Monday, April 25, 2022

7:59:00 am

US diplomats to return to Ukraine after Blinken visit---US State Department


US diplomats will begin returning to Ukraine this week, the US State Department has said, after secretary of state Antony Blinken and secretary of defense Lloyd Austin returned from a secretive visit to Ukraine to meet president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The top US envoys also promised more $300m in foreign military financing and have approved a $165 million sale of ammunition, according to Associated Press.

The news agency reported:

 They also said Biden would soon announce his nominee to be ambassador to Ukraine and that American diplomats who left Ukraine before the war would start returning to the country this coming week. The US embassy in Kyiv will remain closed for the moment.

Zelenskiy had announced Saturday that he would meet with the US officials in Kyiv on Sunday, but the Biden administration refused to confirm that and declined to discuss details of a possible visit even though planning had been underway for more than a week.

Journalists who traveled with Austin and Blinken to Poland were barred from reporting on the trip until it was over, were not allowed to accompany them on their overland journey into Ukraine, and were prohibited from specifying where in southeast Poland they waited for the cabinet members to return. Officials at the State Department and the Pentagon cited security concerns.

Austin and Blinken announced a total of $713 million in foreign military financing for Ukraine and 15 allied and partner countries; some $322 million is earmarked for Kyiv. The remainder will be split among NATO members and other nations that have provided Ukraine with critical military supplies since the war with Russia began, officials said.

Such financing is different from previous US military assistance for Ukraine. It is not a donation of drawn-down US Defense Department stockpiles, but rather cash that countries can use to purchase supplies that they might need.

The new money, along with the sale of $165 million in non-US made ammunition that is compatible with Soviet-era weapons the Ukrainians use, brings the total amount of American military assistance to Ukraine to $3.7 billion since the invasion, officials said.

Zelenskiy had urged the Americans not to come empty-handed. US officials said they believed the new assistance would satisfy at least some of the Ukrainians’ urgent pleas for more help. New artillery, including howitzers, continues to be delivered at a rapid pace to Ukraine’s military, which is being trained on its use in neighboring countries, the officials said.

On the diplomatic front, Blinken told Zelenskiy that Biden will announce his nomination of veteran diplomat Bridget Brink to be the next US ambassador to Ukraine.

A career foreign service officer, Brink has served since 2019 as ambassador to Slovakia. She previously held assignments in Serbia, Cyprus, Georgia and Uzbekistan as well as with the White House National Security Council. The post requirements confirmation by the US Senate.

Blinken also told Ukraine’s foreign minister that the small staff from the now-shuttered US embassy in Kyiv, which has relocated to Poland from temporary offices in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, would begin making day trips to Lviv in the coming days.


7:52:00 am

2023: Jonathan’s return bid runs into hitch


The consultation between former President Goodluck Jonathan and some leaders of the All Progressives Congress for Jonathan to emerge as the presidential candidate has been rejected by support groups working for some presidential aspirants of the party.

Groups loyal to presidential aspirants of the party, including the APC National leader and former Lagos State  Governor, Asiwaju  Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; in separate interviews, dismissed the consensus plot for the ex-President.

It was also gathered that those who were behind the plot and some members of the National Working Committee of the party feared that it might not sail through.

It was learnt that although the plan had been announced, opposition to it was already swelling among members.

Besides Tinubu, Osinbajo, other members of the party in the presidential race include the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi.

Jonathan had informed some APC leaders that he would only join the presidential race if he was directly endorsed by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

The information was revealed to The PUNCH shortly after Jonathan’s posters flooded the national secretariat of the APC and some youth groups stormed Jonathan’s office in the Maitama area of Abuja, calling on him to join the Presidential race.

In his response, the former President had told protesters that he could not say for sure if he would declare or not but only advised his supporters to “watch out.”

It was subsequently learnt from top sources in the APC that there was a plan by some leaders in the APC and some elements in the Presidency to accede to Jonathan’s request.

A member of the APC National Executive Committee, who confided in one of our correspondents, said all presidential aspirants were aware of the plan to bring Jonathan in as the consensus candidate.

According to him, members of the Presidency cabal who were working on the plan were confused as they did not know if it would succeed.

He stated that they started working on the plan more than a year ago but when they ran into some challenges, they tried to adopt the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.

The NEC member added that when they realised that Emefiele’s option might not work, they went back to the Jonathan arrangement.

The party chieftain stated, “I can tell you they are facing a tough task as far as Jonathan is concerned. Although from his body language, one can see that Jonathan is interested. However, his backers in the APC are confused about how to launder the public image of Jonathan whom they painted incompetent and clueless in 2015.

“Another tough task the party may face is how it will convince other aspirants like Tinubu, Osinbajo, Amaechi, Umahi and Bello to step down. Many members are not happy with the plot and are ready to shoot it down.”

When contacted for the party’s reaction, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, neither replied to a text message sent to his mobile phone nor responded to calls made by one of our correspondents.

It was learnt that the presidential aspirants were waiting for Jonathan’s backers to unveil their plan, which they vowed to resist.

Osinbajo group rejects Jonathan, optimistic VP will emerge consensus candidate

The Leader, Osinbajo Grassroots Organisation, Ekiti State, Femi Adeleye, said on Sunday that the party could not give Jonathan a waiver to contest the presidential election as a consensus candidate when there were competent and capable aspirants already.

Adeleye who said the presidential aspirants were already preparing for an indirect primary, however, said the party would adopt Osinbajo in case it considered a consensus arrangement.

He stated, “Even at that, if all the contestants agree within themselves and decide to step down for one of them, I am very comfortable that our principal, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, will be the one they will step down for. I am very comfortable with that.

“If some people are rooting for Jonathan, the party must accept him first. And for him to contest, he must have spent a year in the party and our primary will hold in the one month’s time. It will be very difficult for the party to say they want to give him a waiver and pick him as consensus candidate when there are competent hands already on the ground.”

Aspirants looking for consensus are lazy, nobody will impose candidate – Tinubu campaign group

Also in a chat with The PUNCH, the South West Agenda for Asiwaju 2023 known as SWAGA 2023, said that there was no possibility of a consensus presidential candidate in the upcoming primary election.

The Chairman of SWAGA 2023, Senator Dayo Adeyeye, explained this to The PUNCH during a telephone interview on Sunday, adding that the presidential aspirants would await the results of the primaries.

He said, “The candidates for the presidential election await the primaries and the people will have to earn it. Don’t forget that under the new electoral law, you can only have consensus when all the candidates or aspirants have agreed in writing and I don’t see that happening. Those who are looking for consensus are the lazy ones who have not done any work.

“We are working and hoping to have free and fair primaries which I know that by the grace of the almighty God, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will easily win. So, the issue of consensus candidacy should be forgotten completely. Nobody will impose the president on Nigeria, the party members will choose their candidates by themselves at the convention and the Nigerian people will be given the opportunity to elect the candidates of their choice in February next year.”

Adeyeye said the Presidential primary would not be like the national convention of March 26 because the primary is more complicated as it would involve a wider electorate.

The leader of the Grassroot Network for Asiwaju Tinubu group, Mr Abiodun Mafe, also told The PUNCH that Jonathan was not known to be a member of the APC hence he could not be the presidential candidate of the party.

“Jonathan has never been a member of the APC, so how will it be possible for anyone to say that he will be made a consensus candidate? Until he now proves to the whole world that he is a card-carrying member of the APC, it can’t be. Even at that, there is a process. Constitutionally, anybody who is a member of the APC has the right to contest but as far as I am concerned Jonathan is not a part,” Mafe stated.

Yahaya Bello will defeat Jonathan if he joins the presidential race – Campaign Council

But the spokesman for the Yahaya Bello Presidential Campaign Council, Yemi Kolapo, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the Kogi State Governor would defeat Jonathan if he joined the APC presidential race.

She said, “What I will say is that whether Jonathan declares or not, whether he joins APC or not is not a threat. Yahaya Bello will get the ticket. Everybody has the right to vie for any position.

“So, whether he (Jonathan) wants to do that in APC or his PDP, it is his choice. That will not deter anybody. No matter what they do, no matter the number of people who come into the race at this time, Yahaya Bello will be on the ballot.”

Attempts to get a response from Jonathan’s Spokesman, Ikechukwu Eze, proved abortive as he did not respond to a text message on Sunday. (Excerpted from a PUNCH report)


7:48:00 am

FCT police raid mountains, dislodge bandits, kidnappers

The Federal Capital Territory Police Command has commenced a raid of mountains in the territory

It was gathered that bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements terrorising the FCT, especially in border communities, have their enclaves built around the mountains in Abuja.

The Command, acting on intelligence, raided mountains and destroyed the hideouts of kidnappers in the Kwali Area Council of the FCT.

It said mountains in Yangoje and Old Chukuku in the Kwali Area Council have so far been cleared of criminal hideouts by the police.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police in Charge of Operations, Ben Igwe, said the operation would be sustained until all criminal elements were dislodged from the territory. 

7:42:00 am

Suspected ritualists nabbed with human body parts


Two suspected ritualists, Wasiu Omonose (35) and Akanbi Ibrahim (32) were on Sunday nabbed with a fresh human head and wrists in Kwara.


They were arrested by the police at the Oke Oyi/Jebba road while on a motorcycle.

According to the Police Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Kwara State Command, Ajayi Okasanmi (SP), the suspects attempted to evade the officers on a stop and search duty when they were apprehended.

 “Their action aroused the suspicion of the operatives who subsequently gave them a hot chase. A bag containing a fresh human head and wrists were found in their possession,” Okasanmi said.

He added that the suspects, both from Share in Ifelodun Local Government Area of the state, confessed they were taking the items to an Alfa in Ilorin for ritual purposes.

7:27:00 am

Nigerian Fashion Industry: From Classics to Contemporary Styles By Jemimah Otueroro


Nigerian fashion industry has undergone several changes over the years. It is constantly renewing itself by taking parts of the old and mixing it with the new, yet retaining its attraction, flavour, grandeur and elegance.

In the 1960s down to the early 90s, so many fashion trends were adopted in Nigeria by both men and women to reflect the prevalent fashion signs of the times. During these times, women predominantly wore long dresses and head ties of different locally-made fabrics, made into oversized and fitted outfits depending on their choices, and complemented them with neatly trimmed afros sprayed with hair moisturisers to make the hairdos sparkling and shinning. During this period, miniskirts and fitted tops also became popular in Nigerian fashion industry.

However, the innovations and growth of the 21st century fashion industry made possible by fast fashion, which has made access to trendy clothes cheaper, has redefined the fashion industry all around the world. Presently, the trend has shifted to long dresses with deep long slits, either in front, at the back or at both sides and complemented with either braided hairdo or Brazilian hair. Then, miniskirts with fitted tops became miniskirts with crop tops with sleeves, sleeveless or an off-shoulder revealing the boobs or stomach.

Meanwhile, the men were not left out; as during this fashion evolution, men rocked boot-legged pants, tightly-fitted shirts with loud prints, tapped by a killer afro. But, the modern fashion industry made significant changes; it moved the fashion train from boot-legged trousers to fitted trousers (also known as pencil trousers) with fitted shirts adorned with unique designs either with a long sleeves or a turtle neck shirt, complemented with a neat low hair cut.

However, traditional attires were not left out of this fashion revolution. While women wore baggy-sleeves buba (blouse) over an iro (wrapper) that stopped anywhere from a little above the knee to mid-thigh, men wore agbada (lengthy blouse for men) and danshikis (mid-length baggy shirts) ; a trend that started in the 70s but still popular in the modern fashion today. To add glamour and beauty to traditional attires, some bubas are now designed with beautiful crystal-like stones that glints while under the sun or in the dark with lights. Nowadays, Ankara fabrics has gained prominence and wider acceptance in Nigeria social setting; people are using them at parties and social engagements to the extent that a new movement –the aso-ebi (family attire) –evolved from the use of this special fabric as a means of identity and to add colour and glamour to events.

Despite these significant improvements in our fashion space, American or western fashion still influences what majority of Nigerians wear. Although, some Nigerians are embracing traditional clothing and even wearing them to official and social functions, many still see traditional/cultural attires as meant for traditional/cultural events alone. In fact, hair trends such as Brazilian and Human hair have become the popular hair culture among women alongside natural hair is making some people dump relaxers and embracing their natural hair. Also, head scarves in form of turbans and caps and even afro are becoming acceptable.

Therefore, the speed at which Nigerian fashion evolves beautifully and uniquely everyday with creative fashion designers and fashion shows taking Nigerian fashion around the world shows that Nigerian fashion has shifted from classics to contemporary and becoming a force driven by passion; it is here to stay and expand continually.


 Jemimah Otueroro is a fashion designer and a Mass Communication student at the National Open University of Nigeria. She loves creativity in all forms especially in relation to the fashion industry.

7:12:00 am



Musa Yahaya is a successful businessman and a philanthropist. He is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Topflyers Magazine Int’l and Pysmaco Ltd, a multifaceted company which cuts through entertainment (event management, magazine publication, fashion, modeling, pageantry, artiste sponsorship, promotion) and the business sector. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology and Anthropology (B.Sc) and a Master of Science (M.Sc) Degree in Industry Sociology and Labour relations. He is well travelled and vast in seeking knowledge for a positive society. His odyssey for publication and talent discovery began in Toronto, Canada (2010), paving way for the company into  being a household name.


Topflyers Magazine International - A lifestyle Magazine with both online presence and hard copy quarterly publication, is spanned over a decade, maintaining glossy qualitative pictures in breezy prose that tells factual stories of people around the world. Topflyers Magazine has blazed the media stands with its 100-page glossy magazine, rich scintillating stories of success, creativity and enterprise.

With the inclusion of Topflyers Magazine International Awards of Excellence, our mission is to promote, encourage and showcase hardworking People who have excelled in their careers irrespective of the societal hurdles prevalent on the road to success. This is why the Award is specially designed to honour 'Topflyers' and use personalized stories as motivation, for the youths to see the prize of being diligent or hardworking and uphold determination as norms.


Topflyers magazine is open for adverts placement, documentary production, exclusive interviews, event coverage, special promotions, news coverage, interviews, e.t.c.

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

6:12:00 am

2023: Opposition thickens as Jonathan weighs options


Plans to get immediate past President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to run for the presidency on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, are facing attacks across the divides.

Sources told Vanguard that the Otuoke, Bayelsa State-born politician, who is still a member of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is weighing his options on whether or not to contest the 2023 elections on the platform of the APC.

The APC has zoned its presidential ticket to the South, while the PDP has left its ticket open, with a plan to take a decision a few days to the presidential primaries, which must be concluded between April 4 and June 3, 2022, according to the 2023 election timetable unveiled by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, last weekend.

Party leaders and politicians, yesterday kicked against plans to draft Jonathan into the 2023 race, just as Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State said that moves by the APC to zone the Presidency to the South in 2023 is not a threat to the PDP.

North deceiving Jonathan—PDP source

A close ally of the former President told Vanguard in confidence that the North is deceiving Jonathan to contest.

The PDP leader, from the South said: “He would be under pressure to run but the truth of the matter is that it is to the advantage of the North

“They (North) are deceiving him to run for only four years. The minimum term any Nigerian can run is eight years. He has done six years and they (North) are asking him to do one term; the moment he is two years in office, he will be dragged to the Supreme Court and they (North) own the Supreme Court.

“By the time the Supreme Court rules, he would be ousted and his Vice will be asked to be the substantive president. So, he should not allow himself to be deceived. He has to be careful.”

He’ll be a spoiler to South — Osuntokun

Contacted, Mr Akin Osuntokun, former Political Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, said the former President would be a spoiler and a traitor to the South if he accepted the offer.

“If he likes himself, I don’t think he should run. What they want him to do is to cheat the South. I doubt if Jonathan will offer himself as a traitor to the South by accepting the proposal. To me, he will be a spoiler for the South. Jonathan should be smarter than that. Let’s look at the logic of it. I am sure he will be tempted by the offer but if you look at the logic of it, he is being offered the back seat. Some people are putting up the proposition to him but I am almost certain that he may not accept it because it will damage him.”

I’m not aware he’s running—Bode George

Speaking on the issue, former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Olabode George, said the former president had not informed him of his decision to run for presidency in 2023.

George said: “I am not aware that he (Jonathan) wants to run and I am not aware that the APC has reached out to him. But, he promised coming to see me, I will ask and confirm from him when he comes.”

We can’t replace failure with failure—Shettima

President of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, urged the former President not to throw his hat in the ring because Nigerians want something new.

Shettima said: “Nobody can stop him from contesting; it is his constitutional right to contest. If I have my way, I will advise him not to contest because Nigerians cannot wait to see something different from what we have now. Nigerians cannot go back to him  because things went bad under him. Nobody can stop him from contesting but we cannot replace failure with failure.”

It’s his decision—Oladunjoye, Ogun APC spokesperson

Spokesperson of the APC in Ogun State, Mr. Tunde Oladunjoye said Jonathan is free to contest because “it is his personal decision.”

On him joining the APC, Oladunjoye said: “I cannot speak on behalf of the party at the national level because with the calibre of the former president, he will be admitted first at the national level before going to his ward to register. 

“Article Nine of the APC Constitution states that ‘membership of the party shall be open to any citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who has attained the age of 18 years and who accepts the aims and objectives of the party, provided that such a person is not a member of any other political party or any organisation whose policies and programmes are inconsistent with those of the party.’”

He has to cross the bridge—Ondo APC spokesperson

Also speaking, Publicity Secretary of the APC in Ondo State, Alex Kalejaiye said: “The decision would be taken by the national leadership of the party. However, the APC does not discriminate against any Nigerian, who finds it appealing, on account of performance and disposition to the physical and
economic development of Nigeria. We do appreciate and welcome men of honour like the former president, who can add more value to what we are doing, in the overall interest of Nigerians.

“The speculation that he would like to contest on arrival remains what it is. Every bona fide member has the inalienable right to participate in an electoral process. However, the former president has to cross the bridge before debating the issue of eligibility for whatever position. It has to be a step at a time, and party constitution will guide appropriately.”

Why we want Jonathan—Northern group

Meanwhile, the Northern League of Professionals, NLP, yesterday, threw its weight behind Jonathan, saying the former President would be the best option to consolidate Nigeria’s democracy and advance the course of development for the country come 2023.

The group, in a statement by its Coordinator, Alhaji Mohammed Ajiji, said: “Governance is a continuum and that was what informed the continuation and completion of some of the projects started under Jonathan by the Buhari administration.

“Projects like the construction and rehabilitation of the railways, the Second Niger Bridge, Loko-Oweto Bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway among others are being implemented by the Buhari Administration even though they started under President Jonathan.

“This is a clear example of continuity in governance and we would want to see a situation where former President Goodluck Jonathan will pick up from where President Buhari stops to ensure that there is widespread infrastructure development and the implementation of policies and programmes to address the challenges facing the country. Our goal is to ensure there is sustained development by continuous implementation of programme without interruption.

“Jonathan disappointed the doomsday prophets who thought he would place his personal ambition above Nigeria’s peace, unity and stability by peacefully handing over power to Buhari after an election he conducted and adjudged by local and international observers to be free and fair.

“None of the presidential hopefuls has the experience garnered by Jonathan over the years having served as a lecturer, deputy governor, governor, vice-president and eventually the president of the Republic.

“Jonathan is the best option to unite the country at the crucial moment where there are various agitations across the land.

“Because of his mien, Jonathan is not known to be a power monger or a leader who will misuse power but as a unifier and a democrat who is at home and can be trusted by every part of the country.

“All parts of the country will have a fair deal under Jonathan and he’s not known to be vindictive or has scores to settle. He has trusted friends across all sections of the country who can attest to his personal attributes as a man of peace with impeccable character.

“He is a bridge builder who has vast experience in managing the country’s diversity. Jonathan also hands-on experience and will not be a learner on the job. As humans, we also believe that Jonathan has learned from past experiences.

“Beyond the national experience in leadership, the appointment of Jonathan as ECOWAS Mediator by President Buhari has given him vast experience in regional and international politics, which has placed him head and shoulder above all those vying for the office of the president.

“For Jonathan, going back to Aso Rock is no longer to make a name but to continue to serve the nation with dignity and honour. He’s now a global citizen and we are calling on him to join the race because he’s just the right person Nigeria needs at the moment. Every situation requires its peculiar kind of leadership and this moment requires a man with Jonathan’s character, experience and exposure.”

APC’s zoning not a threat to PDP – Bala Mohammed

Meanwhile, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has said that the decision of the APC to zone the Presidency to the South in 2023 poses no threat to the PDP.

The governor, who addressed newsmen in Abeokuta, after visiting former President Obasanjo, said the PDP would continue to strategise to rescue Nigeria from the present situation she has found herself.

Mohammed said: “The zoning of Presidency to the South by the APC is not a threat to the PDP because each party is trying to strategise, to plan and organise. If they zone it to the South, it is open to us to see how it is going to give us more electoral victory if we put it in the North.

“This is the kind of things we are doing: the leg works, the permutations and so on. So, that, at least, whatever we are going to do, will give Nigerians the opportunity to choose between the best alternatives.”

Explaining why he visited Obasanjo, the governor said the relationship between them and the issue of PDP were the essence.

“We know that Baba is non-partisan, we know he’s an elder statesman per excellence. But we are rebuilding our party to remove rancour, division and what-have-you. So, we still need him because his words of wisdom are always very useful.

“So, I have come to sound his opinion on some of the things going on in the party, to close ranks and make sure we provide Nigerians with the opportunity to rescue the country from the present division which we have found ourselves.”

On his chances of getting the PDP’s Presidential ticket in 2023, he said: “To me, Presidency is a consensus; a stakeholder and statesmanship and its responsibilities. Of course, every Nigerian should try to contribute his or her quota to the growth and development of the nation.

“Leadership recruitment should be based on merit, it should be based on making sure we bring everybody on board and should not be based on the manifestation of separatist, which is the instrument capable of dividing us further.

“Nigeria is too large and too important to be ignored. Some of us have benefited so much. It is not about me and my aspiration, but about the country.”

Choosing candidates by consensus anti-democratic— Buba Galadima

In his remarks, Buba Galadima, a former Buhari ally, said the APC would choose both its national chairman and presidential candidate by consensus which, according to him, is anti-democratic.

Galadima expressed dismay over the perceived anti-democratic way of picking the national chairman and presidential candidate, stressing that it would worsen the problems in the APC.

He said: “If things go the way I’m seeing it, APC would collapse under its weight. I don’t believe in zoning. We have tried it and it failed. It didn’t bring out the best. ‘’Now, consensus would be the worst. Let the best man emerge democratically and not by consensus. They should look at a man’s past and what he did before and use it as a yardstick to vote him in.” (Vanguard)