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Liverpool wins at Aston Villa to keep EPL title hopes alive



Liverpool win at Aston Villa to keep EPL title hopes alive

Sadio Mane’s second-half winner secured Liverpool a vital 2-1 victory at Aston Villa on Tuesday to keep the pressure on Manchester City in the English Premier League (EPL) title race.

After the 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Saturday, Liverpool’s championship hopes looked bleak while they were being held to the same scoreline at Villa Park.

But the Reds’ superior quality ultimately came up trumps.

Much of the pre-match attention focused on how Liverpool legend and Villa manager Steven Gerrard could be the one to further derail his former side’s quadruple bid.

Douglas Luiz’s early opener suggested a shock could be on the cards.

But Joel Matip swiftly equalized, and from that point Liverpool was generally the greater threat, eventually completing the turnaround just past the hour, thanks to Mane.

Liverpool’s underwhelming start culminated in a defensive mix-up between Kostas Tsimikas and Matip allowing Douglas Luiz to test Alisson and then smash home the rebound.

But the Reds quickly levelled through Matip in the sixth minute.

The Cameroonian prodded into the empty net after Virgil van Dijk beat Emiliano Martinez to a loose ball in the Aston Villa penalty box.

While Liverpool struggled to establish any real control in a feisty first half, the better chances continued to go their way.

Mane headed just wide, and Naby Keita comically mishit an attempt from 10 yards with the goal at his mercy.

It was a tighter affair in the second half, though Liverpool’s next clear-cut opportunity proved decisive.

Luis Diaz did well to pick out Mane from the left, and Senegal forward brilliantly twisted his body to meet the cross with a header into the bottom-right corner.

Aston Villa failed to hit back as Danny Ings had a goal disallowed for offside.

Liverpool now turn their attention to the 2021/2022 English FA Cup final match next, as they face Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday.

They will then go to Southampton three days later in the league, while Aston Villa host Crystal Palace on Sunday.


– dpa



Dangote wins Employers’ Lifetime Achievement Award; Soyinka, Elumelu Bag ECOWAS Excellence Award



Dangote wins employers’ lifetime achievement award

 Alhaji Aliko Dangote, president, Dangote Industries Ltd., has bagged a lifetime achievement award by the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), the umbrella body of employers in the Organised Private Sector.

DIL’s Group Chief Branding and Communications Officer, Mr. Anthony Chiejina, said this in a statement on Monday in Lagos.

According to the statement, DIL was also named “Best Company in the Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Sector” at the 2021 Employers Annual Excellence Award.

NECA president, Mr. Taiwo Adeniyi, said Dangote was recognised for his huge contributions to nation-building and economic development through his various investments and the attendant job creation opportunities.

Adeniyi, describing the business magnate as a torch-bearer in the private sector, commended his investments in sectors capable of improving the nation’s economic well-being and transition from importer to net exporter.

He explained that the employer’s excellence award was meant to celebrate outstanding contributions of enterprise to national development.

He added that the award was geared towards promoting and encouraging best practices in corporate performance, people management and industrial relations practices by employers in Nigeria.

“The annual award provides a platform for identifying, ranking and celebrating the resilience, doggedness and outstanding performance of employers in Nigeria.

“It is to recognise and publicly award enterprises that have exhibited excellence in leadership, governance, innovation, corporate performance and human resource management, amongst others.

“This annual event equally provides feedback to participating employers on their status regarding attainment of best practices in corporate performance, people management and industrial relations,” he added.

Dangote Group’s Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development and Capital Projects, Mr Devakumar Edwin, described NECA as an organisation that promoted leadership, good governance, innovation, productivity and corporate performance.

These qualities, he said, made the award to be cherished by both Dangote and the company.

“NECA continues to remain a partner in progress, rewarding deserving companies for their contributions to national development.

“The Dangote Group will continue to contribute its quota to nation-building and promote responsible business in all sectors of its operations,” he said.

 Dangote Group has a presence in 10 African countries, providing employment for thousands of young Nigerians and Africans.

In another development, Nigerian Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, and Businessman, Tony Elumelu received the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Excellence award for their outstanding contributions to the development of West Africa.

Soyinka and Elumelu received the award among four other recipients during the 62nd Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Abuja.

Wole Soyinka received the award under the Arts and Literature category while Elumelu received the award of deserving citizen.

Former President of The Gambia, Dawda Kairaba Jawara was given a post-humous honorary award for his contributions to the peace and security in the Gambia, especially his facilitation of the establishment of ECOMOG.

Senegalese Musician, Omar Pene was also recognized and awarded for contributing positively to the sub-region through his music.

Reading the citation of the awardees, Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Damrtien Tchintchibidja said that the awardees were carefully selected following a critical deliberation by a jury appointed by the President of the ECOWAS Commission.

“A jury appointed by the President of the Commission met Nov. 8 2022 and after deliberation awarded the price of excellence.

“The award was in three categories mainly; “First Category, the award for science and technology, Arts and literature, the second category of honorary award,

“First Category, award for science and technology, Arts and literature. Science and technology sub-category the award is Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars. sub-category of Arts Fifteen Thousand Dollars, Literature Ten thousand Dollars.

“For the second category, the honorary award for the 20,000 USD, third category for deserving citizens, 10,000 USD Plaque and certificate of recognition,” Tchintchibidja said.

Speaking on behalf of the awardees, Pene appreciated the regional bloc for recognizing their efforts and silent contributions as he dedicated his award to President Macky Sall of Sengal and the citizens of Senegal.

 ECOWAS Price of Excellence was presented to the award winners by President Umaro Embalo of Guinea Bissau, Chair of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.

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Burna Boy emerges 10th most streamed male artiste for 2022



Burna Boy emerges 10th most streamed male artiste for 2022

 Grammy award-winning singer, Burna Boy, is among the 10 most streamed male artists in Nigeria, Spotify, an online streaming platform has announced.

Victor Okpala, Spotify’s Artiste & Label Partnerships Manager, West Africa, said this in a statement on Wednesday.

Okpala said this was observed by Spotify and published as “Wrapped”.

The other artists listed in the top 10, included Asake, Wizkid, BNXN fka Buju, Davido, Drake, Fireboy DML, Omah Lay, Rema and Kizz Daniel.

Okpala said that the top most streamed female artists in Nigeria were Ayra Starr, Tems, Rihanna, Asa, Nicki Minaj, Doja Cat, Fave, Billie Eilish, Simi and Beyoncé.

He also listed the top 10 most streamed tracks in Nigeria in 2022 as Last Last by Burna Boy; Peace Be Unto You by Asake; Bandana by Fireboy DML; Finesse by Pheelz; Omo Ope by Asake; Terminator by Asake; Overloading (OVERDOSE) by Mavins; PALAZZO by SPINALL; Calm Down by Rema and It is Plenty by Burna Boy.

“2022 ushered us into an era of cultural overdrive and we are excited for fans and artists alike to share these insights on the music they created and listened to this year.

“Spotify announced this year’s edition of Wrapped, it’s hotly anticipated annual round-up of the top artists and music of the year as streamed by users around the world.

“And this year’s data paints a picture of how Nigerian music captured hearts, both at home and around the world.

“In 2022, Nigerian music has continued to hoist its flag in different global territories claiming its space on the world stage.

“The year in Afrobeats was defined by the emergence of a hybrid Amapiano sound, an endless pipeline of hits, and new heights for a generation of pop royalty who are questioning our ideas of what’s popular in style and sound,” he said.

Okpala noted that Nigerians listened more to local music in 2022 with a 91 percent year-on-year increase in local music consumption when compared with 2021.

“2022 is the year that Burna Boy set the world on fire- claiming the number one spot as the most streamed artist in Nigeria.

“The love affair was not only local, he is also the most globally streamed artiste from sub-Saharan Africa.

“His track Last Last takes the crown for the most streamed song and also the most hearted song in Nigeria.

“Spotify RADAR alumnus, Ayra Starr, is the most streamed female artiste in Nigeria while Tems has the leading vibe among Nigeria’s musical exports in 2022.

“Wait For You, the singer’s collaboration with Future & Drake, was the top Nigerian song export of the year,” he said.

Okpala listed the most streamed albums as Love, Damini by Burna Boy; Mr Money With The Vibe by Asake; Playboy by Fireboy DML; Boy Alone by Omah Lay; Rave & Roses by Rema and Made In Lagos.

“The most hearted songs in Nigeria are: Last Last by Burna Boy; Bandana by Fireboy DML; Calm Down by Rema; Finesse by Pheelz and Peace Be Unto You by Asake.

The list included Terminator by Asake; Omo Ope by Asake; Overloading (OVERDOSE) by Mavins; Buga (Lo Lo Lo) by Kizz Daniel and For My Hand (feat. Ed Sheeran) by Burna Boy.

“The most streamed playlists in Nigeria are Hot Hits Naija, African Heat, Gbedu, Traffic Jams Naija, Bubblin, Afro Hits, Afropop, Today’s Top Hits, Party Dey and New Music Friday Naija,” he said.

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Tourism booms as 10 Countries shows participatory interest in Calabar Carnival- Commissioner



Tourism booms as 10 Countries shows participatory interest in Calabar Carnival- Commissioner

…20 States in Nigeria also participating, after 2-year break*** 

Tourism may have finally gained a significant foothold in Nigeria, as no fewer than 10 countries signify intention to participate in the 2022 Annual Calabar Carnival.

The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism Development, Cross River, Mr. Eric Anderson stated this in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said that after a two-year break caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the carnival is set to be staged from Dec. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022.

The commissioner also said that so far, 20 states of the federation have indicated interest to participate in the carnival.

He said that the event will feature different song and stage productions, award ceremony, choreography, music, power week, bikers day, beauty Pageant, street parties, beach soccer, and old school parties, among others.

He added that Mercy Chinwo, Joe Praize, Jimmy D Psalmist, Moses Bliss, local-based artists, and various choir bands have also been slated to perform at the event.

“For two years, there was a global issue that did not allow events across International lines to take place and for us, we are resuming as most big events around the world had their carnival a few months ago.

“Cross River is Nigeria’s tourism destination, so we are ready with exciting events from Dec. 1 to Dec. 31.

“For the last two years we did not hold the carnival, we had to sit back and review and look at ways to up the game.

Gov. Donald Duke

“One of the aspects we realised is that we had a lot of people that want to be revellers in our carnival bands and so the size increased.

“So we had to create two more bands from the five bands we had to make it seven, so for this year we will be having seven bands to be competing,” he said.

The commissioner added that adequate security measures had been put in place to ensure the protection of the lives of participants and visitors coming to the state.

“I can tell you for a fact that we have proper security on ground, I say this on very good authority because I am also part of the team that went around on courtesy call to all the security heads in Cross River.

“On our first dry run which was held in October, we had all the heads of those arms participating in it and they have given their full commitment.

“Though we have pockets of insecurity issues around the country, but we will try our best to secure the state, the event venues, our routes, and our people as much as we can,” he added.

The carnival is a fairly new addition to the annual festival calendar of Nigeria, since it first began in 2006, although it’s now held annually and is dubbed “Nigeria’s largest street party.”

The carnival holds every December and was declared by the then governor of Cross River, Mr. Donald Duke as an activity to mark the Christmas celebrations yearly.

The quality of the festival has grown over the years making it Nigeria’s biggest carnival and an internationally recognized festival.

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