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FULL TRANSCRIPT: Read Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s quotes from first interview as Manchester United manager

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted he was delighted to be ‘home’ after conducting his first TV interview since taking over the reins at Manchester United.
Solskjaer was appointed their new interim boss this week to replace the sacked Jose Mourinho and will be in the position until the end of the season.
The Norwegian insists he is relishing his six months in charge and that he has learned from his former boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
He also claimed he is open to playing youngsters and is aiming to get United’s players back to enjoying football again.
Here, you can find the full transcript from Solskjaer’s first TV interview since being confirmed as United’s manager.

Ole on the homecoming
Thanks first of all, it’s great, it feels like coming home I have to say. It’s been a few whirlwind days over the course, it has been very hectic but it’s just great to see everyone again.

Ole on the next six months
Well it’s six months, I’m going to enjoy the ride. I’m back home. It’s about seeing the players, seeing the staff and of course just being myself. I know the club is in the process of finding a new manager and I’m just going to be myself in the meantime. With me of course is Kieran and Michael and the rest of the staff we just want to get the players enjoying football I’m looking forward to seeing the supporters again.

Ole on festive period
You certainly get to see the players in a game, in a pressure situation, but I think just the amount of games coming up is no problem because you have got this squad, an amazing squad of players we have got. We have got 23, 24 players, they are all quality and they will all get a chance with the amount of games coming up and they will have a chance to show they are Manchester United players.
Yeah of course, we are in the result business, we want to win games of course that is mine and the staffs job to make sure the players do. We just want to see them play the football they can do.

Ole on the set-up behind the scenes
We have got a great setup at the club. The analysts came in this morning, they watched Cardiff. Of course I have watched Premier League, I’ve seen all the teams so I know a little bit about them but it’s not about the opposition, it’s about us. It’s about Manchester United and making sure the players know what they can do, we want to see them express themselves, so my main focus will be on us and how we want to the team to play and then we will give them one of two things about the opposition.

Ole on rotation
Playing games is the best time of your life. The more games you get the better it is. For me as a manager now it is great because you have to rotate so you get to see many players and they will get the chance and everyone in the squad knows I’ve got a chance now because whatever has happened it has happened so from now everyone starts on a clean slate and we want players to perform and to give them the chance.
You have got to start somewhere, of course you look at a couple of performances I’ve seen in the last few games but you look at the team, you pick a team now and you move on but they will all get chances.

Ole on his pride as a United player and now manager
Yeah how long will that last. You know as a player I gave everything I had and now walking out, leading this team and being a part of this team, that’s what I am. I’m a part of a huge team. We are playing for our supporters, playing for pride, playing for the club, its history, but to be honest it is going to be very, very special I have to say. I’m good at controlling emotions so I won’t be that emotional, but when I came back with Cardiff a few years ago in 2014, it was a strange, strange feeling. It was one of the most unrealistic ones I have ever had being on the other side, now I’m on the right side and I can’t wait for it.
Yeah you are proud but it is not about my pride, I’m proud of my career as a player, I feel like I’m a part of this club, I know this club and I understand this club but of course being in the gaffer’s seat is special.

Ole on past memories and relationship with the club
Wow. I can’t just talk about just one [memory at Old Trafford] but of course my debut when I came on and scored. I turned around, Eric’s the first one who celebrated with me. It was a weird feeling but suddenly it became part of you, you know you look forward to coming out at Old Trafford. That’s what you want the players to be, how I want to feel now. I think I will feel at home when we go out there, I think more it’s about the players being proud about their performances and the supporters being proud when we walk off the pitch.
Yeah it’s home. I’ve got to say it is home. There are so many here that are still here from when I was a player and a coach in the reserves and I have brought some Norwegian chocolate for them so I think they are happy.

Ole on Ferguson’s influence
Time flies when you enjoy it, I think I have had about 300, 400 first team games now as a manager and at the reserves so yeah 10 years more or less I have been coaching a team. You become more confident of course, the more mistakes you make the more you learn. I have made a few mistakes through the years but I have won the league, I have won cups, I have been relegated, so I feel I’m getting to know the occupation but it’s about man management, it’s about managing players, managing people, managing staff, talking to everyone and getting the best out of everyone and I have to say I had the best teacher. The boss (Sir Alex Ferguson) is and will always be the best at how you manage people so my management involves around what I learned from him.
Yeah, he’s been the biggest influence but then again I’m a different personality. I have just got to be myself, you have to ask the people I have managed. I like people, to speak to people, engage with people. I want to see them express themselves whether it’s working in the canteen, being a physio, a player, a coach, I just want to see everyone express themselves, so that makes me happy and when your team plays well and express themselves.

Ole on Mike Phelan
You know the first thing I thought about, I’m youngish still, Kieran and Michael, young, and I thought I want some experience with me. I rang Mick [Phelan] but he was doing a coaching course up in Burnley so I couldn’t get hold of him until it must have been 3, 4 O’clock in the afternoon. I had got the phone call earlier on in the morning, so it was one of them hectic ones, but he has been here, he has done it all, he’s worked with the gaffer more closely than I have. He’s an incredible, calming influence around me and his football knowledge is really, really good.

Ole on Michael Carrick
It’s strange again. When he (Carrick) was signed, of course I played with him for a season, I was a coach in the first team and in the reserves and I watched Michael evolve, develop, he has been a top, top player for us. He filled Roy Keane’s boots, it’s not easy coming in and taking his number and to be honest, a couple of days when I was home and last night on Wednesday, I have spoken with him lots on the phone recently and he’s been great.
That was his debut yeah. That was rainy. I actually had the captain’s armband on when I came on and scored the goal. Louie (Saha?) passed me the ball. I remember that game so he came in and you know we had three years without winning a trophy, 03-04, 04-05, 05-06, we didn’t win the league in those three years. He came in and we won the league 06-07. Michael knows what it is about being a Manchester United player and being a winner because we have got to get used to winning again and challenging for trophies.

Ole on young players
Yeah I have done and I have always been interested and of course being a manager in Molde in Norway that kind of you know that range of players, I have been trying with Nicky a couple of times to get players on loan to Molde a couple of times so yes I have kept an eye on the academy. Kieran’s done a great job with the academy, now he’s in with the first team and is really highly regarded. It’s the same with coaches, us players, you want them to know what Manchester United is about and he’s been there now for a few years and I think that link between the academy and the first team is crucial, it’s because we bring players and develop players in a certain way and then they know when they get to the first team this is how we want to play.

Ole on United’s tradition
That’s the identity, that’s our identity, I was in the reserves as well myself so I’ve been on that side of it. The link between the first team and the academy, I know first-hand how important it is that me and Nicky, me and Ricky and me and Neil that we speak a lot because it’s in our tradition. That doesn’t just go back to the Class of 92, it goes back even further than Sir Alex and to Sir Matt Busby. He had a saying and I will never forget it: “If you’re good enough, you’re old enough”. I really hope that I can be a part of that tradition and there are some great youngsters coming through I have to say. I watched the Chelsea game the youth cup game here the other day and that was a fantastic result and performance.

Ole on David De Gea
Yeah, I have spoken to David and Emilio [Alvarez] (goalkeeping coach) and he loves Emilio, he really, really is so complimentary about him. We have one of the best goalkeepers, the best goalkeeper in the world. He has been player of the year so many times over I think eight years, and he is still a young keeper developing so that’s fantastic for me to come in. Maybe I’ll have to do some finishing training with him just to peg him down a little bit.

Ole on Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford
Of course yeah. I remember I gave Jesse Lingard his debut in the reserves away to Burnley and because the youth team just had a game the day before, he didn’t play in the youth game so he played in my team in the reserves. We were playing Burnley and within two minutes, this little tiny kid, he goes into a 50-50 with this massive 6 foot 5 centre back, who is now playing at Burnley as well, Kevin Long and I remember it still he absouletly clattered him that little kid. There was no fear in him and I thought you’ve got a chance. Kevin Long had to come off unfortunately but Jesse showed me then there was something and Mark Dempsey with me at Molde, he had Jesse since he was seven and it’s one of them we spoke about a lot when I was over in Molde, but the way he has developed is fantastic and of course I had Paul [Pogab] in the reserves, not for long because he went past the reserves and up to the first team very quickly he was that special of a talent. Marcus [Rashford] I knew about, I watched Marcus when he was very young. He was three or four years younger than Jesse so he was just on his way up and I knew about him so those are the three that I have seen since they were kids. It’s great to see them now playing like they do.

Ole on speaking to the squad
That’s one of the first things you do as a manager, you get to know the people, you get to speak with them. I have spoken with most of them today, I just haven’t had the time to get round to everyone, I have got a few other things to do but it seems like a great set of lads, professional, just wanting to do well and want to learn. Of course I spoke to Kieran and Michael about them, but I will spend a lot of time over the next few weeks to get to know the players.

Ole on facing PSG in the Champions League
Yeah we beat Sevilla actually the year they won, the third year they won the Europa League, we beat them in Molde. Ahh fantastic you know, that was Monday I was watching not knowing anything about what’s happening here and you think PSG, what a fantastic chance. You know the special nights at Old Trafford, you know the floodlight nights, like the manager always talked about, the boss, you’ve got top talents to play against our great top talents, you’ve got Neymar, Mbappe, Cavani, those types of players, those are the nights Man United come to the fore, that’s when I can’t wait for it but we have got many more games before that. We want to build a foundation now and go into the game against PSG with confidence. If we can do that, great.

Ole on his Treble winning goal in 1999
There has been a few times I’ve been reminded yeah and I have had a few pats on the back. That was the best night of my life and I have to say it was a great night. Twenty years on the 26th of May, there’s a reason behind these grey hairs, it’s not just about worry and management, it’s been 20 years. It’s unbelievable how time flies.

Ole on what makes Man Utd’s DNA
First thing I felt when I came to Manchester United is that it’s a family club. I was so amazed when I got to see how close-knit everybody was. It’s a family but then again then I developed and you see the winning instinct and it’s about giving youngsters the chance. I have built, not me building Molde, call it my Molde, this is my Molde. Manchester United is Molde. History, tradition, giving youngsters a chance to play football and winning and it’s unbelievable how it’s developed since I came in 1996. It’s huge. It’s the biggest club in the world, the best supporters in the world, we have got the best players in the world.
Ole’s message to fans
It’s great being back home, I just, as I was when I was a player, I promise I will give it everything I have got for us to have success. I will do my very best along with the staff to get the players playing and to enjoy themselves I can’t wait to get it going.

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PRESIDENT BUHARI RECEIVES IN SPECIAL AUDIENCE HIS STAFF AS MILITARY HEAD OF STATE AT THE STATE HOUSE

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 President Muhammadu Buhari being presented with a gift by the Alake of Egbaland and former PSO to Chief of Staff, HRH Oba Adedotun Gbadebo on behalf of former staff during a reunion of staff members of 1984-85 military administration in State House Sunday night in Abuja. 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed what his former deputy, late Major General Tunde Idiagbon did for him after his government was toppled in 1985.

Buhari said Idiagbon, who was in Saudi Arabia insisted on returning back to Nigeria, saying, “if they kill him, let them kill me also.”
Speaking when he received former staff who worked with him during his tenure as military Head of State between January 1984 to August 1985 on Sunday night at the State House, Abuja, Buhari commended Idiagbon for what he termed “uncommon loyalty and courage.”

President Muhammadu Buhari chats with his Former ADC as military head of State, Alhaji Almustapha H. Jokolo and his Private Secretary, Alhaji Lawal Aliyu (Ubandoman Daura) during a reunion of ex-staff members in the 1984-85 military administration in State House, Sunday night in Abuja.

A statement by his media aide, Femi Adesina quoted Buhari as saying: “He was in Saudi Arabia, performing the hajj, when we were removed. The Saudi king said the coup was not just against us, but also against him, since Idiagbon was praying with him.
“He asked him to send for his family to join him in Saudi until it was clear where I was. Idiagbon said no, I want to go back, Your Majesty. If they kill him, let them kill me also.
“He joined the next flight and came back. I think there’s no way you can describe such loyalty, such courage. May his soul rest in perfect peace.”

Buhari also commended his former Aide-de-Camp, Alhaji Mustapha Jokolo, who used his initiative to put the parley together.
Speaking, Jokolo said though the departure of the former staff from government was “unexpected and disappointing, if not regrettable,” the affected people recall the ugly experiences today, “not with bitterness because individually, they had since moved on with their lives, though painfully aware that they were victims of misplaced aggression.”
“The fact that among us today are highly respected Royal Fathers, businessmen, captains of industry, lawyers and other specialists in the professions, and a university professor, speaks volumes that God is good and that values of discipline and perseverance that we imbibed under Your Excellency’s tutelage had not been in vain,” he said.

 

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US think tank cancels ‘conversation’ with Peter Obi

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An event organised by the Center For Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) inviting the People’s Democratic Party vice-presidential candidate, Peter Obi, has been cancelled.

Vice Presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Peter Obi smiles during a campaign rally in Ilorin, north-central Nigeria, on December 5, 2018. – Candidates of the Nigeria’s opposition party Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) launch their political campaign on December 5, 2018 ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Prior to its final cancellation, the date of this event was moved from January 15th to January 22nd, 2019.
“Note, the event on 1/22 featuring H.E. Peter Obi, the Nigerian vice-presidential candidate, is now canceled,” CSIS tweeted Sunday evening.

The group did not reveal why the event was finally cancelled.
The vice presidential candidate was billed to speak at the event in Washington D.C. on the economic and security objectives of PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan and nonprofit policy research organization that was established over 50 years ago in Washington, D.C.
The CSIS provides strategic insights and policy solutions to help decision makers chart a course to better the world.


Additional report From Guardian 

 

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After a damning letter, Obasanjo praises Buhari

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After his second damning letter, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo said Nigerians must appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari for contributing to the development of the nation.
Obasanjo stated on Sunday at a press conference held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, after the release of another 16-page letter in which he described Buhari as another Gen. Sani Abacha.
The elder statesman said the briefing was a follow-up to the letter earlier letter which he wrote to Buhari in January 2018, advising President against re-contesting.
He said that developments after the 2018 letter had proven the contents right, adding that his predictions had been fulfilled.
”I believe that as a watchman, it is appropriate at this time to speak out and where there is need to raise alert, I should raise it and where there is need to commend, I should commend,” he said.
He commended Buhari for respecting the views of Nigerians who had called for a new Inspector-General of Police (IGP) over fears that the former IGP, Ibrahim Idris, might aid election rigging.
”I personally commend the president for yielding to popular outcry to let the former Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, go when he is due as he had the track records and history of being assigned to rig elections for the incumbent,” he said.
Obasanjo, who insisted that history could not ignore Buhari’s contributions to Nigeria’s development, prayed that the president would witness God’s purpose for Nigeria.
”History will note that he has been there.
”My fervent prayer is that President Buhari may live to see the will and purpose of God for Nigeria,” he said.
Obasanjo also said that some clerics would hold the president to his word on free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.
He, however, called on the INEC Chairman to stand firm and carry out his duties with competence and unbending neutrality.
The former president also frowned at the prosecution of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, over alleged non-declaration of his assets without following due process.
He further warned that with the liquidation of the ISIS in Iraq and Libya, Africa would be the next port of concentration.
Obasanjo, therefore, called on all African countries to join the struggle in eliminating terrorists from the region, adding that Nigeria must play a vanguard role.
In a response to Obasanjo’s second letter, presidency said the 90-year-old former president needs a good doctor and in anticipation of a good treatment.
The spokesman of President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Garba Shehu, wished Obasanjo ”get well soon”.
Obasanjo, a partisan in next month’s election, is supporting opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who he had savaged in a book and dubbed a ‘corrupt man’ and even invoked God’s wrath upon himself, if he ever backed Atiku’s presidential ambition.
Garba regarded Obasanjo’s attack against Buhari as puerile and the “the last push by desperate politicians who can’t handle the President(Buhari) politically and have resorted to subterfuge’’.
“This language of his 16-page letter, likening President Buhari to General Sani Abacha, a man he dreaded and the one who jailed him under military laws is most unfitting from a former President of Nigeria”, Garba said.
“The claim that President Buhari has put in place rigging machinery is both outlandish and outrageous. We are unable to get the words to describe a 90-year old liar, except to say that by the publication of this tissue of lies against the President, he Obasanjo, not the President will fall from everyone’s esteem.
“As repeatedly said of him, since Chief Obasanjo left office in 1979, he never let every succeeding leader of the country function freely, and this included the one he personally handpicked against all known rules drawn up by the party that put him in the office of the President.
“But Chief Obasanjo is jealous because President Buhari has more esteem than him and the sooner he learns to respect him the better.
“It is a notorious fact that in dealing with any leader that he failed to control, he resorted to these puerile attacks. As the grand patron, more correctly the grandfather of corruption as described by the National Assembly, Chief Obasanjo released today’s letter purely for the reason of rescuing his thriving corruption establishment.
“The elections starting in February will be free and fair as promised the nation and the international community by President Buhari.
“What Chief Obasanjo and his co-travellers in the PDP should expect is that from the outcome, we will teach them a political lesson that they will never forget. This margin will be much bigger than we had in 2015.
“Claims that President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have embarked on the president’s “self- succession project, by recruiting collation officers who are already awarding results based on their projects to actualise the perpetuation agenda, in which the people will not matter and the votes will not count” is not only utterly false, but a copious note from the book on the failed third term agenda of President Obasanjo.
“The man, President Buhari who has taken Nigeria’s reputation to a higher level internationally and is working hard to improve on the records of elections he found in place cannot descend to the level that Obasanjo has himself sunk.
“As for his attacks of the administration’s records in fighting corruption, what the former President said is no more than evidence that President Buhari’s war against corruption is succeeding. They thought it is all a joke.
“A leader who took USD 16 billion “upfront” to supply electric power yet failed to add a single megawatt to the national grid and to date, there is no trace of the money is jittery that he will be called to account. He is a coward.
“Chief Obasanjo, manifesting a confused state of mind blames President Buhari for the fall of Libya into a failed state and the unholy alliance between the Boko Haram terrorists and the ISIS, while at the same time calling it an African problem, saying “the struggle must be for all West African, Central African, North African and most East African States,” which really does not amount to saying anything new.
“Nigerians looked up to him as a role model and a ray of hope to ethical and clean leadership until President Yar’Adua called him out to explain what happened to the sixteen billion dollars of taxpayer’s money. It is clear that with him sitting on top of the heap of corruption, he is no different from the crowd he leads”.
(NAN)

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Presidency to Obasanjo: ‘Get well soon’

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Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former Nigerian leader needs a good doctor and in anticipation of a good treatment, a spokesman of President Muhammadu Buhari, wishes he should ”get well soon”.
It was part of the response from the Presidential Villa to Obasanjo following the 16 page letter he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari and which he released this afternoon in Abeokuta.
Obasanjo, a partisan in next month’s election, is supporting opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who he had savaged in a book and dubbed a ‘corrupt man’ and even invoked God’s wrath upon himself, if he ever backed Atiku’s presidential ambition.
Garba Shehu, the Senior Special assistant to President Buhari regarded Obasanjo’s attack against Buhari as puerile and the “the last push by desperate politicians who can’t handle the President(Buhari) politically and have resorted to subterfuge.
“This language of his 16-page letter, likening President Buhari to General Sani Abacha, a man he dreaded and the one who jailed him under military laws is most unfitting from a former President of Nigeria”, Garba said.
“The claim that President Buhari has put in place rigging machinery is both outlandish and outrageous. We are unable to get the words to describe a 90-year old liar, except to say that by the publication of this tissue of lies against the President, he Obasanjo, not the President will fall from everyone’s esteem.
“As repeatedly said of him, since Chief Obasanjo left office in 1979, he never let every succeeding leader of the country function freely, and this included the one he personally handpicked against all known rules drawn up by the party that put him in the office of the President.
“But Chief Obasanjo is jealous because President Buhari has more esteem than him and the sooner he learns to respect him the better.
“It is a notorious fact that in dealing with any leader that he failed to control, he resorted to these puerile attacks. As the grand patron, more correctly the grandfather of corruption as described by the National Assembly, Chief Obasanjo released today’s letter purely for the reason of rescuing his thriving corruption establishment.
“The elections starting in February will be free and fair as promised the nation and the international community by President Buhari.
“What Chief Obasanjo and his co-travellers in the PDP should expect is that from the outcome, we will teach them a political lesson that they will never forget. This margin will be much bigger than we had in 2015.
“Claims that President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have embarked on the president’s “self- succession project, by recruiting collation officers who are already awarding results based on their projects to actualise the perpetuation agenda, in which the people will not matter and the votes will not count” is not only utterly false, but a copious note from the book on the failed third term agenda of President Obasanjo.
“The man, President Buhari who has taken Nigeria’s reputation to a higher level internationally and is working hard to improve on the records of elections he found in place cannot descend to the level that Obasanjo has himself sunk.
“As for his attacks of the administration’s records in fighting corruption, what the former President said is no more than evidence that President Buhari’s war against corruption is succeeding. They thought it is all a joke.
“A leader who took USD 16 billion “upfront” to supply electric power yet failed to add a single megawatt to the national grid and to date, there is no trace of the money is jittery that he will be called to account. He is a coward.
“Chief Obasanjo, manifesting a confused state of mind blames President Buhari for the fall of Libya into a failed state and the unholy alliance between the Boko Haram terrorists and the ISIS, while at the same time calling it an African problem, saying “the struggle must be for all West African, Central African, North African and most East African States,” which really does not amount to saying anything new.
“Nigerians looked up to him as a role model and a ray of hope to ethical and clean leadership until President Yar’Adua called him out to explain what happened to the sixteen billion dollars of taxpayer’s money. It is clear that with him sitting on top of the heap of corruption, he is no different from the crowd he leads”.

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REAL HOPE FOR NIGERIA WITH APGA’S GBOR, CHUKWUEKE

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Hope for Nigeria has become synonymous with all campaign slogans every election year, right from the 1979 elections to the present.

However, by reason of the constant unpleasant and disappointing experiences suffered by Nigerians, the definition of hope as often preached by political gladiators, seems different from what Nigerians really need and expect.

This informed the need to differentiate ‘hope’ canvassed by many political parties, past and present, from ‘real hope’ as presented by W.T Gbor and Jerry Chukwueke, the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA respectively.

Sadly, our political environment has become a theatre of sort where all manner of drama play out every election year. In the past, regional, ethnic and tribal sentiments, form the theme. But today a lot more has been thrown into the mix like avarice, nepotism, favouritism, high level corruption, evident in the gluttonous quest for power and personal aggrandizement.

While the jostling for power occupies the selfish minds of the covetous politicians, the masses are neglected and recruited during election for a pittance.

The trend is consistent and is being recycled lately to favour a few who had pitched tents with either the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) or the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The two parties, having mastered the art of perpetuating corruption in different guises, take turns to beguile Nigerians with false hope, while mindlessly looting the national treasury.

The constitution, skewed to favour them, constantly protects only the rich while the poor suffers. The power of the constitution is invoked at will to proscribe and annihilate a peaceful people while protecting and canonizing a murderous horde.

The country continues to cringe in fear as marauding and killer herdsmen, protected by identifiable forces, wet the earth with the blood of fellow countrymen. What is more, their power drunk ilk, look on in self denial, pointing accusing fingers from rocky palaces.

Hunger and deprivation became the hallmark of a once prosperous country, richly blessed with human and natural resources. As countries hitherto on the development band moved on to become great economies of the world, Nigeria had moved backward to become the poverty capital of the world.

Our mono economy continues to stagger under the burden piled on it by the rapacious and overtly greedy political class represented by the PDP and APC. Sadly, their gluttonic thirst could not be quenched even after drinking tons from the oily elixir of our black gold.

With the world dynamically evolving towards renewable energy, our oil-drunk, deaf and myopic leaders continue to grovel for crumbs. They are so much blinded by lust for power and ill-gotten wealth that they continue to scramble, losing sight of the fundamental responsibility of nation building.

Even with all their barefaced antics and guile, they still approach unashamedly, begging for votes, bringing with them false hope as they had always done. They do this consciously having developed a formula of subjecting the people to extreme poverty and hunger, which leaves them no option than to follow sheepishly, whoever dangles bread and a few naira notes before them.

Then the usual strings of hopeful rhetoric and unfulfilled promises follows viz: “We will provide water, we will make power stable, we will provide jobs, we will improve security, free education for all, free housing for all, free health for all, salary for the unemployed, free cars, free jets, free ships, free air…” Free everything, both things realistic and unrealistic.

The refrain has been the same over the years and nothing has changed. The forthcoming election still parades same breed of lecherous, avaricious, dubious and nepotistic politicians in what many have termed a two horse race between the PDP and the APC.

However, a third and hitherto unrecognized force, keeps gaining momentum in APGA’s Gbor and Chukwueke. The real message of hope resonates in the clear and sound policies outlined in their manifesto. The vision to restructure Nigeria along fiscal and economic lines and creation of modern and more lucrative ways of doing business is one sure and indisputable message of real hope.

Gbor and Chukwueke have continued to reel out facts with regard to the problems beclouding Nigeria, offering solutions and seeking answers where necessary. They have not come with the serpentine double-flicked, sugar-coated and decptive tongue of the usual Nigerian politician. They are not promising heaven on earth and ‘free everything’ as others do. They are realistic enough to recognize that everyone must be involved in repositioning Nigeria for greatness and prosperity. This is buoyed by the APGA mantra that no one and no place is left behind.

Chief among their policy statement is the urgent need to diversify the economy and move Nigeria away from mono economy and over dependence on oil. This is an issue that is long over due. However, selfishness and lack of will had derailed past leaders from the right path. They had concentrated on the huge income from oil and lost sight of the need to tap into various deposits of natural resources, thereby not developing other sectors of the economy.

Gbor and Chukwueke have re-established hope with their commitment to realizing this noble goal.

Next is also another urgent need to restructure Nigeria. This has proved to be the focal point of every ongoing political discourse. But while most discussions tilt to a geographical restructuring and decentralization of power, APGA’s Gbor and Chukwueke introduced a new and more rewarding perspective: The fiscal and economic restructuring of Nigeria. This is with a view to having geo-economic zones as against geo-political zones in the country to wake up the consciousness of Nigerians to the importance of economic empowerment rather than political empowerment. This will also engender less dependence on federal allocations and promote self sufficiency.

The introduction of modern trends in businesses and commercial activities will also help to curb unhealthy rivalry and unnecessary bloodshed. Ranching of cattle and other livestock is the way to go. Establishment of ranches and improvement of irrigation in the North provides for better management of livestock and year round grazing fields. This presents a better remedy to the present malady of herdsmen/farmer clashes than the unappealling establishment of grazing fields all over the country.

The battle against terrorism fought conscientiously all over the world, appears to have become a circus show within political circles in Nigeria. Phrases like ‘technically defeated’ suddenly emerged to defend obvious incapacity and lack of needed technicalities and or political will to deal with the notorious and murderous sect.

The odious and nepotistic body language yet pervaded as pythons, crocodiles and cats, took turns in murderous blood letting of poor, unarmed and hapless citizens while murderous rapists and genocidal extremists rampage free.

This trend must end. Gen Gbor and Jerry Chukwueke possess the requisite experience in diplomacy, negotiations and combat to deal with situations as this. They are equally poised to hire mercenaries, if needed, to fight and clear out Boko Haram and all terrorists from Nigeria once and for all.

The reign of peace in Nigeria will surely stabilise the nation and make it even more attractive for local and foreign investors. The ripple effect will be a thriving economy, jobs for Nigerians, security and safety, adequate healthcare, quality education, infrastructural development, stable and constant power supply among many others.

This is the real hope that resides in APGA. It behoves on Nigerians, however, to choose wisely and repose their trust in Rtd Gen John W.T Gbor and Chief Jerry Chukwueke in the forthcoming election.

It is our collective responsibility to reject the old, treacherous ways and embrace the new dawn. We should unite completely to vote for APGA. Nigeria needs to be restructured and repositioned towards unity, peace and progress. No one and no place will be left behind in this quest to rebuild Nigeria.

Vision Gbor / Chukwueke 2019 Team

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PRESS STATEMENT BY APC PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN COUNCIL ON ATIKU’S CLANDESTINE VISIT TO THE U.S

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In our press release issued on Sunday, December 30, 2018, titled “WHEN THE THIEF IS SHOUTING THIEF”: THE CASE OF ALHAJI ATIKU ABUBAKAR”, we correctly predicted as follows: “By running for President of Nigeria, Atiku intends to get some immunity from prosecution. Already he is hoping to obtain a visa to visit the US, as a guest of the State department, a concession that the US will grant to a Presidential candidate of Africa’s biggest Nation”.

Therefore, we were not surprised by his visit to the U.S. For us, this visit is really a non-event considering the issues involved in the forthcoming election. However, we have bad news for those who think this is a momentous event for Atiku Abubakar: the visit was nothing but a downright catastrophe because rather than dispel the fact of indictments hanging over his head, it further confirms and reinforces those facts for the following reasons:

(1) The visit had all the trappings of a fugitive sneaking into America under a “special diplomatic waiver”. For the candidate of the major opposition party in Nigeria, it is an absolute disaster that the visit was not announced ahead of time in Nigeria, with his programmes and itinerary clearly spelt out, the decent and customary minimum standard of such visits. This culminated in his close aides issuing conflicting statements about the visit when he was already on his way there. In fact, one of them called Paul Ibe actually spoke to the Press that his principal was nowhere near America! Such was the secrecy of the planning and execution of that visit.

(2) It is shameful that a presidential candidate of a major opposition party in Africa’s most populous country would visit America, and the international press was kept in the dark: There was NO SINGLE press conference with the array of international media and correspondents required for such ‘high-profile’ visit. Atiku knows he has no moral stamina to withstand the avalanche of hard questions bordering on his sordid past in America. In fact, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar claims he visited the Voice of America (VOA) but only did two carefully-packaged interviews with the Hausa service and the English to Africa program – platforms that have always been available to him back home. How strange! In fact, both the Twitter handle (@VOANews) and official website of VOA did not mention any such visit of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to their station. For news hounds, you would agree with us that such an ‘important personality’ cannot walk into a news premises without reporters swooping on him. Whatever he went to do in the premises of the VOA must have been a carefully-arranged private visit for the photo-ops, which was intended to scam Nigerians. What more evidence do we need of a “sneak-in-sneak-out” arrangement than this?.

(3) For a candidate who claims he wants to “get Nigeria working again” (a meaningless phrase) to sneak into America without meeting major players in private businesses is a curiosity and an indication that we are dealing with a candidate with a dodgy and questionable character. He claims he went to the U.S Chamber of Commerce, which is supposed to be a business federation. Again, the Twitter handle (@USChamber) and the website of the organization make no mention of the visit of such an ‘important personality’ to them. Maybe their famous American lobbyist on a salary of N9million per month can help them ‘do something’ about this after this press statement.

(4) It is also an anomaly that the candidate of the major opposition party in Nigeria sneaked into America and did not meet large sections of political leaders of similar ideologies and persuasions towards which he claims to be inclined. For all his claim to be going to America to meet “U.S Government officials”, he only succeeded in meeting a certain “Congressman Smith”, who is the equivalent of a member of the House of Representatives in Nigeria. You would agree with us that as dignified and respected as the office of a Member of the House of Representatives is, an important personality cannot come to Nigeria on an official visit and claim he has met the “Nigerian government officials” after he pays a private visit to that Member. For all we know, the Congressman Smith may just be a private friend of Dr. Bukola Saraki or Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. That reminds us of Atiku’s famous legislator friend he threw under the bus, Williams Jefferson, who taught us how to hide laundered money ( which was meant for Atiku Abubakar) in the deep freezer when the cops came knocking on his door!

In all, it is very obvious now that the so-called American trip was a desperate trip for photo-ops. Throughout the trip, Atiku Abubakar looked cagey, frightened and on edge. We note the close support always provided by Senate President Bukola Saraki like a comforting guardian angel. The visit and arrangements smack of things local yahoo yahoo boys do to scam their victims. It is utterly disgusting and puerile that it has been brought into a serious political contest.

Rather than being the highpoint of his campaign, the American visit is indeed the lowest watermark of Atiku Abubakar’s campaign. It was a political and P.R disaster. The statements he released from there only to the Nigerian Press back home that he intends to alienate other countries and do business with the U.S is actually the antithesis to our policy of non-alignment.

For the information of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his handlers, Nigerians know that Nigeria is already working again for everyone and not for a few. As confirmed by him in a town-hall meeting a few days before his disastrous trip to the U.S, he said he wants to “get Nigeria working again” only for few of his friends who he claims he wants to make rich. If he cannot get them rich now from his private businesses, it is obvious that he is referring to the use of public funds to make his friends rich. Nigerians should judge for themselves whether this is the type of President they want.

Finally, whoever advised Atiku Abubakar to undertake that trip to America just destroyed his entire campaign and exposed him for who he is – a questionable character who has continued to leave huge questions over his suitability for the highest office of the land and as such cannot be trusted by the Nigerian people.

Thank you.

FESTUS KEYAMO, SAN, FCIArb (UK)
Director, Strategic Communications,
APC Presidential Campaign Council
(Official Spokesperson)

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A CLARION CALL ON GEN. GBOR , CHUKWUEKE TO SAVE NIGERIA AS BUHARI AND ATIKU EXPOSE THEIR WEAKNESSES .

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Even as many Nigerians are once again ruminating over the capability of President Mohammadu Buhari to continue as their leader after the forthcoming general elections, some of them are even more appalled by the pronouncement of the Presidential standard bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who in a public function at Lagos, unequivocally told the whole world that he would promote cronyism by “not only enriching members of his family but his friends” if he gets elected as the country’s next president. Atiku also unambiguously said that he would sell off the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, perhaps to his family members and cronies.
The PDP presidential candidate who was Nigeria’s vice president for eight years, from 1999 to 2007, went ahead to vow of his readiness to die in order to actualise his dreams of selling off the NNPC, which is the common patrimony of all Nigerian citizens.

With this and President Buhari’s questionable physical and mental strength, many people are now in serious doubt about the capabilty and credibility of him and Atiku Abubakar respectively to govern Nigeria again from May 29 this year to the same period in 2023. While Predident Buhari’s personal integrity seems impeccable, there are many weighty allegations of corruption against Alhaji Atiku. Notwithstanding that his former boss, ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo has apparently reconciled with him, Obasanjo has not attempted to removed the toga of a Shylock which he personally placed on Atiku.

The aforementioned quote of the PDP presidential candidate about his commitment to sell off Nigeria’s assets to his allies has not helped the desperate efforts of his media handlers to launder his image as an unscrupulous wheeler and dealer.

As the vice president of the country for eight years, Atiku, in his capacity as the “Chief Superintendent” of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, was invariably in charge of the controversial sales and privatisation of the the country’s assets such as the defunct, Nigerian Telecommunications, NITEL, National Insurance Company of Nigeria, NICON, Nigerian Electric Power Authority, NEPA, Ajeokuta Steel Company among others. Some pundits allege that these assets were sold at give away prices, yet Nigerian citizens are not getting value for their money and also being short changed and exploited brazenly by the so-called foreign and local investors or buyers of the public assets. For President Buhari, he has obviously failed to meet the expectations of many Nigerians vis-a-vis the flowering promises made by his party, the APC, for which majority of the electorate voted for them in the 2015 general elections.
It is therefore against this background that the Nigerian voters should this time around have a rethink and vote massively for one of the three most powerful political parties in the country, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, whose presidential ticket is being held by retired Major General John Gbor and Chief Jerry Chukwueke.

The two gentlemen, unlike the Buhari/Osinbajo of the APC and the Atiku/Obi ticket of the PDP, are not saddled with any filthy or heavy baggage of corruption and gross incompetence. Moreover, the duo of General Gbor and Chief Chukwueke, have publicly presented their agenda known as FIVE COVENANTS WITH NIGERIANS.

In their blueprint, the APGA standard bearers unequivocally said that the most effective channel to rescue the country from her numerous socioeconomic and political malaise is by a dispassionate and quick return to the practice of true federalism as was the case in the country’s First Republic. The APGA “Covenant with Nigerians” contains how the present serious security challenges in the country, especially as it concerns the Boko Haram insurgency and the perennial herders-farmers bloody clashes in Northern Nigeria would be permanently resolved.

The Gbor/Chukwueke agenda for Nigeria also contains plans on how the country would successfully cope and survive economically in a post crude oil economy which is imminent in the foreseeable future.

VISION GBOR/CHUKWUEKE 2019 TEAM

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Nigerian President Buhari thronged by supporters

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A surging crowd of supporters thronged Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in the central city of Jos Saturday forcing him to cut short a campaign rally as he seeks re-election in polls next month.
The former military ruler was whisked away still waving at the crowd after supporters of his All Progressive Congress (APC) rushed the podium at the 28,000 capacity Rwan Pam stadium, tripping over public address system cables in a frenzy to catch a glimpse of him.
Buhari, 76, has brushed off questions about his health to campaign for the February 16 vote in Africa’s most populous nation and leading oil producer, which is expected to be a closely fought race.
At the Jos rally Buhari managed to present APC candidates in the state for the governorship and legislative elections before he was ushered out of the stadium through a backdoor, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.
In a statement released after the event, Buhari’s office said the president thanked the “ecstatic supporters”, but asked for those attending future events to tone down their enthusiasm.
APC supporters had earlier besieged the president’s motorcade as it made its way into the stadium, forcing him to stay in his car for 20 minutes while military and police personnel struggled to push back the crowd.
Buhari’s security detail then continued to push back fans cheering “sai Baba”, a popular campaign slogan, while he waded through the crowd to his seat.
– Decades of conflict –
Plateau State, of which Jos is the capital, has born the brunt of decades of conflict between settler Muslim Hausa and Fulani herders, and indigenous Christian farmers.
Buhari, a northern Muslim, has come under intense criticism in connection with deadly farmer-herder clashes in central Nigeria.
His critics accuse him of failure to end the violence because Fulani herders are his kinsmen, a charge that could potentially cost him support in the so-called Middle-Belt, a mixed but mostly Christian region that separates the predominantly Muslim north and the largely Christian south.
The conflict, which began over land and grazing rights, has taken on an ethno-religious dimension and entrenched identity politics in which ethnic and religious affiliations determine voting patterns.
Buhari secured the Middle Belt in the 2015 presidential election on the belief he would end the decades old conflict.
The killings have continued however, and political analysts believe Buhari might not do well there in the February polls.

This year’s elections will be the fifth time Buhari has stood for the presidency. He lost in 2003, 2007 and 2011, and disputed the results in court.
He was finally successful in 2015 in what was the first victory for an opposition candidate in Nigeria’s history.
Buhari is expected to face stiff competition in the vote from former vice-president Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The pair were set to go head-to-head in a televised debate scheduled in Abuja on Saturday, but Buhari declined to attend, causing Abubakar to storm out in protest.

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Atiku gunning for Buhari abandons TV debate

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Alhaji Atiku Abubakar abandoned a live television debate on Saturday, because President Muhammadu Buhari, who he wanted to ‘attack’, was not available on the programme as well.
The debate was organised by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria and last December, it featured vice-presidential candidates.
Atiku who returned today from a visit to the United States sees himself as Buhari’s main rival and a pretender to the throne of Aso Rock.
In a statement, he asked President Buhari to “to choose a date and time for a debate where he will be present and I will be there, hopefully with the other candidates as well”.
President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo featured on another TV programme on Wednesday, where the duo gave account of the achievements of the administration in the last three and half years, and what the government will do if re-elected.
The past two days has equally been filled with activities for Buhari as he campaigned in Kogi, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Kaduna, and today, the campaign moved to Minna in Niger State and Jos in Plateau state, where mammoth crowd received him and party leaders.
But Atiku was disappointed that Buhari did not come for the debate.
“We came here for a Presidential debate, not a candidacy debate, and I, Atiku Abubakar can not challenge or question an administration where the man at the helm of the affairs of the nation is not present to defend himself or his policies”, said Atiku.
“After all you cannot shave a man’s head in his absence. I do not believe in attacking a man who is NOT here to defend himself.
“As a leader and former vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, let me first apologise to all Nigerians, my fellow candidates and the moderator for the the APC Presidential Candidate’s absence in this debate. His non-appearance is a slight on ALL of us and our democracy.
“Secondly, with all due respect to my fellow candidates, Fela Durotoye, Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu and to the moderator Mark Sugar and with apologies to all Nigerians here and at home expecting an interesting debate, I regret that I will not be able to go on with this debate due to President Buhari’s absence.
“I however challenge President Buhari to choose a date and time for a debate where he will be present and I will be there, hopefully with the other candidates as well”.
Present at today’s debate were Obiageli Ezekwesili, the presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, Fela Durotoye, candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria and Kinglsey Moghalu, who represented the Young Progressives Party.
However, if Atiku had thought his boycott of the TV debate would spin some PR dividends, it turned out otherwise.
The Punch reported that Twitterati condemned his action and Buhari’s, saying it was disrespectful to Nigerians.
From Twitter posts, Atiku was even more savaged than Buhari.
One Twitter user, Wale Gates, said: “Atiku’s advisers didn’t get this move right at all. This was your “See I’m here, I care, I feel your pain, I can hear you, the President couldn’t be bothered” moment and you blew it”.
Another post by Igala King said: “People are more angry at @atiku who flew in from the US, landed at almost 0300pm, changed & was at the venue of #2019Debate at 0615pm than they are @MBuhari who is Abuja but refuses to take a 5min drive from Aso Rock to the venue? Lmao”.

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Buhari to inaugurate Zik Mausoleum next week

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President Muhammadu Buhari will on Jan. 24, inaugurate the Zik Mausoleum in Onitsha, as part of activities slated for his re-election campaign in Anambra.
Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, the South East Zonal Coordinator of Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign Organisation made the announcement at the All Progressives Congress (APC) stakeholders meeting in Awka on Saturday.
Ikeazor said that on arrival, Buhari would pay a courtesy a visit on the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe and his Council, before proceeding to inaugurate the Mausoleum.
“You are aware that the Zik Mausoleum has been abandoned for so many years but at the inception of the Buhari administration in 2015, Mr President promised to complete the project and it has been completed,” she said.
She said that thousands of APC faithful and supporters were expected to attend the campaign rally at the Holy Trinity Basilica ground in Onitsha.
“The party has concluded plans to deploy strategies to win the election including door-to-door and community campaigns.
“The people of South East are extremely prepared to give Mr President better votes than in 2015,” she assured.
Also speaking, the State Coordinator and Senator representing Anambra South, Sen. Andy Uba said the meeting was also arranged to reconcile aggrieved members of the party ahead of the election.
“For us to be able to win, help the president, candidates and the zone, we must be able to seek ways of working together.
“The president will win with more votes than he had before,” Uba said.
The state Acting APC Chairman, Mr Basil Ejidike said the party was committed to ensuring victory for the President and all its candidates in the state.
He called on party faithful and supporters of Buhari to turn out massively for the mega rally.

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