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Erica: Dele Momodu, Omotola’s husband, fans celebrate BBN star’s 27th birthday

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Big Brother Naija star girl, Erica Nlewedim, marks her 27th birthday today.

Ahead of the celebration, she sent a picture via her Twitter account @EricaNlewedim with a caption ‘Look at my pilot’ indicating that actress Omotola’s husband, Captain Matthew Ekeinde, flew her in an aircraft.

 

The picture on Twitter on Friday shows Erica, Ekeinde and another pilot standing at the tarmac of an airport.

On Thursday, Ovation Magazine publisher, Dele Momodu, shared a birthday invitation from Erica on social media.

Fans of Erica also known as Erica or Star girl have also erected a massive billboard at Alexander roundabout in Ikoyi, Lagos for her 27th birthday.

The massive billboard captures the face of Erica with an advert for her birthday today.

Momodu has also devoted a greater part of his weekly Pendulum column to celebrate Erica.

Titled, ‘Help Raise a Toast to the Erica of Africa’, the piece read in part, “Fellow Elites, today is our day, when we shall seize the God-given liberty and opportunity to celebrate and toast a young lady whose mistake was not forgiven by man but was still elevated and catapulted to fame and success. It is obvious that the ways of God are different from the ways of humans. We all love to pontificate as if we are all holy and perfect, but no one is. Every one of us suffers from one foible, weakness, egocentricity or the other. But if God can forgive our sins what stops us from replicating the same privilege to our fellow human being. Indeed, that is the injunction of most holy books. To err is human, to forgive is divine as Alexander Pope famously said in his poem, An Essay on Criticism!

“Anyway. My sermon is quite simple today. And I won’t bore you with too much detail. My subject matter is no other than a beautifully effervescent, ebullient lady, Ms Erica Nlewedim, popularly known as Erica, who made some costly mistakes inside the Big Brother Naija House last year and was booted out ignominiously! It was a cataclysmic fall from the pinnacle of the temple to the rocky bottom of the abyss! Every onlooker expected her to be smashed into smithereens except some of us who truly know how God works mysteriously and miraculously.”

He also recalled how he became fond of the programme and took liking for Erica: “Initially, I didn’t really know much about that particular edition of Big Brother Naija. I had been busy with other things, particularly my Instagram Live interview shows, and I had paid no attention to the current Big Brother Naija show. It was the call from my friend Terry Waya that aroused my interest. His son Kiddwaya was in the house and he solicited my media support. I was only too happy to lend my support since I also knew the young man quite well when he was growing up.  I had not seen him when he became an adult. I expected that he would grow into an upstanding young man and the images of him and the character he presented in the Big Brother House justified my high hopes and expectations of him.

“As I watched the show, I knew Kiddwaya had grown up to become a handsome, intelligent and affable young man. I became hooked on the show and realised that several of my friends were also quite keen on it.

“Then one thing led to another and we discovered that Kiddwaya seemed to have fallen headlong in love with one ravishingly beautiful, but overly complicated housemate called Erica or Baby G. The feeling was clearly mutual, and the lovebirds could be seen demonstrating their affection for each other whenever they could.”

He touched on her expulsion from the house, which he described as a tragedy and events that followed.

“Erica was mercilessly expelled for a transgression which brought out her frail, fragile and highly charged emotional personality! Everybody makes a mistake, especially when under the influence of alcohol and Erica was definitely inebriated that day. The fault was not hers alone though. It seemed that the other Housemates did not actually look out for her welfare on that day and allowed things to deteriorate to the extent that they did. Ordinarily, that would have been it for me.

“However, I read all kinds of ugly comments and was deeply troubled about a young soul that may soon be totally destroyed and completely obliterated simply because she was much misunderstood and deeply maligned. I knew I had to step in urgently because I dislike and detest unfairness and injustice! Sooner than later, her boyfriend Kiddwaya was evicted in what seemed a well coordinated conspiracy in the House which made me redouble my efforts to support Erica and ensure that her participation and unfortunate exit were not in vain,” Momodu stated.

He also stated, “Let me fast forward a bit. I suffered collateral damages on account of my effrontery to liberate a lady I never knew from a mental meltdown. I had no other motive than to save a soul. I knew that she needed to be encouraged rather than be vilified and crucified. In lending my voice and support for Erica’s advancement, I never disparaged any other Housemate. It is not in my character and it is not the Ovation way. We applaud, celebrate and promote. Sadly, and seriously, we live in the age of intolerance, in which someone’s enemy must automatically become yours as well. Unfortunately, no one can bully me out of my principled position. My family was worried about the ceaseless plethora of attacks on my person by kids I could easily have grandfathered. My wife called from London belching fire. She could not understand why I was not relenting in my support despite the vociferously fearsome attacks I was being subjected to. That even got me more steadfastly fastidious and totally determined to fight Erica’s corner since I knew my soul was clean towards this girl. In the end, Erica has been vindicated, the enormous respect, admiration and adoration that she commands and engenders have made it all worthwhile. I pray some people will fight for our own children in their days of tribulations.

“Today, I’m extremely proud of my stubbornness and undaunting spirit. The reason our country is in this monumental mess is because we always allow evil people to gain the upper hand due to our meekness and squeamishness! We easily cave in under societal pressure and fear-mongering. I draw my strength from the gift of clairvoyance and ability to stand on the truth even if everyone would think I’m stupid. And I even expect no appreciation whatsoever from the beneficiary. Whatever I do, I do for God because HE has touched my heart to do so. I seek no personal gain. I’m sure God will bless me beyond my asking once my motives are pure, which they always are.”

The Ovation publisher noted, “Erica has become an unstoppable phenomenon not because she’s the most beautiful woman, the most brilliant scholar, the most eloquent speaker but just because God likes to help lift up the downtrodden who has been kicked wickedly and unremittingly in the mud like a leather football.

“Hate or love her, Erica’s time has come. Please, rise, and join me in giving Erica a standing ovation and toast to her health, longevity and prosperity as she celebrates her 27th birthday today.”

Politics

Wike, Obi keep people guessing, meet again in P/Harcourt

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Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, on Friday visited Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

Obi’s visit was coming barely 48 hours after the official commencement of the 2023 election campaigns.

It is the third time Obi would be visiting Wike amid the internal crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party  which Wike belongs to.

The Friday closed-door meeting in Port Harcourt lasted for a few hours at the governor’s private residence.

The Punch reports the two politicians were having a handshake in front of Governor Wike’s residence in pictures that surfaced online.

Wike was spotted in white, while his guest, Obi, wore a blue senator material.

Sharing the pictures of the meeting on his Twitter handle on Friday, Wike wrote, “It was nice hosting my brother @PeterObi once again.”

Although details and outcome of the meeting were not disclosed, it came amid allegations and counter allegations of bribery within the PDP fold.

Apart from photos shared by Wike, Obi, who is a former Anambra State governor, on his Twitter handle, shared pictures of his meeting with Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde.

“I was at Ibadan, and I visited my brother and friend, HE @seyiamakinde, the Governor of Oyo State as part of my consultations ahead of the 2023 general elections. We had very frank and constructive discussions. -PO,” he wrote.

The PUNCH reports that Makinde, Governors Samuel Ortom of Benue State; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, all believed to be loyal to Wike, including the governot, on Wednesday, boycotted the inauguration of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council and book launch in honour of the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

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Sports

Nigeria beaten 1-2 by Algeria, third loss under Peseiro

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The Super Eagles on Tuesday lost 1-2 to the Desert Foxes of Algeria in an international friendly played n Oran.

The Super Eagles opened scoring with Terem Moffi connecting from a deflected Kelechi Ihenacho’s shot in the box to give Nigeria the lead.

The Jose Peseiro side were the dominant side in the first half and had a few more chances but the efforts yielded no result.

The home side almost replied immediately after Zaidu Sanusi headed waywardly, setting Youcef Bilaili on goal.
Although Bilaili pushed the ball beyond a prone Uzoho, Riyad Mahrez could only hit the side of the post from the ensuing scrap-up.
It could have been two nil in the 28th minute after Mustapha Zengha spilled Iheanacho’s shot in the path of Moffi, who teed up Lookman — but the latter was ruled offside after putting the ball into the net.
Iheanacho called the goalkeeper into action, sending two successive shots into his palms.
The home team began exerting themselves in the game, with Uzoho forced to save two free kicks.
Mahrez and Islam Slimani bombarded Sanusi on the right side of the Eagles’ defence as cracks began to manifest.
The pressure paid off for Algeria in the 40th minute. Ramy Bensebaini reacted quickly to a rebound off a shot, and Onyeka dived into a tackle only to take the Algerian down.
Mahrez sent Uzoho the wrong way from the resultant penalty.
Desert Foxes completed the comeback in the 60th minute after Uzoho punched a corner kick and a couple of passes set it nicely for Youcef Attal, who sent 35-yard pile driver flying into the left bottom corner.
The result means Peseiro has lost three of his six games as Nigeria’s coach. The first two defeats were against Mexico and Ecuador.
Nigeria will play Portugal next in an international friendly billed for November 17.

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News

Presidency divided over national honour for Bukola Saraki

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There are indications that the immediate past Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, may miss a statutory national award on October 1 when deserving Nigerians are conferred with the awards.

The Presidency, according to a report by Sunday Punch, is divided over including Saraki on the list of the awardees.

As part of a series of activities lined up to mark Nigeria’s 62nd independence anniversary, President Muhammadu Buhari will on October 1, 2022 confer various categories of awards on deserving Nigerians, the Presidency has confirmed.

The investiture ceremony, billed to hold at the International Conference Centre, Abuja is eliciting diverse commentaries with the omission of Senator Bukola Saraki.

The convention and norm have always been for a Vice President, Senate President, and Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, to be given the title either on the assumption of office or when national awards are being generally bestowed on recipients.

The belief was that the former Kwara State governor Bukola Saraki had not been conferred with the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON because Buhari did not confer the awards before now.

Sunday Punch however gathered that the committee set up to recommend deserving Nigerians to the Presidency, enlisted Saraki, but a power bloc in Aso Rock denied him a place on the list.

It was revealed that the group labelled Saraki an “enemy of the administration,” arguing that the All Progressives Congress-led government should rather beam its searchlight on other Nigerians.

This position, Sunday Punch gathered, did not sit well with another group in the Presidency, which was said to have argued that though Saraki’s opposition to some of the policy decisions taken by Buhari while serving as Senate President was well documented, he should not be denied a place in the 2022 honour list.

This is more so as Saraki’s successor, Senator Ahmad Lawan is set to bag the prestigious award next week.

The latter group also argued that Saraki is more popular with the people and is credited to have achieved more while in office, pointing out that he deserves the award based on his achievement in office and that the award should not be seen to be politicised by the incumbent administration.

It turned out however that the former group prevailed and Saraki is now set to miss out unless a dramatic twist in fate plays out.

In what appears a calculated effort to deny Saraki his place in history, Ahmad Lawan has refused to include his predecessor’s portrait among those of former presiding officers of the Senate in the main gallery of the New Senate Building more than three years after he (Saraki) left office.

It would be recalled that former Senate Presidents, Pius Anyim and David Mark, as well as ex- CJN, Walter Onnoghen, all had the GCON conferred on them in compliance with the convention.

Speaking exclusively to Sunday Punch, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome urged Buhari to right the error before the date of the event.

He said, “By protocols and convention, Vice President and Senate President are usually conferred with the national honour of GCON. I want to believe that the President’s attention was not drawn to it. He can still amend the situation by including his name before the date of the award because this is beyond politics.”

On his part, former Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Canada, Professor Iyorwuese Hagher, said Saraki deserves the award on merit.

He said, “I believe that in keeping with the hallowed tradition in the conferment of honorably awards, all former Senate Presidents deserve the title of GCON, Dr. Bukola Abubakar Saraki inclusive.

“Buhari should convoke a ceremony for such awards quickly to redeem his image as the father of the nation and not a mere patron of political bias.”

However, a chieftain of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Anthony Sani, told Sunday Punch that those conferring the title know the criteria for selecting deserving awardees.

He said, “I am not conversant with criteria being used for the award of national honours. If it is on merit, the President is the one to explain why the former Senate President does not merit it.

“But if it is statutory, he has to explain why he has denied him (Saraki).

Meanwhile, Saraki has stated that his silence on the recent happenings in the People’s Democratic Party does not translate to him opposing the party’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

Saraki, in a series of tweets on his official Twitter account on Saturday evening, noted that he had been on his annual vacation, and had returned on Friday. He said he headed straight to the celebration of the 35th year celebration of the creation of Akwa-Ibom State.

-Punch

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