Saturday

Mercedes-Benz Commercial: MAGIC BODY CONTROL courtesy of the "Chicken"?

CC Video Highlight

Saturday

Pictorial: Real Madrid win "La Decima" in epic Champions League final by beating Athletico 4-1.....

CC Champions League Report

Portugal Soccer Champions League Final
Captain Iker Casillas and team mates lift Champions League trophy in Lisbon

Portugal Soccer Champions League Final
Cristiano Ronaldo scores the fourth goal from the penalty spot

Sergio Ramos, Marcelo
Marcelo(R) and Sergio Ramos celebrate his (Marcelo's) third

Portugal Soccer Champions League Final
Gareth Bale scores the second for Madrid

View image on Twitter
Sergio Ramos scores last gasp equalizer to send the game into extra time

Iker Casillas
Iker Casillas's blunder led to Athletico's goal

Portugal Soccer Champions League Final
Godin's header caught Iker Casillas in no man's land

Portugal Soccer Champions League Final
Diego Costa was subbed off after only 9 minutes

View image on Twitter
The Champions League Trophy

Tuesday

Local Nigerian hunters with amulets and armor ask to go after Boko Haram.....

CC Video Insight

Recreational Marijuana: The birth of a new retail market?

CC Insight

Whether or not you agree with the legalization of marijuana, from a marketing perspective what is evolving is certainly an intriguing case study on how markets evolve. In some respects, this market can be examined from a Product Life Cycle (PLC) standpoint, with the legal recreational marijuana retailing business being in Introduction stage. However, PLC analysis is somewhat less effective in suggesting that the current purchasers are considered Innovators and Early Adopters. Such analysis is generally limited to New-to-the-World products rather than something that has been available, albeit illegally, for a long time.
Maybe a better way to analyze this is to say recreational marijuana is a new retail distribution outlet. While currently limited to Colorado and soon to the state of Washington, over the next few years many predict this channel will expand into many other areas of the country. As the market grows, it will also be fascinating to see the retail strategies marketers use to broaden distribution. Currently these products are sold within small independent retail stores, but some day we may see marijuana sold in large corporate chain stores and retail franchises. We could also see other retail options, such as sales through vending machines (see included YouTube video) or as discussed in this National Public Radio story, via mobile truck retailer.
Of course, distribution will not be the only marketing area impacted. For instance, promotional decisions will also be significant. While mainstream media are not likely to accept direct advertising of marijuana any time soon, it will be interesting to see if they permit ads that indirectly allude to the drug by using creative words and images to get the point across.
While some marketing options will be limited by government regulation, expect marketers to find creative ways to take advantage of whatever opportunities are available.


For more information, visit http://www.knowthis.com/

Brazil 2014: Ignored Ike Uche scores again

By Pius Ayinor

Nigeria striker Ikechukwu Uche scored his 14th goal in the La Liga on Sunday as his Spanish club defeated Real Sociedad 2-1 away from home. He scored in the 69th minute to increase the lead before the home team cut it down to 2-1. 

The striker, who was ignored by Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi, also scored last week as Villarreal won 4-0 over visiting Rayo Vallencano at the Estadio El Madrigal. In the game against Vallecano, a 22nd minute goal from the Nigerian put the Yellow Submarine ahead before goals from Bruno Soriano, Jonathan Pereira and Jaume Costa sealed victory for them.

The Villarreal goals and win on Sunday were very significant as they confirmed their place in the Europa League for next season. They finished seventh although they tied at 59 points with Sociedad.

Uche now holds the record for the highest scoring Nigerian in Spain having broken Finidi George's haul of 11 goals with Real Betis in the 1990s.

But in spite of his goal haul, the player has been left out of the Brazil 2014 World Cup party and his exclusion has continued to generate mixed reactions from Nigerians particularly former Nigeria internationals. A former Green Eagles defender Yisa Sofoluwe, who spoke with our correspondent on Sunday, said the exclusion of such a key player should not create much cause for worries as the coach of the team understands the level of opposition at the World Cup.

He said, "The coach has watched his players all through the year and believes he could achieve the set target with the squad he has and so we have to let him move on with that decision. I am sure he consulted extensively with his assistants before arriving at the decision to drop Uche and I guess it was taken in best collective interest of the team.

"Personally, I like Uche but I am not the coach and so there's nothing I can do about it. Another coach can equally use the same squad or completely alter it depending on his approach to the game. He may be playing well and scoring well but many other things are put into consideration in selecting a team and so he didn't make Keshi's list, and that's it."

Uche, who missed out on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa on account of an injury he had, has since put the disappointment behind him and wished the Super Eagles the best in Brazil using his Twitter handle.

"I wish my colleagues all the best in Brazil. To the fans, I’d like to thank you for your support. Let’s get behind the Eagles in Brazil," he tweeted.

Monday

Chibok: Boko Haram, Northern-Nigeria elders and the United States.....

David Femi Fani-Kayode
By Femi Fani-Kayode

On May 4, 2014, Abubakar Shekau, the leader Boko Haram, proclaimed: "I am going to marry out any woman who is twelve years old, and if she is younger, I will marry her out at the age of nine. I am the one who captured all those girls and will sell all of them. Slavery is allowed in my religion and I shall capture people and make them slaves. We are on our way to Abuja and we shall also visit the South.

I am going to kill all the Imams and other Islamic clerics in Nigeria because they are not Muslims since they follow democracy and constitution. It is Allah that instructed us, we will soak the ground of Nigeria with Christian blood, and so-called Muslims contradicting Islam. 

We will kill and wonder what to do with their smelling corpses. This is a war against Christians and democracy and their constitution".

It is self-evident that Mr. Shekau is not only a dangerous, barbaric, sadistic, bestial, delusional, homicidal, misogynistic, paedophilic, psycopathic and sociopathic vampire and cold-blooded murderer all rolled into one, but his words adequately reflect the sheer ruthlessness and callousness that has seized the Haramite mind.

There is no doubt in my mind that he is possessed by the most vicious and cruel demons and that he has a blood-lust that is second to none. Even Al Qaeda condemned the latest atrocity committed by Boko Haram in Chibok.

Yet despite their sheer depravity they appear to have a few friends at home who insist on speaking for them. Permit me to give just one example.

Some northern elders have said that the Federal Government ''should pay billions as ransom to Shekau and release all detained Boko Haram members'' and that there must be ''no foreign forces in Nigeria". They have also demanded that ''force should not be used'' in securing the freedom of the abducted girls.

These demands are repugnant. It is the same people that did not want troops to be deployed in the area in the first place.

It is the same people that did not want state of emergency to be declared in the North. It is the same people that have been urging the government to negotiate with Boko Haram in the last three years.

It is the same people that have consistently asked that Boko Haram should be treated lightly and that they should be offered amnesty even though they have slaughtered no less than 10,000 innocent people.

It is the same people that are suggesting that Boko Haram is actually a creation of the CIA, MOSSAD and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

It is one of these northern elders that referred to Boko Haram as ''freedom fighters'' who are simply ''fighting for justice" only last year. It is another that said that members of Boko Haram ought to be treated ''in the same way as the Niger Delta militants'' and that they should be rehabilitated, resettled and paid large sums of money only last year.

It is another that said that ''Muslims should only vote for those that would protect their interests" and that he would see to it that ''Sharia law is implemented and applied throughout the whole country" in 2001.

It is another that said that Nigeria was created by the British and granted independence by them in 1960 on the clear understanding that ''a northern Muslim would always lead the country" in 1994. It is another that said that if the North does not have it's way on the voting formula at the Constitutional Conference he would lead his people ''out of Nigeria and into the Cameroons" just over a month ago. It is another that said that they would make our country ''ungovernable" if a southerner was elected into power in 2011.

It is another that said, only a few weeks ago, that our country ''would burn" if President Jonathan or any other southerner contests for the presidential election in 2015. It is another that told us last year that ''poverty was the root cause of Boko Haram'' and that the South was receiving too much money whilst the North was not receiving enough. How much more of this can we be expected to take?

Just three weeks after the Haramites have abducted almost 300 young school girls at Chibok, burnt down their school and kept them as sex slaves, just a few days after they abducted eight more at Warabe Village, Borno state, just two weeks after two bombs went off in Nyanya, Abuja killing a total of 150 people between them and just three days after no less than 350 innocent people were slaughtered by the terrorists in Gamborou Ngala, a border town with the Cameroons, these northern elders are saying that force must not be used against them. This is unacceptable and their suggestion must be treated with the contempt that it deserves.

I do not know what it will take for the Nigerian people to accept the fact that Boko Haram is the greatest evil that our country has ever had to contend with and that there can be no dialogue with such demons. I do not know what it will take for these northern elders to accept the fact that evil is evil, that you must never negotiate with terrorists and that their ''gentle way'' simply cannot work.

The truth is that until every single one of the Haramites is hunted down, brought to justice and dispatched to hell there will be no peace in our country. We must also eliminate those who secretly encourage, fund and protect them.

I have always viewed those that suggest that Boko Haram should be treated with kid gloves with the utmost suspicion. It is either that we live in a secular state where the rule of law prevails, where beasts have no place and where murderous animals are treated like the savages that they are or we shall have no country at all.

All this talk about ''not using force'' must stop because it is nonsensical, it is counter-productive and it presents a very real threat to our desire to continue to live as one nation. 

Those that abduct, rape, kill and enslave children do not deserve to live.

Those that say that ''force should not be used'' should give up them their own daughters in exchange for our missing girls. After they have done that they can be as gentle as they like with Boko Haram.

In all this, President Goodluck Jonathan has much to learn and I would be the last person to endorse what I consider to be his inexplicable restraint and obvious weakness in the fight against Boko Haram. Mr. President has failed to protect the lives and property of the Nigerian people and no responsible, self-respecting and rational human being, including those that consider themselves to be his friends, should shy away from telling him so.

We expect far better from him and if he fails to deliver he would not only have betrayed his mandate, violated his oath of office and let down the Nigerian people but he would also play right into the hands of his critics. 

These include the American Senator John McCain, who told the world that ''no government exists in Nigeria'' and Senator Hilary Clinton, who said that the Federal Government of Nigeria had ''squandered their oil wealth, allowed corruption to fester and now they are losing control of parts of their country''.

These are timely admonitions from the Americans but they made their share of blunders as well. For example, one wonders why it took the Obama administration up until early this year (2014) to formally recognize Boko Haram as a terrorist organization despite repeated calls to do so earlier by many prominent Nigerians including Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the President of CAN. 

When Senator Clinton was Secretary of State, the State Department refused to label Boko Haram as a terrorist organization even though they had butchered thousands of Nigerians. Perhaps if they had done so more lives would have been saved.

There is no doubt that our government has handled this matter in an unacceptable manner but the Americans must carry their own fair share of the blame. For Jonathan, the words of Mr. Opeyemi Agbaje are instructive. On May 9, 2014 he wrote:
"We warned Jonathan. We called for action against Boko Haram and we screamed until our voices went hoarse. Now the people who advised him against taking strong action and called for dialogue, the very people that said it was caused by poverty, the very people that promised that traditional rulers would resolve the matter, the very people that encouraged him to vacillate and do nothing or little, are the ones mocking him. Well, that is why leaders must exercise leadership. The buck stops at his table. The credit or the failure goes to him. I hope he learns!''
A word is enough for the wise.

* David Femi Fani-Kayode is a Cambridge educated former Minister of Aviation, Culture and Tourism as well as Special Assistant to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

CNN Investigative: Inside Boko Haram

CC Video Highlight

Wednesday

Vigilantes in Northern Nigeria rout Boko Haram militants as mutiny rears its ugly head within the military

President Jonathan - A clueless leader?
CC Breaking

Residents of three villages in northern Nigeria have repelled an attack by suspected Boko Haram Islamist fighters, according to eye-witness reports.

About 200 of the militants were killed during the fighting in the Kala-Balge district of Borno state, he said.

The witness said the residents had formed a vigilante group.

Meanwhile, disgruntled soldiers opened fire on the convoy of a top military commander in Maiduguri, the main city in Borno, witnesses said.

No-one was injured when angry soldiers opened fire as the convoy was entering the Maimalari barracks to protest against poor pay and a lack of equipment to tackle Boko Haram, the sources said.

Maj-Gen Chris Olukolade confirmed an incident had taken place in Maiduguri, but said it was an internal matter and there was no reason for public concern.
It is exactly a year since President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Borno and its neighboring states of Adamawa and Yobe in an effort to curb Boko Haram's insurgency.
The area which came under attack by the suspected militants on Tuesday is not far from the site of a market massacre in the town of Gamboru Ngala 10 days when more than 300 people were killed by gunmen.
A security official told reporters that the vigilantes in Kala-Balge, which is near Lake Chad, were ready for a fight after learning of an impending Boko Haram attack.
Residents also seized three cars and a military vehicle from the attackers, sources said.
On Tuesday, Nigeria's government said it was ready to negotiate with Boko Haram after it abducted more than 200 girls during a raid on a boarding school in Borno state a month ago.
Their kidnapping has caused international outrage, and foreign teams of experts are in the country to assist the security forces in tracking them down.

Monday

Again, Nigeria's government shows it doesn't get it in Finance Minister's interview with Katie Couric

CC Global Insight

In this interview with Katie Couric, Nigeria's Finance Minister and former World Bank Executive, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala seems bent on promoting the "success" of the World Economic Forum event in Abuja (Nigeria's capital), rather than speak on what concrete steps the government is doing to ensure the safe return of the kidnapped Nigerian girls.

Thursday

The Ultimate Game Show Answer fails..... a compilation.....

CC Reeltime


Liverpool's epic collapse at Crystal palace ensured an end to their title dreams

CC Introspective




Boko Haram leader Shekau made group more ruthless

Nigeria's President G.E. Jonathan
Lagos (AFP) - The insurgency waged by Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Muhammad Shekau, who claimed the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls, has grown so ruthless that even former Islamist allies have cut ties. 

Born in a village in Nigeria's northeastern Yobe state on the border with Niger, Shekau had a traditional Islamic education in neighboring Borno state, where Boko Haram was founded more than a decade ago by the cleric Mohammed Yusuf.

After meeting Yusuf, Shekau joined his movement made up largely of radical youths who believed that the prevalence of Western education and values were to blame for many of Nigeria's problems, including egregious corruption and crippling poverty.
Boko Haram, which loosely translates as "Western education is forbidden", is a nickname that the Islamists have disowned, referring to themselves as Jama'tu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad).
Awareness and condemnation of Shekau spread across the globe this week after he released a video boasting about the April 14 mass abduction in Chibok, Borno state, in which he threatened to sell the hostages as "slaves".
But for Nigerians, the chilling video was consistent with an Islamist leader who is believed to have masterminded waves of horrific attacks since he took charge of Boko Haram several months after Yusuf was killed by Nigerian police in 2009.
"With Shekau at the helm," the International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a report last month, "Boko Haram has grown more ruthless, violent and destructive."
Shekau's extremism is perhaps best highlighted by the decision of Ansaru -- a Boko Haram offshoot which has kidnapped foreigners and published their execution online -- to cut ties.
Ansaru "distanced itself from the rest of Boko Haram because it disapproved of its indiscriminate killings and Shekau's lack of tact," the ICG report said, citing security sources and people with close ties to both militant groups.
There were significant outbursts of violence under Yusuf but the group was nominally committed to spreading sharia (Islamic law) across northern Nigeria, a goal some in the deeply conservative region support.
Yusuf's ideology and anti-corruption preachings have been largely buried by Shekau's repeated attacks on defenseless civilians, including mass kidnappings and the slaughter of scores of students in their sleep, analysts say.
Even before Yusuf's death, Shekau had accused him of "being too soft", according to the ICG, and Shekau signalled the new direction he meant to take Boko Haram roughly a year after taking charge.
Major attacks in Nigeria's capital Abuja in 2012, including a bombing at the United Nations headquarters that killed scores, raised concern that Boko Haram's new leaders had received jihadist training abroad, perhaps in Algeria or Somalia.
The specific details of those foreign links have been much debated by experts but little has been confirmed.
Since 2011, the Islamists have attacked churches, mosques, politicians, police and the military, among various other targets.
The United States has declared Shekau a global terrorist and put a $7 million (5.3 million euros) bounty on his head.
The US Justice Department lists 1965, 1969 and 1975 as possible years of the birth.
And Shekau's videos have become the primary channel through which the insurgents speak.
At times he makes threats against specific Nigerian targets.
At others he seems completely disconnected from current events, threatening world leaders who are dead, like recent warnings against ex-British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, and the late pope John Paul II.
A quote from one his first video, released in 2012, has been cited by experts as perhaps providing a window into his character.
"I enjoy killing anyone that God commands me to kill the way I enjoy killing chickens and rams," Shekau said.

Wednesday

V. Stiviano dreams of becoming POTUS one day.....

CC Light Moment


V. Stiviano Threatens 'One Day I Will Become... by revnewmedia

New Star Wars cast finally announced.....

CC Hollywood Minute

Star Wars fans, your wish has finally been granted. All of the secret meetings Disney and J.J Abrams have had with actors around the world led to the first table read for the new movie. If you’re worried that you might not see Luke, Leia and Han again don’t fear because Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are officially apart of the main cast.

Here is the official announcement from the Star Wars website:

“The Star Wars team is thrilled to announce the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII.

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker are in the new film.

Director J.J. Abrams says, “We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”

Star Wars: Episode VII is being directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams returns as the composer. The movie opens worldwide on December 18, 2015.”

It seems with the cast list the producers and Abrams are working really hard to link the original trilogy with the newest installment. Beside the veterans, we don’t know yet what roles the Star Wars newcomers will take and how they relate to Star Wars lore. December 2015 will be an exciting month. If you agree with the casting please let us know in the comments below!

Friday

Nigeria vows to protect delegates to World Economic Forum event while its citizens are left to the mercy of Islamist mass-murderers

Nigerian Special Forces
CC Insight

Nigeria will mount a massive security operation to protect a World Economic Forum on Africa planned in Abuja next month, following the bomb attack by suspected Islamist militants on the capital's outskirts on Monday, the event's Nigerian hosts said.
"Our security planning for the World Economic Forum on Africa (scheduled for May 7-9) is already well under way and will be the largest security operation ever mounted in this country for an international summit," Nigeria's Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, stated.
Monday's rush hour bomb blast at a bus station at Nyanya, which killed 71 people and injured more than 100 others, was the deadliest ever attack on the capital of Africa's No. 1 oil producer and what is now the continent's largest economy.
With President Goodluck Jonathan pointing the finger of suspicion at Islamist group Boko Haram which is waging an anti-government insurgency in the northeast, the bombing has raised questions about the government's ability to protect the capital.
Referring to what it called Monday's "suspected act of terrorism", the statement said over six thousand security personnel, consisting of police and army, would be deployed to guard the WEF Africa event in Abuja, securing an area the size of 97 square miles.
Assuring participants that they would be safe, the statement expressed "our deep commitment that these tragic events will not stop us from delivering on our promise to host a world-class meeting next month". It was also signed by Nwanze Okidegbe, chief economic adviser to President Jonathan. 

Thursday

The NAACP and Donald Sterling

Lifetime Achievement Award? Guess money talks.
By TheGrio

You've probably heard the tape of what is purported to be Donald Sterling being a belligerent bigot and telling his girlfriend (who is half black and half Mexican) not to associate with any black people.

She’s also not allowed to bring any black people to his games, especially Magic Johnson.

It’s like Sterling wakes up everyday and reads the Willie Lynch letter while watching Birth of a Nation. The dude is such a classless caricature that I bet he has a pet blackbird named Jim Crow.

There are at least 15 messed up issues about this whole situation, including his girlfriend, who was talking about how she wished she could change her skin. Ma’am, who taught you to hate yourself, and where can we find them so we can wish perpetual paper-cuts on their lives? That’s a whole lot of unfortunate that I won’t even go into right now.

Then there’s the glaring fact that Donald the Degenerate sees black folks as valuable only when they bring you pleasure in bed and money for your wallet — but nothing else.

I’m here to side-eye the NAACP’s Los Angeles chapter, which was about to give Donald Sterling a Lifetime Achievement Award. Even though they have made a statement withdrawing it, it feels too little too late. Actually, my judging eyes are for the entire NAACP, who already gave him the award in 2009.

Even if the tape of him sounding like a raging racist never dropped, why would the NAACP want to give this man a Lifetime Achievement Award? TWICE, at that! One wasn't enough. He needed more props, it seems.

This is complete and utter nonsense.

Donald Sterling has been dedicated to the cause of being an intergalactic ignoramus with an aura the color of hot dog water for decades. He was investigated by the Justice Department and fined $2.7 million because he refused to rent his properties to people of color. It was the largest housing discrimination lawsuit ever.

Elgin Baylor, a former player, sued him and the Clippers and said the team had a “Southern Plantation type structure.” Clearly, we see Brother Elgin wasn’t telling lies. Donald has a long history of using racist slurs and just being a horrible human being, and none of it is a secret.
Again, I ask why the NAACP would consider him an appropriate honoree. I don’t care how much money this man has given to youth programs in LA or how many Clippers tickets he’s given to kids. Do I even need to point out that all that “goodwill” was probably tax-deductible anyway?

Yeah … I don’t.

If you are not working towards the advancement and freedom of black people, why would you be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award? Donald definitely wasn't with us shooting in the freedom gym. If you’re going to give a white man an NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award, he better be out on these front lines preaching equality right next to Al and Jesse. He better be taking down the bricks of the house of white supremacy one by one with his bare hands. He better be doing real concrete things that are dismantling the system of racism that his kinfolk work tirelessly to keep in place.

If he’s not doing any of that, there’s no reason for him to be awarded with some lifetime achievement by what is supposed to be the leading black civil rights organization in the country. The keyword here is “supposed.”

Shade.

If the NAACP didn't know of Donald Sterling’s past, then they’re proving that they’re incredibly out of the loop. In fact, it’ll mean that they’re so out of the loop that they must have ended up in a square by way of Apple Maps. And if they did know about his discriminatory deeds and they chose to honor him anyway just because he dropped some coins in a bucket, then they put a price on our people’s worth.

And I’m not sure which is worse, because one is negligent and the other is just shameful. Either way, this is a fail.

Donald Sterling’s recorded statements (and life, really) embodies the system of white supremacy that we live in. I’m less surprised that he’s an narrow-minded nincompoop, because he’s old and white. What gives me the most pause is the fact that he was even given an award in 2009 and then considered for one again. It proves that we’re enablers in this web too, giving positive reinforcement to the exploitation of our people.

America doesn't have to love us, but we need to love ourselves and stop awarding those who make a living out of stepping on our heads to get further. The NAACP is supposed to be a gatekeeper, but they left the gate wide open and took a nap right next to it.

Nigeria to lead others in rejection of EU trade agreement

Olusegun Aganga (R) says Nigeria not big on EPA with the EU
By Nkiruka Nnorom

African ministers of trade and experts in trade and regional integration have agreed to boycott planned signing of Economic Partnership Agreement, EPA, with European Union. The signing of the agreement is scheduled for October 1, 2014.

Speaking at the Extra-Ordinary Session of the Conference of African Union Ministers of Trade in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the ministers said the trade liberalization deal with the European Union will have a long-term negative impact on the continent's efforts towards industrialization and job creation.

The meeting was convened to discuss Africa's common position ahead of the October 1st deadline for signing of the EPA with EU; the establishment of the Common Free Trade Area (CFTA) by 2015; extension of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) by the American government for 15 more years and Africa's strategic response to World Trade Organisation negotiations, among others.

While reiterating Nigeria's position on EPA, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said rather than entering into the agreement, African countries should leverage their abundant natural resources and large market to develop industries and create jobs for their people.

"Nigeria's position on EPA is very clear. Africa is on the rise. It is a very big and strategic market for any trading partner. That is what the EU wants from us but Africa must jealously protect what it has.

"We should leverage our abundant natural resources and large market to develop our industries; create jobs for our people; increase intra-African trade and achieve regional integration. We must not be in a hurry to give away what we have. We must not sign an agreement without first of all carrying out a robust economic analysis of the overall impact the agreement will have on the region, our children and future generations," Aganga affirmed.

He, however, cautioned against anything that would undermine Africa's regional integration, saying, "Whilst it is important to look into the October 1, 2014 deadline for the signing of EPA, we should also fully examine the impact of the withdrawal of market access by EU after this deadline. If it is necessary, Africa should look at ways of compensating member countries that will suffer losses as a result of this withdrawal. We must not be in a hurry to sign an EPA if it will not be in the overall best interest of the continent."

Zambian Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Mr. Robert Sichinga, agreed with Nigeria's position, noting that rather than jeopardizing their industrialization and job creation drive by hastily signing the EPA, African countries should work towards enhancing regional integration and intra-African Trade through value addition of their abundant raw materials, "especially in the areas where they have competitive and comparative advantage."

Sovereign National Conference: Yoruba delegates reject provocative and divisive document being pushed by the North

By Kamarudeen Ogundele

Yoruba young delegates from the South-West on Tuesday rejected an "offensive document" circulated by their northern counterparts.

The delegates expressed dismay about the document titled, 'Issues before the northern contingents.'

Rising from an emergency meeting in Abuja, the Yoruba young delegates said the document was "provocative and divisive."

Their spokesperson, Chief Bisi Adegbuyi, said the document was predicated on "assumptions and outright falsehood."

Speaking on Tuesday night, Adegbuyi said the Yoruba might be pushing for a confederal arrangement in Nigeria.

He said, "In the light of what is happening particularly the provocative, highly incendiary and a disuniting document distributed by northern delegates to all the delegates who are working at the committee level, it is important to say that the Yoruba may be pushing for a confederacy in Nigeria.

"This is predicated on assumptions and lies contained in the document."

Adegbuyi said the front page of the document contained a Nigerian map purportedly apportioning 80 percent of the Nigerian land mass to the North while the whole of the South-West, South-East and South-South occupied just 20 percent.

"We have thought that the essence of this conference was to foster unity and find solutions to the problems confronting the Nigerian state.

"It is extremely provocative for the North to be circulating document purporting that the whole of the South does not matter claiming the North is the backbone of Nigeria."

Adegbuyi said events at the committee level showed that any proposal by Yoruba delegates had met stiff resistance "no matter the merit and benefits."

"There is a mindset and collective decision to oppose it," he added.

He said the parliamentary and state police demanded by Yoruba delegates had been opposed by a voice vote as against the rule set for the conference.

Adegbuyi said there were issues coming up that might make the Yoruba young delegates at the conference to take a hard decision.

"Yorubas have never pushed for secession in the Nigerian state, we have always labored for unity. Our leaders, starting from the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo was imprisoned, the late M.K.O Abiola that won the presidential election was not allowed to rule and was murdered," he said.

Continuing, he cited Chief Olu Falae, Gen. Alani Akinrinade, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Olaniwun Ajayi, the late Bisi Onabanjo and the late Bola Ige, among Yorubas that had paid heavy sacrifices for the unity of Nigeria.

"We are going to respond to the inaccuracies and sometimes outright falsehood contained in the incendiary document.

"The content of the document is divisive and will likely undermine the search for unity in Nigeria.

"The essence of this conference is to put our heads together and imbibe the spirit of give and take so that we can have a very strong, indivisible and progressive country that will cater to the needs of the people.

"A country that will be safe. A country where school children will not be abducted or kidnapped."

Adegbuyi warned that the incident at the conference might tear the country apart if not immediately addressed.

Recalling that a consensus had been built on devolution of power, he stated that the Committee on Devolution of Power had only been able to remove six of the 68 items on the Exclusive List of the 1999 Constitution.

He said, "The problem with Nigeria is that the center is by far too strong. If we don't devolve power as agreed upon, that means this conference might turn out to be a waste of time."

He stated that about 70 percent of Nigerians that submitted memorandum asked for restructuring in governance.

"The committee on restructuring have retained the existing 36 states as the federating units. Are we in anyway restructuring Nigeria by that?" he queried.

He said the conference must consider devolution of power and state police as a minimum irreducible condition.

He asked, "If we can't achieve state police, we can't achieve fiscal federalism, devolution of power, restructuring of Nigeria, then why are we at the conference?"

Calling for regionalism, he said the presidential system currently being practiced in Nigeria encourages corruption and impunity.

"Regionalism is very crucial to us. If some parts of the country don't want regionalism, those of us that want it should be allowed to pursue it.

"We demand for self- determination within Nigeria. Failure to do this, the Yoruba nation would push for self determination.

"We don't want Nigeria to take us back, we have suffered enough. We will push for the right of people to secede from Nigeria if they so desire because if people don't have their wishes and aspirations met, they have the right to pull out. The United Nations guarantees that."