Friday July 25th, 2014
Friday July 25th, 2014
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The fourth of July

  /   in My World 1:40 am   /   Comments

US goalkeeper Tim Howard (R) reacts after Portugal's forward Silvestre Varela (L) scored during a Group G football match between USA and Portugal at the Amazonia Arena in Manaus during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 22, 2014.   AFP PHOTO

Providence brought me within a few miles of the American seat of power in Washington around the Fourth of July, the day all Americans celebrate their independence.

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The power of planned neglect

  /   in My World 12:40 am   /   Comments

Argentina's forward Lionel Messi shoots to score his second goal, during a Group F football match between Nigeria and Argentina at the Beira-Rio Stadium in Porto Alegre during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 25, 2014. AFP PHOTO

We have had many thrilling moments in this World Cup. We have seen extra-ordinary skills from extraordinary talents. As we salute those skills, we must also pause to appreciate the hours of devotion and discipline that have produced those inspiring achievements.

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That toast to victory

  /   in My World 12:07 am   /   Comments

Ayo Fayose casting his vote yesterday...

I am still trying to understand the loss of Dr Olukayode Fayemi in the gubernatorial election of Ekiti State and it is not because ‘I am involved’ by lineage. As a bystander, and as a professional journalist, I am involved and therefore curious.

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Asari-Dokubo at 50

  /   in My World 12:29 am   /   Comments

Asari Dokubo

Everybody is misunderstood at some point by someone, somewhere. I have heard people described as aloof and arrogant simply because they are shy and withdrawn. People who have to deal with myriad of issues under pressure are often seen as hard and unfeeling, only to find in a different setting, that they are actually sensitive and caring. In a world of instant coffee and instant news, instant judgements come a dime a dozen.

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For security reasons

  /   in My World 12:21 am   /   Comments

MAN-OF-THE-YEAR-SECURITY

A couple of weeks ago, we all woke up to find that our favourite newspapers were off the newsstands. This was something we had not seen for a while, and it took many of us by surprise. Many reasons flew around; many of them too preposterous to mention here.

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For whom the bell tolls

  /   in My World 12:48 am   /   Comments

doraakunyili

Themortal body of Monsignor Pedro Ayodele Martins, the first Nigerian chaplain of the Nigerian Army, the oldest Lagosian to be ordained a priest, and the oldest priest in Africa, was finally laid to rest last week in a week long ceremony that involved the entire Arch Diocese. It also had many former residents of 1004 Estate and ex-military officers in attendance. He was aged 103. He was also a priest for over 70 incredible years.

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The gambler

  /   in My World 8:24 pm   /   Comments

His voice was strong, assured and cultured on air; the voice of a veteran. And he is a veteran, having cut his tooth—and his voice— in the old days when FRCN was still NBC, the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, fashioned after, and nurtured by the BBC. In the days when voices were trained and diction was important; when there was a strong awareness that whatever was said on air had implications beyond the moment. His wary, ambivalent answers to certain explosive questions on the state of the nation, betrayed this training. It also betrayed his disposition which is usually deliberate, logical and rarely judgemental.

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Talking tough

  /   in My World 12:22 am   /   Comments

Delegates at the on-going national conference

The Nigerian main nationalities represented by their delegates at the on going conference took brinkmanship to a new height last week. The North reportedly set the tone when it published its stance on thorny issues of the conference.

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The visit that wasn’t

  /   in My World 12:34 am   /   Comments

A screengrab taken on May 12, 2014, from a video of Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram obtained by AFP shows girls, wearing the full-length hijab and praying in an undisclosed rural location. Boko Haram released a new video on claiming to show the missing Nigerian schoolgirls, alleging they had converted to Islam and would not be released until all militant prisoners were freed. A total of 276 girls were abducted on April 14 from the northeastern town of Chibok, in Borno state, which has a sizeable Christian community. Some 223 are still missing.

You had to be strong not to be moved by some of the pictures Sky News Television beamed to the world last weekend.

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The beginning of the end?

  /   in My World 12:09 am   /   Comments

Women Arise civil society led by Joe Odumakin (C) accompanied by afro-beat musician Femi Anikulapo Kuti demonstrate to press for the release of missing Chibok school girls in Lagos on May 12, 2014. Boko Haram released a new video on Monday claiming to show the missing Nigerian schoolgirls, alleging they had converted to Islam and would not be released until all militant prisoners were freed. AFP

The whole world focused on Nigeria last week. It started with the sudden realisation— as if woken from a deep slumber— that the over two hundred girls abducted had not been traced, let alone rescued, and ended with the World’s Economic Forum where the potentials of Nigeria— and Africa were highlighted.

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The chickens are coming home to roost

  /   in My World 12:23 am   /   Comments

boko-abducted-girls

There are killings in the land, everywhere you turn. There are bombers claiming lives and property and they are not limited to the North East alone. There are kidnappers claiming lives and property and they are not limited to the South East alone.

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Holy week in the holy land

  /   in My World 12:30 am   /   Comments

Pope's farewell

As catch phrases go, this is as good as many. And those who have been attracted—or entrapped—in the past by alluring phrases like ‘Land of the flowing sun’, The paradise of the East’, ‘An exotic blend of Western and Eastern civilisation’ to mention a few, only to find that what was offered and purchased was not what was delivered will hesitate to buy into it. (Nobody to my knowledge has been able to melt the sun to see its liquid form.)

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The many shades of Easter

  /   in My World 12:50 am   /   Comments

From  left: Acting President Goodluck Jonathan; his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan; mother of the Acting President, Mama Jonathan; Minister-designate, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia; his wife, Mrs. Ajumogobia, Special Adviser on Petroleum to the President,  Dr. Emmanuel Egbogha and others at the Easter Sunday Service at the Aso Villa Chapel, Abuja yesterday.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. The churches, synagogues and other places of worship will be full. Many of those in the congregation tomorrow go to church only twice a year— the other day being Christmas. Many will make it a family outing and an opportunity for the kids to show off their new Easter dresses.

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The politics of poverty

  /   in My World 12:59 am   /   Comments

cartoon-poverty

It is likely there might be some ego massaging and chest thumping by those who believe they have ‘grown’ the economy; especially those in the kitchen cabinet who will grasp at any straw that shows the economy is on track.

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The ‘Shrinking ‘club

  /   in My World 12:05 am   /   Comments

Ikoyi-Club1

Around noon on Thursday, March 6, the main building of Nigeria’s premier club, the Ikoyi Club 1938, was without electricity. It was the first time I would notice that in the almost four decades that I have been a member of this elite club.

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Careless interviews can reveal more than they hide

  /   in My World 1:06 am   /   Comments

CBN Governor,Lamido Sanusi

The dust is yet to settle on the suspension of the CBN Governor Mallam Lamido Sanusi. Until it does, one will never know just how wise the Presidency was in the unprecedented suspension of a CBN Governor three months before his tenure was due.

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A legacy worth bequeathing

  /   in My World 12:13 am   /   Comments

*Gas flare

The first time I visited the hinterland of any Niger-Delta region was for a funeral. It was over 30 years ago, but that visit has been etched in my memory since then. Dusk, and a light shower, were darkening the skies as we got to Warri.

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That we may remain one in 2015

  /   in My World 12:26 am   /   Comments

People look at the wreckage of a car, yesterday, after two explosions killed over 35 people in a crowded neighbourhood in Maiduguri, Borno State, weekend. Photo: AFP.

The foreign heads of government and dignitaries who came for the country’s centenary celebrations had hardly settled down in their posh hotel rooms and comfortable quest houses when the news that the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists had struck again filtered in.

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Remembering James Olubunmi Aboderin

  /   in My World 12:48 am   /   Comments

Punch Newspapers will roll out the drums tonight to mark 30 years of the passing away of its founding Chairman, Chief James Olubunmi Aboderin— known to many as Olu Aboderin and to some of us as Chairman. This is how it should be for without his vision and courage, there would not have been Punch; a paper that has influenced lives and the nation in immeasurable ways. Punch has become a worthwhile legacy.

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The Gideon illustration

  /   in My World 12:04 am   /   Comments

jonathan office

I had an interesting two-hour meeting with an elder statesman recently; a man who has been in the corridors of power and influence in Nigeria for almost half a century, who knows— and is known—by past and present rulers, who is respected by political and business brokers in the country.

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Everything is negotiable!

  /   in My World 12:19 am   /   Comments

1000 naira notes

I once had a property I wanted to put up for sale. One of the big Pentecostal churches showed interest and sent its representatives. They looked around, and after satisfying themselves, scheduled a meeting with me.

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Mr president, Rivers State could be your banana peel

  /   in My World 12:10 am   /   Comments

Rotimi Amaechi and Goodluck Jonathan

I get uncomfortable, peeved even, when I hear the sweeping statement that the Presidency has achieved nothing in what? Six years? It is a statement that is shallow at best and, stretched further, uncharitable. Even Lucky Igbinedion, as incompetent as he was, achieved ‘something’ in Edo State.

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Much ado about the Gay-marriage bill

  /   in My World 12:30 am   /   Comments

Gay-couple

I confess to looking away in embarrassment and disgust the first time I saw adult men kiss and fondle on TV. It was in a UK based soap opera. Today, years after my first encounter, I still feel uncomfortable— squeamish even— when I see two grown men tongue kiss. I suppose these things need getting used to because I don’t feel that squeamish about lesbians kissing and fondling on TV since I had seen the female version of same sex relationship at least a decade before the male version.

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Old friends are difficult to grow

  /   in My World 12:44 am   /   Comments

Assassinated_ogunro

The remains of Sesan Ogunro, my friend and brother, was laid to rest last Friday. He would have been 62 on May 1. It is ironic that a man who took such a good care of his body— he neither drank nor smoked, took living bitters periodically to detox, exercised almost everyday, and took his medical check ups seriously— never lived to celebrate his 62nd birthday. That is a reflection of the short and brutish life in Nigeria.

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President Jonathan’s eleventh plane

  /   in My World 12:36 am   /   Comments

President Goodluck Jonathan

The Nation newspaper published some pretty frightening stuff on the state of the nation last week. Quoting BGL, a Lagos based firm of consultants, the paper stated that only about 5% of the country’s population consumes over 40% of the country’s resources while the rest of us – a whopping 95%- contend with merely 60% of the resources. And this is on salaries and emoluments alone.

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A new reason for the season

  /   in My World 12:15 am   /   Comments

Christmas shopping at  Oshodi yesterday in Lagos,

To all intents and purposes, the festive season is over. Another year with its expected twists and turns, starts in earnest on Monday. It is time maybe to reflect on what the festive season has meant to us over the years.

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The remarkable collections of Chuka Momah

  /   in My World 12:00 am   /   Comments

A sporting accident prevented me from a sporting event I would have given anything to attend last week.

This happened on a Monday evening. I had gone for my usual game of squash — please don’t say again—when it happened. We were on the last game, and despite my vow to take things easy on the court, my competitive spirit took over. I went for a ball I should not have gone for and crowded my opponent in the process. He also wanted the point (badly?) and tried to hit the ball when he should have held back.

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It’s the system, stupid

  /   in My World 12:49 am   /   Comments

President Jonathan and Chief Obasanjo

General Olusegun Obasanjo took one of his protégées, Dr Goodluck Jonathan to the cleaners in an 18- page missive last week.

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How not to run a business

  /   in My World 12:04 am   /   Comments

the ill-fated plane: The Embraer 120RT Brasilia, registration number 5N-BJY, before it crashed yesterday.

Curiosity they say kills the cat. Yet curiosity is a major attribute to good journalism. I often hide my curiosity, or need to know as I quaintly put it, under this guise. So when Cornelius Tay, an old friend, invited me to the funeral of his mother in Ghana, I felt it was an opportunity to know how the other side handles funerals.

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Who or what will wake us up?

  /   in My World 12:10 am   /   Comments

•LSPWC officials at work

I often wonder how lucky Igbinedion feels anytime he goes around Benin City and sees the difference a fellow human being has made in five years; something he didn’t— or couldn’t—do in eight.

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We are an incredibly optimistic lot

  /   in My World 12:31 am   /   Comments

Cultural Dancers at the Ilum O Tarok Annual Cultural Festival In Langtang Plateau State on Sunday (6/5/12).NAN Photos

Armed robbers visit your house, spending over three harrowing and traumatic hours with you and your family. Young men who are not older than your first child, or who, given their scruffiness, could easily be your mechanic or house boy slap you around and kick your butt if you are tardy in obeying their rapid fire instructions.

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The beautiful ones have done it again

  /   in My World 1:44 am   /   Comments

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES- Kelechi Iheanacho #10 of Nigeria scores his team's second goal against goalkeeper Raul Gudino of Mexico during the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 Final between Nigeria and Mexico at Mohamed Bin Zayed Stadium on November 8, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (FIFA)

Jones Usen, a popular broadcaster with the FRCN at a time, and self styled ‘man with the golden voice’ called the golden eaglets the beautiful ones after their exploits of 1985 in far away Asia. Those young boys dazzled and glittered in China and made our heads swell with pride as they delighted the world with skilful and purposeful football. In celebrating our moments of euphoria, Jones had declared ‘the beautiful ones have now been born’.

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