Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

In Bayelsa, Viva Riva Rules

In ANYTHING on March 30, 2011 at 11:53 am

The last week of March was a celebration for the seventh Annual African Movie Academy Awards, AMAA, climaxing in the award ceremony at the Gloryland Cultural Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

The night was dominated by Viva Riva which won six awards, including Best Film and Best Director for Congo’s Djo Tunda Wa Munga. It also won supporting acting awards for actress Marlene Longage and actor Hoji Fortuna, as well as cinematography and production design awards. Viva Riva had led the nominations with a total of twelve.

Sinking Sands picked up three awards, with Amake Abebrese winning Best Actress Award to go with prizes for its screenplay and make-up. The other two multiple award-winners were Izulu Lami which won Best Film In African Language and for which three actors shared the Best Child Actor Award. Aramotu won Best Nigerian Film and Best Costume Design.

The Best Actor Award went to Themba Ndaba for his role in Hopeville. The Best Young Actor was Edward Kagutuzi for Mirror Boy. A Special Jury Award was given to Shirley Adams from South Africa. It was also the winner of Best Achievement In Sound.




In ESSAY on March 30, 2011 at 11:50 am


Personal Albatross

Gbenga Ogundare, Editor- National Standard News Magazine

Before you begin to get angry or feel insulted, know that this piece is personal. It affects me personally. I don’t know if it will affect you personally too. There are so many personal things in this world: personal car (as against family car), personal bodyguard, personal dog, personal cook, et cetera. There is even a personal person. So don’t take it too personal if my jumping into this personal thing raises a splash over your face or drenches your cloth.

Methinks everyone is now fortified as I begin to spin my yarn.

Until now, errand boy, messenger or houseboy is an appendage of the family. An errand boy or messenger is usually uneducated; always at the beck and call of his master and master’s extended family. That seems to be before-before.

Nowadays, being a messenger has become a professional occupation; from answering the phone calls of your boss to attending a function on his behalf. And the messengers are now educated and sophisticated, at least to pick their boss’ cell phone and answer the caller. This professional boy-boy, or, girl-girl, is now proudly known and globally called Personal Assistant.

A few of them are known to be diligently meticulous. They can work like some automatic machine. They’ve been programmed to be courteous and accommodating. You can feel the warmth of life in their interaction with you such that before you know it you’re already feeling like a personal person to the VIP you want to meet or speak with. You can’t help but fall in love with these personal assistants.

Over the years I’ve been falling in love with them till I met some unwieldy personal assistants – personal nuisance!

Imagine my experience with one Billy goat. Ha, for that one I can say it’s a case of like boss, like boy-boy! What was my experience with this personal nuisance, sorry personal assistant to one very popular and powerful governor? In fact, the story full ground but for space, I’ll give you an abridged version. But let me say a prayer here: may you never fall into the temptation of these professional errand boys. They’re generally slaves without sense – not even the common one.

You know, my people, when an idol becomes too condescending it is shown from which wood it is carved. Remember the case of Madam Dora’s errand boy to media house. It was his madam who had headache but he was the one using Panadol Extra to kill the pain. What gain did he get? Madam booted him out of job for poking, too much, his errant nose into family matters. These personal errant/errand assistants can be over-zealous!

There have been plenty unfortunate incidents caused by the so-called personal assistants. By their uncouth attitude and unguarded tongue they usually embarrass their patrons and sometimes, tarnish their image. There was also this saucy P.A. to an erstwhile Health Minister. She made sure that no one – not even the closest colleagues of this minister have access to her. She was one of the sauciest professional errand ladies ever.

No sooner had they been assigned the port folio of P.A. to so-and-so, in their minds they have automatically become the bosses of the masters / mistresses to whom they are no more than pitiable professionals to be sent hither-thither; an extra body to carry the very important person’s trivial burdens like, handbag, brief case, cell phones, newspapers, flight tickets, complimentary cards, et cetera-et cetera.

Little wonder, with all these paraphernalia of the original important persons in their possession, they begin to feel like the very important person. They begin to act arrogantly. They begin to talk arrogantly. Like master, like slave?

Do I blame them? Would I have had any business with them if not for their patrons who seem to have outsourced some vital portion of their existence to some indecorous professionals? It is intriguing. Perhaps, they’ve become suddenly overfed. Perhaps, they’ve become suddenly exposed to the limelight. Perhaps, they’re just dunces with the role of P.A. just thrust upon them. Pitiable personal assistants!

Now, don’t think I am very, very angry with some of these P.A.s. Nay, that can’t be correct. I’m just stentorian, you know. If you see me face-to-face while I’m talking you’ll just be quaking as if Baba Iyabo dey vex with you. Anger ke? I’m just speaking my plain mind. You doubt me? Please trust me. Thank you.

As I was saying before…. These pitiable personal assistants have not only arrogated power to themselves, they’ve become like an albatross to their employers and masters.

London 2012 Events Schedule

In ANYTHING on March 30, 2011 at 11:42 am

London 2012 Events Schedule

Date / time Sport Venue
25 July
16:00 – 20:45
Football Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Women’s preliminaries (2 matches)
25 July
17:00 – 21:45
Football City of Coventry Stadium, Coventry
Women’s preliminaries (2 matches)
25 July
17:00 – 21:45
Football Hampden Park, Glasgow
Women’s preliminaries (2 matches)
26 July
12:00 – 16:45
Football Hampden Park, Glasgow
Men’s preliminaries (2 matches)
26 July
14:30 – 19:15
Football St James’ Park, Newcastle
Men’s preliminaries (2 matches)
26 July
17:00 – 21:45
Football Old Trafford, Manchester
Men’s preliminaries (2 matches)
26 July
19:45 – 21:45
Football City of Coventry Stadium, Coventry
Men’s preliminaries (1 match)
26 July
19:45 – 21:45
Football Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Men’s preliminaries (1 match)
27 July
09:00 – 11:00
Archery Lord’s Cricket Ground
Men’s Individual: ranking round
27 July
13:00 – 15:00
Archery Lord’s Cricket Ground
Women’s Individual: ranking round
27 July
19:30 – 22:30
Ceremonies Olympic Park – Olympic Stadium
Opening Ceremony
28 July
08:15 – 16:00
Shooting The Royal Artillery Barracks – Finals Hall & Ground Pass
Men’s 10m Air Pistol: qualification, final, victory ceremony
Women’s 10m Air Rifle: qualification, final, victory ceremony
28 July
08:30 – 11:00
Badminton Wembley Arena
Men’s Singles, Doubles: preliminaries
Women’s Singles, Doubles: preliminaries
Mixed Doubles: preliminaries
28 July
09:00 – 12:45
Table Tennis ExCeL
Men’s Singles: preliminaries
Women’s Singles: preliminaries, round 1
28 July
09:00 – 13:00
Basketball Olympic Park – Basketball Arena
Women’s preliminaries (2 games)
28 July
09:00 – 12:50
Beach Volleyball Horse Guards Parade
Men’s and women’s preliminaries (4 matches)
28 July
09:00 – 12:20
Archery Lord’s Cricket Ground
Men’s Team: 1/8 eliminations
28 July
09:30 – 13:00
Volleyball Earls Court
Women’s preliminaries (2 matches)
28 July
09:30 – 14:10
Rowing Eton Dorney, Buckinghamshire
Men’s Pairs, Lightweight Fours, Eights, Single Sculls, Double Sculls, Quadruple Sculls: heats
Women’s Pairs, Single Sculls, Quadruple Sculls: heats
28 July
09:30 – 12:30
Judo ExCeL
Men’s -60kg: elimination rounds, quarter-finals
Women’s -48kg: elimination rounds, quarter-finals


Olympic Football Tickets On Sale

In ANYTHING on March 30, 2011 at 11:30 am

Supporters are being urged to buy London 2012 Olympic Tickets from official sources as police crack down on ticket touts.

More than 2.5 million Olympic Football Tickets are on sale for a host of matches that will take place from 25th July to 11th August 2012. One million tickets will be reserved for young football fans through the London 2012’s ‘pay your age’ scheme for under 16s.

Premier League grounds will be hosting Olympic football with matches taking place at Manchester United’s Old Trafford and Newcastle United’s St. James’ Park.

A number of current Barclays Premier League stars have appeared at previous Olympic Games football tournaments including Arsenal’s Alex Song (Cameroon), Liverpool’s Raul Meireles (Portugal), Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez (Argentina) and Sunderland’s Asamoah Gyan (Ghana).

The Premier League is teaming up with London 2012 and the Metropolitan Police to encourage fans to buy tickets from official sources.

The Metropolitan Police has set-up Operation Podium to combat serious and organised crime associated with the London 2012 Olympic Games. The team has recently worked with both Arsenal and Liverpool and, during the weekend of 5/6 March, arrested a number of touts attempting to rip-off fans by selling over-priced tickets for the Arsenal v Sunderland and Liverpool v Manchester United fixtures.

The arrests were part of the work of Operation Podium’s efforts to crackdown on organised ticketing networks before the Olympic Games tickets went on sale on 15th March. The team is working now, up to and during the Games to create a difficult environment for touts to operate in and to give clear messages to the public on the safest ways to buy Olympic tickets.

Detective Chief Inspector Nick Downing from Operation Podium said: “Ticket touting is an illegal business run by people to gain financially through the exploitation of clubs and their fans. Genuine fans need to be aware they are not only fuelling criminal activity when they buy from a tout, but also putting themselves at risk as they could find themselves amongst opposing supporters.

“If you buy tickets from unofficial places, you run the risk of paying over the odds for a nonexistent ticket, ending up disappointed by not getting to see the game that you paid for and risk having your personal and credit card details stolen for use in other crimes. Don’t let this happen to you. Only visit official sites for a list of genuine sellers who are authorised to sell legitimate tickets.”


In ANYTHING on March 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm

World Bank: New Strategies for Nigeria


The World Bank will in March release a new strategy, outlining how it plans to revise its approach and deepen its partnership with Nigeria and other African countries in the five years to 2016.


The strategy known as  “Africa’s future and World Bank support to it” has been informed by consultations, input and feedback provided by more than two thousand Africans and others who participated in an eight-month-long series of face-to-face and on-line consultations.


From June-December 2010, the Bank invited stakeholders—government officials, development experts, legislators, policy makers, Diasporans, representatives of civil society, the private sector, the media, and academia, etc.—to participate in the revision of the strategy which the Bank has been using since 2005, known as the Africa Action Plan, to foster development on the continent.


Input was provided by close to a thousand stakeholders gathered in face-to-face meetings and workshops in 36 countries, 31 of them in Africa. In addition, comments and suggestions provided by more than 540 on-line participants during the first phase of consultations (June-September 2010) informed the initial draft of the strategy.


During the first phase, stakeholders raised a series of issues related to their countries, their sub-regions and the continent. Concerns ranged from promoting the private sector as a driver of growth, to the capacity of governments to manage resources, to the role of sub-regional economic organizations in delivering regional solutions.


Following the release of the draft strategy in November 2010, the second phase of consultations enabled the Bank to calibrate whether the inputs from the first round had been incorporated, as well as to receive and incorporate further comments to the document. A solid majority (76 percent) of the 880 respondents reported that the draft accurately captured the development challenges facing Africa.



Diamond Bank’s Transparent Gestures

  • Appoints New MD



In keeping with its tradition of being upright and transparent in its operations, Diamond Bank has published its tariffs and service fees for all its products and services to show that there are no hidden charges in all its transactions. The Tariff and Service Fees publication is a guide for customers indicating the applicable charges for every product and service offered by the Bank.


The bank’s Head of Corporate Communications, Charles Udoh, explained that the measure is part of the bank’s philosophy of being a customer centric bank, adding that the organisation does not only advertise its products but also goes further to ensure that its customers are better informed about the actual fees payable even before the transaction takes place.


According to Udoh, “Diamond Bank is issuing a tariff and service fees guide in keeping with our tradition of being a Bank of choice for our customers. Our focus is to ensure that our customers are better informed about our products and services and this includes knowing the fees that they pay, even before deciding on any transaction. Because we feel the pulse of our customers, we do not want them to have any surprises, hence we use every opportunity to not only advertise our products and services but also provide vital information concerning the fees charged for very transaction up front, so the customer knows what is involved.”


He further stated that Diamond Bank strives to always live up to the tenets of its banking culture, etched on the tripod values of transparency, accountability and professionalism. “We are transparent and upright in our operations, giving our best as professionals in every aspect of our businesses. In Diamond Bank, our operations are transparent and we report our fees openly, so that the quality of our operations can also be assessed by customers,” he stated.


According to him, the published fees cuts across trade products, savings account products, cash management, commission on bond’s guarantees and indemnities, foreign exchange commission, travelers’ cheques and sight bills for negotiation. Other includes legal, discountable instruments, Bancassurance, current account products, Visa Credit card, mortgage and retail assets and investment management and share trading.


Meanwhile, the board of Diamond Bank Plc has announced the retirement of Emeka Onwuka effective April 30, 2011 after 19 years of dedicated service to the Bank and marking the end of his second term in office as the Group Managing Director/CEO. Alex Otti has been appointed to take over from him, subject to Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN,’s approval.


According to an internal Memo by the Chairman of the Board, HRH Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha, announcing the changes, the appointment is part of a robust succession plan which the Board of Diamond Bank Plc commenced a while ago to ensure that the long term strategic goals of the Bank remain sustainable, despite major financial and operational challenges facing the industry presently.



In ANYTHING on March 17, 2011 at 1:35 pm

TECNO Taking Over

In order to provide a large quantity of high quality mobile phones to different consumer groups at reasonable price, TECNO Telecom has invested a lot in deeply understanding the consumer behaviors as well as user habits in Nigeria. With its six series of handsets, TECNO is able to cover the market with all levels of spending capability. As a result of this, within just three years its products have become a household name in Nigeria, Gabriel Nwabueze, the marketing manager, told National Standard.

According to the firm, each of the TECNO handset has its own selling point, from functional handset, which has the functions such as dual sim dual standby, superior battery life, FM radio, to hot selling handset, like TV mobile phone and touch screen handset in the market.

Should the Nigerian mobile phone users worry about the quality of TECNO’s phones? The fast growing telecom firm answered in the negative. “We have the top quality equipments which ensure us to manufacture high standard mobile products for each of our customers. We have quality control system with various segments of testing which helps us to provide the quality assured products to our partners.”
TECNO’s products are not only well-accepted in Nigeria; in many countries of Africa, Middle East, South East Asia and Latin America, they are in great demand. In its website the mobile phone firm said: “We believe that the great success also belongs to our partners. We have set up our local office and organization in many countries along with the local team, and we are trying to localize the company in Africa. Our after-sales service network is expanding quickly in each country.” TECNO is the only partner for MediaTek in Africa, the top supplier for chip.


In ANYTHING on March 17, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Schalke confirm Manchester United interest in Neuer

Schalke president Clemens Tonnies has confirmed he was informed of Manchester United’s interest in keeper Manuel Neuer.


Bayern Munich have been tracking the Germany international for quite a while and the Bavarians are already pondering a summer bid.

However, Schalke president has confirmed that Manchester United are also in the race.

“An international consultant has approached me and informed me that Manchester United are interested in Neuer,” Tonnies said.


“If Manchester United present us with a written request, then we will deal with it.”

Sir Alex Ferguson is still looking for a new keeper after Edwin van der Sar confirmed he would retire at the end of the season.


The Scottish boss doesn’t think either Anders Lindegaard or Tomasz Kuszczak is able to make the number one jersey their own and is likely to buy a new keeper in the summer.

Manuel Neuer is just one of the targets, while others include Maarten Stekelenburg, Rene Adler and David De Gea.


Even though the German keeper seems to be leading the race at the moment, my opinion is that Maarten Stekelenburg would be a better choice as he already has a wealth of international experience unlike Neuer.

Liverpool winning the race for French star

Liverpool are leading the race to sign Toulouse midfielder Moussa Sissoko, according to media report.


The French international has already rejected Liverpool some four years ago to sign a professional contract at Toulouse, but he is now again on the Reds’ radar. The 21-year-old has attracted attention from clubs like Tottenham and Manchester United with his scintillating performances over the last few seasons.


Nevertheless, Liverpool reignited the interest in the player following the arrival of Damien Comolli and they are now leading the race for the highly regarded youngster. The player himself revealed last week that he had had contacts with Liverpool.

“I had contacts with English clubs, notably Liverpool, but I preferred to commit myself to Toulouse, the club where I have been educated, to get more experience. It is up to me to go on improving, to become a world-class player.”


Despite his fragile age, Sissoko already have a lot of experience, having starred for both Toulouse and French youth teams and he looks like a player that Liverpool could really use at the moment. Strong in the tackle and very dangerous up front, Sissoko would have no problems adapting to the Premier League, and it only remains to be seen whether Liverpool can afford to pay around £18 million, which is his current price.

Bayern makeshift defender wants to stay

Bayern midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk has revealed his desire to remain at Alianz Arena.

The Ukrainian struggled for first team action after arriving from Zenit, but he has since commanded a starting place in defence in the absence of better option for Louis Van Gaal.

The makeshift defender has now changed his mind about leaving and is eager to stay at the club.


“I have received some interesting offers, but Bayern Munich want me to stay here,” Tymoshchuk said. “I think I’ll stay at Bayern at the end of the season. I’m really feeling at home at this club and don’t want to leave any more.”


His defensive partnership with Holger Badstuber is hardly one of the best in European football, so everything suggests Bayern will be looking to sign defensive reinforcements, in which case Tymoshchuk’s days at Alianz Arena would be numbered.


We Must Kill The Monster Preventing Constant Power Supply – Hon. Hosea Agboola

In INTERVIEW on March 17, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Jonathan and Akala Are the Best Candidates – Hosea Agboola


Having spent the last fifteen years politicking at the state level, Agboola Hosea Ayodele, the two-time Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, has decided to raise the bar by contesting for the Oyo North Senatorial District, under the umbrella of PDP. While talking with Bayo Akinloye he severally referred to Governor Christopher Alao-Akala as the best thing that has ever happened to Oyo state. He also feels President Goodluck Jonathan remains the peak of the pack. Excerpts:

Do you think INEC is serious about conducting credible elections come April?

Should we not expect a credible election this year? At the present, we cannot condemn Jega, the INEC chairman. We may not have a perfect election but we are urging everyone to shun violence during the elections. Nigeria is still developing. We are not there yet. The changes we so desired take time. Let us watch how things will turn out.



What do you expect from the electorate?

For my supporters, I will say come April 2011, I urge them to be very vigilant both at the polling and collating centres. And to the electorate, I will encourage you all to come out en masse and cast your votes for Governor Alao Akala. He has done so well for Oyo state. I think for that reason he surely deserves a second term in office. He is an achiever. Forget about what people are saying that Oyo state people do not re-elect their governors. Do you know why? The reason is that those past governors failed to perform well and impress the people. But, Governor Akala has achieved a lot for this state. I will advise people of Oyo state to re-elect him.



What role is money playing in all this?

Talking about money, I must admit that money plays a lot of vital roles in politics. That is incontrovertible. But, at the same time, when you have money and you apply your money at the eleventh hour in politics you will have yourself to blame – you will lose. If you have money and you must spend it to play politics, spend it at the beginning. Use your money to serve the people when you are not looking for anything. For, if you use your money only when you are aspiring for office, be sure you will lose, not only the money, but also the position you have aspired for. Therefore, use your money from the very beginning to make it useful for you later on.



People say if you’re relying on money, you must have a chest of charms.

You mean supernatural backing. There is only one Almighty God. People may use diabolical means to gain power in politics; I only rely on God’s backing. I believe in the Alpha and Omega. I do not put my trust in such so-called diabolical or supernatural power. I only need God to survive and play politics.



What will be your priorities in the senate?

It will be to ensure that power supply becomes regular and the power agency is properly regulated. With the dismal power generation and supply in Nigeria today, a lot has been lost. Many businesses that have great prospects to grow the nation’s economy and give employments to thousands of our jobless youths and adults are fast closing shops. The fact is, with the existence of constant power generation and supply there will be gainful employment for many. Existing companies can expand and new companies will spring up. Many business interests will not be thinking of relocating to other West African countries because our electricity supply is epileptic.

You can be sure my people in my constituency will fully benefit from this. The second is establishing a federal institution in my constituency. More so, if not for Governor Akala, who is repairing federal roads in my area, all federal roads are unmotorable. I will do my best to ensure that all federal roads projects there are fully executed.



Having served between 2003 and 2010 as a commissioner, what are your achievements?

Without sounding immodest, I have achieved a lot. Admittedly, during Ladoja’s administration we could not achieve much. That is part of leadership challenge I was talking about. But during this present administration, we have many good results to show. Let me start by telling you that Governor Christopher Alao Akala is a listening man. This is because if you have an idea, he will listen to you. He will argue with you. At the end of the day if you are able to prove your point, he will agree with you. And that is why this government under the leadership of Otunba Akala has been able to achieve a lot of things.

Under my watch, the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters had recorded considerable successes. In terms of giving the Obas high esteem. Then, when it comes to good roads, building of primary schools, markets in the wards. We also purchased cars for the Obas, drilling machines, ambulances and other things.




Can you also highlight your challenges in politics?

You see, the challenges can simply be categorized into two: leadership challenge and you have the followership challenge. In terms of followership challenge, those who follow me sometimes tend to behave otherwise; I mean, contrary to my wish or view. In that kind of situation it can be a real challenge to get them back on your track. It takes time to pacify them. It takes time to advise them – and eventually steer towards your own direction and destination, again.

Also, on the part of leadership, crisis can emerge. There can be crucial disagreements amongst leaders. That kind of situation can tear a party down. For instance, in a government cabinet, there are occasions when you have an idea; the other person also has an idea that is different from yours. If care is not taken this various views can degenerate into internal wrangling. So, at times you just find it difficult to manage those opposing ideas.

My being in politics has been a challenging and rewarding experience. I have gained a lot; especially in terms of exposure to the world. People like me have had the privilege of contributing positively to the development of the people. Today, I have been able to do more than I might have done in my private capacity. That is why I have been in politics since 1986 – 15 years.




Unlike some PDP-controlled states where parallel primaries were held, Oyo state PDP had just one. What happened?

You know this is the first time we are going to practise internal democracy in Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Everyone in the party was allowed to participate on a level playing field. It is such that those who lost in the primaries realized that they were not hard-working enough. They knew and they would have to work much harder next time. That is why those who participated in the last primaries and later lost out are not complaining. They are rallying round the winners by remaining with the PDP party. This is a great sign of support and loyalty to the ruling party.



How can government resolve frequent face-off with labour unions?

So far, so good, President Goodluck is trying; he is trying a lot to the best of my knowledge. For now, he is the best candidate; unless someone comes out to outperform him.

Those who have been agitating for increase in salaries are right. Also, the federal government’s response to that is really commendable. None the less, let me say that to forestall this incessant demand and agitation for salary increment, the federal government must provide stable power supply. There is no two way to it. We must kill the monster preventing our having constant electricity.


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