Monday, 20 February 2017

China's New Signee, Odion Ighalo Exclusive, "Messi, Ronaldo Are Distance Apart"

Super Eagles forward and Chinese Club, Changchun Yatai new signee, Odion Jude Ighalo is one footballer you would love to meet any day. Quite humble and unassuming, the athletic postured man of style who just left the Premier League, Watford FC to a Chinese Club for a 20 million pounds transfer was a host of honour recently when we cornered him for an exclusive interview where he spoke candidly on his football career and relationship with the two biggest rivals in the leather game, Messi and Ronaldo. Ighalo was indeed one of the hottest strikers bailed out the English club side Watford FC out of relegation last season. The leather-game’s sizzling wonder boy who kicked off his footballing career at Nigeria League clubs (Prime and Julius Berger) before moving to Norway in 2007, had a tete-a-tete with Enquirer’s Foreign Bureau Chief, Faith Irabor in France during one of the friendly matches. Coincidentally, just when we were preparing to go to bed for this production, we got the hint of his transfer to the Chinese Club and guess what? The down-to-earth striker obliged us the opportunity of updating the interview even whilst on the last medicals. Below are excerpts of the exclusive interview with the newly registered Changchun Yatai striker.

Congratulations on your new contract, but what were your prospects for Watford FC as one of the key players for the season?
Thanks. I was aspiring to do more. The truth is Watford did very well in the beginning of last season but nobody was seeing it because of the way Leicester City was playing but our target this season was to get a Europa ticket or at least be v among the top ten of the league. We were seventh on the table in the first half of the season but the second half wasn’t really okay. Another thing is, this season is really tough because teams are buying players, and everyone is inspired to fight because of the way Leicester won the league last season.
How did you feel with this new contract?
All ended in praise, I’d wanted to stay in England but no team can meet the asking price.
So, did money play a role in this?
Ahahah…if money had played a role, I would have left 2 seasons ago when they offered triple of what I got now…don’t get me wrong, the money is good too.
Oh you mean this particular Club had made you an offer before?
Nope, Crystal Palace and West Brom but the money was not right for the clubs
Okay, so do you feel disappointed in the coach or the club considering the fact that, you played a key role in the club’s promotion from relegation?
I don’t because every coach has his own player, it was just frustrating not playing much and playing sometimes out of position
 And what are your expectations and aspirations especially since China is a new terrain?
Expecting a different game and lifestyle and culture there, expecting the new challenge to be good.
You were the Premier League’s highest goal scorer last season, how did that make you really feel?
Firstly, I want to thank God for a successful season with no injury despite the toughness of the season. I thank God for how everything went, it’s been great and I would say that was hard work and God’s grace. I always believe that when you work hard and believe in yourself, everything will fall in place and am really happy for my last season’s achievements, though I am working hard to achieve similar or more this season. Last season, was my first season in the Premier League and I was able to score 17 goals, I believe it’s not bad and this is why I keep working hard to give more to my team.
Did you see that coming being your first season?,
Truthfully, I didn’t think about that. Actually, my agent and I sat down to analyze how many goals target we were looking at before the start of the season, and he said it won’t be bad if you can score at least 10 goals in the Premiership since it’s my first season so that was my target and surprisingly before December of last season I have gotten more than the expected 10 goals. That’s why I say am thankful to God for the achievement.
Looking back at where you’re coming from, would you say you’re at the level you’ve always wanted or what are your expectations?
Well, the truth is human beings are generally never contented, not even the richest man in the world still wakes up every morning to work for more money. I am grateful to God for where I started and where He has taken me today but I still want to go higher and achieve more especially because I still have age on my side.
Players usually have dream team and its most times Real Madrid or Barcelona considering that they are the two biggest club sides in the world at the moment, what’s yours??
(Laughs) well only God knows. Am a Watford player at the moment with four more years on my contract and am happy there but you never can tell where destiny is taking you. I will accept anywhere destiny takes me to because my dream is to play in the UEFA Champions League, all that being said, am happy where I am at the moment.
Which do you think is the Best League and Best Team in the world because there’s always an unending debate about the Spanish League and Premiership?
For me, I will say Premier League is the Best in the world because I have played in the Spanish League and even the Italian League and now am playing the Premier League. I must say there is a huge difference.
But do you know that a lot of people even Football Icons disagree with that because it’s been the Spanish League dominating the Champions League and Europa back to back?
Yeah, but you don’t judge in that aspect. The thing is the Premier League unlike the Spanish League is not predictable. For example if you look at the winners of the Premiership in the last four season you’d see that they are not the same and again who would have predicted that a Leicester City would win it at the beginning of last season. The Premier League is a competitive league that is watched all over the world.
So, would you say they’re jinxed for not winning the Champions and Europa Leagues?
Well, I don’t know, maybe it’s not just for them though they try to get to the semis or quarter, for me, it’s still the best league in the world having played in both Leagues. The organisation and atmosphere of the Premiership is something else, the way they love football is different. Football is like a Religion in Premiership though I have a lot of respect for the Spanish League.
If not Football what would you have been doing?
Well, I have always wanted to study Law and be a Lawyer but God doesn’t want that for me and that’s why I chose football.
Let’s talk about your first footballing opportunity?
My first opportunity was when I travelled to Norway for trials and I passed the trial in 2007 to be precise. I signed my first professional contract on August 31st 2007 in Oslo before moving to Italy for a year and after then I moved to Spain where I played five years for Granada. Now am in England (Watford FC ) where I just finished my first season. It’s been a great journey and am thankful to God because I still have a lot of years ahead of me and I want to keep working and giving my best.
The fear of every player especially striker is injury, can you recall your most devastating injury experience?
Yeah, injury is something that set your target back and also set you back psychologically. I remember three seasons ago while I was still in the Spanish League (Granada), I had a very serious injury that required surgery on my left knee and also kept me out for close to five months. It wasn’t easy, sometimes I ask myself if I would still be able to play football because I was using crutches and was in pain. The craziest part is that you don’t even know when you will start running, so the thought will just come in my mind and I will be asking myself if I can still play football in my life. But talking to loved ones always give encouragement, they will assure me that I can do it as long as I keep on with my rehabilitation.
You’ve played in Granada which means you must have encountered Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who would you say is the best between the two and how would you describe them?
Yes, it’s true I have played against Lionel Messi and Ronaldo and for me the two of them are World Best respectively. I like Ronaldo because he worked hard for everything he is today while Messi on the other hand is blessed. He is a genius and the things he does on the field are inhuman. He’s not the same as Ronaldo because you can see the hard work he puts into everything even in training. Messi is just blessed.
Back to the National Team, what’s really happening?
Yeah, I think the Super Eagles are in a rebuilding process with new faces coming in everyday while some are leaving as well so I think we need time to work together as a team. You can’t just bring a team together and expect them to perform like Barcelona, it’s impossible. We need continuity, we need to have our coach stay for at least three years. That way we can see what he’s going to build though I believe we are on the right track. The NFF has done well organising friendlies in 2016 even though we are not playing any tournament at the moment. The essence is for us to understand ourselves and do more. I hope they bring more friendly games when we have international off days so that we can keep blending as a team.
Finally what message do you have for the country and lovers of Football who are presently not happy with the team?
Well, we don’t need to be told that Nigerians are angry with us, we know it’s not easy. I want them to keep believing in the team though I know it’s not easy because they have been disappointed many times, but they shouldn’t stop believing in the team and praying for us.
It was nice chatting with you
Same here

IEI Director, Patrick Ugboma Fingered As Actress Chika Ike’s Benefactor

The stupendous wealth, capital investment and fabulous lifestyles of epitome of beauty and one of Nollywood’s richest female actors, Chika Ike have been put under scrutiny as tongues have began to wag over the source of several riches and foreign trips of the super rich thespian.

According to one of her close friends who preferred to be anonymous, the last trips of the producer of African Diva, a super reality TV show currently airing on major TV stations gulped almost a fortune and the beautiful actress combed most of the world’s expensive cities like the UAE, Paris and so on lounging on first class, staying in seven star luxury hotels whilst on a shopping spree adventures all over world.

A source confided in National Enquirer that, the actress had always wanted to live on her beauty, hence the reason she didn’t blink an eyelid to walk out of her marriage when her hubby allegedly raised an eyebrow over some of her secret moves years back.

‘’How many movies has she featured in and how much is she getting from a role that she owns all those wealth, mansions everywhere, in Abuja, Lagos, expensive Range Rover rides and wonders on wheel and flying first class ticket and also throwing expensive Yachts party everytime, we’re all women now, haba, she put gold for toto ni! We know how he dey go abeg’’, the source told us further.

And ever since she parted ways with matrimony, the sky has been the beginning for the actress as she has achieved so much within years of walking out of her marriage. Aside the multimillion Naira property investments in Abuja, the actress has invested big time in real estate as well as owning fabulous mansion in Lekki, Lagos.

This office gathered exclusively that, Chika Ike’s closeness to one of the directors of a high profile insurance firm, International Energy Insurance-IEI in person of Patrick Ugboma might allegedly be the source of some of her sudden wealth. We were told that, the man who’s also an oil baron have so much soft spot for the actress that, he can part with anything to make her happy and some of the gifts he has allegedly showered on her is the black Gwagon she got last year, 2016 among others.

The man, Patrick Ugboma is same person being alleged to have owed Diamond bank to the tune of billions of Naira and he was also linked to a multimillion debt scandal with Union bank.

Mr. Patrick Sule Nduka Ugboma Ph.D, also known as Pat, serves as the Managing Director of Dec Oil & Gas Limited, an indigenous Oil and Gas servicing company and Enernational Nigeria Limited. Mr. Ugboma worked at Wesco Engineering Services where he rose to the position of Branch Co-ordinator, Port Harcourt and Star Ware Housing Shipping Services where he rose to the position of Operations Manager. He serves as the Chairman of Cogipar Nigeria Limited, Vernon Engineering Services Limited, Soul Petroleum & Gas Nigeria Limited and Newtech Services Nigeria Limited. He served as the Chairman of International Energy Insurance Plc. He serves as a Director of Integrated Microfinance Bank (MFB) Plc and C & I Leasing Plc. He served as a Director of International Energy Insurance Plc. Mr. Ugboma is a Member of 12th Committee, Port Harcourt. He is also the President of Mater Dei Old Boys Association, Port Harcourt Chapter and Patron, Nigerian Union of Journalists, Delta State Chapter 1993. Mr. Ugboma obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Imo State University Owerri and Nottingham University, Nottingham, England. He also holds a Honorary Doctorate Degree in Management from his alma mater, Imo State University.

The actress has always been linked to rich married men, at one time, the story of her affair with the former Senate President, David Mark who she was alleged to have milked for investment advantage was all over the news and now, it’s Patrick Ugboma at the center of the new controversy. Though, the source informed further that, Patrick Ugboma’s wife is likely to be in the know because of latest developments, she has however promised to give us feed back as soon as she’s done with the investigation.
As if she’s been expecting this scrutiny, the actress had prepared a response for her detractors, “As a woman, people have a way of disregarding your successes, they attribute it to so many unthinkable things to reduce your achievements. As women, we are strong, powerful, intelligent, smart and driven. We can achieve whatever we set our minds to achieve. I told myself 5 years ago that I’ll start my real estate company and I stand today to say I’ve been able to achieve most of my set goals, I say this without pride but to encourage young women out there.
Continuing, she said, ‘’I’m a hard worker, I’ve worked for virtually everything I have today with also the grace of God on my side. People are going to say all sorts, call you names to make themselves feel better, but hey, don’t listen, just stay focus on your set goals. It’s not going to be easy, but trust me, it will be worth it. I like what I like, I love the designer shoes, bags, dresses and splurging on vacation when I want to and that isn’t bad if you can but also set aside money for investments and helping the needy because life is full of hills and Valleys. Peace”.

We however tried to get Mr. Patrick Ugboma for a response but all to no avail, efforts to talk to the Corporate Affairs department at IEI proved abortive while the number, 234 1 4616972 written on the website of his management company, S&P Global Market Intelligence located on Jide Oki Street, Victoria Island, Lagos is said to be out of service as at the time of filing this report.

Faith Irabor

Collapsed Building: Lekki Gardens Boss, Richard Nyong Faces Manslaughter

The Lagos State Government has filed criminal charge against the Managing Director of Lekki Gardens Estate Ltd, Richard Nyong and others over the collapse of a five-storey building under construction on Kushenla Road in Ikate Elegushi area of the State which killed no fewer than 35 persons.
Apart from Lekki Gardens Estate Ltd, GT Rich Ltd, HC Insight Solutions Ltd, others charged alongside Nyong are Taiwo Odofin, Omolabake Mortune, Maruis Agwu, Sola Olumofe and Omotilewa Joseph.
The defendants are facing six-count charge of failure to obtain building approval for the collapsed building and unlawful manslaughter contrary to Section 75 of the Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law of L
The criminal charge, which was filed on February 17, 2017, is yet to assigned a date for arraignment of the defendants.
The State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, after the collapse of the building, had visited the scene where he expressed a strong commitment to the protection of lives and property of all citizens in the State.
The Governor had specifically vowed to ensure justice for the victims of the collapsed building, while also assuring residents of the State that no stone would be left unturned to ensure that cases of criminal negligence and other forms of criminal activities are prosecuted