Aondoakaa begs Akunyili

Thursday, February 11, 2010

After two weeks of grandstanding, the Minister of Special Duties, Michael Aondoakaa, yesterday apologised to his colleague at the information and communication ministry, Dora Akunyili, over his comments about her time at the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.

Mr. Aondoakaa had courted controversy when he reacted aggressively to Mrs. Akunyili’s memo asking for power to be transferred to Goodluck Jonathan until the ailing Umaru Yar’Adua gets better. The former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice was reported in a national newspaper on February 8, to have said that Mrs Akunyili should, “go and confront herself with what happened in NAFDAC.”

Mr. Aondokaa, who was redeployed to the ministry of special duties by the Acting President, Mr. Jonathan, is also alleged to have said that Mrs Akunyili’s decision to bring her memo to the meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation was an attempt to appear as an angel.

“She wants to be seen as a populist. Whatever she wants from it is still personal. None of the council members has disrespect for the vice-president. As far as we are concerned, the Vice President is our leader and he is leading us.

What she is trying to do is self-seeking: let her go and confront herself with what happened in NAFDAC,” he reportedly said.

Akunyili’s demand

In a letter sent to Mr. Aondoakaa on Wednesday, titled, ‘retraction of libellous publication,’ Mrs. Akunyili demanded for a refutal of the statement within seven days, or she would file a suit against him for character defamation.

“I am particularly worried that he made such a statement alluding that I did wrong in a place that I fought criminals, to the extent that I almost lost my life” Mrs Akunyili told NEXT on Wednesday. “It’s just for him to explain what he knows to the world that I don’t know. He made the statement as the nation’s number one law citizen, so he might have been privy to an information that I don’t know.” Some other Nigerians also sent a petition to the House of Representatives on Wednesday, asking it to investigate Mr Aondokaa’s statement.

Wrongly presented

In his response to Mrs Akunyili’s letter, Mr. Aondoakaa denied the statement credited to him, saying his statement was misconstrued.

The embattled minister, in the reply he sent to the Mrs. Akunyili and titled: ‘retraction of libellous statement,’ admitted he made the controversial comments. He, however, added that the last part of the statement, the part that particularly irks Mrs Akunyili, “was meant to be in the positive but wrongly presented in the negative.”

He said, “The correct import of the above quoted words is that the Honourable Minister (Mrs Akunyili) had already earned a reputation for herself while at NAFDAC and needs not seek to do more on embarking on the present course of action to the detriment of a resolution already adopted unanimously by members of the FEC,” he said.

Mr. Aondoakaa’s letter, with the words, ‘my dear sister,’ handwritten on the typed document, also asked that Mrs Akunyili accept the assurances of his “highest regards and consideration.”

Several attempts to get the response of both ministers on the developments following Mr. Aondoakaa’s apology were unsuccessful.


Alexander McQueen was found dead!

British fashion designer Alexander McQueen was found dead at his London home on Thursday, his spokeswoman said. He was 40 years old.

He received his training at the Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design, long recognized for its fashion-forward approach and encouragement of young designers.

McQueen worked for traditional Savile Row tailors Anderson and Sheppard and also Gieves and Hawkes before branching out into his own more theatrical designs.

He became chief designer at the renowned Givenchy house in 1996 and moved to Gucci as creative director in 2001.

McQueen's edgy creations have been seen on numerous red carpets, worn by celebrities including Lady Gaga, Sandra Bullock, and Cameron Diaz.

Fashion guru Isabella Blow, who helped launch McQueen's career, committed suicide almost three years ago.


Major World Sport Events in South Africa.

1995  Rugby World Cup
1996 African Nations Cup 
1996 World Cup of Golf
1998 World Cup of Athletics
2003 Cricket World Cup
2003 President's Cup
2005-2008 Women's World Cup of Golf
2006 Paralympic Swimming World Championships
2007 World Twenty20 Championships
2009 Fifa Confederations Cup
2009 ICC Champions Trophy
2010 World Cup 

1995 Rugby World Cup

Since 1995, when Nelson Mandela handed the William Webb Ellis Trophy to Springbok captain Francois Pienaar after a pulsating Rugby World Cup final in Johannesburg, South Africa has shown itself capable not only of hosting the really big sporting events, but of making really big successes of them.

1996 African Cup of Nations

A year later, Mandela was on hand once more to present the African Cup of Nations trophy to South Africa's soccer team, Bafana Bafana. As with the Rugby World Cup, the continent's premier footballing event went off smoothly in South Africa, with full houses and impressively well-behaved supporters – something not always associated with international soccer matches!

1996 World Cup of Golf

In the same year, Cape Town's Erinvale Golf Club played host to the World Cup of Golf. Ernie Els and Wayne Westner took full advantage of the familiar conditions and home crowd support to decimate the opposition, winning the event by a record 18 shots.

1998 World Cup of Athletics

Two years later, the world's top athletes were in Johannesburg for the World Cup of Athletics. Despite unusually poor weather for South Africa's business capital, the event went off without a hitch, with local athletes playing a vital role in helping Africa to victory in the team competition.

2003 Cricket World Cup

For once, in 2003, home advantage didn't help the South African team, as an under-performing Proteas side failed to progress to the knockout stage of cricket's showcase tournament. The event was well supported and impeccably run, with day-night matches becoming a staple of the event for the first time. In a high-scoring final in Johannesburg, Australia defended the title they had won four years previously in England.

2003 President's Cup

The 2003 President's Cup, held at Fancourt near George in the Western Cape, was rated one of the best-organised – and most exciting – golfing events ever. The four-day shootout between the United States and International team culminated in a sudden-death playoff between Tiger Woods and Ernie Els that went through three holes before fading light finally halted play. In a first for the competition, team captains Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player agreed to share the trophy – even though, as defending champions, the USA should have kept it. Afterwards, Nicklaus said it was "the most unbelievable event the game of golf has ever seen."

2005-2008 Women's World Cup of Golf

Fancourt was also home to the inaugural Women's World Cup of Golf in 2005, which was won by Japan. In 2006 the event moved to the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City, home of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, one of golf's richest tournaments. Sweden, led by Annika Sorenstam, took the title.

In 2007, at the same venue, first-timers Paraguay stunned the 21 other competing countries to win by seven strokes. Paraguay's Julieta Granada commented afterwards: "The crowds were awesome ... They were cheering us on and they liked our outfits. It was a lot of fun. And the baboons … I liked the baboons. They are all my friends."

In 2008, the Philippines held off South Korea to win the title by two strokes.

2006 Paralympic Swimming World Championships

In 2006, Durban hosted the fourth International Paralympic Committee Swimming World Championships. South Africa's Natalie du Toit excelled, winning six gold medals, including a third place overall – against both male and female opposition – in the five-kilometre open water swim.

2007 World Twenty20 Championships

South Africa hosted cricket's inaugural Twenty20 World Championships with style to match its efficiency, creating a vibe and energy that many felt was lacking at the 2007 World Cup (for the longer, 50-overs-a-side version of the game) in the West Indies earlier in the year. South Africa has one of the more colourful national flags, and the abiding memory of the event will be one of colour, with fans from far and wide becoming part of the spectacle as sports and entertainment collided in a wildly successful first edition of the shortest form of international cricket.

2009 FIFA Confederations Cup

South Africa hosted the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup – a dress rehearsal for the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ – with great success. The event was enthusiastically supported by colourful, pulsating crowds, and the football itself was hugely entertaining.

Bafana Bafana made it to the semi-finals, where they were beaten 1-0 by Brazil, who scored an 87th minute winner. The USA shocked European champions Spain 2-0 to reach the final.

In the playoff for third and fourth, Spain edged South Africa 3-2 after extra time in a humdinger, while Brazil went on to claim the title with a 3-2 win over the USA, having fought back from 2-0 down at the break.

2009 ICC Champions Trophy

Like the IPL, the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy was not originally scheduled for South Africa. The country was chosen to host the event following a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan national team in Pakistan in March. Sri Lanka was originally selected as the new venue, but when doubts were expressed about the weather conditions in the island nation in September-October, it was decided to move it to South Africa.

In the final, played at SuperSport Park in Centurion on 5 October, Australia ended the run of tournament giant-killers New Zealand to claim the title. The elite, eight-nation, 50-overs-a-side competition went off without a glitch, in the process providing an excellent yardstick for the International Cricket Council to measure the "longer" limited-overs version of the game against its upstart rival, Twenty20 cricket.

Nelson Mandela celebrates 20 years of Freedom.

Former South African president Nelson Mandela celebrates 20 years since his release from prison today. He was released from prison on February 11 after 27 years behind bars.

Former South African apartheid era, President F.W. de Klerk lifted the 30-year ban on the African National Congress and Black Nationalist Nelson Mandela on February 2, 1990. This development paved way for Nelson Mandela’s release from jail.

Nelson Mandela was a lawyer from the Transkei; he was convicted of treason and sabotage in June 1964 and sentenced to life imprisonment. He spent the first 18 years of his sentence on Robben Island, off Cape Town, doing hard labor, and later spent time at Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison, closer to the mainland. He refused numerous offers for early release from the government in Pretoria because of the conditions attached. Then the world's best-known political prisoner, Mandela was 71 when he was released.

Following his release, he negotiated the end of apartheid, took over as South Africa's first black president after the country held its first all-race election, and began reuniting the people of South Africa under one flag with his incredible wisdom and patience.

Mandela turns 92 on 18 July this year, shortly after the conclusion of the World Cup in South Africa. It will be amazing for Madiba to be able to see the culmination of his life’s work when the showpiece event takes place on African soil for the first time in its 80-year history.

George W. Bush's Billboard Caption: "Miss me yet?"

(Photo courtesy of ABC News.)

The Internet has been abuzz with rumors that if you drive down Interstate 35 near the town of Wyoming, Minnesota, you'll see a billboard bearing the image of a smiling George W. Bush accompanied by the question "Miss me yet?"

Mary McNamara, the general manager at the Minneapolis office of Schubert & Hoey Outdoor Advertising, the company which owns and leases out the billboard space. McNamara said, "The ad was purchased by a group of small business owners who wish to remain anonymous" when she was tracked down Brett Michael Dykes, a contributor to Yahoo! News blog. McNamara revealed told Brett Michael Dykes that, "Some of the people in the group who paid for this were Obama supporters."

Nigeria's ACTING President, Goodluck Jonathan Removes Michael Aondoakaa.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, who chaired the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja on his first day in office in his new capacity effected the changes, which took many by surprise.

Aondoakaa was replaced with the Labour Minister, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode (SAN) while the Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Ibrahim Kazaure was reassigned the Labour portfolio. Every other minister remains in his or her duty post.
The Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, who briefed the State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, gave no reason for the minor changes in the cabinet, but said the Acting President  reserved the right to decide who would function where.

“It is the decision of the Acting President to move people. It’s not the decision of the FEC. He has the presidential power to move any of us,” she pointed out and declined further comment on the issue.
She said the council, while accepting the National Assembly’s resolution recognizing the vice president as Acting President, commended the lawmakers for their action and pledged to support Jonathan in his onerous responsibility of steering the ship of the nation.

Responding to reporters’ question on her controversial memo which was shot down last week, Akunyili said the memo was not represented in council and there was no need revisiting it because it had been overtaken by the National Assembly’s resolution. Meanwhile, Aondoakaa who fielded questions from the State House correspondents on the development said his redeployment was a cordial agreement reached between him and the Acting President before the commencement of the council meeting.

He described it as being in order since he had taken a position on the issue at stake, but pointed out unequivocally that he had no regrets for the role he played in the entire thing as he had no personal interest, but only carried out his function as the chief law officer of the country.
“The Minister of Labour is now the minister of justice. I am now the Minister of Special Duties. I think it’s understood. First, I had a discussion with the vice president, I have taken a position and in this life when you take a position and there is a change in the position ,you allow another person who will have a free atmosphere to defend the new position.

”I think what we did was a collective decision. He told me. First, I and the vice president had a discussion in the morning, it’s a cordial arrangement,” he stated, pointing out that he had already pledged his loyalty to the Acting President since he remained a member of the cabinet.
Asked if he had any regrets about his role, Aondoakaa replied: “No single action I’ve taken that I have regretted. Every single action I took was in the interest of this country. No country will say there is a vacuum. No attorney-general worth his salt will go to the pages of newspapers and say there is a vacuum. We have to preserve executive powers until a leader is selected. A leader has been given by the National Assembly and we have recognized him.

On how he intends to function in his new capacity, he said: “When I go there, the permanent secretary will brief me on what the special duties are and I will do the job.” Other major decisions of the FEC included approval of variation in the contract sum for the construction of a 200-bed athletes hostel in Abuja from N892.9 million to N1.8 billion and the appointment of the Urban Development Bank as managers of the N10 billion Urban Mass Transit Fund.

Senator David Mark: Senate President’s Speech on Transfer of power

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

ON November 23, 2009, our President, His Excellency Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua GCFR, travelled to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment. The President’s prolonged absence has bred anxiety and tension. Since his departure, Nigerians from various walks of life have engaged in debates over his health status and its effect on governance.
As an institution charged with the responsibility for making laws for the good governance of our nation, the Senate has responded to the debate guided by patriotism, wisdom and our collective national interest. You will recall that we moved the motion to ascertain the health status of Mr. President on this floor. Consequently, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, was invited to brief the Senate.
In furtherance of this and consequent upon the information provided by the SGF, the Senate urged Mr. President to notify the National Assembly of his medical vacation in compliance with the provisions of Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution.
We further resolved that the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution should undertake a critical review of Section 145 of the Constitution in view of the present unforeseen circumstances and urged Nigerians to continue to pray for the speedy recovery of our dear President.
We had also invited the Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Mohammed Abba-Aji, to brief the Senate on the circumstances surrounding an alleged failure to transmit a letter from Mr. President to the National Assembly. Needless to state that in all these actions, the spirit and letters of the Constitution, as well as a collective desire to sustain our hard-earned democracy served as our guide and road map.
The last 78 days have been very challenging to us as a nation. We have come under intense pressure, stress and pain. However, we have examined all the options available to us and today, rightly concluded that it is necessary to take this stand and allow the country move forward.
My distinguished colleagues and bosses, shorn of legalese and technicalities, the intendment and spirit of the Constitution, as far as Section 145 is concerned, is that the legislature should have foolproof and irrefutable evidence that the Mr. President is going on vacation, or is otherwise incapable, in the interim, of discharging the functions of his office.
A rigid and inflexible interpretation will not only stifle the spirit and intendment of the Constitution, but will also affront the doctrine of necessity. The doctrine of necessity requires that we do what is necessary when faced with a situation that was not contemplated by the Constitution. And that is precisely what we have done today. In doing so, we have as well maintained the sanctity of our constitution as the ultimate law of the land.
Viewed from an ordinary reading of Section 145, we came to the conclusion that the President, through his declaration transmitted worldwide on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), has furnished this parliament with irrefutable proof that he is on medical vacation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and has, therefore, complied with the provisions of Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution.
For the avoidance of doubt, let me re-emphasise the import of prayer number two (2) of our resolution. The President will automatically resume office as President and Commander-in-Chief once he is well enough and returns to the country and informs us accordingly, pursuant to Section 145.
I have re-emphasised this salient constitutional provision to dispel the obvious disinformation and distortion which both mischief and ignorance will inevitably spawn.
In accordance with this solemn resolution, in this extraordinary time, the Senate shall, henceforth, receive and accept communication from His Excellency, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCON, as acting President, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
The fact that we have resolved the logjam democratically is a measure of the depth that democracy has attained in our polity. This is not the time for winners and losers, but the time to remain united as a people because as a nation, our voyage is on the same tide and we cannot afford a drift.
Today is, indeed, a historic day for Constitutional development in our country. The wisdom, patience, endurance, tenacity and understanding of the Nigerian people have strengthened us to attain this milestone and to resolve a seemingly intractable political and Constitutional conundrum. We salute the patriotism and unalloyed support of the Nigerian people, even as we pray for the quick recovery and return of Mr. President.
We recognise and appreciate the patriotism and devotion of our elder statesmen, particularly General Yakubu Gowon and President Shehu Shagari of the Eminent Elders Group (EEG.). We salute the untiring efforts of General Muhammadu Buhari and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, we appreciate the Concerned Elders Group led by His Excellency Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, the Civil Society led by the illustrious Professor Wole Soyinka and all Nigerians who did not relent in the search for a solution to the Constitutional crisis. Let me also thank the Governors for supporting and identifying with us.
I thank the State Houses of Assembly, traditional rulers, organised labour, the Nigerian Bar Association, Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, the Nigerian Guild of Editors and, indeed, the entire Nigerian press for their principled stand, patriotism and commitment to nation building. We thank all Nigerians for their patience and understanding.
My bosses, once again your patriotism, dynamism and commitment have helped steer the ship of state away from the precipice.
Senator David A. B. Mark GCON

Mr. Goodluck Jonathan's Acceptance Speech as Acting President of Federal Republic of NIgeria

Fellow Nigerians, as we all know, our dear President, His Excellency, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, has been receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia for some time now.  Naturally, his absence from the country has generated considerable interest and a heated national debate.
Today, the National Assembly passed a resolution mandating me to act as President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In following the extant provisions of the 1999 Constitution to arrive at this decision, the leadership and members of the National Assembly have shown great courage, statesmanship and patriotism. I salute them all.
In the same vein, I will like to commend all the other political actors and national leaders, particularly the former heads of state, elder statesmen, governors of the 36 States and other leaders of political groups, civil society organisations, the media, and, indeed, all Nigerians, for their invaluable contributions and counsel. Our security services also deserve our special commendation for their loyalty and devotion to duty during this trying period.
The circumstances in which I find myself assuming office today as acting president of our country are uncommon, sober and reflective. More than ever, therefore, I urge all Nigerians as a people of faith in God, to pray fervently for the full recovery of our dear president and his early return.
The events of the recent past have put to the test, our collective resolve as a democratic nation. I am delighted to note that our nation has demonstrated resilience and unity of purpose. Today affords us time to reconnect with ourselves and overcome any suspicions, hurts and doubts, which had occurred. In all these, there are no winners and no losers, because by the Grace of God, we have, once again, succeeded in moving our country forward. We have all shown that our unity as a people, our love for this country, and our hope for its great future cannot be shaken.
It is now time for us to move on in a more determined manner to tackle the various challenges which we face as a nation. Our march towards Vision 20:2020 is irreversible.
Therefore, we see a need to prioritise on a few of the most critical areas which continue to plague our effort at engendering meaningful economic growth and development.
Some of these critical sectors include power, infrastructure, security, generation of employment and business opportunities for our teeming young men and women.
Fellow Nigerians,
The Federal Government will take every step necessary to consolidate the gains of amnesty in the Niger Delta and execute the post-amnesty programme. I, therefore, appeal to all concerned to be patient, as there can be no meaningful development without peace and security.
As regards the Jos crisis, government will endeavour to sustain the peace and find a lasting solution to the recurring crisis in Plateau State.  In the meantime, culprits of the heinous crimes committed in the recent incident will face the full weight of the law. I want to restate that government will not tolerate the culture of impunity that is fast becoming an unwelcome part of our socio-political life.
Our commitment to ensuring the security of lives and property in all parts of the country will also be pursued with renewed zeal. The Nigeria Police and other security services would be given new impetus to perform their duties, even while respecting the human rights of Nigerians. They are fully expected to produce corresponding results. There shall be no excuses for failure. Nigerians deserve to be fully protected at all times nationwide.
Fellow Nigerians,
One of the cardinal commitments of this administration is our commitment to good governance, accountability and transparency. We shall continue to pursue these policy objectives with all the seriousness they deserve. In particular, the war against corruption will be prosecuted more robustly.  We will, therefore, strengthen the capacity of the anti-corruption agencies and give them a free hand to prosecute the anti corruption war.
Let me, once again, commend the people of Anambra State for the successful conduct of the recent gubernatorial election. This has shown that Nigerians can conduct free, fair and credible elections. The Anambra election has, however, exposed some weaknesses in our electoral system and government is determined to plug these loopholes as we approach the next general election in 2011. I want to reassure all Nigerians and our friends around the world that our determination to ensure that the sanctity of the electoral rights of our people shall not be compromised.
Let me, on behalf of the Nigerian people, appreciate the international community for their goodwill and understanding in our efforts at national development and consolidation of our democracy. Nigeria will continue to play a deserving role in regional and global affairs.
On a personal note, I am deeply humbled and honoured by this great call to duty. I am fully aware of the responsibilities reposed in me and I want to reassure all Nigerians that this is a sacred trust, which I shall discharge to my fullest abilities.
Thank you and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Goodluck Jonathan to become Acting President after Nigeria's House of Representative and Senate Resolution.


Nigeria's vice president has been tapped to serve as head of state until ailing President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua recovers enough to resume his duties.

The country's House and Senate approved a resolution Tuesday to install Vice President Goodluck Jonathan as acting president. The Executive Council, made up of government ministers, must still approve the resolution before Jonathan can take over the office.

The Executive Council is likely to discuss the matter at a regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday.

The absence of Yar'Adua, who left Nigeria for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia in November, has created a power vacuum in Africa's most populous country. It also sparked demonstrations in the nation's capital, Abuja, where protesters demanded a constitutional order on his absence and evidence about his true state of health.

The president is being treated for acute pericarditis, an inflammation of tissue around the heart. His illness was diagnosed in November after he complained of chest pain following prayers at a mosque in Abuja. He was taken to King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Jeddah, where he had his last checkup in August, his doctor said.

He said at the time he did not intend to resign while in Saudi Arabia, but no further news came from the president for almost two months until he was interviewed by the BBC from his hospital bed January 13.

In a frail voice, Yar'Adua assured his countrymen that he was alive and getting better, and intended to return to power soon.

Nigeria's Senate had expressed concern "that there had been no formal communication to the National Assembly" -- as required by the nation's constitution -- "[to] empower the vice president to act and perform the functions of the president," Voice of Nigeria reported.

But the country's attorney general has said the president did not need to write such a letter.

In addition to internal discord over its missing president, the oil-rich nation has faced some international heat after one of its citizens allegedly attempted to blow up a U.S.-bound flight on Christmas Day.

In the wake of that attempt, the U.S. announced enhanced security measures for flights coming from certain countries, including Nigeria. A senior U.S. administration official said Nigeria fell into the U.S. Transportation Security Administration category of "state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest."


Asa sues Lagos based magazine for N700 million for Libel -Publication

Monday, February 8, 2010

Award-winning Nigerian-born jazz and soul musician, Bukola Elemide,  a..k.a  Asa, has slammed a N700 million suit against publishers  and editors of a Lagos based soft-sell magazine, ‘News of the People’ magazine at the Lagos High Court.

In a writ of summons instituted on her behalf by Lagos lawyer, Mena  Ajakpovi, the musician and her manager, Janet Nwose, have sued the reporter of the alleged defamatory story, the editor of the magazine and the registered parent company of the magazine.
The claimants have sought an order of court, declaring the allegation of lesbianism against Asa and Janet as false, illegal and a violation of their rights, more so that the allegation is entirely false.

They stated that the defendants have in most reckless manner portrayed them as loose, licentious and persons with perverted sexual orientation who lack any claim to moral rectitude.

They added since the publication they have been inundated with phone calls from relatives, friends and fans on the matter and that this has affected the perception of people to their persons.

They argued that the defamatory statement is calculated to discredit and malign them in their unblemished careers as international music artistes with high moral standing which they have consistently conveyed in their songs and interactions with their teeming fans in Nigeria and abroad.

In the summons, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent, Asa claimed that the publication was not only malicious but also a clear case of a well-orchestrated plan by Publishers of the magazine to bring down her and also bring her into disrepute.
She added that she filed the action to clear her name and sustain her good reputation and that of her Manager. In addition to the declaratory orders, the two dreadlocks wearing ladies, Asa and Janet , have sued the defendants for a sum of N700million as damages.
They have also sought further orders of court restraining the defendants from further publication of malicious statements against them.

It will be recalled that in the Dec 14-22, 2009 edition of the ‘News of the People’ a story captioned “Lesbianism trails Asa and Manager” was published, alleging that the two ladies were involved in a lesbian relationship.

Source: Thisday

Pennsylvania Democrat, Rep. John Murtha dies at 77 at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va.

John Murtha was born June 17, 1932. The former newspaper delivery boy left college in 1952 to join the Marines, where he rose through the ranks to become a drill instructor at Parris Island, S.C., and later served in the 2nd Marine Division. He settled in Johnstown, then volunteered for Vietnam, where he served as an intelligence officer and earned a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

He was serving in the Pennsylvania House in Harrisburg when he was elected to Congress in a special election in 1974. Murtha, then an officer in the Marine Reserves, became the first Vietnam War combat veteran elected to Congress. In 1990, he retired from the Marine Reserves as a colonel.

Murtha voted in 2002 to authorize President George W. Bush to use military force in Iraq, but his growing frustration over the administration's handling of the war prompted him in November 2005 to call for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. In his 2004 book titled "From Vietnam to 9/11, Murtha wrote, "Ever since I was a young boy, I had two goals in life — I wanted to be a colonel in the Marine Corps and a member of Congress."

The Pennsylvania Democrat had been suffering from complications from gallbladder surgery. He died at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va., with his family at his bedside.

John Murtha was survived by his wife of nearly 55 years, Joyce, and three children.

The Movie "Dear John" dethroned "Avatar" at box office

Sunday, February 7, 2010


The new romantic drama "Dear John" unexpectedly ended the seven-week reign of "Avatar" at the weekend box office in North America on Sunday, pulling in large numbers of young female moviegoers.

"Dear John" grossed an estimated $32.4 million in the three-day period since opening Friday, said distributor Screen Gems, the low-budget division of Sony Corp.

It had hoped for an opening of about $20 million on a weekend when many Americans forsake movies to watch the Super Bowl, traditionally the year's most-watched television broadcast. The football championship starts around 6:25 pm in Miami.

"Dear John" stars Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried as lovers whose romance is curtailed by the September 11 attacks. It is directed by Swedish filmmaker Lasse Hallstrom and based on "The Notebook," a novel by Nicholas Sparks.

"Avatar" earned $23.6 million in its eighth weekend, taking its total to $630.1 million. James Cameron's sci-fi blockbuster surpassed the $601 million haul of his 1997 release "Titanic" last Tuesday to become the biggest movie of all time in the United States and Canada.


Leno, Letterman and Oprah Winfrey team up for Super Bowl TV Ad.

In an David Letterman, Oprah Winfrey and Jay Leno, from right, record a promo for CBS' 'Late Show' that aired during the broadcast of the NFL football Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010.

The promo was recorded earlier in the week at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York. The ad revisited Letterman and Winfrey's Super Bowl spot from 2007, but with another person watching the game with them - late night talk show host Jay Leno.

Rihanna's outfit at pre-Super Bowl concert: A Visual Appetizer for Old raunchy men and (lesbians)

Nigerians and tougher U.S. visa policy

A DIRECTIVE reportedly issued by President Barack Obama of the United States (U.S.) 'to enhance the security of the American people' has charged a number of departments and agencies of the U.S. government to 'review visa issuance and revocation criteria and processes with special emphasis on counter terrorism'.

The thrust of this directive, apparently, is targeted at the 13 or so countries that are on the 'dreaded' 'terror watch list' as drawn up by the American authorities. That the new policy emanates from the highest authority is an indication of the seriousness with which America continues to take perceived terrorist threats, and how far and wide its government will go to protect its citizens, and understandably so. In fairness, neither the concern nor the effort may be faulted.

Considering the target group of the presidential directive, this is a sad development for Nigeria as her citizens' request for U.S. entry visas are very likely to face even tougher hurdles; in truth part of a widening range of U.S. pressures on the country. But not the U.S. alone, even other Western countries now subject Nigerians to humiliating treatment in the name of counter-terrorist measures. In sum, we may be up against an increasingly contemptuous and/or hostile global community, and for reasons that are largely, though not wholly, justified.

Having, in recent times said so in both words and action, through various high officials of state, America appears to be sending further message that this country must get its acts together and get serious about many things not the least, religion-driven violence. There is no denying the woeful failure of the Nigerian government to address in a forceful and open manner, the religious strife that erupts every once in a while in the Northern part of the country.

The world takes note that culprits are arrested but never have their day in court, ring leaders-cum preachers are summarily executed, the case drags on into lost memory - until the next trouble breaks out with the attendant loss of many lives, the destruction of property, and the personal and national trauma. In this specific regard, the time has come for a clear and firmly enforced regulation of religious preaching and who qualifies to do it. For too long, anyone claiming whatever credentials could claim to be a preacher and begin to promote narrow, sometimes heretical interpretations of the holy books. And, as the country reels from one trauma to another, there is no defined leadership to hold responsible. The leaders of the various faiths in the country must pay close attention to the kind of doctrines that the preachers espouse.

The whole Nigerian story is not only about religious violence, of one or two misguided youths, nor about political and financial corruption. It is also about the many adults who speak up - even take to the streets - against bad governance, about young people defying great odds at home and abroad and who are good and useful citizens wherever they find themselves. The majority of Nigerians are peace-loving. To institute a tougher visa policy on all citizens of countries on that watch list, to seek to humiliate the many for the sins of a few, would be a grave error - as it would be very unfair indeed. One, there must be a better way to check terrorism without aggravating the sensibilities of honest, decent peoples and we urge the Obama administration to reconsider the visa policy.

Two, it is reported that the idea has been suggested that Nigerians, alongside citizens of those countries on 'the U.S. terrorism watch list' be denied multiple entry visas. This would not just be humiliating to Nigerians, but considered as most unfriendly. And were it to come into effect, the Federal Government must respond by activating the principle of reciprocity. The government should not hesitate to stand up for Nigerians and protect their best interests.

Source: Guardian

Peter Obi Declared Winner In Anambra

AWKA, Nigeria — The incumbent in Nigeria's Anambra state was on Sunday pronounced the winner of a flawed gubernatorial vote seen as a test for Africa's largest democracy ahead of presidential elections next year.
The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Peter Obi of the opposition All Progressives Grand Alliance victor despite glitches and fears the vote would be rigged in favour of President Umaru Yar'Adua's party.
"Peter Obi... having satisfied all requirements of the law and scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared the winner," said chief returning officer Josiah Uwazuruonye.
Despite flaws arising from chaotic voter registration and long delays in opening the polls, some observers declared the elections free and an improvement on previous polls in the politically volatile southeastern state.
Observers reported incidents of vote buying, and police confirmed that thugs had tried to snatch a ballot box from one polling post.
The 2007 poll that brought Yar'Adua to power was tainted by widespread rigging and voter intimidation, and he had vowed to improve the credibility of elections in the continent's most populous nation.
Obi overwhelmingly won the vote with 97,843 votes, ahead of closest rival Chris Ngige, from the Action Congress opposition party, who took 60,240 ballots. The ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and former central bank governor Chukwuma Soludo came third garnering 59,755 votes.
There were widespread fears that INEC would manipulate the vote in favour of PDP.
"We give kudos to INEC for not living up to the justified cynical perception," said Ikeazor Akaraiwe who headed an independent team of monitors appointed by INEC.
"In the midst of all we can say the result reflects the will of the people of Anambra," he added.
Governors of Nigeria's 36 states are powerful, being key in the selection of presidential candidates at party conventions.
The PDP controls all but eight of the 36 states and Anambra is one of the few in the hands of the opposition.
Presidential elections next year should ensure only a second successive democratic handover between civilian rulers in oil-rich Nigeria since a long period of military rule ended a decade ago.
A bill proposing changes to the electoral laws is still before parliament but analysts say Nigeria's problem is less about the law than its application.
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