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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Chibok Girls’ Abduction: Jonathan campaign insists Gov. Shettima is Culpable

Femi Fani-Kayode
The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organisation on Tuesday insisted that Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State is culpable in the April 2014 abduction of over 200 girls from Government Secondary School, Chibok, by Boko Haram insurgents.
The Director of Media and Publicity of the campaign organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode, alleged that the governor, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari and the party’s spokesperson, Lai Mohammed knew the whereabouts of the missing girls.
Mr. Shettima, however, denied the allegation, saying no one should take Mr. Fani-Kayode serious as he “is one Nigerian that is physically an adult but mentally an infant. We all know that going into exchange with an infant is like having a dialogue with the blind, deaf and dumb.”
But the PDPPCO in a statement on Tuesday, said it was time for Nigerians to know the truth about the APC leaders and the way in which some of them emerged to become governors.
“The case of Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state is instructive. This is a man who emerged as the governor only after the man that won the nomination to become the flag-bearer of his party, Alhaji Mode Fannami Gubio, was mysteriously gunned down in the sanctity of his home by a group of unknown gunmen,” the statement said.
“It was after Gubio was killed in cold blood that Kashim, who came second in the primary, emerged as the gubernatorial candidate of the party. The question is: Who killed Gubio to make way for Shettima and whether it is true that the murder had the Boko Haram link.
“Could it be, as many suspect, that Boko Haram were more comfortable with Shettima as governor than with Gubio? Is that why they killed him? Is it true that Shettima is friend with Boko Haram and that he paid them protection money for a number of years? These are just some of the questions that Governor Kashim Shettima must answer.”
The organisation said it was amusing that the governor told the world a lie. It said contrary to Mr. Shettima’s claim, it never accused somebody previously for the abduction of the girls.
“The fact of the matter is that our story has been consistent and clear right from the beginning and the records are there for all to see,” it said.
“We have said it from day one that the Governor of Borno State is culpable, and have questions to answer about the abduction of the Chibok girls. This is because he broke his promise to guarantee the security of those girls and he allowed them to be abducted.
“It is either he is suffering from memory loss or he is incompetent, insensitive and manifestly ignorant about what is going on around him, or together with others, planned the whole thing from the outset in order to embarrass the Federal Government and to bring our President and our armed forces into disrepute.
“Either way, come rain, come shine, at the appropriate time, Kashim Shettima would answer to God and he would answer to the Nigerian people for what has happened to those girls.”
The PDPPCO wondered why the governor questioned its role in the matter. It said rather than addressing the issue the governor hurled personal insult on the members of the organisation.
The organisation said, “The questions are simple and clear: Did he or did he not ignore the Federal Government’s warning and that of WAEC when they advised him not to allow those examinations to take place in Chibok? And secondly, did he or did he not guarantee the security of those girls? Thirdly, is it not true that he failed to deploy any security personnel to that school that night?
“The record shows that despite his promises of ensuring that the girls would be protected, not one security operative, policeman, soldier, armed man or even adult was with those girls that night except for one elderly gateman who was unarmed.
“The governor failed to keep his promise. He betrayed those girls; he let down Borno State and he let down Nigeria. Instead of him, begging God for forgiveness, working hard for the return of those girls and to assist in finding them, all that he does is to hurl insults at us.”
The organisation said it did not come to it as a surprise because “that is the style and the way of the APC for you. They are a party of failed propagandists, liars, slanderers and deceitful men. We lose no sleep about what Kashim Shettima and his party feel about us because that feeling is mutual. Whatever they feel about us, we feel exactly the same about them. They do not like us and we do not like them.”
culled from: http://www.premiumtimesng.com/

BREAKING: Senate confirms Obanikoro as minister

FILE PHOTO: Musiliu Obanikoro at the Lagos PDP governorship primaries rallyThe Senate approved Mr. Obanikoro’s nomination as a minister, Wednesday, after repeated deferments, despite protests from senators from Lagos State, Mr. Obanikoro’s home state, and other opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, who had vowed to stop the clearance over the Ekiti scandal.
As a former senator himself, the Senate allowed Mr. Obanikoro to “take a bow and go”, without answering questions, a privilege reserved for former federal lawmakers.
APC lawmakers responded by walking out of the session in protest.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Footballer Di Maria sells mansion after his wife refused to return to the house after burglary

Manchester United footballer Angel Di Maria has put his mega Cheshire mansion up for sale after his wife refused to return to the place following a burglary. The family was eating dinner at their home a few weeks ago when burglars used scaffolding poles to smash their way into his home through patio doors and robbed them. 

After the incident, the family moved to a hotel while a security company upped the security at their home. But Mrs Di Maria still refused to return to the house forcing Di Maria to put the $6.5million home up for sale while they look for another one.

by linda ikeji 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Facebook wants to bring free web access to 100 countries by end of year

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Facebook told a few members of the press this week that its Internet.org initiative, which aims get more of the world's population online, is on track for an aggressive expansion.

Chris Daniels, VP of Internet.org at Facebook, said the company plans to expand into 100 countries by the end of the year. The program is currently set up in six countries — Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Colombia and India — and has helped more than 7 million people access health, employment and local information services without data charges.
Internet.org, which launched in 2013, is a Facebook-led program that works with data providers in local markets to offer free web access to people who otherwise couldn't get online. The goal is to introduce people to basic services — like Wikipedia, job and health sites and of course, Facebook — and have them see the value of the Internet and ultimately, purchase a more premium data package.

"The ambitious goal this year is to roll it out to 100 [countries]," Daniels said. "We don't want to focus so much on the number, but we want this to spread to additional countries, operator groups and... see more people coming online, buying data and voice and SMS bundles. The number is indicative of our ambitious goal."

The overall objective, Daniels said, is "to bring connectivity to the entire world."

Mashable got a little hands on time with the Internet.org app offered in remote countries and noticed the Facebook site is a stripped down version of what we're used to seeing. While users can connect with friends and write on each other's walls, they are prompted to upgrade to a paying data plan to see videos and photos. This also ensures that only a thin layer of data is being used and doesn't present capacity issues for the operating partners.
And the effort is working. Countries that offer the Internet.org app have seen a 40% jump in new data customers for local operators. Countries that offer the Internet.org app have seen a 40% jump in new data customers for local operators. For example, the amount of people accessing Colombia's Tigo network has increased 50% and grew smartphone sales 10 times in Tanzania as a direct result of Facebook's initiative. Facebook works with the government in each country to select the sites available on the app.

Earlier this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during a Mobile World Congress keynote that the company is "working on" building drones, lasers and satellites as a part of an initiative to the two-thirds of the world not online. More than 90% of the global offline population lives in developing countries, according to Facebook.

Daniels said Facebook chooses to expand in certain countries based on need and the operating partners in the region.

"We prioritize all of the countries around the globe in terms of unconnected population and you get to the usual suspects on the list," he said. "We also look for forward-leaning partners that are willing to experiment with us. We still need to look for willing partners that are ready to go... and are aligned with our vision.
by samantha kelly

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Apple Inc. Buys Chinedu Echeruo’s Hopstop.com For $1 Billion


Apple has acquired Chinedu Echeruo’s HopStop.com, The Wall Street Journal’s publication, AllThingsDigital reports. Founded in 2005, HopStop.com makes mobile applications for both iOS and Android that covers over 300 cities and that helps people get directions or find nearby subway stations and bus stops. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed as at the time of this publication. HopStop has oft been compared to Israel’s Waze which was recently acquired by Google for $1 billion. The move is seen as Apple’s plan to bolster its map offering especially given Google’s recent acquisition of Waze. A serial entrepreneur, Chinedu Echeruo grew up in Eastern Nigeria and attended Kings College, Lagos. He attended Syracuse University and the Harvard Business School in the United States and founded HopStop.com after working for several years in the Mergers & Acquisitions and Leveraged Finance groups of J.P Morgan Chase where he was involved in a broad range of M&A, Financing and Private Equity transactions. He also worked at AM Investment Partners, a $500 million volatility-driven convertible bond arbitrage hedge fund. He founded and raised nearly $8 million for his two U.S based internet companies; Hopstop.com and Tripology.com. Tripology.com was acquired in 2010 by American travel and navigation information company, Rand McNally. He was named Black Enterprise Magazine’s Small Business Innovator of the year and listed in the magazine’s Top 40 under 40 and is currently a partner and head of the Principal Investing group at Constant Capital, a West Africa based investment bank. True to form, Echeruo is working on yet another venture but this time, focused on small businesses in Africa. Check out a video of Chinedu Echeruo below at last year’s TedxIkoyi where he talks about his latest project for small businesses in Africa; “crowd sourced business in a box.” According to him: “There is no reason why every entrepreneur should have to reinvent the wheel every single time in all the countries in Africa. My idea is to essentially to have one place where a budding entrepreneur can access a template for starting a business, and then customize it to suit their own situation. Essentially a business-in-a-box.

WHY IS BUHARI AFRAID OF PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE?


The recent appearance at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chattam House, London by the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Rtd General Muhammadu Buhari, in all intents and purposes was a political miscalculation enough to convince the average Nigerian voter that Buhari holds him in low esteem.

Otherwise, how would he explain the idea of ignoring the invitation by his own fellow country men to offer himself for proper scrutiny (through open media-anchored debate) along with other parties’ candidates for the forth coming presidential election and chose to travel all the way to London to advertise himself and his manifesto?

It certainly runs against the tenets of nationalism because his acceptance and participation would have afforded the electorate opportunity of listening to his argument with other candidates on how he would run the economy if he wins the election. He should have shown more deference and commitment to the expectations of the people he is intending to govern.

Apart from his campaign messages that centre much around fighting of corruption and insurgency, there are many hidden questions that need answers from him on how best he could handle same if he wins the election.

There are many Nigerians who are already disillusioned with the inability of General Buhari and other presidential candidates to openly discuss their political manifesto and respond to questions that may arise there-from in a debate forum.

A prominent lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Olisa Agbakoba, for instance in an interview with Saturday Vanguard newspaper of February 28, 2015 was quick to say that between Buhari and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, he did not know who to vote for at the presidential election because both of them who are most prominent among the presidential contenders are yet to face each other in an open debate that can easily reveal who holds the ace in terms of the knowledge needed to correct the inherent anomaly in the polity.

There are many other Nigerian eligible voters like Agbakoba who are yet to decide who to vote for, because the contenders have not sufficiently advertised their candidacy through face-to-face debate like what happened in 1993 between Chief Moshood Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Alhaji Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC).

Prior to the emergence of the two, apart from Abiola’s popularity as a businessman and Tofa also, not much was known about them in terms of how much knowledge they had in political economy.

It was largely the open debate conducted and televised by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) that helped Nigerians to shift attention to Abiola as having a better chance to win the election. Eventually, it was not surprising when results came out in his favour even though the military junta led by General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the result of the election for reasons not well explained to Nigerians till this day.

Since Jonathan has continuously indicated his interest to appear in any media organized debate with Buhari and other presidential contenders, Nigerians stand to benefit a lot from such debate because it would be a big plus in the development of our political process and further deepen our democracy.

The fear by APC and Buhari that the debate organizers may have some bias against his candidacy is not really tenable because Nigerians who would watch the debate are certainly going to be the judge since it would be televised live.

For Buhari to continuously shy away from the debate goes a long way to portray him as a weak leader who is not likely to put himself forward for greater national or international debate that calls for open participation. His participation in the open debate would have afforded Nigerians the opportunity to assess him if he can conveniently represent the country in international fora like the United Nations, African Union, Commonwealth of Nations, ECOWAS and other international organizations Nigeria belongs to.

Presidential debates are not new in civilized countries. The United States of America which Nigeria’s federal system and democracy are modeled after has consistently held debates for her presidential candidates in every election, the last of which was between incumbent President Barack Obama of the Democratic Party and Mitt Romney of the Republican Party.

Presidential debates undoubtedly give more colour and admiration to democracy as a system of government. So let APC and Buhari do the needful.