Chelsea Receive Huge Blow In Paulo Dybala Chase

A few days ago, it was reported that Dybala had been added to Chelsea’s wish list as newly appointed manager Mauricio Pochettino is a huge admirer of the Argentine attacker. Dybala joined Roma last summer on a free transfer and has a release clause of €12 million for non-Italian clubs.

Amid regular links to CFC, the World Cup 2022 winner has finally spoken about his desire and his future. Nicolas Jackson and Christopher Nkunku have already arrived at Chelsea but Pochettino has indicated that there could be more signings to reinforce the attack. The rumours of a move have fuelled since Dybala’s appearances in England as he attended the Wimbeldon and the Formula One British Grand Prix.

This would be a huge blow for Chelsea as the player himself has made his intentions clear. He insists that he is happy at Roma and not looking to leave. CFC defender Thiago Silva had spoken about Chelsea and made his feelings known that he would be very happy if the 29 year old joined the Blues.

Now, Dybala wont be a like for like replacement for Mount. The Argentine is capable of playing behind the striker as well as on the right flank, where he drifts inward playing just off the striker or as an interior. Dybala is certainly a player that can add a lot to Chelsea’s attack but as things stand it is a full stop from player’s side.

Dismiss HURIWA’s Call To Scrap NPC, CSOs Tell Tinubu

Two Civil Society Organisations, Save Nigeria Movement (SNM) and the College of Bishops, Imams and Clergy Council, have urged President Bola Tinubu to disregard the unpatriotic and baseless call by Human Rights Writer’s Association of Nigeria(HURIWA),to scrap the National Population Commission (NPC).

A statement issued by Rev. Solomon Semaka, Convener, Save Nigeria Movement(SNM) and Bishop Abel Kings, National Coordinator, College of Bishops, Imams and Clergy Council(CBICC), berated HURIWA for making “such a ridiculous call in spite of the centrality of the census in the planning of any society.”

The CSOs strongly condemned the call made by HURIWA, describing it as a “misguided comment, as it has failed to recognise the importance of the Commission in gathering accurate population data which is essential for effective governance, resource allocation, and planning for the country’s future.”

According to the CSOs, “It is shocking that a supposedly credible organisation like HURIWA has decided to ridicule and make a caricature of itself by concocting an incoherent and uninformed narrative against the NPC, including accusing the Commission of duplicating the duties of other agencies.

“It is the highest height of ignorance to accuse the NPC of duplicating the duties of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

“To begin with, NPC was established before NIMC, so, which organisation should be duplicating the other?

“Is HURIWA in their misguided pontification accusing the National Assemblies that passed the law establishing the NPC and NIMC dumb for not knowing that the two agencies are duplicating themselves?

“Are they also insinuating that the Heads of State or Presidents that signed the Bills into law were so daft not to notice a duplicity of functions? “HURlWA’s unsolicited counsel smacks of cheap attention-seeking antics.

“No sane organisation or individual will compare the data captured by other organisations to that which is obtained by NPC. Voter data is restricted to adults who are 18 years above.

“NIMC keeps a database on Nigerians and issues identity cards. The NPC is mandated to collect comprehensive demographic and housing data including a continuous record of vital events.

“How can these distinct agencies duplicate themselves? Even advanced countries like the USA, UK, and France amongst others that keep very strict hospital, electoral and immigration records, including a functional Social Security system still conduct periodic censuses.

“Does HURIWA think those countries too are just wasting money? Comprehensive and periodic population census goes beyond simple identity registration or voter registration.”

The statement further explained that NPC provides detailed demographic information that is indispensable for policymaking, urban planning, infrastructural development, and public service provision and must not be politicised.

The two organisations expressed regret that in deviating from its mandate, HURIWA has constituted itself into a selective judge that is silent and overlooks cases of monumental fraud, corruption and wastages that have plagued the country, choosing rather to attack the NPC that has judiciously used every penny allocated to it in preparation for the conduct of a national census with impressive results for all to see.

The statement noted that HURlWA’s argument about the waste of funds by NPC is misleading.

“How can NPC that has already done Digital Enumeration Area Demarcation, trial census, trained millions of ad-hoc staff and procured Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) be accused of wasting money?

“HURIWA intentionally overlooked the long-term benefits of having accurate population data needed to effectively plan and allocate resources without which long-term sustainable development is impossible.

“The value of understanding Nigeria’s population distribution, age structure, employment trends, and educational needs, among other census derivatives is tangential to national development and should not be measured in terms of cost alone.

“Instead of advocating the abolition of the NPC, HURIWA should focus on urging the government to enhance the Commission’s efficiency and transparency as it is the practice under the current leadership.

” The NPC is also urged to implement measures to streamline data collection processes, improve data quality, and promote public awareness and participation on the census exercise.

“By strengthening the NPC’s capacity, the government can ensure that the census is conducted efficiently and effectively, thereby maximising the benefits derived from the exercise: Scrapping the commission would be detrimental to the country’s progress by undermining effective governance, planning, and resource allocation,” the statement said.

Akeredolu Extends Medical Leave Indefinitely

Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has extended his medical leave indefinitely in adherence to his doctor’s advice.

This was contained in a letter he forwarded to th state House of Assembly on Monday.

Akeredolu was expecting to resume office on Thursday, July 6, 2023, having applied for medical leave on June 5, 2023, but he didn’t resume.

On Monday, the Speaker, Ondo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Olamide Oladiji informed the House that he received a letter from the governor seeking extension on his medical leave.

The letter signed by the speaker, entitled: “ODHA Receives Letter Of Extension On Medical Leave From Governor Akeredolu,” reads inter alia: “Following Doctor’s advice on the need to take adequate rest after recuperating, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu SAN, CON, has forwarded the letter of extension on medical leave to the Ondo State House of Assembly.

“Receiving the letter on behalf of other Lawmakers, the Governor’s action is in line with section 190 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“According to the letter, his Deputy, Hon . Lucky Aiyedatiwa would continue to act as Governor until there is a written declaration to the contrary.”

That his deputy would “continue to act as Governor until there is a written declaration to the contrary” makes the extension of the medical leave indefinite.

How I Delivered APGA With Crutches In Ihiala – Transmission C’mttee Chairman

With crutches and ill health, I was able to deliver two House of Assembly members, one House of Representatives member including a senatorial seat for APGA in Ihiala Local Government Area even though other local governments didn’t.”

That was Hon. Kingsley Obi, the Transition Committee Chairman of Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, as he recounted his experience and ordeals during the Anambra Governorship Election, House of Assembly Elections as well as National Assembly Elections in an exclusive interview with our correspondent.

Obi during the interview said in spite of ill-health he was able to perform the magic of ensuring that the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) won all the elective positions in Ihiala in the last elections.

He recalled that prior to the elections he told Gov. Chukwuma Soludo that he should forget about Ihiala and focus on other local governments because he knows how to play the game very well.

Obi said he delivered two House of Assembly members, one House of Reps member and that he contributed 60% of the electoral conquest for APGA in Ihiala Local Government Area.

He said despite insecurity, he was the only local government chairman that delivered all three elective offices for APGA in Anambra State.

He recalled that on the election day, INEC officials refused to go to places like Uli but he allayed their fears and led them to deliver electoral materials in each of the wards in Uli; that even those who claimed they were stakeholders in Ihiala could not come out on the election day.

The TC chairman emphasized that despite insecurity, he was at the forefront with his crutches ensuring that electoral materials got to polling units so that election would be conducted while those who claimed they were stakeholders scampered for safety and could not come to the local government secretariat to monitor collection and movement of electoral materials.

As the 2025 and 2027 elections beckon, Obi said politics runs in his blood and APGA has nothing to fear as far as Ihiala local government is concerned. He said he has been winning elections even when he was not the local government chairman and very determined to perform more magic now that he is in the saddle.

Obi who told our correspondent that he was responsible for the cancellation of elections in Ihiala during the Anambra State Governorship Election, said when he noticed an unnecessary delay by INEC officials to release electoral materials at 1:30 pm and got reliable intelligence that the election was being rigged somewhere, he immediately raised alarm and told journalists that elections did not hold in Ihiala local government.

He said, “I did it personally. I blocked the entrance gate to Ihiala local government secretariat when I noticed the deliberate delay by INEC officials to release electoral materials as late as 1:30 pm. I blocked the gate till about 2:30 pm and told them to announce that there was no election in Ihiala. That was why we had to rerun the election in Ihiala local government. I did it personally.”

Insecurity: NGO Advocates Collective Responsibility To Proffer Solution

A nongovernmental organization NGO under the auspices of the Centre for International Integrity Peace and Development (CIIPAD), on Monday urged Nigerians to take responsibility in pursuit of peace in order to address insecurity in the country.

The President of the organisation Dr. Stephen Ime, made the call at the inauguration of the Nasarawa State chapter of CIIPAD held in Lafia.

He pointed out the need for all stakeholders to be united and focused on promoting peace and development of Nigeria.

According to him, government and citizens all have roles to play in ensuring unity and peace.

Ime identified injustice as one of the militating factors against peace in the country, which the government should strive to address by all means.

He said CIIPAD was founded in 2010 to assist the government through advocacy in the peace process in the Niger Delta region of the country.

He said the organisation was taking the advocacy drive to all parts of the country, with a focus on the main actors behind insecurity.

“We talk to agitators, kidnappers, bandits, farmers and herders on the need to have a rethink and pursue peace,” he said.

Ime, therefore, called on members of the public to join the organisation in championing the course of peace and development of the country.

The president charged the newly inaugurated executive of the organisation in the state to be true ambassadors of peace in all ramifications.

In her remarks, the National Coordinator of CIIPAD, Dr Okhuevbie Omolara, said the organisation was championing the course of peace given that all citizens would have been affected by one crises at some point and there was a need for healing.

“The dream is to ensure that irrespective of our background – religious, ethnic, culture and other leanings, we see ourselves as ONE.

“We seek to collapse whatever biases that exist and collaborate and advocate for peace wherever we find ourselves,” she said.

Omolara, however, noted that Nigerians have the responsibility to live peacefully and promote peace for the country to develop.

Why I Established Anambra Indigenes’ Association In Lagos – Moore

Andy Moore, the founder and president of Anambra Indi­genes’ Association in Lagos, has given reasons why he formed the organization inspite of sim­ilar groups in the state.

Speaking during an in­terview in Lagos with Daily Independent at the weekend, he said that the existing or­ganizations are not taking care of the members, adding that they are only interested in taking from members through the payment of lev­ies and others.

He stated that the existing groups are not interested in the welfare of the individu­al members, adding that this has alienated members from the leadership of the groups.

Moore argued that the ma­jor activity of any should be about the welfare of mem­bers, adding his association puts the welfare of members at the core of its activities.

He said that Anambra Indigenes’ Association in Lagos in Lagos takes care of members by pay the school fees and hospital bills of in­digent members.

Nwifuru Applauds Tinubu’s Emergence As ECOWAS Chairman

ABAKALIKI – Governor Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru of Ebonyi State has applauded the emergence of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu as the chairman of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

A press statement on Monday issued by Dr. Monday Uzor, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, explained that the election of the president for the position was at the 63rd ordinary session of the of Heads of States and Gov­ernment at Bissau, Guinea Bissau.

The governor noted that the endorsement of the Ni­gerian President to lead the organisation is a welcome development considering his pedigree and accom­plishments in public service which will undoubtedly help the organisation to achieve its goals

“We are confident in the capacity of President Tinu­bu to come up with reforms that will promote cooper­ation and development in all spheres of economic activity among member countries.

“His emergence as the leader of ECOWAS came at a time the region is faced with daunting security chal­lenges that require a pro­active and visionary leader like President Tinubu who will develop a tactical lead­ership that will resolve all conflicts across the west Af­rican subregion.

“As he exudes confidence to lead, I implore Heads of States and Government in the region to join hands with him to wage war against undemocratic re­gimes and to also sustain the core elements of regional in­tegration.

“On behalf of the gov­ernment and good people of Ebonyi State, I wish Mr. President a successful ten­ure.”

Kia Unveils K8 Sedan Into Nigeria’s Market

Kia Nigeria, the automobile brand company has introduced the anticipated Kia K8 sedan to the country’s market.

This extraordinary vehicle, embodying unparalleled luxury and redefining innovation within the sedan class, is now available for booking, a statement by Olawale Jimoh, Marketing Manager, Kia Nigeria said.

Olawale stated that discerning customers can reserve their orders, securing their chance to experience the epitome of automotive opulence.

With the arrival of the Kia K8, Nigeria’s roads are about to witness a new level of luxury and sophistication, he added.

Jimoh expressed his excitement about the Kia K8’s availability.

He said: “We are delighted to announce that the Kia K8 is now within reach of our esteemed customers in Nigeria. This exceptional sedan represents a pinnacle of luxury, sophistication, and cutting-edge technology.”

Jimoh, extended an invitation to customers, saying: “We invite our esteemed customers to reserve their Kia K8 today and be part of this extraordinary journey. The Kia K8 will redefine the luxury sedan experience in Nigeria, offering a perfect blend of style, performance, and advanced technology.

“The Kia K8 is designed to provide an extraordinary driving experience, combining power, agility, and refinement. It embodies Kia’s commitment to delivering vehicles that inspire and captivate.”

The Kia K8 sedan stands out with its sleek and dynamic exterior design, commanding attention wherever it roams. Its meticulously crafted interior exudes a sense of opulence, seamlessly blending refined craftsmanship with utmost comfort.

Beyond its captivating looks, the Kia K8 packs a punch under the hood, offering a range of powerful engine options for an exhilarating driving experience.

From its responsive turbocharged engines to its agile and smooth handling, the K8 guarantees a performance that will leave drivers awestruck.

The Kia K8 sets a new standard with its advanced technology suite, featuring various safety features and advanced connectivity options.

With state-of-the-art driver-assistance systems prioritizing the well-being of drivers and passengers, every journey in the K8 is characterised by safety and security.

Mathews Kuruvilla, the General Manager of Kia Nigeria, lauded the K8, stated that “The Kia K8 is a true masterpiece in automotive design, offering a harmonious blend of elegance and comfort that is simply unrivalled.”

Furthermore, innovative connectivity features keep occupants entertained and connected throughout their travels.

Mathews highlighted the significance of these features, stating, “The Kia K8 ensures a seamless and enjoyable driving experience with its comprehensive suite of advanced safety technologies and intuitive connectivity features.”

With the Kia K8 now available in Nigeria, customers have the opportunity to embrace a new era of luxury and sophistication on Nigerian roads. By reserving their orders, customers can secure their place among the first to experience the remarkable features and unrivalled performance of the K8.

Kia Motors’ introduction of the Kia K8 in Nigeria underscores their commitment to delivering groundbreaking vehicles that surpass customer expectations.

The K8 sedan epitomises the brand’s dedication to pushing boundaries and setting new industry standards.

As Kuruvilla added: “The Kia K8 represents a significant milestone in our pursuit of automotive excellence. We are proud to present this exceptional sedan to our valued customers in Nigeria, and we firmly believe that it will exceed all their expectations.”

To reserve your Kia K8 and embark on a journey of unparalleled luxury, visit your nearest Kia dealership in Nigeria or access the official Kia website. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the future of sedans with the extraordinary Kia K8.

Hajj 2023: Anxiety, Fear Grips Oyo Pilgrims As Return Plans Run Into Hitch

There are palpable fear and despondency among pilgrims from Oyo State following the uncertainty about their return to Nigeria.

About two weeks after the end of Hajj exercise in Saudi Arabia, over 1,000 pilgrims from Oyo State are yet to know the date of their departure.

Information gathered from the camp of the pilgrims revealed that plans to take them back to the country have run into a hitch.

According to the Chairman of the State Muslim Pilgrim Welfare Board Professor Sayed Malik, efforts of his Board officials to ensure the timely return of the pilgrims were obstructed by logistic problems.

“We planned to take our pilgrims back to Nigeria immediately after their return to Makkah from Mina. But NAHCON and the airline contracted to convey us, Aero Contractors were not responding to our demands for prompt airlift. Later we were told by NAHCON that the airline was denied landing permit in Jeddah”, Professor Malik explained.

According to the Chairman of the State Muslim Pilgrim Welfare Board, the issue was later resolved and the airline ferried the first batch of Nasarawa pilgrims back to Nigeria. And it was scheduled that Oyo state pilgrims would be transported back to Nigeria in batches as from July 10.

But things took a dramatic turn as the airline officials refused to airlift the pilgrims as earlier agreed.

“We were surprised that there was no communication from the airline and NAHCON officials on July 10 about our departure and our pilgrims waited in vain at their hotels for the officials who didn’t show up. We later learned that the Aero Contractors aircraft which transported the first batch of Nasarawa pilgrims to Nigeria didn’t come back for other pilgrims in Saudi but remained grounded at the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport in Abuja because the airline failed to secure permit to land in Jeddah from Saudi aviation authorities”, Professor Malik disclosed.

It was gathered that Aero Contractors was imposed on Oyo, Nasarawa, Adamawa and Taraba states by NAHCON as against the usual practice whereby the State Boards were at liberty to choose their preferred airlines out of the approved ones.

A former Secretary of Oyo State Muslim Pilgrim Welfare Board who once served in the Aviation Committee of NAHCON, Alhaji Sakariyau Kunle Sanni expressed reservations at the turn of events. He advised that states should be allowed to have a say in the selection of airlines to airlift their pilgrims.

As at the time of gathering this report, pilgrims from Oyo State and their counterparts from Nasarawa, Taraba and Adamawa states are left stranded in Makkah as NAHCON seems to have abandoned them to their fate.

The pilgrims from the four affected states have no clue about when they will depart the holy lands, more than ten days after completing Hajj exercise.

Many of the affected pilgrims blamed their travails on the inefficiency of the body empowered to coordinate hajj operations in Nigeria, NAHCON.

A former Chairman of the Ibadan North East Local Government Honourable Lekan Afuye attributed the present situation to bureaucratic bottlenecks and poor performance by NAHCON.

Honourable Afuye appealed to President Bola Tinubu to dissolve NAHCON Board and reconstitute a fresh one for subjecting Nigerian pilgrims to needless sufferings.

Another affected pilgrim who is an Ibadan based broadcaster, Alhaji Oriyomi Hamzat stated that NAHCON has taken more responsibilities than it could shoulder.

“We are in this unfortunate situation because NAHCON was overwhelmed by the enormous responsibilities it was saddled with. Something has to be done, we cannot continue to suffer unnecessarily”, Alhaji Hamzat stated.

Meanwhile, the Amir Hajj who is also the State Deputy Governor Alhaji Bayo Lawal has directed the State Muslim Pilgrim Welfare to take appropriate steps on the matter and come up with a workable solution which the state government would cue into.

In the meantime, officials of the State Muslim Pilgrim Welfare Board are working with their counterparts from other affected states – Nasarawa, Adamawa and Taraba to secure the services of alternative airlines to convey their penniless pilgrims back to Nigeria.

Among the pilgrims still awaiting airlift in Saudi Arabia is a one time Chairman of Oyo State Muslim Pilgrim Welfare Board Professor Kamil Koyejo Oloso.