Fraud Alert: Halt N-Power ‘Employment’ Scheme Immediately

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Fraud Alert: Halt N-Power ‘Employment’ Scheme Immediately!, By ‘Tope Fasua

When I was observing my National Youth Service in Calabar, Cross River State in 1991, I noticed a phenomenon in which some young corps members like me did their primary assignment in more than one organisation. There was the one organisation where they had to report daily – if they cared enough – and others in which they merely showed up on salary day. I never went with them, but some of my friends would show up at the corper’s lodge with salaries from three or four places of ‘primary’ assignments from time to time.

This piece was written by Tope Fasua. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

It was the good old days, by Nigerian standards. NYSC paid us N550 per month and I supplemented with another N350 from University of Calabar, where I worked at the Institute of Education under the headship of Professor Ralph Omojuwa who had then just returned from the US. My direct supervisor was Mr. Sam Udokang, in the office of the Registrar, Mrs Duke. Both Mrs Duke and Professor Omojuwa were very fine people – physically and otherwise. I regarded them in awe.

Nigeria Hires 200,000 Unemployed Graduates | Check Here If You Have Been Selected

And so it was that I was one of the few ‘mumus’ among the lot, who did not know how to play the game of ‘working’ in many places. Instead, I dedicated everything I had to this first job of mine and became a kind of darling to the Institute. I followed officials when they made their outreach travels to everywhere in Cross River and Akwa Ibom States. Akwa Ibom was a bit new then, and hadn’t come into its vast wealth. We would travel to places like Nsit Ubium, Ukanafun, Ikot Ansa, Ikot Osurua, Ikot Ekpene, Urue Ofong, Itu, Oron, Eket and the rest. And at the Cross River end, everywhere from Akamkpa to Odukpani, to Biase, Ugep, Obubra, Ikom and Ogoja. They almost retained me, but as a starry-eyed youth then I had to run back to Lagos in search of merchant bank work. They were the ones reigning then. I ended up at Citizens Bank, Ahmadu Bello Way in Victoria Island, and thus began a banking career. The rest as they say, is history.

Back to Calabar. Some of the harder corpers would not even bother showing up at any place of primary assignment. Maybe those were the ‘wise’ ones who already knew what Nigeria was about as a joke. Some will lounge from one corper’s lodge to another, attending parties and pulling the chicks. Those were the big boys. Some just traveled back to Lagos or wherever it is they came from, altogether, and remained there until the service was over. While out of station, their salaries continued in the different places they were ‘serving’. Some would show up after a few months to collect their arrears in different locations.

Thinking back these days, I realise this could have been the beginning of the ghost workers’ syndrome. For if any of these guys had ended up in the civil service, there is NO WAY they would have been satisfied with only one salary, no matter how far they rise. The water they drink had been polluted from the beginning. I don’t mean that it started in 1991. I think by the time we served, it had become commonplace for corpers not to show up in their places of primary assignment, and so the bureaucrats that we met would actually suggest that you registered your name and get paid without showing up, while you went elsewhere and got another job.

The Nigerian civil servant has always been devious, and the apparent neglect of his plight, the frequent inability to pay his salaries, has only made him/her harder and more heartless. With my interactions with younger people these days, I now realise that the bureaucrats always structure themselves into the deals. If a corper today would be paid, say N19,000, for not showing up at all, there is someone who takes at least N10,000 every month within the system. The system merely decayed further over the years, to its present level of abject dysfunction. As things stand, and with the level of desperation I’ve seen civil servants show, there will be greedy guys who would offer the corper just a tiny fraction, and sit on the rest these days.

200,000 Unemployed Graduates To Start Work On Dec. 1 | To Get SMS On Monday

There is always something to spend on in the civil service. Visit any agency – especially the ministries – on a Friday and you see them preparing for the weekend; travels for someone’s wedding or burial or oga’s birthday. Money needs to be raised. And we are talking of huge sums. If you attend these parties, you’ll be shocked to witness how civil servants spend money. Many permanent secretaries need at least N1.5 million every weekend. Their list of hangers-on and corporate beggars are a mile long. Those coming behind them have dreams too. And thus became entrenched the culture of ghost workers. Some will say it is the ‘cleanest’ way of cashing out every month. The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, made it a point to go after ghost workers as she was appointed, but painfully, we have not seen or heard of anyone sacked, prosecuted or jailed for benefiting from the fraud of the 30,000 ghost workers that she discovered – after and in spite of the cleanup efforts of Madam Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. No names have even been published. Shocking. At every state level, they claim to be doing the same thing – even in the armed forces and police – but not a single beneficiary has been outed and made to pay from coolly pocketing so many billions based on fictitious names, dead people’s names and so on. My wager is that the racket is continuing and I even have a case on hand that needs be looked into.

The 200,000 New Employment on N-Power

The president announced recently that by December 1, 2016, state governments will start contacting/deploying the 200,000 young Nigerian graduates employed under the N-Power scheme. These young Nigerians are to be deployed into teaching, health and agricultural extension jobs, among others. The idea is a nice one, even though I would have preferred more focus to be put on jobs in the environmental sector, and on jobs that secondary school graduates could do. In my book, Change is Going to Come, I recommend something really close, which could take out at least 500,000 young people from the employment market, and unleash great productivity across Nigeria. My idea is that such an initiative should also be a veritable means of mobilising young Nigerians behind the initiatives of government. What is more? This could have been done with great urgency 18 months ago. At least it could have been started. But half bread, they say, is better than none.

Nigeria Recruitment: Final Assessment ‘For 500,000 Jobs’ Begins Today | Check Dates Here

Alas, I have cause to be very worried about this N-Power employment of 200,000 Nigerians. I believe a great fraud is about to happen, and it is a fitting observation given how desperate Nigerians have recently become. From my little observation of a single page in the N-Power employment scheme, I believe some Nigerians are now so angry with the whole Nigerian project, they are willing and able to do any and everything to continue milking the system, right under President Buhari’s nose. If the plans of these bad guys are successful, they will be the ones pocketing MOST of the disbursements made to these fortunate N-Power employees. That would be N4.6 billion monthly, if those 200,000 people are paid N23,000 each as promised by government. Of course some of the employees are genuine, but come with me and see the anomaly.

800,000 Nigerians Submit Applications For N-Power Jobs | You Can Register Here

N-Power Recruitment Process

Below is a step-by-step guide to applying for jobs on the N-Power platform. As is obvious, the jobs are targeted at indigent but IT-savvy young Nigerian graduates.

1. Visit the NPower portal npower.gov.ng;
2. Click on the various programmes on www.npower.gov.ng and carefully read through them;
3. Choose the programme that you are qualified for and best suits your aspiration;
4. Click on the APPLY button at the bottom of the page to apply for your preferred programme. (Note: You will need to first register and then sign in with a unique username and password). Fill the form carefully and be certain to provide accurate information and documents to support your application;
5. After submitting, you will receive an acknowledgement email letter confirming the receipt of your application;
6. After 48 hours, you will be notified by email and in your portal profile whether you are eligible or not for the N-Power programme;
7. If you are unsuccessful, you may apply for future N-Power programes, if you meet the eligibility requirements;
8. If you are successful, you may then proceed to the test page at MY N-POWER PORTAL;
9. You will be required to write two tests; a general skills test and a programme specific test;
10. Depending on your choice, there may be a final interview before you are conditionally accepted into the N-Power programe. Otherwise you will receive an email confirming your provisional acceptance into the N-Power programme;
11. You will have to confirm your acceptance to secure your place;
12. Specific enrolment and training information will now be made available to you;
If you have any difficulty at any point of your application process, please send an email to info@npower.gov.ng

Recruitment: N-Power Application Ends, Verification Follows

My Concerns/Discoveries

From the attached single page taken off the N-Power list of employed candidates who will soon be taken over by state governments, I made these observations:

Fraud Alert: Halt N-Power ‘Employment’ Scheme Immediately
Fraud Alert: Halt N-Power ‘Employment’ Scheme Immediately

1. For a list generated by people who visited the Internet for registration, only two out of these names have any presence whatsoever on the Internet. These ‘young’ Nigerians who are also graduates, have no Facebook accounts, no twitter, no Instagram, nothing. These days, all around the world and in Nigeria too, the first thing people do when they meet someone is to ‘google’ them. Almost all these names taken as a sample, are not google-able;

2. This sample list – which I recovered off Facebook – drew attention because of the oddity of the types of names coming from Borno State. We understand that these are meant to be ‘residents’ of Abadam Local Government in Borno State. In view of the activities of Boko Haram in that part of the country, it is intriguing that on a single page, there will be such density of non-indigenes. But let us assume they are just patriotic Nigerians. We can put that in our left hand and forge ahead;

3. A simple Internet search revealed that there is no presence for “Obaseki Recebah” online except the one that registered at N-Power. I tried Obaseki Rebecca. That generic name exists but is an adult that doesn’t live in Nigeria. There are two “Ibe Ije”s on Facebook – or online in general. Both live in lagos. One works for an insurance company, the other is a businessman who graduated in 1994 and whose profile shows is married. The only Godson Ihemere online worked with BUA Group and now works with one ady.ng. according to his LinkedIn page. He is not a young man per se and doesn’t stay anywhere near Borno. Interestingly, the only Michelle Okwesa available online works with Prof Pius Adesanmi ‪‬at IAS Carleton Uni, Canada according to her LinkedIn page;

4. Further, even though Murtala Mohammed should be a generic name in the North, it isn’t. Three people bear that name online when I searched. Only two bear that exact combination. One is an elderly person with whom I share about 278 friends on Facebook. He is a very active fellow on social media. The other is a cool guy who was an ex-bank worker, but now runs his own company;

5. Gamsheya Gara does not exist anywhere on the Internet and has no footprints, except when he showed up as a government employee. The only Joel Otalu online is a staff of Standard Chartered Bank; Bulus Kururtsi does not exist anywhere but on N-Power employment list; Cynthia Adaeze are both female names (no surname). Juliana Aboyi does not exist anywhere as well. The same goes for Osarenoma Ohiwere, and Aboi Dorothy. Oriyomi Attairu sounds like a cynical Yoruba name to me, in the league of ‘Omoshetan Omorele Oyinbogo’;

Nigeria To Pay 200,000 ‘Employed’ Graduates N30,000 Monthly Salary

6. Another interesting phenomenon obvious in this little sample is where people’s surnames are not known. So we have Ezeani U. (Ezeani is usually a surname, so in this case, U is unknown. It could be Uche, it could be Udo, or anything else); we have Adekunle G. (whom I initially thought would be a junior brother to the famous saxophonist, Kenny G, but someone explained to be that it could be our own famous musician, Adekunle Gold, trying to change his career and being humble about it). Then we have the joker of the bunch, “Na’ajatu NONE”. No, that is not some exotic African name. It is to tell us that Na’ajatu has no surname, simple;

  1. Let us even crown a King for the lot. And that would be Igwe Eze. Now, that must be a prince from East of the Niger. The two names mean that this is an important personality. If one meets an Igbo man with such names, one asks questions about his lineage because he may go far in life. There are two Igwe Ezes online. One worked with UBA and became a big man. He now runs his own company. The other is a hard core Biafran who does business in Lagos. His real name is Eze Ochinawata.

I believe there is a need to take down the entire list and use a comb to sift through very carefully before this thing goes too far. If on a page with about 27 names, a critical mind can find potential problems with 24 of them, then we are on to something here. My sixth sense tells me that in view of the government’s hurry to show results after many months of inactivity and disappointments, it may have been harried along to commit these errors. It may have also played, slam bang, into the hands of the guys who know what to do to profit from a situation like this. I believe that since the government did not do much of scrutiny and merely accepted applications ‘online’ – except if many were concocted – it may not have taken the pains to crosscheck who is what in this instance. There is a likelihood that at least half of the names of these new ‘employees’ are fake and programmed to the benefit of those who have always benefited from the ghost worker syndrome. I think some of the names show a very cynical mindset, hence the ease with which one can detect that they are fake. This is what happens when impunity grows wings. These guys are thumbing their noses at Nigeria. Too bad.

As I rounded up this article, I came across Mr. Ayo Olukotun’s write-up in today’s Punch (November 25, 2016) titled “Ghost Workers and Programmed Dysfunction”, in which he chronicled some of our sensational issues with ghost workers. He mentioned that Kwara State recently discovered 9,000 ghost workers on its payroll. Read more from him:

“…It should be noted that the figure of fictitious names smuggled into the state payroll is almost one-third of the entire workforce and that salaries had not been paid for several months… These awkward facts open up a line of inquiry concerning whether the crunch in Kwara was brought about, in part by such moral howlers as falsifying the wage bill through the addition of names that do not exist…. Three years ago, for example, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former Minister of Finance, and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, informed the nation excitedly that as a result of the introduction of the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System, across 215 Ministries, Departments and Agencies, government had fished out close to 47,000 “ghost” workers resulting in the saving of N119bn in the monthly wage bill. However, we now know that what was saved by the right hand was stolen by the left, to the extent that the “ghost” workers appear to have returned to the system with a vengeance.”

I profoundly believe that this otherwise great initiative has been fatally contaminated. It must be stopped for thorough review before it progresses to the state level and we lose track, and audit trail, or before new shenanigans climb on top of old ones in a country where we are profoundly sick at heart and the government disappointingly has revealed no perspective on how we can even begin to broach a reorientation.

‘Tope Fasua, an economist and consultant, is CEO of Global Analytics Consulting.

This piece was written by Tope Fasua. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

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Ogun State PDP Expels Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Ladi Adebutu And Two Others

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun state, Saturday,has announced the expulsion of former governor of Ogun state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and member of House of Representatives from Remo North Federal Constituency, Ladi Adebutu.

The party also announced the expulsion of a factional Chairman of the Party, Sikirulai Ogundele and his secretary, Tolu Bankole.

The State chairman of the party, Engr. Adebayo Dayo announced this at a press conference held at the party secretariat in Abeokuta, adding that the verdict comes after the expelled members were examined for alleged anti-party activities and were found guilty.

A part of the statement read “Gentlemen of the press, the State Executive Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun state under my leadership met this morning to look into developing issues as it affects the interest of our party. You all are aware of the challenges we have contended with since our executive was elected and inaugurated in March this year. Chief among this challenges have been the division caused by the emergence of an imaginary parallel state executive being championed by Sikirulai Ogundele and some other misguided people.

These charlatans that have now become an embarrassment and huge nuisance to the party are not acting solo, they are being promoted and sponsored by Hon. Ladi Adebutu whose inordinate and desperate desire to contest for the office of Governor in 2019,  have made him go berserk and reckless in the pursuit of that asinine mission, even when the time for such is not ripe. Ladi Adebutu have ignored the voice of reason and is sliding irredeemably down the valley of dishonour.”

Adding that “Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Hon. Ladi Adebutu, Sikirulai Ogundele and Tolu Bankole are guilty of acts of insubordination, willful undermining of the party, antiparty activities, malicious damage to party infrastructures,  physical harm to party officials and impersonation.”

“They are hereby EXPELLED from the party and cease to be members of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun state and the entire Federation.”

 

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MUSIC: Skinny – South Africa Love

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Nigerian Singer KEN VALENTINO (SKINNY) Signed To 41-96 GanG Entertainment Unveils A New Song Titled ‘S.A.L’ South Africa Love.

S.A.L Is An Up Tempo Song With Melodious And Spectacular Strings,Which Brings Forth A Fantastic Feeling After Listening To It .

Enjoy!



 
Note: There is a file embedded within this post, please visit this post to download the file.

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Bagudu Hirse: Kidnapped Ex-Minister Regains Freedom

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Mr Bagudu Hirse, a former Minister of State (Foreign Affairs), who was abducted by gunmen in Kaduna last Sunday, has regained his freedom.

READ ALSO: Bagudu Hirse: Gunmen Reportedly Kidnap Ex-Minister In Front Of Daura’s House

“Bagudu was released in the early hours of Saturday,” his brother, John Hirse, a retired permanent secretary in the federal civil service and currently District Head of Mangu, in Plateau, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday.

While thanking Nigerians for the prayers and words of encouragement “during the trying period”, John stated that the former minister was “hale and hearty”.

“May God reward everyone who stood by us during the tough period,” he said.

John, however, did not give further details, and also refused to comment over whether a ransom was paid to the abductors.

He was abducted on November 20, by gunmen at the Kaduna residence of Ambassador Mamman Daura, where he had gone to condole the family over the death of the former Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji ibrahim Dasuki.

Bagudu, who was the governorship candidate of Labour Party in Plateau state in 2015, was released on Saturday, November 26, after spending close to a week in the custody of his abductors

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NNPC: FG Plans 1,000km Pipeline From Niger Republic To Kaduna Refinery

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) has announced that the Federal Government will build 1,000 kilometres of pipeline from Agadam Niger Republic, to supply crude oil to Kaduna refinery.

The announcement was made on Friday by the NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, during a visit to the Kaduna Refinery Petrochemical Company Limited in Kaduna State.

READ ALSO: NNPC Increases Pump Price Of Petrol By N4

The GMD also revealed that contacts have been made with Niger Republic on the possibility of importing crude from the country.

He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has made several contacts with the President of Niger Republic.

“We are talking with Niger Ministry of petroleum. We are also talking with the Chinese Company operating in Agadam .”

He said some investors have shown interest to build another refinery of 50,000 barrels pay day capacity.

He said, “We are convincing them to come and build side by side with the Kaduna refinery.

“The intention is to build around Kano but we think there is greater synergy to what I have seen here. I am more convinced they will benefit from some of the utilities of Kaduna refinery.”

Baru also pledged to sustain efforts at enhancing energy supply to power industries in Kaduna through the development of Ajaokuta-Abuja-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline, as well as development of power plants in Kaduna and Abuja.

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NNPC: FG Plans 1,000km Pipeline From Niger Republic To Kaduna Refinery

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) has announced that the Federal Government will build 1,000 kilometres of pipeline from Agadam Niger Republic, to supply crude oil to Kaduna refinery.

The announcement was made on Friday by the NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, during a visit to the Kaduna Refinery Petrochemical Company Limited in Kaduna State.

READ ALSO: NNPC Increases Pump Price Of Petrol By N4

The GMD also revealed that contacts have been made with Niger Republic on the possibility of importing crude from the country.

He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has made several contacts with the President of Niger Republic.

“We are talking with Niger Ministry of petroleum. We are also talking with the Chinese Company operating in Agadam .”

He said some investors have shown interest to build another refinery of 50,000 barrels pay day capacity.

He said, “We are convincing them to come and build side by side with the Kaduna refinery.

“The intention is to build around Kano but we think there is greater synergy to what I have seen here. I am more convinced they will benefit from some of the utilities of Kaduna refinery.”

Baru also pledged to sustain efforts at enhancing energy supply to power industries in Kaduna through the development of Ajaokuta-Abuja-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline, as well as development of power plants in Kaduna and Abuja.

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4 Killed As Gunmen Raid Kaduna Community

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At least four persons have been killed after unknown gunmen attacked Mile One Village in Tafan District, Kaduna State on Friday, November 25, 2016.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that several houses including the house of the village head were burnt during the attack.

READ ALSO: Bagudu Hirse: Gunmen Reportedly Kidnap Ex-Minister In Front Of Daura’s House

Confirming the incident when contacted, the Interim Chairman of Jema’a local Government Area, Dr. Bege Katuka, said:

“I just left the affected village barely 30 minutes ago, I was there to assess the extent of damage.”

Also speaking to reporters on Saturday morning, a resident in Kafanchan said that the hoodlums launched an attack against the residents between 2 p.m. and 10p.m on Friday.

However, reports say the residents of the neighbouring villages of Gidan Waya, Ungwuan Ninzo and Ungwuan Kagoro have fled for fear of possible attacks.

The villages as well as Kaduna State College of Education have been turned to ghost towns.

Pasakori Village which share boundaries with Mile One Village came under similar attack on Thursday.

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4 Killed As Gunmen Raid Kaduna Community

Featured Image

At least four persons have been killed after unknown gunmen attacked Mile One Village in Tafan District, Kaduna State on Friday, November 25, 2016.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that several houses including the house of the village head were burnt during the attack.

READ ALSO: Bagudu Hirse: Gunmen Reportedly Kidnap Ex-Minister In Front Of Daura’s House

Confirming the incident when contacted, the Interim Chairman of Jema’a local Government Area, Dr. Bege Katuka, said:

“I just left the affected village barely 30 minutes ago, I was there to assess the extent of damage.”

Also speaking to reporters on Saturday morning, a resident in Kafanchan said that the hoodlums launched an attack against the residents between 2 p.m. and 10p.m on Friday.

However, reports say the residents of the neighbouring villages of Gidan Waya, Ungwuan Ninzo and Ungwuan Kagoro have fled for fear of possible attacks.

The villages as well as Kaduna State College of Education have been turned to ghost towns.

Pasakori Village which share boundaries with Mile One Village came under similar attack on Thursday.

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#Ondodecides: PDP Accuses APC Of Votes’ Campaigning

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State of violating election laws by campaigning during voting.

This accusation is coming after reports emerged that Tunji Light-Ariyo, a known chieftain of the APC, was recorded campaigning on behalf of and canvassing for votes for the APC candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu, at PUs 28, 29, and 30 in Ward 2 of Akure South Local Government Area, in spite of the prohibition of such actions by the Electoral Act 2010.

In a statement issued by its spokesman, Dayo Adeyeye, the PDP said:

 “The recording of this event also clearly show several police officers and men of other security agencies standing by and doing nothing while this was going on.

“In fact the video shows that the police men were providing security cover for him.”

In the same vein, the Punch quoted the Deputy Governor of Ondo, Mr. Lasisi Oluboyo as accusing the APC of  wooing the voters with money in the ongoing state governorship election.

READ ALSO: #OndoDecides: Tension As Residents Prepare To Elect A State Governor Today

Oluboyo who voted at Oke Ikadun Ward 1, Unit 08 in Ikare Akoko in Akoko North-East Local Government Area of Ondo State, alleged that some chieftains of the APC chieftains were carrying money about to pay some voters money in order to buy their votes.

He said, ” In my area here and with the report I have got so far, the election has been going on smoothly, no violence in our domain here, the turnout has been impressive.

“But we have it that some APC leaders in this area have been paying voters to buy their votes. This is not good for our democracy. “

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#Ondodecides: PDP Accuses APC Of Votes’ Campaigning

Featured Image

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State of violating election laws by campaigning during voting.

This accusation is coming after reports emerged that Tunji Light-Ariyo, a known chieftain of the APC, was recorded campaigning on behalf of and canvassing for votes for the APC candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu, at PUs 28, 29, and 30 in Ward 2 of Akure South Local Government Area, in spite of the prohibition of such actions by the Electoral Act 2010.

In a statement issued by its spokesman, Dayo Adeyeye, the PDP said:

 “The recording of this event also clearly show several police officers and men of other security agencies standing by and doing nothing while this was going on.

“In fact the video shows that the police men were providing security cover for him.”

In the same vein, the Punch quoted the Deputy Governor of Ondo, Mr. Lasisi Oluboyo as accusing the APC of  wooing the voters with money in the ongoing state governorship election.

READ ALSO: #OndoDecides: Tension As Residents Prepare To Elect A State Governor Today

Oluboyo who voted at Oke Ikadun Ward 1, Unit 08 in Ikare Akoko in Akoko North-East Local Government Area of Ondo State, alleged that some chieftains of the APC chieftains were carrying money about to pay some voters money in order to buy their votes.

He said, ” In my area here and with the report I have got so far, the election has been going on smoothly, no violence in our domain here, the turnout has been impressive.

“But we have it that some APC leaders in this area have been paying voters to buy their votes. This is not good for our democracy. “

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Football Headlines : All The Latest Football News And Transfer Gossips This Morning

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​Wayne Rooney has been cleared following an FA inquiry into the “wedding-gate” furore.

Hull boss Mike Phelan is lining up an £11.8m double swoop for Jay Rodriguez and Dundalk winger Daryl Horgan.

Out-of-favour Anthony Martial has been told he faces a major battle to reclaim his Manchester United place.

Slaven Bilic is poised to unleash striker Andy Carroll on Manchester United.

Eva Carneiro has given her first interview since leaving Chelsea and has defended her actions.

West Brom will make a fresh bid for Jay Rodriguez in January.

Marc Albrighton has warned Leicester to shape up or face relegation from the Premier League.

Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew has insisted he will not quit on his struggling side.

David Moyes has admitted Jordan Pickford could leave Sunderland in January if they get a good offer.

West Ham want to sign a new goalkeeper with Slaven Bilic unconvinced by Adrian.

Everton boss Ronald Koeman says he will not hesitate to raid former club Southampton in January.

West Brom boss Tony Pulis is urging the club’s new ownership to splash the cash in January.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman insists he wouldn’t have any issues signing players from former club Southampton. 

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka has slammed his critics as completely wrong.

Arsenal are keeping tabs on 17-year-old Marseille defender Boubacar Kamara, according to reports in France.

Stoke want to sign West Brom striker Saido Berahino for £12m in January having had a £20m bid turned down in the summer. 

Hull are plotting a £11m January raid for Southampton outcast Jay Rodriguez.

Former Premier League official Howard Webb is weighing up a job offer as head of referees in the MLS.

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#OndoDecides: Tension As Residents Prepare To Elect A State Governor Today

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There is a palpable tension in Ondo state as residents ‎of the state prepare to elect a governor that would take over from Olusegun Mimiko, whose tenure expires in February 2017.

As four main candidates, and‎ 24 others  prepare to battle for the top job in the state, there are fears that the polls may turn bloody.

It was gathered that there were violent clashes among rival political party supporters in Akure and Owo on Thursday night and Friday.

A total of 1,280,580 voters with Permanent Voter Cards are preparing to choose the next governor of the state among the 28 contestants in today’s governorship election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had earlier stated that 1,659,186 voters were registered for the election but 378,606 persons did not turn up to collect their PVCs.

Among the major contestants are Mr. Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party; Chief Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress; Dr. Olu Agunloye of the Social Democratic Party and Olusola Oke of the Alliance for Democracy.

Others include the candidate of the Accord Party, Mr. Oladare Amuda; Mr. Yinka Orokoto of the Action Alliance; the candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, Chief Adetuwo Ogunjumelo; the candidate of the Citizens Popular Party, Mr. Peter Fasua; the candidate of the Labour Party, Adeuti Stephen; and the candidate of the Peoples Party of Nigeria, Mrs. Temidola Olagbegi.

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Movie Review: The Birth Of A Nation

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For reasons best known to programmers of the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF), The Birth of a Nation, the once promising, now troubled feature film by actor, writer and director Nate Parker was chosen as the festival’s opening film.

Because of the film’s heavy subject matter and direct confrontation with horrors of yester years past, Kene Mkparu, the CEO of Filmhouse cinemas/FilmOne distribution who midwifed the arrival of the film to Nigerian cinemas, tries to spin Birth as a fiercely original story which every African has a moral compulsion to see. Mkparu may well be right, but his bias is duly noted. He is a sweet talking salesman looking to do good business after all.

But what is there to make of The Birth of a Nation? It is hard to talk about Parker’s film these days without thinking of aborted hopes, dreams denied and the spectre of a dark past coming back to haunt. Unfair really as Birth, just like every work of art, deserves to be judged on its own terms separate from the creator’s personal foibles.

No sooner had Birth’s roll out been announced than the sordid allegations of a College age Nate Parker began to receive widespread coverage. As a 20 year old sophomore student of Pennsylvania University back in 1999, Parker was accused of drugging and raping a schoolmate. He was acquitted of all counts but the scandal has failed to go away, scoring wider publicity in the wake of the film’s release.

And for a while, Birth seemed like it would crumble under all that weight. But if Hollywood can forgive past sinners like Roman Polanski and Mel Gibson, plus perceived ones like Woody Allen, and if Donald Trump with all his baggage can be elected president of the United States, surely, some redemption awaits Nate Parker and his film.

However well Birth of a Nation does both at the box office,- it bombed at the US’ but on the awards circuit, there may still be hope,- in getting made at all, and on this level, the film has already scored a decisive victory. Or maybe two.

Nate Parker boldly reclaims the title from the 1915 Klu Klux Klan loving, racist film by D.W Griffith and positions Nat Turner’s story and its overriding significance this time as the bedrock for the birth of modern America. In the film’s post script, it is added that Nat Turner was hanged and his body flayed and churned into grease, all in a desperate bid to destroy thoughts of preserving any kind of legacy whatsoever for Turner. This is after all a man who led a slave revolt to murder white slave owners. That the world is still learning about the man in 2016 is no small victory.

Whatever comes, Parker and his team can still take comfort in that. Plus the fact that Birth does hold a Sundance film festival record where it was received enthusiastically and sparked a bidding war that ended with Fox Searchlight picking up distribution rights to the tune of 17.5milliom USD.

As a narrative, Birth has its moments. The modest budget ($8.5) shows up onscreen, in the cloistered spaces and distinct lack of spectacle,- even the battle scenes play like staged events,- but the sobering tale calls for much subtlety.

Birth starts with a young Nat Turner, taken by his mother Nancy (Aunjanue Ellis) to a chief priest who declares him some kind of special. He grows up as a house slave in the home of the Turners’ where his inquisitive mind is developed and he is taught to read the Bible by his mistress (Penelope Ann Miller).

Nat Turner grows up and his considerable cloak of privilege is shed gradually while travelling with his new master, Samuel (Armie Hammer) and witnessing first hand, the horrors and ugliness of the system. He wrestles with these experiences vis-a-vis the role which he has been cast in as enabler to black oppression. But it is a personal tragedy (read rape of females close to him) that really pushes Nat to flip and turns him into this thirsty, revenge seeking martyr who leads a bloody slave revolution in 1831.

There is no happy ending to this decision of Nat and his crew but they try anyway. The film attempts to turn him into a hero and glosses over questions of his sanity and those of the women in his life who serve mainly as enablers, passing his actions to blind religious convictions .

Birth shows its own share of visual horrors but some of the strongest inciting acts are implied rather than shown. Which is just as well as 12 Years a Slave has cornered the market on unrelenting torture as catalyst for sober reflection. Coming only 3 years removed from Steve McQueen’s brutal, unsparing account, a similar tack would have made Birth the ugly younger sister.

At the end of the day, Birth of Nation serves as an important history lesson, a solid profile of Nat Turner, and a state of the nation address on contemporary America’s race relations. But it never for one rises to true greatness. Parker hits all the right notes in the technical department but maybe it is the story itself, maybe it is in the telling, maybe it’s his politics, but his version of events does not quite satisfy. Or resound.

Birth of a nation

Year: 2016

Length: 2hrs

Director: Nate Parker

Screenplay: Nate Parker and Jean McGianni Celestin

Read more movie reviews here

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Conte Not Focused On Old Chelsea-Tottenham Stats

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Antonio Conte will not be riding on stats when Tottenham come visiting Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge and wants his players to forget about the long unbeaten home run against the Spurs.

The last time Tottenham beat Chelsea at the Bridge was way back in 1990 and last season’s 2-2 draw was a heated contest.

The blues recorded a comeback draw against the White Hart Lane outfit, to crush their hopes of winning the EPL trophy.

“I don’t like the stats, because the stats are old,” the Chelsea head coach said. “You have to live the moment.

“Now, if you speak about our unbeaten run, I can reply that in this championship Tottenham are unbeaten. It’s important to focus on the present. The present now is more important than the past.”

Focusing on the present also means keeping cool come kick-off, according to the Italian, who said: “It’s right to show your passion, but in the right way, not in a bad way.

“I want my players to play with great intensity, with great passion, but always in the right way.”

Pochettino admitted in the spring that his Spurs side “didn’t set a good example” during a game of repeated flashpoints resulting in a ban for eye-gouging for midfielder Mousa Dembele.

But Conte says Spurs did not lose the title on that game alone and wants his own side to show they are challengers over the course of a whole season.

“For sure, you don’t lose a championship in one game,” Conte said. “In my experience you lose or win a championship over many games. Precisely 38.

“I always told that to my players. Don’t find an excuse and fight, because you lose or you win for 38 league games, not for one game.”

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Cavaliers Sets NBA Record With 20 3-Pointers In Consecutive Games

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The NBA championship holders Cleveland Cavaliers are setting records in the league, they’ve now racked up 20 3-pointers in consecutive regular season games.

In the 137 points rout against the Trail Blazers on Wednesday, they racked up 21 from beyond the arc and got 20 in the 128-90 thrashing of the Mavericks.

Prior to the record set by Cavaliers, there has only been 25 games in league history, where 20 or more 3-pointers have been scored.

The Golden State Warriors had seven games last season where they scored that many three pointers, but they didn’t do it back-to-back.

The Cavs had consecutive 20 3-pointer games against the Atlanta Hawks last season in the playoffs, making a combined 46 in Games 2 and 3 of their 4-0 series sweep.

The Cavs have now recorded 10 or more 3-pointers in 14 consecutive games. They have made at least seven 3-pointers in 54 straight games dating to last season, an NBA record.

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Ibrahimovic: Mkhitaryan Must Not Waste The Chances He Gets To Play

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan has had a difficult and fruitless start to life at Old Trafford, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes he’ll still deliver.

The former Borussia Dortmund midfielder joined Manchester United in the close-season a £26 million fee, but has not lived up to his price tag.

After seven games in all competitions, Mkhitaryan has not scored or assisted a goal under Mourinho.

Mkhitaryan impressed in Thursday’s 4-0 Europa League win over Feyenoord, though, and Ibrahimovic expects more of the same in the weeks to come.

“I know who Miki is, I see it every day in training, so hopefully he showed everybody who he is and has the confidence to keep on doing that,” Ibrahimovic was quoted as saying by The Mirror.

“He was injured and he has been training very hard since, being very professional, so you just have to wait for your chance and, when you get your chance, you need to take it.

“It is up to the coach who plays, because there are 25 players if I am correct, so the coach is the boss, he decides who plays.

“He is a quality player, like every player in the team, but it is up to the coach who plays in the team. Like I said, he was injured for a while, but he has come back and he has been good in training, like everybody else.”

Mkhitaryan was a key player for Borussia Dortmund throughout his three seasons in Germany. Before his time at the Bundesliga side, he won three Ukrainian Premier League titles with Shakhtar Donetsk.

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Totti Considering Delaying His Retirement

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Francesco Totti is not ready to end his football career and has hinted at extending it beyond this season.

The 40-year-old Italian has spent all his life at Roma, since joining as a youth in 1989 and breaking into the first team in 1992. He has established himself as a legend for both club and country, winning the Serie A and World Cup with them respectively.

At 40 years old, Totti is edging closer to the end of his career, with his contract in the Italian capital expiring at the end of the campaign.

However, he does seem open to extending his incredible career in Serie A.

“Nothing is obvious in football,” Totti told Sky.

“I was taken for finished last year, something that happens a lot in this line of work, especially when things aren’t going the right way. Everyone is free to say what they think though.

“I have faith in my head and my body, I can still give a lot and if I’m feeling good then why stop?”

Totti has scored two goals in six Serie A appearances this season.

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David Moyes :Sunderland Prepared To Pack The Bus Against Liverpool

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Sunderland manager David Moyes has made no secret of his plan to ‘park the bus’ when his side take on Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday.

The Reds have been in free-scoring mood so far this season and have been especially potent on home soil, scoring 19 times in just six matches at Anfield.

Moyes acknowledged that his side are likely to be on the back foot for long spells during this weekend’s match, but hopes that the in-form striking partnership of Jermain Defoe and Victor Anichebe can cause the Reds problems.

“I think you have to go there and park the double decker bus. I think anybody who plays against Liverpool has to park the double decker bus. But we will hopefully have two centre-forwards like we’ve got at the moment scoring goals at the other end of the pitch as well. I don’t think you can kid yourself – they (Liverpool) are in good form and are a good team,” he told reporters.

“We’ve just got to be careful – we’ve won two games with Victor coming into the team and we also played well at Southampton and should still be in the cup. But let’s put it into context – he’s not a £20m centre-forward.

“We’ve got a centre-forward who I believe in and I know what he is capable of but there will be games when he is on top form and games when he is not. We’ve been really pleased with him and Jermain – what Jermain has done whether it be this season or in seasons gone by speaks for itself with his goals.”

A win for Sunderland at Anfield would give them three league victories on the bounce for the first time since May 2014.

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Moise Kean Wants To Remain At Juventus 

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Moise Kean wants to stay at Juventus and develop as a player, according to his brother Giovanni.

The Juve teenager became the first player born in this millennium to play in Serie A and then the Champions League when he debuted in both competitions inside a week.

He’s yet to sign a pro contract, but speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy, his brother played down speculation linking him with a move.

Moise’s brother, Giovanni, told Gazzetta dello Sport: ‘Moise sacrifices, he is generous because Juve taught this to him.

‘They did it to make him become a beast and forged in the mind is the fact he is at the right club who will make him explode.

‘The Juve fans can rest assured that [Moise’s agent, Mino] Raiola does not want to take him away. Indeed, if he had wanted to, he would have already done so.

‘Maybe at the beginning Juve had not realised how strong he was. Then he only asked for a fair deal. It was found, and shortly he will sign the contract.’

Raiola, who has seen client Paul Pogba establish himself as a superstar at Juventus, is tipping his latest protege to reach the very top.

‘Kean is the name to watch in 2017, and I’m not just saying that because I’m his agent,’ the superagent said.

‘He is only 16 years old, but has this determination within him that is just scary. He can become a big star at Juventus.’

KEAN’S JUVENTUS RECORD

Under 15s: 21 goals in 10 games

Under 17s: 24 goals in 26 games

Under 19s: 6 goals in 10 games

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David Haye And Tony Bellew Confirm Heavyweight Fight On March 4th

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World cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew will step up to heavyweight to fight David Haye at the O2 Arena in March, it has been announced.

The pair have been involved in a verbal feud for some time now, will Bellew calling out Haye in the build-up to his WBC title defence against BJ Flores last month.

Bellew stopped Flores in three rounds before immediately turning his attention to Haye at ringside as the two Brits squared up.

Haye vowed to knock Bellew out with a single jab, while the Liverpudlian said he would step up a weight if Haye – a former world champion at cruiserweight and heavyweight – would not drop down.

“The public demand for me to violently knockout Tony Bellew was simply too strong,” Haye said in a statement.

“The country is fed up of his constant yapping. Even in his hometown of Liverpool, I would be stopped in the street by people begging me to spectacularly send him into retirement.

“Bellew is completely delusional if he thinks he can beat me. He still thinks he’s on the set of Creed and there will be some kind of Rocky style happy ending. But come March 4th at the 02 in London I will bring reality crashing down on him.”

With the bout taking place at heavyweight, Bellew’s belt will not be on the line.

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West Brom To Make Fresh Bid For Southampton Striker Jay Rodriguez 

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West Brom will make another bid to sign Jay Rodriguez on loan in January, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The Baggies attempted to sign the Southampton forward last summer but were knocked back by Claude Puel.

Rodriguez has struggled to earn his place back in the team following a long-term injury and could be allowed to leave, with Hull City also interested.

Rodriguez, 27, was a Pulis target in the summer but Southampton opted to keep him after promising him first-team opportunities under Claude Puel.

But the England international has started only one Premier League game this season and Pulis is keen to take him to the Hawthorns to strengthen his depleted attack.

Salomon Rondon and Hal Robson-Kanu have been the only senior strikers available to West Brom for months, with Saido Berahino struggling with form and fitness and Rickie Lambert having left for Cardiff.

Rodriguez was watched by a member of Albion’s recruitment team in Saints’ Europa League defeat by Sparta Prague on Thursday night and Pulis has confirmed he is already assessing January targets.

“We’ll be looking to bring one or two in in the window,” he said. “I think it’s important that people realise that we want to move forward and push on.

“I think you’re always looking to get better players in than what you’ve got irrespective of who is in the team and the group. If players become available and they’re better than what you’ve got at the right price and the right age then I think you should be in the market and trying to do the business if you can.”

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Huddersfield Town Manager David Wagner Hoping To Keep ‘Star Striker’  Nahki Wells 

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David Wagner wants to keep star striker Nahki Wells at Huddersfield Town following speculation linking him with a move.

Wells, a then-club record £1.3m signing from neighbours Bradford City in January 2014, has scored 42 Town goals.

Three of them have come this season, and the 26-year-old has featured in the last 16 games after missing the first two of the campaign through injury.

“January is approaching and we have to talk about Nahki, just as we have in other transfer windows,” Wagner said.

“But for me, it is very easy to leave this talk behind.

“Nahki was offered a new contract in the summer and he turned it down. We left the discussion behind us.

“We wanted to focus on this season, and we can talk again about a contract when the time is right.

“No serious offer was received in the summer, if we get one in January, it will be considered.”

“But why waste energy and time talking about something that hasn’t happened?

“Nahki is still our player, and I would like to keep him. I have no aim to sell.

“He is a very good footballer, a natural scorer, and an important player for us.

“He suits our style and our style suits him, and I have no worries about his attitude amid this talk.

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Antoine Griezmann Admits He Considered Leaving Atletico Madrid 

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Antoine Griezmann has admitted he thought about leaving Atletico Madrid when reports surfaced linking manager Diego Simeone with a departure.

“I had some doubts [about my future] last summer when there were reports Simeone could leave,” the France international told GQ.

“I called him and he told me that he would stay. So I stayed as well. I have a lot of respect for him and feel that he believes in me. I need to stay with him and work for him a bit more.

“But that does not necessarily mean I would follow him if he leaves Atletico.”

“My team-mates here really appreciate me. I have reached this level thanks to them. I get better every week. I need them and I love playing for Atletico. I do not think I need to move to reach the next level.”

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