Can you imagine ?

Gunmen storm INEC collation centre

Four gunmen on Sunday night stormed the
Independent National Electoral Commission’s
collation centre at United Christian Primary
School, Apapa in Lagos State.
An eyewitness told our correspondent that
came to the centre around 9pm.
Before the armed men could carry out any
attack soldiers stationed around the centre
quickly stepped in to face them.
“We don’t know their exact mission. Maybe they
have come to kill or just to cause confusion. For
whatever reason they have come with arms and
ammunition we are grateful that the soldiers
sighted them in time and neutralised their
attempt,” the witness said preferring to be
anonymous.
He however said that two of the armed men
escaped. 25 rounds of ammunition were found
on them.
The result announcement scheduled for Sunday
by INEC, the source said had been postponed.

source : Punch Nigeria

Know your celebrity- Taylor swift

Early Years
Swift was welcomed into the world in 1989 on
December 13th two years before her younger
brother Austin Swift. She was born and bred in
Reading, Pennsylvania. Her mother, Andrea, was
a full-time mom and her father, Scott Kingsley,
worked as a stockbroker. She spent her
formative years on a 15-acre Christmas tree
farm, which Taylor explains, was one of the most
magical and amazing way to grow up. Her
parents were Presbyterians and Taylor along with
her brother attended Bible school.

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Growing up, Taylor’s first love had been horse
riding. Her mother put her on a saddle when she
was 9 months. Andrea had always wanted her
daughter to be a horse rider and so she bought
her a small Shetland pony, which was nicknamed
Ginger. Taylor would go on to compete in several
horse riding events as a child. She enjoyed every
bit of it, but she wasn’t so crazy about horse
riding like she was about music.

Childhood
Taylor attended Wyndcroft Elementary, a co-ed
private school. She was the kind of kid who
loved poetry. She revered great poets like Shel
Silverstein and Dr. Seuss. She would write
multiple pages of poems about the men, women,
boys, girls and monsters that gave her trouble
when kids her age could barely muster a line.
By fourth grade, Taylor had won a national poetry
contest for the poem Monster in My closet. Her
remarkable poetic prowess honed her language
skills and according to Taylor, poetry is what
turned her into a songwriter- a remarkable one in
this case.
Taylor may have burst onto the scene in her
teenage years, but her earlier musical
background played a key role on her journey to
success. She fell in love with country music and
would often listen to Patsy Cline’s and Dolly Parton’s music. Genetics also played its role as
her grandmother Marjorie Finlay was a professional opera singer who made waves during her time. Her grandmother’s singing
thrilled young Taylor, as such Marjorie was one of her first inspirations.

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Fledgling Musician
Taylor had grown to be a pretty girl with long
blonde hair. Her formidable poetry skills were
unmatched. She even landed several lead acting
roles in school, but Taylor Swift’s middle school
life wasn’t so sweet. She was ostracized by her
schoolmates for liking country music in fact, she
had no friends.
She took up soccer to salvage her dignity and be
more likable among her peers, but sporting was
not her forte. She turned a bit inward and began
writing songs about her feelings. It was her way
of filtering off the world. Taylor got through her
awkward phase in middle school knowing she
would go back home and work through her pain
by writing songs and poems.
By the age of 9, Taylor had taken a deeper
interest in music. She travelled regularly to
Broadway for voice and acting lessons. She
zeroed in on her singing talent by performing in
karaokes, contests, fairs, festivals, and coffee
houses. At the age of 10, Taylor entered a
competition where the winner was to get an
opportunity to open for a famous country
musician. Week after week Taylor would try out,
but she never succeeded.
Her hard work paid off one year later when she
got a chance to open for Charlie Daniel after
performing LeAnn Rimes’ “Big deal.” She wasn’t
doing too bad in Pennsylvania, but Swift’s sight
was squarely set on Nashville where her favorite
songstresses had risen to fame. At the age of
11, Taylor and her mom took a trip to Nashville.
Taylor had hoped she would land a record deal
by dropping her demos in famous record labels.
She would knock on every producers’ door telling
them “Hi, I’m Taylor, and you should listen to me
sing call me!” but despite all her efforts, no one
was willing to give her a shot. She went back to
Pennsylvania and through the help of a computer
repairman, Taylor learnt how to play three cords
on the guitar. At the age of 12, Taylor crafted
her first song “lucky you” which is said to have
been inspired by her grandmother.

Early Career
Her moxie and determination led her to sing the
National Anthem anywhere she possibly could
back in her hometown. It was the best way she
could get in front of many people without a
record deal – at least according to Taylor. When
she sang the National Anthem at the U.S Open
tennis tournament, Dan Dymtrow, who happened
to be Britney Spears’ manager could not resist
her undeniable singing talent and swift landed
her first record deal at the age of 13.
In 2004, Taylor’s family moved to Hendersonville,
Tennessee. The move put Taylor in a better
position to explore the music world and hone her
talent. She had made great strides since her first
visit to Nashville. Earlier in 2004 she had been
featured as a model for Abercrombie and Fitch
as part of their rising star campaigns. She had
also performed several original songs at RCA
records.
Nashville was kind to Taylor, and she soon
started working with renowned songwriters
including Brett Beavers and The Warren brothers.
Her fellow songwriters would describe Taylor as
an artist who could visualize what she wanted in
her lyrics and articulate it in her songs. In 2005,
she became the youngest staff writer of Sony/
ATV publishing house.
After so much hassle, Taylor abandoned her
record deal with RCA two years after her signing.
She wanted to write her own songs, but they
wouldn’t let her sing her own material until she
was eighteen. She sort to find another record
that would allow her tap on her creative side.
What seemed to be a ridiculous move from the
burgeoning artist paid off.
Scott Borchetta was a record deal manager who
had known about Taylor with her stay at Sony.
He was opening a new record label, and he
wanted Taylor to be among the first musicians
signed to it. Taylor had all the qualities needed
in the music business. In Borchetta’s words, she
was hardworking, intelligent, and above all she
had a voice that could knock the socks off the
audience. This saw her become the first artist to
be signed to Borchetta’s Big Machine Records.

Taylor Releases Her First Single
And Debut Album

Taylor’s breakout single “Tim McGraw” hit the
airwaves in 2006. She penned the song in her
math class in her freshman year in
Hendersonville High School. Her inspiration for
the song was drawn from her senior boyfriend
whom she was parting with as soon as he left for
college. The song title was shrewdly constructed
by her management team. Seriously, there was
no way a song barring the name of one of the
biggest country music stars would flop, and it
didn’t.
The infectious single became the front-runner for
her eponymous debut album. Music veterans
praised the song for its professionalism and
Taylor’s remarkable vocal delivery. The song also
marked its spot on Billboard’s Hot 100. Her
debut album Taylor Swift was released in 2006-
Taylor was 16 at the time. The album became a
commercial success rising to no.5 on billboard
200 and selling 39,000 copies in its first week.
Taylor was not a one-hit wonder type. Her album
parlayed record- breaking singles including
“Teardrops on my guitar” and “our song.”Girls all
over the world were falling in love with her
music, they could resonate with the love stories –
a timeless ingredient in Taylor’s songs. Swift
promoted her album by touring the USA and
conducting meet-and-greet sessions with her
fans. Yap! She was already becoming a big deal.
For the better part of 2007, Taylor served as an
opening act for legendary country musicians
including Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Kenny Chesney
and Brad Paisley. Later that year, Swift became
the youngest person to be named the songwriter
of the year in 2007.

Taylor Shines With Fearless

2008 was swift’s year, to say the least, she was
getting recognition from the who’s who in the
music industry and the string of accolades kept
streaming in. And it wasn’t just her voice that
was causing ripples. Her exquisite beauty saw
her grace myriad magazine covers including
Blender and USA weekend.
Her sophomore album Fearless, which was
dished out on November 2008 cemented her
superstar status. It debuted at no.1 on the
Billboard chart and sold almost 600,000 copies in
its first week, an impressive feat for a breakout
star. A whopping eight tracks off Fearless had at
one point topped the billboard single charts
shattering previous records.
“Love story” the lead single from the album,
became the country song with the most paid
downloads. The album received numerous
awards and accolades making it the most
awarded album in the history of country music.
But that was just the beginning of the whirlwind
of her successful music career

Speak Now

Taylor’s much anticipated third album was
released on October 2010. She had been working
on it for two years ever since the release of her
sophomore album. Taylor was primarily known as
a country singer but Speak now was a blend of
country-pop and alternative rock. She pulled it
off so well that the album was described as
possibly her best.
Speak now debuted at no. 1 on billboards 200,
Taylor had undoubtedly become a force to be
reckon with in the music industry with her third
album selling more than 1,000,000 copies in its
first week. Meanwhile, Taylor was bagging more
awards for her immaculate work, and her fan
base was experiencing tremendous growth. She
was trouncing music veterans to win coveted
awards and was quickly becoming a fixture in
gossip pages and magazines.

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Up Next Was Red

Swift’s fourth album, Red, followed a previous
pattern to that of her previous albums: smashing
hits and platinum records. Every bit of it
screamed success! The album gave a snapshot
of different times in her life. From heartbreaks,
to extreme happiness it gave a reflection of
Taylor’s ups and downs in the truest way
possible.
Once again, Swift was stepping out of her
comfort zone in terms of her music style. The
Red album featured dubstep, dance-pop and
conventional country. Red spun off singles
released separately for the promotion of the
album. It sold 1.28 million copies in its first week
and went on to become a top-chatter in several
countries including UK, Canada and Australia.
Swift has hinted she will be releasing her fifth
album pretty soon way ahead of schedule for
the young singer who takes two years before
churning an album. But so far, Taylor has
managed to craft eight songs for what is
expected to be a hot album.

Inspiration Behind Hit Songs

Swift’s songs are more than bouncy country
melodies, they have deep emotional meanings.
They emanate from heart breaks, love stories
and her life experiences. We have drawn some
of her most successful songs and the stories behind them.

“You belong with me”

The catchy hit single from the album fearless
topped country and pop charts. Swift was
inspired to write the song after she overheard a
male friend quarreling over the phone with his
girlfriend. From the conversation Taylor
developed a story line and a very catchy song!

“Our song”
The tune was the third single from her self-titled
debut album. She wrote the song for her high
school talent show contest sparked by the fact
she didn’t have a song for one of her previous boyfriend’s.

“Love story”
It was the first single from her sophomore album
which catapulted her to superstar status. The
song was inspired by Taylor’s love interest who
wasn’t so popular among her family and friends.
She related her romance to Shakespeare’s
Romeo and Juliet and penned down her first
international hit.

“Teardrops on my guitar”
It became the first of Taylor’s song to reach the
top 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The song was
inspired by Drew Hardwick, Taylor’s crush in high
school. Drew was unaware of Taylor’s feelings
and would continually speak about his girlfriend
to Swift – plays out clearly in the song.

“Fifteen”
Taylor crafted the song for high school students
who struggle to fit in. She also recounts her own
painful memories where she encountered her  first heartbreak when she was fifteen.

Awards and Achievements

There’s no denying that Taylor swift has
managed to cram in a lot of credits since she
was introduced to the world in 2006. Swift’s
prodigious natural talent and captivating
songwriting abilities have seen her rise the ranks
of fame in a short span of time. She is
undoubtedly one of the most gifted country
musicians. Taylor’s fame and fortune didn’t
materialize out of the ether. Behind the sultry
voice is hard work and relentless passion.
Ever since the release of her self-titled debut
album, Taylor has been making waves in the
music scene. Her second album Fearless
became the best selling album in the USA in
2009. Her subsequent albums Speak now, and
Red have seen her smash records and rack up a
string of awards and accolades including seven
Grammys and twelve Billboard music awards.
Taylor has also nabbed a spot in the Guinness
Book Of World Records for being the first solo
female with two million-selling weeks on the U.S
Albums Chart. As her fame soars, her bank
account continues to skyrocket. Her 2013
earnings brought in a cool $39 million, which saw
her become the highest earning musician
trouncing music veterans like Beyonce. She is
only 24, but her net worth stands at $250 million.

Taylor’s Acting Career

Music aside, it looks like Taylor maybe adding an
Academy award to her mantle. She has been
flexing her acting chops ever since she made an
appearance in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
She played the role of a rebellious teenager
which critics attest was played out very well.
Taylor also made a feature in the star-studded
film Valentine’s Day. Her performance on the
film was described as being very funny, charming
and adorably dorky. She recently landed a
supporting role in the upcoming film The Giver
where she will be starring among other A-list
Hollywood actors such as Meryl Steep and Katie
Holmes.

Taylor The Brand

Swift has managed to develop a magnificently
cherished and superbly respected brand out of
her music and her squeaky clean public image.
She has landed endorsements with CoverGirl,
Sony Electronics and Diet Coke which nab her 7
figures or more in earnings. The business savvy
starlet also owns her own line of perfumes.

Clean-Cut Role Model

Swift is more than just a best-selling country
star. The girl next door from Wyomissing,
Pennsylvania, has become a genuine cultural
phenomenon and yes, America’s favourite
darling. But you know what’s even more
appealing? Parents can sit down with their 13-
year-old kids and listen to Taylor’s music without
cringing from the racy videos or obscene lyrics,
which seems to be the norm amongst today’s
pop tarts.
She is not perfect, she has had her fair share of
“my goodness” moments, and her string of
famous ex-boyfriends’ has been a source of
ridicule from critics. But hey, she has achieved a
remarkable feat for a 24 year old. She doesn’t
drink or smoke, she says she always wants to be
responsible for what she does.
She has proved to be wiser than her age and a
worthwhile role model for tweens all over the
world. But Taylor knows better than to toot her
own horn “I continue to walk around with the
mentality that I’m not really a big deal because
as fast as it came, it can go.”

Fuel queues’ll disappear by weekend – FG

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Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-
Iweala

The Federal Government on Wednesday assured
Nigerians that the current petrol scarcity being
experienced in many parts of the country would
be over before the end of the week.
The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-
Iweala, stated this shortly after meeting with
members of the Major Oil Marketers Association
of Nigeria.
The meeting, held at the headquarters of the
Federal Ministry of Finance in Abuja, was also
attended by the Governor of the Central Bank of
Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, representatives of
the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory
Agency and depot owners.
The minister said all the contentious issues with
the marketers such as the foreign exchange
rate differentials and payment of subsidy arrears
had been addressed by the Federal
Government.
She said while the details of the payment of the
exchange rate differentials had been agreed, the
government was already in the process of
offsetting the N185bn debt owed the marketers
with the issuance of the Sovereign Debt Note.
Okonjo-Iweala said, “In the next few days, the
queues will dissipate; the situation will be
addressed and everything will return to normal.
“At the Federal Executive Council meeting
today, the issue was discussed in terms of
pushing forward and making sure that things get
back to normal.”
She said while briefing State House
correspondents after the weekly Federal
Executive Council meeting that after proper
briefings on the causes of the current scarcity
of petrol and solutions, President Goodluck
Jonathan gave specific instructions on how to
deal with the matter because he wanted prompt
and quick action to improve the situation as fast
as possible.
She insisted that the scarcity was caused by a
number of factors, including the depreciation of
the naira.
Okonjo-Iweala said, “We discussed that (fuel
scarcity) at the FEC because Mr. President
wanted prompt and quick action to improve the
situation as fast as possible. So, after the
briefing and discussion on both the financial and
physical side, what emanated is that this
situation we hope will soon be resolved,
because on the financial side, action has been
taken and it is being implemented through the
Ministry of Finance and the governor of the
CBN.
“Let it be known that in December, we paid
N320.2bn to marketers to settle their claims.
We have now approved through the Petroleum
Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency about
N185bn to be paid to the marketers through
sovereign debt notes, which is tantamount to
having government guarantee that they will be
paid.
“But the long and short of the matter is that the
financial issue has been taken care of. The
physical quantity is being loaded to be brought
to Abuja and Lagos and other cities that are
suffering so that hopefully tomorrow (Thursday)
or next (Friday), we should begin to see these
queues reduce as supplies arrive up to
Saturday; we hope that Abuja will be cleared.
“So, the summary is that the FEC is concerned
about the matter and discussed it; and beyond
discussing it, the President gave instruction on
how to deal with it so that physical quantities
will be available and the queues will diminish so
that by the end of the week, we will have a
situation that is clarified.”
Emefiele, who also spoke with journalists after
the meeting with the marketers, said the CBN
had met with banks and oil marketers to resolve
all the contending issues associated with credit
facilities.
He stated that in the past one week, over
$500m Letters of Credit had been opened by
Deposit Money Banks on behalf of the
marketers.
The governor called on marketers who were
experiencing delays in getting their Letters of
Credit to alert the CBN, promising to step in and
ensure that the issue was resolved amicably.
Speaking on behalf of the oil marketers, the
Executive Secretary, MOMAN, Mr. Obafemi
Olawore, stated that the queues of desperate
motorists at filling stations would ease off in the
next few days, noting that the marketers had
already moved 495 truckloads of fuel to Lagos,
Abuja and environs.
He said, “On Monday, the major marketers
moved 132 truckloads of fuel to Lagos, while 87
truckloads were moved to Abuja, and this is
exclusive to the quantity moved by the NNPC,
independent marketers and other marketers.
“On Tuesday, 137 trucks were moved to Lagos,
while 139 trucks were moved to Abuja. You can
see that the amount we moved to Abuja was far
more than the quantity we moved on Monday. It
normally takes between three and four days to
transport fuel from Lagos to Abuja; hence we
believe the queues will ease off by the weekend,
latest.”
“Our actions are deliberate to ensure that the
queues vanish and normalcy returns. I want to
tell Nigerians that tougher days are over;
normalcy is expected to return pretty soon.”
Olawore denied speculations in some quarters
that the marketers were being sponsored by
opposition parties to discredit the government,
noting that the association was apolitical in its
dealings with the government.
Meanwhile, the Department of Petroleum
Resources has in the last one week shut 26
filling stations in Benue and Nasarawa states for
selling petrol above the regulated pump price of
N87 per litre, while also applying sanctions on
other errant marketers.
The DPR Controller in charge of the two states,
Abdullahi Isa, said this while speaking with
journalists in his office in Makurdi on
Wednesday.
Isa lamented that instead of getting about 20
trucks daily, Benue was now getting just four.
He warned that any filling station that failed to
sell the product at the approved pump price and
also indulged in other sharp practices such as
hoarding would be sanctioned.
In Abuja, the scarcity of the product led to a
fight among motorists who were on a queue at
the Total filling station on Arab Road in Kubwa,
a suburb settlement.
Trouble started around 2.30pm when the owner
of a white Toyota Corolla car jumped the queue
and made straight for the gate of the station.
His action outrage the hundreds of motorists on
the queue, many of whom claimed to have
spent over eight hours on the queue.

Surrender or face death, Chadian President warns Shekau

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President Idriss Deby

President Idriss Deby of Chad on Wednesday
called on Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau,
to surrender or face death.
Derby told a news conference in N’djamena,
that he knows the whereabouts of Shekau, who,
according to him, was sighted in Dikwa , a
village in Borno State two days ago.
“Abubakar Shekau must surrender. We know
where he is. If he doesn’t give himself up he
will suffer the same fate as his compatriots,” he
said.
“He (Shekau) was in Dikwa two days ago. He
managed to get away but we know where he is.
It’s in his interests to surrender,” Deby added.
Chadian troops earlier this week liberated the
village which is about 85 kilometres away from
Maiduguri, the Borno State capital from Boko
Haram.
During a battle for the village, the Chadian
soldiers killed over 100 Boko Haram insurgents.
The insurgents were said to have fled to a
huge building where they were found inside
wardrobes by the troops, who fired volleys of
bullets at them.
But in an apparent last act of defiance, a
suicide bomber among the fighters climbed into
a truck carrying gas canisters and blew it up,
killing a Chadian soldier and injuring 34.
A Chadian soldier told a Reuters reporter
visiting the town after fighting subsided, that the
building was Boko Haram’s command centre.
“They came to hide here as we advanced,” the
soldier said, pointing to the bodies in the
wardrobes.
The Chadian army spokesman, Col. Azem
Bermandoa, who confirmed the killings, said his
men chased those who escaped about 15
kilometres out of the town, where many walls
were sprayed with bullets and most houses lay
deserted.
According to the report, the Nigerian military
had listed Dikwa as one of the towns it wanted
to liberate from the insurgents before the
general elections.
Chadian forces had planned to take the town
last month, but were ordered back by the
Nigeria military , which said it planned to attack
it.
But a Chadian soldier in Dikwa claimed that the
closest Nigerian soldiers got to the town as of
the time of the latest development was 50
kilometres.
Abandoned bombs cause stir in Adamawa town
There is apprehension in Gombi, Adamawa State
over 30 bombs said to have been dumped in the
area by the men of the Nigerian Air Force.
It was gathered that the bombs were dumped
three days ago because they had expired and
therefore inactive.
Soldiers deployed in the area and vigilante
members were said to have surrounded the area
out of fear that the weapons could fall into the
hands of insurgents.
One of the soldiers however said that they
later pulled out of the area when they were
alerted that the bombs were inactive.
But an indigene of the community told one of
our correspondents that they were not
convinced that the bombs would not go off.
He said, “As we are talking, we are still agitated
because we are not convinced by the
explanation that the bombs are useless and
would not be taken away by the Boko Haram
for other missions.
“When the items were discovered, the soldiers
and our vigilante members were called in but
the soldiers left when the Air Force explained
that the bombs were expired and useless.
“But the vigilante members have refused to
relax their watch over the area because they
feel the Boko Haram people could steal and
use them against us. We are also of the opinion
that the bombs could go off.”
The Director, Defence Information, Maj. Gen.
Chris Olukolade, could not be reached for
comment as calls to his mobile line did not
connect.
Meanwhile, only Monguno out of the several
communities liberated from Boko Haram over
a week remains accessible.
Most of the towns largely remain “a no go area”
as the military keep watch over them even as
residents that fled in the wake of their capture
are still afraid to return.
The Chairman of Monguno Local Government
Area of Borno State, Ali Galgal, paid a visit to
Monguno on Sunday.
It was gathered that Galgal was in the town to
assess the level of destruction that took place
during the short reign of the Boko Haram
insurgents.
One of those that visited the area with the
chairman but who pleaded that his name should
not be in print, told one of our correspondents in
Maiduguri that “the chairman presented food
items to rescued persons.”
He added, “Alhaji Galgal urged them to
consider what happened to them as part of
destiny. He asked them to pray for a lasting
peace in Borno State and the country in general.
“The chairman, who went from street to street
in Monguno town, found decomposed bodies
scattered everywhere. He also found dead
bodies in some houses and government
structures.
“It was also discovered that the insurgents
successful looted many houses and business
centres.”