Saturday, 11 August 2012

Why Team Nigeria Failed at London Olympics – Minister of Sports

We haven't won even one medal so far! And we all know why, but let's hear what the Minister of Sports and Chairman, National Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, has to say! :-). Full text of his speech yesterday Thursday August 9 at the Nigeria House in Stratford, London

About two weeks ago, we arrived London for the 2012 Olympics with a contingent of 51 sportsmen and women competing in 8 sports namely, athletics, weightlifting, taekwondo, boxing, wrestling, table tennis, canoeing and basketball. We were competing in the last two for the first time ever.
Even though we did not expect to win the competition, we had arrived hoping to make a decent showing. We even had reasons to believe we could surpass some of our recent achievements at this level of competing. Why not?

We had arrived London riding on the wave of a short but intensive preparation of our athletes in different parts of the world where they did not only have the benefits of high quality facilities and technical support but also had the opportunity to match up against some of the best athletes from other parts of the world, and on some occasions, beating them.

Many commentators agreed that while not ideal, we have had one of our best preparations coming into this competition in recent years. This, coupled with a system that put athletes’ welfare at the heart of planning and an atmosphere devoid of rancor and acrimony, we believed would guarantee us a couple of medals.

However, here we are, only a few days to the end of the competition. Team Nigeria is still not on the medals table. I must say this is as disappointing for my team and myself as it is for all Nigerians everywhere. But even as painful as this disappointment is, we must have the courage to see it for what it is. This, therefore, is a scientific diagnosis of our condition; a clear testimony to how far our sports have fallen behind.

We shall therefore not attempt any excuses or indulge in any unproductive blame game. Rather than see this as a failure, we must see it as an opportunity to rebuild. When other countries have found themselves in this kind of situation in the past, they have used the galvanizing power of disappointment to get down to work. At Atlanta 1996 Olympics, Team Great Britain won only one gold medal. Returning home, the right questions were asked, and the necessary actions were taken. Four years later in Sydney, they returned with 11 gold out of 28 medals. In Beijing four years ago, they returned with 19 gold medals out of 47, placing them in the fourth position. Today, Team GB is sitting pretty in the third position of the medals table surpassing their own expectation. Today, they are able to look back and say they have moved from “zeroes to heroes.” This is our chance. We can also do it. We must see this crisis as the necessary disequilibrium required for serious actions and drastic change. We will not allow this opportunity to pass.
Having being appointed Minister and Chairman, National Sports Commission only two months to the Olympics, I have had to learn very quickly. And I have not received a better lesson than in the last two weeks of the London 2012 Olympics. I have learnt three key lessons from this Olympics:

1. Olympics medal is about hard cash. It is not a coincidence that the medals table appears to reflect the level of economic development of the countries. But having the resources is one thing, making the right strategic investment is another. Team Great Britain largely owes its dramatic success to what is described as “unprecedented financial investment” totaling up to more than 740 million GBP over 15 years. The current annual spending on sports stands at 100 million GBP. However, only 40% of this comes from the treasury, while the remaining 60% is lottery fund.

Conversely, Australia finished fourth in Sydney with 16 gold medals. In London, Australia has fallen outside the top 10 with 6 gold medals. Australians have blamed reduced funding for elite athletes and a lack of facilities at the grassroots levels.

2. Every medal is clearly projected and carefully planned for both in financial and technical terms over a sustained period of time. Only years of intensive, unrelenting training and preparation can win medals. There is no short cut. Medals are won by people who have worked hardest not by those who have prayed hard. We can only win medals by building systems that are capable of producing medalists and champions not by selecting athletes that we hope can win medals.

3. Olympics are a lifetime commitment. The champion is in the child. Ye Shiwen, the 16 year old Chinese girl that shocked the swimming world by setting a new world record in individual medley was only 12 when her country hosted the Olympics. Lizzie Armistead who won the Team GB’s first medal in this Olympics with Silver in cycling got her first bicycle at the age of 4.

The immediate challenge for us is how to translate these lessons into concrete actions in the days ahead. The process of rebuilding will start with the National Sports Festival in Lagos later this year. We shall use this event to flag-off our preparation for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and thereafter the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Some of our top priorities in the days ahead are therefore as follows:

1. Identifying five sports that give us competitive opportunities.
2. Restructuring the Federations of these Sports to make them more democratic, accountable and efficient.
3. Developing a Sports Calendar that will ensure year-round sports activities both within and outside the schools.
4. Strategic engagement with the private sector with the aim to improve funding for sports.
5. Strengthen our coaching and training capabilities by developing strategic partnership with national and international bodies.

I thank all of you here for your support and understanding. We will keep this conversation going, in our belief that you in the media are our major strategic ally in the great task ahead. I want to say thank you to all my athletes and their coaches. They have all tried their best. Even though they have not won medals, many of them got to the quarter finals, the semifinals and finals of their various events and even setting new national, Africa and Commonwealth records in the process. But this is the Olympics, where micro-seconds have made the difference between gold medals and no medals. You are all our heroes and we can only hope to build on your achievements.

I thank the Federal Government and the people of Nigeria everywhere for their wonderful support and understanding during this difficult time. The task ahead has been made grimly clear. Therefore, lets get down to work.

By Bolaji Abdullahi

(Minister of Sports and Chairman, National Sports Commission)

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Asari Dokubo spits fire, threatens to bomb Hausa's in Niger/Delta

What the former Ijaw Youth Council president and founder of Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force said while addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday:
The arrogance of B/H is un-islamic. The type of bomb they are using is small small pikin bomb. If we begin, nobody will stay in Abuja. 
We don’t manufacture bomb but we buy bombs & dynamites. I started armed struggle in the N/Delta. It's because of GEJ that we at quiet. Soon, we will not be able to guarantee our patience any more. If Ijaw people should retaliate, every household in the North will cry. It is the North that needs peace more than us.
Everybody must impress it on them that they should shield their sword. GEJ must convey a SNC. If I were GEJ, I will roll out tanks to Maiduguri when they declared that everybody must become a Muslim. It is only a SNC that will solve the problem. The solution to the Boko Haram crisis is to dissolve the government and invoke a SNC. But we are not saying Goodluck Jonathan has tried. He has failed. What is Godson Orubebe still doing in the federal cabinet. A time will come if he doesn't change, our people will say, Goodluck, you are on your own. He has every power and every moral authority to convey a Sovereign National Conference. He must correct the 55 years injustice on us.

I want to be fair to IBB and Buhari on the Boko Haram crisis. They have nothing to do and cannot do anything about it. But the fact remains that the political elite of which IBB & Buhari belongs have not been able to address the problem of Boko Haram. They cannot do anything because nobody wants to commit suicide.

The Boko Haram people are just killing themselves but cannot kill us.The Amnesty is a bribe. I did not partake in the amnesty programme. Amnesty was just a bribe for the oil to flow. Its the North that needs peace more than us. We carry the resources. The coastal area is in our hands. Even the Presidency is in our hands."

Baby No 7 On The Way For 2Face As Annie Macauly Is Pregnant

Gist coming from the grapevine has it that wife of Africa’s superstar, 2Face Idibia, Annie Macaulay is pregnant. Those who claimed to be in the know revealed to that Annie is presently undergoing a nine month course.
An industry source, who also claimed to be in the know of the beautiful former The Next movie Star contestant, said that the mother of one has developed more growth at some strategic areas of her body, which is associated with expectant mothers.
The Ifiki, Akwa-Ibom State-born role interpreter has now cut down on her activities on popular social media site, Twitter for some time now. We learnt that Annie is planning to keep the news close to her chest as she does not want any unnecessary media attention over her present state.
You will recall that on Tuesday, May 1, 2012, Annie and 2Face had a secret marriage in Lagos only attended by some selected family and friends. This happened shortly after the African Queen crooner performed at his album launch concert at Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos on April 30, 2012, which was only few hours before their secret wedding.
On February 14, 2012, 2Face finally proposed to Annie after one of his babymamas, Pero Adeniyi was then pregnant with his sixth child. Annie presently has a daughter named Isabella for 2Face.


There's no way around it: college is expensive. If you're a college student and you need to earn money for tuition and expenses - or you would just like to have a little more cash to spend on the weekends - here are a few alternative ways to earn an income.
  1. TutorIf you're proficient in a specific subject and you enjoy (or at least don't hate!) teaching, you can tutor other students at your school.
  • Be The Ad In this economy any business targeting college students is looking for cheap ways to get their attention. That's where you come in. Consider to advertise for local businesses or organizations by wearing a t-shirt with their message. Getting paid for getting dressed? Now that's a great way of earning an income. (Get more tips on keeping college affordable.

  • Blog
    If you're online a lot anyway and enjoy writing, consider blogging for bucks. It will take some real work to get it started, but if you can find a unique angle to draw readership you can make money through programs like adsense. . Get good enough and you may even draw the attention of advertisers who will pay to put ads on your site or give you free stuff for you to review.

  • Sell Stuff
    Sure, you can sell a few things here and there when you no longer need them, but think about the potential customers right outside your door. For example, could you sell chips and drinks to tailgaters? What about becoming the late-night cookie-baking queen (and delivery service) on campus?

  • Design School Stuff
    Students, parents, alumni, staffers - there's a whole universe of people who are fans of your school and you can make money off them by designing stuff they'll buy, like t-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, hats, jewelry.

  • Run ErrandsTake advantage of your flexible schedule and help on-campus staff or local residents by offering to run errands for them during their workdays. Throw in a little dog-walking and get paid to get some exercise at the same time! (Should you invest in yourself?

  • Get Paid For Your Opinion Or Participation
    Professors have to get published in order to get tenure and part of that process often involves running studies - for which they need subjects. Check to see if there are on-campus studies that pay students for participation. Expand your scope and call local companies or organizations (businesses, associations, museums, hospitals, etc.) to see if they are running studies or organizing focus groups and if you could qualify for participation.

  • Be A Valet
    If you live in a house with adequate parking potential offer to save fans the headache of finding parking by renting out your driveway or yard spot on game days.

  • Teach
    If you have a skill that you know other students or local residents may need or be interested in advertise for a small class, workshop or one-day seminar at a reasonable price. There's a potentially endless list of topics you could teach about - skiing, tennis, writing, acting, web design, knitting, cooking, weight training, scrapbooking, car repair, etc. If it goes well word-of-mouth advertising will boost your attendance and profits in no time.

  • Sell Your SmartsYou're probably thinking this is a suggestion to tutor - and that may be a good way for you to make some money - but why work one-on-one when you can reach a wider audience? Instead of limiting the amount of money you can make to the hours you can provide one-on-one tutoring, advertise that you've aced a class (or more) and sell your notes and study tools to students who need the help.

  • Organize A Trip
    Find out if there are groups on campus that have a common interest and offer (for a fee) to make all the arrangements for a trip to the destination of their choice. It will take some work - including booking air fare, securing on-the-ground transportation (i.e. buses, taxis, etc.), reserving lodging and spots at local destinations, etc. - but it can be a fun way to earn some money and help out an on-campus group in the process. And you could even work out the terms of your agreement that you get to come on the trip for free!

    Make sure you've included some trip insurance  to cover you both financially and legally in the event that the trip doesn't go exactly as planned.

  • Sell TextbooksYes, sell your textbooks back to recoup some of the money you originally laid out, but also offer (for a small fee) to collect other students' textbooks for re-sale to save them time (and earn you some money by keeping a small percentage of the sale). (Not all student loans are the same. Know what you're getting into before signing on the dotted line.

  • Repair CarsIt's a sure bet that the majority of college students who have a car don't know the first thing about how to maintain them or make minor repairs on their own. If you do, you're in luck. Consider making a small investment in tools and supplies and then advertise for reasonably-priced onsite repairs and maintenance work like oil changes.

  • Clark to IBB: lead talks with Boko Haram

    Elder statesman and  Ijaw leader Chief Edwin Clark yesterday challenged former Military President Gen.  Ibrahim Babangida to a public debate on national issues. 
    Gen. Babangida through his media aide, Prince Kassim Afegbua, suggested that Clark was suffering from old age for blaming the Boko-Haram insurgency on him and some leaders of the North.
    The statement was issued in response to Clark’s speech at the State of the Federation lecture organised by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) in Abuja last week .
    Clark said the comments attributed to Gen. Babangida were at variance with the very positive and patriotic feedback he received from Nigerians after the lecture.
    Clark challenged Gen. Babangida to direct his energy to finding solutions to the Boko-Haram violence instead of abusing him.
    He said Gen. Babangida’s reaction showed miscomprehension and misconception of his opinions and the challenge thrown to the leaders of the North on the need to resolve the Boko-Haram menace.
    Speaking through his Legal Adviser, Mr. Kayode Ajulo, the elder statesman recalled that he met with the Niger Delta militants in the creeks in what later led to the amnesty programme.
    He challenged Gen. Babangida to organise a peace meeting with the Boko-Haram members to prove that he is a great patriot that he claims to be.
    “Ordinarily, Gen. Babangida should have joined many other Nigerians who applauded Chief E. K. Clark for crying out over the wanton loss of lives being experienced daily over the senseless killings of Nigeria’s women and children, Christians and Moslems alike.
    “Chief E. K. Clark is committed to the unity of Nigeria and peace within its borders. This was aptly demonstrated when some youths in the Niger Delta took up arms against the Federal Government of Nigeria, resulting in the near total shut down of oil production; crude oil production which normally stood at 2.5 million barrels per day was reduced to 700 thousand barrels daily. Chief Clark led a delegation of Niger Delta leaders into the creeks to appeal to the youths to lay down arms and embrace peace.
    “Chief E. K. Clark also went to the creeks with the then Vice President, now President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, particularly to Okerenkoko and Camp 5 (which was the headquarters of the militants), thereby laying the foundation for the late President Yar ‘Adua’s amnesty programme.
    “Therefore, amnesty did not come on a platter of gold, but through the genuine determination of the leaders of the Niger Delta, led by Chief E. K. Clark. Today, crude oil production in Nigeria has risen to about 2.7 million barrels per day.
    “It is therefore imperative, irrespective of the name calling, to restate what was said at the NIALS lecture on the state of Nigerian federation that “Gen. Babangida and other Northern leaders must speak out, be proactive as well as demonstrate genuine commitment to address the challenges posed by the Boko Haram.’’ This is more so as precious lives of Nigerians are being wasted daily across the country in Borno, Yobe, Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Kogi, Abuja, Bauchi, etc.
    “Furthermore, Chief Clark’s challenge to the leaders of the North above is predicated on the misguided statements of some of the Northern opinion leaders since the inception of this administration. For example, in October 2010 during a build up to the last presidential election, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, a prominent Northern leader, promised to make Nigeria ungovernable if the President did not come from the North. And as if on cue from Lawal Kaita, several other leaders of Northern Political Leaders Forum, headed by Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, of which Gen. Babangida is a prominent member, followed suit with similar reckless comments which might not only threaten peace in Nigeria but also Nigeria’s very existence.
    “Recently in March, Lawal Kaita issued another threat to the effect that the only condition for Nigeria to be one is for the presidency to come to the North in 2015.
    “It is in this vein that Chief Clark speaks to his good friends in the North, including General Babangida once again, irrespective of Gen. Babangida’s threat of litigation, that they should openly condemn Boko Haram and join hands with the Government and good people of Nigeria towards finding a lasting solution to the challenge posed by the Boko Haram menace. Any laxity on their part would, either wittingly and unwittingly, potentially put them out as accessories to the present security scourge in the Northern part of Nigeria.
    “If this simple advice above is urgently heeded, it will save Gen. Babangida the need to wear uniform once again at the age of seventy one to fight for the unity of Nigeria.
    “Let General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida step forward and offer his services to his Nation at this time of need. That is the road for the true patriot to tread.

    Oritsejafor writes Hillary Clinton

    Worried of over US statements on Nigeria and 2011 Religious Freedom Report

    President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor has written the visiting United States Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton in which he expressed concern over the recent statements credited to the U.S Government on the situation in Nigeria and the 2011 International Religious Freedom report.
    Full text of the letter is reproduced below:
    August 7, 2012
    The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
    Secretary of State
    U.S. Department of State
    2201 C Street NW
    Washington, DC 20520

    Dear Madam Secretary,

    Welcome to Nigeria and thank you for taking the time to visit our beleaguered country at a time when insecurity is at the highest levels it has been in recent memory. Just days before your visit, 17 worshippers were killed in a church service so we do indeed appreciate the effort and courage you displayed in coming.

    Madame Secretary, I had wanted an audience with you to raise my concern over recent statements credited to the US Government, including at a congressional hearing in which I testified last month. These pronouncements from the State Department have distortions, omissions and in some cases clearly misrepresent facts on the ground in a manner that beclouds the crisis facing Nigeria and is ultimately deleterious to the quest for a peaceful and truthful resolution.

    However, as I understand that your schedule is very tight, I will address here the latest such statement contained in your just released 2011 International Religious Freedom report. 

    Much to our dismay, the information contained in our memorandum to the presidential panel on Post-Election Violence was not included in the 2011 State Department International Religious Freedom Report. Our memo presented widespread incidents of violence targeting Christians in 12 northern states in April last year during the reporting period of the 2011 report. Unfortunately the destruction of over 700 churches and the systematic massacres of hundreds of Christians in 48 hours – the largest single attack on Christendom in contemporary world history anywhere on the planet - were not included in your report.

    Even more surprising, the report failed to accurately describe the horrific Christmas Day multi-city church attacks. These coordinated attacks on three states, comprising Niger, Plateau and Yobe, claimed over 60 lives and, for a second consecutive year, stunned the world. The report merely mentions the Christmas Day church bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic church in Madalla, then fails to communicate the scope and significance of the Christmas Day attacks.

    The pernicious persecution, denigration and dehumanization of Christians in northern Nigeria especially has been a fact of life for over a quarter century. It is therefore disconcerting that the US report addresses it in a speculative tone that undermines the harsh reality of the masses of orphans and widows left behind.

    The report while conceding that the Nigerian constitution forbids adoption of state religion does not plainly point out that the 12 northern states by adopting Sharia codes and creating religious police, ministries of religion and funding mosques are an affront to the constitution’s establishment clause as well as the doctrine of separation of faith and state.

    Finally it is deeply troubling that your report makes an unsubstantiated claim that more Muslims than Christians died in the attacks of last year. This theory was predicated on an erroneous assumption that since the attacks were in “predominantly” Muslim areas, it “follows’ that Muslims would be hardest hit.

    Even if such assumptions could be made without empirical data, the more credible and more plausible proposition is that given Boko Haram’s declared intent to obliterate Christianity in northern Nigeria and its systematic attacks which began almost a decade ago, the majority of the victims are Christians. Since Boko Haram has stated that it does not theologically or operationally target mosques and has so far not succeeded in attacking any, it is only logical that Muslims cannot be the majority victims.

    This is borne out by quantitative data. Out of the 137 religious-motivated violent incidents we tracked, 88.3% were attacks on Christians, 2.9% were attacks on Muslims, attacks on security agents 4.4%, sectarian clashes 2.2% and extra-judicial killings were 2.1%. The US Terrorism report 2011 indicates a total of 136 terrorist attacks in Nigeria. It is inconceivable therefore that Muslims were the primary victims of a jihadist group whose intent is to Islamize Nigeria.

    This year 2012 alone, there have been 49 security incidences of which 80% have targeted Christians.

    There are numerous other points that we take issue with but that will have to wait till we have an appropriate forum to fully dialogue on this. However to assist you to be better informed, we are attaching several documents on the conditions of Christians in northern Nigeria:

    1. The Memorandum of the Christian Association of Nigeria to the Presidential Panel of Post-Election Violence of 2011
    2. A Compendium of the Marginalization and Persecution of Indigenous Christians and the Church in the Nineteen 19 Northern States of Nigeria conducted in 2010

    In conclusion, we recognize that the State Department reports cannot cover every incident of religiously motivated violence in a country the size of Nigeria. However, the State Department has a statutory duty and moral obligation to give an accurate picture of events on the ground.  Although your report indicates that your embassy had “regular” meetings with religious leaders, it is somewhat odd that key data such as what we are now submitting was never asked for.

    We also have no recollection of a visit by the ambassador-at-large for religious freedom in 2011 and also no record of the US embassy celebrating any religious holidays besides the Muslim holidays.

    We urge you to work with us to achieve a truth-based peaceful resolution to the terrorism and extremism that threatens the very life of our nation. We look forward to future collaboration.

    Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor
    President, Christian Association of Nigeria

    Last Flight is the No. 2 film in West African cinemas right now? Yay!

    That is according to the film producer, Obi Emelonye. Last Flight to Abuja is a thriller based on terrifying real events surrounding an air disaster. It features Omotola, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Jim Iyke, Uru Eke and many more. Have you seen the movie?

    7 Cameroon athletes go missing from Olympics

    Seven Cameroonian athletes who participated in the 2012 London Olympic Games have disappeared from the Olympic Village, this is according to the mission head.
    The athletes, five boxers, a swimmer and a footballer, (all pictured above) packed their personal belongings and disappeared when no one was looking. The woman disappeared first, and the others followed. Looking for greener pastures I guess.

    21 year old Nigerian footballer slumps and dies while playing

    21 year old Nigerian born Romania-based footballer, Henry Chinonso Ihelewere, slumped and died yesterday while playing a friendly for his Romania team.
    Henry collapsed with no-one around him just 15 minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. Doctors said he suffered a cardiac arrest while playing.
    Henry started playing with El Kanemi Juniors of Jos before he left for Romania.