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Don’t Become A Spiritual Slave To Scam Artists- Charly Boy

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Everyone who knows singer and social crusader, Charles Oputa aka Charly Boy, will consider him one of the most controversial personalities in Nigeria.

The Area Father as he’s fondly called, recently took on pastors, especially the Pentecostal leaders whom he says are ‘scam artists.’

According to him, a large number of these pastors who are not really groomed as pastors and are not well educated, demand for money in the house of God and divert the fund for their own personal uses; money actually meant for the salvation of souls.

In his words: “I think a large proportion of Pentecostal pastors are scammers; some are mentally/emotionally unstable, many of them half-educated because there is no requirement for rigorous scholarship to become a Pentecostal pastor. I understand that the level of education one has is not a determinant of mental/emotional stability, and that intelligent people can also be unstable; I am just speaking in general terms and trends.

“I think that most unstable people are attracted to Pentecostalism because of its irrationality and it condones insane and inappropriate behavior such as screaming, shouting, running, wailing, hopping, and other such things where very troubled people could fit right in and indulge their theatrics for attention.

“Don’t become a spiritual slave to a scam artist. All the pastors use the Bible and their life experience as modems for everybody. An alarming trend is the high level of demand for money in place of grace and salvation for eternal life in heaven: everything is for here and now, so that the more money you give to God through his agents, the better off you are and the closer to God you will be. There also seems to be a lot of idolatry and mental enslavement in this movement and it’s ripe for dissing by people who are true Christians,” he noted.

« Previous Article The Link Between Mikel Obi, Ice Prince and Celestine Babayaro

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The Link Between Mikel Obi, Ice Prince and Celestine Babayaro

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Celebrities come in different shapes and sizes and their rags to riches tales always connect with the people. Former Super Eagles defender, Celestine Babayaro is a household name because he was part of the team that won the Olympic gold in 1996. Mikel Obi, a Chelsea FC player was part of the senior national team that won the African Cup Of Nations, AFCON 2013. Between Celestine Babayaro and Mikel Obi, there is a connection hidden from most people. Rapper, Panshak Zamani, known as Ice Prince also shares the same link with them.
Apart from them growing up in the cold city of Jos, Plateau State, the trio all went to the same secondary school. The school has become somewhat special because reports have it that the P- Square twins may have also attended the school. According to Ice Prince, he, Mikel Obi and Celestine Babyaro all attended St Murumba College in Jos.
According to the Chocolate City Records rapper, the college is one of the best schools in Jos and has a history of graduating celebrities.

« Previous Article Omawumi Flaunts Baby Bump

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Omawumi Flaunts Baby Bump

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The gist is that Bottom Belle singer, Omawumi is set to be a mother again. The singer who got married quietly to her man, Tosin Yusuf at the Ikoyi Registry recently has been seen with a baby bump.

Omawumi had her first child, Emmanuela Kamillah four years ago in the United States of America, precisely January 16, 2011; that means that Emmanuella is long overdue to have a kid sister or brother.

Omawumi, who is working on an album release this year, will have her hands full as a nursing mother and as a singer. Kudos to her!

Omawumi had a traditional wedding at her Warri-family home last year, putting the rumours surrounding her baby daddy to rest. She has since made her baby father known and gone her head to marry Tosin, who was formerly a club owner on the Lagos Island.

« Previous Article Low Quality Songs Not Fault Of Artistes–Sound Sultan

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Low Quality Songs Not Fault Of Artistes–Sound Sultan

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Contrary to the popular perception that artistes no longer care about the quality of the songs they produce, Nigerian musician, song writer and comedian, Sound Sultan, has said that the attitude is not totally the fault of artistes.

Sound Sultan, on his Twitter page recently maintained that his colleagues are most times compelled to sing the way they do due to commercial value.

He also blamed the trend on listeners, saying they usually dance to whatever kind of song that is played.

“Musicians who sing meaningful songs are looked down on; just a few have that immunity. It’s not totally the fault of the artiste for bringing out low quality songs. Listeners don’t know what they want too; you dance to the songs,” he stated.

« Previous Article Mike Ezuruonye, Omoni Oboli See Hell In The Duplex

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Mike Ezuruonye, Omoni Oboli See Hell In The Duplex

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A gripping modern horror puts lover boy actor, Mike Ezuruonye (Emeka) on the edge, as he battles, not only to save his wife, the beautiful Omoni Oboli (Adaku) and their unborn baby, but also his investment of N120millio in a posh duplex built on a cemetery– but too late, the resident ghost is already on rampage.

Distributed by FilmOne, a sister company to Filmhouse Cinemas, The Duplex, which hits cinemas across Nigeria next week is a piteous, tense experience by a young couple on their journey to start life as a couple.

Ezuruonye and Oboli, display an infectious chemistry in their first ever appearance together and as a couple in a Nollywood movie. The film, pegged on the lesson of greed, plays up the contrast between a contented wife and a more adventurous husband, with sub plots of women’s sometimes financial possessiveness and the man’s notable ego and secretiveness in the family.

In The Duplex, Chukwuma Omezioke took ill shortly before the Nigeria/Biafra war and died. His wife and only son left Lagos for their home town, trusting the property with the deceased’s best friend, Mr Balogun. But they were never to return to it because the caretaker had personalised the house documents. Omezioke’s ghost will not take the cheating lying down; as it turns a serial killer, hunting buyers of his stolen home.

Produced by Emmanuel Isikaku and directed by Ikechukwu Onyeka, other cast of the movie include Uru Eke (Dora); Anthony Monjaro (Jones); Ayo Umoh (Akpan) and Maureen Okpoko, who played the bald-headed lady psychic.

 

« Previous Article Funke Akindele, Helen Paul Dazzle In Mr Potosky

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Crossover actresses, Funke Akindele, Helen Paul and Charles Inojie lighted the screen in a new blockbuster movie, Mr Potosky. Produced from the stables of De-Kross Movie Productions, Mr Potosky has been tipped to set a new pace in Nollywood.

The multi-million naira film, directed by Amayo Uzo-Philip, also stars Bishop Imeh and Chike Anyawu, among others.

Christopher Ozoemena, the chief executive officer of De-Kross Movie Productions, who produced the movie, assured that Mr Potosky will surpass the sheer success recorded by many of his previous movies.

Ozoemena, who has produced multiple award-winning movies like Total War, Caught in the Act, Beauty and the Beast, The Maidens, The Kingdom and Aki the Blind, said he has shot glamorous and serious stories in the past, but decided to wow movie buffs with something more soothing this time around.

The film preaches to families who don’t teach their wards good morals. Potosky, played by Charles Inojie, is a cook to a senator who has a problem with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and was arrested. Then Potosky, who thought the senator would never return, went to his village with his master’s money, cars, clothes and other valuables.

Potosky started deceiving girls in the village to the extent that parents were forcing their female children to seduce him, and he eventually impregnated many of them. He also duped some of them financially by the time he was broke.

“The message of the film is for people to believe in themselves and be contented with what God has given them. People should not be carried away with material things–don’t judge people by the cars they drive or the clothes they wear,” Ozoemena, popularly known as De-Kross stated.

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The Oscars: Selma Snub And The Dearth Of Black Nominees

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The Oscars have come and gone; the speeches have been given, the upsets have happened and the usual barrage of criticisms and opinions have continued to trail Sunday’s show. However, one thing clearly stands out-the absence of black actors and actresses in the nominees list released prior to the Oscar event itself; all 20 nominees where white.
“Imagine What’s Possible” is the official slogan of this year’s Oscars. Given the lack of “colour” in this year’s academy awards, most Blacks would surely rather imagine what is impossible.
Winning an Oscar is more than just grabbing hold of a gold statuette and giving emotion laden speeches; winning an Oscar is validation of a big screen actor/ actresses acting mettle. For most Hollywood actors and actresses an Oscar is the ultimate icing on the cake when it comes to their career.
In 2013, Lupita Nyong’o won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role; that was a great win not just for the for the Kenyan actress, but  for all Black thespians.
Prior to Lupita’s win, in 2011, Octavia Spencer became the sixth African American woman to win an Oscar. Her convincing portrayal of a maid (Minny Jackson) in The Help earned her an Oscar nod in the category of supporting actress. Nine years previously, in 2002, Halle Berry and Denzel Washington clinched gold. That win was a record breaking one;  Halle Berry became the first ever black woman to win the Oscar for Best Actress In a Leading Role.
When Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar for her role in the classic, Gone With The Wind, she became the first Black woman as well as the first black person to win an Oscar.  That Oscar was for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Looking at the history of Oscars, sadly, the ratio of white to black when it comes to Oscar nominations and awards for the Best Actor and Best actress categories is steeply in favour of whites; more than 350 whites, compared to a mere 21 blacks. A rough estimate shows that for every academy nomination given a black person in those categories, 16 white people are nominated. A thoroughly bleak statistic that clearly shows the inequality that is obviously still embedded in Hollywood.
That figure dwindles further when you consider the actual number of black actors and actresses who have won Oscars in a leading role.
One wonders thus: if a black woman had taken the lead role in Still Alice, would she have won the Oscar which was clinched by Julian Moore?
Sidney Poitier was the first ever black actor to win the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role. This was back in 1963 and it was for the movie Lilies of the Field. It wasn’t until 2002 that another black man was given the gold for the same category. Denzel Washington won the gold for his portrayal of a narcotics police officer gone bad. 2004 saw Jamie Foxx get the Oscar for his portrayal of legendary musician, Ray Charles in Ray. Forest Whitaker won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his convincing delivery of Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. This was in 2006.
In 2013, British-Nigerian, Chiwetel Ejiofor was nominated in the Best Actor in a Leading Role category. His nomination is one of the few titbits the Oscar academy throws at the Black community. It is true Oscar nominations have interspersed the very few actual wins by black actors and actresses, but is that enough?
The Oscar Academy voting members are overwhelmingly white (over 90%) and most of them are in their 60s; that fact alone is enough to raise eyebrows and is in fact raising questions as to whether the Oscars are moving with the times or stubbornly stuck in the times when there was deep segregation in America.
Selma, which starred our very own David Oyelowo, lost out to The Imitation Game in the best picture category.  Oyelowo’s portrayal of civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr was beautiful and a lot of people expected at least an Oscar nod, in the form of a nomination. That didn’t happen and though John Legend and Common did get the Oscar for Best Song for the same movie, it’s still a resounding slap on David Oyelowo and director Ava Du Varnay- neither were even nominated despite doing a very good job with the movie.
After the nominations list was released prior to the actual awards event, in an Esquire magazine interview, Oyelowo had this to say on being snubbed: “It bothers me because it’s the best reviewed film of the year. It’s a film that doesn’t direct or act itself. It bothers me because it’s Dr King – one of the most significant human beings in American life, and I want him celebrated. Whether we like it or not, these accolades feed into that legacy.”
Still, this year’s Oscars have been labelled the “whitest Oscars ever”. Is it that there are not enough Oscar-worthy roles for people of African descent? Or is it that Hollywood is still very much racist and sexist?
The hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite which has been trending on the social network site, Twitter, sums up these feelings of many.

« Previous Article Airline Business: Effect Of Devaluation Of The Naira

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An unstable currency is a precursor to airline failure. Even in a stable economy, airline business is virtually unprofitable, or has very low return on investment.

Since October 2014, our currency, the naira, has been on a decline against the strength/value of the U.S. dollar. While the fading price of crude oil in the international market appears to be the major cause of naira’s low value, it’s clearly visible that government’s fiscal and monetary policies seem to contribute more to the waning value of the currency.

Fiscal policy and monetary policy are the two tools used by the government to achieve its macroeconomic objectives. While for many countries the main objective of fiscal policy is to increase the aggregate output of the economy, the main objective of monetary policy is to control the interest and inflation rates. The IS/LM model is one of the models used to depict the effect of policy interactions on aggregate output and interest rates. The fiscal policies have a direct impact on the goods market while the monetary policies have direct impact on the asset markets. Since the two markets are connected to each other via the two macro variables output and interest rates, the policies interact while influencing output and interest rates.

Since the two interwoven policies in Nigeria currently have negative impact on the industry, the big question here is how will the majority of our airlines cope in the immediate future since they are heavily submerged in debts?

The majority of scheduled and unscheduled aircraft operators face tough government policies aimed at sucking the lives of aircraft operators. With terminal navigational and landing charges at a constant, it is needless to say that Nigeria is about the most expensive country in Africa to engage in airline business.

I have always said in this column that aviation is about safety and competition. Right from its inception, the industry has always witnessed intense costly safety initiatives in addition to stiff competition.

The notion that the Wright Brothers were credited with being the pioneer of powered flight is currently being challenged- again. Another aviation enthusiast, Gustave Whitehead, claimed to have achieved the same before the Wright Brothers ever took to the air in Kitty Hawk.

These intrigues never seem to get detached from the industry. Therefore, competition is the absolute middle name of aviation. But what is most important in this constantly evolving business is how a national government supports or interferes with the industry’s growth.

Of late, we have been bombarded with the word “reform”, which does not necessarily encourage competition. Very few aircraft owners will be interested in keeping their airplanes in the country henceforth if negative policies designed to discourage the progressive growth of the sector remain unchallenged or unchanged.

There are always cynics in the industry who, without understanding the governing Act of the sector, seem to constantly want the system changed to pave way for them. I can guaranty that even if a single airline is licensed to operate in our national airspace, it will naturally fail. Airlines are basically catalyst of economic growth. They enhance profitability of other businesses, but are, themselves, unprofitable.

The rapid expansion and growth of Emirates Airlines to become a dominant force in aviation business can be attributed to two factors: (1) tenacious government support, and (2) promotion of tourism for its native country, United Arab Emirate (UAE). With the government of UAE behind this fast growing airline, there is every reason for its long -term survival. In addition, the country’s currency is stable, with a conducive operating environment. Any hurdle to growth and development of the business is promptly brought to the attention of the regulatory authority, and swift decision to eliminate such an impediment is enforced. The result is what the world sees today— a fast growing airline with great financial leverage.

Despite its enormous prosperity, Emirate’s Profit margin is still below six per cent of its overall revenues. For example, last year, the airline’s gross revenues were in excess of $23bn, yet net income was around $1 billion. But Emirate Airlines is purely a catalyst for the booming tourism industry of UAE. With an annual inflow of over 60 million tourists, and most of them flying the flag carrier of the country, the benefits derived from such huge airline business warrant unrelenting government support.

The reverse seems to be the case in our country. Unfortunately, our business attitude, whereby everyone must be the star, added to ‘kill competition’ syndrome, will not foster aviation and national development. At every stage of our aviation industry, someone is aggrieved; he must find his way to encourage government to stop others from existing despite the visible anti-competition motive.

The dwindling value of the naira will surely hurt every industry in Nigeria, but airline business will bear the brunt as politicians seem to do nothing about how best to revive the economy.

The reality here is that those who financed their aircraft from abroad have severe unstable exchange rates to deal with, while those with local currency loans must contend with high interest rates. Neither is easy to deal with in an unstable economy. These challenges will create negative impact, and surely, many airlines with go burst again.

When former President Umaru Yar’Adua created the earmarked aviation intervention fund of N300 billion, it was applauded with hope. That was the first and last time every stakeholder believed that government was positively moving towards alleviating airlines’ plight. Less than six years after, the money is nowhere to be found; those who benefitted from that soft loan scheme have disappeared, and again, the airline industry is faced with insurmountable debts that will plunge every operator into dungeon of bankruptcy.

Airline business is tough, unprofitable, and heavily regulated. It is even more over- regulated in this country because of (1) the aggregate differences between the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) regulations, and the adverse policies issued by the ministry of aviation. Also, the calibre of unknowledgeable players in the sector who keep misdirecting government on how the industry should be governed will contribute to the inevitable demise of the sector.

My advice to those who wish to remain in airline business is this: know that if profitability is your drive towards buying a business aircraft for charter, or an airliner for schedule operation, the economy of Nigeria, as of today, cannot support your dream. You will surely lose your money.

But if the glamour of the industry is your ultimate fancy, then aviation is for you; a place where you can keep burning all your money to elevate your ego.

The dwindling value of the naira will not help; it surely will hurt all investors.

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Chelsea striker Diego Costa believes he is already a victim of his own reputation in England, but insists he will never change his aggressive style.

Costa returned to domestic action against Burnley last weekend after serving a three-match ban for stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can.

The combative forward maintains the altercation with Can was an innocent mistake but his first season at Stamford Bridge, which has included an impressive 18 goals, has been blighted by controversy.

Costa, who is likely to star against Tottenham in Sunday’s Capital One Cup final, admits he is a marked man now in this country but says he will be not holding back at Wembley.

“I’m not going to change my way of playing,” Costa said.

“I do know now that I have to be a little bit more careful because it’s not the same when I do something or when someone else does it.

“Something I do, it’s talked about much more than another player.

“I have to be extra careful, but I’m never going to change the way I play. That’s what got me here, that’s the way I play.”

Costa scored in Chelsea’s 5-3 defeat to Tottenham in January but the 26-year-old has not found the net in his last four matches and is yet to notch in any cup competition this season.

“When I was at my best, I had that suspension [after Liverpool] that I still don’t even know why it happened,” he continued.

“Now, I’m running a little bit behind, trying to do my best, working hard and hopefully I’ll be 100 percent.”

He continued: “I don’t pick tournaments to score, or rivals or other teams to score against.

“I’m a striker, every game I play I want to score. If it hasn’t happened in the cup, I’m hoping to God it happens on Sunday.”

Costa will be making his first appearance at Wembley, but Jose Mourinho may also turn to Didier Drogba, who has scored eight goals in eight games at the national stadium.

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Pacquiao Vs Mayweather: Winner To Get World’s Most Expensive Belt

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The winner of the richest fight of all time will walk away with the most expensive belt in ring history on the night of May 2 in Las Vegas.

Floyd Mayweather Jnr or Manny Pacquiao will be presented with a belt either studded with diamonds or made of platinum.

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman is commissioning a million dollar version of his organisation’s fabled green strap.

He says: “This is a fight of the greatest magnitude and we must commemorate the occasion with something special.

“A final decision between diamonds and platinum will be made shortly.”

Mayweather and Pacquiao are already guaranteed the highest purses ever paid to prize-fighters, minimum totals of $150m (£97m) to the Money Man and $100m (£65m) to the Pacman.

Two normal belts will be at stake, with Mayweather’s WBC world welterweight title and Pacquiao’s WBO championship on the line.

Ringside tickets at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, face value almost $6,000 (£3,890) are now trading on the black market – or secondary market as it is known in America – for upwards of $100,000 (£65,000).

« Previous Article FRENAGE Academy Congratulates New Oyo FA Boss

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The management board of Frenage International Soccer Academy has congratulated the newly elected chairman of the Oyo State Football Association, Chief James Odeniran.

In a statement signed by the general manager of the academy, Akeem Ololade and made available to LEADERSHIP WEEKEND, the school described the new Oyo FA boss as a “round peg in a round hole”, considering his background and proactive attribute.

“It is our belief that football in the state is going to witness a great turn-around with the emergence of Odeniran. We all know his capability when it comes to football administration.

“He’s one of few people encouraging us to continue and we know that grassroots soccer would witness a tremendous boost with somebody like him managing our football in the state. We cannot but wish him a successful tenure,” the statement read.

Other stakeholders in the state, such as the Ibadan Football Association (IFA) and Football Coaches Association have also issued statements to congratulate the newly elected Oyo FA board, wishing them a “peaceful and result-oriented tenure” in office.

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Football fans in the country will soon be treated to a mode of football specially meant for cerebral palsy sufferers in the country.

The seven-a-side game, played by both disabled and able-bodied members of the public, including people with cerebral palsy, has already been endorsed by the Nigerian Paralympics Committee.

Chairman of the Cerebral Football Association, Jude Uwazie, noted that the game, which is in the annual calendar of the International Olympics Committee and the European Football Union (UEFA), was registered in the country in 2012 and that the team had been invited to Ghana for an international friendly game on March 6, to commemorate that country’s independence anniversary.

Uwazie, who disclosed that the association would need funds to honour the invite in Ghana, said a national team known as the ‘Power Eagles of Nigeria’, who will be tutored byCoach Gbenga Dosumu, has been formed.

Uwazie said a workshop on the game would hold between April 23 and 27, where two international instructors, Jurrus Rene and Raul Reina from Holland and Spain respectively, will teach Nigerians the basic principles of the game.

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The Ondo State government has reaffirmed its commitment towards the development of football in all the nooks and crannies of the state.

The state governor, Olusegun Mimiko, made this known at the flag-off and commissioning of the re-branded football academy teams in the state’s three senatorial districts.

The teams unveiled were; Rising Stars Football Academy of Ondo, Rising Sun Football Academy of Akokoland and Rising Tornadoes of Okitipupa.

Mimiko, represented by his Chief of Staff, Kola Ademujimi, while commending the state football agency under the leadership of Akin Akinbobola, appreciated all stakeholders for their efforts in turning the state to a hub of football development in the country.

He said that the government had touched every sector of the economy to move the state forward, especially in the area of football development and empowerment.

Mimiko also commended the efforts of the Ondo State Football Agency (ODSFA) leadership for its role in the development of the game in the state.

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Africans In The Europa League

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Gervinho scored for AS Roma as the Italian side eliminated nine-man Feyenoord, for whom Elvis Manu found the net.
Disappointment for Algeria’s Carl Medjani as his Trabzonspor side fell to Napoli, who started with his compatriot Faouzi Ghoulam.
Joy for Omar El Kaddouri’s Torino as they eliminated Athletic Club in a thrilling tie.
Arouna Kone hit the woodwork as Everton confirmed their progression with a 7-2 aggregate triumph over Young Boys.
Stephane Mbia entered as a second-half substitute as holders Sevilla ousted Borussia Monchengladbach.
It was a comfortable evening for Thulani Serero’s Ajax, who beat Legia Warsaw 3-0 away.
Delight for Ike Uche, whose Villarreal side eased past Red Bull Salzburg.
Chelsea’s on-loan Egypt forward Mohamed Salah was the star attraction as Fiorentina eliminated much-fancied Tottenham Hotspur.
The end of the road for Efe Ambrose’s Celtic as they were beaten 1-0 by Internazionale.
Disappointment for Jordan Ibe and Kolo Toure of Liverpool, who lost out on penalties to Besiktas.

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Customs are beliefs, traditions and practices strictly held to in the past, and its application embraced, appreciated and cherished.

With the chain of events and changes in trends of things in the world, there seems to be change in every society bringing about the loss of traditional heritage and values, an example being in the Yoruba culture, where sadly, its cultures and customs are gradually fading away.

The western world has brought changes in the lifestyles of majority of people, male and female alike. Practices that are uncommon to us are now rearing their ugly heads. We have accepted to replace our culture in our quest to become civilized, thus forgetting the old path trodden by our forefathers.

Gone were the days when brides who lost their virginity before their wedding night were reproached, humiliated and even rejected, unlike what obtains in the present age, where chastity is no longer treated as sacred.

In place of cherished virginity of yore, ladies now walk about in provocative dresses, revealing sensitive parts of their bodies that are supposed to be covered. Ladies that are supposed to keep and groom themselves into becoming responsible wives in the future now walk nude, parading themselves as sex hawkers.

On the other hand, the males now plait their hair and wear ear-rings, a western culture which we have consciously or unconsciously imbibed as ours, all in a bid to look ‘civilized’ and ‘stylish’ as dictated by the western world.

More so, the practice of following the traditional process of marriage has become a thing of the past, as ladies are now wooing men into relationships even in villages! Thus, respect and value for womanhood is now lost.

Although, there are different opinions as to whether these practices are good or not, it is certainly not a custom initiated and practiced by our forefathers.

In addition, respect for elders is losing its place with youths disrespecting and insulting elders, while some youths treat their elders with disdain; others take their elders’ advice as irrelevant, if not intrusive.

Furthermore, the level of respect in children for their parents is reducing on a daily basis; females kneeling and males prostrating as a way of greeting elders is gradually going into extinction as handshake is replacing that.

Mature females now leave the household chores to their mothers while they enjoy themselves watching television in the living room or chatting with their friends on phone. Code switching and code mixing of language is what obtains in the communication skills of majority of the youths as we cannot speak purely in our indigenous language without mixing it with, or switching to the English language, in which proverbial words that are full of wisdom is no longer commonly used.

This is not to say however, that some practices that are of the western world are not good enough or worth imbibing. This discussion is not focusing on condemning modernization as it has also brought a lot of good to Africans, but exclusive practicing of foreign values at the detriment of our own is not good enough.

In conclusion, there is need to retrace our steps on some practices that are not fit for our society. Hence, the need to go back to imbibing, practicing and cherishing our customs and traditions is highly necessary. Let us not forget the good customs and ideals left for us as legacies by our forefathers.

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The formal opening ceremony had in attendance, members of the Diplomatic Corps including the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Michael Zenner and the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Perry Calderwood. Others special guests were Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, represented by HRH Alhaji Idris Musa (Sarkin Jiwa FCT) and His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, CON, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja.

The workshop covered a wide range of papers on conflict prevention and peace building, delivered by intellectuals, clerics and peace practitioners includes including: Prof. Oshita Osang Oshita, Director IPCR, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, Secretary General, NSCIA, represented by Ust Jubril Ibrahim, Hajia Medinat Dauda Nadabo, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, Hajia Mallama Halimah Sani, Rev. Sr. Augustina Okorafor, Rev Fr. Prof. Cornelius Omonokhua, Ust Abdul Fattah Adeyemi, Director Baynakum Family Counseling Center, Imam Abdulfattah Araoye Bello, Rev Dr. Ibrahim Wushishi, Mr Paul Andrew, IPCR, Dr. Sefiya Ajayi, Mrs Justina Mike Ngwobia, Alh Kaamldeen Akintunde, National President, NACOMYO, Ust Sirajudeen Folayemi AbdulAzeez amongst others.

At the end of the workshop which equally featured discussions by participants, the following resolutions were adopted:

1-     Muslims and Christians are not at war with one another and have maintained a long period of interaction, co-operation and collaboration for sustainable development.

2-     Islam and Christianity give special status to women and hence, their contributions toward peace building, conflict prevention and engendering a harmonious society cannot be over emphasized.

3-     Women and youths should be given desirable opportunity in their respective endeavors and avail them more opportunities in decision-making process.

4-     Youth constitute greater percentage of Nigerian population; hence the need for them to be properly educated, positively engaged and gainfully employed to ensure they do not become tools for violence.

5-     In the pursuit of peace, Nigerians must return to their respective families and inculcate family values, love and trust which are germane to the attainment of national peace.

6-     As a conflict prevention process, religious leaders must continue to preach virtues that will promote peace, unity and sustainable development.

7-     To ensure justice and equity in the society, government must respect, promote and protect the common understanding of human rights of all citizens.

8-   Political candidates and their political parties should abide by the code of conduct of the elections and imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship and healthy rivalry.

In furtherance of the objectives of the workshop, the following recommendations were made:

1-     The government with its control of security apparatus, must do more to ensure security of lives and property before, during and after the 2015 General Elections;

2-     The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should ensure the adequacy of election materials, their prompt delivery to polling units and to remain an unbiased Umpire for a credible, free and fair elections;

3-     The media should as a matter of duty, refrain from lending their platform for dissemination of inciting statements, hate speeches, false reports and endeavour to uphold the ethics of journalism before, during and after the 2015 general elections;

4-     Various religious institutions in attendance should go back home and form peace clubs in schools, sports and youth-related centres;

5-     All Nigerians should learn to respect the religious inclinations of their fellow citizens and work towards peace and understanding through inter-faith dialogues, developmental projects and programmes.

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 Discontent With Present-Day Nigeria

Psalms 137:1 “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.”

We ought to weep for dwelling in the captivity of mediocrity, while less endowed nations are progressing. Nigeria presently is at a crossroad, with a dire need for direction. Currently, we are like Israel in the wilderness, compassing Mount Seir “many days”.

Deuteronomy 2:1-3 – “Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea, as the Lord spake unto me: and we compassed mount Seir many days. (2) And the Lord spake unto me, saying, (3) Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward”

We have dwelt too long in the wilderness refusing to move on to the Promised Land. Our problems are three-fold. These are:

a) Lackluster leadership (Ecclesiastes 10:16) “Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!”

If in a country of 150 million plus people, we cannot find an all-round prepared man as presidential candidate, then something must be wrong. If a good leader is a gift from God, could it be that God is withdrawing the gift of a gifted leader from us because of our sins and prayerlessness? God had blessed many nations in the world with great leaders by the sheer force of their personal character and God’s providence. With a combination of self-sacrifice, hard work and positive ideas, these leaders have spearheaded all-round development and remarkable breakthroughs in their nations. These leaders include Chairman Mao Tse-tung of China, Mahatma Ghandi of India, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan of the United States, Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom, Kwame Nkrumah and Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, and Nelson Mandela of South Africa. Although we have been blessed with great leaders like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Tafawa Balewa, Ahmadu Bello, etc, their impacts have not been felt nationally or globally to change the mindset and reshape the destiny of Nigeria. Ethnicity as a singular factor had made us blind to the selection of the best candidate to lead us to the Promised Land.

The two candidates before us in this coming election are not the best Nigeria can present. We need God to transform the heart of whoever emerges as president to make a sustainable difference in the lives of Nigerians.

Until we have a candidate that fulfills the ideal requirements of a divinely-approved leader, we have to keep on praying for God’s intervention, waiting for His appointed time.

Exodus 18:21

“Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.”

b) Loathsome lukewarmness (Isaiah 65:5) “Which say, Stand by thyself; come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.”

Though the resilience of Nigerians in the face of adverse situations is commendable, their apathy and resignation to fate is fatalistic and worth denouncing. Being indifferent, watching situations go worse each passing day without active intercession for God’s intervention leaves much to be desired.

We are guilty of the sin of misplaced priorities in prayer and gross prayerlessness. We invest quality time in praying for our personal, family and congregational needs but little time for the needs of our nations. We abandon the destiny of our nation to the hand of politicians who know nothing about the fear and plan of God for the wellbeing of our nation.

c) Lingering lawlessness (Judges 17:6) “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

 

Our apathy towards governance has given the politicians the liberty to act lawlessly. They see governance as a private business for corrupt enrichment and exercise of dominance over the people as their lifelong ‘benefactors’. Our feelings of discontent with the plight of Nigeria should spur us to passionate and selfless intercession for the rebirth of a new nation where mediocrity, bigotry, fanaticism, nepotism, tribalism, insecurity, corruption, poverty and lawlessness are stamped out.

 

 

Desire And Passion For A New Nigeria

Psalms 122:6-9 – “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions ‘sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.”

 

We need a new Nigeria with atmosphere for peace, progress, prosperity, industrialisation, technological advancement, vast opportunities for gainful employment and security of lives and properties. We need capable and competent leaders in the various strategic positions of authorities to advance the nation and create opportunities for personal and national wellbeing.

Nigerians, home and abroad want to have healthy self-esteem to exert positive influence all over the world. We dream of having a sense of pride in our nation. Thank God, our dream of a great Nigeria is possible through prayer.

2 Chronicles 7:14 – “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

 

Devotion And Prayer For A New Nigeria

Romans 10:1 “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”

 

There is a leadership vacuum in Africa. The comity of nations is waiting for Nigeria to fill it. African nations are groaning because their giant is sitting down in the dust. We are not getting things right as we keep declining from the ideals of our heroic progenitors. The craving for position, power and pecuniary gains of office has blinded our politicians to the need for earnest pursuit of public good. Refusal to solve the most fundamental problems we face has led to the upsurge of overwhelming challenges that require a God-appointed leader to tackle with absolute self-abandonment and sacrificial service.

Where do we go from here? As a matter of urgency, we need:

* Reflection – We need sober reflection on the state of our nation

* Repentance – We need urgent personal, family, congregational and national repentance

* Reappraisal – We need to reappraise our strategies and plans for a greater and better nation

* Resolution – We need a firm resolve to move the nation forward at any cost

* Request – We need to humble ourselves before God and seek His face for deliverance

* Response – We need faith in God’s immutable promise to answer our prayers and turn things around for His glory in our nation

* Release – We must expect to see absolute release from the shackles of mediocrity pervasive in our nation

 

If you are a stakeholder in the Nigeria Project, then you have the onerous duty to start praying for this nation anywhere you are across the globe. Nigeria’s friends are welcome as well.

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Comrade Shehu Shugaba Yar’Adua is the chairman, Painted Abuja Taxi (PAT), Nigeria Limited. In this interview with DAVID ADUGE-ANI he speaks on the menace of unregistered taxi operators on Abuja roads and how they have crippled the businesses of the registered taxi drivers.

What has been you experience in the transport in FCT since the commencement of this project.

Well, are doing well we have serious challenges in our operations in the FCT, but I must tell you that the major challenge we have is that of illegal operators on Abuja roads. It has gotten to appoint where the illegal operators are taking over the markets. They are taking over estates, shops and everywhere in the city. They don’t even allow the registered operators to operate.

Secondly, our members are restricted from entering certain places, such as hotels, estates, ministries, markets and plazas to operate, but the unpainted taxis are being allowed to enter those places.

They have restricted us and that is many commuters now prefer to patronise unpainted taxis than the painted ones.

Government has not come up to regulate the policy very well, because we expect that by now, kabu-kabu operators are not supposed to be on the roads in FCT by now.

This is because those people who have abided by the FCT laws and painted their taxis are not fools. They are citizens.

Also double taxation has been another challenge we face in our daily operations in the FCT. The FCTA will collect their taxes from our members and the area councils will also impose their tax on our members.

It appears that everybody wants to take money from taxi drivers by all means. For instance you cannot take a passenger from the city centre to Bwari area council of the FCT without being asked to pay another taxi to the council. If you leave Bwari and go to Gwagwalada you will be asked to pay taxes to Gwagwalada Area council.

Beside this money don’t even reach the area council, because they end in the hands of illegal associations. And the government is not coming out to checkmate these illegal activities. We have taken our complaints to the FCT transport secretariat, but nothing has been done.

What do think are the reasons why the FCTA is not winning the war against Kabu-kabu operators in the city?

They are not fighting it the proper way. This is because even the mobile courts they have set up, is not helping matter. For instance when somebody is arrested and taken to the mobile courts, the courts usually charge like N5, 000.00, which is meagre and does not deter the offender from returning back to commence the illegal operators. What we expected is that when a person is arrested for operating a kabu-kabu in the city, government should paint his car so that he complies with the painted car status.

How do you react to the introduction of metering system for cab operators by the FCT transport secretariat?

But do you think it will work with such high numbers of illegal operators on Abuja roads. Are they going to chase us out of business? We bought our cars and painted it for commercial uses, but the illegal operators have refused to abide by the laws and you are now compelling us to abide by another regulation of metering.

If you put a meter in our car and fixed the rate for carrying of passengers in Abuja, what then do tell a Kabu-kabu man who is operating illegally? Are you going to put meter in his car? What the policy means is that illegal operators should take over the business. For me it is a welcome development, but the administration should remove the illegal operators on the roads. By the time you remove all the illegal operators on the roads, it then that you can bring in this type of policy. Even within ourselves, we can fix the rate for our members and they must obey it.

For now we cannot regulate our members because of the existence of illegal operators on the roads. It is a welcome if they are going to remove illegal operators.

We have been making efforts to roll out vehicles for our members through bank loans, but we have double minds as a result of the activities of illegal operators who have hijacked the business.

Imagine that SURE-P vehicles are not being allowed to enter the ministries and estates, whereas the kabu-kabu operators are being allowed to enter those places. What this means is government agencies are not obeying he programme.

This is the reason why many of our members have turned these vehicles into bus so that they can meet up with repayment.

 

You have task forces to check these illegal operators. Why can’t they stop these illegalities?

The task which we constituted is meant to check on our members only. You know that there are other transport companies in the territory, which we don’t have powers over. We are not arresting kabu-kabu operators in Abuja, because our regulators, which is the FCTA has not given us such powers.

We have even noted that many people who had painted their vehicles are now removing the paints, so as to enable them enter certain places to do businesses. It is terrible, because it a security threat in Abuja.

 

What are your appeals to FCT Administration

We are appealing to the FCT administration to come to the aid of the operators by removing these illegal operators so that we can do our business. The only way they can remove them is by bringing the registered transport companies together to assist in removing them. That is the only thing that government should do so that the operators and commuters in Abuja would have confident in the operators.

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) councilor representing Dunkun-Agala ward of Baure local government area of Katsina State, Ahmadu Narayya, was yesterday apprehended for allegedly purchasing Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

Findings revealed that no fewer than 21 cards were recovered from the councilor.

A source said most of the PVCs were owned by women in the area, just as it was learnt that each card was bought for between N15, 000 to N20, 0000.

It was further gathered that some APC youths in the area raised the alarm when they spotted the councilor trying to make copies of the PVCs at a business center.

The APC members reportedly accosted him and handed him to the police, who then took him to the state command for questioning.

However, a new twist was added to the arrest of the said PDP councilor when members of opposition political parties accused the police of “summarily releasing the suspect a few hours after he was arrested.”

Addressing newsmen, chairman of the Katsina State chapter of the Labour Party, Shafiu Salmanu, said officials of other opposition political parties had approached the police over the matter.

Salmanu stated that the parties were disappointed to find out that the suspect was released a few hours after his arrest by the police “suggesting that we can’t have confidence in the police to safeguard law and order.”

Flanked by officials of other political parties in the state, including APC and NCP, Salmanu urged the police to investigate the matter and prosecute all those involved so as to ensure security of the electoral process.

When contacted, the police spokesman, Aminu Sadiq said the police was yet to ascertain the true identity of the person, adding that investigation into the matter has since commenced.

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NYSC

164 Corps Members To Receive NYSC Presidential Award

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About 164 corps members are to receive the presidents’ NYSC honours award ceremony which will hold at the Presidential Villa on Monday, March 2, 2015.
This was revealed by the director general of the NYSC, Brig-Gen Johnson Olawumi, while briefing the press on the award ceremony yesterday.
Olawumi stated that  164 winners emerged from 613 nominations received from across the nation, adding that the selections, which  were made  by distinguished Nigerians with track records of honesty and integrity, were from assessment of reports on each of the nominees for the combined  2012, 2013 and 2014 editions.
He added that the criteria for the selection for the award were on outstanding performance in all critical areas of the service year, orientation course, primary assignment, community development service and winding-up/passing-out activities.
The DG stated that other issues considered for the award include personal qualities of good character, sense of duty, drive and determination, reliability, initiative and resourcefulness, command and leadership, team work and other special contributions.
He added that 994 ex-corps members have been conferred with the award and that with the conferment of award to 164 winners on Monday, the number of winners would increase to 1,158.

The award until recently attracted national certificates signed by the president, gold medal, automatic employment and cash donation will also attract a scholarship grant for winners to pursue postgraduate studies up to doctoral level in any university in the world.
The DG also added that another group of corps members would be presented for recognition under a new initiative known as NYSC Hope Alive Programme, a private-sector-driven initiative aimed at giving succour to corps members who suffer some forms of permanent disability during their service year.

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