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If Not For June 12 …That Not Messy Eagles’ Ordeal



fredjun141003To many who believed and still do that the June 12,1993 presidential elections, generally known to have been won by business mogul and popular philanthropist late Chief Moshood Abiola was the best thing to happen to a politically depraved Nigerian state, and its eventual annulment by Military President Ibrahim Babangida, a curse, the outcome of last Saturday’s 2010 World Cup soccer encounter between a highly rated Argentine National side and the Super Eagles of Nigeria would mean one of two things.

Surely, that Nigeria lost by such a slim margin of 0-1, to a Lionel Messi inspired Mecurial Argentine National team might well be because the curse which June 12 epitomised is gradually losing its potency, or that the date still remains one for a national guilt which can only be assuaged by a national disappointment just like last Saturday’s which came in the form of soccer defeat.

Interestingly for once in a very long while, the Nigerian Senior National team, the Super Eagles, not withstanding the sixth minute goal by one of the world’s best teams of the tournament  gave the African continent and indeed Nigerians in particular a reason to believe that the Argentines were not invincible.

Strangely, perhaps on account of superior technical expertise by the new Super Eagles’ handler, Swede tactician Lagerback over his predecessors, Nigeria, for once had a strong bench with the likes of Obafemi Martins, Osaze Odewminge, Nwankwo Kanu, John Utaka and Uche Ikechukwu, among others. Although the Argentines were blessed with experience and tactical wit and also seemed to be better co-ordinated, more organised, obviously more skillful and business like, the Super Eagles succeeded in averting what many had predicted would have been, at least,  four goals to zero (4-0) humiliation.

But the Argentines’ superior ball possession, averaging  55-45, with an equally more business like shots on target, in the first 45 minutes, 12 against Nigeria’s zero and in the second 10 against 6, the Super Eagles held their heads high even in defeat as they proved very clearly that in spite of the misfortune of an early goal, the Argentines were no super humans.

Infact, to several who watched the match, the Eagles were victorious even in defeat and would have outclassed their opponents if not for the choice of that cursed date – June 12. Perhaps, a day earlier or even later would have made a huge difference even though margin of loss should give Nigerians hope for the better. With the only June 12 date, in this year’s calendar gone and two more encounters at the group stages with South Korea and Greece in Group B, the Nigerian National side should brace-up for the challenge of fighting an enemy in their own home, knowing that the outcome might either make or mar their soccer rating and international respect as an independent and respectable national side.

Need we add that, this year’s FIFA soccer World Cup being hosted by South Africa is indeed the first in 80 year history of the tournament that that African continent will play host to the world and the first time the hitherto derided dark continent will be showcasing her soccer prowess in this manner, using as many as six national teams which include host South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Algeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroun, and should leave nothing to chance.

Thus far, the co-operation among fans of the African teams in cheering their own to victory has been most awesome even unbelievable. Nigeria, for instance enjoys not only the blessing of a committed Presidential Support, the National Assembly, other top political office holders and indeed all Nigerians are all united in Support of the Super Eagles.

Infact, sans the large contingent of Eagles supporters, there is the unofficial official Nigerian political delegation headed by Senate President, David Mark a huge national investment which strangulating economic cost to the nation may be huge but so what? There is also the Presidential task force for the qualification of the Super Eagles to the World Cup, add impressive performance, headed by Rivers State Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and then a technical crew which also includes officials of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), its state and national officers who, from all indices appear more concerned with their post World Cup elections into executive offices of their organisation than the World Cup.

In all these, it must be said that the crop of Nigerians in South Africa officially groomed to do battle is barely 23, the technical crew and NFF welfare officers amazingly more. Far far more.

All these, annoying as they may appear in these times of lean national earnings, are not the main source of worry. Apart from the misfortune of June 12, the date many, I inclusive, have chosen to blame for the wonderful showing but painful defeat of the Super Eagles even without a deserving draw, the other is the blunder of Hi TV, one of Nigeria’s indigenous cable networks.

Not too long ago, the Network prided itself as the best in Nigeria with a monopoly of showing the English Premiership League (EPL) franchise and beamed live to all its subscribers virtually everyEnglish league match to viewers.

But in an event as important as the FIFA 2010 soccer World Cup now going on for the first time on the African continent with the Nigerian National side in battle, Hi TV subscribers were last Saturday disappointed and  made to wonder about in search of other cable networks or sit at home to watch last year’s Athletics grand prix or watch a repeat of an EPL encounter between two English premiership sides Portsmouth versus Manchester United on their sports channels, Hi Sports 2 and Hi Soccer respectively while the Setata Sports Station shows viewers echoes of the last French open tennis competition. It took them up until yesterday to run half-hearted and belated  previews and analyses.

This column would hardly have bothered because our own Rivers State Television (RSTV), DSTV, Silver Bird TV Port Harcourt and CTL among many others are up to the challenge, but when about 250 angry subscribers staged a public protest after the Nigeria/Argentina encounter along some streets in the old Port Harcourt City, crying blue, it became instructive to show a little concern.

In days leading to the World Cup, the Hi TV Network embarked on a rigorous campaign aimed at encouraging subscribers to pay for subscriptions covering between one and three months, with a silent assurance that they would enjoy a better deal, which subscribers now find, does not include the World Cup.

If the thousands of Hi TV subscribers had not been denied live viewership of the World Cup, and obliged the privilege of cheering the Super Eagles against the almighty Argentine side, may be , just may be, the outcome might have been different, June 12 or not.

May be, the date June 12, being a day of protest, in spite of even the distraction which the World Cup offers, Hi TV wanted its subscribers to fill the void of anger in celebration of that date through the denial which successfully ignited the street protest. And shamefully so.

My Agony is not so much that Nigeria lost to a highly rated Argentine side and with such slim margin, it is instead that try as we have to forget June 12, its ghost still hovers around our every national endeavour. The intension of IBB to contest the 2011 Presidential election is one such reminder.

The way out may well be to declare that date, a public holiday for fasting and praying so that the ghost of June 12, may rest in peace. Please don’t just laugh it off.

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Governor Wike Releases N450M To 2019 Presidential Election Violence Victims In Abonnema



The State Chief Executive Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has released the sum of Four hundred and fifty million naira to the victims of the 2019 Presidential election violence in Abonnema.
Speaking during  a meeting preparatory to giving out the cash, Governor Wike  said the gesture is in fulfilment of his promise to the people of Abonnema  at the Church service to honour those who lost their lives, the injured and those who lost properties during the crisis.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government Dr. Tammy Wenike  Danagogo, Governor Wike said no amount of money could adequately compensate the people for the harrowing experience they suffered in the hands of the Nigerian Army, stating that he appreciates the support and commitment of the People of  Akuku Toru Local Government Area before, during and after the elections. He said he would continue to execute programmes that would positively impact on the lives of the people of the  Area.
He assured them that the second phase of the Abonnema ring road would be commissioned before the end of June, stressing that the contractor has been fully paid.
According to him in the face of the Covid 19 Pandemic he has continued to stand by the People of the State by taking practical steps not only to protect Rivers People but to also provide palliatives to bring succour to the vulnerable and less privileged unlike the   selfish politicians in other political  parties who only visit the people to solicit for votes during elections but do not have the interest of the people at heart.
In his remarks the Amayanabo of Abonnema King Disrael  Gbobo Bobmanuel thanked  Governor Wike for fulfilling his promise to the Abonnema People, noting that the Governor has proven over the years that his word is his bond.
According to him the Governor is a man worthy of trust and support because he has fulfilled all his promises to the Abonnema People. He Advised beneficiaries to make judicious use of the Money the Governor has graciously given to them.
Earlier the Chairman of Akuku Toru Local Government Area Hon. Roland Sekibo who said he is still traumatized by the events that took place during the Presidential election in 2019 expressed gratitude to Governor Wike for his kind gesture, stressing that the People of his Local Government Area would continue to support the Governor in his quest to improve the lives of Rivers People.
Also speaking one of the beneficiaries Mr  Minamiango Romeo  who sustained gunshot injuries  expressed gratitude to Governor Wike for not abandoning them in their time of need and promised to continue to support his Administration and the leaders of the Local Government Area.
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PROBE: EFCC Should Stop Media Trial – Rivers State Government



The Rivers State Government says its attention has been drawn to a fresh wave of media trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the officials of the state.

According  to a statement issued by the state Commissioner for information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, “the latest attempt contained in today’s edition( May 24,2020)of The Nation Newspaper alleged that the State Government has refused to release top officials for interrogation in connection to the withdrawal of N118 billion in cash between 2015 and 2018.


“We have repeatedly said that the State Government will not release its officials to the EFCC for investigations until the commission approaches the Court  to set aside Subsisting orders of perpetual  injunction granted by various courts of competent jurisdiction restraining the EFCC from investigating or inquiring into the financial transactions of the Rivers  State Government including its ministries, departments and  agencies.


“In view of these  Subsisting judgments, it would amount  to an act of brazen  illegality for the EFCC to  insist  on  interrogating  any official OF the Rivers State Government.
For the avoidance of doubt, no official of the Rivers State Government would appear before the EFCC until the subsisting judgments in favour of the Rivers State Government are set aside on appeal.

“Resorting to the Media can only be described as cheap blackmail and witch-hunt to turn away public attention from the development strides in the State.

“This media trial that they engage in all the time will not take the place of our extant laws no matter how hard they try.

“The EFCC should stop playing to the gallery and pursue its war against corruption within the ambits of the law.


“Rivers State Government is committed to the Rule of Law and cannot be intimidated by the EFCC.

“Those who want to use the EFCC to promote their political agenda in the State will fail because we know their antics.

“Targeting Rivers State for this occasional media trial should be seen by the public for what it is, “political witch-hunt,” the statement said.

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Rivers Records 27 New Coronavirus Cases …Manager Of Prodest Hotel Among The New Cases



Rivers State has recorded 27 new positive coronavirus  cases.

A statement signed by the Rivers state Ministry of Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, disclosed that the Manager of Prodest Hotel, Eleme is among the new positive cases.

According to the statement, the latest development validates the State Government’s proactive approach towards the fight against COVID-19.

Recall that Prodest Hotel was demolished two weeks ago because the owners violated Executive Order 7 which banned the operation of hotels.

The COVID-19 Taskforce members from the Local Government who went to enforce the Executive Order were brutalized and dehumanised leading to the death of one of them.

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