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Friday, 31 July 2015

Sabouteurs,Poor equipment others hamper effective war against Boko Haram - Badeh

Former Chief of Defence Staff, retired Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh, has said that fifth columnists within the military who leaked sensitive information and operational plans to Boko Haram terrorists, constituted the main reason for the relatively unsuccessful war against the terrorist under his command.
Badeh disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja during a ceremony to mark his retirement from the Nigerian Armed Forces.
He said that the terrorists often had prior knowledge of troops movement based on the information given to them by the saboteurs in the military.
As a result, he said, the terrorists would set up ambushes which troops often walked into, thereby, leading to the killing of many soldiers and officers who unknowingly fell into the ambush.
He said: “The activities of fifth columnists in the military and other security agencies who leaked operational plans and other sensitive military information to the terrorist, combined to make the fight against the insurgents particularly difficult.
“The activities of these unpatriotic members of the military not only blunted the effectiveness of the fight, but also led to the needless deaths of numerous officers and men who unwittingly fell into ambushes prepared by terrorists who had advance warnings of the approach of such troops.”
Badeh who described the war against Boko Haram as the most complex and challenging assignment of his 38-year-long career, said the refusal of some foreign countries to sell arms to Nigeria to prosecute the war also hampered the effectiveness of the war against the insurgents.
The ex-CDS said he was faced with the dilemma of leading a military which lacked the modern equipment needed to fight an enemy that was invisible and embedded with the local populace.
Badeh also blamed past governments for neglecting the military over the years and consequently for the partial failure of the campaign, noted that an effective military must be built at peace time.
“Permit me to also add here, that nation’s militaries are equipped and trained in peace time, for the conflicts they expect to confront in the future.
“Unfortunately that has not been our experience as a nation. Over the years, the military was neglected and under-equipped to ensure the survival of certain regimes, while other regimes, based on advice from some foreign nations, deliberately reduced the size of the military and underfunded it.
“Accordingly, when faced with the crisis in the North East and other parts of the country, the military was overstretched and had to embark on emergency recruitments and trainings, which were not adequate to prepare troops for the kind of situation we found ourselves in.
“It is important, therefore, for the government to decide on the kind of military force it needs, by carrying out a comprehensive review of the nation’s military force structure to determine the size, capability and equipment holding required to effectively defend the nation and provide needed security,” he said.
Badeh, however, noted that, in spite of the herculean challenges and low morale, a lot was achieved during his tenure, which he attributed to the fighting spirit of some patriotic troops

Thursday, 30 July 2015

"Honeymoon? Tinubu, You Goofed! ” - Ajulo

An Abuja lawyer and human rights activist, Kayode Ajulo, has criticized statements attributed to the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, in which he called on Nigerians to exercise patience as President Muhammadu Buhari was still in “a honeymoon period”.
Describing the statements as “diversionary and mischievous”, Ajulo who is the National Secretary of the Labour Party wondered why the APC chieftain would resort to insulting the sensibilities of Nigerians after Nigerians had vested confidence in the party’s candidate and voted him in as president of the nation.
“It is actually shocking that a person of the caliber of Bola Ahmed Tinubu would trivialize the challenges confronting Nigerians by asking them to cut President Buhari some slack because, according to him, the president needs time for honeymooning.
“The numerous issues confronting Nigerians are not on recess, are they?” he queried. “Why advocate for a honeymoon period of 100 days? Nigerians are battling with many issues on a daily basis, and here you have a man who should know better asking Nigerians to allow the president some time to holiday”.
Speaking with journalists at the Labour Party National Secretariat on Wednesday 29th July, the Labour Party scribe who is also the founder of the Egalitarian Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organization committed to seeking equal rights and opportunities for all people regardless of social status, accused the National Leader of the APC of subtly encouraging the president to take the challenges of leading Nigeria lightly.
“The statement is quite unfortunate and actually also very revealing; it leads me to wonder if Chief Tinubu really wants the best for Nigeria. For a man who insists that his priority is the welfare of Nigerians, encouraging malingering on the part of the president calls into question his professed patriotism.
“I gather he made references to the practices common to developed nations in which political analysts cut elected leaders some slack and commence evaluation of performance only after about three months in office. That appears to be an attempt to hoodwink Nigerians into non-vigilance and to mislead them from holding government accountable,” he said.
He further clarified his opposition to such statement stating that Nigerian realities cannot be compared with other nations because "our situation here is unique", and leaders in those nations are not burdened with the challenge of leading an ailing nation like Nigeria and hence need no urgency in governance like Nigeria does.
“The realities confronting us here as Nigerians are a different ball game from what obtains in these nations he made references to. Leaders in those nations can actually afford to take a six-month vacation after assuming office but it is different here. Nigeria is in dire straits, the nation is critically sick and there is no time to dilly-dally at all. We need men who are willing to work overtime in fact, and not those who will seek excuses to play truant, or leaders given to absenteeism. 
Ajulo called on Nigeria not to relent from their constitutional role of holding their leaders accountable as citizens, stating that without an atmosphere of non-vigilance would only encourage indolence on the part of elected leaders.
“We all know that popular- eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, so I want to urge Nigerians to ignore Chief Tinubu’s call for patience on the part of Nigerians. We did not elect the president so that he could go honeymooning or holidaying. Besides we all remember the president’s numerous promises during the campaign season when he vowed to hit the ground running, and to work assiduously to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians,” he stated.
He said even though it is common knowledge that President Buhari is indeed a honourable man who is expected to live up to his words and keep his side of the bargain with Nigerians, it is only natural and expected that Nigerians should hold him accountable and demand that he fulfill his campaign promises.
APC National Leader Bola Tinubu made the call for Nigerians to exercise patience and allow President Buhari to have his “honeymoon period”, while addressing journalists at the State House in Abuja on Tuesday. He appealed to Nigerians to wait till the 100-day benchmark before commencing performance ratings on the president.

Olukolade replaced with Abubakar as Defence Spokesman!

As Defence spokesman Olukolade retires, Abubakar takes over

The Director, Defence Information, Maj. Gen Chris Olukolade, is to retire from the Nigerian Army, having reached his retirement age.
Olukolade is due to hand over his position as the Director Defence Information to Col. Rabe Abubakar on Tuesday 4th August, 2015, NUJ Europe gathered.
The Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Wednesday, approved the appointment of Abubakar as the Acting Director, Defence Information. A Media Consultancy outfit to the Nigerian military, the PR Nigeria, stated in a statement on Thursday, that Olukolade had also handed over his position as the Chairman of the Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies to the Director of Information of the Nigerian Navy, Commodore Kabiru Aliyu. Olukolade was said to have informed his colleagues at FOSSRA that he was retiring from service, having got to the age of retirement. The outgoing Defence spokesman was quoted as having said he ought to have left the service in November, 2014, but was asked to remain in office by the Army Council, which extended his service.
The outgoing Director, General Olukolade was appointed in March, 2013


The Electric City

When I first arrived in London at the start of my trip, the skies were blue and clear. It was December but not too cold, I actually found the air clear and refreshing. I was staying in an old Georgian terrace house, on a street full of them, around the corner from Portobello Market. I would go down the street, stopping for a coffee or a chorizo roll a vendor was selling (delicious!). The market was buzzing with funky clothes stores and little cafes. Posters advertised Kurdish film festivals, and cool-sounding nightclub events, and new pop stars. A West Indian man dressed as Santa Claus was playing a steel drum.
At night I would ride on the second floor of a double decker bus -a novel sensation -into Oxford Street, through phantom-like neon Christmas decorations and thronging crowds, or stop at the internet cafe along the buzzing, late night Arab strip on Edgeware Road. I visited museums and parks and art galleries, and flicked through my Timeout listings guide: the options were endless. London seemed so vibrant, and yet also so cute – with its double decker buses and its red phone booths and its leafy squares. And it was so “happening”, everyone was here – like the centre of the universe. There were crowds everywhere radiating energy. I was hooked; and spent the rest of my trip in Europe looking forward to my return.
At the end of the honeymoon, I tagged along with Daisuke (who had a conference there) for another weekend. Arriving at London City Airport, I had to take the train into Hyde park, where we were staying. It was drizzling and grey and as the train glid over the Isle of Dogs and through the East End, my mood dropped. This was a whole different cityscape, one of carparks and warehouses and huger construction sites where the city was being ripped open and it seemed, clumsily stuck back together ; huge, drab housing blocks alternated with grim streets of Victorian tenements; hard-looking and mean, with not a twig of greenery in sight. Above them towered new, and hardly-more-appealing, fortress-like condo developments. Everyone on the train was wearing tracksuits and grim expressions It started to rain. We passed the huge, grotesque Milennium Dome – gargantuan, alien looking and hideous, glimpsed from the train through a frame of passing junk yards. I got off, lugging my heavy bags and tried to exit – only to be told that the ticket I’d purchased from the machine was somehow invalid. I was fined 20 pounds by a gaunt, sallow man with appalling teeth. I went to drown my sorrows with a large Pepsi and big Mac, standing under the harsh fluoroescent lighting of a handy McDonalds, and I looked around at the similarly depressed faces all around me, a United Nations of bad skin, all wolfing down their greasy burgers. Wow, I thought. London sucks.
I felt like the city had kicked me in the guts, or it was a huge soulless machine, utterly indifferent. One that would grind me down then spit me out.
And yet, by the end of the day – after a successful sightseeing foray to Southall (see below) – I was in love with London again. At its worst, I have no doubt London can be soul-destroying. Living in a shitty (yet overpriced) studio in one of those windwept, uncared for estates, commuting daily through surging crowds and shitty weather; just the thought depresses me. But there is something about London that saves it – a wild card. Perhaps it is randomness, and unpredictablity, and its huge variety. Its a city that give you anything if you care to look, and can knock you senseless if you let it. I get the sense that you can never “know”  London, never get it cornered. There is so much bubbling away in its different corners, sometimes blissfully unaware of each other and more often colliding, and melding in new and unexpected ways, like experiments in a chemistry lab. For no city in the world perhaps has given so much; its music, its “look”, its humour (sometimes harsh, often gentle), its language … and there is always something new around the corner. London has an electricity all its own.
Blur – London Loves

Britain Mutates

The one thing about London that struck me the hardest – whether in good neighborhoods or bad – was the babble of different languages, the swirl of people. Because EVERYONE is in London. As a Chinese-Australian friend and her Sri Lankan-Australian boyfriend had told me, its not a big deal where you come from in London, because everyone is from somewhere else. Literally, almost every person had a different accent; Italian, Pakistani, many I couldn’t trace. It has to be the most cosmopolitan city on Earth. All of Europe is here; they come from Gdansk and Kiev to work in shops, and fly in from Moscow and Dubai to buy up half of Kensington. They pour in on Easyjet, from Bergen or Madrid, to go shopping and see a show. Italians swarm over the Underground, and Scandinavians clog up Oxford Street, young children in tow. Twenty-somethings from Madrid/Lyon/Thessaloniki/Bucharest come to study English and work as waiters. Thrusting young professionals flock to Europe’s highest-paid jobs, in the City. The faces on the subway are black, brown, Mediterranean, veiled. I saw a platinum-blonde, punk Arab lesbian complaining loudly about her girl troubles, and stood behind a middle-aged woman in Boots in her fur-lined Winter hijab.
Of course there are communities from Britain’s former colonies; Indians and Jamaicans and Nigerians and Bangladeshis; but also ones I hadn’t expected; Vietnamese in Hackney, Moroccans in Ladbroke Grove, Congolese and Somalis in Haringey, Brazilians, Colombians and thousands and thousands of Poles.
Look at these language learning kits I spotted in a bookshop in Bayswater; Korean, fair enough, but Farsi and Zulu (!!!)
I loved that about London. It’s the new Babel.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015


Kabiyesi, His Imperial Majesty , Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, dark late on Tuesday 28th July, 2015 was reportedly believed to have kicked the bucket in a London hospital after a brief illness at the age of 85.
Ooni of Ife
Although there was no official confirmation from the traditional ruler’s palace on Tuesday to confirm this widely reported news, The Street Journal  gathered that the news on the controversial demise of the Oba, whose official title was His Imperial Majesty, Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II, was communicated  through a condolence message to the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola on late night of Tuesday 28th, July 2015. The news was earlier on 29th July, 2015 (next day) described as rumour by the Ife Royal Traditional Council who briefed the media men and the members of the public who stormed the palace in Ife that they should ignore the news and stated that Oba Olubuse II the monarch, is alive and in a sound state of health. Osun State government is yet to make any official statement about the reported news of the demise, as at time of filling this report.
Officially, Alayeluwa Oba Okunade Sijuwade was born on January 1, 1930. He became the 50th traditional ruler or Ooni of Ife at the age of 50 in 1980, taking the regnal name Olubuse II.
According to online Wikipedia, the late Ooni was crowned on December 6, 1980 in a ceremony attended by his close friend and business partner, the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero; the Oba of Benin, Omo n'Oba n'Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Erediauwa I; the Amayanabo of Opobo; and Olu of Warri, Late Aare Musulumi Of Yoruba Land, Alh. Abdul Aziz Arisekola Alao, as well as by representatives of the Queen of England.
Born in Ile-Ife to the Ogbooru ruling house, Sijuwade was the grandson of the Ooni Sijuwade Adelekan Olubuse I. He studied at Abeokuta Grammar School and Oduduwa College in Ile-Ife.
He worked for three years in his father’s business, then for two years with the Nigerian Tribune, before attending Northampton College in the United Kingdom to study business management.
By the age of 30, he was a manager in Leventis, a Greek-Nigerian conglomerate. In 1963, he became Sales Director of the state-owned National Motors Lagos. After spotting a business opportunity during a 1964 visit to the Soviet Union, he formed a company to distribute Soviet-built vehicles and equipment in Nigeria, which became the nucleus of a widespread business empire.
He also invested in real estate in his hometown of Ile Ife. By the time Sijuwade was crowned Ooni in 1980 he had become a wealthy man.
Sijuwade was a Christian. In November 2009, he attended the annual general meeting of the Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria accompanied by 17 other traditional rulers.
He declared that he was a full member of the church, and said all the monarchs who accompanied him would now become members. At his birthday celebration two months later, the Primate of the Anglican Communion described Sijuwade as “a humble monarch, who has the fear of God at heart”.

Read more about :Historical Facts about The ODUDUWA [View]
History of Ile-Ife [View]

As the Ooni of Ife or Ile Ife, the late Oba Sijuwade presided over what is believed to be the cradle of Yorubaland. Accordingly, b Oòni of Ife claims direct descent from Oduduwa, the mythical son of Olodumare – the supreme God – and is counted first among the Yoruba kings.
He is traditionally considered the 401st spirit (Orisha), the only one that speaks. In fact, the royal dynasty of Ife traces its origin back to the founding of the city more than 2,000 years ago.
Following the formation of the Yoruba Orisha Congress in 1986, the Ooni acquired an international status, the like of which the holders of his title had not held since the city’s colonisation by the British.
The late Oba left behind his wives, his first son Prince Tokunbo Sijuwade, and several other children.

By Aare Oluwole Arisekola, publisher The StreetJournal

Monday, 27 July 2015

Let Buhari Face His Business, Fighting Boko Haram – US Senator Leahy

Let Buhari Face His Business, Fighting Boko Haram – US Senator Leahy

Reaction Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) To Nigerian President Buhari’s Mis-Directed Criticism Of The Leahy Law On Human Rights

“It is well documented by the State Department and by respected human rights organizations that Nigerian army personnel have, for many years, engaged in a pattern and practice of gross violations of human rights against the Nigerian people and others, including summary executions of prisoners, indiscriminate attacks against civilians, torture, forced disappearances and rape.  Rarely have the perpetrators been prosecuted or punished.
“This abusive conduct not only violates the laws of war, it creates fear and loathing among the Nigerian people whose support is necessary to defeat a terrorist group like Boko Haram.
“President Buhari ignores the undisputed fact that most Nigerian army units have been approved, under the Leahy Law, for U.S. training and equipment.  Only those particular units against which there is credible evidence of the most heinous crimes are ineligible for U.S. aid.  And even those units can again become eligible if the Nigerian Government takes effective steps to bring the responsible individuals to justice.
“I strongly agree with President Buhari about the need to defeat Boko Haram, and I have supported tens of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to Nigeria for that purpose. But rather than suggest that the United States is at fault for not funding murderers and rapists in the Nigerian military, he should face up to his own responsibility to effectively counter Boko Haram.  He should direct his attention to the Nigerian military, and the Nigerian courts, and clean up the units implicated in such atrocities.”

Nigerian star Ola Aina to join Domnic Sholanke in the New Season with Chelsea !

Ola Aina and Jake Clarke-Salter will benefit from time on Chelsea’s pre-season 

This year is no different for Jose Mourinho has left an army of experienced players at home and taken youth players on tour instead. Two young prospects that stand out and may not be known to every Chelsea fan are defenders Jake Clarke-Salter and Ola Aina.

These two unknown defenders can save Chelsea millions in the transfer window
Ola Aina is another talented young player (Picture: Getty Images)
17-year-old Clarke-Salter and 18-year-old Aina have come through the club’s academy since they were kids and formed a key part in the club’s 2014/15 FA Youth Cup success, they will be looking to impress and build on an impressive campaign in the youth set up last season. They join fellow member of that squad Dominic Solanke who made his full debut at the end of last season. Aina played 24 minutes during the club’s first pre-season game against New York Red Bulls, however both were unused substitutes against PSG.

Pre-season is a time when managers take a look at their squad and finalise their plans for the season ahead away from the pressures of the Premier League.
During this time, managers often take time to look at some of the youth team players that are coming through the academy and see how they are matching up against the first team by taking them on tour.
Touring squads for pre-season friendlies that cover the globe may include a number of youth team players, brought along for analysis and to lighten the playing time load as the medical teams micro manage the minutes that the first team regulars spend on the pitch. These can often be players that have only played youth team football, surfacing on the radar of all but the most avid of fans for the first time.

These two unknown defenders can save Chelsea millions in the transfer window
Jake Clarke-Salter is on Chelsea’s tour of the USA (Picture: Getty Images)

It is an exciting time for the youngsters. They should make sure they take in and savor every moment, this is a once in a life time opportunity and for those that do not quite make it can be the highlight of their time at a Premier League club.

Source: Metro UK

My Cabinet is for patriotic technocrats and politicans -Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in Abuja reassured that only patriotic, decent and experienced Nigerians would be appointed as ministers in his government.
The President, who was responding to questions on ‘Good Morning Nigeria’, a television programme, said that politicians and technocrats would make the list of nominees for ministerial appointments.
“From what I have seen so far, we need really patriotic Nigerians – Nigerians that can work very hard, knowledgeable, experienced, committed Nigerians – to be in charge of ministries.
“A lot of the institutions of Nigeria – important institutions – were compromised. Everybody was for himself and God for all of us; its most unfortunate.
“We have the people, educated people, experienced people but everybody seemed to be working for himself – how much he could get as much and as quick as possible.
“We have to look for technocrats and we have to look for politicians and certainly we have to look for decent people in this class to give them the responsibility of being in charge of ministries and important parastatals (agencies)”.
On reported under-dealings in the nation’s oil and gas sector, the President said that the Federal Government was working very assiduously to expose the persons behind the illegal activity.
He promised that his administration would continue to update members of the public on government’s investigation into the matter.
He said that government’s aim was to identify and prosecute all those found culpable.
According to him, the relevant shipping documents are being compiled for onward submission to countries of destination of stolen Nigerian crude oil.
“The search continues; up to the third of this month, our crude was still being illegally lifted by people who are in government.
“We are trying to get these documents. We are getting the cooperation of the international community.
“We are going to make sure that those who perpetrated this theft against Nigeria are faced with facts very soon and are taken to our courts.
“We’ve got the cooperation of some of the countries of the destinations of our crude (oil) and we are discussing with them.
“We have to maintain high confidentiality so that we don’t risk some of the loyal Nigerians that are helping us to trace the destinations of this stolen crude and then the accounts into which the monies are being paid instead of the Federal Government account.“
Buhari said that his administration was still studying the recommendations on how the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation should be reorganised.
He described his recent trip to the United States (US) as very successful as he was able to extract the commitment of the American government to assist and support Nigeria toward tackling the economic and security challenges it was facing.
He said that the US and other European countries had also pledged to assist Nigeria by putting in place necessary security mechanism in the Gulf of Guinea to help check the theft of the country’s crude oil.
Commenting on the leadership tussle in the National Assembly, the President reiterated his that he would not interfere directly in the affairs of the lawmakers.
Buhari, who expressed displeasure and frustration over the lingering crisis in the Assembly, however, called on those behind the dispute to search their conscious and obey party’s decisions on issues concerning their affairs.
He called on Nigerians to cooperate with his administration to move the country forward and warned that no part of the country would be allowed to operate on its own.
The President added that the Nigeria “must remain one”.

Children and mentally ill lead new wave of suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers

Damaturu was the scene of a triple suicide bombing on July 18 when three girls blew themselves up
Damaturu was the scene of a triple suicide bombing on July 18 when three girls blew themselves up
Picture: AP

Militants continue to rampage across northern Nigeria and Cameroon as local forces prepare new battle to contain rising regional security threat

A 12-year-old girl and a “mentally handicapped” woman were among those who carried a weekend wave of suicide bombings by suspected Islamic militants in northern Nigeria and Cameroon that left more than 60 people dead and hundreds fleeing their homes.
The attacks were widely blamed on Boko Haram, the Islamic State-affiliated terror group that has carried out widespread atrocities in the region since 2009.
The most recent bombing came on Sunday morning in a crowded market in north-eastern Nigerian town of Damaturu when a “mentally handicapped” bomber struck, killing 15 and injuring 47 others.
That attack came just hours after a 12-year-old girl killed 20 people in a Saturday night attack on a bar in the Cameroonian city of Maroua, a commercial hub of the extreme north of Cameroon close to the Nigerian and Chadian borders.
It came a day after Boko Haram were blamed for a series of attacks on villages across the border in north-eastern Nigeria that left at least 25 dead and forced hundreds more to flee their burning homes. 
Over the past two years Boko Haram fighters have carried out several cross-border raids and abductions in northern Cameroon but the country, which is engaged in a regional fightback against the jihadists, had previously been spared from suicide attacks.
A new, five-nation force – from Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin – is due to deploy by July 30 to take on the militants, whose six-year insurgency has left at least 15,000 dead and increasingly threatens regional security.
Earlier this month the new Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari visited Washington and received pledges for greater US assistance, however the US continues to refuse to provide arms shipments to Nigeria citing its poor record on corruption and human rights.
Mr Buhari recently criticised that decision as tantamount to “aiding and abetting” the terrorists, but is under mounting pressure to tackle the militants after a fresh outbreak of violence left 800 people dead since he came to power in May.
But despite repeated promises from Nigerian leaders that the militants would be crushed, the attacks keep coming on both sides of the Nigerian-Cameroon border.
Last Wednesday 13 people were killed in twin bombings in Maroua carried out by two girls said to be "under 15" years of age. That assault was the second of its kind in the area in the past 10 days.
Meanwhile Damaturu, the capital of Nigeria’s Yobe state that has been worst-hit by Boko Haram, was the scene of a triple suicide bombing on July 18 when three girls blew themselves up killing at least 13 people as residents prepared for the Eid festival marking the end of Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Culled from The Telegraph

Whitney Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown dies at 22

Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of late singer Whitney Houston, has died aged 22, a family representative has said.
Kristen Foster said she passed away on Sunday surrounded by her family and was "finally at peace in the arms of God".
Brown was discovered face down and unresponsive in a bathtub on 31 January and placed in a medically induced coma. She never regained consciousness.
She was moved to a hospice in the city of Duluth, Georgia, a month ago after her condition deteriorated.
Brown was the only daughter of Houston and R&B singer Bobby Brown.
Whitney Houston was found dead in a hotel bath in Los Angeles in 2012.
Whitney Houston and Bobbi Kristina Brown
The family posted a photo of Whitney with Bobbi Kristina as a baby with the following message:
"It is hard to say goodbye. On Sunday, July 26, Bobbi Kristina Brown made her transition peacefully. The family thanks everyone for their loving thoughts and prayers. As Bobbi Kristina would say: 'The wind is behind me and the sun is in my face.'"
"Bobbi Kristina Brown passed away July 26 2015, surrounded by her family," Ms Foster added.
"She is finally at peace in the arms of God. We want to again thank everyone for their tremendous amount of love and support during these last few months."
Singer Dionne Warwick, Whitney Houston's cousin, described Bobbi Kristina as "a sweetheart".
"She will be missed, that's for sure. She was a good girl. She was a good little girl. She really was," she told Bravo's Watch What Happens Live.
Singer Whitney Houston and daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown arrive at an event in Beverly Hills, California. Feb 2011.
Bobbi Kristina's mother, Whitney Houston, was found dead in a bathtub in Los Angeles
Other stars paid tribute on Twitter, including Selma director Ava DuVernay, who said: "She seemed to be caught in the web of celebrity upon arrival. Twenty two years. A sad end. May the sister have peace now."
The BBC's Regan Morris in Los Angeles says Brown had dreamed of carrying on her mother's legacy as a singer and actress, and had a few small TV roles - but her career had not yet taken off.
In January, police said Brown was found face down in a bathtub in the suburban Atlanta home she shared with Nick Gordon, the man she called her husband. A police report described the incident as a "drowning".
Mr Gordon said at the time she did not appear to be breathing and lacked a pulse before emergency services arrived.
Brown was placed in a medically-induced coma and has been breathing with the aid of a ventilator.

Sunday, 26 July 2015


By Reuben Abati

Reuben Abati

Spokesman to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Reuben Abati in this piece titled The Phones No Longer Ring writes about his busy life as a spokesman to the former President.


As spokesman to President Goodluck Jonathan, my phones rang endlessly and became more than personal navigators within the social space. They defined my entire life; dusk to dawn, all year-round. The phones buzzed non-stop, my email was permanently active; my twitter account received tons of messages per second.  The worst moments were those days when there was a Boko Haram attack virtually every Sunday. 

The intrusion into my private life was total as my wife complained about her sleep being disrupted by phones that never seemed to stop ringing. Besides, whenever I was not checking or responding to the phones, I was busy online trying to find out if the APC had said something contrarian or some other fellow was up to any mischief. A media manager in the 21st century is a slave of the Breaking News, a slave particularly of the 24-hour news cycle, and a potential nervous breakdown case. Debo Adesina, my colleague at The Guardian once said I was running a “one week, one trouble schedule”. There were actually moments when trouble knocked on the door every hour, and duty required my team and I to respond to as many issues that came up. 

Top of the task list was the management of phone calls related to the principal. In my first week on the job, for example, one of my phones ran out of battery and I had taken the liberty to charge it. While it was still in the off mode, the “Control Room”: the all-powerful communications centre at the State House tried to reach me. They had only just that phone number, so I couldn’t be reached. When eventually they did, the fellow at the other end was livid.

“SA Media, where are you? We have been trying to reach you. Mr President wants to speak with you”

“Sorry, I was charging my phone.  The phone was off.”

“Sir, you can’t switch off your phone now.  Mr President must be able to reach you at any time. You must always be available.”  I was like: “really? Which kin job be dis?”

The Control Room eventually collected all my phone numbers. If I did not pick up a call on time, they called my wife. Sometimes the calls came directly from the Residence, as we referred to the President’s official quarters.

“Abati, Oga dey call you!”

If I still could not be reached, every phone that was ever connected to me would ring non-stop. Busy bodies who had just picked up the information that Abati was needed also often took it upon themselves to track me down. My wife soon got used to her being asked to produce me, or a car showing up to take me straight to the Residence. I eventually got used to it too, and learnt to remain on duty round-the-clock.  In due course, President Jonathan himself would call directly. My wife used to joke that each time there was a call from him, even if I was sleeping, I would spring to my feet and without listening to what he had to say, I would start with a barrage of “Yes sirs”! Other calls that could not be joked with were calls from my own office. Something could come up that would require coverage, or there could be a breaking story, or it could be something as harmless as office gossip, except that in the corridors of power, nothing is ever harmless. Looking back now, I still can’t figure out how I survived that onslaught of the terror of the telephone.

Of equal significance were the calls from journalists who wanted clarifications on issues of the moment, or the President’s opinion. I don’t need to remind anyone who lived in Nigeria during the period, that we had a particularly interesting time. The Jonathan government had to deal from the very first day with a desperate and hyper-negative opposition, which gained help from a crowd of naysayers who bought into their narrative. I was required to respond to issues. Bad news sells newspapers and attracts listeners/viewers. Everything had to be managed.  You knew something had happened as the phones rang, and the text messages, emails, twitter comments poured in. The media could not be ignored. Interfacing with every kind of journalist was my main task.  I learnt many lessons,  a subject for another day.  And the busy bodies didn’t make things easy.

If in 1980, the media manager had to deal with print and broadcast journalists, today, the big task is the dilemma of the over-democratization of media practice in the age of information. The question used to be asked in Nigerian media circles: who is a journalist? Attempts were subsequently made to produce a register of professionals but that is now clearly an illusion. The media of the 21st Century is the strongest evidence we have for the triumph of democracy. Everybody is a journalist now, once you can purchase a phone or a laptop, or an ipad and you can take pictures, set up a blog, or go on instagram, linked-in, viber etc.

All kinds of persons have earned great reputation as editors and opinion influencers on social media where you don’t have to make sense to attract followers. The new stars and celebrities are not necessarily the most educated or knowledgeable, but those who, with 140 words or less, or with a picture or a borrowed quote, can produce fast-food type public intellectualism, or can excite with a little display of the exotic -Kadarshian, Nicki Minaj style.  But I was obligated to attend to all calls. The ones who didn’t receive an answer complained about Abati not picking their calls.

My defence was that most editors in Nigeria have correspondents in the State House. Every correspondent had access to me. There was no way I could be accused of not picking calls, and in any case, there were other channels: instagram, twitter direct message, email, and media assistants who could interface with me. But this was the main challenge: while in public office, people treat you as if you are at their mercy, they threaten to sabotage you and get you sacked, every phone call was a request with a price attached, you get clobbered; you are treated like you had committed a crime to serve your nation. Relatives and privileged kinsmen struggled with you to do the job - media management is that one assignment in which everyone is an expert even if their only claim to relevance is that they once had an uncle who was a newspaper vendor!

The thinking that anyone who opts to serve is there to make money in that famous arena for primitive accumulation partly accounts for this. And that takes me to those phone calls from persons who solicited for financial help as if there was a tree at the Villa that produced money. Such people would never believe that government officials don’t necessarily have access to money. They wanted to be assisted: to pay school fees, to settle medical bills, to build a house, purchase a car, complete an uncompleted building, or link them up with the President. Everybody wanted a part of the national cake and they thought a phone call was all they needed.  If you offered any explanation, they reminded you that you’d be better off on the lecture circuit. Businessmen also hovered around the system like bees around nectar. 

But what to do? “Volenti non fit injuria,” the principle says.  There were also calls from the unkind lot. “I have called you repeatedly, you did not pick my calls. I hope you know that you will leave government one day!”.  Or those who told you point blank that they were calling because you were in the position as their representative and that you owed them a living.  Or that other crowd who said, “it is our brother that has given you that opportunity, you must give us our share!”

The Presidential election went as it did, and everything changed. Days after,  State House became Ghost House. The Residence, which used to receive visitors as early as 6 am, (regular early morning devotion attendees) became quiet. The throng of visitors stopped. The number of phone calls began to drop. By May 29, my phones had stopped ringing as they used to. They more or less became museum pieces; their silence reminding me of the four years of my life that proved so momentous. On one occasion, after a whole day of silence, I had to check if the phones were damaged! As it were, a cynical public relates to you not as a person, but as the office you occupy; the moment you leave office, the people move on; erasing every memory, they throw you into yesterday’s dustbin.  Opportunism is the driver of the public’s relationship with public officials.

Today, the phones remain loudly silent, with the exception of calls from those friends who are not gloating, who have been offering words of commendation and support. They include childhood friends, former colleagues, elderly associates, fans, and family members. And those who want interviews with President Jonathan, both local and international - they want his reaction on every development, so many of them from every part of the planet. But he is resting and he has asked me to say he is not ready yet to say anything. It is truly, a different moment, and indeed, “no condition is permanent.”

The ones who won’t give up with the stream of phone calls and text messages are those who keep pestering me with requests for financial assistance. I am made to understand that there is something called “special handshake” and that everyone who goes into government is supposed to exit with carton loads of cash. I am in no position to assist such people, because no explanation will make sense to them. Here I am, at the crossroads; I am glad to be here.  



Mrs Cordelia Iweg­buna Idowu Okocha was 50 when she died of breast cancer, on August 7, 2004, and was buried in Septem­ber 2004. However,4 years after her death, she ‘visited’ her bank and withdrew more than N527,500 from her savings account in a first generation bank (name withheld).

The statement of account of the dead woman indicated that she withdrew N500,000 by ‘self ’ on February 19, 2008. On Febru­ary 28, 2008, she made another withdrawal of N27,500 by ‘self’. She made all the withdrawals at the Awolowo Road branch of the bank.

 She was survived by her only child, Chukwudi Uche Okocha who was 17 at the time of his mother's death. He said:

“My mother died on August 7, 2004 as a result of breast cancer and my dad died on February 1, 2006. He slept and did not wake up. I am the only child of my parents, I was 17 years old when my mother died. My mum was sick for about eight months, suffering from breast cancer before she gave up. Since my parents died, I’ve been managing, trying to cope through the help of family and friends.
There is a particular family that took me under their care and since then I’ve been living with them. And to God be the glory, they have been trying. I got admission into University of Lagos to study Mathematics in 2006. It has not been easy not having one’s parents around.
“My mother spent a lot of money when she was sick due to the nature of the sickness. We all know that it is not easy to manage cancer. But about a month before she died, she told me that she had something in her savings account; that was her salary account. She told me that whatever happened, there was something left in the account. When she died, she was paid her July salary. Before she died, she told me that she had over N200,000 left in her account and when she died her salary was paid into the account. So, there was over N500,000 in the account when she died.”
 “But being the only one, I was not able to process the trans­fer of the money to my account. My dad was unable to process it before he died. Between 2008 and 2009, I tried to process the letter of administration of my mother’s estate through the Lagos probate court and they gave me the certificate to get the money in the account. That was when I applied for the balance and they told me that the balance was about N500. I was shocked because she told me what she had left in the account before she died and I know she did not go to the bank after she told me what she had in the bank. But even if there was no money, the July salary should have been there because it was paid after she had died. And I have a copy of the pay slip for the July salary. When I met Barrister Eluma, I complained to him that there was something wrong with the account.
“When we went to see the then branch manager of the bank, she asked if I was sure that my mother was dead. But she was not ready to disclose anything. So, I felt there was foul play somewhere and I decided to see a lawyer and see what we could do about it. We discovered that two withdrawals were made from my mother’s account in Febru­ary, 2008; that is four years after she died. Did she come from her grave to withdraw the money from her account? It is a savings account, meaning that she was the only person who could make withdrawals from the account. So, how come withdrawals were made four years after she died? The withdrawals were made by ‘self’ according to the statement of account. It means that some­body, most likely a staff, who knows she was dead or knows something about her withdrew the money.
“What I need now is for them to refund the money and pay some compensation for the inconveniences I have gone through over the years. If I had been able to access the money, it would have been very useful, particularly when I was in school. Again, the value of the money has depreciated in the past 11 years. You can imagine what I could have done if I had gotten the money then. So, they should compensate me.”

He has written a petition to the Assistant Inspector General of Police in-charge of Zone 2 Command, Nigeria Police, Zone 2 headquarters, Onikan, Lagos. Dated June 17, 2015, to help him retrieve the money.

 Source: The Sun 

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