April 7, 2009

It’s not yet over for Eagles – Kanu

Portsmouth striker, Nwankwo Kanu, is still hopeful that Nigeria will pick the 2010 World Cup ticket in spite of Super Eagles’ not-too-impressive outing against Mozambique in Maputo recently.

The Atlanta Olympic Games gold medallist believes things can still turn around in favour of Nigeria in the qualifying series.
He, however, urged football pundits not to write-off Eagles, who are in the same group with Tunisia, Kenya and Mozambique, saying “in football, anything can still happen.

“Nigeria is a football-crazy nation and we have millions of good footballers. We know that many people are looking up to us to do well. That is one of the main reasons we have to put in our best anytime we are wearing the green and white kit of the Super Eagles.

“Yes, we hope to qualify for the 2010 World Cup and beyond. Our Under-17 team recently won the cadets World Cup, our Under-23 team also won silver medal in Beijing last year; they have all proved that talent still abound in Nigeria.

“We still have a chance in spite of our goalless draw outing against Mozambique in Maputo. You can see that we have picked ourselves up from a dismal African Cup of Nations in Ghana and having gone thus far in the qualifiers, we foresee no problems. We have to make sure we do things right, the administration, the nutrition, the medical aspect, other little things that can affect team performance. We will get there. When we get to South Africa for the World Cup, we can then proceed to focus on winning the competition.”

Kanu appealed to Nigerians not to lose hope as they were comitted to picking the only ticket in their group, come rain or sunshine.
“We have to approach these things with self belief, and if we can win tournaments at age-group levels and get to the finals in major global championships, we can get the best at the World Cup. But we must not get carried away yet. There is a job to be done, that is qualifying for the World Cup and we need to do that first.”
On whether he will still be around as a player in 2010, he said:
“Only God knows the future, but I still want to be playing by 2010 and beyond. It will be a dream come true for me to play for Nigeria in an African World Cup, the first of its kind.”sunnewsonline.

Atiku, a hopeless politician – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party on Monday sealed any hope of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar returning to its fold as it described him as ‘a hopeless and selfish politician.’

The party said that his bid to bounce back into political reckoning had fallen flat in his face and that his “selfish and overt political ambition” had made him susceptible to sundry miscalculations and misjudgments.

The former vice-president, who has made several efforts to rejoin the PDP in the last few months, had also incurred the ire of the Action Congress, a party on whose platform he contested the last 2007 Presidential election.

The PDP’s vitriol came a few days after former President Olusegun Obasanjo claimed at a function in Yola, Adamawa State, that Abubakar had begged him to assist him return to the party.

Ironically, Abubakar had at the weekend told journalists in Lagos that the PDP was not a credible vehicle for electoral reforms ahead of the 2011 polls.

“I do not think that the PDP government has the capacity and the ability to push through a real electoral reform that would satisfy all participants in the process,” he had said.

The former vice-president described the White Paper on electoral reforms as empty and called on ‘progressives’ to unite to form a mega-party that would serve as an alternative to the PDP.

But the PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Rufai Alkali, said that Abubakar ought to have been grateful to the party (PDP) for giving him a platform through which he served the country as a vice-president for eight years under Obasanjo.

The statement reads in part,“The attention of the PDP has been drawn to the statement credited to the former vice-president (Abubakar) and widely published in Nigerian newspapers of April 6, 2009, in which he made uncomplimentary remarks against our party and the President Umaru Yar’Adua-led Federal Government.

“Our instinct has always been to ignore Alhaji Abubakar whose overt selfish ambition has left a hopeless politician susceptible to all forms of miscalculations and misjudgements.

“ However, it appears that the PDP tolerance of him and his cohorts is daily being taken for granted, hence we wish to state as follows:

“That the former vice-president be reminded that but for the PDP which gave him a platform to emerge first as governor–elect of Adamawa State and then, as the vice- president of Nigeria for eight years, Alhaji Abubakar would have remained an inconsequential political quantity, whose influence would not have gone beyond his Jadda ward in Adamawa State.

“The former vice-president should, therefore, be eternally grateful to the PDP and not be consumed in the sojourn of ill-fate to disparage a platform without which he would have remained irrelevant.

“It is an irony that the former vice-president has suddenly woken up to the realisation that Nigeria does not have a system that can bring brilliant people to leadership when the same system elevated him to the nation’s number two.

“Did Abubakar deliberately and selfishly slumber away while he enjoyed the same system?

“What a paradox that the same man who sang Hosanna yesterday is today singing crucifice eis – crucify him at the top of his voice.

“That his attack on the genuine efforts and commitment of the Federal Government on electoral reforms is clearly opportunistic as Alhaji Abubakar as vice-president of Nigeria for good eight years cannot today be credited with even a single suggestion he made on how to reform the electoral system.

“If the PDP cannot bequeath a good electoral system as Abubakar said, is it the AC with its barrage of demi-gods and cult personalities that will?

“Is it the AC that is bereft of internal democracy? “Where is Abubakar if we may ask? Is he in the opposition? Which opposition? Is inconsistency a mettle of an opposition politics?

“We are not surprised that Atiku now has his eyes in the so-called nebulous mega party having lost grip of the AC with his self-serving antics.”

The PDP added that Abubakar had become “rudderless” because he had lost control of the AC.

It said, “Nigerians have come to know Alhaji Abubakar more than he thinks. For all his pretences, he is definitely not one of the champions of democracy.

“His recent desperation to repair a battered image and bounce back to reckoning has fallen flat in his face, hence his latest remarks which are symptomatic of a drowning man, latching unto every available straw for survival.”

But in a swift reaction, Abubakar said he had no regrets for condemning the PDP and the government of President Yar’Adua.

Abubakar, who spoke through his media office in Abuja, said the attack on his person for calling on the PDP and government to respect the wishes of Nigerians for electoral reforms was another confirmation that the party had derailed from the noble objectives of its founding fathers.

He said, “There is no doubt that Nigeria needs an electoral reform. The failure of government and frustration of our people over the lack of effective governance is a fallout of the bad elections of 2007.

“The linkage between credible elections and performance in government is now very clear to Nigerians. It is a pity if some latter-day PDP joiners cannot see what every reasonable Nigerian sees clearly today.”

The former vice-president said the minimum requirements for credible elections as contained in the Justice Muhammadu Uwais-led panel report on electoral reform had been abandoned by the PDP.

He said, “Many of the politicians in the party are afraid of free and fair elections. If these politicians are credible as they claim, why are they afraid of effecting electoral reforms that will guarantee the inalienable rights of Nigerians to choose their leaders?”

A credible electoral system, Abubakar argued, must include the appointment of the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission and its board by an impartial body like the Nigerian Judicial Council.

Rooney, Scholes & Vidic Set To Return For Manchester Against Porto The Red Devils will welcome back a trio of stars in time for Tuesday's Champions Le

Manchester United will receive a boost for their Champions League tie with Porto at Old Trafford on Tuesday night, as a trio of key men are set to return.

Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes and Nemanja Vidic, players whose absence would seriously weaken any side, were forced to watch their side's dramatic 3-2 home victory over Aston Villa today from the stands, but should be back in action against the Portuguese outfit.

Industrious South Korean winger Ji-Sung Park is also set to be available for selection once more, though there is less favorable news concerning defender Rio Ferdinand and Brazilian midfielder Anderson, neither of whom look likely to be ready in time after picking up knocks whilst on international duty last week.

"I don't think any of the injured players will be back on Tuesday," United manager Alex Ferguson told MUTV.

"But we do have the suspended players back which is good. Vida [Vidic] will play alongside Jonny Evans at the back with John O'Shea moving to right-back.

"Rooney and Scholes are also available which will give us a bit more penetration and experience, and Ji-Sung Park will also be ready so I've got some good options for Tuesday."

There was also a slight doubt over Ryan Giggs, though this was more to do with the effects of what fatigue might have on the Welshman's veteran legs rather than any injury.

Ferguson concluded, "I'll have to assess how Ryan [Giggs] is after playing the 90 minutes against Villa. It's a big ask for someone at 35 years of age to play another game two days later at the kind of level we play."

Fayose, siblings in dirty war over dad’s burial

Disagreement over the final resting place of Pa Olorunfemi Oluwayose, renowned cleric and father of former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose has snowballed into a dirty war among the deceased’s children.

Daily Sun gathered that the children of the late cleric are pitched in a battle over where and how to bury their father.

According to family sources, a meeting held at the Orita-Challenge home of the late Oluwayose went awry two weeks ago as Fayose, leading 10 of his siblings including the first born, disagreed with the 16 other children led by the second born, Ms. Modupeola Fayose, a United Kingdom-based nutrition expert and Apostle (Mrs.) Bimpe Oluwayose Sorinola, Fayose’s sister by same mother kicked against the burial arrangement for their father.

The Ayo Fayose camp which include the first born of the late Octogenarian, Olusegun Fayose and Mrs. Moji Ladeji want the old man buried in his home town, Afao-Ekiti, Ekiti State, while their other group insist on respecting an alleged last wish of the former Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) leader that he be buried in his Ibadan home, which adjoins one of the five churches he founded in his 50 years of work as an ecclesiastic activist and missionary in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

Pa John Olorunfemi Oluwayose passed on February 14, but he is yet to get a befitting and quick burial as he reportedly instructed at his 82nd birthday celebration last year.
Both groups of his surviving children had published separate conflicting obituaries and funeral programmes.

While the Modupeola/Bimpe group fixed the rites of passage for between last Wednesday and Friday (April 1-3) to hold at the Orita Challenge residence of the deceased, Ayo Fayose’s scheduled theirs for April 9 and 10 at Afao Ekiti.

Although some of the children observed the April 1-3 programme, climaxing in a burial service at Oloruntedotimi CAC at Orita Challenge, Ibadan and interment, it was more of mockery, as the corpse could not be buried, having been ordered detained by the police allegedly on Fayose’s instruction.
Daily Sun gathered that when the Modupeola/Bimpe group got to the private hospital (names withheld) where the remains of the late cleric were being kept, the corpse could not retrieved as mobile policemen had been drafted to the hospital.

The group was said to have gone back disappointed with an empty casket, which they eventually interred with Pa Oluwayose’s priestly regalia and his Bible.
The development shocked mourners including relations and church members of the late priest.
The former Ekiti governor’s group is alleged by the Modupeola/Bimpe group to be backed by traditionalists in their hometown who allegedly had been cursing members of the camp for wanting to shame Ekiti.

An unrepentant Bimpe told Daily Sun last night: “They have given our phone numbers to Babalawos, traditional rulers and other dark principalities in Ekiti who have been cursing and making threats.”
The conflict has even assumed a frightening dimension as Bimpe alleged that she had been receiving threat messages on her mobile phone allegedly sent by her brother of same mother (name withheld), who is hand-in-glove with Fayose on the move to bury their late father’s remains in Ekiti.
Daily Sun gathered that the new Oyo State Police Commissioner, Baba Bolante has waded into the matter with a directive to the hospital in Ibadan, where the deceased’s body is kept not to release it to any of the parties.

A meeting of the family and elders of the late Pa Oluwayose’s church has been summoned by the police commissioner in his office at Eleyele headquarters today to broker peace among the feuding children.
A cynical Bimpe and Modupeola said they suspected the forum was to brow beat them into submitting to Fayose’s plan. But they vowed never to concede any ground against their “father’s last wish”
Contacted, former governor Fayose declined to comment on the development, asking when his father’s burial became an issue for newspaper publication.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the Oyo police boss was out of town, attending a conference of commissioners of police in the federation with the Inspector General of Police, Sir Mike Okiro in Maiduguri.

But police spokesman, Miss Bisi Okuwobi, who confirmed the scheduled parley, said her boss had delegated two senior officers and herself to preside at the meeting.
Okuwobi also explained that the deployment of police detectives in the hospital where the corpse of Fayose’s father was being kept became necessary to avert a breakdown of law and order.
“In order to ensure that there is peace all over the state, the police have to step in to maintain law and order. Our interest is to ensure peace,” Okuwobi stressed.