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Tuesday, 22 January 2019

PDP Reacts To Obasanjo's Letter On Buhari, 2019 Election

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it has been vindicated by the concerns raised by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, detailing President Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged scheme to use apparatus of office to undermine the democratic system.

In a statement yesterday by its spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan, the party restated its position that Buhari was out for a self-succession plot.

The party added that Obasanjo’s submission has also
reinforced its position that Buhari, and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), having realised that the incumbent cannot retain his seat in a free and fair election, were now besieging all democratic institutions, including the judiciary, the legislature, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), while engaging in acts that threaten the unity, peace and corporate existence of the nation.

It alleged that President Buhari and APC’s desperation for power is putting the lives of over 200 million Nigerians at great risk, saying such actions stoke violence and push the nation to the precipice.

The statement reads: “We are however not surprised that the APC, a party that has shown that it is completely anti-people, quickly rose in defence of the Buhari Presidency’s assault on our democratic order. The APC has always been a deceptive soulless mob that would rather have our nation burn than to be out of power.

“President Obasanjo’s concern is therefore a clarion call to all compatriots, irrespective of ethnic, religious and political affiliations to rise in defence of our democracy.

“He has reinforced the fact that this nation belong to all of us; that our pride as a people lies in our resilience and globally acclaimed ability to rise above and defeat every situation that challenges our nationhood.
“The PDP, therefore, calls on all Nigerians to be at alert at this critical time to stop President Buhari and the APC on their anti-democratic trails with our votes.

“We should never allow anybody to set our nation on fire just to achieve selfish ambitions. We must eschew all our differences and unite in using our votes to take back our country from this dwindling, incompetent, ineffectual, corrupt and anti-people administration.

“If we don’t take action with our votes, we would be giving up our nation to totalitarian forces at our own peril and those of generations yet unborn”.
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APC Leaders Are Liars, Reject Them - Atiku

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, on Monday said he would not disappoint Nigerians if he was elected president.

The former Vice-President, who spoke during a PDP presidential campaign rally in Dutse, Jigawa State, said, “I will not disappoint you all. You should know that the APC are liars, they came to lie to us and deceived us.

“When we gave them our mandate, when they became President they forget about all what they promised us.

“Another important thing is that you should all come out and vote, don’t just vote but ensure that your vote count.”

The PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, Prince Uche Secondus, said Atiku would unite the country. He said, “Atiku remains the man that will defeat the APC, the man they are afraid of.

“The man who just came from America, he has gone and spoken to the civilised world. He has addressed the international community that as soon as he is sworn in businesses will begin to grow.”
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Drama As Lagos Assembly Claims Ignorance Of Ambode's 2019 Budget

The crisis of confidence between the Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, and the state House of Assembly deepened on Monday as the lawmakers denied being aware of the governor’s planned presentation of 2019 budget proposal.


Journalists who arrived at the state’s Assembly lobby about 2:30pm were approached by one of the Speaker’s aides who asked them to vacate the premises as the Speaker was said not to be in the know of the planned visit of the governor for the presentation of any budget.
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Rivers APC Case: Supreme Court's Position

The Supreme Court on Monday reserved ruling on whether the appeal filed by the Rotimi Ameachi faction of the Rivers State All Progressives Congress is valid.

The five-man panel, led by Justice Mohammed Datijo,
fixed ruling for a date to be communicated to parties. The Supreme Court had last December adjourned till March 8 for judgement in the suit.

The appeal, marked SC/1070/2018, was lodged before the court by 22 chieftains of the party loyal to Senator Magnus Abe and led by one Abdullahi Umar.

The appellants, through their lawyer, Henry Bello, urged the Supreme Court to reaffirm the ruling it delivered on October 22, which nullified the outcomes of the primary election that produced Tonye Cole and other candidates in the faction loyal to Amaechi.

The apex court reconvened on Monday, about two months earlier than the planned date for delivery of its judgment in the suit.

The sitting was sequel to an application by the appellants requesting the Supreme Court to abridge the time for judgment in line with the provisions of the 4th Alteration of the Electoral Act which stipulates a 60-day time frame for the matter.
Bello submitted that though the court ought to deliver its judgement before January 1, “the court cannot do anything because the matter has become status bar.”

He therefore prayed the court for leave to address it orally on the need for the apex court to deliver a judgment striking out the appeal, adding that the appellants’ motion of December 17, 2018, have been overtaken by the expiration of time.
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MY LIFE, MY REGRET, MY CROSS (PART TWO)



EPISODE 8

After Kamsy left the hospital that day, she went in search of her only surviving sister, Nonye. She asked everybody she knew that could tell of her sister's whereabouts but all her efforts were futile, not even Uju could tell her sister's whereabouts. As she walked home that night so helpless and miserable, she tried to imagine the scenario that led to her stepmother's death. She found it hard to believe that her father could do such. She hated him for that. At night, it was difficult for her to sleep as the images of her stepmother's and sister's corpses continued to haunt her. Early the next morning, she locked up the house and took few items she'll need and left. She went to her best friend's house and told her parent's everything that had transpired. They had pity on her and allowed her to stay with them.

Meanwhile, immediately Nonye left the hospital that day she headed straight for Uju's house. Uju couldn't keep her in her house for fear of her parents so she took her to stay with her hoodlum friends who were into drugs and also homeless. Nonye so much needed something doing to help her forget the fact that she had a hand in the death of her stepmother and sister so she committed every fibre in her to drugs and soon became a Drug Baron and a gang leader. She joined bands with the village thugs to rob people and businesses.

EPISODE 9

Three years had gone by and still peace eluded Nonye. She had also searched the breadth and length of the whole village without finding her sister, Kamsy. She needed to confess to her sister, at least, so she can know the truth. She had gone to the prison exactly two years after the tragedy that befell her family to tell her father the truth but she was told that he passed away the previous month. Umeka died an unhappy man with lot of unanswered questions in his heart. She was given envelop by the prison warden after disclosing to him that he was her father. She opened the envelop immediately she got home. In it, she found a poem. And it read;

   "Must I live on as one without hope?
    And If I must die like a leper, then it's certain I can't cope.        
   This day, I die like a chicken as though I were barren.
    Nevertheless, my cross I must carry           And this one thing I will forever regret, even in death
    That my very hands, and not another has murdered my unborn."

Nonye had cried her eyes out after reading this. She just realized that she did not only cause the death of a kind woman but she had literally killed her, her father and unborn sibling. She spent a whole week indoors. She ate but a little and spent a better part of her time mourning her dead. To worsen the situation, She couldn't even see his corpse because he had been buried already and people were saying that her sister had gone to the city and others assumed she was dead. She was deteriorating health-wise and this made her feel even more guilty. Nobody wanted to come close to her except her gangsters. She was feared by the people of the village as they believed that she was responsible for the deaths in her family or she was a witch.

One day, she decided to do what she should have done a long time ago to set herself free and prevented any more calamity. That morning, she decided to go round the whole village and confess. She had made up her mind to accept the consequence of her decision no matter how grievous it was.

EPISODE 10

Meanwhile, a year after the tragedy that befell the Umekas, Kamsy relocated with her friends family to the city. She was about to complete the registration process that would enable her to continue her education in the city when she was asked to submit her previous report card which she had left in her father's house in the village in her haste to flee from misery and helplessness. She had no option than to return to her village which she had said goodbye to a year ago.

She left the city very early that morning and arrived the village late in the morning. To her, the village hadn't changed much and it was as it was when she left. If not for the roof of her father's house which she could see from a distance, Kamsy would swear that her father's house had gone extinct as tall grasses and weeds had covered up the short wooden gate and even the compound. She bent the grasses and broke some till she made her way to the place she buried the key beside her parents room. She dug it out and opened the door. As she opened the door, she could perceive the smell of dust mixed with the old familiar scent of her father's dirty work clothes. She went straight to his room and decided to feed her eyes.

She'd long forgotten that she had a father because her friend's father had filled some part of the void her own father left but not any more. She was still angry at her father but a part of her wanted to know if he was alive or not. A part of her still wanted to know why he did what he did. Next, she saw her stepmother's clothes flunged carelessly on the bed. She remembered vividly that these were the clothes she had worn that day she asked her to go and fetch firewood for dinner.

The teenage girl couldn't hold her tears anymore, she held her stepmother's clothes to her heart and wept. Her whole body shook in grief as she poured out her heart in tears. She had cried herself to sleep while holding on to her mother's clothes when a rat ran over her stomach. She woke up quickly with a start wondering what it was that ran past her stomach. She was about to use the hem of her skirt to clean the tears that was almost dry in her eyes when she heard a voice in a distance making an announcement.

She was eager to hear what the voice in the distance was saying so she went to the door but then the tall grasses at the entrance to the house prevented her from having a clear view and hearing audibly. Quickly, she maneuvered her way a little way past their short wooden gate and stood to watch the approaching crowd.

Since they were a little distance away, she decided to take a look at their neighbourhood. It was only then that she discovered that their closest neighbour, Uju and her family had packed out of their house. The house had been renovated and another family lived in it. She was still looking at it when an elderly woman and a young girl came out of the wooden gate. She was staring so deeply at Kamsy with surprise written on her face. She must have wondered where Kamsy came from.

She then approached her and began to tell her about the family that lived in the deserted house—Umeka's family. Kamsy pretended to be surprised at her story and was already getting bored and annoyed at the woman's tale when the crowd got to where they stood. The young woman talking was looking dirty and haggardly. She was weeping as she spoke and that was when Kamsy realized that she was making a confession. She quickly turned away from the elderly woman to listen to the young woman talking who was shouting on top of her voice  but the elderly woman would not let her listen so she walked away in annoyance from her and drew closer to the crowd.

She was still approaching the crowd when the young woman talking suddenly stopped and started looking at her. Kamsy was oblivious that the young woman was staring at her as she was desperately trying to avoid the elderly woman who wouldn't let her be.

The young woman quickly ran to where Kamsy stood amongst the crowd and embraced her before she had time to think. Kamsy was taken aback and started to shout at the woman to leave her alone but she wouldn't. The crowd had formed a circle with Kamsy and the young woman in the middle when the haggard young woman finally left her alone.

The young woman was Nonye!

She was confessing how she had killed her sister and caused the untimely death of her stepmother when she beheld her long lost sister, Kamsy. When Kamsy recognized her finally, she embraced her this time and the duo broke into tears. The two sisters had assumed the other was dead but fate brought them together again.


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Monday, 21 January 2019

Apply Now for United Nations ECA Fellowships for Young African Professionals

ECA is inviting applications from qualified young African Professionals to the “ECA Fellowships for Young African Professionals” programme.

The Fellowship programme is targeted at young Africans. Candidates applying for Fellowship position must have Masters Degree or related Advanced degree. Candidates currently enrolled in a Ph.D programme or with an admission are also welcome to apply.

The programme aims to provide practical, on-the-job experience to the young professionals as they prepare either for a career in research and international development and the public sector. It will also familiarize them with the Commission's broad programmes and services to member States and sub-regional bodies in addressing the social dimensions of Africa's development.

To submit your application click here:



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Sunday, 20 January 2019

CJN Onnoghen Faces Big Challenge As FG Expands Probe

The Federal Government through the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit has launched a probe into the salary account of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, dating back to September 2005.

The probe predates the advent of the Bank Verification Number initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria and is expected to expose some alleged questionable deposits made into the account of the embattled CJN.

A fact sheet from the NFIU to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), stated that nearly N100m passed through Onnoghen’s salary account with Union Bank Plc between September 2005 and October 2016.

Onnoghen’s salary in 2005 was N240,202 but rose to N751,082.37 in February 2008. However, the funds in his account were said to have surpassed his salary.

The document read in part, “His salary in 2005 was N240,202. 20 and it rose to N751,082.37 in February 2008. The salary remains within range till date.

“However, the turnover in the account from September 2005 to October 2016 was N91,962,362.49.

“He did not spend from the salary account from March 2015 to October 2016. The salary and allowances accumulated to N22,520,636.27 in October 2016 from N6,132,885.24 in March of the same year.”

According to the NFIU, investigations showed that the funds deposited in the account of the CJN are questionable and probably proceeds of crime, The Punch reports.

“From the investigations conducted so far, it is plausible that the payments into the various accounts are bribes. This is because the sources of inflows into his accounts other than the salary account in Union Bank are unknown and probably fraudulent and the nature of the transactions (including structured payments) are not typical of the transactions of a public servant,” the statement added.

The Federal Government had last week filed charges against Onnoghen for allegedly failing to declare some assets before the Code of Conduct Bureau.
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Oshiomhole Cries Out: Retired Generals Conspiring Against Buhari

National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has said that the future of Nigeria is not in the hands of retired Generals but in the hands of the electorate.

Oshiomhole also alleged that some retired Generals and former Heads of State are against the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said this yesterday during the APC Presidential Campaign in Minna, Niger State.

He said that there was a plan to replay what occurred when Buhari was the Military Head of State and was removed due to his strict anti-corruption strategies.

“Many of the retired Generals are ganging up against President Buhari, that he will not do eight years while they did more than eight years.

“I remember they did it in the past but this time, the plan will not work. The future of Nigeria is not in the hands of retired Generals or former Heads of State. It is in the hands of the general people.”
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Senior Lawyers To Tackle FG Over Action On CJN Onnoghen

The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, BOSAN has resolved to tackle the Federal Government over the trial of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen and the President of Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Paul Usoro, SAN.

The body is holding an emergency meeting at the
conference room of Nigeria Law School, Lagos. As at the time of filing this report, the body has constituted a committee to draft a communique on their position which will be issued.

The meeting which started at about 10am yesterday had in attendance over 50 Senior Advocates of Nigeria.

A very reliable source who was at the meeting told Vanguard that most of the senior lawyers at the meeting expressed their displeasure with the procedure adopted by the Federal Government in prosecuting the CJN.

According to the source, the trial of the President, Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro (SAN) before the Federal High Court Lagos over allegation of fraud was also extensively discoursed. 
The source also disclosed that most of the SANs who spoke at the meeting expressed their displeasure with manner that FG appears to have declared war against the judiciary.

Vanguard also learnt that a Senior Advocate who is among Federal Government’s prosecuting team was also at the meeting.
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Obasanjo Hits Buhari: Nigeria Is Back To Abacha Era

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo says Nigeria is back to the Abacha era when state institutions were used to fight perceived enemies of the head of state, recklessly.

Obasanjo gave the warning on Sunday in his state of the nation address which he tagged “Points for Concern and Action”.

Sani Abacha, a general, was the military head of state from November 1993 till his death in June 1998 and was accused of using dictatorial powers to rule the country.

Obasanjo decided to address the nation following recent developments in the polity, including the trial of the chief justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, over an alleged false declaration of assets.

Obasanjo said: “Today, another Abacha Era is here. The security institutions are being misused to fight all critics and opponents of Buhari and to derail our fledgling democracy. EFCC, Police and Code of Conduct Tribunal are also being equally misused to deal with those Buhari sees as enemies for criticising him or as those who may not do his bidding in manipulating election results.

"Criticism, choice and being different are inherent trade mark of democracy. If democracy is derailed or aborted, anarchy and authoritarianism will automatically follow.

“Today, as in the day of Abacha, Nigerians must rise up and do what they did in the time of Abacha. Churches and Mosques prayed. International community stood by us Nigerians. I was a beneficiary and my life was saved. Well-meaning Nigerians took appropriate actions and made sacrifices, some supreme, some less than supreme but God had the final say and He took the ultimate action.”

Obasanjo say Nigerians won't allow one man make them start living in fear.
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25 Things Obasanjo Said About Buhari, Amina Zakari, Osinbajo

Whenever Chief Olusegun Obasanjo speaks, the world listens. That is why he's not shy about making his opinion known about critical issues affecting the country.
Here are some top points in his latest strong letter;

ON INEC 
1. “Democracy becomes a sham if elections are carried out by people who should be impartial and neutral umpires, but who show no integrity...”

2. “The transmission and collation of results are subject to interference, manipulation and meddling. If the INEC’s favourite political party wins with all the above infractions, the result will be conclusively declared and if not, there will be a ‘rerun’.”

3. “The track record of the present INEC is fairly sordid and all men and women of goodwill and believers in democracy must be prepared for the worst from INEC and their encouragers...”

4. “Amina Zakari has become too controversial a figure to be able to give assurance of free, fair and credible election for INEC.”

5. “A judge does not sit in judgement over a case once he or she becomes a cause for controversy... Madam Amina Zakari should, in honour, stay out and not be seen as a source of contamination of the election.”

6. “Amina Zakari is not the only Commissioner that can be in the Collation Centre. Let the INEC Chairman act boldly and impartially and prove his absolute neutrality and responsiveness...”

ON BUHARI
7. “Some men of God would hold President Buhari to his word on free, fair, credible and peaceful elections. I am a realist... I am not persuaded by a track record of hollow words, impunity, insensitivity and ‘I-couldn’t-care-less’ attitude.”

8. “It is no use, at this juncture, to keep lamenting about the failure, incompetence, divisiveness, nepotism, encouragement and condonation of corruption by Buhari administration...”

10. “President Buhari and his hatchet men in the coming election think that the judiciary must be primed in their favour. Hence, the Chief Justice of Nigeria... has been harassed and prosecuted...”

11. “President Buhari and his people believe no stone should be left unturned to rig Buhari in. It seems to be a ploy to intimidate the judiciary as a whole in preparation for all election cases that will go before them.”

12. “Buhari has succeeded in deceiving us the first time and we will be fools to allow ourselves to be deceived the second time.”

13. “Even when figures, facts and statistics are made clear to Buhari, he keeps repeating what is untrue, either because he cannot understand or for mischief purposes and that places him on the level of a pathological liar.”

14. “[Buhari] believes he can get away with impunity and deceit as he seems to have done on many occasions in the past.”

15. “Bola Tinubu’s statement about Muhammadu Buhari in 2003 is fairly prophetic, “Muhammadu Buhari is an agent of destabilisation, ethnic bigot and religious fanatic who, if given the chance, would ensure the disintegration of the country. His ethnocentrism would jeopardise Nigeria’s national unity".”

16. “Buhari’s watch can be likened to what we witnessed under Gen. Sani Abacha in many ways. When Abacha decided that he must install himself as Nigerian President by all means and at all costs, he went for broke and surrounded himself with hatchet men who on his order and in his interest and at high costs to Nigeria and Nigerians maimed, tortured and killed for Abacha.”

17. “...we have heard of how Buhari and his party are going about his own self-succession project. They have started recruiting collation officers who are already awarding results based on their projects to actualise the perpetuation agenda...”

18. Buhari’s “henchmen are working round the clock in cahoots with security and election officials to perfect their plan by computing results right from the ward to local government, state and national levels to allot him what will look like a landslide victory irrespective of the true situation...”

19. “The current plan is to drape the pre-determined results with a toga of credibility. It is also planned that violence of unimaginable proportion will be unleashed in high voting population areas across the country to precipitate re-run elections and where [Buhari] will be returned duly elected after concentration of security...”

20. “Buhari’s scheme bears eloquent testimony to this road similar to Abacha whom he has praised to high heavens and as an arch-supporter and beneficiary from Abacha, he has seen nothing wrong done by him. “

21. “It is clear from all indications that Buhari is putting into practice the lessons he learned from Abacha. Buhari has intimidated and harassed the private sector, attacked the National Assembly and now unconstitutionally and recklessly attacked and intimidated the Judiciary to cow them to submission.”

ON OSINBAJO 
22. “Osinbajo must have gone for, “if you can’t beat them, join them”. A great pity indeed and which makes people ask the questions, “Any hope?”

23. “Osinbajo has shown the human weakness and proved the saying that the corruption of the best is the worst form of corruption.”

24. “What is the connection between taking the number of PVC of the ‘traders’ and the forthcoming election? There is something sinister about it, and Professor Osinbajo, of all people, should know that.”
ON DEMOCRACY
25. “This is a time for vigilance to fight to safeguard our votes and defend our democracy. The price of liberty and sustenance of our democracy is eternal vigilance and appropriate reaction to ward off iniquities... We must all be ready to pay that price and not relying on hollow words of callousness. The derailment of Nigerian democracy will be a monumental disaster comparable to the disaster of the Nigerian first military coup...Nigeria must not be allowed to slip off the democratic path nor go into anarchy and ruin. No individual nor group has monopoly of violence or gangsterism...”
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Friday, 18 January 2019

MY LIFE, MY REGRET, MY CROSS (PART ONE)


EPISODE 1

Oluchi carried the 13 year old on her back as she walked and ran intermittently, all the way to the hospital which was some kilometres away from their house. Her legs were swollen and she was almost losing her breath when she got to the hospital. She almost passed out from fatigue for the girl was heavy coupled with the distance she had trekked. Some minutes later, a nurse took over from her. She hadn't sat down for five minutes when Umeka rushed in. In a twinkling of an eye, Oluchi was struggling for her life on the floor. Umeka had dealt her a blow on her stomach and soon she was bleeding. An older man and a nurse tried to hold him back but he would not. He gave her a hard kick with his right foot on her side and was cursing on top of his voice when the Doctor arrived the spot. He called the security and Umeka was arrested immediately. Oluchi losed the baby and passed away an hour later after losing so much blood. She had kept the pregnancy away from her husband for fear that he might not accept the child.

The Past...

Umeka had lost his first wife to asthma two months ago. He was having a hard time taking care of his three daughters, Nonye, 6, Ugo, 4 and Kamsy, 2 and still go food hunting all by himself when Oluchi, his one time business partner in rubber foot wears who had been out of the village for a year, came to his rescue upon her return when she heard the news. She had come to sympathize with him one day when she saw the two year old on his back tied with a wrap cloth crying while he knelt down to make the fire. She had compassion on him and immediately relieved him of the little girl he was carrying. Surprisingly, Kamsy immediately stopped crying when Oluchi carried her. Thereafter, she volunteered to come check on them every two days as she desperately wanted to help. Sooner than Umeka had expected, his daughters quickly bonded with Oluchi and had began to call her mama already. They had loved her so much and she in turn treated them with love and care as if they were her own.

Meanwhile, Umeka had something for his neighbour, Chidinma. He loved her so much and wanted to tie the knot with her but his only problem were his children. They detested her so much and found it very difficult to be happy whenever she was around and she too, lacked the patience to condone their misdemeanors. She would beat them mercilessly at the slightest mistake. Umeka had taken note of all these and was confused on what to do. Chidimma soon stopped visiting completely  after she began to see Oluchi more often in his house. Umeka could not particularly point out what attracted her to him. Perhaps, it was her shapely and curvy body that attracted him to her. Or could it be because she was very fair in complexion? Umeka soon realized that his daughters' happiness mattered more to him than his after seeking for advice from a Friend. One thing led to another and three months later, he married Oluchi. Some months later after their wedding, Chidimma left the village. Rumour had it that she went to marry her heartthrob in the city.

EPISODE 2

Everything returned to normality for Umeka and his daughters save the fact that no matter how hard a person works, one can never be another but a close substitute for another. Oluchi would never be Umeka's late wife but she definitely was a perfect substitute for her.  The family were so knitted into one that one could hardly tell them apart. Their income as a family was steady as the erstwhile business partners were together again.

EPISODE 3

Seven months later, Oluchi and Umeka discovered that Ugo, their second daughter was asthmatic. She had had five asthmatic attacks in the last five months and this condition had made Umeka to begin to see things, particularly his daughters and Oluchi, differently. He became fearful and overreacted anytime she tried to discipline his daughters. The fear of losing any of his daughters to asthma tormented him like hell as his dear wife had died because of the disease. He would scold her and sometimes even slap or beat her in front of his daughters even when they were wrong thus making his daughter, Nonye, to lose her respect for her. The closest to her heart was Kamsy, for she had from a tender age regarded her as her mother and obeyed her. In Kamsy, Oluchi found understanding and comfort and it was because of her that she did not lose her respect for Umeka despite the undeserved maltreatment he meted out to her without cause. Because of her health, Ugo was not as much of a headache as Nonye. She was always by herself.

EPISODE 4

Until Oluchi died Umeka had blinded his own eyes and heart from seeing reality. Nonye had taken to some bad habits when she was fifteen. She frequently followed their next-door neighbour's daughter, Uju, to fetch water in the village stream. On one of such occasions, Uju persuaded Nonye to accompany her to collect a parcel from a friend. After collecting it, they went straight to the stream to fetch water. Nonye was curious about the content of the beautifully wrapped gift and had asked Uju about it for the umpteenth time when she gave her a condition that must be fulfilled if she must know the content. Naïve Nonye accepted without giving it a second thought. The condition Uju gave her was that she would take a little of the content if she unwrapped it. When she unwrapped it, alas! It was tobacco! Nonye still did not know what it was until Uju told her the name. She had refused to take it at first but Uju enticed her into smoking the substance with her.

However, luck was on their side because no other person came to the stream until they left. When she got home her stepmother was inside the room she shared with their father so she staggered to the other room belonging to her and her sisters. She had only laid down for some few minutes when Oluchi's voice rang like a bell from her room. As she was still experiencing the effect of the hard substance, she did not answer. Angrily, Oluchi stormed the room to see what was preventing her mouth from answering her name. On entering the room, she perceived the smell of tobacco. Unfortunately, Umeka had travelled to the next village to sell his wares and wouldn't be back until after two days. After several efforts to get her to say how she got the substance, She lied to her stepmother about the person that gave her the substance because she did not want to lose Uju's friendship. She told her that it was an unfamiliar boy that had forced her to take the substance because she had refused to assist him in fetching his bucket of water. Umeka did not come back the next day as expected, and the food Oluchi prepared to await his return the previous day got spoilt. The next day, Oluchi began to prepare dinner later than usual as no one assisted her in the household chores. Nonye had become too heady to run errands for her ever since Umeka started maltreating her. Ugo was allergic to smoke and Kamsy was not at home. Umeka arrived that day unexpectedly, when she was still preparing dinner. He was enraged as he was famished and had ill luck in selling his wares. He had beaten her black and blue that day until the neighbours came to stop him. The next day, when Oluchi tried to tell him about Nonye's experience and her view on the matter, she received the beating of her life and he warned her never to speak ill of his daughters again in his hearing.

EPISODE 5

Nonye soon developed a penchant for tobacco and was slowly getting addicted to it. She would smoke it in her stepmother's presence and hide it anytime her father was around. It was on one of such occasions that Ugo had the last asthmatic attack that sent her and her stepmother to their early graves. Nonye was sitting by the window, as usual smoking her tobacco while Ugo was lying on the bed inside. Her health conditions had made her abstain from most of the household chores because of dust and smoke. The smoke was pervading the room little by little without the knowledge of Nonye. Soon, Ugo had another attack. Meanwhile, their mother had just returned from the market and had gone into the house to change her clothes when she heard the familiar sound of Ugo's wheezing. Her inhaler was exhausted and Umeka was to buy it on his way back the previous day but it had escaped his memory. Hence to save the girl's life, she rushed in and carried her on her back all the way to the hospital. On seeing what had happened as a result of her nonchalant attitude, Nonye was about to run away when her father returned from the market with the inhaler. Immediately, she feigned crocodile tears and told her father how her stepmother had attempted to kill her sister through the dust she was raising as she swept the rooms and that was when Umeka stormed the hospital and murdered his wife.

EPISODE 6

Meanwhile Ugo had been unconscious ever since she was rushed into the hospital. Some hours later the Doctor confirmed her dead as the smoke from the tobacco had irritated her breathing passages and caused a severe asthma attack which resulted in her death. When Nonye discovered that her sister was dead she ran away. Meanwhile, Kamsy had been sent by her mother to fetch firewood from their little farm that was not so far away from the house. When she returned she met an empty house but was told by their neighbours that her family were in the hospital. When she arrived, her stepmother and sister were dead already and Nonye was gone. She asked about her family from the Doctor and was told of everything that had transpired. She couldn't face her father, not after he had killed the only woman she'd grown to love as a mother after the demise of her mother. She was too bitter to ask her father why and so she refused to go and see him. She left the hospital after seeing the corpse of her stepmother and sister.

EPISODE 7

Umeka sat on the cold, bare floor of his solitary confinement with his thin legs stretched in front of him. He had been condemned to life in prison by the Village Head. He was to be hanged to death but Nonye was no where around to reaffirm the story to the Village Head so he was sent to a solitary confinement. He didn't know if he was to feel sad that he would end up in the prison or that he had used his own hands to kill a woman he had grown to love and his unborn child. The Doctor had told him that his wife was with child when he kicked her. But why didn't Oluchi tell him about it? Was the child not his own? No, Oluchi was too saintly to commit adultery. In fact, He had married her as a virgin. Perhaps, she was going to tell me or was she afraid of my reaction? Umeka reasoned. But she killed my daughter, he reasoned again trying to justify the guilt he felt within. He had never raised a hand on a woman before so whatever came on him to act the way he did, he wondered. As he inhaled the pungent smell of urine in his cell, Umeka couldn't help but ask himself, " Would I have been better off if I had gone for Chidinma?",  "Would it have prevented all these?" He longed daily to see his daughters but none showed up.
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Update From FG On New Minimum Wage

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, says the proposed new National Minimum Wage will be presented to the National Council of State on January 22.

Ngige disclosed this while speaking with State House correspondents after the National Economic Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.

The minister said work was still ongoing on the figure, 
frequency of review, those to be exempted and everything else about the bill before it would be ready for transmission to the National Assembly.

“The information minister told you the other day after the Federal Executive Council meeting that we are taking our deliberations to the National Economic Council and then we close up on the January 22nd at the National Council of State.

“After that, we will be able to say where we are going. It is not a question of governors saying they cannot pay N30,000, discussions are still ongoing and will terminate on 22nd when we meet with the National Council of State.

“Governors are part of Nigeria and they are part of the government’s side of the public sector; so do not disengage them or dis-articulate them from the Federal Government.
“The public is the Federal Government and the state government, and even the local government,’’ Ngige said.

The minister, however, said that the plan was to transmit the National Minimum Wage Bill to the National Assembly on or before January 23 in consonance with the agreement with labour.
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Expert Back Atiku Over Plans To Privatise NNPC

Momoh Aliyu, a financial expert and Managing Director of Cyber1 Systems Network International, has backed decision by PDP’s presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar to privatise the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Aliyu made his position known while reacting to statement credited to Atiku on his proposed plan to privatise the NNPC if elected president.

NAN reports that the PDP’s flag bearer on Wednesday said that he would privatise the NNPC if elected, describing the state-owned oil firm as a “mafia organisation’’.

Atiku, who spoke at an interactive session with the business community in Lagos, said that he would take the step even if doing so would cost him his life.

He explained that he sold the idea to former President Olusegun Obasanjo whom he worked with as a deputy between 1999 and 2007.

According to him, the former president did not approve of it but he is convinced that NNPC will run better if not managed by the government.

The expert said that the privatisation of NNPC was long overdue but, however, doubted the integrity of Atiku in spearheading such process.

According to him, a country with population projected to double by 2050, and presently has many Nigerians that are unemployed should only focus on productivity.

Nigeria’s population is presently estimated at 180 million.

Aliyu said the only panacea to productivity and job creation was to privatise and diversify the nation’s economy.
He said that the government would find it difficult to diversify conveniently because of its policies on public service which were critical to key sectors of the economy.

Aliyu suggested that NNPC should be a regulatory body and not a commercial body.
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Atiku Laughs With Saraki As He Arrives US, Checks Into Trump Hotel (Photos)

Former Nigerian Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the PDP, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar, has arrived at Dulles International Airport, in the United States of America.

During his working visit to Washington DC, Atiku will engage in bilateral meetings with a high powered, bi-partisan delegation of US congressmen who are deeply concerned and troubled about the future of democracy in Nigeria.

The delegation is seeking Atiku’s views on how best the United States can support Nigeria in ensuring democracy at all levels and more importantly ensuring the will of the people prioritised at all times.


Atiku will have several other meetings with business leaders, high ranking US government officials, thought leaders and Nigerians in the diaspora.
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See The Man Buhari Called APC Presidential Candidate, Leading To Reactions

Here's the man President Buhari called 'APC presidential candidate' that got people talking. He also referred to the man, APC Delta gubernatorial candidate Great Ogboru, as APC senatorial candidate, he was still wrong.
The incident has made many, especially opposition, to ask if Buhari is fit.

Buhari was to hand over APC flag to him, then he said: "I am handing over this flag of honour to our presidential candidate." When the man to his left corrected him, saying "gubernatorial", Buhari responded with "to our senatorial candidate". 
Again, the man corrected him, saying "gubernatorial". This time, Buhari said: "governortorial candidate".
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Buhari's Team Cries Out: PDP, Atiku Planning To Rig The Election

Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) said yesterday that it has unearthed plans by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar to infiltrate the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by sponsoring its supporters to work within the commission as electoral officers.

BMO also said the opposition was deploying massive resources to rig the election.

The organisation said in a statement issued by its chairman, Niyi Akinsiju and secretary, Cassidy Madueke, that the plans of the opposition “to subvert the will of the people”, is the recent recruitment of a former INEC Chairman known to have presided over the worse election in Nigeria’s recent political history.

The group said the rigging plot also involves spending huge sums of money on police personnel and election officials in many parts of the country. It added that the opposition was also plotting to infiltrate the electoral body with their supporters.

The group asked INEC to be vigilant and ensure that PDP supporters were not recruited as electoral officers for the presidential and other elections
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Atiku's Journey To America: How It Really Happened

It was a well guarded trip, no leaks, no distractions, pure surprise for many political watchers. In fact, while he was already in the plane heading to America, some were still busy saying he can't visit America.

Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, arrived the United States of America yesterday and is, today, expected to speak at the United States’ Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC, from 2.30pm to 4:00pm.

Atiku is expected to speak at a private roundtable, hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce and the US African Business Center at 1615 H Street, NW 20062.

Atiku left Nigeria from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, in company with the Senate President and Director General of the Atiku/Obi Presidential Campaign Organisation, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
After controversies over the refusal of the US to grant him entry into the country for 12 years, indications emerged in December 2018 that Atiku was finally issued a visa by the US embassy.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) had used the fact that he was unable to travel to the US as a result of a bribery scandal involving William Jefferson, a former US congressman in 2004 to discredit him.

APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, has repeatedly said Atiku could not go to the US because he was “running away from investigations by the US authorities... The PDP has a presidential candidate who can only travel to Dubai,” Oshiomhole had said.

During one of his interviews before he emerged the PDP candidate, Atiku explained that though he had applied for visa, he was told that his application is going through administrative process. He was eventually cleared.
Yesterday evening, his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, said in a statement that Atiku would meet “with US government officials, the business community and the Nigerian community.”
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