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A former Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, Sule Katagum, speaks with ARMSTRONG BAKAM on the state of the nation and explains why he dumped the All Progressives Congress for the Peoples Democratic Party

You recently dumped the All Progressives Congress and joined the Peoples Democratic Party.  Why did you do that?

First of all, I didn’t ‘dump’ the APC; actually, the APC drove me out of its enclave. I joined the APC in 2014 and we formed the government in 2015 and 2019, I was the Chief of Staff and I even became the deputy governor of Bauchi State under the leadership of former governor M.A. (Mohammed Abdullahi) Abubakar.

Unfortunately, in 2019, we lost the election, and the PDP took over. Since then, we, I mean the administration of  M.A. Abubakar, were treated like pariah people. We were not part of the developing structure of the APC.

In fact, we saw clearly that we were no longer wanted because all activities, all meetings, and all decisions were taken without the input of, first and foremost, the only governor the APC has ever produced in the state, Barrister M.A. Abubakar.

 Just because he, the former governor, lost his re-election, he was treated like that. I could remember when he lost the election. He tried to reach out to those who were in the leadership of the APC at that time. He said, “Look, let us come back together and build the APC from our mistakes that we made. Yes, I made a lot of mistakes, but I was not the only one that made the mistakes. Everybody made mistakes.”

However, I do believe that was not the intention of the new leadership of the party and at the end of the day, up to this year (2022), when the primaries were  held, we realised that even if our former governor of the APC came in and tried to participate in the primaries, he would not have won. Not because he doesn’t have the people and not because he doesn’t have the structure, but just because the party leadership didn’t want him to continue as governor.

If they do not like our principal, that is, M.A. Abubakar, they don’t like us either. So, we were driven out, and the only reasonable and honourable thing to do, for someone like me, is that if you don’t want us, we leave you. So I resigned from the party.

Did you consult with your former boss, the former governor, Barrister Mohammed Abubakar, before quitting the APC?

Well, I consulted widely with my people. I consulted widely with my elders, my family, and, of course, with the former governor. I went to see him and I told him, “Look, Your Excellency, you are a gentleman. You tolerate so much disdain, intolerance and everything but we that are under you can no longer take this kind of thing.

In your resignation letter to the APC ward chairman, you stated that the principles for which you joined the APC in 2014 are no longer valid and that you must leave the party. What are these principles?

The reason that made us join the APC in 2014 were that the party’s principles entailed things like fairness, justice, and so on. If you look at the motto of the APC, we believed strongly in the APC.  In the north, there was no doubt, Buhari was like a messiah,  Buhari was compared to people like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. We thought this was a man who would clean Nigeria and make it what it was supposed to be.

Sadly, the principles, over the years, became more or less like those of the normal Nigerian political party. What we had expected, like I said earlier, after the failure of the Governor Abubakar’s administration in 2019, was a sort of reconciliation, a sort of reaching out in order to speak to ourselves and see how we could go about it.

In fact, to be honest with you, in 2019, I don’t think it was really the PDP as a party that defeated Abubakar; it was more or less an internal affair (that cost him his seat).

What efforts did you make to seek redress?

If they don’t involve me in the running of things or ask me to come and do this or that, if they don’t involve me in stakeholders or whatever, what can I do? Maybe somebody would call you and say they didn’t see you in a meeting, or maybe a meeting will be held tomorrow and they will call you to come to Abuja by 4pm for a meeting.

So, you see, these are some of the tricks, and quietly, they were trying to say, “We are sick and tired of you guys. Can you go through the window or through the door quietly?”

There are two major contenders struggling to unseat the current Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed. They are a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (retd.) of the APC and a serving Senator, Haliru Jika of the New Nigeria Peoples Party. What do you think are Mohammed’s chances of returning as governor?

Well, first of all, you must realise that the current governor is an incumbent. He is an erudite politician. He’s someone I think needs no introduction to anybody in the context of Nigerian politics. They are the ones that are trying to remove him from his chair, which I doubt if they can, because he’s a politician who has all kinds of ways of retaining that chair (as governor).

In our own time, my former governor was a bit too nice for a typical Nigerian politician in that aspect. But for someone like Bala, he’s someone who will come out fully and try to retain his seat.

Secondly, let me say this that, from my experiences as a one-time administrator, there’s really no governor in Nigeria who can really do a lot for people in just one term of four years.

A governor makes a lot of mistakes in the first four years. He needs a second term to really consolidate, to really set out his goals, and to achieve them.

And at the same time, we are supporting Bala Mohammed because we believe in what he is doing. If you see somebody performing, applaud him, because tomorrow when he’s no longer the governor, he’s not going to take these roads to Duguri, his hometown, to Lagos or any other place.

You said earlier that you and others who joined the APC in 2014 went all out to ensure that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), won the election. But here we are. The country is worse off with insecurity everywhere; the economy is in a shambles, Are you disappointed by where we are as a country?

Well, let’s be very, very honest with ourselves. We’re all Nigerians. The promises were mainly on security, on the economy, and on corruption. But in all honesty, look at the security situation across the country.

Yes, we agree that maybe Boko Haram has been contained to a certain level. In those days, there were bombings, but now, nobody can travel from his state, for example, from Bauchi to Abuja, without feeling that something could happen to him on the road. Every day, we hear of people being apprehended, and kidnappings are common. In terms of security, I will honestly say, with all due respect to Mr President, that there has been no improvement.

Secondly, of course, there is corruption. Nobody has been vilified; nobody has been taken to prison.

Even the two former governors of Taraba and Plateau states who were sent to prison were pardoned…

You see, that is sending the wrong signal that you can steal, go and spend some time in prison, and come back and your money is still intact.

If the APC members campaign, what are they even going to tell Nigerians (during the campaign)? There’s nothing! Except if people just want to play the ostrich and put their heads underground.  Yesterday (Monday), someone was talking about the kind of development that happened in Lagos. You see, we are individualising this thing now. We’re not talking about an individual; we’re talking about a party structure. The candidate of the APC is part of the APC. He was the greatest contributor and progenitor of Buhari. If not for Bola Tinubu with his influence, I don’t think Buhari would have won the election, but he helped, so he’s part and parcel of the APC.

First of all, he has to explain to Nigerians what really happened. Why did the APC, after promising in 2014 to do all these things for Nigerians, still sits on the brink?

In seven years plus, you (Tinubu) were part and parcel of the government and even a leader of the APC. You had direct access to the President, so what are you coming to tell Nigerians now? Or you didn’t know what was happening? We’re all Nigerians and we need to be very frank with ourselves and agree. But what we are saying is that Atiku (Abubakar), just like (Muhammadu) Buhari, has tried many times.  He doesn’t need to be the President of Nigeria, but there must be a reason because he’s comfortable, he has attained a certain age where he can go and relax and nothing happens.

The Nigerian economy is in shambles right now. The Naira got up above N700 to a dollar and the prices of goods in the market keep skyrocketing. Do you think those managing the economy in Nigeria are bereft of ideas or what do you think is the major problem?

They might have ideas, but you see; the problem in this country is that most of our managers don’t really do things for the generality of Nigerians. You can see that all the managers are PhD holders. They have M. Scs from Harvard University, from whatever, but this attitude towards public wealth or public purse is so sad in this country. We still have people who think their own policies should pave the way for them to make wealth and not for the country to become what they are; they are not for the improvement of the country.

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Swedish Scientist and 2022 Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology, Svante Paabo,

A 67-year-old Swedish scientist, Svante Paabo, won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday.

Paabo became a Nobel laureate following his outstanding years of discovery work of extracting deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) from 40,000-year-old bones.

This includes his expertise in sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of present-day humans.

He was also able to establish that gene transfer occurred between extinct hominins and homo sapiens.

The Nobel Prize organisation, on its website, said Paabo won the prize “for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution.”

“Paabo’s seminal research gave rise to an entirely new scientific discipline; paleogenomics. By revealing genetic differences that distinguish all living humans from extinct hominins, his discoveries provide the basis for exploring what makes us uniquely human,” the statement added.

According to the Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine and a Professor in Medical Biochemistry for the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Dr Nils-Goran Larsson, what Paabo’s work achieved had been considered impossible.

Speaking in an audio posted on Nobel Prize’s website, Paabo said his work made him realise that other types of humans existed and contributed to the homo sapiens of today.

“Well, it does tell us that we are very closely related, first of all, and we are so closely related that they have contributed quite directly, 50, 60 thousand years ago, DNA to the ancestors of most people today, those who have their roots outside Africa.

And that variation that, sort of, those variants do have an influence, and influence many things in our physiology today,” he said.

While speaking on the possibility of the discovery to alter how humans perceived themselves today, he said, “In some sense, I do think it does so, the sort of realisation that until quite recently, maybe 14 hundred generations or so ago there were other forms of humans around and they mixed with our ancestors and have contributed to us today.

“The fact that the last 40 thousand years are unique in human history, in that we are the only form of humans around. Until that time, there were almost always other types of humans that existed.”

In his reaction to the work and prize, Paabo said he “did not think that this really would qualify for a Nobel Prize,” adding that he never expected to get the call informing him of the win.

“So I was just gulping down the last cup of tea to go and pick up my daughter at her nanny where she has had an overnight stay.

“And then I got this call from Sweden and I of course thought it had something to do with our little summer house… I thought the lawn mower had broken down or something.

Paabo was born on April 20, 1955, and is one of the founders of paleogenetics and a professor at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan.

His research investigating how the E19 protein of adenoviruses modulates the immune system earned him a PhD from Uppsala University in Sweden, in 1986.

He’s the director at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

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Enioluwa Adeoluwa, also known as “Lip-gloss Boy” or “Beauty Boy,” is a multi-talented individual who has positions as a writer, host, media expert, influencer, and public speaker.

Enioluwa Adeoluwa, also known as “Lip-gloss Boy” or “Beauty Boy,” is a multi-talented individual who has positions as a writer, host, media expert, influencer, and public speaker. Adeoluwa’s climb has been unmatched since 2020; he is well-known for his videos in which he can be seen putting on lip gloss and making observations about his daily life in Lagos.

Enioluwa Adeoluwa, The Lip-Gloss Boy

As one of the few Nigerian guys working in the cosmetics and beauty sector, Adeoluwa is not only expressing himself online like every other influencer, but he is also breaking barriers. He discusses his upbringing, influences, and how he overcame the stigma associated with being femme in Nigeria in an interview with Guardian Life.

What was your childhood like?

My childhood was pretty interesting. As a pastor’s child, I was a church boy, and it was a lot of fun. Aside from the fact that I did some quite interesting activities, like playing with friends, I lived in a very close-knit community in Akure.

When did you get into the beauty industry and why lip-gloss?

I think I started making beauty-influencing videos in 2019. I don’t think lip-gloss boy as a character really relate to beauty influencing. When I do make-up and skincare videos, it’s when I do beauty influencing. That is what I started with. One day, I was making a makeup video and then I used my lip gloss and ranted and it blew up. I wish I could say “Oh, this is the reason why it was lip-gloss and this is what makes it special,” but there isn’t any of that, it just fell on lip-gloss and that is how it became lip-gloss. Beauty influencing has always been my love. I learned how to take care of my skin by seeing my mother when I was a child. I think I am reaping the benefits now.

Enioluwa Adeoluwa, The GENZ Superstar

You are one of the few male beauty influencers in Nigeria. In your experience, what do you think is responsible for the stigma surrounding male makeup?

Being one of the few male beauty influencers is exciting. It is such a good opportunity that I am one of the first to do it, but there are new people doing it as well. I feel like there is just this feeling of fulfilment. When I started, a lot of people talked about the stigma, but I am glad it was different for me. I understand the stigma directed towards it, but I feel like that is changing and that is what representation does. Once we hear more success stories related to beauty male influencers, then people will start to become more accepting of it.

What is your definition of self-care?

Self-care is what you make of it; it doesn’t feel like work; it feels like care, because you are caring for yourself. Saying to yourself, I am going to find love, going for a massage or manicure are all forms of self-care, and watching Netflix with family is another form of self-care. That moment where you are feeling relaxed, you are feeling better and you just feel like it isn’t stressful to do, i believe that moment will define self-care for you.

Ever since you have been in the public eye, you have continuously used your platform to advocate, especially for femme men. With Nigeria being a conservative country, how do you navigate through the negativity and what message are you hoping to pass across?

No matter what you do, people are always going to talk, so I don’t see the negativity. Rather, I focus on positivity and I know it is a sort of protection. The message I want to pass across really is representation and what you look like or who you are doesn’t define you. I try to avoid interviews where people ask “femme this and that”. Why don’t you ask me about how you were able to achieve first class at 19 or finish your master’s degree or get signed with brands? One thing that is very important to me is to not let my life be based on one thing. It doesn’t matter if you are femme because it is also being different. Just telling yourself “I can be successful” is fine as long as you aren’t hurting anybody and as long as you are working on it.

Content creation is something everyone is doing now, but looking at your journey, you have done very impressive things with your brand deals. What has been your strategy to stand out in the influencer market?

Again, I would say it isn’t for everyone. Yes, it is a flooded industry right now because people see that it is a successful industry where you can make money. But if you are still trying to get into it, make a name for yourself and work towards that name, then ask yourself, “what are you bringing that is different?”

With influencer marketing, there is also a strategy. You have to also understand that it is business and be kind. I think people love kind people to the extent that even if they haven’t met you, they can just tell that you are a loving and kind person. That is something about me that stands out.

One fact no one knows about you?

I recently got a dog. Her name is Princess.

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Movie Star and Two-time Emmy Winner, Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis’s agent has denied reports that the film star has sold the rights to his face.

Last week, it was widely reported that Willis, in the first deal of its kind, had sold his face to a deepfake company called Deepcake.

However, a spokesperson for the actor told the BBC that he had “no partnership or agreement” with the company.

And a representative of Deepcake said only Willis had the rights to his face.

Willis announced his retirement from acting in March after being diagnosed with aphasia, a disorder that affects speech.

Deepfakes use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology to create realistic videos – often of celebrities or politicians. For actors that can no longer act, the technology has the potential to be game-changing.

On 27 September, the Daily Mail reported that a deal had been struck between Willis and Deepcake.

“Two-time Emmy winner Bruce Willis can still appear in movies after selling his image rights to Deepcake,” the story reads.

The story was picked up by the Telegraph and a series of other media outlets.

“Bruce Willis has become the first Hollywood star to sell his rights to allow a ‘digital twin’ of himself to be created for use on screen.” said the Telegraph.

But that doesn’t appear to be the case.

What is true is that a deepfake of Bruce Willis was used to create an advert for Megafon, a Russian telecoms company, last year.

The tech used in the advert was created by Deepcake, which describes itself as an AI company specializing in deepfakes.

Deepcake told the BBC it had worked closely with Willis’ team on the advert.

“What he definitely did is that he gave us his consent (and a lot of materials) to make his Digital Twin,” they said.

The company says it has a unique library of high-resolution celebrities, influencers and historical figures.

On its website, Deepcake promotes its work with an apparent quote from Mr Willis: “I liked the precision of my character. It’s a great opportunity for me to go back in time.

“The neural network was trained on content of Die Hard and Fifth Element, so my character is similar to the images of that time.”

However, Willis’s agent told the BBC, “Please know that Bruce has no partnership or agreement with this Deepcake company.”

The BBC asked Willis’s agent whether he had ever worked with Deepcake, or whether the quote used by the company was accurate.

The BBC has not yet received a response.

In a statement from Deepcake, the company said reports that it had bought the rights to Bruce Willis’s face were inaccurate.

“The wording about rights is wrong… Bruce couldn’t sell anyone any rights, they are his by default,” a representative for the company said.

The confusion highlights just how new this technology is – and the lack of clear rules around it.

AI replacement appears to be a growing trend. Darth Vader actor James Earl Jones has recently retired from playing the famous character, but his voice has carried on. Respeecher, another AI firm, has reportedly used archival materials and a proprietary algorithm to replicate the Vader vocals.

This summer, Disney released its latest Star Wars spinoff, Obi-Wan Kenobi. The show used Respeecher’s technology to reproduce Vader’s speech and even make him sound younger.

AI replacement, however, is controversial.

In April, Equity, the UK’s performing arts workers union, launched the campaign, Stop AI Stealing The Show. Some are concerned AI deep fakes could take work away from actors.

There are also concerns that actors could lose control of their faces and voices.

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