Doyin Okupe withdraws from presidential race, backs Peter Obi (Punch)
A former presidential aide, Doyin Okupe, and presidential hopeful has withdrawn from the 2023 race to support the ambition of ex-governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi.
He made this known on Wednesday at a press conference held at the Iwe Iroyin Press Centre in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, saying that leader of socio-political group, Aferenire, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, appealed to him to withdraw from the race.
Okupe also enjoined all other Peoples Democratic Party aspirants from the South including Dele Momodu, Pius Anyim, and Nyesom Wike to team up with Obi, who is from the South-East geopolitical zone.
Okupe also accused the PDP leadership of driving presidential aspirants to “fait accompli”, saying “those at the helm of affairs of the party are trying to hoodwink those of us aspirants from the South to commit ourselves to obtain the requisite forms before coming up with the original position that ‘every zone can contest the presidency’. Read more
Court sentences 2 SSS 3 students to 7 years imprisonment for stealing (Vanguard)
A Lagos High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square, TBS, yesterday sentenced two Senior Secondary School (SSS 3) leavers Udochukwu Anyanwu and Udo Chibike (also known as Lasis), to seven years imprisonment each for breaking into a church and stealing a piano.
Justice Yetunde Adesanya sentenced them after they pleaded guilty to a plea bargain agreement.
The judge held that the term of the imprisonment will start from the day they were first remanded in prison on January 19, 2017.
The convicts were first remanded in prison on January 19, 2017, by a Lagos Magistrates Court and were later charged and arraigned on 27 June 2018, before Justice Yetunde Adesanya on several offences of conspiracy to commit a felony, to wit rob and robbery preferred against them and they pleaded not guilty. Read more
MainOne begins multimillion-dollar connectivity at Lagos Free Zone (Leadership)
MainOne in collaboration with Tolaram Group has launched a multimillion-dollar connectivity project at the Lagos Free Zone.
The project is aimed at boosting internet connectivity in the Lagos Free Zone, enabling businesses and individuals to power their operations and provide services to customers with high-speed internet.
The project requires the deployment of over 50km of fibre optic network infrastructure from MainOne’s data centre located at Ogombo to LFZ.
Commenting on the project, chief technical officer, MainOne, Anil Verma, “This partnership with Lagos Free Zone will provide strategic value to forward-thinking businesses who seek to enjoy the ease of doing business. Organizations at the Zone will experience increased speed, security, and connectivity in The New Frontier with MainOne. Customers will also enjoy access to local data centers and other local and global service providers through the MainOne data center with connections directly from the Zone.” Read more
Senate ‘directs’ DStv, GOtv to slash subscription fees (Guardian)
Nigeria Senate on Wednesday inaugurated a committee to “investigate” the subscription fees of DStv and GOtv bouquets in the country and directed all pay-tv service providers “to immediately review their bouquet prices downwards”.
The resolution of the upper legislative chamber followed a motion sponsored by Abba Moro, senator representing Benue South.
MultiChoice last week announced increment on DSTV and GOtv subscription fees and blamed the decision on inflation and business operations costs in Nigeria.
The new fees will become effective on April 1. Read more
Southern Kaduna: 21 cows poisoned to death in Jema’a LG (DailyTrust)
21 cows reportedly died Friday evening after allegedly taking poison behind Kaduna State College of Education (KSCOE) in Gidan Waya, Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Daily Trust gathered.
Speaking to Daily Trust on the development, the spokesman for the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Kaduna State Chapter, Ibrahim Bayero said the cows belonged to Pate Gambo (15 cows), Iliyas Gambo (five cows) and Inusa Gambo (one cow).
In a move to reconcile the parties, the Executive Chairman, Jema’a Local Government, Comrade Yunana Markus Barde organised a meeting for further peace engagement and understanding between the farmers and herders in Gidan Waya, Godogodo Chiefdom and their Fulani neighbours over the case of 21 cows said to have been slaughtered after allegedly taking poison in the area.
Speaking during the meeting, the chairman expressed dismay over the incident, which he described as a deliberate handiwork of the enemies of peace to frustrate the peace process and cause crisis in the area. Read more
Abuja-Kaduna train attack: ‘398 passengers bought tickets’; Govt releases manifest (Channels)
The Kaduna State Government has released the passenger manifest for the Abuja-Kaduna train service AK9 which was attacked by bandits on Monday.
The Commissioner Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, in a statement on Wednesday said the manifest showed that 398 passengers bought tickets for the trip but 362 of these passengers were validated as having boarded the train through the gate.
This is contrary to reports that over 900 persons boarded the train on Monday.
According to Aruwan, the document also revealed that eight bodies had been recovered, while 26 were injured. Several of the passengers were noted to be unaccounted for as search operations were said to be ongoing. Read more
CIBN unveils South-South zonal office (ThisDay)
The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has inaugurated its South-south zonal office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. This is as the institute also gave reason for choosing Rivers State University (RSU) as its best Linkage School in the region.
Inaugurating the zonal office in Port Harcourt yesterday, the President of CIBN, Dr. Bayo Olugbemi, stated that the establishment of the institute about six decades ago, “has maintained its relevance as a foremost professional body for bankers in Nigeria, which has been upholding ethics and professionalism, and supporting the economy.”
Olugbemi reiterated the determination and commitment of the institute “to be a global reference point for skills and conduct in the Banking and Finance industry,” charging its members in the South-south zone to stay committed to and pursue the realisation of the institute’s strategic objectives.
He commended the Managing Director of Heritage Bank Plc, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, for offering the institute the office space in their Port Harcourt building on Azikiwe Road. Read more
Wizkid stars Winnie Harlow in ‘True Love’ music video (Guardian)
Afrobeats superstar, Wizkid has released the official music video for True Love starring Jamaican-Canadian model Winnie Harlow as his love interest.
The single produced by P2J off his 2020 album Made In Lagos features Tay Iwar and Projexx.
True Love recently amassed 100,000 units in pure sales and audio streaming in the United States, and the music video is his fourth music video to be released off the album.
Wizkid’s fourth studio album, Made In Lagos, focuses on the core of Nigerian sounds and includes 14-tracks that feature a list of great artists, including Burna Boy, Skepta, H.E.R, Ella Mai, Tay Iwar, Projexx. Read more
CIG partners Polaris Bank on auto financing (Independent)
CIG Motors, the exclusive distributor GAC brand in Nigeria, has entered into a partnership agreement with Polaris Bank to make vehicle acquisition and ownership affordable to Nigerians.
The scheme: ‘Easy Buy,’ the two companies said is open to all automobile enthusiasts across the country.
The bank and the auto giant announced the scheme, over the weekend at a joint press conference in Lagos with improved incentives that would afford customers and prospects the opportunity to acquire affordably priced brand new vehicles.
Chief Diana Chen, the Chairman, CIG advised prospective auto patrons to seize the opportunity of the scheme and acquire brand new automobiles that can stand the test of time. Read more
Kelly Clarkson to keep professional name after divorce (Independent)
Kelly Clarkson says that she will continue to use “Clarkson” as her last name professionally, after legally changing it to Kelly Brianne.
The singer and talk-show host started legal proceedings to change her name in February this year, after separating from her husband, talent manager Brandon Blackstock, in 2020.
The former couple began divorce process in June of that year, citing “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for their split.
According to court documents obtained by Us, the 39-year-old singer has now finalised her legal name change to Kelly Brianne, weeks after her divorce was finalised. Read more
Paul McCartney pens emotional tribute to Taylor Hawkins (NME)
Paul McCartney has penned a lengthy tribute to late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, who died in Colombia last Friday (March 25).
Since news of the tragic death was announced by the band, tributes have been pouring in from across the music world and beyond.
McCartney – who collaborated with Foo Fighters on their 2017 album ‘Concrete and Gold’ and most recently invited them to play ‘Get Back’ with him at their 2021 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction – has now taken to Twitter to pay an emotional tribute to Hawkins.
“Taylor’s sudden death came as a shock to me and the people who knew and loved him,” his message began. Read more
Russ and Bugus launch DIEMON, an ‘Artist-Friendly’ label looking to change the mindset of the music industry (Variety)
After over 10 years in the making, independent rappers Russ and Bugus are finally launching their own record label: DIEMON.
An acronym for “Do It Everyday Music or Nothing,” DIEMON started in 2010 as a creative collective in Atlanta before becoming an imprint on Columbia Records when Russ signed with them in 2017. But in 2020, Russ completed his deal with Columbia and became a full-blown independent artist once again, releasing his 2021 album “Chomp 2” on his own. Most recently, his single “Handsomer” broke through the top 40 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Now, the multi-hyphenate wants to help other artists by providing them with the resources of a major label — without all of the other binding stipulations.
“Everyone owns their masters; everyone owns their publishing. We don’t eat on your merch or your tours, and everything’s a profit split deal,” Russ tells Variety of DIEMON’s philosophy. “We’re not looking to invest in an artist just to change their music. If we like an artist enough to sign them, it’s because we like what they’re doing. It’s just a super artist-friendly situation, where we’re here to provide resources and mentorship to artists that we believe in.
Bugus, DIEMON’s co-founder and Russ’ best friend since eighth grade, says the label is looking to sign passionate, “hungry” artists of any genre. Read more
Daniel Kaluuya making screenwriting debut futuristic dystopian film ‘The Kitchen’ for Netflix
A year after winning the best supporting actor Oscar for Judas and the Black Messiah, Daniel Kaluuya is stepping up his creativity behind the camera.
In his first co-writing credit, the Brit star has helped pen futuristic dystopian drama The Kitchen for Netflix alongside Joe Murtagh (Calm with Horses, Gangs of London) from an original idea by Kaluuya, Kibwe Tavares and Daniel Emmerson (Calm with Horses). Kaluuya will also produce the feature under his 59% Productions banner, while Emmerson produces for DMC Film, the production company co-founded by Michael Fassbender.
Set in London in 2044, The Kitchen paints a bleak futuristic world in which the gap between rich and poor has been stretched to its limits. With all forms of social housing having been eradicated, London’s working classes have been forced to live in temporary accommodation on the outskirts of the city. The Kitchen, however, is the first and the largest of its kind: London’s last village harbouring residents that refuse to move on and move out of the place they call home. The story revolves around local residents Izi, who is desperately trying to find a way out, and 12-year-old Benji, who has lost his mother and is searching for a family, as they battle to survive in a system that is stacked against them.
Izi will be played by actor and musician Kane Robinson, best known for his starring role in Netflix’s Top Boy series, which has just returned for the second season since being rebooted. Benji will be played by young newcomer Jedaiah Bannerman, who was discovered by casting director Aisha Bywaters (The Last Tree, We Are Lady Parts, County Lines). Bywaters, who was selected for BAFTA Breakthrough program in 2021, will reportedly use The Kitchen to launch a host of young British talent. Read more
Chris Rock’s brother Tony Rock reacts to Will Smith’s apology for Oscars slap (Today)
Despite actor Will Smith’s Instagram apology to Chris Rock for hitting him on live television during the Academy Awards, the comedian’s brother says it’s not enough.
Chris Rock had cracked a joke about the hair of Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith — “Jada, love you, ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it” — before Smith himself stormed onstage and slapped Rock. Pinkett Smith has alopecia, an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss.
He returned to his seat and shouted profanities at the comedian before going on to win the Oscar for best actor for his role as Richard Williams in “King Richard.”
On Tuesday night, Chris Rock’s brother Tony, who is also a comedian, responded on Twitter to several questions about the incident. Read more
XYZ & NZ outfit Tavake acquire rights to legal prostitution story ‘Madame Mom’ (Deadline)
XYZ Films and Tavake, the Auckland-based producer of series The Panthers, have acquired adaptation rights to the unpublished memoirs Madame Mom by Antonia Murphy, author of the Huffington Post article I’m an Ethical Pimp.
Murphy, author of Dirty Chick: Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer published by Penguin Random House, moved from the U.S. to New Zealand, where sex work is decriminalized, and in 2016 founded an escort agency built on a philosophy of protecting women’s legal rights, emotional well-being, and financial independence.
A half-hour dramedy adaptation is underway with Shoshana McCallum, who won an International Emmy for NZ series Inside, and Harry McNaughton (The Pact) writing. It is Tavake and XYZ’s first series collaboration.
Tom Hern (Shadow in the Cloud, The Dark Horse), Halaifonua Finau (The Panthers) and Crystal Vaega (The Panthers) are executive-producing for Tavake, with Nick Spicer and Marci Wiseman for XYZ. Eric and Susan Carlson are also executive producers. Murphy is a consulting producer on the project. Read more
CAF doctor died of cardiac arrest, says NFF (Punch)
The Nigeria Football Federation has confirmed the death of a CAF medical officer, Joseph Kabungo, after the 2022 FIFA World Cup playoff match between Nigeria and Ghana on Tuesday.
The NFF’s General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, made this disclosure in a statement by the federation’s department of communications on Wednesday.
The PUNCH earlier reported, based on a preliminary assessment, that Kabungo had died following a stampede on his way to the hospital from the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja on Tuesday.
Expressing shock over the sad incident, “The NFF commiserates with the world football governing body – FIFA; the Confederation of African Football; the Football Association of Zambia, and the family of Dr Kabungo on his sudden passing”. Read more
World Cup 2022: Official tournament football revealed for Qatar (BBC)
With 236 days to go until the 2022 World Cup gets under way in Qatar – and the draw set to take place on Friday – another landmark moment in the countdown to football’s biggest tournament took place on Wednesday.
The official match ball was unveiled – and it “travels faster in flight than any other World Cup ball” in history, according to Adidas, who have produced 14 successive balls for the tournament.
Named the ‘Al Rihla’, which translates as “the journey” in Arabic, the design is said to also provide “the highest level of accuracy”.
“The game is getting faster and, as it speeds up, accuracy and flight stability becomes critically important,” said design director Franziska Loeffelmann. Read more
Jack Grealish sends message to Manchester City squad ahead of Liverpool and Atletico Madrid ties (SI)
With only a mere point separating Manchester City from nearest challengers Liverpool at the top of the Premier League along with an upcoming Champions League quarter-final tie and an FA Cup semi-final clash also in store, there is a lot at stake for Pep Guardiola’s side in their season run-in.
After a trip to Turf Moor to face Burnley, the Sky Blues are set to face Atletico Madrid and Liverpool twice apiece in the space of 11 days across the remaining three competitions they are still in contention to win.
As a result, it would not be an overstatement to assume that City are entering a week and a half of football that can be considered as season-defining, after which the pressure will continue to rise as all eyes will be on them to get the job done on multiple fronts.
Speaking after England’s latest 3-0 victory against Ivory Coast, Manchester City attacker Jack Grealish had his say about his feelings heading into the business end of the season. Read more
Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko opens about her sad reality (TennisWorld)
Ukrainian tennis star Lesia Tsurenko described the past month as the “worst month” of her life and added she has nowhere to go now since she can’t return to her home in Kyiv. On February 24, Russia launched their attacks on Ukraine.
Tsurenko wasn’t in Ukraine when the Russian invasion started as she was playing a WTA event in Mexico. After Guadalajara, Tsurenko went to the United States for the Masters events in Indian Wells and Miami. After suffering an early round loss in Miami, Tsurenko took a wildcard into Marbella, where she was beaten in the first round on Tuesday.
After losing in Marbella, Tsurenko tweeted about a sad reality she and many Ukrainians are now facing. Tsurenko tagged the WTA in her post. “After the worst month of my life with constant headaches, panic attacks and guilt over the war in Ukraine, I face a new challenge… as a player based in Kyiv, I have nowhere to go,” Tsurenko wrote on Twitter. “Now every Ukrainian has his own nightmare story…Where should I go?”
On the day Russia launched their invasion, Tsurenko called for the tennis community to speak out against the Russian invasion. Read more
Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte: Fury will have ‘no fight plan’ until hours before (GiveMeSport)
Tyson Fury‘s trainer SugarHill Steward has said he won’t come up with a fight plan for his upcoming fight with Dillian Whyte until hours before their bout.
The Gypsy King will put his WBC heavyweight title on the line against Whyte on April 23 at Wembley in what he has said will be his last fight ever.
Fury is already training hard and has taken a social media break while training, out of respect for his opponent.
Steward has revealed the 33-year-old will not be thinking about a game plan until hours before the fight. Read more
Valtteri Bottas said Lewis Hamilton’s Saudi Arabia struggle for Mercedes was ‘weird’ (TalkSport)
Valtteri Bottas has revealed it has been ‘weird’ to see former Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton struggle in the opening stages of the new race season.
Seven-time champion Hamilton, 37, finished in 10th place for Mercedes at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last time out.
That followed a fortuitous fifth-place finish in Bahrain, where both Red Bulls encountered engine troubles.
Mercedes, though, have got huge problems on their hands with their car well off the pace as Ferrari star Charles Leclerc now looks set to rival title-holder Max Verstappen this season. Read more