Monday, 28 September 2015

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Monday, 21 September 2015

From Ajegunle To Europe: Odion Ighalo’s Rise To EPL Football Glory (PHOTOS)

Until now, not many Nigerians are familiar with the name “Odion Ighalo.” After his goals lifted Watford from the English Championship to the glamorous premier league, he became the cynosure of all eyes.

At first, football pundits were unsure whether the Nigerian goal poacher can replicate the form that saw Watford qualifying for the EPL. But the blistering form of the striker continues as he netted four goals in as much as four early games of the season. This led to continuous clamour for his inclusion in Coach Sunday Oliseh’s new look Super Eagles.

The big question on some soccer observers is: How did a relatively unknown Ighalo make it this far?

In truth, the 26-year-old footballer journey through Ajegunle, a renowned Lagos slum to Norway as a teenager was more of a fairy tale.

Prior to his coming to Europe, Ighalo used to kick tin cans with his bare feet around the crowded streets of Ajegunle even when running errand for his mother. The industrious mum reportedly worked 17 hours a day selling “pure water” and soft drinks from where the proceed for the striker’s first pair of football boots came from.

On getting to icy Norway, sources said that the first time the young man ever saw snow, he ate it.

When he left Norway, he pitched tent with Spanish club, Granada which recently named one of their stadia entrances after the Nigeria forward for his immense contribution to the club’s progress.

The club said that they found it easy to name him along with three of their stadia entrances after the players for helping them progress to the Spanish La Liga in 2011.

An entrance was decorated with the picture of Ighalo and one other player and was named “Heroes’ Ascent” in the New Stadium Los Carmenes.

Now enjoying the riches of English football, his journey from inner-city hardship in Africa to Watford’s tilt at Premier League survival, is now the yardstick for kids who dream of turning from austerity to prosperity.

Today, Ighalo have just signed a new five-year contract at Vicarage Road.

Hear him: “I come from a ghetto where there was no 24-hour electricity, no good water, bad roads and the neighbourhood is tough,” he said. “We used to kick old cans, plastic bottles, sometimes even an orange, around the streets in bare feet.

“Whatever I go on to achieve in football, I will always give thanks to God for this opportunity to live my dream – but I will also never forget where I came from.

“Ajegunle is where my journey began and I’m proud of that. My first team, Olodi Warriors, used to play on a grass pitch known locally as the ‘Maracana’ but it was really a big, wide-open field.

“On one corner, there were boys selling marijuana and they were always being chased by the police when they cut across the pitch. We would hit the floor when we heard the ‘pop, pop, pop’ of gunfire and then continue training.

“It is part of life, but bullets don’t always differentiate between the footballers and the bad guys.”

Ighalo was scouted by Norway’s Lyn Oslo as a 17-year-old, and the youngest of seven children left Nigeria to seek his fortune in a country where temperatures were often 70 degrees colder.

“There were three players from Nigeria who went to Norway – but one of them had to go home because he could not cope with the cold,” he said. “I could easily have followed him, but when I thought of the hardship I left behind, I was not going to cut and run.

“I had never seen snow before in Nigeria. The first time it snowed in Oslo I was like a child. I was eating it, rubbing it on my head, throwing it in the air like confetti... it was a new toy.”

After 10 months, Ighalo was snared in the web of Watford’s owners, the Italian Pozzo dynasty, joining Udinese before being loaned out to their Spanish club, Granada, where he is revered.

Ighalo scored the winner in consecutive play-off finals as Granada leapt to La Liga.
His happy knack of scoring important goals and winning promotion endured after his move to Vicarage Road 14 months ago.

When Watford, trailing 2-1, were down to 10 men at Derby on Good Friday, Ighalo snaffled a precious equaliser.

Three days later, his rocket against Middlesbrough in another promotion shootout clinched an important 2-0 win and made the Hornets believe they were going up.

Ighalo was off the mark on the opening day of this season in a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park, leaving England’s John Stones on his backside with his signature ‘scoop’ turn.

“I’ve been lucky enough to score some important goals, but my work is not done,” he said.

“One day, when I’ve made good money in football, I would like to go back to Ajegunle and provide better pitches, help the kids at grassroots levels.

“My mum had to work so hard, selling bottled water and soft drinks, to pay for my first pair of adidas Copa Mundial boots, and everything I am today I owe to her and to God.”

Meanwhile, Ighalo has expressed his excitement over his achievements in his career in the last one week.

“A gate in Granada Stadium was name after me, I signed a new five-year contract with Watford FC and scored my second EPL goal,” he wrote recently on Instagram.

“A perfect week for me and who says God doesn’t exist? I vow to give him back all the glory.”


Never ever give up on your dream. It may tarry awhile, you will surely get there with patience, perseverance and hardwork

Meet Late Adadevoh’s Gorgeous Niece And Cousin (PHOTOS)

It was a night of pomp and glamour at THISDAY’s 20th annual anniversary ceremony where Late Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh and 19 others were honoured with the covetous ‘Game Changer’ awards.

The colourful ceremony which held at Eko Hotel and Suite on September 6, 2015 had virtually all the big wigs and crème de la crème in the banking, Information and communication technology, manufacturing, health, oil and gas, media and political sectors in attendance.

The event which started on a bright note with great old beats from a live band reached its climax with the presentation of awards.

What seemingly caught the attention of the ecstatic audience was the presence of two delectable damsels who climbed the podium when the name of Late Dr. Adadevoh was announced for a posthumous award.

While eagle-eyed paparazzi kept taking repeated shots and a section of the crowd readjusting their seats to catch a glimpse, the ladies introduced themselves as the late physician’s niece – Fiona Henshaw and cousin – Ngozi Edozien.

So gorgeous was the fair-complexioned lady that even the former Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola who joined Mr. Robert Gate, a former United States secretary of defence and director of central intelligence agency (CIA) on the stage was caught staring repeatedly at her.

After receiving the award, Henshaw expressed appreciation saying: “Aunty Ameyo is in good company today. I thank you for the opportunity to remember her and celebrate what she did.

“To celebrate her efforts, a trust was set up in her honour called the Stella Adadevoh Health Trust,” she remarked.

The website address named after the anti-Ebola heroine, according to the niece, was given as

A Tale of Two Defectors: Ribadu, Obi Meets Again (PHOTOS)

It was a reunion of sort for former Anambra governor, Peter Obi and former Adamawa gubernatorial candidate, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu who apparently were seeing again for the first time since the post-Goodluck Jonathan era.

Their continual hugging and vigorous shaking of hands drew attention of journalists and other political big wigs at the cocktail session of the 20th THISDAY Anniversary Award held at Eko Hotel and Suites penultimate week.

It would be recalled that both men defected from their primary parties to pitch tent with the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a move that shock political observers.

While Peter Obi claimed he dumped All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) after a long and sustained denial in October 2014 because of his resolve to be strongly involved in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 re-election bid, the 54-year-old anti-corruption Czar defended his jumping of ships from All Progressive Congress (APC) to PDP as an action borne out of his zeal to his country.

However after the loss and eventual evacuation of the erstwhile government from Aso Rock, not much was heard of most PDP stalwarts, especially the two political turncoats who many political buffs still believed hold an impeccable record in their last political assignments – Ribadu in EFCC and Obi as Anambra State governor.

This perhaps explained why the organisers of THISDAY anniversary awards found both worthy of being given the prestigious recognition of game changers.

In the category of lifetime achievers however were Alhaji Ahmadu Ibrahim Coomasie, former Inspector General of Police; Chief Tonye Graham-Douglas, former Minister of Tourism; Sir Alex Duduyemi, businessman extraordinaire; Mr. Jackson Gaius-Obaseki, former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); Prof Ibrahim Gambari, former Minister of External Affairs; His Royal Highness Alhaji Shehu Idris, Emir of Zaria; Prof Joe Irukwu, insurance guru and Chief Kola Jamodu, former Minister of Commerce and Industry.

Others lifetime achievers included Commodore Ndubuisi Kanu, former Lagos State Governor; Justice Idris Kutigi, former Chief Justice of Nigeria; Prince Tony Momoh, former Minister of Information; Justice Aloma Mariam Muktar, first female Chief Justice of Nigeria; Justice Dahiru Musdapha, former Chief Justice of Nigeria; Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, former chairman of Nestle Plc and Chief Joseph Sanusi, former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor.

Boko Haram Bomb Survivor Wins THISDAY Game Changer Award (PHOTOS)

Recognition eventually came the way of Member Fesse, one of the few survivors of Boko Haram bombing of the United Nations office in Abuja some years ago.

Fesse, a post-graduate student of Poverty and Development at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, was presented with the prestigious THISDAY game changer award for not giving up on her dreams.

It would be recalled that face of Hope campaigner was at the UN office on the fateful day to collect data for her dissertation on social protection in Nigeria when the terrorist struck.

After her miraculous survival, Fesse refused to stand down from what she believes is right and just by converting what started as a support group for her recovery into an advocacy body that demands improved service delivery and accountability, especially for the poor and marginalised in society.

Through “Team Member” she is working to provide modern prosthetic centre in Nigeria where artificial limbs can be made available for those who need it.

Fesse is currently a staff in the department of Development Finance at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Former Governor Fashola Still Toast of Lagos 'Babes' (PHOTOS)

Like or hate him, erstwhile governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola discernibly remains the toast of Lagos damsels.

This was confirmed again when he showed up at the 20th anniversary ceremony of THISDAY Newspaper which took place at Eko Hotel and Suites recently.

Immediately the former governor was sighted coming into the posh venue, virtually all the ladies in the hall jumped to their feet and rushed to him in excitement.

Left, right and centre, cameras went clicking as everybody struggled to take a selfie with him.

The prestigious THISDAY game changer award, a pet project of Nduka Obaigbena, incumbent chairman of newspaper owners association and glamour boy of Nigerian journalism, is held annual.

The 2015 edition, initially slated for February, was subsequently shifted due to the general election held early in the year.

NNPC New Boss Kachikwu's Test Of Popularity At THISDAY Award (PHOTOS)

The group managing director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu is obviously blending well in his new found fame.

The new NNPC poster boy was spotted looking dapper in an immaculate white suit and a trendy dark goggle at the THISDAY’s 20th anniversary awards penultimate week.

Despite sitting in company of Elizabeth, his wife, the legal luminary and pioneer of romance journalism in Nigeria was the cynosure of all eyes. The gait and poise with which he moves reek of sheer class.

The test of his popularity surfaced midway through the programme when he was called up to the stage to partner Charles Hagel, former United States Secretary of Defence in presenting an award to Member Fesse, a Boko Haram bomb survivor.

Right from the moment he rose from his seat to ascend the rostrum to the time he descended after presenting the award, he received a standing ovation from the crowd.

In truth, one cannot really say if his new found fame has anything to do with his personality or his assuming the mantle of leadership at NNPC.

Quite hard to say though!

More pix...

Monday, 24 August 2015

The Parable of Two Monks (THOUGHT-PROVOKING)

Two monks, Tanzan and Ekido were once travelling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling. Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.

"Come on, lady," said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself.

"We monks don't go near females," he told Tanzan, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”

The latter stared at him for sometime before responding.

"I left the girl there," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?”


In life, letting go can be difficult but you will torture yourself mentally and emotionally by holding on. Breathe deep, and let it go. Life doesn’t always follow the script; rules are bent and broken; the ideal doesn’t match the real. But carrying wounds long after the battle is done is indeed a mark of immaturity.

Let it go!!!

The Five Hundred Naira (N500) Parable

It happened some time ago but I was in an audience listening to a motivational speaker.

The speaker got out his wallet & pulled out a 500 Naira note. Holding it up, he asked, "Who wants this 500 naira note?"

A lot of hands went up including mine. A slow chorus began to build as people began to shout "Me!" "Me!" I began to wonder who the lucky one would be. And I also secretly wondered (and I am sure others did too) why he would simply give away 500 naira.

Even as the shouts of "I want it" grew louder, I noticed a young woman running down the aisle. She ran up onto the stage, went up to the speaker, and grabbed the 500 naira note from his hand.

"Well done, young lady," said the speaker into the microphone. The speaker simply says "Most of us just sit and wait for good things to happen. That is of no use. You've got to make things happen. Make a move"

'Simply thinking about doing something is of no use and not good enough'. Our lives are like that. We all see opportunities around us. We all want the good things. The problem is that we don't take action.
We all want the 500 naira notes on offer. But we don't make the move. We look at it longingly.

"Get up, and do something about it. Don't worry about what other people might think.

Just take action!!!
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