Former Manchester United centre-back, Rio Ferdinand, has said that the Red Devils can only become title contenders if they sign either Victor Osimhen or Harry Kane in the next summer transfer window.

The Nigerian and Napoli striker, Osimhen, scored in Napoli’s 2-0 victory at Eintracht Frankfurt on Tuesday night to take his total goals tally so far this season to 20.

Ferdinand insisted that with Osimhen at just 24 years making such massive impact in Europe, he would rather prefer the Nigerian rather than going for Kane who is nearing his retirement at 29 years.

“I think if I was talking about investing and looking after my money, I’d probably go for Osimhen,” Ferdinand told BT Sport yesterday. “There’s resale value with his age at 24 years old. It’s gonna be a huge outlay.”

However, the Reds legend did admit that he would be happy with either front-man arriving at Old Trafford, suggesting that they can transform Ten Hag’s side into title challengers.

Osimhen was named in both the UEFA Champions League Team of the Week and also Team of Round of 16 first-leg, yesterday.

football facts and statistics website, named the red-hot Osimhen in the two lists yesterday and was dully announced on its social media handles.

He took his tally for the season to 20 in 24 games in all competitions for the Serie A leaders.

Osimhen alongside three of his Napoli teammates and Real Madrid’s quartet of  Karim Benzema, Eder Militao, Vinicius Junior and Luka Modric, all made the Team of the Week.

While for the Team of first-leg Round of 16, Osimhen was included with the same Madrid players and also three of his Napoli teammates.

Manchester United have been impressive in recent months and are the only side in England still competing on four fronts.

The Reds currently sit third in the Premier League table and face Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday afternoon.

However, while Marcus Rashford has been in scintillating form – registering 24 goals and nine assists in 36 appearances – United‘s other forwards have struggled for goals this term.

French striker Anthony Martial has scored just six goals, while loan attacker Wout Weghorst has only found the back of the net on one occasion.

The National Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), Julius Abure, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to call of the election in Enugu East senatorial district, Enugu State.

  The call followed the gruesome murder of the party’s senatorial candidate, Hon Oyibo Chukwu, with five of his supporters at Amechi Awkunanaw, Enugu South Local Government Area yesterday.

Abure in a statement made available to journalists expressed worries by the level of attacks on LP’s candidates, officials and supporters across the country.   He also condemned the act, and therefore called on the security agents to be on top of the matter, stressing that it was “becoming a tradition where people attack our candidates all over the country.   “It would be recalled that our senatorial candidate in Ebonyi South, Hon Linus Okorie, was kidnapped on his way to his house in Ebonyi State on October 16, 2022, allegedly by the personnel of the South-east vigilante outfit, Ebubeagu. He was tortured, incarcerated and denied his basic right for weeks.   “I want to also recall what happened to our party in Anambra State when our governorship candidate, Hon. Obiora Agbasimelo, was kidnapped at the heart of the campaign and as I speak, nothing has been heard about him.    

“Our women leader in Kaduna State was also brutally murdered. Two more persons were also killed in that state.   “Only recently, our campaign rally in Lagos was attacked and several of our members were injured and their property vandalised. We also gathered that one of the victims of that mindless attack was amputated a few days ago.

“This killing in Enugu State is the climax of it all. This is certainly a threat to democracy and to the 2023 general election where candidates are not secured and are killed.  

 “The Labour Party is therefore calling on the INEC to postpone the election in Enugu East senatorial district to enable us conduct a fresh primaries and participate in the election.”  

  Abure said the call became necessary as Enugu was one of the states where the party enjoys maximum support with its candidate already on course to win the Enugu East senatorial seat in this election.  

Consequently, he called on INEC not to “allow people to benefit or win election through other means, particularly by silencing a candidate who is loved by his people.”

On 27th May 2022, I took a most important decision in my life to join great and patriotic Nigerians in Labour Party to rescue our dear country Nigeria from litany of leadership and governance failures. Later, I was most graciously elected as the Presidential Candidate to lead the crusade for a New Nigeria! I sincerely thank the members and leadership of Labour Party and other committed Nigerians like Professor Pat Utomi that made it possible. On deep reflection, I am eternally grateful to God for the decision to join Labour Party and to offer myself to serve and lead a New Nigeria!

As we campaigned across states, cities, towns and villages of our dear Nation, my heart was filled with great concern but also with joy and hope. We experienced genuine love and we felt overwhelmed by abundant and immeasurable blessings of God, on every part of our beloved country Nigeria. We felt the unparalleled zeal and energy for survival and the desire for a productive economy across the 36 states of Nigeria. I was equally very sad and most concerned! Sad as the above opportunities are being lost principally due to bad leadership and governance in a country of immense potential.

We saw real and multi-dimensional poverty, undeserving unemployment and living conditions; decaying and unavailable basic infrastructure; avoidable crises, accidents, deaths and unchecked criminality. Even with the lamentable state of our people, society and economy, we are most encouraged by the love, unity, patriotism, energy and productivity embedded in all parts of Nigeria waiting to be properly harnessed to create a secure, united and productive New Nigeria!
As we end the campaigns, Datti Baba-Ahmed and I fully reiterate our pledge and deep commitment to lead a New Nigeria where unity, peace, love and prosperity will reign. We sincerely thank all Nigerians particularly the “Obedients” and all our supporters across the country for their abiding faith in us. We commit and pledge to pursue and exceed all your expectations for a New Nigeria.

We console and pray for the repose of the souls of Nigerians particularly our supporters that died or were killed in our struggle for a New Nigeria. Notable among them are Mallam Lawal Garba, our Zonal Party Chairman in Kaduna that died in ghastly motor accident in October 2022, Mrs Victoria Chimtex, the Labour Party Women Leader in Kaduna State, who was murdered in Kaura, Kaduna State in November 2022 and Mr Christopher Elehu, Labour Party’s candidate for Onuimo Local Government Area constituency, Imo State House of Assembly that was killed in December 2022. Mr Isaac Dauda, our Labour Leader in Mangu Local Government Area, Plateau State that died in January 2023. May God accept their souls and perpetual light shine upon them!

We have also witnessed with great concern the unwarranted and uncivilized attacks on our supporters. We sympathize and pray for their quick recovery and again totally condemn such attacks that has unfortunately led to the amputation of one of our supporters in Lagos. We strongly and unequivocally demand that security agencies work round the clock to prevent any further attacks and bring the perpetrators to book. We equally call on INEC to conduct the elections with utmost professionalism and impartiality. Election materials must be delivered on time and conducted strictly in line with agreed guidelines. The choice of Nigerians must be respected and allowed to prevail! The elections must be free and fair and conducted in an atmosphere of peace.

Labour Party through Datti Baba-Ahmed and I represent the New Nigeria we all want. The overwhelming support we have received from all parts of Nigeria is evident that we represent the new energy and intellect needed for a New, United, Secured and Prosperous Nigeria. While the other candidates are free to contest, we believe that the task of engineering a new Nigeria requires a complete change in attitude, approach and style. Commitment, hard work and innovation are needed to move Nigeria to a position of relevance and power in the comity of nations. Our vision is a Nigeria that every citizen will be proud of and the one that works for all.

We implore all Nigerians of good will to troop out on Saturday 25th of February to cast and protect their votes for Labour Party (LP- Mama, Papa, Pikin) to birth a New Nigeria. Our desire is a New Nigeria where our versed arable lands particularly in the North, our cocoa in the South-West, coal in South-East and oil and gas in the South-South, our regional linkage location, the entrepreneurial spirit of Obafemi in Ibadan, Abubakar in Kano and Nnamdi in Aba, the unquenchable desire for human capital development, a just and moral oriented society of Mrs Seember in Makurdi are all harnessed, developed and sustained.

It will be a New Nigeria with the environment for high quality goats and rice of Alhaji Bagudu in Kebbi, the desire of Mallam Haruna in Gilani, Yobe State to harness their abundant Kaolin and gypsum and Mr Pwajok to develop Potato and rice plantations in Shendam Plateau State and Adani, Enugu State respectively are fully supported.

With a New Nigeria, both local and foreign investors will be attracted to build a power plant using our coal, gas, water and sun. MTN and Shell Plc excited to re- locate their technical support office for North Central to Jalingo, and our commercial banks inspired and secured to host their Annual general meetings in Maiduguri, Gusau or Damaturu. Kayode Omojawa from Ondo State and Helen Bassey from Ogoja, Cross-River State will be motivated to convince their parents to allow them to school in Offa, Kwara State due to the excellent infrastructure and secured Nigeria.

We will build agricultural dams and support every state in Nigeria to plant 10, million economic trees to generate additional N300,000,000,000 (Three Hundred Billion Naira) per state every year to eradicate poverty and enhance the human capital development of our children and youths.

Let me reiterate, securing and uniting Nigeria will be our number one priority and we will do whatever is required to achieve it. We will lead and task security agencies to locate and rescue all Nigerians still being held captive by bandits and criminals including Leah Sharibu, remaining Chibok girls and others. Our farmers must return to their farms to feed Nigeria. That is the New Nigeria that Datti Baba-Ahmed and I offer to provide and lead. With our soul, mind, and body, we pledge and deeply commit to A New Secured, United and Prosperous Nigeria! So, help us God!

The governorship candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) in Rivers State, Dr. Dawari George, and his campaign organisation, the Bridge Campaign Organisation (BCO), have endorsed the  presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, for the February 25 election. 

In a statement co-signed by George and Prof. Kiikpoye Aaron, in Port Harcourt Wednesday, the campaign director-general noted that prior to reaching the decision, a lot of issues were thrown up.

The BCO equally noted that it weighed the capacities of the leading candidates in the upcoming presidential election and the clarity of each candidate’s plans for the country.

The campaign organisation said: “Mr Peter Obi is distinguished as an experienced leader who has demonstrated his ability to create positive change in the lives of Nigerians.

“Ethnicity, religion and power rotation have topped the issues under consideration. Whether we consider ourselves, logical/rational or emotional/sentimental, these issues have occupied our thinking spaces significantly. Consequently, whatever we decide is informed by what these issues portend for us.

“For us in Rivers State, the decision on the direction we should go is impacted partly by these issues and by our understanding of equity and justice for our people. We believe that the concept of power rotation is an equitable and justifiable means of guaranteeing the inclusion of all parts of our country in determining the leadership of our nation.

“We also believe that by virtue of the multi-religious nature of the Nigerian society, political inclusion ought to accommodate members of different faiths in a relationship of mutual trust and singleness of purpose.

“Against the backdrop of these considerations, deciding who to support in Saturday’s presidential election, in the best interest of Nigeria and Rivers State becomes less ponderous. Having regard to the issues above, we are irresistibly and attractively drawn to Mr. Peter Obi for president. Consequently, we are endorsing his candidacy for president in the 2023 Nigerian general election. 

“We do not deny that the other candidates boast experience. However, Mr. Peter Obi is distinguished as an experienced leader who has demonstrated his ability to create positive change in the lives of Nigerians.

“As Governor of Anambra State, he made significant strides in improving healthcare, education and infrastructure at reasonable costs. He communicates his plans with clarity, and boasts a demonstrable track record of putting the needs of the people first. Most importantly he ticks the equity and justice ticket with a balanced running mate that is both humane and urbane.

“As Rivers people, we have a great opportunity to support Mr. Peter Obi. We, therefore, strongly urge you to go to elections and vote for Mr. Peter Obi for president.

“We strongly believe that Peter Obi is the right candidate to lead Nigeria to a brighter future. We urge you to join us in supporting his candidacy, and let us work together to build a stronger, more prosperous Nigeria.

“The Bridge Campaign Organization therefore supports Peter Obi for President, Dr. Dawari George for Governor, and all AA National and state Assembly candidates.”

Ahead of Saturday’s presidential election, kinsmen of former President Goodluck Jonathan, have again called on Nigerians to vote for a Southern President to ensure a balance.

The kinsmen who are members of 

Citizens Network For Peace and Development in Nigeria (CNPDN), in a press statement signed by the National Secretary, Chief, Francis Okereke Wainwei, said Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the right fit the position. 

He said the victory of Tinubu will strengthen and foster national unity and cohesion. He said their support is premised on track-record and capacity to prioritise the interests of Nigerians above his personal and sectional interests.

“Tinubu recently demonstrated this fact by standing on the side of the masses with respect to the current Naira scarcity being experienced nationwide,” the statement read.

Ir continued: “While the other frontline presidential candidates are hailing the Federal Government for the hardship Nigerians are experiencing, as a result of the cash crunch because they feel that the policy is targeted at Tinubu, irrespective of the fact that it’s the masses that are suffering and dying as a result of the cash crunch.

“This attitude of the other frontline Presidential candidates is showing clearly that they are not interested in the welfare and plight of the masses but just their unbridled selfish ambitions to be President.

“They have no sympathy for the plight of the masses and don’t care what happens to the masses.As far as they are concerned, it’s their presidential ambitions that matter but in contrast, Tinubu stood up for the masses against the Federal Government formed by his party.

“This is characteristic of Tinubu as he is known to have always fought for the masses.Tinubu is the only presidential candidate among the current candidates that has always fought on the side of the masses.He is the only presidential candidate among the current ones that fought for the emergence of the current democratic dispensation.

“Tinubu is the only presidential candidate among the current ones that can unify the country and bring to pass the position of the Northern All Progressives Governors’ forum and that of the Southern Governors’Forum on power shift to Southern Nigeria. 

“Power shift to Southern Nigeria is the consensus of the majority of Nigerians,who believe in the future of this country because they believe that it is the best means of strengthening our national unity and cohesion.

“It’s therefore,our clarion call for all patriotic Nigerians to support power shift to Southern Nigeria by massively voting for ALHAJI Bola Ahmed Tinubu , the only presidential candidate from the South that has structures across the country with the requisite political experience and competence to enthrone accelerated development of the country.

“As patriotic citizens under the auspices of the Citizens Network For Peace and Development in Nigeria , we believe strongly that a united,peaceful and prosperous nation should be the ultimate interest of all patriotic and well-meaning Nigerians. Therefore, supporting power shift to Southern Nigeria and voting massively for Tinubu to win is a patriotic call for the peace and prosperity of this country.

“We consider it as very important and necessary to make this patriotic call because Nigeria needs a truly visionary,competent and detribalized leader to enthrone a more united,peaceful and prosperous nation.

“As patriotic citizens we feel obliged to take some proactive measures to ensure that the right president is elected,come Saturday 25th of February,2023 by providing proper information and guidance that will enable Nigerians elect the right candidate as president.

“We therefore, took it upon ourselves to do thorough investigations,opinion sampling and interviewing of major stakeholders from across the country to know the exact mood of the nation ,to enable the electorate make the right choice for the 2023 presidential election.

“We also took into consideration the declarations of both the APC Northern Governors’ forum and that of the Southern Nigeria Governors’ forum ,with respect to which part of the country that should produce the next president in 2023.

“The both groups declared that power should shift to Southern Nigeria for the purpose of promoting equity,justice and fairness ,which they argued would strengthen the unity of the country.

“After a proper analysis of the declarations and opinions of various groups and stakeholders across the country, we came to the conclusion that for the peace,unity and progress of this country,a competent and experienced presidential candidate from Southern Nigeria be elected as president, come Saturday 25th February, 2023.

“This is to strengthen the fragile unity we are experiencing at the moment, as a nation. It will appease some groups and individuals agitating against the political domination of others by any one part of the country.

“We went further to examine the capacity,competence,political experience and nation-wide acceptability of the presidential candidates from Southern Nigeria ,and we discovered that Alh.Bola Ahmed Tinubu , the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress tops the other candidates.

“We are therefore,using this medium to call on all patriotic Nigerians to support and vote massively for Alh.Bola Ahmed Tinubu as president on Saturday,25th of February, 2023,i that is the best interest for Nigeria at the moment.

“Furthermore,our choice of Bola Tinubu is strongly premised on his wealth of political experience, intellectual sagacity, a knack for identifying and recruiting competent people and the capacity to mobilize human and material resources for the accelerated and holistic development of the country.

“We believe strongly that the next president of this country should be someone who firmly believes in the philosophy of “building the people, to build the nation”, he should be a people-oriented president.

“Tinubu fits perfectly for the kind of president Nigeria needs in the next dispensation.He has the capacity and the wealth of political experience to replicate the success story of Lagos State engineered by him, for both the economic and political stability of this country. He is a national patriot and a detribalized leader that has the visionary mindset to build a prosperous,strong, peaceful and united Nigeria.”

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has said Nigeria would liaise with doctors acquiring more skills and cutting-edge technology abroad to tackle the dearth of skilled medical personnel in the country.

He made this known at the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria 2023 Annual Conference and General Meeting from February 3rd to 4th in Lagos on the theme, “Building the Healthcare of Our Future”.

Ehanire said: “Brain drain bothers all citizens and there are many things Nigeria is going to do. First is to improve the condition of services as much as possible.”

The minister outlined plans to try to utilise those who have left, “The country to go abroad to acquire more skills and more cutting-edge technology to also be able to relate with Nigeria”.

With key health stakeholders including those delivering services, procuring medical equipment and also manufacturing, Ehanire commended HFN, describing the conference as a good opportunity to meet with stakeholders and bring them to par on what the government is doing. 

Speaking on the need for the conference, the President of HFN, Dr Pamela Ajayi said they decided to focus on creating solutions to the main problems facing the nation’s healthcare sector.  

She outlined the discourse which highlighted fiscal policies and its issues, training and retraining of personnel, brain drain and way out, healthcare financing and investments, and investing in people.

Other issues addressed included health insurance and the new National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) act, the human resources crisis, solutions that work for Nigeria, solutions from people in the diaspora, and utilising technology. 

Ajayi admitted: “It is difficult to stop people from leaving, but how can we get more people to return? If they cannot return physically, can we get their brain power back here?

The president also suggested another area, which is leveraging technology systems and structures. Adding to it that, “We have a lot on our table but this is just the beginning.  It is a building block.  We are trying to build the healthcare we want to see in our future”.

With the election gathering momentum, the HFN president assured newsmen that the organisation is here to work with whichever government comes into power. 

She added: “We will be happy to work with them in transition and throughout that is what we are here for and we know that the private sector has a lot to offer.

“We want to urge whichever government comes in to recognise the private sector and work with them to build the healthcare system that all Nigerians will be proud of.”

The United Kingdom Government has expressed the importance it attaches to Nigeria’s elections, insisting that the country matters and that the run up to the elections is closely monitored.

It also promised to continue to work closely with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the civil liberty organisations to ensure that the forthcoming elections are peaceful and credible, and called for proactive intervention to calm any tensions and prevent violence in the periods before, during and after the elections.

The UK’s Minister of State for Development & Africa, The Right Hon Andrew Mitchell, in a statement he issued on Tuesday ahead of Nigeria’s 2023 general election, said: “Nigeria matters to the UK, and we are following the run up to these Presidential, National Assembly and Gubernatorial elections very closely. Over the last two months I have met four of the presidential candidates and the Chairman of INEC, and emphasised our support for the process and our commitment to a strong relationship between our two countries.

“The UK Government continues to work closely with INEC and our Nigerian civil society partners to provide advisory support on electoral and legal reforms, assist in strengthening democratic institutions, and advocate for the importance of civil society engagement in electoral and democratic processes to help deliver credible elections.

“It is vital for Nigeria’s stability and democratic consolidation that the electoral process is free, fair, and credible. I encourage all actors in Nigeria to intervene proactively to calm any tensions and prevent violence in the periods before, during and after the elections.”

According to him, “I call on party officials at all levels to respect human rights and electoral laws and institutions and take a firm stand against violence and hate speech. I strongly condemn any actions that undermine the peaceful and transparent conduct of the electoral process.

“Where the UK is aware of attempts to subvert democratic processes at the National or State level we are prepared to take action against those who engage in or incite electoral violence and other anti-democratic behaviours. These actions could include preventing people from obtaining UK visas or imposing sanctions under our human rights sanctions regime.

“The UK Government remains committed to supporting credible and inclusive elections, which are fundamental to Nigeria’s continued democratic growth and to the future of regional and global democracy.”

You have to give it to Samuel Ioraer Ortom, Governor of Benue State. Benue is the geo-polity which savours the bragging rights of being the “food basket” of the nation. For emphasis, you are embraced into Makurdi, capital of the state, by a humongous artistic simulation of the agrarian essence of the state, at the triangular intersection, as you approach the city, from Yelwata and Agan. It is complete with select, albeit artistically simulated farm produce and local implements, for graphic emphasis. The preceding road leads variously from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and other routes from the North-west and North-central, through Nasarawa State.

That iconic “food basket” convergence, leads to Gboko and Otukpo respectively, the other two angles of the tripod of roads. Gboko and Otukpo are major towns in the state, and also ethno-cultural headquarters of the two major peoples of Benue, the Tiv and the Idoma. Both towns lead further, to two major geopolitical zones of Nigeria, the South-south and the South-east, respectively. This backdrop is apposite to help us situate the depths and distances to which produce emerging from the fecund soils of Benue State, travel for national, even international culinary arbitration.
To be sure, there are also active cross-border migrations of produce from Benue, into neighbouring Cameroun from the Zaki Biam area of the state, in Ukum Local Government Area.

It may be just a little over three months to the completion of Ortom’s second term in the driver’s seat of Benue State, but there is no slowing down for him. The stamina, the drive, the energy Ortom continues to invest in governance and development, is best compared with the exertions, the commitment a newcomer to the office he has occupied in the past eight years. True, “freshmen” to Ortom’s kind of position are driven by that desire to impress and make a mark, within their “first 100 days” in office. The First Hundred Days concept was popularised by erstwhile American President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s regime and has become a global political concept.

Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States of America, (USA), was in office between 1933 until his demise in 1945. Ortom’s valedictory weeks and months have not been characterised by a slowing down in his work rate. Rather, it has been one of accentuated intensity. He continues to feature on campaign podiums, project commissioning, meetings and interfaces with his constituents at various levels. He conscientiously manages his official schedule receiving official delegations and August guests who desire to see him.
But he has his distinctly Ortom style, outside of the “Benue unity colours” initiated by him, and since manifestly popularised by his people. Benue people flaunt a multiplicity of apparels and regalia, the “amalgamated,” Ortom-created colours have spun. Between his personal accommodation; his formal workspace in Government House, Makurdi; his rest zone within the same premises, even his vehicle, Ortom himself is a veritable “mobile office.” To be sure, Ortom even while travelling to keep up with engagements does invite an aide from time to time, to discuss government matters, even while in motion. The last time I witnessed anything like this was during Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime. Baba, as we famously call him, can participate in an interview by a media organisation, riding between Aso Villa and the Nnamdi and International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.

Ortom’s schedule on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, typifies the breakneck programme he has prosecuted in recent times. He began his day at an “Interactive Session Between the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Critical Stakeholders in Benue State.”
Both as governor and candidate aspiring to the Senate of the Federal Republic to represent his people, it was imperative Ortom attended the event which he did. The broader canvas of the Benue electorate would subsequently be fed by him with his takeaways from the programme as the countdown to elections gains traction.

He would also commission the “Ultra Modern Institute for Almajiri Learning,” located at the “AGB Learning Centre,” North Bank, Makurdi, and inaugurate the Ortom Vanguard, Ayihe-Ugondo, also in Makurdi. The body is a support group launched in furtherance of Ortom’s senatorial bid. The governor will then lead his people to a campaign rally held at St. Mary’s Primary School, in Wurukum District, Makurdi. Same day, he engaged with political stakeholders from Buruku LGA. In between these various events, Ortom made out time to hold two private meetings. These instances typify Ortom’s itinerary in just one day, starting from 9am and stretching to 8pm. It was at that time that he led his officials to dinner in his home. Very instructively, Ortom is actively participating in the very draining beginning-of-year fasting and prayers usually called by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), his denomination.
Ortom not only worships in the church, he is also an elder in the leadership hierarchies. Ortom began his week Monday, February 13, with a visit to Gboko, the traditional and political headquarters of the Tiv nation. There, the Tiv Area Traditional Council, (TATC), at its ijirtamen, the “Supreme Council Meeting” under the leadership of the Tiv paramount ruler, the Tor Tiv, His Royal Majesty, Prof James Ayatse, conferred on him the chieftaincy title of Inyamkyume i Tiv. His wife, Dr. Eunice Erdoo Ortom, received the title of Shima i Inyamkyume i Tiv.

Inyamkyume is a dreaded creature which scares and terrifies beings which encountered it. The title relates to Ortom’s chest-front fearlessness in defending his people from the fangs of freestyle invaders, notably itinerant herdsmen. They have relentlessly terrorised and traumatised the Benue valley in recent years and Ortom has forever stood his grounds against such ruinous adventurism which has upset the socioeconomic equilibrium of his people.
In what could be described as syndicated investitures of traditional titles on Ortom this season of his swansong, Ortom a week before the Tiv honour, had similarly been celebrated in Idoma land. Thursday February 9, 2023, the Och’Idoma, His Royal Majesty John Elaigwu Odogbo, installed Ortom the Ochikpaki L’Ogwabo K’Idoma, meaning “Defender of the Defenceless.”

His wife received the title Ogbonene K’Idoma, which translates as the “Kindhearted Daughter of Idoma land.” This was just as a modern palace, the seat of administration of the Och’Idoma was unveiled the same day. Ortom’s political twin, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State, was also conferred the title of Okokonjo K’Idoma, which translates as the “Unbreakable.”

Thursday February 16, 2023 after the enervating engagements of the previous day, the tireless Ortom chaired a meeting of the Benue State Executive Council, (BSEC). The converge usually holds on Wednesdays, but was taken up by the racy events of the previous day. He equally received a delegation of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), led by Levi Akuma, who came to demonstrate solidarity with him. His proposed out-of-state trip in furtherance of his engagements for the day, was kept in abeyance because of inclement weather conditions for his prescheduled flight. Ortom would not let the window of opportunity provided by his botched trip slip idly by. He held private meetings with party leaders and stakeholders from Benue North West, also known as Zone B, bolstering his campaigns for his senatorial quest.
Ask him why he has revved up the pace of his engagements even in the twilight of his regime. A smiling Ortom reminds you he swore to serve his people with as much verve and conscientiousness all the way to the very end. There is nothing like a “pre-retirement leave” for him ahead of his disengagement from office on Monday, May 29, 2023, when he would formally handover to his successor. The incumbent Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Titus Tyoapine Uba is the candidate of Ortom’s party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), whose main challenger is Hyacinth Alia, a Catholic priest, of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Uba is favoured because he is candidate of the incumbent administration and the ruling party in the state. Except for Ortom’s 2015 “default” ascent to office on the platform of the APC, Benue has been a bastion of the PDP since the beginning of the Fourth Republic. Ortom’s predecessors, George Akume (1999 to 2007), who is a serving minister, and Gabriel Torwua Suswam, (2007 to 2015), the incumbent Senator representing Benue North East (Zone A), were PDP governors. Ortom it would be recalled jettisoned the APC in the run-up to his 2019 reelection. Other PDP heavyweights in the state include David Alechenu Bonaventure Mark, Nigeria’s longest serving Senator to date (1999 to 2019), who was also Senate President for two terms (2007 to 2015). There is also Abba Moro, Senator representing Zone C who was also minister during the regime of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Fears that Nigerian international, Victor Osimhen, may miss today’s UEFA Champions League clash against Bundesliga club, Eintracht Frankfurt were put to rest yesterday as the red-hot top scorer in the Italian Serie A traveled with Napoli to Germany.

Osimhen, 24, was earlier doubted to miss the all-important Last 16 encounter following his late substitution in Napoli’s 2-0 win against Sassuolo last weekend.

While walking to the sidelines, Osimhen grimaced with pains showing on his face while also

pointing to his thigh as if to say he was badly injured.

But signs that the knock was not debilitating to warrant the Napoli talisman missing the trip to the Bundesliga team flashed as Osimhen trained with his teammates on Sunday and Monday prior to leaving for the away tie. It was therefore a great sign of relief when

Osimhen travelled with his teammates to Germany on Monday afternoon.

The Round of 16 first leg tie will take place at the Deutsche Bank Park. Osimhen has scored once in three appearances in the Champions League this season.

Elsewhere in the Champions League Tuesday night football, Liverpool forward, Darwin Nunez, has “a chance” of facing Real Madrid after injuring his shoulder against Newcastle, says manager Jurgen Klopp.

The 23-year-old was substituted during the second half of the Reds’ 2-0 win at St James’ Park on Saturday. Nunez left the pitch holding his shoulder after an earlier clash with Newcastle defender Kieran Trippier.

“There’s a chance, we have to see how he’ll cope with the pain,” said Klopp.

Uruguay international Nunez has scored 11 goals in all competitions for Liverpool this season after joining from Benfica in the summer.

Liverpool will welcome La Liga giants Real Madrid to Anfield at 9pm tonight for their last-16 first leg. It is the first time the two sides have met since last season’s Champions League final in Paris, which Real won 1-0.


E’Frankfurt v Napoli

Liverpool  v  R’Madrid

Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) has arrived in Lagos State, Nigeria’s economic center, to attend the final leg of the All Progressives Congress presidential campaign rally.

The Leonardo AW139 helicopter transporting Buhari from Murtala Muhammed International Airport landed at the National Stadium at 2:35 p.m., after which he was transported to the 25,000-seater Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, the rally’s venue.

Buhari is in Lagos to campaign for APC presidential candidate Bola Tinubu and running mate Kashim Shettima.

Tinubu, who served as Governor of Lagos from 1999 to 2007, was elected as the APC presidential candidate after receiving the most votes among 23 aspirants in the Party’s primary elections in June 2022.

A month later, he named Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Borno State in northeast Nigeria, as his running mate.

Buhari will make his tenth appearance since the APC campaign kicked off in Plateau State on November 15, 2022.

He has so far visited the states of Sokoto, Katsina, Imo, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Bauchi, Yobe, Gombe, Plateau, and Lagos.

The rally on Tuesday comes one day before the deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission for all candidates to end their campaigns.

It also occurs four days before the Presidential and National Assembly elections, which will take place on Saturday, February 25, 2023.

For Saturday’s election, there will be 18 presidential candidates on the ballot.

However, only four of those candidates are recognized by the majority of Nigerians.

Bola Tinubu of the APC, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, Peter Obi of the Labour Party, and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party are among those running.

Throughout the 96-day campaign, all four candidates have stated their intention to win the presidency and lead Africa’s most populous state.

Given the issues that have dominated the Nigerian psyche, Tinubu, Atiku, Obi, and Kwankwaso have all promised to revive the country’s struggling economy, combat widespread insecurity, and root out endemic corruption.