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Gareth Southgate Tags Fikayo Tomori, Tammy Abraham English Players



England’s national team coach, Gareth Southgate, has tagged the dou of Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham as English players.

Southgate stated this while reacting to calling the duo up for the Euro 2020 qualifiers in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

Speaking on their call up, Southgate admitted the decision to call up Abraham was an easy one to make.

According to him, ‘It was a fairly easy decision as he’s the leading English goalscorer in the league.

‘We put him into the squad very young, when we were changing the complexion of what we were doing. That was a bit early for him but because of the opportunity given to him by Frank Lampard at Chelsea, we’ve brought him back in.

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‘This is now a great chance for Tammy. He’s always scored goals for our junior teams, he’s done that in the Championships and now he’s grasped his opportunity at the beginning of this season.’

On Tomori, Southgate said: “His profile as a defender fits with the way international football is. Athleticism is important; he is capable with the ball. We think it’s a good opportunity to have a closer look at him.”

“I don’t think it’s ethically right to select someone just to make sure he can’t play for somebody else,” England’s manager said. “Fik and Tammy are in on merit. They’ve both been part of our youth system. Fik came in a bit later but he was part of the team that won the [Under-17] World Cup – as far as we’re concerned they’re English players.”

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There have been questions about which country the players would swear their alliengance to. Tomori and Abraham are both from Nigerian parents, but are eligible to play for England, with Tomori also eligible to plan for Canada, his place of birth.

Tomori has played international youth football for Canada and England, while Abraham has played two senior games for England.

If any of them play in the Czech Republic or Bulgaria games on October 11 and 14,  their international futures will be settled.



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Osun: The Storm Foreseen (1)





abiodun KOMOLAFE


To a casual observer, the philosophy of maize signifies that the process of life is gradual. The first thing you see in maize, when it is growing, is the root, followed by the shoot, before the leaves eventually appear.


What this simply means is that, when Gboyega Oyetola came on board as governor of Osun State, he had three notable groups of Nigerians to contend with. The first comprised a cross-section of the people – the agitated, who were banking on the wholesale application of the ‘philosophy of what works’, to demand change ‘with immediate effect.’ To the second class of people, ‘life itself is gradual.’ Therefore, the governor should be given a chance to build development, because ‘destructive change can lead to the disruption of the social order.’ The third category is comprised of the anarchists and pessimists who, right from the first day, have been fortified with the notion that time moratorium is futile; ‘chance or no chance, nothing good can come out of this government.’ In the eye of the objective observer, therefore, how has Osun fared in the last one year, in the context of the hypotheses above?


Well, for those who want ‘immediate change’, it is a lose-lose situation, because, effectively, nothing so spectacular has really changed, except, of course, that civil servants are now paid as and when due, which, in practical terms, is one of the cardinal duties of any responsible government. Talking to facts, policies of government must work; and must be seen to be working. Therefore, the issue at stake is beyond policy formulation because no insight is so far gained or meaningful benefits achieved from the application of sophistry or brand manipulation of government policies.


The most unfortunate thing about the second class of people is that, from the look of things, this set of people will also have to wait, possibly, till ‘Thy kingdom come’ before they begin to see some meaningful development. And the reason is simple: it takes leadership, good vision, foresight, accommodation, resilience and good politics to achieve development in any given society. For Osun, the sad narrative is not about the dearth of competent hands or attributes of leadership. It is, most unfortunately, about a palpable lack of cohesion in the policy machinery of the state. For instance, the newly-appointed commissioners, in spite of an elaborate retreat organized for them at the inception of their cabinet responsibilities, still work as if they are alone, striving individually, rather than as a team, to ‘please Mr. Governor.’


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For the third category of people, history over the time, has shown that, unless something concrete and tangible happens to mitigate their agitations, they are likely to win the day! It is therefore for the government of the day to prove them wrong!


Far from waxing lyrical, the troubles with the current administration in Osun are many, some of which may not have been initiated or caused by the incumbent occupier of Bola Ige House. Nonetheless, failure to address these thorny issues with tact – and holistically too – may spell doom for both the ruling party and the sitting government. To put it mildly, one of its shortcomings is that there are too many neophytes, who call themselves politicians, currently in government. When you have cabinet members who do not enjoy robust political patronage amongst the indigenous people; or, widespread legitimate acceptability; or, whose acceptability profile is defective, such a government will be unstable, lacking genuine respect of the use of state’s unquestionable authority! And, that is dangerous for a transformational democracy like ours!


Well, it is possible to carelessly tag the agitations of the ‘old-guard politicians’ as being inconsequential, but they sure know what it means to lose political capital and commanding influence; more importantly, how to gain back any ‘lost’ political goodwill, more than the greenhorns. The general feeling out there is that the old politicians are no longer relevant and some identifiable groups of people within the ruling party, who sincerely worked for its victory in the last governorship election, are currently left in the cold.


The orthodox market women, aka Iyalojas, are no longer dancing while the usual handshake between the street and the Seat of Government has become a thing of the past. The ‘State Boys’ are reportedly trapped in the nightmares of their neglect while erstwhile conversations between the clerics and their long prayers for the state no longer find accommodation in the government’s scheme of things. The political hangers-on are hungry and are ready to write the prescriptions, even, administer the dosage for an ‘Us vs. Us’ implosion in obedience to the intensity of their resentment. Strangely, too, the opposition, though still licking its wounds, is busy strategizing how to capitalize on the alleged political naivety of the government. To a vast majority of these aggrieved blocs, the unbearable realities are showing on their faces and this may have negative effects on the very foundation of governance in the state if either of two things is not opted for.

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The first is to accommodate the old structures with tact and caution and learn how to manage them, especially, taking into consideration the place of August 9, 2014 in Nigeria’s rich political history. As a remarkable Nigerian and an accomplished politician, a time like this presents a tempting opportunity for Oyetola to reach out to the useful ones among existing structures, buy them over and make them work for him. After all, politics is about the people; and policy without the people is a nullity! Interestingly, too, winning elections and governance have obviously moved away from party issues. I will return to that later!


In the alternative, the administration may need to talk to the Service Chiefs and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to give state heads of security agencies needed directives and incentives to do the bidding of the governor wholesale. Of course, this may be more costly and unhealthy, especially, in a country buffeted on all sides with problems of insecurity, economic underdevelopment and over-politicization of all sociopolitical issues.


Yes! The political power and influence of the sum total of the diverse politically aggrieved groups of people in Osun may not be able to successfully challenge the state. Nonetheless, the dark side of politics is that, collectively, they stand formidable; and could probably slow the pace of development, or, altogether, render the state impotent. Also, the rightness or otherwise of the structure and relevance of what the active actors do will depend, largely, on who is doing the appraisal or attempting a definition.


May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Osun State!


(To be continued.)


*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (


abiodun KOMOLAFE,

020, Okenisa Street,

Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.



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My integrity means more to me than any fame or money. When I say something, I want people to take it to the bank that I mean it and I believe in it. – Tim Tebow
In a sane society, the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Mrs Joi Nunieh should be facing interrogators for bringing shame to herself, deceiving the nation and earning fat pay for the few days she has been in charge of the juicy interventionist agency.
But this is Nigeria where might is right and criminals are allowed to flourish and even given protection by the powers that be. No one really knows much about the lady in charge of NDDC. Despite her long years in the corridors of power, right from former President Goodluck Jonathan days, no one has a biography of her.
Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Mrs Joi Nunieh

Her educational background is like a secret cult, just as her work history is shrouded in secrecy. We need not talk about her alleged marriage to three men as that will be passing through the camel’s eyes. The only thing known about her is that her father was a Senator and indeed, the man was a man of integrity.

How he ended up fathering a lady who lacks what he cherishes most should be a debate for her family. For weeks, she has been accused of not possessing NYSC certificate. She has not only been accused but dared by the accusers to produce it if she truly has one. There is no denying the fact that she is a lawyer, which in my view is still subject of contest.
In Ogoniland where she hails from, her only claim to fame is being among the lawyers who defended Ken Saro-Wiwa, though a baby lawyer then. It was not a case they won and thus she could not have been celebrated as one of those who stopped the evil Gen. Sani Abacha from killing the hero of Ogoni. It is not just enough to ask accusers to prove their case. I refuse to agree with my senior and respected colleague; Ibanga Isine who is her Special Adviser on Communication that her accusers should bring forth proof to show that she does not possess a valid NYSC certificate.
No, she is a public office holder and owes us explanation on what happened that she could not serve her fatherland in her youthful age. For someone that schooled in Nigeria and graduated before the age of 30, it was mandatory that she passed through the one year of National Service. She has an explanation to give to her accusers, President Buhari who employed her via the surrogate called Godswill Akpabio and indeed the Nigerian people.
If the number six man in the country, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege could be dragged before the public, which prompted him to bring a superior court judgment all the way from California, as well as the Speaker Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the number four public officer in Nigeria, there is no reason under the earth that Joi Nunieh who schooled in Nigeria cannot tell us what happened to her NYSC certificate.
Did she serve and it got lost in transit? We need to know. Did she serve and she was expelled before the end of service year? We need to know. And if indeed she served but cannot find her discharge certificate, we will sympathize with her. However, she must have taken pictures during her camping days as well as written down her name inside the NYSC book of life.
For instance, I cannot find my own certificate but I am not bothered because I have more than enough proof that I served in Maiduguri. We must stop the practice of encouraging public officers like Joi Nunieh to get away with misdemeanour simply because they control public funds to throw around.
The honorable thing for her to do is take the Kemi Adeosun route – RESIGN and apologize to the country for taking us for a ride. If she fails to resign, the President should immediately fire her and get a replacement before handing her over to the security agencies to probe.
There are over one million qualified Niger Deltans without scandal to head the IMC, before the new board is constituted. Nothing about her has really been fantastic right from the days of old. Perhaps, she should tell us what happened at Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP), a multi billion agency where she was also made the Acting Coordinator. Her stay there was filled with corrupt practices, illegal award of contracts, high-handedness, favoritism and even insubordination, so much that she began to fight her godfather, Ambassador Abdulkadir Musa, who was then the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum, just as she’s fighting her surrogate father now, Godswill Akpabio.
The messy details of her years in HYPREP will be opened in due course for Nigerians to know that NDDC is not safe with her. The truth remains that Joi Nunieh has her ways and has mastered the act of staying on top even when there are allegations against her. NDDC will not be the first place for her to exhibit such propensity but it can be the last place. Her plot to stylishly stay for over a year in the name of forensic audit is well known. It is all in a bid to rake in money from the commission. Or is she there to break the jinx of ‘Acting’ and scheme her way to be nominated as the substantial MD in the new board that is to come?
She was acting coordinator in HYPREP and now an Acting head of an IMC. Is this a conspiracy theory about to play out in the Joi Nunieh movie script?
It is befuddling how Mr President was deceived into allowing a lady with vested interest in NDDC to sit over the same agency where she’s a contractor. How can an offender be a judge in her own case? She is known to have used her company Cyprus and Jenny Limited to secure contract worth N326.3 Million on 29th of November, 2016 for emergency repair of Beeri Internal roads in Khana LGA. This contract was not paid for in the last NDDC administration but as soon as she was made the IMC head, she paid herself, despite the company not having compliance papers.
The CAC search of December 2019 still has her as a director of the company, which is against the public service rule that demands her resignation of any company which she is a director. The interim board since inauguration operates without a budget which is also against the law, but she is Joi Nunieh, a goddess, who is above the law of the land. Self styled as the Esther of Ogoniland, the Acting MD should not be allowed to sit over this forensic audit, with such motley scandal dangling over her head. Her usual cry that those who are against the audit are sponsoring write-ups and protest is a stale tale told to idiots.
Is it Senator Peter Nwaoboshi who sees me as his number one enemy for dragging him before the EFCC and exposing his corrupt practices through the media that she will finger as sponsoring this? She is not only a major beneficiary of the system she seeks to audit but lacks the complete academic prerequisite which ends with going for NYSC to supervise any audit companies.
The law is no respecter of persons and this is what President Muhammadu Buhari must display by telling her to resign like Kemi Adeosun or fire her. If the President could face the pressure from Nigerians to bring his affidavit when he lost his WAEC certificate, a Joi Nunieh should not stay more than month, keeping quiet and telling us to go to hell. She should bring an affidavit if truly she did her NYSC and we will accept it after due diligence.
The board needs someone who has not tasted from the waters of corruption, bitten from the seed of compromise nor bathed from the rivers of ethnicity. Sadly, she is a beneficiary of them all and like Jonah who will cause the ship to sink, she should be let go; go to where she practices her law trade and will not need her NYSC to work, lest her past dealings in HYPREP comes haunting. Let her go, President Buhari.
By Fejiro Oliver
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Ban On Okada, Tricycle: Lagosians Express Concerns, Gratitude



Lukmon Akintola


Countless people at bus stop struggling for few available buses, some walking long distance to get to their destination and a sudden increase in traffic on roads have become a common sight in Lagos State since the commencement of restriction on commercial motorcycles, popular as Okada and tricycle also known as Keke NAPEP in the state.

On Saturday, February 1, the Lagos State Government commenced enforcement of restriction on commercial motorcycles and tricycles and has since seized several of them.

The restriction took effect in six Local Government Areas (LGAs), nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) and 10 major highways across the state.


  1. A statement by the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso attributed the ban to scary casualty figures from accidents on Lagos roads between 2016 and 2019.

While announcing the decision of the government at the State House in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos on Monday, January 27, Omotosho said: “After a robust assessment of the debate on what has been widely referred to as the motorcycle (Okada) and tricycle (Keke) menace, the Lagos State Government and the State Security Council have decided that the security and safety of lives of Lagosians are paramount.


“The figures are scary. From 2016 to 2019, there were over 10,000 accidents recorded at the General Hospitals alone. This number excludes unreported cases and those recorded by other hospitals. The total number of deaths from reported cases is over 600 as of date.

“Also, the rate of crimes aided by Okada and Keke keeps rising. They are also used as getaway means by criminals. Therefore, after consultations with stakeholders, the State Security Council, in compliance with the extant Transport Sector Reform Law 2018, has decided to commence enforcement of the law which bans the operation of Okada and Keke in six Local Government Areas and nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).”

Two weeks after the restriction kicked off, there have been mixed feelings about it. While some people have embraced the idea, describing it as timely, others have frowned at it, saying that it was a short-sighted decision.

Reacting to the restriction, Prince Abimbola Sunday Abimbola, Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Epe Branch said: “Laws are made for humans and humans make laws to guide them. Beyond sentiment; the menace of Okada riders on the major road is not good enough. If you look at what they do to other road users if you go to hospitals and see the number of amputations recorded per day, banning them on major roads would be considered a good decision. It did not start now, and that is what a lot of people are not acknowledging. There was a law during the government of Babatunde Raji Fashola. Now, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has only enacted it. They relaxed the law and another governor has come to dust it up and implement it. Why is it now that people are making noise, when the law was made, it went through readings in the house, stakeholders were there, so why are people now shouting? As for Gokada, Opay and the likes, they are mature, but of course if you open the door for one, what happens to the others? The law says no bikes, tricycles on the highway, are we now going to relax the law for one, the government would have breached the law if they do that? So, until the law is amended it stands.”

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For Lawyer, Busola Mayegun (not real name), there are two sides to the issue. “There is the good and the bad side. The ban will increase the level of security awareness in the state. Strange looking people are all over Lagos, they could be from Niger Republic or anywhere, but they find their way into Lagos with no record of where they live. Some work as cobblers in the day and sleep in the house where their brothers work as security. And these people have a way of dominating any place they settle in. This could lead to a bad security situation, especially with the Boko Haram menace the country is facing.”

Further, she said: “Aside from this, most of these Hausa people who ride bikes jump on them without training thus endangering the lives of those they carry. There are places where Okada was banned and they have moved on. Okada was banned in Abuja and heaven did not fall, people eventually moved on. People might be complaining of a shortage of buses right now, but they will adapt and move on.

“On the other hand, a lot of people have lost their jobs. We have to also look at the economic angle. Gokada and Keke NAPEP riders who have lost their jobs will want to resort to crime to survive.”

On his part, Dr. Api, a traditional medicine practitioner, whose office is located at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos State welcomed the idea, describing it as timely.

Speaking with Saturday INDEPENDENT, he said: “Do you know the number of people coming into Lagos State daily? Trucks with bikes and riders some of whom are not even Nigerians come into Lagos State and these people easily get integrated into the society either as bike men or cobblers. They do the oddest of jobs, so they easily find something to do. The other day, we saw a report on how the army arrested over 400 people suspected to be militants. They were arrested in Abia State along Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway. People reportedly travelling at 2: am, where were they going? Imagine if these people with sinister motives had found their way into Lagos State, do you know the crime and havoc they would have wrecked? We are all at risk. I am sure that the decision was taken based on intelligence report. So, the development is a positive one.”

There is no doubt that the sensitivity of the state government has been questioned with clamours that an alternative means of transportation ought to have been provided before the ban on Okada and Keke NAPEP.


However, the state government has described the position as “uninformed criticism” and an attempt to blackmail it, stating that ferries and buses have been provided to ease the difficulty being witnessed by members of the public.

A statement credited to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu stated that over 500 buses would be deployed to the routes listed in the restriction directive as an alternative to ease movement. Gov. Sanwo-Olu also stated that the launching of commercial operations on waterways by Lagos Ferry Service (LAGFERRY) was another programme introduced by the Government to address congestion on the highways.

However, there have been questions regarding the effectiveness of ferry services to transport people going to areas such as Ojodu, Ikeja, Gbagada, Oshodi, all none riverine areas.

“Don’t mind them, they are just telling us that they are the only one who is educated, they are proving that they are the government of the day. How do you restrain bikes and tricycles from roads in Ikeja and Ojodu when you know that it is one of the most effective means of transportation? They said that they have introduced ferries and buses, do the buses ply these routes, can a ferry take me to Ikeja if I reside at Ojodu, did the government consider this?” says an undergraduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye.

Saturday INDEPENDENT’s visit to selected parts of Lagos State such as Ikoyi, Lagos Island, Obalende, Iyana Oworo, and the Mowe axis of the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway revealed stranded passengers with most of them walking to their destinations.

The situation is not going to change anytime soon, as the state government has stated that there is no going back on the restriction.

Explaining the decision at an event, Sanwo-Olu said: “I agree it’s a tough decision we made regarding the restriction of Okada and Keke in some parts of Lagos. But I want to say some facts, which people can debate. The restriction that we have done is primarily based on security and safety of lives of residents. We took the decision based on the level of danger we have seen to have happened to our people.

“As a responsible Government, we will not fold our arms and allow Okada riders put our lives in danger. One life is more important to us than all the economic benefits to be made if we allowed them to continue. We understand that investment too can be critical, but keeping people alive and safe is more germane.”

With only a handful of buses noticed on the restricted areas, fares going at almost a hundred percent higher and traffic persisting, there is no denying the fact that Lagosians are in for a very rough time as far as transportation is concerned.

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