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UPDATE: Keshi Makes U-Turn, To Continue As Eagles Coach

Coach Stephen Keshi has decided to continue with his job as Super Eagles coach.

Keshi had tendered his resignation to the NFF, after leading the Super Eagles to their first Africa Nations Cup triumph in 19 years.

“I gave them (NFF) my letter of resignation immediately after last night’s game, but I haven’t heard from them yet,” Keshi told a South African radio station, Metro FM Monday night.

However, barely twenty-four hours later, keshi made a U-turn, saying all issues that led to his decision to quit the job had been resolved.

In a statement on Tuesday in Johannesburg, Keshi said: “My attention has been drawn to reports in the media that I have resigned my appointment as the Head Coach of Super Eagles of Nigeria.

“While I have had cause to express my displeasure over some issues that happened in the course of our participation in the AFCON 2013, which my team won by the grace of God, especially concerning my relationship with the Nigerian Football Federation.

“ I have since had opportunity to discuss the various issues with all concerned. I am therefore pleased to say that I have reconsidered my position and have decided to continue with my job,’’ Keshi said.

He also thanked the Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, for his swift intervention in the issues he raised the NFF concerning his position and the future of the team.

Keshi’s running battle with the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) heightened in South Africa following the team’s poor performance in the first two matches of the just concluded nation’s cup.

The minister of sports had told NAN in Johannesburg that in normal course relations there could be differences between an employer and employee when things are not going well.

“Keshi is one of Nigeria’s football legend who has made history as a player and a coach having won the nation’s cup as player and coach. Nigeria is very proud of him and will continue to support him in the task of building an enduring national team,’’ Abdullahi said.

He, however, said that he would ensure that all outstanding issues concerning Keshi and team are resolved amicably.

“I do not Nigeria to be cited as a country that won the nation’s cup and failed to qualify for the second round of the competition in the next competition. We want Keshi and we like Keshi, he has recorded remarkable achievement as a player and coach,’’ Abdullahi said.

Meanwhile, FCT minister Bala Mohammed will today receive the Super Eagles at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The Eagles are returning home in a chartered flight after their victory over Burkina Faso’s Stallions by 1-0 at the just-concluded African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.

A statement by the chief press secretary to the minister, Muhammad Sule, indicates that the minister will receive the Eagles at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, at 1pm, after which they will make a stopover at the Abuja National Stadium for a mini reception. The statement says the team will later depart for the presidential villa where they will be hosted to a grand reception by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Additional report from NAN

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UPDATE: Pope Benedict XVI To Resign Feb (Read full Speech)

Pope Benedict XVI on Monday said he plans on resigning the papal office on February 28th. Below please find his announcement.

“The pope announced that he will leave his ministry at 8:00pm (7pm UK time) on February 28,” said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.

The reason for the resignation, cited by the Pope himself, is “advanced age”.

Full text of Pope’s declaration

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.

For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013



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APC National Officers May Emerge This Week

A series of activities meant to strengthen the ongoing merger of Nigeria’s opposition parties has been lined up, LEADERSHIP SUNDAY has gathered. They include the election of national officers of the new All Progressive Congress (APC) this week, a prominent leader of one of the parties said.

To avoid the mistakes of the past, the merger committee will meet on Wednesday to work on the constitution, manifesto, convention and other topical issues to ensure the smooth take-off of the party, said the source who did not want to be named.

Yet another leader of a major party in the alliance said the major stakeholders are expected to hold their national convention to officially dissolve into the new platform on or before June this year.

He hinted that the interim leadership to pilot the affairs of the party may emerge at the planned meeting but refused to disclose the venue and time of the parley.

The leading opposition parties in the country had, last week, sealed a deal to merge ahead of the 2015 presidential election to wrestle power from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

It was learnt that when the merger becomes a reality, its key offices could go this way: ACN — national chairman and national publicity secretary; CPC — national secretary; ANPP — treasurer and national vice chairman; while APGA would produce the national organising secretary.

Although none of the members of the merger committee accepted to be quoted on the issues, LEADERSHIP SUNDAY has it on good authority that the failure of the opposition to come together in 2011 was due to its lateness in addressing critical issues such as the sharing of key party and elective positions.

‘‘We still have two more years to prepare. I can tell you categorically that meetings are going on at the level of leadership. We know some would go and some would join. We are also aware that sacrifices, dedication and commitments are important. Give and take would also come in. All these would be addressed before the general election. I can assure Nigerians that we would not disappoint them this time around,’’ a member of the committee said.

Another member of the panel disclosed that, but for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the ANPP would not have been carried along because of the way and manner they treated Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who had contested under its platform twice. ‘‘But Asiwaju Tinubu told Gen.Buhari that the new national chairman of the party is more credible and reliable as he has never been a member of the ruling party. We are aware of how a former governor wanted the BoT of that party to vote against the merger but it was the chairman that stopped him.

‘’All these differences would have been resolved before the election. This was why we are starting on time. Some would come as spies; events would expose them. All we saying is enough is enough,’’ he said.

The opposition governors had met in Lagos to discuss the merger, saying it was necessary to bring change to a country that is Africa’s largest oil producer but where deep poverty remains and corruption is endemic.

“At no time in our national life has radical change become more urgent,” said a statement read to reporters in the capital Abuja by ex-foreign affairs minister Tom Ikimi of the Action Congress of Nigeria. “And to meet the challenge of that change, we the following progressive political parties, namely ACN, ANPP, APGA and CPC, have resolved to merge forthwith and become the All Progressive Congress.”

PDM Lauds Opposition Over Merger
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), a political pressure group founded by the late Gen. Shehu Yar’Adua, has welcomed the recent merger of opposition parties in the country.

In a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting, PDM urged the opposition to go beyond rhetoric and provide Nigerians with progressive ideology capable of pulling the country out of its current predicament.

The communiqué reads in part: “The movement received briefing on the ongoing merger talks among opposition political parties in the country and commended the opposition for its resolve to give Nigerians an alternative political platform. We call on all opposition political parties and organisations across the country to close ranks in order to provide Nigerians with a clear choice between conservative and progressive ideologies.

“While we are gladdened by this development, we implore the opposition to define its own identity based on progressive ideology, with clear and contrasting policies and programmes capable of pulling Nigeria out of the current state of despoliation, despair and debasement. Telling Nigerians how bad things are simply won’t suffice. Clear and practical solutions are what Nigerians need.

PDM is developing a clear roadmap for the entrenchment of profound national social, political and economic reforms which will lead to creating jobs, steady power supply, improved security, transparent and credible elections and bringing corruption in all its manifestations to a standstill.”

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Maitama Sule, Nwabueze, Others Want National Confab

Eminent Nigerians under the platform of the Project Nigeria have called for the convocation of a national conference before 2015 for the country to tackle its current challenges.

At a meeting in Lagos held inthe residence of the late legal icon, Chief FRA Williams, the leaders from the northern and the southern parts of the country stated that a comprehensive bill that would address the issue would soon be presented to both the presidency and the National Assembly.

Co-chaired by the country’s former permanent representative to the United Nations (UN), Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule and Prof. Ben Nwabueze, the meeting also urged the government to urgently convoke the conference before preparations for the 2015 general elections.

While Alhaji Maitama Sule led a delegation of the Northern Elders Forum, Prof.Nwabueze headed.The Patriot, dominated by members from the south.

Other members of the group that met yesterday evening were a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen.Alani Akinriande, one-time governor of Delta State,Chief Felix Ibru, a former Minister for Commerce, Mrs. Bola Kuforiji-Olubi and scores of others representing various ethnic organizations.

Reading the communiqués issued by the meeting, Nwabueze said “the convocation of the conference has become very essential before any election must hold in 2015. To us, any election that holds before the convocation of the conference might spell doom for the country.”

In expressing their belief in the corporate entity called Nigeria, the group stated that disaster and anarchy might befall the country if the conference was not organised and the people of the country make the necessary inputs into the grund norm.

To achieve their aim, the group said a pan-Nigerian platform would be set up as an advocacy platform for the realisation of the objective.

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