an upcoming artist, his iconic visit to a racially diverse London high school and his declaration at Minnesota.

Fans also took the opportunity to share their most iconic Wizkid moments, best songs from the singer and the traits he is most loved for.

@Mistamd001 tweeted, “Till date Ayo still remain the best selling album in Africa. Stfos still remain most stream album outa Africa.#WorldWizkidDay”

@Itzbassito said, “Wizkid’s SFTOS EP peaked at no 107 on Billboard hot 200 album chart. It’s the third Nigerian album to ever appear on Billboard hot 200 album chart. The other albums to ever appear there are KSA albums.#WorldWizkidDay”

@ItzKing_noni said, “Do u know that Wizkid is the only African artist that has more than 200 HIT songs, I mean HIT songs not just songs. “HIT” take note of the “HIT” #WorldWizkidDay”

@IsimaOdeh tweeted, “Chris Martin of Coldplay, a 7-time Grammy Award winner saying watching Wizkid perform is a dream come true, which made him cry. #WorldWizkidDay”

@Itzbasito wrote, “Wizkid was paid $150,000 for his performance at 2017 GLO CAF awards in Ghana. He only performed for 4mins 55 seconds #WorldWizkidDay”

The music star is also the first African artist to walk the runway at a Dolce and Gabbana fashion show while his music `Soco’ played at the background.

Wizkid started recording music at age 11 and managed to release a collaborative album with the Glorious Five, a group he and a couple of his church friends formed.