Arsenal and England have been dealt a cruel
blow after Theo Walcott was ruled out for the
rest of the season and this summer’s World Cup
in Brazil after suffering serious knee ligament
damage during Saturday’s FA Cup victory over
Walcott jarred his left knee while making a
tackle on Danny Rose nine minutes from the
end of the home side’s 2-0 victory in the north
London derby and departed on a stretcher while
being pelted with coins and plastic bottles
thrown from the away support. The early
indications were that the 24-year-old had only
strained the ligaments in the joint, an injury that
would have kept him out for up to four weeks at
most. Scans undertaken on Monday confirmed
the damage was far more extensive.
The forward has ruptured the anterior cruciate
ligament in the knee and will undergo surgery to
repair the joint in London within the next two
weeks once the swelling has receded. Arsenal
confirmed on Monday night that they expect
him to be absent for “at least six months”,
prematurely curtailing his campaign and denying
him the chance to compete in Brazil. “Everyone
at Arsenal wishes Theo a speedy recovery and
we look forward to seeing him back on a
football pitch as soon as possible,” said a club
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics has
insisted that it will continue with the ongoing
strike until government meets its demands.
Speaking with our correspondent, the ASUP
President, Chibuzor Asomugha, who lamented
the discrimination in the nation’s education
sector, said it was wrong for the government to
treat polytechnics issues with disdain.
“Their thinking that it is only the children of the
poor that attend the polytechnics is wrong,” he
Asomugha noted that due to promises made by
the Federal Government to the union, it
suspended its strike on July 16, 2013 for one
month. But the lecturers resumed strike on
October 4 after the government failed to respect
Stressing that the situation was getting out of
control, he said the union was embarrassed by
the insensitivity of the government concerning
the place of polytechnic education in the
“There is no mitigation for this level of
insensitivity by government; we are approaching
the acme of desperation on this matter,” he
Despite sacrifices made by the union to reduce
its demands from 13 to four at a meeting with
the government, Asomugha said, government
had respected only two of the issues.
He said, “Since we resumed the strike on
October 4, 2013, we have met with the
government officials twice, both times with the
ministers of labour and education.
“At the first meeting, we signed a memorandum
of understanding in which government
expressed a commitment to resolving the core
issues. At the second meeting, the Supervising
Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, gave
assurances which were documented and signed
by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr.
MacJohn Nwaobiala. These assurances were with
regard to core issues which government on its
own accepted to resolve.
“At the outset, we brought 13 issues to the
negotiating table. Sequel to the intervention of
the Joint Committees of Education of the
National Assembly, we acceded to government’s
offer to extract four of those issues which both
sides identified as core to the dispute and which
government accepted it could resolve without
much complication. Since then, government has
been able only to reasonably address two of
Asomugha said the government had only
inaugurated the governing councils of six
polytechnics that were omitted in the first
schedule and raised the Needs Assessment
Committee while it refused to implement others.
He said the government had failed to address
the discrimination and career ceiling against
polytechnic graduates in public service; the
migration of the lower cadre on the CONTISS 15
salary scale; the release of the White Paper on
the visitations to the polytechnics, failure of
most state governments to implement the
approved salary packages for their polytechnics,
and the 65-year retirement age.
Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio has
implored the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, to stop
further defection of members of Peoples
Democratic Party in the National Assembly to
other political parties.
Akpabio’s position was contained in a statement
issued by the state government after Tambuwal
paid him a courtesy visit in Uyo on Monday.
It will be recalled that 37 members of the House
of Representatives elected on the platform of
PDP had defected to the All Progressives
But Akpabio asked the Speaker to take steps to
convince the defectors to return to PDP.
“You must do everything humanly possible to
avoid further defection of PDP members in the
National Assembly. Even those that have
defected, we want to implore you to do your
best to convince them to come back because the
umbrella is not torn. The umbrella can
accommodate them and can still cover them
The governor lamented that the turnover rate in
the legislative chambers was discouraging,
saying it does not allow for continuity.
He said, “The turnover in the National Assembly
does not allow for proper enactment of laws and
it wipes out experience and this is of concern to
the governors. I recall in 2007 when we came
in, only 17 members who were there in 2003
made it back.
“We made strenuous efforts in 2011, but we
ended up producing only 23 per cent and that is
not good enough for our democracy. I am not
saying people should stay for 40 years in the
National Assembly, but we need experienced
legislators so that the business of legislation
would not have to be learnt in every session.”
Tambuwal, had earlier commended the governor
for his achievements, saying that he was in Uyo
to discuss issues of national interest.
The All Progressives Congress has set up
committees to handle the registration of its
members in each state of the federation.
Members of the committee will be drawn from
the national secretariat, defunct Action Congress
of Nigeria, the Congress for Progressive Change
and the All Nigeria Peoples Party in each state as
well as governors where APC has one.
The ACN, the CPC and ANPP merged to form the
It was learnt in Abuja, on Sunday, that barring
any last minute change, the APC National
Secretariat would name two members, the
chairmen of the defunct ACN, ANPP and CPC as
well as the state governor (where APC has a
governor), would also be part of the committee.
It was also gathered that the caretaker
committees would be inaugurated within two
weeks before the commencement of the
A reliable party source confided in our
correspondent that the two party officials
appointed by the national body would be sent
to states other than their states of origin.
This, according to the source, is to ensure
fairness to all members irrespective of whether
or not they are members of the three legacy
The source added that the registration exercise
had been tentatively fixed for the third week of
It was gathered that the outcome of the
assignment given to reconciliation committees in
some states was partly responsible for the
The source said, “Two of the five or six man
committee for each state will come from the
national headquarter. They will go to be
chairman and secretary, but they will be posted
to states which are not their own.
“Those two will now join the chairmen of the
legacy parties in the states they’ve been posted
to plus the governor- where we have a
governor, making those five, six or seven,
depending on whether has a sitting governor or
“They will constitute the registration committee
and given the registration materials. We have
trained registration officers who will meet with
the Chairmen of the party in the state to do the
The Presidency on Sunday said President
Goodluck Jonathan was favourably disposed to
mending fences with former President Olusegun
The Special Adviser to the President on Political
Matters, Mr. Ahmed Gulak, made this known on
Sunday just as The PUNCH gathered that the
feud between Jonathan and Obasanjo was
adding to the worries of the leadership of the
Peoples Democratic Party.
The sour relationship between the duo became
public knowledge in December 2013 when
Obasanjo wrote a letter titled “Before it is too
late” to Jonathan.
In the letter, he accused the President of
condoning corruption, training snipers, putting
some persons on a watch list and engaging in
other acts capable of destroying the country.
Jonathan replied Obasanjo openly, saying his
letter was designed to incite Nigerians against
There were however speculations that some
former leaders had approached the President
and Obasanjo to reconcile them.
Although Gulak, in an exclusive interview with
one of our correspondents in Abuja, said he was
not aware of such moves, he added that there
was nothing wrong with it.
He stated that in spite of the exchange of letters
between the two leaders, Jonathan still held
Obasanjo in high esteem.
The presidential aide said the President did not
only see Obasanjo as a leader but also as his
He said the President had nothing against
Obasanjo because he believed strongly that only
God was perfect.
The Presidential aide said, “We are not aware of
the reconciliation moves but there is nothing
wrong with it. In fact, it is a good development
because our party, the PDP, is always open to
“Only God is perfect. If in the wisdom of the
nation’s elders, there is a need for
reconciliation, there is no problem.
“Let me assure you however that President
Jonathan has nothing against Chief Obasanjo. He
considers the former President as a leader and a
father, that is why he calls him Baba.
“President Jonathan has highest respect for
Chief Obasanjo. The recent exchange of letters
does not mean that he does not hold the former
President in high esteem.
“Nobody is perfect. No leader is perfect, it is
only God that is perfect. There is no alternative
to peace in the country and in our party.”
However, a media aide to Obasanjo, Mr. Tunde
Oladunjoye, said on Sunday that the ex-
president was not at war with Jonathan.
Oladunjoye, in a telephone interview with one of
our correspondents in Abuja, also said he was
not aware of any move to reconcile the two
He said, “Baba did not write that letter as an
enemy. He said he wrote the letter as part of
his duties to his political godson, the PDP and
“I can tell you without any fear of contradiction
that Baba is not at war with anybody, including
the President. That is why when the President
wrote his own letter, Baba said he had no
comment to make.”
Oladunjoye wondered why some people felt they
could profit from a dispute that did not exist
between Obasanjo and Jonathan.
He added that Obasanjo had, in his letter,
stated that he would maintain his serenity.
But a top source in the PDP said the ruling
party’s leadership was at a crossroads on how to
handle the misunderstanding between the two
The source said the disagreement was not good
for the PDP, especially at this critical period
when all hands must be on the deck ahead of
the 2015 general elections.
The source said, “Those who are saying that the
former President is not popular and cannot even
win election in his home state are ignorant of
the enormous popularity he has in and outside
“The former President is very popular in the
North and even in the South-South because he
was responsible for the Jonathan Presidency. So,
people there still respect him for that.
“Remember that it was this same former
President who calmed the frayed nerves at the
Eagles Square during the 2011 presidential
primaries and he was also the one who asked
the late President, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua to
step aside if he knew his health could no longer
allow him to do the job when he was sick.”
He added that some PDP governors loyal to the
former President could secretly go to him to
seek advice on any issue, including the running
of the party and the country.
“The President should know that his popularity
and that of the party is declining since the
sycophants around him would not tell him “ he
He said he expected the President and the PDP
leadership to take precautionary measures in
dealing with the crises in the party.
The source said, “We have lost five governors
and 37 members of the House of
Representatives and we may also lose more.
“The 2014 budget is still there before the
National Assembly and all these are happening
in an election year. Definitely, we have rookies
at the helm of affairs of the party and those
advising the President are not helping him.”