Tag Archives: barack obama

Burial Of Ooni Stalled As Man To Be ‘Buried Alive With King’ Runs Away

Ooni of Ife Oba Okunade Sijuwade’s burial has been put on hold after a man elected to be buried alive with the monarch absconded unwilling to be the one to keep the king company in the afterlife.

Abobaku, Ooni Abobaku, Ooni burial

Unconfirmed reports from Ile-Ife indicate that the designated person to be buried alive alongside the monarch, known traditionally as the Abobaku, took to his heels for dear life. Continue reading Burial Of Ooni Stalled As Man To Be ‘Buried Alive With King’ Runs Away

Gaiya, Siasia to referee Obasanjo, Afe duel

PRESIDENT Barack Obama lauded Muhammad Ali as he joined some of the world’s most famous people in a birthday celebration for the boxer known simply as “The Greatest.”

“Happy birthday, champ,” President Barack Obama told Ali through a video message, saying he wished he could have attended a swanky dinner gala in Las Vegas featuring some of the biggest names in sports, film, television and music.

“As a fighter, you were something spectacular,” Obama told Ali, who turned 70 last month. “You shocked the world, and you inspired it, too. And even after all the titles and legendary bouts, you’re still doing it.”

The gala’s 2,000 attendees were there to celebrate Ali’s life and generate millions of dollars for brain research, a mission Ali’s family says is important to him in part because of his nearly 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Football great Jim Brown said Ali represents the greatest of America, because at one time people only recognized his athletic ability and didn’t like what he had to say. That changed over time, he said.

“America started with slavery and ended up with a black president,” Brown said. “Muhammad Ali was a part of that … a big part.”

Ali’s wife, Lonnie Ali, told the star-studded crowd that her husband’s greatest wish has always been to inspire and help others. She said he feels that his life really began when he retired from the ring.

“Muhammad’s gift of inspiration is timeless, and now more relevant than ever,” she said after being introduced by music icon Quincy Jones.
Lonnie Ali introduced a video montage of her husband’s life, including clips from his work with children.

“People look for miracles, people look for wonders, people expect surprises of all kinds,” Ali said in the video. “Yet the greatest wonder, the greatest miracle, the greatest surprise is to be found in one’s heart.”

Guests arriving on the red carpet included football great Franco Harris, supermodel Cindy Crawford, acting star Samuel L. Jackson, Ali’s children and grandchildren and Chuck Wepner, who fought Ali in 1975 for the heavyweight title and lost.

“I would go anywhere in the world for Muhammad Ali’s birthday,” Wepner said.

One of Ali’s daughters, Rasheda Ali, said the gala is a chance for friends, family and A-listers who look up to her father to show their respect for his life and legacy as a humanitarian. In return, she says he’ll be honored to see them there.

“He has not left that need to help others,” Rasheda Ali said. “That’s one of his core values—his charity and his giving.”

The gala—with tickets starting at $1,500 per plate—was held at the MGM Grand, the site of most of boxing’s major fights the past two decades. Famous faces converged on the 160 tables adjacent to two rings and a stage—Terrence Howard, Anthony Hopkins, Manny Pacquiao, and Lenny Kravitz, among others. They planned performances and tributes to a fighter who went 56-5 in the ring with 37 knockouts and became perhaps the most famous athlete ever because of his personality and willingness to publicly stand up for his beliefs.

Tennis great Andre Agassi said Ali has shown the world that each person has a duty—regardless of their occupation—to live for more than him or herself and help others.

“What he did with his platform was unparalleled and the impact he’s had as a result, we still feel to this day, which is why we’re all out here tonight,” Agassi said. “We’re grateful to what he’s done. He’s been a leader—we’re also challenged and charged with a duty of figuring out a way to do more.”

Ali has lived with Parkinson’s disease for nearly 30 years, a degenerative brain condition that some doctors say can be brought on by punches to the head.

The gala raised funds for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Ky., a cultural attraction that celebrates Ali’s life and pushes educational goals on a wide range of topics for adults and children.

Larry Ruvo, chairman of the clinic’s fundraising arm, Keep Memory Alive, said he’s not sure whether the fundraiser will exceed its record of $27 million, but he hopes so.

The gala’s auction includes some items that only an A-lister or others with incredibly deep pockets could possibly afford. The top item was Ali’s gloves that he used to fight Floyd Patterson in 1965, a bout he won by knockout in the 12th round.

“If it’s $100, great, $100,000 would be better,” Larry King said in trying to drum up bids.

Magician David Copperfield auctioned off a four-night trip to his set of 11 private islands in the Bahamas for $300,000.

Boxing promoter Bob Arum said during a pre-gala reception Friday night attended by celebrities including Hopkins and Larry King that Ali will go down as one of the most important Americans in history.

“Without Muhammad Ali, there wouldn’t have been an Obama,” he said. “There wouldn’t have been a mixed-race president.”

Obama stands tall on foreign policy

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama brandished the deaths of Osama bin Laden and Muammar Kaddafi as an election year show of foreign policy force aimed at disarming his Republican foes.

Trumpeting his commander-in-chief credentials in an annual State of the Union address on Tuesday, Obama made it clear that the traditional avenue of attack — Democratic presidents are weak on defense — would not hold in 2012.

“There are no Americans fighting in Iraq. For the first time in two decades Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country,” the president said in the speech, which effectively launched his reelection campaign.

“Most of Al-Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home,” he said.

Addressing rows of military men in uniform, including his joint chiefs of staff, Obama praised their achievements as “a testament to the courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces.”

In a highly symbolic call for unity in a polarized America, Obama said a flag bearing the names of the Navy commando team that eliminated bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda mastermind, was one of his “proudest possessions.”

“Some may be Democrats. Some may be Republicans. But that doesn’t matter. Just like it didn’t matter that day in the Situation Room…. All that mattered that day was the mission. No one thought about politics.”

But beyond the jingoistic military message was a clear challenge to Republican rivals not to come after him on foreign policy, a marker in the sand less than 10 months before the November 6 presidential election.

Despite several clear foreign policy successes over the last three years, Republican presidential hopefuls have nonetheless sought to portray the Democratic incumbent as weak, continuing a tradition dating back to the Carter administration and the Iran hostage crisis.

After winning in South Carolina and surging to the front in the Republican nomination battle, Newt Gingrich issued the ultimate insult: “President Obama is a president so weak that he makes Jimmy Carter look strong.”

Gingrich’s main rival for the nomination, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, has repeatedly accused Obama of pursing an “appeasement policy” and failing to halt Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The president, in concert with the European Union, has stepped up sanctions on Iran’s oil and banking sector to try to force it to stop uranium enrichment, which the West fears masks a drive to produce an atomic bomb.

In his State of the Union address, Obama insisted that a peaceful resolution was still possible in the high-stakes international showdown with Tehran but vowed he would “take no options off the table,” referring to military action.

“The regime is more isolated than ever before; its leaders are faced with crippling sanctions, and as long as they shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent,” he said.

In an address focused heavily on domestic economic concerns, Obama also found time to hail the demise of Libya’s Kadhafi and warned Syria’s Bashar al-Assad that his regime’s days were numbered.

“A year ago, Kadhafi was one of the world’s longest-serving dictators — a murderer with American blood on his hands. Today, he is gone,” Obama said.

“And in Syria, I have no doubt that the Assad regime will soon discover that the forces of change cannot be reversed, and that human dignity cannot be denied.”

While noting it was unclear how events in the Middle East and North Africa would unfold, Obama said he would continue to “stand against violence and intimidation” and support the Arab Spring’s democratic ideals.

“How this incredible transformation will end remains uncertain. But we have a huge stake in the outcome,” he said.

“We will support policies that lead to strong and stable democracies and open markets, because tyranny is no match for liberty.”