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BIG STORY

SAD: Former Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi Dies At 54.

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Nigerian football icon and ex-super eagles coach, Stephen Okechukwu Chinedu Keshi died suddenly in the early hours of Wednesday in Benin City, Edo state.

He was scheduled to return to the United States on Wednesday evening before he suffered cardiac arrest.

The former international football player and coach had lost his wife of 35 years, Kate, last year after a prolonged battle with cancer.

“He was not ill at all, never showed any signs of illness, but we suspect he never got over the death of his wife,” a friend said.

He is survived by four children and his mother.

Keshi, the only Nigerian coach to have won the Africa Cup of Nations, achieved a rare feat in 2013 by becoming only the second person to win the trophy both as a player and a coach.

The only other person to have achieved the feat is Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary.

Keshi, a product of St. Finbarr’s College, Akoka, Lagos, started his playing career at a very young age at ACB Football Club, and later played for New Nigeria Bank, Stade d’Abidjan, Africa Sports, Lokeren, Anderlecht, RC Strasbourg, and a host of other clubs.

He represented Nigeria from 1982, at age 20, till 1994, most of the time captaining the Super Eagles and scoring vital goals from his position as a central defender.

He also coached Togo and Nigeria at the World Cup, as well as Mali.

Keshi, nicknamed the “Big Boss” for his leadership skills, is the fifth member of the all-conquering 1994 team to die, following Uche Okafor, Thompson Oliha, Rashidi Yekini and Wilfred Agbonavbare.

Meanwhile, the family has released a statement announcing his death.

The statement signed by Emmanuel Ado was titled: “Stephen Keshi CON has gone to be with his wife”.

“With thanksgiving to God, the Ogbuenyi Fredrick Keshi family of Illah in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State, announces the death of Mr. Stephen Okechukwu Chinedu Keshi,” Ado wrote.

“Our son, brother, father, father-in-law,brother-in-law, has gone to be with his wife of 35 years (Nkem), Mrs. Kate Keshi, who passed on on the 9th December 2015.

“Since her death, Keshi has been in mourning. He came back to Nigeria to be with her. He had planned to fly back today Wednesday, before he suffered a cardiac arrest. He has found rest.

“We thank God for his life.

“We want to ask for understanding in this very difficult time for the family.”

BIG STORY

Imo Recovers ‘Looted’ Public Equipment In Okorocha’s Warehouse

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Imo State Government on Thursday said it has recovered missing Nsu ceramic and tiles industry equipment in a warehouse believed to be owned by former Governor Rochas Okorocha.

Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Simon Ebegbulem, who led a team to the warehouse located along Owerri/ Aba Road, said the equipment were stacked with other public-owned facilities.

He named a molder as one of the items which, according to him, were looted for the establishment of a private ceramic and tiles company by Okorocha, a serving senator and former chairman of the All Progressives Governors’ Forum.

The Nsu Ceramic and Tiles Industry in Ehime Mbano was established by the administration of the late Sam Mbakwe, the first civilian governor of old Imo State.

Ebegbulem said: “The said 55-feet by the 200-length warehouse is adjacent another warehouse where the then Emeka Ihedioha administration discovered some public properties said to be owned by the state.

”There was a time the administration of Hope Uzodimma raised the alarm on the equipment of Nsu Ceramic and Tiles Industries looted by the administration of Rochas Okorocha. That was after some patriotic citizens of the state raised the alarm on these looted Imo properties kept by the Okorochas along Owerri/Aba Road.

”We followed up to find out the truth and with what we have seen in Okorocha’s warehouse; there is a plan by Okorocha to set up a ceramic factory with government-owned properties as a personal factory.

“Information we have gathered from those guarding the warehouse is that sometimes, their (Okorocha’s) people come here to pick some items and sell them off.

”However, some of the equipment we are looking for are here and we have come to take possession of the Imo properties and anybody we see here will blame himself. We have taken over the government properties for the good of Imolites based on their demands.

”Some of the public properties discovered included equipment of the Nsu Ceramic and Tiles Industry set up by the then government of Sam Mbakwe as the industry established for Imo people have been personalized.

”We also found street light equipment and their components, traffic light accessories, artificial tree plants were all found in the large warehouse owned by Okorocha.

“Also, a molder from the Nsu tiles and ceramics and other components of the Nsu Ceramic and Tiles Industry was discovered to be in the warehouse and now we have taken over.”

When contacted, Okorocha said what the government recovered were mere cartons of tiles.

”It was interesting to read that what the Commissioner said they recovered were street light accessories and cartons of ties. He didn’t even disclose how he arrived at the conclusion that those items were owned by the government,” he added in a statement by his media aide, Sam Onwuemeodo.

He challenged the government to disclose or publish the proof of ownership of all they claimed they had recovered.

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My Son’s Gay Status, A Spiritual Challenge —– Doyin Okupe

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A former Presidential Spokesman, Dr. Doyin Okupe, says his son’s decision to openly declare himself a homosexual is a spiritual challenge.

Okupe said this in a series of tweets while reacting to a viral photo showing his son, Bolu, wearing rainbow boxers with the caption, Yes, I am gay”.

Okupe, who served under former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, said as an evangelist, he would never accept homosexuality as it is at variance with Christian values.

He, however, said he was hopeful that God would intervene, adding that he had been aware of his son’s sexual orientation for quite some time.

The former Presidential aide tweeted, “I have been aware of this his new orientation for a while now. He knows that as a Christian and a witness for Christ (an evangelist), I am vehemently opposed to homosexuality as it runs contrary to the avowed precepts of my Christian faith.

“For me, I look beyond the surface or the physical. Here I see a major spiritual challenge ahead but I know as my God liveth, this whole saga will end up in praise to the Almighty Jehovah who I serve day and night.

“For it is written: Behold, the hand of the Lord is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is His ear dead that he cannot hear. Isaiah 59 vs 1.”

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Governors Forum Distance Selves From Yahaya Bello’s Misleading Claim On COVID

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The Nigeria Governors Forum has dissociated itself from a statement by a member and Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, about coronavirus conspiracy theories.

It also set up a committee of experts headed by Prof. Oyewole Tomori to advise members on the procurement and administration of coronavirus vaccines expected to arrive in Nigeria in February.

The decision was taken after the NGF received briefings from three medical experts, including Tomori, a leading virologist and former Vice-Chancellor of the Redeemer’s University of Nigeria; Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, and the founder/Managing Director of Synlab Nigeria, Dr Pamela Ajayi, among others.

The Chairman of the NGF and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, said this in a communiqué he signed after a virtual meeting of the forum on Wednesday, which was made public on Thursday.

It read in part, “Following the presentations, the Forum set up a team of experts, led by Prof. Oyewale Tomori, to advise state governors on the procurement and administration of coronavirus vaccines in the country.

“The NGF Chairman, Dr Kayode Fayemi, briefed State governors on a meeting with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, on the rollout of the COVAX facility, which is a global risk-sharing mechanism co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization to facilitate pooled procurement and the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across developing countries. Nigeria is among 12 countries in Africa that have indicated the readiness of the 92 qualified countries for the facility and will by the end of February 2021 receive its first shipment of vaccines.

“The National Primary Health Care Development Agency has indicated that vaccines will be administered in four phases, based on vaccine type and availability, initially for frontline health workers, then the aged (55 years and above), persons with underlying medical conditions and other target groups.

“On the ill-fated pronouncement made by a member of the Forum regarding the COVID-19 vaccine in a national daily, the Forum totally and categorically dissociated itself from the statement, emphasizing that the Forum will continue to be informed and guided by science and will ensure that every decision it takes retains public and professional trust and is not compromised by conflicts of interest.”

The governors also agreed to do more to reactivate their health systems, open-up treatment centers, and increase partnerships with stakeholder groups in order to improve risk communication and the public’s adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.

They also committed to increasing budgetary allocations to the health sector to reduce enteric infections and over 255, 000 preventable deaths in Nigeria each year.

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