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ANAMBRA APC PRIMARIES: I Would Have Failed Nigerians If I Didn’t Go To Court – George Moghalu



CHIEF George Moghalu, who recently obtained a judgement from the Federal High Court, Abuja annulling the All Progressives Congress, APC, primaries that  declared Senator Andy Uba the candidate of the party in the November 6, 2021 Anambra governorship election said yesterday that he would have disappointed Nigerians if he did not challenge the exercise in court.

Moghalu, a former national auditor of APC and Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) was among the 13 governorship aspirants of the party who insisted that there was no primaries. He later went to court and the court ruled that APC did not have a credible candidate for the election because it not conduct a credible primary.

Speaking for the first time since the court ruling, Moghalu said despite the party’s poor performance at the Anambra governorship poll, he was satisfied that the right thing was eventually done.

He said although he had wished that his party APC, won the Anambra election, the process that produced a candidate for the party was faulty.

According to him, rather than regret the failure of APC in the election,  what should preoccupy the minds of party members is how to rebuild the party and win back the confidence of the people.

He said: “It is not a must that I will be governor because power belongs to God and he gives to those he pleases. Maybe it’s not God’s time for me to be governor and I am not desperate about being a governor.

“At the same time, I would have failed in my responsibility if I didn’t seek redress and accepted the fraud. The judgement agreed with me and confirmed my position there was no primary.

“What we did was not about an individual but about the system and stopping impunity as well as creating enabling environment for democracy to thrive. I insisted the party does what is right.

“For every sincere APC member that loves the party, what should concern us is how to rebuild our party, resolve our differences and address our challenges.

“We must win back the people’s confidence, rather than wasting our time struggling for leadership. You don’t elect or appoint a party leader; it evolves from the people.

“It may not surprise you that the other day, someone said they’re going to sack me from the party. I’m not surprised. But the truth remains that it’s an anomaly for a tenant to sack a landlord.

“I am a critical stakeholder of the party. You may not like my face, but when APC was formed, I was a member secretary. I didn’t join APC, I was part of the formation.

“So when someone who we were magnanimous to accommodate is boasting that he wants to sack me, I laugh. I am waiting for them.”

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Ooni and Edochie

Netizens on the micro-blogging website, Instagram, have disagreed over the viral video showing the moment the Oni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Enitan, was exchanging greetings with veteran Nollywood actors, Pete Edochie and Kanayo O. Kanayo.

In the video shared by Kanayo and Ooni on their verified Instagram handles, the actors had walked into the venue of Elizabeth Jack Rich’s 40th birthday party and they approached Ooni’s table to exchange pleasantries with him.

The duo delighted to see Ooni extended handshakes simultaneously and ended with the traditional and popular Igbo backhand handshakes.

Kanayo had captioned it, “Last night was awesome @peteedochie @babarex0 @chidimokeme and the very outstanding His Royal Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Enitan, Ooni of Ife.

The video posted on Wednesday had amassed over 20,000 likes and 1,141 comments on Kanayo’s page.

Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the action, some netizens disagreed have tagged it a mere ‘woke act’ while others believed it to be a normal thing among high-profile individuals.

A user, Maxwell said, “The blame is on the Ooni of Ife for going to that kind of place and for also accepting a handshake from people. I’m not against the Nollywood stars but they are supposed to bow before the stool of the king of Ife. if it was the former Ooni of Ife who could try this and even give him a handshake?”

Another user, Yinka Poyigi, said, “I visited different palaces in the east during the course or a project I was working on, and each time I want to greet the Igwe, I will ask to prostrate like an Omoluabi. Surprisingly, the Igwes always decline because it is not their tradition. The chiefs will gently ask me to stand up and greet, introduce myself and sit down.

“What a culture shock! But that’s their tradition, so before you walk with your heads instead of your legs, ask yourself certain questions. 1. Was Ooni in his palace sitting on his stool when this happened? 2. Are the people in question from the same culture? 3. Is Idobale (Porstrate) always a sign of genuine respect? 4. Is Ooni a king of the two veteran Actors? 5. Was this event in Ife? I understand that Ooni is a king to some kings in Yoruba land and even a recognised first-class king in Yoruba land and if I meet him anywhere…my chest will be on the floor.

“I don’t expect my Ibo brothers to do the same except when in his palace. When we travel around and experience different cultures, our exposure and ways of thinking will change,” he added.

Another user, Iamflappys, muttered, “If you don’t respect yourself, no one will. If the real and former king is on the seat, this nonsense will not happen. I respect the work and talent of the legend but if the king starts respecting the throne and acts like a king, this madness will not happen. If anything remove your cap.

In his opinion, a user, Noel Enomheonse, opined, “It looks like this king doesn’t know what his culture expects of him. I’m still thinking of that man in Nigeria who shake hands with the great Oba of Benin in that manner. Even the president and other world leaders bow before him. Sorry to say! Pete Edochie just disrespected the king.”

However, a user, Ugezujugezu, saw nothing wrong with the action, he even commended Edochie saying, “When you hear OKWU OTO EKENE EZE…….. now you understand it.”

Another user, Lincedochie said it is a gathering of elites.

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It was a horrible accident. What was left of the black Mercedes lay outside the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris after the devastating crash in August 1997. French firefighter Xavier Gourmelon was among the first to arrive at the scene early on that tragic Saturday morning and immediately went to work rescuing the victims. But Gourmelon and his team had no idea who the victims truly were.

As he pulled the blonde woman out of the wrecked car, he noticed that she still had signs of life. Her lips moved as she struggled to let words out. But Gourmelon could barely hear her, so he leaned closer. That was when it hit him that the woman whose life he was fighting to save was special⁠. After almost three decades, Gourmelon finally shared that he really thought Princess Diana would survive. But after her tragic death, he would learn that he had been the recipient of her final words…

The Accident

Gourmelon, along with nine other firemen, raced to the Pont d’ Alma underpass to help the victims of the devastating crash. The vehicle involved, a Mercedes-Benz W140, had its front totally wrecked in the accident. Looking inside it, the men could see that one of its occupants appeared to have died.

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - JUNE 16: Lady Diana Spencer, wearing a yellow, pink and blue silk striped suit designed by David Neil, sits in a car while attending a polo match at Windsor Great Park following a day at Royal Ascot on June 16, 1981 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
Anwar Hussein/GettyImages

Gourmelon examined the situation. He scoured the luxury saloon to see if there was anyone else he could still try and save. Then his eyes caught a young, blonde woman inside. She looked like she was still breathing, albeit faintly.

To the Rescue

When Gourmelon successfully freed the blonde woman from the car, she was in fairly stable condition, so he was surprised to learn that she later passed away in the hospital. All the while he was attending to her, he had no idea who she actually was and simply concentrated on doing his best to ensure she survived in that critical moment.

TETBURY, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Lady Diana Spencer, wearing a red and white polka dot suit designed by Jasper Conran, waves as she attends her first walkabout with her fiance Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, two months before their wedding, on May 22, 1981 in Tetbury, Gloucestshire, United Kingdom. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
Anwar Hussein/GettyImages

He was even more shocked later on when he found out that the young woman he had saved was, in fact, Diana, Princess of Wales. But there was more to the situation. While he was helping her out of the car, she whispered something to him. And he kept those words a secret for two decades.

Diana’s Destiny

With an aristocratic heritage, Lady Diana Spencer became acquainted with the royal family at an early age. Her family lived near the Sandringham House, so she often saw many of the kingdom’s nobles and spent time during her younger years with them. 

Lady Diana Spencer, the future Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997) at a polo match in Hampshire, 1981. It was on this occasion that she was driven to tears by press intrusion. (Photo by Kypros/Getty Images)

Academically, however, Spencer wasn’t so fortunate, so she later compensated for it by taking a slew of low-paying jobs in London. However, Diana was destined for a more illustrious future. At 16, her life took an interesting turn that would forever change not only the way she lived but also her family’s fortune.

Nuptial Bells

Diana aged beautifully, but she never shed her shy and humble nature. It was this graceful personality of hers that attracted Charles, Prince of Wales. At the time, Charles was dating Sarah, her older sister, but soon after, a relationship blossomed between the prince and Diana.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 29: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a wedding dress designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel and the Spencer family Tiara, leave St. Paul
Anwar Hussein/GettyImages

The couple tied the knot in 1981 in a fairytale-like ceremony that was broadcast all over the world. An estimated 700 million people worldwide tuned in to watch the Prince of Wales and Diana exchange vows at St. Paul’s Cathedral. But unlike fairytales, sadly, this couple did not live happily ever after.

The Center of Attention

Now a member of Britain’s royal family, Diana faced rules and stringent expectations that were not aligned with her reserved and humble nature. At first, it seemed that having married a prince was the best thing that could have happened to her, but the union soon became agonizing for Diana, especially when she discovered she was pregnant.

LONDON - SEPTEMBER 1980:  Diana Spencer at the Young England Kindergarten in September 1980 shortly before her engagement to Prince Charles, Prince of Wales was announced.  (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
Anwar Hussein/GettyImages

For the most part, the void Diana felt within her was because she considered herself undeserving of her new position as a princess. As the media and paparazzi swarmed around her, following her every move and even publishing photographs of her and her family in what were supposed to be intimate and private moments, Diana became overwhelmed. But as the years went by, she quickly learned that the stress of constantly being under the public eye would not be the only bane of her life.

In Secret

The public saw Prince Charles’s family as a happy, picture-perfect clan. But on the other side of the royal walls, it was a tumultuous affair (quite literally) and their marriage was breaking down. It was reported that both Charles and Diana cheated on each other, and it was later revealed that she suffered from an eating disorder, as well as episodes of mental breakdowns. 

CAIRO, EGYPT - MAY 12: Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a yellow blouse and skirt, during a visit to the Cairo Institute of Polio and Rehabilitation on May 12, 1992 in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
Anwar Hussein/GettyImages

While Diana battled to keep a happy demeanor for her role in the public eye, it is widely believed that Charles’s rekindled and brazen love affair with his old flame Camila Parker-Bowles, was the final straw in their marriage, as it was done with no regard for Diana’s feelings.

Separate Ways

Just a little over a decade after their wedding-of-the-century nuptials, Charles’s and Diana’s marriage crumbled irrevocably. They separated in 1992 and their divorce was finalized in 1996. Fans of the couple were devastated, and it was reported that the divorce hurt Diana more than it did Prince Charles.

Princess Diana, Princess of Wales  making a speech at the Centrepoint Conference for the Homeless at the Savoy Theatre, on December 12, 1995 in London, England.   (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
Anwar Hussein/GettyImages

Without many friends to confide in, she stepped back from public life. One tabloid reporter claimed that Diana had very few “true friends” in her life. But on the bright side, Diana’s love life thrived after she and Charles split.

Scandalous Affairs

Still young and gorgeous, it was reported that a throng of suitors surrounded the princess. It was also alleged that during her marriage, she was engaged in love affairs with men such as cavalryman James Hewitt and her bodyguard Paul Manakee.

Princess Diana wtih her bodyguard, Detective Alan Peters (right), circa 1990. (Photo by Tom Stoddart/Getty Images)
Tom Stoddart Archive/GettyImages

It also came to light that she had to axe her affair with childhood friend James Gilbey, a car dealer, after phone calls became public in which he called her “Squidgy.” As you can imagine, the media feasted on that specific story.

Behind Closed Doors

Then British-Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan came along and stole the princess’s heart. It appeared their relationship brought joy back into her life. The romance was kept a tight secret, as Diana searched for a way to live far from the public eye.

File Photo Showing Dr Hasnat Khan Visiting A Hospital On The Outskirts Of London In 1997. (Photo by Antony Jones/UK Press via Getty Images)
Antony Jones/GettyImages

She disclosed to friends that she had never met anyone like Khan. The princess had been completely enamored by the surgeon when she first met him while on a visit with a friend to London’s Royal Brompton Hospital.

Head Over Heels

What’s more, according to Vanity Fair, Khan and Diana’s romance continued to progress to the point where they started talking about marriage. Though the princess tried to persuade Khan to agree to a private wedding, he reportedly expelled the idea.

284700 05: (FILE PHOTO) Heart surgeon Hasnat Khan is shown walking in this 1996 file photo. According to British
Getty Images/GettyImages

Hasnat was never a fan of all the publicity that came with dating the world’s most famous woman. Instead, he proposed that they both move to Pakistan, where they’d be free of the media meddling in their affairs. Diana reportedly actually gave the idea some genuine consideration.

Nearly Wed

On top of that, the princess also reportedly shared her feelings about Hasnat with her close friends, who is now prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan. Khan later revealed that the conversations he had with her convinced him that she was in love with Hasnat.

LAHORE, PAKISTAN - FEBRUARY 20: Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a traditional pink shalwar kameez, is welcomed at Lahore airport by Imran Khan on February 20, 1996 in Lahore, Pakistan. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
Anwar Hussein/GettyImages

But ultimately, the relationship started to fall apart. Despite the new development, Diana continued to work tirelessly for causes she supported. She attended the English National Ballet and visited Mother Theresa before gracing the 1997 cover of Vanity Fair.

Someone New

That very month, Egyptian billionaire Mohammed Al-Fayed invited Diana to holiday in St. Tropez in the south of France. Al-Fayed first met Diana and Prince Charles in July 1986, when they were introduced at a polo tournament.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 08:  Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a red suit designed by Catherine Walker, listens to speeches as she attends The London Lighthouse for the launch of the
Anwar Hussein/GettyImages

Diana accepted his invitation and went on the trip with her two sons, Princes William and Harry, and they stayed in the billionaire’s villa. It came as little surprise when reports started flying around that it was there that Diana became romantically involved with Al Fayed’s son, Dodi.

New Romance

Even while on vacation in France, the People’s Princess and her brood were still not free from the prying eyes of the press. She was stalked by the paparazzi, and many still haven’t forgotten when pictures of her kissing Dodi aboard the Al Fayed family’s yacht made frontpage news.

MAJORCA, SPAIN - AUGUST 15:  (L-R) Diana, Princess of Wales, Charles, Prince of Wales, and King Constantine II of Greece on board the yacht of King Juan Carlos of Spain
Georges De Keerle/GettyImages

During an unplanned press briefing later on, Diana told the reporters present that she would stun them with her next move. But unbeknownst to her or anyone else, her statement would end up being eerily predictive.

Dodi Al Fayed

Princess Diana and Dodi’s relationship strengthened in the weeks before they were tragically killed. But he is said to have admired the princess from afar and had his eyes set on her long before his father invited her on a luxury trip to France.

HONG KONG - NOVEMBER 07:  Diana, Princess of Wales, during her official visit to Hong Kong on November 7, 1989 in Hong Kong.  (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
Georges De Keerle/GettyImages

Dodi was the eldest son and had grown up in affluence. But he’d also made a name for himself as a movie producer and earned credits on Hook, Chariots of Fire, and The Scarlet Letter.

It’s Over 

Upon returning to London, Diana called off her two-year relationship with Hasnat Khan, the man she had once referred to as “Mr. Wonderful,” as he later told the police. He quickly presumed she had opened up her heart to someone new⁠ – maybe a member of the Al Fayed family.

BRAEMAR, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 05: Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a tartan dress designed by Caroline Charles and a black Tam o
Anwar Hussein/GettyImages

Khan did not hold the Egyptian businessman in high regard and let the princess know that he felt the new affair would end up hurting her. But although Diana was heartbroken that she and Khan hadn’t worked out, her mind was made up about Dodi.

Head Over Heels

Dodi was clearly smitten by Diana⁠, despite the fact that he was at that time engaged to American model Kelly Fisher. Apparently, to make the princess aware of his intentions, he reportedly showered her with expensive gifts, including exotic tropical fruits, a Cartier watch, and flowers that filled her entire room.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 03: Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a red jacket designed by Jan van Velden, with a white and red polka dot dress and a matching hat, during a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens on November 3, 1985 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
Anwar Hussein/GettyImages

He would, at last, receive a positive response to his expressions of love when Diana agreed to embark on a relationship with him. Dodi had earned a harmless playboy status before getting involved with Diana and was known to have dated a string of celebs, including Brooke Shields and Julia Roberts.

Engagement Rumors

In any case, views differed about the strength of Diana and Dodi’s relationship as the summer of 1997 came to an end. Vanity Fair, for example, stated that Dodi intended to buy the princess a ring.

Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997) attends the races, UK, circa 1981. (Photo by Kypros/Getty Images)

However, the princess had told her close friend Rosa Monckton that she was going to wear the ring on a finger on her right hand. Furthermore, Monckton felt that Diana just wanted to make Khan envious. Dodi’s dad, on the contrary, strongly believed that the ring was meant to mark the pair’s engagement.

Happy Days

Whatever the reality of the situation was, however, Diana and Dodi clearly enjoyed spending time with each other. And at the end of July 1997, the couple decided to embark on a cruise together to Sardinia.

MAJORCA, SPAIN - AUGUST 15:  Diana, Princess of Wales, on board the yacht of King Juan Carlos of Spain
Georges De Keerle/GettyImages

But being the hottest couple on the planet meant the paparazzi was once again hot on their heels. In August of that year, Diana was present at an anti-landmine event in Bosnia. While she was there, photographs of her and Dodi snuggling on his yacht hit newsstands.

Ready for the Next Step

The pair was back in France at the end of the month following their wonderful vacation in Sardinia. This time, they chose to visit the city of Paris, checking into the Hôtel Ritz, which is owned by Dodi’s father.

VERSAILLES, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 28: Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a black halter-neck evening gown with bugle beads designed by Catherine Walker, attends La Deuxieme Nuit International de L
Anwar Hussein/GettyImages

In 2019, The Daily Mirror reported that whilst Diana remained in their suite, Dodi headed out to a jeweler to secure the ring that the princess was anticipating. Then during the night of August 30, 1997, they decided to eat out at the extravagant Benoit restaurant.

Paparazzi Trouble

Although the couple had planned on an intimate dinner together, the paparazzi threatened to ruin their night out. As they hit the road on their way to Benoit, they were followed by about 30 photographers. So the pair made a u-turn back to the Ritz, deciding instead to dine at the hotel’s L’Espadon restaurant.

LLANTWIT MAJOR, WALES - JUNE 05: Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a red jacket designed by Jan van Velden, with a white and red polka dot dress and a matching hat, visits Atlantic College on June 5, 1985 in Llantwit Major, United Kingdom. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
Anwar Hussein/GettyImages

But as they settled down to their meal, Dodi became concerned that some of the guests around them were actually paparazzi. This left him and Diana with no other alternative but to return to their suite.

Being Trailed

As soon as they were done with dinner, Diana and Dodi decided to retire to his luxurious apartment on the Rue Arsène Houssaye for the rest of the night. But once more, they faced a glaring problem.

Photographers and camera operators gather behind a security barrier outside Manor House on Prince William
Princess Diana Archive/GettyImages

The paparazzi had tailed the couple from the minute they left the Ritz earlier that evening. So the couple was almost certain that photographers were lurking around, waiting for them to make a move. Eventually, they came up with what can be termed a grand plot.

A Simple Plan

The plan involved Henri Paul, the deputy head of security at the hotel. Although it was his night off, Paul was called back in to drive Dodi, the princess, and her bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones to Dodi’s apartment.

LA SPEZIA - APRIL 20: Diana Princess of Wales with Prince Charles on board a ship at the naval base on April 20, 1985 in La Spezia, Italy during the Royal Tour of Italy. Diana wore a dress by Catherine Walker with a hat by Kangol (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
David Levenson/GettyImages

It was arranged that two decoy cars would leave from the main entrance of the hotel in order to fool the paparazzi, while Paul and the others would exit through the back in a hired black Mercedes Benz. This wall took place in the early hours of August 31, 1997.

Just After Midnight

They all got in the car and Paul zoomed down the road. But the swarm of paparazzi somehow had become aware of the plan and began aggressively tailing the limo. Sitting in front with Paul was Rees-Jones.

LONDON - JANUARY 23:  Princess Diana
Daniel Berehulak/GettyImages

Subsequently, an inquest heard that the paparazzi, who had earlier on been goaded by Paul outside the hotel, had attempted to “block” the vehicle to force Paul to slow down, but their efforts were futile. Rather, the Mercedes proceeded on its journey, traveling at about 65 mph before disaster struck.

A Sad Fate

The limo continued to blaze down the road. Just three minutes after departing the hotel, right as he was entering the tunnel under Pont d’Alma, Paul lost control of the vehicle. There were no paparazzi closeby at the time that would have been blamed for the mishap, so ultimately, the inquest would place the error on Paul.

Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

Not only was he driving with so much alcohol in his system that he was more than three times over the legal limit, but it was also found that he was under the effects of prescription drugs.

The Tragic Crash

The vehicle hit the wall of the tunnel, swerved left, and with great force, rammed into one of the pillars that supported the roof. It was a brutal and fatal crash that claimed Paul’s life on the spot. And as the mangled remains of the black limo lay in the tunnel, the paparazzi, who had been pursuing the car on motorbikes, arrived at the scene.

ZELL AM SEE, AUSTRIA - SEPTEMBER 08: A motorcyclist and cars drive through the tunnel of the the Hochtor (2504 m) on September 08, near Zell am See, Austria. The Grossglockner high alpine road is the highest  mountain pass road in Austria. It connects Bruck in the state of Salzburg with Heiligenblut in Carinthia. The road is named after the Grossglockner, Austria
Jan Hetfleisch/GettyImages

But they made little effort to help the affected passengers, opting instead to photograph the wreckage. Thankfully, though, someone eventually put a call through to emergency services, and a team of firefighters hurried out from the Malar station close by.

Rescuers Arrive

The team of heroic firefighters was headed by Gourmelon – the duty officer on that tragic night. Now, 20 years after his encounter with the victims, he revealed to The Sun exactly what he and his team had discovered.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23:  Debris from cars is seen on the road as police crash scene investigators and firemen inspect vehicles involved in a fatal collision inside Melbourne

Recalling details about the accident involving the world’s most famous couple at the time, Gourmelon said, “The car was in a mess, and we just dealt with it like any road accident. We got straight to work to see who needed help and who was alive.”

Helping the Victims

As an experienced firefighter, the horror crash Gourmelon witnessed was not new to him, and he did what he knew best: analyze the situation and provide help. “For me, this was simply a banal traffic accident⁠ – one of many that emergency services have to deal with⁠ – and it was the usual causes: speed and a drunk driver,” Gourmelon went on.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23:  Police crash scene investigators and firemen inspect vehicles involved in a fatal collision inside Melbourne

He also immediately knew that nothing could be done to save Paul. In his interview with The Sun, Gourmelon said, “When I got to the car, I could see the driver was already dead, and there was nothing that could be done for him.”


Unfortunately, Dodi’s fate in the back seat of the limo wasn’t much better. While still inside, he had suffered a heart attack. Gourmelon was familiar with such traumas, and Dodi’s situation was not looking good at all. He did not survive and died shortly after impact.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 15: Rescuers wait to evacuate passengers injured as several subway cars derailed in Moscow, on July 15, 2014. At least 18 people died and dozens were injured after a train derailed in the Moscow metro in a tunnel between Park Pobedy and Slavyansky Bulvar stations, in rush hour on Tuesday morning. The cause of the crash is reported to be a power surge, which prompted the train to stop abruptly. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

Once he’d been extracted from the vehicle, the paramedics called his time of death. But for bodyguard Rees-Jones, there was hope. Although he had been severely injured, including several major facial injuries, he, fortunately, went on to make a recovery.

The Princess’s Bodyguard

Even though he was in great danger, Rees-Jones’s major concern was clearly Diana. In a state of panic, he repeatedly asked for the princess. As Gourmelon recalled, “He kept asking for the princess, saying, ‘Where is she? Where is she?’”

LONDON - JANUARY 23:  Princess Diana
Daniel Berehulak/GettyImages

“But my team told him to keep calm and not speak. I told him that none of my men spoke English so it was better for him to keep still and not move. I told him not to worry we were looking after everyone,” he added. This advice may have been the thing to save Rees-Jones’s life, as despite his extensive injuries (including breaking every bone in his face that required doctors to use family photos as references to rebuild his looks with 150 titanium plates) and 10 days in a coma, he would be the only survivor. Now head of security for AstraZeneca, he published The Bodyguard’s Story: Diana, The Crash, And The Sole Survivor in 2000 and was then involved in lawsuits with Dodi’s father, who he said put “intense” pressure on him to remember the events of that fateful night.

Diana Spencer

In the meantime, Gourmelon took care of Diana, but at the time, he had no idea who she was and identified her as the mystery “blonde woman.” The princess was lying on the floor in the back seat of the car. She was conscious and her eyes were open, so the hero firefighter felt she would be alright after all.

LAGOS, NIGERIA - MARCH 15:  Diana, Princess of Wales, attends a State Banquet during her official visit to Nigeria on March 15, 1990 in Lagos, Nigeria. The princess wears a Catherine Walker dress.  (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
Georges De Keerle/GettyImages

Diana was also reportedly able to make some small movements. But despite her state, crucial seconds were ticking by, and she needed to be moved to a hospital immediately.

The Princess of Wales

Gourmelon gave Diana oxygen and she grasped his hand as he got ready to bring her out of the limo. And the entire time he had no idea he was really attending to the Princess of Wales. This he later revealed in his interview with the newspaper.

UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 04:  Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 -1997) during the Queen Mother
Georges De Keerle/GettyImages

He told The Sun, “It was only when she had been put into the ambulance that one of the paramedics told me it was [Princess Diana].” In addition, the firefighter also disclosed the chilling words she spoke to him that night.

The Words

While Gourmelon cared for the princess, making sure she didn’t suffer any more harm, she uttered some words to him that may just have been the last words she ever spoke.

TOKYO, JAPAN - MAY 12: Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a pleated royal blue evening dress designed by fashion designer Yuki and a sapphire and diamond headband made from jewels which she had reset from the Saudi suite converting the watch into a choker to wear on her forehead, attends a dinner hosted by Emperor Hirohito on May 12, 1986 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
Anwar Hussein/GettyImages

Apparently in shock at the mess of the wrecked car, she reportedly said to the man who had rescued her, “My God, what’s happened?” And although Gourmelon did not disclose in his interview whether he ever replied to the princess or not, he spoke about what happened to her next.

Saving a Life

Diana was certainly in good hands with Gourmelon and the rest of the first responders as they worked tirelessly to save her and Rees-Jones after their horrific ordeal. But given the circumstances, there was only so much they could do.


Gourmelon said, “I gave [Diana] some oxygen, and my team and I stayed by her side as she was taken out of the car. It was very quick because we didn’t have to cut any of the wreckage.” But sadly, as she was placed on a stretcher, she suffered a heart attack.

Cardiac Arrest

Diana, who had been sitting in the right-back passenger seat when the crash occurred, was reported to have had no visible serious injuries. But the nightmare wasn’t over yet for the princess. She went into cardiac arrest at about 1:00 am, so Gourmelon quickly gave her aid.

MONACO - SEPTEMBER 18: Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a black dress and black boater hat with a netted veil, attends the funeral of Princess Grace of Monaco on September 18, 1982 in Monaco. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
Anwar Hussein/GettyImages

At first, it appeared to work. He said in his interview, “I massaged her heart, and a few seconds later she started breathing again. It was a relief, of course, because as a first responder you want to save lives⁠ – and that’s what I thought I had done.”

No Visible Major Injury

After Diana’s heart started beating again, Gourmelon strongly believed that she would be fine. And he had good reason to think so. Firstly, there wasn’t any blood on her, despite the severity of the crash.

Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1988 ca.  (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
Georges De Keerle/GettyImages

And what’s more, it appeared she had only sustained a minor injury to her right shoulder, It was all the firefighter could notice. Then Gourmelon and his team may have thought they had effectively protected Diana from any more danger. But little did they know the worst was yet to come for her.

It Appeared She Would Live

Hopes were high when Diana was being moved into the emergency vehicle. She appeared to be stable and was on her way to meet the best hands at Pitié-Salpétrière Hospital. Gourmelon thought the princess had a good chance of survival.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 04:  Diana, Princess of Wales, attends the Queen Mother
Georges De Keerle/GettyImages

He told The Sun, “To be honest, I thought she would live.” But it would be hours after the devastating crash and Diana’s transportation to the hospital that he would receive news that not only shocked him but also rocked the entire world.

Hospital Care

Shortly after 2:00 a.m., the ambulance arrived at the hospital, and Diana was immediately rushed into surgery. Doctors raced against time and fought hard to keep the princess conscious. She had to be revived several times, and their efforts were ultimately futile.

In an overwhelming outpouring of grief and sympathy, over one million bouquets of flowers were left at Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, and St. James
Peter Turnley/GettyImages

Diana, Princess of Wales, passed on after succumbing to her injuries. She had suffered, amongst others, a ruptured blood vessel close to her heart. The damage was inconspicuous but extensive. Unfortunately, the night wasn’t yet over for Gourmelon.

Princess Diana Is Dead

After Diana had been transported to the hospital, Gourmelon returned to the fire station. He was working a double weekend shift and recalled how he immediately called his wife to tell her what had happened that night.

(Original Caption) Mourners outside Buckingham Palace for the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. (Photo by © Ralf-Finn Hestoft/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Ralf-Finn Hestoft/GettyImages

The lead firefighter said, “[My wife] was asleep, and I told her about the accident and Princess Diana. I said that she had suffered a cardiac arrest, but I’d managed to revive her.” Sadly, though, at around  04:00 a.m., the princess passed away.

The 20-Year-Old Secret

Fondly known as the People’s Princess, the death of Diana shook the world. It was trailed by an unprecedented outpouring of emotion from the public. And for Gourmelon back in France, the events of that fateful night in August remained fresh in his memory.

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - APRIL 08: Nationalists try to light a stolen car on Springfield Road just up from Peace Wall interface gates which divide the nationalist and loyalist communities on April 8, 2021 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Trouble has flared for a second night running in the Springfield Road area of Belfast. US President Joe Biden joined UK prime minister Boris Johnson and the Irish prime minister Micheal Martin in a call for calm. Police are describing events as the worst scale of violence seen in Belfast for years.  (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Charles McQuillan/GettyImages

Despite the media frenzy, he did not speak about the tragedy for two decades⁠ until he was no longer part of the fire service. In his interview with The Sun, the hero firefighter said, “I can still picture the whole scene. It’s something I’ll never forget and that I always think about at this time of year.”

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Igbo wedding attire by Gochiafrica on Etsy

Igba Nkwu Nwanyi is the Igbo traditional marriage ceremony celebrating love.

Most Igbos in the South Eastern part of Nigeria see Igba Nkwu Nwanyi (woman’s wine carrying) as the culmination of several months of traditional rites that are expected to have taken place before the groom along with his family and representatives of his community visit the bride’s family (including external family) in the presence of community elders. Igba Nkwu is the occasion that finally joins an Igbo man and woman as husband and wife.

Prior to this wonderful ceremony, the couple is considered to only be dating irrespective of whether they have declared their consent to each other until a formal declaration is made to the father of the bride through a process called Ikuaka (knocking).

Ikuaka is the first stage of the marriage process. When the groom informs his father of his intentions of marrying to a certain lady, the father in turn informs the eldest male-figure of his kinsmen or umunna as it is popularly known. What follows next is a discussion between the fathers for the date of the marriage; the father of the bride is now obligated to inform his kinsmen that a suitor was coming to ask for the hand of his daughter in marriage.

With the date agreed to and fixed, the groom along with his parents and a small select group of representatives from his Umunna, pay a visit to the home of his bride-to-be. At the event, the father of the groom explains the reason for their visit and their intention to marry one of their daughters.

After the customary welcome of the visitors and conversations between family representatives, the bride, who at this point is absent from this meeting, is then summoned by her parents and asked if she knows the groom; the intention of their visit and whether she consents to his marriage proposal. If she consents, then kola nuts are presented. And in a show of goodwill, the family of the groom presents small gifts to the family of his bride along with presents from their representatives 

KFImage: Newlywed couple celebrating. Source: Umu Igbo Unite 

The next step is to do a background check on the history of each family without the knowledge of the other. In the Igbo culture, it is referred to as Iju ese (Discovery of family history and background). In this situation, none of the parties is aware that such action is being taken. The purpose of Iju ese is to confirm that there is no negative history within each family tree that would present an embarrassment to any of the families or destroy the marriage of the couple

In the event the inquiries went well with no issues discovered, a date is fixed for the Imego (payment of bride-price) and in most cases, both the Imego and Igba Nkwu Nwanyi are done on the same day.

However, before the date, the groom is handed a list of items that are required by tradition from him to present to the umunna. On the day of the marriage, the groom comes with his family and friends along with the items and presents them to the umunna. From thereon, a select group of representatives of both families meet in a room to discuss the bride-price which is often miniscule. At this time, the father of the bride admonishes the groom to take good care of his daughter. 

Once the negotiations are concluded, both parties rejoin the other guests who have gathered for the Igba Nkwu Nwanyi celebration. This is the stage where the bride is handed a cup of wine and asked to hand it over to the man she has chosen as her husband. The bride and the groom then kneel before their parents to receive prayers for a blessed union.


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