Liverpool and Arsenal got off to winning starts with victories over promoted sides on the opening day of the new English Premier League (EPL) season on Saturday.
Mohamed Salah scored a hat-trick, including two penalty kicks, as champions Liverpool won a seven-goal thriller against the hugely impressive Leeds United at Anfield.
The Egyptian grabbed the win from the penalty kick spot in the 88th minute of a 4-3 victory.
Arsenal enjoyed a more comfortable opening day with a 3-0 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Crystal Palace beat Southampton 1-0 with Wilfried Zaha on target.
Liverpool took just four minutes to get on target.
Leeds United debutant German defender Robin Koch was ruled to have handled a Salah shot and the Egyptian blasted home the penalty kick.
Jack Harrison equalised for Leeds United eight minutes later with a fine solo goal before Liverpool restored their lead in the 20th minute.
Virgil van Dijk was left unmarked to head in an Andy Robertson corner kick.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side, back in the top flight after a 16-year absence, rallied again with Patrick Bamford slotting home after Van Dijk had failed to deal with a ball over the top.
Salah blasted Liverpool back in front, 12 minutes before the break, but Leeds United hit back for a third time through Polish midfielder Mateusz Klich who made it 3-3.
Liverpool secured the points in the 88th minute with another Salah penalty kick after substitute Rodrigo Moreno clumsily brought down Fabinho.
“What a game, what an opponent, what a performance from both teams. A proper spectacle, I loved that,” said Klopp.
“It is pretty rare you see that many goals in a game and we have left space for improvement in our defending. But that is not unusual for a first game,” added the German.
Liverpool are now unbeaten in 60 straight league games at Anfield —– the kind of consistency Mikel Arteta must dream about at Arsenal.
But the Gunners at least took care of business in West London.
Alexander Lacazette fired the visitors ahead in the eighth minute after poor defending by the home side, before new signing Gabriel made it 2-0 in the 49th minute.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the icing on the cake with a superb shot into the top corner.
Crystal Palace forward Zaha scored his 50th league goal for the club as they beat Southampton 1-0.
The win secured a home victory on the opening day of a Premier League campaign for the first time.
The hosts went ahead against the run of play.
Zaha, who had managed only one goal in his previous 21 games, met Andros Townsend’s pin-point cross from the right with a side-footed volley past goalkeeper Alex McCarthy in the 13th minute.
Southampton defender Kyle Walker-Peters was shown a straight red for a high challenge before referee Jon Moss changed it to a yellow following the intervention of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
In Saturday’s late game, new signings Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick both got on the scoresheet for Newcastle United as they won 2-0 away to West Ham United.
Hendrick set Wilson up for the opening goal in the 56th minute with a clever flick, before thumping home a shot shortly before full time to secure all three points.
On Sunday Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur take on Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton, while West Bromwich Albion take on 2016 champions Leicester City in the day’s early kick-off.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
NAHCON mourns Emir of Zazzau
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, (NAHCON) has expressed sadness over the death the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris.
NAHCON Executive Chairman, Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan, in a statement by Mrs Fatima Usara, Head, Public Affairs of the commission, on Monday in Abuja, described the demise of the monarch as a great loss to the country.
Hassan also said that the demise of the emir came at a time when dignified royal fathers like him were most needed.
He said his personality was most needed in cementing the unity of the Nigerian society along the vision of the States and Federal Government.
He said that the NAHCON family extended its condolence to President Muhammadu Buhari, Gov. Nasiru El-Rufa’I of Kaduna State, his immediate family and entire people of Zazzau over the loss of the venerated statesman.
” We pray jannatul firdaus to be his final abode. May the Almighty grant his family and people the fortitude to bear the loss,” he said.
Edited By: Josephine Obute/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Fayemi inaugurates steering committee on Open Government Partnership
Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti on Monday inaugurated the steering committee of Open Government Partnership (OGP), to further demonstrate his administration’s commitment to open governance, transparency and accountability.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that OGP is an international multi-stakeholder initiative aimed at promoting open governance, citizen’s empowerment, fight corruption and harness new technology to strengthen member states.
Fayemi, who inaugurated the committee at the Governor’s Office, Ado-Ekiti, said the OGP initiative was in consonance with his restoration agenda as clearly spelt out in the five pillars of his administration.
The steering committee, which is to be coordinated by the Commissioner for Budget, Mr Femi Ajayi, had the Director General Office of Transformation and Service Delivery (OTSD), Prof. Mobolaji Aluko as member.
Special Adviser, Bureau of Public Procurement, Mr O’seun Odewale; Permanent Secretary (Finance) Mr Folorunso; Permanent Secretary (Budget) Mr Adeleke Adefolaju; Accountant General, Mrs Titilayo Olayinka and Special Adviser, Mr Biodun Oluleye.
Others include: Prof. Oluwadare C.T, Olafunsho Olajide from Disability Not a Barrier Initiative; President, Ekiti Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Chief Kola Akosile; and Representative of the Institution of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Mrs Agbaje.
Members of the steering committee, according to the Governor, were selected from civil society organisations, professional bodies, youth parliaments, public service and other interest groups.
This was to ensure more commitment from the government to promote open governance, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technology to strengthen governance in Ekiti State.
The Governor explained that his administration had always prioritised inclusion of the needs and aspirations of towns and communities in the State’s annual budgets
He said that the OGP initiative would increase collaboration between government and other stakeholders to improve the standard of living of the people in the state.
“The Open Government Partnership initiative will also promote more collaboration work within government by promoting mutual accountability, information sharing and coordination among MDAs.
“This will promote efficiency in government and delivery of the goals of the five pillars,” he said.
Fayemi explained that OGP would further strengthen his administration’s reforms in open budget, open contracting, revenue transparency, beneficial ownership transparency, assets disclosure, access to information, citizens’ engagement and empowerment.
Ekiti being the first State to join OGP in South-western Nigeria, Fayemi expressed delight that his administration’s efforts at deepening good governance and embracing inclusive participation were gaining recognition at international level.
According to him, as a responsible government, we always insisted that all government functionaries demonstrated understanding of accountability and transparency in their various activities.
“The policy areas are the right to information, gender and inclusion, digital governance and rights, protection of civic space and natural resources and fight against corruption.
“The OGP was launched in 2011 with eight (8) founding member government. In July, 2016 Nigeria, through the efforts of Open Alliance, joined the partnership as 70th member country.
“To deepen ongoing institutional and policy reforms in Ekiti State, we applied for membership of Open Government Partnership in October, 2019, the application was graciously approved,” he said.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Development, Mr Femi Ajayi stated that the initiative involved engaging citizens in governance, adding that the benefits of the partnership was enormous.
Ajayi said that such partnership, if well coordinated would cement the already cordial relationship between the government and the civil society.
Edited By: Josephine Obute/Felix Ajide
Why FG is commercialising NFC — Lai Mohammed
The Federal Government says it is reforming and commercialising the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) to address the agency’s teething challenges and reposition it for improved performance.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made this known on Monday in Abuja while inaugurating a Steering Committee for the Reform and Commercialisation of the Corporation.
He said the federal government has engaged the services of a Business Development Consultant to conduct a due diligence on the corporation and sector and recommend a strategy that is suitable for its reform and commercialisation.
Mohammed said the NFC, which was established with a mandate to plan, promote, organise and co-ordinate the development of the Nigerian motion picture industry, has not been able to meet up with its statutory functions.
He noted that since its establishment, the Corporation has faced several challenges including inability to engage in commercial film production.
The minister said the law establishing NFC limits its operational functions such that it cannot leverage on the private sector-led growth of the industry.
Mohammed said the NFC’s civil service structure comes with bureaucratic limitations, budgetary constraints and operational inefficiency.
“A critical look at the existing organizational structure shows that NFC is over-bloated and needs to be restructured to reflect its purpose.
“NFC has obsolete equipment, with some dating back to colonial times,” he said.
The minister noted that the reform of the corporation will help in the efforts of the government to reposition the nation’s film industry, Nollywood, and make Nigeria the capital of entertainment in Africa.
Relying on International Monetary Fund data, Mohammed said Nollywood is the second largest employer of Labour and contributed N893 billion to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015.
The minister noted that Nollywood could perform better if the NFC is restructured and needed infrastructure enabling environment are provided.
He noted that apart from wealth and employment creation, promoting film industry would help to build inclusion and reduce social tension.
Earlier, Mr Alex Okoh, the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), said with the tremendous potentials of the film industry to reposition the nation’s economy, the government needed to play a prominent role.
Okoh said that the government is reforming the NFC to take the leading role in harnessing the potentials in the sector.
He, however, clarified that the reform process “is not a privatisation of the corporation but the commercialization of this important enterprise and agency of government”.
“The clarification is that in this reform process, there is no transfer of ownership, no sale of shares and no privatization of the entity.
“It is basically to ensure the resident value of the enterprise and its commercial viability,” he said.
He said the steering committee being chaired by the minister would consider and approve the recommendations submitted by the project delivery team for the commercialisation of the corporation.
Other members of the steering committee inaugurated by the minister are, Okoh, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Grace Gekpe and the Managing Director of NFC, Chidia Maduekwe.
The Director Information and Communication of BPE, Dikko Mohammed, will serve as the Secretary to the committee.
NFC, established by Decree No. 61 of 1979 and is 100 per cent owned by the Federal Government and has its registered office in Jos, Plateau State.
It is established to distribute documentary films on different aspects of Nigeria’s socio-cultural and political life and provide film services for the Federal Government.
The corporation is to train young talented Nigerians in the art of film making, conducting research into Nigerian films and provide technical and financial support to film Industry and practitioners.
NFC is also established to regulate and organise professional practice in the film industry.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
Bayelsa begins 2021budget process, pledges citizens’ participation
The Bayelsa government on Monday said the 2021 budget would be driven by the citizens’ input and participation toward the utilisation of public funds based on the needs of the people.
Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa said that the government was poised to adopting best practices in budget process by engaging all stakeholders, which include the executive, legislature, civil society, labour, youths, women and community leaders, physically challenged amongst others.
Diri, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Lawrence Ewrhudjakpo said that the state was adopting the citizen based approach in budgetary process for the second time.
“The Citizen’s Participation Budget Conference has been called in compliance with section 22(2) of the Fiscal Responsibility Law of 2009 (as amended) which states:
“The government shall direct citizen’s participation conference to be convened and cause the outcomes of the said conference, together with the view expressed to be published on the state website.
”Itis designed to ensure accountability and strong collaboration by all stakeholders in stewarding our communal resources.
“Indeed, in reviewing and approving the annual state budget, you play the vital role of guaranteeing that we apportion our resources sensibly and in accordance with our shared vision and values, with a view toward helping all our citizens thrive and prosper in a sustainable manner.
“Budget policy is therefore, mostly about planning. As Benjamin Franklin stated, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
“The impact of COVID 19 pandemic and the heavy toll it has taken on our inflows from federal allocations, means that the need to plan to diversify our economy has become more urgent,” Diri said.
He said that the government would focus on security, health, education and agriculture in the 2012 fiscal year for allocating resources among competing needs and plan for delivering on its promises and obligation to the citizens of Bayelsa.
Speaking earlier, Mr Akpoebidei Alamieyeseigha, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning noted that the participation of citizens would eliminate the issue of duplicating projects and ensure value for money.
He said that the input of the people at the foundational non-technical stage was critical to the success of the next statues and urged the stakeholders to participate meaningfully in the process.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that representatives of several groups took turns to make contributions and the NEEDS Assessment during the interactive session segment.
Chief Joshua Igbugburu, the Monarch of Bomo clan in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa urged the state government to fund the Yenagoa-Poroma road project to connect the coastal communities.
Also Mrs Dise Ogbise, the Executive Director, DO Foundation, who spoke on behalf of the Civil Society commended the government for adopting a transparent approach by involving members of the public.
She pledged the support of civil society organisations in the state to the process.
Edited By: Grace Yussuf