Soyinka’s New Year Message: It’s Your Struggle Now

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Soyinka’s New Year Message: It’s Your Struggle Now, By Akin Adesokan

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In the final chapter of You Must Set Forth At Dawn, the fulsome account of his leading role in the struggle against the military dictatorship of General Sani Abacha, the Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka constructs a detailed narrative of his return to Nigeria in 1998, following the tyrannical soldier’s death. Focusing on the manner that the crowd of admirers received him at the Lagos airport, he writes of a critical moment when his concern for the crowd deliriously morphs into wonder about his own safety:

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

“A fear that my arm might be torn out of its sockets—Haven’t I been here before?—is soon submerged under the greater fear that some of the crowd might get knocked down or be trampled upon. The scene seemed primed for inevitable disaster, and it’s only now a matter of what form of injuries many would sustain. Then again I find myself compelled to direct my concerns to myself—it has become obvious that this very idiot, fast losing his balance while worrying over others, would prove the likeliest casualty.”

Soyinka Breaks Silence On Fuel Scarcity, Buhari’s 1977 Statement

My mind returned to this passage in the book as I reflected on Soyinka’s most recent intervention—the public statement he issued last week in response to the current fuel shortage in Nigeria.

That statement was preceded by days of Nigerians hankering, mostly on social media, after the writer’s “responsibility” to own up to his endorsement of candidate Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 presidential elections. As president, the argument goes, Buhari is an unmitigated embarrassment. In their simplistic but understandable view, those Nigerians—a collection of perennial malcontents, beneficiaries of the lootocracy of the previous government, opportunists staking a place for their turn to eat come 2019, and others—must be dragged out to account for the disaster of the current government. Better that such individual be recognisable from his head of white hair, and it matters less that white hair is proof of old age!

This simplistic view is understandable because what Nigerians as a crowd of faceless people want is a sacrificial goat, a carrier to clean up the mess that they have created through an unchanging habit of mindless indulgence. Beating the bush to smoke Soyinka out is an act of indulgence, and as the man said with an imaginative clarity that is unique to him, no endowment is beyond shortage: a time will come when there are no Soyinkas to scapegoat.

This is what the writer means by the italicised question in the passage quoted above: a lifetime of finding himself at the mercy of a community in need of cleansing but too hypocritical to ask itself to do the cleaning.

He has been there before, yes. Whenever I think about Soyinka’s political interventions, one image fastens itself to the screen of memory: the character in Greek mythology torn into pieces by the hands throwing and catching him in a dance of appreciation of his courageous acts.

But for the vigilance of Providence resolved to repay the morality of the self-sacrificing by keeping that self intact, Soyinka would have perished in the 22-month ordeal of his imprisonment during the Nigerian civil war. As Soyinka went from hand to hand, from the prison in Kaduna to a jailer in Lagos, Nigerians died helplessly on both sides of the war, and Nigerians lined their own pockets with cash and gold because the war was just another opportunity for acquiring spoils.

How does one spend months in solitary confinement without losing one’s mind?

Several years before his arrest in 1967, Soyinka wrote a play titled The Strong Breed, about the ritual of the carrier—identifying someone, often a stranger, to use as the bearer of the sins of one’s community. In the play, the carrier is a character named Eman, who is picked upon because he stands up in defence of a child both orphaned and disabled. (The play has been made into a fine film, So Be It (1997), by Joseph Ramaka, the Senegalese cineaste). Rereading the play recently, I was stunned by something that the protagonist tells his girlfriend: “A man must go on his own, go where no one can help him, and test his strength. Because he may find himself one day sitting alone in a hut as round as that.”

The writer of those words would find himself sitting alone in a tiny cell for months on end, with thoughts as his sole companions. One might say that he understood his responsibilities well enough to seem to have prepared for them.

Self-sacrifice is ultimately about enhancing one’s personality, and this explains why self-sacrificing individuals tend to triumph over adversity. A society’s need for carriers is a different matter, a pretext for the deep desire to hide the inability to look critically at itself.

Soyinka’s repeated act of standing up and speaking out is thus an exhortation to Nigerians to take personal responsibility seriously. Honouring the memory of the late Ken Saro-Wiwa in Lagos in August 2000, Soyinka performed a small ceremony of symbolically passing a baton to the younger generation. The message was something in the manner of “It’s Your Struggle Now.” Some of those present at the ceremony had also played their part in the opposition to the Abacha dictatorship in various ways, so they got the message.

The point of this recall is that Soyinka, a self-described glutton for tranquility, would rather not put himself in the position of the sole carrier of our collective mess—and not out of lacking the liver. Those who speak up at moments of seeming collective paralysis do so as a way of nudging society out of complacency: if you don’t talk your own one day of course you must die!

Some of Soyinka’s heedless critics on social media in the days before his statement on the fuel crisis pointed to his endorsement of Buhari as a result of his association with some stalwarts of the ruling All Progressives’ Congress (APC).

This is the harsh truth. When the playwright turned eighty in 2014, I was invited to contribute to a special magazine issue to mark that milestone. I concluded my brief essay with this sentence: “I would rather that Soyinka resists the periodic enticements from ruthless power-mongers, the kind that brought him within inches of the scandal of hobnobbing with the former President Ibrahim Babangida in Benin City in April 2010.”

The harsh truth is also the opportunistic perspective of the champions of a carrier culture psychologically unwilling to hold itself to account. We might be lucky to have Soyinka the culture-hero, one of those rare gifts nature brought to us. We would be luckier, though, if we roused ourselves to the recognition that sentient beings like him are warning signs that we take control of our fate.

And so the Pyrates chant:

Otito ni yoo leke o,
Ologbon jogun aye…

May truth ever triumph,
The sentient gain the world!

Akin Adesokan teaches in the Department of Comparative Literature, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.

This piece was written by Akin Adesokan. 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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Nigerian Troops Rescue Another Chibok Schoolgirl Abducted By Boko Haram

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The Nigerian Army has said that it has rescued one of the female students of Government Secondary School, Chibok, in Borno State, who was abducted by Boko Haram terrorists early in 2014.

Salomi Pogu was found by troops deployed in the town of Pulka

Salomi Pogu was found by troops deployed in the town of Pulka

The rescued girl was identified as Salomi Pogu.

It is understood that Pogu was freed on Thursday, by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, deployed in Pulka, after she was found with another girl and a young child.

A statement from Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, Deputy Director, Public Relations, Theatre Command of Operation Lafiya Dole, read:

“Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole deployed in Pulka today rescued one of the Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists earlier in 2014.”

“So far, preliminary investigations reveal that the young girl identified as Salomi Pagu is the same as the Chibok girl published on serial 86 of the online list of abducted Chibok girls.”

“Currently the girl who was intercepted in the company of another young girl, Jamila Adams about 14 years old with a child are in the safe custody of troops and receiving medical attention.”

Of the 276 girls who were originally taken, about 60 escaped soon afterwards. Around 100 are still believed to be in captivity.

Last May, Boko Haram exchanged 82 of the girls after mediation, involving a payment to the insurgents and the release of some of the group’s imprisoned senior members. Before that, 24 had been released or found in 2016.

Note: The correct spelling of the rescued girl’s name is “Salomi Pogu” and not “Salomi Pagu” after error in initial military statement.

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Biafra: IPOB Unveils Radio Nigeria Hausa Service

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The proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has announced the launch a radio service in Hausa language.

This announcement was contained in a statement issued on Thursday by its spokesman, Emma Powerful.

In the statement, IPOB said the maiden daily broadcast will hit the airwaves on Saturday, the 6th of January, 2018 at 7pm Nigerian time on Short Wave 15110 KHz 19 Meter Band.

The statement reads: “In keeping with our promise to facilitate the creation of an unbiased informative platform to take the message of liberation to the down trodden and oppressed indigenous populations of Northern Nigeria, we the family members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) worldwide and it’s indomitable leadership, wish to happily announce the official launch of the much anticipated IPOB sponsored Radio Nigeria Hausa Service.

”The broadcast will have the widest coverage of any radio signal in Africa. It will be received all over West, East and Southern Africa. Every Hausa speaking community in Africa will be able to receive it. In our opinion, we feel it has become imperative to educate the poor masses of Northern Nigeria. The ruling class cleverly enslaved and impoverished ethnic populations of the North by keeping vital information and knowledge away from them. This information deficit is what Radio Nigeria Hausa Service has come to remedy.

”All the hitherto hidden history of the conquest of indigenous Hausa speaking populations of the North will be laid bare for the world to know. More importantly, enslaved minorities of Arewa North, brutally savaged by Fulani terrorist herdsmen, through this unbiased platform, will acquire the necessary education needed to liberate them from the suffocating stranglehold of the caliphate born to rule class.

”What we hope to demonstrate through the launch of this liberation radio station is to prove beyond every conceivable doubt that IPOB is not a selfish movement concerned only about the well-being of Biafrans, but are also genuinely concerned about the plight of all oppressed people in Nigeria as stated by our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on countless occasions. Regardless of ethnicity, religion or creed, IPOB is pursuing an agenda of freedom for all. Our message is very simple, 2018 will be like no other in the history of Nigeria and will prove to be the year of liberation for those brave enough to confront the evil that Nigeria has become in the lives of millions of people.

”Our quest for the total and adulterated liberation of Biafraland is unstoppable; this we shall demonstrate in the coming months. Those deluding themselves with the laughable and perverse notion that IPOB has been weakened because of the absence of our leader is in for an almighty shock. This move today is the beginning of a mass revolution against our oppressors that will spread outside the borders of Biafraland.

”The coming of this new and revolutionary Radio Nigeria Hausa Service will expose centuries old dark secrets through education of the oppressed Hausa Fulani youths that IPOB and Biafra mean well for them contrary to the lies being peddled by their corrupt leadership. We will not fail to let all Northern youths understand that their political leaders, elders and fathers like those in Biafraland are the real oppressors that over the years have kept them in the dark through a carefully crafted and systematic regime of misinformation and propagation of falsehood. Every Hausa speaking Northerner is advised to tune into 15110 KHz every night at 7PM, starting from this Saturday 6 January 2018, to be educated in order to be liberated.”

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Osinbajo Travels To UAE With Family For Vacation

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Nigeria’s Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and his family have travelled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for vacation.

According to his spokesperson, Laolu Akande, in a tweet Wednesday, Mr. Osinbajo left the country alongside his wife and children.

He did not disclose when Osinbajo travelled but said he is expected to return to the country this weekend.

“VP Osinbajo, his wife & children have been resting abroad on his annual leave. He is expected back in the country this weekend from the UAE,” Mr. Akande said.

This is probably the first time since the coming of the Buhari Administration that Mr. Osinbajo is enjoying his annual leave.

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Football Papers: All The Latest Football News And Transfer Gossips This Evening

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MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS
Manchester United could abandon plans to sign a left-back in the summer following Luke Shaw’s resurgence, and may instead opt to sign a central midfielder or winger.
Pep Guardiola wants Alexis Sanchez this month amid growing concerns over Manchester City’s ability to cope with a quadruple bid.

LONDON EVENING STANDARD
Thibaut Courtois believes Eden Hazard cannot be replaced at Chelsea and says it is vital he agrees a new contract with the club.
Tottenham would only consider selling Harry Kane to Real Madrid if he asked to leave, like Luka Modric and Gareth Bale did previously.

LIVERPOOL ECHO
Everton expect Ross Barkley to leave in the January transfer window – to one of the Premier League’s “big boys”.
Brendan Galloway could be on his back to Everton after Sunderland boss Chris Coleman hinted he could cut the defender’s loan deal short.

NEWCASTLE CHRONICLE
Sunderland could offer a short-term deal to David Cotterill, but other additions are likely to hang on outgoings from the Stadium of Light.

BIRMINGHAM MAIL
Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce will most likely have to deal with loans and chairman Dr Tony Xia has told supporters to expect ‘one or two’ incomings.

EXPRESS & STAR
Zeli Ismail appears to have played his last game for Walsall after the club confirmed he has returned to Bury following his loan spell.

THE SENTINEL
Mark Hughes has met with Stoke’s board this morning and remains manager of the club for now.

HULL DAILY MAIL
Hakeeb Adelakun, linked with Hull City last month, has been offered a new deal by Scunthorpe as they try to keep hold of the highly rated winger.
Hull City and Sunderland are planning January transfer window bids for Maikel Kieftenbeld

LANCASHIRE TELEGRAPH
Blackburn Rovers are looking to secure a permanent deal for central defender Paul Downing.
Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray says a decision over the future of Liam Feeney will be made in the coming days as the Rovers winger’s loan spell at Cardiff City expiring.

BOURNEMOUTH ECHO
Bournemouth are understood to be weighing up the possibility of giving goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale some valuable experience during a loan spell.

LEICESTER MERCURY
Leicester City boss Claude Puel is to hold talks with Riyad Mahrez over his future.

SOUTH WALES EVENING POST
Swansea City manager Carlos Carvalhal hopes it will not be too long before he is able to add to his squad.

GET WEST LONDON
Slavisa Jokanovic has said that Fulham have no plans to sell Ryan Sessegnon.

NOTTINGHAM POST
Paul Heckingbottom has refused to rule himself out of the running for the Nottingham Forest job

EVENING GAZETTE
Connor Roberts has returned to Swansea after his loan move to Boro was ended by mutual consent.

THE BOLTON NEWS
Newcastle have recalled Adam Armstrong from his loan spell at Bolton.

BLACKPOOL GAZETTE
A new striker is at the very top of Gary Bowyer’s wishlist for Blackpool’s January transfer window.

IPSWICH STAR
Peterborough director of football Barry Fry has revealed the club have had an offer accepted for Ipswich Town striker Kieffer Moore.

EVENING TIMES
Michael O’Halloran will rejoin the Rangers squad when they fly out to the United States this weekend – just four months after Pedro Caixinha declared he had no future at Ibrox.

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Stoke City Fans Hate Me Because They Miss Me – Marko Arnautovic

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Marko Arnautovic insists he’s happy with his choice to force through a move from Stoke City to West Ham United and insists that supporters of his old club ‘miss him’.

Marko Arnautovic was subjected to wave after wave of abuse on his return to the bet365 Stadium in December – a fixture that he scored in

Arnautovic has hit form for his new club over recent weeks, scoring five goals and setting up another in his last seven outings

In a fresh dig at his former club, Arnautovic insists that West Ham are the bigger of the two sides, while also cheekily claiming that Stoke fans should be happy that he ever played for them.

“They hate me, of course, but they hate me because they miss me and they lost me,” he told The Sun. “When I was warming up, the whole stadium was focusing on me. They were not even focusing on their own players, only on me, so I knew it was big for them.

“I could have scored five goals, I had a lot of chances. They were cheering when I missed. They were saying really bad stuff when I was outside the ground. It was too much so I said to myself, ‘When I score, I’ll go crazy because I am happy to score.’

“Booing can happen in away games but, to do it this much? I say, ‘Okay you have to respect me for what I did for the club – I did a lot, they should be happy that I was there’. Even kids of ten were shouting bad things at me. I’m thinking, ‘Are you not learning any intelligence from your parents?’

“People say I moved for the money, it’s not that. If you ask any Premier League player, who is the bigger club, Stoke or West Ham, they agree with me that it’s West Ham United. It’s not like I am lying or saying anything different to other people.”

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Courtois: Selling Hazard Is Like Barca Losing Messi

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Thibaut Courtois believes that Chelsea selling Eden Hazard, is like Barcelona deciding to sell Messi.

Madrid has been heavily linked with signing Hazard, as his father claims they rejected a  Chelsea deal in hopes of a Madrid offer.

 

The Blues are not interested in selling and Courtois admits that losing him will be a huge loss.

He told the Evening Standard after seeing Hazard net from the penalty spot in a 2-2 draw with Arsenal: “Losing a player like Eden would be bad for us, the club.

“Eden is irreplaceable. With the money he will raise, you can buy five players but none of them will be like Eden. It would be like Barcelona losing Lionel Messi or Real Madrid losing Cristiano Ronaldo.

“If you excel, there will always be teams interested in signing the biggest players. But that’s why if Chelsea have ambition to be the best club in the world, these kind of players have to stay.”

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Liverpool Would Be ‘Mad’ To Sell Philippe Coutinho In January- Gary Neville

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Gary Neville believes that Liverpool would be ‘mad’ to sell Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona before the end of the season.

Philippe Coutinho is understood to be close to sealing a switch to Camp Nou in excess of £130m, having failed to push through a move during the summer window.

“I have been tweaking the tail of the tiger with my tweets to Jamie Carragher about the Philippe Coutinho situation and actually agree with his suggestions that Liverpool should do a deal with Barcelona for the summer,” he said.

“To have turned down a bid in the summer and then lose him now would be madness. You’re always likely to lose a player when Barcelona or Real Madrid come calling. There’s an inevitability of him leaving but they need to say ‘give us time’.

“To lose him now could have a terrible impact on their season. Liverpool are too big a football club to let one player mess them around. To be fair, I wouldn’t say they won’t make the top four if he goes, but the impact off the pitch and in the dressing room – along with a loss of skill on the pitch – will be huge.

“There’s also their troubles with breaking down deep-lying defences, which was clear when you looked at the Everton game when they left him on the bench. It also just sends completely the wrong message and I agree with Jamie: there will be a two-tier impact if they let him go now.”

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Nile Ranger’s Contract Terminated By Southend Due To Disciplinary Issues

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Nile Ranger has had his contracted terminated by Southend because of reoccurring disciplinary issues, including timekeeping.

Southend say the decision was made following a meeting with the ex-Newcastle player, 26, on Wednesday.

Nile Ranger came out of prison in August after serving 10 weeks for online banking fraud, and was dropped for a game in November for bad timekeeping

A statement from the club read: “Following a meeting yesterday with Nile Ranger the club has today terminated the player’s contract in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

“This decision was taken following reoccurring disciplinary issues, including timekeeping, which undermine both the unity of the group and the management.

In many ways it is regrettable having worked closely with Nile over the past 18 months. However, the interests of the club are paramount and the Board will never allow those objectives to be undermined.”

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Thibaut Courtois Very Close To Signing New Chelsea Contract, Hints Eden Hazard Could Follow Suit

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Thibaut Courtois has revealed he is close to signing a new contract at Chelsea.

Thibaut Courtois also went on to suggest that 3 long-running saga could be finalised in the next few weeks.

Courtois also hinted that his Belgium team-mate Eden Hazard could be ready to follow suit by committing his longer-term future to Chelsea.

“It has just turned the new year so we will wait a few weeks and then sit around the table,” Courtois said. “I’m happy at Chelsea and a deal is close. Has it been a distraction? Not for me. I’m just calm and relaxed because I’m tied to Chelsea. Despite the rumours and everything, I am focused on Chelsea and I’m happy here.”

Hazard is contracted to 2020 and Courtois did not pull his punches about the damage that the forward’s departure would cause. But he offered encouragement, too, that Hazard would spend the peak years of his career at Stamford Bridge.


“Losing a player like Eden would be bad for the club,” Courtois said. “Eden is irreplaceable. With the money he will raise, you can buy five players but none of them will be like Eden. It would be like Barcelona losing Lionel Messi or Real Madrid losing Cristiano Ronaldo.

“If you excel, there will always be teams interested in signing the biggest players. But that’s why if Chelsea have ambition to be the best club in the world, these kind of players have to stay.

“Do Eden and I encourage each other to sign? Yes. He will say: ‘If you sign, I will sign,’ and I say the same to him. I think we are both happy at Chelsea, we both have a good part to play. We have been champions twice in the four seasons I have been here and we can have our peak years together at Chelsea.”

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James Tarkowski Signs New Long-term Burnley Contract

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Burnley defender James Tarkowski has signed a new four-and-a-half year deal with the club

James Tarkowski,25, who joined the Clarets from Brentford in January 2016, has been linked with the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal over the past few weeks.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday afternoon, boss Sean Dyche said: “We felt it appropriate to offer James a new deal on two levels. He’s done well in the Premier League and secondly his contract was out of sync. And there’s a few more we are talking to.”

James Tarkowski only started four games last season but has started 19 times this season and had played in every fixture

He was recently banned for violent conduct after the 0-0 draw at Brighton on 16 December.

His more prominent role this season has seen him fill the void left following Michael Keane’s summer move to Everton.

“It’s been a good season so far and it’s nice to be rewarded by the gaffer and the club in this way,” said Tarkowski.

“I have said it for a long time this is a long-term project for me and the club so hopefully we can all continue what’s been a positive season so far.”

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Jose Mourinho Describes Reports He Wants To Quit Manchester United As ‘Garbage’

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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has hit out at “garbage” media reports suggesting that he wants out of the club and insists that he is happy to stay beyond the end of his current contract.

Rumors have recently emerged of Jose Mourinho possibly being unsettled at Old Trafford.

According to the Daily Mail, United chiefs feared losing Mourinho at the end of his deal in 17 months’ time, or possibly beforehand if Paris Saint-Germain emerged as a destination, but the ex-Chelsea boss has strongly refuted these claims.

Asked to comment on the media reports, Mourinho said: “They’re garbage. If you want to ask me directly if I see myself next season at Manchester United, then I say I see myself [here].

“As I said when I arrived, I am going to leave when the club wants me to leave because I have no intention to leave at all. My intention is to stay and to work and to improve and to bring the club to where the club belongs.

“And I want to stay. I do not see any reason not to stay. I still have a contract. In fact I am in the middle of my contract. I am not in the last couple of months. My desire is to stay until the owners and the board is happy with my work.

“I am in the middle of my contract. If I am going to sign a new one of course depends on the club but my commitment with the club is total and I want to stay.”

Probed if he will consider signing a new deal before his current one expires in 2019, Mourinho added: “Yes, I see myself [here]. It is just a question of [whether] the club, the owners, the board, Mr Woodward are happy with my contribution and they want me to stay beyond the end of this contract. But yes I want to stay.”

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Ronaldo: Tite Has Restored Brazil’s Standard

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Brazil legend, Ronaldo has hailed Selecao coach, Tite and believes he has set a new standard for the team.

The former Corinthians boss took over from Dunga and found the selecao still sore from their 7-1 semifinal defeat to Germany in 2014.

Tite helped the team wear a new outlook, as they won 10 out of 12 qualifying matches and are favourites for the World Cup.

“Brazil are strong again,” Ronaldo told Bild.

“With Tite in command of the Selecao, there is now a certain standard of play that the team maintains. They are now a compact team, working as a single unit and [the players] are highly motivated.

“The Selecao has regained their respect and are playing a great football again.”

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Thousands Dump APC For PDP In Niger – APC Chieftain Defects To PDP In Bayelsa

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More than a thousand members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday defected to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Mashegu, one of the local government areas (LGAs) in Zone C, where the incumbent governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, hails from.

Daily Trust reports that the ceremony for the decampees took place at the Government Secondary School Saho-Rami.

In their comments while receiving the defectors, a former speaker of Niger State House of Assembly, Muhammad Muhammad Alkali, and a former commissioner for Religious Affairs in the cabinet of the former Governor, Alhaji Shehu Haruna Kumbashi, said the defection was a testimony that the APC administration had failed the people.

They assured the defectors that the PDP would carry everybody along as a family, adding that the party had learnt from its mistake and was ready to reclaim power from the ruling APC.

Speaking on behalf of the defectors, Malam Manir Muhammad, said they took the decision to rejoin the PDP because Governor Sani Bello had reneged on his promise to address the infrastructural challenges facing the LGA which necessitated their support for him.

 “It is disheartening that having promised to address infrastructural problems in our council, which led to overwhelming support for the governor, who is from our zone, he abandoned us,” he said, adding that “we are better off under the PDP and that is why we have rejoined the party.”

PDP Harvests APC Chieftain In Bayelsa

In the same vein, a chieftain of the APC in Bayelsa State, Jackson Suokiri, was among those who defected to the PDP on Monday at Odi in Kolokuma Okpokuma Local Government of Bayelsa State.

The Nation reports that Suokiri, who was a former secretary of PDP and defected to APC before the 2015 general election, was among the faithful who welcomed Governor Seriake Dickson to Odi community when he visited the place on Monday to celebrate the New Year Day.

Dickson admonished the political class to connect with the people, especially at the grassroots and not only when they needed their votes.

He said: “The power of the people is the most potent weapon you can find anywhere in the world; more potent than any armoury. The difference between me and many politicians is that I am a countryman. I connect with the people, I feel their pains, when they are happy I am happy and vice versa. I appreciate the people because they have made me what I am and above all, they have made PDP the strongest party, the only party that can win election in our state.

“For those who seek political office, we must not go out to hurt people for their welfare and interest should ordinarily be the reason for being in politics. We should be civil as we carry out our activities in 2018, being a crucial year before the elections.”

The Chief Whip of the House of Assembly and a member representing Kolokuma/Opokuma Constituency I,  Tonye Isenah, described Suokiri as a high profile politician, who had traversed the political landscape for decades, noting that his return would positively impact on PDP in the local government.

He enjoined other APC members to retrace their steps, “as PDP remains the party of every right thinking Bayelsan, who means well for the state and its people.”

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I Feel Like A Footballer Again- Diego Costa

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Diego Costa has revealed that he “felt like a footballer” again after making his first appearance for Atletico Madrid since his move from Chelsea.

Diego Costa has been forced to remain on the sidelines for the first half of the campaign after completing a return to Atletico outside of the transfer window, but the Spanish international made an immediate impact by netting in his new side’s Copa del Rey victory over Lleida.

The 29-year-old told reporters: “I am very happy for having once again felt like a footballer and for having played with Atletico Madrid again.

“It’s very important to me and I’m very happy about it.”I couldn’t ask for more from my second debut. I’m back playing again and I was lucky enough to score a goal. It just makes me even happier.”

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Arsene Wenger Confirms Signing Of Konstantinos Mavropanos

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Arsenal are on the brink of signing defender Konstantinos Mavropanos from PAS Giannina on a permanent deal.

Konstantinos Mavropanos will become the Gunners’ first signing of the winter window, likely within the next 48 hours once the finishing touches are put in place.

Arsene Wenger revealed after his side’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Wednesday night that the young centre-back will first undergo a medical, before then being sent out on loan to gain further experience.

“He’s not ready to play for us,” the Frenchman told reporters. “We’ll give him out on loan.”

Werder Bremen are expected to snap up Mavropanos for the second half of the campaign on a loan deal

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Virgil Van Dijk Is Very High Quality- Roberto Firmino

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Roberto Firmino has backed Liverpool’s new signing Virgil van Dijk to make an instant impact at Anfield

On January 1, Van Dijk completed his £75m transfer from Southampton and is expected to slot straight into a Liverpool defence which has sometimes struggled since the arrival of Jurgen Klopp.

Firmino has recalled previous tussles with the Netherlands international, and expects the centre-back to have little issue in settling in at the Merseyside giants.

The 26-year-old told the club’s official website: “He’s a really, really good defender. It’s always really hard playing against him. It’s very hard, he marks very tightly and I just think he’s a really, really high-quality player.

“I think in addition to the fact he’s very physical, it’s his presence. He’s tall, he’s very strong and that’s in addition to his innate ability.

“I just hope he helps us as much as possible. I think like everybody else who comes in, they add something to the group and I hope that he can also do that and bring something to the team himself.”

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Nigeria Agrees $550 Million Satellite Deal With China

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The Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, on Wednesday updated President Muhammadu Buhari on the approved procurement of two new satellites from China at the cost of $550 million.

Speaking to State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with the president in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Mr. Shittu said the China EXIM bank had agreed to pay the entire $550 million for the procurement of the satellites.

The minister explained that the initial agreement was that the China EXIM bank would provide 85 per cent of the total cost ($550 million) while Nigeria would pay the remaining 15 per cent as counterpart funding for the projects.

He, however, stated that as Nigeria could not be able to meet her obligation in paying the counterpart funding, the agreement was renegotiated with the China EXIM bank and the manufacture of the satellites, the China Great Walls.

“I’m in the Presidency to see Mr. President and to brief him on three major issues.

“One, NICOMSAT, which is one of our agencies where we hope to procure two new satellites from China.

“Initially the agreement was that they will provide the cost of the two satellites, $550 million minus 15 per cent which is the counterpart funding.

“Because we could not afford this 15 percent, we have renegotiated with the China EXIM Bank and the China Great Walls who are the manufacturers and they have happily agreed to pay the entire $550 million to procure two new satellites,’’ he said.

The minister stated that the new satellites would ensure that the Nigerian satellite company (NICOMSAT) would conquer the entire African continent in regard to the provision of satellite communication services.

He said that the Chinese had appreciated the potential market that existed in the satellite business in Nigeria and the African continent.

“”This is a very big business opportunity and I am sure that the Chinese appreciate the potential market which is so vast and that is why they have agreed that even without our ability to contribute 15 per cent they are prepared to pay the entire sum of $550 million for the procurement of the two new satellites for Nigeria,’’ he added.

Mr. Shittu revealed that the production of the satellites would commence immediately the final agreements were signed.

He said: “It takes two years to produce because it is when we sign the papers they will start production.

“We hope that before the end of this month we will sign the papers and then they will commence the production. It is the completion of the production that the two satellites will be launched.’’

He added that Nigeria had nothing to lose because the country would not put anything into the project in terms of financial resources.

“The president was excited and was not surprised because the Chinese are not just going to market our satellite to the entire African continent but also perhaps by legislation insists that all Nigerian entities must patronize the Nigerian satellite company rather than going to Israel, UK, US for satellite services.

“Now we can say by our local content policy we must patronize Nigeria,’’ he said

“The major issue is not about employment but by providing satellite services to all companies which require it.

“Currently most Nigerian companies and even Nigerian government establishments patronize foreign satellite companies. So the first thing is that we want to make profit, we want to capture the local market and we also want to capture the African market,’’ he added.

The Minister also said he informed the President that he had been appointed as national chairman of the board of trustees of Muhammadu Buhari/Osinbajo Dynamic Support Group.

Mr. Shittu, who described President Buhari as “Saviour’’ of Nigerians, said the South-west zonal office of the campaign organisation of Buhari-Osinbajo would be inaugurated on January 20.

“Every day since he came into office all his activities are geared towards letting Nigeria know that they have a saviour, a rescuer, somebody who is committed to providing relief for Nigerians in all respects.

“These include fighting corruption, insurgency; whether in the North East or the Niger Delta; in the area of repairing the economy and providing jobs and providing social stability in the society.

“You will agree with me that today but for Buhari Boko Haram would have invaded even Lagos.’’

The minister, who disclosed that President Buhari was yet to indicate interest on whether he will seek re-election in 2019, said his ardent supporters would continue to pressure him to seek re-election to enable him complete his good works to Nigerians.

He added: “It goes without saying I mean if you have a child who goes to primary school does well, proceeds to secondary school does well, and you keep asking is he going to university?

“By the grace of God, we his ardent supporters who appreciate his worth on behalf of millions of Nigerians, would urge him to re-contest.

“”I know he has not made up his mind but I can say that some of us can assist him in making up his mind so that Nigeria can continue to enjoy stability and progress in our land.’’

(NAN)

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Besiktas President Confirms Cenk Tosun Will Be An Everton Player By The Weekend

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Besiktas president, Fikret Orman has confirmed that Cenk Tosun will join Everton and that the transfer will be completed by the weekend.

The negotiations between the two clubs have been ongoing for several weeks and the two parties met in London on Wednesday, agreeing a deal which will see the 26-year-old join the Premier League side for £27m.

“Our interests and the players interests are important,” Fikret Orman said. “Cenk wants to join Everton. We want to do our part and we are working on a replacement.

“The era of buy, buy, buy is over. This is the era of buy, add value and sell. A final deal has not been reached yet but we have an agreement over the price. The end is near. The transfer will be wrapped up by the weekend.”

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Everton And Besiktas Agree £27m Fee For Cenk Tosun

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Everton have agreed a fee of £27m for Besiktas forward Cenk Tosun

Cenk Tosun will travel to Liverpool today to begin his medical

Everton have been locked in talks for the 26-year-old striker for more than a week, despite Tosun waving goodbye to supporters after a win over Osmanlispor on December 28.

Despite Besiktas president Fikret Orman playing hardball over the fee for the striker , Sam Allardyce is now close to welcoming his first signing of the January window.

Speaking about the deal in his press conference on Thursday, Allardyce said: ‘I think personal terms are the final stage. After some long negotiations we have got to that stage.

‘We might even get him registered before the Cup (game against Liverpool on Friday night). There is a medical to be done.

‘It depends on his overall fitness. We wouldn’t want to risk damaging him. He wants this move to happen.

‘With the pedigree that he has, what he has shown, the age he is. We haven’t got that many players in that elite block of age.’

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Terry Apala Bags Endorsement Deal With XXIV Karat Drink Company (PHOTO)

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Popular Apala Hip-Pop singer, Terry Apala is kick-starting the new year with an endorsement deal with XXIV Karat Nigeria Limited, a luxury brand that specializes in the production of XXIV exotic drink.

The singer announced the endorsement deal through his Instagram page with a photo with one of the representive of the drink company. He wrote;

“My first endorsement in 2018 my year of greater things @bukihqmedia@xxivkarat.ng @bashshow#apalaonthebeatalbum #palongo #feelme”

While expressing his excitement about the deal, the Singer also hinted at his soon to be released album project in 2018.

See his post below;

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Diego Forlan Signs For Hong Kong Club Kitchee

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Former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan has signed for Hong Kong side Kitchee ahead of their appearance in the group stages of the Asian Champions League

The 38-year-old, who played 112 times for Uruguay and won the Golden Ball Award for the best player at the 2010 World Cup finals, finished as the top scorer in Spain’s La Liga while with Villarreal in 2005 before going on to join Atletico Madrid.

Hong Kong champions Kitchee are appearing in the group stages of the Asian Champions League for the first time.

Diego Forlan retired from the Uruguay national team in 2015 after scoring 36 goals in 115 caps.

Forlan last played in the Indian Super League for Mumbai City in 2016 but has not played for any club for the past year.

He’s regarded as one of Uruguay’s greatest players of all time

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Daily Roundup: Latest Football News Content Across Europe

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France

Manchester City are interested in Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti. The impressive 24-year-old ball-playing centre-back, regarded by many as the best player in La Liga in his position this season, has a €60m (£53m) release clause in his contract at the Nou Camp, a figure that would not deter the Premier League leaders. (L’Equipe)

Spain

Barcelona are confident of wrapping up a deal for Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho this month. Contrary to the Catalan side’s ill-fated summer pursuit of the player, the Anfield club are now willing to negotiate the Brazilian’s sale, with “All roads leading to Coutinho” for Barca. (MARCA)

Coutinho’s proposed move to Barcelona will make him the second-most expensive player in history, but Real Madrid could have signed the Rio de Janeiro-born playmaker for just €2m (£1.78m) in 2008. Los Blancos rejected the chance to land the Barcelona transfer target, who instead joined Inter Milan. (MARCA)

Coutinho is now just “one step away from becoming a Barca player”. The La Liga table-toppers presented a €130m (£115m) offer for the midfielder on Wednesday and, while the Reds value him at €150m (£133m) , there is a belief that the two clubs can meet in the middle to get a deal done. (Sport)

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is eying a summer move for Chelsea forward Eden Hazard, and is willing to sweeten the pot by offering Manchester United transfer target Gareth Bale in part-exchange for the gifted Belgian. (Don Balon)

Highly rated Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has already signed a contract with Real Madrid. The 23-year-old Spaniard’s Bernabeu terms include two different start dates: one in June, when his Bilbao contract expires; and another for this month in the event the European champions are able to agree a fee for his services. (AS)

Italy

Big-spending Milan could be set to offer an escape route from Arsenal to England winger Theo Walcott. The former Southampton man is looking to leave the Emirates this month in search of regular playing time ahead of the World Cup. The big-spending Rossoneri are willing to take the 28-year-old on loan for the remainder of the season. (Corriere dello Sport)

Germany

Liverpool midfielder Emre Can, out of contract in the summer and a Juventus transfer target, will not be leaving Anfield this month. Rather than cash in on the 23-year-old Germany international, the Reds will hang on to Can at the risk of losing him for free at the end of the season. (Sky Germany)

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ASUP: Lecturers Suspend Four-Month Old Strike In MAPOLY

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The members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP), Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY) Abeokuta Chapter, on Wednesday suspended their close to four-month old strike.

The union had embarked on the strike following a face-off between it and the Ogun State Government on issues relating to the conversion of the polytechnic to university status and creation of a new polytechnic at Ipokia.

However, the suspension was announced by the chapter’s Chairman, Mr Kola Abiola, after a congress held at the institution’s campus to resolve the crisis between the Ogun State Government and the union.

Abiola stated that the congress decided to call off the strike following the pressure put on it by many concerned prominent personalities in the state.

He, however, said the union was hopeful that its demands would be met by the government to prompt it to conduct the suspended semester examination.

“Today, we had an emergency congress and after several appeals by eminent stakeholders within and outside the state, the congress therefore decided to suspend the strike.

“The government is aware of all our key issues, all the issues which resulted in the strike are all known to the government.

“When the crisis started we actually went to prominent personalities to intervene and now that they have intervened we think it is high time we give government the room for discussion while academic activities go on.

“We have suspended the strike, and it is now left for the management to announce when academic activities will commence,” the chapter chairman said.

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Blackout Persists Across Nigeria As Electricity Grid Collapses Twice In 16 Hours

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The blackout that was experienced across Nigeria on Tuesday persisted till Wednesday after efforts by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to restore electricity failed, following a second system collapse of transmission network at about 16 hours interval.

It was learnt that the first collapse of the power transmission grid occurred on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at about 10.20pm, while the second happened at 2.19pm on Wednesday.

Top officials of the Transmission Company of Nigeria told newsmen that the first collapse contributed largely to the second shutdown, as the country lost about 3,000 megawatts of electricity due to the incidents.

The first grid collapse was due to a fire incident on the Escravos Lagos Pipeline System of the Nigerian Gas Processing and Transportation Company Limited.

It was gathered that the fire outbreak on the ELP, a natural gas pipeline that supplies gas from the Escravos region of the Niger Delta area to Lagos, would affect the supply of gas to three states in the South-West.

A statement Wednesday by the company’s General Manager, Public Affairs, Mrs. Ndidi Mbah, however, assured Nigerians that restoration of the grid had reached an advanced stage.

TCN added that it had also commenced investigations to determine the exact cause of the system disturbance.

“The system disturbance happened at a time when work on the Western Gas Pipeline (Ecscavos-Lagos Pipeline System) by the Nigerian Gas Processing and Transportation Company Ltd (NGPTC), which caused a system collapse at about 21.17 hours on Tuesday was yet to be completed.

“The grid would have withstood the Odukpani infraction, if generation along Lagos region was available,” said TCN in the statement.

TCN explained that NGPTC, the gas supply and marketing subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had indicated that a contractor had been mobilised to repair the affected segment of the Escravos-Lagos pipeline, so that gas supply to the Omotosho, Egbin, and Olorunsogo I and II thermal power stations could be restored.

“According to NGC, work would be carried out day and night and is expected to be completed within 24 hours,” TCN assured the public.

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