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The residents of Abuja, the federal capital territory have witnessed series of colorful and memorable events within the past few days that will be remarkable in their lives and in the lives of Nigerians. Even as the capital territory was designed with green white and green to mark the country’s golden jubilee, the organizers of the Justice Oputa’s birthday got their brains cracking while ensuring that the much talked about Justice Oputa birthday and the formal launch of the Oputa foundation was a success. 

 Their efforts yielded positive results as the occasion was graced by the la’crème and big names of the country who came out en-masse to celebrate with Justice Oputa in what was tagged Celebration of Integrity. One very significant thing about the eighty-sixth birthday of the erudite scholar and justice who has always been regarded as the Socrates of our time is that the justice became eighty-six at the time the nation celebrates its golden jubilee, hence justifying the assertion of some analysts that the birthday of the former chief judge of Imo State and Chairman of the then Oputa Panel brings good tidings to the entire country as the country moves into another phase of its political history. The occasion that saw the former president of the federal republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in attendance, had some special fragrance that kept the former Supreme Court judge smiling with his wife, Mrs. Oputa, as the event reeled on. Other eminent Nigerians that stood by the justice while he celebrated this great life of integrity were the former Common Wealth Secretary General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Professor ABC Nwosu, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Prof. Dora Akunyuli, Minister of Police Affairs, Mallam Waziri, Ambassador lady Anyanwu, Ebere Okereke as well as the representatives of the former military Head of States, Ibrahim Badamusi Babangida. Also in attendance was the representative of the Obi of Onitsha and other Chiefs from across the country as well as other ministers, judges and law makers. The Occasion which was declared open with a word of prayer had a U.K based M.C, Barrister Edward Emeka (Kizo) as the anchor man. His introduction to the stage by Mr. Mike Dada marked the proper take-off of the justice birthday. This was followed with a brief but beguiling Welcome address from the Chief Organizer of the JOF, Princess Gloria Iweka. In her address, she referred to Justice Oputa as a jurist per excellence who grew like the Iroko tree. According to her, “From humble beginnings in Oguta, Imo State, Papa Oputa grew like the formidable Iroko tree to bestride his chosen profession like the legendary colossus. 

The sterling qualities, brilliant performance and outstanding achievements that made this remarkable career possible, shall be elaborated on in greater detail in the course of this event.” Princess Iweka also known by many as mummy princess equally stressed on Justice Oputa’s integrity which justifies the idea of a foundation and the new Oputa panel. Stressing further on the mission and the vision of the foundation, Princess Iweka affirmed that “the Justice Oputa Foundation is a non-governmental organization committed to the eradication of poverty and injustice in our land. It aims to achieve this by establishing and running programs that support good governance, integrity and accountability” While congratulating Justice Oputa for living a life worthy of emulation, the former president , Chief Olusegun Obasanjo had stated that he refused to be called baba as he is fondly called and jokingly asserted that there was only one baba as far as the occasion was concerned; also considering the weight of the celebrant as a major stake-holder of democratic structure and the peace that is being enjoyed today contrary to the grievances that characterized the polity at the transition to civilian administration in 1999 , baba had stated that Justice Oputa’s integrity was totally above all and his “Nigerianess” was above every other Nigerian. The former president had expressed his appreciation to God for protecting the lives of Justice and Mrs. Oputa. Chief Obasanjo had stated that as “Justice and Mrs. Oputa are enjoying their old age, God will make it better and prayed that God makes his lots like theirs” The former president had praised Charlyboy whom he said was the source of his parents good health. According to OBJ, What impressed him most was the image of Charlyboy outside as an entertainer and what he saw at home when he visited justice Oputa in Charlyboy’s resident in Abuja. According to baba, Charlyboy as an entertainer has to be somewhat weird for the sake of entertainment, but at home, he takes care of his father and mother. He congratulated C.B for being a caring son. Stressing further on the role the Justice played in stabilizing the polity, Chief Obasanjo expressed his satisfaction over the manner with which the Oputa Panel was handled from a professional angle and bringing to an end the several complaints and grievances he noticed at the inception of his administration in 1999. According him, the Oputa panel was able to heal most injured souls since the aim of the panel was not to witch-hunt people but to embark on a genuine reconciliation in the land. The former Nigerian leader concluded by thanking Justice Oputa and his team for a job well done and assured the board of the foundation of his readiness to support them in any capacity. In his words “papa justice Oputa, I thank you very much and your team for a job well done” While speaking at the event, the governor of Delta State, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan had expressed his joy for knowing Charlyboy both outside and inside. Meeting Charlyboy at home was another opportunity to access his relationship with his people and his life outside the entertainment world. According to him, while waiting for Charlyboy, he was guaranteed the opportunity to interact with papa and within the few minutes of his interaction with papa, he had learnt so much about Nigeria even through pictures and books. The governor had presented that three things were major that he had learnt from the lives of papa Justice Oputa and his wife. One of which was that through him he had learnt that government was about laws and not human beings; Secondly, he had learnt family value from papa and mama Oputa and emphasized the event was the third time he had seen them together and the love that radiates in them was amazing. Stressing on this point, Governor Oduaghan had disclosed that people should not mind the artistic appearance of Charlyboy since is quite like his father. 

The former Secretary General of the Common Wealth of Nations, Chief Emeka Anyoku had also spoken about integrity and the intelligence of Justice Oputa whom he refered to as the Socrates of the court. He equally stressed on the immeasurable roles papa Oputa played while presiding over the Oputa Panel. He emphasized on the uniqueness of the foundation and enjoined all to contribute generously. Mallam Nuhu Ribadu presented a meticulous lecture on leadership and the 21st century; the Missing link. He had emphasized on the importance of good leadership in all sector of life, both in the economy, education, transportation etc. and had call for a change of ideology amongst our leaders. Meanwhile, Justice Oputa, in his remarks expressed his joy over his eighty-six birthday and thanked all for gracing the occasion with him. In his words “I thank God that at eighty-six I can still stand up. I’m grateful to my wife and children.

 They have been very-very good. Thank you very much for honoring our invitation. I’m flattered. COMPILED BY ADOYI ABAH ALI

Bomb Blasts Ruin Independence Celebration

Two car bombs exploded Friday as Nigeria celebrated its 50th independence anniversary, killing at least ten people and wounding 38 others in an unprecedented attack on the nation's capital by militants from the oil-rich southern delta regionAbuja-blast                                                                         Officials inspect the remains of a vehicle after car bombs exploded in the capital Abuja on Friday.(Sunday Alamba/Associated Press) 

The attacks claimed by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta came in Abuja as President Goodluck Jonathan and other dignitaries sat only a 10-minute walk away.
The bombings raise new questions about political stability and security in Africa's most populous nation as it approaches a critical presidential election and remains one of the world's top crude oil suppliers.
The militant group issued a warning to journalists about an hour before the attacks, telling people to stay away from festivities at Eagle Square in Abuja. It blamed Nigeria's government for doing nothing to end the unceasing poverty in the delta as the nation receives billions of dollars from oil revenue.
"There is nothing worth celebrating after 50 years of failure," the group's statement read. "For 50 years, the people of the Niger Delta have had their land and resources stolen from them."
The group said the explosive devices had been planted by "operatives working inside the government security services."Abj-blast1  








Images Copyright © 2010 AFP

The car bombings seemed designed to lure first-responders and then kill them with a second blast. Five minutes after the first vehicle exploded, the second went off, killing at least seven people, a police officer told an Associated Press reporter at the scene. At least one of the dead was a policeman, the officer said.
The officer spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
A Nigerian Red Cross spokesman said his group transported 38 wounded people to local hospitals, where doctors desperately needed blood for transfusions.
Inside Eagle Square, an AP reporter heard a small explosion before members of the military paraded in front of the gathered dignitaries. A security agent was seen lying on the ground afterward, though the militant group later denied placing any explosives inside the venue.
The anniversary ceremony continued without interruption.

Abuja-50 cele 

President Goodluck jonathan condemns the malicious attack
Afterward, Jonathan's office issued a statement condemning the "wicked and dastardly" attack.
"The president wants these families to know that their loved ones have not died in vain," the statement read. "Rather they have paid the supreme price for our unity; and in their death, they have watered the tree of our freedom."
It added: "To those behind these vicious acts, the president wants you to know that you will be found, and you will pay dearly for this heinous crime."
The militant group later acknowledged that it knew allowing the second car bomb to detonate would put passersby at risk. However, it faulted Nigerian officials for ignoring the warning before the bomb blasts.
"The blame goes to the Nigerian authorities and our message to the families of those who may have been affected is that we deeply regret any loss of life," read a statement issued Friday afternoon to the AP.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has destroyed oil pipelines, kidnapped petroleum company workers and fought government troops since 2006.
Violence in the delta drastically subsided after a government-sponsored amnesty deal last year provided cash for fighters and the promise of job training. However, many ex-fighters now complain that the government has failed to fulfil its promises.
The militant group appeared to splinter over the amnesty program, though it proved its operational abilities in March when it detonated two car bombs near a government building in the Niger Delta where officials were discussing the deal. The blasts wounded two people in an attack heard live on television.
The group also used car bombs in several attacks in 2006 that killed at least two people.
Friday's attacks come a day after the group said security agencies in South Africa raided the home of its former leader Henry Okah. Okah was freed from a Nigerian jail in July 2009 after the nation's attorney general dropped the treason and gun-running charges against him. He later moved to Johannesburg.
The militant group said investigators raided Okah's house after the Nigerian government "sent a false petition claiming Okah planned to overthrow the government and other claims." Police in South Africa could not confirm any raid took place at Okah's home.