World Cup 2018: Croatian Fans Predict 1-0 against France

Croatian soccer fans streaming into Moscow for Sunday’s World Cup final between Croatia and France are hoping their team can settle an old score with the French dating back to the 1998 tournament.

That year, Croatia’s World Cup dreams were cut short as France clawed back from a goal down in the semi-final to beat Croatia 2-1, going on to win the tournament.

“They owe us and they will pay us back,” said Drazen Karakasic, a 47-year-old banker from Zagreb, who was wearing his team’s jersey in Moscow.

A day ahead of the final, Croatians in red-and-white chequered hats waved national flags and chanted on a pedestrian street that has become popular with football fans in Moscow.

“They are fighting all the time,” Croatian fan Nikola Kresic said of his country’s soccer team.

“Maybe we don’t have the best team but they’ve got the biggest heart for sure.”

The success of Croatia, a country of 4.2 million, has come as a surprise even to some Croatians who have been scrambling to secure tickets for the final and flights to Russia. It has been a reunion of sorts for Croatians living in Moscow.

For Nicolas Grbac, who has not lived in his native Croatia since he left as a child in 1989 ahead of the violent break-up of Yugoslavia, the influx of fans from his homeland has made him feel at home.

“It’s really great for me because of all the people from my country, even from my hometown,” said Grbac, who works on the street most popular with fans. “It’s a big football party.”

There were fewer French fans visible in central Moscow on Saturday, though those present included dedicated supporters such as Akim Snouci from Paris who has been in Russia since the beginning of the tournament.

“I don’t think it will be a huge win (for France),” he said. “There are no small teams. I’ll be pleased if we win 1-0.”

Snouci said he had one regret: his presence at the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday means that he will not make it to the wild street celebrations that will erupt in Paris if France win.

“I won’t be at the gathering on the Champs-Elysees,” he said. “You can’t cut yourself in half.”

Ekiti Election: No Security at Polling Centres

Thirty-four candidates from various political parties will on Saturday (today) contest for the Ekiti State governorship election.

There had been tension and apprehension during the electioneering, especially with the deployment of more than 30,000 security men by the police and other security agencies in the state for the poll.

According to records by the Independent National Electoral Commission, in the 16 council areas of the state, there are 177 registration areas; 2,195 polling units; and 256 polling points, with 913,334 registered voters.

However, out of the figure, 667,270 are accredited to vote, representing 73 per cent of the registered voting population.

Among those contesting to succeed Governor Ayodele Fayose are the Accord Party candidate, Jacob Aluko, 69; the All Progressives Congress candidate, Kayode Fayemi, 53; the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Kolapo Olusola, 49; and 43-year-old Aiyegbusi Oladele of the Socialist Democratic Party.

Also in the race are the Labour Party candidate, Sikiru Lawal, 59; Amuda Kazeem of KOWA Party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance candidate, Ayodeji Ayodele, 62; and the Alliance for Democracy candidate, Ben Agboola, 49.

Meanwhile, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti State, Prof. Abdulganiyu Raji, has allayed fears that armed policemen drafted by the Inspector General of Police to the state for the election would harass the electorate.

More than 30,000 security personnel, as well as two helicopters, 250 patrol vehicles and five Armoured Personnel Carriers, had earlier been deployed in the state.

Expressing worries over the development, some voters said the heavy presence of armed policemen could scare them away from coming out to vote.

They said the state was rather too small for such a high number of policemen to have been deployed by the IGP, stating that it gave the impression that there was going to be war during the election.

However, Raji said there was no need to panic, warning those who have no Permanent Voter Cards to stay away from the polling units during the election. He noted that the Rapid Response Squad of the police would be stationed at strategic points in the state.

He also said the INEC gave enough time for registered voters to collect their PVCs and lodge complaints before the process was stopped on Wednesday.

He said, “INEC in Ekiti State is prepared for the election. We have 913,334 voters registered, out of which 667,270 have collected their permanent voter cards. This means that 667,270 will vote in Saturday’s (today) election.

“The Inspector General of Police has made public the number of security personnel drafted to the state. They are not harassing anyone. For each vehicle that went out to distribute election materials, we have a minimum of 15 armed policemen accompanying it.

“But on the day of the election (today), there will be no armed security men at the polling units. Election is a civil process, so no one will be intimidated.”

In preparation for the election, the REC said necessary measures had been put in place to ensure that there would be no delay in the commencement of the exercise.

He said, “All ad hoc staff and supervisors moved to all the registration area centres on Friday.

“By 5am on Saturday (today), the materials and ad hoc staff will start movement to the polling units. By 8am, we will start election.”

PDP chieftains go into hiding ahead of election

Meanwhile, some chieftains of the PDP in Ikere-Ekiti have gone into hiding as fear heightened among them that the police might clamp down on them in order to put their members in disarray ahead of the election.

One of our correspondents gathered that some of the party leaders in the town had however devised various means to evade the alleged planned arrest.

A former member of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had relocated to a hotel and would not go back home until after the election because the police were planning to arrest the chieftains of the party, including him.

When contacted on the telephone on Friday, the Public Relations Officer of the PDP in Ekiti State, Mr. Jackson Adebayo, told Saturday PUNCH that the planned arrest of the party chieftains on the instruction of the APC-led Federal Government had already started.

He said, “They arrested the deputy governorship candidate, they arrested Dr. (Samuel) Omotosho. They have arrested four persons now, but some have been released.

“They arrested some of our members last night (Thursday) and went in search of some this morning (Friday). They vandalised the houses of those they did not see. The security personnel shattered the house of Taye Fasuba. Those security men behaved like thugs.”

Calls put through to the APC spokesperson in the state, Mr. Taiwo Olatubosun, to seek the party’s reaction to the allegations were not answered.

However, an APC chieftain in Ilawe-Ekiti, Mr. Shina Awelewa, debunked the allegation.

Awelewa, a former Chairman of the Ekiti State Broadcasting Corporation, said the PDP leaders were making noise because they knew that security agencies had foiled their (PDP) plans to disrupt the election.

“The security agents are not arresting PDP chieftains. But, they are after the known PDP thugs who Fayose wants to use to cause violence during the election,” he said.

Denying the allegations by the PDP, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Caleb Okechukwu, said the police did not arrest anyone in connection with the election.

Ikere residents resist arrest of PDP candidate’s relatives

Meanwhile, a major crisis was reportedly prevented in Ikere-Ekiti on Friday evening when residents of the town prevented policemen from arresting Olusola’s relatives.

Armed policemen were said to have stormed the relatives’ house located at the back of a petrol station along Ado-Ikere Road, but found only those who were cooking.

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Some residents, who were suspicious of the movement of the policemen, were said to have mobilised others who resisted the planned arrest.

The confrontation with the police was said to have forced the security personnel to shoot into the air and fired tear gas to disperse the crowd, who refused to move.

Some of the people were reportedly arrested and taken to the Area Command along the College of Education Road.

The angry residents reportedly followed the arrested persons, while some of them were said to have been released after Olusola intervened in the matter.

Four out of those arrested were said to have been found with Indian hemp and held by the police.

However, Okechukwu said the police did not arrest any of the PDP candidate’s relatives.

Banks, govt secretariat, schools shut as workers shun offices, schools

As residents prepare for today’s election, banking operations in most commercial banks in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, came to a close as early as 12pm of Friday.

When one of our correspondents visited the banks on Adeyinka Adebayo Way, popularly known as Bank Road, there were notices pasted at the entrance of most of the banks, telling customers that they had closed, except for one which stated it would close by 2pm.

They however advised customers to make use of alternative channels such as the Automated Teller Machine points, mobile and internet banking.

One of our correspondents noticed as some of the bank customers were shocked on seeing the notices. As some lamented, others went to join the queues at the ATMs.

The notice by one of the banks read, “Dear esteemed customers, due to the governorship election taking place on Saturday, July 14, 2018, in the state, we shall close for business by 12pm today (Friday), July 13, 2018.

“Kindly visit our alternative channels. These are the ATM, POS, mobile banking and internet banking. Thanks for your usual cooperation.”

Similarly, some schools, including public and private, were shut throughout the day. A visit by one of our correspondents to some schools in the state showed that they didn’t open on Friday as their gates were closed.

Also at the state secretariat, a tour round the premises by one of our correspondents showed that many offices were shut while the expansive car park that used to be full of vehicles was largely empty.

A security man at the entrance of one of the buildings told one of our correspondents that most of the workers didn’t come to work on Friday while some came and left shortly after.

Even though there was no official declaration of public holiday by the state government, Saturday PUNCH learnt that the workers stayed away in order to travel to the towns where they registered to vote.

One of our correspondents approached one of the workers closing for work at the secretariat around 11:30am.

“I have to leave early so I can travel to my hometown in Otun-Ekiti and participate in the election,” she said.

Residents storm filling stations, ATM points, markets for last-minute shopping

In the meantime, Saturday PUNCH observed on Friday as scores of residents rushed to filling stations and markets in the state to make last-minute shopping ahead of today’s election.

There were long queues at filling stations as well as shopping malls.

One of our correspondents who visited Iworoko town and some other towns in the North Senatorial District of the state on Friday observed as many residents were in a hurry to shop.

One of the traders in Iworoko, who simply identified herself as Mama Dammy, told Saturday PUNCH that the market day in the town was supposed to be on Sunday (tomorrow), but because of the election and the uncertainty surrounding it, the market was opened on Friday.

Due to the early closure of the banks, Saturday PUNCH observed as scores of residents trooped to the ATM points to withdraw money as movement would be restricted on Saturday (today).

A resident, Mr. Remi Laoye, who came into the state from Ibadan for the election, said, “I exhausted the cash I brought from Ibadan and I need to withdraw some cash in case of anything. This is Nigeria, but I pray there will be no crisis.”

Population swells ahead of election

As residents vote for a new governor, several Ekiti State indigenes living outside the state have started returning to participate in the governorship election.

They said that they had to leave their bases to come home in order to participate in an exercise that would produce the next governor of their state.

One of them, Sir Michael Omodara, who resides in Ibadan, Oyo State, said his sons who reside in Ilorin, Kwara State, had also returned home to vote in the election.

One of our correspondents, who travelled from the state capital to Ishan-Ekiti early on Friday observed that there was a significant increase in traffic from the state capital to the North Senatorial District of the state.

At the New Garage, a central commercial motor park in the state capital, drivers confirmed that they had been experiencing an upsurge in the number of passengers entering the state from other states.

One of the drivers, simply identified as Kazeem, said, “We have a lot of people coming in from other states, especially from Lagos. We have been having more trips from Lagos and other states.”


World Cup 2018: Belgium, England Battle for Third Place

Belgium and England will meet in the World Cup playoff for third place today (Saturday) with opposing strikers Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane vying for the tournament’s Golden Boot.

Just as Belgium and England’s dead-rubber game in the group stage carried a sense of unimportance, so third-place playoffs can be sterile affairs, with both teams still coming down from having missed out on a place in the final.

But England’s Kane is favoured to take home the Golden Boot prize for the top scorer in Russia after scoring six goals so far.

Belgium’s Lukaku has four goals, with French pair Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe, who play in tomorrow night’s final, on three.

Breaking: Oyebamiji Withdraws From Osun Guber Race

The Commissioner for Finance in the State of Osun, Alhaji Bola Oyebamiji has withdrawn from the Osun 2018 Governorship Race.

Oyebamiji, who is an aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress made the announcement on Friday in a statement.

The commissioner who noted the love and sacrifice of his supporters on the ambition, says he will work towards the success of anyone that emerges at the party’s primary election on July 19.

Read the full statement below:

Osun 2018 Gubernatorial Election: My Decision

Dear Compatriots,

I consider it very imperative to address you my associates, friends and members of our great party; All Progressives Congress (APC) as touching issues surrounding my involvement in the 2018 gubernatorial race on the platform of our great party.

To the keen watchers of unfolding political events, this will be my first official public statement since the leaders of my town including traditional institutions, political associates, friends and those individuals who believe in my capacity to run effectively for the exalted seat of the Governor of our dear state made an unprecedented efforts in the history of Nigeria’s polity by raising over One Million Naira (#1,000,000.00) among themselves without my knowledge and proceeded to obtain an intention form at our party secretariat in Osogbo.

As a human being, when I heard about their action and the extent they had gone by paying the required fee to the leadership of our party in the state, I was caught between happiness and sadness. I was sad because I have committed myself to a worthy course of same magnitude; a course I completely believe in regardless of political, social or religious colouration. Not only that, I am also one of the front allies of that course and structure which is geared towards actualizing the Osun of our dreams. At first, I knew that the script of betrayal will be perfectly perceived and acted once I decided to yield to the call of my friends and supporters who felt I should compete for the highest political seat in the state.

On the other hand I was happy and felt fulfilled as a person that there were tons of people out there who not only dare all odds but also sacrifice their comfort and resources for me without expecting any corresponding benefits. For days, I was weighing my options; I consulted my creator, immediate family and those whose opinions matter in my political, social and religious life and concluded that there comes a time in the life of every man to fall for something or nothing; on this occasion; I willingly chose to fall for loyalty, trust, integrity and sound reasoning.

Dear friends and supporters, ever since the news of my purported aspiration broke, I have been very careful and mindful of my approaches to political issues and gathering so as not to heighten the already charged political environment within our party. Despite my silence and non-involvement in any political activities in the face of humongous pressure from every corner, thousands of people including young and old from the three senatorial districts of our state volunteered themselves as canvasers and mobilizers to woo party loyalists and general public to support my supposed candidature. This reality quite negates the image people erroneously attached to our youths that money determines their loyalty in politics. I therefore considered it a matter of pride and privilege to receive the support of various political, social, professional and religious leaders both home and abroad.

However, I have considered all factors surrounding the competition for the ticket of our great party in the forthcoming gubernatorial election and decided to isolate myself from the contest against the growing agitation for my involvement but rather remain committed to a course I considered worthy for the collective good of our dear state.  This decision is coming on the premise of my desire to see a united APC in Osun after July 19th Primary election and a stronger and cohesive party at the September 22 governorship election.

In view of this, I deeply regret any inconvenience my decision might bring to every individual or groups who out of their own volition decided to promote my name and what I represent without any prompt; I am extremely grateful and feel honoured for the social capital and premium you all invested in me.

In the meantime, I have decided to rally support for my party the APC to ensure the defense of its current position as the ruling party in Osun in order to sustain the current developmental strides of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. This is what we must all do in good faith in order to consolidate the unprecedented achievements of the outgoing government bearing in mind that God gives power to whom He pleases and above all, the WILL of Almighty Allah must be fulfilled.

Thank you and God bless.

Bola Oyebamiji
Hon. Commissioner for Finance, State of Osun

Italian President Intervenes On Issue Of Stranded Migrants

President Sergio Mattarella has intervened in Italian politics to end the simmering dispute within the ruling coalition over a migrant boat, angering the right-wing Interior Minister Matteo Salvini,

Mattarella disclosed he had contacted Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Thursday night to express his concern about the plight of 67 migrants rescued at sea and brought to a Sicilian port, whom Salvini had refused to allow to disembark.

The ship had been brought to the port of Trapani with the approval of Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli, meanwhile, Salvini ordered that no one should leave the boat until alleged violent conduct by some of the migrants had been investigated.

Toninelli is from the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement, while Salvini heads its coalition partner: the right-wing, anti-immigrant League.

After receiving Mattarella’s phone call, Conte, a non-partisan academic, ordered that the migrants be allowed off the ship.

Salvini said he had learned of the president’s move with “regret and amazement”.

Relations have often been tense between Salvini and Mattarella, who has a largely ceremonial role and intervenes in politics only in exceptional circumstances.

After inconclusive elections in March, Mattarella rejected Salvini’s request to be named prime minister, he also refused to defend the League after a court ordered that its funds be sequestered over a corruption case.

Salvini tweeted on Friday that he would not let the case of the migrant boat lie, using capital letters to say someone “has to pay” if the migrants had been violent.

Toke Makinwa Voices Out Her Loneliness

Media personality Toke Makinwa has opened up on the fact that she is lonely, saying she sometimes wishes she had a man to go home with.

Recall that the ‘small girl, big God’ diva was married to Maje Ayida until it was dissolved in October last year.

She revealed her loneliness via her Instastories some hours ago, revealing that sometimes she wished she had a man in her life.

Olorunda North LCDA Boss Assures Workers Of Adequate Welfare

The chairman, Olorunda North Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Honourable Quadri Owonikoko has emphasised the commitment of his administration to provide social amenities for the welfare of workers.

Owonikoko stated this while inspecting the ongoing 3rd phase of the council secretariat in Ota-Efun, saying the building of the secretariat is considered necessary to ensure the smooth running of the council’s activities and make the workforce of the council comfortable in the course of performing their official duties.

This, according to him is with a view to making them more productive.

The council chairman said, workers must be made comfortable in their place of work to carry out their duties, saying, all hands must be on deck to ensure that the resources allocated to the council are properly utilised.

He thanked all members of his cabinet and staffers of the council for their sacrifice and also thanked the Baale of Ota-Efun for his support.

He tasked the people of the council area to reciprocate the good gesture of the present administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state through adequate supports to the government in terms of payment of taxes and other payable levies.


Kris Jenner Reveals Her Greatest Regrets In Life

Queen of the Keeping Up With the Kardashians empire and mum to the Kardashian and Jenner millionaires has revealed her greatest regret in life in a recent interview with Fox News Channel’s OBJECTified.

She businesswoman opened up on how her infidelity broke her marriage to the late Robert Kardashian Sr.

“I married Robert when I was 22 years old and I got pregnant on my honeymoon — I had the happiest life you could’ve dreamt about,” she recalls to host Harvey Levin. “But when you’re in something, sometimes people think the grass is always greener and that was like what I think I went through at some point.”

Asked about her “affair with a soccer player,” Jenner acknowledges that it’s true.

“I did, I did,” she says. “Which wasn’t — nothing I’m proud of. When I look back on it now, probably one of my biggest regrets in my life is that that marriage fell apart.”

Because it made it real,” she says. “Like, you think you’re going to come through this period — that was really hard for me.”

According to her, things became worst for her when Kardashian,a high-powered businessman, and attorney cut off her credit cards.

“I didn’t have anything,” she recalls. “I went to the market one day and my credit card didn’t work. I had a market credit card and I’m like, ‘I can’t even buy a tomato.’ “

Kardashian who married Jenner  in 1978 later divorced her in 1991. Before their divorce, they welcomed four children together: Kourtney, 39, Kim, 37, Khloé, 34, and Rob, 31.

Robert Kardashian Sr., who was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in July 2003 and died less than eight weeks later, at age 59, on Sept. 30, 2003

Cardi B Shares First Photo Of Her Daughter As Nicki Sends Gift worth $5,000

Cardi B has shared the very first picture of her daughter Kulture on social media and the little cutie is sure melting hearts online.

Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj showed that she has no ill feelings towards fellow rap superstar Cardi B as she gifted the new mother a $5,000 gift basket for her newborn baby girl Kulture Kiari Cephus.


Full Nominations List For 2018 Emmy Awards

Outstanding drama series

  • “The Americans”
  • “The Crown”
  • “Game of Thrones”
  • “The Handmaid’s Tale”
  • “Stranger Things”
  • “This Is Us”
  • “Westworld”

Outstanding comedy series

  • “Atlanta”
  • “Barry”
  • “black-ish”
  • “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
  • “GLOW”
  • “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
  • “Silicon Valley”
  • “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

Lead actor in a comedy series

  • Anthony Anderson, “black-ish”
  • Ted Danson, “The Good Place”
  • Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
  • Donald Glover, “Atlanta”
  • Bill Hader, “Barry”
  • William H. Macy, “Shameless”

Lead actress in a comedy series

  • Pamela Adlon, “Better Things”
  • Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
  • Allison Janney, “Mom”
  • Issa Rae, “Insecure”
  • Tracee Ellis Ross, “black-ish”
  • Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”

Lead actor in a drama series

  • Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
  • Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”
  • Ed Harris, “Westworld”
  • Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”
  • Milo Ventimiglia, “This Is Us”
  • Jeffrey Wright, “Westworld”

Lead actress in a drama series

  • Claire Foy, “The Crown”
  • Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
  • Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”
  • Keri Russell, “The Americans”
  • Evan Rachel Wood, “Westworld”

Reality competition program

  • “The Amazing Race”
  • “American Ninja Warrior”
  • “RuPaul’s Drag Race”
  • “Top Chef”
  • “The Voice”

Variety sketch series

  • “At Home With Amy Sedaris”
  • “Drunk History”
  • “I Love You America”
  • “Portlandia”
  • “Saturday Night Live”
  • “Tracy Ullman Show”

Variety talk

  • “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”
  • “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”
  • “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
  • “Last Week Tonight”
  • “Late Late Show With James Corden”
  • “Late Show With Stephen Colbert”

Limited series

  • “The Alienist”
  • “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
  • “Genius: Picasso”
  • “Godless”
  • “Patrick Melrose”

Lead actor in a limited series or movie

  • Antonio Banderas, “Genius: Picasso”
  • Darren Criss, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, “Patrick Melrose”
  • Jeff Daniels, “Looming Tower”
  • John Legend, “Jesus Christ Superstar: Live in Concert”
  • Jesse Plemons, “U.S.S. Callister (Black Mirror)”

Lead actress in a limited series or movie

  • Jessica Biel, “The Sinner”
  • Laura Dern, “The Tale”
  • Michelle Dockery, “Godless”
  • Edie Falco, “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders”
  • Regina King, “Seven Seconds”
  • Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Cult”