Why Oba of Lagos ‘Snubbing’ Ooni of Ife Shocked Nigeria

Deep respect for leaders is a pillar of the culture of the Yoruba people, one of Nigeria’s biggest ethnic groups.

But at a recent public event, the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, 74, refused to properly greet the Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi, 42.

As the Ooni leaned over to greet the Oba by shaking his hand, what he got instead was a dismissive wave and what looked like a scowl of disdain.

It’s quite unheard of for traditional leaders to rebuff each other in public. And for a lesser leader, like the Oba of Lagos, to rebuff the Ooni of Ife, the spiritual head of all Yoruba people, is an even graver offence.

Though there are various interpretations by historians and scholars on the origins of Yoruba people, the Ooni of Ife is widely acknowledged as the overall leader and is known as the “king of kings”.

The Oba – of which there are up to 50 in Lagos alone – is seen to be a lesser traditional ruler, even though he is older.

It is not clear yet what upset the Oba of Lagos. But there is speculation it could relate to a spat that goes back over a century.

A long rivalry existed between the two thrones even before the colonial era.

The ancestors of the Oba of Lagos were loyal to the powerful Benin kingdom, an area south-east of Lagos rather than the Ooni to the north-east.

But on independence, the country was divided into different political zones. Lagos fell into roughly the same zone as the Ooni of Ife.

In Nigeria, greetings are all-important – from the roadside to the boardroom, how you say hello says a lot about you.

So when the video of the disdainful greeting emerged, Nigerian social media were stunned.

But as many people have pointed out, the traditional rites of Nigeria’s ancient cultures are complicated. And with relatively little history preserved in writing, the lines can be blurred.

Others reacted by pointing out that such an incident could have had far more serious consequences in the past.

The general feeling on social media seems to be that the Oba of Lagos showed disrespect not only for the Ooni of Ife but to Yoruba culture as a whole. Most people are watching to see what happens next.

The Oba is not a stranger to controversy.

In the run-up to the 2015 national election, a video surfaced on the internet in which he threatened ethnic Igbos living in Lagos that if they didn’t vote for his candidate, they would be thrown “into the lagoon”.

Of course, the slight could be the result of a personal gripe.

Others have suggested the age difference between the lesser yet older traditional ruler may have played a hand.

Nevertheless, it holds a deeper significance.

“The Oba’s behaviour undermines the royal institution of the Yoruba people,” says Yoruba scholar Kola Tubosun.

He says this kind of gesture shows that traditional institutions are in need of deep reform.

“It sends a wrong signal – that the norms, values and culture of the Yoruba people are being taken for granted.”

Culled from the BBC

My ordeal at the hands of Buhari’s CSO — PUNCH reporter

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PUNCH State House correspondent, Olalekan Adetayo, in this interview by OLALEYE ALUKO, responds to the Chief Security Officer, Bashir Abubakar’s leaked memo and other related issues

How did you feel after your encounter with the CSO?

I felt very bad. I felt humiliated that my professionalism was called to question in a very unjustifiable way.

The CSO claimed you said your editors wrote the story. Did you actually say that?

I could not have said that. I think in the process of talking, he made reference to the lead story ofSunday PUNCH on anxieties as regards the President’s health status. The story came with three riders. One of them was a call made by the Arewa Consultative Forum, advising the President’s wife not to allow a cabal to mismanage her husband’s health. Arewa youths also made a claim that the President had been kidnapped from Nigerians. The third rider was a reaction from the Presidency. So in the process of talking, the CSO picked on the one attributed to the ACF and said I claimed that I spoke with the ACF.

He said, ‘I will call the ACF man now and he will tell me if he spoke with you.’ I then told him that the story had a joint byline and I do not cover the ACF. I told him that somebody else wrote the ACF part.

That was what I told him. I reminded him that the story contained the President’s spokesperson’s (Femi Adesina) reaction. Adesina had said that the President was recuperating and that was what I told the CSO. I never said my editors wrote the story.

How would you describe the meeting that the CSO held with journalists?

I was not at the said meeting. I did not attend.

Is it true that journalists at the meeting reached an agreement with the CSO regarding how the president/presidency should be covered?

I do not know about an agreement but I know some colleagues told me that it was like a journalism class, whatever that means.

Was that the first time that the CSO would meet with journalists?

Yes, to the best of my knowledge. That was the first time since he became the CSO.

What made you to write about the President’s health?

My responsibility is to cover the activities of the President, the Vice-President and even their immediate family members. I resume at the Villa every morning and I do not leave there until late in the evening every day, except perhaps during the weekends. The President, as we very well know, returned to this country on March 10 after his medical vacation. And since then, there has been relatively no activity in the villa. The questions on the lips of many is: where is the President? Where is he? Is he okay?

And since I cover the Presidency, it is one of my responsibilities to attempt to provide answers to these questions. And that was what informed that story.

Did you have any encounter with the CSO prior to this incident?

Yes, I had an encounter with him the first time on one of the stories mentioned in his memo. It had to do with the “accidental discharge” in the Villa.

Like he did on Monday, he summoned my colleague from the Daily Trust, Isiaka Wakil, and I to his office. He said he was bitter that we wrote that kind of story. Throughout the conversation, he did not say that the report was wrong.

That particular incident of “accidental discharge” was reported by almost all the national newspapers in this country. At that point when we left, I told my colleague that I suspected foul play because the CSO invited only two of us to his office.

What were specific allegations he levelled against you?

His bitterness was; why did we write that kind of story? But the story was reported by all the national newspapers.

Do you think his understanding of journalism is sufficient for him to usurp the roles of the President’s media aides?

I doubt it. I doubt that he has an understanding of journalism. For example, when he complained about the “accidental discharge” story, he went on to say that the story was even used as the lead story for the newspaper.

He kept repeating that point. I expected him to know if he understood journalism that my responsibility as a reporter ends when I send a story. Whether it is the lead or inside or anywhere is the responsibility of the editors.

You’ve read the CSO’s memo, on what points do you agree or disagree with him?

I read his memo and I disagree with him on many points. I expected him, for instance, as far as the questions he raised about the Saturday column was concerned, to mention instances where events held in the places I reported that there had been no events.

The thrust of that column on (that) Saturday was that I listed some places in the Villa where activities were holding before, but since the President returned on March 10, nothing had been done in those places in the Villa.

Except for the Council Chambers where the Federal Executive Council meetings normally hold, I expected him to come out with his position that on this day, this event was held inside this hall you mentioned and the President attended and so on. But he did not do that. He made sweeping statements.

During my discussion, with him, he even tactically agreed with me that events did not hold in those places when he said that the President was at liberty to hold his meetings or events wherever he wanted. Those were the CSO’s words.

At a point, he said I was sponsored. That is to show you that the CSO does not understand the concept behind my Saturday column. It is a soft column that talks about things that will not necessarily go into everyday news.

I once wrote a piece, same column, listing those same places as bubbling with events. I described them then as places in the Villa, where decisions about Nigeria were taken. So, I wonder why the CSO got angry.

The CSO claimed that you apologized to him…

Thank you. Wisdom is the principal thing. The CSO invited me into his office; into his comfort zone. Two of his men were interjecting as he was talking with me. My first instinct in that kind of situation was how to leave that place; not only alive but with a sound mind.

I needed to leave that place, and alive to tell my story. At a point, he even threatened, saying, “If you don’t answer some of the questions I will raise now, you will not go home today.”

Therefore yes, at a point, I begged him. Not that I said that the story I wrote was wrong, but for me to get a leverage to leave that place. And it worked. Because I guessed that was why he decided to release me to go and make a statement. I followed one of his men out.

As I was going with that man, I saw some of my colleagues standing in the corridor where we normally stood. I used that opportunity to hint them about what was happening in case anything untoward happened.

You must have read in his memo that I did not put any apology inside the statement I wrote. I wrote in my statement that I did not have any ulterior motive in writing those two pieces.

The man who took my statement returned to him. I guess it was when he read the statement and saw that I did not apologise that he ordered that my pass be withdrawn and that I be escorted out of the Villa.

What role did the chairman of the State House Press Corps play?

In my first narrative of this incident, (my reporter’s diary), I deliberately left out the Chairman of the State House Press Corps, Mr. Ubale Musa, because I felt it would be petty to begin to drag names unnecessarily into my incident.

But since the CSO mentioned him specifically in his leaked memo, I will explain Ubale’s role. It was Ubale who called me on that day that the CSO wanted to see me.

I was at the VP’s wing of the Villa, monitoring the panel probing the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, when Ubale called that he was at the President’s wing and asked me to come over to see the CSO.

I told him this invitation was strange and it should have come from the presidential spokesmen.

I tried getting across to them. Garba Shehu was not in the office but I later got in touch with him on the telephone. I went to Femi Adesina’s office and informed him of the invitation. He asked me to go, and to keep updating him. Adesina asked me to tell Ubale to see him since I told him he was the one that called me to say we should see the CSO together.

When we got to the CSO, I thought after all, there were two journalists and three security officers. But I started having problems with Ubale’s “intervention” in the matter.

While “intervening”, Ubale told the CSO that even some of our colleagues had been complaining to him that the kind of stories I wrote made them get queries from their bosses in their offices. I was shocked because I heard that for the first time from Ubale and he told me that in the presence of the CSO.

It was Ubale again that said he felt I was under some pressure from the office and asked the CSO to probably look beyond me and look at the “larger picture of my office.”

The CSO then put the question to me and wanted me to say on record that I was under pressure. I told him there was no pressure that I could not handle. So this is the area that concerned Ubale.

Ubale Musa said you apologised. Your reaction?

Like I said earlier, I apologised, not for the content of the stories but when I discovered that my life was no longer safe in the office, I had to apologise to escape the situation.

The CSO accused you of ‘carrying mischievous…

The accusations have no basis. Anyone who reads PUNCH very well knows that we don’t write stories without getting the comments of all the people mentioned. With all humility, if the presidential spokesmen would be fair, they will rate me as one of the top five among the correspondents who call them regularly on a daily basis for one reaction or the other. That is The PUNCH’s style.

No story goes without being balanced. Now the CSO may not know this because he is not the spokesman. So, I could not have called him for reactions.

Can you speak on some of the stories that the CSO complained about?

On the Risk Caution Allowance: the security personnel were complaining in the Villa that the Presidency owed them a year backlog of allowances, since the President came in. These were people saddled with the responsibility of protecting the President; they were hungry and aggrieved. I am not a security expert but I know there is danger inherent in that.

If you read that story, I spoke with the presidential spokesmen, and one of them said the National Security Adviser was aware of the development and was already working on how to pay those personnel. To show you that I had no ulterior motive, the last story I did on that issue was “Buhari okays jumbo allowances for Villa security operatives,” published on October 25, 2016.

The operatives that I fought for did not even tell me when they were paid. But when my investigation confirmed that they had been paid, I went ahead with the report. The people concerned saw it and jokingly said I had exposed them and that people were now making financial demands from them.

But I told them that by not writing the story, I would not be fair to the government since I wrote when they were not paid. I had no personal interest in the matter.

On the accidental discharge, yes, there was a discharge at the administration reception point and a female caterer was injured. She spent days at the State House Medical Centre and we wrote that story.

The CSO did not say the incident did not happen. He only alleged in his memo that I championed the writing of that story, despite warnings from Ubale Musa and my colleagues.

I love that part of the memo because it is revealing. But the CSO should have gone ahead to mention the colleagues who asked me not to write the story the same way he mentioned Ubale specifically.

Ubale did tell us that we should not report that incident. He mentioned the Officer in Charge, SSS, as the person allegedly pleading that the story be avoided. I think someone in the press corps raised a point that, if such a request should be made at all, it should come from the presidential spokesmen. To be fair to the two of them (Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu), they had earlier made it clear to us that they would never ask us to drop any story but they would rather react to it.

In my contribution to my colleagues that day, I said it might be difficult not to do the story given that we are in the digital age. Anyone could have witnessed the incident or seen the woman in the hospital, and put it on online platforms such asFacebook.

A consensus was then reached that by evening, if there was nothing online, we would leave the report. But I later got a call from my office, saying they saw the story somewhere and I had not filed it. That was in the evening, after we had already left the Villa. Out of consideration, I started calling colleagues, especially those in the print media, one by one that in order to avoid trouble in their offices, they should decide whether to write the story or not, but I would write it since the story had reached them in my office.

The following day, the CSO summoned the Daily Trust reporter and I to his office. The CSO sent the OC SSS to bring the DailyTrust reporter and me. In the process, the OC SSS asked why only two of us wrote the story out of all journalists in the villa. The Daily Trust reporter had to correct the OC SSS that all the major newspapers did the report and it was not only two of us. The OC was surprised, but quickly said his boss would decide. That is to tell you that they had preconceived notions about PUNCH and Daily Trust as far as that story was concerned and that has been confirmed by his memo.

You were accused of trying to satisfy some subterranean interests…bent on undermining the government.

Those allegations are baseless. When people do not like a particular report, they come up with allegations that you have a sponsor. I can say it with all humility that I did those pieces, just in the line of duty and with no ulterior motive.

Credit PUNCH.

Drama as Magician Mistakenly Kills Himself in Front of Spectators (Photos)

A shocking incident has left a magician dead after he mistakenly killed himself while performing magic in front of many spectators.

Palee

The magician accidentally killed himself in front of spectators

A magician trying to demostrate that nothing could harm him ended up committing suicide in the presence of his spectators.

According to reports, Theprit Palee, 25, had been performing a Thai traditional dance in front of spectators in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, and Wednesday afternoon when the incident occurred.

It was gathered that the magician usually would press a long sword against his chest but instead of being impaled, the sword would break.

The folk ritual is said to honour the spirits of ancestors and in previous shows he would impress onlookers by appearing superhuman when the blade broke as it was pressed against his chest, Daily Mail reported.

However, on the fateful day, instead of breaking, the sword went straight into his rib cage making him go fatally limp almost immediately.

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Crowds gathered round the man as they attempted to revive him but he was later pronounced dead at hospital. Resident Noom Udorn said Palee had provided readings for several years to local people.

“This is a tradition that happens every year. The sword normally breaks but this time it went inside him.

“The medium has been respected for many years. People love him. He is one of people’s favourites,” Udorn said.

Deputy Police Inspector Chaiwat Phan said they arrived at the San Kamphaeng district of the province at 3pm and found the medium bleeding.

He said: “We were informed that a man armed with a knife had stabbed himself. We are coordinating with the hospital while an autopsy is performed. There were people at the scene helping Mr Palee but he died later in hospital. He had a stab wound to the chest.”

Why I did not hug Ooni, Oba Akiolu speaks

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Oba Akiolu

The Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Aremu Akiolu, has defended his controversial reaction to the affectionate greeting of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, at a public event, as seen in a viral video last week.

 

In the 25-second recording, the Ooni of Ife is seen arriving at the venue of the event, which has the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu II, in attendance, seated among an unidentified monarch.

 

The Ooni walks over to embrace the monarchs, but as soon as he approaches the Oba of Lagos, Oba Akiolu looks away, only acknowledging the Ooni with the wave of a hand.

 

The visibly embarrassed monarch then quietly returns to his seat.

 

The video clip was met with outrage on social media and among prominent Nigerians, with many describing Oba Akiolu’s action as disdainful and unbecoming of a Yoruba monarch.

 

However, when The PUNCH reached out to the Oba of Lagos by telephone, the monarch sounded undisturbed by the controversy surrounding the awkward greeting.

 

Oba Akiolu, explaining that he was constrained by tradition from receiving and returning the Ooni’s greeting, said the widespread belief that he snubbed the Ooni was “their own thinking.”

 

He added, “Anybody can imagine anything. There was nothing. The custom or tradition is like that in Lagos. We don’t hold each other; we don’t hug.”

 

Asked if the wide age gap between both traditional rulers had anything to do with the way he acknowledged the Ooni, the Oba of Lagos said, “Which age difference? A monarch is a monarch. There is no age difference.”

 

Credit PUNCH.

 

Amaechi had problem with Patience, not me —Jonathan

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said there is no bone of contention between him and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaehi.

Rather, Jonathan stated that Amaechi had a problem with his wife, Patience, which he (Jonathan) tried in vain to resolve.

Jonathan’s disclosed this in a book titled, ‘Against the Run of Play,’ written by the Chairman, Editorial Board of ThisDay, Olusegun Adeniyi.

“Jonathan told me that Amaechi’s problem was not with him but rather with his wife and that, at a point, he tried to reconcile them,” the book stated.

While Amaechi admitted that he was at loggerheads with Patience, he said Jonathan was not saying the whole truth, noting that there were also disagreements between him and Jonathan, during the latter’s era as the President.

The ex-Rivers State governor attributed the cause of his grudge with Jonathan to illegal and excess deduction from the federation account by the former president.

He said, “I could not surrender my mandate to a woman (Patience) in Abuja, even if such a person was the wife of the President…that basically was my sin with Dame Patience Jonathan.

“If in one year, you took about N300bn from the federation account to pay for subsidy and the next year, you are taking almost N2tn for the same thing when fundamentals had not changed, then serious questions should be asked.

“And as NGF (Nigerian Governors Forum) chairman, it was my responsibility to ask those questions and Jonathan took them personal.”

Credit Punch

Davido Acknowledges Desperate Fan Who Threatened Suicide Because of Him (pics)

Davido has finally acknowledged the Nigerian woman who threatened to take her own life if he didn’t look her way.

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The disturbing drama started yesterday when the woman shared a video on her Instagram, narrating how she had been asking the singer for a follow on the social media platform.

“I have been following you on Instagram since 2014,” said the woman who apparently is a mother, adding that she is ‘fed up’ with him ignoring her plight. Hence, she threatened to commit suicide if she doesn’t meet him.

“I don follow you o. No go die o,” he DMed her yesterday, and she replied: “I’m just the most happiest person on earth right now. Thank you boss!”

See the tweetdef

“I Will Commit Suicide If Davido Doesn’t Attend My Birthday” – Girl Cries (Video – 

Nigerian girls says she will commit suicide if Davido doesn’t attend her birthday

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Davido

A girl named Chiamaka Okeke whose Instagram profile describes as a makeup artiste, has threatened to end her life if singer Davido does not follow her on the social media and also attend her birthday scheduled for the 13th of May.

Click the video

Cremation of ‘Overly obese’ body sets Ohio funeral home fire (pic)

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A crematorium in Ohio caught fire while burning the remains of an “overly obese” body, according to the owner.

Don Catchen said the corpse caused flames to engulf one of his units in the city of Cincinnati.

The fat in the body burned at a higher temperature, prompting the blaze, said the city fire chief.

The blog Confessions of a Funeral Director describes a blaze resulting from the cremation of a morbidly obese person as a “grease fire”.

No other parts of the building were damaged, Mr Catchen said.

The fire was contained to the garage where the crematory unit is located, he told BBC News.

The fire began at 21:40 (01:40 GMT) on Wednesday and took about two hours to put out, Mr Catchen toldlocal news outlet WCPO.

“My operator was in the process of cremating remains and [the body] was overly obese and apparently it got a little hotter than the unit is supposed to get,” Mr Catchen added.

“One of the cremation containers that we had close got caught on fire and that’s what burnt.”

No other bodies were damaged in the fire, he said.

“We believe there were some combustible storage boxes that were too close to the ovens,” said Cincinnati Fire Chief Michael Washington.

Mr Catchen added the fireproof unit is made of concrete block with a steel roof, but also has a rubberised roof.

A similar blaze at a Virginia facility in October 2014occurred during the cremation of a 500lb (226kg) body.

Credit BBC

Meet the world’s most educated President (pics)

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President Mugabe

President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Africa’s most educated president and supposedly world’s most educated president as well, was born on February 21, 1924, in Kutama, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), just months after Southern Rhodesia had become a British Crown colony. As a result, the people of his village were oppressed by new laws and faced limitations to their education and job opportunities.

Although many people in Southern Rhodesia went only as far as a grammar school, Mugabe was fortunate enough to receive a good education. He attended school at the local Jesuit mission under the supervision of school director Father O’Hea. A powerful influence on the boy, O’Hea taught Mugabe that all people should be treated equally and educated to the fulfillment of their abilities. Mugabe’s teachers, who called him “a clever lad,” were early to recognize his abilities as considerable.

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Mugabe in his academic gown

Mugabe holds seven academic degrees from South Africa’s Fort Hare University, University of South Africa (Unisa) and University of London.

Six of Mugabe’s university degrees were actually earned while he was doing distance learning  and of the six, he got two of them while he was in prison.

The seven hard-earned degrees cover a broad range of disciplines including education, economics, administration, and law.

Over the course of nine years, President Mugabe studied privately while teaching at a number of mission schools in Southern Rhodesia. Mugabe continued his education at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and English in 1951. Mugabe then returned to his hometown to teach there. By 1953, he had earned his Bachelor of Education degree through correspondence courses.

In 1955, Mugabe moved to Northern Rhodesia. There, he taught for four years at Chalimbana Training College while also working toward his Bachelor of Science degree in economics through correspondence courses with the University of London. After moving to Ghana, Mugabe completed his economics degree in 1958.

ACADEMIC DEGREES:

Bachelor of Arts (History and English) (BA) degree from the University of Fort Hare (1951)

Bachelor of Administration (B.Admin) from University of South Africa (Unisa)

Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) from the University of South Africa (Unisa)

Bachelor of Science (BSc.) in Economics from University of London (External Programme)

Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from University of London (External Programme

)Master of Laws (LL.M) from University of London (External Programme)

Master of Science (MSc.) in Economics from University of London (External Programme)

The two law degrees were earned while he was in prison (between 1964 and 1975) and the MSc while leading the Zimbabwe government after independence.

REVOKED HONORARY DEGREES:

Honorary LLD degree from University of Edinburgh (1994), which was however revoked in June 2007.

Honorary LLD degree from University of Massachusetts (1986), which was also revoked in June 2008.

Honorary LLD degree from Michigan State University (1990), and was revoked on 12 September 2008.

HONORARY DEGREES:

Honorary LLD degree from Ahmadu Bello University (Nigeria)

Honorary LLD degree from Morehouse College (Atlanta, Georgia)

Honorary LLD degree from University of Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe)

Honorary LLD degree from St. Augustine’s University (Tanzania)

Honorary LLD degree from Lomonosov Moscow State University (Russia)

Honorary LLD degree from Solusi University (Zimbabwe)Honorary D.Litt. degree from Africa University (Zimbabwe)

Honorary D.Civil Laws degree from University of Mauritius (Mauritius)

Honorary D.Com. degree from For Hare University (South Africa)

Honorary D.Tech. degree from National University of Science and Technology (Zimbabwe)

Honorary D.Phil (African Heritage and Philosophy) degree from Great Zimbabwe University (Zimbabwe)

Source: FactsUniversity.com

PEP GUARDIOLA UP IN ARMS AGAINST MOURINHO AS MANCHESTER CITY HOST MANCHESTER UNITED

By Toyin Akiode

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The rivalry between Guardiola and Mourinho predates their engagement with Manchester City and Manchester United respectively.

Back in LaLiga, the two managers were the greatest of rivals as Barcelona dominated domestic and European football until the Portuguese came to Madrid to create a bit of ‘order’.

The jury is forever out on who the better manager is between the two. Those backing either of them are ready to go to the wires to produce facts as to who is the top one.

Guardiola and Mourinho – Who takes the day?

What cannot be denied is that Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho are two of the best 13 or so managers in European club football. Their records speak volume in attestation of their credence.

Now to the matter at hand!

The Citizens (third on the league table) hosts bitter city rivals United in a Champions League qualification tie that could end Mourinho’ s aspirations in playing in the elite competition come next season.

Probabilities

City would go third with a win, and that will suit Liverpool as that would make it much more difficult for Manchester United to crack the top four. A win would be a sensational result for United.

A draw would suit both Manchester clubs, even if it would be regarded with suspicion on Merseyside. Such a result would still leave United’s destiny in their own hands, they could still finish higher than Liverpool without Klopp and his players being able to do much about it, and it would preserve the remarkable unbeaten sequence that José Mourinho has quietly managed to supervise.

Jose Mourinho and the word quiet are not frequently seen in the same sentence!

This could be due to the high number of drawn games and the fact that United have taken up a semi-permanent residence just outside the top four. Otherwise, an unbeaten run of 23 Premier League games should have been accorded better credit.

Head to head.

Both City and United have floundered in recent past. The Red Devils in the Europa League and City in the FA Cup.

United has lost its top goal scorer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, for the rest of the season and have problems at center-half. But – insert drum roll here – they must be able to smell an opportunity that a few months ago seemed unlikely to present itself.

Had the Manchester derby taken place on its original date at the end of February, City would have been strong favourites. Mourinho is now the one with the unbeaten run and a trophy on his sideboard in his first season in Manchester while while Guardiola cannot win anything.

Though losing Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a blow, United seem to have Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford finding form at the right time.

City are coming into the game on the back of a jarring defeat; United have some momentum. Who should be the most confident now? Anything can happen in derbies, as both sides know only too well, but United have a manager who seems to be able to work out a plan to win any given game.

Not in the sense of one game after another but, if there is a single game that must be negotiated, a result to be obtained, Mourinho’s track record of coming up with a plan is excellent. He famously did it against Guardiola’s Barcelona when Internazionale were down to 10 men in the Champions League semi-finals in 2010. He did it just a couple of weeks ago in England when united prevailed against barely recognizable league leaders.

Mourinho, for about a million reasons, would dearly love to cross town and make life even more miserable for Guardiola. United and their supporters would probably enjoy that even more than reaching the Europa League final. Never mind that London is set to claim the major prizes, in Manchester the crux of the season has arrived!

Culled from the Guardian.