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Saturday, 28 September 2013

Miss Philippines crowned the new Miss World

By CNN Staff

Miss World 2012, Yu Wenxia crowns Megan Young of the Philippines as the new Miss World during the grand finale of the Miss World 2013 beauty pageant held at Bali Nusa Dua in Bali, Indonesia, on Saturday, September 28. "No words! Thank you so much for everyone for choosing me," said Young. "I promise to be the best Miss World ever." Miss France Marine Lorphelin, left, took second and Miss Ghana Carranzar Naa Okailey Shooter, took third. Miss World 2012, Yu Wenxia crowns Megan Young of the Philippines as the new Miss World during the grand finale of the Miss World 2013 beauty pageant held at Bali Nusa Dua in Bali, Indonesia, on Saturday, September 28. "No words! Thank you so much for everyone for choosing me," said Young. "I promise to be the best Miss World ever." Miss France Marine Lorphelin, left, took second and Miss Ghana Carranzar Naa Okailey Shooter, took third.
Miss World 2013: Top 5 finalists
  • Miss Philippines Megan Young is crowned Miss World
  • She was born in the United States
  • The 23-year-old is an aspiring filmmaker
(CNN) -- A new Miss World was crowned Saturday, and though she competed as Miss Philippines, she hails from the United States.
Megan Young, 23, an aspiring filmmaker, took the top honor at the competition, held in Bali, Indonesia.
"No words! Thank you so much for everyone for choosing me. I promise to be the best Miss World ever," Young said.
Miss France, Marine Lorphelin, and Miss Ghana, Carranzar Naa Okailey Shooter, were second and third runners up, respectively.
Megan Young, seated, is crowned Miss World 2013 on Saturday.
Megan Young, seated, is crowned Miss World 2013 on Saturday.
Miss world sparks controversyMiss world sparks controversy
Young was born in the United States and moved to the Philippines at age 10, according to her biography.
The new Miss World is a college student who has appeared on screen as an actress and presenter since she was 15.
Young wants to move behind the camera and become a director, according to her bio.
Miss World's 127 contestants competed in beach fashion, fitness, world fashion, talent and "Beauty with a Purpose" meant to honor charitable work. The top 10 models -- from Ukraine, South Sudan, Brazil, the Philippines, France, Cameroon, Cyprus, England, Italy and the United States -- were announced earlier this week.
Protesters in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, denounced the event.
In an attempt to appease religious concerns, the pageant scrapped the swimsuit competition and replaced it with less-revealing beachwear attire.
Also, the finals were originally to be held on the outskirts of Jakarta, but protesters forced the event to relocate to the Hindu resort island of Bali.
CNN's Neda Farshbaf, Mary Primiano, Kathy Quiano and Madison Park contributed to this report.

How ASUU Strike Turns Female Students Into Prostitutés

It is no news that many students take up part-time jobs while studying at this or that university. Such practice is encouraged and offers many benefits. However, the ongoing ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities') strike has seemingly brought a new meaning of the "part-time job" notion for some female undergraduates.
Since the strike left the universities almost empty, these girls, known also as 'Olosho,' now earn their living by offering séx to various men. 'Home service,' 'short time,' 'body for ground,' 'cash for hand,' and 'séx for money,' this is how they call what they do among themselves.
There are different types of university commercial séx workers: their 'packaging' and 'swag' determine which category of men they service.
Their expencive and often indecent attire singles them out on campus during the day, their body language attracts customers.
Thanks to the strikes, these girls can now carry out their 'duties' full-time, in private hostels and especially in accomodations within the university axis.
The activity peaks are usually from Thursday through weekend, when men pick the girls up with their cars.
Moremi,  Fagunwa Hall and Madam Tinubu Hall (MTH) are considered to be the hottest séx spots among the University of Lagos female hostels.
All you need to call a UNILAG prostitute is a blackberry phone, a car and some cash to spend.
One 300 level girl in the Psychology Department spoke thus: "I no fit go runs [part-time prostitution], if motor no dey, na the client go organize how dey go carry us. Sometimes if I go clubbing, from there I fit follow man go for overnight runs, and I know how much I go carry commot."
Another girl says: "For me, parole no dey like that before, it's just roadside. I try stopping vehicles and any interested man will pick me. At the end of the groove, I come back with something like N10,000 or N20,000 depending on the consumer."
Also, there is a trend among female students in the university hostels to sell their bed space, and use the money to get an accommodation in a private hostel. Some rent apartments with the money they get.
Before hitting the roads to perform séx acts, many girls consume alcohol for encouragement.
A 100 level female student in the English Department says, "The truth is, that there's nobody to take care of us, and I have a daughter to cater for. It is part of this money I use to send her to school. At times, I leave Lagos to Abeokuta, Sagamu, Ibadan, Edo, depending on the pay. I'm doing all this just to raise money for her upkeep."
Another students, 200 level in English Education Deparment, says, "I risk my life to travel as far as Jos and Abuja, and I spend at least two weeks, depending on the agreement I strike with my client. Most of the time, I follow my client around over there under the pretence that I am his personal assistant."
What is more, these students-turned-séx-workers also go to bed with their lecturers -- to get higher marks. It is said that girls who sleep for grades are organised, work and move together. They hardly attend lectures but make fantastic results at the end of the day. Some people state that female students even pay the lecturers after having séx with them.
The security guards at private female hostels say that girls go out at night and come back in the early morning hours, so no one would ever guess they had spent the night somewhere else.
When there is a gathering of politicians or government officials, the girls use social media to solicit for wealthy prospective male clients.
Some girls are lucky enough to get a laptop, a phone, or a set of jewellery as a gift. Sometimes, however, they are beaten up by clients or left unpaid.
Investigation has also revealed that some students still get involved in runs after graduating if job opportunities are poor. They buy bed space like students and stay with the ones they have trained on campus. Most of the experienced séx workers never think of getting married; instead, they turn into 'sugar mommiés'.


Many have asked me why I am supporting the emergence of APC. Some also say I am making a wrong judgment because there is no difference between the APC and PDP which we all accuse of misrule.

No doubt, when you find a Tinubu and a Buhari (Mai Gaskiya as he is fondly called by his teeming Talakawa supporters), two men who represent two different ideologies in one political party, when you find Senator Ahmed Yerima Bakura, a man stoutly canvassing child marriage and a Femi Fani Kayode who is standing criminal trial for embezzlement of public funds in a party that is talking about change, it calls for caution in the level of optimism that the public should have in that kind of association.

Never the less, I have ruminated on the matter and examined even the best of the examples that we can present anywhere in the world that no political party or association anywhere in the world is populated by saints. The gathering where angels are members exists only in Heaven.

Neither the Democrats nor Republicans in America are saints nor Labour, Conservatives or Liberal Democrats in the UK. Even the Communist hegemony in China has seen recent prosecution and life sentencing of former top shots, Mr. and Mrs. Bo Xi Lai.

Best men are only found in weddings and politics is not a wedding ceremony. Even in the Churches, Mosques, Temples, Synagogues and Shrines, there are not gathering of saints. Rather, there are congregations of broken pieces looking for perfection, how much more for political parties that are comprised of variegated tendencies.

I recall vividly how I attended several meetings at Senator Shitta Bay’s Jabita Hotel, Lagos in the months preceding the formation of the merger party.
Olu Falae, Late Pa Anthony Enahoro, Prof. Pat Utomi, General Adeyinka, Rev. Moses Iloh, Alh. Yerima Shettima, Asari Dokubo, Balarabe Musa, and several other well meaning Nigerians were all part of that gathering were it was the wish of every one that the opposition can come together and forge a common front to challenge the status quo.

In 2007, even in mainstream civil society, it was hoped that Tinubu and Buhari who were leading the major opposition parties could swallow their ego and form a common front to challenge PDP. We had always held that it is their refusal to work together that has left the PDP alone to colonize the territory without let or hinder and consequently impeding the deepening of democracy in the country.

I have no reason now not to applaud the realization of that wish. It holds no magic wand to our nations' quagmire but it is a proactive step by the political class that is worth testing. "We the people" have remained largely un-organized and tattered. If the emergence of a strong opposition with the same tactics of the ruling party will afford us a possibility of a paradigm shift; it is the people that must form the third leg of the argument and proof that is it their vote that will determine which 'thief' will win the next election. It is better than when one 'thief' was always sure of winning come rain or sunshine.

It is also on record that all previous attempts in Nigeria to form a political merger collapsed at one point or the other. The only thing that may have followed through have been alliances. This is the first time major opposition parties in the country are successfully coming together to become one party.

Now, like it is all over the world, there is a near balance of forces in the political theater. Two parties with a near balance in money, personnel, thievery, thugs, violence, corruption money, rigging tactics, intellectuals, propagandists have emerge that will go for a duel.

The ruling party will lose some ground to the opposition and frankly speaking, even thought is it generally perceived that ‘all governors are stealing money’, Fashola is still better than Jona Jang. Oshiomhole is still better than Martins Elechi who many Nigerians may not even know unless we mention his state – Ebonyi.

Competition will naturally set in. It will force some form of performance in the arena. The fear of losing the next polls to a strong opposition will force some performance.

It is the people that must organize themselves properly to benefit from the spoils of the impending battle. We must make ourselves vote-able and use it well.

Rouhani-Obama Chat Provokes Cheers, Protest In Iran

By Marcus George

DUBAI, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Hundreds of Iranians cheered President Hassan Rouhani on his return from New York on Saturday after his historic phone call with U.S. President Barack Obama but a smaller number of hardliners shouted "Death to America" and threw eggs and shoes at his official car leaving the airport, Iranian media reported.

While an anticipated handshake between Rouhani and Obama at United Nations headquarters failed to materialise, they held a 15-minute call on Friday at the end of the moderate new Iranian president's trip for the U.N. General Assembly.

Iranian media said hundreds of Rouhani supporters keen to see him make good on pledges of "constructive interaction" with the world to ease Iran's international isolation and get punitive sanctions lifted turned up to hail his U.N. visit.

But about 100 conservative hardliners also appeared and, shouting the "Death to America" slogan common since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, pelted his official car with eggs and stones in protest at Rouhani's diplomatic opening towards Washington, according to witness reports posted on Twitter.

The semi-official Mehr news agency ran pictures of groups of protesters holding up a Death to America placard and banging the sides of Rouhani's limousine as it began to depart the airport. Mehr said one protester threw his shoes at the car, a gesture of deep insult in the Islamic faith.

There has been little reaction so far from Iran's political leaders but one senior parliamentarian tentatively welcomed Rouhani's conversation with Obama as a sign of the Islamic Republic's "position of authority".

"This (phone call) shows that Iran's place in the world is of critical importance. That the president of America insists on a telephone call is a sign of sincerity," Mehr quoted the head of parliament's committee for national security and foreign affairs, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, as saying on Saturday.

The Iranian currency, the rial, climbed against the dollar on the open market by around two percent following the landmark phone call.


Rouhani won election in a landslide last June, buoyed by many voters keen for steps towards moderation and reform after eight years of intensifying repression at home and isolation abroad under hardline predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But new high-level contacts with U.S. officials at the United Nations were unlikely to have happened without the approval of Iran's clerical Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the polarised reactions on Rouhani's return hinted at the challenge he faces in getting hardliners especially in the powerful security elite behind his conciliatory approach.

U.S. officials said the phone call - which concentrated on how to resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear programme - was requested by the Iranian side but in comments to journalists after his return, Rouhani indicated it was an U.S. initiative.

The phone contact signalled a striking shift in tone between Iran and Washington, which cut diplomatic relations a year after the revolution ousted U.S.-allied Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and led to the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis.

Obama has said for years he is open to direct contact with Iran while also stressing that all options - including military strikes - were on the table to prevent Iran building atom bombs.

The United States and its allies have accused the Islamic Republic of seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability but Tehran says it is enriching uranium only for civilian energy.

Before leaving the airport Rouhani told journalists that contrary to reports in Western media, he had not refused a meeting with Obama earlier in the week but there was insufficient time to coordinate it.

"To have a meeting between the presidents of these two countries there are many necessary steps. If this meeting had been compressed into the programme, it would have been premature," the official news agency IRNA quoted him as saying.

Oprah Winfrey reveals why she will never marry Stedman

Oprah Winfrey reveals why she will never marry Stedman

American talk show queen, Oprah Winfrey has revealed why she will never, ever marry her longtime partner Stedman despite Tina Turner demanding she walk down the aisle. Oprah and Tina have been friends
for years, with Oprah attending the singer's wedding back in July.

But the talk show queen says she has come to the conclusion that such a union is just not for her.
When asked if she would leave earth as a "never-married" woman, Oprah made her feelings very clear.
"Yes," she told Access Hollywood. "Yeah, I think that's my final answer."
Tina exchanged vows with German music producer Erwin Bach at Lake Zurich, Switzerland. And the romantic affair made Oprah wonder if she and partner Stedman Graham should tie the knot.
"I think that it's interesting that you would ask it because I thought about it again at Tina Turner's wedding," Oprah revealed.
"Because Tina was like, 'Oprah, you need to do this. You need to do it.' I was just thinking, 'Well, OK, would things really be different?' And no, I don't think so."
Oprah admits if she and Stedman had got married, they probably wouldn't have lasted. According to Oprah, her relationship with Stedman is so unusual it wouldn't have fit within the confines of such a union.
"If you ever interviewed him, he would tell you that had we married, we would not be together today," Oprah said of Stedman. "Because he's a traditional man and this is a very untraditional relationship."
Oprah goes on to explain that she couldn't be a wife because the word holds responsibilities she doesn't feel capable of handling.
"I think it's acceptable as a relationship, but if I had the title 'wife,' I think there would be other expectations for what a wife is and what a wife does. First of all, you've got to come home sometimes," Oprah laughed.
entertainment template

Isaiah Balat as minister, again?

 by Tim Maiyaki

The appointment of a cabinet minister in a politically charged polity, such as obtainable in Nigeria today, which is also at the threshold of an election, pregnant with myriad intrigues and interests ever known in the annals of its history, can never be a regular exercise.
More particularly, the President and commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR), cannot afford to toy with such a sensitive and all-important political exercise at a time the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is witnessing some crisis inspired by either national or selfish interests (time shall tell which is) and his transformation agenda being dearest to his heart, given its overall relevance in the run up to the almighty 2015 general elections, should he decide to throw his hat into the ring. However, he hasn’t declared any intent yet, but has received far too many bashing for not declaring either to or not to. Be that as it may, novices and political paperweights will only be a drag and needless political excess luggage the President cannot afford at this material time.
 Therefore, given that the president’s choice of a minister to fill Kaduna State’s quota at the Federal Executive council cannot, should not and must not be outside the Southern Kaduna Senatorial District of Kaduna state, owing to the fact that the region is extremely suited in terms of political relevance in view of its formidable electioneering unity and direction. And in addition, the present skewed political power spread, that has seen the region adversely and irredeemably short-changed since the death of late, Sir. Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa of blessed memory - something needing immediate remedying. Hence, without usurping in anyway, the powers of the President, it therefore becomes imperative and behoves on one to authoritatively say that such a move will be one of Mr. President’s shrewdest political decision lately, and will in turn guarantee the unalloyed loyalty of the southern Kaduna people, an uncompromising support Mr. President’s party (PDP) has uninterruptedly  enjoyed since 1999 till date.
 In view of the above and in a bit to put square pegs into square holes, while apparently eschewing the temptation of calling a spade a shovel, The Senior special adviser on special duties to president Goodluck Jonathan, in the office of the vice president of the federal republic of Nigeria, the distinguish Senator. Isaiah Balat readily comes to mind. As an astute businessman and administrator per excellence, seasoned Senator (2003 to 2007), a minister of the Federal Republic during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime and the ‘governor’ Kaduna State never had, no thanks to Senator Ahmed Makarfi’s anti-Southern Kaduna last minute schemes during the party primaries elections of 2007. Balat, stands out tall amongst peers to not only be a minister for the name, but to assist both the President and even Kaduna State governor (Alh. Ramalan Yero) in achieving their political dreams as far as Southern Kaduna and Kaduna state entirely is concerned. Balat has been on both business and political scene. From his days as the chairman of Kaduna State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to his several concerns in the oil and gas sector. Not to mention also, his several roles in governance.
As a onetime minister and Senator with many developmental projects to show for in his kitty as evident all over his immediate constituency, state and the country at large (too numerous to mention), it will be mischievous to expect him to begin to learn the ropes of being a minister or administrator, but instead hit the ground running with his vast experience - something Mr. President dearly needs. His ability to mobilise the electorates and garner supports for both the present state government of Kaduna State and Jonathan’s administration is unequalled and unrivalled by any other in contemporary Southern Kaduna. Therefore, it will be apt, beneficial and timely for Mr. President to employ experienced hands in his drive to both cover grounds in his transformation agenda and to secure the needed support for his 2015 election bid (Should he decide to contest).
Finally, the country is in a state of political limbo a la coma at the emergency ward, requiring the expert blades of ace political surgeons, who will effortlessly achieve monumental political milestones with every thrust, turn and twist of the blade and not some fresh men needing tutelage over time, which we don’t have the luxury of.

Goldie's Boyfriend, Former BBA Housemate, Prezzo Wanted For Murder

Rapper, ex-big Brother Africa Kenyan representative, Jackson Makini aka CMB Prezzo might be in big trouble over a recent gun drama with an Army Official. The incident reportedly occurred on the morning of Saturday September 21, 2013, the former lover to late Afro Popstar, Goldie was said to be fighting over a parking space outside Aqua Blue Lounge, Nairobi. According to an official statement by Gigiri Division Police boss, Vitalis Otieno, Prezzo allegedly obstructed the military colonel (name withheld). 

“When the military officer came back ready to go, an argument broke out over the parking slot which degenerated to an assault using a gun. We want him to report at Parklands,” part of the statement said. 

According to reports, Prezzo allegedly hit the Swiss army colonel in the head with a gun and then also tried shooting him but was restrained by his bodyguards who dragged him off to his car and drove off. A source claimed, “the officer was forced to cancel his flight to Ethopia and was rushed to MP Shah Hospital for immediate treatment.” 

The rapper who only recently returned from the U.S took to Twitter to defend himself,
“I got into an altercation with a foreigner who racially abused me and attacked me last night being human, I rightfully defended myself.” 

CMB Prezzo is one of the most renowned rappers in East Africa. He released his debut album ‘Naleta Action’ in 2004 which included hits like ‘Naleta Action’, ‘Lets Get Down’, ‘Mahangaiko’, ‘Leo ni Leo’, ‘Mimi na Wewe’, ‘Mafans’ amongst others.

Richard Dawkins Writes 'Science Fiction,' Former Pope Says

The Huffington Post 
Richard Dawkins is used to criticism, but it's not every day the award-winning scientist is slammed by the pope he once called a "leering old villain in a frock."
Dawkins, an internationally acclaimed evolutionary biologist and author, is well known for his critical treatment of religion. And, it was recently revealed that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI took a jab at one of Dawkins' best known (and hotly debated) books, The Selfish Gene, as part of a letter written to atheist mathematician Piergiorgio Odifreddi.
Excerpts of the 11-page letter, which discussed a variety of topics, were reprinted by Italy's La Repubblica newspaper Tuesday with the permission of the former pope, Reuters notes. The message included passages slamming Dawkins' 1976 book on the theory of natural selection as "science fiction."
"There is, moreover, science fiction in a big way just even within the theory of evolution," Benedict wrote. "'The Selfish Gene' by Richard Dawkins is a classic example of science fiction."
Vatican Insider, Italian newspaper La Stampa's English-language site, notes that Benedict's letter was in response to a book by Odifreddi that was particularly critical of Catholicism, as well as religion in general. Odifreddi had called theology science fiction -- a remark that led Benedict to retort that "science fiction is present in many sciences," according to Vatican Insider.
In a blog published by The Telegraph, historian Tim Stanley notes that Benedict's decision to "[take] a swipe at Richard Dawkins is revealing. Perhaps he, too, is tired of the old man. Truly, he can test the patience of a saint."
Meanwhile, Guardian blogger Andrew Brown writes that Dawkins' book, which has inspired spirited debate for decades, is "a very fine piece of pop science writing indeed."
"What sells is not the stuff about science, but the stuff about human beings," Brown writes. "'Science fiction' may not be the right term for the book but it does capture the sense in which its hold on the imagination depends on the parts that aren't science but dazzling metaphor."

Lamido Blames ASUU Strike On Lack Of Trust

Appeal has been made to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) by Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa to end the ongoing strike in the interest of the students.
The governor made the appeal when he received a delegation from the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in Dutse.
He said it was unfortunate that the industrial action has lingered on for three months.
The governor blamed the protracted strike on lack of trust between the Federal Government and ASUU.
“It is really unfortunate that the strike has lasted up until this time. There is no trust between the two bodies and when there is no trust it will be difficult to have a common ground.
“As a parent, I am so worried seeing our children that supposed to be in school at home.
“I am appealing to ASUU to go back to the classroom while the negotiation with the government continues,” he said.
Lamido, however, pleaded with the Federal Government to continue to dialogue with the union, even after the strike had been called off.
He said this would enable the two parties to sort out the gray areas in the dispute, adding that ASUU and the Federal Government should approach the dialogue with sincerity.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Mr Ahmed Jibril, appealed to Lamido to intervene to end the lingering industrial action.


TERRIBLE: Rev. Father James Ani Caught In Armed Robbery

You hear some stories and you are like... Could this really be true? This is one of such stories:
An area known as Imeohia Mmaku in Awgu LGA of Enugu State recently came under the siege of robbers cum kidnappers, who invaded the community to perpetrate their heinous crime. On the fateful day, a priest was said to have led some notorious gang of robbers/kidnappers in the deadly operation. 
While the operation lasted, the gang sealed off entrances and exits to the community. Clad in a white cassock, Rev. Fr. James Ani, in company with about eight other people held the community by the jugular and laid siege on their prey for hours.
It was gathered that they combed the community to see if they could find a prime target to kidnap on which they could feed. As the siege was going on, a team of anti-robbery patrol team usually on routine checks on communities in the state was passing by and accosted the gang.

On seeing the police team, Fr. Ani reportedly commanded his ‘boys’ to launch offensive. Wielding dangerous weapons, the gang reportedly engaged the police team in fierce gun duel which further sent habitants of the community and travellers scampering for safety.

During the clash, Fr. Ani and his gang reportedly got hold of one Inspector Cosmas Nzeribe and a couple of his colleagues, and almost sniffed life out of them. They however bowed to the superior firepower of the law enforcement agents leading to their arrest. Before they were arrested, the hoodlums damaged the two vehicles used by the police.

In the end, Fr. Ani and three others; Ugwu Marcel, Obasi Felix and Norbert Eke were arrested and taken to custody. About five other members of the gang escaped from the scene of the attack.

In a chat with reporters, an eye witness, who identified himself as Okey, said: “I ply this road very often and I can tell you that most travellers had had harrowing experiences to share about this place. It is such a bad spot and when the robbers were arrested and we saw a supposed man of God among them, not many of us were surprised because we had experienced that before in this area. Criminals would put on cloths meant for the clergymen to rob people. Thank God, this one was caught.”

At the time of his arrest, Fr. Ani claimed that he is not a robber but a priest. However, upon interrogation, he confessed to his crime, saying he was pushed into the crime due to lull in his business.

Spokesman of Enugu Police Command, Ebere Amaraizu confirmed the arrest. He said “The Commissioner of Police has said it many times that there is no hiding place for criminals again in Enugu. This statement he is matching with actions which are evident in the arrest of the four suspects. Imagine someone supposed to be a man of God, being the ring leader in such a crime!”

2015: There’ll be no election, if… - Tunji Braithwaite

 by Nurudeen Oyewole, Lagos

Dr. Tunji Braithwaite

WEEKLY TRUST: You are a right activist, lawyer and politician; how have you been able to combine all of these together over the years?  
                                                                                                                                    Recently, Dr Tunji Braithwaite,
 lawyer, activist and founder Nigerian Advance Party (NAP), celebrated his 80th birthday with pomp and pageantry in Lagos. Here, he speaks about his life, career and burning national issues. Excerpts:-
Dr. Tunji Braithwaite: Interestingly, all three are inter-related. If you are a lawyer, you’ve got to know what the constitution of the country where you are, says.  Beyond that, if you are expansive, you will even know the constitutions of other nations not to talk about the United Nations. And you become really international because the world has become a global village kind of. So as a lawyer, concerned with the rights of the society, corporate society and the rights of individuals, you will see that the three: law, activism and politics are related. The profession of law offers better platform for any budding politician. This is not to say other professions; other disciplines are averse to being in politics, but the profession of law gives the lawyer a head start ahead of others. So, it has not been difficult to combine these three together.
Besides, when I started law practice 52 years ago, there were lots of political challenges and as a young lawyer, I was quickly drafted into the defense of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. So, at the very early stage of my life, I had my work cut out for me especially the human rights aspect of it and politics. I was one of the young lawyers who defended him.
Having practised law the much you have, many wonder why you are not a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN)?
I am not interested in the archaic and backward title called SAN. If you know my title, I abhor anything like that. They are characterized by standards that are below mine. Besides, I have said enough about SAN. It’s an importation from Britain, former colonial masters not only Nigeria, but many other countries of the world.
Divisions deliberately created and foisted on the people for the benefit of the British colonisers.  The biggest democracy in the world which also has the biggest scope for lawyers, the United States of America, does not have room for such nonsense unlike the artificial titles by British lawyers. They are ego-massage titles. And it is quite unfortunate that this could make some Nigerians to go to any extent, willy-nilly to acquire these titles. We should discourage it.
You were among the team of lawyers who defended Chief Awolowo many had expected you to join his party, but you didn’t. Why was that?
I defended Chief Awolowo, purely on legal basis. By 1978, together with some, dynamic intellectuals, I founded the Nigerian Advance Party (NAP).  The politics of the First Republic were unsuitable for what we wanted for Nigeria. What we wanted for Nigeria was and still is a country that is dynamic and will harness both human and natural resources of its people. Chief Awolowo to a large extent did his best. But the country was still labouring and there was neo-colonialism. My politics was to break away from neo-colonial mindset. Up till now, that mindset is still there.
It appears you have been putting in serious efforts to contest for presidency since the second republic up until now, but…
The other time I can say I put in serious effort apart from the 1983 presidential election, the other one I can say I seriously put a big gun out so to speak was the one during Abacha. I didn’t contest any election during the time of General Ibrahim Babangida. I thought it was insulting on the people of this country that a military impostor now decreed a two-party system for them. So I didn’t participate at all. The so-called election that threw up June 12, but the one that Abacha organized in 1996/1997, I seriously participated. I was the first person who challenged Abacha. None of these politicians who formed the PDP/PDM could dare challenge Abacha. And I think it was after I declared that M.D Yusuf also declared.    I was the only one who fought Abacha
right through to the Supreme Court. M.D Yusuf couldn’t take his case that far.
Having put in so much of this effort and it appears you have not recorded much success…
Who says?
I mean recorded much success in winning presidential election…
Who says? Who wants to win an election by bribery and all sorts of evils? I don’t want to win election through such means. Are you saying you don’t know what they do? I was invited more than once to join them, but I declined. So you young ones should get the record straight. Go and read a book by a political giant, Prof. Emi Awah. Go and read what he wrote about us. He was a political scientist for many years in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He said the NAP’s experience convinced him that without a revolution, Nigeria may not attain its potentials.
What is your perception about the electoral system in the country…
Don’t be deceived. There is no election in this country. For me, it is a badge of honour that I am not in any of their legislative houses. The electoral system cannot, I repeat, cannot contain people with integrity.
You have cited revolution as a panacea to challenges bedeviling Nigeria and many will remember how your house was used as a gathering point for many rights activists.  Were you motivated in all of these by your conviction of a revolution and do you really think Nigerians are indeed ready for a revolution?
Again, the power mongers among us, the impostors who have been trampling on the rights of Nigeria will have you believe that Nigerians can never come together to overthrow them. There is nothing farther from the truth. In fact, the period you alluded was a pointer to that effect.  And it also showed at the time that even without the labour union, the people of this country can   organize a revolution. The leadership of the labour unions betrayed the cause of that revolution. That has always been the modus operandi. Labour will alongside the civil society follow a struggle to a point, but when labour is settled, you have the cause of that struggle being compromised.
The fuel subsidy protests were the first set of protests that we bring people together across board. We had done it before on a small scale.
But that of 2012 has already demonstrated that any non-performing or corrupt government is a sitting duck for a revolution. This is a sort of thing we would be remembered for and that gives us joy. That is better than joining government to steal people’s money. So, don’t come here and voice a brainwashed opinion that Nigerians are not ready for revolution.
As you earlier observed, young people converged here under our leadership and they didn’t converge for the fun of it. There were grounds. There were political, socio and economic bases for them to converge here. They took their destinies into their own hands. By the way, you may not know. That was the slogans of NAP. That Nigerians must take their destinies into their own hands.  That kind of the progressive minds cannot be on the decline but will rather be on ascendancy for the sake of this country.
And that leads me to another issue, unless we have a constitution acceptable to Nigerians instead of the military handed down decree known as 1999 constitution before 2015, there will be no election in this country. I said there is a need for a new constitution that is acceptable. Then we also say before there could be a new constitution, there is a need for a Sovereign National Conference. And whether or not Sovereign National Conference takes place, Nigerians most freely agree on the constitution that will bind them together. Not the one that was imposed on them. We have never had the people’s constitution agreed by Nigerian people. The time has now come.
It is also interesting that the timing of this coincide with when Nigeria is to mark 100 years of amalgamation. All these combined; indicate that the issue of Nigerians agreeing freely to hold a national conference is not a mere coincidence with the 100 years anniversary. If you think it is mere coincidence, I bet it is not.
Year 2015 will be a defining moment for Nigerian future. Nigerian future as presently constituted has become rags and tatters. It is completely worn out. A new corporate existence must emerge. People should know that it is not about the agenda of some people who are fragmenting one party or the other with the aim of displacing one another in 2015. That is not the agenda for Nigeria. The 2015 will be a defining moment for Nigeria. It will unfold beyond the elections.
What is the relationship between you and President Goodluck Jonathan?
My relationship with the President? He is the President of this country and I am a citizen of this country whom the press has coined an office for: an elderstastesman. It is the press that coined it for me.
There have been speculations that the President has “settled” you after your participation in the fuel subsidy protest of January 2012. First, a friend of yours who was a major participant in the struggle,
Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu was given an appointment by the same government. Thereafter, you went and visited thePresident at Aso Rock while the President also graced your 79th birthday here in Lagos. All of these happened in quick successions and speculations were rife that you have been “settled”. Can you clear the air on all of these?
Well, I have to laugh at the poor insight of those who expressed such views. Let me first and foremost put things into contest.  First, Jonathan did not attend my 79th birthday. As a matter of fact, he was unaware that the day he chose for the public presentation of my book, coincided with my birthday. He was not aware prior to that time. It was at the floor that day that he knew. Number two, Kalu Idika Kalu was part of our organization here to protest the removal of fuel subsidy. If Kalu was offered some kind of job, it was based on his wealth of experience as a former Minister of Finance. He was a very sincere member of the organization that fought the fuel subsidy removal.
The only way you can settle Tunji Braithwaite is by being upright. And by demonstrating to him that your only interest in politics is altruistic. It is for the down trodden people of this country. This is because, Tunji Braithwaite has spent the greater part of his life to make sacrifices for the people of this country. He and his God know that for the cause for which he has spent the greater part of his life to pursue, becomes a success. This is because whatever God has a hand in can never be a failure.
And the visit to the President?
Yes, I will put that one too into contest.  It was a returned visit. The President first visited me in Lagos and we discussed many things about the country. President   Jonathan has many things going for him among which are humility/humbleness, personal charm and I believe transparency. With these three qualities any honest unbiased person  will find himself in a position of wanting to give him a chance, unlike some abrasive, uneducated, pompous, stealing successors that were before this young man. With those three qualities,   I am interested in nothing but good governance, so, why would I antagonize or turn my back against such a person? I said he visited me first when he came to Lagos and I returned the visit in Abuja and we examined a few things for the progress of this country. When the press accosted and asked me: ‘What have you come to do in Aso Rock?’ and I told them, I came to Aso Rock to discuss with the president one topic: the betterment of this country. If he needs my advice, I will give him.
The downside of this I have told you is the nature of the cabal. The ruling elite. He is a hostage among wild animals.
You mean the President?
Yes. We are talking about the President. I said President Jonathan, because of the nature of the corrupt politics of this country. President Jonathan would appear to be surrounded by or being held hostage by power mongers like wild animals. He is a hostage of them. Notwithstanding that, for the sake of this country, he still needs the existence of unbiased Nigerians, well meaning Nigerians to advise and guide him right. Not for any consideration but for the well being of Nigeria.
As an elderstatesman and as someone who has interacted with the President, how do you think he can break loose from these so-called wild animals?
By the support, prayers and hard work of well meaning Nigerians. And there are many well meaning Nigerians who do not look at any situation from the prism of reward or material reward, he would get out.
As a strong advocate for the convocation of Sovereign National Conference, what do you make out of the recent call Senate President on the need to have a national conference that would however not be attached with the term “sovereign”?
I do not engage in semantics. The Sovereign National Conference which we envisage and which will come on stream is that which does not require the approval of the National Assembly. With or without the National Assembly, the national conference will come because we are talking about the sovereignty of the people.  The present National Assembly is a product of a defective constitution. So, how can this National Assembly be the one to anoint or approve the Sovereign National Conference? Let your readers analyse this. The Sovereign National Conference is coming on stream with or without the National Assembly’s approval.