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

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bola Tinubu Struck By Sudden stroke

There is palpable fear in the homestead of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu,over his failing health
Information reaching us has it that the heavy weight politician has been in a very unhealthy condition for some time and that the situation was being managed by medical experts,only for the condition to get worse last week.
The worsening health condition was what informed his being rushed to England for a better and more intensive medical attention.
He was flown abroad on Wednesday February 8 2012.
Sources attribute the cause of his present state to a partial stroke.
Close source divulged to us that the incident ‘left him bedridden’.
Sources claimed ‘he was shielded from seeing visitors at his Ikoyi home since the happenstance transpired-till he was flown abroad’.
It is believed that the secrecy that pervades the state of health of the powerful personality is meant to protect his political and business empire.
We shall keep you posted as events unfold

via 247nigerianews

Premium Times: Police investigation fails to link Kabiru Sokoto with Madalla bombing

The Nigerian government may have knowingly, in a bid to stem growing international outcry, misled the public into believing that rearrested Boko Haram suspect, Kabir Sokoto, was the mastermind of the Christmas day bombing that killed dozens in Madalla, according to highly classified details available to Premium Times.
The killings, one of the group’s deadliest before the recent Kano attacks, drew wide international attention which in a way fostered government’s crackdown that led to Mr. Sokoto’s arrest in Abuja weeks later, supposedly, as the brain behind the plotting and the execution of the blast.
But the new details, provided by multiple security sources who are well-informed about operations that have targeted the extremist Islamic sect’s members, and feedbacks passed onto key government officials, cast serious doubt on the administration’s position pinning Mr. Sokoto as the central character behind the attacks.
In all, the details shed light on the high-wired intrigues that surround the Jonathan administration’s dilemma at contending an elusive and deadly radical group that has proven  unbeatable, and at the same time winning a diminishing public trust that becomes further alienated with each wave of new attacks.
Mr. Kabiru, acknowledged by the sources as a sponsor of known members of the sect and by extension, a member himself, is only identified in security circles/records as a Boko Haram militant that operated from Kogi State flank.
In the months preceding the Madalla bombings, officials believe that he masterminded some robbery operations in Kabba, Kogi state and led a daring assault on the police station there killing, and carting away ample quantity of arms and ammunition.
He is also known to be the sponsor and host of a certain Suleiman Gambo, alias Babangida, a well marked member of the group who was arrested last year during a joint police operation in Sokoto State.
But besides those connections, no security record or operation has firmly established any link between Mr. Sokoto and the killings at St. Theresa Catholic church, the officials who all spoke under anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, say.
“Although the guy himself is a notorious member, there is no report seen of him that cites him as that mastermind,” one official said. “The police knows that, and the government knows that too; but it seems government was desperate to find a face for the crime.”
The church car bomb just outside Abuja, which claimed 44 lives and left many more injured on a Sunday morning millions of Christians across the country were attending church service marking Christmas, startled the nation and sparked global condemnation.
It turned out to be the most widely reported, and known of the group’s attacks across the world, fetching the country and the government in particular, an intense dose of international attention.
In the days that followed, according to the sources, implementing a soothing response would prove intricate for government operatives and policy makers fighting a murky organization with declared targets and tactics, but no known faces, as President Goodluck Jonathan has recently affirmed.
More so, the reliable government’s list of suspects for that crime, compiled from testimonies of captured suspects, targeted intelligence and informants, included just four names that clearly remained outside the radar of law enforcement agents.
Those mentioned were one Suleiman(different from Suleiman Gambo, who is already in police custody), Muhtari Kafanchan, Mohammed, and Bashar.
As of yet, none of the four has been captured.
Any arrest such as that of Mr. Sokoto therefore, would put an identity to the atrocity and help the Jonathan administration ward off mounting pressure that criticized its approach to the crisis, the sources said.
As it turned out, Mr. Sokoto’s initial arrest in January after operatives trailed his mobile phone signal to the Borno state lodge, and his subsequent escape, served a purpose more than envisaged.
For one, it proved the authorities were at work and progress against the sect was being made. However, with the lead actor in the crime at large, investigators could easily proffer justification why a conclusive probe of the case could not be actualized.
Then more importantly, the sacking of the police Inspector General, Hafiz Ringim, and the decision to punish Assistant Commissioner Zakaria Biu - both in connection with the escape- stood to demonstrate the administration’s steadfastness at acting when necessary.
Calls to the police force spokesperson, Olusola Amore, on Tuesday were not answered. He also did not respond to a text message sent to him seeking comments. 

via premiumtimes