Friday, December 7, 2012

Engage Your Lawmakers, They Are Indebted To You!

Since the return of democracy in 1999, Nigerians have been hearing of the House of Assembly and the Senate but only very few know their functions. Even during the 2011 polls, only a few voted during the house of reps poll because to them it is not useful to them. If only Nigerians know how important their representatives are, maybe things would have been a little different in Nigeria today. If Nigerians knew how to deal with their reps then then the FG wouln't have the guts to insult the house of representative by saying their resolution is just a "mere expression of opinion". To me that's a slap to the face of Nigerians.

 Away from the problem, now the solution: we as citizens need to start  holding our reps responsible. There are supposed to be the closest to the grassroots but instead they build or buy houses in GRAs and live very far from their constituencies hereby becoming disconnected, this needs to stop.  How many people know that they can sack their lawmakers and even their local government chairman? Very few, sadly just a few.

Every representative is supposed to have a constituency office, visit yours, preferable in groups so the pressure can be felt. Another failure on the part of the reps is the ban on okada by the Lagos state government. An executive bill was sent by the governor to the state house of assembly and reps did not bother to discuss with their representatives, I'm so sure of this because if they did then the residents of Festac town and other residential areas would never allow the ban of okada since that is the only source of transportation in those areas.
It is amazing many people don't even know the representatives, their senators and their local government chairmen. Activism/criticism  shouldn't only be towards the presidency and governors, those lawmakers also need to feel that want of the people, complains and rantings should should be forwarded through the representatives, only then can we say we have democracy

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bishop Oyedepo faces N2bn suit for slapping church member

Popular pastor and founder of the Living Faith Christian Church International, David Oyedepo, will face a legal action for slapping a young lady during church service, last year.

Robert Igbinedion, a Lagos based lawyer, confirmed to that he had filed a suit, on behalf of the young lady, at the Ogun State High Court for the enforcement of the lady's fundamental rights to freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment, human dignity, fair hearing, and freedom from discrimination.

Mr. Igbinedion is seeking an award of N2bn as 'general and exemplary damages' against Mr. Oyedepo.

"If a wrong is done to the young lady, she is bound to receive justice for that wrong," said Mr. Igbinedion, a Solicitor at Salus Populi Chambers.

In the suit, Mr. Igbinedion said that the young lady, while answering an "illegal" alter call, was trying to explain herself when the pastor gave her "a dirty and thunderous slap."

"The respondent (Mr. Oyedepo) made the alter call for witches to come out, he did not make a similar call for other categories of sinners like illicit drug dealers, contract inflators, fraudsters, adulterers, and fornicators in the church," read the suit.

Mr. Igbinedion, who represented the victims of the celebrated Pastor Emeka Ezeugo (popularly known as Reverend King) at the Magistrate court, in 2006; stated that cases of violence in the place of worship if not nipped in the bud could escalate into 'uncountable' dimensions.

Furthermore, he said the calling out of the young lady (and others) as witches are illegal, unconstitutional, and a breach of Section 34 of the Constitution of Nigeria, African Charter on Human and People's Right, and United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Right.

The suit asked the court to compel Mr. Oyedepo to issue a self-signed public apology to be published in two national dailies and one international satellite television station.

It also wants the respondent to issue a similar alter call for drug dealers, corrupt government officials, bribe-giving contractors, and other category of sinners who are members of the church.

In December last year, a video of Mr. Oyedepo viciously slapping a teenage girl during church service for saying she is "a witch for Jesus" appeared on popular site You Tube.

Though later removed, the video went viral within days with the pastor, fondly called Papa, receiving a lot of stick from outraged viewers and members of the public.

One viewer described the act as "unbiblical, barbaric, and a disgrace."

Days later, another video surfaced in which Mr. Oyedepo tried to justify his action saying "it is my ministry to slap" and that the fact that the witch, rather than going to court, apologized showed his superiority.

"People now complain on the Internet that I slapped a witch. If I see another one, I'll slap," he said in the video.

Source: @newsbytesnow

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Boko Haram Kills Spokesman Abu Qaqa II

The division in the dreaded Islamist sect Boko Haram deepened at the weekend with the murder of Abu Qaqa II, the spokesman of the militant group suspected to have taken over from Abu Qaqa I who was captured last January and has been in the custody of the State Security Service.

Abu Qaqa II was believed to have been killed on the instruction of the leader of the sect, Abu Shekau, for attempting to back out of their reign of terror.

He was said to have tried to denounce the sect after being trailed intensively by security agents, which forced him to change locations on several occasions.

The news of his killing coincided with the disclaimer by Vice President Namadi Sambo that the Boko Haram attacks have religious undertones.

Abu Qaqa II, whose real name is Mohammed Anwal Kontagora, was from Kontagora in Niger State. He adopted the name Abu Qaqa in February after the original Abu Qaqa, also known by many aliases, including Abu Dardaa, Mohammed Shuaibu and Abu Tiamiya, was arrested in January.

Kontagora, like his predecessor, was non-Kanuri, so the decision to terminate his life by the Boko Haram leader, as has transpired with other non-Kanuri members of the sect, was said to have been decided summarily.

The sect was said to be shopping for Abu Qaqa III as its new spokesman.

Security sources revealed that the division and subsequent killing of the spokesman resulted from the sect's inability to either own up or disassociate itself from the Easter Sunday bomb blast in Kaduna that killed so many commercial motorcyclists and tea vendors.

"This again might have forced Abubakar Shekau (now looking leaner) to personally appear on You-Tube to reply to a statement credited to President Goodluck Jonathan while he was in South Korea," the source said.

However, Sambo, in Washington D.C. at the weekend, dismissed claims that attacks by Boko Haram terrorists have a religious undertone.

Sambo, while fielding questions from Nigerians in the Diaspora at a meeting on Friday in Washington DC, said the bloodletting in the north was the handiwork of terrorists.

He also spoke on efforts being made by the federal government to restore normalcy and tackle other problems besetting Nigeria.

"The security issue that is happening in the north is not a religious problem. It is an unfortunate problem being created by some hoodlums, people that have terrorist tendencies in their mind," stated Sambo who also disputed the claim that there was religious violence-inspired emigration in various parts of the country.

"I will like to correct one impression. This issue that Christians are moving from the north and the Muslims are leaving the south is wrong. I beg to disagree with that notion because it is not happening," he said.

According to him, as part of efforts to tackle terrorism, the government has reached out to major stakeholders, especially religious leaders to "direct Nigerians in the right directions."

He assured the gathering that Jonathan had been holding security meetings aimed at addressing the challenges.
Sambo also listed the programmes of the current administration to put the country on a strong footing.

He said Jonathan had assured Nigerians of free, fair and credible elections when he came on board and had delivered on that promise with the successful conduct of the 2011 general elections.

"Besides, the current administration is bringing integrity, honesty and competence into governance through the appointment of seasoned persons to fill top public offices and the way the government runs its business."

He listed the reform in the power sector and other efforts being made to revive the sector as well as attempts to fight corruption as part of the determination of the Jonathan administration to create a new order.

He pledged that by the end of this year, rail transportation would commence from Lagos to Kano, while government was also working on fast rail transportation from Lagos to Ibadan, and from Kaduna to Abuja.

In addition, the vice president said four international airports - Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano - were being expanded, while remedial work was ongoing in all other airports across the country.

One of the highlights of the meeting was when a clergyman, who said he had come from Nigeria purposely to attend the event told Sambo, before asking his question, that he sees him becoming the president.

In a quick response, Sambo said: "I forgot to mention to my Lord Bishop that I like being vice president and thank God for the president.

"I recalled that when I met with Vice President Biden (his US counterpart), we did hold discussions during which he assured me that he likes meeting with vice presidents and he likes being a vice president.

"So, the same thing is applicable to me. As vice president, I like being vice president and I will support our president."

At the meeting were Sambo's wife, Amina, Nigerian Ambassador to US, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye, his wife, Catherine, Rivers State governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, Minister of Agriculture, Dr.Akin Adesina, and a former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Howard Jeter.

Sambo, who arrived in US last Monday, is due to depart for Nigeria on Tuesday.

Source: This Day

Saturday, April 14, 2012



Muhammadu Buhari and the 2015 Presidential contest.
The Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, has noted the furore engendered by the statement credited to the Party's National Leader, General Muhamadu Buhari (GMB) while receiving a delegation of Political admirers in Kaduna some days ago. In that occasion, GMB had stated, inter-alia, that owing to the leadership deficit and the truncation of the hope of the common man through the pervasive injustice in the land, he would continue relevant political activism in the run to the 2015 general elections.
True, GMB told the Nation, during the electioneering campaigns for the 2011 Presidential elections, that he would not be contesting the nation's subsequent elections.
It is almost a year ago since he made that statement. Indeed, the Nigerian nation has been tottering as a result of the besmirched reputation of an inept, dishonest and egregiously incompetent political leadership; the Party's leadership has brought to bear immense pressure on GMB to rescind his earlier stance on Nigeria's tempestuous politics.
Meanwhile, the CPC is in alliance and possible merger talks with other progressive coalition partners in order to give true meaning to democratic governance within the Nigerian polity. It is our considered opinion that it would be rather preemptive to speculate at this time what the choice of these coalition partners shall be. However, what is unmistakably true is that, as the Almighty God grants the enablement, GMB shall continue to actively participate in the politics under the Nigerian nation-space.
God bless Nigeria.
Rotimi Fashakin (Engr.)
National Publicity Secretary, CPC.
(Saturday, 14th April, 2012).

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Seyi Taylor: 5 reasons you cannot build Instagram in Nigeria

Instagram has been in the news in the past two weeks.  First, they launched their long-awaited Android app, reaching a whopping 1 million downloads in the first day, adding to their tally of 30 million users and becoming the largest mobile photo-sharing application in the world.

Then, they got acquired by Facebook for $1 billion (about 1/8th of the notorious fuel subsidy) in a shares/cash deal making the team of 13 and their venture backers very rich, very quickly. So, I know; the question on the lips of many in Nigeria's vibrat tech scene has been, "Can we build an Instagram in Nigeria?"  My answer is a resounding NO, and here are my five reasons:

1. Power Holding Corporation of Nigeria (or whatever they call themselves these days)
The number one reason why you cannot build Instagram in Nigeria is the lack  of power.  What does that have to do with anything you ask?  Well, in Nigeria, there are many scenarios - you either suffer periods of no productivity due to lack of electricity, you suffer reduced productivity because your small generator cannot "carry" your air conditioner, or you spend a lot of money on poor productivity with a noisy and expensive generator that can.  Either way, you use all the time and energy that should have been spent building the perfect photosharing app dealing with power problems.

2. The in-built inefficiency of the Nigerian system
Everything in Nigeria takes twice as long to do.  Want to register a company? Come back next month.  Get an ATM card?  Stay tuned for next week's episode of "the PIN is not ready".  Want to 'quickly' get to Victoria Island and come back?  Try astral projection.

One of the first things that people comment on when they leave Nigeria is how their productivity sky-rockets.  Why?  Perhaps because everyone else seems to know the value of time.  Or perhaps everyone is not trying doubly hard to create a relatively normal existence-taking 10 minutes off work to switch on and off their generators, trying that call a 7th time because the first 6 calls were dropped or simply wondering how long it takes your staff to find a recharge card on Sunday!  Nigeria is inherently inefficient and I'm not quite sure how you'll build an engineering-intensive application in Nigeria.

3. No ISP in Nigeria
You know the people saying that 29 is too late to be a billionaire?  It's their fault you're 33 and still joining thousands together.  How do you build a world-beating web application when you're struggling with a poor internet connection all day?  Never mind that these connections are among the most expensive in the world.  If you're struggling to attach a picture to your mail, do you honestly think you're going to be able to upload your app to the cloud today?

4. Where are the developers?
It's not that we don't have any developers, it's just that we don't have Instagram-level developers.  As simple as Instagram looks, the amount of technical work that has gone into delivering a simple, seamless photo-sharing experience is insane.  Ask any tech entrepreneur in Nigeria and they'll tell you that to establish a team of local developers that can deliver that level of technical detail is near impossible.

Kevin Systrom, the acquiree, isn't 30 yet.  Mark Zuckerberg, the acquirer, is 24.  In Nigeria, these men would currently be fighting mosquitoes in a village in the name of "national service".  But what greater service than the capital gains taxes that would be paid to the US government from this transaction?

My position on NYSC should be well-known: it should be voluntary.  I have nothing but respect for people who choose to leave lives of privilege to attend to the less-fortunate, but I have a big problem with it being compulsory.  The current system, however, means that potential company builders would have to take a compulsory 1-year break for reasons that are spurious at best.

And there you have it: 5 reasons you cannot build Instagram in Nigeria.

Depressed yet?

Source: YNAIJA

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lagos govt moves against indiscriminate parking at bus-stops

As part of efforts to ensure that motorists adhere strictly to various rules guiding vehicle inspection in the state, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation has handed over five Hilux patrol vehicles to the Vehicle Inspection Officers, VIOs in the state.

Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, while handing over the vehicles, weekend in Lagos, said the need to increase the vehicles in the fleet of VIOs became necessary to address the indiscriminate acts of motorists, especially commercial bus operators, who park indiscriminately on the roads and at undesignated bus stops to pick and discharge passengers especially at CMS, Apongbon, Dopemu to Iyana Ipaja, along Abeokuta Expressway.

Opeifa who condemned the continuous abuse of Apongbon, CMS, Oworonsoki, Alapere-Toll gate and Ikeja Along, among others by commercial bus operators, said henceforth, no commercial bus operators should stop or park at unapproved bus stops.

He said that with the additional vehicles, the VIOs will monitor and ensure that all vehicles that ply the roads are roadworthy and that commercial vehicles do not have any inscription on them.

Opeifa added that the VIOs and officials of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, had been directed to ensure that commercial bus operators comply with the directive.

Source: ynaija

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Explosion rocks Kaduna

Reports from Kaduna say a bomb has exploded at Sardauna Crescent, near the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in the city centre.

We are unable to ascertain casualty figures and extent of damage at this point. But there are claims that more than 20 people might have died with several others admitted to hospitals around the city.

The National Emergency Management Agency says it has mobilised rescue and security agencies to the scene of the explosion.

Spokesperson for the agency, Yushau Shuaibu, says commercial motorcyclists were major victims.

The police in Kaduna could not be reached for comments.

An eyewitness, Isa Musa, however informed us that the explosion occurred inside a vehicle being used to convey explosive devices to an unknown destination.

Mr. Musa also said the occupants of the car tried to abandon it when they realised the device would explode.  The car however exploded as soon as as the men alighted from it.

"The bomb exploded when they abruptly stopped and came down from the car, and many people have been killed because the place was very congested with Okada men and people taking pap beside the main road,"Mr. Musa said.

He also said the explosion was so powerful that it affected the nearby Fina White Hotel, opposite the scene of the explosion. 

Source: premiumtimesng

Friday, April 6, 2012

Mali's rebels declare independence

Mali's Tuareg rebels declared independence Friday in the north, splitting the coup-wracked country in two, as warnings rang out of a looming humanitarian disaster in what was a democratic bastion in west Africa.

However, France said the declaration of an independent homeland had no standing if not recognised by other African states amid international alarm over Mali's swift collapse in the two weeks since a coup in the capital Bamako.

A democratic success since its last coup 21 years ago, Mali is now roughly divided into a rebel-controlled north and junta-controlled south and a group of radical Islamists have exploited the chaos to swoop in and install sharia law.

Humanitarian groups have warned the country is on the brink of catastrophe as hundreds of thousands of people flee the unrest and rebels loot food and medicine supplies across an arid region already facing food shortages.

A Tuareg rebel group early Friday declared the independence of their desert homeland which they call Azawad, which has been the subject of several rebellions in the northern triangle of the bow-tie shaped nation.

The latest has been fuelled by a haemorrhaging of weapons from Libya following Muammar Gaddafi's downfall.

"We solemnly proclaim the independence of Azawad as from today," Mossa Ag Attaher, a spokesman for Mali's National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), said on France 24 television, confirming a statement on the group's website.

He said the MNLA, which captured northern Mali with Islamist groups over the past two weeks following a coup in the capital, would respect "the borders with other states" and would halt all military operations.

French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said Friday: "A unilateral declaration of independence that was not recognised by African states would have no meaning."

After decades of fighting for independence analysts warn it will not be easy to dislodge the Tuareg from the north now that they have staked their claim. And not all northerners will accept their claim of independence.

West Africa expert Paul Melly of London-based Chatham House said Mali cannot be considered "definitively partitioned."

"Much of the population of the north, particularly towns like Gao and Timbuktu and the farming villages of the Niger valley, is made up of sub-Saharan Africa ethnic groups such as the Songhai and the Peul, who consider themselves to be Malian and have no interest in an independent Tuareg state." However, despite the triumph by the MNLA their hold on the desert looked tenuous.

Ansar Dine, their Islamist comrades-turned-rebels set about imposing Islamic sharia law and kidnapped seven Algerian diplomats in the northeast.

Algeria's foreign ministry said an unidentified group had attacked its consulate in the town of Gao and kidnapped the consul and six staff members.

Amnesty International warned that north Mali was on the brink of a "major humanitarian disaster" while Oxfam and World Vision said crippling sanctions against the junta could have devastating consequences.

"All the food and medicine stored by major aid agencies has been looted and most of the aid workers have fled," said Gaetan Mootoo, Amnesty International's researcher on west Africa.

"The population is at imminent risk of severe food and medical shortages that could lead to many casualties especially among women and children who are less able to fend for themselves."

More than 200,000 people have fled since the rebellion began in mid-January.

Angry at government's handling of the insurgency a group of low-ranking soldiers lead by Captain Amadou Sanogo on March 22

ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure just weeks before he was due to step down after an election.

ECOWAS army chiefs on Thursday drew up a "mandate" for a 2,000-strong force that could be sent into a section of Mali the size of France that is now in Tuareg separatist and Islamist hands.

However, an ECOWAS official said after a 12-hour meeting in the Ivory Coast city of Abidjan that the military plan still needed approval from regional heads of state.

In Bamako on Thursday, regional mediator Burkina Faso Foreign Minister Djibrill Bassole said an announcement in "the right direction" was expected from coup leader Sanogo and that sanctions could be lifted soon.

Witnesses on the ground and observers say that the real new masters of Mali's northern desert are not the Tuareg nomads but the Ansar Dine led by Iyad Ag Ghaly, which has connections with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Ansar Dine, "Defenders of Faith" in Arabic, has ordered women to wear headscarves and threatened to cut off the hands of thieves in the ancient city of Timbuktu, once the jewel in Mali's tourism industry.

The UN Security Council this week called for an immediate ceasefire but proposed no firm action as the two-week-old junta floundered.

Source: IOL

BREAKING: Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika is dead!

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika dies after doctors could not resuscitate him when he suffered a cardiac arrest yesterday.

The 78-year-old President was taken to the Kamuzu Central Hospital in the capital this morning after he reportedly collapsed.

There are reports of confusion in Lilongwe as aides loyal to Mutharika delay announcement of death scheming to preclude Vice President Banda from taking over.

Vice President Joyce Banda who had been expelled from Mutharika's party and formed her own would by law become president in event of any vacancy.

Recall that Mutharika was first elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2009 for a 5-year term. He is survived by wife, Callista & four children.

Monday, April 2, 2012

N47.1billion fraud: Court frees former Intercontinental Bank boss, Erastus Akingbola

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has dismissed the criminal charges brought against a former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, over alleged stealing of N47.1 billion belonging to his bank.

Although details of the judgment are still sketchy, we learnt Justice Charles Achibong threw out the case Monday for lack of diligent prosecution by the EFCC.

Mr. Akingbola was charged to court for a number of offences, including granting of unsecured loans worth several millions of naira and abuse of office.

The anti-graft body had last August alleged bias against Justice Achibong in his handling of the trial of Mr. Akingbola, and accordingly forwarded a petition to the National Judicial Commission (NJC) on the matter.

EFCC counsel, Godwin Obla (SAN), acting on the Commission's letter to the NJC, filed a motion in the court, asking the judge to stop hearing of the case.

But the judge declined to withdraw from the case, saying he would continue to preside over the matter in the absence of contrary directive from a higher authority. He said the case would proceed in his court until the hearing and determination of motion by the Commission.

Courtesy Premium Times

PENGASSAN declares three-day warning strike from April 16

PETROLEUM and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has declared a three-day nationwide warning strike from April 16, to protest perceived unfair labour practices, anti-union activities and general insecurity of members at work places and at home.

In a notice to government over the planned industrial action, the umbrella body for senior employees in the nation's oil and gas sector listed not less than 16 grievances affecting members in the industry which it had reported to appropriate government agencies and departments to no avail.

PENGASSAN in a petition to the Federal Government through the Minister of Labour and Productivity, threatened that all activities in the downstream and upstream sector would be shut during the three days warning strike  preparatory to an indefinite action should government fail to address its grievances after the warning strike.

PENGASSAN in the petition by its General Secretary, Mr Bayo Olowoshile, named the association's grievances to include "unjustifiable mass disengagement and migration of workers to contract staffing and casuals in the downstream oil and gas products marketing and distribution sectors, it said that most of the downstream companies  had totally disengaged members inherited upon privatisation.

The statement said: "Unfair labour practices and anti-union activities of companies in Onne Free Trade Zone; failure to engage PENGASSAN on issues in the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, before final passage; police authority's failure to provide PENGASSAN the reports of its findings on the killings of our two members of NPDC suspected to have been killed by unknown assailants at a police check-point and government insensitivity in the handling of Fuel Subsidy Removal Re-investment Programme, thereby forestalling the anticipated stimulation of investment and business growth."

According to the petition "we write to notify the Minister of Labour and Productivity on the frustration and displeasure of our members in general and the association in particular over the alarming rate of unfair labour practices, anti-union activities and the unsavory approach of the relevant Ministries Department and Agencies in appropriately attending to the reported issues.

Arising from the above, we hereby notify you of a 3-day nationwide warning strike that would necessitate total withdrawal of all our members from work locations with effect from Monday, April 16, 2012."

"PENGASSAN, despite being unappreciated, undermined and chastised persistently tried to maintain relative calm in the hope that Government is fully committed, focused and utmost working in the manner that will either caution, discourage or prevent the high rate of jobs losses, unfair labour practices, anti-union activities and misadministration of national content laws to the detriment of our nationals and employment situation in the industry.

PENGASSAN has now resolved to embark on mass campaign and advocacy to bring the attention of the Nigeria public to the issues in the Nigeria Oil & Gas which point very glooming picture for the entire nation."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fire breaks out in National Assembly

Fire broke out Thursday afternoon on the second floor of the National Assembly annex building.

The fire started in the Legal and Accounts Departments of the National Assembly Service Commission.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the FCT Fire Service deployed two fire engines to bring the fire under control before it could spread to other offices.

Panic-stricken staffers, who had vacated the building, gathered some distance away to discuss the incident.

The Director of FCT Fire Service, Sani Saidu, who confirmed the incident, told journalists that the fire incident was as a result of power fluctuation.

He said the situation had been brought under control and no damage was done

"It was caused by electrical fault as a result of power fluctuation. It was brought under control.

"No damage was done.''

NAN reports that there was a similar fire incident at the National Assembly Annex last year on the ground floor which was also said to have been caused by an electrical fault. The National Assembly is currently on a one week recess.

Courtesy NAN

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Breaking News: PDP Convention: President Jonathan suffers political disgrace

The North-East zone of the PDP rejects the President's choice of national chairman.

President Goodluck Jonathan was served a huge dose of political humiliation today as governors from the North-East Political zone conspired to reject his anointed candidate for the national chairmanship of the governing Peoples Democratic Party.

At the PDP zonal congress in Bauchi, which ended a while ago, Mr. Jonathan's candidate for the position, Bamanga Tukur was defeated by a far younger and less popular Musa Babayo, who was the immediate acting national secretary of the party.

Mr. Babayo scored 14 delegate votes to Mr. Tukur's two.

via premiumtimes

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Security Task Force's helicopter crashes in Jos

The helicopter belonging to the Special Task Force, the multiagency team in charge of security in Plateau State has crashed in Jos, the state capital.

Multiple sources say the helicopter crashed on a house around Rukuba road behind Jos satellite market.

 A police deputy inspector general of police, John Haruna, his orderly and the pilot.

The incident occurred at approximately 12:15pm on Wednesday. Eye witnesses say the low-flying chopper plane crashed in the vicinity of  a satellite market and a Government Secondary School along Rukuba Road in the Kabong area of Jos. This latest crash adds to the growing number of aircraft accidents in Nigeria due to continued use of faulty and poorly maintained equipment.

Casualty figure is yet to be ascertained but we learnt that the pilot and four officers on board did not survive the crash.

The National Emergency Agency has confirmed the incident and has promised to provide details later.

Monday, February 27, 2012

#20MillionYouthsFor2015: Nigerians On The Match Again

January 2012 was remarkable in the history of Nigeria. It was the month that sent a message to those whose core merchandise in statecraft is insensitivity in policy formation and implementation. That month, Nigerians proved those who used to dismiss them as cowards wrong.  Our legendary docility gave way to participation. Our penchant for not caring to know how our resources are massively looted in government was jettisoned for a new found love for knowing: knowing how we get our revenues and how we expend same; knowing how much litres of fuel we consume per day; knowing the exact amount it costs us to feed our president. It was this quest for knowing, and insistence on having things done properly, that pushed us to the streets to protest the blank increment of pump price of fuel. It was hugely successful.
Those eruptions were initiated by mostly young people. Under the aegis of #OccupyNigeria, youths planned such protests that staggered the establishment andjolted the pessimists. That was a revolution we started, but lost it to our lack of form. We have thought it through, and seen that the battle to reclaim Nigeria demands a new approach. We have opted for a continuation of the revolution we started with #OccupyNigeria. It has a new name: #20MillionYouthsFor2015.
What are we about? We are an assemblage of young Nigerians whose primary aim is to change the course of governance, not from the sidelines this time, but from inside the system. We plan to build a membership of, at least, 20 million people -from every tribe and religion - who will participate in educating Nigerians about the need to destroy the existing order that is fast running our country out of existence and instituting a new order that will birth equity, fairness, justice and development for all. We will be partisan becausepolitics is too serious a business to leave for the politicians alone. We will participate fully in the politics of this country. Our army of 20 million people will organize themselves, pick intelligent, courageous, transparent and detribalized candidates for all positions in the 2015 elections and run their campaigns from ground up. There is no age limit, but leadership of the movement will be restricted to young people alone.
We are tired of just becoming critics. Aluta Continua isn’t one of our favorite quotes. We won’t continue with the struggle. WE SIMPLY WILL END THE STRUGGLE by ending the grip of the corrupt in our polity. We owe our generation the duty of saving this country, building it to become a force to be respected in the world, and passing down to our children a nation they can be proud of.
What makes us different from regular NGOs?Most NGOs are mere observers. We will not just observe. We’ll become actors in the system. We will build an entirely new country beginning from our internal processes. We have in our roadmap a system that makes power of the movement resident in the local communities. Our strength is in our membership system that replicates itself. It is called the CELL system. Every member MUST belong to a cell. Ownership is by everybody. Every leadership position is by popular votes. Bribery is abhorred and punishable by expulsion. Every member will be made to understand the importance of working hard for the movement. Our core duty is education. But we will not educate people from afar. We will bring them into our fold and educate them on citizenship participation. We have an enormous pool of human resourceswith which to achieve this aim.
Movement Ownership: Every member is an owner. The rules do not give room for one-man ownership. We have put every structure in place to make it impossible for the movement to become a one-man movement.
Modus Operandi: We’ll run like a world-class corporation. We have set up our system to operate like a frictionless machine, with the speed of an insurgency and the efficiency of a corporation. We’ll take advantage of the youth population in the country. We will aggressively recruit members. In fact, outreach is part of our rules.
We have found the solution. All we need to do is begin implementation. And that implementation commences the moment you sign on. It begins with you!
Our road map is available for people who are interested. 
Register online at:;
Twitter: @20millionyouths;

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Electoral Promises: GEJ Nigerians are waiting

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan while campaigning for the 2011 presidential election made so many promising statements that earned him trust among Nigerians, below are most of them and some of them are not even being talked about 

This is from nairaland user "Demdem"

1. You Promised to rule for only one term (reference
As a man of your words or rather as you want to make us believe, PLEASE stick to this plan and pledge. 
I sincerely hope we will not have political jobbers, groups like Youths Earnestly Ask for Jonathan, Dbanj, Lagbaja, Sunny Ade all singing for your second term bid? I sincerely hope also, you will not come out and openly deny you didn’t make such promise or statements as you did about the zoning saga.

2. You promised a constitutional role for Traditional Rulers!!! I am short of words but Nigerians are waiting

3. On March 17th 2011, in Dutse the Jigawa state capital, you promised:"If I win the election, within my four years in office, I will establish domestic airports in all the states without airports, WE ARE WAITING.

4. In Nasarawa, at the flagoff of your campaign you promised at least a university in every state including building specialist almajiri schools to shore up education in the North so as to eradicate illiteracy. The Almajiris are waiting o!

5. On February 8th in Ibadan, the day you called some people "rascals", you promised to create jobs and improve the power sector. The OYO people and indeed all Nigerians are waiting!!!

6. On Feb 9th, you were in Bauchi and you promised to intensify oil and gas exploration in the North-East as part of efforts to harness resources for economic development. Also you pledged to boost agriculture, power and water supply for wealth creation and revenue generation. Then you assured that projects such as the Mambilla hydro-electricity, Jada irrigation project and Kafin Zaki dam in Taraba, Adamawa and Bauchi would be pursued to boost agriculture and industrial development. Then you promised that your administration would establish two universities in the region. The NORTH EAST PEOPLE ARE WAITING, 

9. You landed in Port harcourt on Feb 12 where you made alot of promises, maybe to woo your Niger Delta people. Be that as it may, you announced that the NNPC, in partnership with the private sector, would establish a petrochemical plant in the Niger Delta (you didn’t state where exactly). You promised the plant will create job opportunities for the Niger Delta youths. Then you went ahead to promise the implementation of Local Content Law and Petroleum Industry Bill. In case you can’t remember when you made all these, cast your mind back to the stampede that claimed some lives (where your wife called them martyrs).

10. In Kaduna- You promised massive transformation of the agricultural sector through construction of large dams and distribution of one million metric tonnes of fertilizers for the 2011 farming season (The rains are here already, so fulfill your promises o)
You also pledged to establish Almajiri model schools to address the challenges of the Almajiris. 

11. In Benue-You promised to revolutionize agriculture and establish industries in the country through a five-year plan (We need that Plan now so we can keep track, the five years have started counting already)

You also promised to complete the irrigation project in Otukpo. Then you promised that the second Niger Bridge and the Benue Bridge projects will  be worked on in the next four years. I think it’s better to start now so by April 2015, we trust you would have completed it.

12. February 17th, you were in Plateau where you made shocked the entire country with amazing promises.  First of all, you pledged to refocus on the solid mineral development of the state and make it one of the key revenue sources in Nigeria. The Plateau people are banking on you.
Mr President, You promised to  build more dams and complete ongoing ones, so as to boost agricultural growth. 

In addtion you promised to complete the Vom-Manchok-Jos road to boost economic links between Plateau and Kaduna states. You left the state and the Plateau people have been happy ever since and now that you have won, they are waiting

13. Mr President on Feb 21, you were in Kogi. You promised among other things promised that the dredging of the River Niger and Lokoja-Abuja road dualisation would be completed very soon. THE KOGI PEOPLE AND INDEED NIGERIANS ARE HOPING AND WAITING

14. In Kwara State on Feb22, you pledged that the irrigation project in Shonga would be completed soon to boost the commercial farming activities of the New Nigeria Farmers in the area. Mr president, remember you also said the Jebba-Mokwa road and Jebba bridge would be given adequate attention to ease transportation in the area. Kwarians are waiting!

15. On February 24, Mr. President, you pledged to rehabilitate ALL ailing industries in Aba. I believe all Abians are hoping on you to provide the enabling environment to do their businesses, you must keep your promises, 

16. Mr.President, on Feb 25th in Anamabra you said there is a plan to build a power station in the state, assuring that within the next four years your administration would construct and rehabilitate ALL federal roads leading to Anambra as well as the South East. You equally to provide potable water to the densely populated Onitsha and Nnewi cities and tackle erosion in the South-East. To tell you the truth, Mr. President, Anambrians are banking on you!

17. In Ebonyi state, you promised to dualise the Enugu-Abakaliki federal highway in addition to establishing  a secretariat for ALL Federal government's agencies and parastatals in Ebonyi. Mr. president, The people of Ebonyi has never had it so good since the creation of their state. Now, you have promised them the good life. Please keeep to your words!

18.  In Niger state, you promised the more power generation. Perhaps the most important aspect of your promises is that your government would map out a five-year strategic plan for road projects. (Please we are waiting for the Plan NOW!!!!)

19. On Feb 27, you were in Asaba, the Delta state capital. On that fateful Sunday, you revealed that “The NNPC is developing a new programme that will absorb about 5,000 youths, ”, Mr. President, Deltans are delighted at this REVELATIONS. While that number is a far cry from the number of unemployed youths in the state, at all at all na winch (as they say in Warri), so Deltans are waiting.

20. On March 2nd, you were in Ondo where you pronmised that roads and other basic  infrastructure across the states will be developed in four years. In addition you also promised the exploitation of the vast bitumen deposits in the state for national economic development and employment generation. The Ondo people are waiting. Your Four years have started already. You must start now.

21. On the same day, March 2nd, your campaigbn train was in Ekiti state. While there, you promised that more than N50 billion federal intervention projects were ongoing in the state. You can be rest assured that the Fayemi and indeed the entire Ekiti kete are waiting for you.

22. On March 9th, in Sokoto,  you promised to rehabilitate the abandoned Shagari irrigation project as well as reviving the nation’s rail system and fight the menace of desertification in the country. Sokoto people have sufffered for too long. This is your time to redeem your pledge, Mr President. The clock is ticking!!!

23.The date was March 12th 2011 and you were in Ogun state. 
Remember, the day you rode to Abeokuta through rail? 

Yes, That was the day you promised an improved power supply before the end of the year through the Integrated Power Project (IPP) initiative. 

You also pledged to build more refineries, encourage downstream activities, resuscitate rail transportation and create jobs. In case you have forgotten, that was the day that Gbenga Daniel (your South West campaign coordinator was booed by the Ogun people).

24.On March 14th, your campaign trained moved to Kebbi where you promised to establish a federal university next year (2012). You also promised to create jobs through science and technology, tackle environmental challenges and boost health care delivery.

25.Katsina, was your port of call on March 15 where you promised to enhance the living standard of Nigerians through implementation of people-oriented programmes that would provide citizens the necessary opportunities to realise their potentials. 

In my opinion, this was just mere rhetorics as you did not make any concrete promises. or did you have the premonition, you will lose in Katsina? I might just be right.

26.In Kano, you pledged to resuscitate the nation’s power sector and encourage the development of small and medium scale enterprises in the country while ensuring justice, equity and fair play in the polity.

Mr.President, Space and Time will not allow me to list the deluge of promises in Lagos, Osun, Borno, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Imo, Taraba, Jigawa, Edo, Bayelsa and Zamfara states. If you can accomplish all your promises in the next four years, then you will go down memory lane as the best President ever. I’m all honesty, I wish you GoodLuck!!

NIgerians are angry because they claim the president has deceived them and is taking them for a ride.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

General Buhari: His records still speak for him

I was going through nairaland as usual when I found this post from a user called "OBEHIOYE"

As a Nigerian under-30 who grew up in Warri I have been quite close to the oil and gas industry in Nigeria and luckily so this has helped me understand some of the issues that come up in that industry.
I have also been very fortunate to have visit 3 major power stations as well as the “3” refineries in southern Nigeria while also ending up as an engineer so I can better understand and be part of this very lucrative industry.
It may not be a surprise but you should know that since after the late 70’s and early 80’s up until 2009 there has been no major infrastructural development  in Nigeria. No new power plants have been built and successfully commissioned nor has the foundation been laid for any oil refinery.
My visit to the ones I mentioned above turned up very interesting results as regards their capacities and operational efficiencies but mind you the visits to the power plants was conducted between 2004 and 2006 while those to the refineries were earlier.
While the PH refinery was operating at between 60-70% installed capacity at the time of my visit, the Warri plant was virtually non functional at that time. I was told that the crude line to the Warri plant was damaged (Vandalized) and so they couldn’t receive crude to refine and so they using the opportunity to do a mini in-house Turn-Around Maintenance (TAM). Not long after that visit the FGN also used the same excuse and officially awarded contract for the TAM to Chrome Oil Resources owned by Anambra business-man, Sir Emeka Offor. That TAM was never concluded and the refinery staff had to complete it on their own.
My visit to the three power plants showed that two of them had were operating at less than 40% capacity!! We were given the same excuse that gas pipelines had been vandalized and so they couldn’t get gas to run their turbines but I noticed that the turbines were very old with about half of them packed-up.
The most interesting thing I noticed on these visits was the name and dates on the commissioning plagues of these plants: Lt. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo was the name while the dates ranged from 1977 to 1979. I immediately fell in love with Obj and when he became president later I silently wished and prayed he would perform the same magic until he began to scheme for 3rd term and that I couldn’t stomach.
When Obj failed bw 1999 and 2007, I tried to understand and then I realized and got to know that the master-mind of all those developments during his military stint was Brig. Gen. Mohammadu Buhari who was the Minister of Power and Energy during that period. Buhari it was, being in-charge of that ministry, built all those plants Obj had commissioned and I had visited.
We are also all aware of the magic that same Buhari performed as head the PTF, which ran a parallel government in Nigeria by getting JUST 3% of every litre of petroleum product purchased in Nigeria. Projects started and completed by the PTF are too numerous to mention here.
Buhari has never been indicted by any probe or inquiry as haven stolen any money. We have seen how prudent and useful the ministries and agencies he ran were yet we refused to vote him because we have been fed with lies upon lies that he was a religious bigot, he would make Sharia national thing etc.
The cesspool of corruption called Nigeria needs a man in the calibre of Buhari to run her affairs and the funny thing is in our heart of heart we all knew this yet we were afraid to take the bull by the horn and deliver that long-awaited change to Nigeria. Instead you all voted a man, so scared of public debates that he arranged his own private debate. A man who as deputy-governor and governor had no achievement to his name except a corrupt wife!
Unfortunately, Buhari has also hurt his credibility by the statements he made just after the elections. I would definitely vote for him again but for me he just should have appealed to the people instead of saying “the people have only reacted to cheating that was perpertuated”.
It’s rather unfortunate what our country has turned into, really very unfortunate that sometimes I think she’s irredeemable.
I just hope that we would have the courage to see through their lies and smiling faces and do what is right by searching the deep  recesses of our conscience and voting appropriately next time but for now let us live in peace with one another.

I was speechless after reading this, for how long will Nigeria be like this???

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ribadu , ACN and the inside story of Tinubu’s ‘deal’ with Jonathan

Let it be understood from the outset that this is not about Former Governor of Lagos State Bola Tinubu making any deal to get Ribadu a new job.No! But it is certainly about Tinubu’s  secret  political romance ,intrigues and deals with President Goodluck Jonathan and how such moves have caused disenchantment within the Action Congress of Nigeria,ACN.Some even believe that Ribadu may have just taken his new job out of his personal conviction ,in spite of ACN.Or, as some others will argue  that ACN  betrayed Ribadu afterall by sabotaging  his presidential campaign and so why should he bother about the party?Either way,some observers believe Ribadu’s new job is a worrisome development.
Jonathan, it appears, has the formula for tearing ACN apart and he has deployed it effectively in the past and the storm over Ribadu’s new job implies that the president  scored the bull’s eye with the appointment of the former EFCC boss as head of the Petroleum Revenue Task Force.Ribadu’s  decision to accept the offer  seem to have pitted him against the party which says their presidential candidate is on his own.
But those who  know about the intrigues within the party say that despite the  public outcry against Ribadu, there is a deep sense of regret among ACN chiefs about the relationship between their chieftains especially Bola Tinubu with Jonathan.It is believed this untoward relationship may lead to further embarrassing developments;and there are insiders who are eager to get the party back on course.It was this relationship that made the party to virtually ‘sabotage’  Ribadu who was ACN’s presidential candidate.This special relationship between Tinubu and Jonathan was also responsible for the failure of the alliance talks between ACN and Muhammadu Buhari’s Congress for Progressive change,CPC.
In fact, rather than  stir up anger ,some party insiders told Newsdiaryonline that the Ribadu matter has brought the frustrations within ACN to the frontburner.Now those who really know about the dirty details of Tinubu’s romance with Jonathan feel if the party had done the right thing in the past ,this embarrassing situation of its  presidential candidate taking a job from a PDP government could have been avoided.But ACN cannot pretend to be a judge over this Ribadu case because  it failed to organize itself well when it ought to, insiders say.
Sources told Newsdiaryonline that Tinubu led the plot that frustrated the ACN presidential calculations which would have ensured victory for the alliance.He was accused of ‘double dealing’-That is playing along with Jonathan  on the one hand while appearing to be interested in the alliancetalks with CPC on the other.Jonathan’s Aso Rock knew very well that an alliance between ACN and CPC would defeat or at least cause major problems for PDP and  the president  worked assiduously to frustrate the alliance.Tinubu  is still being accused of being a willing handmaiden of the villa.On one occasion Jonathan went to Lagos about 2.00AM and held a meeting before the polls with the Asiwaju  the former governor   .
Eventually a deal was struck between Tinubu and the president.Credible sources said there were three offers made to  him by the president.One, that the EFCC would stop hounding him .Two, that ACN would be allowed to take over Ogun and Oyo states from PDP  so that the south West would vote Jonathan .Third, the president also offered to award  him contracts for  laying  gas pipelines across the South west  and the handling of gas transaction across the region.A source claimed  the deal was written and signed but Newsdiaryonline could not lay hands on the paper if at all it exists .
Tinubu was said to have presented  details of his meeting with Jonathan  to  those known to belong to what is called “the  ACN caucus”. Newsdiaryonline  sources said the caucus members were very very disappointed with Tinubu and they lambasted him.”It is not as if the whole of ACN agrees with him but he has been a major problem for the  party.He is viewed  as the main challenge the party is contending with.
Sources in the opposition parties told Newsdiaryoline that  it was the secret intrigues within ACN  that frustrated that alliance talks with Buhari and insiders know it is their fault despite claims to the effect that it was Buhari that failed to ask Pastor Bakari to step dowm for Tinubu(who was presented a potential running mate if the talks had materialized).In fact that is the story that has been published so far.
When it seemed like Buhari was intransigent Generals  Ibrahim Babangidana and Aliyu Gusau were brought in along with Atiku Abubakar to negotiate last -minute deals with Buhari .Northern leaders asked Ribadu to step down  for Buhari and he agreed.But Buhari did not agree to sign a deal would make Bakare surrender his ticket running mate.And the northern leaders who perhaps did not know of the secret deals of Tinubu were very furious with Buhari.IBB walked out of the meeting and angily drove himself to Minna.Atiku was equally very furious with Buhari as he thought it was the General that was being politically obstinate and unreasonable.The Northern leaders just wanted an alternative to Jonathan whom they felt at that time should not run for elections.But alot of things have happened between then and now.
Fresh facts have emerged to show why Buhari did not sign the deal.Inssiders told Newsdiaryonline that the deal proposed by Tinubu  was a double edged sword.”The framing of the agreement was  to the effect that Bakare would sign the piece of paper saying ‘ I the vice president agrees to step down..blah  bah blah...’’The insider who revealed the intrigues said the framers of the agreement which Bakere would have signed were probably working with the Presidency to’ kill the Buhari ticket’.”We received calls  from people including traditional rulers in the South West  urging us to tell Buhari and Bakari not to sign any deal with Tinubu.Some prominent traditional rulers from the South West urged us to tell Buhari not to sign because  the deal was made to ensure that  Bkare was picked up for claiming he is vice president  already even before election.He would have been arrested and that would have put the Buhari ticket in crisis ”Newsdiaryonline was told.It was not clear if the content of the deal was laid on the table as the discussions were held or if the paper was meant to be brought for Bakare’s signature if Buhari had agreed to make Tinubu his vice president

Yet , said an insider even after agree step down in other to facilitate tha alliance with CPC ,Ribadu the ACN candidate    followed Buhari  to Kaduna trying to honestly  convince Buhari,because everyone really thought Buhari was the problem.”If you see the kind of disgrace Buhari gave him ,you wouldn’t believe.He practically snubbed this man.So I think he has sacrificed enough for this people because he worked for ACN people genuinely.But they had their agenda which became clear later”a source said .
Even recently  words made the round that Jonathan has again reached out to Tinubu to help fight the subsidy war.Newsdiaryonline learnt when Tinubu  again told his ACN caucus about this request, they rebuffed him.”They almost lynched him” one of the sources told Newsdiaryonline. The source continued,”Iam not aware of the N100m reportedly offered for the pro-subsidy campaign in the south west .But the people did not accept any offer from the president” said against the backdrop of allegations that a huge amount of money was paid to some undisclosed agents of the villa in the botched attempt to sell the subsidy idea to the south west.
Having been used and dumped by the ACN, Ribadu  apparently chose to take his destiny in his own hands now.He took up international assignments  on anti corruption war and So when Jonathan came with the new offer to him ,he felt having served other countries, the new task is a national call,his sympathizers said .There is the general feeling that Jonathan has brought Ribadu in to help shore up the credibility of the regime.Newsdiaryonline learnt that the regime is also shopping for more hands to be employed.
In all of this people are concerned about the motive and credibility of the regime which has drafted Ribadu on board.Equally, there is no doubt that many observers will remain suspicious of Ribadu for taking up this job when the regime has not shown genuine commitment to fighting corruption yet.ACN in distancing itself from Ribadu said it cannot “in good conscience” work with Jonathan because he is untrustworthy.
Recalling what happened earlier the ACN said “On the vexed issue of removal of petroleum subsidy, it is on record that our party, the Action Congress of Nigeria, responded with patriotic and constructive suggestions during a meeting with the President in Abuja.
“At the end of that meeting, President Jonathan promised to further consult with us before taking any further step in respect of the matter. True to the deceptive nature of this administration, we all woke up on January 1, 2012, to learn that the government has unilaterally removed subsidy from petrol.
“How can we be sure that these slew of appointments are not being used by the administration to shore up its sagging – or totally sagged – credibility?
“After all, one can never be sure going by the deceptive nature of the PDP that the kind of appointment now being offered to Mallam Ribadu is being made in good faith or just to get credible people to launder the government’s badly damaged image and credibility.
‘’There is also the possibility that booby-traps will be deliberately set for such credible personalities to guarantee their failure in their stated assignment, after which they will be ridiculed and dumped like an ordinary chump.”
Plausible as ACN’s basis for objecting to the unfolding drama may seem, many critics reason that the party should do a review of its recent past and once again find a way of cementing  an alliance with other opposition parties like the CPC and possibly APGA to give  a true alternative platform to Nigerians and save the nation from the antics of PDP.
ACN  chiefs who spoke of Jonathan’s unreliability may also have the treatment meted out to Tinubu at the back of their minds.After the deal with Tinubu, the regime still proceeded arraign him before the Code of Conduct Tribunal  in what was seen as a breach of the deal .Newsdiaryonline learnt that Tinubu sought audience with the president and at the meeting, he protested against the breach of the deal.” You wanted the votes which you got from us and all that but you are not fulfilling your end of the bargain” the president was told .Jonathan replied that all the agreements are being followed meticulously .When Tinubu drew the president’s attention to his  prosecution by the Code of Conduct tribunal, Jonathan asked Tinubu whether EFCC has been after him and he said no.It was then it dawned on the governor that that part of the deal should have read, ant-corruption agencies, not EFCC alone.And on the other issue of gas business, the President reportedly  assured the former governor that the plans were being perfected.Tinubu came away with the impression Jonathan was not trustworthy.

source: newsdiaryonline

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston passes on

Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music’s queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, died Saturday. She was 48.
 Beverly Hills police Lt. Mark Rosen told reporters outside the Beverly Hilton that Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. in her room on the fourth floor of the hotel. Her body remained there and Beverly Hills detectives were investigating.
 “There were no obvious signs of any criminal intent,” Rosen said.
 Houston’s publicist, Kristen Foster, said the cause of death was unknown.
 Rosen said police received a 911 call from hotel security about Houston at 3:43 p.m. Saturday. Paramedics who were already at the hotel because of a Grammy party unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate the singer, he said.
 Houston’s end came on the eve of music’s biggest night — the Grammy Awards. It’s a showcase where she once reigned, and her death was sure to cast a heavy pall on Sunday’s ceremony.
 Her longtime mentor Clive Davis was to hold his annual concert and dinner Saturday, and a representative of the show said it would proceed.
 Producer Jimmy Jam, who had worked with Houston, said he anticipated the evening would become a tribute to her, and he expected there to be one at the Grammys as well.
 Houston was supposed to appear at the gala, and Davis had told The Associated Press that she would perhaps perform: “It’s her favorite night of the year … (so) who knows by the end of the evening,” he said.
 Houston had been at rehearsals for the show Thursday, coaching singers Brandy and Monica, according to a person who was at the event but was not authorized to speak publicly about it. The person said Houston looked disheveled, was sweating profusely and liquor and cigarettes could be smelled on her breath.
 Two days ago, she performed at a pre-Grammy party with singer Kelly Price.
 The Rev. Al Sharpton said he would call for a national prayer Sunday morning during a service at Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles.
 “The morning of the Grammys, the world should pause and pray for the memory of a gifted songbird,” Sharpton said in a written statement.
In a statement, Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow said Houston “was one of the world’s greatest pop singers of all time who leaves behind a robust musical soundtrack spanning the past three decades.”
 “Her powerful voice graced many memorable and award-winning songs,” Portnow said. “A light has been dimmed in our music community today, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, fans and all who have been touched by her beautiful voice.”
 At her peak, Houston was the golden girl of the music industry. From the middle 1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world’s best-selling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful, and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.
 Her success carried her beyond music to movies, where she starred in hits like “The Bodyguard” and “Waiting to Exhale.”
 She had the perfect voice and the perfect image: a gorgeous singer who had sex appeal but was never overtly sexual, who maintained perfect poise.
 She influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey, who when she first came out sounded so much like Houston that many thought it was Houston.
 But by the end of her career, Houston became a stunning cautionary tale of the toll of drug use. Her album sales plummeted and the hits stopped coming; her once serene image was shattered by a wild demeanor and bizarre public appearances. She confessed to abusing cocaine, marijuana and pills, and her once pristine voice became raspy and hoarse, unable to hit the high notes as she had during her prime.
 “The biggest devil is me. I’m either my best friend or my worst enemy,” Houston told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an infamous 2002 interview with then-husband Brown by her side.
 It was a tragic fall for a superstar who was one of the top-selling artists in pop music history, with more than 55 million records sold in the United States alone.
She seemed to be born into greatness. She was the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston, the cousin of 1960s pop diva Dionne Warwick and the goddaughter of Aretha Franklin.
 Houston first started singing in the church as a child. In her teens, she sang backup for Chaka Khan, Jermaine Jackson and others, in addition to modeling. It was around that time when music mogul Clive Davis first heard Houston perform.
 “The time that I first saw her singing in her mother’s act in a club … it was such a stunning impact,” Davis told “Good Morning America.”
 “To hear this young girl breathe such fire into this song. I mean, it really sent the proverbial tingles up my spine,” he added.
 Before long, the rest of the country would feel it, too. Houston made her album debut in 1985 with “Whitney Houston,” which sold millions and spawned hit after hit. “Saving All My Love for You” brought her her first Grammy, for best female pop vocal. “How Will I Know,” “You Give Good Love” and “The Greatest Love of All” also became hit singles.
 Another multiplatinum album, “Whitney,” came out in 1987 and included hits like “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
 The New York Times wrote that Houston “possesses one of her generation’s most powerful gospel-trained voices, but she eschews many of the churchier mannerisms of her forerunners. She uses ornamental gospel phrasing only sparingly, and instead of projecting an earthy, tearful vulnerability, communicates cool self-assurance and strength, building pop ballads to majestic, sustained peaks of intensity.”
 Her decision not to follow the more soulful inflections of singers like Franklin drew criticism by some who saw her as playing down her black roots to go pop and reach white audiences. The criticism would become a constant refrain through much of her career. She was even booed during the “Soul Train Awards” in 1989.
 “Sometimes it gets down to that, you know?” she told Katie Couric in 1996. “You’re not black enough for them. I don’t know. You’re not R&B enough. You’re very pop. The white audience has taken you away from them.”
 Some saw her 1992 marriage to former New Edition member and soul crooner Bobby Brown as an attempt to refute those critics. It seemed to be an odd union; she was seen as pop’s pure princess while he had a bad-boy image, and already had children of his own. (The couple had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, in 1993.) Over the years, he would be arrested several times, on charges ranging from DUI to failure to pay child support.
 But Houston said their true personalities were not as far apart as people may have believed.
 “When you love, you love. I mean, do you stop loving somebody because you have different images? You know, Bobby and I basically come from the same place,” she told Rolling Stone in 1993. “You see somebody, and you deal with their image, that’s their image. It’s part of them, it’s not the whole picture. I am not always in a sequined gown. I am nobody’s angel. I can get down and dirty. I can get raunchy.”
 It would take several years, however, for the public to see that side of Houston. Her moving 1991 rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl, amid the first Gulf War, set a new standard and once again reaffirmed her as America’s sweetheart.
 In 1992, she became a star in the acting world with “The Bodyguard.” Despite mixed reviews, the story of a singer (Houston) guarded by a former Secret Service agent (Kevin Costner) was an international success.
 It also gave her perhaps her most memorable hit: a searing, stunning rendition of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” which sat atop the charts for weeks. It was Grammy’s record of the year and best female pop vocal, and the “Bodyguard” soundtrack was named album of the year.
 She returned to the big screen in 1995-96 with “Waiting to Exhale” and “The Preacher’s Wife.” Both spawned soundtrack albums, and another hit studio album, “My Love Is Your Love,” in 1998, brought her a Grammy for best female R&B vocal for the cut “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay.”
 But during these career and personal highs, Houston was using drugs. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2010, she said by the time “The Preacher’s Wife” was released, “(doing drugs) was an everyday thing. … I would do my work, but after I did my work, for a whole year or two, it was every day. … I wasn’t happy by that point in time. I was losing myself.”
 In the interview, Houston blamed her rocky marriage to Brown, which included a charge of domestic abuse against Brown in 1993. They divorced in 2007.
 Houston would go to rehab twice before she would declare herself drug-free to Winfrey in 2010. But in the interim, there were missed concert dates, a stop at an airport due to drugs, and public meltdowns.
 She was so startlingly thin during a 2001 Michael Jackson tribute concert that rumors spread she had died the next day. Her crude behavior and jittery appearance on Brown’s reality show, “Being Bobby Brown,” was an example of her sad decline. Her Sawyer interview, where she declared “crack is whack,” was often parodied. She dropped out of the spotlight for a few years.
 Houston staged what seemed to be a successful comeback with the 2009 album “I Look To You.” The album debuted on the top of the charts, and would eventually go platinum.
 Things soon fell apart. A concert to promote the album on “Good Morning America” went awry as Houston’s voice sounded ragged and off-key. She blamed an interview with Winfrey for straining her voice.
 A world tour launched overseas, however, only confirmed suspicions that Houston had lost her treasured gift, as she failed to hit notes and left many fans unimpressed; some walked out. Canceled concert dates raised speculation that she may have been abusing drugs, but she denied those claims and said she was in great shape, blaming illness for cancellations.


Courtesy Associated Press